The invasion of well-meaning quacks into West Africa continues apace, part three

quackinvasion

I hope my U.S. readers have all had a happy Thanksgiving. Today has been known at least since the mid-1970s as Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. Whether it's still true or not, given the relentless proliferation, progression, and metastasis—yes, the use of terms related to cancer is intentional—of holiday sales right up until Christmas, I don't know. I do know that I plan on going nowhere near any store bigger than a convenience store until next week if I can possibly help it. I'm also sitting back and congratulating myself on one of the smartest decisions I've made in a very long time, namely to take this whole week off as a "staycation." True, I did go to Skepticon to give a talk last weekend, but instead of the usual situation I find myself in after arriving home on a Sunday after such jaunts of having to dive straight back into work, I just chilled out for three days, with three more days after Thanksgiving to recover.

Consequently, I hope you will forgive me if this is simply be an update of a story I've been following for a while, namely the story of the hapless and ridiculous homeopaths who claim they can cure Ebola using homeopathy. The reason I can't resist is that the day before Thanksgiving there appeared an article that is the most detailed and comprehensive description of the antics of these homeopaths that I've yet come across. Some of it confirms what I've discussed before based on previous news reports from the UK. Some of it gives more of an insight into what happened. For instance, there's this bit, which suggests that the homeopaths who went to West Africa (most of whom were also physicians, to the eternal shame of the profession) were—shall we say?—less than honest about their intent. The trip was organized by the Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis, a major institution for homeopathy advocacy, and a German group Freundes Liberias, whose purpose is to promote cooperation between Germany and Liberia. Apparently, Freundes Liberias raised funds for the trip without any mention that the doctors it was planning to send were also homeopaths:

Freundes Liberias raised donations for the trip with this campaign. The page talks about a "team of 20 international doctors," but makes no mention of the fact that they will be operating only as homeopaths. This squares with the fact that the Liberian medical authorities backed the trip when they thought it was a "team of doctors," and were then shocked to learn about the homeopathy.

The explanations coming from the two organizations are conflicting:

When asked for comment, Thomas Köppig, head of Freundes Liberias, was emphatic:

"When LMHI first contacted Freunde Liberias asking if the association would be willing to support a trip, I received the four CVs and confirmation that all members of the group were physicians and obviously experienced in working in disaster areas. Furthermore, LMHI confirmed that the doctors would work as regular doctors and only secondarily as homeopaths."

The response from LMHI is rather less clear, claiming that the doctors "were not able to treat Ebola patients do [ sic] [to] some diplomatic problems... We are not asking for donations for the Ebola relief action any more because the situation changed."

The homeopaths, however, had other ideas. They were definitely planning on going to Africa to treat Ebola with homeopathy:

When this story broke, Karen Allen of Homeopaths Without Borders deletedthis message from Dr. Ortrud Lindemann, one of the homeopaths in Liberia, from her Facebook page. Homeopath Dr. Edouard Broussalian also deleted a post from his own site that claimed the mission would ensure "the makers of experimental vaccines will have to pack their bags." In fact, there was a real flurry of deleted pages regarding the mission from people connected to LMHI, which is never a particularly good sign.

Dr. Hiltner himself is very open: "This was a golden opportunity to treat something that conventional medicine couldn't," he says. "Not only to help the people, but to show homeopathy works... There's got to be that day that conventional medicine will respect homeopathy—both have their strengths, both have their weaknesses; they need to stop calling each other names."

Apparently, to homeopaths pointing out that homeopathy is pseudoscience based on prescientific ideas of vitalism and a pre-germ theory understanding of human physiology and disease is "calling them names. The author of this Vice piece seems rather taken with Dr. Richard Hiltner, noting that he's a nice guy who's been in practice for 44 years and that he volunteered his own time and money (he paid for his own flight) to head to Brussels, where the international team of homeopaths was assembled to fly to Monrovia. Oh, sure, the article says, Hiltner is into some "wacky shit," like iridology and medical astrology, in addition to the homeopathy but is characterized thusly, "Essentially, his heart is in the right place, even if it's making him do some very silly stuff."

I reject this explanation. Hiltner's heart might be in the right place, but what we know thus far suggests that he was either complicit in the deception (i.e., he knew that the trip was being advertised and sold as a bunch of doctors coming over to help, with no mention of homeopathy) or he was a dupe who had no idea that he wouldn't be allowed to practice homeopathy once he arrived in Liberia. Take your pick. In the meantime, what this whole sorry incident tells me is just how deluded homeopaths are.

As the article concludes, "sneaking a PR stunt for homeopathy into an epidemic under the cover of sending medical help is really pretty tawdry." No doubt, but why is anyone surprised? It's not as though homeopaths haven't done this sort of thing before in past disasters. The difference here is that the danger level is much higher, because they're now trying to treat a deadly infectious disease with their magic water.

OK, I think I've beat this topic to death. Next week, I'll be back at blogging my usual topics with a vengeance. Remember, I'm rapidly approaching my tenth anniversary of starting this blog; it's only two weeks away now. I feel so old.

More like this

Here we go yet again. I’ve been interested in the Ebola outbreak that’s been going on for months in west Africa for a number of reasons. First, it’s a bad disease, and this is the largest outbreak in history. over 5,000 people have died. Second, there’s been a lot of unreasonable fear mongering…
Homeopathy is quackery. There, I’ve fulfilled my normal requirement to start out all posts that I write having to do with homeopathy with a simple, declarative, and, most of all, true statement about what homeopathy is. I also like to mention briefly homeopathy’s two major “laws.” The first is…
If there is one thing that the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Africa has revealed to the world, it’s the full extent of quackery that is out there and advertised as being able to treat deadly diseases such as Ebola. The deadlier the disease, the more quackery is out there, amplified by the scariness…
It is probably safe to say that Nigeria now has an outbreak, as a handful of cases contracted in country seem to have been reported, though it is too early to be sure this will stick. Hopefully it won't. There is also one suspected case, a death, in Saudi Arabia, of someone who would have caught…

Congratulations on ten years (in case I miss it)!

As an always tired, old before my time person, I love the days after Thanksgiving. I can direct Mr Woo and my ravenous son to the leftovers and skip cooking for a bit.

Should we be too surprised to learn this? I have come to suspect that one aspect of true-believerism is the constant anticipation of the day when the magic will be proven, and their faith vindicated, that last, big, "So there!"

I stay away from the stores this weekend, too.

There is plenty of leftover food for the sons to enjoy. One just fixed himself a breakfast of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy!

But, I may have to brave at least one store to get some parts to fix my wife's computer :(

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 28 Nov 2014 #permalink

I have never braved a Black Friday crowd except for a few unfortunate years working retail. If I could get by with not shopping anywhere but the closest town (2500 people), I would do it. As it is, I don't expect to go to the bigger town more than once or twice.

Orac, you're not old- you're SEASONED**.

-btw- you appear to be remarkably well-preserved*** which ( as I know only too well due to intense observation of myself and various cohorts and relatives) is either a mark of purity of intention or sun avoidance. Possibly both.

** insert mandatory reference to appropriate herb/spice
*** insert obligatory reference to formaldehyde etc

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Nov 2014 #permalink

I'm surprised I didn't think to look for this predictable passenger on the EVD bandwagon earlier: CBD Protective Against Ebola Virus.

Because cannabis is so very safe especially under doctor supervision, I believe it is crucial for the medical community to start human trials on survivability of Ebola infected patients regardless of the political restraints.

“Essentially, his heart is in the right place, even if it’s making him do some very silly stuff.”

I'm not sure "being friendly" is the top quality any expert should have. What about actual competence?
There is an old saying about being better to have a smart enemy than a silly friend.

@ Denice

Orac, you’re not old- you’re SEASONED

That brings back memories. I once purchased a packaged meal of seasoned chicken.
The package was annotated in both English and French. The French translation was, as you would guess, something like "poulet vétéran".

By Helianthus (not verified) on 28 Nov 2014 #permalink

The author of this Vice piece seems rather taken with Dr. Richard Hiltner

Not so much with accurate details, though:

"The Ebola virus kills you by essentially dissolving the walls of your veins, making you bleed to death from the inside in a massive internal hemorrhage."

@ Helianthus:

Ha! I really appreciate translations of that sort- believe it or not, I'm on my way to the Japanese mall which is rife with them.
I have a great need of food court-made Japanese soup.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Nov 2014 #permalink

Dave, have a look at this:

http://transgallaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo/index.php?topic=8275.msg19303#msg1…

Already in August 2014 (or even earlier) the WHO rejected homeopathy and other “alternative” nonsense because such quackery had led ebola infections to cross the border of guinea and caused the outbreak in Sierra Leone!

The mechanism of quackery to spread the disease already at that time was known, and warnings were made just because of that.

To go to Africa to spread homeopathy is nothing else but to go there and spread ebola. No one involved can push aside the guilt. No one!

Further: The people in Africa suffer from a disastrous shortage of medicaments and medical personnel. The LMHI and other homeopaths’ organizations and persons involved do know that, and they aggressively exploit the emergency situation of the Africans.

The Africans grab for the last straw. They MUST keep a smiling face despite knowing that they are defrauded. The Africans die. To abuse and exploit dying people is one of the worst crimes ever.

This crime is committed by leading German homeopaths. They do know what they do. And they WILLFULLY do it. And they go on doing it. They already prepare a second “expedition” to Africa.

Homeopathy is murder.

As already is pointed out: The whole intent of the homeopaths was to "prove" homeopathy works, and then boast with their "success". They wanted to commit a fait accompli, like they did in Haiti. Edouard Broussalian, now one of the four, was in Haiti in 2011, extra, with other homeopaths, to apply homeopathy to the cholera-stricken patients. Later he boasted with a grand success. But fact is: he defrauded.

Broussalian wrote an article about the Haiti incident. This is the translation to English (there also is one to German, hosted on an esoteric sales web-site), saying:

[*quote*]
———————————————-
“at the end of our stay, we were no longer providing new patients with an
infusion, but immediately gave them the phosphorus spray.”
———————————————-
[*/quote*]
more:
http://ariplex.com/folia/archives/833.htm

The standard claim of homeopaths is do be "complementary", "in addition" to "school medicine". But one can see here that this claim is a lie. The standard treatment is willfully denied, and instead a homeopathic "spray" is used. I never before read of such a thing as a homeopathic spray.

It is a good idea to delve into the previous "heroic deeds" of Broussalian, Durge, Hiltner and Lindemann.

Broussalian already messed up in Haiti.
Hiltner messes up with astrology to choose homeopathic remedies.
Lindemann is an antivaxxer, and Broussalian also hates vaccines.

