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A 19 page strip about homeopathy. My follow up story-strip to the one I did on the MMR vaccine scare, and another chapter of my ongoing book about science. This is, in effect, the beta version of the strip. There will, I'm sure, be mistakes dotted throughout that I haven't spotted. So do feel free to point out any errors. The references will be in the next entry.

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I really, really enjoyed this one. I love that only shades of blue and black were used.

In part 13 panel 3 says "survay" instead of "survey".

Yes, it was a lot of fun using all the water imagery.

This is awesome- though sad at the same time. I hope it makes people sit up and listen.

Re: Errors-I spotted "This advise would put any child at risk"

Edited at 2010-06-28 03:19 pm (UTC)

Thanks Gina. There's always a few mistakes that creep through, despite my best efforts. Very annoying.

Page 14-- I think "advise" should be "advice."

Well told. I'm enjoying these.

It's really nice to see someone put all this into a clear, concise, easily-readable form.
I think the 'reader's voice' tags are less necessary. It kind of detracts from the focus a bit, and, if the reader is actually asking the general kind of question written, it doesn't need to be pointed out.
Other than that and the spelling tags brought up already, it's a very strong issue. Love the water imagery and I love that you always have real-world evidence to back your shit up.

That was wonderfully done, very educational and intelligent.

If you show me that, say,
Homeopathy works,
I will change my mind,
I will spin on a fucking dime.
I'll be as embarassed as hell,
Yet I will run through the streets yelling,
Take physics and bin it!
Water has memory!
And whilst its memory
Of a long lost drop of onion juice is infinite,
It somehow forgets all the poo it's had in it.

I think you would love Tim Minchin's Storm.

Good stuff as ever!

Pg 3 - 'vigorously' not 'vigourously'
Pg 6 - I didn't really understand why the samples were taped to the ceiling? presumably to keep them out of the reach of the homepaths but I thought this was slightly unclear.

I read it as they were keeping the samples out of circulation for the duration of the experiment, and in a way that would make it extremely unlikely for them to get mixed back in with the real samples.

It wasn't the actual samples that was taped to the ceiling; it was the code which revealed which samples were controls and which were the homeopathic solutions.

Thanks for pointing this out. Will make the change.

I found that confusing too.

Great comic overall, though.

This is absolutely wonderful! Oh, I've had so many long winded conversations about homeopathy with people who just don't understand how it actually is supposed to work. I've often felt like writing a nice open letter easily explaining it to them, but I think you have done that for me and beautifully so. Thank you!!
I actually wasn't aware of the psychotherapy part of the treatment and it seems similar to the way chiropractic medicine can be helpful to people in that it is just helpful to be massaged and listened to.

However I agree that if these practitioners are not willing to be realistic and put the health of their patients above their business it can't be allowed to go on.

I actually wasn't aware of the psychotherapy part of the treatment...

There are a couple new clinics here Stateside that are trying this out. Larger exam rooms, longer appointment blocks with more doctor/patient face time, etc. Last I read about them they were doing well - now we just need to get basic doctor care to everybody else...

This is really great! and v interesting.

I would put "Sense About Science" in inverted commas, as on first reading I thought you were saying that she had "the charity sense" about science.

I've now made this correction. Thanks for pointing it out.

A great series on the whole, very educational.

One thing that does bother me a little is the idea that all alternative medicine is as bad as homeopathy - I don't know if that's what you meant to imply, but several panels refer simply to alternative medicine as a whole rather than homeopathy.

There are some natural cures that do work - hell, modern medicine often takes inspiration from nature. I've also heard that recent research showed there is at least some truth to acupuncture, which is also often grouped together with homeopathy (wish I could point to a source for that, mind you). I'm not saying these things -do- work, but we shouldn't simply dismiss them. Homeopathy on the other hand is internally inconsistent - even if it did work, it wouldn't be for the reasons homeopaths state, so they would still need to come up with something better.

We test alternative medicines to see if they work, and the stuff that works we call "medicine".

