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:The contents of the article on Homeopathy on Wikipedia is controlled by the theorizing, skeptical, critics who have never tried Homeopathy. Anybody who is pro-Homeopathy is banned. I hope someone can change that![[User:Ramanand Jhingade|Ramanand Jhingade]] 13:27, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
:The contents of the article on Homeopathy on Wikipedia is controlled by the theorizing, skeptical, critics who have never tried Homeopathy. Anybody who is pro-Homeopathy is banned. I hope someone can change that![[User:Ramanand Jhingade|Ramanand Jhingade]] 13:27, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
::Is it really necessary to attack people that choose not to try homeopathy? "Theorizing, skeptical critic who have never tried XXX", whatever XXX  may be, gives the flavor of anyone who is not a proponent of XXX is an enemy. I would have thought that your experience here indicates that people can be critical but not enemies. Further, I would have thought that it has been established that one can form a reasonable judgment on something without actually experiencing it -- or are all obstetricians status para > 0?[[User:Howard C. Berkowitz|Howard C. Berkowitz]] 00:21, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

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Is Paracelus a key figure in the historical development of homeopathic theory?

Text here was removed by the Constabulary on grounds that it is needlessly inflammatory. (The author may replace this template with an edited version of the original remarks.)

I would add the following points - looking at the conversation above. Gareth and Dana both explicitly acknowledge the importance and relevance of Paracelus to the 'origins of homeopathy'. There is some debate over how much H was influened by P, which Pieree-Alain early referecne alluded to - for 'political' reasons H may have wished to downplay his links to an alchemist in favour of linking to the corpus of a respected 'Ancient authority'.

As far as the article goes, we need to be accurate. All agree that the text is not accurate and attemtps to 'fudge it' are not very defensible.

Secondly, the historicla origins of Homeopathy are NOT irrelevant to an article called 'Homeopathy'. I suppose we could rename it 'Modern Homeopathy' but I think we can all see that his is a specious ruse to avoid finishing the job properly. I would counsel against that. Note too that the History of Homeopathy page is innaccurate and unhelpful. We would link to innaccurate informaton rather than correct it here?

The text I would like included is the text Dana deleted - directly running against the work of three or four others to resolve the issue.

The debate summary again

The issue, to sum up, is that Paracelsus is a key figure in the historical development of the homeopathic method. I do not insist on any particular way of stating this, eg 'is the Father of' or 'Founder of' as these terms are ambiguous. But the key idea is clear. To back up the role of Paracelus in homeopathic theory, Citizens have provided evidence from several books in the area, plus the Britannica, plus quotations from webpages by homeopaths.

I have noted on the Paracelus page (see below) the sort of claims I think are relevant to Paracelsus's role.

However, primarily Dana has prevented me and others from adding text to the page allowing Paracelsus a key role in the origins of homeopathy.

He, and some others, have suggested that I have not provided any evidence for this view, and have disregarded expert opinions from themselves. But I have provided a good deal of evidence and so have others. (I leave out of this appeal the issue of the accuracy of the claims made for Hippocrates as the key historical figure instead.)

Dana has suggested the issue can be changed into one of how much debt to Paracelus Hahnemann acknowledges, but that is not the issue here. (Pierre-Alain even provided evidence - a book source - that Hahnemann avoided acknowledging his debt for his own 'political' reasons'.) The existing academic consensus is that Paracelsus is a key figure in the history of homeopathy. That is the issue.

More details

Is Paracelus a key figure in the historical development of homeopathic theory? On the Paracelus page I have been able to record some of the evidence for this view:

"The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopaedia credits him with "the establishment of chemistry in medicine" and giving the "the most up-to-date description of syphilis" It adds that "he was the first to argue that small doses of what makes people ill can also cure them".[1] Many of his remedies were based on the Classical belief that "like cures like" and in this he was practising what today is regarded as homeopathy.

"Sarah Richardson, Director of the Society of Homeopaths (U.K.), accords Paracelus a special place in the development of "the homeopathic principle", saying he went on to illustrate the principle by curing a village of the plague with medicine made from minute amounts of the villagers, own excreta".[2]

"The background to this is the summer of 1534, during which Paracelsus claimed to have cured many in the plague-stricken town of Stertzing with pills containing a minute amount of the patient's excreta.[3] According to Anna Stoddart's The life of Paracelsus, Theophrastus von Hohenheim, 1493-1541,
Paracelsus stayed some weeks at Stertzing and was appalled at the ignorance and helplessness of the local doctors... He decided to put his own experience and opinion into writing for the benefit of the afflicted town.... He appended to his diagnosis of the plague a series of counsels as to its treatment and a number of prescriptions and recipes. The little book in four chapters was presented to the " Burgomaster and Magistrates of Stertzingen, ... He received little thanks for his book from the civic worthies, but it is probable that during his stay in Stertzing he practised as one knowing the plague and made enough of money to provide himself with necessary clothing, food, and lodging."[4]

I have noted some of the other evidence for this hypothesis for the talk page already:

Here is the point about Paracelus summed up there:

1. The central principle - as stated in the meta notes for this page - is

"Alternative medicine that uses extremely small specially prepared doses of the drugs that cause the similar syndrome of symptoms as the person's illness."

