A homeopath (inventor, visionary) responds

September 19th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in homeopathy | 55 Comments »

Okay, I’ve got a few interesting follow-ups to post, starting with Peter Chappell who you will remember from last week‘s Bad Science column in the Guardian.

As you know I am always keen to engage in discussion with people – see here for example – and particularly keen to hear my own ideas and criticisms themselves being critically appraised. Peter Chappell has responded on his website, and I am very happy to help open up his response to as wide an audience as possible:

Peter Chappell

Peter Chappell

My reply to an article about me by Ben Goldacre in the Guardian Newspaper, Saturday 15th September 2007

According to the Guardian newspaper in the UK, Saturday Sept 15th 2007 and this site, I am an expert at bad science/bad medicine and I have attached the article as proof of this.

It is true, I am an expert in bad science/bad medicine and I would like to tell you first about good science/good medicine and how good it is and then we can talk about bad science/bad medicine and how bad it is and we can go on to discuss which one is most effective in treating diseases, the good medicine or the bad medicine approach.

If you examine any so-called chronic disease you will see that it is a slow-moving process and as a slow-moving process it normally gradually gets worse. Some of these processes can be detected early in life and they will slowly progress into more and more dense forms that we call diseases and we have a myriad of so-called diseases in our medical manuals.

Typically of this good science/good medicine is the Merck Manual of Diseases which is online and gives a list of all the so-called chronic diseases of the body. You will find two factors commonly in almost every description of every physical disease, no known cause and no known cure. This is what good science has to say about diseases! There will be 2000 to 5000 words about the disease but these two expressions, no known cause and no known cure, will normally be there. And such a manual is written by 260 or so of the world experts on diseases, i.e. the good medicine experts. Incidentally, they use the word “diagnostics” when in fact what they mean is that they can accurately determine the state of your disease process by measurements and scans and tests but the word diagnostics infers that you know the cause when in fact they don’t. This is not just semantics were talking about. This is a fundamental misunderstanding about what they are doing. I think it is great that they can determine exactly the state of your pathology but that is what it is, the state of your pathology and this is not a diagnosis. But it is good science.

When you we examine it in this light then good science/good medicine is like taking your car/auto to the garage and the mechanic says we don’t know what’s wrong and we don’t know how to fix it but we will try and change lots of parts for you and charge lots of money but it probably won’t make any difference but that’s what we do. And you say fantastic, thank you so much helping me, and you get worse. And because you get worse you go back for more. This is called the health service or medical care or whatever fancy name it goes by in your country and the good science/good medicine mechanics who operate this wear white coats and have stethoscopes hanging around their necks. That is how you can recognize the good medicine experts. This is not to say that they aren’t brilliant at determining the exact state of the process of the disease but the general public infers in doing that they know what they are talking about when in fact they don’t know the cause or the cure. The general public also assume they have a fixed entity called the diagnosis which is not true and this is both de-powering and un-informing and turns the patient into a victim. It likewise turns the medical profession into dictators and they have the unexamined belief that they have to do something that they decide is best for you and what they do is often to make the process worse. It is always a process that the person themselves is responsible for and can do something about. For example, if it is diabetes which at least in part, or maybe wholly, has been brought about by bad habits, then it can be reversed by changing the habits and lifestyle and, maybe in addition, holistic medicine. There is a ton of information out there on this.

But now let’s talk about bad science or bad medicine about which I am a recognized expert.

There are no such things as chronic diseases. There are only epidemic diseases and some epidemic diseases are very fast moving and very infectious like influenza and malaria and some are very slow moving like diabetes and cancer and arthritis.

Basically, if you think about it, this should resonate deeply with your understanding of life and diseases and you should know this to be true. If you just sit with the above statement that’s all you need to know and understand. The consequences are then obvious.

Once you’ve understood this, here is some more food for thought so you understand more the underlying process.

If you examine any so-called chronic disease you will see that it is a slow-moving process and as a slow-moving process it gradually gets worse. Some of these processes can be detected early in life and they will slowly progress into more and more dense forms that we call diseases.

So one question that might come to mind is how come chronic diseases are epidemic diseases which means they are infectious? And if so how are they infectious? While you may not know, for example, that some breast cancers have an 80% certainty of occurring in the female children of the mother who has it, you must know that generally chronic disease processes run in families. Isn’t that proof enough that they are epidemic? And it only remains then to understand the processes. That they are epidemic is obvious, you know enough information to know this, you just haven’t thought about how it must happen.

So here are some suggestions to help understand that diseases are epidemic. Every one of us has ingrained habits and these ingrained habits are very hard to change. For example, if you go to work eight hours a day or longer and afterwards come home and flop onto the settee and sit around watching TV every evening for four or five hours and you eat the products advertised on television and you stop exercising and you stop socialising, you have effectively become addicted to a very small range of limiting habits or we might call them addictions. One quarter of the USA population has a thing called metabolic syndrome which is undoubtedly, to my mind, the result of the above habits. If these people want to get well they have to change their habits because their habits are killing them.

One of the methods by which so-called chronic diseases are transmitted is through such habits, by copying the habits of your parents and grandparents, and you must know by now, if you are an adult, just how many of your parent’s habits you have copied exactly and how frustrating this can be to grow up to be like your parents, which also means growing to have their disease processes.