Number 4 of the gang is a special case: a "doctor of homeopathic medicine and surgery" - or something else of the sort. But no REAL medical doctor.

Check out her professional (?) education (?). she was on a college in India which produces bachelors, but not medical doctors. Here someone has done some footwork:

"Indian PM appoints Minister for Genocide"
http://ariplex.com/folia/archives/851.htm

The catch is: these homeopaths have no education in pharmacy, only in homeopathy. So Medha Durge neither is a qualified medical doctor nor is any of the 4 qualified with having experience with handling epidemics. They just DO NOT HAVE a qualification for the task.

As a comparison: two member of the Universitätsklinikums Bonn (Germany) will go to West Africa to do some research there. Look at THEIR expertise:

http://transgallaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo/index.php?topic=8375.msg19305#msg1…

THAT is a big difference, I dare say.

The Daily Mail has two articles online about the Ganta incident, with the second one showing a photo the house front of Durge's "medical office". It looks more like a shabby peddler's hut than a medical office.

So we have 4 homeopaths, not being qualified for the task, willed to do homeopathy, supported by unknowing donors who were cheated into believing that a) the group members were fully qualified medical doctors who b) would do sound medical work.

This leaves a broad range of questions to ask the people in the background:

the LMHI
the "Freunde Liberias"
the Honorary Consul of Liberia in Leipzig, Michael Kölsch,
leading members of the Deutscher Zentralverein homöopathischer Ärzte (DZVhAe)
the head office of the United Methodist Church in the USA
the mission office of the United methodist Church in Liberia
the administration of the hospital of the United methodist Church in Ganta

Who pulled the wires between the LMHI and the DZVhAe? Who enabled the whole thing in Ganta?

Look: The idea was created in some places AND THEN escalated in the LMHI and the DZVhAe. AND THEN the homeopaths knocked on whose door? On the door of the Honorary Consul, because he is married with the treasurer of the DZVhAe, who not only is doing homeopathy. No! Monika Kölsch offers "Telehomöopathie", something which I consider in essence to be nothing but the (of course) forbidden distant healing (my dictionary does not know an English expression for that).

Putting together the puzzle you can follow the first discussions and talks in web forums, then calls for support and money, even newspaper articles in German newspapers, asking for donations. AND in the background things are routed via the Leipzig connection to Ganta. Why Ganta? Because Michael Kölsch has connections.

If you dig deeper you will find a Siegfried Ziegler mentioned, who is a retired hospital manager in Chemnitz. Bingo! Ziegler was in that very hospital in Ganta from 1974-197 as CEO. So it is he who had the FIRST contact, it is he who has since then had the strong contacts with politicians in Liberia.

If someone retires in 2012, short over 60, how old was he in 1974? How do all these pieces fit together? Very simple: Siegfried Ziegler is a member of the Methodist Church.

The whole affair is a combination of a church reaching from the USA to Liberia, and of homeopaths having contacts all around the globe, from USA and India deep into the heart of Europe, BOTH GROUPS being trained in fiddling behind the curtains AND in cheating with language AND in covering up.

See the reactions now: nothing but a try to cover up. Their fait accompli was crushed the very moment some receivers of the LMHI emails published the email by Ortrud Lindemann, laying open the real intentions, and showing not only the names of the four, but also the names of the background eminences.

Look at Michael Kölsch's description how he went to Liberia in 2012:

"Bericht über eine Unternehmerreise nach Liberia im März 2012"
http://www.liberia.michaelkoelsch.de/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Bericht…

The important part:

[*QUOTE*]
-----------------------------------------------------
In der Gerlib Klinik treffe ich mit fast 30 minütiger Verspätung ein, was mir Leid tut. Man erwartet mich am Eingang und begleitet mich zu Frau Gieraths-Nimene, der Gründerin und Eigentümerin der Klinik. Ich treffe eine sehr beeindruckende Deutsche, die mich herzlich begrüßt und mir gerne Ihre Klinik präsentiert. Ich sehe wartende Kranke in einem neu gebauten Gebäudekomplex, eine verletzte Frau, die soeben einen Autounfall hatte, in einem anderen Raum ist eine junge Frau dabei ,Zwillingen das Leben zu schenken, in wieder einem anderen Behandlungsraum liegen Malariapatienten. Zwei wichtige medizinische Geräte sind defekt was problematisch ist, da es noch keinen medizinischen Wartungsdienst in Monrovia gibt und eine Reparatur in Deutschland zeitaufwändig und teuer ist. Frau Gieraths-Nimene hat die Klinik vor dem Krieg zusammen mit ihrem Liberianischen Ehemann gegründet. Nach dem Tod ihres Mannes führt sie das Haus alleine. Es freut mich, dass sie der Homöopathie sehr aufgeschlossen gegenüber steht.

Sie teilt meine Auffassung, dass die Homöopathie eine geeignete Heilmethode sei, um damit das Gesundheitswesen in Liberia zu ergänzen. Sie ist preiswert und die Offenheit der Liberianischen Bevölkerung für alternative, sanfte Heilmethoden darf unterstellt werden. Wenige Tage nach meiner Abreise werden die „Homöopathen ohne Grenzen“ aus Deutschland zusammen mit Frau Gieraths-Nimene Liberianischen Ärzten in Monrovia die Homöopathie vorstellen
-----------------------------------------------------
[*/QUOTE*]

In short:
A native German woman married a Liberian and both founded a clinic in Monrovia, which after the husbands death is run by the woman alone.
Some few days after Michael Kölsch's leave there the "Homöopathen ohne Grenzen" (the German branch of the "homeopaths without borders") will present homeopathy to Liberian doctors in Monrovia.

Do note:

"Sie teilt meine Auffassung, dass die Homöopathie eine geeignete Heilmethode sei, um damit das Gesundheitswesen in Liberia zu ergänzen."
("She shares my opinion that homeopathy is a suitable medical treatment to complement the health care system in Liberia.")

So Michael Kölsch is an active proponent for homeopathy, pushing homeopathy. And it can be guessed about his role in paving the way for the homeopaths without borders.

Is it possible that in 2014 a Honorary Consul for Liberia is NOT aware of the ebola epidemics in Liberia? Oh, he is aware of it. He organizes help.

Now, if someone has these strong connections that he has, and is so well connected with people in medicine and politics, does this man NOT know about the WHO ruling out homeopathy?

There are pants on fire in Leipzig, this we can be sure of...

Dave, what happened with my comment???

There’s got to be that day that conventional medicine will respect homeopathy—both have their strengths, both have their weaknesses; they need to stop calling each other names.”

This "we're-all-part-of-the-identity-smorgasburg" schtick is very old and very annoying. Medicine is being treated like different ways of making turkey stuffing. I like cornbread, you don't. "No right, no wrong; just different. Why can't our critics see that?"

Because you're making objective claims of fact, not expressing personal preferences, that's why. But this Identity Smorgasbord framework and its easy appeals to tolerance and "respect" plays well for people who want to duck accountability.

When one of my kiddos was about 15yo, he described some very woo-y acquaintances thusly " their hearts are in the right place but their heads are up their arse."

Brook, that's exactly the sort of thing my own offspring would say!

It's true that most proponents of alternative medicine have "their hearts in the right place." They mean well and genuinely want to help themselves and others 'heal.'

But there's a dark side to that. Because they place so much emphasis on good intentions leading to discoveries of truth they are wont to assume that those who don't agree with them don't have good intentions. Skeptics are skeptical because "their hearts are not in the right place." Thus they equate our criticisms with "name-calling."

Sastra, what you say is precisely true in regards to the anti-vaccine movement: they go as far to say that those who disagree with them are agents of malfeasance, paid shills and deserve to be behind bars.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Nov 2014 #permalink

The package was annotated in both English and French. The French translation was, as you would guess, something like “poulet vétéran”.

Reminds me of a high school french class where the students were supposed to look up words for weather and write them on the blackboard.

Several of us had puzzled looks for a bit after one student wrote 'salut' on the board... before realizing that 'salut' does in fact mean 'hail', but in the sense of greeting someone. Somebody obviously hadn't bothered to do the reverse lookup to make sure that their translation was actually using the proper of the multiple definitions of the word.

... Why do I still waste brain cells remembering events like this thirty years later?

By Jenora Feuer (not verified) on 28 Nov 2014 #permalink

@ Jenora Feuer:

You don't have much of a choice- memory is associative.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Nov 2014 #permalink

OT but are anti-vaxxers trying to drum up responses any way they can EVER truly OT @ RI- esp on a slow newsday?
I should think not.

At any rate, the editor/s haul out an old and tired article by John about their numero uno *bete noire* and *voila!* the commenters come crawling out of the woodwork seething.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Nov 2014 #permalink

Narad @6 --- What is "EVD"?

By palindrom (not verified) on 28 Nov 2014 #permalink

something like poulet veteran

What, you guys have never heard of a full-bird colonel?

Narad @6 — What is “EVD”?

Ebola virus disease. The longer I look at this, the more incoherent it seems. The seeming breakdown in David R. Allen's command of the English language toward the end doesn't help much. If anyone can convert the VEGF bit into something resembling coherent thought, I'd be fascinated.

It was actually at this point that I resorted to verification of his license, which is fine. And he went to UCLA, which makes his Web site all the more pathetic. Check this out:

"Our bodies contain a natural magnetic field, created by the flow of electrically-charged ions in and out of our cells and by the transmission of electrical impulses through the membranes of our cells.

A deficiency of electromagnetic force in our bodies creates a situation similar to running out of oxygen....

"With almost 90% of the earth’s electromagnetic field having been lost, ... it is no wonder that many people’s bodies have become highly toxic and are functioning well below optimal capacity [sic].

what happened with my comment???

Now that it has appeared, more than two links.

With respect to the Strategic Helium Electromagnetic Reserve, though, I suppose knowing that this is also a Young Earth Creationist line won't take up too much mental space.

Narad @22 -- Thanks for the clarification.

Unfortunately, I have to ask for another -- what is the rest of your post referring to? Who is David Allen? What is VEGF?

I feel like I just arrived from Mars sometimes, which maybe I did, in which case I'd be what a brilliant but highly dyslexic colleague of mine used to refer (in writing) as a "Marshan".

By palindrom (not verified) on 28 Nov 2014 #permalink

Who is David Allen?
Australian-born musician. Leading force behind Gong and Invisible Opera Company of Tibet. Flying teapots and pothead pixies are involved.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 28 Nov 2014 #permalink

What is VEGF?

