Blogging the Organon

February 6, 2008

32-36: Hahnemann’s Organon of Medicine

Filed under: Hahnemann,homeopathy,homoeopathy,organon — gimpy @ 3:10 pm

§ 32

But it is quite otherwise with the artificial morbific agents which we term medicines. Every real medicine, namely, acts at all times, under all circumstances, on every living human being, and produces in him its peculiar symptoms (distinctly perceptible, if the dose be large enough), so that evidently every living human organism is liable to be affected, and, as it were, inoculated with the medicinal disease at all times, and absolutely (unconditionally), which, as before said, is by no means the case with the natural diseases.

§ 33

In accordance with this fact, it is undeniably shown by all experience1 that the living organism is much more disposed and has a greater liability to be acted on, and to have its health deranged by medicinal powers, than by morbific noxious agents and infectious miasms, or, in order words, that the morbific noxious agents possess a power of morbidly deranging man’s health that is subordinate and conditional, often very conditional; whilst medicinal agents have an absolute unconditional power, greatly superior to the former.

1 A striking fact in corroboration of this is, that whilst previously to the year 1801, when the smooth scarlatina of Sydenham still occasionally prevailed epidemically among children, it attacked without exception all children who had escaped it in a former epidemic; in a similar epidemic which I witnessed in Konigslutter, on the contrary, all the children who took in time a very small dose of belladonna remained unaffected by this highly infectious infantile disease. If medicines can protect from a disease that is raging around, they must possess a vastly superior power of affecting our vital force.

§ 34 Fifth Edition

The greater strength of the artificial diseases producible by medicines is, however, not the sole cause of their power to cure natural disease. In order that they may effect a cure, it is before all things requisite that they should be capable of producing in the human body an artificial disease as similar as possible to the disease to be cured, in order, by means of this similarity, conjoined with its somewhat greater strength, to substitute themselves for the natural morbid affection, and thereby deprive the latter of all influence upon the vital force. This is so true, that no previously existing disease can be cured, even by Nature herself, by the accession of a new dissimilar disease, be it ever so strong, and just as little can it be cured by medical treatment with drugs which are incapable of producing a similar morbid condition in the healthy body.

§ 34 Sixth Edition

The greater strength of the artificial diseases producible by medicines is, however, not the sole cause of their power to cure natural disease. In order that they may effect a cure, it is before all things requisite that they should be capable of producing in the human body an artificial disease as similar as possible to the disease to be cured, which, with somewhat increased power, transforms to a very similar morbid state the instinctive life principle, which in itself is incapable of any reflection or act of memory. It not only obscures, but extinguishes and thereby annihilates the derangement caused by the natural disease. This is so true, that no previously existing disease can be cured, even by Nature herself, by the accession of a new dissimilar disease, be it ever so strong, and just as little can it be cured by medical treatment with drugs which are incapable of producing a similar morbid condition in the healthy body.

§ 35

In order to illustrate this, we shall consider in three different cases, as well what happens in nature when two dissimilar natural diseases meet to in one person, as also the result of the ordinary medical treatment of diseases with unsuitable allopathic drugs, which are incapable of producing an artificial morbid condition similar to the disease to be cured, whereby it will appear that even Nature herself is unable to remove a dissimilar disease already present by one that is unhomœopathic, even though it be stronger, and just as little is the unhomœopathic employment of even the strongest medicines ever capable of curing any disease whatsoever.

§ 36

I. If the two dissimilar diseases meeting together in the human being be of equal strength, or still more if the older one be the stronger, the new disease will be repelled by the old one from the body and not allowed to affect it. A patient suffering from a severe chronic disease will not be infected by a moderate autumnal dysentery or other epidemic disease. The plague of the Levant, according to Larry,1 does not break out where scurvy is prevalent, and persons suffering from eczema are not infected by it. Rachitis, Jenner alleges, prevents vaccination from taking effect. Those suffering from pulmonary consumption are not liable to be attacked by epidemic fevers of a not very violent character, according to Von Hildenbrand.

1 “Memoires et Observations,” in the Description de l’ Egpte, tom. i.

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110 Comments

  1. Quote:
    32.But it is quite otherwise with the artificial morbific agents which we term medicines. Every real medicine, namely, acts at all times, under all circumstances, on every living human being, and produces in him its peculiar symptoms (distinctly perceptible, if the dose be large enough)….

    This comment is an interesting reflection of the state of pharmaceutical science at the time; no reliable drugs existed, and there was no established theoretical basis for selecting any drug. The basis for selection was the symptoms caused by taking a significant dose of whatever the herbal or chemical preparation was. I imagine that drugs were probably given in such huge doses that iatrogenic problems were quite common. Hahnemann’s criticism – at the time – seems to be quite valid.

    However, his criticism can’t be extended to modern drugs. Antibiotics, for example, are prescibed because they are known to attack bacteria; not on the basis of the side-effects of a large dose.

    Comment by mugsandmoney — February 7, 2008 @ 9:56 pm

  2. Quote:
    36. If the two dissimilar diseases meeting together in the human being be of equal strength, or still more if the older one be the stronger, the new disease will be repelled by the old one from the body and not allowed to affect it.

    I don’t think this is at all true. It’s quite possible to have several diseases at the same time – maybe it wasn’t observed very often in the 19th century because people would just die.

    In the exmples given –
    “Rachitis”, apparently, is today called rickets – Vitamin D deficiency. No influence on the outcome of vaccination as far as I know.
    “Plague of the Levant” – it’s not clear which disease this refers to. But neither scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency) of eczema are any form of protection from any kind of plague.

    Comment by mugsandmoney — February 7, 2008 @ 10:07 pm

  3. “Every real medicine, namely, acts at all times, under all circumstances, on every living human being, and produces in him its peculiar symptoms (distinctly perceptible, if the dose be large enough)”

    “If the dose be large enough” is an interesting comment in view of the “Law of Infinitesimals”, and Hahnemann’s statement (At § 128) that “the most recent observations have shown that medicinal substances, when taken in their crude state by the experimenter for the purpose of testing their peculiar effects, do not exhibit nearly the full amount of the powers that lie hidden in them which they do when they are taken for the same object in high dilutions potentized by proper trituration and succussion”.

    Comment by Mojo — February 8, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

  4. Perhaps when he says large he means small. Who was it who mentioned humpty dumpty earlier?

    Comment by tom p — February 8, 2008 @ 3:54 pm

  5. Well, there are two ways to deal with contradictions or inaccuracies in a holy book. One is to simply flat-out deny that the book can ever be wrong, and the other is to “reinterpret” it.

    Comment by Mojo — February 9, 2008 @ 8:59 am

  6. “Every real medicine, namely, acts at all times, under all circumstances, on every living human being, and produces in him its peculiar symptoms”

    I’m not sure what H means by “real medicine” but this is an extraordinary claim to make, even for those days. When has anyone (apart from actual snake-oil salesmen) ever claimed that any medicine of any sort is 100 per cent effective?

    At least H is starting to back up his claims with references – do those provide support?

    Comment by M Simpson — February 9, 2008 @ 11:06 am

  7. “Every real medicine, namely, acts at all times, under all circumstances, on every living human being, and produces in him its peculiar symptoms”

    I wonder if this the source of the claim that the remedies are a field effect that is ‘tuned into’ by the remedy, patient’s susceptibility, and interaction with the homeopath. The “all times” could be then interpreted to explain the healing that some homeopaths claim occurs before ingestion of the remedy.

    Comment by Humber — February 9, 2008 @ 10:52 pm

  8. As an aside, if you want to see how homeopathic diagnosis works:-
    http://www.hpathy.com/homeopathyforums/forum_posts.asp?TID=7318&PN=1

    They are quite earnestly loopy , and they have a cure(!!) for nymphomania.

