One of the issues I struggle most with in ethics is the fact that some people are tremendously stupid. I do not have an ethical obligation to protect you from yourself, but my goodness sometimes it sure seems like it. Dr. Kevin Smith of the University of Abertay Dundee lays down the law:

Dr Smith argues that in addition wasting valuable resources, government funding gives credibility to homeopathy, which puts patients at risk. “NHS funding for homeopathy legitimises it and suggests a scientific basis, the risk is then that people will avoid effective medicine, potentially damaging their health. The same applies to education providers running homeopathy courses,” he said.

Supporters of homeopathy argue that if the patient feels a placebo effect then there is still benefit to the patient. Dr Smith refutes this saying: “If placebo effect is the only form of benefit, then you’re effectively lying to the patient and going against a core principle of medical ethics — that patients must have all the information available to give fully informed consent.”

Seriously. If the only reason is placebo effect, let’s tell people that their favorite snack is going to cure their problem. Then the psychosomatic cure will at least be delicious.