The cancellation of an event on homeopathy that was supposed to be held at the pharmacology department of the university of catania raised doubts and concerns about the democratic nature of science. That’s why it’s a decision not to be afraid of
On March 15th, as I indicated on this page, a day for students entitled “Reality of Homeopathy” was supposed to be organized at the Department of Pharmacy of the University of Catania, with the introduction of its Director.
The event has been cancelled, apparently due to the direct intervention of the rector of the university, prof. Francesco Priolo: Thanks to a physicist, we got evidence of seriousness from the Academy of Catania, which has kept the most classic pseudoscientific theories on the subject at the door of an institution devoted to pharmacological science.
Of course, as expected, besides many who breathed a sigh of relief, there are some who have expressed doubts of various kinds. I am not referring here to homeopathic advocates, conspiracy theorists or any other variety of assorted morons who have become exasperated at the lack of credibility given to one of their favorite hoaxes; Instead, I’m talking about people who express a more general doubt, a doubt that returns whenever restrictions are placed on freedom of expression in an institutional forum.
To sum it up in the words of one of our valued readers, they say the following: “Homeopathy is water and sugar. A little more. But that does not scare me, I am more afraid of taking risks that in order to make people understand that it is wrong and risky to treat themselves with water and a little more, we have to Almost to impose ourselves and impose the scientific method as if it were a religion. Indeed, science loses its humble function as an instrument of knowledge.”
Now, this objection cannot be answered with slogans like “science is not democratic.” Indeed, it is not possible to judge the democratic nature of science, just as it is not possible to speak of the trilogy of pigeons: they are not measurable concepts because, as I have already written, they apply to completely different fields; mostly, We can find certain common characteristics of equality and democracy between scholarly debate and parliamentary debatemeaning that in either case, you set the rules that also relate to who and how can express themselves, there are no limits in principle that exclude anyone from participating, and the opinion of the majority is the opinion that is important to determine what the consensus is.
In fact, the point is quite different: preventing pseudoscientific drug theories from being thrown to students in an institution devoted to the scientific study of pharmacology, and framing them as “facts” as others have, has the primary function of protecting one of the most underpinnings of democracy, i.e. correct information. Without this, as jurists well know, every democracy is deprived of its main function, that is, the possibility of being able to guarantee the greatest possible degree of equality and freedom, for the simple reason that in the absence of correct information, and in fact the poisoning of what little correct information we know about the world It is possible to direct the democratic machine to make the most wrong decisions and the furthest from the collective welfare, as those who specifically use disinformation to undermine democratic institutions know.
A defense of the function of the Department of Pharmacy, which consists in pointing out clearly the best theories we have of the action of drugs under the modern scientific vision, can only be exercised if there is any confusion of the theories of this institution within that institution. Such as, the phosphorous and carbonic constitutions, potentials and other inexhaustible nonsense of homeopaths, on the one hand, and the best approximations to the molecular reality of the action of medicines that we have today, on the other hand, are to be resolutely avoided.
This confusion only benefits those who intend to satisfy the widespread need to exploit the shortcomings of the health system (not medicine itself), making it an opportunity to make money by selling water and sugar; And seeing what kind of pseudo-knowledge stamped out by the university and seeing its peer base swell, training future sellers and product backers into masterpieces of ‘homeopathic diathesis’ is a very important and much needed step by sellers.
Remaining within the university sphere, it would be different if homeopathy was taught in a department dedicated to the study of cultural traditions and the history of science, or if it was presented as a useful tool for exploiting the placebo effect, or again if, together with the most curious ethnographic traditions on the subject of medicine, it was placed in its context, which is not in all cases related to science, but to the many strands of pseudo-knowledge that have flourished over thousands of years.
Nor can it be expected that the debate which, since its conception, has shown the fallacy of homeopathy and the lack of scientific basis for its theory, can be repeated indefinitely, as if it had not been concluded that the principle of dilution exceeds Avogadro’s threshold or that the “materialis” in homeopathy are incompatible. , and not complementary, with chemistry and physics and thus the entire edifice of modern scientific knowledge. The debate over the reconcilability of homeopathy and science, in the absence of new facts beyond the placebo effectIt’s been over for a long time. Instead, it has been demonstrated that the cognitive poison introduced by convincing people of the reality of certain theories opposed to scientific knowledge, undermines their ability to judge, It leads them to make bad choices for their own health and the health of others.
So those who care about democracy must have the opposite fear of what was summarized at the beginning of this brief note: they must Fear of dilution and confusion in undergraduate majors based on rigorous, science-based methods of analysis, with all kinds of beliefs that have nothing scientific, with the sole purpose of promoting the market and expanding its participation; So you should not fear that science has become a religion, but, on the contrary, that beliefs similar to religious beliefs have passed into science, taking advantage of an inappropriate position and an indecent presentation of those who, in the future, could be precisely among the first. Sellers of these little things are in pharmacies.
Democracy is indispensable to science, but democracy dies in the chaos of disinformation, which is promoted for a variety of reasons.
“Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst.”