MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed: when homeopathy-fans run out of arguments, they tend to conduct an ‘ad hominem’ attack. They like to do this in several different ways, but one of the most popular version is to shout with indignation: YOU ARE NOT QUALIFIED!!!

The aim of this claim is to brand the opponent as someone who does not know enough about homeopathy to make valid comments about it. As this sort of thing comes up regularly, it is high time to ask: WHO ACTUALLY IS AN EXPERT IN HOMEOPATHY?

This seems to be an easy question to answer, but – come to think of it – it is more complex that one first imagines. Someone could be an expert in homeopathy in more than one way; for instance, one could be an expert:

  • in the history of homeopathy,
  • in the manufacture of homeopathics,
  • in the regulation of homeopathy,
  • in the clinical use of homeopathy in human patients,
  • in the clinical use of homeopathy in animals,
  • in the use of homeopathy in plants (no, I am not joking!),
  • in basic research of homeopathy,
  • in clinical research of homeopathy.

This blog is almost entirely devoted to clinical research; therefore, we should, for the purpose of this post, narrow down the above question to: WHO IS AN EXPERT IN CLINICAL RESEARCH OF HOMEOPATHY?

I had always assumed to be such an expert – until I was accused of being a swindler and pretender, that is. I have no formal qualifications for practising homeopathy (and never claimed otherwise), and this fact has prompted many homeopathy-fans to claim that I am not qualified to comment on the value of homeopathy. Do they have a point?

Rational thinkers have often pointed out that one does not need such qualifications for practicing homeopathy. In many countries, anyone can be a homeopath, regardless of background. In all the countries I know, one certainly can practise homeopathy, if one is qualified as a doctor. Crucially, do you really need to know how to practice homeopathy for conducting a clinical trial or a systematic review of homeopathy? Homeopaths seem to think so. I fear, however, that they are wrong: you don’t need to be a surgeon, psychiatrist or rheumatologist to organise a trial or conduct a review of these subjects!

Anyway, my research of homeopathy is not valid, homeopaths say, because I lack the formal qualifications to call myself a homeopath. Let me remind them that I have:

  1. been trained by leading homeopaths,
  2. practised homeopathy for quite some time,
  3. headed a team of scientists conducting research into homeopathy,
  4. conducted several clinical trials of homeopathy,
  5. published several systematic reviews of homeopathy,
  6. no conflicts of interest in regards to homeopathy.

However, this does not impress homeopath, I am afraid. They say that my findings and conclusions about their pet therapy cannot be trusted. In their eyes, I am not a competent expert in clinical research of homeopathy. They see me as a fraud and as an impostor. They prefer the real experts of clinical research of homeopathy such as:

  • Robert Mathie
  • Jos Kleinjen
  • Klaus Linde

These three researchers who are fully accepted by homeopaths; not just accepted, loved and admired! They all have published systematic reviews. Intriguingly, their conclusion all contradict my results in one specific aspect: THEY ARE POSITIVE.

I do not doubt their expertise for a minute, yet have always found this most amusing, even hilarious.

Why?

Because none of these experts (I know all three personally) is a qualified homeopath, none of them has any training in the practice of homeopathy, none of them has ever practised homeopathy on human patients, none of them has even worked for any length of time as a clinician.

What can we conclude from these insights?

We could, of course, descend to the same level as homeopaths tend to do and conclude that homeopathy-fans are biased, barmy, bonkers, stupid, silly, irrational, deluded, etc. However, I prefer to draw a different and probably more accurate conclusion: according to homeopathy-fans, an expert in clinical research of homeopathy is someone who has published articles that are favourable to their trade. Anyone who fails to do likewise is by definition not competent to issue a reliable verdict about it.

87 Responses to Who is an EXPERT in homeopathy?

  • Anyone with a reasonable grounding in clinical trials can assess the evidence, whatever the test article.

  • FISH! You forgot about being an expert in homeopathy for fish!

    Of course, it doesn’t go un-noticed that the homeopathy fans here and elsewhere who try to defend homeopathy research frequently are not homeopaths themselves but even for the ones that are, appear to have no qualifications or expertise in research. Most can’t even read a paper properly.

    • @Alan

      I thought you were kidding, till I googled ‘fish homeopathy’! Struth!!

      One post on the homeopathy bulletin blog caught my eye. A chap called Wim recommends two homeopathic remedies for fish that develop a film over their eyes and die (a symptom I recognize as probably a fungal disease), then he goes on to say: “Unfortunately not all diseases in tropical fish can be treated homeopathically.”

      This statement, surely, amounts to sacrilege among homeopathists. I wonder if it has any connection to the disclaimer at the foot of the post: “Sorry, Wim no longer works here”.

    • “Most can’t even read a paper properly.”

      It sounds bitchy to say that many can’t even read a tweet properly (let alone write one), yet it is a sad fact that in numerous cases this appears to be true. It’s extremely depressing.

    • Corrected for you;

      “Of course, it doesn’t go un-noticed that the homeopathy fans here and elsewhere who try to defend homeopathy research frequently are not homeopaths themselves but even for the ones that are, appear to have no qualifications or expertise in research. Most can’t even read…properly.”

  • I wrote about the same issue from a different perspective http://ukhomeopathyregulation.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/qualified-to-judge.html Pointing out the plausibility problem can also result in the “not qualified” response.

    Alan’s point is important. Pretending a paper says something it does not, making wild extrapolations from vitro studies, etc has the effect of making the promoters look foolish. Worse still, many of them can’t even read stories in the non-specialist media. Comprehension is lacking to say the least.

  • Anyone with a functioning cerebral cortex, a conscience and a basic background in science knows homeopathy and most alternative health practices are nonsense. Unfortunately the gullible patients who believe in magic cannot differentiate fact from fiction/trickery so the con artists keep selling their snake oil.

  • Edzard

    Anyway, my research of homeopathy is not valid, homeopaths say, because I lack the formal qualifications to call myself a homeopath. Let me remind them that I have:

    “been trained by leading homeopaths,”

    This is completely false. Either the teachers were not leading homeopaths or you were sleeping in their class. The student in the first 3 months is taught 3 remedies from the homeopathic materia medica. Aconite, Belladona and Phosphorous. What did you read? You showed zero clue about the risks associated with Phosphorous. Why are the first 2 taught?

