An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural
Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies
Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z
homeopathy This claimed healing modus is included here because it is an excellent example of an attempt to make sympathetic magic work. Its founder, Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (1775?-1843), believed that all illnesses develop from only three sources: syphilis, venereal warts, and what he called “the itch.”
The motto of homeopathy is “Similia similibus curantur” (“Like cures like”). It claims that doses of substances that produce certain symptoms will relieve those symptoms; however, the “doses” are extremely attenuated solutions or mixtures, so attenuated that not a single molecule of the original substance remains. In fact, the homeopathic corrective is actually pure water, nothing more. The theory is that the vibrations or “effect” of the diluted-out substance are still present and work on the patient. Currently, researchers in homeopathy are examining a new notion that water can be magnetized and can transmit its medicinal powers by means of a copper wire. Really.
The royal family of England adopted homeopathy at its very beginning and have retained a homeopathic physician on staff ever since.
The only concern of homeopaths is to treat the symptoms of disease, rather than the basic causes, which they do not recognize. Thus homeopathy correctly falls into the category of magic. And quackery.
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Copyright (C) 1995-2007 James Randi.
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