This is the idea that prompted P to connect 'thistle scratches' with inflammation, and 'miniscule parts of plague excreata' with curing the illness itself. As noted already, the quote are in the historical origins section and illustrate the central homeopathic idea of 'like cures like'. It may not be 'homeopathic' in the current sense, but it has historical notability.

2. Paracelsus popularised this idea, influencing Hahnemann. Pierre-Alain provided a quote confirming that:

"Peter Morell (historian of medicine, with training in homeopathy and conventional biology), "Hahnemann and Homoeopathy". ... Hahnemann was reluctant to associate his new system of medicine with the name of Theophrastus or Paracelsus for fear of being misunderstood or being accused of plagiarism. (p. 15)... The truth is of course, that Hahnemann was a second Paracelsus, but he felt he had to hide this fact. (p.72)"

3. I do not especially wish to argue for P as either the 'Father' of Homeopathy - or as a 'founding figure'. In response to Dana's request, I gave examples showing that 'some' people say he is the former, and others consider him the latter.

I also offered: ""The doctrine of signatures was a purely philosophical notion until Boehme's predecessor, the alchemist Paracelsus, had applied it to medicine ..." from page 27 of The American Institute of Homeopathy Handbook by Edward, M.D., D.Ht. Shalts"

As Pierre-Alain put it:

"My conclusion is that the influence of Paracelsus on Hahnemann, a very erudite person, was major. There are far more resemblances between P and H than this (signatures). Should we say "father of homeopathy"? perhaps, with a cautionary note."

It is enough, in my view, to recognise he had a 'noteworthy' influence. Ramanand has provided several good points in this regard,such as that the Britannica article on Homeopathy states that P "was the first to declare that, if given in small doses, “what makes a man ill also cures him,” an anticipation of the modern practice of homeopathy. "

Martin Cohen 18:43, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

- but had only this response from the editor deleting several people's comments on Paracelus - not just mine, I stress:

"Martin, in due respect, I do not think that your scholarship is good here. Just because one author referred to Hahnemann the "second Paracelsus" does not have the meaning you suggest. Paracelsus was a medical revolutionary, as was Hahnemann, and both were hated by the orthodoxy. That is the point. This certainly does not mean that Paracelsus is or was the "father" or "founder" of homeopathy. What I am concerned about now is that you have been repeatedly told by several people here that they do not agree with you, and yet, you are not listening. I hope that you begin to listen better so that collaboration can be most effective.

And in reference to Ramanand making reference to a single (very rare) homeopathic medicine that is taken from faeces does not have a clear reference to the homeopathic principle of similars. Martin's previous point on this was the principle of similars, and I just don't see it. Dana Ullman 05:38, 24 December 2008 (UTC) "

I responded to that thus:

"Ramanand, Pierre-Alain, Gareth and myself have all contributed material to this page on Paracelus which you have deleted offering only fleeting explanation, usually (IMO) irrelevant to the issue. Over 200 words have been deleted now. This normally requires some degree of explanation and consensus reaching, doesn't' it. None has been sought here. No compromise wordings offered. Ramanand, Pierre-Alain and even Gareth have added extra references and supporting material. All of this effort is being discarded.

Here is my suggestion again:

1. We have an historical origins section. (Re. Howard's point of the 24 December - if we didn't well, yes, we could leave the article explicitly NOT covering the pre_H history of Homeopathy). Paracelus and Hippocrates belong in this section. See 'Final Arguments in the Case of Paracelus' above. Numerous citations to this effect, from the Britannica:

"He was the first to declare that, if given in small doses, “what makes a man ill also cures him,” an anticipation of the modern practice of homeopathy..."onwards have been given - see above too. Ramanand and Gareth's work describing the two celebrated historical cases of 'like-cures-like' examples of P using thistles to cure inflammation, and P using excrement affected bread to cure plague should be restored.

Here is the text deleted:

(Paracelsus asserted the healing power of "signatures", meaning that the appearance of a substance in nature (its color and its shape), represented the types of diseases which it could cure. )This led him, for example, to teach that the pricking of thistles cures internal inflammation, and is sometimes cited as an early form of the "principle of similars". ref Theophrastus Paracelsus Catholic Encyclopaedia entry/ref In the summer of 1534, Paracelsius claimed to have cured many in the plague-stricken town of Stertzing with pills containing a minute amount of the patient's excreta.ref. Cited by Homeopathy Encyclopaedia Britannica. According to " The life of Paracelsus, Theophrastus von Hohenheim, 1493-1541" by Anna M. Stoddart (1911) "Paracelsus stayed some weeks at Stertzing and was appalled at the ignorance and helplessness of the local doctors... He decided to put his own experience and opinion into writing for the benefit of the afflicted town.... He appended to his diagnosis of the plague a series of counsels as to its treatment and a number of prescriptions and recipes. The little book in four chapters was presented to the " Burgomaster and Magistrates of Stertzingen, ... He received little thanks for his book from the civic worthies, but it is probable that during his stay in Stertzing he practised as one knowing the plague and made enough of money to provide himself with necessary clothing, food, and lodging."/ref

