Homeopathy and Its Kindred Delusionshomeopathy and its kindred delusions of grandeur, homeopathy and its kindred delusions vs hallucinations
Homœopathy and Its Kindred Delusions is a work by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr, based upon two lectures he gave in 1842, Medical Delusions and Homœopathy The work criticizes homeopathy, which he considered to be akin to "astrology, palmistry and other methods of getting a living out of the weakness and credulity of mankind and womankind" It is considered to be a classic text, one of Holmes' most important works, as well as one of the earliest criticisms of homeopathy
Homeopathy and Its Kindred Delusions is composed of two parts In the first, Holmes explains how the placebo effect can produce false positives, and describes numerous forms of popular but ineffective quackery including the royal touch, the tractors of Elisha Perkins, and the powder of sympathy, to demonstrate that positive anecdotal evidence is not necessarily indicative of an effective medical therapy He also describes how Perkins claimed the healing powers of the tractors were due to their being made of a special alloy, but how they declined in popularity after it was discovered that the tractors had the same effect no matter what they were made of In the second, he criticizes the basis of homeopathy itself, such as its theory of dilutions Another issue is that of homeopathic provings the practice of taking a substance to see what symptoms it causes Holmes claims that during provings, subjects consider even the slightest discomfort such as itching to be the result of the substance, and that this method does not demonstrate symptom causality
In the work Holmes also expressed a belief that "real advances were made only after years of work by highly trained men who cared little for fame and money"
Homeopathy and Its Kindred Delusions received both praise and criticism after its release In a series of letters titled Some Remarks on Dr O W Holmes's Lectures on Homeopathy and Its Kindred Delusions; Communicated to a Friend, Robert Wesselhoeft negatively compared Holmes' work to writers that "made sport of their fellow man" and considered the work to be representative of "Old School medicine's continued scorn for reform" In contrast, Eric W Boyle wrote in his 2013 book Quack Medicine that Holmes' work was "the most thoroughly explicated attack on homeopathy as a dangerous and deadly error"
- ^ a b c Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Sr 1842 Homoepathy and Its Kindred Delusions Boston: William D Ticknor – via Internet Archive
- ^ Dowling, William C 2007 Oliver Wendell Holmes in Paris University Press of New England pp 41, 80, 100–1, 158 ISBN 1584655801
- ^ Weissmann, Gerald "Homeopathy: Holmes, Hogwarts, and the Prince of Wales" FASEB Journal Retrieved 6 December 2013
- ^ Herbert Cahoon, Thomas V Lange, Charles Ryskamp 1977 American Literary Autographs, from Washington Irving to Henry James Dover Publications p 40 ISBN 0486235483
- ^ Ober, K Patrick 2003 Mark Twain and Medicine: Any Mummery Will Cure University of Missouri Press pp 196–7 ISBN 0826264484
- ^ Weil, Andrew 2004 Health and Healing: The Philosophy of Integrative Medicine Mariner Books p 22 ISBN 0618479082
- ^ Solberg, Winton U 2009 Reforming Medical Education University of Illinois Press p 14 ISBN 0252033590
- ^ Browner, Stephanie 2004 Profound Science and Elegant Literature: Imagining Doctors in Nineteenth-Century America University of Pennsylvania Press pp 19, 94 ISBN 0812238257
- ^ The Medical Brief: A Monthly Journal of Scientific Medicine, Volume 39 Henry R Strong 1911 pp 246–7
- ^ Wesselhoeft, Robert 1842 Some Remarks on Dr O W Holmes's Lectures on Homoeopathy and Its Kindred Delusions: Communicated to a Friend Boston: Otis Clapp
- ^ Haller Jr, John S 2005 The History of American Homeopathy: The Academic Years, 1820-1935 Psychology Press/CRC Press pp 202, 207–8
- ^ Boyle, Eric W 2013 Quack Medicine: A History of Combating Health Fraud in Twentieth-Century America Praeger p 8 ISBN 031338567X
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