Discover more from Remnant | MD
Germ Theory is Incomplete | Part 1
In academia, germ theory is taught as the de facto perspective from which to interpret infectious disease. But, how well does germ theory account for real-world observations?
One of the unexpected developments of covid hysteria has been questioning the foundations of infectious disease. I am not referring to skepticism about the severity of sars-cov-2, the efficacy and safety of the covid vaccine…or indeed the safety and efficacy of any vaccine.
I am not even referring to the uncertainty of the existence of viruses - which we will discuss in the future.
What I am referring to is the bedrock of infectious disease - germ theory.
Most people do not even consider the possibility that ‘germ theory’ is up for debate. In fact, I doubt most have heard of the counter-point to germ theory - terrain theory.
For those who would like a thorough review of the history of germ theory, I will refer you to the work of Sebastien Powell, who has done a fine job:
Briefly, germ theory is the belief that microorganisms (pathogens) lead to disease. Diseases caused by these pathogens are called infectious diseases.
This theory does not discriminate, and includes all manner of microorganisms as potential causes of disease:
Bacteria & Viruses
Fungi & Worms
…and in the case of prion disease, misfolded proteins
The germs ‘invade’ (ie. infect) our body and cause disease. This is the story.
Origins of the Theory
Generations of philosophers have opined on the existence of things we cannot see, causing illnesses we cannot explain. But, the modern teaching credits the work of Louis Pasteur & Robert Koch in leading the transition from the miasma theory to germ theory.
Few people are aware that Pasteur had a contemporary, Antoine Bechamp, who has been described as Pasteur’s “bitter rival.” Some historical evidence suggests that Pasteur “borrowed” the work of Bechamp and claimed it as his own - including his seminal work on fermentation, for which Pasteur receives continued adulation.
Between Pasteur’s work on fermentation and pasteurization, and Koch’s description of criteria (Koch’s Postulates) to support a causal relationship between pathogen & disease…germ theory was born.
Before we proceed…
I’m not here to argue that Pasteur was a fraud, although the evidence is concerning.
Nor am I arguing that there is no microorganism which satisfies all of Koch’s Postulates. Which is also a concerning argument.
I am arguing that germ theory is incomplete at best.
More likely, germ theory is an extreme case of terrain theory. We I will elaborate in the next article. For now, let us give the devil its due.
Postulate 1: The microorganism must be found in abundance in all organisms suffering from the disease, but should not be found in healthy organisms.
Robert Koch abandoned his first postulate because he found people who were carriers of cholera and typhoid but had no symptoms - termed ‘asymptomatic carriers.’
This principle, which seems rational, was so fraught with exceptions that Koch ditched it.
If bug X causes disease Y, then it stands to reason that anyone who has sufficient quantity of bug X in their system, should exhibit disease Y. However, there are many examples of bug X found without any symptoms. Conversely, there are many examples of people with symptoms of disease Y, but no bug X.
Clearly, there is more to ‘infectious disease’ than simply finding a microorganism on the human body.
People will argue that the X/Y example above is too simple a way of conceptualizing infectious disease. They will say something like “you have to consider the condition of the host - are they immunocompromised, or altered in some way?”
They will assert this as if it is a defense of germ theory.
In reality, what they are implicitly admitting is that there is more to infectious disease than germ theory. If the “condition” of the host contributes to the manifestation of an infectious disease, then technically, this is an argument in favor of terrain theory.
The problem we face is that the vast majority of the population believe that the germ theory of infectious disease is a story which accounts for the most variety of observations.
Therefore, it is only ‘reasonable’ that germ theory holds the de facto narrative interpretation of the available data in the field of microbiology and infectious disease.
This is wrong. Germ theory is not the most comprehensive framework.
Infectious disease has a set of foundational tenets. Similar to how the study of mechanics is buttressed by Newton’s laws of motion.
These are not analyses of observable data. They are principles that are reliable predictors of observable phenomena.
Analogously, Koch’s postulates are statements of the preconditions necessary to elucidate a causal relationship between microbes and human life/disease.
What is germ theory?
Germ theory is the idea that microbes are responsible for certain diseases.
The basic idea is that if you discover a microbe, virus, fungus, or parasite in a human who is diseased, then it is possible that the bug you found is the cause of the disease.
But, you cannot simply find a microorganism on a person who is diseased. You must then conduct a set of clinical experiments to demonstrate a causal relationship between the microorganism and the disease.
In its early days, one scientist by the name of Robert Koch put together a set of preconditions - a set of tests that we would need to conduct to demonstrate a causal relationship between a microbe and a disease state.
