Monday, July 26, 2010

Does the Bible Support Homeopathy?

It might seem like a superfluous question, but some supporters of homeopathy have decided that there are Bible verses supporting this alternative style of medicine.  Since homeopathic medicine raises some serious and interesting claims, I've decided to look into it.


The practice of homeopathy was started by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796.  He came up with a notion that he should cure symptoms by administering drugs to his patients that would artificially give them the same symptoms as they already had.  And, for some reason, the dosage needed to be very, very, very small.  So, a patient with a headache might be treated with an herb that was known to give headaches after it had been strongly diluted in water.

Today, these medicines are still available to those willing to spend $90 on a bottle of nose spray.  The ingredients in these medicines have been heavily diluted in water and promise that there will be no side effects.  That is a pretty easy promise to keep, because the dilution level is so high that the mix is essentially just water (sometimes the dilution level is so high that it surpasses Avagaro's limit, which means that there's no chance of a single molecule of the original substance remaining).  There's a very good video discussing homeopathy here, if you want more information.

What could this possibly have to do with the Bible?  Dana Ullman, famous homeopathy spokesperson, has found a few Bible verses that he thinks prove homeopathy as a real science.  For example, in the book of Numbers the Israelites are able to ward off the effects of snakebite by looking at a snake.  Ullman sees in this an echo of homeopathy - disease/infection can be cured by similar things.  That's a pretty broad connection.  Elsewhere, Moses throws a bitter branch into bitter water and makes the water drinkable.  Again, Ullman believes this is evidence that God wants us to cure disease with similar things - thus proving (somehow) that if a substance causes similar symptoms as you disease, then heavily diluting that substance in water creates a cure.  (Note: these Bible passages discuss miracles the Israelites witnessed that had no scientific basis- hence the "miracle" part.  These were not medical workshops.)  The full list of his biblical "findings" is here.

The logic connecting homeopathy to the Bible is clearly faulty and so are the scientific claims - but the most ardent supporters of homeopathy do not appeal to science.  It's obvious that diluting something can't make it more potent or more useful (especially if it is diluted until only water is left), so the homeopathic community reaches out to magic and superstition.  They will say that magic powers (sometimes from Atlantis) are responsible for these cures and that science simply can't understand it.  Of course, if that were true we would be able to independently verify that these cures work through clinical trials; the homeopathic cures fail to work in every known scientific observation.

So, homeopathy is scientific nonsense, and since the peddlers of these "cures" are fraudulent we should be certain to keep it away from Christianity.

3 comments:

李吳文云威昌 said...

人生中最好的禮物就是屬於自己的一部份............................................................

Pete Kruse said...

I'm a Christian who believes homeopathy is not condemned in the Bible. To me it makes sense and I have definitely experienced positive results from homeopathy, but there is room for debate. :)

“On each side of the river stood the tree of life…and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2)

"The fruit will be good food, and the leaves will be used for healing" - Ezekiel 47:12

When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink...So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink." (Exodus 15:23-25).

"One day the leaders of the town of Jericho visited Elisha. 'We have a problem, my lord,' they told him. 'This town is located in pleasant surroundings, as you can see. But the water is bad, and the land is unproductive.' Elisha said, 'Bring me a new bowl with salt in it.' So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring that supplied the town with water and threw the salt into it. And he said, 'This is what the Lord says: I have purified this water. It will no longer cause death or infertility.' And the water has remained pure ever since, just as Elisha said" (Exodus 2:19-22).

Non biblical quotes:

"Homeopathy cures a larger percentage of cases than any other method of treatment" - Mahatma Gandhi

"I can’t manage without homeopathy. In fact, I never go anywhere without homeopathic remedies. I often make use of them" - Paul McCartney

"The introduction of homeopathy forced the old school doctor to stir around and learn something of a rational nature about his business. You may honestly feel grateful that homeopathy survived the attempts of allopaths to destroy it." - Mark Twain

Adam D Jones said...

Pete.

Ghandi, McCartney, and Twain were not trained in science or medicine. They have nothing to add to the discussion.

Your Biblical quotes do not specifically mention homeopathic practices, just things that could look like homeopathy if you really wanted them to. There's no medical or spiritual foundation for this psuedoscientific practice.