Here is the review of my book in “The Homeopath”, esteemed journal of the Society of Homeopaths:
Oh no, hang on, there isn’t one.
You were kind enough to send me a copy for review for The Homeopath. After consideration by a reviewer, the editorial team have decided that the book is not suitable for review in our journal. Would you like me to send the book back to you, or to send it to another reviewer for another journal on your behalf, or I could dispose of it for charity? (I have my own copy already).
I am sorry for any inconvenience,
Now, three things interest me about the Society of Homeopaths’ review.
1. This book has been in the top 30 on Amazon for a month. It is the best selling science book at the moment, and it is also, I suspect, the best selling book about homeopathy for a long time. It makes some very clear criticisms, insofar as it surveys and explains the evidence, but it also contains useful ideas about how homeopathy might appear to work, as well as some clear constructive suggestions of ways forward for building an evidence base. It’s also, importantly, not a hysterical demand for homeopathy to be banned (which I suspect irritates them, because homeopaths are an angry bunch, as you can see from their blogs, and find it hard to engage with people outside their discursive template of embitterment and enmity).
2. This is part of an enduring pattern with homeopaths: while eschewing criticism, they are keen to engage in rather unseemly campaigns of bullying and harrassment against critics, such as Professor Edzard Ernst (they exerted pressure to have him sacked, for the crime of performing systematic reviews of the literature); they refuse to say what is in the lectures or exam questions of their university BSc courses (in case someone commits the moral crime of criticising their ideas); and, in the very specific case of the SoH, they offer to sue people who dare to criticise their ideas and activities, and threaten their webhosts with legal action (do please give it a go, we would find it enormously enjoyable). Academia and medicine are founded on critical self-appraisal: this is how ideas got better with time.
3. My last contact with Francis Treuherz was odd – although I should say I quite like him – and consisted of this unsolicited email, which I am sure was meant with the best of intentions:
There is a plague of Jellyfish off the coast of Spain as reported in the Guardian this week. Ben, why not take a holiday there this year. if you are stung take a pill. Take a pill from an un-named but numbered bottle. One of two bottles. One is sugar pills. Two is a dilution of Medusa 30c. If you can detect the effect from the dummy and the real pill as different you will have an anecdote, n=1.
Or try taking Aesculus hippocastanum 30c daily for up to a month and observe the changes in your health if you start to do a proving.
Homeopaths: funny bunch. They don’t like to engage with people who question their ideas: and better than that, they still don’t understand that this is why they are so much fun.