“Of the unorthodox practitioner of medicine it is invariably true that his work, his writing and his speech betray a complete ignorance of fundamental truths upon which alone a science or an art of healing can be based. Germany has furnished a precedent which must earlier or later be followed in this country.

THERE has recently been a correspondence in The Times about osteopathy. The osteopaths are endeavouring to obtain official recognition by means of a parliamentary bill. They claim recognition on the plea that they spend five years in the study of their art. The organized medical profession oppose their claims. Its spokesmen demand that osteopaths, notwithstanding their arduous special training should spend five years in going through the recognized medical curriculum. Lord Dawson of Penn, in opposing the recognition of the osteopaths as representative of medicine wrote :.

“During the past hundred years medicine has espoused and faithfully pursued the scientific method… The first desideratum is sound training of students. We are the best judges of what that training should be. In undergraduate life education is concerned with the basic sciences the general study of disease in the living and the dead, and the vital subject of diagnosis. Competency after this training, testing by examination and testified by medical qualification, is essential for the status of a doctor.”.

Lord Moynihan, representing the surgical side, wrote in The Times :.

“Of the unorthodox practitioner of medicine it is invariably true that his work, his writing and his speech betray a complete ignorance of fundamental truths upon which alone a science or an art of healing can be based. Is the serious student of medicine merely wasting his time when he devotes years of his life to most exacting labour and to painful acquisition of knowledge ?

The science and art of medicine in all its branches can be studied only in one way. Little by little step by step with unflagging grim devotion an acquaintance with preliminary sciences must first be acquired. Those who practice unorthodox medicine are not practising medicine at all”.

Lord Dawson of Penn, Lord Moynihan, Lord Horder Sir Farquhar Buzzard and other distinguished medical men have put forward the extraordinary claim that orthodox medical men have a monopoly of knowledge with regard to the art of healing that medical tuition is perfect. The presidents of the College Physicians and of the College of Surgeon remind one of a music hall song which was sung some decades ago :.

“I am master of this college,

And what I dont know isnt knowledge”.

As a matter of fact many of the most important medical and surgical discoveries, inventions and innovations were made by laymen who, needless to say were attacked with the greatest bitterness by the medical men of their time and were called quacks. Two and a half centuries ago Antony van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch draper, started grinding lenses for a pastime.

He made the most wonderful microscopes with which he discovered “little beasties”, which are now called microbes. His discoveries in an article, “Leeuwenhoek and His Little Beasties”, Published in the October issue of the Quarterly Review. Louis Pasteur a chemist, erected on the discoveries of the Dutch draper the great superstructure of modern medicine and surgery.

If Lord Moynihan, who has nothing but contempt for laymen who dare to dabble in medical matters, operates with success, he is indebted to it to laymen who discovered antiseptics and anaesthetics. The enormous reduction in the death rate which has taken place in the last few decades is due not to the doctors but to far-seeing laymen of the Chadwick type, whose demands for sanitation were opposed by the medical profession.

The medical profession owes a debt of gratitude to laymen who gave them the ophthalmoscope, the laryngoscope, etc., and thousands of doctors exploit now the discoveries of laymen who acted as medical pioneers who introduced the open-air treatment, modern nursing, massage suggestion and auto-suggestion, manipulative surgery etc. The service done to mankind by men such as Coue, Kneip and Sir Herbert Barker have been rewarded by persecution on the part of the medical profession.

Although Lord Dawson of Penn, Lord Moynihan, Lord Horder, Sir Fraquhar Buzzard, and lesser medical lights have asserted in The Times that everything is perfect in the medical profession, that the teaching of the doctors is the most wonderful thing in the world, we find that very distinguished medical man have complained for many years about the faultiness of medical tuition.

Some have stated that in their opinion years are mis-spent in the study of evanescent theories, which are mistaken for science, and that the five years grind is imposed upon the medical students very largely in the desire to make it difficult for young men and women to join the medical profession. Every restrictive trade union endeavours to limit the number of apprentices.

I could easily fill to volume with severe criticisms of the medical tuition written by medical men themselves. I would quote a striking article by Dr. G. F. Walker, which was published in the Medical World of the 6th October, 1933 :.

