Damn homeopathy

Here’s a one-minute horror story, and a novel (to me) rationalization for quackery.

The patient thinks that it is good that her breast lump has erupted into a bleeding, rotting mass, because that’s a sign that the homeopathic treatments were working, rather than failing. Yikes.

P.S. Important: in the name of all that is holy, do not Google “fungating”. It is not a portmanteau of “fun” and “gating” — the derivation is from “fungal”, and you do not want to see a breast with a fungating mass. It is horrifying to consider that so many people in human history have died of this ghastly disease.

And that is a multi-millennial horror story.


  1. tacitus says

    Yeah. Not as extreme, but the mother of a friend of mine spent several years visiting all kinds of alt-med therapists for treatment of her glaucoma before she finally gave up and visited a real doctor. By then, of course, it was far too late to save most of her eyesight.

  2. Scott Petrovits says

    Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out. Or so open that your cancer falls out, because your body can’t contain it anymore, because your brain fell out a long time ago.

  3. bcw bcw says

    The thread you cite is jammed with comments defending homeopathy.

    then there’s this

  4. littlejohn says

    Of COURSE I Googled it. How could I not? She took THAT to a voodoo doctor? Good god.

  5. weylguy says

    I forget the term (something like beneficial suppuration), but it was applied to red, pus-filled sores back in the 1700s, when infections were considered a positive sign of healing. At least people didn’t believe in expensive elixirs whose sole mode of action was based on water molecules “remembering” they had contacted a toxin, and thus were considered powerful curatives.

  6. Dan Phelps says

    Not homeopathy, but almost as bad- I watched Josh Axe’s appalling spiel on KET’s fundraiser late last night. Here is what I published on the blog the Panda’s Thumb last year when Kentucky Educational Television aired this insanely anti-science “health” show: https://pandasthumb.org/archives/2021/11/your-brain-as-walnut.html. Again I ask- “what will KET do if someone dies after taking his advice?” A simple disclaimer at the start if the show does not excuse KET promoting this.

  7. dianne says

    Ah, fungating masses. Much as you don’t want to google them, the images don’t really give you the full effect. For that you need to smell them.

  8. says

    I had a good friend. The proverbial mad Englishman. He had schizophrenia bit it was well controlled by drugs His wife was the “responsible adult”. A few years back he had a problem with his heart rate which required fitting a pacemaker to treat it. His bloody idiot wife decided the doctors knew nothing and took him to her homeopath with the end fatal result. I miss his wit, his company and his eccentricity. I definitely don’t miss her. She is currently doing her best to spread Covid by posting every anti-vax conspiracy theory she finds and promoting Ivermectin and sundry other garbage treatments. Sadly sometimes natural selection doesn’t weed out the unfit.

  9. John Morales says


    Sadly sometimes natural selection doesn’t weed out the unfit.

    Fitness is a probability density curve of potential applied to a landscape of environmental factors over time.

    What natural selection does is a probabilistic cumulative effect, not at all algorithmic or targeted.

    So though your sentiment is understandable, it’s misapplied.

    Natural selection does not work by weeding out the unfit, and most saliently, it is a second-order effect.

    Point being, were you to actually think of it in that manner, then it would follow that anyone who perishes young was perforce unfit. And it would also follow that “His bloody idiot wife” is perforce fit.

  10. indianajones says

    Jesus Morales! You hear a heart breaking story of personal grief and your response is to pedantically correct their use of terminology?

    Your nit picking is rarely amusing at best, but this is over the line. Shame on you.

  11. John Morales says


    indianajones, it’s not just to “pedantically correct their use of terminology”, but rather to put to bed the pernicious thinking engendered by the concept of social darwinism embedded in that utterance.

    In short, though you might consider it to be mere nit-picking, I don’t.

  12. says

    John Morales, I’m well aware that natural selection works in a probabilistic fashion and that it doesn’t weed out all the unfit. That also sadly is the nature of probability and what you mean by unfit. You could argue that my late friend was unfit by virtue of his schizophrenia but he managed it, had a successful naval career making it tot the rank of Petty Officer and in his retirement taught English as a second language and instilled a love of fine literature in his students. So from a different perspective he was fit.His wife on the other hand has caused far more harm than good but natural selection clearly favours her for one reason; her ability to delude others into making stupid decisions and removing themselves from the gene pool. You could also say natural selection wins in the end because she has not been able to pass on her genes but she has done something worse, she has passed on her memes and they have a life of their own.