So, this week my 1023 campaign has seen a fair bit of media interest, and has had at least one article published so far, in the Sunday Times. The Times, being very fair, opted to let the Irish Society of Homoeopaths and a practising homoeopath, have their say. Both responded with what are fairly typical comments, which I will now attempt to redress.

The Irish Society of Homoeopaths is reported as saying that I, and other campaigners, have no idea how it works:

The Irish Society of Homeopaths has criticised the planned mass overdose, claiming campaigners have “no understanding of how homeopathy works”.

Having done a large amount of research, I would rather argue that I do have an understanding of how homoeopathy works, and it’s probably a better understanding than many practising homoeopaths. I understand that there is no mystical or spiritual properties to the medicine. I understand that the medicine cannot contain any active ingredients as a result of its factor of dilution. I understand that there is no way water can have a “memory”. And, finally, I understand that the comment above is a standard comment, rattled off in response to anyone criticising homoeopathy.

As I’ve said, time and time again, there is nothing in these homoeopathic remedies. There can’t physically be anything in these remedies unless the process of succussion allows homoeopaths to break the laws of physics and chemistry. I also know that water can do many things, and exist in several interesting and unique forms, but it doesn’t have a memory. The water cycle tells us that water exists in a continuum, moving between states, but never being created or destroyed. With that in mind, would you want water that had, for example, travelled through a sewage processing plant, to have a memory of where it had been? There is nothing about homoeopathy that would make water selectively “remember” the minuscule amounts of anything put in it. In short, water does not have a memory, and to suggest that it does, and indeed base a treatment plan on it, is nothing short of ridiculous.

The second quote, from a practising homoeopath (Sheelagh Behan), states:

A highly diluted homeopathic remedy will never act unless the symptoms of the patient fit the specific symptoms that the remedy will treat.

To my mind, this seems to go against certain principles of homoeopathic treatment. For a start, if we are to believe the original “like treats like” principles of homoeopathy, then the medicines should not have no effect. In fact, they should induce the very conditions that they claim to treat. Sleeping tablets should induce insomnia, malaria treatments should induce malarial symptoms, etc. To say that they will have no effect or that they will not act is to ignore one of the founding principles of homoeopathy.

Another principle of homoeopathy is to treat the patient, not the symptoms. Consultations with homoeopaths are frequently long and involve many questions to establish a patient history, so that their symptoms and feelings can be looked up in the big book of homoeopathy to discern a treatment program. This often results in custom remedies being made for the person. With this in mind, and their heavy “patient-first” emphasis, one has to wonder if they support generic over the counter homoeopathic “medicines” being sold in places like boots, where a practising homoeopath isn’t on hand to question. What if the consumer gets their symptoms wrong, and purchases the wrong remedy? Will there be no effect, or will they be stricken with another illness that they are, inadvertently, taking the homoeopathic cure for?

If homoeopathy is truly the highly personal and efficient replacement for modern medicine, then how do mass produced, over the counter sugar pills fit into it?

I call on any homoeopath who is offended by my demonstration to answer the questions above without resorting to bashing conventional medicine.