So this is one way that the so-called chronic diseases are transmitted, or rather that chronic diseases so-called are really deeply ingrained habits. We think that chronic diseases so-called are purely physical phenomena when in fact they have a psychological dimension and many sensible people now recognize this, and there is a lot of good and bad science to support this (e.g. my book Emotional Healing with Homeopathy), and also that these processes have a physical dimension. We slavishly copy our parents and society and this include copying their habitual disease processes and dying prematurely as happens to probably 90% of the population or even a higher percentage. There are hundreds of books on this subject and have been for forty years or even for four centuries, and one of the recent ones is called Your Body Remembers by Babette Rothchild. My favourite is Your Body Speaks Its Mind by Stanley Kellerman and of course there is the wonderful man Papaji: papaji.com

We mistreat the vehicle we live in, we use service centres which don’t know what they are doing and make things worse, and the vehicle cracks up and fails and goes to the scrap yard far earlier than it needs to. This is the common habit of most of the human race in the West and it is very hard to fight this as it takes conscious effort. And making a conscious effort is a very hard thing to do for most people, because we become so attached and familiar with habits and addicted to them.

Good science/good medicine wants you to keep following your bad habits and to get sick and for the pharmaceutical companies to make a large profit out of this (about $1000 billion a year). If you don’t believe that again there are hundreds of books on it but my favourites are sideeffectsthemovie.com and moneytalkthemovie.com made by insiders within the pharmaceutical profession.

Cure in fact is bad for business and good medicine at the moment is dominated by business ethics and a lack of healing ethics. Bad medicine, homoeopathy in particular, aims at cure and you becoming healthy again and this involves helping you change your habits and helping your psychology shift from unconscious patterns that undermine your health to conscious patterns that help you evolves towards healthiness.

So here’s the key point repeated again: so-called chronic diseases to not exist. They are slow-moving epidemic diseases. The idea of chronic, that they are static phenomena, and every description in the medical profession tends to have a static dimension, is wrong.

Diseases do not have static qualities ever and they are moving phenomena and generally speaking they gradually get worse unless you do something about them. Chronic so-called disease is in fact a moving phenomena based upon habits and psychology and have epidemic disease causes like viruses and bacteria, germs in a word.

Cutting edge medical scientists have shown that many diseases processes, both psychological and physical, have germs associated with. This is what homoeopaths had been saying for two centuries. This is not the whole picture but it is part of the picture and we can be sure eventually that good science will finally agree with this idea but will limit it to a physical phenomena nonetheless. There are other causes of chronic diseases so-called which are clearly based on post-traumatic stress disorder and the suppressive and toxic effects of things like vaccinations and antibiotics and terrible lifestyles as mentioned above.

Bad medicine is about cure. Cure itself is a process of coming to understand one’s true nature and the consequences of one’s actions and changing those actions and habits which are deeply ingrained and that is the only way health can be recovered. Otherwise, one is destined to repeat the past which is how one got sick in the first place. Homoeopathy aims to cure and often achieves it and there our millions of people out there in the world who are alive and well because of homoeopathic medicine.

Of course the idea that there was good and bad science is very naive and a primitive form of psychology. You are good and I am bad is three-year-old psychology. Just because a president of the United States uses it does not infer that it is grown up language. Such prejudices infer that the person has not read a single philosopher such as David Hume.

And the fact is that there is an amazing profession out there of homoeopaths spanning the globe and in virtually every country and people are getting well reliably from the system of medicine which has been tested in the fire of life over two centuries and more and which has antecedents going back into the dawn of time. The satisfaction rates for the treatment offered by homoeopaths are in the region of 70 to 80%. Virtually all these people are people who first of all tried good medicine and it did not work for them.

More importantly, homoeopathy is the only system of medicine known to work for certain in pandemic diseases as homoeopathy has worked in every pandemic disease where it has been used and this has been documented in hospital records for many tens of thousands of cases in many diseases of an epidemic nature. In the likely onset of bird flu, homoeopathy is the only realistic answer at the moment. According to the World Health Organisation, in their recent world health report (Aug 07), no certain medical treatment for bird flu exists using good medicine at the present time. But at the same time they say that, in the worst case in the analysis, up to one billion people could die. Well that’s not quite strictly true because they don’t say it as it is too alarmist but if you put two and two together using their figures that’s how it works out.

Bad science has an answer that is proven and tested and good science doesn’t have an answer. Of course, good science will say that the homoeopathic figures going back 200 years is only anecdotal information and even when it’s based on many tens of thousands of cases and in epidemics where millions died. The homoeopathic figures show that the death rate under bad medicine – homoeopathic treatment – was 10 times less than the good medicine treatments of the past. To dismiss this as bad science and bad medicine is just ignorance.


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55 Responses



  1. thekumquat said,

    September 19, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    “There are only epidemic diseases …and some are very slow moving like diabetes and cancer and arthritis.

