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