Prejudice: preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience

Yes I am prejudiced. But not against homeopathy, at least as I understand the definition of the word. In its conception and implementation homeopathy is 100% divorced from known reality. If you understand the basics of the pseudo-medicine, like curing like and sequential dilutions, you have sufficient understanding to know homeopathy is pure bunkum. I have read widely on the published literature on homeopathy. It is lousy at best and laughable at its worst.

It is why Evidence-based medicine and prejudice-based medicine: the case of homeopathy results in a snort of derision. Poor wittle baby, inappropriately discriminated against by those who dismisses your fantasy without careful consideration.


They note that

In a previous study, 176 resident doctors at the University of Campinas Medical School were interviewed and 86 (49%) rejected homeopathy as a subject in the core medical curriculum .

Only 49%. They are evidently doing a poor job of teaching basic science in Brazil as the rate should be close to 100%.

They want to know why. Why do half of medical residents reject homeopathy. I would also want to know why 51% do not.

It is safe to say that the authors have what, in my opinion, appears to be a delusional understanding about the importance of their useless magic:

The issue at stake is the reconfiguration of the frontiers of biomedicine and what are seen as important actions of advancement and retrocession that extrapolate the dominions of scientific knowledge. This movement confirms the theory of Marcuse and Denzin that against an action of counterculture, there is a cultural backlash, so that people with new ideas are sometimes rejected outright, whether or not there is evidence to support their point of view.

That is one of the nice things about homeopathy: from basic principles it can be rejected outright. And, being bright people, that seems to be the case of a minority of medical students:

None of the interviews refused homeopathy based on conscientious objection, since no argument presented was of an informed nature on the principles of homeopathy, and the justifications were based on general concepts and common sense.

Most of the quotes from the medical students show at best a cursory understanding of homeopathy, which is probably not uncommon for most medical trainees. They have a massive amount of reality-based information to acquire in a short period of time and recognize the fundamentally practical approach of medical training. Medical schools try and stick to proven, reality-based medicine. If it is not part of the curriculum, it is likely because it doesn’t deserve to be.

Because the medical students admit to have not having studied the nonsense that is homeopathy in detail, they are prejudiced against it. Or perhaps they are appropriately recognizing bunkum when they see it.

The authors suggest

that professionals should know its principles and discuss their decision based on well founded evidence and conscientious approval or objection, and not on a lack of knowledge or prejudice.

A nice idea in a perfect world, but there is a real practical limit to the time and effort that can be expended on learning medicine. There are areas of pseudo-medicine that can be ignored out of hand: homeopathy, reiki, acupuncture, chiropractic, iridology, reflexology and many of the other pseudo-medicines covered in this blog and at Science-Based Medicine.

They found a majority of medical students favoring homeopathy to be a good thing. It

must be appreciated and recognized, for example, in the fact that 51% (90) of resident doctors interviewed accepted and supported the teaching of homeopathy in the medical course.

Not, evidently, considering the likely explanation that the medical students acceptance of their pseudo-medicine is due to an even deeper and more profound ignorance of homeopathy. Medical students are frequently ignorant about all kinds of CAM but it does not prevent them having an opinion on the topic. Some data suggests that as their understanding of medical reality increases, their approval for pseudo-medicine drops, despite pseudo-medicine often being taught by its apologists.

Prejudice-based medicine?  Or an appropriate dismissal of nonsense.

Points of Interest 11/27/2014
Do IRB's Work? Not for Pseudo-Medicines.

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