Vascular epithelial growth factor. It might be most straightforward to refer to the original item.

The best I can figure on this front is that he's, ah, free-associating from something he wandered across involving rheumatoid arthritis and got firmly but horribly wrong.

'“With almost 90% of the earth’s electromagnetic field having been lost, … it is no wonder that many people’s bodies have become highly toxic and are functioning well below optimal capacity [sic].'

HA! Wouldn't that result in rather more serious problems than people being "toxic" and "functioning well below optimal capacity"? Like, y'know, losing our upper atmosphere and all the consequences of that?

“This was a golden opportunity to treat something that conventional medicine couldn’t,” he says. “Not only to help the people, but to show homeopathy works..."
Correct me if I am wrong, but I was under the impression that there are still people dying in Europe of conditions which conventional medicine can't treat. Cancers, Alzheimers syndrome, ALS, CF. Wouldn't it be easier, Dr Hiltner, to show that homeopathy works by curing people at home?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 28 Nov 2014 #permalink

Adding to the report of this Turkey day event, my day usually starts with a strange genomic mixed bag concoction known as trp2Fam. A substantial deride projects toward me from all sorts of internet experts Googling the latest and greatest "education" on oils, crystals, toxins, anti-vaccinoidiocy, and the like. I guess hundreds of thousands of dollars in lab work and peer review science, of course, is boring as hell to hear about, so I hit the scotch and check out the bell curves, smiling along.

So, thinking of the annual trp2Fam expression, my dad is an awesome family-based chef, can smoke three turkeys and hams for our gathering of dozens (I think one year we had 60+, typical though is about 40). Anyway, he had a cough one day. I figured some viral upper respiratory, he's mobile so it should self-resolve. I gave a listen to the lung sounds after some days later and have one of those finger pulse-oxs (I kinda like all the wifi medical gadgets that come out -- give me a 12 lead smart-phone app and that will be my kitten in the milk happy face -- I.T. advancement is a big part of medicine, I feel). He was satting in the tank :( .... So, we got him to the Primary and started a course of abx and ordered some at home O2. I actually had to explain pneumonia (which is really not a joke) in these terms for oxygen therapy:

"A deficiency of electromagnetic force in our bodies creates a situation similar to running out of oxygen….'With almost 90% of the earth’s electromagnetic field having been lost, … it is no wonder that many people’s bodies have become highly toxic and are functioning well below optimal capacity.'"

Either that, or the Lord wasn't being prayed to in the right fashion (is it ever?).. Anyway, I saw the 'magical force' in the previous comment and got a chuckle out of it. Not that the oxygen therapy and abx were giving him a much needed bump back to health, at all. And, after the requisite days on abx, the infection cleared up and he was satting in the upper nineties again.

So, Thanksgiving, a day of it really isn't so bad.....as I cringe saying so. For the life of me, I just can't get into Breaking Bad. I'll try a few more episodes, but I'm skeptical.

Our bodies contain a natural magnetic field, created by the flow of electrically-charged ions in and out of our cells and by the transmission of electrical impulses through the membranes of our cells.

Oh great, another case of not-even-wrong physics from a physician. It's true that moving electrical charges will produce a magnetic field, but let's look at orders of magnitude. Even if these things are consistently moving in the same direction (unlikely), you are talking about something on the order of a microampere per square meter. (That would be about 60 ions per second moving through a spherical cell 1 μm in radius.) Per Ampere's law, that gives you a magnetic field of around 1 microtesla, but arranged in a loop around the current, so it doesn't amount to much (especially once you average out the currents, which in a healthy body almost certainly average out to near zero). The Earth's magnetic field is about 30 microtesla at the magnetic equator, and twice that at the poles, but it is a much larger scale phenomenon. Add the fact that the sorts of fluids you find in a body are highly collisional (i.e., an individual particle doesn't get very far without interacting with another particle), which means that the frequencies with which those ions collide are much larger than any frequencies associated with that magnetic field. I'd say you can neglect the effects of any bodily magnetic field, at least under normal circumstances.

I don't know enough about paleomagnetism to judge his claim that the Earth has lost 90% of its magnetic field, but I would take that claim with a large grain of salt.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 29 Nov 2014 #permalink

@ MarkN:

" For the life of me, I just can't get into Breaking Bad"

Yours truly as well. I heard raves from someone with reasonably good taste who started watching the tapes because of a recommendation from someone totally without discrimination or much sense who was and remains addicted to the show.
I watched a few times and wasn't impressed although the lead actor was very good.

I'm sure that many stage 4 cancer patients run around becoming bad@ss drug lords .

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 29 Nov 2014 #permalink

@ Eric Lund:

Then I imagine that you are not an advocate of the idea that 'all human interactions are an ENERGY exchange'-
e.g. learning from a teacher, interactions between parent and child as well as sexual attraction. Or so they tell me.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 29 Nov 2014 #permalink

@ama
While I don't entirely disagree with the general gist of your comment, I take offense to your tone about Africa. We are not a bunch of primitives. It's that kind of fallacious assumptions that underlie faulty critical thinking. (Forgive me if my reaction is out of line. I read less than a quarter of your comment, since I am wary of obsessive ranting comments that are longer than the articles to which they refer.)

By Jerome Viveiros (not verified) on 29 Nov 2014 #permalink

I went trawling through the Interwebs to try to find some info regarding the claim that the Earth has lost 90% of its geomagnetic field. I found a whole lotta nonsense, from 2012 stuff (oops!) to young-Earth creationist hooey.

It turns out that the Earth's magnetic field is weaking to a certain extent, which might mean that a N-S reversal will happen soon. (Soon in geological time - these things typically take on the order of a few thousand years to complete.) Decent info here, as far as I can tell.

Magnets: we know how they work. Just don't tell ICP.

JP@37 -- Searching around a bit I found that Prothero, who wrote the paleomagnetism article you linked to, has a book called Reality Check that takes up causes near and dear to many readers of this blog. As it so happens, the geomagnetic field is his own specialty, so he writes with particular authority.

As the snooty waiter says, "good choice!".

By palindrom (not verified) on 29 Nov 2014 #permalink

Jerome @36 -- You have to admit that writing a comment longer than an Orac post is quite an achievement. Possibly a dubious achievement, though.

By palindrom (not verified) on 29 Nov 2014 #permalink

palindrom @38 - I haz mad information filtering skillz. I'm no scientist myself - well, I've studied some linguistics. Just a Ph.D. candidate studying Russian, Ukrainian and Polish poetry. If there's one thing academic training in any discipline gives you, though, it's a recognition of the importance of sources and credentials. (Well, it should, anyway.)

If I don't get a decent job in academe - no adjuncting, please! - which is a real possibility, I've had thoughts of starting some kind of educational program for kids/teens on just basic critical thinking and information filtering. In the Internet age, it's more and more a necessary skill - there's just so much nonsense out there.

ama @10,

"she was on a college in India which produces bachelors, but not medical doctors."

Just because someone has a bachelor degree in medicine doesn't mean they are not a medical doctor.

It may be a surprise to you, but a lot of the world produces doctors who do not have MDs.

A lot of the world, especially the British Commonwealth countries, derive their medical qualifications and practice from UK history, rather than USA history. Most produce doctors with a bachelor degree. Examples are the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and India.

The degree is usually a double bachelor in medicine and surgery (MBChB or similar). The knowledge requirements of the 5-6 year professional degree is the same as the US professional MD.

An MD from those countries is a research degree equivalent to the PhD in the USA. It means that someone with an MD from India, Australia, NZ, etc, has a higher level of attainment than someone with an MD from the USA.

In those countries with the double bachelor degree, the professional term "doctor" is awarded by the medical council (or equivalent) of the country concerned.

There is some advantage in this system: in New Zealand it is illegal for anyone to call themselves a "doctor" unless they are registered with the Medical Council. It doesn't matter what qualifications a naturopath or chiropracter has, or where those qualifications came from, in order to legally call themselves "doctor" they have to get registered with the Medical Council. And registration with the Medical Council means they have to have a recognised degree in medicine.

Result: chiropracters have to call themselves a chiropracter, naturopaths have to call themselves a naturopath, homeopaths have to call themselves a homeopath... And if you see a "doctor", they have to be a medical doctor.

JP@40 -- By coincidence, I came across this very interesting piece that dovetails nicely with what you say. He's focusing on climate science, but the points he makes are much more general, and very relevant to almost every discussion here on RI.

Highly recommended.

By palindrom (not verified) on 29 Nov 2014 #permalink

I once purchased a packaged meal of seasoned chicken.
The package was annotated in both English and French. The French translation was, as you would guess, something like “poulet vétéran”.

For which Helianthus was nominated for the pullet surprise.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 29 Nov 2014 #permalink

ama #10

Number 4 of the gang is a special case: a “doctor of homeopathic medicine and surgery” – or something else of the sort. But no REAL medical doctor.

Homeopathic surgery? Is that like papercuts?

JP: If you want to run that critical thinking skills program online, I'm trying to get an online class service going already (I would teach math, someone else I know from school would teach history, and we want people for other subjects too)...my gmail is the same as my screen name here, if you want to get in touch. (Actually, the same would apply to most people here, in their respective subjects of expertise.)

By ebrillblaiddes (not verified) on 29 Nov 2014 #permalink

Shay@44: Look who's talking! (cf #21)

By ebrillblaiddes (not verified) on 29 Nov 2014 #permalink

@Stuartg
November 29, 2014
#41

>"she was on a college in India which produces bachelors, but not medical doctors.”
>Just because someone has a bachelor degree in medicine doesn’t mean they are not a medical doctor.

Wrong. You should have read the texts of which I gave the references. That bachelor is no real medical doctor. And it is a bachelor title and not a doctor tile.

The degree is usually a double bachelor in medicine and surgery (MBChB or similar). The knowledge requirements of the 5-6 year professional degree is the same as the US professional MD.

Durge's WankedIn profile is here (note that the claim to an [Indian] MD isn't backed up). She attended the Chandaben Mohanbhai Patel Homeopathic Medical College, which awards the BHMS degree.* This is a 4.5 year program (PDF) with only a secondary-school prerequisite.

Perhaps it has the same scope of practice as an MBBS in India, but it sure doesn't look to be equivalent to a USian MD/DO. It also doesn't seem to allow entry into a surgical specialization:

[hpathy.com]/ask-homeopathy-doctors/information-about-bhms-course/

The "Introduction to Normal Psychology" section has some good bits, though:

"(c) Mesmar and his theory, Hypnotism structure of consciousness.
"(d) Fraud and his theory-Dynamics of the unconscious. Development of the Libide."