    ” practised homeopathy for quite some time,”

    You don’t remember the period of training, what do you recall of practising homeopathy? From what period to which and where? What are the 2 most important symptoms of Lachesis that will allow a homeopath to prescribe without further requirement of details? (Did the leading homeopaths provide you some knowledge of materia medica?)

    “Question: Is it correct that you worked for half a year at the Hospital for Natural Healing Methods?
    Ernst: I am not sure for how long I worked at the Hospital for Natural Healing Methods, it is some time ago!”

    • how often have I told you this?: if you are so interested in details, my memoir (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scientist-Wonderland-Searching-Finding-Trouble/dp/1845407776) is the fullest account of what happened when.
      BUT
      you say:
      1) I am not spending my hard-earned money on a book by this man!
      2) this man is lying anyway!
      can you at least answer this question:
      WHY SHOULD I BOTHER WITH SOMEONE LIKE YOU?

    • Iqbal Krishna said:

      Aconite, Belladona and Phosphorous. What did you read? You showed zero clue about the risks associated with Phosphorous. Why are the first 2 taught?

      What are the 2 most important symptoms of Lachesis that will allow a homeopath to prescribe without further requirement of details?

      Please do tell.

      • Simon Baker

        “Please provide a single concrete example where any of the sceptical side has demonstrated a lack of understanding of homeopathy.”

        These 2 have demonstrated complete lack of understanding of homeopathic materia medica: the crucial part of homeopathy. You/any one else would like to show his expertise in homeopathic knowledge?

        • can you please try a little harder to make sense?

          • Edzard

            “can you please try a little harder to make sense?”

            During your training of homeopathy, from leading homeopaths, you were made to read and hopefully understand homeopathic materia medica:
            ” The student in the first 3 months is taught 3 remedies from the homeopathic materia medica. Aconite, Belladona and Phosphorous. What did you read? You showed zero clue about the risks associated with Phosphorous. Why are the first 2 taught?”

            “What are the 2 most important symptoms of Lachesis that will allow a homeopath to prescribe without further requirement of details? (Did the leading homeopaths provide you some knowledge of materia medica?)”

            You have a proper answer or is it the evasive tactic: WHY SHOULD I BOTHER WITH SOMEONE LIKE YOU?

        • Iqbal Krishna said:

          These 2 have demonstrated complete lack of understanding of homeopathic materia medica

          Where and what, specifically?

          (If you are having trouble linking to specific comments, please let us know – there are many of us here who do understand how to do that and I’m sure we’re all more than willing to fill in any gaps in your knowledge.)

        • Iqbal, it seems that you do not understand the homeopathic materia medica. It is pure fiction. Alone the manner in which homeopathic “provings” are done defies *any* sound statistics. 40 participants with hundreds of potential target variables ? 2 out of 10 displaying a symptom being seen as disease associated ? Symptoms back from 200 years but NO key symptoms of today ? Jeez. What a crap.

          • Thomas
            “It is pure fiction.”

            This is an over 2000 year old Hindu story. http://aumamen.com/topic/dashavatara-of-lord-vishnu
            Now compare the development serial defined here with the Theory of evolution by Charles Darwin. People similar to your level of knowledge converted a scientific paper into a story.
            Just because you, with your limited knowledge, do not understand real medicine. does not necessarily convert science into fiction.

            “Symptoms back from 200 years but NO key symptoms of today…”
            Which new symptom have you developed different to men 200 years ago? Blood pressure, cholesterol (the greatest con of the century) and elevated sugar levels are NOT symptoms. The condition these result into (headache, breathing difficulty etc), are symptoms.

            Simon Baker: One more person who claims to know homeopathy, does not know homeopathy.

          • Iqbal, I do not care about Hindu songs that coincidentially resemble the theory of evolution. Blood pressure etc. *are* symptoms and accidentially you have proven my point. Once the blood pressure or blood glucose gets that high that it becomes symptomatic, homeopathy is an extremely bad choice for the patient and the homeopath since the latter might face a jury convicting him of wrongful death.
            To put it simply for you: blood sugar and blood pressure are silent killers that can be caught with *any* medical examination. Homeopaths, however, see no symptoms until the underlying condition is way beyond good and evil.

            As I said, Hahnemann was a very bad scientist and his apoogets are even worse.

          • Thomas

            “To put it simply for you: blood sugar and blood pressure are silent killers that can be caught with *any* medical examination.

            These are silent killers? If these can be read on the machines, what is silent about them? And they still kill? The fact is, these parameters are used to confirm symptoms. When used as a symptom for intervention in a healthy individual, people die. These interventions to make patients normal are the major reason for deaths in the allopathic system. And most of the time, the end result is slow painful death: one set of problems converting into another, into another, requiring new set of doctors and medication and the many adverse effects associated with these drugs. And the best situation on offer: management of disease.

            “Homeopaths, however, see no symptoms until the underlying condition is way beyond good and evil.”

            Your body is the best informer of anything wrong with it: the uncomfortable feeling appears much before you can read anything on any machine. The symptoms appearing during the uncomfortable feeling are used by homeopaths CURE the patient.

            “As I said, Hahnemann was a very bad scientist and his apoogets are even worse.”

            Rather funny coming from you: over 200 years, hundreds of “allopathic idiots” have continued to say this: the end result- homeopathy continues to flourish across the world and continues to grow year on year, in spite of no funding from insurance, NHS.

            Most of the followers of Hahnemann were doctors trained in the allopathic medical system. These were the intelligent ones, usually the best in their times.

          • Iqbal, you have no clue about medicine. High blood sugar and high blood pressure are diagnosed coincidentially b/c the patients attend a medical office for other reasons. The first symptoms of high blood sugar appear at a blood sugar of 250mg/dL this is a level bordering hyperglycemic coma and way above potentially damaging blood sugar levels.

            Homoepaths do not cure anything – even the RCTs are worthless according to your own admittance.

