MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Yesterday, I received this strange comment:

“One day he will have his come uppance…”

Was this a threat?

Someone wishing me personal harm?

According to the dictionary, a comeuppance is:

a person’s bad luck that is considered to be a fair and deserved punishment for something bad that they have done.

So, what bad deed did I commit to deserve punishment?

I posted my criticism of a paper that I consider highly unethical and irresponsible. But is it really punishable to stand up for medical ethics? Surely not … except, of course, in the eyes of a fanatic advocate of homeopathy.

And what punishment do I deserve in the eyes of fanatic advocates of homeopathy? The post was about patients who suffered from COVID-19 infections and who recovered quickly after receiving some unnamed homeopathic remedies. Does the author of

“One day he will have his come uppance…”

want me punished by falling ill with COVID, reject the life-saving homeopathy, and thus not recover from the infection?

Is that possible?

Surely not!

Sadly, it is not just possible but not even unique. A German pharmacist who dared to criticize homeopathy was recently told this (my translation):

I wish you an incurable disease, despair and a good homeopath who will give you quality of life again. Then we’ll talk again. Or a conventional doctor who sends you to a hospice.

And in the past, I have been the recipient of many threats, including overt death threats.

Sometimes I really do wonder why people think that so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) is gentle, soft, and harmless.

35 Responses to “One day he will have his come uppance…” I am afraid the author means me!

  • It simply means you may in time have to eat humble pie and admit you were wrong!

    Absolutely no threat implied or intended.

    • implied certainly
      but I am glad that not intended; I can now dismiss my body guards

    • @Margaret Lamont

      It simply means you may in time have to eat humble pie and admit you were wrong!

      And why doesn’t this apply to homeopaths? What makes you think that even after several decades of researching the subject, Prof. Dr. Ernst is completely wrong and will have to admit this?
      Isn’t it much more likely that the rather silly people who claim that shaken water is a medicine(*) are wrong? And why won’t they admit this? After all, they’ve had well over 200 years to prove that they’re right, but we’re still waiting for the evidence – and they still claim that ‘More research is needed’ …

      *: And please note that homeopathic ‘remedies’ are not even tested on actual patients before being sold as ‘medicine’. Also note that most homeopaths have no medical or scientific education. They simply believe in what they do, and will only see and remember the things that confirm their beliefs.

    • You must be related to Humpty Dullman. His words randomly mean whatever he chooses them to mean too, especially when called out on them.

      Alas, the English dictionary is perfectly clear on the meaning of “comeuppance”, which rather undermines your defense of “no threat implied or intended”:

      punishment that someone deserves for having done something wrong or unfair

      But please, do keep going:

      The Narcissist’s Prayer

      That didn’t happen.
      And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.
      And if it was, that’s not a big deal.
      And if it is, that’s not my fault.
      And if it was, I didn’t mean it.
      And if I did, you deserved it.

      Y’all are perfectly predictable, if nothing else.

  • Edzard- I’d like to confine you to a library room replete with the best titles and authors with regard the scientific process(s)and only allow your exit when you have read the greater proportion of the books. Fed and watered of course. I would delight on peering through a transparent portal in watching your contortions when confronted with some ideas of science that may cause you to refine some of your treasured, complacent understandings. No come-uppance intended or implied.

    • I wonder what you think Professor Ernst has been doing since 1993………

    • What might these ideas be then, Leonard? And who are the authors of these august tomes? Why have they not yet changed science? Or have they, and we’re just not aware of it? I’m very curious.

    • Here’s an idea Mr Sugarman. Why not take your own advice? Read all those books, become familiar with all those ideas and then set up a blog/website to educate the rest of us.

      Come back here and tell us all about it.

      My breath is baited.

