Respectful Insolence

I almost feel sorry for homeopathy Jeremy Sherr. Almost. You see, he is busily learning a lesson that HIV/AIDS denialist Celia Farber learned a couple of weeks ago, namely that, unlike the fictional nation of Oceania in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, memory holes do not work very well in the Internet age.

I’ll backtrack a bit and explain. Last week, several readers sent me reports about a homeopath named Jeremy Sherr, who apparently in November went to Tanzania in Africa and has been busted by the skeptical blogosphere for proposing on his blog Jeremy’s Journal from Africa completely unethical “clinical trials” using homeopathy to treat HIV infection. Sherr, of whom I had never heard before these reports, runs the Dynamis School of Advanced Homœopathic Studies and is in fact fairly famous in homeopathy circles. Of course, to me being “famous” in homeopathy circles is much the same as being famous in the con artist circles, but we’ll leave that aside for a moment. In any case, Sherr apparently had a vision. As visions go, it was about as useless a vision as I can possibly imagine. He wants to bring homeopathy to Africa to treat HIV. No boring effort and money to bring effective antiretroviral therapy in the form of HAART to poor Africans with HIV infection, you know, something that would actually save and prolong lives and decrease suffering. Oh, no, that’s too “conventional” and “scientific” for Mr. Sherr. Instead, he’s expending time and money to bring placebos in the form of water to Africans in Tanzania, which to him is apparently a much more useful utilization of his time and money than bringing, you know, actual effective medicine. Certainly it is cheaper.

Here’s how Sherr describes this project on his website (downloaded on 1/18/2008):

Our project has several objectives; 1) To treat as many AIDS patients as possible, so as to relieve suffering 2) To develop a homoeopathic understanding of the disease. This understanding should enable us to list the homeopathic remedies which are most successful in treating AIDS. 3) To make our project sustainable by spreading this knowledge and the related remedies throughout Tanzania and Africa, so that local health practitioners will be able to prescribe these remedies to large masses of people. 4) To produce formal research on the treatment of AIDS with homoeopathy so as to show the world what it is able to achieve.

Together with Sigsbert Rwegasira, a Tanzanian homoeopath, and other international homoeopaths, Jeremy will initially create a clinical and teaching infrastructure in Tanzania. Once this is established, more homeopaths will come to Tanzania to participate in the project. When this mechanism is fully operational, we aim to open homoeopathic schools in Tanzania and throughout the whole of Africa, training doctors, homeopathic professionals, nurses and local practitioners.

We have the support of several eminent homeopathic researchers, as well as the Muhumbili University of Health Sciences in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and the Department of Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland, USA.

I’m particularly interested in Sherr’s desire to discover a “homeopathic” understanding of the disease. Let’s see. I’m not a homeopath, but I understand the ridiculous principles of the Law of Similars. HIV causes profound immunosuppression that generally takes several years to develop after the initial infection. What else causes profound immunosuppression? Well, high dose chemotherapy in preparation for bone marrow transplant with stem cell rescue will do it. It’s also a permanent destruction of the immune system such that it can only be reconstituted with a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. Consequently, by the Law of Similars, all Sherr would have to do would be to get some of those nasty chemotherapy drugs used for ablation of the immune system in preparation for bone marrow transplant, dilute them by 30C (remember, each dilution in the series of 30 is 1:100, making this a 1 x 10-60 dilution), and use that to treat HIV/AIDS. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe. Avagaddro’s number is around 6 X 1023; so a 30C dilution is at least 36 orders of magnitude greater than that, meaning that the odds against the presence of a single molecule in the remaining dilution is astronomical. There you go: Instant homeopathic treatment for AIDS.

Of course, I’m being facetious. Homeopaths will solemnly and condescendingly tell you it’s much, much more complicated than that and that each treatment must be “individualized” (which, to a homeopath, basically means “make it up as I go along”), but it isn’t really, at least not when you boil it down. On the other hand, since homeopathy was devised over 200 years ago, the concept of “immune system destruction” had not yet been elucidated; so one could argue that we would need to find something that causes similar symptoms as the ones that AIDS patients suffer and dilute and succuss that to make a homeopathic remedy for AIDS. So let’s give Sherr a chance to explain for himself:

In many ways homoeopathy is the perfect medicine for persons suffering from AIDS, and particularly in Africa. AIDS means Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Homoeopathy works by stimulating and enhancing the immune system and therefore it is precisely in this disease that homoeopathy can be most effective.

Homoeopathy is a system of medicine with an outstanding record of cures, both in individual and epidemic diseases. Homoeopathy was extremely effective in the great flu pandemic of 1918, and the cholera epidemics of the 19th century. Homeopathy has proved effective in yellow fever, whooping cough, polio, typhus, and malaria. Today, homoeopaths all over the world are having very promising results with AIDS patients, substantially improving their well being and restoring health.

While conventional medicine aims to fight the virus, and is able to buy time for the patient, there is no radical change in the underlying health. In effect, conventional medicine only supplies a temporary relief, often at a great cost financially, and with many severe side effects.

Funny, but I don’t recall Samuel Hahnneman saying anything about homeopathy “stimulating” the immune system. As has been explained many times before, “boosting the immune system” is a virtually meaningless claim, particularly when made in such a manner. The immune system is a tightly balanced system. Too little immunity, and disease or cancer can develop. Too much activity of the immune system, and devastating autoimmune disease can develop. There are also more than one type of immunity. Boosting the “wrong” type of immunity for an infection would do no good at all and could well do harm. I may not be an immunologist, but I can see Sherr’s nonsense for what it is–nonsense.

Even worse are Sherr’s claims that homeopathy was effective against the influenza pandemic of 1918. Really? What evidence does he base that claim on? Even worse, are claims that homeopathy can treat all those infectious diseases, particularly malaria. Indeed, about a year ago the Society of Homeopaths in the U.K. was criticized for not stopping its members from making claims that homeopathy could prevent or cure malaria. Its response? To abuse the U.K.’s plaintiff-friendly libel laws to threaten to sue the blogger who busted them. I suppose I should be grateful that Sherr left out leptospirosis as a “success story” for homeopathy. In any case, as is almost always the case with homeopaths, Sherr offers no evidence to support his claims of efficacy against all those diseases.

Another thing that the Society of Homeopaths fiasco demonstrated, as did Celia Farber’s attempt to alter her postings after her ill-advised writing about Christine Maggiore, is that the “memory hole” no longer exists. Shortly after the Society of Homeopaths forced the removal of the articles critical of its members, the article reappeared on dozens, if not hundreds, of blogs. This is very similar to what happened when über-quack Joseph Chikelue Obi tried to do the same thing, forcing a blogger through legal threats to remove posts critical of his promotion of quackery.

The bottom line is that the memory hole just doesn’t work on the Internet, whether it’s the person who wrote the information and is now trying to retrieve it or it’s information being forced off of a website or blog because of vacuous legal threats. It is a lesson that our intrepid homeopath Jeremy Sherr is now learning, as he tries to “realign” the contents of his blog to be not so incriminating when it comes to his advocacy of a completely unethical clinical trial of homeopathy in HIV patients in Tanzania. He announced his intention over a year ago:

It would involve treating three to five hundred AIDS patients over a couple of years. The aim is twofold; one, to treat individually and show the efficacy of homoeopathy for these patients and two, to look for a genus epidemicus for AIDS, providing it is an epidemic. Epidemics have certain characteristics and AIDS is one foot in and one foot out. I do not want to hear what this or that homoeopath gave an AIDS patient; I just want to collect the symptoms for myself, as Hahnemann said we should do with epidemics, and see.

Doing research in Third World countries is very dicey from an ethical standpoint, because it is increasingly being viewed as unethical to provide anything less than the scientifically validated standard of care as the minimum floor of therapy to patients in the control group, even if such therapy is normally not available to the people living in such areas. Indeed, the Helsinki Declaration codifies this principle:

32. The benefits, risks, burdens and effectiveness of a new intervention must be tested against those of the best current proven intervention, except in the following circumstances:

  • The use of placebo, or no treatment, is acceptable in studies where no current proven intervention exists; or
  • Where for compelling and scientifically sound methodological reasons the use of placebo is necessary to determine the efficacy or safety of an intervention and the patients who receive placebo or no treatment will not be subject to any risk of serious or irreversible harm. Extreme care must be taken to avoid abuse of this option.

Neither of these conditions apply to any therapy of HIV. There is an effective treatment in existence, and using a placebo would harm HIV patients. Now compare this to what Sherr ended up actually proposing:

When I was in South Africa 5 years ago, we had designed a very complex trial together with the Nelson Mandela hospital in Durban. This trial had three arms; patients with homoeopathy and without ARV treatment, patients with homoeopathy and ARV treatment, and patients with ARVs alone (Placebo treatment is considered unethical in AIDS). It was a very comprehensive and well designed trial and it covered all the bases. And once the dean of the hospital resigned to go into the private sector, it was also a very dead trial. So I am happy to go for a simple trial initially, with one arm of AIDS patients with homoeopathy and no ARV. There are plenty of statistics on ARV treatment and patients with no treatment at all that we can compare to. If we can prove that homoeopathy has any positive effect at all, we can move on to bigger and better things.

The best available therapy for HIV/AIDS is HAART. Period. Or, at least, until better therapies are developed. Consequently, even if homeopathy weren’t utterly implausible and no more than a water placebo, it would have been completely unethical to include a homeopathy alone arm to this study. Because homeopathy is nothing more than water with no reasonable likelihood to be expected for therapeutic benefit, the trial design that Sherr originally intended was utterly unethical. Indeed, it was even more unethical than an appallingly unethical study of homeopathic remedies in infectious diarrheal diseases in Honduras. Sherr was informed of this in the comments of his blog by numerous people. He then did what Celia Farber tried to do. He tried to throw his original comments down the “memory hole” and produce a newer, shinier, happier version without the ethical–shall we say?–lapses:

When I was in South Africa 5 years ago, we had designed a very complex trial together with the Nelson Mandela hospital in Durban. This trial had three arms; Homoeopathy for HIV patients who are not yet eligable for ARVs, patients with homoeopathy and ARV treatment, and patients with ARVs alone (Placebo treatment is considered unethical in AIDS). It was a very comprehensive and well designed trial and it covered all the bases. And once the dean of the hospital resigned to go into the private sector, it was also a very dead trial. So I am happy to go for a simple trial initially, treating AIDS patients who are not taking ARVs. There is no shortage of patinets who, although they have been offered ARVs, have chosen not to take them, usually because of the serious and debilitating side effects. There are plenty of statistics on ARV treatment and patients with no treatment at all that we can compare to. These are only preliminary thoughts, and any trial we undertake will be rigorously planned and ethically reviewed. If we can prove that homoeopathy has any positive effect at all, we can move on to bigger and better research.

I can’t help but ask Sherr what lawyers always ask witnesses who change their story: Are you lying now or were you lying then? Sadly, what Sherr apparently doesn’t realize is that, even though this new version of the trial he supposedly proposed is not as bad as the original from an ethical standpoint, it is still of highly dubious ethics. Remember the Helsinki Declaration. It requires that clinical trials test new therapies against the best current standard of care. Any exception is frowned upon, and there has to be an incredibly compelling reason justified by the researcher sufficiently to convince an ethics panel before such research can even be considered. This is to prevent “slumming” in poor countries by physicians in rich countries; in other words, it’s a way of protecting vulnerable poor populations from exploitation. As an investigator you can’t go to Third World countries looking for patients who aren’t getting the standard of care and propose to test something that is below the standard of care. This would be true even if homeopathy had therapeutic potential. Given that homeopathy is nothing more than a placebo, Sherr’s “reinvention” of his proposal is a long run for a short slide. It may be marginally less unethical than his original proposal, but it’s still pretty damned unethical. Sherr’s utter cluelessness about even the very basic ethical principles of clinical research is showing.