    Basically, if you think about it, this should resonate deeply with your understanding of life and diseases and you should know this to be true. ”

    Er…what?
    This word epidemic – I don’t think it means what you think it means.
    Actually it’s too depressing to analyse this too much, but basically he seems to be saying there are viruses causing all known diseases. And they’re caused by bad habits. And homeopaths know exactly what causes all of them and has treatment for all of them. How you do ‘like with like’ for a bad habit is beyond me.

    As for the ‘ homoeopathy has worked in every pandemic disease where it has been used and this has been documented in hospital records for many tens of thousands of cases in many diseases of an epidemic nature.’ – please, I would love to see this evidence. The NHS could save a fortune!

  2. mswake said,

    September 19, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    “Basically, if you think about it, this should resonate deeply with your understanding of life and diseases and you should know this to be true. If you just sit with the above statement that’s all you need to know and understand…”

    I swear I can feel the breeze from the frantic handwaving. Medicine based on “sort of feels right” instinct, that’s just what we need.

    “And you say fantastic, thank you so much helping me, and you get worse. And because you get worse you go back for more.

    Seriously, what?

  3. Ben Goldacre said,

    September 19, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    i think it’s the “some drugs have side effects therefore alternative medicine works” argument in slightly garbled form.

  4. Sceptiphreniac said,

    September 19, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    I wish he wouldn’t use “infers” when he means “implies”. Diagnosis carries an implication of finding the nature of something, not only the cause. Semantics indeed!

  5. Ben Goldacre said,

    September 19, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    what puzzles me is i thought i was generally rather generous towards homeopathy in the article i wrote on the homeopathy-HIV conference.

  6. Andrew Taylor said,

    September 19, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Seems like classic altmed fare: his general theme about bad habits spreading through society and causing “epidemics” of chronic diseases is quite right — look at that “obesity is ‘infectious'” story a while back — but there’s the classic disregard for common knowledge (for example, concluding that therefore chronic diseases don’t exist), and he spoils any sense he may have been talking by making up specific examples. Whatever good you might do with your life, if you’re telling people that you can cure diabetes with diet and exercise then you’re bound to do more harm.

  7. Mark Wainwright said,

    September 19, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    #1: “How you do ‘like with like’ for a bad habit is beyond me.”

    Surely it’s the symptoms you treat like with like: if someone presents with backache you don’t give them diluted bad posture, you give them diluted backache potion. The whole thing is nonsensical enough that there’s no need to invent extra implausibilities.

  8. angmoh said,

    September 19, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    “Basically, if you think about it, this should resonate deeply with your understanding of life and diseases and you should know this to be true.” He’s right about one thing – he is an expert a bad science. In fact, he pretty much owns it, I’d say.

    I love the way that the word ‘visionary’ now essentially means ‘crackpot’.

  9. rosy said,

    September 19, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    [quote]if you’re telling people that you can cure diabetes with diet and exercise then you’re bound to do more harm.[/quote]
    Although actually, and I grant you that this is an isolated anecdote, my not-father-in-law appears to have done just that with his type 2 diabetes. Summer 2006 he was really quite unwell, blood sugar through the roof, did himself some permanent eye damage… when he was diagnosed, because he works alone a lot he and the not-mother-in-law decided to try fixing the problem by totally changing their diet and a year on apparently now has blood sugar levels within (and staying within) the normal levels, and the long term indicators for diabetes that they measure in the blood (I don’t know what they’re called) are not measurably different to those of someone without diabetes.
    But it did require levels of sheer bloody mindedness (and conjugal support) most people don’t have available to draw on, even when it’s their lives on the line.

  10. Dr T. fortunei said,

    September 19, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Interesting: I wanted to measure how many canards
    (www.quackometer.net/default.asp)the reply would get, but the link is broken, and the Peter Chapell’s reply is nowhere to be found on his website! is this all a conspiracy?
    I think we should be told….

    On a more serious note, I am really struggling to critique this – slow epidemics? viruses? lousy drugs? I have read this several times and, call me stupid, but I cannot actually work out what the idea presented is. Is anyone out there awake enough to precis this – preferably in

  11. misterjohn said,

    September 19, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    My mother-in-law recently ended up in intensive care with an advanced case of malaria.
    Fotunately the NHS doctors in the hospital, none of whom had previously come across a case of malaria, were able to treat her, using treatments such as quinbine that had been tested out on other patients in the past, and which had proved successful. She was treated holistically, getting advice from a dietitian and a physiotherapist as well as from doctors.
    I doubt that any homeopathic treatment would have been as efficacious.
    Regrettably there are too many millions of gullible people who are conned by people like Chappell who understand the form of scientific discourse but not the content.
    Although I’m awake, I do not propose to do the precis which was requested by Dr T. fortunei, although a one word summary would spring to mind; “Bollocks.”
    I do sometimes wonder whether we are giving the Altmed crew more attention than they deserve.

  12. John R said,

    September 19, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    *equivalent of. Damn my crappy evening English skillz.

  13. ellazimm said,

    September 19, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    “There are no such things as chronic diseases. There are only epidemic diseases and some epidemic diseases are very fast moving and very infectious like influenza and malaria and some are very slow moving like diabetes and cancer and arthritis.
    Basically, if you think about it, this should resonate deeply with your understanding of life and diseases and you should know this to be true. If you just sit with the above statement that’s all you need to know and understand. The consequences are then obvious.”