      • or better still:
        once you have studied all the books, do your own research, publish lots of papers, then create a blog and write ~ 2000 posts
        AND THEN COME BACK AND TELL US HOW IT ALL WENT

        • Edzard- if you are relating your own experience and expertise it isn’t necessary for me to read since I have read your books. I am sure it will impress other readers as it has myself – and with justification. But you are not excluded from, errors, or ignorance with which everyone on the planet is also liable. There is a vast accumulated knowledge of which even the most knowledgeable person can only know a small fraction.
          So here are a few of many books I have read and of which you are very curious, in no order of importance or quality. I am certain you must have familiarity with some of them.
          I don’t think it’s mandatory to have to set up your own blog before you have credibility in arguing any particular issue: nor do you need an equivalent range of education or experience. You just need the knowledge of that which you argue. If it’s contentious it is possible to agree to differ.

          Peter Medawar:
          The Art of the Soluble
          Induction and Intuition in Scientific Thought
          The Limits of Science
          The Threat and the Glory
          The Strange Case of the Spotted Mice-espec. chap.2

          Karl Popper
          The Logic of Scientific Discovery
          Conjectures and Refutations
          Objective Knowledge

          Criticism and Growth of Scientific Knowledge edit. I Lakatos and A Musgrave

          The Structure of Scientific Theories edit. F Suppe

          John Ziman
          Public Knowledge
          Reliable Knowledge
          Real Science, What It Is and What It Means

          Claude Bernard
          An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine- which in it’s day had a profound effect on the direction medicine would take.

          Michael Bliss
          The Discovery of Insulin

          Thomas Kuhn
          The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

      • Michael-well I have read the books I am attempting to post but have so far failed 5 times. It’s unlikely i could educate you with anything worthwhile. Just exploring one simple idea was difficult enough with our host so why would I try with you. So don’t hold your breath waiting.

  • It is so interesting that a man who normally requires “evidence” is now threatened due to an inadequate understanding of the English language and perhaps due to PROJECTION onto others from which you are feeling inside. No irony here…please move along.

    • and you don’t even understand that I was making fun of an intensely stupid remark.
      far from feeling threatened, I find homeopaths who expose their stupidity so openly very amusing.
      [or do you think I really had to call off my body guards?]

    • but as you mentioned EVIDENCE, you seem to have forgotten to respond to my request of 13/9:
      “show me 2 or 3 studies of ‘homeopathic dentistry’ that are methodologically acceptable in your view.”

    • Mr Ullman, if, in response to this 8th time of asking, you could take the time to name the laboratory that can distinguish between homeopathic and non homeopathic water (about which you posted in another thread) I’d be very grateful, as you said only liars or fools doubt that it can be done, and I don’t like to think myself either of those.

      • No problem, DavidB, I’ll do that after you show me a photo of the Delta variant. I recognize that this isn’t possible, and you seem to misunderstand how nanodoses can be identified. You are welcome to continue to show how you misunderstand good science because I enjoy you acknowledging your ignorance of the subject.

        • Captain Insignificance strikes again.

          Dodge, dodge, dodge, bluff, bluster, flannel, yammer, handwave Dana. Same as ever.

          YOU made the claim that homeopathic and non-homeopathic water were different. YOU prove it. You can’t. Because they’re both the same. Unless you have some miracle evidence that you’re hiding from us. And you haven’t.

          You’re a busted flush. And you know it.

          And nanodoses CAN be identified. Easily. Once again, homeopathy is NOT nanomedicine, no matter how much your wish it to be. How many times are you going to keep making these claims? Nobody is taking any notice of you.

          Oh and BTW there’s lots of photomicrographs of delta variant viral particles out there. 30 seconds with Google should let you find them. You’re showing your ignorance again Mr Uncredible.

          You remain an irrelevant and pathetic object of ridicule, Dana.

          • Yet again one is reminded of Carl Sagan’s story “The dragon in my garage”

          • The American Chemical Society’s journal, LANGMUIR (2012) published a study on six homeopathic medicines and the three different spectroscopy’s evidence.

            And after you read this study (again), please tell me why the chemical composition of a vinyl record is virtually the same for every album ever created even though there is DIFFERENT music on each album. #DUH #DAFT And yet, you insist that each album’s chemical constituencies must be different for different music to actually exist. Yep…this is YOUR logic.

