English version will appear soon
English version will appear soon.
English version will appear soon
The German Central Association of Homeopathic Physicians (DZVhÄ) presents its members to the public as guarantors of good medical care. Among other things, this is necessary to counter the criticism that the use of homeopathy may delay the timely medical treatment of serious illnesses. Also from the policy the position of the DZVhÄ is stressed for the patient security in the context of homopathic treatments. For example by Annette Widmann-Mauz, then State Secretary in the German Ministry of Health, at the International Homeopathy Congress 2017 in Leipzig (LMHI), hosted by the DZVhÄ.
Already the lectures on the LMHI were proof for the fact that the DZVhÄ its role does not only not become fair, but a danger for patients can be. In addition to homeopathic treatment options for cancer, HIV and acute abdomen, the homeopathic treatment of autism was also presented.
At this year’s national congress of the DZVhÄ in Stralsund, it became clear once again that patients cannot expect members of this association to redeem their claim to patient safety. A child and youth psychiatrist held a lecture and a seminar there, the announcement of which already made clear that the lecturer does not care about scientific evidence or does not know about it.
In the announcement of the lecture “ADHD, Autism & Co. – What is this? – Diagnoses from the point of view of child psychiatry and homeopathy” was to be read among other things:
What the child psychiatrist calls autism may be described by the homeopathic physician as “vaccine damage syndrome (…)”.
The seminar “From the practice of the child psychiatrist” will deal with various homeopathic therapy approaches. Among other things, the “CEASE Therapy and Inspiring Homeopathy (T. Smits)” is called here.
A causal connection between autism and vaccinations was already suspected in the 1980s, but at the latest at the beginning of the 2000s it was clear that this causal connection did not exist. Since then, further evidence has been added to prove again and again that there is no causal link between vaccination and autism.
Nevertheless, at the congress of the medical organization dedicated to homeopathy in 2019, a link between vaccinations and autism is still being claimed. WHO has identified vaccine fatigue as one of the top 10 health threats. How do long disproved statements, which already caused a large part of this problem in the past and are likely to aggravate it, fit into an organization that, according to its own repeated statements, is committed to patient safety and evidence-based medicine and thus justifies the leadership of medical homeopathy?
This lecture and the seminar concept must have wandered through many hands before they became part of the official program. Apparently, none of the people involved in the program noticed that these statements were nonsense. What about the scientific training of the members of an association that is responsible for something like this?
It is no such different thing with the so-called CEASE therapy than with the autism legend. Behind CEASE lies much more than an ineffective homeopathic treatment of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The Dutch doctor Tinus Smits had identified the use of nasal spray during pregnancy, the warming up of milk in the microwave, anaesthesia during childbirth and other things, as well as vaccinations as the alleged cause of autism. Here, too, the disproved connection between vaccinations and autism is repeated.
Smits also claimed to be able to use his method to diagnose the specific individual trigger of ASD and then perform homeopathic “detoxification”. In addition, he pretends to be able to “heal” ASD completely with his method. Apart from awakening unrealistic expectations among the affected persons, the accusations against the mothers, who are suggested to be (co-)responsible for the illness of their child through “misconduct” (e.g. nose drops during pregnancy), should not be neglected either. CEASE therapy is another deplorable example of how principles of medical ethics are violated with methods that are not evidence-based and lack plausibility.
Here, too, no one of the DZVhÄ congress responsibles seems to have looked at Smit’s central assertions. Even classical homeopaths may be critical of some of them, as they deviate greatly from Hahnemann’s teachings. Once again it is confirmed that quality control by the DZVhÄ does not take place and that neither homeopathic nor evidence-based criteria are checked internally.
The DZVhÄ has not yet been able to provide an adequate and intersubjectively verifiable answer to the question of the specific effectiveness of homeopathy. From the point of view of politicians and the public, thus the worst case would be a well-paid treatment with placebos. Unfortunately, it is shown again and again that in the DZVhÄ, apart from the views on homeopathy, there are other scientifically disproved views which become a danger for patients.
The health insurance companies that conclude direct contracts with the DZVhÄ are also responsible here. They expose their patients to the danger of receiving treatment that not only contradicts the current medical status, but can also cause harm. From our point of view, the DZVhÄ is not a partner for responsible treatment of patients. After LMHI 2017, this year’s congress was further proof of this.
New Meta-analysis Confirms: No Association between Vaccines and Autism – at Autism Speaks
Lie stories – disproved! – Susanna doesn’t need globules (in German)
Article about Titus Smits and CEASE by the Dutch skeptics “Verenigung tegen de kwakzalverij” (in Dutch language)
Seven things you might want to know about ‘CEASE’ therapy (as practised by homeopaths and naturopaths) – article by Prof. Edzard Ernst
Picture credits: Website German Medical Congress for Homeopathy 2019 (Screenshot)
Author: Dr. med. Jan Oude-Aost
Pseudoscience with Academics
A guest contribution by Dr. phil. Susanne Dietz
There are existing, unfortunately, the Jakeszs, Hubers, Broers, Burkarts, Dahlkes, etc. of this world, who spread esoterically and spiritually veiled beliefs (in addition to the occasionally available professional competence in their field) and earn money with them.
Since I myself have been active in the academic sector and know that there is a very special commitment to knowledge, for a long time it has been an absurdity for me to experience how some intellectually crashed “scientists” or physicians consciously inflict damage on their field and mislead other people – against better knowledge and thus assumingly with lack of conscience.
The attitude of integer scientists to such revelation oaths of scientific ethos still consists too frequently in declining and saying: “I have better things to do than to deal with something like this. It’s clearly obvious that xy is off track.”
Sorry, but no, it is not obvious, not clearly recognizable for many. The average citizen recognizes only that here someone “of the discipline” confirms his world of faith and cites this again and again as testimonial for the conservation of his view of a “spiritual/esoteric world”. But he does not recognize (or is not willing to recognize) that this is only a fact-negative interpretation of reality. A reality which – in light of a research which hat advanced far in the 21st century – has little or nothing to do with esotericism, but with rules and laws which we often do not suit and are partly difficult to understand because they run contrary to our everyday thought structures and processes.
Such an indifferent attitude on the part of scientists of integrity makes it possible for laypersons to engage in pseudo-scientific cherry-picking for more or less base motives, and thus to give themselves a scientific touch that is de facto none. And to improve oneself pecuniarily with it – not exactly seldom.
Our world, our existence, our finiteness is not easy to understand and also not easy to accept. It is understandable to me that many therefore gather a view of the world that gives them pseudo security and well-being. But I cannot agree with that.
Because it doesn’t change anything that faith and knowledge are two pairs of boots and at the end of the day that what we know is preferable to what we believe – simply because it is KNOWLEDGE. And the nature of secure knowledge – such as the ineffectiveness of homeopathy beyond placebo – is its non-negotiability.
If, then, the scientific community does not publicly clearly reject and clarifies postulates from doctors like R. Jakesz, or J. Huber (by the way: these are doctors and by no means scientists) or D. Broers (whose imaginative academic career is more than questionable) and other esoterically inclined “colleagues” or hypotheses from pre-scientific times like those of Samuel Hahnemann, they commit in my eyes a sin of omission that damages the status and reputation of science.
I would wish therefore more and more people and committees from the scientific / academic field to take a clearer stand against such currents, just as the Münsteraner Kreis (German transdisciplinary scientific network against pseudomedicine in medical and non-medical practice) does against homeopathy.
We have the opportunity to obtain specific information: There are Cochrane, Higgs (Swiss scientific portal), Information Network Homeopathy, GWUP (German skeptics association), MaiLab (very popular scientific video blog), MedWatch (investigative project of misleading medical advertisement and information), and bloggers like Dr. Natalie Grams, Dr. Florian Aigner, Dr. Norbert Aust and many, many more. So there would be offers for every social and intellectual group to protect themselves against esotericism and pseudomedicine, their false assertions and manipulations – and thus to protect their own purses and health.
However, getting this information is a commitment to themselves – and is not always lived, not even by academics. What does that tell us? That the personal feeling of well-being counts more for some people than the awareness of the limits of the possible that indeed goes hand in hand with knowledge implying some inconveniences and imponderables that have to be endured in the real world. Even some students prefer to believe and repress, although they know better. And that’s where the fun ends.
Because academics know one thing:
Conspiracy theories of all kinds are lived errors of thought, which are clearly recognizable as such and can be named – and must also be named, so that the manifold damages, which can emanate from esoteric influences of all kinds, are contained. The responsibility lies with the scientific community of the 21st century, simply because it has the ability to do – and knows better.
Ergo: If academics, some doctors and some scientists make use of esotericism, this has a clear proximity to wilful intent and has to do with self-interest and manipulation of others. Consequently, I cannot resist assuming that it is fraud. The sentence: “They don’t know what they’re doing” doesn’t work.
At this point it is no longer a matter of desire – I EXPECT from academics to differentiate, clear conclusions (i.e. not to base them on simplistic cause-effect thinking) and to position themselves clearly against esotericism. No academic can tell me that he doesn’t know better – or at least could know better – if he did what he learned: research cleanly.
And why did I write this? I did my doctorate and the title is not just an academic achievement to me. Above all, I associate it with a clear academic ethos: I feel committed to interdisciplinary, clean, development-oriented acquisition of knowledge, preservation of knowledge in line with reality, and a faithful transfer of knowledge.
Dr. phil. Susanne Dietz
The above article first appeared in the blog “Draufgeschaut” by Dr. Susanne Dietz and is published here with the kind permission of the author.
Original article at http://dietz-trainings.com/#4#blog#30
Picture credits: Pixabay Creative Commons CC0
Representatives of homeopathy often claim that nanoparticles of the mother tincture are the carriers of the effectiveness of homeopathic preparations. That this is not possible at all can be seen after quite simple considerations:
Nanoparticles are particles that consist of comparatively few atoms or molecules and are therefore very small. The size is measured according to “nanometres”, which is the millionth part of a millimetre. Because of their small size, nanoparticles have astonishing properties; they can penetrate cell membranes, for example, are very reactive and much more.
If homeopathy with nanoparticles is to work, such particles would have to be present in the finished preparation the patient is taking. These are particles from the mother tincture, the original substance with which the production of the homeopathic remedy began. And that is the key with which this assertion can quite simply be reduced to absurdity.
Potentiation is also dilution. This means that the more often you potentiate, the less of the starting material is present in the solution. And already from very early potencies the quantity of these atoms or molecules is no longer sufficient to form nanoparticles in appreciable numbers.
