More Twisted Führer Mash-Up Fun: Today Homeopathy, Tomorrow…

In which Dr Aust hails the work of the polymath Dr DeeTee

Dr Aust often wishes he could do several things at once. Sadly, experience has shown that he can only manage this by doing everything in an incompetently amateur-ish fashion.

Some other folk, however, manage to do several things with amazing competence, despite one wondering where they find the time and energy. Many of the medical bloggers I have got to know, largely virtually, seem to fall into this category (some examples can be found in the blog sidebar on the main page).

“DeeTee” (or just “dt”) is the “nom de blog” of a hospital consultant in infectious diseases in the UK. After many years as a regular on the Bad Science Forums, and sterling work defending vaccination in the thankless and invariably nutter-rich surroundings of the Guardian’s Comment is Free discussion threads (like this one), he is now to be found blogging from time to time over at The Lay Scientist.

However, he has also found the time, perhaps amid the Christmas and New Year lull in the swine flu cases (?) to devise a new Führer-Mash-Up. This was originally linked from the previous Mash-Up thread about Chiropractic, but clearly deserves a post of its own.

In this one the Führer is in a distressed state because he cannot get his homeopathic sugar pills.

Enjoy!

(To which the appropriate response is “Zu Befehl!” Heel-clicking optional)

Beware: strong language. Make sure you have captions turned on (arrow in bottom right corner of the video)

Notes:

1. If you think the homeopathic remedy “Berlin Wall 30cthat the Führer refers to in the video is a joke, then you are insufficiently familiar with the loonier fringes of homopathy – or, in other words, with homeopathy. The remedy does exist: you can buy it from Helios homeopathic pharmacy here, while for more about it, and a fascinating insight into the way homeopaths think (!), try here or here. Please, though, do not visit these latter pages if under the influence of any mind-altering substances, as a Psychic Embolism might ensue. Or you might die laughing.

2. The Bristol study is the notorious survey-masquerading-as-a-clinical-study also sometimes referred to as “the Spence et al. study.” The full reference is:

David S. Spence, Elizabeth A. Thompson, S.J. Barron. “Homeopathic Treatment for Chronic Disease: A 6-Year, University-Hospital Outpatient Observational Study” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. October 2005, 11(5): 793-798. doi:10.1089/acm.2005.11.793.

The “study” is distinguished (if that is the word) by having no control group, and by being about as utterly useless as a purported piece of science as is possible. David Colquhoun gives it a quick fisking here.

Notwithstanding its utter feebleness, the Spence et al study is routinely cited by homeopaths as “compelling evidence that homeopathy is a valuable intervention”, or some variant thereof. I seem to remember that when Dr Peter Fisher, the Queen’s homeopathic doctor, debated Ben Goldacre some years ago (video here), he showed at least one slide summarizing the results of the Spence et al. paper. One should also note the journal in which the study appeared, that legendarily credulous house organ of Unreality the  Journal of  Alternative and Complementary Medicine .

3. The question of Hitler’s possible medical conditions has its own fascinating Wikipedia entry, which includes some history of the discussion over whether Der Führer might have had syphilis. One of the arguments against his having the disease (and particularly its tertiary manifestations) is that a reasonably effective treatment for syphilis was available at the time; the arsenical drug Salvarsan (arsphenamine), discovered in Germany in 1908 by Sahachiro Hata and Paul Ehrlich.

4. The reference to “Quantum entanglement” will be instantly recognisable as indicating the Führer’s was aware of the seminal work of noted Quantum Homeopathic Unreality guru, Dr Lionel Milgrom. Some viewers may object that the Führer could not possibly be aware of Milgrom’s work, which has largely been published in last decade. However, in the Quantum Unreality Many-Unreal-Worlds Hypothesis, all states of time co-exist simultaneously in one of the infinite number of possible realities. So there. And if you don’t believe me, it’s in Michael Crichton’s novel Timeline, so it must be true.