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Sigh . . . snicker. Thanks Ben, that’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day. I can just see John Cleese in a white lab coat behind a desk saying that to camera in an increasingly agitated voice. I’m beginning to think we should encourage such lunatics just for the entertainment factor.

  14. Dr T. fortunei said,

    September 19, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    misterjohn: a mighty succinct summary, and certainly close to (and probably more polite than) my original attempt!

    But I guess it illustrates the classic tactic – if you include enough terminology, then people might believe it has some veracity. Trouble is when you try to work out what it actually says, there is nothing. The worst of it is that if, as a scientist, you think, “that’s pants!” and you know it is, but you just can’t put together why it’s pants, then it is very hard to demonstrate to someone else that it is pants. If you see what I mean. And you risk just getting into a slagging match which serves no one but them, and makes scientists and sensible people look dismissive and uppity. how frustrating is that?

    I am that half asleep that the end of my message got cut… it should preferably in less than 200 words.

  15. ellazimm said,

    September 19, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    But wait, there’s more:

    If you go to www.peterchappell.com/ and click on the Contact link and then click on the For general enquiries link you will be directed to some place called Vitalremedies.com. On that page there is a tab called Remedies for the Public. Click on that and then select Broken Bones, to speed mending and you will see (I couldn’t possibly make this up):

    “Speeding up the mending broken bones has been a favourite activity of homoeopaths for a hundreds of years.
    Obstacles to cure include-
    Intense electromagnetic radiation typical of motorbike riders may stop healing and motorbike riders with broken limbs that don’t heal properly may wish to stop riding motorbikes”

    And that was only the first bit of Vitalremedies.com I looked at! I may be entertained for quite some time.

  16. le canard noir said,

    September 19, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    Well we would be wasting our time on some alt-med fantasist, but let’s remember that the government pays for a number of homeopathic hospitals round the UK and Peter’s magic homeopathic MP3 files are no more bonkers than the pills dished out in these hospitals. There is an equivalence in homeopathic nonsense.

    Peter Chappell is also a founder and Fellow of the Society of Homeopaths. I complained to SoH some weeks ago about his behaviour regarding AIDS and I have heard not a dickie. And real living people will suffer because of this. Homeopats wear it as a badge of honour that they have exported or supported their delusions to Africa. And that shit kills.

    If SoH want to support people like Peter Chappell rather than jump on them, then they desrve to be ridiculed and given a very hard time.

  17. HenryS said,

    September 20, 2007 at 12:18 am

    I agree that there’s a large number of convoluted and inconsistent arguments in there, but one thing that did resonate, for me, was his idea of looking at the root causes of chronic diseases as a series of learned addictive/negative behaviours.

    Before you all jump on me and pronounce me ‘woo’, I’m not for a minute suggesting that the front-line therapy for, say, AIDS should be counselling.

    But taking a wider view, and looking at ‘what can be done’ from a policy perspective about many of the chronic diseases facing modern society, it seems that this approach would have several merits.

    I guess this is hardly rocket science, and certainly doesn’t validate many of Chappell’s proposals, but we’ve all seen how an overly medicalised approach to a social problem can lead policy-makers down blind alleys, and I’m just suggesting that budgets for behavioural research may have been neglected at the expense of the search for a pharmaceutical ‘cure’.

  18. Ben Goldacre said,

    September 20, 2007 at 12:25 am

    i think one of the things which is consistently irritating about the world of quackery is the notion that preventive medicine and multidisciplinary work are somehow their domain, when they have done nothing whatsoever to contribute to either.

    lifestyle risk factors for ill health, for example, are researched extensively, and moreover they are the subject of huge evidence based government healthy living campaigns which cannot get media coverage for lovoe or money.

    just because the media would much rather print the ramblings of grandiose fantasists who play at being doctor, than sensible health advice from a thoughtful civil servant, doesnt mean we need to pretend that the fantasists are the ones promoting healthy living. they’re not. they’re promoting pills, and so missing the point about lifestyles even more than most.

  19. le canard noir said,

    September 20, 2007 at 12:44 am

    I think a defining characteristic of quackery is the incongruity between what they say and what they do. Ben gives a fine example about CAMs failure to tackle root causes of illness. Talk of holistic methods also almost always falls short.

    As a fairly new bloger, I always try to look for the irony and contradictions in the quack message and write the story around that. It is almost always there. Why this should be, I do not really know.

  20. adamcreen said,

    September 20, 2007 at 6:03 am

    re: Post 20
    I looked at the remedies on VitalRemedies.com and they do look hysterical – for Jet Lag the label for his remedy (PC406f) says:

    This is the people who travel well normally by train and car and bus and by air travel when they cross the Atlantic they often get a terrible after-effect. It’s not the people who are terribly sensitive to everything. They need to visit a homoeopath.