No problem, say the homeopaths, these nanoparticles are certainly somehow passed from one potency to the next quite completely. But nobody can explain how this is supposed to happen, how to make sure that the particles are also noticed if only one tenth or even one hundredth of the solution is removed in order to then potentiate them further. Nor what the point of this undertaking would be if it were successful. If the nanoparticles remain the same as before, what will change in the efficacy that is to be increased by potentiation?
Yes, homoeopaths say again, perhaps the particles will become smaller through the subsequent shaking and thus more reactive and thus more effective? Good answer, but why do we have to keep on diluting? Why can’t we just prepare the solution once, say one gram of primary substance to one litre of water or a mixture of water and alcohol, and then simply shake until the desired strength is reached? No more answer.
There is also no answer to the objection that in order to be effective via nanoparticles, the original substance itself must first form nanoparticles in the solution. This is precisely what substances that are soluble in solvents do not do. Just some of the most universally applicable homeopathic remedies, sodium chloratum, potassium carbonicum and arsenic album, are salts that form differently electrically charged particles (“ions”) in the solution, but no nanoparticles.
Now, however, nanoparticles have been found in sodium chloratum, even at highest potencies, there is even research on it? Yes, you did – but how? One has examined highly potentiated solution of sodium chloratum with an electron microscope for nanoparticles. The only problem is that the sample, i.e. the drop to be examined, has to be dried. The impurities contained in the solvent – 10 milligrams per cubic centimeter – remain and form crystals. And this is what can be found under the microscope: Crystals of impurities, the most common of which is the ubiquitous table salt, i.e. sodium chloratum. Of course, these crystals can also be found on the globules, theoretically at least, but when the patient takes them, the salt dissolves again in the saliva – and the nanoparticles observed are gone.
That should be enough. Let us spare ourselves the thought of how nanoparticles would actually have to be imagined if primordial substances from the animal and plant kingdoms were used. What do the nanoparticles contain in these cases? Which of the many thousands of different substances that make up an animal or a plant are combined to form nanoparticles? Or is the nanoparticle an extremely miniaturised image of the original organism that contains everything? If not, how is the right component selected? And what do the nanoparticles look like when non-material primary substances are used? Light, electricity or vacuum?
As you can see: The concept of nanoparticles as carriers of the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies generates more questions than answers and is absolutely not suitable to explain the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies.
Author: Dr. Norbert Aust
Nanoparticles and homeopathy – how is that possible?
Picture credits: Wikimedia Commons; Lmackenzie89 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
What happens after ingesting a homeopathic remedy – according to the homeopathic build of thought?
Occasionally one is confronted with the argument that the effect of homeopathic remedies cannot be based on a placebo effect because often the first homeopathic remedy did not “heal” at all, but only the second, third, fourth or fifth …
In fact, at first glance this argument seems to have something for itself. A closer look, however, shows that it is not in favour of homeopathy, but against it.
Behind this argument, however, lies a confusion of terms.
It is not only about “placebo”
On the one hand, there is the established term “placebo effect”, which refers to the reactions that can also trigger empty forms of medication in the body. This actual placebo effect is not a constant quantity. It depends on the disease and is highly individual and unpredictable in its time of onset, strength and duration. But it also depends on the properties of the placebo: It is known that more expensive placebos have a stronger effect than cheap ones and red placebos have a stronger effect than green ones. The placebo effect cannot be calculated or controlled. It cannot be demanded by nature in such a way that it corresponds to its cliché.
However, this placebo effect (in the narrower sense) is not the only reason why the administration of homeopathic remedies can lead to a feeling of improvement or healing. Other important reasons are:
- Spontaneous course of the disease. Many (most) diseases heal spontaneously. Many other diseases, especially chronic ones, have a wave-like course, so that “bad times” are spontaneously followed by “good times” (“regression to the middle”).
- “Confirmation error” and “selective perception”. Small positive experiences are evaluated as therapy success, but negative developments are not attributed to the therapy.
- “Post-hoc-ergo-propter-hoc” error. All changes after ingestion are causally attributed to ingestion, although causality is not given, but only a simple temporal relationship.
- Expectational pressure and expectations.
May be continued …
If not the first homoeopathic is regarded as effective, but only a second, third, further one, then several points come together. On the one hand, one sees nothing else in these courses than the spontaneous course of the disease. Homeopathic medicine has nothing at all to do with “healing”. The improvement is simply attributed to the last homeopathic used. Also, with every further administration of homeopathic remedies, the therapist’s pressure of expectation as well as the patient’s attitude of expectation increases, which can feign fictitious success. Also, the term “success” or “healing” is not defined in an objective-medical sense; usually the patients only report their subjective feelings. But also deteriorations are often called “success”: The term “initial aggravation” indicates that aggravations are seen as proving the right choice of means.
Can a homeopathic remedy be “ineffective”?
The approach of homeopaths to give other remedies until finally something desired happens at some point shows not only the therapeutic helplessness of homeopathy and the misinterpretation of chance or completely natural processes as “success” – it also stands in stark contradiction to Hahnemann’s teaching.
Hahnemann justifies his principle of similarity with the postulate that a body cannot have two similar diseases at the same time – it must then separate from one, namely the weaker one. In “drug tests” – on healthy people! – homeopathic remedies are examined for “drug pictures” allegedly produced by them. If a patient shows symptoms similar to those of a drug picture, then the right remedy has been found. The correct selection of “potency” is then intended to ensure that the homeopathic remedy is stronger in nature but weaker in symptoms than the disease (whatever one might imagine it to be). Because of this, the body should separate from the “right” of the two diseases (the comparatively weaker original disease), but not suffer (because of the comparatively weaker symptoms of the art disease).
If the recovery is not complete, the logic of homeopathy leads to certain conclusions, especially that the previous remedy was not “ineffective”. What does this mean?
According to the homeopathic doctrine, if the “right” remedy is chosen, “healing success” should occur quickly and completely:
“… fast, gentle, permanent restoration of health, or lifting and destruction of the disease in its entirety by the shortest, most reliable, most unholy means …”. (§ 2 Organon)
If there is a change instead of a complete recovery, the homeopathic remedy – mind you: in the imaginary world of homeopathy – has changed some of the symptoms and thus the symptom picture. Even if the homeopathic remedy was completely ineffective with regard to the disease, at least a “drug test on healthy persons” has taken place:
According to the rules of homeopathy, a homeopathic remedy cannot have “no effect” – not even a “wrong” remedy. Homeopathic remedies (from a homeopathic point of view) have an effect on symptoms: If symptoms are present in the clinical picture which are also contained in the drug picture of the homeopathic remedy, they are “extinguished”. If symptoms are present in the clinical picture which are not contained in the drug picture of the homeopathic remedy, they remain unchanged. If, however, symptoms are present in the drug picture but not in the clinical picture, then they are produced in the patient – who is considered “partially healthy” with regard to the non-existent symptoms – in the same way as in a normal drug test on a completely healthy person.
In any case – according to homeopathic doctrine – the administration of a homeopathic remedy causes changes which lead to a change in the symptoms. Either it has an effect on the “disease” or in the sense of “homeopathic drug testing” by causing symptoms. Thus the repeated administration of the same medicine (i.e. with an unchanged drug picture) is in any case a “mistake”, against which Hahnemann has already acted sharply in his time:
If a different remedy is “tried out” with every new therapy attempt, the consequence is that a correct selection (“repertorization”) is no longer possible with any further homeopathic remedy: The superimposition of the complete or partial symptom pictures from all earlier remedies makes a correct choice of remedy – according to homeopathic criteria – impossible.
The bad habit of treating patients after “trial and error” therefore does not speak at all for the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies. On the contrary, this practice once again deprives Hahnemann’s homeopathic thought structure of decisive ground. It is the desperate attempt of the homeopaths to be perceived “sometime” and “somehow” as “successful”. Such a procedure provokes a considerable delay of important treatment measures and accepts them cheaply, which can lead to serious damages. There can be no question of “proof of the effectiveness of homeopathy” if one produces random events until a – not causal – desired event occurs.
Author: Dr. med. Wolfgang Vahle
Picture credits: Pixabay, license CC0
English version will appear soon.
English version will appear soon.
English version will appear soon.
Evidence in Natural Science
“Scientifically proven” or “scientifically refuted” are statements that are often heard, but they are not precise. More correct would be the formulation “according to previous knowledge” – or more extensively “according to previous knowledge gained with scientific methods, which have proven themselves because of their extraordinarily high explanatory potential”. (1).
Statements such as “homeopathic effects can be proven” or “homeopathic effects can be refuted” cannot be decided purely logically (like a mathematical task), i.e. not by disregarding all observations. Neither can one decide purely formallogically whether our observations are correct. Statements about correctness are always tainted with the flaw that we cannot get one hundred percent certainty. Errors can never be excluded. Also an inner consistency is no guarantee for correctness (“truth”). This is the Critical rationalism, Karl Popper’s theory of science, which is generally accepted and practiced today and uses the method of falsification, the “false proof” (testing the validity of a theory by trying to debunk it).
The practice, however, is that apart from the contradiction-free system of the laws of nature – so far considered valid (strictly speaking “provisionally”) – we do not know a second contradiction-free system of laws of nature – and we cannot even imagine it! And that the laws of nature considered valid so far have the highest explanatory potential that we know. The physicists still have a lot of unexplained phenomena on their “to-do-list”, but they obviously have no need (again: until now) for further “tools” – no physicist seems to miss a fifth basic force. Even if not everything is explained yet, the explanatory potential of the scientific findings (important: they are “our” findings) is extraordinarily high. Until today, there has not been a single reason to explain the natural with the supernatural. Even if this cannot be “safely” ruled out for the future: If one excludes it “because of experience”, then that is completely sufficient. We can live well with the residual error: It is extremely small.
We don’t need more than our carefully gained experience either (however, this does not mean personal individual experience, but the portfolio of all scientifically obtained observation data). We have to find our way in our cosmos. And we brilliantly complete this task with our “set of insights”. In this cosmos no living being needs a “feeling” (possibility of recognition) for a 4th or 5th dimension. We can survive with our cognitive ability for a maximum of 3 dimensions. Measured against this goal, one may claim: Evolution, which allows us to recognize “only” three dimensions, has obviously not done much wrong.
