“Wissenschaftliches Gutachten“ betr. Homöopathie-Antrag bei Bündnis90/Die Grünen – Replik zur Replik

Am 17. Dezember 2019 hat das INH seine Stellungnahme zum “Wissenschaftlichen Gutachten” zweier Ärzte eines der Universität Witten Herdecke angeschlossenen Instituts veröffentlicht, das den (inzwischen nicht mehr aktuellen) parteiinternen Antrag von Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen entkräften wollte. Das INH hatte aufgezeigt, dass weder Argumente in diesem Sinne überhaupt angeführt wurden noch alle Aussagen des Gutachtens aus wissenschaftlicher Sicht tragfähig erschienen.

Zu dieser Entgegnung des INH haben die Autoren des “Wissenschaftlichen Gutachtens” wiederum eine Replik veröffentlicht. Hierzu veröffentlicht das INH den nachstehenden Text:


Vorgeschichte

Der Antrag der Jungen Grünen zur Bundesdelegiertenkonferenz im November 2019 ist inzwischen Geschichte. Dieser Antrag zur Homöopathie wurde weder im Plenum behandelt noch durch eine dort eingesetzte Kommission verfolgt. Insofern könnte man die Sache vorerst als erledigt betrachten. Zwei anthroposophische Ärzte hatten jedoch ein Papier vorgelegt, dass sie selbst als “wissenschaftliches Gutachten” bezeichneten [1]. In einer Stellungnahme hatte das INH die darin enthaltenen Schwachstellen dargestellt [2], was die Autoren dazu veranlasst hat, ihrerseits auf die Argumentation des INH einzugehen [3].

Die Autoren werfen uns in ihrer neuen Stellungnahme vor, unsere Antwort sei “eine Serie falscher Aussagen”. Dieses neue Papier ist wie das ursprüngliche “wissenschaftliche Gutachten” wiederum ein Paradebeispiel für die lediglich aus rhetorischen Kunstgriffen und wenig begründbaren Behauptungen bestehende Argumentation. Da es aber in der gegenwärtigen heftigen Diskussion um die Homöopathie wahrscheinlich weitere Kreise ziehen wird – welcher Homöopath wünscht sich nicht, das INH der Falschaussage zu überführen – möchten wir die Gelegenheit aufgreifen und nochmals auf die leider üblichen Verdrehungen der Tatsachen hinweisen.

Die Kritikpunkte der Autoren des „Gutachtens“

Vorab: Auch in Ihrer neuen Stellungnahme vermeiden es die Herren Hamre und Kiene, auf den Kernpunkt des Antrages der Grünen einzugehen und Gründe dafür zu liefern, wodurch die Sonderstellung der Homöopathie und der “besonderen Therapierichtung” im Arzneimittelrecht gerechtfertigt sein soll. Insofern handelt es sich weder bei dem ursprünglichen “wissenschaftlichen Gutachten” noch bei der jetzigen Replik um ernstzunehmende themenbezogene bzw. – zentrierte Diskussionsbeiträge.

Hier die einzelnen Punkte der Replik und die Position des INH dazu, wobei wir bei der Gliederung und Nummerierung den Autoren folgen.

  

(1) Unsere Aussage “Hamre und Kiene nennen als Beleg zwei Übersichtsarbeiten, in denen außerklinische Laboruntersuchungen ausgewertet werden.” sei falsch, vielmehr habe man im Laufe des Gutachtens mehrere Belege genannt.

Bei dieser Erwiderung handelt es sich um ein Paradebeispiel einer sinnentstellenden Zitierweise, was in der wissenschaftlichen Auseinandersetzung ein klarer Bruch geltender Standards ist. In dem Absatz, aus dem der Satz zitiert wird, geht es klar erkennbar um eine These des Gutachtens, nach der aus Laborexperimenten hervorgehen soll, dass Homöopathika spezifische Effekte auslösen könnten. Diese These hatten die Autoren mit zwei Übersichtsarbeiten belegt, mit denen wir uns in der Folge auseinandergesetzt hatten. Man möge den Text lesen.

 

(2) Unsere Aussage “Es fehlt an der Reproduzierbarkeit [der Experimente].” sei falsch.

Wir haben die betreffende Textstelle aus der von den Autoren selbst als Beleg zitierten Studie wörtlich zitiert:

„Kein positives Resultat war stabil genug, dass es in allen Untersuchungen reproduziert werden konnte“, schreibt zum Beispiel Claudia Witt in der Zusammenfassung der im Gutachten zitierten Arbeit.

Ein instabiler Effekt, der also aus unbekannten Gründen einmal auftritt und ein anderes Mal nicht, ist nicht reproduzierbar. Das ist nun einfach so. Der Gegeneinwand der Autoren ist nicht nachvollziehbar.

 

(3) Unsere Aussage „Hamre und Kiene bedienen sich der in der Homöopathie vielfach geübten Kunst des selektiven Zitierens…. Man zitiert sechs systematische Übersichtsarbeiten (es gibt aber elf),“ sei falsch.

Eindeutig zitieren Hamre und Kiene nur sechs der elf existierenden systematischen Übersichtsarbeiten zur Gesamtevidenz aus klinischen Studien. Damit ist der gegebene Überblick unvollständig und steht im Widerspruch zum wissenschaftlichen Anspruch der Autoren, ein Gesamtbild zur Evidenz der Homöopathie darzustellen.

Es ist sicher richtig, dass die Autoren zwar angeben, welche Kriterien man bei der Auswahl angelegt hat, aber es wird keine Begründung hierfür genannt, warum man nur diese sechs Arbeiten betrachtet hat, bzw. warum die Einschlusskriterien so gewählt wurden, wie es die Autoren gemacht haben. Man darf annehmen, dass den Autoren die Lage der Evidenz zur Homöopathie lange vertraut ist. Demnach kann man sich fragen, was zuerst da war: Die Auswahl der auf das Ergebnis des „Gutachtens“ passenden Arbeiten oder die Kriterien dafür.

 

(4) Unsere Aussage “Dass sich bei Addition vieler Einzelstudien geringer Qualität irgendwann eine statistische Signifikanz ergibt, ist eine zwangsläufige Erscheinung der Mathematik …” sei falsch.

Unbezweifelbar ist, dass mit der Zahl der eingeschlossenen Studien notwendigerweise die Zahl der Studienteilnehmer steigt und die für das Erreichen eines signifikanten Ergebnisses erforderliche Effektstärke immer kleiner wird. Hamre und Kiene haben natürlich Recht, wenn sie darauf hinweisen, dass dies bei Einzelstudien mit großer Teilnehmerzahl schneller vonstatten geht als mit kleinen, oder wenn die Einzelergebnis weniger streuen. Dies ändert aber nichts an dem Sachverhalt.

