Friday, December 17, 2010


One of my colleagues sent me this paper published by my  colleague in IIT-B titled, " Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanoparticulate perspective." 

This is possibly because I really believe that Homeopathy works, just like placebos. I am reminded of the conversation in "The Simpsons". Homer Simpsons panics after seeing one bear and gets the mayor to have a bear patrol. Then,

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
 Lisa: That's specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, dear.
 Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
 Lisa: It doesn't work.
Homer: Uh-huh.
 Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
 Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
        [Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.
        [Lisa refuses at first, then takes the exchange]

Anyway, back to the paper. Homeopathy believes, contrary to all scientific evidence and thought, that potency increases with decrease of concentration. Thus "medicines" are sold at various dilutions from 1c to 200c. The paper discusses the procedure and concludes, "Further, we have shown that despite large differences in the degree of dilution from 6c to 200c (10^12 to 10^400), there were no major differences in the nature of the particles (shape and size) of the starting material and their absolute concentrations (in pg/ml)." All it means that no dilution really occurs beyond 6c. 


Anonymous said...

I have seen that Homeopathy has always been the source of ridicule in the mainstream scientific establishment. But, I have also seen that the mainstream scientific establishment is extremely closed to other points of view, that is different from their own. I often wonder if Galileo would have survived an "inquisition" from the present day scientific establishment.

Please take a look at this link:

This might shed some light on why homeopathy works for some people. The scientist in question lost everything he had, is that reward enough for trying to do something different?

Personally, I agree with you that Homeopathy may just be working on the placebo effect. It has never ever worked for me. If you still have Lisa Simpson's rock, I would like to buy it. The coughs and colds at this time of the year in Bangalore can get really bad. If it can scare tigers, then may be...

Skeptic said...

I have always found it amazing that homoeopathy thrives in India even while it is rejected in the rest of the world. I guess Indians will believe in anything out of faith -- evidence be damned. Not very scientific minded people I am afraid.

Zeba said...

Inability to explain homoeopathy, doesn't justify resorting to ridicule. If something works & your present laws or observations fail to explain it, does not logically imply it is mere foolery. I don't understand this behaviour..

Anonymous said...

From wiki:

Homeopathy's efficacy beyond the placebo effect is unsupported by the collective weight of scientific and clinical evidence.[2][3][12][13][14] While some individual studies have positive results, systematic reviews of published trials fail to demonstrate efficacy conclusively.[15][16][17][18][19]

Anonymous said...

Zeba Madam, it does not work,

In an article entitled "Should We Maintain an Open Mind about Homeopathy?"[162] published in the American Journal of Medicine, Michael Baum and Edzard Ernst—writing to other physicians—wrote that "Homeopathy is among the worst examples of faith-based medicine... These axioms [of homeopathy] are not only out of line with scientific facts but also directly opposed to them. If homeopathy is correct, much of physics, chemistry, and pharmacology must be incorrect...".

Zeba said...

I had faith in lyrica and dysperzime prescribed by a doc. Had 0 faith in berberis vulgaris, hypericum etc supported by my father. Result:My sciatica and pain due to sacralization and slipped disc subsided with homoeo and not with allo contrary to my belief. I would like to be a test patient for the experiments to prove homoeo's efficacy = placebo effect.

Skeptic said...

I had a bad cold since last week. It is better now. Only day before yesterday I saw a TV documentary on the giant panda. I would like to be a test patient for the experiments to prove the efficacy of watching a giant panda on TV in curing common cold.