    But then in between the ones for Bedwetting and for Obesity due to famine reflex, you get the ones for AIDS (Female Africa) and Malaria, and then…

    Log into ‘Remedies for Homeopaths’ (using responses Hahnemann, Kent and Pulsatilla – tricky questions only a ‘fully licensed homeopath; would know!) and you get access to a PDF of his brand new Cancer remedies:

    518u ALL – Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
    519v AML – Acute Myelocytic Leukemia
    520w CLL – Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
    521x CML – Chronic Myelocytic Leukemia
    511m Astrocytoma
    516s Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
    514q Ovarian Cancer
    515r Pancreatic Cancer
    522y Testicular Cancer
    538q Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma

    And that just leaves me feeling really ill.

  21. The Master said,

    September 20, 2007 at 9:22 am

    Thanks Ben, this made me laugh.

    Found this on the order page on his website

    “The association on this web site and in Peter Chappell publications, articles and books, made between remedy and diseases is used for clarity, but is not the functional reality and DOES NOT imply these remedies treat ANY disease”

    Nice to see he is confident that his treatments, sorry remedies work

  22. wilksie said,

    September 20, 2007 at 9:44 am

    Rosy said
    [quote]if you’re telling people that you can cure diabetes with diet and exercise then you’re bound to do more harm.[/quote]

    “Although actually, and I grant you that this is an isolated anecdote, my not-father-in-law appears to have done just that with his type 2 diabetes…..by totally changing their diet and a year on apparently now has blood sugar levels within (and staying within) the normal levels”

    Obviously you can’t cure Type 1 diabetes with diet but even Type 2 tends to be a progressive illness. Many people who are diagnosed as Type 2 manage it very well at first simply by moderating their diet but unfortunately the disease worsens and this becomes harder or even impossible to do. Many will go on to need drug treatment and eventually insulin injections.
    Your not-father-in-law’s response is not unusual and is in no way a ‘cure’.
    Another reason (sorry Rosy) why anecdotes don’t count.

  23. alice said,

    September 20, 2007 at 10:41 am

    So eating junk food and not doing exercise makes you unhealthy? Wow, glad he let all us ‘good’ scientists in on that. I think I’ll pop over to the city hospital and walk around the wards with a placard.

    I was so incredulous I could barely decipher what he was actually trying to say but I came away with an odd feeling that the whole you get ill because your parents were ill so we’re all basically destined to get ill thing sounds a lot like ‘original sin’, which is nasty and depressing.

  24. DrJ said,

    September 20, 2007 at 11:20 am

    Sweet, they have cured autism. All those kids who got autism through being vaccinated can be cured!

    For the interested, this is how to cure Autism:

    The remedy should not be used alongside any drug treatments, but these are not common. These
    should be tailed off before this remedy, typically by cutting doses in half every two weeks, for
    typically six weeks, or as advised by whoever prescribed them or under the supervision of a homoeopath. Normal vitamins and minerals are fine.
    Use daily or otherwise after the first dose, where you wait a week and see the results before deciding
    the repetition rate.
    Autistic children can be viewed from many perpectives. They maybe souls have a hard time incarnating and fitting into the human pattern and they need help to adjust to this mind/body/ego that is the common and only vehicle on offer.

    ——–
    Evidently when you get vaccinated it stops your soul from incarnating. I propose that a large scale test be performed examining the incarnation of peoples souls before and after vaccination

  25. ShatterFace said,

    September 20, 2007 at 11:50 am

    ”I love the way that the word ‘visionary’ now essentially means ‘crackpot’.”

    I can’t hear the word ‘visionary’ without thinking of Garth Marenghi…

  26. hairnet said,

    September 20, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    the stuff in the vaccines link is spooky:

    “Here is an obvious example of a hidden vaccination problem.
    Three days after taking VaccinationPC daily, large pustules containing liquid formed near the place of a tuberculosis vaccination, 18 years after the vaccination. The pustules contained watery liquid that the patient described as an acrid and acidy liquid. The pustules were very painful on touch (stitching pain).
    The pustules then connected with each other and formed two large pustule patches. After few days the watery liquid changed to blood and after a week it began to dry out. After drying the pustules changed to scabs and fell off. After falling off, the place on the body was scarred by a purple coloured scars.”

    sounds like a horror movie…

  27. Karellen said,

    September 20, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    A 10 kilogram mass does fall faster than a 1 kilogram mass.

    Further, all objects have a natural place in the universe and return to a state of rest when they reach it.

    Basically, if you think about it, this should resonate deeply with your understanding of the world and you should know this to be true. If you just sit with the above statement that’s all you need to know and understand. The consequences are then obvious.

  28. rosy said,

    September 20, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    Sorry, I’ve run way off topic with this..

    [quote]Obviously you can’t cure Type 1 diabetes with diet but even Type 2 tends to be a progressive illness. Many people who are diagnosed as Type 2 manage it very well at first simply by moderating their diet but unfortunately the disease worsens and this becomes harder or even impossible to do. Many will go on to need drug treatment and eventually insulin injections.
    Your not-father-in-law’s response is not unusual and is in no way a ‘cure’.
    Another reason (sorry Rosy) why anecdotes don’t count.[/quote]

    Hmm, it may not be unusual nationally (I’ve no grounds for comparison), but actually it appears to be very unusual in his bit of South Devon.
    The practice nurse, and the GP, were really incredibly negative about even the idea of his attempting to manage his diabetes without drugs. They said he wouldn’t be able to do it, and gave him really no encouragement at all in trying, refusing for some weeks to prescribe him a blood sugar meter (or more to the point test strips for one, which are what costs, the thing itself is dirt cheap). They said he wouldn’t be able to use it right… but didn’t make any real attempt to explain how “right” would be in this context, so they (the not-inlaws) figured it out for themselves.
    The interesting point, thoughm it this. Given that the general story seems to be that type II diabetes progresses *because* it’s a feedback loop and when blood glucose control slips the unregulated high glucose levels are what do the damage to the control mechanisms (hence why a poor, high sugar diet increases your risk of developing it in the first place), it’s not clear if you can actually regulate back to low-normal levels that it will progress much, because (at least in that part of Devon) no one does so.