Dass die Studien zur Homöopathie praktisch immer zumindest einen minimalen Effekt ergeben, hat im Wesentlichen drei Ursachen:

    • Die weitgehende unbefriedigende Qualität der Studien führt zum Überzeichnen der Effekte.
    • Die Interessenlage der Autoren fördert das Bestreben, wenigstens etwas Positives auszusagen, selbst wenn beim besten Willen kein signifikantes Ergebnis aus den Daten abgeleitet werden kann.
    • Durch den als “Publication bias” bezeichneten Effekt haben es Studien, an deren Publikation wegen ihrer Ergebnisse von Autoren- oder Finanzierungsseite wenig Interesse besteht, es deutlich schwerer, den Weg aus der Schublade in eine Veröffentlichung zu finden.

Konsequenz: Positiv erscheinende Ergebnisse überwiegen – und wenn man diese ohne Rücksicht auf die Qualität zusammenfasst, dabei auch noch die Pilotstudien mit einbezieht, die eigentlich keine Evidenz begründen können, dann kommt man zwangsläufig zu positiv erscheinenden Ergebnissen.

Dabei haben wir uns noch nicht einmal mit der Frage beschäftigt, ob denn die in den Homöopathie-Studien aufgetretenen Effekte auch die waren, die diesen Mitteln in den verschiedenen Materiae medicae der Homöopathen zugeschrieben werden.

 

(5) Unsere Aussage, wonach eine mindere Qualität der Studien in der Homöopathie die Regel sei, sei falsch.

Unbestreitbar ist, dass in allen indikationsübergreifenden Reviews auf die insgesamt unbefriedigende Qualität der Einzelstudien hingewiesen wird, weswegen eine definitive Schlussfolgerung bezüglich der Wirksamkeit der Homöopathie nicht möglich sei. Da eine generelle Unwirksamkeit prinzipiell nicht nachweisbar ist, ist die Aussage, dass eine Wirksamkeit der Homöopathie nicht nachgewiesen werden kann, das schlechteste denkbare Ergebnis im wissenschaftlichen Sinne.

Welche Aussagekraft zur Sinnhaftigkeit der Sonderregelungen für die besonderen Therapierichtungen eine von den Autoren angemahnte Betrachtung der methodischen Qualität sonstiger placebokontrollierter Studien aus anderen Bereichen hätte, ist ein Geheimnis der Autoren. Im übrigen findet eine solche Betrachtung in jedem gut gemachten Review bzw. jeder Metaanalyse zu einer beliebigen medizinischen Problemstellung statt.

 

(6) Unsere Aussage “um den Einfluss eines relevanten Faktors zu erfassen, genügt pro Review eine (Signifikanz-)Analyse” sei falsch.

Normalerweise ist es so, dass die Studienqualität anhand verschiedener Kriterien beurteilt wird. Allerdings führt es in die Irre, die verschiedenen Kriterien jeweils einzeln zu betrachten, wie Hamre und Kiene das offenbar tun. Man kann sicher für jedes Einzelkriterium mindestens eine Studie finden, die dieses eine Kriterium optimal erfüllt. Eine hohe Qualität wird jedoch nur dadurch erreicht, dass alle Bestandteile (möglichst viele wichtige) einem hohen Qualitätsstandard gerecht werden. Was nutzt beispielsweise eine hervorragende Gruppeneinteilung nach dem Zufallsprinzip, wenn die Verblindung große Lücken aufweist? Oder die Verblindung hervorragend gemacht wurde, man aber die Zuordnungssequenz erraten kann? Dies stellt sich auch in den Vorgaben der Cochrane Collaboration so dar, nach denen die Gesamtqualität einer Studie der schlechtesten Wertung aus allen Einzelkategorien entspricht. Demzufolge ist bezüglich des Einflusses der Studienqualität auf das Ergebnis pro Review nur eine Sensitivitätsanalyse notwendig.

 

(7) Unsere Aussage, dass Hamre und Kiene “statistisch signifikante Ergebnisse [zitieren] …, was ohne nähere Definition offenbar irgendetwas Positives belegen soll” sei falsch.

Natürlich ist klar, dass ein “signifikantes Ergebnis” nach allgemeiner Übereinkunft durch einen p-Wert < 0,05 gekennzeichnet ist, wie dies auch ohne Zweifel im "Gutachten" erwähnt wird. Das Problem ist aber, dass die Autoren sehr viele "signifikante Ergebnisse" zitieren, ohne darauf einzugehen, worin diese Ergebnisse bestehen und insbesondere, wie groß die Effekte waren. Wir haben es bei zusammengefassten Studien mit recht hohen Teilnehmerzahlen zu tun, so dass schon recht kleine, manchmal kaum klinisch relevante Effektstärken ausreichen, statistisch signifikante Ergebnisse zu erzielen, die dann allerdings kaum geeignet sind, eine überlegene Wirksamkeit der Homöopathie zu belegen – eben wegen der dahinterstehenden geringen Effektstärken. Für eine Therapieform, die für sich in Anspruch nimmt, der evidenzbasierten Medizin zumindest gleichwertig zu sein, und die eine privilegierte Sonderstellung im Arzneimittelrecht beansprucht, ist das ein mehr als kümmerliches Ergebnis. Wir bezweifeln, dass solche Ergebnisse im Bereich der „konventionellen“ Pharmazie und ihrer Prüf- und Zulassungsverfahren irgendwie als relevant angesehen würden. Die Aussage "Es sind signifikante Effekte aufgetreten" sagt nichts darüber aus, wo bei der Sensitivitätsanalyse diese aufgetreten sind, ob bei Studien der höchsten Qualität oder etwa, wenn alle Studien betrachtet wurden - was sich dann mit zunehmender Qualität verflüchtigt haben könnte. Insofern haben die Autoren hier eine Glanzleistung einer rhetorischen Verschleierung geliefert.

(8) Die Autoren halten unsere Vermutung für falsch, dass die Sensitivitätsanalysen zur Studienqualität in der Mehrzahl keine signifikanten Resultate enthalten.

Es sei der Verwunderung Ausdruck gegeben, dass die Autoren, die ja begründen wollen, dass die Homöopathie eine sinnvolle Therapieform sein soll, so viele Analysen aus ihrer Betrachtung ausgeschlossen haben wollen (48 Stück), wenn doch die meisten (44 Stück), wie sie jetzt schreiben, signifikante Ergebnisse erbracht hätten. Das wäre doch, wenn es tatsächlich stimmen würde, genau der Sachverhalt, den man als Argument anbringen könnte. Dieses Understatement wäre ein völlig neuer und unbekannter Zug seitens der Homöopathen.