    Comment by Humber — February 10, 2008 @ 12:31 am

  9. Marvellous. In the last thread here we were told that “the remedy chosen needs to be very individualized and most times exact to facilitate resolution of the illness. Your family member’s situation may manifest in a hundred people and each could get a different remedy for the same apparent disease”, and (in the same context) “some times the process can be trial and error until the correct remedy is found. Depending on the nature of the disease and the suffering, the time this takes can be hours or weeks”.

    And on the other hand we have someone over there saying, on the basis of a single forum post, “A typical Platina case. She should respond to it.”

    Comment by Mojo — February 10, 2008 @ 9:44 am

  10. M Simpson: ‘“Every real medicine, namely, acts at all times, under all circumstances, on every living human being, and produces in him its peculiar symptoms”

    I’m not sure what H means by “real medicine” but this is an extraordinary claim to make, even for those days. When has anyone (apart from actual snake-oil salesmen) ever claimed that any medicine of any sort is 100 per cent effective?’

    He is saying that every medicine CREATES symptoms. You do jump to conclusions.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — February 10, 2008 @ 3:41 pm

  11. Re nymphomania: it’s a matter of balance. If someone is troubled by hypersexuality we include it in the totality of symptoms.

    Re:’“the remedy chosen needs to be very individualized and most times exact to facilitate resolution of the illness. Your family member’s situation may manifest in a hundred people and each could get a different remedy for the same apparent disease” and http://www.hpathy.com/homeopathyforums/forum_posts.asp?TID=7318&PN=1‘ The person is complaining about chronic headaches, there are many remedies for headaches. The person in the post has headaches and concomitant symptoms and personality that correspond to Platina.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — February 10, 2008 @ 3:47 pm

  12. Re: ‘If the two dissimilar diseases meeting together in the human being be of equal strength, or still more if the older one be the stronger, the new disease will be repelled by the old one from the body and not allowed to affect it.’

    ‘A patient suffering from a severe chronic disease will not be infected by a moderate autumnal dysentery or other epidemic disease.’ People suffering from chronic disease do not suffer from acute diseases going round. Psychiatric patients do not get acute diseases because they are too ill already. (Perhaps M Simpson could comment on his observations).

    Comment by homeopathy4health — February 10, 2008 @ 4:01 pm

  13. Hello Mojo, your confusion is between the remedy and the individual that needs the remedy. The description of a remedy is the description of an individual who is suffering in a very particular way. If you read on in the post you will see they are trying to find the most “similar” remedy. Understanding the problem can be difficult. Not everyone suffers from the same apparent disease in the same way. That is why one hundred people suffering from let’s say……….chronic migraines, may be suffering from them because of a different underlying cause. Therefore each would get a different remedy, some would get the same if the cause was the same; i.e. “A typical Platina case.”
    Humber, the forum is NOT the best way to do homeopathy. It is like “WEB MD”. It is always better to see a professional.

    Comment by goodscience — February 10, 2008 @ 5:12 pm

  14. You seem to be saying that while the symptoms look pretty much like those exhibited by “a typical Platina case”, Platina itself would not necessarily be the correct treatment.

    What did they mean by “she should respond to it”, then?

    Comment by Mojo — February 10, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

  15. “Psychiatric patients do not get acute diseases because they are too ill already.”

    So people with psychiatric problems can never get a cold? If someone is self harming by slashing themselves with a razor blade, their wounds can never become infected?

    This is just arrant nonsense.

    Comment by nash — February 10, 2008 @ 6:39 pm

  16. Nash

    Homeopaths would explain those things away by saying that the psychiatric problems and infection are part of the same state, using their usual post-hoc analysis. What I’d find more interesting for them to explain would be how someone suffering from chronic back pain, after stepping on a rusty nail, could succumb to an acute infection. There’s no way these problems could have the same underlying cause.

    Comment by John R — February 10, 2008 @ 8:22 pm

  17. A second point has also occurred to me. Homeopathy supporters claim that homeopathy’s strengths lie in chronic conditions such as back pain and recurring migraines, where real medicine has few solutions. If what is written above is correct, would it not be irresponsible to try and cure these conditions, as they appear, from what you say, to be the body’s way of protecting against acute illnesses such as infections and cancer.

    Comment by John R — February 10, 2008 @ 8:38 pm

  18. The poor performance of homeopathy in blinded trials is explained as the suppression of ‘entanglement’ between the patient, remedy and practitioner.

    Am I now expected to believe that entanglement works for random posters across the internet? (If true, this would be testable).
    If not, then the correct answer should have been ‘not possible’ and not ‘typical platina’.

    goodscience,
    Web MD may give generic responses because the support of blinded trials allows them to be made.

    Comment by Humber — February 10, 2008 @ 9:46 pm

  19. M Simpson – the language is obscure. From context, §32 seems to be referring to the “medicines” which were available in the early 19th century; these were herbal or mineral extracts. I’ve dug around a bit to try to find out what they were, but it’s kind of difficult to find a contemporary apothecary’s list. Possibilites are strychnine (nux vomica), laudenum (opium), digitalis, arsenic, smelling salts (ammonium carbonate), cinchona (quinine), hemlock; I can’t say that I would be very keen on taking any of these. In the absence of any understanding of bichemistry or physiology these were given in near fatal doses and H is quite right to rubbish the conventional medicine of his day.

    H4H – I can’t believe your comment in 12, about psychiatric patients. Seriously, you can have never been in contact with anyone who is seriously ill, and you can have never worked or studied in a hospital or a GP’s surgery.
    I have a niece who has been battling leukemia for the last 2 years – are you telling me that if she could catch a cold or flu, this would displace the leukemia miasm? Get real.

    Comment by mugsandmoney — February 10, 2008 @ 10:57 pm

  20. Hey Mojo,
    Because many disease states are so close in their picture a homeopath can have trouble at times discerning the difference. The reason the person posting said “she should respond to it” is because he thought her state matched the symptoms of Platina. However, as they continued to investigate, other symptoms presented themselves that were outside the Platina picture. So the discussion proceeds and so does the attempt to find the correct remedy.

    nash, it is not accurate to say that psychiatric patients NEVER suffer from acute illness, but it is generally true. What you have pointed out in the rusty nail scenario is interesting because it is an example of “the stronger dissimilar disease”, which we will get to later in the organon. It means that stepping on the rusty nail and getting an infection is a stronger outside force that individual was vulnerable to. It is the same with epidemics. If however it WAS connected to the back pain, it maybe that they would not have stepped on the nail if their back pain had not made them move in a way that ended by stepping on the nail. A person with more agility might not have stepped on it. Either way the vulnerability that led them to step on the nail is the same vulnerability that opened them to the infection.

    Jon R, what you are erroneously concluding is that the body’s defensives are being successful its attempt to heal itself. It is not. That is why the individual is experiencing chronic symptoms. In a word it is “stuck” and unable to over come the imbalance or disease. When a homeopath understands where the true disease lies in an individual and applies the correct remedy, the remedy acts as a catalyst to stimulate the body’s defenses to over come where it is “stuck”, there by overcoming the disease. You see, the symptoms that the individual is producing are a “language”. It is telling us exactly the remedy it needs.

    Humber, my comment before was that the postings are a poor example of the practice of homeopathy and most homeopaths would not attempt to solve a case in that way. Many times the postings are made by exuberant students that as of yet do not understand the subtleties of an accurate prescription. At least there is no harm done if the individual with the inquiry were to take an incorrect remedy. Can you be certain of that with people visiting Web MD and perhaps taking an incorrect drug? Do you think it is a good idea for people to be diagnosed over the internet?

