The stoush between the ambassadors of mainstream medicine and proponents of homeopathic therapies reminds me of an episode of Friends - the one where Phoebe dismisses evolution.
When she says airily that she doesn't buy evolution, Ross, the geeky scientist, is outraged. Evolution is not for her to buy, he thunders. It's scientific fact. He is determined to make Phoebe see the error of her ways but she refuses to accept his science, facts and evidence.
"Why can't you just accept," says Phoebe, "that you believe in something and I don't?"
The latest report to debunk the efficacy of homeopathic treatments comes from Australia's top medical research body, the National Health and Medical Research Council.
This week the council made public a report concluding homeopathy is not effective for treating any medical condition. In effect, it's bunkum.
Homeopathy is based on the doctrine that like cures like - a common example is that to treat a cold or an allergic reaction a remedy based on onions would be used because onions produce the itchy eyes and the runny nose typical of colds and allergies. So far, so plausible.
But where homeopathy becomes controversial is the practice of diluting the remedy to the extent there is not a single molecule of the original chemical in the solution.
Even practitioners say they don't know how the remedies work - they just do.
And in that I hear the echo of Phoebe - doctors can believe their evidence-based studies and their peer-reviewed research if they want to; adherents of alternative practices will continue to believe what they want.
Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council's position that homeopathy is hogwash is shared by their American and British peers. The British Medical Association went so far as to describe homeopathy as "witchcraft".
Homeopathy has its supporters however: the Queen has a court homeopath and her son, the Prince of Wales, is homeopathy's most fervent cheerleader in Britain, although some might argue having Prince Charles in your corner may do more harm than good.
The Prince may well be fighting a losing battle. Four hospitals in Britain combine conventional medicine with alternative therapies but the Centre for Integrative Care in Scotland is struggling to survive after funding was cut and GPs were advised that no new patients would be accepted at the centre.
The reason given was that there was no evidence the centre was effective in treating illness.
This latest report from Australia has called for the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency to stop accrediting homeopathic courses and has recommended that private health insurers not cover homeopathy or any treatment that is not evidence-based.
The authors of the report say people are free to study whatever they wish, but they don't believe Government money should prop up courses of dubious merit.
The qualifications authority's guidelines state course content should be drawn from a "substantial, coherent and current body of knowledge in one or more academic disciplines". The council says the study of homeopathy simply doesn't qualify.
And yet, people swear alternative therapies have cured them of ills that had mainstream medical practitioners baffled.
We live in an age where we question established orthodoxies and are sceptical of establishment experts. We can always find something on the internet to prop up whatever half-baked theory we believe in. If modern medicine can't cure us of all our ills then we'll go elsewhere.
I live in the People's Republic of Grey Lynn where you can't move without bumping into an alternative health practitioner. And some of them I swear by: acupuncturists; herbalists; massage therapists have all helped me enormously. As have my local GP and the chemist.
I keep a relatively open mind and if a treatment works for me I can go all Phoebe on it and not have to understand why.
Not all alternative therapies are created equal. Curing cancer with coffee enemas three times a day and by consuming 9kg of fruit and vegetables daily? I don't think so.
And that's the danger of some alternative therapies. Desperate people are willing to try anything. My personal guideline is to avoid fiery-eyed zealots and listen only to health practitioners who will concede they don't have all the answers.
In the event of serious illness I'll go the way of conventional medicine and take my chances there. That's my choice and if people choose to go down another route, that's theirs.
Ultimately, though, if homeopaths want to be taken seriously by the mainstream, they'll have to come up with a better reason their remedies work than "because they do".
Debate on this article is now closed.