            Hahnemann *was* a terrible scientist as already his cotemporaries noted. He did not even know that cinchona bark extract normally does not cause fever. As for homeopaths being academically excellent. Well, Kent, Clarke, Boerike etc did not contribute *anything* to modern science. Not one little bit. They were even too stupid to realize that one cannot derive a valid scientific theory from a badly interpreted experiment.

          • Your body is the best informer of anything wrong with it: the uncomfortable feeling appears much before you can read anything on any machine.

            Oh boy! You clearly are a dumbass when it comes to medicine, Iqbal.

    • Dear Iqbal,

      You make it appear as if proponents of homeopathy are intellectually dishonest idiots. You would do better for your cause by remaining silent.

  • By the same token a well conducted, robust trial of homeopathy is one which gives results in favour of homeopathy. Trials which fail to find in favour of homeopathy are flawed, weak and conducted by people with vested interests 😉

    Niall

  • Dr. Ernst
    From reading 4 years of Edzard Ernst and his followers views on homeopathy on this site and 4 months of commenting with you and other people on this site, I have a conclusion:

    In my opinion, it is clear to people who are expert in homeopathy science and practice that your understanding of homeopathy is inadequate. However, with your level of expertise in other fields, no one doubts that you are able to analyze and comment on homeopathy research findings so being called a ‘fraud’ is not warranted. In my opinion, criticizing your inadequate knowledge of homeopathic science and therefore your lack of ability to critically analyze the methods used in homeopathic research is warranted. Results are the end of the process, and critically analyzing the process is essential to establishing the validity of the results.

    It is true that the three experts that you mentioned are exceptional and respected:
    Dr. Robert Mathie
    Dr Mathie studied Physiology at Glasgow University (UK). After receiving his PhD he moved on to the Department of Surgery at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London, where he became Senior Lecturer. Over a period of 25 years in the university sector, Dr Mathie published some 80 peer-reviewed papers and wrote many review articles and book chapters. Before joining HRI as Research Advisor, Dr Mathie held the post of Research Development Adviser at the British Homeopathic Association and Faculty of Homeopathy. Much of his work over 9 years was devoted to encouraging and assisting members of the Faculty to improve the quantity and the quality of research output in homeopathy. To this end, he developed collaborations with university researchers and led clinical data collection work with the Faculty’s doctors, dentists and vets. Within a broader aim to highlight and improve the nature and the quality of homeopathy research, Dr Mathie is currently engaged in a number of systematic reviews of published clinical trials.
    Source: https://www.hri-research.org/about-hri/scientific-advisory-committee/

    Dr. Jos Kleinden
    He is a member of various steering groups and advisory committees related to systematic reviews and health technology assessment. He was the founding Director of the Dutch Cochrane Centre (1994-1998); Professor and Director of the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at the University of York, UK (1998-2005); Clinical Professor at the Joanna Briggs Institute at the University of Adelaide, Australia (2011-2016); and is a member of several Methods Working Groups of the Cochrane Collaboration.
    Jos teaches in courses on systematic reviews and EBM in several countries, including Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands and the UK. He is the external examiner of the MSc course International Health Technology Assessment, Pricing and Reimbursement at the University of Sheffield.
    He also is Professor of Systematic Reviews in Health Care at the School for Public Health and Primary Care (CAPHRI), Maastricht University, The Netherlands.
    Source: http://www.systematic-reviews.com/

    Prof Dr med. Klaus Linde is a physician and epidemiologist. He is research coordinator at the Institute of General Practice, Technische Universität München. He has long-standing experience in meta—analyses, randomized trials, observational studies and surveys in complementary and alternative therapies, and in general practice. In recent years he has developed an interest in qualitative methods and in the social and professional background of medical decisions in situations when no single correct solution is available.
    https://www.ecimiccmr.org/fileadmin/ecimiccmr/editors/documents/CV_Linde.pdf

    In my opinion, the difference between these researchers and Dr. Ernst is that, in this blog, Dr. Ernst has revealed a viewpoint that, in my opinion, suggests a person that is not impartial in their scientific approach. There appears to be a fanaticism in the critical approach to homeopathy research and being the ‘ultimate skeptic’: no matter if the evidence is suggestive of a positive outcome, Dr. Ernst will find several possible alternative hypotheses. This is absurd because science cannot prove anything true beyond all doubt, everything is subject to doubt (Descartes and Hume).
    http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/1211/1/owensdj3.htm
    I remind Dr. Ernst again: if patients get well after using homeopathic remedies: how can he KNOW that the remedies used in the treatment did not have an effect, and that effectiveness of homeopathy treatment is due to other factors associated with placebo treatment? Remember: Dr Edzard Ernst admitted that homeopathic remedies MAY!!! have small, specific effects (Mathie et al 2014).

    The reason that the three experts cited here are respected is because they do not display a zealous pro or anti position on the matter. Dr. Ernst, unfortunately, has commented that certain people who practice/support/ alt-med are ‘liars’, ‘charlatans’, ‘frauds’ etc. When respected people have commented on this site, often they have received derogatory responses. This suggests an approach that is not ‘skeptical’ but of one that is committed to a position: homeopathy is placebo because science is unable to detect a substance in potentized homeopathic remedies, and therefore highly potetnized homeopathic remedies cannot possibly have an effect; to think that they do is delusional. The skeptics argue this point as if homeopaths and scientists who are researching homeopathy are not aware of this issue.

    Final question for Dr. Ernst: who were the ‘leading homeopaths’ that trained you and what method of homeopathy did they train you in? I am sure almost every homeopath would like to know the answer to this question.