Homeopathy and “Proof”
Homeopathy is not a glass bead game. It is not a question of certifying or denying a theoretically possible validity of homeopathy or other therapies with formal-logical and “hair-splitting” methods, of arguing it into a formally existing “knowledge gap”. Homoeopathy cannot be formally declared invalid “a priori” (although the statement is legitimate that because of the incompatibility of its premises with sound knowledge the probability of its validity is conceivably low) – accuracy freaks may enjoy this and be satisfied with it. For the important questions of practical application in daily practice, it is sufficient if homeopathy is declared invalid “a posteriori”, i.e. “in the aftermath”, measured against its actual effects: There are no demonstrable phenomena of efficacy beyond the placebo effect (failure due to empiricism). And homoeopathy violates our previously valid and proven findings (lack of external consistency).
Anyone who wants to rely on the expectation that a new, contradiction-free system of knowledge will someday ensure that homeopathy will still be possible in the future – because it will fit into the new system – can trust with equal justification that a new system will also be found for gravity. He can then already jump from Empire-State-Building in confidence in these future insights (oh what, a 10-m-tower is quite enough). We do not participate in these speculations and prefer to stay on the ground until gravity actually has repulsive instead of attractive forces …
We hold it there with Prof. Otto Prokop, a decisive and convincingly arguing homeopathy critic who wrote aptly in the middle of the last century:
“What is considered true in natural science is what fits harmoniously into the overall system of knowledge. (…) A hypothesis, if it is to satisfy, must be able to be brought into meaningful connection with all associated facts. (…) The limits within which there is objectification are the limits of the real world.” (2)
And what does philosophy say?
We can willingly concede to the philosophers (science theorists, epistemologists) that there is a difference between “security – in philosophical and formal-logical rigour” and “security – in everyday language use”. But: “Security – in philosophical and formallogical strictness” is an unattainable goal for everything. The term cannot be used outside formal logic: There is nothing that could fulfill this claim. With strict philosophical and formal-logical certainty, one cannot exclude neither yetis, fairies, elves, leprechauns … nor Sir Bertrand Russell’s teapot circling around Jupiter, which he used to illustrate this statement.
It is interesting, however, that precisely those who are philosophically strict in “not being able to exclude” and who demand this strictness are absolutely negligent in the popular conclusion derived from it, “Everything whose existence cannot be excluded is existent”. This conclusion is philosophically untenable and simply wrong – it is the aforementioned attempt to take advantage of an apparent “gap” in the system of evidence.
If such a conclusion were correct, then thinking would be an “act of creation”: I imagine something. No one can prove the non-existence of the imagined. So the imagined is existent and real. Wrong! For the term “security – in philosophical strictness” one can’t “buy anything”, so to speak. The term merely floats as such, as an mere idea in the spiritual heights – outside the “boundaries of the real world”. As valuable for decision-making in everyday life it correspondents to assets deposited on a planet in the Andromeda Nebula.
When we say that homeopathy has been refuted, we mean the “weak” refutation in everyday language – and we are more than extremely sure not to make a relevant mistake thereby. To limit ourselves to the “accuracy of everyday language” when the higher-quality “philosophically rigorous accuracy” is in principle – without exception – unattainable: this is not reprehensible. On the contrary, it is a necessary condition for us to be able to communicate about anything at all. If we wanted to wait for one hundred percent certainty, then we would have to remain in eternal inaction.
Author: Dr. med. Wolfgang Vahle
(1) Remark: Proofs in mathematics are created according to strict logical rules, rules that may not automatically being transferred to the “real world”. The mathematical proof e.g. that there are infinitely many prime numbers is of a completely different caliber than “proofs” in the natural sciences. The demands that mathematics makes on proofs cannot be met by the natural sciences.
Mathematicians do not even agree whether mathematics is immanently anchored in nature or whether it is a human invention that is only – completely inexplicably – capable of precisely describing natural phenomena. Mathematics itself belongs to the STEM disciplines, but it is probably not a natural science in the proper sense.
And although mathematics can prove much more by purely logical conclusions than the natural sciences by observation with theoretical reappraisal, it is also not possible for mathematics to achieve “truth” (= “correctness of assumptions”) and “logical consistency” simultaneously within an axiom system. This has been shown by the logician Kurt Gödel in his “incompleteness theorems“. Strictly formallogically true statements do not exist within a system, but only from the outside, from “higher points of view” so to speak.
And what if one is already at the “highest observer level”? Then, unfortunately, one must be content with the fact that the truth of a statement cannot be proved strictly logically. This also applies to the statements “homeopathic effects can be proven” or “homeopathic effects can be refuted”: strictly formallogically this is not possible.
(2) O.u.L. Prokop, Homeopathy and Science, Stuttgart 1957 (S. 2, 31)
Learn more about the empirical knowledge situation on homeopathy: “Criticism on criticism on homeopathy #3 – “Homeopathy is impossible”
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English version will appear soon.
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Are Schuessler Salts Homeopathy?
The so-called “Schuessler salts” are often equated or confused with homeopathy. However, they do not go back to Hahnemann, but to the Oldenburg physician Wilhelm Heinrich Schüßler (1821 to 1898).
Schüßler can easily be described as a “dazzling figure” of his time. Actually a secretary by profession, from 1849 he taught foreign languages. Although he had not passed his high school diploma, he had the opportunity to begin medical studies in Paris, which he continued in Berlin and Giessen. His doctorate was also somewhat unusual. Since he pretended to be called up shortly as a military doctor, the university did without a dissertation and only held an examination interview and (after all, one was in Prussia) the examination fees were charged.
Only when Schüßler wanted to take the medical state examination, which was a prerequisite for the granting of the regular license to practise medicine, the lack of the Abitur became a problem. The administrative authority did not accept this any longer and demanded that the examination had to made up for. It was at first in 1857 that he was able to take the medical state examination. This examination was a somewhat mediocre success for him, but he passed and was able to settle as a doctor in his home town of Oldenburg in January 1858. For this, however, he needed a municipal concession, which he received only because he undertook to work exclusively as a homeopathic physician.
He had some success with the practice, probably due to the fact that he demanded very low fees. In other sources it is said that he had given away the required homeopathic remedies free of charge. Three years after his establishment, in 1861, he joined the “Centralverein homöopathischer Ärzte” (Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors).
Schüßler’s “Biochemical Healing Method”
In the first 15 years of his practice he developed a shortened form of homeopathy, which he presented in 1873 in the memorandum “Eine abgekürzte Therapie gegründet auf Histologie und Cellularpathologie” (“An abbreviated therapy based on histology and cellular pathology”). He called his form of therapy the “Biochemical Healing Method”. The basic assumption of this therapy is that diseases are caused solely by disturbances of the mineral balance in the body cells and thus disturb the entire metabolism. The salts were potentiated as in homeopathy, because Schüßler meant that only in this way could the “ions” penetrate directly into the interior of the cell. This should be supplemented by a special diet to eliminate the mineral deficiencies outside the cell in order to establish the balance between the cell’s interior and exterior. Schüßler believed that a pathogenic stimulus would stimulate the individual cells so massive that the defence reaction would be so energy-intensive that the cell would deplete its mineral reserves.
Schüßler reduced the more than thousand homeopathic remedies known at the time to 12 functional remedies. In his opinion, this should be the mineral salts that would remain when a human body is burned.
These means were:
Calcium fluoratum D12 (calcium fluoride)
Calcium phosphoricum D6 (calcium phosphate)
Ferrum phosphoricum D12 (iron phosphate)
Potassium chloratum D6 (potassium chlorite)
Potassium phosphoricum D6 (potassium phosphate)
Potassium sulfuricum D6 (potassium sulfate)
Magnesium phosphoricum D6 (magnesium hydrogen phosphate)
Sodium chloratum D6 (sodium chloride)
Sodium phosphoricum D6 (sodium phosphate)
Sodium sulfuricum D6 (sodium sulfate)
Silicea D12 (silicic acid)
Calcium sulfuricum D6 (calcium sulfate)
Whereby Schüßler himself removed the calcium sulphate from the list in 1895. In its place sodium phosphate and Silicea should be used.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Schüßler’s exegetes added 15 supplements to these original 11 (resp. 12) salts, and later seven “biochemical agents”.
Although Schüßler produced his salts by potentiation, he strongly distinguished himself from homeopathy, as he rejected Samuel Hahnemann’s principle of similarity for his “biochemical healing method” in favour of physiological-chemical processes in the body (this idea was indeed a step away from Hahnemann’s vitalist-esoteric assumptions of a “deranged vital force” in the direction of natural science, but pure speculation and a complete misinterpretation of cellular processes and their participation in disease processes). On this basis he denied the effectiveness of potentiated means propagated by Hahnemann. These statements were the basis for a long dispute with other homeopaths, which led to Schüßler’s resignation from the “Centralverein homöopathischer Ärzte” in 1876.
Wilhelm Schüßler based his diagnoses on the so-called “facial diagnosis”. He thus claimed that one could recognize the respective mineral deficiency by different signs in the face of a person. (A procedure that of course lacks any scientific basis – then as now.)
This “facial diagnosis” was further developed by Kurt Hickethier, a layman interested in alternative medicine, under the name “Sonnerschau” and is still used by alternative practitioners today.
The effectiveness of the Schuessler Salts was examined several times, however, no pharmacological effect could be determined. What had been expectable. The Stiftung Warentest (a German consumer protection organisation) comes to the following conclusion in its publication “The other Medicine”: “Schüßler’s biochemistry is not suitable for the treatment of diseases”.
More about Schüßler also on our Homöopedia (in German)
Authors: Dr. Natalie Grams and Michael Scholz
In the pharmacy all kinds of homeopathic globules are available for sale. They are also strongly promoted by the manufacturers with the attributes “gentle and natural“. Above all, “simple and side-effect-free” self-treatment is recommended again and again. There are many books on the subject (guidebook, “Quickfinder”) and the majority of homeopathic remedies are recommended on the basis of word-of-mouth propaganda (“With my cold I recently had super remedy XY helped, try it yourself!”). This was clearly confirmed by the results of an Allensbach survey conducted in Germany in 2014. According to the information given there, 67 percent of those questioned named the “advice of friends, family and acquaintances” as the “way to homeopathic medicines”.
In spite of all this, consumers do not know (and manufacturers, vendors and even homeopaths do not tell them) that there is little that contradicts Hahnemann’s method more than self-treatment with globules.
What does homeopathic doctrine say?