Fortunately, others have taken action to archive much of what Jeremy Sherr has written and said about his plans to “research” homeopathy for AIDS:

Yes, there are Jeremy and Camilla Sherr, advocating the use of homeopathy to treat epidemics and, after noting that “killing all the bacteria and viruses” only makes them come back stronger, claiming that it can “make the person stronger” to fight off viruses. Never mind that that, even if that worked, it would be a selective pressure just like antibiotics, and the bacteria would evolve resistance. Indeed, if this post by Camilla Sherr is any indication, the Sherrs are even more clueless than I thought:

In particular case 101, the first case I saw when I arrived. She feels that the ARVs are poisoning her, and claims that she feels worse in many ways since taking them; she had been vomiting continuously for months, which began soon after the drugs. Her relatives are very worried about this. There was a long list of symptoms: Chest pain, fullness in the stomach, dark brown urine. She is very weak, and has heaviness in the legs. She suffers from bad dreams, has a sense of failure and is constantly angry. She sleeps poorly. Before the ARVs she had a CD4 of 137. We don’t have a CD4 now (the lab was not yet set up when we took this case).

Three weeks after the remedy she is feeling better then she has for a long time. Her energy is vastly improved, and she can walk long distances. Legs are better, sleeping well, glands down, stomach better, urine clear, dreams gone, no vomiting. She is feeling much happier in herself. But here is the real surprise: her CD4 count this week has gone up to a massive 1430! That is beyond healthy. What a shame we didn’t have the initial count, so I am NOT claiming the the amazing CD4 count is a result of homoeoapthy, but the general improvement certainly is.

So, research ethics or no research ethics, the Sherrs are forging ahead treating Tanzanians with quackery. Worse, they use the same sort of ploy that cancer quacks do. When a patient is treated with both conventional therapy and quackery, attribute any improvement to the quackery (wink-wink, nudge-nudge, tha’ts not what I’m sayin’, you know, but I’m sayin’), not to the proven medication. Worse, as is described by Gimpy, Jeremy Sherr isn’t just a lone wolf. He appears to have the backing, or at least the tacit approval, of much of the homeopathy establishment in the U.K.

The Sherrs appear to be sincere, but it is that very sincerity, combined with utter cluelessness about how scientific and clinical research is conducted, that makes them dangerous, especially to impoverished HIV-positive people in Africa. What they propose is the use of the ancient superstition of sympathetic magic dating perhaps as far back as Paracelsus instead of medicine, wishful thinking instead of science. It is not for nothing that it’s said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and it’s clear that he and his wife really, really believe, as demonstrated by this quote:

I have decided that the main aim is to get out there and cure as many people as possible. I know, as all homeopaths do, that you can just about cure AIDS in many cases. But shhhh… I’m not allowed to say that, so you didn’t hear it. With the little funding that I have I will start working in Sigsbert’s existing clinics seeing as many AIDS patients as I can. Together with Margot Diskin from Ireland we will check out the northern areas of Tanzania and see if there are more opportunities to treat the sick. That is the first, high and only mission.

[…]

And that is the third mission, teaching homeopathy, spreading what we learn, using Sigsbert’s School and any other means possible. We need to get homeopathy known through Africa, because millions are dying of AIDS and malaria and TB, and the pharmaceutical companies are making fools of them with their expensive, non curing, mal inducing drugs. Homeopathy IS the solution for Africa- curative, gentle, natural, and affordable. No side effects- just effective!

Of course, even the Sherrs’ good intentions don’t stop them from–shall we say?–“revising” history when their cluelessness leads them to proposing astoundingly unethical clinical trials. Particularly amusing is Jeremy Sherr’s rant about the justified criticism of his proposed research:

How predictable; the Pharmaceutical Inquisition have discovered my site and they are squawking away in a hysterical frenzy. I take this as a compliment and thank them for the publicity.

Alas, the pharma-inquisition has a nasty little habit of nit picking other peoples blogs as if they were a scientific document, misstating issues, taking them out of context and amplifying them into a malevolent distortion of truth. For their benefit I will STATE THE FACTS CLEARLY:

Ah, yes, the usual conspiracy mongering about big pharma. Not very original, I’m afraid. Neither is his lying about what he clearly said previously about having designed an a clinical trial five years ago that involved a no-antiretroviral arm nor his having altered the text of what he had written. As jaycueaitch asks, how does Mr. Sherr reconcile his claims now that he is not advocating using homeopathy instead of anti-retroviral drugs with his previous claims that homeopathy can cure AIDS? Also, if he was so honest and had no intention of ever doing research that would include a group of HIV-positive patients receiving only homeopathy and no HAART, why did he feel the need to go back and revise what he wrote only after bloggers noticed it and called him out for it? Even more importantly, why does he make no mention that he had revised his text?

Worst of all, though, Jeremy Sherr has made it very clear that he doesn’t care about ethics–not really–through his statement in the past (archived here and, for the moment at least, still on Sherr’s website):

I personally am too impatient for academics, research and statistics but I feel that it has got to be done. Therefore I have been working to set up a proper research study of homoeopathy treating HIV and AIDS patients. And because I have contacts and a bit of a name, maybe I can get it off the ground, with a little luck and help from my friends. But it has been very frustrating, because the academic wheels grind far too slowly for me. You have to find willing partners and get a protocol through an ethics committee, and you need to talk their language. I hope it will work but if not, I will just go and do it on a small scale myself – I am determined to do that.

Translation: I know I’m right and don’t need no steeekin’ science. I’ll grudgingly try to dabble in science and “play the game” because I have to, but if the ethics board stops me I’ll just go ahead and treat AIDS patients with homeopathy alone anyway.

Unfortunately for the Sherrs, as was the case with the Society of Homeopaths, Joseph Chikelue Obi, and Celia Farber, when it comes to the quackery of the Sherrs the memory hole no longer works in the Age of the Internet. In their case, that’s definitely a good thing. Dangerous quacks like these homeopaths shouldn’t be allowed to experiment on impoverished Africans just because they are deluded enough to think that it will help and because they think they can get away with it.

Comments

  1. #1 wilsontown
    January 19, 2009

    Excellent, comprehensive post on the Jeremy Sherr saga. Just one thing…you have his name spelled “Scherr” throughout.

  2. #2 Christophe Thill
    January 19, 2009

    “…his advocacy of a completely unethical clinical trial of homeopathy in HIV patients in Tanzania”

    Am I the only one thinking of the Tuskegee experiment on untreated syphilis, the very same one that the woo crowd is always so eager to invoke?

    COncerning the link between homeopathy and the 1918 Spanish Flu: it may be because Joseph Roy, the inventor of Oscillococcinum, thought he had discovered the agent of this disease (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscillococcinum).

  3. #3 Neuroskeptic
    January 19, 2009

    wilsontown: “Just one thing…you have his name spelled “Scherr” throughout.”

    To Sherr is human…

  4. #4 penn
    January 19, 2009

    I don’t think of myself as into woo medicine or anything, but I think there is a definite place for homeopathy in the third world. Homeopathic medicine is not completely worthless and has certainly shown to be beneficial in the treatment of dehydration and the avoidance of water-borne pathogens. It would be wonderful if homeopaths spent some money to put in wells and water treatment facilities in the third world.

  5. #5 Bardiac
    January 19, 2009

    Penn already thought what I was thinking. Enough good, potable water wouldn’t cure AIDS, but it would help in all sorts of other ways.

  6. #6 SC
    January 19, 2009

    Doing research in Third World countries is very dicey from an ethical standpoint, because it is increasingly being viewed as unethical to provide anything less than the scientifically validated standard of care as the minimum floor of therapy to patients in the control group, even if such therapy is normally not available to the people living in such areas. Indeed, the Helsinki Declaration codifies this principle:

    …in other words, it’s a way of protecting vulnerable poor populations from exploitation. As an investigator you can’t go to Third World countries looking for patients who aren’t getting the standard of care and propose to test something that is below the standard of care.

    The battle to defend and uphold this and other basic ethical standards in the US and at the WMA has been fought by people like Peter Lurie

    http://www.citizen.org/publications/release.cfm?ID=7373

    against the best efforts of PhRMA and various people in the US (including so-called ethicists and people at the CDC, FDA, NIH) to gut Helsinki.

  7. #8 Dilaceratus
    January 19, 2009

    Really, there is a very simple way for Mr Sherr to do the work he advocates, if he’s so “impatient”– merely infect himself with HIV, and then show that his water has cured him.

    While this is unethical of itself, it hardly registers on a scale which includes experimenting on those without other (genuine) medical options.

  8. #9 netlog
    January 19, 2009

    Thankss Hacıı

  9. #10 Karl Withakay
    January 19, 2009

    It’s a shame that the supernatural effects of homeopathy and water memory don’t work in vitro or in animal trials. If one could prove effectiveness in cell or tissue culture or in animals (via double blinded RCTs, of course), that would be a basis for a double blinded, randomized clinical trial where a group of subjects were randomized into two groups, one with HAART only, and another with HAART plus homeopathy. If homeopathy was shown to be effective in that trial, and the results reproduced in larger trials, THEN you could investigate HAART vs Homeopathy plus reduced levels of HAART. If those trials showed strong, beneficial effects from homeopathy, THEN you could do trials of homeopathy vs HAART. But since homeopaths know homeopathy works, they can skip past all the preclinical and preliminary trials and do relatively uncontrolled, non randomized, unblinded field tests.

  10. #11 Chris Noble
    January 19, 2009

    AIDS is a perfect choice for quackery. The normal course of HIV disease means that there is ample time for all sorts of ‘modalities’ to achieve amazing results before the consequences of denial are seen.

    If the quacks do it right then they won’t be around to see the consequences. When their patients get sick then they will either a) die or b) get real treatment. Either way they are unlikely to go back to the homoeopathists and confront them with the bad news.

    Another quack, Tina van der Maas shows how this is done.
    Burglars ‘peed’ on Aids records

    “If you don’t hear from your patients, they are usually doing well. If it’s not going well, they’ll phone”

  11. #12 DLC
    January 19, 2009

    Don’t these homeopaths realize how dangerous the chemical solvent DHMO is? people die from minimal exposure to DHMO every year! And don’t get me started on the toxic exposure to
    C12H22O11, which is associated with diabetes, obesity, tooth decay and other illnesses, and is flammable on top of that!
    (end joke)

    If this quack came to my country and asked to “do a study” I’d have him thrown out. Africa in general needs much more help regarding HIV/AIDS, including prevention and treatment.
    It does not need people like Sherr, who is either delusional or a con man.

  12. #13 Dr* T
    January 20, 2009

    Hi Orac,

    Excellent assembly of the whole story. Here is one more (mine) just for completeness – doesn’t really add anything new!

    T

  13. #14 Alan Kellogg
    January 20, 2009

    If magic did work, wouldn’t it be better to use it to make treatments that work work better?

  14. #15 Nash
    January 20, 2009

    On the Salford Univesity Homeopathy course, Ethics is an optional module.

