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Ignorance, Fraud, and the Great Deception

While our book Homeopathy Re-examined proves with Hahnemann's writings themselves the limited nature of "classical homeopathy," some obvious, basic questions will arise in the minds of most readers. "If the way I was trained and the textbooks I used weren't correct, how could so many participants in the field of homeopathy not know it?" "What kind of massive ignorance would it take to keep such an enormous falsity from being seen, and for so long?" Such questions are actually irrelevant to the actual evidence. Nonetheless, they cause mental obstacles which stop many people from even considering the possibility that the evidence proves what it appears to prove. Therefore, they will be addressed briefly here.

Questions about who knows what, and about human intentions, necessarily require an amount of speculation (as opposed to a study of the actual words in the Hahnemann's text itself). My conclusions at present are based on my own experiences with practitioners, students, teachers, as well as editors and authors of publications within the field.

In any field of thought, it is very easy for false assumptions to be self-perpetuating. For example, for years scientists searched for a substance responsible for the phenomenon called "heat." For years doctors tried to perfect blood-letting. Suggestions that the "experts" in any field are missing something fundamental are usually greeted with ridicule by those "experts." The idea that little creatures too small to see ("germs") were involved in illness was considered absurd. The idea that the earth is a sphere revolving around the sun was ridiculed. Traveling faster than the speed of sound was long considered a physical impossibility.

These obstacles to human understanding are due in large part to the fact that only very rarely does an individual begin to study a certain subject without preconceived assumptions (whether incorrect or correct). The same is true of professional homeopaths today. The possibility is very slim that anyone in America over the past half century received training to become a professional homeopath without being taught basic tenets like one remedy per patient at a time based on the totality of symptoms. Instead, they started with a false assumption (which they had before they had the slightest idea of what Hahnemann actually said), and then perhaps studied details in the Organon about taking the case, dosage, etc.

When an assumption is strong enough, an enormous amount of direct evidence contradicting that assumption can be dismissed by an individual. Perhaps the individual simply assumes that the evidence was somehow misunderstood. Or perhaps the individual simply ignores whatever does not match the preconceived ideas. The human mind is very resourceful when it comes to manipulating the physical evidence to match a preconceived conclusion. A scientist might simply throw out some result that contradicts the bulk of his findings, and assume it was the result of some error in the experiment.

Imagine a veteran practitioner, who all his life has heard and believed that one can only give one medicine at a time per patient. When he comes across a statement or findings that two remedies can work at the same time, he will make a subconscious choice that he isn't even aware of. Rather than accepting all evidence in order to form a conclusion, the opposite occurs. He subconsciously believes it means something other than what it says, because believing otherwise could very well upset his world view, quite literally.

A simple example is a magic show. People, when sawed in half, die. Everyone in the audience at a magic show knows this. Though their eyes may tell them someone is being sawed in half, they have underlying assumptions which tell them that this evidence is unreliable. The mind seeks an alternate explanation for the evidence, since it refuses to believe the explanation which the immediate physical evidence tends to suggest. In this case, it is logical to do so.

However, the same phenomenon occurs whether the assumption is correct or not. If the magician actually did saw someone in half, the audience would assume it to be a trick. The "premises" on which the human mind functions are very difficult to change. Those who were convinced that the sun revolves around the earth, having never even considered the evidence, imprisoned, tortured, and killed people for disagreeing. If the disagreement evolved into an examination of the evidence, the truth would win. If the "experts" ever stop making assertions and accusations, and try to substantively respond to the evidence, the truth will win.

But who does know the truth about this? A conspiracy of ignorance is far easier to maintain than a conspiracy of secrecy. In other words, the fewer people know the truth about something, the more likely it is for the truth to remain hidden. If all students of homeopathy were told that most people can't be treated medically before being qualified by regimen, there would be no chance of this remaining secret for long. If, on the other hand, the enforcers of the 'tenets' are just as ignorant as everyone else, they will faithfully treat their fellow man to the best of their abilities.