    Comment by goodscience — February 10, 2008 @ 11:02 pm

  21. Jon R, what you are erroneously concluding is that the body’s defensives are being successful its attempt to heal itself. It is not. That is why the individual is experiencing chronic symptoms. In a word it is “stuck” and unable to over come the imbalance or disease. When a homeopath understands where the true disease lies in an individual and applies the correct remedy, the remedy acts as a catalyst to stimulate the body’s defenses to over come where it is “stuck”, there by overcoming the disease. You see, the symptoms that the individual is producing are a “language”. It is telling us exactly the remedy it needs.

    This doesn’t answer my point. Following your and H4H’s logic, if someone is suffering from chronic back pain, that is irritating but not life threatening, this is preventing them from succumbing to a possibly fatal infection or cancer. If a homeopath then removes this chronic complaint, they are leaving the door open to infection or cancer. Given you believe this to be true, how can you justify removing the chronic condition.

    Comment by John R — February 10, 2008 @ 11:19 pm

  22. nash, it is not accurate to say that psychiatric patients NEVER suffer from acute illness, but it is generally true. What you have pointed out in the rusty nail scenario is interesting because it is an example of “the stronger dissimilar disease”, which we will get to later in the organon.

    I apologise, you have answered my point. Basically people suffering chronic disease do not succumb to acute disease, except for when they do. I take everything back, homeopaths make perfect sense.

    Comment by John R — February 10, 2008 @ 11:22 pm

  23. John R,
    You are confused about the principles of homeopathy. I do not believe that either H4H or I implied that chronic back pain prevents an individual from “succumbing to a possibly fatal infection or cancer”. The only way you can address the chronic complaint is to make the individual healthier. If an individual is healthier they are not as susceptible to stress, mentally, emotionally or physically. The ONLY way homeopathy works is by stimulating dynamism (movement) which creates better health, therefore removing susceptible. If you resolve the chronic complaint you do not leave the person more open to infection or cancer, the individual is actually less susceptible. The healthier you are the less susceptible you are over all.
    The other point, “Basically people suffering chronic disease do not succumb to acute disease, except for when they do”. It depends upon the depth of the chronic illness. If it is the example of chronic back pain, the disease is more superficial then say, schizophrenia. So you see it depends on the depth of the chronic illness.

    Comment by goodscience — February 10, 2008 @ 11:59 pm

  24. Oh and sorry Mugs, I forgot I wanted to address your comment about psychiatric patients. Mental disease is a much deeper disease than leukemia. In fact a person with leukemia is healthier than one with schizophrenia. H4H was referring to mental illness, not chronic physical illness. Not to say that the suffering is less, but mental disease is much deeper and the patient is much less likely to be vulnerable to acute physical illnesses.

    Comment by goodscience — February 11, 2008 @ 12:07 am

  25. ” Not to say that the suffering is less, but mental disease is much deeper and the patient is much less likely to be vulnerable to acute physical illnesses.”

    I suppose it would be too much to ask you to actually have some evidence for this assertion.

    “Do you think it is a good idea for people to be diagnosed over the internet?”

    Ordinarily, no, but in the case of homeopathy, which is nonsense anyway, it doesn’t matter.

    Comment by Bill — February 11, 2008 @ 2:18 am

  26. mental disease is much deeper and the patient is much less likely to be vulnerable to acute physical illnesses.

    Well at least we’ve now seen a homeopath make a testable prediction. Goodscience, if someone performed a study to measure the incidence of acute disease in the mentally ill, and the study found the same proportions seen in the general population, would this be enough for you to question your belief in homeopathy, and the infallibility of the great book.

    Comment by John R — February 11, 2008 @ 12:20 pm

  27. I really don’t believe some of the stuff on this thread. Someone please tell me I overdosed on laudenum last night, and this is a hallucination.

    Goodscience #20 : The reason the person posting said “she should respond to it” is because he thought her state matched the symptoms of Platina. However, as they continued to investigate, other symptoms presented themselves that were outside the Platina picture. So the discussion proceeds and so does the attempt to find the correct remedy.

    Sounds like fumbling around in the dark to me.

    Goodscience #20 : it is not accurate to say that psychiatric patients NEVER suffer from acute illness, but it is generally true

    Goodscience, this is the first testable assertion you have made. Please provide some evidence to back this up; even an anecdote would be welcome. Have you, for example, ever worked in a mental institution and kept notes?

    Goodscience #24 : Mental disease is a much deeper disease than leukemia…. a person with leukemia is healthier than one with schizophrenia.

    I’ll bet you’ve never known anyone with leukemia, have you?

    There’s also a use of the word “deep” here which puzzles me. Please clarify.

    Comment by mugsandmoney — February 11, 2008 @ 12:33 pm

  28. mugsandmoney wrote, “There’s also a use of the word “deep” here which puzzles me.”

    This may be a reference to the idea that homoeopathy is alleged to gradually remove symptoms “layer by layer”, starting with the ones most recently developed, and gradually working back to the more deep seated symptoms.

    Comment by Mojo — February 11, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

  29. Well this is quite interesting. A Danish study has reported a decreased cancer risk amongst schizophrenics: http://jech.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/43/1/43

    However another study: http://archpsyc.highwire.org/cgi/content/abstract/58/6/573 : shows that the decrease in risk is greater amongst family members of schizophrenics, suggesting a genetic link.

    Another study looking at causes of death in Swedish schizophrenia suffers, possibly the most pertinent to this discussion, ( http://tinyurl.com/yrjeo6 ) shows a similar risk of cancer amongst schizophrenics and the general population. More importantly this study shows over 3 times the number of deaths from infection disease, compared to the general population, which rather negates the assertion that schizophrenia sufferers are less likely to succumb to acute disease.

    Comment by John R — February 11, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

  30. Mojo – when I’m ill, I don’t have symptoms in layers. You really haven’t clarified this point!

    I’m well aware of the analogy to the layers of an onion, but I absolutely fail to see what practical relevance it has to issues of health and sickness, or the relative standing of schizophrenia versus leukemia. Analogies have limited usefulness and a poor analogy is no better than a smokescreen.

    Comment by mugsandmoney — February 11, 2008 @ 2:00 pm

  31. M&M, the point is that there is hierarchy to symptoms, mental being the deepest layer, emotional and then physical. As I said before, the suffering may not be any less, but the disturbance is greater.
    Also trying to find the correct remedy is not fumbling around in the dark, the homeopath is trying to find the MOST accurate remedy possible. Are you asserting that MD’s NEVER have a trail and error period when trying to find a drug to treat a condition in a particular individual?
    As far as my personal experience with mental patients and leukemia, I thought that kind of thing was “anecdotal” and not acceptable. But to answer your question, I have had more experience than I would care to at times.

    Comment by goodscience — February 11, 2008 @ 2:40 pm

  32. Disturbance of what?

    Comment by Mojo — February 11, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

  33. Goodscience – I make no assertions about MD’s whatsoever; this forum is an examination of the basic tenets of homeopathy. Your description of a homeopath looking for the correct remedy still sounds like fumbling around in the dark.

    I still don’t understand assertions like “Mental disease is a much deeper disease than leukemia” If by that you mean that it is more difficult to diagnose and treat, then you should just say so, and not obfuscate.

    Do you still stand by your assertion that psychiatric patients generally don’t suffer acute illness?

