“An empty vessel makes most noise, so they that have the least wit are the greatest babblers.” Plato
Sceptics and Ignorance
The obsessive critic of homeopathy, David Robert Grimes, understands little, it appears, about homeopathy (not realising most drugs work homeopathically), its medicines (he plays a numbers game to explain remedies but the numbers don’t add up), philosophy or the philosophy of science (atoms were in fact proposed in the fifth century BC and not “a century after Hahnemann”). In his self-indulgent Wikipedia entry he links to this post but not this one: Are homeopaths wrong Mr Grimes? Here’s an unpublished rejoinder to his libellous op-ed in The Irish Times. (Be sure to listen to radio host Sean O’Rourke silencing him for his lack of manners to a lady and doctor on the national airwaves by following this link.)
Sir, – David Grimes (Opinion) contributed to your usual one-sided articles attacking Homeopathy. Despite being a “scientist” he fails to provide proof for his claims!
It is obvious he is ignorant of Homeopathy and has probably never read any of Dr Samuel Hahnemann’s huge contribution which put medicine on a scientific basis in theory and practice.
His attack on homeopaths and homeopathy is interesting considering Glaxo has just been fined $2billion for the lack of science and dubious marketing behind its psychiatric drug Plamil, the recent questioning of psychiatry as a science in your pages and the current edition of the British Medical Journal carrying a positive account of homeopathy – by someone who practises medicine, unlike Mr Grimes.
Mr Grimes’s own profession has a questionable basis: science has never been scientifically proven; no scientist can say what science is and with medicine, it becomes more complex; since no two patients are the same, the goal of science for something to be repeatable, becomes elusive.
One of Grimes’s criticisms of Homeopathy is that ‘like cures like’ (which is actually a law of cure discovered by Hahnemann) is not empirically verifiable, he says. Yes it is.
Grimes, in his ignorance of Homeopathy, medicine and philosophy, sees lack of empiricism as a failing. Allopathy (conventional medicine), which he aligns himself with, abhors empirical medicine. However, he is touching on an age-old split in philosophy and medicine between Rationalism and Empiricism.
Allopathy looks for an a priori cause beyond the senses, eg, laboratory tests. Holistic individualised medicine, like Homeopathy, prefers empiricism, basing its prescriptions on what can be observed with the senses (i.e. empiricism). Ironically, doctors make empirical prescriptions all day every day (e.g. prescribing antibiotics for what “looks like a strep throat” without the confirmatory test result), maybe because they see the often therapeutic impotence of the a priori approach of Rationalism, looking for that elusive cause. As Mr Vincent Young, consultant cardio-thoracic surgeon, at St James’s Hospital said (Letters, Monday September 3), “Tests are unreliable and conflicting.”
Regarding like treating like, Grimes is ignorant of his own specialty; cancer treatment. Isn’t radium used to treat cancer? Doesn’t radium cause cancer? Isn’t platinum used for ovarian cancer but causes ovarian tumours? There you have it; like treating like!
In raising vaccination, Mr Grimes reveals more ignorance, this time of homeopathic pharmacology and medical history. Koch and Pasteur plagiarised Hahnemann by attenuating vaccines, as do vaccine manufacturers to this day, though no credit is given to Hahnemann who discovered this process. Vaccines have nothing to do with homeopathy as they are isopathic prescriptions and Isopathy was disproven years ago.
A Consultant Contradicts Grimes
It seems doctors are not as fanatical as the science police though. In trying to defend psychiatry as a science, Mr Vincent Young continues in his letter: “In truth, in all medical specialties, many key decisions have to be made in the absence of good scientific data to support them.”! If a Homeopath made such a confession they’d be ridiculed. He continues, “… The diagnosis would probably be made by speaking to the patient and the interpretation of the examination in much the same way as a psychiatrist interprets their patient’s story,” i.e., just as Hahnemann, the first in the history of medicine to treat humanely the mentally ill, recommended.
Contrary to the ignorance and caricatures of many, Homeopathy has a rational basis underpinning the whole system, unlike Allpoathy. Ordinary medicine uses an eclectic mix of homeopathic, antipathic, allopathic and isopathic prescriptions – all at odds with each other.
To be a scientist, Mr Grimes would require the mindset of a scientist, to at least be open and objective and thirdly, as Hahnemann said, “You don’t have to accept what I say but at least put it to the test.”
(June 2015): Here’s a first. In a wonderful and embarrassing riposte to David Robert Grimes, RTE Radio 1 interviewer, Sean O’Rourke told Grimes to shut up on the national airways. He was discussing homeopathy with a GP/herbalist. Enjoy, I did – http://www.rte.ie/radio/utils/radioplayer/rteradioweb.html#!rii=9%3A20796874%3A0%3A%3A
(Sept 2016) Perhaps Mr Grimes and his fellow “sceptics” would comment on this comment by Jeffrey M. Drazen, the editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, the distinguished Parker B. Francis professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a senior physician specializing in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who made the incredible but true admission in the New York Times:
“Health care professionals make hundreds of decisions a day. A small fraction of them are based on evidence from rigorous clinical trials — that is, things we really know to be true. Unfortunately, most medical decisions are based on clinical opinion — an educated guess.”
Image: Wiki Commons