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Both Barrels

6th November 2007 (19:39)

So I got an email today from the Commissioning Editor of eCAM which said that there ‘was a system error that prevented from letters to come through to me’ and a little while later I got the email saying my eLetter in reply to Milgrom (in which I have apparently given him both barrels) had been published.

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Also appearing is “WQT confirmed as only metaphor. But the mathematical criticisms have not been addressed.” from Simon Baker, “A placebo effect is not efficacy” from Austin Elliott and “Homeopathy, hubris, and the Third Reich” from Lionel R. Milgrom ‘BSc, MSc, PhD, CChem, FRSC, LCH, MARH’ himself. I don't know what the point of Milgrom's eLetter is exactly, but it certainly isn't a reply to mine, so we'll just have to wait for that.

In the meantime, these are his first two citations:

We can all read them (Curr. Oncol. is open access and Blue Wode posted a link to the other at the JREF forums) and it's the second which apparently fulfills Godwin's Law, so let's see if they say what Milgrom says they say.


Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 6th November 2007 21:34 (UTC)
Milgrom's latest stream of consciousness

Did you notice that Milgrom's latest "response" also refers to the legendary / infamous Daves Holmes et al paper about basing things in medical science on evidence being "a kind of microfascism"? - see:

Posted by: dr__ben (dr__ben)
Posted at: 7th November 2007 19:15 (UTC)
funny that they lost all of those letters

i see that letters from simon baker, you, austin elliot and lionel milgrom were all found at the same time.

Posted by: shpalman (shpalman)
Posted at: 7th November 2007 22:00 (UTC)
Re: funny that they lost all of those letters

And it's been pointed out to me that this letter appeared a couple of days after I submitted mine the first time.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 7th November 2007 22:04 (UTC)
Re: funny that they lost all of those letters

i know it's wrong, but months later, just seeing the title of that paper "Housing in Pyramid Counteracts Neuroendocrine and Oxidative Stress Caused by Chronic Restraint in Rats" still makes me laugh.

Posted by: shpalman (shpalman)
Posted at: 7th November 2007 22:19 (UTC)
Re: funny that they lost all of those letters

I checked here and it seems like they hadn't published any eLetters in the last 12 weeks apart from the four replies to Milgrom and one reply to Khuda-Bukhsh et al, also published yesterday. So it seems they didn't have that many eLetters held up in their system...

Posted by: rob_h (rob_h)
Posted at: 7th November 2007 21:59 (UTC)
What's his metaphor supposed be a metaphor of?

I don't understand Milgrom's claim that his use of quantum mechanics was just a metaphor. Surely it only makes sense to advance a metaphor for something once there's some description of what the thing itself is. There is (if Milgrom's invocations of quantum mechanics are meant solely as metaphor) no description of the patient/remedy/practitioner interaction which was supposed to be the subject of his paper.
I'm not confident I've expressed that clearly, so let me have another try.
Saying "Process X works by mechanism Y, which metaphorically you could think of it as Z" makes sense. Milgrom's quantum metaphor seems more like saying "Process X works by... we have no idea, but metaphorically you could think of it as Z". Unless there's a thing to describe it makes no sense to even propose any metaphor. Using quantum mechanics as a metaphor for undefined mumbling handwaving is no more helpful than saying "Magic sky fairies did it".

Posted by: shpalman (shpalman)
Posted at: 7th November 2007 22:11 (UTC)
Re: What's his metaphor supposed be a metaphor of?

Even worse, saying “Process X works by mechanism Y, which you could think of it as Z” seems to me to be more like simile not metaphor - it's made explicit that Y is not actually Z, only it seems like it in some way which hopefully provides insight or understanding. Such things are helpful, but metaphor itself is unhelpful because it's basically lying: if I say that in certain models you can treat gas molecules as if they are hard spheres that's a simile and you know they are only behaving as hard spheres within the limits of the model. I don't think metaphor is actually used at all within science except to redefine certain terms to make it a bit easier to use spoken or written language. A phrase like “an electron feels a force” is a bit easier to digest than something like “a quasiparticular excitation of the Fermi sea with charge -e and spin 1/2 in a Bloch state in the conduction band is subject to a spatially-varying electric scalar potential.”

Also, the idea of any sort of analogy is to explain something new or difficult in terms of something familiar or easy, and to most homeopaths I doubt that quantum mechanics is either of these things.

Posted by: shpalman (shpalman)
Posted at: 9th November 2007 15:09 (UTC)
oh and

jdc325 responds here: Lionel Milgrom and the Nazis.

Posted by: shpalman (shpalman)
Posted at: 16th November 2007 10:09 (UTC)
Re: oh and

... and there's a further response to Lionel Milgrom published today.

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