.... Martin Cohen 14:56, 24 December 2008 (UTC) "

Matt Innis, as constable for the page, then suggested the "CZ:Dispute Resolution process should be followed". However, Martt now seems to prefer to approve the page? But that is still what I would like to set in motion then please. I hope the notes above are useful in getting the matter clarified. I think that Paracelus should appear prominently on the Homeopathy page where the theory’s origins are RIGHTLY mentioned and discussed. No short-cuts, CZ is accurate and that means 'complete' - or it is pointless - however many pages are 'finished'. Martin Cohen 12:11, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Martin, you argue strongly and cogently. Nevertheless, for readers who wish to access Homeopathy with a curiosity about the subject's historical roots, we should direct them to the main article on that topic, History of Homeopathy, the appropriate place for discussing the roots homeopathy pre-Hahnemann, the uncontroversially recognized founding father of modern homeopathy. There they can read an extensive, authoritative, qualified and balanced view of the pre-history of homeopathy. In Homeopathy we need only start with the founding father, indicating that the reader can learn about the pre-Hahnemann foreshadowings of homeopathy in a companion article, History of Homeopathy. No need to have the same material in both articles. No scholarship standards should thereby suffer. And we can get on to approving Homeopathy, then improving History of Homeopathy. Nothing important about the historical roots of homeopathy will escape CZ's mission for quality, in this case, everything in its proper place. --Anthony.Sebastian 17:30, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
In light of Dana's extensive homeopathic education and understanding and Martin's perspective related to the larger historical aspects, it is apparent that this subject is indeed interesting and warrents further exploration and investigation. Approval is in no way a stopping point. It is merely a 'starting' point that everyone can agree is essentially not incorrect. I agree that Anthony's solution does manage this debate well. Once the History of Homeopathy article is complete, I personally would consider revisiting this page and update anything that was appropriate for this page for re-approval. Let's approve this page and move to history. I can endorse this version which is the last version before this post, January 3, 2009. Gareth, if you agree, please change the version number on the template. We will need Dana to agree as well. Otherwise, continue to edit as you see fit. D. Matt Innis 02:21, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Version for approval

Thanks Anthony for the constructive suggestion. However I am nominating for approval a version without incorporating it. Virtually every contemporary source explaining homeopathy written by or for homeopaths starts by invoking Hippocrates. This seems important to homeopaths, and I can understand why: it is at the heart of their claim to a tradition as old as conventional medicine, from the same humane roots, at the heart of their legitimacy as a true "alternative" medicine. It doesn't really matter what Hippocrates actually said -nothing of his writings survives - but Hahnemann claimed Hippocrates for homeopathy, and that is indisputably true.

On Paracelsus; Martin wants to reinstate some text which I inserted originally. Dana deleted the text and on consideration I think he was right. Matt concurred. On my count all three editors here agreed on an editorial judgement about the scope of the article. This is the editorial role under Citizendium. Authors who disagreed expressed their views and were answered (at length). I've reviewed the discusssion again; thanks Martin for reminding me of Peter Morell's writings; Peter is an old friend and I have cited him enough I think. Peter's writings on the web are lively and provocative, they are a useful lead to serious sources and I probably used a lead from one of his essays to the insert on Paracelsus; I do recommend them to those who wish to write on the History of Homeopathy, but please remember that his web writings are written with a liberty not normally given to academic publications (Peter of course has ample academic writings also). However the comments raised above do not address the issues behind the editorial decision on the article scope, so raise no new relevant points.

I am not neutral in this; I am very much on the side of Citizendium. It so happens that I was the author of deleted text, but am concurring with its deletion. That change was explained on these pages and agreed by all editors (including me, and indeed by most authors). It seems to me that editors here have fulfilled their role in Citizendium. One purpose of the editorial role is to end disputes like this, and if there has been a fault it is perhaps that we editors have not made it clear enough that a decision has been made and this matter must be put to rest for the good of the article and the project. Please do not revive this dispute on these pages; if anyone disagrees with Citizendium policies on the roles of editors, this is not the place to air those disagreements, and if anyone feels that I have misused my position as seditor then you must appeal to the editor in Chief and not here.