The more I learn, the fewer people I think know the truth about the limitations of classical homeopathy. The average practitioner knows little or nothing about the Organon. Because it is unlikely that anyone with vested interests will admit to knowing the truth, figuring out who does know the truth requires a lot of speculation. From my experiences, I doubt anyone committed to the 'classical scheme' has the slightest idea of what the truth is (at least until recently).

A handful of practitioners 'beyond the pale', as well as the actual authors of controversial books, know the truth, at least partially. Beyond that, I estimate that very few do. Journal editors have often demonstrated ignorance about Hahnemann's system, and most of the teachers in the field are most likely ignorant of the law of similars applied by its several principles. Again, the fewer people there are who know, the more secure the secret is.

If a lie survives long enough, it acquires "staying power." If some law passed yesterday was said to be deceptive, people wouldn't hesitate to look into it. But a claim that an 100+-year-old practice has been deceptive all along, resulting in countless failures to improve the lot of patients, is likely to be unbelievable to most.

Suppose a mother finds $20 in her son's room. The son, having stolen it from someone, fabricates a story about how someone gave it to him for saving a pet dog from drowning in a swimming pool. A small lie, and a relatively small theft. But then the mother (believing her son) happens to tell the story to some of her friends, and they are so impressed by the boy's bravery, that they give him another $100. The boy, of course, still doesn't admit the truth. One of those friends happens to have a cousin who writes for a local newspaper, and he decides that it would be nice to write about something positive for a chance, and he writes a little article, praising the boy's bravery. More donations come in, and more people want to know the story. The story is a little more impressive each time the boy tells it. Then one day, a local talk show offers the boy $2000 for an interview. What do you expect him to do?

(Eventually, there is a chance that someone will want to interview the non-existent folks with the non-existent dog to get their side of it. Then the lie comes crashing down.)

Once upon a time, a relatively small deception made its way into homeopathic theory. Rules were laid down that at first glance seemed to apply to all patients. But the procedure was only for a small percentage, and the people who received benefit were the ones spoken of and written up. And after all, homeopaths who didn't know the true system weren't to blame if many if not most of their patients didn't get any better during treatment. If people failed to study the related regulative principles for applying the law of similars, or failed to find out the truth about concomitant use of remedies, the rank and file of working homeopaths wasn't to blame. All the leaders of the institution of classical homeopathy did was fail to publicly realize their error. Besides, why on earth would some patient bother to get a copy of Hahnemann's writings and rummage through them trying to cross check the rudiments therein with the efficacy of the treatment he was getting?

(When people ask me why trained professionals, who see hundreds of patients every year, aren't aware of what we have published, I ask them when they last saw anyone with a vested interest rummaging through the literature to refute themselves. The people who search out "medical experts" are assuming they are getting their money's worth. I doubt they will be happy customers when they learn the truth. It may not be long before no one admits to having been a classical homeopath.)

Then a few decades went by. The complexity of disease rose quite a bit, and the improvement rate dropped. But it still wasn't worth complaining about, since it was the best that could be done. Besides, if the procedure didn't help many if not most of those who came, surely someone would have pointed out the reason somewhere along the line if it were all due to an error in thinking. So in recent years, members of the classical consortium, who weren't aware of the original deception, eagerly applied more and more medicines they didn't even understand to elicit a response. The longer this went on, the less people were able to consider that it was all a big deception. Eventually, a lucrative industry grew out of the lie, along with an intrusive and abusive 'theory police'. And, for the most part, this was all created and carried out by people oblivious to the truth.

Just like the boy who didn't save any dog, what do you expect the few in positions of authority who do know the truth about the "classical" fraud to do about it now? "Oh, sorry... just kidding... it doesn't really work for most." I don't think so. Furthermore, how do you expect remunerated professionals who don't know to respond to the truth? "Ah, shucks. Well, we really blew it on that one. It seems our whole industry has been grossly incompetent for decades. Looks like most of my training and career were based on a lie. Oh well, guess I should start looking for another job." I don't think so. That's not how human nature works.

This fraud will end. The truth will outlive the lie. It's only a question of time.

Adapted from Larken Rose ( by Steven Decker

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