  15. #16 D. C. Sessions
    January 20, 2009

    I’m particularly interested in Sherr’s desire to discover a “homeopathic” understanding of the disease.

    The problem is that, according to homeopathy, there is no such thing as an “immune system,” since homeopathy doesn’t accept that disease is caused by anything to become “immune” to.

    From a homeopathic standpoint, all that’s necessary is to treat the symptoms as they arise and all is well. Therefore, the homeopathic treatment of HIV disease would be a treatment for Karposi’s sarcoma, a treatment for tuberculosis, a treatment for pneumonia, etc.

  16. #17 jdc
    January 20, 2009

    I’ve also covered Jeremy Sherr’s post on the “Pharmaceutical Inquisition” and found that the pro-homeopathy blog “Homeopathy Resource”, as well as supporting Sherr’s proposed research(*), had a claim that Sherr was a member of NASH (North American Society of Homeopaths). I’ve emailed NASH to inquire as to whether Sherr’s research fits with their Code of Ethics. I’m yet to receive a reply.

    (*)Like Sherr, they go for the “Big Pharma” gambit: “Much to the chagrin and opposition by Drug Company representatives and supporters who have a strong African market, Jeremy Sherr has initiated an AIDS project.”

  17. #18 jdc
    January 20, 2009

    BTW, I also referred to a paper on the knowledge and attitudes of homeopaths in India with regards Aids. [eCAM 2008 5(2):221-225; doi:10.1093/ecam/nem018]

    Fifteen percent did not believe that sharing needles was a risk factor. Twelve percent of practitioners also failed to realise that “having sex with a person who has the aids virus” can lead to transmission of Aids. Fifteen percent of practitioners and educators even thought that you could tell who had Aids just by looking at them.

    My post.

  18. #19 Scott
    January 20, 2009

    (*)Like Sherr, they go for the “Big Pharma” gambit: “Much to the chagrin and opposition by Drug Company representatives and supporters who have a strong African market, Jeremy Sherr has initiated an AIDS project.”

    Well, that’s some reasonably clever wordsmithing. Strictly speaking, it’s true. But by focusing on the people with pharmaceutical links (as opposed to noting that everybody with a clue is chagrined and in opposition) they’ve implied that it’s fear for their profits which motivates the objectors. As opposed to the actual fear for Sherr’s victims and concern over how many people he’ll manage to kill with this.

  19. #20 Richard Eis
    January 21, 2009

    It’s highly amusing that he talks about curing people before he’s developed the “homoeopathic understanding of the disease” or even knows which remedies to use. Yet he is so certain that he has already found the cure.

  20. #21 pv
    January 21, 2009

    Together with Sigsbert Rwegasira, a Tanzanian homoeopath, and other international homoeopaths, Jeremy will initially create a clinical and teaching infrastructure in Tanzania.

    Clinical homeopathy? What’s the collective term for a group of terminally deluded people?

  21. #22 Rob Hinkley
    January 25, 2009

    Uh-oh, now Jeremy’Sherr’s really angry.
    I find it especially odd that Sherr’s saying “To learn more about the project, see my website http://www.dynamis.edu“, because the pages on dynamis.edu about Jeremy’s AIDS project in Africa were deleted last week, shortly after people drew attention to them. I’ve written to Dynamis to ask why the pages disappeared, but there’s been no reply. Fortunately, copies were kept.

  22. #23 Mike
    January 30, 2009

    Dear writer,

    I do not understand your point(s). I see only 2 options here:

    1. If Sherr does cure AIDS/HIV for millions of people or only a few, amazing.

    2. If he does not, at least he tried, as you said, his heart is in the right place – What have you done lately for these people?

    p.s

    I shall refer you to Sherr’s blog where he clearly states:

    “We have never offered, advertised, advocated or suggested homoeopathy as an alternative to ARVs to any AIDS patients in Tanzania or elsewhere. Not one patient has BEEN PERSUADED TO STOP or has been prevented from taking conventional medication as a result of our treatment. Most of the patients I treat are currently on ARVs. All patients have received prior medical advice.”

  23. #24 Scott
    January 30, 2009

    You should have actually read Orac’s post. If you had, you’d notice that Sherr DID very specifically advocate using homeopathy instead of ARVs. His current claim to the contrary is a bald-faced lie. That was, in fact, a good bit of Orac’s point (the whole “failure of memory holes” bit).

    So the result would actually be

    3. Sherr kills people by convincing them to use homeopathy instead of real medicine. While doing so, he also wastes a large amount of time and money that could have actually been used beneficially.

  24. #25 Lou
    February 4, 2009

    What the writer does not mention is that for all the billions of dollars being poured by ‘modern’ practictioners of allopathic medicine into finding a cure for AIDS/HIV, there is none.

    The ineffective, side-effect inducing drug cocktails being pushed on Africans as a ‘cure’ are, in fact, not a cure. Africans are being used as guinea pigs by big pharma.

    Why in the world would anyone object to this Sherr coming in and offering an alternative? Best case scenario, he helps people. Worst case, their AIDS/HIV progresses as before.

    At any rate, why not wait until you can prove that you have a cure or that he absolutely isn’t helping people?

  25. #26 Scott
    February 4, 2009

    What the writer does not mention is that for all the billions of dollars being poured by ‘modern’ practictioners of allopathic medicine into finding a cure for AIDS/HIV, there is none.

    True, but completely irrelevant.

    The ineffective, side-effect inducing drug cocktails being pushed on Africans as a ‘cure’ are, in fact, not a cure. Africans are being used as guinea pigs by big pharma.

    Nobody claims they’re a cure. They have, however, been thoroughly proven to greatly improve both quality and duration of life. “Guinea pigs” is ludicrous, given that ARV therapy is well-proven. Sherr is the one trying to use Africans as guinea pigs.

    Why in the world would anyone object to this Sherr coming in and offering an alternative? Best case scenario, he helps people. Worst case, their AIDS/HIV progresses as before.

    BS. Best case scenario, nothing happens. Far-more-likely worst case scenario, he kills people by convincing them not to take ARVs. There is no possible upside for anyone but Sherr, and massive downsides.

    At any rate, why not wait until you can prove that you have a cure or that he absolutely isn’t helping people?

    It HAS been proven that he absolutely isn’t helping people (to the maximum extent that anything *can* be proven, at least). It has similarly been proven that ARVs DO help people, even if they aren’t technically a “cure.”

    Are you REALLY that stupid, gullible, and uncaring?

  26. #27 Chris
    February 4, 2009

    Scott said “Are you REALLY that stupid, gullible, and uncaring?”

    Yes, he is. The call was for the stupid homeopaths to dump on ANOTHER blog, and he couldn’t find it. It has been amusing seeming them flounder and whine on Gimpy’s blog, especially the ones who complain on his “About” page about how everyone is being mean to Sherr.

  27. #28 homeopath
    March 6, 2009

    Eleven stupid presidents of the US have used homeopathy, to name just two Abraham Lincoln and Bill clinton, The stupid royal family does so for over 150 years, they have built the Homeopathic Royal Hospital in London. The silly queen mother who have used homeopathy all her life died at the age of 103, working at her royal duties until a couple of months before she died.
    The stupid famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin, David Beckham, Henry Ford, Rockefeller, James Darwin, Mark Twain and a few millions in Europe 30 millions to be exact. and some more royal families, Belgian and Spanish. Not to mention a few million Indians some people in the countries of South America.

    Whoever was treated correctly by homeopathy will survive.

    Homoeapaths tend to pass their profession to the next generation. My daughter is a homeopath, in India you have many doctors MD for now over four generations of homeopaths.

    Homeopathy is a joy work.

    and of course you will not let me have my say.

    One day you will too. Orac sounds like a good name for a hypocrit pharmaceutical who pretend to heal and they slowly kill.

    What you do here you do not know anything about homeopathy – or rather you know very well that it is a powerful tool of healing but very much against healing for reasons better known to yourself.

  28. #29 simone
    March 6, 2009

    oh , Et tu Brute, Gimpy…

  29. #30 Orac
    March 6, 2009

    and of course you will not let me have my say.

    And, of course, you are wrong.

    Unfortunately, your “say” only embarrasses you more.

  30. #31 Keith Dunlop
    March 24, 2009

    THE MAIN POST ABOVE IS FROM A DRUG COMPANY MASQUERADING AS CONCERNED SCIENCE. THIS IS NON OTHER THAN AN ATTEMPT BY THE DIRTY TRICKS DEPARTMENT OF A DRUGS COMPANY TO MINIMIZE RESEARCH INTO ALTERNATIVE WAYS OF TREATING THIS PHENOMENA FOR THE SAKE OF EVIL AND PURE PROFIT.

    MR SHERR HAS BEEN HOUNDED, VILIFIED, THREATENED, FOLLOWED AND COWED BY THE BIG PHARMA FRONT PEOPLE WHO HAS POSTED THIS, WHO CANNOT BE IDENTIFIED AND OPERATE UNDER ANY NUMBER OF “FALSE FRONTS”.

    THE DRUG COMPANY POSTING THIS SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF ITSELF AND HOPE THAT THEY ARE NEVER REVEALED. THIS IS THE NEW AGE OF WITCH HUNTING – ONLY ITS CORPORATE DRIVEN. THEY SEEK TO DISCREDIT ANY GENUINE AND CONCERNED ENVIRONMENTAL EFFORT OR ALTERNATIVE NATURAL TREATMENT. DIRTY TRICKS DOESN’T EVEN BEGIN TO DESCRIBE.

    INDUSTRIAL PHARMA ARE THE DIRTIEST MOST LOW LYING SCUMBAG SET OF PEOPLE AND WE ARE ON TO YOU. BE CAREFUL. AND STOP HARASSING PEOPLE BECAUSE YOU ARE PARALYTICALLY SCARED THAT SOMEONE WILL FIND A COST FREE WAY TO TREAT AIDS AND RENDER YOUR MULTI BILLION OPERATIONS USELESS.

    STICK TO YOUR BIZ JETS AND MULTI BILLION DOLLAR PROFITS. AND PRAY THERE IS NO POWER ABOVE AS YOU WILL SURELY ROT IN HELL.

  31. #32 Joseph C.
    March 24, 2009

    @Keith,

    If you double-layer the aluminum foil when you make your hats, then the minions of Big Pharma can’t read your mind or beam thoughts into your head anymore. The winged monkeys of BP are, as you point out, very sneaky.

  32. #33 Daniel J. Andrews
    March 25, 2009

    I’m sold on homeopathy now. Just look at the wonderful evidence and logic in homeopath’s stunning post. And hey, no capital letters either so he can’t be a wingnut.

    Joseph, didn’t a recent study find that tin actually attenuates or amplifies external radiation thereby making it all the easier for minions to beam thoughts into your head? They are indeed sneaky. In fact, you might be a minion yourself and are encouraging KD to wear tinfoil so he is easier to manipulate. Or perhaps I am and am trying to persuade tinfoil hat wearers to give them up so we can again read their minds and control their thoughts?

  33. #34 Joe T
    March 25, 2009

    Kieth,

    To amplify what Joseph said, always remember when constructing the anti-mind conttrol hat that the shiny side goes on the outside or it doesn’t work.

