Dr Jens Behnke has attracted my attention several times before (most recently here and here). Today I have decided to admit him into my ‘ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE HALL OF FAME’.

He finds himself in the company of giants:

John Weeks (editor of JCAM)

Deepak Chopra (US entrepreneur)

Cheryl Hawk (US chiropractor)

David Peters (osteopathy, homeopathy, UK)

Nicola Robinson (TCM, UK)

Peter Fisher (homeopathy, UK)

Simon Mills (herbal medicine, UK)

Gustav Dobos (various, Germany)

Claudia Witt (homeopathy, Germany and Switzerland)

George Lewith (acupuncture, UK)

John Licciardone (osteopathy, US)

Why does Behnke deserve this honour?

Because, 4 years ago, he made his doctorate under the supervision of Prof Harald Walach, pseudoscientist of the year 2012 and proven teller of falsehoods?

No, there are better reasons.

On Twitter, Behnke describes himself as a research consultant for homeopathy at the Karl and Veronica Carstens-Foundation: Evidence based medicine, CAM, clinical and basic research, health. The Carstens Stiftung say he is ‘programme director integrative medicine’. On facebook, he is merely ‘ ‘Referent of  ‘Redaktion Natur und Medizin’. And on ‘Research Gate’ he lists 12 areas of skills and expertise:

Evidence Based Medicine
Medical & Health Profession Education
Observational Studies
Science Communication
Social Media
Randomized Control Trials
Clinical Research
Philosophy Of Science
Complementary & Alternative Medicine
Integrative Medicine

If this is not impressive, I don’t know what is! Particularly, if one knows that he is not a medical doctor at all!!!

So, let’s look at the list to decide whether he deserves the honour of becoming a member of my ‘HALL OF FAME’. Specifically, let’s check how many Medline-listed articles he has to his name in each of the above areas:

Evidence Based Medicine = 0
Medical & Health Profession Education = 0
Meta-Analysis = 0
Observational Studies = 0
Science Communication = 0
Social Media = 0
Randomized Control Trials = 0
Clinical Research = 0
Philosophy Of Science = 0
Complementary & Alternative Medicine = 0e
Integrative Medicine = 0
Homeopathy = 0

(No, you don’t need to praise me for my detailed, time-consuming research. It was not difficult and very quick: Jens Behnke, the ‘research consultant, has precisely zero Medline-listed publications).
So has Behnke ever conducted:

  • a meta-analysis? No
  • an observational study? I don’t think so
  • a randomised trial? No
  • any other clinical research? No

In the past, I tended to admit to my HALL OF FAME mainly those SCAM researchers who had published plenty of papers but had no study to their name that drew a negative conclusion. Behnke is not in that league. He is nevertheless worthy for his highly elaborate concept. Remember, he is a ‘research consultant in homeopathy’, and homeopathy obeys different rules than any other form of quackery. One of its axioms holds that LESS IS MORE. And considering this principle, Behnke surely must be THE expert! No publication, in homeopathic logic, evidently means that he is better than anyone else.


And congratulations also to the Carstens Stiftung who have so far spent 36 000 000 Euro on SCAM-research and pay Behnke’s salary as ‘research consultant’: I am sure you guys deserve him!


In case Dr Behnke reads this: it is an internationally accepted standard of honesty and transparency that someone who has a doctor title and works in or comments on medical matters makes it clear that he/she is not medically trained or experienced, that in fact he/she is not a medical doctor. If not, one might think that this person is deliberately trying to mislead the public.

26 Responses to Jens Behnke is officially admitted in the ‘HALL OF FAME’

  • Congratulations, Jens! You’re my hero!

    (Try to keep your acceptance speech under 20 minutes.)

  • Wonderful! What a great honour!

    What does Dr. (!) Behnke gets as reward? A medal, a title? Or more money (from the Karl and Veronica Carstens-Foundation)?


