Lionel Milgrom and the Nazis

November 6, 2007 at 12:58 pm (Homeopathic Remedies, Homeopathy, Milgrom and the Nazis) (, , , , , , )

There’s been some letters to the eCAM journal http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/eletters/4/1/7. The e-letters from Daniel Chrastina, Austin Elliot and Simon Baker make for interesting reading. Lionel Milgrom responds to these letters with a rant about Edzard Ernst ‘bringing up the Third Reich’.

My response to Milgrom’s Nazi complaint follows.

Lionel Milgrom complains that “Ernst concludes his paper “The truth about homeopathy” by referring to ‘lost’ research trials undertaken by the pro-homeopathy Nazi leadership that were so “Wholly and disastrously negative” they have been deliberately covered up by German homeopaths ever since” and compares this to the work of Dan Brown, further stating that “one should… question its motivation” and asking “why bring up the Third Reich’s involvement with homeopathy now?”

I don’t believe that Prof. Ernst was highlighting the Nazi involvement in homeopathy in order to strike a popular chord, rather that he was highlighting the trial results and the suppression of these negative studies. It seems clear to me that Prof. Ernst brought up the Third Reich in order to point out not only that the trials undertaken were negative, but also that the results were covered up by German homeopaths. These points are extremely pertinent to the debate on homeopathy as the first relates to the efficacy (or inefficacy) of homeopathy and the second relates to the question of whether the study of homeopathy by its supporters is grounded in science.

Like Mr Milgrom, I disapprove of the use of emotionally-charged phrases being used in serious scientific debate. For instance, I find this appalling: “Nick Cohen’s comments on homeopathy are as ignorant and about as offensive as those who quote the ‘Protocols of Zion’ to justify anti-semitism”. This quote is taken from responses to Nick Cohen’s excellent recent article on homeopathy that can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2200815,00.html.

7 Comments

  1. Mojo said,

    Did you submit it to eCAM?

  2. jdc325 said,

    Yep. I’m not sure it was such a good idea to follow Milgrom off-topic, though. He has three e-letters to respond to from the authors I mention at the top of this post. It will be interesting to see if he does.

  3. Mojo said,

    I wonder how “Lionel R Milgrom, BSc, MSc, PhD, CChem, FRSC, LCH, MARH”, as he styled himself on his latest e-letter, will react to being called “Mr”.

  4. draust said,

    Yes, impressive list of initials after Lionel’s name. I feel quite letter-naked by comparison as a mere B.Sc. Ph.D. Oh well…

    As I have commented before, the thing I find most surprising is that after a blameless career as an academic scientist in photochemistry (hence Ph.D., FRSC – Royal Soc of Chemistry long-service award – CChem) Lionel suddenly ditched reality and chucked all the laws of chemistry and physics out of the window (hence LCH, MARH, where the H stands for Homeopathy). One would speculate he must have had some kind of revelatory personal homeopathic experience (or at least something he interpreted as such).

    BTW, Did you notice that Milgrom’s response also cites (in a vaguely approving matter) the infamous Dave Holmes et al “evidence = microfascism” paper.

    (Badscience has links back to the original threads on the Holmes et al. paper and its aftermath)

  5. draust said,

    Just looked up the things you have to do to become a “CChem” (chartered chemist) on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s website.

    For some reason points 5, 9 and 10 particularly struck me.

    The twelve professional attributes against which a Candidate’s performance is judged are:

    1. Make significant personal contributions to key tasks in your employment area and understand fully the chemistry objectives of the work done and its relevance to the employer or others.
    2. Demonstrate a high level of appropriate professional skills in the practice of chemistry.
    3. Develop your chemistry and other professional skills as required for the work undertaken and career development.
    4. Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of Health, Safety and Environmental issues and adhere to the relevant requirements relating to your role.
    5. Evaluate critically and draw conclusions from scientific and other data.
    6. Demonstrate integrity and respect for confidentiality on work and personal issues. Demonstrate other professional attributes such as thoroughness and reliability.
    7. Plan and organise time systematically, demonstrate foresight in carrying out tasks, and offer suggestions for improvements to tasks/duties.
    8. Demonstrate an interest in broader developments in chemical science and make a contribution to the profession of chemistry outside your direct work environment.
    9. Write clear, concise and orderly documents and give clear oral presentations.
    10. Discuss work convincingly and objectively with colleagues, customers and others. Respond constructively to, and acknowledge the value of, alternative views and hypotheses.
    11. Demonstrate the ability to work as part of a team.
    12. Exert effective influence

  6. jdc325 said,

    Thanks for the comments Mojo and Dr Aust.

    In my head, Lionel R Migrom, BSc, MSc, PhD, CChem, FRSC, LCH, MARH, is a porphyrin expert and Mr Lionel Milgrom is a homeopathy apologist.

    I love the Cchem attributes page you linked to, Dr A. Point 10 made me wonder if Dr Milgrom will be responding to the three e-letters previously referred to. (The authors were Daniel Chrastina, Austin Elliot and Simon Baker – hereafter referred to the Axis-of-Good). Point 9 made me think of one word – entanglement. Point 5 – I wonder if Milgrom sometimes relies on drawing conclusions from ‘other’ data rather than ‘scientific’ data.

    (It also reminded me just a little of the fun that was had with the Associate Professor criteria at the University of Teesside a while back: http://dcscience.net/?p=39).

    jdc, GCSE.

  7. She-Liger said,

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