So I am now nominating for approval the most recently revised version excluding Anthony's suggestion. Dana, Matt, Larry - are you in agreement?Gareth Leng 11:24, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Though I haven't carefully followed all the details of the dispute here, I do have to say that you have admirably summed up CZ's policy. So if the subject editors here are in agreement, I support them without further comment. --Larry Sanger 14:47, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I can support and do endorse that version as well and have added my name to the metadata template as editor 2. I look forward to the History of Homeopathy article and subsequent resolution of the Paracelsus/Hippocrates debate over there. I will also email Dana. D. Matt Innis 15:12, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Gareth has provided a good summary, and I agree with him. I am now ready to vote for APPROVAL of this article. How do I do that? Dana Ullman 16:16, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Dana, go to the metadata template and put your name after 'ToA editor3=' and save the changes. D. Matt Innis 16:33, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

I have changed the approved version to include previously approved copyedits and moving the NCCAM info. Nothing changes the content of the approved version that Gareth gave us. D. Matt Innis 16:33, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

I have again changed the version number to include Hayford's last copyedits. D. Matt Innis 19:20, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Nature not buying

Giles J. (2007) Degrees in homeopathy slated as unscientific. Nature 446:352-353.

Colquhoun D. (2007) Science degrees without the science. Nature 446:373-374.

Kutschera U. (2008) The Difference between Hahnemann and Darwin Skeptical Inquirer Jan/Feb Issue

--Anthony.Sebastian 04:05, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Anthony; of course I know the controversy well (and know David well too). I think the article at present states the attitude of conventional science to homeopathy clearly enough; if we had dwelt on UK degrees in homeopathy it would have been right to mention this but we didn't, and maybe it's a UK-centric issue (there are issues like the status of different universities - in the UK universities are very far from equal in academic status but they are sometimes talked about as though they were). I'll add these to subpages though (maybe bibliography).Gareth Leng 10:40, 4 January 2009 (UTC)


This should probably be asked on the history of homeopathy talk page but did Paracelsus use dilutions or did he treat with higher concentrations? While similars is a highly significant part of Hahnemann's homeopathy the preparation of the remedies seems equally, if not more, important too. Sorry if I missed this in the discussion above. Chris Day 16:15, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, Chris, very good point. This is exactly the type of questions that need to be asked and answered and collaborated on before we put anything here. I look forward to future discussions to see how it works out on the History of Homeopathy page - stay tuned! D. Matt Innis 16:36, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

What does the magisterial 1941 E.B. say about the whole thing (just out of curiosity)?

And I quote from page 708, column 1, Volume 11: "Some points of Hahnemann's system were borrowed from previous writers—as he himself, though imperfectly, admits. Not to mention others, he was anticipated by Hippocrates, and especially by Paracelsus (1495-1541). The identical words similia similibus curantur occur in the Geneva edition (1658) of the works of Paracelsus, as a marginal heading of one of the paragraphs."

The article takes up a little less than two columns and is unsigned. The end of the article is: "But in the medical profession homoepathy nevertheless remains under the stigma of being a dissenting sect. It is in the United States that homoepathy chiefly flourishes. In other countries it has a few practitioners and a few homoepathic hospitals have been founded. Associations (some of which conduct examinations and grant diplomas) are in existence in England, the United States, Canada, Germany, France and Italy to further the principles of the school and in each of the countries mentioned one or more journals devoted to homoepathy is in existence." Hayford Peirce 19:08, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Good news. What we have is still in line with that statement. That needs to go on the History of Homeopathy discussion page, too. D. Matt Innis 19:13, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps this is more workgroup(s) than even history of homeopathy, but I started rereading Lewis Thomas' The Youngest Science, a book that is a must-read. In many of these historical contexts, it is easy lose track of his argument that conventional medicine is among the youngest of sciences: "As early as 1937, medicine was changing into a technology base on genuine science"...but Thomas goes on to mention that medicine of that time still could not do anything for the bulk of patients with serious disease. Things like specific immunotherapy were just starting were only starting, but things like ligand-receptor interactions remained in the distant future. Perhaps the onion metaphor is even more relevant to molecular medicine, as the amount of contemporary knowledge -- and knowing what we don't know -- grows exponentially. Some CAM techniques actively learn, but others do seem stuck with medieval or ancient views.
I shall drop this, but suggest again that some metadiscussions need their own pages. There is a start at the Healing Arts discussion page. Some wonderful methods have interdisciplinary roots, indeed involving both the traditional and the molecular. I'm reminded of the sin nombre hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in the Southwest U.S. in 1993. Solving it took both CDC epidemiologists and Navajo traditional healers. This is one of the reasons I oppose the health sciences/healing arts split, and I'd like to see some integrative metadiscussions and active work planning that doesn't follow artificial splits.
I've said my piece on this. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:31, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Ohhh, you've just touched the tip of the iceberg for sure. I agree that the history of medicine is one in the same for alternative medicine. It intertwines with the history of religion and the history of science. There are so many more articles to write. We need everyone working on them. But, I agree, not here. D. Matt Innis 19:44, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

APPROVED Version 1.0

Congratulations Healing Arts editors! It took a while but the results are worth it.

