… the phenomenon of apologising for the wrong thing comes alongside people taking umbrage at the wrong thing. Last week, the BMJ ran a head-to-head feature on the “question” of whether doctors should recommend homeopathy. This was the latest in a series of articles in which a question is posed, apparently strictly on the understanding that it’ll accommodate a polarised debate, and one person is invited to give a “yea” response, and another to give “nay”. I won’t bother here with a screed about homeopathy: Edzard Ernst does a good job in the BMJ piece, as have many others across the blogosphere. (You could do worse, for example, than to have a wander through the Anomalous Distraction blog, which is written by an ex-schoolmate of mine, and which also has lots of pretty pictures of proteins and things.) Since it’s a nice day, and I’m in a reasonably good mood, I’ll even admit that when Hahnemann was working, something like homeopathy was probably as good a punt as anything else that medicine had to offer. But… y’know.
Aaaaaanyway… A rather angry letter appeared. I think it’s worth examining, because it makes a number of normative and value claims; and if norms and values aren’t the meat and veg of an ethicist’s life, then we might as well go home.
This article omits a third representation from the most important people in the discussion – the patients – of whom I one. I have successfully and exclusively used Homeopathy for more than forty years.
There’s a difference between anecdote and data – and we’re not told why homeopathy has been used.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.