Well, the Flying Monkeys have come and gone.  And, funnily enough, they have decided that they like being called Flying Monkeys.  I think that’s because it stirs up happy memoirs of the Wizard of Oz.  All well and good.  Might as well be called Flying Monkeys as trolls.  Long may you fly, guys, have fun.

Here’s what I learned as a result of their “visit.”  First, that they tend to arrive en masse and see if they can intimidate and, if they fail to do so, they move right on to the next target.  (I read one Tweet that said that arguing with me was like arguing with an evangelist and advised his readers to “move on.”)  Oh, well.

Second, I learned that, in spite of the fact that they make a remarkable amount of noise, they have very little to say.

I did have some brief discussions with a few of them–those who weren’t just posting complaints or pejoratives without even bothering to read my actual blog–before they left.  I want to post here my comments to two of them, as they reflect my reasons for feeling disappointed in my experience in meeting them.  It doesn’t have to do with whether or not they are dedicated.  They are remarkably dedicated.  It doesn’t have to do with whether or not they are bright.  From my brief experience of them, the majority seem very bright.  Rather, it has to do with their actual life experience or lack of same.  From what I read in their comments, they seem remarkably naive.

In an answer to a comment from Sam, perhaps the most intelligent and thoughtful of the bunch, I wrote:

In all honesty, one of the things I have against debate (and, let me say this as an ex-debater is school, and a rather good one, especially when I was allowed to close the deal) is that it really only reflects manipulation of book learning. Of research. If there is one thing that I have learned in studying healing and health for three decades is that there is a huge gulf between what we learn philosophically, learn from books, and what we learn from life. Clinical experience trumps anything. Ask any doctor. What interested me were your actual ideas, were the things that you learned in your life, not the things that you have been trained to think by medical studies or by internet sites. That is why the Flying Monkeys bore me. They have nothing to say that comes from their own unique intellect and their own experience of life. It’s all, “you’re just taking water!” and never anything that requires direct experience or real thought and conclusions. I know that you consider all this anecdotal, and yet, I tell you, Sam, there is great importance in learning from actual experience and not from some study that will be overturned by another study in six weeks or six years. The things you learn yourself shape your reality. The things you learn from books and cling to become your “reality.” That’s the difference and that is largely why I don’t want this site to turn into a place of debate. Not because I hate free speech, but because, like that dreaded teacher who gave essay tests, I want to know what people really think–I don’t want them just to spit back what they have learned as if it were fact.

This links directly with something that I wrote to another commenter, one named Adam, who has written me several posts, all of which do two things.  First, they tell me what I am doing wrong.  Second, they ask for evidence of everything I say.  To him I wrote:

Here’s my wishful thinking, Adam. That you would do some research yourself. That you, as a thinking, reasoning person, would stop asking other people to do the work that you need to do. You want to know if homeopathy works as I say it does, do some real research, beyond just looking at a couple of web sites that have pre-digested the material for you. There are hundreds of books out there on both sides of the issue. Read them. I have. Go to interview a few homeopaths of different sorts with different levels of training. i have. Discuss the matter not with the Skeptics but with different allopaths. I have. You may be shocked to find that many of them are actually quite open to homeopathy and understand that the principles by which they, allopaths, treat conditions like chronic allergies are pure homeopathy. Talk to patients on all sides of the issue, listen to what they have to say.

You keep asking me to do the work that you need to do. If you are REALLY interested in medicine, in what works and why and for who and when it works and why it fails to work, then it is not enough for you to simply stand tapping your foot and asking me for evidence. You and SkepticCanary are guilty of the same thing and that is that you ask questions but you aren’t really interested in the answers. You won’t be until you become true skeptics. True Skeptics are people who doubt and are looking for reasons why they should or should not move from a place of doubt and believe or disbelieve. True skeptics don’t ask others to do their thinking or experiencing for them, they do it for themselves. Why is it that you have near infinite time and energy to come and ask me and ask many, many others the same tired questions, but you don’t have the time to do the research for yourselves? Adam, why don’t you take it upon yourself to spend the next year, or five years, or thirty years, as I have done, looking into the matter. Then why don’t you come back and tell us all that you found out. THEN I would be truly fascinated in hearing what you have learned.

To date, you have shared nothing of yourself with me, told me nothing of why you believe as you do. Instead, you repeat what has been repeated in exactly the same way again and again. How refreshing it would be if you were to actually show your humanity, reveal the Truth about health and healing as you believe it do be and allow yourself to enter into a discussion instead appearing, stamping your foot and then running away again. But I guess that that’s REALLY just wishful thinking.

Guys, my point is this:  if this really matters to you, if you are really concerned about medicine and about keeping medicine as safe and effective as possible–and by this I mean all medicine, not just allopathic or homeopathic–then you have not yet begun to do any of your homework.  Along with the Lancet study, which I am quite sure you can quote and recite to yourself a bedtime like a prayer, you need to read other studies.  Studies that have differing conclusions.  As I suggested to one of you who wanted me to explain to him how homeopathic remedies are made in factories by homeopathic firms, you need to contact Boiron and other pharma firms and ask questions, dig for answers.  Then you need to have actual experience of all sides of the issue, by researching as I suggest above.

No teacher would let you use Wikipedia as a source material for a test.  In the same way, the internet, entertaining as it is, is not a good platform for education.  Too much bad information.  To much slanted information.  So I don’t expect you to listen to anything that I write here.  Hell, from my experience of you, you don’t even bother to read anything I’ve written here.  You just comment and condemn, but don’t actually read or think.  So don’t, by all means, take my word for any of this.  Do the work yourselves.  Make yourselves truly responsible for finding out the facts.  Discover for yourselves the difference between homeopathy and allopathy and what is good and bad about each.  Neither is perfect, both have something to offer.  In the same way, try to figure out the difference between healing and curing. And about the fundamental meaning of the word “medicine.”  You will have to go way, way back to do that.  You will have to study the history of medicine.

If I can recommend a book on the subject–you all tend to get hostile when I recommend books, but this one is really good–I suggest you get your hands on Doctors, A History of Medicine by a brilliant man named Sherwin Nuland.  He is a professor  of clinical surgery at Yale University here in Connecticut.  So he’s no slouch in the education department.  And while he is an allopath, he is an amazingly insightful and intelligent writer.  I think that this book would be not only of great interest to you, but of great value as well.  Nuland has written several good books, including The Wisdom of the Body.  I strongly suggest that you read them all.

I close by suggesting that, while you have much to say, in all truth, at the present moment, you, my Flying Monkeys, have little to offer.  You need life experience in order for your arguments to carry weight.  At present you only amuse and annoy, depending upon the level of the melodrama.  To truly make a difference, you will have to each INDIVIDUALLY climb a mountain in life, explore all sides of the issue, not just the one that you hope is right.  Once you have done this, once you actually and individually have something to say on any of these inter-related subjects, then I hope you will fly back for a visit.  I’ll be here, blogging and waiting…