    Comment by mugsandmoney — February 11, 2008 @ 3:07 pm

  34. Mojo, disturbance of the vital force.

    M&M, why does it sound like homeopaths are “fumbling around in the dark? Human beings are complex and finding the correct remedy can be difficult to do. The reason you think it is fumbling is because you do not understand the process, which is why we are attempting to have this discussion. Think about the myriad of symptoms, mentally, emotionally and physically, an individual can produce at the same time (totality) and in how many combinations those symptoms can manifest. The difficulty for the homeopath is to find the exact remedy that fits that particular combination. If you were to look in a materia medica and read Natrum carbonicum, Natrum muriaticum, Natrum sulphuricum, and Natrum phosphouricum, you would see that the symptom pictures are very close. Discerning which the correct remedy is rests solely on the homeopaths ability to observe correctly. At times the homeopath will get very close, giving Natrum muriaticum instead of Natrum Sulphuricum for example and unlike giving an incorrect drug there is no harm done.
    In regards to mental illness VS leukemia, the point is that mental illness manifests on a deeper plane than a physical illness. It has nothing to do with treatment and diagnoses. There is a hierarchy to symptoms, mental, emotional and physical. And yes……..I realize this is a forum to examine the basic tenets of homeopathy and I am doing my best to do just that!

    Comment by goodscience — February 11, 2008 @ 5:42 pm

  35. How can you tell that the disturbance of the vital force is greater in the case of mental symptoms?

    Comment by Mojo — February 11, 2008 @ 8:45 pm

  36. Hahnemann wrote, “A patient suffering from a severe chronic disease will not be infected by a moderate autumnal dysentery or other epidemic disease.”

    Perhaps Hahnemann was a man of his times, and was just reflecting the orthodox (or as he would have termed it, “allopathic”) medical thinking of the time. It appears that this idea didn’t originate with him. I’m currently reading Roberta Bivins’s “Alternative Medicine”, and in a discussion of treatments of gout she mentions that in the 17th and 18th centuries gout was regarded as having what she terms “perceived prophylactic effects on the body as a whole”, and that “many ‘regular’ physicians regarded gout as a salutary sickness, one that prevented far more serious diseases”.

    Comment by Mojo — February 11, 2008 @ 8:59 pm

  37. Mojo, because the hierarchy of symptoms is from physical (most peripheral) to the emotional, to the mental plane. The most effective tool a homeopath can use is to base the remedy on the disposition of the individual, no matter where the gravity of the symptoms rest. Then the choice of remedy is flushed out by the symptom particulars. Sometimes this is difficult in mental illness because most of what you see is the common symptoms of the disease not the unique symptoms of the individual. The healthier the person is the less common disease symptoms you will see and the more unique symptoms are apparent. What a homeopath considers to be a symptom is not confined to the disease symptoms an allopath would consider.

    Comment by Goodscience — February 11, 2008 @ 9:43 pm

  38. But you haven’t answered the question. How do you know that the “vital force” is more disturbed in mental symptoms? Do you have some means of detecting and measuring this “vital force”?

    Comment by Mojo — February 11, 2008 @ 10:07 pm

  39. Let me ask you this…….in your opinion is a person that has suffered a psychotic break more or less ill than a person with a sinus infection, or migraine headache, or IBS?

    Comment by Goodscience — February 11, 2008 @ 10:17 pm

  40. Well, we could name all sorts of different diseases/conditions, couldn’t we? For example, in your opinion is a person that has suffered a psychotic break more or less ill than a person with type I diabetes, an inoperable malignant brain tumour or chronic and crippling arthritis?

    But that’s not an answer to the question I asked: how do you know that the disturbance of the “vital force” is greater in the case of mental symptoms? Do you have some means of measuring “disturbances” in the “vital force”? Do you even have a means of detecting the “vital force”.

    Comment by Mojo — February 11, 2008 @ 10:52 pm

  41. Ok, so the difficulty you are having is in understanding homeopathic principles, understanding what the vital force is. The way you can detect the vital force is to compare a living person to a dead person. It is the thing that animates us. Homeopathy is vitalistic medicine. In light of the understanding of the vital force there then is the understanding of the hierarchy of symptoms.

    Comment by Goodscience — February 11, 2008 @ 11:28 pm

  42. goodscience,
    WebMD does not violate the fundamantal principle behind its system of medicine, whereas remote homeopathic diagnosis does. Do you have evidence that these particular posters are ‘exuberant students’?

    Science dallied with the idea of vitalism, but gave it up for something that worked. The distinction between a live and dead person is rather blurred, but how for example do you distinguish between ‘loss of vital force’ and the complete absence of metabolic function? Where is there a recorded example of conscious activity without neurological function?

    Comment by Humber — February 12, 2008 @ 12:20 am

  43. Goodscience, if vitalism is the underlying rationale for homeopathy then you will have to concede it is more religion than medicine. Vitalism is a profoundly mystical concept that is not supported by any physical, chemical or biological evidence.

    Comment by gimpy — February 12, 2008 @ 8:11 am

  44. “The way you can detect the vital force is to compare a living person to a dead person. It is the thing that animates us. ”

    OK, so “vital force” is merely something that is said to be present in living people but (presumably) not present in dead people. I think it’s more usually described simply as “life”.

    How can you tell that mental symptoms cause greater disturbance in this “vital force”? Do you have some way of measuring how dead a living person is?

    Comment by Mojo — February 12, 2008 @ 10:40 am

  45. Goodscience, referring back to #34.

    What I am looking for is things that can be measured and affected, so that they will enhance our understanding of how to imporove health.

    You have come up with a concept of “deep” disease, although you haven’t defined it except by analogy. This makes it very difficult to move on.

    I can think of two ways in which the concept of “deep” disease can be potentially of use –

    a) Deep disease might be more difficult to diagnose and treat; but you have denied this.

    b) Having a “deep” disease makes one less susceptible to a “shallow” disease, leading to your comment that “it is not accurate to say that psychiatric patients NEVER suffer from acute illness, but it is generally true” in #20 above. I can see that you have stopped trying to defend this statement, which is wise because it is indefensible.

    What I am left with is – nothing. There is no sense in which the concept of “deep” disease predicts the progress of a disease, or assists with its diagnosis or treatment. It really is not a helpful idea.

    Comment by mugsandmoney — February 12, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

  46. goodscience you wrote;
    “If however it WAS connected to the back pain, it maybe that they would not have stepped on the nail if their back pain had not made them move in a way that ended by stepping on the nail. A person with more agility might not have stepped on it. Either way the vulnerability that led them to step on the nail is the same vulnerability that opened them to the infection.”

    I accept that homeopathy is spiritually based, calling upon forces outside of the scientific view, but the above statement looks very much like Fatalism. Perhaps, because you already believe, Hahnemann’s writings are instructional aboutthat belief, but to me they look rather like a series of idiosyncratic non sequiters.
    It is not possible to use rational arguments to counter or dislodge convictions that are beyond reason. That would be a waste of both sides’ time. If, for example, you claim that psychiatric patients do not (generally) suffer acute diseases, then you will need to support that claim with evidence.

    Comment by Humber — February 12, 2008 @ 2:12 pm

  47. What I have posted here is perhaps “indefensible” in this moment in time. Like I have said before we do not have the “science” yet to explain how and why homeopathy is effective, but thousands of homeopaths and their patients have plenty of evidence that it is. The hierarchy of symptoms is a principle of homeopathy; I had no idea that it was not understood in the allopathic medical paradigm. As much as all of you have said that homeopathy is faith based; it is not. It is not a belief system, it is a medical system. There are many studies and trials that have been posted on many blogs in defense of what I have stated here, none of which have been accepted by this group and so does not bear repeating. We are so far apart in our understanding of the universe that any explanation of the organon would continually fall on deaf ears. This has been quite a civil discussion and I appreciate it. As the science of homeopathy evolves, one day there will be enough evidence to satisfy you all.

    Comment by Goodscience — February 12, 2008 @ 3:09 pm

  48. So for vital force, we could substitute Chi. An older explanation of Vitalism. Since meridians etc cannot be found and recent trials of acupuncture, show equally unimpressive results for various conditions, where ever you put the needles. Would ‘goodscience’ say that Chinese Medicine, Chi, meridians etc, and those practitioners are mistaken. If not, why not.
    Could you please give a straight forward reply.