As already explained in another context, Hahnemann’s method does not deal with diseases, but with symptoms. The method requires that the correct remedy be selected from the repertories, i.e. the directories in which the symptom pictures are assigned to the homeopathic remedies, for a patient’s symptom pictures that has been created with great care. All this is the task of the physician, the “experienced healing artist”. Incidentally, a remedy with only a single original substance (homeopathic stock) must be determined. Hahnemann clearly rejected remedies that were produced with several substances, so-called complex remedies, and most classical homeopaths still do so today.
The path to the symptom picture leads through the homeopathic anamnesis, the well-known therapeutic conversation, in which all, even the very slightest, sensitivities are to be recorded by the therapist in the highest possible differentiation and condensed into a closed symptom picture. From the point of view of homeopathy, this simply serves to determine the patient’s “symptom bundle”, which is then decisive for the selection of the individual remedy. It is understandable that this requires the “experienced therapist”, at least someone who is thoroughly familiar with Hahnemann’s method in practice. The Organon, the Bible of homeopaths, for example, says this:
“The unprejudiced observer – well aware of the futility of transcendental speculations which can receive no confirmation from experience – be his powers of penetration ever so great, takes note of nothing in every individual disease, except the changes in the health of the body and of the mind (morbid phenomena, accidents, symptoms) which can be perceived externally by means of the senses; that is to say, he notices only the deviations from the former healthy state of the now diseased individual, which are felt by the patient himself, remarked by those around him and observed by the physician. All these perceptible signs represent the disease in its whole extent, that is, together they form the true and only conceivable portrait of the disease.” (§ 6 Organon, only symptoms are perceptible, not diseases – 6th edition, translated by Boericke).
“Now, as in a disease, from which no manifest exciting or maintaining cause (causa occasionalis) has to be removed, we can perceive nothing but the morbid symptoms, it must (…) be the symptoms alone by which the disease demands and points to the remedy suited to relieve it – and, moreover, the totality of these its symptoms, of this outwardly reflected picture of the internal essence of the disease (…) and thus, in a word, the totality of the symptoms must be the principal, indeed the only thing the physician has to take note of in every case of disease and to remove by means of his art, in order that it shall be cured and transformed into health.” (§ 7 Organon, the symptom picture is the main task for the healing artist – 6th edition, translated by Boericke).
Self-medication? Diagnosis of colds, stomach pains, headaches, general malaise? All this is unthinkable according to Hahnemann’s system. Healing artists, it’s your effort!
A little history
Homeopathy is, on the one hand, strict dogmatism, in the sense of Hahnemann’s “Follow it, but follow it exactly!” On the other hand, homeopaths are the greatest possible pragmatists, q.e.d. But that has been the case for a long time – and it has also been the subject of criticism for a long time. Already during Hahnemann’s lifetime there was self-medication and recommendations, mainly because homeopathic doctors were few and far between and travel possibilities were very limited. At the end of the 19th century homeopathy was firmly established as “lay medicine”. There were plenty of guide books and homeopathic pharmacies. Around 1890 one could read that “the lay activity in matters of homeopathy would be given for historical reasons, inseparably grown together with the latter”. Important homeopaths such as Hering (“Hering`s Rule”) wrote guidebook literature, Arthur Lutze maintained a considerable international distribution of homeopathic pharmacies (Baschin, Die Geschichte der Selbstmedikation in der Homöopathie; Quellen und Studien zur Homöopathiegeschichte / History of Self-medication in Homeopathy: Sources and Studies on History of Homeopathy; Volume 17, Essen 2012).
These historical reminiscences, however, do not, of course, legitimise self-treatment: Hahnemann himself did not change a single word in his teaching building, nobody else did ever so; Hahnemann’s writings are still regarded as untouchable down to the last letter. How one can endure this cognitive dissonance (which should actually have led the classical homeopaths to the demand to forbid the free sale of homeopathy) is an almost admirable achievement… or perhaps unquestioned “habit”?
Four-fifths of homeopathic remedies sold in Germany are sold “over the counter”
How is that possible? Regardless of Hahnemann, whose teaching is declaredly sacrosanct, today globules without a homeopathic anamnesis are bought like sweets (good comparison actually …), disease names instead of symptom pictures are used as indications for the administration of globules, complex remedies are taken according to the manufacturer’s recommendation (better: manufacturer’s advertising), according to the advice of the neighbour or one’s own taste – and this is then also sold here and there as progress of the method. That’s isn’t it in no way! Therefore not, because this “progress” is not connected with systematic criticism, not with any extension of the horizon of knowledge, with a logical extension under rejection as old, as incorrectly recognized knowledge and under addition as new, as correctly recognized knowledge. Self-medication, treatment for illnesses instead of symptoms, and complex remedies are – among other things – only more watering down of Hahnemann’s method, which in addition produce even more inconsistencies than are already inherent in it. And all this without anyone ever changing a single letter of Hahnemann’s “holy scriptures”…
Where is the “individual method” when Mrs. Smith can simply buy globules for her stomach problems in the pharmacy? Perhaps Mrs. Smith would like to take a look at one of the great repertories and try to find the right globule under “stomach complaints”? Well – maybe not. The entries with stomach complaints are numerous – combined, however, with a myriad of symptoms that have occurred “simultaneously” with stomach pain at some point during a homeopathic drug test. Of course, confusion or helplessness would then prevail, because so many remedies could fit, or none at all. And so Mrs. Smith will probably give it up … But then it becomes even more difficult than it already is. Because then in fact the guessing actually begins, which is rationalized afterwards (“Last time the Chamomilla helped so well, so I try them again”, “With Mrs. Baker XYZ helped, then I take that”, “I don’t know any of the offered remedies, I decide according to my feeling”, “I choose intuitively”). By the way – Hahnemann himself scourged with strong words the “mistake” that even “experienced therapists” apparently out of habit and instinct often resort to “proven means” instead of exact repertorization. Whenever an improvement occurs afterwards, Mrs. Smith is subject to the post-hoc-ergo-procter-hoc fallacy and not to the effects of the chosen homeopathic remedy. And it is thus subject to a completely natural human perception disorder, which is very difficult to recognize – and even more difficult to accept, because we are programmed evolutionarily to “fast thinking” on the basis of appearances. Only one thing Mrs. Müller did not receive: effective medical treatment.
Authors: Udo Endruscheit and Dr. med. Natalie Grams
English version will appear soon.
“Antibiotics versus globules – really?
“I’d rather take globules than antibiotics.”
“Doctors prescribe way too much antibiotics randomly.”
“If I take too much of it, I’ll be resistant in later diseases.”
These sentences can be heard very often in this or similar form. But all three sentences are wrong. Let’s look at them one by one:
1. I’d rather take globules than antibiotics.
Taking globules rather than antibiotics is an understandable wish. But it’s a false comparison. If it were up to me: For example, I’d rather win the lottery than take antibiotics.
Antibiotics are highly effective drugs that are able to kill certain pathogens (bacteria) or prevent their multiplication. Although “anti bios” has the meaning “directed against life”, antibiotics are not effective against all life: parasites and viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics. Nor do we have to fear that humans and animals will be killed by antibiotics. Also not all antibiotics are effective against all bacteria. Bacteria can be “sensitive” or “resistant” (insensitive) to antibiotics.
There are many antibiotic groups whose representatives are not chemically related to each other. They have no common “roots”, but a common goal: the reduction of the number of pathogenic germs in the host organism; the “reduction of the germ load”. For each antibiotic it is possible to indicate which bacteria are sensitive or resistant to this antibiotic. And for each bacterium one can indicate which antibiotics it is sensitive or resistant to. With regard to pathogenic germs, every antibiotic has a “spectrum of action”.
In principle, the use of antibiotics only makes sense if the disease is caused by germs that also lie within the spectrum of action of an antibiotic. If one uses an antibiotic that is effective against pathogenic germs, the germ load in the host organism is reduced. The immune system of the host organism can bring about healing under these improved conditions. The strengthening of the immune system is only induced by the reduction of the germ load itself. A non-specific strengthening of the immune system by foreign substances has not been proven – neither for preparations such as “Echinacin” nor for globules. An undirected use of antibiotics – even of ineffective ones in the case of resistant germs or viruses – cannot lead to a reduction in the germ load and therefore cannot support the immune system.
Occasionally there are studies that show that antibiotics do not work better than homeopathic remedies. To prove this false assertion, antibiotics are then used in the comparison group for diseases that do not respond to antibiotics. So it is not surprising that antibiotics do poorly in these studies. However, this does not mean that globules are preferable to antibiotics, but only that the study design was poor.
However, every use of antibiotics has a second component: under the influence of antibiotics and the resulting increased “selection pressure”, sensitive bacteria can become resistant or more quickly resistant. This accelerated development of resistance also affects germs that are not – not yet! – are pathogenic and can only become dangerous through their antibiotic-induced resistance. The use of antibiotics in viral diseases is therefore not only nonsensical because it is ineffective, but also harmful because it promotes resistance. Medicine as science knows this and teaches it. For this reason, antibiotics are available only on prescription. If there are doctors in individual cases who do not adhere to the guidelines of medicine, then this is a failure of the doctor and not a failure of medicine. In the event of legal proceedings in this regard, medicine would act as a witness against the doctor.
2. Doctors prescribe way too much antibiotics randomly? Why one does think that?
Because doctors are informed about the advantages and disadvantages of antibiotics, they use these drugs only – according to their knowledge and conscience – specifically.
In the case of some infectious diseases, the bacterial cause can be quickly identified without great effort. Other infectious diseases require complex diagnostics. If there is a bacterial infection, antibiotics are justified – even if the path to diagnosis was short: even short routes can be targeted. If the application is incorrectly unintended, the risk of developing resistance to previously sensitive germs increases. The more resistant germs there are, the greater the general health risk to the population. Therefore, germs that are resistant to one antibiotic must be killed by another antibiotic as soon as possible: Dead bacteria cannot pass on their resistances to the next generation of bacteria.
Particularly in mixed infections with a group of different pathogenic germs, even a “broad-spectrum antibiotic” may not be effective for all germs. In this case, several different antibiotics have to be taken one after the other (simultaneous taking is usually problematic because the different chemical mechanisms of action of antibiotics hinder rather than promote each other). Also a change of antibiotics to avoid the formation of resistance is by no means unintended, even if the necessity is not apparent to all patients. And in case of doubt, pathogens and their resistance are determined in the laboratory.