  34. #35 Dr. P
    March 26, 2009

    “Whoever was treated correctly by homeopathy will survive” Posted by: homeopath | March 6, 2009 12:27 PM

    –Unless , of course they haven’t chosen a therapy proven to significantly extend their lifespan because they’re taking a placebo which , as discussed is unethical to use in a devastating disease that…..oh, never mind……Dr. P

  35. #36 tony
    April 15, 2009

    about homeopathy being placebo:

    Does anybody think that Jeremy, Camilla, and the other homeopaths would have lasted three and a half months in Tansania? Their work must be genuine, show beneficial results. As I and my colleagues had experienced classical homeopathy, the improvement begins right from the moment you lay the remedy under your tongue.

    Beyond doubt Jeremy and his crew are highly appreciated by the people and Govt of Tansania.

  36. #37 Chris
    April 15, 2009

    tony said “Beyond doubt Jeremy and his crew are highly appreciated by the people and Govt of Tansania.”

    How do we know beyond your anecdote? Where is your evidence, and why should we believe you?

  37. #38 MartinM
    April 15, 2009

    Their work must be genuine, show beneficial results. As I and my colleagues had experienced classical homeopathy, the improvement begins right from the moment you lay the remedy under your tongue.

    If it’s that effective, then proving so in a properly controlled trial should be a walkover. So why don’t they do it? Is there some reason they don’t want the world to know that homeopathy actually works?

  38. #39 The Perky Skeptic
    April 15, 2009

    MAYBE IF I POST A WALL OF TEXT IN ALL CAPS PEOPLE WILL BELIEVE MY ARGUMENT, AFTER ALL EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT LOUDER = MORE CORRECT!!!! HOMEOPATHY RULES, SCEINCEBOLGGERS DROOL!!!! MY ARGUMENT MAKES AS MUCH SENSE AS ANY OTHER HOMEOPATH POSTING HERE!!!!

    ;)

  39. #40 Kevin
    November 10, 2009

    what a lot of rubbish! stop stabbing each other and start focusing on a cure! good lord, you are a sick person! you need some help.

  40. #41 Aisha Sadia
    January 13, 2010

    i am a homeopathic doctor i need your help to treat aids patients in my country “Pakistan,Karachi” i am working on it since 5 years but i couldn’t do any thing because of lake of awareness in people about aids they know it’s just a sexual disease please guide me to treat patients

    I hope u reply me.

    Thanks,

    Dr.Aisha Sadia

  41. #42 Paul Grenville
    January 17, 2010

    Homeopathy sceptics have an a priori position on homeopathy, which goes something like this: Homeopathy is “only water” therefore clinical evidence that it works is dismissed out of hand – here’s some evidence. There’s plenty if you look.

    Homeopathy AIDS Study Demonstrates A Dramatic Ninety Per Cent Improvement

    Posted on October 25, 2009 by homeopathyresource

    A pilot project in Kenya using inexpensive homeopathic remedies has shown great promise in the treatment of AIDS . “More than 90 per cent of the patients showed significant improvement in their health. “The study [http://aidsremedyfund.org/index.html] and use of this homeopathic remedy could revolutionize the treatment of AIDS. It offers the millions of people suffering from AIDS in Africa who cannot afford the expensive pharmaceutical drugs dramatic relief.In the study, no one was taken off their medications but some participants could not afford conventional medications and those individuals did incredibly well using the homeopathic remedy alone.A dutch homeopath Jan Scholten MD has started a foundation “with the purpose of promoting complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the treatment of AIDS. The founders are convinced that alternative medicine has a lot to offer in the treatment of HIV infection and AIDS.”A report (http://aidsremedyfund.org/files/arf_info.pdf) giving the preliminary results showed dramatic improvement in those taking this homeopathic remedy.ResultsWithin two weeks, an improvement in appetite and an increase in energy andweight could be observed. In addition, in more than 90 percent of the patientsrecovery from opportunistic infections, such as the disappearance of diarrhoea,respiratory infections and skin problems was seen.This applied to both patients treated with conventional drugs and the group notreceiving any ARV treatment.The CD4 tests, which had initial values under 200, showed significant improve-ment. The levels increased by an average of 123 points (a CD4 value of 200 orless is a critical lower limit for which anti-viral therapy is deemed necessary). An improvement in quality of life could be observed in the whole researchgroup. Restoration of independent functioning became possible for practicallythe whole population after treatment with Iquilai.
    A pilot project in Kenya using inexpensive homeopathic remedies has shown great promise in the treatment of AIDS . “More than 90 per cent of the patients showed significant improvement in their health. “
    The study was funded by the AIDS Remedy Fund . The specially prepared homeopathic remedy used in the study could revolutionize the treatment of AIDS. It inexpensively offers the millions of people suffering from AIDS who cannot afford the expensive pharmaceutical drugs dramatic relief.
    In the study, no one was taken off their anti-viral conventional medications but some participants who could not afford conventional medications were also included in the study. Those individuals did incredibly well using the homeopathic remedy alone.
    The team of homeopathic Medical Doctors were led by dutch homeopath Jan Scholten MD. The homeopaths donated their time and energy to this pilot project. A foundation has been started ”with the purpose of promoting complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the treatment of AIDS. The founders are convinced that alternative medicine has a lot to offer in the treatment of HIV infection and AIDS.”
    The report giving the preliminary results showed dramatic improvement in those taking this homeopathic remedy. Here is part of a summary from the report:
    Results
    Within two weeks, an improvement in appetite and an increase in energy and weight could be observed. In addition, in more than 90 percent of the patients recovery from opportunistic infections, such as the disappearance of diarrhoea, respiratory infections and skin problems was seen. This applied to both patients treated with conventional drugs and the group not receiving any ARV treatment. The CD4 tests, which had initial values under 200, showed significant improvement. The levels increased by an average of 123 points (a CD4 value of 200 or less is a critical lower limit for which anti-viral therapy is deemed necessary).
    An improvement in quality of life could be observed in the whole research group. Restoration of independent functioning became possible for practically the whole population after treatment with Iquilai, [the homeopathic remedy].
    More Results:
    The results of this pilot study in the treatment of HIV/AIDS are as follows:
    • More than 90% of the patients had a positive response to the remedy, defined as an increase of 10 points or more on the Karnofsky score. 68% had an increase of 20 points or more.
    • There was a strong improvement in their health status. Opportunistic infections healed without further intervention.
    • 65% of the patients were requiring assistance (Karnofsky score < = 60) and changed their status to being able to perform their normal duties again.(Karnofsky>80)
    • The CD4 cell values of the tested group showed significant increases.(average of 123 points).
    • Side effects from regular ART were reduced.

  42. #43 Paul Grenville
    January 17, 2010

    What makes Homeopathy scientifically feasible…

    The Principle That Makes Homeopathy Scientifically Possible:

    ‘The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts’
    — Alex Hankey, Ph.D.

    This paper examines the materialist, scientific view that homeopathy is necessarily contrary to all known laws of science, and shows it not to be the case. Recent theoretical advances contradict it. They indicate that systems involving correlations at both microscopic and macroscopic levels provide appropriate models. Materialism posits that no effect can occur without a material cause, failing to take into account the more abstract concept of information. It effectively holds that, for all systems, ‘The Whole is (only) Equal to the Sum of its Parts’. However, systems exhibiting correlations between subsystems possess hidden information, so that:

    ‘The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts’

    a principle for which a quantitative definition is given. The principle is well known and applies widely – for a system to be holistic, it must be true. To avoid violating scientific laws, theories of homeopathy must satisfy it – Holistic Medicine can only be described by appropriately holistic physics. By way of illustration, it is shown how the principle applies to the analysis of homeopathy itself, and to various theories of homeopathy.

    INTRODUCTION

    It is often said that the possibility of physiological action of potentised homeopathic medicines is ruled out by modern science. Editors of top medical journals refuse to publish articles on them [1]; invited editorials say they “cannot possibly produce any effect” [2]; the debate does not conform to normal scientific standards [3,4]; “The medical and scientific community has generally dismissed homeopathy because of a lack of plausible mechanism”, and despite properties of complex systems [5]. There is every indication of an incipient scientific revolution [6].

    Dylan Evans expresses the general misconception in his book, Placebo [7], as follows, “There is no place in our current scientific theories for any possible mechanism by which homeopathy might work.” Again, “either homeopathy is simply a placebo, or the whole of physics and chemistry as we know them are false.” Milgrom [8] quotes Ennis similarly: “if the findings of the pan-European experiment (Ennis) was part of, were repeated, the whole of physics and chemistry might have to be rewritten.”

    In point of fact nothing could be further from the truth. Recent advances indicate that the therapeutically active ingredient (TAI) of a homeopathic remedy has a quantum form connected to critical points. Torres [9], shows that critical points on networks provide suitable systems; Weingartner [10], that the TAI must obey scaling laws. In a heroic series of articles [11-15], Milgrom derives many known aspects of homeopathic medicine from his intuition that the TAI is a quantum wave function.

    Recently, a new model of cellular regulation has been used to show how an ultra-diluted solution of a toxin can reactivate a physiological system, deactivated by the original toxin – a scientific derivation of the principle underlying homeopathy [16]. The new theory of cellular regulation uses a new physical concept, critical regulation, based on well-known work by Prigogine [17], who pointed out that critical instabilities necessarily occur in biological control systems.

    The theory suggests that such instabilities can be dynamic attractors on which regulation becomes centered. The TAI is then identified as quantised critical point fluctuations since they can cause transitions in critically regulated systems. Significantly, there are reasons why such fluctuations can be activated by dilution and succussion – a theory emerges in agreement with the work of Torres [9] and Weingartner [10], consistent with Milgrom’s intuition [11-15].

    That the work of four separate scientists, pursuing quite different lines of approach to the problem of the TAI should result in a single self-consistent theory suggests that a genuine scientific theory of homeopathy may soon be completed. It appears to be a quantum theory of cooperative phenomena at far-from-equilibrium critical instability points. The mere possibility of such a theory, however, raises important philosophical questions:

    1. Why should the popular conception of what is and is not possible in science be so wide of the mark?
    2. More specifically, what fundamental principle that science and scientists have taken for granted, is being so spectacularly violated?
    3. Which scientific theories violate the principle? Is it valid or invalid?
    4. If it is invalid, what correct principle can replace it?
    5. How do the new theories conform to the new principle?
    IMPLICATIONS OF THE NEW THEORY OF HOMEOPATHY
    Answers indicated by the proposed theory of homeopathy [16], derive from the anomalous physics it entails. It uses unusual properties of physical systems: critical points where matter is unstable [18,9], such as occur in regulatory systems of living organisms [17]; that critical instability fluctuations obey scaling laws [19,10]; that in far-from-thermodynamic-equilibrium systems, instability fluctuations can induce phase transitions [20]; and the highly anomalous nature of the quantum fields of chemical instability fluctuations in the physiology [11-16,21-22], which thus have the power to induce observable phase transitions[1].

    All these elements of the theory possess properties contradicting common sense materialist science. Materialism posits the idea that all effect requires a material cause: without matter or energy, there can be no cause and effect. To the materialist, if all matter is removed, and a vacuum created, no effects can result from that lack of matter – it can have no action. Quantum theory and quantum field theory, however, are well-known to violate the mechanical materialist outlook; critical instabilities do so because they produce long range correlations so that different elements of the system are no longer independent of each other – independence of parts is a general supposition of the materialist perspective (see (2) below).

