James Randi Explains - Homeopathy
By JAMES RANDI - SCIENTIFIC INDIANS
Added: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 00:00:00 UTC
Thanks to Anand for the link.
The subject of homeopathy is so far removed from medicine that works, from reason and rationality, that we must stand in awe of the fact that a billion-dollar industry still thrives by peddling something that a good friend of mine defined as, âAn infinitely thin slice of nothing, with the crust trimmed off and the center removed.â
A single sentence should be enough to further define homeopathy by stating the bare facts about one of the most common concentrations of remedy that homeopaths use, mentioned above: A 30X dilution means that the original substance has been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. Assuming that a cubic centimeter of water contains 15 drops, this number is greater than the number of drops of water that would fill a container more than 50 times the size of the Earth.
No, thatâs not an exaggeration at all, itâs a simple fact, and homeopaths are not at all embarrassed to use the term âdilutionâ when explaining their firm delusion that their âartâ – itâs certainly not a science – is a legitimate branch of the healing arts. The concept is simply ridiculous. I wonât trouble you with writing out the other dilution, which would require 60 zeros…
Homeopathy claims to be a form of medical practice that's based on the "like cures like" notion. Given any set of symptoms, a homeopath will decide upon an herb or chemical that causes similar symptoms when ingested by a well person, or will look it up in a homeopathic pharmacopeia. A predefined ritual will follow, the homeopath performing a series of dilutions of that substance that continue well beyond the point where there should be even a molecule of it left. The final solution that is administered to the unfortunate patient is supposed to have ârememberedâ what was once present, though itâs nothing more than well-shaken water.
Years ago, to illustrate a point about homeopathy during my public lecture, I developed an on-stage visual metaphor. A popular homeopathic sleep-aid lists as its main ingredient, âcaffeine.â Caffeine to induce slumber? Donât be too surprised at this, because weâre deep into nonsense territory here, and logic is scarce. The dilution of this ingredient is so astronomical, that if I wanted to consume enough of these tablets to ensure that Iâd taken in at least one molecule of caffeine, I would have to down sixteen average swimming-pools full of them!
Peter Singer - The Scotsman Comments
Analysis: Why it’s irrational to risk women’s lives for the sake of the unborn
Ruth Williams - TheScientist Comments
Double helix showing coplanar alignment of standard base pairs.
CLAUDIA DREIFUS - New York Times 15 Comments
Carson C. Chow deploys mathematics to solve the everyday problems of real life. As an investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, he tries to figure out why 1 in 3 Americans are obese.
- - MedicalXpress 27 Comments
Cocaine decreases activity of a protein necessary for normal functioning of the brain's reward system
Christopher Badcock, Ph.D -... 3 Comments
Neurons Mirror the Diametric Mind
Schizophrenics amplify neuronal mirroring, autistics reduce it
- - MedicalXpress 11 Comments
How thinking about death can lead to a good life
Thinking about death can actually be a good thing. An awareness of mortality can improve physical health and help us re-prioritize our goals and values, according to a new analysis of recent scientific studies. Even non-conscious thinking about death – say walking by a cemetery – could prompt positive changes and promote helping others.