    Comment by Jeff Garrington — February 12, 2008 @ 3:23 pm

  49. Goodscience wrote, “The hierarchy of symptoms is a principle of homeopathy”

    Goodscience wrote, “there is hierarchy to symptoms, mental being the deepest layer, emotional and then physical. As I said before, the suffering may not be any less, but the disturbance is greater.”

    How was this principle established? How was it discovered that mental symptoms cause more disturbance of the “vital force” than emotional symptoms, which in turn cause more disturbance than physical symptoms?

    Comment by Mojo — February 12, 2008 @ 4:33 pm

  50. goodscience,
    I think that you are right in saying that there is a vast gulf between the two schools of thought, but simple denial of spiritualism after a literal evocation of Vitalism, is one of the inconsistencies of thought that prevents skeptics from taking seriously the idea that homeopathy is a science.

    Generally, when homeopaths say to skeptics that they “do not understand”, what is really meant is that skeptics are do not take the idea at face value, or in my terms, believe it. I think that this is largely unnecessary, because if the ‘working’ explanations were at least consistent, then some progress could be made.

    If there are no explanations, then all that is left for the skeptic to do is unquestioningly adopt the ideas, or to ask for adequate evidence that trumps any denial of them – that in itself would be enough. I know that you think you have that presented adequate evidence, but I do not. The willingness to accept Hahnemman’s writings go hand in hand with the willingness to accept anecdotal evidence as being adequate. Does that make sense to you?

    Comment by Humber — February 12, 2008 @ 5:55 pm

  51. Hi goodscience,

    I would like to make a couple of suggestions, and please understand that I mean them in a constructive spirit of friendship.

    First of all, please address conventional medicine properly. The term “allopathic” is meaningless outside the CAM community, and perjorative within the community – it is the equivalent of “woo” or “quack”. It would be more appropriate to use the term “evidence based medicine” or “scientific medicine”.

    Secondly, I am distressed by your ignorance of the basic principles of physiology and pharmacology, and your lack of appreciation of the work which goes on in hospitals and doctors surgeries. I really think that you would personally benefit – and so might your homeopathic practice – by spending some time observing doctors and nurses, and maybe learning some basic diploma-level medical science.

    Comment by mugsandmoney — February 12, 2008 @ 7:36 pm

  52. Hey M&M, You make me laugh! No really you do! Want to get a beer? Ah well maybe not, you may not want to be seen with us homeopathic types! Ruin your reputation! Anyway……thanks for the hand of friendship, however patronizing and condescending it may be.
    First let me say, sorry about using the term allopathic, but I am not sure why it is offensive;

    al•lop•a•thy [ ə lóppəthee ]
    noun
    Definition:

    Relating to or being a system of medicine that aims to combat disease by using remedies (as drugs or surgery) which produce effects that are different from or incompatible with those of the disease being treated.

    Is it because Hahnemann coined the term? It may be the equivalent of quack in your community, but it was never my intent to insult, I was only making a distinction.

    Secondly; please do not be distressed, I actually have more knowledge of the medical sciences than you might think. I am not sure how you have come to the conclusion that I have no appreciation of the work which goes on in “hospitals and doctors surgeries”. In fact I not only have appreciation, but I have respect, I work with them on a regular bases. However, I do not appreciate nor respect those in the medical community that are incompetent, abusive and dismissive with delusions of grandeur……allopathic OR homeopathic! I also do not think that “evidence based medicine” has ALL the answers.

    Comment by Goodscience — February 12, 2008 @ 9:59 pm

  53. From the SOED:-
    allopathy /”lQpTi/ n.M19. [f. ALLO- + -PATHY.]
    Med. The treatment of disease by inducing an opposite condition (i.e. in the usual way). Opp. HOMOEOPATHY.

    I imagine that mugsandmoney is objecting that conventional medicine is not the opposite of homeopathy.

    Comment by Humber — February 12, 2008 @ 11:24 pm

  54. Humber!! This is SO great, you are right! Allos is Greek, meaning opposite; pathy means suffering. Homeo is like, so the main difference between allopathy and homeopathy is that “evidence based medicine” is opposite to ones suffering, there by suppressing symptoms, but it is not the intent to resolve them. Homeopathy is based on like suffering, therefore facilitating resolution by stimulating the individual’s ability to do so!
    I have learned so much from this forum. I NEVER would have thought a word like allopathy was deemed to be derogatory. It is only when I researched it by a not so benevolent nudging by M&M, that I learned it was true! I do believe that it is in fact a reaction by conventional medicine to Hahnemann. I bet you that most homeopaths would not know that it was considered an insult by “evidence based medicine”.

    Comment by Goodscience — February 13, 2008 @ 12:49 am

  55. Homeo is like, so the main difference between allopathy and homeopathy is that “evidence based medicine” is opposite to ones suffering, there by suppressing symptoms, but it is not the intent to resolve them.

    This is a statement that homeopaths make repeatedly and is so clearly false. Do you really believe real medicine is unable to resolve symptoms? On what evidence do you base this and how does this evidence square with medical research showing that countless diseases can be cured by chemical agents? Remember quoting the ‘Great Book’ is not evidence.

    Comment by John R — February 13, 2008 @ 10:49 am

  56. What “Great Book” are you referring to??
    I should have been a little clearer with my analogy. Evidence based medicine’s intent is not to resolve the underlying cause of why a person is susceptible to a disease. The basic difference is homeopaths understand that there IS an underlying cause to the suffering which needs to be resolved to permanently eradicate the disease. Evidence based medicine does not consider an underlying cause. I agree the symptoms drugs are intended for are relieved for a time, but it is most often about maintenance not resolution.

    Comment by Goodscience — February 13, 2008 @ 1:29 pm

  57. If “homeopaths understand that there IS an underlying cause to the suffering which needs to be resolved”, why do they consider nothing but the symptoms reported by the patient?

    Comment by Mojo — February 13, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

  58. If “allopathy” were actually the opposite of homoeopathy, then calling someone an allopath wouldn’t be insulting. However, the reason that it is irritating is simply that homoeopaths use it in an insulting, dismissive, derogatory way (like fervent anti-homoeopathy debaters would use “quack”, “charlatan” or “fraud”). What is most irritating is that is that by giving evidence-based medicine a moniker that is similar sounding to homoeopathy, homeopaths make they two approaches sound like they are of equivalent complexity, subtlety, and efficacy, or even that they simply disagree about a minor point of theory. Given the vast quantity of work (proper science) and care that has gone into building conventional medicine to where it is today, and that homoeopathy bases itself on a 200 year-old text and unproven concepts such as a vital force, and that the evidence strongly points to the fact that evidence based medicine works (well… duh!) and that homoeopathy doesn’t, this is pretty insulting.

    “However, I do not appreciate nor respect those in the medical community that are incompetent, abusive and dismissive with delusions of grandeur……allopathic OR homeopathic!”

    With you there.

    “I also do not think that “evidence based medicine” has ALL the answers.”

    You’re also right there. If it did, there wouldn’t be any point in doing any more research and we would all live in perfect health until we got hit by a bus aged 348. *However*, (and this is a gargantuan “however”) if a new form of treatment is actually effective then it will be possible to detect this effectiveness and it will appear in a trial as data which then constitute… guess what… *evidence*! It is homoeopathy’s failure to produce this evidence that leads so many people to consign it to the dustbin of nice-but-sadly-not-true ideas. Or as David Colquhoun puts it “The definition dilemma – Once any treatment is shown beyond doubt to be effective, it ceases to be ‘alternative’ and becomes just like any other part of medical knowledge. That means that ‘alternative medicine’ must consist entirely of unproven treatments.”

