Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 37

Thread: OT - Bad Medicine

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    30
    I recently purchaced and read Bad Medicine, by Christopher Wanjek, and found it to be a very interesting book. Mr. Wanjek is a well informed, entertaining writer, but I thought there were a few instances where he was guilty of Bad Medicine himself. Is there any forum, similar to the bad astronomy site, where people are discussing Bad Medicine?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    11,227
    Actually, since it's part of the series, it's okay to talk about it here. However, I would guess that not too many people here are as well-versed in medicine as in astronomy, so you may not get much help!

    Chris Wanjek doesn't have a website, so there is no place to discuss this as yet. However, I suspect there must be medical bulletin boards out there. Try a web search.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    20
    I have read about half of Bad Medicine, and found it to be quite good. I have certainly learned more from it than from Bad Astronomy, because I know far more physics/astronomy than I do biology/medicine. (This is not a knock on the BA's book, which I quite enjoyed) I would be interested in reading what errors you think you found in the book. Did you find a forum where it is being discussed?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    475
    There is a mailing list (which I don't participate in, so I have no idea if it's any good) that discusses "health frauds, quackery, and unscientific health matters." Having already had to bow out of several mailing lists due to time constraints, I opted not to join. Quackwatch</A> website. You can try that one.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    2,830
    Yah i read the book. I thought that it was very good and i used it as a resource in many of my papers for my classes. If anyone knows him tell him my praise!!



    The worst part was the homeopathy stuff. I know a couple of people in my classes that swear by it and take it in the place of real medicine. But they won't listen to people when they tell them it is hurting them.

    _________________
    "Hi!!" - Some person, somewere, at some time.
    "It takes Thousands to fight a battle for a mile, Millions to hold an election for a nation, but it only takes One to change the world." - Dan Sandler 2002

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: g99 on 2002-12-19 14:06 ]</font>

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    475
    Regarding homeopathy, I was deeply disappointed to read in the forward of one of Harlan Ellison's more recent anthologies (title eludes me at the moment) that he'd turned to homeopathy to save him from his heart condition.

    And he's a self-avowed skeptical curmudgeon! Surely, methinks, he can't possibly have been told what homeopathy really is, or he'd instantly realize that it's useless. (For those not in the know, homeopathy is a technique where one takes a substance intended to treat a disease and then dillute it until the substance can no longer be found. Homeopaths claim this actually makes the medicine stronger. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif[/img] )

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    2,830
    They delute it to 1 part medicine for every 10^30 parts sugar water. (From the book). According to the book, you have to drink 7,874 GALLONS of the stuff to get one molecule.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    475
    Actually, they even dillute it further! A so-called "30X" dillution really means it has been diluted 10 to the 30th power times! So a product labelled as a 30X dillution has been dilluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times!!! Most products range from 6X to 30X, but there is another class of dillutions: C. They go up to 200C ("nC" meaning "100 to the nth power dillutions"). The theoretical limit where you can dillute something and still have a molecule of it remaining is 24X -- but the odds aren't all that favorable for it actually having the molecule. It's a theoretical limit, not a practical one.

    Yet homeopaths think this makes the drug stronger. This is called the "law of infinitesimals". The notion is that by vigorously shaking the substance during each dillution, you will somehow imbue the dilluting agent (usually sugar water) with the properties of the substance. Supposedly, it invokes some sort of "water memory". Homeopaths evidently ignore the inevitable existence of contaminants.

    The other important law in homeopathy is the "law of similars". The premise is that like cures like. Hahnemann, who invented homeopathy, noted that cinchona bark (from which quinine is derived) produced symptoms similar to malaria when ingested. Yet quinine *treated* malaria. From this alone, he deduced that if something produced symptoms similar to a disease, then that something must *cure* the disease. The odd thing is that cinchona bark doesn't cause the severe symptoms that Hahnemann experienced when he deliberately ingested it as a trial when other people eat it. Some have suggested he may have simply been allergic to it. But it was on this that the basic principle of "the law of similars" was created.

    Quackwatch has a subsite called Homeowatch dedicated to the silliness that is homeopathy.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    153
    There is likely to be at least a few molecules of nearly everything in anything you eat and drink. So diluting to the point where only one or two molecules remain seems pretty pointless - as you're probably taking higher concentrations by accident every day.

    Dilluting bellow the ammount that occurs in nature gets tough. Once you get bellow the average "natural" concentration, you are as likely to add more stuff as to take it away by "diluting it". Unless you use distilled water or something. Even that may not be a good defense if you want the concentrations so low that a single molecule matters. Nature is messy to deal with. Even distilled water will have unnavoidably have some other things in it.

    My suspicion is that knowing more about Math and Statistics does allot more towards screening out ** than knowing about any particular discipline like Astronomy or Medicine. Psychology helps, also.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    11,227
    Chris just did an interview for the Discovery Channel in Canada. Here is the clip of him talking about drinking oxygen. It's pretty funny.

    I also just spent the week with Chris at the American Astronomical Society meeting. We talked about future books, and he has lots of ideas about "alternative" medicine to discuss...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    153
    I have now read the book and I see that the homeopathic medicine fans have answered the point about diluting something to the point where there would be less than one molecule left. They say the water or whatever is used to dilute the medicine retains a "memory" of the substance that used to be there. This moves from bad medicine to bad physics. They might still have an interesting point if they had demonstrated in controlled studies that their stuff works. However, they have not done this.