The latest developments, however, give us hope that in the future it will be possible to determine germs quickly and easily in the doctor’s practice and thus drastically reduce “misprescriptions” of antibiotics.
3 If I take too much of it, then I will be resistant in later diseases.
The term resistance refers only to pathogenic germs, not to the host organism (the human body) from which these germs are to be eliminated. The host organisms are “naturally” resistant to antibiotics. This means that only a chemical substance to which host organisms are resistant can be tested for possible antibiotic efficacy. Substances such as “cyanide” or “mercury” may have good ability to kill pathogenic germs. The use of these substances as “antibiotics” is out of the question: humans and animals are not resistant to cyanide or mercury. For humans and animals are cyanide or mercury poisons. It goes without saying that the antibiotics used in medicine must not be toxic to humans or animals, so that humans and animals are resistant to the antibiotics used is not a disadvantage but, on the contrary, a prerequisite for the use of antibiotics. Let us assume – in a game of thought – that people could become resistant to mercury, for example: then we would not have any disadvantage, but only another therapeutic option for infectious diseases caused by mercury-sensitive germs.
Conclusion: I’d rather take globules than antibiotics?
Globules are “homeopathic remedies”. The doctrine of homeopathy knows no germs, so for homeopathy the use of antibiotics is simply absurd. And that is why, conversely, the administration of globules to infectious diseases is no less nonsensical from the point of view of scientific medicine, because homeopathy categorically ignores precisely the actual causes of infectious diseases and the only effective remedies against them.
Antibiotic treatment of infectious diseases – especially severe infectious diseases – is by no means a purely symptomatic therapy, but a causal therapy (“treatment of causes”) that can save lives. A renouncement of a necessary antibiotic therapy can result in serious health damages – by omission.
Harmless diseases, on the other hand, require neither antibiotics nor globules. Homeopathic remedies are ineffective and superfluous for all diseases.
Further information can be found in the article Antibiotics on Homöopedia (in German)
Further information about the immune system on our family site (in German)
Picture credits: Pixybay License CC0
Another common misconception about homeopathy
Many people assume that homeopathic remedies are made from herbal substances. But if you look at the long “drug lists” of homeopathic manufacturers, it quickly becomes clear that homeopathy and phytotherapy are two completely different things.
In herbal (phytotherapeutic) drugs the ingredients are present in medically effective concentrations, in modern herbal medicine the cause-effect relationship is investigated using scientific methods and in pharmaceutical processing, for example, unwanted by-products are removed and it is ensured that an exact dosage is possible (standardization).
In homeopathy, however, only some of the basic substances used are of a herbal nature and even among these there are some that can be hazardous to health even in small doses, such as the arrow poison curare, the fly agaric or hemlock.
One can be glad that by the high degree dilution in the used remedies nothing or at least no effective concentration of the raw materials is more present.
This is emphasized even by the authors of drug lists (1).
In the lists of ingredients there are also things of completely non-plant origin like polio viruses (“sterilized”), “humming crop circles”, aluminum, mercury and all other metals, chlorine, the magnetic North Pole, meteor dust from Arizona, microwaves, plutonium, Gonorrhea and syphilis pathogens, even smallpox and plague pathogens (Yersinia pestis), optionally the Berlin Wall or the Great Wall of China – and last but not least sugar, which is – diluted millions or billions of times – sprayed onto globules (which themselves consist only of sugar). But since homeopathic remedies with their Latin or occasionally at least English names are on the market, very few people know what is hidden behind the scientifically sounding names. Who realizes that Cimex lectularius is the common bed bug, Porcellanum misniense Meissen porcelain, Gunpowder comp. pure gunpowder or Excrementum caninum nothing else but dog excrement?
Many of the original materials were unknown at Hahnemann’s time. In the last edition of the ‘Reine Arzneimittellehre’ ( in 1833, he himself described as many as 70 substances which he used for his preparations. Even then, these were not only vegetable raw materials, but also mercury, gold, silver, tin and bismuth, sulphur, phosphoric acid or charcoal. The systematics of the ingredients are at least in part still based on the views of nature as they were common in Hahnemann’s time, but also incorporates modern taxonomies.
A distinction is made between the authors of the drug lists:
Animated kingdoms of nature:
- Protists (all unicellular organisms that do not belong to any other empire)
Uninhabited kingdoms of nature:
- Minerals (all chemical elements, but with homoeopathic abbreviations)
- Energy fields (physical radiation such as the light of the polar star, energy fields of places)
How do the manufacturers of globules and the “inventors” of new formulations come up with the possible substances when they launch new products on the market? After all, there are now over 7,000 ingredients that are used for homeopathic preparations.
The choice of what things are used to make new homeopathic remedies is completely arbitrary and emerges from the developers intuition. It is based on the theory of signatures, which originated in antiquity and was widely used in Europe in the late Middle Ages. She assumes that similarities of characteristics of natural objects indicate inner connections between them and the sphere of human being. These characteristics can be any property imaginable: Form, colour, behaviour, character, smell, taste, location, date of origin, colours, astrological classifications – every aspect you want to read into something.
A popular example is the walnut, whose shape is reminiscent of the human brain and is therefore used in brain diseases, or the bean, which is supposed to help with kidney diseases due to its kidney-like shape. But there are also homeopathic remedies such as “Terra” (normal earth, diluted 1 : 10^30), which is used by expellees, but also by other “uprooted” people such as divorcees.
That these phenomenological similarities have nothing to do with structural, functional or physical connections and correspond to a pre-scientific world model should be clear even to elementary school pupils.
Even completely individual-subjective observations from everyday life can be used for the selection of the basic substance if, for example, the supposedly increased need for chocolate during menstruation is concluded to be related to circulation and the hormone system (of course without having any empirical evidence for this).
Conclusion: The selection of homoeopathic basic substances is random, subjective, purely intuitive and not proven by any logic, research or scientific derivation. The understanding of cause-effect relationships is at best unscientific and often corresponds to magical thinking.
The conclusions follow an inductive logic in which feelings, individual observations or esoteric hypotheses are used to infer regularities without these being able to be empirically proven in any way.
No, globules are not “natural and vegetable” in the sense that the consumer always imagines when he makes such a statement or asks a question.
(1) “Poisons, medicines or pathogens mentioned in the list of homeopathic remedies are to be understood only in the sense of a remedy potentiated according to homeopathic rules, i.e. the homeopathic remedies offered by the aforementioned manufacturers and discussed in tests for medicinal products or articles do not contain the aforementioned substances (poisons, medicines, pathogens) in the chemical or biological sense if the potency level is C12, D24 or higher“. (Source)
Author: Dr. Susanne Kretschmann (Certified Psychologist)
Picture credits: Fotolia 47049734 Auremar
“According to the known laws of aerodynamics, a bumblebee cannot fly. The bumblebee knows nothing about aerodynamics – and still flies”…
…and therefore, as the argument is intended to express, science is also not suited to judge whether homeopathic remedies can work. Finally, as this example clearly shows, science refuses to take note of the obvious and dogmatically insists on her apparently false laws of nature. Really?
The bumblebee can fly of course and has (probably) no idea of aerodynamics, so far this is true, but the claim is wrong that the first would contradict the laws of aerodynamics.
What would happen if the statement were true? If knowledge of physics at this point would be wrong or coarse incomplete? If such an obvious phenomenon could not be explained?
Quite simply: There would be a huge challenge as to which physicist would be the first to unveil the secrets of the bumble-bee flight and who the first to be able to correctly describe the causes of the phenomenon. That’s what every scientist strives for: To be the first to break new ground, to connect his name forever with a new knowledge. That’s what Nobel Prizes are for. This achieves reputation, which represents the market value of the researcher.
The fact that this race does not take place is because it is simply not true that the “laws of aerodynamics” contradict the bumblebee flight. It goes too far here to explain the principles of wing theory at comparatively low Reynold’s Numbers (that is, at small dimensions and low speeds), but there is nothing mysterious about it. The bumblebee flaps its wings and can continuously change the shape of the wings in such a way that it sets air in motion in a certain direction, which creates a force on the bumblebee in the opposite direction. You can watch it in high speed slow motion (video YouTube from min 1:30). (These are bees, but wings of bumble bees and bees are not very different).
The basis for the sentence, which is also often used by motivational trainers, is obviously a small, in itself insignificant incident, which would have been forgotten had it not developed into a student eulogy in Göttingen in the 1930s. At that time, the Aerodynamische Versuchsanstalt (AVA) in Göttingen was one of the world’s leading research institutes, which gave it a certain significance.
The starting point is supposed to have been a meeting of a biologist and an aerodynamicist in a restaurant. The biologist used the example of the bumblebee to get to know how flying works. The aerodynamicist made a short rough calculation on a napkin or a beer mat. He (obviously) calculated that the wings (area 0.7 cm²) would not develop enough lift at the airspeed (10 km/h) to support the weight of the bumblebee (1.2 g). The aerodynamicist made the mistake of using equations that apply in the case that the wings act like rigid aerofoils that are incidently flown in by the airstream. It is easy to imagine that the biologist took this opportunity to talk about nature’s superiority over human technology. When the aerodynamicist noticed and corrected his mistake, it was of course less spectacular and caused much less sensation. (source)
That is the background for this false argument: an error of a single person eating in a pub. It is not known what role wine and beer played in this. There is by no means a whole scientific discipline involved, no physicist has ever claimed that the flight of a bumblebee is impossible.
The argument that the bumble-bee flight contradicts physical laws rather testifies to the lack of expertise of the one who uses this argument, both in terms of physics and aerodynamics, as well as how science works. A probability for the “functioning” of homeopathy is not inherent in this “argument” in the least.
Homeopathic remedies in medium and high potencies do not contain any or no significant amounts of the remedy indicated on the packaging. Some advocates of homeopathy say that it is an antiquated view of the world that a specific effect is linked to the existence of matter. See the mobile phone, which obviously reproduces the words of the interlocutor without the effect of matter.
There is no doubt that there is no direct effect of other parts on the mobile phone, e.g. via a wire connection. However, the underlying idea that matter can only be effective in direct contact with other matter is erroneous. In fact, matter can also work over great distances, just think of gravity, which holds together not only our solar system but whole galaxies over huge distances.
The same applies to electromagnetic distant effects when a transmitter emits electromagnetic waves that can be detected by a receiver. This, too, is an effect based on matter, of which one can easily convince oneself in a small experiment with an older functional mobile phone:
Take the mobile phone apart, remove the antenna and reassemble it. If the effect were actually not bound to matter, the cell phone would still have to function without the antenna, i.e. you would have to be able to make a call with it.
