LET’S get the facts right about homeopathy.

(1) Christian Hahnemann invented homeopathy in 1796.

He had been trained as a doctor but not as a scientist.

(2) In the 221 years since, not one single piece of credible evidence, however tentative, has been presented that homeopathy ‘works’.

Anecdotes are not evidence.

(3) This isn’t surprising because homeopathy is based on a belief that what makes you ill will make you better.

There is no evidence that this primitive superstition is true.

(4) If homeopathy worked, thousands―tens of thousands―of studies would have been carried out over the past 221 years which conclusively demonstrated this.

I don’t see any.

(5) If homeopathy worked, it would be available in every hospital and clinic in every country because it is cheap.

I don’t see this happening.

(6) Homeopathy is a pseudoscience, a set of wrong beliefs tarted up to look scientific to delude the ignorant, the better to take money off them.

(7) Homeopathy is an ideal subject, like UFOs and the Loch Ness monster, for people wanting to be different from the crowd to believe in without having to make any intellectual effort.

(8) Homeopathy is positively dangerous because it deludes the patient into thinking they have been ‘cured’ when, if they have a medical condition, no such thing will have happened.

This is why homeopathy must not be provided on the NHS.

(9) Just because someone feels better after going to a homeopath doesn’t mean the homeopath has cured them.

Correlation does not imply causation.

As Ben Jonson wrote: “The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease”.

(10) People may put whatever they like into their bodies if it makes them feel better.

That isn’t a reason for the NHS to supply it, whether it be Smarties, ecstasy or homeopathic products.

(11) Believing that something is true doesn’t make it true.

Wanting it to be true doesn’t make it true.

Not understanding why it’s not true doesn’t make it true.

Jeremy Marchant