* And note that Durge also claims an MD with seemingly no further education to back it up.

@ebrillblaiddes
November 29, 2014
#45

>>Number 4 of the gang is a special case: a “doctor of homeopathic medicine and surgery” – or something else of the sort. But no REAL medical doctor.

>Homeopathic surgery? Is that like papercuts?

Please read CAREFULLY: “doctor of homeopathic medicine and surgery".
Please read the texts I gave the URLs of. Do read the official Indian document with the curriculum and the exams.

^ Should've trimmed out the text that the footnote was meant to replace.

@ama:

Wrong. You should have read the texts of which I gave the references. That bachelor is no real medical doctor. And it is a bachelor title and not a doctor tile.

You need to demonstrate that the scope of practice is different from an MBBS, which is a real medical degree.

Shay: "Groan."

I was amused with by "What, you guys have never heard of a full-bird colonel?" comment. But, then again, my dad only made it to Lt. Col.

@Narad
November 29, 2014
#48

One of the sources one must read is

"Indian PM appoints Minister for Genocide"
http://ariplex.com/folia/archives/851.htm

The whole thing is very interesting because that text deals with an article written by India's best-known homeopath, a Dr. Batra. Batra opposes the new laws which would add a voluntary 1-years course in pharmacy - to allow the homeopaths passing that exam to apply "allopathy".

It is explicitly described that the Indian bachelors lack a vital part of medical education. And Batra wants to keep it that way.

Have a look at the Indian document: 215 pages describing the old (!) curriculum and exams of that bachelor education.

Durge of course had the old curriculum.

Though at least his hat was embroidered with "scrambled eggs."

One of the sources one must read is

“Indian PM appoints Minister for Genocide”

I already have. What mainly struck me was its similarity to your own writing style.

I have many writing styles. Some I copy and some copy me.

Oh, and...

The whole thing is very interesting because that text deals with an article written by India’s best-known homeopath, a Dr. Batra.

One might note that the your Batra digression has no apparent connection to the two-paragraph news item used for the your hed and lede.

You better check who Batra is.

For those who don't care to bother trying to wring signal out of definitely-not-ama's-no-really ariplex item, the issue seems to be this and, more recently, this.

^ This at least clarifies that a BHMS does not have the same scope of practice as an MBBS, which pretty much takes care of Durge's credentials.

See? Simple.

Did you read the Indian DOCUMENT the college has online?

The whole thing is very interesting because that text deals with an article written by India’s best-known homeopath, a Dr. Batra. Batra opposes the new laws which would add a voluntary 1-years course in pharmacy – to allow the homeopaths passing that exam to apply “allopathy.

I haven't read any of this, but it seems like Batra may have a point -- conventional drugs have actual effects and can do harm, esp. if administered incorrectly. Contrast this to Randi swallowing an entire bottle of homeopathic sleeping pills!

By palindrom (not verified) on 30 Nov 2014 #permalink

@palindrom
November 30, 2014
#63

Batra does not have a point. They key to Batra's tirade is one tiny statement, so tiny one does not realize its REAL meaning. Batra complains that homeopathy will lose its "charm". Batra wants to maintain the magic and the wizardry.

Look at the situation: a homeopath does nothing else but waffle day and night, and delude patients, and rip them off with usesless crap. AND THEN the homeopath ON THE OTHER HAND uses some rotten, stinky,. diabolic "alloopathic" pills, ................................. and the patients gets REALLY well again, in short time.

THAT is Batra's real problem: the delusions won't work anymore because patients now can COMPARE, AND FEEL that scientific pharmaceutical medicaments do work. Homeopathy immediately would collapse.

Batra does not whine for nothing. He owns several hundred homeopathic offices in India. They will go down the drain once people realize how he defrauded them over the last four decades.

Batra even used market research company Nielsen to make a "study" to boost his sales. That is a really mean imperialistic and capitalistic westerner trick.

While flipping through a catalog from the Vermont Country Store last night (the company bills itself as offering "practical" products), I found a number of homeopathic drugs listed, including one which purports to get rid of skin tags:

http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/store/search/search_result.jsp?q=hom…

The company has been advised why I will not be buying any of their stuff.

*though I suppose homeopathic skin tag remover is less obnoxious than caustic "natural" solutions like bloodroot paste.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 30 Nov 2014 #permalink

THAT is Batra’s real problem: the delusions won’t work anymore because patients now can COMPARE, AND FEEL that scientific pharmaceutical medicaments do work. Homeopathy immediately would collapse.

You misunderestimate the power of suggestion, confirmation bias, and all that. In the west, people have access to all kinds of meds, but many still gravitate to homeopathy.

Most of 'em have the kind of chronic complaints that conventional medicine tends to do poorly with, especially when doctors are overworked. Naturopaths of various persuasions tend to make a big fuss over the patient, which undoubtedly helps them feel better. Add to this the tendency for many conditions to resolve on their own, and you've got yourself a business model.

Though not necessarily an effectual treatment.

By palindrom (not verified) on 30 Nov 2014 #permalink

@ JP ( # 40) re critical thinking and spotting nonsense..

What are the easy-to-identify marks** of a true charlatan?

Travelling about in woo-topia, I've discovered that they need first to have their potential marks disregard standard methods of determining exactly who is an expert and whom to trust.
Thus, they need conspiracies that cast doubt on all authorities and institutions: the fact that they have no advanced degrees granted by esteemed universities and that they hold no important official positions is therefore actually a plus.

Usually, their audience follows them over a period of time so mis-information about corruption in high places is repeated frequently, e.g. what are the two worst newspapers to them? those that most people would deem the best .

In addition, they mention their own studies and work over many years which have helped countless people yet are denied by the corrupt authorities. Indeed, their innovations are a threat to the status quo.

They allow their audience to be part of a privileged insider group which is obviously 'ahead of the curve' and riding the tsunami of paradigm shift which is always 'just around the corner or a few months off.

Whilst they lord it over their followers continuously, being so brilliant and all, they simultaneously stress that they are just 'regular guys', down-home and folksy, in fact, they're JUST like you ( except for the genius , of course) and they, being humanitarians, want to help the poor victims of the establishment because they are also *spiritual*. They are most of all, your friends. And you need them and in the future, when all h3ll breaks loose ( another set of dystopian sagas on which they constantly harp), knowing them and what they teach will save your life.

** I know.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Nov 2014 #permalink

palindrome @42 - That article was rad. Thanks.
ebrillblaiddes @ 45 - It's really just a notion of a pipe dream at this point in time; I still have a dissertation to finish writing and a couple of years of funding, at least, to do it.

@Denice Walter (#67):

Yeah, you've got it right, for sure. In fact, quacks tend to prey in particular on people of a certain anti-authoritarian disposition. Having come of age in punk/leftie/hippie circles, I'm no stranger to the mindset myself, although I've gotten much more politically moderate and (I think) realistic with (a little bit of) age.

I used to regard woo among lefties as basically harmless eccentricity, until I started to see people die from it, like a friend of a friend who tried to treat her breast cancer with cannabis oil to predictable and tragic effect. Or when other friends get diagnosed with "multiple chemical sensitivity" and basically start living in a bubble. Or even when people freak out about eeevil agricultural chemicals and start to feel like they can only trust food they grow in their own yard.

But, yeah, the mistrust of authority basically creates an air-tight belief system around this stuff. Once people really get into it, it seems to be really hard to bring them back out, maybe impossible. Mistrust and general hubris and intellectual arrogance turn into a hellish feedback loop.

Given that what's exploitable here is a basic personality trait - in a lot of people, just sheer lack of humility - I'm not entirely sure that just teaching critical thinking skills would suffice to keep people from falling for rank BS. I'm not even sure how I managed to avoid falling into it; chalk it up to a working-class upbringing, maybe. The elitism of using, say, the word "sheeple" to refer to the majority of the human race always really turned me off. Well, that and moving out to the Midwest to attend a major research university and starting to hang out with med students, engineers and other science-y types. (The whole "doctors are only interested in making money off you!" thing starts to seem like utter BS after a few late night flash-card-cum-drinking-sessions with a friend in an M.D. / Ph.D. program. That ish is hard. If someone only wanted to make money, there are much better and easier ways out there to do that.

Anyway...

@palindrom
November 30, 2014
#66

Wrong. You look from your western point of view. But India is a terribly poor country. One of the details of the articles is the remark WHY the homeopaths are pushed: because there are not enough scientific medical doctors. To fill this need politics pushes homeopaths in. The same we had some decades ago in China. Remember the barefoot-doctors? It is always the same problem: not enough doctors and not enough medicaments. To keep the people quiet politics sends out surrogates.

In China the situation bettered, and, guess what: people want scientific medicine. They would be astonished to see how the westerners want "traditional Chines medicine". Because there is none. All that stuff was an invention by Mao.

The Chinese do want pharmaceutical efficacious medicaments. The do know the difference. In India the situation will develop the same way. Right now there is a vacuum. But once pharmaceutical efficacious medicine is available (the pills and the doctors to hand them out) people will want them.

You underestimate the high criminal energy of the homeopaths. They treat EVERYTHING only with homeopathica, including lethal infections and diseases. How about homeopathy for asthma? Is lethal. How about homeopathy for poisoning? Is lethal. And so on, and so on.

People will see the difference. One only has to GIVE them the medicine.

Of course there always will be idiots, like in the west, who rather die than get a vaccination. But India has several hundred million citizens. Idiots are expendable.

ama@70 --

You look from your western point of view.

True enough!

By palindrom (not verified) on 30 Nov 2014 #permalink

But once pharmaceutical efficacious medicine is available (the pills and the doctors to hand them out) people will want them.

I don't doubt it. Some years ago in India I remember seeing an advertisement for a 'fruit beer' promising it was made with "all artificial ingredients". The irony of people in the west wanting 'natural' ingredients while those in India wanted the exact opposite was not lost on me.

That said, India has no shortage of wealthy middle class worried well who are just as vulnerable to placebo effects of homeopathy as their western counterparts. Homeopathy works well for some imaginary illnesses, it's the real ones it's useless for.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 30 Nov 2014 #permalink

I would add that there are those more prone to being "taken" that haven't been listed - evangelical Christians. I don't know if it is the ability to believe in God that makes them willing to believe "natural healing" over scientific research, but there are some marketers of woo that specifically target Christians, using Bible verses as part of their rationale for their treatments, etc. People in churches like Mr Woo's are especially prone to believe woo presented by these types, because "Christians don't lie."

One of the details of the articles is the remark WHY the homeopaths are pushed: because there are not enough scientific medical doctors. To fill this need politics pushes homeopaths in.