 

(9) Die Autoren behaupten, unsere Aussage, dass sich bei unkritischer Betrachtung ein kleiner Effekt zugunsten der Homöopathie ergibt, dieser sich aber bei Berücksichtigung der Qualität verliert, sei falsch.

Siehe obige Darstellung zu Punkt 4.

Zur Erinnerung: Linde (1997) fand kein einziges Krankheitsbild, für das Homöopathie sinnvoll angewandt werden könnte. Mathie hat das Kriterium für “reliable evidence”, unter fälschlicher Berufung auf das ICF-System der WHO, gehörig „überinterpretiert“, indem er in seiner Arbeit von 2014 auch Studien als “reliable evidence” einstufte, die nicht den Kriterien des “low risk of bias” in allen Punkten genügten. Dies übrigens entgegen dem veröffentlichten Studienprotokoll. (Addendum 1: Bei zwei der drei Studien handelt es sich lediglich um Pilotstudien, die normalerweise zum Erproben des Studiensettings für eine spätere Hauptstudie dienen und nicht als Evidenzbasis für eine Methode. Addendum 2: Trotz der angeblich vielversprechenden Ergebnisse ist auch Jahrzehnte später keine Hauptstudie veröffentlicht worden. Und das angesichts der Tatsache, dass die Homöopathie geradezu verzweifelt nach positiven Belegen für eine Wirksamkeit über Placebo hinaus sucht.)

In Ermangelung einer größeren Zahl von Studien, die tatsächlich ein “low risk of bias” – also hohe Qualität – aufwiesen, konnte Mathie in seinen vier Reviews gar nicht feststellen, ob solche einen signifikanten Effekt zeigen würden.

 

(10) Unsere Aussage, dass “es keine statistischen Daten über Schäden durch Homöopathie gibt, da sie nicht erfasst werden” sei falsch, vielmehr gebe es Studien und Meta-Analysen, aus denen die Sicherheit der Homöopathie hervorgehe.

In dem Zusammenhang des Zitats ging es um Schäden, die in der täglichen Praxis durch die Homöopathie direkt oder indirekt entstehen. In Studien können diese Dinge nicht systematisch erfasst werden, weil sich diese auf  während der Beobachtungsdauer  manifest werdende unerwünschte Entwicklungen beschränken müssen. Qualitätsauswertungen für homöopathische Therapien durch Ärzte und/oder Heilpraktiker gibt es nicht. Das heißt, dass die ganz wesentlichen Schäden, die etwa durch eine zu späte wirksame Behandlung entstehen können, nicht erfasst sind. Sollten die Autoren eine Statistik kennen, wären wir für Quellenhinweise dankbar. Mit dem “Nichtvorhandensein empirischer Belege“ kann die logische Prämisse, dass aus Nichtbehandlungen Schäden folgen müssen, nicht widerlegt werden.

 

(11) Statt auf die Homöopathie-Sicherheitsdaten einzugehen, beziehe sich das INH auf eine “konkrete, methodisch hochwertige empirische Untersuchung  [zu Krebsbehandlung]”. Dies sei irreführend, weil es dort um Alternativmedizin und nicht nur um Homöopathie ginge.

Richtig ist, dass es hier um ein Verhalten der betrachteten Patienten geht, nämlich um das Zurückweisen konventioneller Therapien durch Patienten, die sich der Alternativmedizin zugewandt hatten. Es ist kein Grund erkennbar, warum dies bei der Homöopathie in großem Umfang anders sein soll als bei anderen Therapieformen des alternativen Spektrums. Eigentlich sollte mit einigem Recht angenommen werden können, dass die Homöopathie als „populärste“ alternative Therapieform im Gesamtzusammenhang sogar eine führende Rolle einnimmt.

Außerdem sei die Aussage der Studie wertlos, da sie offensichtlich einem starken Auswahl-Bias unterliege, indem nur 258 von 1,9 Millionen Krebspatienten betrachtet werden, wobei aber andererseits Studien existieren, nach denen 48 bis 88 % der Krebspatienten alternativmedizinisch behandelt worden sind.

Offenbar ist den Herren Hamre und Kiene entgangen, dass es einen Unterschied zwischen “ausschließlicher” und “zusätzlicher” alternativmedizinischer Behandlung gibt. Die zitierten 258 Patienten gehörten zum ersten Fall (Johnson et al. 2017), die von Hamre und Kiene hier angegebenen Zahlen zum letzteren (Johnson et al. 2018). Die Studie aus 2017 befasste sich mit den Patienten, die sich ausschließlich haben alternativmedizinisch behandeln lassen (“gematched” zu möglichst exakt passenden Vergleichsfällen mit ausschließlich “konventioneller” Therapie), weshalb es nur die kleine Teilnehmerzahl gibt. Aus der Studie ist die Vorgehensweise im Detail ersichtlich, sie gibt keinen Hinweis auf einen Auswahlbias.


Zusammenfassend stellen wir fest, dass die Gegenhaltung der Autoren des “wissenschaftlichen Gutachtens” sich zum einen in der Betrachtung eher nebensächlicher Detailpunkte erschöpft, was nicht sehr verwunderlich ist. Dies ist insgesamt nicht zielführend, wenn es um eine Rechtfertigung der Homöopathie als eine der wissenschaftlichen Medizin jedenfalls gleichwertige Therapieform geht. Wenn über viele Studien über längere Zeit nur geringe Signifikanzen und minimale Effekte gefunden werden, die sich zudem in aller Regel gerade nicht aus den qualitativ hochwertigen Studien ableiten, dann ist der Schluss gerechtfertigt, dass es diese Effekte in der Realität wahrscheinlich nicht gibt.

Darüber hinaus ist festzustellen, dass die Autoren nach wie vor keinen einzigen unserer Kritikpunkte an ihrem Gutachten entkräften konnten:

    • Die Autoren erklären ihren Interessenkonflikt nicht, den sie als Anthroposophische Ärzte sicher in Bezug auf die besonderen Therapierichtungen im Arzneimittelrecht (auf deren Infragestellung der Antrag bei Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen abzielt) haben.
    • Es gibt keine systematische Übersichtsarbeit, aus der auf einen über Placebo hinausgehenden Effekt der Homöopathie bei irgendeiner Indikation valide zu schließen wäre, was angesichts des hohen Anspruchs, mit dem die Homöopathie auftritt, ein Desaster ist.
    • Die Homöopathie ist ein rein auf Spekulation basierendes Konstrukt, dessen grundlegende Aussagen bislang nicht empirisch bestätigt worden sind.
    • Die Behauptungen zur therapeutischen Stärke der Homöopathie sind folglich unbegründet.
    • Insbesondere wurde im Hinblick auf den Zweck des Gutachtens nach wie vor nicht dargelegt, worin die Gründe liegen sollen, die weiterhin eine Sonderrolle der Homöopathie im Arzneimittelrecht rechtfertigen würden.

