On last week’s Think Tank, our new reporter Jo Benhamu discussed a letter published in the London journal of Medicine on July 29 th, 1851 from a Dr John McCormack.


and was in response to speeches previously published regarding “..prevailing professional laxity and charlatanry, in connection with the homeopathic quackery”.

Dr McCormack had some pretty scathing things to say about homeopathy and its use by “…shallow men and women…able to lure lucre by every imaginable wile from the sick and the silly”.

He went on to say;

“When patients are once secured, they are, ….retained by the combination of every current medical novelty which may at the time be most in favour with the moneyed throng of quack-fanciers“.

“..homoeopathy…is truly a combination of any and every available charlatanic trick,…..and therefore all that remains for us, as men of science and men of integrity, is to give notice, that we exclude from all professional intercourse practitioners who are in any way engaged in using or upholding a system which we think bears upon its very face fraud as well as absurdity“.

Wow, pretty serious stuff. One might imagine you could now get sued for saying things like this, ala, the BCA and Simon Singh.

But McCormack went further than this by listing a series of guidelines desscribing how clinicians who used or practiced homeopathy should be received by their medical colleagues;


“1. That it is the opinion of this (Provincial) Association, that homoeopathy as propounded by Hahnemann, and practised by his followers, is so utterly opposed to science and common sense, as well as so completely at variance with the experience of the Medical Profession, that it ought to be in no way or degree practised or countenanced by any regularly educated medical practitioner.

2. That homoeopathic practitioners, through the press, the platform, and the pulpit, have endeavoured to heap contempt upon the practice of Medicine and Surgery as followed by members of this Association, and by the profession at large.

3. That for these reasons it is derogatory to the honour of members of this Association to hold any kind of professional intercourse with homoeopathic practitioners.

4. That there are three classes of practitioners who ought not to be members of this Association, viz.-lst, real homeopathic practitioners; 2nd, those who practise homoeopathy in combination with other systems of treatment; and 3rd, those who under various pretences meet in consultation, or hold professional intercourse with those who practise homoeopathy”.



“To adopt resolutions setting forth that the homeopathic dogma and the doctrine of infinitesimal doses have no truthful basis, and are, in fact, mere nonsensical delusions…The worst part of homeopathy, is in my opinion, the DISHONESTY of the majority of those who live by it”.

So there you go, homoeopathy, declared bullshit as early as 1851.

You can find the full reference here.

Tip o’the hat to Jo Benhamu.

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