Is anyone mandating the bridge training? (One might also wonder whether you share a "western point of view," given the translations from German.)

In the U.S., naturopaths are enthusiastic about trying to gain prescriptive privileges, precisely because it varnishes what they crave – being respected as "real doctors."

What you seem to be describing is the reaction of a single high homeopathic muckety-muck, Batra, to try to convince people with a BHMS not to do it. This presupposes his realization that, rather than being "pushed," they may well be all to eager for the extra luster.

By the way, are you going to cop to the fact that the mere presence of the word "bachelor" doesn't mean what you've insisting it does? The Indian equivalent of a USian MD is an MBBS: "Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery."

Given the amount of time it took for the distinction to be clarified, with no deliberate effort on your part, it seems like a useful discriminator between your actually being engaged in an exchange and your merely promoting an idée fixe.

^ "all too", "been insisting"

I generally don't bother wasting bandwidth to correct such typos, but this pair irritated me for some reason.

@Mrs Woo
November 30, 2014
#73

Homeopathy is based on religion.

A common item of many "nature" nuts is the belief that for each illness nature has a herb to cure it. This is based on the insane idea that man is made by god, and because god is benign, he MUST have made something to help man.

That the very same god made all the misery and death, is ignored. That god PLANNED EACH AND EVERYTHING, including pain and death, is ignored.

@Narad
November 30, 2014
#74

You AGAIN show a severe lack of understanding the situation.

As JP and Mrs Woo note, altie balderdash appeals to both ends of the political spectrum- what's really amazing is when woo-meisters attempt to simultaneously address the deepest desires of the left whilst catering to the righties' fondest dreams-

and yes, I've seen it happen @ PRN, Natural News, AoA and TMR. G-d knows how but they do it!

Freedom, Nature, Independence and Spirituality are amongst the cachphrases promoted- harkening unto a time prior to the rule of the nasty corporations and the corrupt police state. Either g-d's green earth or Gaia's realm.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Nov 2014 #permalink

@Mrs. Woo (#73):

I kind of doubt that it's the belief in God per se that does it. I've known plenty of perfectly rational theists. I myself am no atheist (gasp!) though you couldn't call me a Christian, either. (Though I do dig the Sermon on the Mount.)

I think it has more to do with the "fringy-ness" of the Christians in question. Memebers of, say, the Catholic Church and mainline Protestant denominations seem much less prone to altie stuff than more extreme Evangelicals, members of apocalyptic sects, etc.

This is anecdata, but my mom is Jehovah's Witness - she converted (from general uncherched-ness) after my dad died when I was a kid. The Jay-Dubs looooove them some woo-woo healing, from homeopathy to herbalism and who knows what else. The Dubs also have the lowest socio-economic status of any measurably large religion in the US, and the lowest educational levels, too. This is in part because they appeal to the poor and downtrodden; they're a rank effing cult for a lot of reasons, but I can understand the appeal to an extent. There's precious little justice in this world when you're on the wrong side of things, and I can see how one might find solace in the idea that one day, very soon, the "high will be brought low." So: JWs have a low rate of scientific literacy, are predisposed to distrust/dislike professionals in general, and are fed some anti-science BS on evolution from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

In fact, I think the Christian connection is mostly classic "crank magnetism": fundies of the creationist type are generally primed to be, in essence, anti-science, and thus to believe all kinds of silly things.

You AGAIN show a severe lack of understanding the situation.

No, you've just perfectly clarified which of the two presented options applies.

HTH. HAND.

Oh, I forgot to add - the second reasons the JWs have such low socio-economic status and educational levels is because they're opposed to higher education. Wouldn't want your kids goin' off to school and gettin' their heads filled with a bunch of "lies straight from the pit of Hell," after all. Or, y'know, learning to think.

JP - Very interesting about the Jehova's Witnesses. Thanks for, uh, testifying.

By palindrom (not verified) on 30 Nov 2014 #permalink

Homeopathy is based on religion.
A common item of many “nature” nuts is the belief that for each illness nature has a herb to cure it. This is based on the insane idea that man is made by god

Nope. You are confusing Hahnemann's Law of Similars with the old Doctrine of Signatures. The latter dates back to Imperial-era Greeks, who did not see it as the result of divine design.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 30 Nov 2014 #permalink

once pharmaceutical efficacious medicine is available (the pills and the doctors to hand them out) people will want them.
Wiki: In 2013, there were 4,655 pharmaceutical manufacturing plants in all of India. Plenty of drugs in India, and paying patent fees for that production has not been a major concern, so they're *cheap* drugs. If people can't get them, or can't be sure that the pills they're paying for are actually what they're labelled as, there must be other factors at play.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 30 Nov 2014 #permalink

@herr doktor bimler
November 30, 2014
#83

Wrong.

The "Law of similars" is not by Hahnemann. It is much older. He read about it in a book, dated 1738.

See "Hahnemann is not the inventor of "similia similibus""
http://transgallaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo/index.php?topic=7547.0

Hahnemann in the organon talks mentions god several times. You can look it up here: http://www.ariplex.com/ama/ama_org6.htm

That is the original German version and no translation. Hahnemann's German is a pest. But it is a must to read it because translations tend to be interpretations and "flavored".

#84
It is not the pills alone. There also a prescription is needed. I do not know how prescriptions are done in India, but if there is no medical doctor to prescribe medicamentd, patients only can get them by going to a town. Seems they can not travel so far.

I'll give Batra one thing: He at least presents a direct challenge to Dullman. What on earth the Nobel Prize being referred to for "Piler light therapy" is supposed to be remains obscure to me.

ama
November 29, 2014

Wrong.

ama
November 30, 2014

Wrong.

ama
November 30, 2014

Wrong.

*plonk*

@JP - yes, fringes, or... the more fringe-y of some congregations. I do not agree with many teachings in Mr Woo's church (they would be considered an independent, but loosely associated congregation). I was saddened to overhear at the end of the adult class (I am the pianist and snuck in quietly at the other end of the Sanctuary before they finished) a mother suggesting that if we taught children nothing but Scripture and made sure they knew evolution, etc., were nothing but "lies" that we would be more likely to retain our young adults in church. The class ended before she could further expand on that - I am suspecting she probably would have encouraged any with younger children who could to home school to completely "protect" them from "all those lies that keep them from the truth."

People like that really worry me. I am glad they are not a majority anywhere.

@Mrs. Woo - If I had children, I would be concerned about them being involved in such a church. I suppose if it's not coming from the church leaders or Sunday school teachers themselves, it's not as bad, but still.

The “Law of similars” is not by Hahnemann. It is much older. He read about it in a book, dated 1738.

This is (a) wrong and
(b) completely irrelevant to my argument that the Law of Similars is different from the Doctrine of Signatures (you invoke the latter as the supposed religious foundation of homeopathy).

Hahnemann in the organon talks mentions god several times. You can look it up here: http://www.ariplex.com/ama/ama_org6.htm

I suspect that most pioneers of mainstream medicine also mention god several times. This does not mean that mainstream medicine is a religion.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 30 Nov 2014 #permalink

It is not the pills alone. There also a prescription is needed. I do not know how prescriptions are done in India, but if there is no medical doctor to prescribe medicamentd, patients only can get them by going to a town. Seems they can not travel so far.

Yes, homeopaths have the advantage that sugar pills and water are easy to transport, to re-label when necessary, and to sell without restriction.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 30 Nov 2014 #permalink

HDB on the doctrine of signatures

The latter dates back to Imperial-era Greeks, who did not see it as the result of divine design.

However, Flora Brand Herbal Teas have the following printed on the box.

For every disease we know God allows a herb to grow.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 01 Dec 2014 #permalink

There's got to be that day that conventional medicine will respect homeopathy

Will that day be before or after the day conventional medicine starts respecting bloodletting once again?

Along with moxibustion.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 01 Dec 2014 #permalink

@herr doktor bimler
December 1, 2014
#90

"I suspect that most pioneers of mainstream medicine also mention god several times. This does not mean that mainstream medicine is a religion."

I did not say that "mainstream medicine" is a religion. I said that homeopathy is BASED on religion.

Scientific medicine OBSERVES nature and tries to find out how things work.
Homeopathy and other constructs pull their mechanisms, why this or that is so and so, from religion, and then DECLARE. They do no accept newer scientific findings.

This way homeopaths since 1790 ignore microscopy, bacteriology, and some other, very early developments in science.
For homeopaths no other cause of illness exists but the mistuning of the life-force. Hahnemann radically rejects any BODILY source for diseases, like, say bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc.

Because of the latter homeopaths can not diagnose. This is quite amusing to see when reading Batra's tirade against the new law. The homeopaths being unable to diagnose is one of the reasons why the must be kept far away from any persons being ill. But what did the gangsters do? Answer: They sent four of them to Liberia, and declared that they were experienced in handling epidemics. But how? The can not even diagnose! This alone uncovers the whole action as a lethal fraud.

Important is that it is not the four alone (Broussalian, Durge, Hiltner, Lindemann), but a large number of other homeopaths who are accomplices in this fraud. And who even after being caught in the act lie like hell. They even want to send a second group. How? They also can not even diagnose! They ALL are frauds, each one of them.

I am my son's Sunday school teacher. There is a list of things I tell him to ignore.

I said that homeopathy is BASED on religion.

But you were wrong, weren't you?

Homeopathy and other constructs pull their mechanisms, why this or that is so and so, from religion, and then DECLARE.

Hahneman's Laws of Susceptibility, Similars and Infinitessimals do not, however, derive from any religion's articles of faith. Instead it followed upon his reading of a scientific publication, William Cullen's A Treatise on the Materia Medica which presented the claim that cinchona was effective in treating malaria because of its astringency. Hahnemann rejected this claim because of contradictory evidence--other astringent substances were demonstrably ineffective against malaria. He looked for an alternative mechanism, using himself as a research subject. His perception that ingesting cichona caused him to experience malaria-like symptoms lead him to make that leap that it would likely do so in any healthy volunteer, that the reason cichona worked and other astringents did not was because "like cures like" and the Law of Similars was born.

Nothing in this process was informed by religion or religious articles of faith--Hahneman instead tested and falsifed Cullen's hypothesis (noting astringents as a class were not effective malaria treatments), then methodically worked to identify a mechanism of action that was compatible with this additional observation.

@Mrs. Woo - That's good.

You AGAIN show a severe lack of understanding the situation.

I don't think he's the only one. I find myself unable to follow you argument.

Could you spell it out in simple terms?