These are referred to as Koch’s Postulates, taught to this day in every microbiology and infectious disease setting.
The microorganism must be found in abundance in all organisms suffering from the disease but should not be found in healthy organisms.
The microorganism must be isolated from a diseased organism and grown in pure culture.
The cultured microorganism should cause disease when introduced into a healthy organism.
The microorganism must be re-isolated from the inoculated, diseased experimental host and identified as being identical to the original specific causative agent.
Unfortunately for Koch, every single postulate has exceptions.
There are countless organisms which are believed to be disease causing, but are found in people without any symptoms or clinical indicators of disease. This is so ubiquitous, we have a popular term for it - asymptomatic carriers. A term fraught with stigma.
“You may not be sick, but you are a vector for disease!”
During covid hysteria, many people were classified as having ‘covid’ or dying ‘with covid’ simply because they tested positive on a useless test.
Even if you did not take a test, and you were completely symptom-free, the assumption was that you were an asymptomatic carrier of disease until proven otherwise. The term ‘asymptomatic carrier’ is an insidious and hateful term.
It is simply germ-theory apologia.
You may be surprised to know that our lungs are filled with thousands of bacteria under normal conditions. If you were sick with bronchitis or pneumonia, these bugs will be blamed. However, they are there in all healthy people.
The bronchial tree for instance contains a mean of 2000 bacterial genomes per cm2 surface. The harmful or potentially harmful bacteria are also detected routinely in respiratory specimens. The most significant are Moraxella catarrhalis, Haemophilus influenzae, and Streptococcus pneumoniae. They are known to cause respiratory disorders under particular conditions namely if the human immune system is impaired.
Where does this leave us?
If you are a germ theory apologist, you will continue to add exception after exception to the basic tenets of this theory to make the observations fit.
This is unscientific.
Instead of plugging the holes with your fingers or covering them with bandaids, we need to consider the possibility that the framework is wrong or incomplete.
We need to consider the possibility that another framework accounts for far greater variety of observations.
Luckily for us, Antoine Bechamp provided one such alternative called Terrain theory.
Terrain theory gets a lot of hate. In fact, on Wikipedia Terrain theory is referred to as ‘germ-theory denialism’ and framed as pseudoscience.
Simply put, Terrain theory maintains that the manifestation of disease and disease-associated microorganisms is a function of the environment.
If bug X requires resource Y to survive and proliferate…then in the absence of resource Y, it will not grow.
That is terrain theory in a reductive nutshell.
Not only does this framework account for the most observations in the field of infectious disease, but it also applies beyond infectious disease. Similar to how the idea of natural selection applies to more than just animal speciation, terrain theory accounts for everything from fermentation to embryology to chronic illnesses.
We are more than ourselves. The boundary between you and your environment is mostly illusory. For microorganisms, you are continuous with the environment around you.
You are the environment.
You are an environment for all of the microbiota that flourish upon you. Similarly, the environment around you is ground for flourishing of some cellular life and not others.
Some of the greatest improvements to quality and length of life have not come from injections or prescription drugs.
They have come from access to clean water and good sanitation. These technologic improvements maintain a clean environment. The most unclean environments in the world are those with the most ‘infectious disease.’ We know this to be true, and it makes sense intuitively.
Would you rather live near a pile of animal dung that grows by the day and emanates all manner of toxins into the local environment…or somewhere with clean water and sanitation?
The health-centric online ecosystem has been increasingly discussing the seminal work of Weston Price: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
Weston Price was a Canadian dentist born in 1870.
In this research, Price scoured the world to understand why some people develop healthy and robust bodies (as manifested by their teeth). In doing so, he noticed that there was more to this story than just good dentition. He found that those who had good teeth were also incredibly healthy people.
He observed that communities of people that lived in greater harmony with the environment around them and were not afflicted by the products of industrialization had better teeth, less disease, were physically robust and even more beautiful.
In one chapter, he notes the differences in disease prevalence in a pre-industrialized Swiss village and compares it to a nearby town that had undergone industrialization. He observes that there is a stark difference in the rates of Tuberculosis.
This was between the 19th and 20th century, when Tuberculosis (aka consumption) was wreaking havoc upon industrializing nations. Not surprisingly, the village which did not pollute its environment and lived in the harmony with it, had exceedingly rare incidence of Tuberculosis.
In the next part of this series, we will dig into the details of terrain theory and explore how it accounts for phenomena observed in the embryo, the petri dish, the lab, and in clinical settings.
Remnant | MD is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.