          • “And after you read this study (again), please tell me why the chemical composition of a vinyl record is virtually the same for every album ever created even though there is DIFFERENT music on each album. #DUH #DAFT And yet, you insist that each album’s chemical constituencies must be different for different music to actually exist. Yep…this is YOUR logic”.

            Your must surely be aware, Mr Ullman, oh surely you must be aware, that the differences in music stored on vinyl LP records, arise not from the chemical composition of the vinyl, but from the shapes of the grooves carved into it. This can easily be identified with a microscope.

            Now please name the laboratory that can identify homeopathic and non-homeopathic water. Tenth time of asking.

          • Dana. Langmuir? Again? Chikramine’s irrelevant and insignificant exercise into examining contaminants? Again?

            Please.

            And no, Dana. Vinyl records are YOUR logic.

            We can all tell vinyl records apart, in some cases by eye, but otherwise by playing them. Because they carry information. Data.

            You cannot tell homeopathic remedies apart because they carry nothing other than the hopes and fantasies of homeopaths.

            You could, of course, prove me wrong on this matter. But you won’t be able to. Because no homeopathy freak has ever been able to.

            Carry on, Captain Insignificance. This is fun.

          • Uh-oh, Humpty just made a testable prediction. His hypothesis appears to be that “homeopathically potentised” water carries information not present in ordinary water, and that this water-borne information has measurable effects on cells’ biological processes.

            Therefore, as per scientific method, it is now contingent on Humpty to propose a test by which the presence or absence of this information can be reliably determined, and then do his damndest to disprove his prediction by repeatedly performing this test until he has eliminated all possible confounders, and, in the event he still detects a positive, published his test methodology so that it can be repeated by independent parties in order to check his workings and determine if the signal he detects is indeed genuine or the product of another confounder that he’s missed. And, assuming his hypothesis passes all that, then it’s up to Humpty and friends to reconcile their observations and explanation with the contradictory observations and explanations amassed by the last 200 years of physics, [bio]chemistry, and physiologial research. Then he can start asking about his Nobel Prize.

            Alternatively, Humpty can save himself several decades of hard unforgiving work and constant danger that it is all for naught, and just admit that his position is arrived at, not through scientific inquiry and inviolable willingness to prove himself wrong, but by his insatiable need to believe that He is Special and Right, and better than everyone else. Which is to say, that homeopathy is a Religion, and he, Humpty, its most lauded high priest. That would be a level of honesty far above where he is now, and infinitely easier to achieve than the level of honesty required of basic science. Or as Feynman put it:

            The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.

            That’s tough enough for us ordinary folks to achieve; impossible for the preening messianic narcissists that are Humpty and his ilk. They want to Believe, they need to Believe; their entire ego, social standing, and, very often, income is predicated upon that belief; hence Humpty’s sad little theatre of sonorously citing “Langmuir 2012” et al, as if pompous pronouncements and courtier’s replies are competent alternatives to kicking the utter absolute tar out of one’s most beloved deeply-held beliefs… and then kicking whatever survives that destruction twice as hard to be sure.

            And that is why we know homeopathy is a pseudoscientific fraud, Mr Ullman: not because we’ve done the science to disprove it, but because you haven’t.

            All you’re doing is cosplay; and you aren’t even any good at that, fooling no-one but yourselves. I would pity you, were it not for the bodies your evangelical self-deception leaves in their wake.

        • @Dana Ullman

          I’ll do that after you show me a photo of the Delta variant.