    • thank you for providing us with even more evidence how clueless you are:
      1) “if the evidence is suggestive of a positive outcome, Dr. Ernst will find several possible alternative hypotheses”
      let me tell you that this is not ‘absurd’, as you call it, but precisely how science works. one establishes a hypothesis and then does everything to falsify it, only when this is no longer possible can the hypothesis be accepted.
      2) “if patients get well after using homeopathic remedies: how can he KNOW that the remedies used in the treatment did not have an effect, and that effectiveness of homeopathy treatment is due to other factors associated with placebo treatment?”
      I have tried to tell you that before. anecdotes will never prove therapeutic efficacy. for that we need clinical trials. in the case of homeopathy, they fail to be positive. in responsible medicine we must try to use therapies which are supported by positive evidence from clinical trials. this means we avoid homeopathy. GOT IT?
      3) you compare my comments on this blog with articles in the peer-reviewed literature of three other experts. does it occur to you that the correct comparison would be one of my articles in the peer reviewed literature with their articles? [I have more than the three other experts together, so you do have plenty of choice]. a blog is very different from a scholarly paper, as I have pointed out several times before.
      4) ” Dr. Ernst, unfortunately, has commented that certain people who practice/support/ alt-med are ‘liars’, ‘charlatans’, ‘frauds’ etc”. I probably have done that on this blog. show me the concrete instance and I will tell you why I did it. I don’t do this sort of thing lightly and believe it was invariably justified and true.
      5) “homeopathy is placebo because science is unable to detect a substance in potentized homeopathic remedies, and therefore highly potetnized homeopathic remedies cannot possibly have an effect”
      this has never been my position. my position is this: homeopathy is a placebo therapy because the best clinical evidence fails to show that highly diluted homeopathic remedies have effects beyond placebo.
      6) “who were the ‘leading homeopaths’ that trained you and what method of homeopathy did they train you in?”
      you seem to imply that I make a great secret of such details. the opposite is true, I even published a memoir (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scientist-Wonderland-Searching-Finding-Trouble/dp/1845407776) where you can find most of the details which you seem to find so intriguing – why don’t you make my day and read it?
      My boss was this man
      Dr. med. Walter Zimmermann [Chefarzt von 1958 bis 1989 Durch seine charismatische Persönlichkeit trug Dr. Zimmermann wesentlich zum Erfolg der Klinik bei. Er schaffte es, mit einer guten Belegung und mit Hilfe großzügiger Spenden sämtliche Bauschulden zu tilgen und den Hörsaaltrakt zu finanzieren.]
      the registrar was Dr Schimmel who also was famous and published a few books. several of my other colleagues of the time also became prominent homeopaths.
      they trained me in classical homeopathy but were open to other variations of homeopathy as well.

      • Dr Ernst, here is the translation of the text cited by you:
        Dr. med. Walter Zimmerman: Chief physician from 1958 to 1989 Due to his charismatic personality, Dr. Zimmermann contributed significantly to the success of the clinic. He succeeded in wiping out all debts with the help of generous donations and to finance the lecture theater. (Google).

        End of quote

        Looking up Dr. Walter Zimmerman did not return any information regarding his homeopathic expertise.

        Dr. Ernst, you are also known as ‘World’s first Professor of Complementary Medicine’ but do you really believe that you are on the same level of knowledge as the experts that have been through the real and full process of training and development in homeopathy?

        • Greggyboy, looking up you did not return any expertise in homeopathy, Therefore we assume you have none, nada, zilch.

        • Greggyboy, you are certainly NOT on the same level as Prof. Ernst or any of the other experts here (including me) to assess the validity of clinical studies or to judge in matters of homeopathy. Remember, you where not capable to answer one single question in this matter. Not one.

    • “homeopathy science”

      There is no such thing, and anyone who refers to it IS a fraud.

  • Edzard on Monday 18 March 2013 at 17:55: or, in a nutshell, homeopaths are placebo-merchants!

    That was posted in 2013, there no is point arguing with you Dr. Ernst.

  • Professor Ernst asks who may be regarded as an ‘expert in homeopathy’, and raises the challenge posed by some – that no one who is not a ‘qualified homeopath’ can be an expert in the arcana of homeopathy.

    As an ‘expert witness to the courts’, and a lecturer on medico-legal aspects of medicine, I fully understand that I am to be regarded as an ‘expert’ only if the court (synonym for ‘the judge’) accepts me as such. I am required by Civil Procedure Rules not to stray from my competence (in my case, as an orthopaedic and trauma surgeon) – and might be arranged before the GMC if I mislead the court by doing so. Example: Professor Sir Roy Meadow was struck off the register for serious misconduct, having used statistics in a misleading way when giving evidence (2005).

    Wikipedia suggests ‘An expert is someone widely recognised as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain.
    Which brings us to an examination of the domain of ‘homeopathy’ – a term invented by Dr Samuel Hahnemann to describe his particular and peculiar mode pf practice for healthcare. (He wrote that he was ‘leaving medicine’, being dissatisfied with the conventional tenets and practices of his day).

    There are two dimensions of the domain of ‘homeopathy’: One is that of a consultation between patient and practitioner, involving questioning along the lines recommended by Hahnemann, in order to determine what features or factors might be leading to symptoms, and therefore, which similar substances (or even immaterial energies such as moonlight) will be most likely to settle those symptoms – if given in the form of a ‘homeopathically prepared’ (HP) remedy using homeopathic methods of trituration, serial dilution and succussion.

    I can see that it is hard to develop any expertise in such homeopathic decision making, let alone facility in referring to a homeopathic repertory in any meaningful way, without having first come to a rational decision that such methods might have value, and then having received some training in their application. I am no expert in such methods of counselling, but I recognise the possible value of the TLC it provides.

    But ‘homeopathy’ has a second domain – the prescription of remedies themselves. Here, any trained professional with an understanding of science and statistics can most certainly be an expert. Because there is all but nothing to be an expert about!

    The homeopathic remedies are sugar pills which contain no active ingredient; there is no plausible reproducible evidence that HP remedies have any specific effect on any condition; such effects as they have are due to the psychological, emotional, spiritual responses to the preceding consultation (placebo responses); and the remedy simply enhances the auto-hypnotism of the consultation. Most homeopaths understand, “Our patients want remedies – they are not comfortable with counselling alone.” And commercial companies have products to sell.

    I am certainly an expert in magic (having qualified by examination as member of The Magic Circle). I have insight into methods of psychological deception; have studied and lectured on camistry and quackery; published ‘Real Secrets of Alternative Medicine’; set out my views for the benefit of the public at http://www.placedo.co.uk (yes, placedo – ‘the way of the placebo’); I demonstrate ‘The Magic of Alternative Medicine’ to anyone who wishes; and I study Professor Ernst’s blog assiduously. I claim to be an expert in practitioners’ use of homeopathic remedies – and thereby in ‘homeopathy’. The public can be assured of my expertise and professional integrity as a registered medical practitioner – and that I will do all I can to provide patients with the information they need in order to make wise healthcare decisions, avoid purchasing remedies which have no effect, and avoid quacks.

