There are a number of homeopaths currently holding forth on the subject of homeopathy and Ebola, claiming their nostrums can treat the disease. The usual suspects, of course. For example:
Joette Calabrese, currently in the middle of a huge self-publicity drive, including buying followers and cross-posting everywhere she can: Bioterrorism and Epidemics: Knowing Homeopathy Can Help Make the World a Less Scary Place. There is, funnily enough, a huge difference between “less scary” and “safer”, but Joette hopes you won’t spot that one. It gets worse.
As a preventative if an outbreak happens nearby, Crotalus horridus 30C, one dose daily, until the threat is out of the area is the method many homeopaths familiar with this disease suggest.
If a person is infected, the remedies most commonly used would be the following. One dose every hour, but as the severity of the symptoms decrease, frequency is reduced. If no improvement is seen after 6 doses, a new remedy ought to be considered.
So Joette, who claims to be a classical homeopath (classical homeopathy holds that it cannot prevent, only treat), is suggesting homeopathic extract of rattlesnake can be used as a preventative. WTF point n° 1. She then uses the standard homeopathic get-out of: “if the patient doesn’t get better, we try something else.” This implies that if the patient dies, it was because they had yet to stumble on the correct remedy: +5 WTF points, with an extra 10 awarded for doing exactly what homeopaths frequently accuse doctors of: faffing around with no real idea of what they’re doing until, with luck, they hit on something that works, no matter how much the patient (or, in their case, the victim) suffers.
We’ll add a massive 25 WTF points for “many homeopaths familiar with this disease” because, to my knowledge, there are none. Google doesn’t know of any either, as the Ebola-infected zones are under strict quarantine. The “many homeopaths” have therefore exactly the same knowledge as you or I: they read it up on a website, probably the CDC or the WHO. In other words, they’re trying to pinch the work of real scientists and doctors, some of whom are dying from the disease as a direct result of their fight to save others. This is perilously close to übercuntery. It’s standard issue homeopathy, though: prescribe a fake remedy based on the symptoms. Like cures like, remember? And there are no such things as pathogens, even if in their little world of doublethink the word “virus” may be used; there are only humours, or miasms.
Dr. Eileen Nauman, of loony neohippy political movement The Light Party wrote in 1996, as part of a puff campaign for her then upcoming book Poisons That Heal:
Dr. Gail Derin studied the symptoms of Ebola Zaire, the most deadly of the three that can infect human beings. Dr. Vickie Menear, M.D. and homeopath, found that the remedy that most closely fit the symptoms of the 1914 “flu” virus, Crolatus horridus, also fits the Ebola virus nearly 95% symptom-wise! Thanks go to these doctors for coming up with the following remedies:
1. Crolatus horridus (rattlesnake venom) 2. Bothrops (yellow viper) 3. Lachesis (bushmaster snake) 4. Phosphorus 5. Merc. cor.
Eileen Nauman has been examined and found very much wanting by the members of the New Age Frauds forum. As usual, we discover that she is not entitled to describe herself as an MD. She writes for Harlequin Books and their ilk, which is a first, as I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a homeopath admitting to writing bodice-rippers before. Just a minute, WHAT IS THIS? Medical Astrology! Woohoo, David Tredinnick will be so pleased. Take 50 WTF points all for yourself, Eileen. Yes, yes, of course she’s anti-vax. She’s also into Soul Recovery and… Oh, fuck it. I can’t, I just can’t with all this… Look, here’s her profile on Light Technology Publishing, a hotbed of dumbfuck and moronicity. Steel yourselves, it’s weapons-grade delusional Stupid. Oh, and the photo on that site is ancient. This is Nauman as she looked 2 years ago.
The second point that amused me was the assertion that: “the remedy that most closely fit the symptoms of the 1914 “flu” virus, Crolatus horridus, also fits the Ebola virus nearly 95% symptom-wise!” So in other words, this quack believes that Spanish Flu and Ebola are 95% the same symptom wise. Let’s just check this. Compare and contrast the lists of symptoms on the right.