  • This guy definitely is a great mind and extraordinarily talented critical thinker.
    The very first sentence of his PhD-thesis „Wissenschaft und Weltanschauung – Eine epistemologische Analyse des Paradigmenstreits in der Homöopathieforschung„ already demonstrates this clearly:
    Quote:”Die Homöopathie ist eine Therapiemethode, die seit mehr als 200 Jahren praktiziert wird und eine beträchtliche Zahl an Heilungserfolgen vorzuweisen hat.“
    Translation: Homeopathy is a therapy method that has been practiced for more than 200 years and accounts for a substantial number of healing successes.

    After reading this very objective sentence… why do I have a very slight suspicion that Behnke was biased right from the get-go?

    • further into his thesis, he sates that, because he found a flaw in one of my papers, he is entitled to disregard all of my research on homeopathy.
      no kidding!

      • If he can make one boo boo, imagine what else he screwed up!

        If making a mistake were the criteria by which we were judged, we’d all be in trouble.

        And we’d all be in some kind of Hall of Fame.

      • @EE,
        don´t be so dismissive of one of his virtues.
        Ok, I admit that it IS completely irrational and unscientific to behave in this way.

        But: You have to give him credit for this creative way of “out of the box” thinking, that allows him to ignore the overwhelming amount of evidence that you published which does not fit into his preconceived notions about homeopathy. To each saint his candle.

      • @ EE:
        I have just read Chapter 3.1.9 of Behnke´s thesis (page 35-37).

        In this chapter, he makes some very serious allegations about you and your work, based on your 2012 review “Adverse effects of homeopathy: a systematic review of published case reports and case series” International Journal of Clinical Practice, 66 (12), 1178-1188.

        Basically, he writes that he dismissed all you work because of this review.
        He states that in this review, you made the claim that one patient developed a heart disease AND a cancer (later cured by radiotherapy) BECAUSE of a homeopathic treatment.

        “In der Übersichtsarbeit von Posadzki, Alotaibi und Ernst (2012) wird dieser Fall unzweideutig so beschrieben, als hätte der Patient erstens keinerlei konventionelle Pharmaka eingenommen, zweitens hätten sich die Herzkrankheit sowie die Krebserkrankung aufgrund der homöopathischen Behandlung entwickelt, und als wäre er dann drittens allein durch die Strahlenbehandlung genesen.“

        Can you recall the case report that he refers to? I would be interested in reading it.

        • yes, vaguely; this has also been extensively discussed on this blog somewhere. the consensus was that, even though the original text is less than clear, our interpretation was not unreasonable. At the time 3 of us looked at it and had a majority vote on it to publish it like we did.

        • Perfect! So, Edzard, are you now saying that there is NOTHING in homeopathic medicine, AND this NOTHING is so dangerous that it causes heart disease and cancer? Hmmmm.

          What is so interesting here is that you actually think that other people are quacks!

          I can’t tell if you are speaking out of your mouth or your backside or if there’s a difference.

          • you do realise how much you are disqualifying yourself with this remark, don’t you?

          • Whaaaaaat?

            I asked a simple question. How can something that you call NOTHING cause heart disease and cancer?

            Please explain the mechanism OR simply that you were just speaking out of your arse…or admit that you are super quack.

            Which is it? This isn’t an ad hom. It is a simple question. Please stand behind what you’ve written and that you confirmed.

          • Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat
            I LIKE IT!
            you actually issued a simple insult, not a question!
            anyway, where did I say that homeopathy causes cancer and heart disease?

          • Dana Ullman

            . . .you were just speaking out of your arse…or admit that you are super quack.

            Pot? Black?

