CrackpotteryPseudoscience

# 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.

The 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 molecules. 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!

Hahnemann hypothesized what he called miasms as the underlying causes of disease  and that homeopathic remedies – achieved by dilution – eliminated these. There was absolutely no evidence for such a hypothesis, and the treatment had no more success than a placebo. Nevertheless, mostly due to the harsh practices of the medicine of the time, which included blodletting and and purging, homeopathy became popular in Europe and the US in the 19th century. By 1900, there were 22 homeopathic colleges and 15,000 practitioners in the United States.

Nevertheless, from the very beginning, homeopathy was criticized by mainstream science, both in Europe and in the US. Even the leading homeopathists of Europe abandoned the practice of administering infinitesimal doses and no longer defended it. The last school in the U.S. exclusively teaching homeopathy closed in 1920. However, the rise of the New Age movement in the 1960s and 70s saw a surge in the popularity of the Far Eastern culture, and with it, an exponential increase  in the practice of the alternative medicine, including homeopathy.

The simple calculation above shows that people are paying billions of dollars annually to buy small bottles of pure water or pure alcohol!

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.

The 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 molecules. 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!

Hahnemann hypothesized what he called miasms as the underlying causes of disease  and that homeopathic remedies – achieved by dilution – eliminated these. There was absolutely no evidence for such a hypothesis, and the treatment had no more success than a placebo. Nevertheless, mostly due to the harsh practices of the medicine of the time, which included blodletting and and purging, homeopathy became popular in Europe and the US in the 19th century. By 1900, there were 22 homeopathic colleges and 15,000 practitioners in the United States.

Nevertheless, from the very beginning, homeopathy was criticized by mainstream science, both in Europe and in the US. Even the leading homeopathists of Europe abandoned the practice of administering infinitesimal doses and no longer defended it. The last school in the U.S. exclusively teaching homeopathy closed in 1920. However, the rise of the New Age movement in the 1960s and 70s saw a surge in the popularity of the Far Eastern culture, and with it, an exponential increase  in the practice of the alternative medicine, including homeopathy.

The simple calculation above shows that people are paying billions of dollars annually to buy small bottles of pure water or pure alcohol!

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