Very often I get emails or posts from readers incensed that I dare post about anything other than evolutionary biology. This first person, a professor who will remain unnamed to protect the benighted, has, as I recall, written this same email to me a while back. Apparently he thinks I have no credential to post about Islam when I haven’t held a post in philosophy as an Islamic specialist. I guess that means that nobody can discuss any religion if they haven’t held an academic post dealing with that religion. So much for all the New Atheists, including Christopher Hitchens. And how dare you pronounce on politics if you haven’t served in a legislature?
Greetings. I see that you have written on Islam recently. I wanted to ask you what your area of specialization is within Islamic scholarship?
Have you ever held any positions within a department of philosophy as an Islamic specialist? Are you proficient in classical arabic? Please point me to your work in that area.
[Name and University Redacted]
Professor of Philosophy
The next person tried to put up a post implicitly arguing that I shouldn’t talk about religion:
From reader dfgdfg dfgdfgd, commenting on my post “HuffPo goes after Donald Trump’s taste in steak”
Michio Kaku has a PhD doctorate degree. in physics, therefore when he speaks about physics he can be credible. While you….what is your degree on? Doctor on Bible studies…Mythology?
I wonder who embarrasses himself more here the scientist or the ignoramus?.
My answer: the person who wrote this comment, and of course was too cowardly to give his/her name. Anonymity breeds contempt!
I got several critical posts (or attempted posts) defending homeopathy. It’s amazing how people will make such pronouncements based on anecdotes rather than controlled clinical trials, which is the only way to establish that homeopathy works. And all the proper trials have, of course, failed. In fact, a regular MD once called me on the phone from Hawaii to try to convince me that homeopathy works. “How do you know?” I asked him. “Because I’ve seen it work!” he replied. More anecdotes. Of course there may be placebo effects, and many maladies disappear on their own. And so to several comments that arrived this morning:
“On November 19 I reported that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled that homeopathic “medicines”, to be advertised as …”
Bunch of morons down here..I am a practicing surgeon in Pennsylvania and have seen wonders of homeopathy, it’s as scientific as surgery or any other modern medicine allopathic branch and works better in many medical conditions, downfall of them is that anyone can walk to the store and buy them, they are supposed to be prescribed by trained homeopaths..research trials ? Trial in homeopathy involves experiment on humans and involves drug proving rather than telling if it works against this pathology versus another..FDA should ban selling of those drugs on amazon so population does not treat themselves..it’s role is as important as allopathic, each have their divisions. Enough said !! Use your brains and personal comfort and experience rather than blaming any particular field.
As scientific as surgery or scientific medicine? If so, where are the clinical trials? As for a drug “proving rather than telling if it works”, well, I have no idea what that means, unless “proving” has something to do with faith.
Reader Michael Walker commented on the same post:
They [CVS or Whole Foods] sell coffee, too.
Does coffee have any proven health benefits?
That might be a joke, but I don’t think so.
Reader Bala Lodhia on homeopathty:
It is a known fact that the Royal family has been using homeopathic remedies and has had a Homeopathic doctor on their call to treat various illnesses.
It is quite obvious that big pharma is behind this attack on Homeopathy.
Yes, but the Royal Family, particularly Prince Charles, is no paradigm of good judgment! As for “Big Pharma” being behind attacks on homeopathy, that’s bunk. Big Pharma doesn’t include all the governmental tests on homeopathy showing it’s worthless, nor people like Orac who is a surgeon and has nothing to do with Big Pharma. These defenders, instead of looking at the data, simply support their faith by attacking the people supposedly denigrating it. And if homeopathy worked, why wouldn’t Big Pharma be in on that game?
Reader Traci says that my priorities are misplaced:
Why do you have such a beef with homeopathy? If you think it’s quackery, don’t use it. Let the people who have used and greatly benefited from it continue to. I applaud CVS for giving its consumers choices. People are not idiots if something doesn’t work for them they won’t continue to use it. Why not take on more important issues like air pollution, water pollution, legal pharmaceutical drug abuse, gmo foods, etc.
The answer is clear. My beef is because people are being duped, and am I supposed to let them be duped if the science says that they’re credulous. The benefits, compared to placebos, are nil.
And if Traci applauds CVS for giving its consumers choices, does she also criticize CVS’s decision to stop selling cigarettes? Her notion is that if there are greater wrongs in the world, then I should be going after the greatest wrong and leave the rest alone. Sheesh.
And this comment just arrived from reader Ace Biswas:
I exactly can’t make out what’s the writer’s problem. Does he say homoeopathic remedies acts upon health when it contains no molecule in most frequently used potencies? Even no one is forced to try it. I have several times applied it on myself and its been effacious [sic] on many occasions.
The “writer” here may be Orac rather than I, but no matter. Orac’s article is crystal clear, and if those remedies work when they contain no active drug, then yes, that is a problem. And once again we have people believing in homeopathy because they’ve had a healing experience with it. But where’s the control?