    First consider quantum systems: the necessity of material causes seems true in the macroscopic world, and remains true in the early quantum theories of Bohr, Heisenberg and Schrödinger, but it is not true in quantum theories of complex systems, because of the correlations pointed out by Einstein [23]. Nor is it true of quantum fields. In quantum field theory, the vacuum state itself is regarded as an infinite superposition of the ‘bare vacuum’ together with all possible ‘vacuum fluctuations’, consisting of all possible transitions from vacuum to vacuum with a virtual something in between. Virtual transitions, including vacuum fluctuations, virtual though they may be, are well recognized to produce real effects in matter and energy around them. They result in the famous Lamb Shift, in which two quantum states of the Hydrogen atom of otherwise equal energy are shifted relative to each other. If virtual transitions become correlated with similar virtual transitions in neighbouring systems in the environment, further energy shifts take place. Van Der Waals forces between non-polar chemical molecules, and the Casimir Effect, in which two parallel, uncharged conducting plates exert a measurable attractive force on each other, both arise in this way. The lowering of energies increases when such systems are closer to each other, giving rise to the forces between them[2]. In the Casimir effect, the cause may be visualised: tiny fluctuations in electrical polarisation in each plate spontaneously become correlated because this lowers their energy. The mechanics is clearly identical to quantum theory’s use of correlated virtual transitions, as outlined above, since quantum transitions are required to produce the tiny polarisations in each plate, and correspondingly virtual transitions to produce fluctuating polarisations.

    In the case of the quantum vacuum, spontaneous emission of quanta from any system, such as light from an atom in a light bulb, can be considered an effect of the vacuum and its fluctuations. This is seen most clearly from the theory of lasers. A state of n photons stimulates photon emission multiplying its probability by a factor of (n + 1). The extra 1 in the (n + 1) means that when no photons of the field are present, the vacuum state still has a stimulating effect. ‘Spontaneous emission’ can be attributed to stimulation by a residual potential in the vacuum state – its fluctuations, consisting of virtual, vacuum to vacuum, transitions.

    If all this is known and understood, what is the problem with homeopathy?

    If a quantum nothing, the quantum vacuum, can create effects by inducing transitions, why shouldn’t homeopathic remedies, similar kinds of nothing, in the form an ultra diluted solutions, also create effects inducing transitions in the physiology? The answer according to the new theory [16] is that they do, but the problem with accepting this possibility is two fold: first, the naïve materialism of popular scientific outlook, and second, the difficulty of seeing chemical systems in quantum terms. In fact, the new theories [11-16] adopt the latter perspective, but the first may still blind a person from seeing it.

    The problem lies in the apparent objectivity of what is being diluted. We think matter is ‘real’ because we can reach out and touch it, we can see it, taste it and smell it, all in a self-consistent way. We know matter is made of atoms, and therefore tend to think about them in exactly the same way, despite the fact that as scientists, we know equally well that they can only be adequately described by quantum theory with all its anomalies compared to the classical physics of the macroscopic world. We still tend to think of atoms as little, real, objects of the kind we see on the table in front of us – which they are not. As quantum entities they are not objectively real [24]. They have very different properties, and behave in surprisingly different ways. Naïve materialism fails to take this into account.

    When a chemical solution is diluted, we tend to think that it can only have properties we would ascribe to its component molecules as if they behaved the same as little billiard balls, or tiny versions of the ball and stick models we make to represent their internal structure. The idea that some hidden, latent property of atoms and molecules might manifest, simply because they have undergone a special process of dilution, does not occur to the materialist. To put it most simply, the materialist subscribes to a simplistic principle: ‘The whole is equal to the sum of its parts’ – get rid of all the parts, and, ‘Voila!’, there can be no effects.

    The ability of the quantum vacuum to induce transitions totally contradicts the materialist outlook, however. No longer is it true that nothing cannot have an effect. No longer can we say with King Lear, ‘Nothing will come of nothing’ [25]. The particular ‘Nothing’ consisting of the vacuum can exert a causative effect. If it can be shown that a ‘quantum nothing’ similar to the vacuum state of the electromagnetic field, but originating in dilution of chemical molecules, can produce changes in the physiology, a scientific theory of homeopathy would have been constructed consistent with what we already know about quantum theory.

    A NEW PRINCIPLE

    ‘The whole is equal to the sum of the parts’, is not universally valid. A deeper, more spiritual, principle holds. The old principle breaks down for correlated systems. Cooperative phenomena at phase transitions, such as are utilized in the new theory of homeopathy [16], and stimulated emission of light in lasers, are both due to correlations, which represent an internal ordering of a system’s subsystems. They have information value, but no inherent material energy – they are the domain of the information theorist, rather than the materialist. Nowadays, this is seen as the very nature of quantum physics, for as Stapp emphasises, ‘Information is the currency of quantum theory’ [26].

    Correlations’ internal ordering have observable consequences that cannot be predicted from gross knowledge of the system’s composition alone. If it is asked, ‘Why are observations on two such systems different?’ the matter energy content cannot explain it. The information contained in the abstract correlations is outside the materialist domain. Knowledge of the parts is not sufficient to predict all possible observations on the whole system – there is more information I (w) stored in the whole (w) than the sum Si of all the information I(pi) in each of the parts pi :

    I(w) > Si I(pi) (1)
    Such a system is said to be a whole more than the sum of its parts. In contrast classical systems conforming to the materialist idea that the whole is only equal to the sum of its parts satisfy:

    I(w) = Si I(pi) (2)
    The inequality (1) thus offers a quantitative definition, and criterion for the validity in any given system, of a different principle:

    ‘The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts’
    This principle is widely known, and applied in many ways, not just to physical or scientific concepts such as systems. In the humanities where internal ordering principles, balancing interrelationships and harmonies, have central importance, it is a fundamental concept. It is not just at work in the nothing of a quantum vacuum, in human situations it is important because a mere nothing – an idea, information – can motivate everything.

    In King Lear, the whole drama emerges from Lear’s reaction to Cordelia’s ‘Nothing’! Shakespeare is in effect illustrating the deep principle whereby the Void is the origin and source of all things, an idea embodied in modern quantum cosmology by the ‘inflationary process’. Conclusive observational evidence now exists for this process [27], which initiates the Big Bang from an unstable pre-physical potentiality – physics shows conclusively that the origin of the universe as a whole is governed by the new principle, not the materialist one.

    It applies to all systems of thought summarized by Aldous Huxley in his Perennial Philosophy [28]. Wordsworth alludes to it at the climax of his autobiographical ‘Prelude’, his longest, and arguably his greatest, poem. Reflecting on a full-moon cloudscape seen from above during a night ascent of Mt Snowdon, he locates in the scene ‘the Imagination of the Whole’ – the cosmic creative intelligence behind the whole creation – describing it as ‘the perfect image of a Mighty Mind, of One that feeds upon infinity’ [29] – an experience of the total wholeness of all creation, greater than the sum of its parts, thus revealing the truly holistic nature of reality. He tells how this experience of wholeness in the totality brought the final strokes of growth of (the cosmic) Imagination in the poet’s own mind – a true and valid experience of enlightenment, and principle theme of the whole poem.

    T.S. Eliot illustrates its role in writing and literature, at the climactic ending of Little Gidding, the final poem in Four Quartets: ‘every phrase and sentence is right, (where every word is at home, taking its place to support the others … the complete consort dancing together)’ [30]. Here, Eliot is also writing at a second, symbolic level, in which he uses ‘Word’ and ‘word’ consistently throughout his Quartets to represent the divine and individual soul. Incorporating the allusion to Shiva Nataraja, the passage’s symbolic meaning transmits an image of the wholeness of individual souls (words) rising to perfect wholeness in the divine, the ultimate basis of Wholeness and holism – once again, a realisation of enlightenment expressed in an image of the holistic nature of experience.

    The principle’s use is becoming more widespread, it is taught in schools and colleges around the world as one of the 16 principles of the core curriculum of the world’s largest and most successful system of private education, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Consciousness Based System of Education [31]. Sometimes in popular form, it is stated as: ‘A House is More than a Collection of Bricks’. Clearly a mere pile of bricks has little use compared to a house, or even a single wall, in both of which physical organisation creates potential uses and value. Organisation of what would otherwise be just a ‘pile of bricks’ both distinguishes it and makes it useful. Organisation results from information, and encodes it: once again inequality (1) holds. Such a role of spatial organisation in the uses of an object or system is one way the principle applies in classical physical science, and is of great significance, since it is the key to the relationship between structure and function – the way classical science begins to go beyond mere local causality. Similarly, the principle applies to any system with feedback, since the value of the whole is fed back to the parts, probably one reason why Cybernetics, Wiener’s work on regulation and control, made such a huge impact when it appeared [32].

    In all these ways, the new principle is of fundamental significance, to the universe as a whole, and everything within it. It is only those systems that do not satisfy it to which materialism applies. However, such systems were the only ones considered in the first centuries of mathematical physics, up to the 1930’s, so a false simplicity, materialism, was assumed to hold universally. In reality, the universe possesses a far richer structure due to the existence of correlations, quantum ones vilified by Einstein [23], and others at a classical macroscopic level. Such internal correlations endow systems with additional, hidden information, which can be denoted by I(C) and the numerical value of which is given by,

    I(C) = I(w) – Si I(pi) (3)
    the difference between the information I(w) attributable to the whole system and the sum of the values I(pi) attributable to its subsystems, or parts.

    At a macroscopic level correlations result from cooperative phenomena. They exist in all systems exhibiting phase transitions and critical instability points. At a microscopic level they exist in all multi-component quantum systems. This shows that the principle applies to all the theories proposed to explain homeopathy and referred to above [9-16].

    THE NEW THEORY OF HOMEOPATHY

    We still may ask, how does the validity of the new principle help to explain homeopathy? The answer is: in quantum field theory additional information I(C) hidden in a correlated system can, under the right circumstances, itself take on a quantum field form, endowing it with dynamic organizing power. The new quantum field, the quantised fluctuation field, is like a harmonic of the original field. Because of the details of their mathematical form, quantised fluctuation fields behave very differently from usual quantum fields when diluted. Apparently they are still observably present, even when the field itself has been diluted to zero. They can produce observable transitions, but only in special kinds of detector consisting of systems about to undergo a phase transition near far-from-equilibrium critical instability points. In such a detector, organizing power is supplied by the quantised fluctuation field, but most, if not all, the required energy comes from the dissipative processes required to maintain the system far from equilibrium.

    Where can such detectors be found? The answer is in the physiology of living organisms – provided they are organized according to the principle of critical regulation, whereby they are naturally centered on an appropriate phase transition region.

    The picture that has been constructed from the new principle is two-fold.

    1. Homeopathic remedies possess information and organizing power based on correlations; and

    2. like the quantum vacuum, they possess the ability to stimulate quantum transitions, albeit transitions of a very specialised kind, phase transitions in far-from-equilibrium thermodynamic systems near critical instabilities.

    On both accounts they violate the prejudices of scientific materialism. Further conditions must still be satisfied, however, for a given quantised fluctuation field to produce a phase transition. It will not do so at just any critical instability point. Each phase transition acts as an observing device specific to the quantised fluctuations of particular molecules. When this is considered in detail, it can be shown that diluted molecules of a toxin will restore function to exactly those systems poisoned by that toxin. The homeopathic principle precisely applies [16], a result that constitutes, more than any other, the final nail in the argument. It validates the entire line of reasoning. The whole theory is not only plausible; it predicts the correct relationship between chemistry and physiology.