Chris Day 20:34, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, Chris, and everyone else that poured out their heart and souls on this. Good work. Take a little breather before we go to work on Global warming, HA! just kidding (unless you're game :-) D. Matt Innis 21:15, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Sir, please work on your mixed metaphors: global warming after touching the tip of the iceberg? I do note we have no article on RMS Titanic.Howard C. Berkowitz 02:28, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
You could always come and work on the Church of Scientology. No dilutions, but plenty of inter-galactic space aliens and friendly legal threats from the Fair Game department. --Tom Morris 04:07, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Congratulations, everyone. Getting an article on a contentious topic like this approved says a lot about the value and potential of our project. Such a thing could simply not happen in a project like Wikipedia (check out the notices on their article!). --Joe Quick 21:28, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Congratulations, omne. (Chunbum Park 22:45, 4 January 2009 (UTC))

Congratulations to everyone! Now, let's vote this for the Article of the Week and put it on the front page.  :-) --Larry Sanger 01:17, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Without my commas and semi-colon corrections, it wouldna made it! Now, I think that some "vandal" here should disguise him/self and use it to replace, in its entirety, the same entry over at The Other Place. I wonder what would happen.... Hayford Peirce 02:20, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
The Other Place has its version locked. One can't even give it a homeopathic quantity of editing. Hey, do they have a Content is from Citizendium checkbox? Howard C. Berkowitz 02:27, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I could import a French translation in the FR-WP! Seriously, I may do that for some sections and see what happens. But later. --Pierre-Alain Gouanvic 02:33, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, they *do* have a link to a James Randi video (apparently a lecture at Princeton) called "Homeopathy explained", so it can't be *all* bad! Hayford Peirce 02:36, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Rather irritating last paragraph

I find the last paragraph rather irritating:

Scientists in almost any area expect that, what today is the consensus understanding will, in some tomorrow, by a mere curiosity in the history of science. They do not have all the answers, and they expect that many of their present "answers" will turn out to be not quite right and some will be quite wrong. They generally think it very unlikely homeopathy will ultimately prove to have any validity; but of course this is one of those things that they might turn out to be wrong about.

Yes, scientists may be wrong about stuff. Do we need to have this on every science and medicine article? I mean, scientists may be wrong about homeopathy. They may be wrong about gravity, evolution and the Big Bang also. Surely, when they are wrong, we can change the article to reflect that. Until then, this feels very much like some kind of less-than-optimal bit of epistemic relativist trifle to try and spin an otherwise much improved article. If we want to have a proper discussion of the philosophy of science, then perhaps it would be appropriate to put them in an appropriately titled article in the Philosophy workgroup. The current placement of it makes it into a sort of 'get-out' clause. "Don't you worry about the fact that all these scientist types say homeopathy is about as real as Disneyland and safe only because there's no actual substance left in there - well, science has been wrong before, y'know, and if you just hang around for a century or two, it might be wrong again." That's how it reads to me. (I'd rather like it if all the people who seem to bang on about scientific fallibility would actually do the experiments and research necessary to show how they are right and the big bad bogeyman 'Science-with-a-capital-S' - or 'Big Science'! - is wrong - there'd no doubt be a Nobel Prize waiting for someone who did actually overturn the current understanding on the 'memory of water'.)

So, yes, the approved version is dramatically better than the last time I checked in, but it's still not to the point where I could recommend it to people because of this abysmal paragraph. --Tom Morris 04:00, 5 January 2009 (UTC) and edited later to remove potentially inflammatory remarks

Thanks for that Tom. It is rather refreshing to see a scientist not arguing from a position of authority isn't it. Gareth wrote that whole last Overview section, so I'll bend to his credentials. Maybe your friends could learn something from him, I did. D. Matt Innis 04:35, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Who are you referring to when you say that it's "refreshing to see a scientist not arguing from a position of authority"? I generally don't see scientists arguing from authority. Science is refreshing in as much as it has things like error bars. What I would give for a world where politicians, religious leaders, economists and even philosophers could attach to their statements some kind of numerical assessment of how wrong they might be! --Tom Morris 04:49, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Scientists may or may not believe in Murphy's Law. Engineers tend to believe Murphy was an optimist. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:54, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Who are you referring to when you say that it's "refreshing to see a scientist not arguing from a position of authority"? I generally don't see scientists arguing from authority. Why, that Other Place of course! D. Matt Innis 05:00, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Also, I'd like to pre-emptively apologise if I sound rather rude in the above comments. I certainly don't mean to be rude about anybody, but I do think the section needs rethinking. I think the 'Overview' section at the end feels too much like spin (not saying that anyone is trying to spin, but that this is how it feels to me as a reader). The substantive bits should be distributed out into the rest of the article, discussions about how science work should be simply a link to a more detailed page about it, and whatever is left should be sent to the bit bucket. An encyclopedia article doesn't really need a conclusion. The overview should be at the beginning, as per the inverted pyramid style used in journalism and, I would suggest, good encyclopedia articles. --Tom Morris 05:03, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