Wir freuen uns darauf, was die Herren Hamre und Kiene ggf. hierzu sagen werden.

Informationsnetzwerk Homöopathie
Dr. Norbert Aust       Udo Endruscheit


(1) Wissenschaftliches Gutachten zum Antrag V-01 „Echter Patient*innenschutz: Bevorteilung der Homöopathie beenden!” (Antrag zur Bundesdelegiertenkonferenz von Bündnis90/DieGrünen am 15.-17. November 2019 in Bielefeld) – http://ifaemm.de/F11_homeo.htm

(2) Stellungnahme des INH zum „Wissenschaftlichen Gutachten“ betr. Homöopathie-Antrag bei Bündnis90/Die Grünen – https://netzwerk-homoeopathie.info/stellungnahme-des-inh-zum-wissenschaftlichen-gutachten-betr-homoeopathie-antrag-bei-buendnis90-die-gruenen/

(3) Kommentar zur Stellungnahme des Informationsnetzwerks Homöopathie – http://ifaemm.de/F11_homeo.htm


 


Bild von Gerd Altmann auf Pixabay

Popularity of homeopathy and free beer – find the difference!

Bavarian beer - in fact
Popular, indeed…

An essential “link” between the representatives of homeopathy and politics is the evocation of an alleged “popularity” of the sugar-ball therapy. The Information Network Homeopathy has often enough explained that and why this is not an argument in a medical-scientific discourse. The claim on popularity of the “free beer” example in the title ist obvious. But by no means it is in homeopathy.

It is clear that gentle, side-effect free, safe and effective therapies are desired by everyone. But it is also obvious that all these attributes are completely useless if the underlying therapy is ineffective. The “popularity argument” puts the first claims in the foreground and suppresses the second. This is an “argumentation” that has been cleverly directed at the “target group” of politics. In current debates and political statements on homeopathy, “popularity” is a basic melody that is always more or less clearly audible.

So far, so free of sense. But let’s take the “popularity argument” literally. Is popularity of homeopathy really as great as its representatives would have us believe? From our many years of educational work, we doubt that this is the case. The reactions to public incidents this year (2019), as certain cease-and-desist disasters and certain satirical TV reports, make the doubts about the pure factual content of the popularity argument even greater.

Not only once have we pointed out that the survey results, which the homeopathy fraction has been putting forward for a long time, do not allow a derivation of “popularity”. As they stand, they can at best prove great unawareness among the population and correspondingly great success in the marketing and promotion of homeopathy. There is no doubt that many people have heard of homeopathy (Allensbach 2014: 94 %). Not surprisingly, many of them have already used homeopathic remedies (60 % of the total respondents) and almost 9 out of 10 users have had “good experiences” with homeopathy (46 % “has helped”, 39 % “has not always helped”). We have often explained what this is all about and how it must rated.

Less well known is that Allensbach Institute also conducted a survey to find out whether those who were familiar with homeopathy could name at least one active principle. Which is actually the key question, because how can one rate something lacking any knowledge about?

A bar chart shows the result of the survey that only 17 percent of those who have heard of homeopathy can name one of the basic principles of the method.
This bar chart shows the result of the survey that only 17 percent of those who have heard of homeopathy can name one of the basic principles of the method. 43 percent suggested that homeopathy is “natural healing”, 31 percent thought that it is based on plants or herbs only.

Seventeen percent – from 94 percent. In view of this, jazzing up the “popularity” of homeopathy as a decision-relevant factor for politics is – well, let’s say – very daring.

Even more interesting would be a survey that would shed light on whether people would still stick to their views after an explanation of the real basic principles of homeopathy. And that is exactly what the American sceptics from the Center for Inquiry (CFI) did in September 2019.

As is well known, the CFI is conducting fraud lawsuits against the largest American pharmacy chain CVS and the Walmart department store chain. The issue is – to be precise – the fact that CVS and Walmart, in their large self-service drugstores, place homeopathic remedies right in the middle of regular pharmaceuticals without any special instructions. The CFI has asked both CVS and Walmart several times to change this – without anybody responding. And now the fraud suits against both are based on this fact.

Wasn’t there something with labelling homeopathic remedies, demanded by the consumer protection agency FTC (Federal Trade Commission) in 2017? Yes, indeed, but not all manufacturers comply with it (unlike orders from the Food and Drug Administration -FDA-, the FTC rules have no legal force). And without a doubt, you don’t necessarily see the label when the package is standing there peacefully and innocent on the shelf. Be that as it may – the lawsuits currently are in the run-up with applications, counter-applications, and also to determinations of the legal interest in protection, as is usual under American law. And in order to prove the latter point, the consumer protection interest and thus the right to sue, the CFI has commissioned a survey of buyers of homeopathic cough, cold and flu remedies at CSV and Walmart “on site”. With more than interesting, though not unexpected results.

Overall, the CFI states that a large percentage of respondents feel “deceived and betrayed” by CVS and Walmart after being informed about homeopathy and feel that their trust in these dealers has been “abused”. This overall conclusion is of course due to the tactics of the process. But what does it actually look like?

CFI's claims about their survey
Info graphic from the Center for Inquiry’s original article on the CSV and Walmart survey. Click for larger image

Almost half (46%) of those surveyed said that they follow the indication marking of the aisles and shelves, i.e. they rely on what the retailers tell them to do. 3 percent asked an employee (who is not a pharmacist there, however).

After the respondents were given the essential facts about the pseudo-scientific foundations of homeopathy

    • 41 percent of those surveyed showed considerable concern (“described their feelings in deeply negative terms”),
    • almost a quarter of the respondents (23 percent) used words such as “bad”, “terrible”, “horrified” and “upset”,
    • 15 percent said they felt “ripped off”, “cheated”, “deceived” or “scammed” or would demand a refund,
    • three percent came to perceive themselves as “stupid” or “foolish”.

Information about the real background of homeopathy caused the confidence factor to drop by 17 percentage points compared to CSV / Walmart. (79 to 62 %). For 13 percent the perception was reversed to the effect that they only trust the retail chains “a little” or “not at all” (29 to 16 %).

63 percent of respondents were in favour of labelling homeopathic medicines as recommended by the FTC. 78 per cent of respondents stated after the information that they now had a rather negative opinion about homeopathic products. As many as 10 percent stated that they had at some point unconsciously purchased a homeopathic product even though a pharmaceutical one was intended.