    Anyway, the point I originally wanted, and failed, to make, was that pushing the drugs as a solution at a point at which they really aren’t necessary, as in this case and probably others is playing into the hands of the woo-merchants in a big way (don’t get me started on what the not-mother-in-law now has to say on the subject of doctors in general, suffice to say I think it’s a bit unfortunate).

  29. Andrew Clegg said,

    September 20, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    Hold on — adamcreen, no 27 — isn’t claiming to cure cancer illegal?

    Adam, did you save that PDF?

    Apparently you’re supposed to report possible violations of the Cancer Act 1939 to the local Trading Standards people. Does anyone here have experience making such complaints?

    Andrew.

  30. Casper said,

    September 20, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Two observations about this.

    1) It’s the usual ‘I’m right and you’re wrong’ guff.

    2) If his writing style is indicative of his mental processes (hopelessly confused IMO), rational discussion is not going to be possible.

  31. DrJ said,

    September 20, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    re:40

    I logged back in to the site and looked up the treatment protocol for the homeopathic treatment of Leukaemia for your pleasure I have copied below. It is to be honest quite worrying.

    Treatment Protocol
    One dose and wait a week to see what happens. If there is no aggravation or healing crisis
    persist daily.
    Stop when there is generalized improvement, start again if there seems to be a loss of the
    improvement.
    Do not use alongside conventional treatment or afterwards as that is mostly very suppressive,
    unless you have consummate skill and confidence.

    the pills are £20 for 35.

    then regarding the treatment for cancer:
    When it comes to chemotherapy I suggest you use a detox for the chemotherapy as it’s highly toxic. It causes your hair to fall out for example. And then you introduce homoeopathic treatment in the holidays in between chemotherapy.

    I also noticed this:

    May I remind you that the Cancer Act 1949 law is still valid in the UK so don’t advertise that you can treat cancer. Whereas, as far as I can see from the advertisements in Canada, they don’t have this restriction. There is a general consensus that the UK act is out of date and inappropriate but nonetheless it’s in force.

  32. wilksie said,

    September 20, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Rosy
    In my experience over the last 4-5 years (a son with Type 1 and my father with Type 2) I have found many GPs to be very ignorant about diabetes. Patient UK states that for Type 2 “The ‘first-line’ treatment is diet, weight control and physical activity. If the blood glucose level remains high despite these measures, then tablets to reduce the blood glucose level are usually advised. Insulin injections are needed in some cases.”

    My Father was diagnosed a year ago and, like your relative, brought his blood glucose levels back to normal by diet alone. His GP was very supportive and I’m sorry to hear that yours wasn’t.
    When you say that “it’s not clear if you can actually regulate back to low-normal levels that it will progress much,” – I think that once the blood glucose has reached high levels (and in Type 2s it has often been high for a while and begun causing complications by the time of diagnosis) it has already caused lasting damage. I read a brief snippet in New Scientist (30 June 2007) that mentioned that high blood glucose irreversibly damages proteins in the mitochondria so complications can continue to occur even if blood glucose levels are brought back to normal.

    I completely agree with you about pushing unwanted drugs playing into the hands of the woos. Losing control and becoming disenchanted with your doctor are other factors that make people want to turn to alternatives. A shame since one of the main aims of the National Service Framework for diabetes was to enable people to manage their own lifestyle and diabetes. I’m not sure that is happening.

  33. Casper said,

    September 20, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    Further to my last comment, I’ve been looking at this guy’s site and it’s all as badly written as his letter to the Guardian.

    I know it’s tediously pedantic to pick holes in someone’s English, but Peter Chappell’s is consistently awful. It reads as if it was dictated by someone waffling about something he doesn’t really understand, but wants you to think he does.

    Dipping into the site here and there, this made me laugh out loud:

    “Haemorrhoids PC457m

    ——————————–

    This could be used where piles is the main symptom…”

    (a) aren’t piles and haemorrhoids the same thing?

    (b) shouldn’t it read ‘where piles are the main symptom’?

    it continues:

    “…and the only symptom and a mild symptoms at that. It’s important to know that piles is the first indicator of all weakness of the venous system.”

    I’m no medic, or even a scientist, but the truth of this statement seems questionable. I won’t correct the horrible grammar.

    “If the problem is severe or there have been operations in the past on the piles then homoeopathic supervision is required.”

    That’s operations in the past, not in the future. And homoeopathic supervision is not simply suggested or advised, but REQUIRED. It’s mandatory.