        • what I did find was this [our published response to the criticisms we received after publishing the review}:
          We would like to respond to the comments by Tournier et al. (1) as follows: • The issues regarding the case report of Geukens, were addressed in our previous response (2). • Regarding the articles by Barquero-Romero (2004), Lim (2011), Luder (2000) and Prasad (2006) we see no good reason for the notion that the four deaths following ingestion of homeopathic remedies could have been prevented if a ‘competent qualified homeopath’ had acted more ‘responsibly’. In fact, we very broadly covered the issues of some homeopaths’ professional irresponsibility and its consequences in the discussion section. • Tournier et al., seem to confuse the report by Zuzak et al. (2010) with the one by Von Mach et al. (2006). The former included nine cases of intoxications following the ingestion of homeopathic remedies, whereas the latter reported the figure of 1070 cases. In the case series by Zuzak, the 2143 cases were omitted because they referred not to therapeutic but to accidental intake of homeopathic remedies. Perhaps we should have included those cases too. Then the total number of patients who experienced AEs of homeopathy would have amounted to 3293!
          • We provided clear definitions of homeopathy in the introduction to our review. • Sasseville (1995) provided full details of the composition of the ointments along with the level of dilution, e.g. Rhus tox (2CH). Tincture of aconite presented in the case by Guha et al. (1999) is technically speaking, a homeopathic remedy. Tournier et al. know of course that the method of preparation of Aconitum napellus varies in different pharmacopoeias and therefore safety issues arise when these differences are neglected (2, 3). • In our view, the data extraction of the CR by Bernez et al. (2008) and its interpretations were correct. We regret, however, that the translation of the Danish text has led to confusion.
          In view of these arguments, we reject the accusation of Tournier et al. that our results (4) are unreliable. We strongly believe that the conclusions of our review were justified. P. Posadzki, E. Ernst Complementary Medicine, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK Email: [email protected]
          References 1 Tournier A, Roberts ER, Viksveen P. Adverse effects of homeopathy: a systematic review of published case reports and case series – comment by Tournier et al. Int J Clin Pract 2013; 67: 388–9. 2 Posadzki P, Ernst E. Can you kill your enemy by giving homeopathy? Response by Posadzki and Ernst. Int J Clin Pract2013;67:386–7. 3 (accessed January 2013). 4 Posadzki P, Alotaibi A, Ernst E. Adverse effects of homeopathy: a systematic review of published case reports and case series. Int J Clin Pract 2012; 66: 1178–88.
          Int J Clin Pract, April 2013, 67, 4, 385–389

          • Although I was not aware that this topic has been discussed in the scientific discourse and on this blog before, I already expected that the critique by Behnke did not reflect the issue very accurately.
            Thanks for re-addressing it.

            Regarding you, Mr. Ullman: unfortunately, discussing issues that are not (a) very simple and (b) either black or white seems to be a hopeless endeavor.

    • Jens Behnke can consider himself lucky to have found a supervisor with such low standards as Harald Walach. In any science faculty, his writing would most likely not even have been accepted as a bachelor’s or master’s thesis.

      This dissertation is ridiculous. A diligent work full of buzzwords and babble but without any scientific value.

  • Oh, poor poor Edzard. His feelings got hurt when Jens provided a devastating critique of Natalie Grams’ book and Jens also provided a whole paragraph of critical analysis, with references, to Edzard’s shoddy scholarship. Therefore, Jens deserves a place in Eddie’s Hall of Fame. Congrats Jens!

    Getting your feelings hurt is so sad…and painful…and therefore, Edzard wants Jens to feel some pain…but guess what, I’m sure that Jens is honored to be in his Hall of Fame, especially because he IS in such good company of many people who have hurt Edzard. My sympathies…

    • @Dana Ullman

      You’re an adult, right?

    • thanks for you sympathy but it is not needed.
      my feelings cannot get hurt by the likes of Behnke or Ullman.
      my feelings got stimulated – not the ones of pain but the ones of hilarity. hence this post.

    • Devastating review of the book? Oh, no, Dana. That was an expectable reach into the box of common ad-hominem attacks in all directions.
      I wonder if Jens even read the book. If so, he didn’t notice that homeopathy is not in the least primary subject of the book. So in addition to everything else, one can also state highly selective perception.
      Even a minimum of fairness in the text is obstructed by himself, because he consistently dyes it with personal antipathies right down to the very bottom. No, that has nothing to do with a book review. But it is worthy of a place in Edzards Hall of Fame.

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