    Comment by flimflam_machine — February 13, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

  59. Evidence based medicine certainly does consider underlying causes. Dentists give out advice on how to improve your diet to reduce the risk of tooth decay. The NHS funds anti-smoking adverts and schemes to help smokers quit. Scientists advise the government about what pollutants need to be controlled to increase public health. The advent of germ theory massively reduced deaths during surgery simply because it addressed the underlying cause of infections rather than treating the symptoms once they appeared. (We also recognise that once a disease has set in, treating the cause won’t usually cure it.) There are reams of health and safety rules created by evidence-based medicine. How is it possible you haven’t spotted them?

    Also, we don’t consider, as GaleG suggested, that you can treat a propensity for sugary drinks using a sugar pill! You can’t pop a pill to “correct” aspects of your personality, and even where you can I’m not at all sure I support the idea.

    Comment by Andrew — February 13, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

  60. Funny…. I was sitting quietly and had the urge to see how you all of you were doing. And here is Andrew mentioning me! (I am GaleG), though I think, more accurately, it was goodscience who said it.

    I see you are still trying to understand this energy thing, the idea that we all flow energy…vital force.. whatever you want to call it, from an abundent stream or source. Illness is the result of not-allowing the flow of this stream.

    Here is some food for thought:

    “Did you know that you could have every deadly disease known to man in your body right now, and tomorrow they could be all gone if from one day to the next you leaned how to allow the Energy to flow? How do you get this Energy to flow?”

    Drugs do not allow the flow of this energy- they just muddy it some more. Homeopathy and other energy therapies do allow this stream to flow more abudently- that is why the results are more life-changing on all levels.

    That is actually the question you are all grappling with: how to get someone to wellness from illness, to health from disease, and to happiness from despair with the least amount of interference.

    An early Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 13, 2008 @ 2:58 pm

  61. Goodscience @52 – sorry, I shan’t be patronising again. I was only going by the evidence; your posting @54 reinforces my hypothese, rather than dispelling it.

    Humber @53 – thanks for clarifiying the root of the definition. I think it makes it even more clear that evidence-based medicine is not allopathic in nature.
    – For one thing, there is no intention to induce symptoms of any kind, whether similar, opposite, or unrelated. The principle, as Andrew said, is to treat the proximal cause wherever possible. Examples – antibiotics, radiotherapy, vitamin supplements.
    – Secondly, most drugs are given in doses where side effects are either zero or tolerable. If there’s an adverse side effect the medication is generally changed.
    – There may be instances where an “allopathic” treatment is adopted because the evidence base supports it. I am thinking, for example, of the use of insulin for diabetes, or maybe other instances of hormone imbalance. I don’t know enough about the symptomatology involved to be sure though.

    Comment by mugsandmoney — February 13, 2008 @ 3:08 pm

  62. Goodscience:
    Evidence based medicine’s intent is not to resolve the underlying cause of why a person is susceptible to a disease. The basic difference is homeopaths understand that there IS an underlying cause to the suffering which needs to be resolved to permanently eradicate the disease. Evidence based medicine does not consider an underlying cause. I agree the symptoms drugs are intended for are relieved for a time, but it is most often about maintenance not resolution.

    I’ve been mulling over this comment for a few hours and I have to confess it has made me rather angry. You blithely disregard EBM with the accusation that it does not resolve underlying causes of disease. This, quite frankly, is bollocks. Think about the prescription of statins for high cholesterol, anti-malarials for malaria, Factor VIII for haemophiliacs, etc. These are all cases where the underlying cause is being treated by medicine, lowered cholesterol levels, killing of the malaria parasite, supplementing the body with something it can’t produce, etc. In all these cases and many thousands more EBM is treating the cause of the person’s disease. EBM is the result of millions of man hours, billions of dollars and the intellectual accomplishments of some very clever people. How dare you dismiss this so lightly. Homeopathy is little more than the interpretation of dreams, random feelings and magic water. The two do not compare in terms of complexity or evidence. There are many PhD students and Post-docs who have spent years working out the effect one tiny little mutation has on the function of a protein and how this may induce disease. To compare their labours to a homeopath who keeps a diary for a week during a proving is absurd. To then claim that the homeopaths diary is evidence of a search for an underlying cause while the students thesis is not is just offensive.

    Comment by gimpy — February 13, 2008 @ 3:10 pm

  63. Gimpy, you don’t get it.

    Quoting Goodscience @20: “Either way the vulnerability that led them to step on the nail is the same vulnerability that opened them to the infection”.

    By extension, when my car was written off (with me inside it) a few years ago this event, and my subsequent hospitalisation, occurred because I was homeopathically vulnerable.

    It had nothing at all to do with the drunken idiot in the other car whose licence was subsequently revoked.

    Comment by mugsandmoney — February 13, 2008 @ 4:01 pm

  64. Funny…. I was sitting quietly and had the urge to see how you all of you were doing. And here is Andrew mentioning me! (I am GaleG), though I think, more accurately, it was goodscience who said it.

    Was it? It may have been, now you mention it. I didn’t want to just assert what homeopaths believe without reference, though, especially not in a post like that one!

    Comment by Andrew — February 13, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

  65. Gimpy, I am sorry this is making you so angry. But you have to understand, well maybe not, that what a homeopath means by the underlying cause and what you are talking about are two different things. Another thing you are wrong about is my appreciation of “evidence based medicine”, however I do think it has its flaws.
    Back to the word allopathic, I am not sure what homeopaths you have come across, but none that I have EVER dealt with has used the word in a derogatory way. Like I said before, it is just about making a distinction. It seems as if this group thinks there is much hatred by homeopaths for “allopathic” medicine as you seem to have for homeopathy. I do not believe that is true.
    Andrew, the “sugary drink” statement was not mine……….just to set the record straight, if any one at all is keeping accounts!

    Comment by Goodscience — February 13, 2008 @ 5:38 pm

  66. goodscience,
    Rather punctilious, but obtuse enough not to take the meaning of “great book”? On the subject of words;

    Quoting Goodscience @20: “Either way the vulnerability that led them to step on the nail is the same vulnerability that opened them to the infection”.

    fatalism (SOED)
    1. Belief in fatality; the doctrine that all events are predetermined by fate. L17
    2 Submission to or compliance with this doctrine. M18.

    The definition of underlying cause would then be very broad indeed and completely incompatible with that of the materialist.

    Gimpy’s anger is justified. Modern medicine is the result of a great deal of hard work and innovation, yet homeopathy relies on one man getting it right the first time during an age of relative ignorance.

    Comment by Humber — February 13, 2008 @ 6:22 pm

  67. Gimpy, I am sorry this is making you so angry. But you have to understand, well maybe not, that what a homeopath means by the underlying cause and what you are talking about are two different things.

    The problem is we don’t know what you mean by underlying cause and, to be honest, I don’t think you or Gale do either. You both talk of energies but can’t explain what these energies are, how you measure them or what they have to do with health.

    Let’s imagine for a moment that these underlying causes do exist and homeopathy is able to remove them. This leads to a testable prediction, of sorts. Imagine someone comes to see you about their cold (or eczema, back pain or any other ailment they may suffer intermittently). If you remove the underlying cause then the patient should never suffer these problems again. Does this mean that homeopaths NEVER suffer from colds? Not rarely suffer from cold but never. If this is not true the only explanation is either that they are pretty crappy homeopaths, or this idea of an underlying cause, other than the cold virus, is simply a falsehood dreamt up 200 years ago.

    Comment by John R — February 13, 2008 @ 6:39 pm

  68. OK whatever, why are you all such bullies? You have no interest in debating the organon. You just want to beat the hell out of me with the same old vitriol. Gimpy, nothing I have said should cause this much anger in ANYONE. If you would actually READ all my posts you would realize that I do not “blithely disregard EBM”. Your anger is out of proportion and quite frankly is a bit of projection. My father-in-law is dead because of collateral damage from “EBM” and you do not see me ranting at you guys! So as I have always thought, this forum is about baiting and attacking, not a debate. You all reduce this to insults and name calling and even project that I am doing the same, when I have clearly stated that I am not. And to think that I was naive enough to think this could be a civil discussion and we could come to some kind of understanding. Must be my “magical thinking”.