          Ah, the weasel words of a true quack: saying that “of course, no problem, I’ll show you the evidence – but only after you [fulfil some arbitrary condition(*)].”
          OK, Mr. Ullman, here’s the coronavirus mugshot you asked for: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01441-2 (and no doubt, you’ll come up with some lame excuse why this is not what you asked for after all)
          Now, where’s the peer-reviewed scientific evidence that homeopaths (or, in fact, anyone) can distinguish between your magical shaken water and plain water?

          you seem to misunderstand how nanodoses can be identified

          More weasel words to hide the fact that you can’t deliver what you promise … Before making up all sorts of esoteric mechanisms by which homeopathy is supposed to work, you’ll need to provide more general evidence that it works in the first place, period. Which means that you’ll need to provide evidence for what homeopaths claim are the very foundations of their magic, i.e. the viability of the similia principle and the law of infinitesimals. And last but not least, you’ll need to explain how homeopaths can claim to identify therapeutic effects of their magical shaken water without testing it on actual patients. To anyone except homeopaths, all these claimed principles and rituals are foolish in the extreme, so you’ll need to come up with some real good evidence before anyone except your fellow believers will take you seriously.

          how you misunderstand good science because I enjoy you acknowledging your ignorance of the subject.

          And once again the hallmark of the true pseudoscientific quack and snake oil pedlar: accusing those who don’t believe your fairy tales of not understanding the subject at hand or even science in general, while at the same time implying that you do understand the science.
          Unfortunately for you, the overwhelming majority of scientists does not agree with you. There are in fact hardly any well-respected scientists who believe that homeopathy works, and there are even fewer (as in: zero) who managed to support this belief with good evidence in a convincing and repeatable manner..

          *: This strongly reminds me of this scene from Monty Python and The Holy Grail, where the Knights who say “Ni!” will only let the party pass on the condition that they receive a very special appeasement gift …

        • If it’s “no problem”, Mr Ullman, then just do it. Don’t suddenly ask me to jump through irrelevant hoops. Ninth time of asking.

        • …you seem to misunderstand how nanodoses can be identified.

          The method by which they can be identified is given in the answer to Q538 here:
          https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldselect/ldsctech/166/7022105.htm

          • Yes indeed!

            I was already aware of that wonderful, succinct response! I think it could be a very good title for a book, or documentary, on homeopathy (though there isn’t much more to be said than Professor Ernst has said in “Homeopathy, The Undiluted Facts”

    • … and while you’re at it:
      You may find the time to answer the long since open questions:
      (1) What is difference between the results of NHMRC, that you criticise, and those of RT Mathie, member of the Homeopathy Research Institute, which seem to meet your expectations.
      (2) Name any indication in the NHMRC review where the result would be different, when what you consider “faults” were not in place.
      (3) Specify the difference between the result of NHMRC and this rejected draft of a consultant with regard to solid evidence.

      Those questions were left open in some prior discussions. Sorry I have missed some of your recent appearances and failed to give you the opportunity to substantiate your prior statements.

  • Our resident homeopaths relentlessly provide us with pathetic proof why shaken water is still being used as play-medicine by intellectually compromised ego-stokers.

  • Can I advance a controversial thought? As long as homeopathy is not conducted instead of or to the exclusion of medicine- then it does no harm (especially if no payment is involved) and might offer benefits to the patient of a psychological nature, much in the way that prayer or the visit of a priest (or any other religious figure) might help a believer. No one suggests that these acts of charlatanism should be prevented or outlawed – many hospitals even have chapels and visiting clergy. Could a “fountain of homeopathy” not be installed too and the faithful be allowed their faith? The people in the COVID “study” got better despite homeopathy, many people get better despite their religious convictions. The analogy seems very solid.

    • there are multiple harms, e.g.:
      – cost (contrary to what you imply it always costs money of the individual and/or society);
      – it would give the impression that it works and thus motivate people to use it even in serious conditions;
      – it undermines rational thinking;
      – it makes a mockery of EBM.

      • I’m very much playing Devil’s advocate so:

        Point 1 accepted- yes someone has to pay, but the church exists as a self funding entity.

        Point 2 – some people think it works anyway and always will. Some people think a god / gods exist and always will.

        Point 3 – well so does religion.

        Point 4 – it’s not medicine, it’s a belief system….

    • Could a “fountain of homeopathy” not be installed…

      R. Mutt came up with an appropriate design back in 1917.

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