No offense taken, Tom, your thoughts are reasonable and the draft can still be edited. It's a neverending process. I think in any collaborative effort, some compromises have to be made, and for whatever reason, this is what worked for this page at this time. Approval allows this to be the baseline from which we will work. Feel free to edit whatever you like on the draft. D. Matt Innis 05:11, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Speaking as a philosopher, I don't find the last paragraph either relativistic or the slightest bit irritating. It actually may help the average reader to put things into proper perspective. --Larry Sanger 05:45, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I think it is important to be sensitive to the fact that although we as scientists believe in arguing from reason and not from authority, nevertheless what we say is often taken as authority, and indeed as 'fact' even where we would understand things as 'working hypotheses'. This article is intended, very purposefully, to invite the reader to make up his or her own mind, and not to accept at face value what is written either by scientists or by homeopaths without engaging brain. The way that scientists look at problems is different from how even medics look at them; Dana was quite right to protest that lots of conventional medical treatments do not have a strong scientific basis; accordingly to distribute the overview would not I think work - it is an overview primarily from the perspective of science, and in being from one perspective has some responsibility to be appropriately humble - an overview from another perspective (medical or homeopathic) would be different, and an overview from several would be confused. As for needing an overview - well one of the difficulties with balance is that the order given to saying things imposes a bias, - who has "the last word". One reason for doing things this way was to say, in effect, that here it's the reader who has the last word.Gareth Leng 14:00, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Tom, speaking about Nobel laureates and the memory of water, you may be interested by Physics Nobel laureate Brian Josephson, who has interesting thoughts about the reaction of most of the scientific community towards the claimed implausibility of homeopathy.
His Cambridge University homepage:
--Pierre-Alain Gouanvic 07:10, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
This seems a belated attempt to 'water down' er... greatly dilute the 'conventional science' perspective that pervades this article. If so, I welcome the attempt, but I doubt if it will help the 'average reader' and it blunders into the areas of 'philosophy of science' that until Larry's recent ruling on 'no philosophy here', I might have been involved in expressing more precisely.
Re. the page as a whole, well, it could have been better but so could everything. If Matt is right about the History of Homeopathy page being revised using some of the 'so much' reseach done by 'so many' for 'so little'... that will help. Martin Cohen 19:26, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Martin, I'm asking you to stop referring to a "no philosophy here" ruling by me. There was no such ruling, and I think you know that. If you think there was, you are confused or you didn't read my comments all the way through. I explained this on the forums at length, so I am disappointed to see this false statement repeated here; the only thing I did was to remove the Philosophy Workgroup from editorial management of this page, a point that you'll find all the editors here agreeing with. Relevant philosophical perspectives on homeopathy, if there are any, are welcome here, as far as I am concerned. --Larry Sanger 04:31, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Do you have a specific link in mind? i saw a couple of letters to newspapers but all he was really saying was we should keep an open mind. Chris Day 19:48, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
re. Josephson: memory of water and the epistemology of homeopathy (re Martin's comments) are subjected to two different (and mutually reinforcing) rulings. See memory of water, where I'll provide more explanations. --Pierre-Alain Gouanvic 20:27, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
So he is going down the conformation bias route, even pathological bias. I skimmed his content and note he speaks highly of Joe McMoneagle (someone who I had not heard of before); is his remote viewing really credible? To me Josephson's message seems to be "we have been wrong before" and explaining the phenomena of scientific dogma, but this is not a strong endorsement of the work he describes. Chris Day 21:01, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with Chris here. Brian Josephson seems sometimes to be an apparently indiscriminate defender of all derided theories; I suspect this is just to provocatively offset the "bandwagon" effect whereby scientists often seem to think something is nonsense just because other scientists say so. I suspect that he would be just as outraged that anyone would use his authority to support a position as he is outraged at the use of scientific authority to suppress dissent.Gareth Leng 14:17, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Saying that he's indiscriminate (apparently, sometimes) and that he falls in the bandwagon fallacy seems quite extreme when you consider his main points in the memory of water affair. He's specific; Benveniste came to his university, Cambridge, to explain himself (Sir Andrew Huxley, Nobel laureate and past president of the Royal Society, also attended). On the general impression that he's giving, a comment: he's the director of "the Cambridge's Mind-Matter Unification Project, of the Theory of Condensed Matter Group at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, a project concerned primarily with the attempt to understand, from the viewpoint of the theoretical physicist, what may loosely be characterised as intelligent processes in nature, associated with brain function or with some other natural process". One can see why he may appear as you say.
Again, Gareth, you transferred my structure of water work elsewhere, and named that "memory of water", a journalistic, non-scientific term. The homeopathy article is a place to have these discussions? Let's import memory of water on this draft version of homeopathy.
--Pierre-Alain Gouanvic 01:19, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
I really question whether it is appropriate to discuss memory of water in homeopathy, rather than, say, physical chemistry of water. Moving it to homeopathy appears to be making unjustified leaps.
For example, clathrate formation has been demonstrated without too much question. As I remember, the first may have been xenon-water complexes, sometime in the sixties. There are actually some concerns about safety issues with methane-water complexes on the seafloor, since a sudden methane release poses danger of fire or explosion.
Before leaping to discuss clathrates as the mechanism of homeopathy, are there not some prerequisites? It would seem basic to determine if clathrates can affect biological systems. It would also seem basic to test for the presence of clathrates in homeopathic preparations.
Now, if clathrates are shown to have biological effects, AND homeopathic preparations have demonstrable levels of clathrates, I would regard it as completely appropriate to discuss it in a homeopathic context. Whether it is appropriate to discuss in the main homeopathy article is another matter. As a parallel, it is appropriate, when discussing antibiotics in general, in an article that deals with their pharmacology, to mention that beta-lactam family antibiotics interfere with the synthesis of peptides in the cell wall. Where there is a significant resistance issue, as with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the mechanisms may be quite appropriate there. There isn't discussion of antibiotic mechanisms in the article on Treponema pallidum, because there is no significance resistance problem.
Wikipedias are hyperdocuments. Hyperdocuments have links. Frankly, I do not understand the urge to try to put every possible topic into main articles. When I write hyperdocuments, as opposed to books, I constantly look for opportunities to spawn and link articles. By having links among relatively small units of knowledge, the opportunity for synergy in discovering relationships improves.
If there is memory of water, surely it would have significance in areas other than homeopathy. Why embed it there, especially when biological effects and presence in homeopathic preparations, as far as I know, are still open issues? In a totally unrelated article, dealing with military history, newly available information explains a number of actions, some being unintentional. One particular set of actions, however, is not clearly explained. What I find appropriate for encyclopedic writing is to set out the potentially relevant information, and phrase the questions that remain open. Here, I have the sense that a conclusion has been reached, and there is a search for information to support it.
Memory of water, or clathrates, or micro/nanobubble formation are legitimate topics of their own. Microbubbles, at least, are in clinical use as contrast media in echocardiography. It might well be that a clathrate could help in magnetic resonance imaging. Why force things into homeopathy? Howard C. Berkowitz 01:56, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Just ran across some nanobubble work: [1] "Clearance Properties of Nano-sized Particles and Molecules as Imaging Agents: Considerations and Caveats". As I said, not unique to homeopathy.
My physical chemistry professor would be ideal for this discussion; he was named Paul Waters.Howard C. Berkowitz 03:26, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Hippocrates, the allopath