    Comment by Goodscience — February 13, 2008 @ 11:14 pm

  69. Me again…..let me put this in perspective for you, goodscience.

    You know the expression “birds of a feather flock together”? Well, there is great truth to that statement.

    The reason you are frustrated and I chose to leave this discussion is that the skeptics “vibrate” to a different frequency then we do.

    That is why no one can understand each other which leads to frustration and anger.

    With no intention to antagonize anyone: they vibrate at a level that is lower than you which is why the material world is so important to them.

    You vibrate at a much higher level, which is why you understand “energy” seeming “co-incidences” “deeper reason behind illness ” and why you are,I suspect, a fabulous homeopath and healer.

    Don’t beat yourself up….just know that you (and I) have attempted to raise their vibration, and know that, over time, they will appreciate it and start to reap the benefits.

    Love again to you all….

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 13, 2008 @ 11:41 pm

  70. rainbow9, you are beginning to sound a lot like a leaked video of Tom Cruise. If it’s any consolation, you have indeed raised my vibration — there are very nearly visible fingernail scratches in my desk. Well done, you.

    what a homeopath means by the underlying cause and what you are talking about are two different things

    Yes, we mean the actual thing that causes the disease, and homeopaths mean a vague wishy-washy, undetectable concept that they invoke purely for the purpose of blaming and then never refer to again, which they claim to be able to treat because they invented it, so it’s their fiction and they can do what they like with it for the same reason that if JK Rowling says Dumbledore is gay then Dumbledore will just have to be gay and damn well like it, and if anyone points out the real cause of the disease then they get all spiritual and wave their hands about like Richard Madeley doing the locomotion and say “yes, but what causes that?” and they can keep doing that until it’s vital force all the way down, and yet nobody ever seems to question what causes the disturbance in this feebly-imaginary “vital force”, except to say that it’s all the victim’s fault and they’d never get ill if they weren’t such basically bad people with their angry and pessimistic thoughts about everything — and I do wonder what causes that, although my money is on having to deal with lunatics who think you can and should cure all diseases by magical using distilled water! You subscribe to a “system” of “medicine” that is based on treating unproven disturbances in a force which nobody has ever detected using a property of water for which there is no evidence or explanation at all and a “like cures like” concept that you took from a book and never apparently questioned and yet you have the gall to look at evidenced based medicine, with its reams of studies, evidence, trials, decades of work by thousands of people, science and knowledge, and say “the basic difference is homeopaths understand that there IS an underlying cause to the suffering” or and then wonder why people get angry? You’re basically turning up to a real-ale festival with a four-pack of Castlemaine and saying to the people there “you don’t actually like that stuff, do you?”.

    Sorry. I’m normally much more softly spoken than that. I’ve been watching Marcus Brigstocke. I’m sure you probably mean well.

    But that’s no excuse.

    Comment by Andrew Taylor — February 14, 2008 @ 12:06 am

  71. Goodscience,
    You wrote @47 that perhaps your ideas were indefensible.
    In science, or indeed debating, that’s the end of the road, but to homeopathy, “it’s indefensible but right, anyway”. Debate cannot take place under those rules. Agreement is devalued if it is nothing but submission to the lowest common denominator.

    Some claims have no halfway house. The idea that schizophrenics are less susceptible to disease it not just a little right, its completely wrong. The evidence is to the contrary. If this does not fit your hypothesis, then I am afraid that it is wrong.

    Comment by Humber — February 14, 2008 @ 1:11 am

  72. OK Andrew, almost everything you have said shows a complete misunderstanding of what I have posted on this forum and the principles of homeopathy, but I do not expect any more from this group. And about the real-ale festival………I thought this was a forum on the Organon, so it looks like you are the one that brought the Castlemaine!

    Comment by Goodscience — February 14, 2008 @ 2:18 am

  73. Tom, it sounds to me like you have way to much time on your hands…..is there not a young lady you could be enjoying to release all this energy? Truly, one great remedy I have found for transforming negative emotion is a good fuck…and Gimpy, I know you won’t be offended as I have read that and similar words on your other blog!

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 14, 2008 @ 3:08 am

  74. Gale (rainbow9), you are being silly and stupid. Why should you worry how anyone spends their time, especially when you absolutely refuse to answer direct questions.

    I am still waiting for some one to tell me if Andre Saine is correct that rabies is better treated with homeopathy than with modern medicine, with actual evidence.

    Comment by HCN — February 14, 2008 @ 3:36 am

  75. Castlemaine? Coors Lite is more like it.

    HCN, these people are never going to answer a direct question.

    Gale/rainbow, do you have any homeopathic birth control to make sure there are not any unintended consequences of that good fuck?

    Comment by Bill — February 14, 2008 @ 5:56 am

  76. I thought this was a forum on the Organon, so it looks like you are the one that brought the Castlemaine!

    Yes, heaven forbid anyone should criticise homeopathy on a blog about criticising homeopathy. Who knows where that could lead?

    Comment by Andrew — February 14, 2008 @ 12:54 pm

  77. Creationist: It seems that you haven’t understood a word I have said

    Skeptic: But….

    Creationist: No, it’s right here in the book. Adam and Eve…

    Skeptic: But, the fossils…

    Creationist: Did you miss the snake? That means you haven’t been listening.

    Skeptic: You mean the talking snake, or the invisible snake?

    Creationist: I came here for a discussion. If you are just going to question
    what I say, then I am going to be offended and leave.

    Skeptic: You are being evasive.

    Creationist: Oh sorry, I would NEVER do that. Please forgive me. 🙂

    Sound familiar?

    Comment by Humber — February 14, 2008 @ 2:05 pm

  78. Hey Andrew…not to belabor the metaphor but, you’re right this IS a forum to criticize homeopathy. Gimpy said; “Homeopaths frequently accuse their critics of failing to read and understand the work that underpins their beliefs. This blog will reproduce Hahnemann’s Organon over the next few months in an attempt to rectify this concern. The aim of this blog is to allow readers to critically evaluate it in the context of modern homeopathic practice and modern science. I hope that both homeopaths and skeptics will contribute to the discussion.”
    So, I was invited to the party and asked to bring the Castlemaine, so why get angry?

    Comment by Goodscience — February 14, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

  79. So, I was invited to the party and asked to bring the Castlemaine, so why get angry?

    Okay, I think that analogy’s being pulled a little bit outside its useful context now.

    We’re all here to discuss homeopathy. That means us skeptics keeping an open mind as far as possible and trying to take on board what the proponents are saying, but it also means that the proponents have to do the same thing with regards to what they call “allopathy”, otherwise the whole thing falls apart. We should also all try to recognise where the evidence is and what it says, because without that we could argue forever and never settle anything.

    You say I don’t read or understand what you’re saying, and I think you’re wrong. I’ve learned from this blog that homeopaths believe in a “vital force”, which is what gives a body life (1). They think that disease can be explained in terms of disturbances to this force (2), and that the force can repair itself (thus curing the disease) if the source of these disturbances is removed (3), which homeopathy can do (4), as well, some say, as helping directly repair the force (5). Homeopathy relies on the ability of ingredients which cause a disease to cure it (6), but it claims to remove the harmful effects while keeping the curative ones by diluting the ingredients beyond the point where no molecules remain (7). This can be done because you think water has a memory (8), though you admit that this property is not properly understood. That’s more-or-less it, isn’t it?