    To summarize: the new theory of homeopathy yields a picture in which,

    1. a homeopathic remedy consists of a special kind of quantum field, the quantised fluctuation field of the molecules concerned;

    2. because of its anomalous properties, this field becomes activated during the processes of preparation of the remedy, while the ordinary field becomes weakened;

    3. the quantised fluctuation field has the specific ability to induce On/Off transitions in biological control systems when critical regulation holds – they are governed by critical points shown to exist by Prigogine [17];

    4. the homeopathic principle is valid.

    It is beyond the scope of this article to describe the new theory in full. That will be done in further papers. Instead, let us return to the five questions.

    ANSWERS TO THE FIVE QUESTIONS

    1. Why should the popular conception of what is and is not possible in science be so wide of the mark?

    Because, the common scientific outlook is wedded to materialism, despite all the evidence to the contrary of the past 100 years, and despite its being firmly negated by many important and essential aspects of quantum theory and quantum field theory – correlations, vacuum fluctuations, virtual transitions, and renormalization.

    2. More specifically, what fundamental principle which scientists and science have taken for granted, is being so spectacularly violated?

    Answer: that for any system, the whole is only equal to the sum of the parts implying that only the matter and energy constituting such parts can cause any observable effects. In fact all many body systems violate the principle because of information contained in correlations between their subsystems.

    3. Which scientific theories violate the principle? Is it valid or invalid?

    All theories of many body systems violate the principle that the whole is equal to the sum of its parts because of correlations between subsystems. Of particular interest are quantum theories of correlated virtual fluctuations since they apply to many chemical systems. All quantum field theories do so because of vacuum fluctuations and other, correlated transitions, giving rise to similar fluctuations. More generally, renormalization of the quantum field theory, in which the bare, unrenormalized, vacuum state becomes the physical, renormalized, vacuum state, does so. Vacuum fluctuations give rise to observable transitions between states (the renormalization process is crucial in theories of critical points and is central to the new theory).

    Since quantum theory is the fundamental language in which all physical theories of any and all systems ultimately have to be expressed, this means that no real physical systems at all satisfy the old principle. It is completely unfounded and subscribing to it an absolute error (it is worth reflecting for a moment how this reflects on our educational system, that such a simple fact about scientific systems should so completely have escaped notice).

    4. If it is invalid, what correct principle can replace it?

    The whole is greater than the sum of the parts: the principle that defines the meaning of the term holistic, and which contemporary physics finds to be valid throughout the observed universe, showing it to be holistic in nature and to have the potential to support every aspect of the Perennial Philosophy [26-31]. Woe betides those who deny this principle to be the case, so infinitely poverty stricken becomes their world-view, drowned in the slough of despond of scientific materialism!

    5. How do the new theories conform to the new principle?

    The different proposed approaches to understanding homeopathy embody the new principle in different ways. In Torres work [9], the fact that critical regions are proposed means that cooperative phenomena will be present, guaranteeing that the new principle holds. Similarly for Weingartner [10], the requirement that the TAI obeys a non-trivial scaling law is equivalent to invoking criticality and cooperative phenomena. In the case of Milgrom [11-15], the ordering by which the whole system is no longer equal to the sum of its parts, but is actually more than it, results from quantum correlations between the states of the subsystems, patient, practitioner and remedy. Milgrom expresses these in terms of super-positions of wave functions, without invoking the more complex aspects of the system. Even in the work of Walach [33], who succumbs to materialism and professes not to believe in a TAI, the effect of his symbolic content produces hidden information that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

    DISCUSSION

    These examples illustrate a new criterion for the validity of any proposed theory of homeopathy: all such theories must incorporate in their physics the principle that, ‘The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts’. Any theory that does not achieve this must inevitably be wrong.

    Interestingly, this is a slightly more sophisticated restatement of an idea first proposed by Hyland [34,35], namely that any physics of holistic medicine must incorporate the physics of complexity i.e. sciences like cybernetics, systems theory, and far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics. Hyland’s proposal agrees with the analysis of Bateson [36], who placed the sciences in two mutually exclusive classes, logical / mathematical and qualitative / holistic, which he termed pleroma and creatura. According to Bateson [36] holistic medicine, being in the creatura category must depend on sciences in the same category. This is precisely what Hyland indicates – valid theories of holistic medicine can only result from scientific theories with a similar holistic vein running through them. Cybernetics, Systems Theory and Far-From-Equilibrium physics (coming under complexity) all have the right quality. In all the systems to which they apply, the principle that, ‘The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts’ is satisfied.

    So, are the whole of physics and chemistry as we now know them, false? Clearly not. It is only that the wider possibilities inherent in their further reaches have not yet pervaded the scientific mindset, still less the popular mind. What is false is the supposed limitation that popular materialism imposes on what it considers scientific. The new theory of biological regulation, critical regulation [16], shows that homeopathy is certainly ‘scientifically possible’. So are many other supposedly unscientific phenomena associated with life and living systems, and complementary and alternative medicine (vide [16,21]).

    The real lesson we as scientists must learn is never to deny the scientific nature of a phenomenon because we do not, or can not, yet understand it. As Jobst has put it: ‘So what if there is no immediate explanation?’ [37], and as Wootton comments [38], ‘For the truly open-minded scientists, nothing is implausible.’ It is time to cast aside the veil of illusion that science sets limitations on what can be scientifically understood. Kuhn’s theory of scientific revolutions [6] clearly indicates otherwise.

    Milgrom [8] suggests the root of the problem lies in education: ‘While physicists benefit from up-to-date and sophisticated ideas based on modern quantum mechanics, relativity and complexity theories, these have yet to fully inform the biomedical sciences, whose theories are largely steeped in the over-simplistic determinism of the 18th and 19th centuries.’ Surely this is why ‘mainstream medical science feels outraged by practices it perceives to be a travesty of scientific understanding’ [3] – inappropriate, as Ryan [39] comments: ‘It is a foolish world that neglects the richness of traditional systems and even wishes to destroy them.’

    Now is the time to bridge the gap between CAM and biomedicine with new understanding and new science: ‘New theories, particularly apparently implausible theories, demand appropriate methods developed with honesty and integrity’ [38]. All physical systems satisfy the new principle at a microscopic level. Some complex systems do so at a macroscopic level too, so violating every aspect of the old naïve principle, the basis of materialism. Holistic medicine may require holistic theories, but they are there in abundance.

    SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

    Contrary to popular belief, the idea that ultra-diluted chemical solutions can have a physiological effect does NOT violate all laws of science, only materialist prejudice. Materialism posits that no effect can occur without a material cause. Quantum systems behave differently. Virtual transitions give rise to Van Der Waals forces and the Casimir Effect, while virtual fluctuations in the quantum vacuum are held to ‘stimulate’ spontaneous transitions. In chemical systems, parallel effects are possible and occur.

    Materialism tacitly subscribes to the general principle that ‘The Whole is (only) Equal to the Sum of its Parts’. All correlated systems satisfy the principle that ‘The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts’. This points to the solution to the problem of homeopathy. The advantages of expressing the solution in terms of a change in underlying principle are many:

    1. The principle formalises the definition of holistic, and shows how to provide it with a quantitative definition in inequality (1).

    2. In doing so, it refines Hyland’s important insight that understanding Holistic Medicine requires complexity physics [34, 35]: holistic physical theories involving correlations satisfying Eq. (3) are required.

    3. It thus presents a criterion that any physical theory must satisfy for it to be applicable to homeopathy or other aspects of holistic medicine.

    4. The problem of the impossibility of homeopathy disappears – though the challenge of precisely formulating the correct theory still remains[3].

    With regard to ‘the whole of physics and chemistry having to be rewritten’, Vickers [3] opines, in statements of extraordinary prescience: ‘It is quite plausible that homeopathy could add to, rather than replace, existing knowledge, as a newly understood phenomenon following previously undiscovered physical laws. … Even if homeopathy were to cause fundamental changes in scientific understanding, this would probably not entail that existing knowledge ‘be thrown away’ ‘.

    Generally, in all physical systems, ‘The Whole is greater than the Sum of its Parts’, because of their underlying quantum nature. To emerge onto the macroscopic level, control theory and correlation producing complexity physics must apply as well – which is why cooperative phenomena like critical instabilities and phase transitions, are central to the new theories. When these apply, science can still ‘have its physics and chemistry’ in a world in which homeopathy is scientifically possible – and true!

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

    I should like to acknowledge conversations with Drs Bruce and Marianne Curtis, Brian Josephson PhD, Richard Bentall FRCSEd., Lionel Milgrom PhD, Cyril Smith PhD, Noah Clinch PhD and Harry Pilcher MSc. I would also like to acknowledge the generosity of Richard Bentall, Harry Pilcher and Deborah Wright which has made the writing of this paper possible.
    REFERENCES
    1. Jonas WB. The Homeopathy Debate. Journ. Alt. Comp. Med. 6 (2000), pp. 213-215.

    2. Vandenbroucke JP. Homeopathy trials. Going nowhere. Lancet 350 (1997), p. 824.

    3. Vickers AJ. Clinical Trials of Homeopathy and Placebo: Analysis of a Scientific Debate. Journ. Alt. Comp. Med. 6 (2000), pp. 49-56.

    4. Dean ME. Commentary on Vickers: Humean, All Too Humean – A Circular Tale of Molecules and Miracles. Journ. Alt. Comp. Med. 6 (2000), pp. 57-59.

    5. Schwatrz GE, Russek LG. Can Physics and Physical Chemistry Explain the Workings of Homeopathy? A Systemic Memory View. Journ. Alt. Comp. Med. 6 (1998), pp. 366-367.

    6. Kuhn T. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 3rd Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, (1996).

    7. Evans D. Placebo. Harper and Collins, London (2003) pp. 148-153.

    8. Milgrom L. Homeopathy: The Therapy That Dare Not Speak Its Name? Network, 79, (2002), pp. 2-7.

    9. Torres J-L, Homeopathic effect: a network perspective. Homeopathy, 91 (2002), pp. 89-94.

    10. Weingartner O, What is the therapeutically active ingredient of homeopathic potencies? Homeopathy 92 (2003), pp. 145-151.

    11. Milgrom LR. Patient-practitioner-remedy (PPR) entanglement. Part 1: a qualitative, non-local metaphor for homeopathy based on quantum theory. Homeopathy, 91 (2002), pp. 239-248.

    12. Milgrom LR. Patient-practitioner-remedy (PPR) entanglement. Part 2: extending the metaphor for homeopathy using molecular quantum theory. Homeopathy 92 (2003), pp. 35-43.

    13. Milgrom LR, Patient-practitioner-remedy (PPR) entanglement. Part 3. Refining the quantum metaphor for homeopathy. Homeopathy 92 (2003), pp. 152-160.

    14. Milgrom LR. Patient-practitioner-remedy (PPR) entanglement. Part 4: Towards classification and unification of different entanglement models for homeopathy. Homeopathy 93 (2004), pp. 34-42.

    15. Milgrom LR, Patient-practitioner-remedy (PPR) entanglement. Part 7: A gyroscopic metaphor for the vital force and its use to model some of the empirical laws of homeopathy. Forsche Komp Klass Natur, 2004; (accepted for publicatIon).