A little final gag:
Product's packaging of Oscillococcinum, most selled homeopathic remedy in the USPrior to the more detailed information, only one percent of all those questioned knew that “Anas barbariae”, the “active ingredient” of Boiron-Cashcow Oscillococcinum (the best-selling homeopathic remedy in the USA), is the alcoholic extract from the heart and liver of a duck (Moscow duck, muscovy duck, Cairina moschata). 22 percent thought that anas barbariae was the name of a pharmaceutical substance, 13 percent thought it was a vitamin. After the true nature of the ingredient was explained, almost half of the respondents (46 percent) considered the product “less positive”.

Conclusion:
We have no doubt that similar results from a corresponding survey would be expected in Germany – perhaps not with identical values, because in Germany homeopathy has a strong “social reputation”. But the trend will undoubtedly be the same, as our daily educational work shows time and again: Anyone who has been uninformed or disinformed up to now and who is impartial towards factual information about the basic assumptions of homeopathy will draw his or her own conclusions.

And actually – yes, actually the pharmacies here in Germany should take over the task that the interviewers in the USA have taken on (after all, here we have pharmacies instead of self-service): consistent factual education about homeopathy when selled “over the counter” without recipe from a therapist. Some people do it – but many probably do not.

In any case, one thing is clear. Politicians should finally realise that a supposed “popularity” of homeopathy does not even come close to what is commonly called a factual argument. And that also politics takes responsibility when ignoring facutal arguments: Namely for the fact that untenable to potentially dangerous misconceptions of broad circles of the common persist about a specifically ineffective method that is unjustifiably considered part of medicine.


CFI report on the survey with link to the original study

Allensbach Study 2014  (Templates and charts in German)

Picture credits: tookapic on Pixabay / Allensbach via Dr. C. Lübbers / Center for Inquiry

“Homeopathic Vaccines” and “Nosodes”

Also with SARS-CoV19 (the so-called Corona virus) any attempt of homeopathic prevention or even treatment is ineffective and dangerous!

The pic shows viruses, which aren't interested in homeopathic vaccines anyway...
Nosodes? No interest…

The search term “homeopathic vaccines” finds more than 500,000 hits on Google. With “nosodes” you get more than 280,000 hits (retrieved on 22.02.2020). Remarkable, considering that homeopathic vaccination is a useless to dangerous undertaking and “nosode” is an artificial word from pre-scientific times.

TL:DR (Too long – didn’t read)

Homeopathic vaccinations are ineffective and, if mistakenly relied upon for immune protection, represent a considerable health risk. The principle and the nosode teaching did not come from Hahnemann himself. They contradict basic assumptions of the homeopathic doctrine. They follow the isopathic, not the homeopathic principle (healing with equality, not similarity). Hahnemann rejected the isopathic principle in the final edition of the Organon. Both principles are pre-scientific speculations and play no role in the current state of medical knowledge.

The study situation shows that methodically correct work could not prove any immune-protective effect of a homeopathic “vaccination” with nosodes. In many cases, the offering of homeopathic vaccinations and their outgrowths – such as homeopathic “excretions” of vaccinations – is close to anti-vaccination thinking.


What is at stake?

From the homeopathic scene there are occasional arguments that Hahnemann and the homeopaths “invented” vaccination, that Hahnemann was positive and open-minded about Jenner’s cowpox vaccination and that homeopathic “vaccination” is practised in reality. As justification they refer to Hahnemann’s basic principle of Similia similibus curentur, may similar things cure similar things. This is exactly what happens with the vaccination. The “homeopathic vaccination” uses remedies called “nosodes”, homeopathically prepared components of disease products of the body.

What’s the deal with that?

There is no homeopathic prophylaxis and there can be none

Vaccinating does not “heal”. It is practising medical prophylaxis, disease prevention. This is completely alien to Hahnemann’s model of homeopathy.

Hahnemann’s homeopathy is a doctrine of medicine which, in Hahnemann’s own words, is supposed to “take away the totality of the symptoms”. Hahnemann did not have a concept of illness that went beyond this, let alone ideas about the origin and course of illness (etiology). It cannot be stressed often enough: homeopathy is a symptom therapy, the recording of a “holistic” view of the patient through the detailed homeopathic anamnesis (symptom picture) serves exclusively to select the “suitable” remedy from the repertories (§ 17 and 18 of the Organon).

Where could there be room for prophylaxis, for medical prevention of diseases in this model, which presupposes acute illness? It does not exist. Homeopathy is always “healing art” on the already diseased – by definition.

Moreover, the assumption that vaccination is similar to homeopathy and that homeopathy can also vaccinate causes the downfall of the homeopathic principle of individualized therapy. The basis of the homeopathic approach is the individual “detuning of the spiritual vital force” in the individual patient, against which there is only one, “the” only remedy, which the “genuine healer” has to find out.

How should vaccination or prevention be carried out in the case of illnesses that occur individually in each patient in this sense? Based on the idea of the individuality of each symptom of a disease (better: of the totality of symptoms), Hahnemann in § 54 of the Organon explicitly criticizes allopaths for “spending the diseases on conditions that always reappeared in quite the same way”. It is obvious: If there are no diseases that recur “in quite the same way”, then there is no way to prevent them anyway, and certainly not to vaccinate preventively.

The incompatibility of prophylaxis with basic principles of Hahnemann’s teaching is obvious.

Modern vaccination – misunderstood

Anyone who links with vaccination by reference to the principle of similarity has not or incorrectly understood the vaccination mechanism.

The vaccine that is administered has no protective effect itself. Rather, it triggers an immune reaction in the body, causing it to produce antibodies against the potential disease. Mind you, antibodies. It is not the “simile”, the vaccine dose itself, that is the “active substance”, but rather the antibodies formed in a second step, the immune reaction, which are literally “antidotes”, not “similes”. Which Hahnemann rejected in § 23 of the Organon, regarding their ability to “eliminate and destroy persistent symptoms of disease”. And how should a “vaccination similium” work – after all, is the purpose of the remedy in homeopathy to trigger an “artificial disease” similar to the existing one?

And one more important point: the necessary vaccination dose of a protective vaccination is determined precisely, taking into account the dose-effect relationship. There is no “dosage” for nosodes. They are usually administered as potencies D6 or D8 – i.e. in potency levels where the impurities of the solvent already outweigh the residues of the original substance.

The correctly considered inoculation mechanism is therefore neither a witness for nor an ally of homeopathy, but even one of the numerous chief witnesses against it.

Medical homeopathy and patient safety – touchstone homeopathy congress

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.


Read more:

Autism lie:

New Meta-analysis Confirms: No Association between Vaccines and Autism – at Autism Speaks

Lie stories – disproved! – Susanna doesn’t need globules (in German)

CEASE therapy:

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

… and they know what they are doing (and they do it anyway)

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.

