Homeopathic Crackpottery

Samuel Hahnemann is considered the creator of homeopathy, the belief that the same substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people will cure similar symptoms in sick people. He believed that if the substance is repeatedly diluted in alcohol or distilled water, followed by forceful striking on an elastic body, the resulting remedy cures the disease.

nn20101005i1aThe dilution is measured in “C”s. Each “C” represents a dilution of one part in one hundred. For example, a “2C” dilution means that the original sample was diluted in a volume of water or alcohol 100 times larger than the sample, and then the resulting volume was diluted in a volume 100 times larger than its size. Suppose that the original sample had a volume of 5cc and contained 10,000 molecules of the substance. Then after “1C,” a volume of 5cc would contain one hundredth of the total number of molecules or only 100 molecules. After “2C,” a volume of 5cc would contain only one molecule. And after “3C,” only one of the 5cc-sample carries the lonely molecule and the other 99  would be pure water or alcohol. Continuing this line of reasoning, you can see that if the original 5cc contained a million molecules, after “3C,” a 5cc sample would contain only one molecule; if the original 5cc contained a hundred million molecules, after “4C,” a 5cc sample would contain only one molecule. In general, an original 5cc sample with 100n molecules, would yield a sample with one molecule after “nC.” A typical real sample contains 10011 Homeopathymolecules. Therefore, an “11C” sample contains only one molecule; only one of the “12C” sample carries that molecule, the other 99 are empty; only one of the “13C” sample carries a molecule, the other 9999 are empty; only one of the “14C” sample carries a molecule, the other 999999 are empty. A “15C” homeopathic drug is not uncommon. So, 99999999 out of a hundred million samples sold in homeopathic drugstores are empty, and the 100 millionth carries only one molecule! The bottle that you see on the right has a label of “30C.” So, it is most likely one of the 99999999999999999999999999999999999999 (thirty eight 9’s!) bottles that have zero (yes, zero) molecule of the drug!

3 thoughts on “Homeopathic Crackpottery”

  1. Indeed, with homeopathy you are far more likely to win the lottery than getting a molecule of the active ingredient. But don’t worry, to get around this problem homeopaths came up with the idea of “water memory”. They believe that water has “memory”. So never mind it’s just water, it remembers that it used to contain something at some point…
    I guess that anyone who actually believes in this quackery will do his bank account a favour just by drinking a glass of tap water; it will be full of memories, including being into contact –at some point- with whatever they are looking to cure.

    1. To assess the efficacy of natural remedies, you have to do scientific, double-blind, controlled experiments. While I believe you when you say you “have experienced it,” one or several testimonials do not prove the efficacy of drugs or remedies. The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia released a statement on March 11, 2015 concluding that there is no good quality evidence to support the claim that homeopathy is effective in treating health conditions. Here is the full report: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/media/releases/2015/nhmrc-releases-statement-and-advice-homeopathy

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