5. The Fuhrer makes reference in the video to the German pharmaceutical companies Merck and Bayer. Both companies were around in the Nazi era, though Bayer was then subsumed into the notorious chemical conglomerate IG Farben. The German pharmaceutical and chemical industry, and particularly IG Farben, was intimately involved with the Nazi regime, as you can read in the company’s Wikipedia entry. This involvement is something that Herr Dr Med Matthias Rath makes much use of in his regular schtick that one might paraphrase as “Mass murderers of Big Pharma, then and now”. Less bonkers readers might feel that drawing comparisons between IG Farben’s use of slave labour and manufacture of Zyklon B, and the current manufacture and use of antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV, is the purest insane nonsense.

6. There is actually a fascinating history of homeopathy, and alternative medicine generally, connected with the Third Reich. I may add something about this later as I have time. Alternatively, you can find bits about it in many places around the Internet. Homeopathy was well-established in Germany in the 1930s, as were various other alternative therapies.  Among the senior Nazis there was a fair bit of enthusiasm for anything that could be identified as being a “folk” (völkisch) practice. The senior Nazi most renowned for his enthusiasm for homeopathy was Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess, later the prisoner of Spandau.

And since we’re doing homeopathy on video…

And finally, since we are celebrating homeopathy in cinematic form, I couldn’t resist finishing by adding yet another bit of Youtube magic, in this case the marvellous Mitchell and Webb “Homeopathic A&E” sketch. Even if you’ve seen it (and I’m sure most of you have) it is still funny on repeat viewing.

8 Responses to “More Twisted Führer Mash-Up Fun: Today Homeopathy, Tomorrow…”

  1. Michael K Gray Says:

    dt, that is a mark of true genius, and quite the best of this genre so far.
    Thanks for the belly laugh near the end…

    [Ed: re-posted here from original site on the other thread]

  2. zeno Says:

    Brilliant! It’s always worth watching the M&W sketch again.

    And a good opportunity to remind everyone to sign up to the 1023 campaign at http://www.1023.org.uk

  3. Budicius Says:

    Awesome clips. I love Homoeopathy I really do.

  4. dt Says:

    Good grief, Dr Aust….. I am embarassed by your glowing comments.

    I have now sacked Max Clifford as my publicist and am hereby offering you the post.

    But a polymath!!????

    (methinks you know not the meaning of this awesome epithet).

    Another explanatory comment on the video:

    Hitler’s comment on “homeopathy filling the syphilis-shaped hole in my vital energy” is of course a reference to Simon Singh’s Newsnight investigation into homeopathy in 2006, when he was told how homeopathy works against malaria by filling “a malaria-shaped hole in your energy”. See:

    http://www.dcscience.net/?p=22

    Thanks for the great interpretation of the clip – far better than I could ever have done.

  5. draust Says:

    The Wikipedia page discussing polymaths can be found here.

    Jack of Kent recently referred to me similarly, so I share your embarrassment, dt. I think he and I were both using the term slightly mockingly.

    Thanks for adding the note about the “hole in the vital energy.” I spotted a few other homeo-technical terms which I might also add some explanatory notes for if I get time.

  6. pv Says:

    Humour is the best medicine against becoming infected with the delusion otherwise known as homeopathy. Well done dt and Dr Aust.

  7. Cybertiger Says:

    I loved DeeTee’s ‘howling at the moon’ sketch.

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/339/dec15_1/b5432#228427

    Awesome! Truly polymathematical!

  8. 129th Skeptics’ Circle! « The SkeptVet Blog Says:

    [...] The august Dr. Aust considers the needs of those suffering from the recent earthquake in Haiti and suggests that while maybe sending money to aid organizations is a quiet, anonymous, not terribly dramatic way to help, it is better than arrogantly and flamboyantly rushing there to show off your woo, as some homeopaths have done. And now for something completely different (how many of you are old enough to remember that show?!) he takes an informative and surprisingly lighthearted look at Hitler and homeopathy. [...]

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