"TWO SETS OF CONVICTIONS."

F. Flint, W.D. Spanton, H. Donkin
1881 The Lancet  
SIR,—If the orthodox practitioners of medicine had settled convictions on some theory of the treatment of disease, such as some of the " pure and simple" followers of Hahnemann profess to have-if one school of practitioners were uniformly to treat disease on the principle, say of contraria contrariis curai6titr, and another on the principle of similia similibus -there would then be no obstacle in the way of appreciating the value of your editorial remarks in this day's LANCET on professional
more » ... on professional ethics. Seeing, however, that the orthodox practitioner of medicine has no such settled conviction, and that in his treatment of disease he often uses remedies in a way that certainly cannot be explained by the rule of contraries-e.g., the use of small doses of ipecacuanha in the treatment of vomiting (Ringer), of small doses of Dover's powder or of picrotoxin in morbid sweating (Murrell), of small doses of arsenic in gastro-enteric inflammation (Ringer), &c. ; and seeing, moreover, that there are now very few homoeopaths who adhere scrupulously to the so-called law of similia similibus to the neglect of arts learnt by experience-seeing all this, the edge of your remarks is blunted. Your strictures would have been sharp-edged enough forty or fifty years ago, when the dividing line between orthodox medicine and homoeopathy was clear and plain; but now when not even Sir W. Gull himself has, I suppose, any settled conviction on the theory of the treatment of disease, would it not be better, because more in harmony with the present condition of parties in medicine, to try to open one's eyes to view the large common ground that there is for the homoeopathist and the ordinary practitioner of medicine ? I am, Sir, yours truly, Scarborough, April 30th, 1881. Our correspondent has wholly misread the article to which he refers if he does not understand that we equally denounce similia similibus curantur and contraria contrariis curantur. They are both mere superficial statements of mere surface appearances. The causes of the effects produced underlie these alleged methods of action ; and scientific inquiry at once reveals the fallacy of the deductions drawn from insufficient and misunderstood data. Neither ipecacuanha, Dover's powder, nor picrotoxin acts homceopathically or allopathically; the action is in each case strictly in accordance with the known laws of therapy. Dr. Flint as a " homceopathist " naturally takes a one-sided view. We are against all one-sided views. If there were such a system as allopathy "-which there is not, and never was,-we should condemn it as we do " homœopathy." Scientific medicine is rational medicine, and knows nothing of systems.-ED. L. To the Editor of THE LANCET. SIR,-Is it not a very significant circumstance that when the leading so-called "homoeopath" of London seeks a consultant whose opinion is considered worth anything he cannot find one in the homceopathic ranks ? And this for the simple and sufficient reason that not one physician or surgeon in the front rank of the profession is to be found among the homceopaths. Sir W. Jenner deserves the thanks of the whole profession for the manly way in which he has acted in this matter; and I make bold to say he has the whole provincial profession, at any rate, with him.
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(02)33921-7 fatcat:4odtjnyehvgi3nahmbwmhqe5za