Nazi Medicine: Malaria & HomeopathyJuly 25, 2010
I don’t know anything about homeopath John Benneth, except that he’s got a video on YouTube, the title of which I will use as a springboard for this (rather convoluted) post. But I’ll reveal that title later, because I want to first explain why I am not going to bother checking out the claims he makes in the video.*
Benneth claims that certain studies prove the effectiveness of homeopathy so conclusively that it “nukes” certain opposing arguments presented by Dr Steve Novella (who writes the excellent blog, Neurologica).
Then why are lobby groups in Brussels lobbying the EU to exempt homeopathy from proper testing?
So, Benneth, how about trying to get other homeopaths to believe you first, before bothering Dr Novella?
But now, on to the actual topic of this post, which I will introduce by quoting the title of John Benneth’s anti-Novella video rant, HOMEOPATHY: Jew of Nazi Medicine.
Benneth has hit on the unique idea of re-casting the supposed suppression of homeopathy in terms of Jews and Nazis: a dazzling rhetorical move of pure genius…
However, there is indeed a historical connection here, although Benneth has inverted it. It’s a revealing topic which deserves to be more widely known.
Homeopathy was in fact highly popular with the Nazis, and seen as a possible tool to be used against what Hess called the “jew infested medical profession”.
I want to make it clear at this point that I am not about to pull an Argumentum ad Nazium.
Rather, I want to focus on the fact that the Nazis, unlike homeopaths today, seriously wanted to know whether or not it worked before trying to use it to attack mainstream medicine. They undertook the first widespread thorough testing of homeopathy.
The tests of course all failed to detect any effects of homeopathy on any illness. And the results were kept secret and eventually destroyed though not by the Nazis.
The research programme was carefully planned and rigorously executed. A report was written and it even survived the war. But it disappeared nevertheless – apparently in the hands of German homeopaths. Why? According to a very detailed eye-witness report, the results were wholly and devastatingly negative.
Homeopath Fritz Donner, the eye witness referred to above, gave an honest appraisal of the results in a letter from that time:
The real situation of homeopathy cannot be communicated to homeopaths and cannot be published in homeopathic newspapers. In the best homeopathic tradition, everyone can utter the greatest nonsense in the world and it will be printed…
The researchers were in a quandary. Their profession depended on the success of the studies, but faking the results and passing off fake medicine to the Nazis would have caused them great trouble as well. As it happened, the war intervened and served as sufficient distraction for postponing the exposure of their profession.**
One experiment carried out by the Nazis at Dachau was to treat malaria sufferers with homeopathy and monitor the results. Not surprisingly, all patients died. This experiment was a war crime, and today such a test — even if it were to use volunteers instead of captives — would be unconscionable, to say nothing of approval by ethics committees.
Why, then, are homeopaths still proudly flogging a course of treatment that even the Nazis rejected as lethal?
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This medical experiment is being carried out all over the world. Albeit, the results are never recorded, though bold claims of extraordinary success are routinely made all around the world, all over the internet. From a homeopath in India we get this proclamation:
All homeopathic doctors in India can vouch for the fact that homeopathy can treat malaria. All of us, I am sure have documented cases of patients whose blood tested positive for malaria before homeopathic treatment and then was clear for malaria after all the signs and symptoms had disappeared.
Again, tell that to those lobbyists in Brussels! They can pack up and go home and homeopathy will have another chance to pass those normal tests like all those inferior “allopathic” medicines.
Occasionally a victim of homeopathic malaria quackery is lucky enough to get proper medical attention and lives to tell the tale.
He was moved quickly to intensive care with the diagnoses of renal insufficiency, anemia, disseminated intravascular coagulation (a syndrome that can quickly lead to shock and death) and encephalopathy (a brain dysfunction). He was placed on a ventilator. A lab test showed parasites of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes the most severe form of malaria.
And what is the reaction of homeopaths to this? They are always rattling on about the failures of “allopathic” medicine, but what about their own failures? What kind of follow up do they do?
This is all rather disgraceful and hypocritical. On the one hand they claim dramatic successes treating the most deadly illnesses, and other they claim that normal testing for things like a headache or a runny nose is unfair.
Sorry guys, it’s been a long time coming, but the game is finally up.
The head of the British Homeopathy Association is confronted with evidence of homeopaths routinely flogging their lethal malaria preparations.
* I will not link to Benneth’s video. Anyone masochistic enough to want to watch this loon can find it by searching for the title. Better still, read Novella’s articles on Benneth.
** More details on Fritz Donner and his report here.
The experiments at Dachau and other details mentioned are reported in the print edition of Der Spiegel, 12.7.2010 (German language) .