  34. Steve Senior said,

    September 20, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    Diagnosis implies that you know the cause? Well it depends which cause you’re talking about – the symptoms or the underlying pathology. You could diagnose a headache as meningitis, without knowing what causes meningitis (bad example, but you get the point). You’ve still So there you go medics, you’re free to use the word diagnosis without fear of condescension.

    What worries me is that more of the general public isn’t pointing and laughing.

  35. doris said,

    September 20, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    ” many diseases processes,both psychological and physical,has germs attached…”
    What is a psychological disease with germs attached?
    I hope there isn’t a serial killer bug out there waiting to be cured by a PC remedy.
    The construction and composition of his piece are so bad that it is difficult to follow his arguments.

  36. doris said,

    September 20, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    This isn’t strictly relevant but I’ve read it in the miniblog and it is health-related,so for those who are interested:
    articles on nocebo effect:
    theweek.co.uk(8th Sept.);
    timesonline.co.uk/tol/life;
    jiaci.org/issues/vol14issue02/vol14issue02-2.

  37. Andysnat said,

    September 20, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    First comment for me here.

    I have CLL – that’s Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia for everybody but Ben, and non-medics.

    I beg to differ with the numpty who says that there is no such thing as chronic disease. Ask my consultant.

    I love pointing out these pages to people too. There tends to be a number of nutritionist, alternative treehugging types hanging around in various forums (Fora?) that I delight in pointing in this direction.

  38. Teek said,

    September 20, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    note: it’s the 1939 cancer act, not 49.

    andrew clegg @ 40: go to teekblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/clear-and-present-danger-homeo-pathetic.html, where you’ll find a link to the pdf (www.vitalremedies.com/docs/new-remedies-cancer-sept-2007.pdf)

  39. Bob H said,

    September 20, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    The link to his website at the top of the main article now says:

    “Ooops
    Sorry but this page has either been moved or no longer exists.”

  40. Andrew Clegg said,

    September 21, 2007 at 9:12 am

    Aw crap, he’s based in the Czech Republic, presumably for Trading-Standards-avoidance purposes:

    www.peterchappell.com/contact.php

    However, whois reports that his site is administered in the UK:

    Domain name: peterchappell.com

    Administrative Contact:
    mservers
    Desmond Melvin (des@mservers.co.uk)
    +44.1202709602
    Fax: +44.-
    12 Widdicombe Ave
    Poole, DORSET BH14 9QW
    GB

    Technical Contact:
    mservers
    Desmond Melvin (des@mservers.co.uk)
    +44.1202709602
    Fax: +44.-
    12 Widdicombe Ave
    Poole, DORSET BH14 9QW
    GB

    Registrant Contact:
    mservers
    Desmond Melvin (des@mservers.co.uk)
    +44.1202709602
    Fax: +44.-
    12 Widdicombe Ave
    Poole, DORSET BH14 9QW
    GB

    Does this mean we could make a complaint to Dorset Trading Standards about a Cancer Act breach?

    Anybody have any experience doing this sort of thing? It’s Friday and I’m happy to bash out a letter in my lunch hour if the consensus is that it’s worth the effort.

    Andrew.

  41. romdjoll said,

    September 21, 2007 at 9:58 am

    #28, I hear where you’re coming from Mark, but I should have mentioned in my post that a lot of my frustration with him comes from being bipolar myself (I know about the gene study because myself and some members of my family were asked to take part in it). He’s a young guy and I don’t want to give him the numbers on how lithium becomes less effective with each stop and restart cycle. He’s bipolar 2 which may make things easier for him. I’m not a doctor so I have no place interfering anyway. I just have a horror of him making himself ill. I’m atypical BP1 which means I take my meds because I don’t get those nice clean go-shopping-yay-isn’t-life-great highs. Just mixed states and psychosis, and it took 5 years to find a mix that worked. That’s why people like Chappell infuriate me so. If music files helped I’d never have to take a pill again. I love jazz. Or maybe that just means I’ll never get AIDS, according to his logic. But if it comes to that, surely Coltrane and Monk had higher mojo than he could ever have? I know I’m being silly, but sometimes you just have to laugh.

  42. bk said,

    September 21, 2007 at 11:02 am

    As I think some people have touched on, the thing that most worries me is how stupid, how incompetent this guy is, not just with language but with argument and concepts. The content of what he is saying is good old fashioned quackery, but it amazes me people could trust someone who is so clearly an idiot. This paragraph in prticular encapsulated all the flaws in his thinking neatly for me:

    “Of course the idea that there was good and bad science is very naive and a primitive form of psychology. You are good and I am bad is three-year-old psychology. Just because a president of the United States uses it does not infer that it is grown up language. Such prejudices infer that the person has not read a single philosopher such as David Hume.”

    Where to start? Firstly the language: why ‘was’ and not ‘is’? Why would anyone argue ‘YOU are good and I am bad’, not the other wa round? As has been mentioned before, infer and imply are confused twice.