I think that you will find that everyone here will be in violent agreement with you that homeopathy is silly, that homeopaths have no training or skills that would enable to relieve human suffering (other than thrust), that offering them any sort to training in real medicine is like polishing a turd if they are going to continue to 'prescribe' homeopathic magic water (but I think everyone should learn first aid, even homeopaths), that homeopaths going to treat ebola is a waste of good jet fuel, and that while they may call themselves 'doctor', they are not medical doctors, and are, in fact, a pale imitation.

But beyond that, I'm not sure what you are trying to say. Maybe because I don't speak German

@Johnny - I agree. I can't follow the thread here - is she arguing for or against homeopathy?

@ Lawrence, definitely against homeopathy. I believe that the objections are over some tangential claims that ama is making with regards to educational equivalents and the origins of homeopathy et al.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 01 Dec 2014 #permalink

I find myself unable to follow you argument.

Could you spell it out in simple terms?

Allow me: "ama and the Putnam Groove identity it refuses to cop to are infallible in every detail."

@Johnny
December 1, 2014
#99

When observing homeopaths and other esotters one sees their rhetoric warfare. We do not want to waste our time by stepping into their traps. This is why we are VERY strict in our course. It is a question of strategy.

To have Batra as an expert witness is not for amusement. He owns several hundred "homeopathic clinics", though I would call them offices. I am not sure, but that might be India's largest homeopathic medical group. So Batra is neither a journalist nor a critic of homeopathy, but a fierce fighter pro homeopathy. He is not called India's best-known homeopath for nothing. This man with some few lines describes one of the worst problems of homeopathy. It is him who proves that Medha Durge is not qualified for the work in Ganta.

When the LMHI homeopaths negotiated with "Freunde Liberias", the homeopaths claimed to be qualified medical doctors with experience in fighting plagues/epidemics. But Batra and the document prove that Medha Durge is neither a qualified medical doctor nor is she qualified in treating epidemics like ebola.

Broussalian already disqualified himself when he broke the rules in Haiti in 2011.

Hiltner makes a joke of himself by messing astrology into homeopathy.

Broussalian and Hiltner may have a western education in medicine, but obviously are not qualified.

Lindemann? Does in no way look like she is qualified to handle epidemics like ebola. An anti-vaxxer like Broussalian, she obviously does not understand the basics of epidemiology.

You see: It is very easy to crush the whole thing, With the help of their own expert "Dr." Batra...

ama -- I don't think you need to persuade regular readers of this forum that homeopathy is bunk, and harmful when it keeps people from seeking effective therapies. Might it be more useful to expend your energies elsewhere?

By palindrom (not verified) on 01 Dec 2014 #permalink

OK, ama, I don't disagree with any particular point you state in 103, until maybe the last paragraph.

You say it's easy to crush them. What do you mean by 'crush', and what would you have us do?

@Johnny
December 1, 2014
#105

The homeopaths sailed under a false flag. They claimed to be qualified medical doctors. With this claim the group "Freunde Liberias" asked for donations to support a humanitary aid action to bring medical help to the suffering people in Liberia, without mentioning that the sole purpose of the "mission" in Liberia was to "find the appropriate remedy", and, of course, demonstrate that homeopathy works on ebola.

This sailing under a false flag brought them more than 5000 Euros in donations by unsuspecting citizens.

Will the homeopaths take responsibility? Will they go public in Germany and tell IN PUBLIC that they willfully did wrong?

What about the unsuspecting members of "Freunde Liberias" who supported the action? They gave their name, not they are under fire.

Johnny, you ask about "crush". Very simple:

1. The homeopaths are caught in the act of making false claims about their qualification.
2. They are caught in the act of making false claims about their intended aim in Liberia.
3. They pull down the support group "Freunde Liberias".

Despite this they STILL say in public they want to send a second group to West Africa. How?

They are neither qualified nor do they have any prove that their stuff ever worked. One thing makes THE WHOLE affair even more crimninal: The WHO already in August (or earlier) declared that "alternative medicines" are not effective against ebola and bear the risk of firing up the infection rate. Best example is the spreading of the epidemics from Mali to Sierra Leone because people from Mali went there to get herbal cures from a healer. The healer got infected and died. And so did MANY other Sierra Leone citizens.

At the time the homeopaths planned their trip to Africa the WHO already had made its rejecting statement. So the homeopaths knew damned well that they MUST NOT use homeopathy. This makes their action a criminal act. And they did know that and they do know that now. Will they stand up and admit that they are willfully committing a criminal act?

The homeopaths have a lot to explain now.
They cheated their own friends and their own supporters. They cheated the public. AND THEY CAN NOT DENY THAT.

They are crushed.

What you can do? A) smile and B) pass this on. Like the Daily Mail did. Like the other media did and do. People have the right to know that homeopathy is fraud.

Might it be more useful to expend your energies elsewhere?

I have a sneaking suspicion that ama already does.

I'll tell anyone who will listen that homeopathy is a fraud, and I've been known to smile on occasion, so I guess I'll bow out at this point.

Carry on.

Perhaps ama might be interested in that union of concerned parents, Thinking Moms' Revolution ( who have an eponymous website and facebook page) who sponsor homeopathic e-conferences and often recommend its usage to others parents within their posts and comments.
Yes they do!
There's also a bit of homeopathy at Age of Autism website and facebook page.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 01 Dec 2014 #permalink

Came upstairs for the night and Mr Woo was listening to an internet infomercial by a Dr Jonathan Wright with the "good doctor" (and, sadly, he is an MD) portrayed as standing with a small group who know the plot by pharma to make us sick, keep us sick, etc. It portrayed him as one of the "original protectors of health freedom" etc., etc., etc.

I cringed at every wooish word, and thought about yelling, "Bingo!" after a few minutes. I am wandering if I waste the time trying to prove this man a fraud if it will matter. I know he will just go look for another one. He has been not working closely with our PCP to manage things, taking the small improvements from beginning low doses of medication as a new baseline and adding supplements hawked by these profiteering snake oil salesmen to try to hit his target numbers (vs. having another doctor visit and finishing med adjustments.

He has had a second stroke (August) and believing the whole echo chamber that is alternative (medicine as well as news/conspiracy stuff) is going to end his life ten or twenty years earlier than it could last.

*wondering

Oh how I hate typos.

@Mrs Woo: Oy. That's a horrible situation to be in. If it were me, which it's not, I'd try to get to him now, before he gets too invested in alternative medicine and its worldview. When someone really gets entrenched in that, nasty things can happen, including within interpersonal relationships. I've recently lost a couple of actually close friends for daring to question the woo-rld-view. (Part of it was me recoiling at being called "brainwashed" or a "shill" by people I'd counted as friends; what an insult, that I'm either deluded, stupid, or don't come by my opinions honestly.) Not to forget, of course, that he could die, which is the most important thing.

I can empathize with Mr. Woo a bit, too, though. Chronic illness sucks, and managing chronic illness sucks. In fact, I very ill-advisedly tapered myself off the antidepressant that I'd been taking for three years this summer. (The risk-benefit analysis would definitely suggest that I stay on it, for various reasons, rationally speaking.)

But I don't want to take meds and see shrinks for the rest of my days; in and of itself, it's depressing. What can I say? Half of what keeps me going in life is just sheer cussedness. (Plus, to be honest, the therapist I had to see in order to see the psychiatrist wasn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, even if she was sympathetic.)

That being said, I'm thinking I'll probably need to make an appointment with a psychiatrist in the near future. My little experiment has not been entirely successful, and I really caught hell with my advisor when I mentioned it (He's also had problems with severe depression and has seen me at my worst.)

All this is just to say that even the stubbornest cuss can be gotten to, it turns out.

Perhaps ama might be interested in that union of concerned parents, Thinking Moms’ Revolution

Those clods are censorious asshats of the first water. this slopbucket of errors is even contradicted by primary homeopathic sources of the time.

Mr Woo has diabetes and high blood pressure. He has been woo-enamored since before we met. I highly suspect his entire adulthood has been woo-believing. I originally found this blog years ago googling to try to debunk some of his suppositions.

Strangely, having only one grandkid on the spectrum with five other grandkids who have been successfully kept up to date on vaccinations has made him willing to add flu shot and a shingles vaccine to his to-do list this fall.

Chronic depression is a real struggle. I am glad you have an advisor willing to speak up. I reacted very badly to Mr Woo's second stroke. I am chronically ill and not physically capable of doing enough to take care of him while he recovers.

@ JP:

You certainly are in an unenviable situation - anti-depressants can be difficult- I know quite a few people who struggle with depression ( I only discuss non-clients, of course) and question whether to take meds or not. I have a related milder issue myself as do several family members.

You do understand that you might need them- which is laudable in itself. Because you're writing a dissertation you must be aware that that alone might drive anyone towards depression.

I think it's important to have a marker of sorts to remind yourself that "It's time". One of my cohorts says- half jokingly- that he observes himself and knows that when he hasn't combed his hair or shaved in several days, he needs help. Usually, I think signs like not doing work, leaving the house or
associating with friends are extremely informative and there are on-line resources- inventories like Beck's- that will give you a measuring stick that you can monitor over time.

And you may not have to take them for life- you don't know that for sure. Some people do. Best wishes.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Dec 2014 #permalink

Ah-ha; thus the 'nym. I have to admit that it (well, the term woo in general) keeps making me think of the Wu-Tang Clan. "'Cause yo, the Wu, the Wu got something that I know everybody wanna hear."

@ Mrs Woo:

I didn't know that he had had a second stroke- you have my sympathies- I know that you have health issues yourself.

At think that at this time, it's very important for you to set aside time- and a place- for yourself wherein you can escape from his problems and relax but also strengthen yourself, physically, emotionally or educationally. Hobbies are one thing and useful but you might also consider additional education ( it could be on-line) and perhaps exercise ( adjusted to your abilities)- even simple things like walking or taking a class for an hour a week.

When someone is ill in a household, others who live there sometimes focus upon the illness and the sufferer rather than themselves to their own detriment.

Because of the internet and public resources, often educational and exercise-related opportunities are free or nearly so.
I hope that things improve for you

And -btw- recently I've been hearing of lots of woo that addressed strokes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and related conditions. Oh boy!

