MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

This article is hilarious, I think. It was written by Heike Bishop, a homeopath who works in Australia. Here she tries to advise colleagues how best to defend homeopathy and how to deal effectively with the increasingly outspoken criticism of homeopathy. Below is the decisive passage from her article; I have not changed or omitted a word, not even her grammatical or other mistakes [only the numbers in brackets were inserted by me; they refer to my comments added below]:

Getting up in the morning and hearing that all the television and radio station report that it is dangerous for people to see their homoeopath, is utterly heart breaking. Even more so because I grew up in East Germany where the government suppressed free speech and anything that was off the beaten path [1]. So what can we do in times like these?

First of all, watch out for Government inquiries. History has shown that they are usually not favourable towards homoeopathy [2] unless you live in Switzerland [3]. It is vitally important in times like these to put differences aside amongst our professional peers. Every association should be mobilised to take an active and ONGOING role to educate and advertise the benefits of homoeopathy [4]. If things have gone too far already, talk about freedom of choice [5]. Write articles and join blogs talking about what you can do specifically for certain conditions [6].  Encourage your patients to tell their success stories in blogs and other social media forums [7]. It is in most cases utterly useless to engage in any conversation [8] online with trolls [9].

Try to develop a calloused skin when it comes to criticism. Your patients don’t want to hear how difficult it is to be a homeopath [10], they want you to be in control and to be reassured that their treatment continues [11]. When someone asks you to comment on an attack on homoeopathy, put your best smile on and state how threatened the pharmaceutical industry must be to resort to such tactics [12].

Staphysagria is indeed a good remedy. Hahnemann also knew its benefits and even alternated it with Arsenicum the day his first wife died and he got a letter that the hospital built in his name allowed patients to choose their treatment between allopathy and homoeopathy [13]. That was the only time he took two remedies on the same day! [14]

Find out what you can about your country’s own internet trolls [15]. However, don’t underestimate their effectiveness in swaying popular opinion [16]. There is no denying that their methods are very effective [17]. It doesn’t matter how ludicrous their comments are, don’t go into direct explanation [18]. Learn from the enemy [19] and repeat a positive message over and over again so it can’t be contorted [20].

Our colleges should support post-graduate studies featuring marketing and media courses [21]. I once met a Homoeopath from the UK and she pointed out that part of the training in the UK is for students to hold homoeopathic first aid courses to promote homoeopathy [22]. Everyone is different – some of us are happy to stand in front of an audience others choose the pen as their sword [23]. The main thing is to do something to save the image of our healing art [24].

  1. Is she implying that facing criticism of homeopathy is akin to living in a totalitarian state? Or that criticism is a violation of free speech?
  2. I wonder why this is so – nothing to do with the evidence, I presume?
  3. Does she refer to the famous ‘Swiss Government report’ which was not by the Swiss Government at all?
  4. ‘Advertise and educate’ seems to be homeopathic speak for ‘MISLEAD’
  5. Good idea! Freedom of choice is a perfect argument (in this case, my choice would be to have a bottle of champagne at around 6 pm every day – on the NHS, of course).
  6. Certain conditions??? And I thought homeopaths do not treat conditions, only whole people.
  7. And forbid them to disclose stories where things did not work out quite so well?
  8. Very wise! Conversations are fraught with the danger of being found wrong.
  9. Critics are not critics but ‘trolls’ – makes sense.
  10. I would have thought that practising as a homeopath is not difficult at all – in most countries, they don’t even check whether you can spell the name correctly.
  11. Is it not rather the homeopath who wants the treatment to continue – after all, it is her livelihood?
  12. Ah yes, BIG PHARMA, the last resort of any quack!
  13. Did she not just praise patient choice as an important virtue?
  14. Hahnemann was famously cantankerous and argumentative all his life; does that mean that his remedies did not work?
  15. Homeopaths might need that for your ad hominem attacks.
  16. Never underestimate the power of truth!!!
  17. This might show that it is you and not the ‘trolls’ who are ludicrous.
  18. Particularly as there are no direct explanations for homeopathy.
  19. First the critics were ‘trolls’, now they have been upgraded to ‘enemy’! Is it really a war?
  20. You need to repeat it at least regularly so that eventually you believe it yourself.
  21. Are marketing and media a substitute for evidence?
  22. Really, first aid? Do homeopaths know what this is? Obviously not!
  23. But real clinicians, homeopaths call them allopaths, are quite happy simply with effective treatments that help patients to improve.
  24. And I thought the main thing was to treat patients with the most effective therapies available.