I invite all of you who have been intrigued by the Hippocrates debate to see my recent additions to the allopathy page. This wil help for the future developments of the homeopathy page (more than I thought).

--Pierre-Alain Gouanvic 07:26, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Probably for Dana--look at Definition subpage

Could someone with homeopathic training check the Definition subpage? It's minor, but if I have learned some things here, I'm wondering if "disease" is the correct term of art. I'm not explaining that well, but the definition reads as if it was from a non-homeopathic physician describing homeopathy. "Syndrome", perhaps? Does "individualization" need to be there? Howard C. Berkowitz 20:31, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanx Howard. Here's my proposed change (the CAPS are what I am recommending that we add and the words in parenthesis are those that I recommend that we delete). Please note that I recommend that we refer to homeopathy as a "system of medicine" rather than as "Alternative medicine" because this latter term is so relative. To me, referring to acupuncture as an "alternative medicine" in its definition seems strange.
A SYSTEM OF (Alternative) medicine which asserts that substances known to cause IN OVERDOSE SPECIFIC SYNDROMES OF SYMPTOMS (particular symptoms) can also, in low and specially prepared doses, help to cure PEOPLE WHO ARE ILL WITH A SIMILAR SYNDROME OF SYMPTOMS (diseases that cause similar symptoms); most mainstream medical doctors and scientists, particularly those in the West, do not accept this. Dana Ullman 04:20, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
"System of medicine" is fine. In the major CAM taxonomies, NCCAM and UK Parliament, "alternative" is generally synonymous, the NCCAM also referring to "whole systems" that are alternative to medicine. There are several definitions of "alternative" in different articles, but I think the idea of whole system/system of alternative medicine is important. Where things get especially complex are when techniques from systems of medicine are used as a complement to other systems, in a hopefully integrative way.
To take your example, acupuncture can either be a complementary discipline, or a subpart of the whole system of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the latter by classic definition rather than the hybrid "Three Roads" approach of the Chinese government. Acupuncture is more a technique than a system.
I definite agree with changing to "syndromes of symptoms". I am less sure about deleting "alternative" unless we have general consensus on its meaning. "Whole" is actually not bad, but it's more NCCAM's word. One of the CZ challenges is going to be consistent usage of traditional medicine, complementary, and alternative. Some traditional medicine is complementary, some alternative, and here and there has become mainstream. Even allopathic doesn't work cleanly, since in the U.S., "conventional medical schools" can come from a historical allopathic or osteopathic origin. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:41, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
As a non-expert, "system of medicine" sounds to me like it describes a form of conventional medicine. The definition ought to be in line with the approved article's use of "alternative medicine". John Stephenson 05:16, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I can see why this might be confusing. If you look at integrative medicine, you will find that "system of medicine" has a specialized meaning used by both the U.K. and U.S. governments, which explicitly includes alternative medicine (I am not linking that yet because we have several conflicting definitions). One of the U.S. NCCAM terms is "whole system", which might be more clear but less ambiguous. The distinction, and it's one with which we are struggling, gets into the complex definitions of alternative, integrative, complementary, and "mainstream" medicine.
A first thought: I might create at least a redirect, with definition, for "system of medicine", perhaps to the U.K. definition that is in integrative medicine, so we can have system of medicine as a link within the definition here. It is a correct term here and not pejorative, but I can easily see how it could seem odd to anyone who doesn't know the specialized definition.
Comments? Howard C. Berkowitz 14:46, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Minor copyedit to Approved article

