So says John Benjamin Nichols, M.D., of Washington, D.C., in the leading paper of The Journal of the American Medical Association, Feb. I. To quote: ” Of all the medical system of present or past time, there is none which in my opinion has a scantier basis of fact or reason, a poorer excuse for existence, or a more fantastic set of principles and methods than Homoeopathy.” Reading this in connection with what he states elsewhere leaves one in doubt as to whether he is funning or considers himself to know more than the facts warrant.
To illustrate this point read the following from his paper: When, however, we contemplate the zeal, enthusiasm and faith of the devotees of the pseudomedical sects; when we consider the large numbers of their adherents; when we appreciate that their following comes from the most reputable, most substantial and most intelligent sections of the community-from the better rather than the lower classes of society-then we should begin to realize that these popular beliefs are not the products of perversity or wickedness or ignorance, but result from powerful causes, to deny whatever deeply rooted in human nature.
To ignore these causes, to deny whatever merit or justification the sects may possess, is to meet the situation ineffectively. In view of its manifest powerful hold on human nature we should look on medical sectarianism as a psychologic phenomenon presenting a definite scientific problem, and study its causes, nature and manifestations in precisely the same dispassionate way as we would investigate any other pathologic condition.
Now you see the point? “Homoeopathy has no excuse for existence,” yet its following “comes from the most reputable,most substantial and most intelligent section of the community.” Is he making fun of his brethren ? As he says this fact is “a psychologic phenomenon presenting a definite scientific problem,” but a problem that the gentlemen who lay so much stress on being the only doctors are unable to solve, for they, as he says elsewhere in his paper, work from things objective only.
Is it not this that causes the “intelligent” to turn away from allopathic medicine in increasing number every year?
It is easily within the range of rational science to believe that a universal principle, such as is expressed by the word “Homoeopathy,” will continue to exist quite regardless of what medical law maker may do. It is this point that Dr. NIchols seems to be unable to grasp. A given drug always has and always will act according to its law governed nature even though the allopaths says that to so believe is ” a priori” and “sectarian”
Dr. Nichols says that his medicine proceeds from observed facts in manner. The powder to observe these fact is mental, which power is immaterial, or at least is so considered by the intelligent.
But it may be asked, what has mentality to do with disease? That is a “problem. One fact bearing on it is that every great war that stirs nations to their mental depths is followed by a pestilence. The Balkan war is today accompanied by a dreadful visitation f cholera. The war between Japan and Russia was accompanied by a very fatal epidemic of small-pox in Japan and the pneumonic plague in Manchuria, a plague that was awfully fatal. Japan and China had a war and bubonic plague seemed to start up afresh and has been creeping about the world ever since.
The United States had a brush with Spain and a mild epidemic of “Cuban itch” or small-pox-as you prefer-swept the whole of this country. This is not advanced as a scientific fact, but as an observation, which may or may not have to do with cause and effect. It seems, however, to demonstrate that if medical science confines itself solely to matter, to that which it can see through a microscope and make cultures of, it is a one legged science, a cripple, and that probably is the reason why the intelligent among the people go off in increasing numbers every year to realms that are not so constricted. Dr. Nichols quotes several things from Hahnemann and concludes that they are all “stupenduous nonsense.” One of these is “his denial of the healing power of Nature.” We might mention that Sir William Gull also denied it.
If Nature alone heals of what use is medicine?
Another is “his teaching that chronic disease are due to the itch.” He teaches nothing of the sort-our denial will offset Dr. Nichols affirmation; let the book, Chronic Disease, settle the question. Hahnemann taught that it was the suppression of disease outwardly manifested that caused chronic disease.
“That the shaking of drugs increase their power.” Take the equivalent of “shaking,” i.e., “trituration,” does it not increase the power of mercury in calomel:
Of olfaction. You can be, of a surety, powerfully affected by inhalations, why not curatively affected by the same means? Can Dr. Nichols tell us why not?
However he merely quote these things and then says: “The two cardinal doctrines, however, continue to form the distinctive features of the homoeopathic system, the use of similars and the infinitesimal dosage.”
The doctrine of similars is the heart of Homoeopathy, while the doctrine of infinitesimals is but the addenda of that sometimes are thing, common sense. Arsenic, mercury, strychnine, atropin and other drugs are known to be curative and deadly. Scientific medicine seeks the dose giving a “physiological effect,” which is smaller than the lethal dose; Homoeopathy seeks the curative dose-and finds it as experience demonstrates.
And now as to the doctrine of similars. Today scientific medicine is giving “vaccine” of various diseases, or “serums,” for the cure of the disease which produce the vaccines, or serums, which at best are but “similars” of the diseases. The whole is but an approach to the law of similars.
Finally, Dr. Nichols says: “Except among a minute remnant Homoeopathy as a system of practice at the present time is practically extinct.” That is a question of statistics that neither Dr. Nichols nor the RECORDER can decide, nor does it affect the question at issue. There are more followers of Confucius to-day than of scientific medicine, but does that afffect the truth or falsity of either in any way? If you allopathic doctors are wise you will stop this sort of ancient foolishness.