Andrew Nightingale asked the question for discussion:

Why is vaccination not identified as a kind of homeopathy? Why are these two things on two sides of a stark dividing line between science-doubters and science-faithful? What makes people unable to make this connection?

Christian G Meyer February 27: Vaccinations are effective. Homeopathy is nonsense.

Andrew Nightingale: The basic principle of Homeopathy is that creating symptoms of a disease will strengthen the body against the disease. “like cures like” This is exactly what a vaccination does. So if one is nonsense so is the other, and if one is effective so is the other, at least sometimes. Your “contribution” has no argument or insight. It is only the regurgitation of the belief I question.… 

Frank T. Edelmann February 27: Dear Andrew Nightingale personally I see no real connection or similarity between vaccinations against COVID-19 and homeopathy. The newly developed coronavirus vaccines have ben thoroughly studied and proven to be highly effective to prevent an infection with the virus. Although there might be some formal similarity between vaccination and homeopathy, the main problem is that homeopathy completely lacks this positive proof of effectivity. As a chemist, I can easily oversee that many homeopathic medications do not contain a single molecule of active ingredient. Thus in my personal opinion it is dangerous to awaken any hope that homeopathy could be helpful in the fight against COVID-19.In this context please see this relevant link entitledIn Germany, a Heated Debate Over Homeopathy

Andrew Nightingale February 27: Hello Frank T. Edelmann thank you for the contribution. The article was a good read. There are many things I do not know. My specialty is mathematics, with a duffers bag of philosophy. I can with authority criticize the statistical analysis that is used to establish a causal relationship in a scientific study. As a mathematician, I can say that what you define as the cause, and what you define as an effect, has a great impact on how persuasive the statistical analysis can be. Before we can speak of there being a causal relationship at all, we have to establish what the cause is, that is, what is the thing that causes, and what the effect is. Unfortunately I can only speak as an expert in this narrow frame, and unfortunately, as much as that might pain the certainty of science, we are also in the area of language–whether a community of scientists are successfully talking about a real cause or effect. You say the thing that causes we want to talk about are active ingredients, and I would agree with you, as you know much more about that than I do. What these are can be established, and once it is established, we can do a scientific study to establish a causal relationship for an effect. I have no doubt about the causal relationship between vaccines (the cause) and their effects (immunity to a disease). I am sure so far I have not said anything surprising. But what is the effect? Vaccines do not make you well, they make you sick. They induce the symptoms of a disease. That seems to me to be the same type of effect that homeopathy promises, whether or not they are administered incorrectly into the ear, or manufactured incorrectly with only sugar. IF they contained active ingredients and were administered correctly, like vaccines, there would be no difference, in principle, between vaccines and the principle of homeopathy. Both make you well later because you have induced a lesser sickness. That is my only point, and it is a point regardless of the power of causal relationships established by scientific rigor. It is a point about what the thing that causes is, and what we could call an effect. With that in mind, the proof that homeopathy has scientific backing is vaccines themselves. The problem is not that principle of homeopathy doesn’t make sense. The problem is that the principle of homeopathy seems to be unrecognized for what it is by scientists, and is left to flounder without being regulated in how the medicines are made and administered and studied. Homeopathy is merely in bad shape because it has been ignored. If it were not ignored, there would be no political cost in fighting against it. So again I reiterate, why has it been ignored? Is “like cures like” a principle that we, as scientists, are against politically, not reasonably? If so, is the the political cost to science worth it?

Frank T. Edelmann February 28: Dear Andrew Nightingale many thanks for your detailed response. “Homeopathy is merely in bad shape because it has been ignored.” This is definitively not true for my country, Germany. Many Germans trust in homeopathy. After all, homeopathy was “invented” by the German physician Samual Hahnemann:, as mentioned in this Wikipedia article, homeopathy is a pseudo-scientific system. Personally I believe that today the popular “like cures like” is just an empty phrase with no scientific background. In this context please see this relevant article entitledLike Doesn’t Cure Like: Homeopathy and Its Fake Medications This is just my personal opinion which I’m not going to change. Thus we should not engage in any emotional discussion about homeopathy. 😊

Andrew Nightingale March 1Frank T. Edelmann: thank you for the detailed references. I am talking about what “homeopathy,” or some other word if you like, could be, and you are talking about what homeopathy (in this case another word is not appropriate) is now. And I agree with you that the state homeopathy is in now is not acceptable. The article entitled “Like does not cure like” is interesting because its title does not match the evidence that it presents. I believe this is a rhetorical or political move, to attack a principle indirectly by attacking homeopathy in every way it can and not the principle “like cures like” at all. I have no emotional attachment to homeopathy, so if you want we can drop that term now, so that discussion can continue. “like cures like” is definitely an oversimplification, and curing the virus with a vaccine most definitely used a principle similar to “like cures like.” You are right that “like cures like” is scientifically an empty phrase nowadays, because Francis Bacon and before him Galileo made it so, by changing the basis of knowledge by inviting us to “look closer”. Looking closer is good for knowledge, but it also is good for noticing differences better than likenesses, which turn out to be similar to one of Francis Bacon’s Idols. The Idol of the Cave might be the one, that what we see when we look closer is no longer communicable with the words people know, communicable about the “axioms” or general principles we can discuss. Words have been undermined. There is much work and exaggeration on this point of philosophy of science. My point here is that an axiom like “like cures like” is what is curing the virus Covid-19 in the form of vaccines.

Andrew Nightingale added a replyMarch 1Also Frank T. Edelmann thank you for the enjoyable discussion. :)… 

Christian G Meyer March 1: Please take some time (I guarantee, it´s worth every minute and you won´t regret it a second) and watch some (highly informative and highly entertaining) videos of the wonderful former very famous magician James Randi, who extensively challenged paranormal and pseudoscientific claims, including homeopathy. He was the co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), and founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). Homepathic dilutions are up to 1: are many more videos available.Decades ago he offered a reward of 1 million USD if someone could prove that homeopathy is effective. The money never has been claimed. He debunked the spoon bender Uri Geller and showed how spoon bending works. It is recommended to read his exciting Wikipedia biography. I was so happy to meet him in 2005 and to spend a day with him. He died in October 2020 at the age of 92, guess from what. the way, vaccinations have for decades now declared by the CDC as the most effective public health measures ever, far more effective than improving car driving security, working security, anti-smoking campaigns and many other measures. Vaccinations are always Number 1!

Christian G Meyer added a replyMarch 1It is interestig that in old Rome it was recommended to eat the liver of rabid dogs to be protected against rabies – a pre-stage of the rabies vaccine which is used today.… 

Ligen Yu added a replyMarch 1Andrew has presented a very critical question about modern medicine, that is the false causal relationship. What the medical scientists think to be causes may not be the real cause, and what the medical scientist think to be effect may not be the real effect. And that is the root cause of the replication crisis in medicine: the human being as a super complex system, there might be millions of causal conditions that contribute to a medical condition with different weightage, and we really need to pay great caution when we ascertain any scientific causal relationship between a few causal conditions to the medical condition.

Andrew Nightingale added a replyMarch 1I have said enough, and plenty more in my own published work that is related. I hope the discussion will continue without me. Peace!