Wonderful news for concerned Ebola-watchers everywhere: according to the National Center for Homeopathy, a crack team of sugar pill-wielding charlatans is on its way to West Africa to begin “clinical trials.” Says the NCH: “We applaud and congratulate this team’s dedication and courage in joining the front lines in treating Ebola with homeopathy.”
Well, “dedication and courage” is one way of putting it. Another way might be utter, bone-headed, mystifyingly stupid suicidal idiocy. But each to their own! Cruel observers in the media are of course already asking whether this initiative is an example of “Darwinism in action,” suggesting that the only effect of Tim Nice But Dims descending on Nigeria will be to spread the disease even further afield.
But surely that’s unfair. After all, according to a well-known homeopathy resource website, “There are homeopathic remedies that can be taken with great effectiveness during an epidemic as a preventative. Once the genus epidemicus is discovered this remedy can be taken by everyone. This method of taking remedies prophylactically is considered highly effective when you are in the midst of an epidemic.”
And the NCH itself claims: “Once such a remedy is found and administered empirically to patients, if it is shown to be effective, we will have in our hands both a treatment for Ebola victims and, very likely, an effective remedy to help prevent or dramatically diminish the spread of the disease to those exposed or at risk of contracting it.
“Homeopathy has had a longstanding record in our over 200 year history in the successful treatment of a wide variety of epidemic diseases, including hemorrhagic fevers, some of which are in many ways very similar to Ebola.”
So, there you have it. The ultimate in useless middle-class quackery is about to embarrass itself–and endanger its “practitioners,” and anyone they might come into contact with upon returning home–by pretending that the solution to hemorrhagic fever is a pill with no active ingredients and a Positive Mental Attitude.
This would all be funny were it not for how inexplicably seriously homeopathy is taken by the Establishment, despite the patent absurdity of its claims and its failure to demonstrate medicinal benefits in a single clinical trial. There’s also the small matter, as alluded to above, of how many people these fake doctors might inadvertently infect upon returning from their mission of mercy.
Africa is of course no stranger to alternative forms of medicine. But, between you and me, given the choice between a team of North Face-clad, north London homeopaths with pipettes and IQs lower than a pair of mouldy trainers, and a tribal witch doctor called Khalima who wants me to eat the beating heart of a virgin calf while ululating in praise of Earth Goddess Ombalu, I’d put my life in the hands of the cunning man with the hardcore nasal piercing and the grass skirt every time.