Tending to be somewhat shy in the company of those I don’t know, I admire people who readily express their views in public.
It’s not easy to put yourself out there through speech or writing as there will always be those who disagree and then attack the individual instead of the idea.
So I respect Bill Ligertwood for taking a stand, as he so frequently does. You never have to wonder where the person behind the Kamloops Centre for Rational Thought comes from, whether being critical about the City allowing a pro-life banner to hang in the downtown or this week’s attempt to show homeopathic medicines as a sham.
He and three others “overdosed” on two different homeopathies — coffea cruda and belladonna — in front of a local business with the goal of showing the “so-called medicines” are “entirely useless in curing or preventing disease,” he said in an email.
They downed the tiny tablets to no ill effect, supposedly proving them to be a sham and waste of money. How something so diluted it barely contains a trace of the original substance can improve one’s health is a
mystery to me, but I also don’t understand quantum physics or how pushing on the gas pedal makes my car move either.
There is all kinds of information supporting the efficacy of homeopathics and “proof” to the contrary, as well. For the point of this discussion, we’ll leave that nest of snakes alone.
What bothered me about the demonstration was the choice of location for the protest. Instead of staging the event at one of their homes, in front of the hospital (like they originally planned lest one of them actually overdose and require medical treatment) or at the MP’s office (it is Health Canada that authorizes the sale of homeopathic medicines, even labels them with a drug identification number), they targeted a local business.
Dr. Steven Jones, the owner of the Kamloops Naturopathic Clinic, came out to address the media gathered (media outnumbered homeopathic stunt participants), saying he did not even practice classic homeopathic medicine. (In a conversation since, however, he said he can’t speak for what other practitioners offer there.) Regardless, it seems akin to environmental activists randomly picking a local gas station or a car dealership for a protest against oil pipelines.
So what did the stunt prove? Do four people ingesting larger than normal quantities of a couple types of homeopathic medicines to no ill effect prove they don’t work?
Will it deter people who might otherwise consider taking them? Likely not. Those who believe in the form of treatment will continue taking them and those who think they’re pointless won’t. If someone had reacted strongly to the homeopathics, then there would have been more of a story. As it was, nothing was proved. The only thing that occurred — a viable business that contributes to the City’s tax base, along with its customers, was embarrassed.
So while I’m all for speaking out, do it in the appropriate place. Or better yet, host a debate between a medical doctor and homeopathic practitioner.
That would offer more meaningful food for thought.