“Everyone is agreed that medical students spend far too much time contemplating wreckage, stewing in operating theatres watching a surgeons back or dawdling in the hundred and one ways so insidiously acquired in a teaching hospital. And there is general agreement that senior students spend far too little time in the acquisition of a knowledge of human emotions, conduct and behaviour.

They get a very skimpy and scrappy presentation of the real problems of personal and family health which daily beset their future patients. And they get no the bulwarks against and impractical nature. As for a knowledge of foodstuffs and diet, the senior students ignorance of this branch of biology would be laughable were it not a national menace.”.

“Anatomy and physiology together claim about two years of the medical curriculum and many medical men best able to judge believe that the whole structure of education in anatomy and physiology needs ruthless attack with pickaxe and dynamite. Let us examine each subject in turn.”.

“The student finds about half his working time for two years allocated to anatomy. At this stage he is young, adaptive, receptive and energetic. He rapidly sums up the situation and spends a very considerable amount of time, labour and nerve force, not in learning anatomy, but in estimating and assessing what his examiners are likely to require of him. During his anatomical studies he also learn the gentle art of dawdling, an acquisition of steady utility for his later years of clinical study.

His chief care, however, as just noted is not to learn anatomy, but to learn what which will get him through his examinations. He finds this is nothing less than vast catalogue of facts. He must acquire parrot-like ability to retail no hundreds, but thousands of facts. Every tag of fascia, every footing little venule, every ridge of every bone, every bursa and every septum real and imaginary must be know to him along with a cloud of relations”.

“And so at the period when the further medical mans receptive powers are at their highest, just at the time when he could assimilate digest and retain something of permanent value about the structure of the erect living human body, he is made to gorge upon tuberosities, venae comitae, centres of ossification arborizations, inoculations and rami communicantes.

The most devastating commentary I know upon modern anatomical teaching is provided by the medical student when be arrives into the wards of a hospital fresh from his anatomical studies. When confronted by a patient, and wishing to apply his anatomical lore, he is inches out in locating the stomach. Any medical tutor could furnish dozens of similar examples”.

In some ways the position is a good deal worse in physiology, but there is a redeeming feature in this subject in the general recognition that text-books of physiology are about as much practical value as an obsolete railway time- table.”

“The student will find instead of expositions of the really important aspects of human physiology tedious and ambiguous so- called biochemistry, endless discussion on abstruse aspects of reflex action ; re-hashed versions of discarded theories of excretion and secretion ; sententious platitudes which are copied from book to Bernard, and hair-splitting discussion on matters which never yet affected living man, woman or child”.

“Throughout all these studies and much like them the student is perpetually implored to cleave to the experimental method. It is taken for granted that he can recognize or devise a crucial experiment but not too much emphasis is ever laid on this matter. Instead the student finds himself presented month after month with alleged human physiology as parodied by the fibers of a frogs hind leg or the isolated vagus of an eviscerated cat”.

“And this brings me to the heaviest indictment which I have to make against medical education. All through the students years there is impressed upon him, mostly by interested and subsidized teachers, that knowledge of the human body can only be learned by the contemplation and practice of experiments upon animals. Now I know quite well that experiments on animals are condemned, right and left, on emotional, moral and ethical grounds.

J. Ellis Barker
James Ellis Barker 1870 – 1948 was a Jewish German lay homeopath, born in Cologne in Germany. He settled in Britain to become the editor of The Homeopathic World in 1931 (which he later renamed as Heal Thyself) for sixteen years, and he wrote a great deal about homeopathy during this time.

James Ellis Barker wrote a very large number of books, both under the name James Ellis Barker and under his real German name Otto Julius Eltzbacher, The Truth about Homœopathy; Rough Notes on Remedies with William Murray; Chronic Constipation; The Story of My Eyes; Miracles Of Healing and How They are Done; Good Health and Happiness; New Lives for Old: How to Cure the Incurable; My Testament of Healing; Cancer, the Surgeon and the Researcher; Cancer, how it is Caused, how it Can be Prevented with a foreward by William Arbuthnot Lane; Cancer and the Black Man etc.