We will see how much the function of the mobile phone is linked to the presence of matter in the form of the required components and that it is therefore erroneous to see an immaterial effect in it. By the way, one will search in vain for an example of an immaterial effect – such phenomena are unknown in natural science. And also for homeopathy the claim of an immaterial effect is wrong. So the “argument” is none.
Picture: Wikimedia, Author: Martingrina
Does storing music on a CD really have anything to do with homeopathy?
Proponents of homeopathy often point out that chemical analysis cannot determine whether a CD is recorded or not, or what is stored on it.
This comparison is intended to refute an essential reservation of critics of homeopathy. Although homeopaths do not deny that the solution does not contain any active ingredient even at a comparatively low potentiation when diluted and shaken, the comparison with the CD allegedly shows that this chemical examination is obviously not sufficient to understand the whole process.
It is undoubtedly true that a chemical analysis cannot distinguish a recorded CD from an unrecorded one. The reason for this is that an essential part is missing from the analysis, namely the structure of the surface which is applied when the CD is burned and in which the contained information is stored. Just as the burning of the information on the CD is obviously independent of its chemical composition, this should also be possible in the solvent if the active ingredient has disappeared from it due to dilution.
This analogy is based on the assumption that water has similar properties to the CD and can also store information in its structure in some way. However, the analogy is no proof that this is really the case. In fact, the opposite is the case: while a CD as a solid can easily store an imprinted structure over a very long period of time even with a certain resistance to destruction, this property of a liquid is completely absent. Try to write something with any pen on the surface of liquid water. What is easily achieved with a CD with a suitable pen proves to be impossible with a liquid. The structures (water clusters) that water actually forms are of such an extremely short lifespan that it is impossible to store information even for the tiniest fractions of a second.
Quintessence: The statement that a chemical analysis cannot tell whether data is stored on a CD is correct, but the implicit assertion that the conditions in the water are similar is wrong. The CD is a completely unsuitable model to illustrate the processes of potentiation and therefore does not function as a “proof” for homeopathy.
-> More about this on our Homöopedia Website.
Picture credits: Andreas Weimann for INH
English version will appear soon.
English version will appear soon!
Samuel Hahnemann was born on 10 April 1755
Placebo and nocebo effects are not only found in medicine. These effects accompany us in daily life always and everywhere and are not bad in themselves. The ambience of a restaurant makes the schnitzel taste better and if “Coffee” and not “Viennese coffee specialties” is on the drinks menu, the taste will be judged more critically. The tricky thing about placebo/nocebo effects is that they are not subjective “imaginations” or apparent effects, but objectively measurable or observable changes. The effect is real. The particular malice of these effects in medicine lies in the fact that they occur in medicine and pseudomedicine both effectively positive and negative.
However, the placebo and nocebo effects are not based on specific individual causes. There is no causal “physical-chemical” relationship. It doesn’t matter with which acting or method one works. The placebo and nocebo effects are neither specifically causal, nor can they be realized at will by certain events or actions. The positive placebo and “vice versa” negative Nocebo effects result from the whole spectrum of expectations, desires and hopes of each individual against the background of his religious and ideological views, its education including its completely subjective life and illness experiences. All this is conditioning. Placebo and nocebo effects can literally be caused by anything, as long as it is “psychologically” significant for the individual, or – to put it casually – corresponds to gut feeling.
Whether we like it or not, we consciously and unconsciously attach highly personal “meanings” to the entire process, the various drugs, the therapeutic spectacle, the people involved, the environment, in short all things and events, whether we like it or not, and contribute to placebo or nocebo effects in this way. These assigned meanings are subjective and prejudices. One orients oneself to this and of course these can also become effective in the sense of placebo and nocebo and this sometimes happens very spectacularly. And this is exactly where “advertising” comes in. Professional advertising psychologists know exactly how and with which images they can reach and influence their target audience. And that happens daily throughout the media.
The placebo effect is one of the main pivotal points in discussions about pseudomedicine. The placebo effect also meets the effect of homeopathy as the best-known pseudomedicine. The lack of causality based on natural science is replaced by fashionable pseudo-scientific swirling and, depending on the clientele, also by angels and the like, if one includes the feel-good and life-support area as a peripheral area of medicine.
Now the placebo effect is being discovered as a hope for legitimazion of pseudomedicine and is being given a completely erroneous meaning. One does not dizzy any longer over this effect, but markets thereby purposefully pseudomedicine and also homeopathy. Placebo is like a drug, but is gentle and free of side effects. To put it simply, one only has to swallow a placebo tablet or apply homeopathy. A naive and unattainable wishful thinking. If an application is very widespread, often used and the field of application concerns mainly harmless, temporary and self-healing complaints, then there will be accordingly many and also sensational “successes”. But however impressive, they are placebo effects and the effects are correspondingly limited.
The discovery of the placebo effect
Franz Anton Mesmer propagated “animalic magnetism” towards the end of the 18th century. His treatments were spectacular, “mesmerism” was booming. Benjamin Franklin, however, was able to demonstrate in 1784 as a member of the royal commission of inquiry in Paris that these “treatment successes” occurred when and only when the subjects knew that they were actually “mesmerized”. If the “healing” spectacle was hidden with the magnets, i.e. performed as blinded or omitted, the sensational effects were over. Benjamin Franklin succeeded, so to speak, in the first documented proof of the placebo effect. Benjamin Franklin showed that the success of medical actions was based on two chains of causes. The effect can lie in the belief in the therapist or his therapeutic spectacle, his method and his remedy as well as in the method and the remedy itself, if a physically causally conditioned effect of the last exists at all.
Evidence versus eminence and pseudomedicine
Since then, a distinction has been made between “physical” and “psychological” causes of action. Until then, the question of a causal effect had not arisen. All you could see was that it worked, and that was enough. From now on, scientific medicine developed. Remedies or therapies were only considered “properly” effective when it could be shown that their effect was independent of the expectations and beliefs of patients and doctors. To work or heal through mere “imagination” was already suspect at that time.
This unmasking of the therapeutic spectacle or the “actor physician” as an effective component of the phenomenon then referred to as hysteria was, however, also a confirmation of the ineffectiveness or effect of “transcendental” healing powers in medicine.
It must be remembered that for thousands of years in healing, the imploring of heavenly goodwill has been an indispensable part of medicine. A remedy alone could not work properly if it was not used with appropriate therapeutic evocation. Healing has always been an extensive ritual that reached into the beyond. The doctor or his art of healing could not heal alone, they could only contribute a part to the healing. Franz Anton Mesmer did not claim to possess supernatural abilities, but his therapeutic spectacle was as effective or ineffective as a heavenly spectacle. The charisma of the healer only had to be just as impressive as the miraculous relic in a pilgrimage cathedral.
This insight changed the development of medicine in the long term. Since that time, a distinction has been made in medicine between evidence and eminence. For a long time, what eminences thought was right and applied that. Today, evidence-based medicine is the standard. It is based on scientifically proven findings. Experience has shown that a personal observation simply does not suffice as proof in order to be able to claim a causal effect or a causal connection.
Today it is no longer part of medicine or the medical art of healing to call upon supernatural heavenly powers. No doctor will forbid his patient to pray, but he will certainly not prescribe the praying of three “Our Fathers” or even propose an exorcism, which is still practiced by the Catholic Church. And just as a heavenly spectacle cannot replace a specifically effective medicine, neither can a therapeutic spectacle do. And spiritual powers in drugs, as Hahnemann still thought, do not exist.
But the medicine based only on “eminence”, whose effectiveness is based on the good reputation, did not disappear. On the contrary, it lives on to this day in alternative, complementary and so-called holistic medicine. Here one justifies oneself still exclusively with the subjective observations and statements of eminences, the treating physicians and healed ones. The anecdotes as eminence-based testimonials are legally safeguarded with the indication that the effectiveness is not scientifically proven. The healing anecdotes correspond to the votive tablets in pilgrimage churches. And an evidently proven effect is still not a prerequisite for legal admissibility.
For the sick hoping for healing this is of no importance. They trust in eminence, they succumb to reputation. For them, individually reported healings or the reputation of the participants are proving enough. The importance attached to doctors, media personalities and stories of spectacular healings weighs more heavily than scientifically based assessments. The therapeutic spectacle, the special care, the recommendation and last but not least the reputation to be without technology, without chemistry, biological, natural etc. count more and act as a placebo.
The doctor or guru convinced of his method sees the success with his patients and clients. These in turn strengthen their practitioners in their belief that they recognize causally effectiveness in their treatment. The technical term for this is “performative deception”. The self-deception of patients and doctors reinforces each other. And a good doctor will give his patients hope. He has no choice: in the patients’ eyes he must appear as guarantor of effective treatment. However, it is only a small step from giving hope to the patient to believing that his treatment will actually have an effect even on life-threatening diseases. The best-known example of such “medicine” is homeopathy. The performative deception is the basis and characteristic of homeopathy. The homeopathic way of working, its setting favours self-deception. The effective therapeutic spectacle begins with the anamnesis. Every little ailment is recorded and treated and, contrary to all assurances, homeopathy is also recommended for life-threatening diseases instead of proven effective medical treatment. In the end, the “homeopaths without borders” “heal” Ebola with sugar beads in Africa.
To date, there is no valid proof of efficacy
Yes, and there is no evidence of the phenomenon of homeopathy itself. The legendary Nuremberg salt experiment of 1835 and the numerous metastudies to date are clearly negative. The quality of positive studies is usually doubtful and negative study results are negated by homeopaths or highly professionally reinterpreted with idiosyncratic statistics. It is rounded off with allegedly “scientific” explanations of the effects of homeopathy. These are nonsense from a scientific point of view. Nothing but a science fiction effect is explained here.
Such means and methods cannot be objectified. The placebo effect is also and especially founded in eminence-based medicine and is therefore the link between medicine and pseudomedicine. In medicine, successes and failures are investigated and explained. This leads to new insights. In the always dogmatic pseudomedicine there is nothing to clarify. It has therefore also contributed nothing to our current tried and tested state of knowledge. The contribution of “alternative” medicine to progress of knowledge is zero.