The photo shows an entry of an university buildingSince 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

Homeopathic preparations also don’t act through nanoparticles

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:

The image shows nanoparticles in an electron microscope image with a size scale in nanometers.
Nanoparticles in an electron microscope image

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

Further information:

Nanoparticles and homeopathy – how is that possible?

Picture credits: Wikimedia Commons; Lmackenzie89 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56937308

Can’t homeopathy not be a “placebo” because often the first given remedy does not work?

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

German Homeopathic Doctors on EASAC Statement: An Answer from the INH

We have reported on the verdict of the Advisory Committee of the Scientific Academies of the European Community on Homeopathy and reactions to it. As expected, the German Central Association of Homeopathic Physicians has also commented on the EASAC statement on its portal Homeopathy online. Parallel to this, a statement of the German Federal Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry (BPI) has been published, to which the DZVhÄ also refers – the Federal Association takes a rather sharp, at least unmistakably homeopathy-friendly stand against the statements of the EASAC.

The INH has written the following open letter on the publication of the DZVhÄ:

 

To the
German Central Association of Homeopathic Physicians (DZVhÄ)
– by email –

 

21.10.2017

 

Homeopathy Online, October 11, 2017:
“EASAC: Working group criticizes homeopathy with one-sided study selection”

Dear Sir or Madam,

once again a well-known committee has made critical comments on homeopathy and you feel obliged to comment on them. Interestingly enough, you thereby refer to a publication of the German Pharmaceutical Industry Association, a lobby organisation which is actually the concept of an enemy of the homeopathic scene.

Once again, your statement is only very superficial and gives your readers a completely incorrect impression of the real facts. This refers not only to your counter-arguments, but also to the way you describe the criticism in question.

The critic this time is the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), an advisory body of the European Union, in which the national academies of science of the EU countries have joined together. You criticise the fact that the working group that drafted the opinion consisted of “only eleven scientists” – overlooking the fact that even the EASAC’s leading Secretary as the twelfth was not just a mere typist. One wonders, however, what you actually expect: the “Organon”, as you may recall, was written by only one person, Samuel Hahnemann. The the critisized paper is an official publication of EASAC and thus a recommendation to the governments of the EU and the individual states.

It is worth taking a look at the authors: All of them are high-ranking scientists from various fields of medicine, biochemistry and pharmacy, all of them professors or emeritus professors. The top league of European life sciences is gathered here. A look at the research awards in the Wikipedia entry on Volker ter Meulen, the chairman of the working group, might be very informative. A standard criticism on your part: There was no homeopathic researcher involved. Which is probably because no homeopathic researcher has yet managed to be accepted into one of the European Academies of Sciences. However, we would like to leave open what the reason for this may be – dark machinations of the pharmaceutical lobby are somehow out of the question.

On the basis of its analysis, EASAC demands requirements that every food manufacturer who makes health-related statements about his products has to fulfil, but which seem to you to be an unreasonable demand in the case of homeopathy, namely that the claimed health effect must also be proven. And that patients should not be deceived about the true facts, for example through packaging and advertising.

The analysis was not limited – as you stated significantly abridged – to reading only one-sidedly selected studies and leaving out the positive studies and meta-analyses. This first of all raises the question what positive meta-analyses actually exist on homeopathy; we do not know of a single one in which the effectiveness of homeopathic preparations beyond placebo has been convincingly demonstrated, either for homeopathy as a whole or even for a single indication. We refer here to earlier contacts and our offer of a discussion, which your Mr Behnke, in spite of his differing view, has not yet wanted to take up.

It should be pointed out that the superficiality which you are accusing the EASAC working group of is not given: not only have the studies in question been used as a basis, but also the main research contributions have been examined, which deal with the fundamentals of homeopathy, as well as other important aspects such as safety, labelling and marketing, and application in veterinary medicine.

But all this aside: you write – unjustifiably in our view – that the efficacy of homeopathy has already been confirmed (No, your statement about the situation in Switzerland is wrong, there the efficacy has been verified, but despite the present result and without the actually planned renewed verification of the efficacy, homeopathy was included in the basic insurance – on the basis of a referendum). Why, it has to be asked, are you then not presenting this evidence? Why do you insist on the protective fence of the German Medical Law, which allows you and two other “special treatment options” not to have to prove effectiveness?

The EASAC analysis has not led to new points of criticism, that is correct. This may be due to the fact that substantial points of criticism that are not taken up and pursued usually do not resolve themselves over time. However, your opinion that the EU regulations already adequately address these older points of criticism is clearly wrong:

    • The effectiveness of homeopathic preparations does not need to be proven at present,
    • Health insurance companies cover the costs despite scarce funds,
    • the labelling of the ingredients is difficult for the layperson to understand, for example that no active substance is contained,
    • the advertising of homeopathic remedies is largely unregulated, which means that although the product itself may not be used to draw attention to the indications, this leaves a great deal of scope for undermining them, whether by sponsoring relevant lectures and websites, providing support for advice literature or direct training for doctors, alternative practitioners, midwives, pharmacists and other public health providers.

These are all current deficits in the legal regulations currently in force in Germany – even if the points of criticism themselves are older.

But there is one thing we are very pleased about: We now have a quotable source that shows that homeopaths are working together with the pharmaceutical lobby – and we can prove that we do not receive support from these circles.

Kind regards

Natalie Grams
Norbert Aust
Udo Endruscheit

What does “proved” mean?

Evidence in Natural Science

Eine Ansammlung von Fragezeichen, die die im Beitrag beschriebene Erkenntnisproblematik symbolisiert“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 furthermore. This also applies to the statements “homeopathic effects can be proven” or “homeopathic effects can be refuted”: strictly formallogically these are not possible.

(2) O.u.L. Prokop, Homöopathie und Wissenschaft (Homeopathy and Science), Stuttgart 1957 (S. 2, 31) – in German


Learn more about the empirical possibilities of perception on homeopathy: “Criticism on criticism on homeopathy #3 – “Homeopathy is impossible”


Picture credits: Gerd Altmann on Pixabay

Is mighty “BigPharma” suppressing Homeopathy…?

… …and are homeopathy critics willing servants of the pharmaceutical industry?

Grafitti, where the orginal text Both are ineradicable narratives that we encounter daily. Behind this idea are assumptions that have simply nothing to do with reality.

And why do we tell you here a lot about it? We know very well that there are many reasons why people cling to homeopathy despite all the scientific arguments. We would also like to reach them with our information because we believe in the persuasive power of valid arguments. One of these causes and motives for believing certain positions to be “true” – as the constant references in our discussions to the “bad” pharmaceutical industry and the “good” homeopathic production show – is the story of the oppressed and the strong, which cognitively exerts a great attraction in forming opinions. At the very least, it has the function of evading important arguments and apparently taking a higher moral position. We understand that.