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Dec 2014 #permalink

@Dorit Reiss
December 2, 2014
#118

The article in the Daily Mail is the second of two, and it is not new. See the date:
"Published: 15:44 GMT, 19 November 2014 | Updated: 23:23 GMT, 19 November 2014"

Some homeopaths claim that the Daily Mail claims that homeopathy has already cured a number of cases of Ebola:

https://twitter.com/LaurieJWillberg/status/536988614328987648

[*QUOTE*]
--------------------------------------------
Laurie J. Willberg @LaurieJWillberg

The Daily Mail is Right -- #homeopathy has already cured a number of cases of Ebola (LOL to spiteful "skeptics" hoping it wouldn't work)
--------------------------------------------
[*/QUOTE*]

Thanks for pointing that out, ama.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 02 Dec 2014 #permalink

@Dorit Reiss
#120

Seeing your comment I thought they wrote a third article. It is a pity they did not. The situation got worse and much more weird.

It seems to be true that an Italian organization in September 2014 sent 3 kilograms of a homeopathic remedy to Liberia:

"The Italian donation uncovered as a fraud. Ouch!"
http://transgallaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo/index.php?topic=8275.msg19318#msg1…

A homeopathic remedy of only 3 kilograms? Well, if it were a low dilution one could get tens of thousands of doses out of it. But it turns out that the 3 kilograms are for only 30 persons, and it is water. 3 kilograms for 30 patients, that is 100 grams for each of them. Three bottles of Coke would have been better.

This incident gets several matters on the radar.

1. Why only 3 kilograms? Did they send it as a parcel?

2. Who in behalf of the Liberian government allowed this?

Sending only 3 kilograms is rather tricky. The senders said they would send more if the remedy proved its efficacy.

And now? WHAT!? What happened with those 3 kilograms? Who used it? Where? Who made the reports? The donation obviously was meant as a study. So the Liberians should have run a full study program with protocols, and with an this commission, of course. Where are they?

The question of the supervision by Liberian politicians is much more delicate. The donation was in September, AFTER the WHO had ruled out "alternative" treatments. The "alternative" treatments had brought death to THOUSANDS of Sierra Leone citizens. That is a lesson to learn. The whole of Africa SHOULD have learned. But who in Liberia did not?

At first sight a rejection seems simple and actually it is simple. But for a country in such a devastated state, who could reject something offered? The donors would have felt offended? And Liberia wanted more held, like mobile labs.

Rejecting the homeopathy shit would have endangered the chance to get REAL SCIENCE for help. Not to forget the tons of food sent to Liberia.

For the Liberian diplomats this is a desperate situation, and for the frauds a chance to abuse it. Was it a deliberate attack on the Liberian state to send these 3 kilograms of water? Just to try how much the "donors" could get the Liberians onto the knees?

It is not astonishing to see the American fraud John R. Benneth report joyfully about the Italian "donation". He is just the type of psycho gangster who makes fun of ripping off people. His attacks on Randi show this. Benneth, the magician, wanted to crack down on Randi, the magician. The Italian "donors" and Benneth are birds of a feather.

I do not want to excuse the Liberian diplomats. For them the situation is even more complex because their own boss, president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is a religiot and a pusher of homeopathy. To reject the donation could have cost the diplomats their jobs.

Africa is a dangerous place. Why don't we send ALL homeopaths there? No return ticket necessary.

Dave! The system sucks. It again swallowed a comment by me.

Typos:
"and with an this commission, of course."
.. and with an ethics commission, of course.

"And Liberia wanted more held, like mobile labs."
And Liberia wanted more help, like mobile labs.

"I do not want to excuse the Liberian diplomats. For them the situation is even more complex because their own boss, president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is a religiot and a pusher of homeopathy. To reject the donation could have cost the diplomats their jobs."

Here the next sentence got lost:
"To reject the donation could have cost the diplomats their jobs.
But how many lives did their silence cost?"

Will that day be before or after the day conventional medicine starts respecting bloodletting once again?

Well, actually, conventional medicine does respect bloodletting... for a few, very specifically indicated conditions, such as haemochromatosis.

By Jenora Feuer (not verified) on 02 Dec 2014 #permalink

@Denice - thank you for the advice. Have been trying. One of those crazy times in life - we started construction on a new house at the farm just before the stroke and have to sell this one to finish the new one. So there is packing, etc., that need to be done as well.

What upsets me so much about woo in this case is the improperly managed diabetes probably has most to do with diabetes. His blood pressure has been managed. He decided that med wasn't too dangerous when I pointed out that I have taken it ten years.

Every night he web searches "diabetes cure" and once again is reassured by someone selling something that big Pharma is trying to kill him while silencing them and keeping him from "the truth."

Just drives me nuts. The more places he hears this, the more it becomes "truth" in his head (corroboration and all - that many quacks couldn't possibly all be lying, could they?).

That is the biggest danger of the echo chamber - innocent people see all the "evidence" of matching glowing testimonials, etc., and the whole thing seems more credible to them.

*has the most to do with the strokes, not "the diabetes." Sorry.

</Plonk-O-Matic>

It is not astonishing to see the American fraud John R. Benneth report joyfully about the Italian “donation”.

Try this on for size.

@ Mrs Woo:

That's rather awful!
And it's one of the reasons I write about charlatans and their prevarication. It's all about money. If only we could get that message across to people like Mr Woo. Perhaps he needs to see photos of their estates.

This phoney medicine hurts real people. A few years ago, I used to play tennis at a very posh club: the manager was normal but afraid of meds and tried to avoid them at all costs: when her doctor prescribed a drug for cholesterol IIRC she instead opted for red rice yeast. She felt great but then had a stroke and had to undergo months of therapy because she had problems articulating speech. I've been told she still speaks with difficulty.

Interestingly, those entranced by woo hear 'evidence' and testimonials but fail to hear warnings from people like Orac or you or me. Possibly they may have a previous orientation away from authorities or have an axe to grind against doctors. As I've noted before, sometimes woo-meisters themselves feel that they or family members have been harmed by SBM- it may have been the first paving stone on their path to woo. And their fortunes.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Dec 2014 #permalink

Mr Woo fell asleep listening to Alex Jones. Big rant about the Illuminati elite killing 90% of everyone off with water contamination and vaccines.

Ended his show, of course, advertising his store, telling everyone all his websites, free shipping!

When I point out that these people are making money off of their "patients," he says "they have to make a living" or "doctors make money off their patients too" etc., etc. At least he never went back to the iridologist.

I wonder if Mr Woo will be awakened if I turn off fear-mongering speculation.

@Mrs. Woo:

I'm really sorry you're in that situation; that's gotta be rough. Obiviously you really love the guy, or you wouldn't still be there. Such a difference in worldview is akin to a deep religious divide, and I'm impressed that you're holding up. I mean, Alex Jones, daaaaaang.

He seems to be at least somewhat moderate in his views, though, based on your description. I only hope that you can convince him one way or another to take care of his health (in a reality-based way) before something bad happens.

Incidentally, it's not so much chronic depression as it is recurrent; I have intervals where I'm doing fine, which is maybe more dangerous, as it can be misleading.

One of the things that did get through to me the last time I was really sick is people who obviously cared about me breaking out in tears or even getting angry with me after what "happened." It turns out that it's not only myself I affect with my actions, even when they aren't directed towards others. Such awareness can fade, though, and the brilliance of depression as a "pathogen" is that it attacks exactly that part of your thinking that realizes that other people actually care about you.

On the other hand, I've had friends tell me that they don't "think it's healthy to be taking pills every day just to be normal," or even that I've been duped by Big Pharma. Oddly enough, those same friends are annoyed that I've been more of a homebody and a little more irritable these past few months. Um, well.

Makes one wonder if those friends are really friends at all.

I’ve had friends tell me that they don’t “think it’s healthy to be taking pills every day just to be normal,”

Tell that to a diabetic.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 02 Dec 2014 #permalink

Big rant about the Illuminati elite killing 90% of everyone off with water contamination and vaccines.

Big fail on the Illuminati side, considering the still growing population.

@ Mrs Woo:

But does Mr Woo know of YOUR relationship with the Illuminati via RI?

At any rate, I just ran into a video that may help illuminate ( ahem!) how people become woo-entranced:
at Thinking Moms' Revolution today, publisher and professional woo-enabler Tony Lyons explains how he became a supporter of the vaccine-autism hypothesis:
his daughter was diagnosed with autism after vaccines and a seizure; he later became familiar with Wakefield, etc.

He runs Skyhorse which is publishing all of those autism-related books being hawked at AoA and has given Gary Null his own imprint as well.
I'm sure however that his child's autism was not the first foundation of his en-woo-ment.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 03 Dec 2014 #permalink

Some friends here don't know John Benneth? So, to enlighten you, here is a bit about John Robert Benneth (a.k.a. John R. Benneth), self-acclaimed actor, self-acclaimed politician-to-be, self-whatever.

In August this year John R. Benneth once more got the world's attention by saying the unimaginable, the unthinkable, the ultimate ground-breaking news: "FDA APPROVES HOMEOPATHIC EBOLA CURE".

Here is more about that:

http://transgallaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo/index.php?topic=8275.msg19126#msg1…

[*QUOTE*]
------------------------------
John R. Benneth, known in the net for being a complete idiote, two weeks ago posted one more of his shrill shreeks: he claimed that the FDA approves homeopathic medicaments for treating ebola:

http://johnbenneth.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/fda-approves-homeopathic-eb…

[*quote*]
The John Benneth Journal
johnbenneth.wordpress.com

FDA APPROVES HOMEOPATHIC EBOLA CURE
Aug31 by johnbenneth
------------------------------
[*/QUOTE*]

If you are a bit older, you perhaps have heard of Elvis Presley, and about his amazing psychic David Guardino, the "psychic to the stars", who raked in MILLIONS, and had many cars and many wives.

John R. Benneth was not only actor, politician, and homeopath. He also was a copycat and tried to make big bucks by copying David Guardino and our hero Randi. The TG-1 forum thread is a collection of some of the most astonishing insights into that scene you will read in the whole Net. No, honestly, this is no exaggeration. Did you know that David Guardino has a sister? She is doing fine, and she is a guest in our forum TG-1.

John R. Benneth is a nasty fraud. In London he messed up with a homeopathy school. And he messed up with some speech he held about homeopathy. He was great in making a Nobel laureate making a fool of himself ("and the Cavendish Labs at Cambridge, at the invite of Prof. Brian Josephson. The title of the talk was "BEYOND THE MOLECULE: Supramolecular Chemistry and the Homeopathic Remedy."")

The school for homeopathy, overseas, in UK, naturally, is a bit short of a brain, so they cannot handle him. But one homeopath, perhaps an Indian, cracked down on him:

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sat92f
[*QUOTE*]
------------------------------
Chandran K C · @similimum
17th Sep 2014 from TwitLonger

"FDA APPROVES HOMEOPATHIC EBOLA CURE"- A funny claim by John Benneth exposed!