    It is not necessary to have personal experience of a faith, in order to be an expert in how that faith is applied.

    • Dr. Rawlins

      It is nice to see that you are here. Please would you answer this question:

      Greg on Thursday 20 April 2017 at 07:43
      Is Dr. Richard Rawlins biased against homeopaths?

      Dr Rawlins, you have not replied to this topic from previous blog:

      Dr. Rawlins, the problem is that you don’t know for certain that homeopathic remedies do not have a medicinal effect. (See: Robert Mathie’s study)

      Therefore, if it is not certainly known that remedies are pure placebos, why should homeopaths state that they are?

      You have not addressed this:
      Greg on Thursday 13 April 2017 at 06:53

      Dr Rawlins, please go through these comments and explain:

      10 April

      Greg: After a lifetime of investigating homeopathy, Edzard should be able to provide a concise ‘head of argument’ for the case against homeopathy. Perhaps he could also try to do this in a dispassionate scientific manner to support his prosecutorial rhetoric: homeopaths are ignorant, corrupt, charlatans, frauds, quacks, criminals, ‘kill your entire family’ (see your listed article above).

      What if his case is wrong? Perhaps he would not feel any sense of shame for insulting so many people?

      Dr Rawlins: ‘Homeopaths are ignorant, corrupt, charlatans, frauds, quacks, criminals.’
      What evidence is there that they are not?

      Greg: Dr Rawlins, I would not have thought of you as the type of person to jump into this with your statement:
      ‘Homeopaths are ignorant, corrupt, charlatans, frauds, quacks, criminals.’
      What evidence is there that they are not?

      What if the model and method of ‘investigating’ homeopathy is wrong? I have stated several times on this site that I consider the method (RCT) and model allopathic/clinical homeopathy used in most of the investigations into homeopathy are likely to fail P=F.

      If someone devises a way to test homeopathy properly and evidence of efficacy is found, what will you say then?

      Greg: Crimen injuria is a crime under South African common law, defined to be the act of “unlawfully, intentionally and seriously impairing the dignity of another. (Wikipedia)

      Does this law apply in the UK?

      11 April
      Dr Rawlins:
      I made no allegations.
      I was quoting another post.
      That is why my comment was in quotation marks.
      I have no idea whether any homeopath is ignorant, corrupt, a quack, charlatan, fraud or criminal.
      Do you?
      How do we tell?

      We are dealing here with probabilities and likelihoods, That’s why a proper scientific approach is necessary.
      Which is more likely, that homeopaths are ignorant, quacks or frauds – or that they have discovered a quite remarkable phenomenon which requires all current knowledge of natural sciences to be set aside?
      Which do you think more likely?

      Dr Rawlins: No – nor in SA either.
      Folks in the categories we are considering here have no dignity which can be impaired.

      End of quotes

      The conflicting statements in the text are:

      I have no idea whether any homeopath is ignorant, corrupt, a quack, charlatan, fraud or criminal.
      Folks in the categories we are considering here have no dignity which can be impaired.
      What evidence is there that they are not?

      These statements appear inconsistent, please would you clarify, thank you.

      • Greg, as long as you refuse to answer our questions, no one will answer you. You have neither competence in homeopathy nor in analysing clinical studies. It is as simple as that.

  • Ah, here is Greg grinding away on the same broken organ.

    In my opinion, it is clear to people who are expert in homeopathy science and practice that your understanding of homeopathy is inadequate. However, with your level of expertise in other fields, no one doubts that you are able to analyze and comment on homeopathy research findings so being called a ‘fraud’ is not warranted. In my opinion, criticizing your inadequate knowledge of homeopathic science and therefore your lack of ability to critically analyze the methods used in homeopathic research is warranted.

    And here is the pair of questions that you, Greg, have steadfastly refused to answer.

    Please provide a single concrete example where any of the sceptical side has demonstrated a lack of understanding of homeopathy.

    You still have not commented on the fact that the CDF seems to have been mismanaged because it applied the standards of SCAM to actual medicine.

    They don’t go away just because you do.

    On a completely unrelated topic, would you consider it to be a hallmark of a ‘charlatan’, ‘quack’, ‘liar’ or ‘fraud’ that they would tend to avoid giving honest answers to simple questions that might undermine the position they are advocating? Clearly I draw no inferences or cast aspersions about anyone in our present company. I ask merely out of interest on a hypothetical basis.

  • Definitely not worth arguing with the people on this site:

    The memorable words of Dr Robert Mathie says it all:

    Björn: Of course I understand scepticism about homeopathy: as a scientist and a researcher, I am approaching the clinical review work in isolation and with an open mind, fully aware that mechanism of action is of equally key importance. Your suggestion that I am being ‘secretive’ about my CV etc. is derogatory, and so inappropriate that it does not merit any courteous answer other than to say it is no secret and that there is no suitable website available for its inclusion, even I wanted to post it online. I shall not be responding further to you, and I hope that Edzard will effectively moderate any more of your remarks on the matter. In fact, as a result of your persistent comments, I am not sure if shall contribute further to this blog.

    Robert Mathie on Friday 09 January 2015 at 17:13

    End of quote

    • I do understand: once you lost an argument + made a fool of yourself, you say: “Definitely not worth arguing with the people on this site”.

    • Oh my 😀
      “Greg” is still at it, trying to dig up dirt to throw around. Worst that its skills at this pastime seem negligible.
      I thought it had crawled backunder its stone.

      The poor sod wrote somewhere here that it had read through four years worth of discussion on this blog! The shaken water and sugar pill business must be slow these days for it to have time for such nit-picking.
      Oh, that’s right… “Greg” is no homeopath, right? Just an obsessed troll.