But this is not only a fundamental problem in the assessment of complex things and the search for a personal position, but in the case of homeopathy it is simply a grossly false assumption. We would like to substantiate this factually in the following.

Firstly, you will not find any “partisanship” for the pharmaceutical industry anywhere in the scientifically based homeopathy criticism as advocated by INH. Homeopathic criticism does not serve individual interests but aims at an overall better medicine oriented towards the well-being of the patient.

Secondly, one can read again and again in many critical articles on homeopathy that it is not about “more chemistry”, but about greater confidence in the self-healing powers and the so often self-regulating natural courses of disease. Where homeopathic remedies seem to “work”, they only use the self-healing powers and contextual effects of the treatment. There, pharmaceutical drugs are usually just as superfluous as homeopathy. Where homeopathy cannot achieve anything when the self-healing powers are overtaxed, the domain of scientifically based medicine begins. This obviously has nothing to do with “pharmaceuticals instead of homeopathy”.

Thirdly, homeopathic manufacturers consider themselves to be part of the pharmaceutical industry – and vice versa. Nobody questions each other there. This is proven by the membership of the homeopathic manufacturers in the large associations of the pharmaceutical industry. These associations themselves take the offensive for homeopathy. They maintain extensive information pages on homeopathy on their websites, and one of the large associations also operates a separate homeopathy portal.

And fourthly, the pharmaceutical associations are rather unfriendly to the critics of homeopathy. One of the fiercest attacks against the 2017 statement on homeopathy by EASAC (the advisory board of the Association of European Academies of Science) comes from the German Pharmaceutical Industry Association BPI. Not only does it attempt to discredit high-ranking scientists on a personal level, the BPI comes seriously up to the statement that its “aim (…) is to strengthen the criticism of (…) scientific arguments against homeopathic products“.  Read this twice. This is the statement of an association whose main business is based on stringent scientific methodology.

All this is underlined by the fact that when high-ranking representatives of the German health system criticised the eligibility of homeopathy for reimbursement by health insurance companies, these associations unanimously spoke out against any restriction of homeopathy in the public health system.

This does not sound as if one is in friendly favour of scientifically based homeopathic criticism. And so far, no one has been able to answer the counter-question of what should motivate the pharmaceutical industry to take on and reward homeopathy critics as “paid writers”, “willing servants” or what even stronger expressions there are.

Fifthly, by the way: mistakes, shortcomings and scandals in the pharmaceutical industry in no way relativize homeopathic criticism and do not make homeopathy any more effective; pointing the finger at it is a diversionary tactic, it is called “whataboutism”. And sixthly, many well-known homeopathy critics also repeatedly practice clear and well-founded criticism of the pharmaceutical industry and health care system in articles, interviews and books – in keeping the goal of advocating better medicine overall.

Bad pharmaceutical industry – good homeopathic manufacturers – the pseudo-moral “argument”

The seemingly moral pseudo-argument that the products of the pharmaceutical industry are responsible for thousands of deaths and additional illnesses also belongs in the realm of whataboutism: the fact that homeopathy is a complete therapeutic approach based on specifically ineffective remedies and must, therefore, itself be regarded as a potential risk is being ignored. Despite all the criticizable shortcomings (and unavoidable failures), the classical pharmaceutical industry produces many effective, often vital drugs and often moves in the drug development process on economically and medically uncertain terrain. Homeopathy, on the other hand, markets remedies that have never been able to prove a specific medicinal effect – its “research” is obsolete, since it primarily serves to self-justify its method (“confirmation research”) and is not able to produce any “progress” as a contribution to medicine.

But the power of money…

Nevertheless, advocates of homeopathy often invoke the supposed argument that “the pharmaceutical lobby” would suppress homeopathy out of purely profit-oriented self-interest. Many aspects are mixed up here, especially the general criticism of “the large corporations” with general criticism of capitalism and with the imagined counter-image of a rather romantic idea of “simple life” and “back to nature”, with “old knowledge” and “tradition”.

“Handmade” products are idealized, industrial production, on the other hand, is seen as “soulless” and thus being “demonized”. However, the fact that homeopathic manufacturers are just as much industrial businesses and large companies is completely overlooked. Homeopathy followers seem to believe that the globules are produced in small businesses – located somewhere in the countryside in untouched nature, with a herb garden just behind the house. In homeopathy advertising, it is often almost associated that globules grow on small trees and are gently stroked by fairy-like creatures.

Only reality looks completely different and offers no clue for transfiguring associations. According to the usual standards in the European Union, companies with up to 250 employees are considered so-called SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). In any case, the most important companies producing homeopathic remedies are well above this limit.
Particularly remarkable in this sector (as for the German-speaking countries, but also with international participation) is the dominance of two groups, the Schwabe Group and Delton AG.

The Dr. Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co. KG is the parent company of the Schwabe group with 3 600 employees and a turnover of EUR 900 million. The Schwabe Group also includes a whole series of the best-known homeopathy companies. For example the Deutsche Homöopathie-Union DHU Arzneimittel (DHU), Karlsruhe and ISO-Arzneimittel GmbH & Co. KG, Ettlingen. The well-known Austrian company Dr. Peithner KG is also a 100% subsidiary of the Schwabe Group.

The sole shareholder of Delton AG is Stefan Quandt. Delton AG also owns Biologische Heilmittel Heel GmbH, another well-known representative of the homeopathy sector. Figures from Heel can be found here, for example (2). Stefan Quandt is a member of the German entrepreneurial family of the same name, a billionaire and one of the richest Germans. The homeopathic products of these companies account for the vast majority of sales on the German market.

Of course, there are also medium-sized companies (KMU) among the homeopathic manufacturers. However, these often specialized manufacturers also achieve sales in the double-digit million range and are strictly organized as manufacturing companies, also in the above-mentioned associations.

The idyllically transfigured image of the homeopathy industry, which many globule consumers have created for themselves and which is still being fueled by homeopathy advertising, must, therefore, be described as a whitewash illusion. It’s quite simply a homeopathic industry organized according to purely economic criteria and, to a large extent, nothing more than big business.

If you also consider the raw material side of homeopathy, it becomes clear what huge profits can be made in this industry.

The fact that homeopathy must feel threatened from one side or another due to a lack of economic power can therefore easily be attributed to the realm of fairy tales and legends.


You can find the transparency declaration of the Homeopathy Information Network here.


