I first wrote about Dr Grams when, 5 years ago, she published her book HOMOEOPATHIE NEU GEDACHT (which has recently also been published in English under the title HOMEOPATHY RECONSIDERED). In it, she explains that, after having practised as a homeopath in Germany for several years, she did some research. Her initial intention was to prove critics (like myself) wrong. As she read more and more of the original research, she arrived at the conclusion that the critics of homeopathy had been correct all along.
At the time, my post concluded with the following remarks:
When reading her account, I could repeatedly feel the agony she must have felt through her discoveries. Eventually, she had no choice but to agree with most of the arguments of homeopathy’s critics and disagreed with practically all of the arguments of her fellow homeopaths.
I predict that Natalie’s painful ‘journey’ has not yet come to an end; she now argues that the 200 year old assumptions of homeopathy are all obsolete and homeopathy is certainly not an effective drug therapy. However, it may turn out to be a valuable ‘talking therapy’, she believes.
I hate to say it, but I am fairly certain that she will have to go through further agony and find that her discovery is not truly workable. It might have some theoretical value but, for a whole number of reasons, it will not function in real life heath care.
My hope is that Natalie will find her way back to what she calls ‘normal medicine’ (there is, of course, the danger that she does the opposite and wanders off into even more esoteric grounds). We need doctors like her who have empathy, compassion and understanding for their patients. These are qualities many homeopaths who I have met have in abundance – but these are qualities that belong not into the realm of quackery, they belong into real medicine.
Today I must admit that my predictions were mostly wrong. Yes, Dr Grams had to go through further agony, I am sure, but she certainly did not wonder off into further eccentricities of esoteric medicine. On the contrary, she has become one of Germany’s most vociferous sceptic with many feathers in her cap:
- She co-founded the Information Network on Homeopathy (Informationsnetzwerk Homöopathie — INH).
- She became a member of the “Münsteraner Kreis“.
- She joined the Science Council of the Society for the Scientific Investigation of Parasciences (GWUP – the German Sceptics Association) and became the organisation’s Communications Manager for the GWUP.
- She serves on the advisory board of the Humanist Giordano Bruno Foundation.
- She is vice president of the Humanist Press Foundation in Germany.
- Her second book, GESUNDHEIT, was published in 2017.
- And a few days ago, her third book WAS WIRKLICH HILFT (Treatments that truly help) has become available. I highly recommend it to all who read German and hope it soon becomes available in English.
Unsurprisingly, Natalie has, during the last 5 years, become a thorn in the flesh of homeopaths and their supporters. One German firm even went as far as sending her a desist letter demanding she never again to claim that homeopathy does not work beyond placebo, or else she would be heavily fined.
The argument homeopaths most regularly use for their attacks is that, as a clinician, she was an under-qualified, unexperienced homeopath who failed and thus turned against her trade in anger and frustration.
I have always been intrigued by this argument and want to take a minute or two and scrutinise it a little closer:
- Dr Grams had all the qualifications needed for practising as a homeopath.
- She had practised as a homeopath for around 6 years.
This means the often-voiced claim that she was under-qualified, unexperienced, etc. is truthful only in homeopathic doses.
But let’s have a little fun and assume it is true. Let’s disregard the ad hominem attacks. Let’s just for a moment agree with the German homeopathy lobby that Dr Grams was a very poor and utterly ungifted homeopath. Let’s assume that therefore her experience with homeopathy became more and more unsatisfactory, and that consequently she turned into an anti-homeopath.
And now, let’s take a step backwards and think. If all this were true, what would follow from this line of reasoning?
Clearly, it would follow that homeopathy does not need any homeopathic skills for generating a loyal following. Because the facts are demonstrably clear: as a homeopaths, Dr Grams was highly successful.
- She had a full practice.
- She enjoyed a good income.
- Her patients were satisfied and loyal.
- There even was a waiting list for getting an appointment.
So, if (in the view of homeopaths) an under-qualified, unexperienced clinician can practice homeopathy with such outstanding success, what does that tell us about homeopathy?
It tells us, I am sure, that Dr Grams’ conclusions stated in her first book are true: the effects of homeopathy do not rely on the specifics of the skilfully chosen remedy, they rely on placebo and other non-specific effects.
In other words, those homeopaths who attack Dr Grams for being not up to the job, tacidly concede that homeopathy is a placebo treatment!
HOMEOPATHY = THE ART OF SHOOTING SPECTACULAR SELF-GOALS!