      For those curious about this latest fizzled out cut and paste exercise, here is the text Dr. Mathie got so haughty and disdainful about.
      Judge for yourselves:

      @Robert Mathie
      I am surprised that you take my questíon as a personal atttack. Or was it my outspoken analysis of the conclusion?
      Anyone who openly admits his or her belief in possible healing effects of shaken water should keep prepared for critical opinion. Especially from clinicians who from hard experience see disease and healing as matters not to be trifled with. I see no reason to obscure my sentiments towards those who advocate fantastical and incredible medical practices when it is hard enough to deal with reality.
      You wish to portray yourself as a scientist and a productive researcher. I have, admittedly found this hard to respect, seeing that you defend what knowledge and reasoning says should be pure nonsense, but I am willing to try. Someone with a Phd and 100+ papers should able to be taken seriously. Should your efforts produce credible proof and evidence for homeopathy, I will bow and applaud. Until then I will be honest to my perception of reality and forthright about it.
      I simply asked for help with finding out more about you and your career. I have in text referred to your person as a scientist and researcher, which I consider showing due respect.
      I do not need help with navigating PubMed. Researchgate actually counts markedly more publications. I did find that list rather repetitive in places so that might explain the discrepancy?
      Do you have any reason to be secretive about your curriculum vitae and information on where and how your academic title was earned? Productive scientists are usualy rather proud of those, often display them online and readily inform instead of responding in a defensive manner to queries about their life’s work.
      Or is there reason for doubt?

      • I might add that you can scroll a few comments up from the comment I pasted above to see the discourse that started with my rather benign request for more information about Robert Mathie and his academic career, a question he decided to take as a personal insult instead of coming proudly forth with the information.

        Interestingly, I cannot readily find any mention of the Phd dissertation, CV or other academic information for Robert Mathie.
        I admit I only gave it a ten minute stint on google, linkedin and other common sites and search engines as well as an attempt at the main homeopathic webs, so I might have missed the motherlode.
        One might think that a seasoned researcher who counts 123 papers to his credit (researchgate) should openly flaunt his vital information.
        Perhaps he can enlighten us himself? It would be interesting to see.

      • The Problem Mathie (as many clinical researchers) has is that he does not know what a p-value really means. A p-value tests the hypothesis that there is no difference. The alternative hypothesis, namely “treatment works” is tested by exclusion, i.a.W. the study is designed in such a way that only three alternative hypotheses remain, which are: difference by coincidence, difference by uncovered mistake or difference by treatment Usually this works well, because the prior probability of difference by treatment is vastly greater than the probability of difference by coincidence or difference by uncovered mistake. With homeopathy this is different. The prior probability of homeopathy is extremely low, which in turn means that many studies are required in order to eliminate the alternative hypotheses difference by chance and difference by uncovered mistake. Taken together conventional metaanalysis techniques my greatly underestimate the confidence intervals if the prior probability of a treatment working is extremely low because they assume a sufficiently great difference between the prior probabilities of the single alternative hypotheses.

  • It is definitely not worth arguing with you and the people on this site because it often descends to farce and insulting people. The impression that I get on this site is that the farce and insults are part and parcel of the general degradation of the discussion on alternative medicine – reflective of the disdain of the topics

    You admitted:
    homeopathic remedies MAY!!! have small specific effects.

    • instead of repeating your nonsense, why don’t you respond to the specific points I raised?

    • Edzard did not admit anything. The sentence is in your dreams. The reason why you are really getting your arse served on a plate here is because you constantly apply double standards, i.e. questioning our professional competency while being too yellow to reveal your own.

  • Dr Edzard Ernst
    You cannot play your arguments both ways. It was fairly recently that you and your team lampooned me for stating my ‘laws of nature’ argument (I might be taking the Mickey).
    However, you wrote
    Homeopathic remedies are usually prescribed according to the like cures like principle. For instance, if you suffer from runny eyes, a homeopath might prescribe a remedy made of onion, because onion make our eyes water. This and all other basic assumptions of homeopathy contradict the known laws of nature. In other words, we do not just fail to understand how homeopathy works, but we understand that it cannot work unless the known laws of nature are wrong.
    Edzard Ernst, Seven things to remember when you are tempted to try homeopathy, 14/10/14

    Please tell us: what are the known ‘laws of nature’ that you are referring to?

    With regard to the meta analysis by Dr Mathie et al of individualised homeopathy: you stated:
    Homeopathy: proof of misconduct, 29/12/2014 (Mathie et al)
    Since my team had published an RCTs of individualised homeopathy, it seems only natural that my interest focussed on why the study (even though identified by Mathie et al) had not been included in the meta-analysis. Our study had provided no evidence that adjunctive homeopathic remedies, as prescribed by experienced homeopathic practitioners, are superior to placebo in improving the quality of life of children with mild to moderate asthma in addition to conventional treatment in primary care.

    Dr. Ernst, if you and your ‘team skeptics’ apply some critical thinking to YOUR study, you MAY reach an ALTERNATIVE conclusion about WHAT IT SHOWED!

    And you CITE it to support your case that it provided EVIDENCE. That is truly hilarious Dr. Ernst! Was Dr. Mathie’s meta-analysis reviewing INDIVIDUALISED homeopathy as an ADJUNCTIVE treatment?

    • I am not interested in following your irrationality any longer.

    • “Dr. Ernst, if you and your ‘team skeptics’ apply some critical thinking…”

      Greg; you and the others who entertain thoughts about some sort of conspiracy theory on this blog should get real. Can you not just accept that the several people who post regularly on this blog against the various branches of pseudo-medicine in no way form a “team”. The word implies some sort of organization and I can assure you there is none, any more than you and Iqbal and Dana Ullman and John Benneth are ‘team homeopathy’. The nice thing about blog comments is that they allow people to comment independently.

  • The truth is, the last person I would trust to give an unbiased opionion as to whether or not homeoptahy is effective is someone who stands to benefit from his use.

    The idea that only qualified practitioners are fit to comment on homeopathy is nonsense and no more true than saying a moslem cannot be an expert on Christian theology.

  • Greg

    Please provide a single concrete example where any of the sceptical side has demonstrated a lack of understanding of homeopathy.

    You still have not commented on the fact that the CDF seems to have been mismanaged because it applied the standards of SCAM to actual medicine.

    • Simon Baker

      I know of 3 who have NO KNOWLEDGE (forget expertise) of homeopathy:

      Edzard Ernst: shows no knowledge about homeopathic materia medica that he supposedly learnt and practiced.
      Alan Hennesse : the less said the better: (Nausea from a thought !!!!!!!!)
      Thomas Mohr : He does not even address the question: too difficult to understand.