Can we change the penultimate heading style ("Report of the...) so it doesn't scream quite so loud? OK Matt?Gareth Leng 17:17, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I changed it to a "See Also" and made it a link to our 'Signed article' Page. If Dana has a problem or if that is not what you had in mind, let me know. D. Matt Innis 17:50, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
No biggie, no problem. Dana Ullman 14:03, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Resource and Organization inclusion?

I am wondering if it makes sense to provide a short section that refers people to leading homeopathic organizations, such as the National Center for Homeopathy (, American Institute of Homeopathy (, European Council on Homeopathy (, and perhaps some others. Dana Ullman 14:21, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

In addition to Homeopathy/External_Links? Chris Day 14:28, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
It seems only fair to have such of equal prominence to the NCCAM report. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:41, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Go ahead and put them in the draft for now to see what it looks like. D. Matt Innis 19:51, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

External comment on Homeopathy

See: --Anthony.Sebastian 18:39, 26 January 2009 (UTC)


Dana Ullman the main homeopathic representative, has written a number of books on homeopathy and has a Masters of Public Health. He has many years of experience in the homeopathy field. He worked on the new article and definition on Citizendium. The result overall is good-

In a recent release Dana Ullman writes:

As much as I love wikipedia for certain subjects, its article on homeopathy is truly awful. If you have ever read Wikipedia’s article on homeopathy, you probably got very confused and quite angry. You discovered an extremely biased anti-homeopathy article that was full of misinformation. Such is the problem at present on wikipedia which is edited by anybody, and in fact, the vast majority of people who edit there do so under pseudonyms, some of whom work for drug companies, some of whom are bored teenagers, and some of whom are closed-minded skeptics. Luckily, there is a NEW good and viable alternative to wikipedia called ( This site was founded by one of the two gentlemen who started wikipedia, Larry Sanger. Larry was concerned about the misinformation on wikipedia written by anonymous people, many of whom are not experts. Therefore, on, he requires every author to edit under their real names. He and the Editorial Council grant authority to those people who are real experts and gives them the position of “editor.” An article remains in “draft” stage (and is not readable by the public) until three “editors” propose acceptance of the article to an “Editorial Council.”

Larry Sanger personally asked me to participate in Citizendium in order to help create a high quality article on homeopathy. Needless to say, this was a real pleasure, as distinct from the “edit wars” typical of wikipedia. That said, other authors and editors on Citizendium are not necessarily “pro” homeopathy, but they are not nearly as vehementally antagonistic to homeopathy as are so many people who participate on wikipedia. I am pleased to announce that after many months of collaborative efforts from a variety of advocates and skeptics of homeopathy, the article on homeopathy has been accepted by the Editorial Council. You can now read it at:

I encourage people to consider using rather than wikipedia if you want to obtain more accurate information about a subject. I also encourage people to consider becoming an author at Citizendium. Information on how to sign-up is provided at this website. Authors can now further improve this article by editing the DRAFT version until this next version received support from three editors and then acceptance by the Editorial Council. THIS is a rational process. And finally, the efforts on Citizendium to COLLABORATE rather than attack is admirable. –DANA ULLMAN, MPH

The contents of the article on Homeopathy on Wikipedia is controlled by the theorizing, skeptical, critics who have never tried Homeopathy. Anybody who is pro-Homeopathy is banned. I hope someone can change that!Ramanand Jhingade 13:27, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.
  1. The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopaedia, second edition, edited by David Crystal
  2. New Ways to Health: A Guide to Homeopathy, by Sarah Richardson, Hamlyn 1988, page 46
  3. . Cited by Homeopathy Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  4. From " The life of Paracelsus, Theophrastus von Hohenheim, 1493-1541" by Anna M. Stoddart (1911)