    But I think it’s important to point out that while I’ve understood all that, I don’t actually subscribe to any of it. It’s a neat little hypothesis, but until you have evidence of it that is all it is. You may notice I numbered the unsupported claims in the explanation above. I counted seven which are vital before homeopathy can work at all. When you criticise evidence-based medicine and its practitioners, it would seem polite to acknowledge that we have huge amounts of evidence that the system works, and that we have no good evidence that homeopathy works.

    So when you say something like “the basic difference is homeopaths understand that there IS an underlying cause to the suffering” — essentially that the difference between a homeopath and a doctor is that the latter is more ignorant — people will quite rightly get angry at you. There seems to be a pervading assumption (which reminds me a lot of the criticism Dawkins received after The God Delusion) that anyone who rejects the ideas of homeopathy simply hasn’t understood them properly. Why can’t it be that doctors know all about the vital force but simply don’t accept that it’s a real thing?

    Comment by Andrew — February 14, 2008 @ 3:14 pm

  80. Andrew,
    I think that you have largely answered your own question. As you know, vital force was once science’s explanation, but is now discredited.
    There is no way that homeopathy can revive Vitalism unless the former arguments that dismissed it can be refuted. Some task.

    The other side likes to talk about genuine debate, but I think this is disingenuous. At least on this blog, they not are interested in understanding, but proselytizing.

    Comment by Humber — February 14, 2008 @ 3:47 pm

  81. Bill said “Gale/rainbow, do you have any homeopathic birth control to make sure there are not any unintended consequences of that good fuck?”

    There should also be protection from those miasms known as “syphilis” and “gonorrheal.” And maybe “psora” for good measure.

    Comment by HCN — February 15, 2008 @ 1:52 am

  82. Condoms, my dear, condoms…..

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 15, 2008 @ 5:26 am

  83. so is there a homeopathic remedy for unwanted pregnancy?

    Comment by Bill — February 15, 2008 @ 5:38 am

  84. Andrew wrote (post 79), “Homeopathy relies on the ability of ingredients which cause a disease to cure it”

    Actually, this is not quite right: it relies on the ability of ingredients which (allegedly) cause particular symptoms to cure those same symptoms.

    Homoeopathy doesn’t recognise the existence of specific diseases, just symptoms or groups of symptoms, which are individual to the patient; hence the claims of homoeopaths that they “treat the patient, not the disease”, and the excuse that if homoeopathy didn’t work in any particular case it was just that none of the remedies chosen were the properly “individualised” remedy for that particular patient. And, notwithstanding Goodscience’s claims in post 56, it certainly doesn’t concern itself with the underlying causes of those symptoms, other than the imaginary miasms and psora, and the treatment is in any case decided by reference to the specific pattern of symptoms in the individual patient and not to these alleged underlying causes.

    Comment by Mojo — February 15, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

  85. With reference to the “(allegedly)” in the above post: I suspect we’ll come to that when we get to § 128.

    Comment by Mojo — February 15, 2008 @ 1:12 pm

  86. Next set of verses please. I think this thread has ground to a halt.

    Comment by Nash — February 15, 2008 @ 1:51 pm

  87. Through medicine and biochemistry we have enough knowledge of the human reproductive system that we can design a pill that stops pregnancy before it starts.

    Where is the homeopathic equivalent?

    Comment by bill — February 15, 2008 @ 3:11 pm

  88. rainbow9 said “Condoms, my dear, condoms…..”

    Except those are “allopathic” devices, they aren’t homeopathy. So it is obvious that they will disupt the persons vital force.

    Comment by HCN — February 15, 2008 @ 4:03 pm

  89. HCN, I should hope that condoms disrupt my vital essence, sorry force. Wouldn’t want any unfortunate accidents.

    Nash, yes I agree. Next post tomorrow.

    Comment by gimpy — February 15, 2008 @ 4:24 pm

  90. Gimpy wrote, “I should hope that condoms disrupt my vital essence”

    I thought it was fluoridation that did that.

    Comment by Mojo — February 15, 2008 @ 10:20 pm

  91. This site has some provings of new materials.
    http://www.homeopaths.in/home/component/option,com_weblinks/catid,24/Itemid,19/

    Take a look at the Materia Medica under “Proving Welsh Slate”
    They also do Buckyballs. Milgrom gets a mention.

    Next week; “Proving Bono’s Hat”

    Comment by Humber — February 16, 2008 @ 12:19 am

  92. Suppose your condom breaks at a critical moment.

    What do to? If you believe in medicine you (if the female, I know its obvious but we’re dealing with homeopaths here)
    go to emerge and ask for the morning after pill
    If you believe in homeopathy what do you do? Cross your fingers and hope?

    I notice there is a proving of latex rubber from a condom,but I don’t think that is the remedy you want.

    Comment by Bill — February 16, 2008 @ 1:16 am

  93. What would happen if you diluted and succussed some rohypnol?

    Comment by Andrew Taylor — February 16, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

  94. I can’t remember.

    Comment by Mojo — February 17, 2008 @ 1:36 pm

  95. How many homeopaths does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 17, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

  96. Homeopaths don’t replace lightbulbs. They remove the underlying cause of the last light bulb’s failure.

    Comment by John R — February 17, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

  97. How many homeopaths does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    307. 1 to try and screw in the lightbulb, 306 to rail and rant against bayonet fittings used by “allopathic electricians”.

    Comment by nash — February 17, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

  98. Post 96: “Next week; “Proving Bono’s Hat””

    Guaranteed to stop you being a pretentious, egotistical twunt who hasn’t made a good song in over 15 years.

    Comment by John R — February 17, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

  99. Err… that should have been post 91.

    Comment by John R — February 17, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

  100. John R: Your’re good!

    How many skeptics does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 17, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

  101. I liked Nash’s as well….I came up with one:

    How many homeopaths does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    None, they like to be the dark.

    I couldn’t help it- it just popped into my mind!

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 17, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

  102. One more time:

    How many homeopaths does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    None, they like to be in the dark.

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 17, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

  103. How many skeptics does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    I’d need to see some peer-reviewed evidence before I could give you a firm answer.

    Comment by John R — February 17, 2008 @ 5:54 pm

  104. How many men does it take to screw in a lightbulb ?

    Only one. Men will screw anything.

    How many Technical Support folks does it take to change a lightbulb ?

    – We have an exact copy of the bulb here, and it appears to work fine. Can You tell me what kind of system You have ? Okay, exactly how dark is it ? Okay, there could be four or five things wrong…. Have You tried the light switch ???

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 17, 2008 @ 6:21 pm

  105. How many skeptics does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Just one, but when he called to tell his friends how delighted he was to now to have the light back on, no one believed him because it was just anecdotal.

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 17, 2008 @ 7:11 pm

  106. How many sceptic scientists does it take to change a lightbulb?

    one to define ‘a lightbulb’
    one to define ‘change’
    10 to peer review the definitions of ‘lightbulb’
    10 to peer review the definition of ‘change’

    100 outside the room denying the existence of a ‘lightbulb’ and therefore the concept of change.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — February 17, 2008 @ 7:35 pm

  107. How many homeopaths does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Unanswerable. Hanhemann says nothing about light bulbs.

    “Technical Support” would be advanced homeopathic engineering.

    Comment by Humber — February 17, 2008 @ 9:07 pm

  108. “How many skeptics does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Just one, but when he called to tell his friends how delighted he was to now to have the light back on, no one believed him because it was just anecdotal.”

    Ha.. They’d ask for a DBCT with at least 100 light bulbs.

    Comment by Bill — February 18, 2008 @ 4:19 am

  109. You wouldn’t randomise it?

    Comment by homeopathy4health — February 18, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

  110. This post is being closed due to poor quality jokes on all sides.

    Comment by gimpy — February 18, 2008 @ 3:31 pm


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