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Old 12th December 2007, 05:10 PM   #1086
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
For those of you who want to see a Cliffnotes version of my book's info on Charles Darwin, go to this short article on Darwin and his homeopathic physician.

The above article includes links directly to Darwin's letters.

You will see that the Quackometer's previous article on this subject shows that he conducted superficial research on this subject and was simply shooting from the hip. I also show that Mr. Duck's quotes about homeopathy from Darwin were not in context (how convenient).

The article is just citing the same letters that have already been demonstrated not to support your claims about Darwin and homoeopathy.

Letter 1236 Doesn’t mention homoeopathy: it refers to Gully’s treatments as “the Water Cure”. Here’s the first passage you quote from it, with the rest of the paragraph to give the context of the treatments he was receiving:
I was not able to do anything one day out of three, & was altogether too dispirited to write to you or to do anything but what I was compelled.— I thought I was rapidly going the way of all flesh. Having heard, accidentally, of two persons who had received much benefit from the Water Cure, I got Dr. Gully's bookf1 & made further enquiries, & at last started here, with wife, children & all our servants. We have taken a house for two month & have been here a fortnight. I am already a little stronger & now have had no vomiting for 10 days. Dr. G. feels pretty sure he can do me good, which most certainly the regular Doctors could not. At present, I am heated by Spirit lamp till I stream with perspiration,f2 & am then suddenly rubbed violently with towels dripping with cold water: have two cold feet-baths, & wear a wet compress all day on my stomach. I eat simply, dine at 1 oclock & take several short walks daily. Even in first 8 days the treatment brought out an eruption all over my legs. I mention all this to you, as being a medical man, you might possibly like to hear about it.— I feel certain that the Water Cure is no quackery.— How I shall enjoy getting back to Down with renovated health, if such is to be my good fortune, & resuming the beloved Barnacles.— Now I hope that you will forgive me for my negligence in not having sooner answered your letter.—

You later present the “eruption” Darwin suffered over his legs as a homoeopathic aggravation or “healing crisis”; however there is nothing in this letter to suggest that this “eruption” was caused by homoeopathy.

Letter 1234 at least mentions homoeopathy. It is a little ironic that you criticize the Quackometer article for quoting out of context; here’s the passage you quoted yourself (in bold) in the context of all the other treatment Darwin was receiving:
As you say you want my hydropathical diary, I will give it youf1 —though tomorrow it is to change to a certain extent.— 1⁄4 before 7. get up, & am scrubbed with rough towel in cold water for 2 or 3 minutes, which after the few first days, made & makes me very like a lobster— I have a washerman, a very nice person, & he scrubs behind, whilst I scrub in front.— drink a tumbler of water & get my clothes on as quick as possible & walk for 20 minutes—f2 I cd. walk further, but I find it tires me afterwards— I like all this very much.— At same time I put on a compress, which is a broad wet folded linen covered by mackintosh & which is “refreshed”—ie dipt in cold water every 2 hours & I wear it all day, except for about 2 hours after midday dinner; I don't perceive much effect from this of any kind.— After my walk, shave & wash & get my breakfast, which was to have been exclusively toast with meat or egg, but he has allowed me a little milk to sop the stale toast in. At no time must I take any sugar, butter, spices tea bacon or anything good.—f3 At 12 oclock I put my feet for 10 minutes in cold water with a little mustard & they are violently rubbed by my man; the coldness makes my feet ache much, but upon the whole my feet are certainly less cold than formerly.— Walk for 20 minutes & dine at one.— He has relaxed a little about my dinner & says I may try plain pudding, if I am sure it lessens sickness.—
After dinner lie down & try to go to sleep for one hour.— At 5 olock feet in cold water—drink cold water & walk as before— Supper same as breakfast at 6 oclock.— I have had much sickness this week, but certainly I have felt much stronger & the sickness has depressed me much less.— Tomorrow I am to be packed at 6 oclock A.M for 1 & 1⁄2 hour in Blanket, with hot bottle to my feet & then rubbed with cold dripping sheet;f4 but I do not know anything about this.— I grieve to say that Dr Gully gives me homoœopathic medicines three times a day, which I take obediently without an atom of faith.—f5 I like Dr Gully much—he is certainly an able man: I have been struck with how many remarks he has made similar to those of my Father.—

You also quote from Letter 1240, but once again rather selectively:
I am very sorry to hear that you have not been very well this winter. With respect to myself I believe I am going on very well; but I am rather weary of my present inactive life & the Water Cure has the most extraordinary effect in producing indolence & stagnation of mind; till experiencing it, I cd not have believed it possible.— I now increase in weight, have escaped sickness for 30 days, which is thrice as long an interval, as I have had for last year; & yesterday in 4 walks I managed seven miles! I am turned into a mere walking & eating machine.— Dr. G. however finds he is obliged to treat me cautiously, & during last week all my treatment has been much relaxed. There are many patients here even already: last summer I hear he had 120!— He must be making an immense fortune.—f2 Lady Wilmot lives here with her son Col. Wilmot;f3 I have not called, for I was frightened at this great Dandy of a son: if it had been summer I wd. have called to have seen the flower garden.— You need not send Athenæumf4 or Glacier Paperf5 till our return to Down.—

Again, there is no mention of homoeopathy: the only treatment mentioned is the “Water Cure”.

Most extraordinary is your treatment of Letter 1352. You quote a passage from it:
You speak about Homœopathy; which is a subject which makes me more wrath, even than does Clairvoyance: clairvoyance so transcends belief, that one's ordinary faculties are put out of question, but in Homœopathy common sense & common observation come into play, & both these must go to the Dogs, if the infinetesimal doses have any effect whatever. How true is a remark I saw the other day by Quetelet, in respect to evidence of curative processes, viz that no one knows in disease what is the simple result of nothing being done, as a standard with which to compare Homœopathy & all other such things. It is a sad flaw, I cannot but think in my beloved Dr Gully, that he believes in everything when his daughter was very ill, he had a clairvoyant girl to report on internal changes, a mesmerist to put her to sleep, an homœopathist, viz Dr. Chapman; & himself as Hydropathist! & the girl recovered.

You assert that skeptics never quote the whole passage. Try looking here, or try looking at the Quackometer article. You will find the entire paragraph quoted in both places.

You also claim that Darwin “express[ed] surprise that she was cured, either by water-cure and/or homeopathy”. Nowhere does the letter express surprise that she recovered: it merely says that she did. And there is no indication in the letter that Darwin thought that the recovery was caused by any of the treatments given: it merely says that one event followed the other. Once again, you are attempting to rely on the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Note Darwin's comment on Quetelet's remark that "no one knows in disease what is the simple result of nothing being done".

And then you refer to Darwin’s experiments with Drosera. As has been pointed out, these experiments have nothing to do with homoeopathy. While the solutions used were very dilute, they were not ultramolecular: there will still have been actual amounts of the ammonium salts present. There is no suggestion that the solutions were succussed (something that homoeopaths claim is an essential part of the homoeopathic process), the principle of “like cures like” is not involved…

Nothing to do with homoeopathy, and I’m sure that if a negative trial had been reported using the sort of preparations Darwin used in the manner that he used them, you would be the first to say it wasn’t using homoeopathy.
"You got to use your brain." - McKinley Morganfield

"The poor mystic homeopaths feel like petted house-cats thrown at high flood on the breaking ice." - Leon Trotsky
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