ENOUGH JOKING AND SARCASM!

There is, of course, a very serious message in all of this: when under pressure, homeopaths seem to think of all sorts of things in their (and homeopathy’s) defense – some more rational than others – but the ideas that criticism might be a good way to generate progress, and that a factual debate about the known facts might improve healthcare, do not seem to be amongst them.

8 Responses to And this is what homeopaths believe to be a good defence of homeopathy

  • In a nutshell : Please, if you encounter critics, do not respond, use fallacy instead. I understand better now.

  • Priceless!

    The question of regulation seems to be gaining traction. Today, I read that an anonymous spokesperson for Health Canada was asked “why all homeopathic products don’t require scientific evidence” when the government recently mandated that any sold for the treatment of cold, flu, and cough in children, age 12 and under, must be backed with “scientific evidence”. His reply?

    Health Canada is concerned that there has been confusion for consumers because of the similarity between the packaging and marketing of homeopathic and non-prescription drug products. This can lead consumers to the conclusion that homeopathic products are similar to or the same as health products that meet more scientific standards of evidence to demonstrate their effectiveness [my emphasis in bold].

  • I thought the best way to respond to critisism was, to bring on scientific evidence, to show that homeopathy is working.

    But well, considering it is just water, it will only work for dehydration. Besides that, there is no evidence.

  • The response of the Homeopathic Research Institute to the Australian review raises some critical points, which will undoubtedly lead to further analyses:

    https://www.hri-research.org/2015/03/nhmrc-publishes-flawed-report-despite-concerns-raised-during-public-consultation/

  • Excellent democratic and rational comments. The results from proper homeo practice speak for itself.
    coming to criticism on Homeo-
    In empirical method, you are supposed to question even what Hahnemann said (Dr. C.Hering). This is not taught in homeo colleges. Hahnemann was very very very critical of old school. But present day Homoeopaths are not ready to takeup the criticism. They think that Hahnemann Homeo is totally correct even today in every aspect.

    What we homeopaths should do is- first take it and then say what is evidence based and what is not. It it is found incorrect we should be ready to change accordingly. There is lot of ignorance in most of the homoeopaths-
    For example
    1. Many homeopaths don’t know that Hahnemann himself made the conjecture on “Homeo curative action of the remedy”.
    2. Many Homeo teachers don’t teach that Hahnemann’s basic assumption on which he built homeo theory is absolutely in correct today.-
    ““Little as we mortals know of the operations that take place in the interior economy in health – which must be hidden from us as certainly as they are patent to the eye of the all-seeing Creator and Preserver of his creatures – just as little can we perceive the operations that go on in the interior in disturbed conditions of life, in diseases” (introduction to 6th org, page 54 ,B&T)”

    • VALIVETI NAGABHUSHANAM said:

      What we homeopaths should do is- first take it and then say what is evidence based and what is not. It it is found incorrect we should be ready to change accordingly. There is lot of ignorance in most of the homoeopaths

      Indeed there is. But if homeopathy was evidence-based, there would be no more homeopathy.

    • Oh heavens! We have a ‘Thinking Homeopath’ to complement Thinking Chiro. The simplest thought is that if the basic concepts are rubbish, you should just turn your attention to evidence-based medicine. Much simpler in the long term.

  • Having said this, As an homoeopath i feel proud of it from the positive result i get in my practice. Any body who question me about the effectiveness Homoeopathy, I just ask him to stay with the patients whom I treat on the basis of LOS, single remedy.; and conclude the veracity.

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