The magic wand “Eminence” of yore is still working
Franz Anton Mesmer continued to do good business at that time. His patients remained loyal to him. Nothing has changed in this scenario to date. Therapies and remedies have taken all possible and impossible forms over time. Magnets and high-voltage sparks have been replaced by information, bioresonances, quanta, and much more bywords misusing physical terms. The evidence for the effect is missing. The postulated mechanisms of action contradict all proven and tested scientific findings and many of these universal remedies are also occasionally harmful to acutely life-threatening. The spectrum ranges from ineffective energetic cures to, for example, “Germanic New Medicine”. The last pages of free newspapers and local papers are full of advertisements using these bywords. Einstein’s just good enough for gravitational wave therapy.
For a myriad of newer means and methods, effect is generated with illustrious personalities and impressive advertising, without being able to present any valid evidence of efficacy beyond placebo. Nearly the entire alternative, complementary and holistic medicine still relies exclusively on the unique inspiration of its founders and the positive reports of its practitioners and patients. Charismatic personalities appear regularly in appropriate broadcast formats such as documentaries, health contributions etc. and promise to be able to heal everything or to have been healed with always amazingly simple therapies or means. Criticism is not much in demand. It usually serves only as a fig leaf for the semblance of critical and objective reporting.
The homeopathy of the Mesmer contemporary Hahnemann survived until today. And anyone who wants to, can put the label “homeopathy” on his pseudomedical hustle and bustle. Meanwhile also animals, plants and whole oceans are homoeopathically treated. And also well-known homoeopaths have nothing against it. You heal – and rest the case.
Realism as an opportunity?
The chances are bad. Everything, no matter how absurd, can and will be certified as a medical device. This only means that binding rules are laid down according to which production and applying are carried out. The lawyers are not bothered whether medical products or methods, which come on the market, correspond to our proven and tested scientific state of knowledge as well as are demonstrably effective and reasonable. They may not be “harmful” and may only be sold or used by officially authorized persons. The difference of a non-medical practitioner against an African shaman lies mainly in the possession of a cash register and her membership in the Chamber of Commerce. Many licensed doctors are certified homeopaths. The basics of pseudomedicine homeopathy, however, are as nonsensical as the basics of energetics. But the doctors are members of the Medical Chamber and non-medical practicioners of the Chamber of Commerce – this difference is much more serious than the first-mentioned above.
All the facts speak against homeopathy. It is pseudomedicine, superstition and big business in the health sector. Homeopathy is a lucrative health lottery. There’s only little placebos to win. Many people and especially young mothers and midwives associate homeopathy with biological, gentle, natural and see it as a complement and also an alternative to medicine. Psychologists can explain this phenomenon and advertising experts can be paid for using it. The lucrative gut feeling doesn’t fall from the sky.
The enlightened society must once again decide what kind of treatment is permitted and what kind of protection is appropriate for patients in a civilised society. Evidence, eminence and even pseudo are not clearly distinguishable for laymen. Do we want effective drugs or therapies with verifiable effects or is it also right to offer requisites for a folk-medical superstition and pseudomedicine in ordinations and pharmacies?
Hahnemann died on 2 July 1843 in Paris.
The author Dr. Edmund Berndt is a retired pharmacist and author of the book “Der Pillendreh. Ein Apotheker packt aus” (Rotating Pills – A pharmacist uncovers), Edition Vabene, 2009
Photo: Susanne Aust for the INH
English version will appear soon!
English version will appear soon.
English version will appear soon.
What makes common sense?
As a university teacher, I try to teach my students one thing above all else: common sense. By this I mean the willingness and ability to adhere to simple reasoning principles when thinking, e.g. the principle of not only considering the pro-arguments for a position, but also the contra-arguments. Each of my students accepts these principles of reason – mostly immediately and without contradiction. Everybody! For they are so plausible that our own reason forces us to accept them.
Students often ask me why I spend so much time explaining things that every child should understand. The reason for this is simple: common sense is child’s play – until it is no longer. When we think about questions to which we have no emotional connection, we are sober, serene, reasonable. Our common sense works. However, this has an end as soon as it comes to things that are close to our hearts. Every means is right for us here to support the position that is most sympathetic to us. We then search for evidence for our point of view and ignore everything that speaks against it. Psychologists speak of “confirmation bias” or “disconfirmation bias” in this context. A research team around the American psychologist Dan Kahan has even found out that trial participants literally let five be straight when it comes to their own political views. They accepted arguments for their position even when they obviously violated basic rules of calculation (Kahan et al. 2013).
Homeopathy is a good example of a bad example
Common sense cannot be overridden only by our political orientations. In my courses I often use the topic “homeopathy” to demonstrate how easily intelligent people get stuck in outrageous theses. I choose this topic for two reasons:
- Everything indicates that homeopathy is completely untrue. Their scientific initial plausibility goes towards zero.
- Methodologically flawless empirical studies generate roughly the data one would expect when comparing one placebo with another.
Common sense therefore requires us to reject homeopathy, but many people, some of them quite intelligent, still believe in homeopathy.
The constellation of 1. and 2. ensures that discussions about the pros and cons of homeopathy are regularly transformed into a logical horror cabinet. Intelligent homeopathy advocates put forward arguments that are obviously far-fetched. They conclude in a way that they themselves would reject in other contexts because they are so blatantly contrary to common sense. To illustrate this, I would just like to add an example from the journalist Jens Jessen – after all, head of the feature section emeritus of the renowned weekly DIE ZEIT. He writes: “From the fact that something cannot be explained or proven with present methods, it does not follow at all that it does not exist. Right, gentlemen of the medical profession? Even strict epistemology does not permit such a conclusion. The same scepticism that speaks against homeopathy can also be used in its favour.”
This argument is a sin against common sense – not a small one. To see this, one only has to replace the word “homeopathy” with the word “yeti”, as the philosopher Norbert Hörster once suggested in another context. The result is: “The same scepticism that speaks against the Yeti can also be used in his favor.”
Anyone who allows such an argument for homeopathy to go through should therefore also believe in all other things for which we have no evidence, e.g. in the yeti. I suspect, however, that Jens Jessen does not believe in the Yeti. Because his common sense would certainly turn back on this subject.
Emotion versus Mind
This is exactly the point: homeopathy has managed to bind many intelligent people emotionally to itself. And they’re sometimes willing to say pretty crazy things to defend them. I want someone to say again that homeopathy is incapable of anything. Even though its medicines have no pharmacological effects, homeopathy is extremely effective in another way: it manages to override common sense. You too?
Author: Nikil Mukerji studied philosophy and economics. Today he is Managing Director of the Executive Program Philosophy Politics Economics (PPW) at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. He also works as a freelance business and political consultant for the Institut für Argumentation in Munich.
In his new book he explains – vividly and true-to-life – the central rules of rational thinking: “Die 10 Gebote des gesunden Menschenverstandes” (The 10 Commandments of Common Sense, Springer, 2016)
Read also on our website: “Why people like to believe in homeopathy“.
Photo: Shutterstock 81762259 Anna Omelchenko
Psora + Sykose + ererbte Sykose + Tuberkulinie + Lepröses Miasma+Syphilis + Akutes Miasma + Typhus + Ringwurm + Spiegelmiasma + Skrophulose + Egolyse + Miasmensplitting + Egotropie + primäre Psora + Überfunktion+Pseudopsora+Haltepunkt + Krätze + Carcinogenie –
Miasmatische Begrifflichkeiten von damals bis heute
Der Begriff Miasma kommt aus dem Griechischen und bedeutet “Befleckung” (oder “Verunreinigung”)
In der klassischen Medizin, lange bevor man über Viren und andere Mikrooganismen als Krankheitserreger Bescheid wusste, verstand man darunter Ausdünstungen und üble Gerüche, die als Ursache für Krankheiten angesehen wurden. Diese Lehre gilt heute als überholt, sie hat aber durchaus zu richtigen Schlussfolgerungen geführt. Das Trockenlegen von Sümpfen, um den Gestank der Faulgase zu unterbinden, hat auch den Mücken als Krankheitserreger die Brutgebiete entzogen. Das Absondern der übel riechenden Pestkranken hat auch das Risiko der weiteren Ausbreitung gemindert.
Bei Hahnemann, dem Begründer der Homöopathie, hatte jedoch der Begriff des Miasmas eine ganz andere Bedeutung. Er verstand hierunter die tieferen Ursachen für chronische Krankheiten, die er mit seinem normalen Verfahren der Homöopathie nicht heilen konnte. Als Ursache für das Versagen nahm Hahnemann an, dass es tiefer sitzende Überbleibsel älterer nicht ausgeheilter ‘Urübel’ gab, eben die Miasmen, die sich nicht durch die äußere Symptomatik erkennen ließen. Diese hielt er sogar für vererbbar.
“Obwohl (…) heutigen Homöopathen der derzeitige wissenschaftliche Stand der Medizin bekannt ist, sprechen (sie) heute noch von “Miasmen”, wenn (sie) bestimmte Phänomene meinen, die in der homöopathischen Praxis beobachtet werden. Homöopathen, die das Werkzeug “Miasmatik” in ihrem Werkzeugkasten haben, sehen, dass viele Beschwerden auf eine oder mehrere andere verborgene Ursachen zurückgeführt werden müssen.” (Quelle)
Was stimmt an dieser Aussage der Homöopathie?
Der Fehler begann als gute Idee bei Hahnemann
Beginnen wir bei Hahnemann. Seine letzte wichtige Veröffentlichung, “Die chronischen Krankheiten”, wirkt auf den ersten Blick wie das Spätwerk eines mittlerweile verbitterten Greises. Dieses Bild verflüchtigt sich aber, wenn man sich näher mit dem Text beschäftigt. Man kann darin ein Paradebeispiel dafür sehen, dass man trotz einigermaßen folgerichtiger Ideen und Überlegungen zu falschen Schlussfolgerungen gelangen kann. Für seine Zeit waren die Erkenntnisse Hahnemanns beachtlich und innovativ! Auch stand er mit seiner Sichtweise der chronischen Krankheiten der modernen Medizin und Naturwissenschaft wesentlich näher, als seine heutigen Nachfolger, welche die Lehre von den chronischen Krankheiten “weiterentwickelt” haben und immer noch nutzen (trotz besseren Wissens).
