I will start by telling an old Jewish joke. One that’s a little bit out of the way, not a Borscht Belt classic.
An orthodox young Jew decided he’d had enough of the religion and wanted to learn to be an apostate – the Jewish term is Apikoros. He went to the local Apikoros and asked to spend the weekend with him to see how it was done. He was shocked to see the Apikoros observing all the laws of the holy Sabbath to the letter, but felt it would be rude to comment to his host. However, just before he left he could no longer restrain himself:
“What was all that about?” he asked, “you did everything an observant Jew would do!”
“My boy, I’m an Apikoros!” retorted the apostate, “not an ignoramus”.
Someone calls about an appointment. They ask questions. Fine – they should ask questions. They want to know about homoeopathy, often not the deeper theory, more whether it will help their particular problem. So far so good. Excellent.
But then things move over to the dark side:
“My friend said he read an article that homoeopathy is dangerous and bad for you.”
“Is your friend a homoeopath?”
“Has your friend studied homoeopathy?”
“Does he know what homoeopathy is?”
“Did you see the article?”
“Yes, it was…”
“and was the author a homoeopath?”
“Did it say whether the author had studied homoeopathy?”
“No, it was written by a general health journalist…”
This irritates me. Many homoeopaths sadly don’t understand clearly Hahnemann’s genius in harnessing the principle of cure by similars in a way that would not bump off his patients. This is all the more so in the case of those writing these articles.
Debate is important. Questioning is important. But those cynics and sceptics have very rarely – if ever – read Hahnemann’s writings. They very rarely – if ever – can give me a concise explanation of what homoeopathy is, burbling on about substances diluted into non-existence as if that has anything to do with the basic operating principle on which homoeopathy is founded, without which homoeopathy is nothing. And homoeopathy is ONLY the method described in Hahnemann’s writings – he developed the system after all. Anything deviating from that method and that principle is… something else, whatever name is given to it.
The Apikoros, the Jewish apostate, was usually one of the most learned men in town. In the modern debate regarding homoeopathy, all too often the debate “partner” that shows up is the Ignoramus.