      May be you/any skeptic can try and answer the simple question:

      “The student in the first 3 months is taught 3 remedies from the homeopathic materia medica. Aconite, Belladona and Phosphorous. Why are the first 2 taught?

      (Seems a simple question leads answer to your statement: Please provide a single concrete example where any of the sceptical side has demonstrated a lack of understanding of homeopathy.)

      • Iqbal, the reason why I do answer only a fraction of your “questions” is that I don’t respond to apparent smokescreens. That may work in your world, in science it does not. Once again, Iqbal: For the assessment of the validity of a treatment knowing the the exact treatment mode is NOT necessary. However, absolutely needed knowledge is about study power, probabilities etc. So my question for you is: Do the European guidelines for homeopathic provin have enough statistical power to warrant conclusions ? Yes or no, and if yes, why ?

        • Thomas

          Your knowledge about homeopathy is being evaluated.

          • Iqbal, I do not care whether you evaluate my knowledge in homeopathy or not. To assess whether a treatment works or not you have to have knowledge in statistics. You can not answer this simple question how a proving is designed, apparently you don’t even know how such “provings” are done. That alone renders you incapable of any valid comment with regard whether homeopathy works or not.

      • Oh, Iqbal, Iqbal, Iqbal

        You have it the wrong way round. The claim from you and others is that sceptical commenters here have made statements that explicitly show a lack of understanding of homeopathy. The response to that is not to set some silly test question to which you think you have an answer, but to cite a specific example from this site where a sceptic has got their homeopathy wrong.

      • Iqbal

        Just to be clear, asking a fatuous question about some trivial aspect of the rules of the game of Monopoly is not relevant to the issue of whether Monopoly is a board game based on a fictionalised version of the property business. Any sane observer knows that Monopoly is a game. You, however, think you really own Mayfair and Fenchurch Street station.

        “Do not pass Go. Do not collect £200”

      • “I know of 3 who have NO KNOWLEDGE (forget expertise) of homeopathy”

        You’re a liar, pure and simple.

  • I have finished my discussions with all the commenters, except for Mr Magic Circle Man – Dr Richard Rawlins. It has been difficult to getting through to this point and it is no longer possible or necessary to continue with these discussions. Everything that could have been extracted, has been.

    Dr. Rawlins, are you there?

  • Greg, a familiar tactic I have seen down the years from the defeated defender of SCAMmery is to declare victory then flounce off only to return at some point and pretend the past never happened.

    Fortunately, copy and paste still work;

    Please provide a single concrete example where any of the sceptical side has demonstrated a lack of understanding of homeopathy.

    You still have not commented on the fact that the CDF seems to have been mismanaged because it applied the standards of SCAM to actual medicine.

    • “I have seen down the years from the defeated defender of SCAMmery is to declare victory then flounce off only to return at some point and pretend the past never happened.”

      Yep, like playing chess with a pigeon.

      • Thank you for the notion of pigeon chess. It fits well.

        Its cousin the black knight comes to mind as well.

      • It should make more sense to Simon Baker to read my comment in this context. Thanks Frank.

        Greg on Thursday 11 May 2017 at 11:10
        Classic example of pigeon: Jeremy Marchant

        Jeremy Marchant on Tuesday 02 May 2017 at 21:54
        Hello all

        I can’t say I’ve read all of the above, or anything like it. But I feel I have read enough to make the following observation.
        I very much doubt whether ‘Greg’ has any interest in homeopathy, or any interest in the content of the, er, discussion. Or, if he does, homeopathy just provides a useful vehicle with which to achieve his real purpose.

        ‘Greg’ strikes me as a classic example of the person who engages in exchanges such as the above, so that he can show to us that he is invariably right. It is this need―this overweening attachment to being right which is the big thing here. It doesn’t really matter whether the subject in hand is homeopathy or the price of fish.

        Greg is actually playing a game (a game in the sense of transactional analysis) which I have already written on―humorously, I hope―in the context of LinkedIn ‘discussions’. Permit me to draw attention to it *.

        The game is called Bring it on! There are two players: White and Black (many people can be Black, but White stands alone). The choice of colours is taken from chess. White’s first play is to make a statement which is simple, and either stupid or contentious or both. If it’s not contentious, he won’t be able to goad others into responding. If it isn’t simple, he won’t be able to contribute himself and will soon be found out by a piscine expert.

        Black cannot resist and piles in with posts. The description of the game is quite long, so may I refer you to the webpage on my site already cited.

        Anyway, the nature of the subject (say, homeopathy) is so slippery and so rich with pseudo-science that White will always be able to craft a superficially plausible reply to anything Black posts. This will just infuriate Black who cannot resist responding, possibly with a less than judicious reply which White can then gun for with his self-righteousness.

        It is a game that Black will find almost impossible to win. For it is always possible for White to come up with something to avoid answering a direct question or avoid providing explicitly requested evidence, whilst introducing new obfuscating material. As a last resort, White will resort to questioning Black’s parentage.

        It’s important to see that, once Black makes his/her second response he/she is colluding with White in the fight and might ask him/herself whether this is, in fact, the best use of their time (given they won’t win unless White gives in which, short of illness, is highly unlikely).

        * http://www.emotionalintelligenceatwork.com/games-people-play-on-linkedin-2/

        Reply

        Greg on Wednesday 03 May 2017 at 07:17
        Jeremy, this is not black and white.

        You are mistaken:I very much doubt whether ‘Greg’ has any interest in homeopathy, or any interest in the content of the, er, discussion. Or, if he does, homeopathy just provides a useful vehicle with which to achieve his real purpose.

        Bjorn Geir has identified me as the wrong person: Mr Greg Cope, Homeopath and Acupuncturist (Australia). Mr Thomas Mohr and Edzard Ernst accepted this erroneous finding and now disseminate this incorrect information on this website.

        Thank you for adding your name here: one more clueless man.

        Reply

        Greg on Wednesday 03 May 2017 at 07:54
        Hello Jeremy, please would you provide a link to the *scientific evidence* for your science of ‘games people play’.