Hahnemann war bekannt, dass viele Krankheiten “durch etwas” übertragen werden, also z.B. durch den Kontakt oder die Nähe zu einem Erkrankten oder einer anderen Infektionsquelle, einem tollwütigen Hund zum Beispiel. Er konnte also durchaus feststellen, dass eine – mit seinen Mitteln – nicht mehr feststellbare winzige Menge eines unbekannten Giftes zu erheblichen Beeinträchtigungen und Krankheitserscheinungen führen kann. Warum sollen dann nicht winzigste Mengen eines Heilmittels ebenfalls umfassende Wirkung zeigen können? Die Genese einer Infektionskrankheit, die Vermehrung der Erreger im Körper des Betroffenen, blieben ihm ja mangels Mikroskop verborgen. Hahnemanns Forderung, seine Medikamente in möglichst kleinen Gaben zu verabreichen, ist daher nicht so abstrus, wie es uns heute zunächst erscheint.
Hahnemann hatte durchaus richtig beobachtet, dass es Beschwerden gab, die sich oberflächlich durch Symptome auf der Hautoberfläche äußerten, aber nicht durch ein Behandeln dieser Symptome heilbar waren. Das ist das Bild, das wir auch heute von einigen Infektionskrankheiten haben, wie z. B. Masern, Windpocken etc.
Hahnemann tat das, was ein Wissenschaftler zu seiner Zeit machen musste: Er beobachtete “die Natur” und leitete daraus seine Erkenntnisse ab. Er beobachtete also tatsächlich Phänomene – und erklärte sie im Rahmen seiner Möglichkeiten. So weit, so gut. Doch er machte einen Fehler.
Ende der Homöopathie bei chronischen Krankheiten fehlgedeutet
Zunächst ist zu bedenken, dass Hahnemann unter einer “chronischen Krankheit” sicher nicht das Gleiche verstand wie wir heute, sondern es sich einfach um Symptome handelte, die er mit seiner normalen Vorgehensweise nicht erfolgreich behandeln konnte. Chronische Krankheiten waren also alle diejenigen, die sich der Homöopathie widersetzten.
Er sah an diesem Punkt aber nicht etwa, dass seine Homöopathie wohl nicht wirklich heilen konnte, sondern entspann eine Theorie: wonach etwas die Wirkung verhindern würde!
Im Kernpunkt führt er die chronischen Erkrankungen des Menschen, und zwar alle, ohne Ausnahme, auf drei Urübel zurück: Die Syphilis (Geschlechtskrankheit), die Sykosis (“Feigwarze”, ebenfalls sexuell übertragbare Krankheit) und die Psora (“Krätze”).
Aus seinen Beobachtungen leitete Hahnemann das Vorgehen bei der Behandlung dahingehend ab, dass bei der “miasmatischen Behandlung” zunächst die Natur der inneren verborgenen Krankheit in Erfahrung gebracht werden müsse, also im Anamnesegespräch frühere Infektionen herausgearbeitet werden müssen. Die homöopathische Behandlung muss sich zunächst auf diese innere Krankheit beschränken. Das vorzeitige Beseitigen der äußeren Hautbeschwerden nähme der inneren Krankheit nur das Ventil, woraufhin sich diese noch viel grässlicherer Ausdrucksmittel bedienen würde. Wenn man unter Hahnemanns Miasma eine unbehandelte Infektionskrankheit versteht, dann klingt die obige Behandlungsvorschrift auch aus heutiger Sicht gar nicht so unsinnig. Hätte er anstelle seiner Kügelchen Antibiotika verwendet – die gab es aber erst ein paar Dutzend Jahre später – wäre die Vorgehensweise durchaus erfolgsversprechend.
Hahnemann hatte aber nun mal nur seine Homöopathie eingesetzt. Unwahrscheinlich, dass er damit tatsächlich eine Syphilis-Infektion erfolgreich behandelt haben könnte. Das hatte ihn aber nicht von seinen Vorstellungen abgebracht, denn er nahm gleichzeitig an, dass eine Krankheit um so schwieriger zu behandeln sei, je länger sie bereits andauerte. Und eine zwanzig oder dreißig Jahre alte Infektion zu beseitigen, muss daher fast unmöglich gewesen sein, insbesondere, wenn der Patient durch Fehlbehandlungen seitens der Allopathen “verpfuscht” worden war. Wenn also eine Heilung einer miasmatischen Erkrankung nicht gelang, dann lag das an der Hartnäckigkeit der Krankheit, nicht an den Mängeln der Therapie. So weit verfügte Hahnemann aus seiner Sicht über ein durchaus stimmiges Weltbild, das in manchen Aspekten erstaunlich gut mit dem heutigen Kenntnisstand über Infektionen übereinstimmt.
Hahnemann hatte also aus seinen Beobachtungen durchaus eine folgerichtige Induktion aufgebaut – und sich dennoch geirrt. Es ist einfach nicht zutreffend, dass alle Beschwerden, die sich nicht auf Anhieb mit der Homöopathie behandeln lassen, auf drei Haut- und Geschlechtskrankheiten zurückzuführen sind. Auch wenn man unterstellt, dass die Abgrenzung zu anderen Krankheitsbildern mit ähnlicher Symptomatik nicht unbedingt klar und deutlich war.
Wie hätte man diesen Irrtum feststellen können?
In der Wissenschaft ist die Induktion, also die Schlussfolgerung von Beobachtungen auf vermutete Gesetzmäßigkeiten, ein wichtiger Schritt. Aber wie man sieht, man kann da auch in die Irre gehen, wenn man die Zusammenhänge falsch einschätzt. Daher ist es wichtig – und heute üblich -, die abgeleiteten Gesetzmäßigkeiten in einem zweiten Schritt zu überprüfen und das Ergebnis später zu veröffentlichen und so der wissenschaftlichen Gemeinschaft zur Diskussion zu stellen.
Die Aussage, dass die chronischen Beschwerden von den drei betrachteten Krankheiten verursacht werden, kann auf zwei Weisen falsifiziert werden:
- Treten chronische Beschwerden auch bei Menschen auf, die keine entsprechende Krankengeschichte aufweisen?
Damit hätte man herausfinden können, dass es auch chronische Krankheiten gibt, die eine andere Ursache haben und hätte daraufhin die Ursachenforschung erweitern können.
- Treten in allen Fällen, in denen eine der als Ursache angenommenen Infektionen nur äußerlich behandelt wurde, die chronischen Beschwerden auf?
Dies hätte die Behandlungsstrategie verbessern können. Beispielsweise hätte sich gezeigt, dass die Krätze tatsächlich nur eine durch Milben verursachte, auf die Haut beschränkte, Erscheinung ist.
Lassen wir dabei einmal außer Acht, dass ein Studiendesign, das dieses untersuchen könnte und dabei gleichzeitig mit ethischen Gesichtspunkten vereinbar wäre, nur schwierig zu realisieren sein dürfte. Hier geht es lediglich darum, aufzuzeigen, wie die Wissenschaft sicherstellt, dass Fehlschlüsse, wie sie hier Hahnemann unterlaufen sind, ausgeschlossen werden. Wie man sieht, versucht man die gefundene Regel zu widerlegen, indem man untersucht, ob das Gegenteil zutreffend sein könnte. Widersprüche führen zu einer Überprüfung der Regel. Hier hätte sich ein weites Feld aufgetan, aber dieses Vorgehen war nicht üblich.
Die miasmatische Behandlung heute
Es scheint gerechtfertigt, die Miasmen Hahnemanns als eine Bezeichnung für das im Inneren des Körpers ablaufende Geschehen bei einer unbehandelten und fortbestehenden Infektion zu verstehen. Dann wäre diese Vokabel mit den zunehmenden Kenntnissen über virale und bakterielle Infektionskrankheiten in der Vergangenheit überflüssig geworden. Auch sind heute viele chronische Krankheiten zumindest so weit bekannt, dass sie ihre Ursache nicht in früheren Infektionen haben (Rheuma, Diabetes, COPD etc.). Dennoch lebt das Miasma und seine Behandlung in der homöopathischen Literatur fort und wird quasi, wie im Eingangszitat erwähnt, als Parallelwissen zum heutigen Kenntnisstand gehandelt.
Es gibt jedoch bis heute keine einheitliche Definition von Miasmen oder eine allgemein gültige/akzeptierte Einteilung. Miasmen gibt es nach Hahnemann, Gienow, Sankaran, Scholten, Masi-Elizalde, Sanchez-Ortega, Burnett, Allen, Sonnenschmidt, Laborde, Vijayakar, Banergea, Banerjee und vielen anderen mehr. Dabei werden zwischen 3 und 12 Miasmen unterschieden. Gewisse Miasmen selbst scheinen vollständig in das Reich der Esoterik abgedriftet zu sein. Bei den Homöopathen sind also vielerlei unterschiedliche Verfahren als “miasmatische Behandlung” bekannt. Zu stören scheint das nicht. Alle beobachten natürlich “Phänomene” und alle berichten von Heilerfolgen – aber nicht von eklatanten Widersprüchen.
Damals interessant – heute falsch und dogmatisch
Man kann Hahnemann zugestehen, in der Natur zumindest einiger chronischer Beschwerden gar nicht so falsch gelegen zu haben und nur durch die beschränkten Möglichkeiten seiner Zeit zwangsläufig in seinen Irrtümern gefangen geblieben zu sein. Also in seinem Erkenntnisprozess durchaus einen richtigen Weg eingeschlagen zu haben, dabei allerdings in einem frühen Stadium verblieben zu sein.
Für seine Nachfolger, insbesondere die modernen, die Miasmentheorie bearbeitenden Homöopathen wie Masi-Elizalde (1933-2003), Sankaran (* 1960) oder Gienow (*1960), gilt diese wohlwollende Betrachtung ausdrücklich nicht. Sie könnten besser wissen, dass 1. die Miasmentheorie widerlegt und durch besseres Wissen ersetzt ist und dass wir 2. alle möglichen Phänomene nach Art einer self-fulfilling-prophecy irgendwie erklärbar machen können. Nur, im Gegensatz zu Hahnemann, haben wir heute Möglichkeiten mit Hilfe der Wissenschaft, dabei Fehler und Fehlwahrnehmungen aufzuspüren und zu korrigieren. Diesem Vorgehen verweigern sich Homöopathen jedoch konsequent und bleiben lieber in ihrer Luftblase aus Ideen von vor 200 Jahren gefangen. Der Wissenschaft allerdings werfen sie vor, sie möge doch auch “endlich mal über ihren Tellerrand hinaus schauen”.
(Autoren: Dr. Norbert Aust, Dr. med. Natalie Grams)
Mehr zum Thema Miasmen und zur Sicht der homöopathischen Szene auf die Miasmenlehre auch hier.