    16. Hankey A, Are we close to a theory of energy medicine? J. Altern. Complement. Med. 10 (2004), pp. 83-87.

    17. Prigogine I, Stengers I, Order out of Chaos, Fontana, London, UK, (1985).

    18. Glansdorff P, Prigogine I, Thermodynamic theory of structure, stability and fluctuations. Wiley – Interscience, London, UK, (1971).

    19. Stanley HE, Introduction to Phase Transitions and Critical Phenomena. Oxford University Press, London and New York, (1971).

    20. Nitzan A, Ortoleva P, Deutch J, and Ross J. J Chem. Phys. 61, (1974), p. 1056.

    21. Hankey A, Regulation biophysics in the nadi / acumeridian system. Proceedings of the IMEDIS Conference. Moscow, (April 2004). Vol I. (English version obtainable by email from the author.)

    22. Chang TS, Vvedensky DD, and Niccoll JF. Differential Renormalisation-Group generators for static and dynamic critical phenomena. Physics Reports 217 (1992), pp. 281-360.

    23. Einstein A, Podolsky B, and Rosen N, Can a quantum mechanical description of physical reality be considered complete?. Phys Rev 47 (1935), pp. 777-780.

    24. D’Espagnat B. The Conceptual Foundations of Quantum Theory. Benjamin. Reading, Mass. (1976)

    25. Shakespeare W. King Lear I, 1, line 90. New Penguin Shakespeare Edition. Penguin, London, 1995.

    26. Stapp HP. Attention, Intention and Will in Quantum Physics. J Consciousness Studies 7 (8-9) (2001)p 143.

    27. Gratton S and Steinhardt P. Cosmology: Beyond the inflationary border. Nature, 423, (2003) pp. 817-818.

    28. Huxley A. The Perennial Philosophy. Chatto & Windus, London. (1946).

    29. Wordsworth W. The Prelude, 2nd Edition. (1805 version) Book XIII ls. 65 – 70. Oxford University Press, Oxford. (1959).

    30. Eliot TS. Little Gidding V ls. 3-10. Four Quartets, Harcourt, Brace & World, New York (1943)

    31. Nidich SN & Nidich RJ. Growing up Enlightened. MIU Press, Fairfield, Iowa. 1990.

    32. Wiener N. Cybernetics. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1948.

    33. Walach H, Magic of signs: a non-local interpretation of homeopathy. Br Hom. J. 2000; 89: 127-140.

    34. Hyland ME, Does complexity theory provide the basis for understanding the mechanisms underlying CAM. Handouts to integrated medicine conference (2001). Royal College of Physicians, London.

    35. Hyland ME, The intelligent body. New Scientist (2001); 170: 32-33.

    36. Bateson G. Mind and Matter. London: Wildwood House. 1979.

    37. Jobst KA. So what if there is no immediate explanation? J Altern Complement Med., 4 (1998) pp. 355-357.

    38. Wootton JC. Valedictory Editorial J Altern Complement Med., 7 (2001) pp. 609-611

    39. Ryan TJ, Global Initiative for Traditional Health Systems, J Altern Complement Med., 2, (1996) pp. 327-330.

    ————————————–
    Alex Hankey PhD
    Hethe House, Hartfield Road,
    Cowden, Kent TN8 7DZ, UK
    Email: alexhank@dircon.co.uk
    [1] Normally, a quantum field is observed when it produces an observable transition in macroscopic matter, by means of its (material) energy. In contrast, a quantum field of instability fluctuations can only be ‘observed’ by a highly coherent system such as occurs in an unstable material in a critical state. Close to critical points with their potential for coherent long-range macroscopic fluctuations, the right physical situation arises, but actually to be observed, these more subtle fields require far-from-equilibrium systems where fluctuations have associated energy thruput, so they can effect macroscopic transitions. This property under these special circumstances enables quantum fluctuation fields to provide the missing concept linking the subtle aspects of a potentised medicine to gross aspects of the patient’s physiology.
    [2] More generally, such energy shifts are part of a general process known as renormalisation, of fundamental importance in quantum field theory. Only those quantum field theories which can be renormalised are acceptable, those which cannot be are rejected. For 40 years, this criterion has been used to identify acceptable unified field theories including string theories.

    [3] This will be the subject of future publications

  43. #44 tresmal
    January 17, 2010

    Dude copypasting entire articles like that is considered trolling behavior. Try using a link. Scroll about halfway down the page.

  44. #45 Kristen
    January 17, 2010

    Ummmmmmm…Does this Paul Grenville think we will be so impressed with the amount of words he uses, we won’t notice they don’t make any sense?

    I am not a physicist, and I don’t know very much about quantum mechanics (wish I did, it is fascinating). It is shameful that these idiots are hijacking an emerging science, because they hope nobody will be smart enough to notice their theories don’t make any sense.

    Like I said I am not a physicist, but I had fun replacing all the mentions of homeopathy in the above comments with ‘invisible butterfly fairies’. Because if quantum systems prove that homeopathy works, I could finally reach my dream of proving the existence of magical butterfly fairies.

  45. #46 Orac
    January 17, 2010

    Actually, what Paul Grenville has done is to draw Orac’s attention to that “Homeopathy AIDS Study.” Could be some good blogging material for later in the week.

    Thanks, Paul!

  46. #47 Scientizzle
    January 17, 2010

    Do homeopathy advocates seem to think that quantum mechanics invalidates or undermines methodological naturalism? They only make themselves look ignorant when they spout off nonsense about “quantum” effects. It’s really quite farcical.

  47. #48 Chris
    January 17, 2010

    Orac, here is a blog that has mentioned the author:
    http://shpalman.livejournal.com/tag/alex+hankey (who commented on your blog last summer)

    and a commentary by Hankey:
    http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/nen032v1

    Have fun.

  48. #49 Chris
    January 17, 2010

    The idiot seems to have also hit ScienceBasedMedicine.

  49. #50 Peter
    February 22, 2010

    Dear little Kristen with your invisible butterfly faeries, try and pay attention. The words you have such difficulty understanding are not those of Paul Grenville, he has posted an article by Alex Hankey, who is a Cambridge University-trained scientist with a PhD in theoretical physics from MIT. As you say, you’re not a physicist and you don’t know very much about quantum physics. So are you qualified to call Dr. Hankey an idiot? Or are you just a typical critic of homeopathy: prejudiced, superficial, ignorant and full of bile? Hankey refutes the quackbusters’ pet allegation that an acceptance of homeopathy requires the whole of physics and chemistry as we know it to be re-written. He explains that the dynamic action of a remedy that has been diluted beyond avrogado’s number is not inconsistent with the laws of science: it only contradicts the naïve, materialist views that pre-date modern quantum physics. Join the other quackbusters of yesteryear who scoffed at invisible butterfly faeries like radiation and electromagnetism and bacteria (lets not even mention quarks and gluons). Homeopathy, unlike conventional medicine, has an underlying scientific theory. This theory is consistent with observed facts, it has led to analyses decades in advance of other medical practice, and it has a strong body of evidence of successful practice. On this basis it is entirely inappropriate to use the Evidence Based Medicine model to assess its practice, let alone a single element of that approach. Instead it should be tested by relating its clinical practice to the predictions of its theory, as would be the case in any other field of science. Homeopathy requires a Science Based Medicine model.(Visit http://www.hmc21.org/cgi-bin/download.cgi and download the Submission to get the full argument). Say hello to the faeries, sweetheart.

  50. #51 Chris
    February 22, 2010

    Sure, Peter. Just show us it works for non-self-limiting conditions. Don’t go bantering about physics (which I am pretty sure you do not really understand). Nor putting in a website where you are supposed to put in a testimony.

    To show homeopathy works, you have to actually show it works. So far when homeopathy is tested rigorously, it fails.

    Dr. Novella wrote about a debate he had on homeopathy, here. In it he wrote about a the comments of Andre Saine:

    Rabies is almost 100% fatal, even with modern treatment, so this is quite an astounding claim. An audience member helpfully suggested that we can test this claim on animals that contract rabies, since they are just put to death in any case. I pointed out that if Dr. Saine’s claims are even remotely true it is amazing that such a simple study has not been done in the last two centuries, that we have been sitting on a cure for such a deadly disease all this time and yet homeopaths have never been able to silence critics with a controlled experiments.

    So prove homeopathy works by showing that it cures rabies.

  51. #52 Chris
    February 23, 2010

    Peter, also explain how well you understand the basics of quantum physics by answering one basic question:

    Back when the term quantum was just starting to be used in physics it referred to counting something (quantity, quantum… do you see the similarity?). Now what was being counted?

  52. #53 Peter
    February 25, 2010

    Chris, I simply pointed out that Dr. Hankey is qualified to write about theoretical physics; that the butterfly lady is in no position to call him an idiot; and that the article contends that there is a valid scientific basis for the homeopathic phenomenon. Why not debate the contents of the article with Dr. Hankey, if you are qualified to do so? I have not claimed to be a physicist, so your wish to test my knowledge of quantum physics is rather irrelevant.

  53. #54 jenbphillips
    February 25, 2010

    What a lovely argument from authority, Peter.

    Dr. Hankey is qualified to write about theoretical physics

    Except he isn’t writing about theoretical physics, at least not in the sense that actual, practicing theoretical physicists do. Dr. Hankey’s publication history is interesting, indeed, but most emphatically not the publication history of a a theoretical physicist practicing in his field. Most notable is the absence of publications in any peer-reviewed physics journals, and a clear preference for CAM publications. Quelle surprise!

    As such, one need not have an expert grasp of quantum physics to spot the nonsense in Dr. Hankey’s (non peer-reviewed…email communication?), nor to denounce homeopathy as on par with invisible butterfly fairies. Both are equally likely under our current understanding of the laws of the universe.

  54. #55 Antaeus Feldspar
    February 25, 2010

    Peter, just because a person has a degree that qualifies them to write about a subject doesn’t mean that what they write about that subject isn’t BS. Jonathan Wells has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology; does that mean that what he writes about evolution is accurate? and trustworthy? No, because he disclosed that the reason he got that Ph.D. was so that he could “devote my life to destroying Darwinism”, as he felt the Rev. Sun Myung Moon (whom Wells calls “Father”) wanted him to do.

    I’m not saying that Dr. Hankey went and got a degree just so that he could put the imprimatur of an advanced degree on unscientific opinions he became fanatically attached to long before he started acquiring that degree. But between that, and the idea that the drivel posted from Dr. Hankey above represents actual valid science, I know which I would bet five figures on.

  55. #56 litten
    August 15, 2010

    SO much time spend in critisizing a man who is putting his life in helping.
    WHAT are u doing for the ADIS cases in africa. sitting writing toiletpaper-role-long critics about people actually working.
    homeopathy does cure maleria, my daughter is fine
    it does cure even cow breast infections even thought the cow doesnt neither believe or disbelieve in homeopathy….BUT teh farmer sure will as he is not allowed to sell the milk for 3 month after antibiotics.
    MOTHER TERESA WAS TREATING WITH HOMEOPATHY

  56. #57 Chris
    August 15, 2010

    Were you spending the last six months thinking up your fact free reply?

    And Mother Teresa was not exactly a paragon of virtue:

    It is in the hope that others may see the fallacy of this purported way to holiness that I tell a little of what I know. Although there are relatively few tempted to join Mother Teresa’s congregation of sisters, there are many who generously have supported her work because they do not realize how her twisted premises strangle efforts to alleviate misery. Unaware that most of the donations sit unused in her bank accounts, they too are deceived into thinking they are helping the poor.

