Dr Kevin Smith

Thursday, October 27 2011 at 7:30PM

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35 Rosemount Viaduct
City Centre, Aberdeen AB25 1NE

Dr Kevin Smith

What's the talk about?

 Seasoned sceptics will be aware of the delusional nature of homeopathy, a 'therapeutic' modality based on the absurd notion that absent molecules, removed by dilution, can nonetheless exert biological effects. The idea that homeopathy has any scientific validity represents a fringe viewpoint, one not entertained by serious scientists nor supported by reason and evidence.

The science-based objections to homeopathy have been well-rehearsed - albeit to little avail, as homeopathy appears to be intact despite decades of reasoned objections from scientists and skeptics. However, the ethical implications of homeopathy have been less well explored. It is important to consider homeopathy from an ethical perspective: there are serious negative outcomes associated with homeopathy in terms of both its practice and promulgation. A utilitarian analysis leads to the conclusion that homeopathy is ethically unacceptable and ought to be actively rejected by all agents who encounter it, including physicians, healthcare professionals and educators.

In these straitened times, it is particularly unacceptable that NHS funds are afforded to homeopathy. For example, Glasgow has an NHS-funded 'homeopathic hospital', courtesy of NHS largesse. Another example: last year Ninewells hospital in Dundee advertised for a 'homeopathic doctor' (salary up to £68k for 8 hours/week). The expenditure of scarce public healthcare resources on pseudoscientific 'medicine' is ethically indefensible.

Kevin Smith is a bioethicist and scientist (genetics). Earlier this year his paper 'Against Homeopathy - A Utilitarian Perspective' was published in the prominent journal Bioethics. Publication was met with approval from several scientists and skeptics worldwide - and strong condemnation and vigorous repudiation by homeopathic ideologues.