Flu Symptoms: Fever, nausea, aches, diarrhea, pneumonia, dark spots on cheeks, bleeding in lungs.
Ebola Symptoms: Fever, nausea, aches, diarrhea, severe headache, abdominal pain, severe weakness, exhaustion, sore throat, dizziness, internal and external bleeding, joint pain, dark or bloody faeces, vomiting blood, bleeding eyes, petechia (broken capillaries), maculopapular rash, purple discolorations of skin, low blood pressure, tachycardia, hypovolemia (low blood volume), disruption of clotting, altered white blood cell count, bleeding from incompletely-healed injuries, external haemorrhage from orifices including nose and mouth.
So, yes, remarkably similar symptoms really, apart from the heart problems, massive internal bleeding, haemorrhages from every orifice and wotnot. Oh, and the fact that the two diseases are caused by completely different viruses.
Gail Derin is a herbalist and acupuncturist who also does Ericksonian hypnotherapy and NLP coaching. Her doctorate is in TCM, therefore worthless. She too has bugger-all in the way of scientific qualifications and seems never to have been near a research lab. Vickie Menear is a homeopath (therefore also not a doctor) who decided as a student at the Hahnemann Institute that the symptoms of Ebola on paper looked remarkably like the symptoms of the 1914 ‘flu virus on paper. Well, they would. Ebola apparently starts out resembling a very nasty dose of ‘flu. This led to a number of quacks and assimilated conspiraloons concluding they are the same thing. In the case of the conspiraloons, of course, it’s been taken as further proof that the New World Order is out to destroy the population. Do I need to give links?
The whole pile of festering bollocks has been roundly debunked on sites like Layscience.net. That site no longer exists, but I found a copy of the post on Badscienceblogs.net. You can read the germane part in the pullquote to the left.
Who else? Ah yes, of course: The Health Danger, Mike Adams of Natural News. What gems has this ranting narcissistic loon got to share with us all?
“…sunlight kills Ebola…”
Obviously. That’ll explain why it’s a tropical disease, then. Twat.
“…it is an immunosuppressive disease…”
Bollocks. And advising that people stop chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or indeed any medical treatment as a preventative measure is tantamount to attempted murder in my book.
Last but not least – to be frank, not really the last, but I don’t have time to winkle out every single lying homeopath on the web, then sift out cross-posts and reblogs from the original brainfarts – there is this nasty bit of work pushing sugar pills and distilled water to “protect against a bioterrorism attack such as anthrax, plague or smallpox”… and Ebola, on both her own webshite and Natural News.
If you’re wondering where reliable sputtering loon John Benneth has got to, he seems to be on holiday, possibly in a quiet facility with nice soft walls, as he hasn’t tweeted or posted since 30th May.
No, I haven’t overlooked Dana Ullman. Far from it, although he’s been wisely keeping schtum about the whole thing. The trouble is, he’s already played his hand and is probably hoping people have forgotten. After all, it was nearly three years ago and time goes by so fast when you’re enjoying yourself. Or, as the case may be, playing whack-a-moron with the homeopaths and creationists on Twitter, although this is not as much fun as you’d think.
Do you remember the movie Contagion? Do you remember the review Ullman wrote of it in his personal blog? The one where he clearly identified the hero as Jude Law’s character and the villains as the CDC? I wrote about it here. It’s a fairly short post, less than 800 words. You may want to read that and of course Ullman’s own idiotic rant (which ends with a desperate plea for money: clearly shilling for his own books isn’t paying off). It should make where he stands on the matter pretty clear to everybody.
And finally, because this is possibly the most deliberately misleading tweet you’ll see all week:
— Laurie J. Willberg (@LaurieJWillberg) August 1, 2014
— WHO (@WHO) July 31, 2014
- Homeopaths vs. Ebola virus hemorrhagic fever (Respectful Insolence)
- April’s Fool or just plain Fool? (Sciblogs: Infectious thoughts)
- How can homeopathy help to stop the Ebola outbreak? (Skeptical Raptor)
- Terrifying Ebola ‘facts’ for enhanced scaremongering (Dean Burnett, at Guardian Blogs)