  57. #58 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 15, 2010

    SO much time spend in critisizing a man who is putting his life in helping.

    No, no, see, we’re not criticizing a man who is “putting his life in helping.” We’re criticizing a man who could be putting time and money and energy in helping, but is instead giving people phony medicine that has no effect better than that of water for the very good reason that what he’s giving them is water.

    I feel sorry for your poor daughter, who hopefully never actually had malaria. If she did have malaria, I’m glad that she was lucky enough to be able to throw it off even though she was being deprived of adequate medical treatment for it.

  58. #59 Vicki
    August 15, 2010

    Homeopathy might well appeal to someone who told her patients to offer their suffering to God, instead of giving them painkillers.

  59. #60 Chiyo
    August 22, 2010

    You are so ignorant. I feel sorry for you.

  60. #61 Alan
    March 20, 2011

    I advice you guys to read ‘Organon of medicine’ by Dr.Samuel Hahnemann…
    Please dont criticize a science without having full knowledge about it…
    And for those ‘scientific guys’ who need a scientific explanation for everything,then find out where were you before the embryo got fused in your mothers womb????
    As a young homoeopath from India,i had experienced the effects of homoeopathic medicines with my own eyes….

  61. #62 Narad
    March 20, 2011

    I advice you guys to read ‘Organon of medicine’ by Dr.Samuel Hahnemann…

    What’s it about?

  62. #63 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    March 20, 2011

    “What’s it about?”

    Fuck all that’s any bloody use, that’s what!

  63. #64 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 20, 2011

    I advice you guys to read ‘Organon of medicine’ by Dr.Samuel Hahnemann…
    Please dont criticize a science without having full knowledge about it…

    Ah, yes, this is what I call “the haystack gambit.” “Somewhere in the works of Samuel Hahnemann is the absolutely solid refutation of all your objections! Now you stop your criticism of homeopathy until you have crawled through all of Hahnemann, have successfully guessed what portion of Hahnemann I think refutes your objections, and have countered all the arguments I have made you intuit that I thought were to be found in Hahnemann!”

    That’s not the way it works. If you think Hahnemann’s Organon of Medicine is able to refute the very large body of evidence in chemistry and physics which says that the phenomena which must exist in order for homeopathy to work do not and cannot exist, then you post where and what you think that refutation is. And frankly, if the refutation is in the form “Hahnemann says it’s so, therefore anyone who says differently is wrong,” you might as well not bother; ipse dixit arguments don’t hold a lot of weight.

  64. #65 Pablo
    March 20, 2011

    My first introduction to Hahneman was in Martin ghardner’s Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. I remember that it sounded so stupid that I couldn’t believe anyone ever fell for that idiocy.

    So Alan, have you read Martin Gardner’s book? The refutation you need is all there. And, at least according to you, if you haven’t read ut, then you can’t deny it.

  65. #66 Alan
    March 21, 2011

    According to homeopathy, water can “remember” a substance that has been added to it, even when the mixture is diluted to the point that not a single molecule of the stuff remains. But how can we be sure that the same water isn’t also remembering all sorts of other substances it picked up in , say, the toilet it passed through on its way to the sewage farm?—this is what Gardner said

    may be he had drunk the same water and why he is’nt getting sick….see this is a science and not just a blah blah blah……even the well selected homoeopathic remedy wont work at all if its not given under proper guidance and dose.
    Thats why i strongely insisted you to read organon before reading some fools creation….

    Its hard to assess the damage caused to the modern medicinal world by homoeopathy……go through the rising prices in the pharmacies and treatments……world was ruled by pharmac mafia til the acceptance of homoeopathic systems in many countries which provided cheap treatment..Do you think these guys wil sit simply.Do u think chemotherapy or radiotherapy can cure cancer???
    Each year new influenzas appears in the world.caused by advanced mutated strains of previously existed micro organisms….and these mutation so called’Drug resistance’ is caused by those harmful products of the modern medicine.

    Physics explains in matter theory that’mass cannot be created/destroyed’.
    Hahnemann had never said that homoeopathic medicines contains no molecules of the parent drug….only the drug concentration is reduced to bare minimum..
    This science is just 200yrs old and is not fully evolved to its expected level unlik the modern method of treatment from the time of hippocrates…….but recent experiments have been successful specially those from nanotechs establishing material aspect of homoeopathic medicinal action…

    all those claims of homoeopathy like..boosting the immune system,are not claimed by homoeopathy,they r just counter points made by others to destroy this system….but the real action is yet to be researched further…….
    Hahnemann itself has said in organon that u just collect the symptoms n give medicine..dnt bother about how it will act.If your symptomatology matches then the action can be seen based on experiments.

    profession of medicine has changed….those intellects are busy in making money while the fools engages themselves in criticizing others.
    I wont claim that homoeopathic system is the supreme in the world…evrything has its own field like the modern system in providing emergency management in life threatening conditions

  66. #67 Alan
    March 21, 2011

    ‘Ah, yes, this is what I call “the haystack gambit.” “Somewhere in the works of Samuel Hahnemann is the absolutely solid refutation of all your objections! Now you stop your criticism of homeopathy until you have crawled through all of Hahnemann, have successfully………’

    And this is where u and everyone here has gone wrong…..when u start reading the book,u’ll realize how wonderfully it has been scripted..reading a part of it will give only misconceptions of this science…take your time…..
    n thats y i called all those criticizers as ‘fools’.
    Can you be a surgeon without studying anatomy…
    Even if u had mastered Bailey n love’s textbuk of surgery,u cant be a surgeon without knowing whats in grays anatomy.
    Similarly u cant understand homoeopathy just reading a part of it.
    What i had said is clearer than any scientific explanations regarding ur criticisms

  67. #68 Calli Arcale
    March 21, 2011

    Scripted? What, is it a work of fiction, then?

    Style is important. I’m an English major, so I understand that. But in a scientific work, it’s completely worthless unless the *content* is of value.

    What i had said is clearer than any scientific explanations regarding ur criticisms

    Really? Given that your creative spelling makes your prose nearly unreadable, I find that difficult to believe. I *do* believe that what you said is clearer than any scientific explanations you’re prepared to give.

  68. #69 LW
    March 21, 2011

    I would think reading Hahnemann would require more than a second grade reading level. I doubt Alan has read it.

  69. #70 Pablo
    March 21, 2011

    If Hahneman’s description is so bloody clear, then why can’t any homeopathic supporter provide a coherent summary that doesn’t make everyone burst out in fits of laughter?

  70. #71 Chris
    March 21, 2011

    Actually, I have read much of the Organon, and it is silly. It is like a trip into time, and even Hahnemann says that the dilutions seem unlikely but then claims it works!

    Alan explain how syphilis and gonorrhea are miasms, please. Tell how us the ones referred to by Hahnemann are not different than the ones we treat with antibiotics these days.

  71. #72 Seyedaghanoor Sadeghi
    May 30, 2011

    In the Name of God

    Hello to all you folks, I ,as a Medical Doctor, was skeptical toward homepathy, until I started studying this method of healing carefully and hard.

    Once I understood that homeopathic remedies may have healing effects, I visited a homeopathic physician and asked him to take my case and prescribe a remedy.

    Dr.Mazaheri then chairman of Iranian Homeopathy Association, prescribed a remedy and let me know to take it only once and just as much as a tablespoonful of it.
    I was astonished by its real effect on my energy and a good feeling of calmness, afterwards.
    Eversince it has become my main method of healing for my patients; patients with diabetes mellitus, major depression , common cold, lung fibrosis, renal stones and so many other diseases have taken advantage of homeopathics prescribed by me. Fahimeh Mahdavi, my wife, has been a very good promotion in all my achievements and successes in this fabulos area of medicine.
    You may visit my articles in the site, hpathy.com.
    I suggest you to experience this fabulos method of healing to be fair in judging Mr.Jeremy Sherr, without any prejudice.
    Good Luck, Seyedaghanoor Sadeghi M.D.& homeopath

  72. #73 John Benneth
    August 24, 2011

    What I find so curious about people who represent themselves as pratitioners of “skepticism” is really how little of it they employ, and how predictable they can be in their beliefs.
    If you’re going to be a real skeptic, then the first things you would naturally be skeptical about would be your own beliefs. But instead what I see you doing is jumping to a conclusion made by others for you, that you’re just passing along as talking points simply placing your own anecdotal theory in place of evidence: The physical, in vitro, in vivo, user demand and FDA regulatory protections. If you had a leg to stand on, you wouldn’t be writing blogs about it, you and hordes of people like you would be actually doing something in court. If it’s fraud, it can be proven as such in court. But you’ve already stipulated that you don’t know anything much about the subject, except that you’ve been told it’s implausible. SO how do you or any of the professional whiners expect to win when you’re in a forum other than your own, presided over by an impartial judge? But have you ever posed the question to someone other than Randi, is there any physico-chemical evidence for homeopathy? When your professional witnesses and our professional witnesses have finished testiying, you’ve lost. So really, in the face of reality, that this is a long practiced form of legal, curative medicine, do you really think you have enough of an argument against it to give you license to defame the Sherrs and others who have medical degrees? Of course not! Skepticism really is nothing more than a name peole give themselves when they want to dismiss or defame something they don’t want to believe. And why don’t they want to believe? Because they’ve placed their contempt ahead of their investigation, their nswers ahead of their questions. O how can they know anything if they don’t ask questions?
    For example, if what you mean to say when you call homeopathy “quackery” is that it’s fraud, then why has it not ever won this point when tried in a court of law? Look at what happened to a “skeptic” organization, the National Council Against Health Fraud, when they tried to sue a homeopathic remedy manufacturer on your point, that homeopathy is fraud. [Google NCAHF vs. King Bio] How do you explain this stupendous loss by the NCAHF?
    Now watch what happens in Delarosa vs. Boiron. Watch what happens in the case of the homeopathic veterinarians who are now suing the veterinarian accreditation board. No one can always predict the future, but from what I’ve seen is that homeopathy always wins and skepticism always loses, and I presume this will hold true for Delarosa and the vets. Wait and see.
    It’s a popular form of medicine worldwide that is growing by 30% a year. Do you really think you’re going to stop it by acting stupid?
    Homeopathy is amazing medicine when its use as properly. Try it and see for yourself. Meanwhile, allopathy is getting hammered!

  73. #74 Orac
    August 24, 2011

    Mr. Benneth, welcome. Perhaps you’ll like today’s post by me:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/08/homeopathy_and_plausibility_bias_versus.php

    Enjoy. Also, if you type your name into the Search box above you’ll find material that (I’m sure) will entertain and amuse you.

    BTW, I do have a medical degree. In fact, I have both an MD and a PhD! Really, I do. :-)

  74. #75 Beth Zumann
    December 1, 2011

    Sorry, but you’re an asshole. Though you are clearly someone who likes to listen to his own voice (perhaps you should try some Lachesis)you don’t know jack shit about homeopathy.

  75. #76 Chris
    December 1, 2011

    Ms. Zumann, that was such an eloquent comment on the article. You must be so pleased!

    You remind be of a Andre Saine, a homeopath of some note. He claims that homeopathy works on rabies better than conventional treatment. But, sadly, he never produced any evidence for that statement. Could you kindly provide the titles, journals and dates of the papers showing how rabies was cured through homeopathy? Thank you.

  76. #77 Lawrence
    December 1, 2011

    That’s okay Beth – homeopaths don’t know jack-shit about Physics or basic scientific principles.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.