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Homeopathy 
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Post Homeopathy
Chapter POETRY AND THE LUST FOR POWER (anyone noticed lack of chapter numbers?) has got to be hands-down one of the dumbest things I've read in a looooong time




Sat Nov 16, 2002 8:52 pm
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Post Re: Homeopathy
How so?

I have to admit that the bit about homeopathy really made me cringe. I mean, the most obvious explanation for the early success of homeopathic treatments is not that they had any beneficial effects, but rather it was because of an absence of the harmful effects caused by the other practices. Ect., ect. *shrug* I do think there is a larger point being made, however, which doesn't depend on the veracity of the particular examples Bloom employs... actual that's come to be a typical reaction for me when reading: I tend to disagree (sometimes vehemently) with a bunch of his examples and some of his line of reasoning from a technical standpoint, but the gist of what he's saying may have merit. hehe... sorta like what Erasmus Darwin said in response to the criticisms of the all the mistakes in detail or example that Darwin used in Species: "The a priori reasoning is so entirely satisfactory to me that if the facts won't fit in, why so much for the facts is my feeling." :b

I'm not putting Bloom on the same footing as Darwin, and I'm not sure I find his a priori reasoning entirely satisfactory. Still, there is the sense that the larger issues Bloom raises cannot be dismissed so easily as his examples.

Anyhow, one of the biggest problems I'm having is getting twisted up by those examples and having a difficult time pinning down exactly what Bloom's trying to say.




Mon Nov 18, 2002 11:31 pm
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Post Homeopathy
It sounds like a review of why homeopathy is nonsense is not required. The term for the (faulty) reasoning, I think, is "Post Modern". I understood the chapter to assert that both approaches to medicine were equally valid, just because... because why? I don't get that part. Because they are approaches, I guess.

It is a fundamntal error of looking at an issue at the wrong scale. When looking at a medical treatment, "does it work"? "Can it work"? "Does it stand up to double-blind experiments"? are the correct quesitons, not, "are its practitioners a group?" There is a scale where one sees homeopaths as a group, but it is not the useful one for finding out if their theory is any good or not.




Tue Nov 19, 2002 7:59 am
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Post Re: Homeopathy
I'm on page 187...so only a few pages till I hit this chapter. I have a feeling I might be siding with you on this one Jeremy. I'll have some words for this thread in a day or two.

Chris

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 10/30/05 3:48 pm



Wed Nov 20, 2002 6:36 am
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Post Re: Homeopathy
Bloom does seeem to be appealing to that sort of relativism, but I'm not sure he is really taking that position as a whole - else he is being inconsistent. For example, he states later and pretty explicitly that some "memes" are better than others (more objectively correct or desirable), such as wehn he talks about civilized societies vs. barbarians. I found that somewhat curiously juxtaposed to the pecking order stuff where the willingness to fight is depicted as the critical aspect in succeeding (in both senses of success and succession) societies.

That points out the larger issue, wheere Bloom portrays things as a battle between "memes" which are pretty much free fo objective constraints on its development and so forth. In the case of homeopathy, as you point out, that seems not to be the case at all - where the way the physical world actually works (irregardless of what we believe, think, or want) is what shot homeopathy in the head.

I suppose one could argue that it's our belief/faith in objective facts that determined the battle - which is true enough as far as that goes, but rather weak esp. in context of Bloom's concept of the "meme" and given the situation was one where both approaches relied on the same faith in facts.




Fri Nov 22, 2002 12:09 pm


Post Re: Homeopathy
I've just found this community. I shall now violate a cardinal rule of the Internet by posting after only five minutes of lurking.

I got here by running a google search on: Bloom Lucifer Principle meme Homeopathy

I'd been racing through the book, enjoying the way he pulled together supporting arguments for his model of belief systems as organisms subject to natural selection, and then I pulled up short as I hit the sympathetic treatment of Homeopathy.

Imagine you're reading a book on cosmology, and in chapter twelve the writer dismisses some well-established theory as "jew science" and then continues on his way as if he hadn't just demonstrated himself to be softheaded and irrational.

It's like the thirteenth chime of a clock. Not only is it bizarre in itself, but it calls into question everything else from the same source.

I'm horrified to learn that I've been reading, and until now taking seriously, a writer who can't see the difference between reproducible peer-reviewed results and what I'll call, after a long struggle to summon a polite phrasing, a fanciful belief system with no demonstratable value.

The footnotes suggest that Mr. Blooms view of Homeopathy is informed primarily by the writings of one Harris Coulter who, upon a casual inspection of his website, appears to be something of a loon.

I'm trying to summon the urge to keep eating, but having found one cockroach in my salad already, I greatly fear there are others where I won't see them in time.

Has anyone who was similiarly horrified gone on to finish the thing? Is there more like this?




Fri Feb 28, 2003 11:31 pm
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Post Re: Homeopathy
Aanadien
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Has anyone who was similiarly horrified gone on to finish the thing? Is there more like this?
yes; and yes. (Hint: the sequel is worse)




Fri Feb 28, 2003 11:44 pm
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