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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:36 pm 
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Talent!
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This week on Sawbones, Dr. Sydnee and Justin introduce you to the father of homeopathy, an unconventional alternative method that has persisted for over 100 years. Also, Justin attempts to cure his non-existent asthma with chicken.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:18 am 
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I just listened to your show for the first time (it was recommended on the show "Oh, no, Ross and Carrie"). I found the historical background regarding the inventor of homeopathy to be very interesting. Then, right at the end, you went and ruined it all by saying, "Does it work? I don't know."

Come on, people, homeopathy is QUACKERY! How can you possibly say that a nostrum made up of water with NO ACTIVE INGREDIENTS might possibly work? Read the Science-Based Medicine blog, for crying out loud! Listen to Skeptics Guide to the Universe or Mark Crislip's Quackcast. Contrary to your statement near the end of your podcast, there have been proper scientific tests, and homeopathy does no better than placebo. In other words, it does nothing at all, which is to be expected from a set of nostrums that contain nothing at all.

Homeopathy had a place before medicine was placed on a scientific footing. Back then, doctors did more harm than good, and a nostrum that did NOTHING AT ALL was better than the purges and bloodletting and other barbarities once inflicted on sick people. But homeopathy was a good thing only in an environment where everything else made you worse. Today, when we have actual treatments, a practitioner who does nothing at all is a quack and a fraud, and that's what homeopathy is.

Sheesh, people, get a grip on reality. You ought to know perfectly well that homeopathy DOES NOT WORK, except to enrich the people who make and sell the nostrums, and the fraudulent practitioners who exploit a gullible public.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:04 pm 
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I think this episode gave homeopathy far more credence than it deserves and that is any credence. Miasmas do not exist and thus are not the cause of disease. Samuel Hahnemann got the idea for homeopathy from thinking that quinine was effective against malaria in small doses because it caused malaria in large doses. Quinine does not cause malaria in any dosage level; malaria is caused by an infection of the blood by a protezoan Plasmodium falciparum. Homeopathy makes predictions about what causes disease and those predictions are disproven. Add to the fact that there is no evidence that any homeopathic treatment is better than placebo (indeed at the dilution level common for many homeopathic preparations, the remedy is chemically indistinguishable from a placebo) and I think you can safely say homeopathy is utter and complete bunk.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:17 pm 
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daniel1948, I completely agree with you. I love listening to Sawbones each week with my wife, and I was keen to hear this episode when I saw it posted. However, any of the commentary on homeopathy itself (as opposed to its creator) was a complete cop-out. In one of the early Sawbones episodes, both Justin & Sydnee said that they would not be doing episodes on treatments that were still in use, as they didn't want to offend people. It's a stance that I totally understand - this show is about hilariously bad/dumb things that we used to do to try and cure people, with the emphasis on "used to" - and clearly the show is not intending to cause controversy. I was surprised to see an episode on homeopathy for that very reason.

I feel that the tone of the ending of the show was a bit apologist, perhaps to avoid backlash from homeopathy users who, and I'll just go and say it, are either crazy or have more money than brains. Homeopathy adherents will go so far as to say that a treatment becomes stronger the more it is diluted, ad infinitum. It is not difficult to dilute a remedy so far that there is not a single molecule of the "active agent" left in a typical dose, and yet these people still claim that it will cure what ails you. If that were true, then we'd all be cured of everything, because all of these things have at some point come into contact with the water we drink every day!

At any rate, to the creators of Sawbones: if a given topic feels too controversial for you two to cover, I really hope that you will just skip over it to something else that you feel is less controversial, so that you can be your usual hilarious & informative selves.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:11 am 
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I would rather that they DID include the dumb things people do now to try to cure ailments, but have the intellectual honesty to call quackery what it is. Do not be afraid of being criticized by the frauds who steal people's hard-earned money with the promise of cures that have been proven to not work. Humor is a very effective weapon against ignorance. Shows like Skeptics Guide to the Universe and Quackcast fight pseudoscience with reason and evidence. Sawbones could help in this noble effort by adding humor to the arsenal in defense of science-based medicine. But they cannot do this if they are wishy-washy because they fear criticism from wackaloons.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:21 pm 
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daniel1948: I'm sure that the show is enough work already for Justin & Sydnee, what with her being a full-time MD, and Justin being a writer/reporter with another podcast to manage as well. Each episode of Sawbones clearly takes a fair amount of time to do the research, let alone record, edit, etc., so I wouldn't ask them to take on the Sisyphusian task of fending off internet cranks (towards whose camp I'm afraid my complaining about this episode of the show slightly leans me...) who are sure to descend if they start taking on myth-busting. Besides, that's Oh-No! Ross & Carrie's focus, so it is already covered on Maximum Fun.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:32 pm 
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Talent!
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Hey friends, sorry the new episode rubbed some of you the wrong way. The long and short version is this: We're not interested in making a show that makes people feel bad about what they believe in. That's why we tend to stick to practices that are completely or almost completely obsolete. If we veer into modern practices, we're going to tread lightly. If that bothers you in a given episode, skip ahead and hopefully you won't feel bad about the next one.

Thanks for the feedback!

-Justin


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:31 pm 
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Justin:

I certainly understand your desire to remain non-controversial. But that's different than making statements that legitimize fraud. My only complaint about the episode was the statement at the end: "Does it work? I don't know."

I strongly suspect that Sydnee DOES know that homeopathy DOES NOT work. In which case she had two honest choices: Say "Does it work? All the evidence says no." Or just not raise the question at all.

I've listened to a few more episodes since then (this one was my first) and I see that you like to joke around a lot, pretending to be sick so you can then talk about the bad ways people used to treat the illness in question, and you in particular like to play the clown, which is entertaining; so I can see how Sydnee might have made the offending statement as a joke. But I still think it was a mistake. When a practice is clearly useless or fraudulent, either say so, or refrain from giving it positive feedback. The offending quote plays right into the hands of the criminals (and there's no other word for homeopaths) who will point to it as "evidence" that doctors "admit" that their criminal activity is legitimate.

The show is indeed entertaining, and I find the historical stuff interesting. I hope I do not come across as a crank, but scamming sick people is really a very serious matter, and no sort of support should ever be given to scammers. (In the words of Mark Crislip of Quackcast, "Supplements, complementary and alternative medicine = SCAM.")


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:33 pm 
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Sort of disappointed to see people freaking out because Sidney and Justin didn't go all Penn Jillette on homeopathy. I thought they did a good job of presenting the facts about it and stopped just shy of getting snarky about it. And it was FUNNY which is the point. I thought it was a great episode.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:21 am 
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Great episode! I had no idea that Hahnemann came up with his theories because of a personal experience. Definitely humanizes him. Thanks for sharing!

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Check out our latest episodes at http://www.maximumfun.org/shows/oh-no-ross-and-carrie


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