    If these sound like petty complaints, well, they are, but they indicate a wider problem with him, further demonstrated by his arguments – firstly assuming that because Ben writes ‘bad science’ he has a black and white view of things and that this is childish, when if he’d read or listened to Ben speak he’d have seen measured argument and an acceptance that homepathic remedies can have a placebo effect which is ver beneficial, as well as criticism of Big Pharma on occasions. Then the infantile and nonsensical Bush bashing, as if scientists only decided to criticise homeopathy when Bush invaded Iraq. Finally he desperately crowbars David Hume into the whole sorry mess, which I simply have no explanation for.

    All of it, the misjudged political and literary references, the faulty logic, the smash and grab raid on the English language to find ‘clever’ words and never mind what they mean; it all smacks of a seriously underpar intellect trying to paper over the cracks with arrogance, a bad thesaurus and sentences so long and loopy he hopes nobody as the time to read them thouroughly. So if you think about it, it’s hardly likely he’d have a sensible medical idea in his head either.

  43. Robert Carnegie said,

    September 22, 2007 at 12:04 am

    I wonder if you could hack him and move the disclaimer text to the front page.

  44. le canard noir said,

    September 23, 2007 at 10:13 am

    I wrote about Peter Chappell a few weeks ago…

    www.quackometer.net/blog/2007/08/will-homeopathy-and-itunes-cure-aids.html

    A commenter called Rick read my post and then complained to the Dorset TC. It looks like they may have positively acknowledged the complaint, but no more details…

  45. maninalift said,

    September 24, 2007 at 2:19 am

    This piece starts with a complete failure to understand the words “chronic” and “epidemic”.

    So one question that might come to mind is how come chronic diseases are epidemic diseases which means they are infectious? And if so how are they infectious? While you may not know, for example, that some breast cancers have an 80% certainty of occurring in the female children of the mother who has it, you must know that generally chronic disease processes run in families. Isn’t that proof enough that they are epidemic?

    This is garbage on so many levels. Logically, factually and grammatically diseased.

  46. Squander Two said,

    September 28, 2007 at 11:12 am

    According to this man’s “reasoning”, getting run over by lorries is infectious. So don’t go near anyone who’s been hit by a lorry: you might catch it.

  47. Glog said,

    October 7, 2007 at 6:38 am

    Do you have any idea how homeopathy works?? I suggest you brush up on the science behind it. There is a great book out by Richard Gerber, M.D. on energy medicine called “Vibrational Medicine: The #1 Handbook of Subtle-Energy Therapies”.

    Anyone with a brain can see that allopaths treat symptoms and not the cause of a disease.

  48. PalMD said,

    October 8, 2007 at 2:56 am

    I stopped reading after this: “Typically of this good science/good medicine is the Merck Manual of Diseases which is online and gives a list of all the so-called chronic diseases of the body. You will find two factors commonly in almost every description of every physical disease, no known cause and no known cure. This is what good science has to say about diseases! There will be 2000 to 5000 words about the disease but these two expressions, no known cause and no known cure, will normally be there.”

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! I’ve been a physician for a number of years, and that statement is, well, a lie. A damned lie, really. I wish there were a Hell for this quack to rot in, but as a second alternative, perhaps he could get acute myelogenous leukemia with the typical Philadelphia chromosome translocation and try treating himself. No need for the STAT protein inhibitor Gleevec which was designed based on the KNOWN mechanism of the illness and is capable of inducing complete response. Nah…let him have some water instead.

  49. PalMD said,

    October 8, 2007 at 3:02 am

    Oh, and BTW, this from his website:
    “While we have no proof in scientific terms that the AIDS treatment is effective, in practice it is very reliable and thousands of people have recovered and we supply this treatment FREE through the Amma Resonance Healing Foundation.”

    Hmm..encouraging. I really wish there were a hell.

  50. StephenSenn said,

    October 11, 2007 at 9:10 am

    I am reminded of Wolfgang Pauli’s comment ‘It isn’t right. It isn’t even wrong.’
    The advantage of conventional pharmacology is that you don’t have to suspend the simple laws of arithmetic. In pharmacokinetics when it comes to molecules you do a reverse Brian Hanrahan ‘you count them in and you count them out’. For homeopathy, on the other hand, less is more.

    It’s funny that when it comes to money no homeopath seems to want to abandon simple arithmetic. I often say I have no objection to homeopaths as long as they are paid a homeopathic salary. And what about the ecological damage they are causing whenever any of their medicine is disposed of down the loo? It’s shaken, it’s diluted, there’s more of it getting more potent. The fish of the sea must be as high as a hippy at Glastonbury. It’s about time Greenpeace looked at these cowboys.

  51. mikeyb said,

    November 18, 2007 at 10:38 am

    my god that is the most poorly cobbled together argument I have read since leaving primary school. badly written, badly constructed, littered with inuendo and just emabarrasing really…

    can you really expect us to sit and read a sentence like…

    “Basically, if you think about it, this should resonate deeply with your understanding of life and diseases and you should know this to be true. If you just sit with the above statement that’s all you need to know and understand. The consequences are then obvious.”

    …and take you seriously?

    Even Paul McKenna would struggle keeping a straight face with that one!

    Keep up the good work Mr Chappell, a few more years reading drivel like this and even that moron at Buckingham Palace will begin to doubt.

    And to think we waste taxes on this.

    I think an effective test would be too infect them all with leprosy and see who made it to the chemist!

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