Authors for the INH: Dipl.-Ing. Karl Payer, physicist; Udo Endruscheit


(1) Website Comp. Willmar Schwabe (German)
(2) http://www.heel.de/de/facts-and-figures.html


Picture credits: Fotolia_123885823_XS

Objection: Homeopathy is Ancient Wisdom!

Alt. Deshalb gut - und richtig?

Some ancient books on a board, illustrating the article's theme
Old. Therefore good and true?

“Old knowledge is above all else: old.”

When it comes to alternative, complementary and holistic healing methods or even herbs, people like to argue with “old knowledge”. But what does that mean? Out of a conglomeration of records, traditions, old customs and the like, every self-proclaimed wellness expert or every clairvoyant herbal witch will find something appropriate and declare the remedy or procedure to be effective according to today’s criteria, because it is “old knowledge”.

“Old knowledge” contains the experiences handed down at that time, today we speak of anecdotes. Certainly, some individual experiences and anecdotes are also true according to today’s knowledge, but this cannot be generalized. The majority of them are only apparent facts. If the age of knowledge were a positive distinguishing feature, we would have to assume that the knowledge of the ancients was correct to a very high degree. Can we say this in medicine? That would be very presumptuous. The knowledge that has not proved its worth over time has been forgotten, is no longer present today and therefore we simply lack an overview. So the conclusion – old = proven and correct – is not justified.

Nevertheless, advertising is made daily for mostly outdated therapies and remedies whose effectiveness is written in the stars. Such outdated things preserve themselves by justification with “old knowledge” and the former magical ideas. However, with new knowledge, explanations look different and there is usually no evidence of their effectiveness by today’s standards.

The spectrum of “old knowledge” ranges from superstitious and magical ideas and practices to a knowledge that certain herbal preparations are indigestible to poisonous. A distinction between effects based on magical ideas and – to put it in modern terms – pharmacological effects in the modern sense, however, did not exist in the past. Magic and science were not separated. Practically experienceable effects were explained by magical ideas.

There is no doubt that there is an immense amount of written records in herbal books etc. from all millennia, in which the effects of certain herbs and other things are reported. In the light of modern pharmacology and all the factors that have to be taken into account when testing the efficacy of herbs today, however, old traditional efficacy reports are not suitable evidence to confirm efficacy in the modern sense.

The selection of medicinal plants, for example, was made according to the bold rules of symbolism, astrology, etc., and also from a religious point of view. For example, special effects were attributed to the plants, which were somehow connected with the Mother of God or the Child Jesus. Just think of all that was done to obtain healing relics.

But it is also a fact that magical ideas and actions were part of the indispensable repertoire of every healing treatment. A bleeding wound, a broken leg, headaches, fever, birth problems, numerous infections etc. were always more or less ceremonially conjured. And people were convinced that the invocation was indispensable and effective for healing. This also belongs to the “old knowledge” and cannot be separated from it.

Drugs and therapies with reasonably assessable and therefore predictable effectiveness in the modern sense have been around for not much more than 150 years. Nevertheless, it has always been possible to become healthy simply like that – with or without a placebo effect. Voltaire sharp-tongued remarked that the art of medicine is to keep the patient in good spirits until nature has cured him. And Voltaire was right to criticize the doctors and their medicine at the time, for even the highly learned Medici had no better success than the common people with their customary folk medicine. And, of course, the jugglers and charlatans were not only rather but highly successful in the marketplaces – and they still are today.

The description of the poisoning of Socrates with hemlock is in complete agreement with our assured knowledge of the effects of Conium maculatum, but there are not many such highlights. Thanks to our modern knowledge in pharmacology and pharmacognosy we can confirm the poisoning. But why Conium maculatum or Coniin is poisonous is not explained by the “old knowledge”. The factors that we know or have recognized today, which stand in the way of objectifying the effectiveness or prevent it, are not new but have always been present.

An entire health industry today is peddling highly selective “old knowledge”. Nostalgic and romantic feelings are cleverly stirred up and served. Everything in the past is declared as “natural” and “biological”. But – every knowledge must be verifiable at any time by anyone (intersubjectivity). Only in this way can further development take place. However, the so-called knowledge from experience is limited to the highest degree. It depends on the level of knowledge and the degree of critical scepticism with which these experiences were gained.

Of course, there is also valid (but often expandable) old knowledge, e.g. in geometry the theorem of Thales, which says that all angles on the semicircular arc are right angles or the Pythagorean theorem that the sum of the areas of the squares over the two catheters is equal to the square area of the hypotenuse. Only in medicine is such knowledge, which has lasted until today, very rare.

Conclusion: Old knowledge is ultimately an argument based on (past, historical, handed down) “authority”. And that counts scientifically – nothing at all. And especially in homeopathy, 200 years after Hahnemann, we simply own much better knowledge today.

(The author Dr. Edmund Berndt, member of the Information Network Homeopathy,  is retired pharmacist living in Austria)


In this context, we also recommend our article “Homeopathy is Esotericism“.


Picture by Gerhard Gellinger on Pixabay

What about Schuessler Salts?

Are Schuessler Salts Homeopathy?

The photo shows tree packages for Schuessler Salts: No. 4 Kalium chloratum, No. 3 Ferrum phosporicum and No. 17 Manganum sulfuricum

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).

Biographical

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

Picture by A_Different_Perspective on Pixabay

Objection: Homeopathy is especially suitable for self-treatment!

Really?

The picture shows an usual homeopathic travel set with 30 veils, filled with globules
Missing a dice – for choosing a remedy…

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

Picture credits: Jasmin777 auf Pixabay

Objection: Globules are much better than antibiotics anyway!

Illustrative picture - bubbles in charging green tones symbolizing globules as well as germsAntibiotics 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

Globules are natural and plant-based – really?

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:
  • animals
  • plants
    mushrooms
  • Protists (all unicellular organisms that do not belong to any other empire)
  • bacteria
Uninhabited kingdoms of nature:
  • viruses
  • 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

 

Objection: Mobile phones also function immaterially during data transmission!

Image shows a mobile phone, opened and with antenna removed.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 credits: Bruno /Germany on Pixabay

Objection: CDs also store information!

Has storing music on a CD really anything to do with homeopathy?

Image shows the surface of a compact disk, the written area an be visually identified.
The written area of the CD surface can be identified even visually…

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 (in German)


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The Placebo Business

Samuel Hahnemann was born on 10 April 1755

At the left: Two globules, labeled as 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

How homeopathy overrides common sense

What makes common sense?

The picture shows an univerity teacher in front of a blackboard with an explanatory gesture
Pay attention!

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?


About the 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 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.


Picture credits: Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke via Pixabay

Miasms in homeopathy –

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.

Foto: Wikipedia Commons The Yorck Project/Directmedia Publishing GmbH (Gemälde: Pietro Longhi)

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