Against the Germ Theory.
A member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, writing in the American Fortnightly, says vital or organic phenomena are exquisitely metaphysical in character, and their description demands the use of the most exact terms commandable. Such use of words and terminology should be made, which rejects the conception of "germs" in any relation during the course of disease and practically rejects germs in the origination of disease.
Processes initiatory of pathologic phenomena, exactly speaking, originate nothing; simply that which is already in active operation, as modified, or changed in their particular forms of action. This was taught two centuries ago, and also that the remedial agencies and processes in therapeutics were solely of the organism itself. Consequently there are germs of, or even in disease or in remedies, therefore they are external to the organism; virulence as a property or quality of bacteria, or therapeutic potency, in serums, or other factor medicinally employed, is impossible to scientific thinking and interpretation of facts.
This is indeed a radical statement to make in the face of the present prevailing opinion concerning the germ-origin of disease. The writer further believes that serum therapy is based on an entirely wrong hypothesis, and cannot sustain the observation and insight that practice will give it, but will prove to be the cause of serious disease in the future rather than the cure. These theories we have entertained for a long period. There must come a reaction. The errors of the present course will yet show themselves. While there may be some truth in the theory, there is much that will not be borne out by future investigation.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.