Participating in a discussion on my scientific article on ‘Herings Laws of Directions of Cure’ on facebook, a young ‘professor’ of a homeopathic college in Pakistan declared:
“Intracellular molecular inhibition is not a real cause of disease this is the disease product or result of disease real cause is derangement of vital process of disease or week defense mechanism. When the defense mechanism become week due to some factors. Susceptibility of the weakest part increase. Even presence of some pathogens could not cause disease until the person is susceptible. And symptoms are the sole manifestation of susceptibility of the weakest part. So vital force represents its derangement only through symptoms. For real cure a true homeopath should concentrate toward symptoms to read the message of vital force. Intracellular description could be necessary for researcher but for finding similimum these types of hypotheses are unnecessary”.
One thing is obvious from this negative response. There cannot be a scientific dialogue on homeopathy with such a ‘professor’ of ‘classical homeopathy’. According to them, “these types of hypotheses are unnecessary”. How can we discuss scientific therapeutics and its methods to ‘learned’ people who are not willing to go beyond the phrase that “molecular inhibition is not a real cause of disease, this is the disease product or result of disease”? According to him, “a true homeopath should concentrate toward symptoms to read the message of vital force”. And as such, he is convinced that “these types of hypotheses are unnecessary”!
According to my observations, homeopathy contains the rudimentary forms of an advanced system of molecular medicine or ‘medicine of future’. If we really want Homeopathy to get recognized that way as a ‘scientific system of medicine’, we should no longer learn, teach and practice it as a ‘believe and experience’ system of therapeutics. Above conversation indicates that it requires a lot of conscious ‘unlearning’ of old lessons not only by the students and practitioners, but the ‘professors’ and academicians as well.
Those who think “these types of hypotheses are unnecessary” should remember one thing: they are learning, teaching and practicing some thing that could not be even called a ‘hypothesis’ according to the standards of modern scientific methodology.
Homeopathic theoreticians from hahnemann till date try to explain the ‘modus operandi’ of potentized homeopathic medicines using one or other ‘concepts’ available or evolved by them, and as such, homeopathy still belongs to a class of ‘unverified science’.
‘Hypothesis’ has a well-defined meaning in scientific methodology. By the term ‘hypothesis’ we mean a ‘proposed explanation’ or “educated guess” for a phenomenon that we observe around us. Every ‘proposed explanation’ cannot be considered a ‘scientific hypothesis’. To be a ‘scientific hypothesis’, the scientific method requires that one can test the hypothesis using available scientific tools and methodology. Every new scientific hypothesis is generally based on previous observations that could not be satisfactorily be explained with the existing scientific theories. The words “hypothesis” and “theory” are often used synonymously in common and informal usage, even though a ‘scientific hypothesis’ is not exactly the same as ‘a scientific theory’.
A hypothesis should be proved ‘using scientific tools’ in order to become a scientific theory. A ‘working hypothesis’ is a provisionally accepted hypothesis that is ready to be proved. Experimenters will have to test and reject several hypotheses before solving the given problem ultimately.
Testability (using existing scientific tools), Simplicity (avoiding excessive numbers of entities), Scope (apparent application of the hypothesis to multiple cases of phenomena), Fruitfulness (hypothesis may help to explain further phenomena in the future), and Conservatism (fitting with existing recognized knowledge-systems) are considered to be the essential qualities of a good scientific hypothesis.
Viewing from this standpoint, it is very much clear that most of the presently existing most celebrated ‘theories’ or hypotheses regarding homeopathy cannot be considered ‘scientific hypotheses’ since they contain concepts and conclusions that ‘could not be tested by any scientist using currently available scientific tools and methodology’ or ‘fit with existing recognized knowledge-systems’.
When attempting to provide a scientific explanation to homeopathy, first we have to propose a ‘scientific hypotheses’. That means, a hypothesis that ‘could be tested by any scientist using currently available scientific tools and methodology’ and that ‘fits with existing recognized knowledge-systems’.
Such a working hypothesis, over and above the aforesaid qualifications, should also be immediately useful to the practitioner, because homeopathy is a therapeutic art of practical implications. Besides lending the essential scientific credibility to the homeopathic paradigm, any hypothesis we propose should try to meet some practical utility criteria as a minimum requirement.
There are already many imaginative and ‘scientific’ ‘theories’ going around that seek to explain everything about homeopathy but fail to predict or offer anything of relevance. If a hypothesis fail to predict some relevant practical outcomes, then it becomes scientifically untestable and, therefore, unusable in practice.
Assumptions being proposed by a scientific hypothesis should be simple, testable and their numbers should be held to a minimum. The assumptions should also reflect the basic experience that is already generally held to be known.
Any working hypothesis about homeopathy should clearly identify a ‘biological mechanism’ that represents the action-reaction homeostasis of ‘vital processes’, which is called as the ‘vital force’ in homeopathy. It should also be capable of explaining the molecular mechanism of homeopathic therapeutics in a way fitting to the verified scientific paradigm of modern biochemistry and molecular biology.
Once a working hypothesis is proposed, there is much more research to be done before that is accepted as a ‘scientific theory’. The hypothesis needs to offer predictions that can be repeatedly and conclusively proved or disproved in the laboratory and in the clinic with out any bias.
From the above definitions of ‘hypothesis’, it is obvious that homeopathy so far lacks something that could be legitimately called ‘a scientific working hypothesis’ on homeopathy. We are learning, teaching, practicing and boasting about some thing that are not even ‘hypotheses’. Yet, we dare to declare that homeopathy is ‘ultimate science’! We dare to declare that ‘hypotheses are unnecessary’!
For the first time in the history of homeopathy, Dialectical Homeopathy proposes some concepts that could be legitimate candidate to be called a ‘scientific working hypothesis’ that could be proved according to scientific methods.
There lies the historical relevance of Dialectical homeopathy.