JOHN BENNETH, FAMOUS FOR MAKING FALSE AND FUNNY CLAIMS ABOUT HOMEOPATHY (SECOND ONLY TO DANA ULLMAN), COMES LATELY WITH A NEW CLAIM: "FDA APPROVES HOMEOPATHIC EBOLA CURE"
------------------------------
[*/QUOTE*]

Now, of all the critics, which one do you think was the most impressive and the most funny one? This one, by a homeopath. Why so? Answer: Because it is a member of the very same gang.

The same is with the education of Medha Durge, the Indian wannabe-doctor: it is a homeopath, India's best-known homeopath, "Dr." Batra, who pulls away the carpet underneath her. It is not the critics, no, it is India's best-known homeopath, who crushes her claims about her education, and, as a consequence, crushes the claim of the LMHI homeopaths to have sent qualified medical doctors, experienced in treating epidemics, to Liberia.

Dave, to the rescue, please. Comment is stuck in the pipeline. :-)

I’ve had friends tell me that they don’t “think it’s healthy to be taking pills every day just to be normal,”

Yeah, tell that to my friend with schizophrenia.

After a couple of early paranoid instances when they were still getting his diagnosis correct, he is very good about taking his medication. He's a nice friendly guy, and likes people, and knows that he tends to put people off if he's not on his meds. He's also got used to exactly how the medication affects his moods over time, and will schedule when he takes his pills based on when he's going out to be social so he will be in an enthusiastic but not overwhelming part of his cycle while talking to people.

Heck, the 'taking pills every day just to be normal' applies to me with Crohn's disease as well. I remember the levels of pain I was in when that flared up (only time I've ever had morphine), as well as the weight I lost due to not being able to get half the nutrients from my food. A few pills a day to be able to live a mostly normal life? So worth it.

By Jenora Feuer (not verified) on 03 Dec 2014 #permalink

ama, if you poke Benneth's name in the search box, you will see 8 post come up that mention him. I think it's safe to say that our host has covered all the major loons, and a good portion of the minor ones. To get the full flavor of the crazy Benneth brings to the world, I would suggest checking out his YouTube postings.

Also, note that a comment with 3 or more links will go to moderation. Wether this is a bug or a feature I leave as an exercise for the student.

On the other hand, I’ve had friends tell me that they don’t “think it’s healthy to be taking pills every day just to be normal,”

I have gotten used to having hair, so they'll have to excuse me for still taking my thyroid supplement.

On the other hand, I’ve had friends tell me that they don’t “think it’s healthy to be taking pills every day just to be normal,”

Do they think it's healthier not to be normal, then? Until or unless they can identify something that's been demonstrated to help them be normal that's proven to be just as safe and just as effective as those pills that's the choice they're making.

And should they identify something other than pills, I can't imagine why the same objection wouldn't hold--e.g., "I don't think it's healthy to have my chakra's re-aligned every week just to be normal."

JP:

Do these I-hope-well-meaning friends realize that you're not taking pills "just to be normal," you're taking them to avoid being miserable? I would be tempted to ask them why they value my misery.

JGC @140: Well, in a sense, yeah, at least when it comes to one camp of anti-anti-depressant folks. This is the camp that think Americans are being fed too many psych meds to numb them enough to fit into mainstream culture, etc., etc. You know, there might even be a grain of truth to that - I think maybe SSRIs and so forth maybe are overprescribed, esp. by GPs, but I don't think it's a huge problem, and I certainly don't think it's part of any plot by Big Pharma to keep people complacent. I think a lot of people operate on different ideas of what the word "depressed" means, too: This is where you get people saying things like, "You know, when I'm depressed, I go for a walk in the woods" or whatever. Gee, that's nice, but when I'm depressed, I've been known to end up in the ER. (As an aside, I really don't know why anyone would ever be concerned about me suddenly becoming normal. That's about the last descriptor most people would use for me, I think)

Some people I know are just kind of vaguely in that camp, but some really close friends of mine back home have gotten further and further into the whole anti-Pharma, anti-GMO, anti-fluoride thing. It really kind of sickens me that they'd value their ideology more than, you know, my wellbeing and/or life.

The other camp is mostly comprised of my Polish and Russian friends, who seem to share a general mistrust of medicine and psychiatry in particular. This is actually somewhat understandable, given that psychiatry actually was used as a tool of state control in the Soviet Union and former Eastern Bloc countries. Folk remedies are still huge in Slavic cultures, too; "But my grandma said it works!" My friend Yana was telling me once about how she doesn't think it's good to take pharmaceuticals and prefers to take herbs instead. (Which is "grasses" in Russian, actually, which is sort of cute in a way.)

Oh, and I'm actually not taking anything right now, after having tapered myself off, this summer, of the SSRI and SNRI I was taking. Which is colossaly dumb and nobody should ever do. Actually, I was noting that it's funny that a lot of the people who were giving me flak for taking "pills" every day are the same people who think I'm not as much fun lately, which, well, I'm probably not.

JP: I hear you on the tapering. It's a special kind of hell, at least as far as SSRIs go. Can't speak about SNRIs, but I'm sure that's no picnic either. Good luck.

I used to follow a blogger who was a naturalized Russian. Not only did she believe ADD and most associated disorders were bunk- oddly, she was proud of her ASD diagnosis*- but she also viewed dentists as charlatans and was convinced that having even one tooth extracted would cause the rest to rot. ( I guess dentists in the Eastern bloc weren't very good?)
* I say oddly, because you'd think someone who thought ADD was bunk would resist any diagnosis at all.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 03 Dec 2014 #permalink

Dentists in the Eastern bloc may or may not have been very good, but they certainly weren't very popular, since anesthetics were often in short supply. Poland still has the worst dental health of any nation in Europe.

@Johnny
December 3, 2014
#138

I know that Benneth is mentioned at several places. And I viewed some of his videos. The reason to grill him "extra black" is a very simple one: because he is so dangerous. Many homeopaths are only stupid. But Benneth is wicked.

Most people do not know about his acting "career" or his political ambitions. Or his fight with Randi.
I guess that nearly no one knows about his copying David Guardino.

It is THESE things that display his real character. He is not a nutty homeopath. He is driven by his insane will to cheat others. Knowing this one can sort things out and understand why he attacked Randi or why he tricked out the London Nobel failure. For him it is fun to exploit others.

His messing with homeopathy is not restricted to some recipes on how to make this of that remedy. OH NO! He started to collect money, and by now claims to have sent homeopathic to Africa, to treat ebola.

Who collaborated with him for this? He says it is some German homeopathy company. Who is that in Germany, and who are his partners in Africa?

They create a shadow world, behind the back of the Liberian government and the WHO and other health organizations. Whatever government and WHO do, he does his best to destroy that. Because he, the genius, can cheat them.

John Robert Benneth is a criminal, letting people die just for the fun of it.

There must be en end to this. He must be treated as exactly what he is: a bio-terrorist. And not only he, but ALL the other homeopaths.

One thing not to forget: It is not only the ebola matter in Africa, it also is anti-vaccination disinformation and other fraudulent actions, killing US citizens. There are corpses! There are corpses in the USA. And their murderers still are at large.

What i've seen (personally and observing family members) the SSRI's didn't offer you the promise you wouldn't still be miserable if you'd made no other changes in your life. What they did do, however, was make it possible for you to function despite that misery, so you could attempt the necessary changes. (As in actually drag yourself to work/school every day rather than stay home sleeping 18 hours a day for 2 or 3 month's at a time.)

When they can point to an alternative that offers that same benefit I'll listen to their criticisms.

JGC: True. I'd go back on anti-depressants if the side effects didn't make me more miserable than no treatment at all. And of course there's insurance to worry about. That's one of the major reasons I haven't been taking any medication since college ended.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 03 Dec 2014 #permalink

Ama: Maybe it's just me, but the only difference between Benneth and any other altie seems to be funding. Seriously, scratch an altie, and you'll find a sociopath.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 03 Dec 2014 #permalink

@Politicalguineapig
December 3, 2014
#149

SOME are deluded douche-bags. But persons like Benneth are pure criminals with such a high criminal energy that they should be put in a padded cell.

SOME only talk about ding. But Benneth and others brought homeopathica to Africa. That is a high degree of aggression.

The highest degree of aggression is to claim that homeopathica are efficacious prophylactics against ebola. This is mass murder. Do not forget he thousands of citizens of Sierra Leone who died because of those dimwits who went across the border to go to a healer there.

That to claim something to be a working prophlactic IS mass murder is not an idea or a fear, it is a proven fact. Proven by thousands of dead.

The claim that homeopathica are working phrophylactics is not isolated. Even if it were DIFFERENT groups, some only pushing homeopathy, some others making the claims about prophylactic properties, it is the TOTAL PICTURE which counts, and the total picture is: push homeopathy + claim prophylactic properties.

What shocks me in West Africa is that local superstition has hugely aggravated the Ebola epidemic already. Then the homeopaths come along and introduce more distracting superstition - further confusing people. If they manage to popularize homeopathy for Ebola, I'm sure it will play a part in the resistance of the people there to quarantines and to going along with the efforts to contain the epidemic in general.
The homeopathic remedies also deceive consumers in the West. They are led to believe the homeopathic remedies have some curative power, by false advertising.
That in itself is a shocking situation.
But that deception becomes deadly, much worse, with Ebola in West Africa.
The "relatively harmless" homeopathic doctors have been laying the foundation for deadly deception in West Africa, with "relatively harmless" deception in the West.
There has been some anti-homeopathy activism by skeptics in the West, helping to counteract the false advertising in homeopathy.
And what we need to "get", I think, is that this anti-homeopathy activism matters. Because if this BS isn't counteracted when it's "relatively harmless", it may become deadly.
It's a wakeup call - that our culture shouldn't put up with such deception.

Essentially, his heart is in the right place, even if it’s making him do some very silly stuff
A lot of alt-med types have their heart in the right place. They are often genuinely caring people. They're "people people".
That's what makes their message so appealing. It's hard to distrust a really nice person.
These nice homeopathic doctors might have felt that a little harmless deception is OK in a good cause.
It's similar to religious faith healers doing faked healings - they rationalize that the fakery is OK in a good cause.
It's an "end justifies the means" argument.

From the H5N1 blog, the Liberian Observer reports "Traditional Medicine to Be Used at 'All' Health Centers."

The application of this policy extends but will not be limited to herbalists, homeopath, acupuncturists, ayurvedic, osteopath, therapeutic massagers, drugless therapists, bone setters, traditional midwives, chiropractic, steam bath and food supplements.