Homeopathy companies pay journalist to attack anti-homeopathy academic

As I’ve discussed previously about homeopathy, there is absolutely no evidence that it does anything but quench thirst, since the basic principles of homeopathy is that. And even then, there are much cheaper methods to quench thirst, like getting water from your tap.

Not that it should surprise anyone, but it’s been reported that a consortium of homeopathy companies in Germany have been paying a “journalist” over $50,000 to set up and run a set of websites to criticize a UK academic, Professor Edzard Ernst, one of the world’s leading scientific skeptics of the lack of scientific viability of alternative medicine, specifically homeopathy. The original article, Schmutzige Methoden der sanften Medizin (or the Dirty Tricks of Alternative Medicine) was published in a German newspaper, described how the these companies, who manufacture homeopathic sugar pills, funded a journalist named Claus Fritzsche to denigrate any critics of homeopathy. He focused on Professor Ernst, by attacking him for being partisan, biased and incompetent, on several of these websites. He then linked them together in order to raise their Google ranking, so that any search for Professor Ernst and homeopathy would put these websites high on any list of Google hits.

Since way too many individuals do their research on Google, rather than through critical thinking, a bunch of websites attacking someone like Ernst will begin to weigh as much as his academic research. It’s so much easier to read a website that says “Edzard Ernst is partisan” rather than read a long peer-reviewed article by Ernst that describes the meta-analyses of several studies of a homeopathic potion showing that it has no effect beyond placebo. Obviously, the homeopathy companies found it much easier to set up attack websites than real clinical trials, since they know the clinical trials wouldn’t work.

Over the past 20 years Professor Ernst has weathered abuse from numerous places, so I don’t think he’s too worried about a lying journalist paid off by a few homeopathy companies. Ernst, though trained as a homeopath (which probably angers the alternative medicine pushing crowd more than anything), does not limit himself to debunking homeopathy but goes after all alternative medicine with real science. He does reserve his most pointed commentary for homeopathy. In an article entitled “Should We Maintain an Open Mind about Homeopathy?” published in the American Journal of MedicineMichael Baum and Edzard Ernst—writing to other physicians—criticized homeopathy in no uncertain terms:

Homeopathy is among the worst examples of faith-based medicine… These axioms [of homeopathy] are not only out of line with scientific facts but also directly opposed to them. If homeopathy is correct, much of physics, chemistry, and pharmacology must be incorrect…. To have an open mind about homeopathy or similarly implausible forms of alternative medicine (eg, Bach flower remediesspiritual healingcrystal therapy) is therefore not an option. We think that a belief in homeopathy exceeds the tolerance of an open mind. We should start from the premise that homeopathy cannot work and that positive evidence reflects publication bias or design flaws until proved otherwise… We wonder whether any kind of evidence would persuade homeopathic physicians of their self-delusion and challenge them to design a methodologically sound trial, which if negative would finally persuade them to shut up shop… Homeopathy is based on an absurd concept that denies progress in physics and chemistry. Some 160 years after Homeopathy and Its Kindred Delusions, an essay by Oliver Wendell Holmes, we are still debating whether homeopathy is a placebo or not… Homeopathic principles are bold conjectures. There has been no spectacular corroboration of any of its founding principles… After more than 200 years, we are still waiting for homeopathy “heretics” to be proved right, during which time the advances in our understanding of disease, progress in therapeutics and surgery, and prolongation of the length and quality of life by so-called allopaths have been breathtaking. The true skeptic therefore takes pride in closed mindedness when presented with absurd assertions that contravene the laws of thermodynamics or deny progress in all branches of physics, chemistry, physiology, and medicine.

Homeopathy is not medicine. It is not science. It is delusion without basis in anything real. These homeopathy companies had no choice but to go after Professor Ernst with the fake and libelous websites, because they know people won’t actually do real research and will just accept these websites as accurate purveyors of the “truth”. That is the best that they can do

Ironically, the CAM crowd’s passionate hatred of Ernst led Andy Lewis at the Quackometer to create what is now known as Ernst’s Law:

If you are researching complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and you are not hated by the CAM world, you’re not doing it right.

Remember, there is an old meme that any alternative medicine that is shown to work by real science in real clinical trials published in real peer-reviewed journals is just medicine. Homeopathy and all other CAM supporters are so entrenched into pseudoscience that the only way to go is ad hominem attacks on real researchers. Just so you know.

 
The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!