Cool. I had no idea that homeopathy involved faith healing, I always just thought it was natural/alternative medicines (ie. herbs, etc.)

I love how the main character does random stuff, like feed the fish during the conversation. It makes it feel very personal and homey.

I enjoyed this. I've long thought the methods by which homeopaths try to show how it works make no sense. As you know I use some homeopathy; but in combination with other modalities. I think it has its place in an overall health plan.

I do note, that the one place it has worked which has kept me engaged is with my cats. They do not benefit from the placebo effect. But, perhaps the are simply benefitting from "illness running its course". All I know is that they respond better to treatment, or, in the case of one cat where there was no treatment, got better and lived to 19.

That's true...I've found that Rescue Remedy, which is really pretty homeopathic, seems to work on cats. Can't prove it, of course, but I know of several cases.

I used rescue remedy to literally rescue a girl having a panic attack. We were on top of a high ruin, pretty high up, crumbly steps, sheer drops, no handrails, girl with dodgy ankles so it was understandable that she'd freak.
I gave her rescue remedy, she calmed down and we were able to get her down without mishap. For me though it seemed all about psychology. Someone comes up, takes charge, says "take this and you'll calm down" you taste the stuff and it's odd tasting - enough to distract your senses onto something tangible and physical. The panic recedes from the distraction, the brain associates the distraction of the taste with "curing" perhaps a bit like puttung heat on pain? You're still in pain, but the sensation of heat is stronger than the sensation of pain?

I dunno if the distraction theory works on animals (do you get them to taste the stuff? It tastes nice but odd!) Certainly works well on humans! I always carry rescue remedy on hols, usually for calming bods down on planes (I used to take it for my plane fear - but that's receeded so much I tend not to bother anymore.)

Animals, especially pets, respond positively to human handling and attention, something that occurs more often when they're sick. This coupled with confirmation bias in the owner creates a kind of placebo effect in the animal.

It's not exactly intuitive, but that's often the way with science.

This is a nice piece, and I like the thematic colors. I would add a cautionary note, though, against the conflation of herbal medicine with homeopathy. Some herbal medicine does have modest effects, and is certainly the origin of some of our most successful pharmaceuticals (eg, willow bark as the source for aspirin).

Yes, I'm going to alter the strip slightly, as I feel it confuses the issue.

Don't want to get too off the subject, but herbal medicine can have extremely strong effects, just as strong in fact as pharmaceuticals. And depending on where the herbs come from, they can be loaded with pesticides and other impurities. I had a horrific experience with some herbs from China. Buyer beware!

Once again your work is an inspiration for me, being able to clearly explain an issue or subject in simple but ever so effective manner. I also like that your style is expanding.


Oh, and I missed the one on the MMR vaccine scare - do you have a link to it?

I adore reading these... you're incredibly good at presenting these topics!

Should be, "...neither consistent NOR convincing."

Enjoyed the comic; thanks. :)

that was amazing. i love it. it's beautiful. the only error i noticed was the use of “or” somewhere where it should have been “nor”. remember, either/or, neither/nor.

Remember that herbal remedies and homeopathic remedies are two completely different things. The "spokesman" seems to get them confused. Homeopathics are placebo. But herbals are not. Huge numbers of pharmaceutical drugs have their origins in herbal plants. How can the public see the the finer points of detail if even the experts get it so wrong?

In fact the effective treatment for malaria for many years was quinine, which comes from the bark of the cinchona tree.

This is true, although it's worth noting that while some herbal remedies can be effective for certain things, the dosing of active ingredients is not really closely monitored and likely varies wildly.

Excellent work and a very refreshing read. I love the neutral demeanor of the narrator, debunking without attacking. It comes across much more powerfully than the many critiques of homeopathy that are full of vitriol, even if it's deserved.

Noticed a couple of errors: on the seventh page, first panel, Benveniste's name is misspelled. In the second panel on the same page, there's an unnecessary comma: "... a company called, Digibio ..."

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