        This is such old stuff Jeremy but I look forward to discussing it with you.

        End of thread

        What happened to Jeremy? He landed on this site, deposited his ‘analysis’, and flew off.

        Reply

        Simon Baker on Thursday 11 May 2017 at 13:16
        Greg

        The pigeon chess metaphor depends on the idea that the pigeon can’t really play chess. Jeremy’s comments were perfectly reasonable observations that match my experience over a couple of decades.

        That he doesn’t continue to comment here is really his own business. Perhaps he has, you know, a life

        End comment

        Thanks Simon

        • Greggyby, many more words with no content, so once again: What are YOUR credentials with regard to homeopathy and clinical study analysis ?

        • Bjorn Geir has identified me as the wrong person: Mr Greg Cope, Homeopath and Acupuncturist (Australia).

          This is not true and “Greg” should know that as it has been corrected repeatedly. “Greg” was ASKED if it was the same person but never responded until it started trying to parrot this little lie.

  • Dr Rawlins, should I accept that it will be Dr. no reply?

    • Greg

      You flounce off and mince back. Here you are again and still no answer to a couple of simple questions.

      Cmd-C. Cmd-V

      Please provide a single concrete example where any of the sceptical side has demonstrated a lack of understanding of homeopathy.

      You still have not commented on the fact that the CDF seems to have been mismanaged because it applied the standards of SCAM to actual medicine.

  • Has Greg gone?

    He said he had gone then posted again 5 hours later, which is another classic behaviour

    • Thanks for the compliment Simon, not often that one gets these here.

      I don’t expect that you read every comment on every blog so it is likely that you miss a lot of what is written.

      I have been trying to complete a discussion with Richard Rawlins regarding his statement:

      Richard Rawlins: ‘Homeopaths are ignorant, corrupt, charlatans, frauds, quacks, criminals.’
      What evidence is there that they are not?

      He finally decided to continue the discussion that began last month.

      I don’t accept people suggesting by using fancy twists of rhetoric to suggest that my friends, family and others who are alt med practitioners, homeopaths, pharmacists etc are: ‘are ignorant, corrupt, charlatans, frauds, quacks, criminals, what evidence is there that they are not.’

      What evidence does the person that made this statement have that they are not?

      Along the way, a couple of other comments needed responding to.

      Hope that is ok with you.

      Be well.

      • Greg

        It would be absolutely spiffing if you could learn to use the mark-up codes for your comments.

        (I suspect it’s deliberate)

  • Ah, Greg, here you are again.

    So many words to say so little. Just think how much less work it would be just to answer those simple questions.


    Please provide a single concrete example where any of the sceptical side has demonstrated a lack of understanding of homeopathy.

    You still have not commented on the fact that the CDF seems to have been mismanaged because it applied the standards of SCAM to actual medicine.

  • Greg

    http://edzardernst.com/2017/05/who-is-an-expert-in-homeopathy/#comment-90652


    Please provide a single concrete example where any of the sceptical side has demonstrated a lack of understanding of homeopathy.

    You still have not commented on the fact that the CDF seems to have been mismanaged because it applied the standards of SCAM to actual medicine.

  • along with this discussion, you need to go through homeopathy facts as well.

    • Nice! The content of this link appears to be one of the most deluded and misleading pieces on homeopathy. I strongly suggest it to the readers… I mean…

      Myth: Homeopathy cannot cure cancer, mental disorders, heart blocks, cataract, hernia and hydrocele

      Fact: It is not true because we have treated several cases of cancer and rest of the diseases. At times, homeopathy is not helpful in some surgical diseases such as appendicitis.

      …this stuff is dangerous!

      • “…this stuff is dangerous!” Understatement!!

        This stuff is also illiterate (despite the author’s claim: “I am M.A in English Literature from Punjab University.”)

        Myth: Anti-biotics are at home [???] in treating or handling infections

        Fact: It is a disbelief prevailing in this modern age in which we are living. There are thousands of medical practitioners and doctors observe that homeopathy responds to all the infections. It is one of homeopathy facts that it can also treat bacterial infections. It seldom happens when the infection is at its prime and the body does not have the power to recover. In such cases, we may need antibiotics along with homeopathy. We are of the view that soon homeopathy will be accepted as the latest antibiotic.

        My bold: I guess the author means “all infections respond to homeopathy”

        “In such cases, we may need antibiotics along with homeopathy.” I didn’t previously realize there was a logical fallacy of covering your backside, but this must be a prime example. Please don’t ever let a homeopath loose near someone with, say, fulminant sepsis, bacterial meningitis, necrotizing fasciitis, etc.

        But this guy is having serious problems with consistency. Later in his screed, which can only be characterized as a masterpiece exhibiting the depths of ignorance and nonsense to which homeopathists can sink, we get this…

        Myth: Homeopathic medicines can be taken together with conventional medicines

        Fact: No, it is not because homeopathy evacuates the body from the disease [sic]. Whereas conventional medicines try to suppress the disease. Therefore, we should not take them together.

        Make your mind up, Dr.Arsalan Rauf, this contradicts your earlier plain statement that “In such cases, we may need antibiotics along with homeopathy.”

        Thank you, @Homeo Expert, for drawing our attention to this egregious catalogue of ‘myths’ and ‘facts’. It serves splendidly to reinforce the suspicion of many of us that homeopathists are outstandingly thick.

        • I was absolutely stunned by the surrealistic nature of the text! However, sadly, there are lots of fellas that have their beliefs consistently reinforced by coming across such “masterpieces”. Just about when I feel I have seen the wickiest of this world, there comes a new piece to remind me of the endlessness of imagination and delusion.

          This does not happen very often, so, yes, once again, special thanks to homeoexpert for another one of those rare pulses of thrill in life!

        • Dear ones, I am a professional practitioner of Homeopathy and I have resolved several cases of infections including Pilonidal Sinus or Cysts and much other kindly do not take it personally. I write that article to bring awareness and I usually use idioms to express my ideas like at home stands for expert etc. Thanks for reading it.

    • No, you must be new here. We already discussed the homeopathy facts. at length.

    • Homeo expert illustrates surprisingly well why I don’t waste time listening to people who call themselves experts.

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