    Its not that the field does not want to accept weird ideas. It is a proven fact that if you believe your condition will improve, you are more likely to get better. This is true even for obvious physical illnesses like cancer. It is called the placebo effect. Nobody knows what causes this. Like quantum physics, it is wierd but the evidence for it is irrefutable. This effect is the reason why placebos are used in nearly all studies of the effectiveness of new drugs. It is also the suspected mechanism behind some of the alleged successes of some kinds of alternative medicine.

    IMHO, the author "Bad Medicine" sometimes goes to far beyond his area of expertise. For example: If he were aware that nuclear waste was recycleable and that virtually all scientists in the relevant fields believe that it can be stored safely - he would rethink his position on nuclear power.


    There is a better book out on this subject called "Eat, Drink and be Merry" by Dr Dean Edell. The author is a doctor, not a science reporter, and this does make a difference.

    He comments less on subjects he has no training in. In general, he teaches you more then the author of "Bad Medicine Does" - this is also no surprise, since it is a longer book.

    Dr Edell does have some controversial opionions, including a few I had major problems with before reading his book. For example, he is sympathetic to drug legalization. But when defending these opinions, he makes very good points. He really does demonstrate his expertise. He has made me rethink many things. And those of you who have argued with me in the past know that this is a difficult thing to make me do sometimes [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img] .

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    2,830
    I have read some studies on homeopathy. Specifically on studies done in south America with Diarhea. Their results show conclusively that Homeopathy works (in their opinion).

    But thier opinion is flawed. They had a very limited number of test subjects. They were using a milder form of the disiease (dhiarhea) and later in its process. So the patient would be on their way to healing themselves anyways.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    56
    I dont know whether bad medicine represents what I regard as plain and simple quackery and fraud; butthere is more than that

    There is however a distinct form of what is IMHO Bad Medicine rather like what we agree is Bad Astronomy

    Tune in to your local late evening news. You will hear a report from Lucy InfoBabe, Channel Fourteen's Medical Editor on the latest medical research which will change your life etc etc

    Rest assured, its bull and ipso facto Bad Medicine

    Whatever she says

    Listen to the commercials promoting advertisement bad Medicine. Eating Oat bran reduced the cholesterol of a group of unstated size 35 percent in unstated measurements, so Quacker Food Company will give you a long and happy afterlife


    Then there is legit pharmaceutical bad Medicine. Celebrate with celebrex Rah Rah But in my professional opinion Celebrex is about the same order of efficiency as Motrin and two orders of mag more expensive

    I had a patient complain, Yes Doc I took the Vioxx but I am not nearly as happy as the people in the commercials I think you have to increase the dose

    There is lots more Bad Medicine, and not just fraud homeopathy etc

    Zwi

    Folks, if your medical knowledge comes from Television its square root is imaginary

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    2,677
    Not sure how apropos this is to the subject, but the New York Times Magazine is featuring a slew of articles on medicine this week, especially focusing on the long, rocky road medical science has had to travel. I thought some here might be interested in them.

    http://nytimes.com/library/magazine/...ex.html?8hpist
    (as always, the NYT requires registration. But isn't it worth it? [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img])

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    8

    Homeopathy does work

    It shocks me that people will say that something does not work without even a thorough investigation.

    All those who thinks it is a worthless treatment -- please back up your claim by a full discourse in terms of quantum mechanics and why QA makes it not possible for there to be an energy imprint.

    the beloe link is a lengthy discussion between a bumbling fool and a very intelligent person who has done her homework.

    http://www.ibsgroup.org/ubb/ultimate...1;t=033659;p=3

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    92
    Okay, I'll bite, although I'm not a quantum physicist. Any actual ones on the board feel free to correct me. (I'm assuming the poster is serious and not joking,)

    In the technical sense, something does remain of the substance, because matter cannot be created or destroyed. So there would be lone atoms floating about. But, many other substances are also present in minute quantities, even in purified water. They've got floating around atoms too. For the "memory trace" theory to work, one would have to be affected by every substance in every bit of water they drank. And in every food you ate. Many common foods contain known carcinogens (there's a link to it, but I'm too lazy to find it). Yet we all don't get cancer. Pharmecuticalogy has shown the exact opposite of the theory of infestmials. What will kill you, an atom of arsenic or a big swallow of one? If homeopathy is correct, the atom will kill you much faster.

    I won't even go into the other laws of nature that homeopathy breaks. If the above post is serious, I know I won't convince you of anything, because most believers of homeopathy, when questioned (I've done this lots of times), refuse to budge.

    Didn't the BA say "Keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out!"?

    edit: Quantum physics, while something I do know a bit about, isn't what you're talking about here. This is subatomic physics. The two haven't met yet, except in (string) theory.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    8
    i commend you for trying but you have made the same mistakes that i made when i first made an attempt at exposing it.

    God I wish i had more time to get into this.

    (first of all i am dead serious about this, and if you peruse the link you will see at least 20 references as to what i am talking about --- some from Cal Institute of Technology.)

    If you start with a 10% solution of herb, mineral, etc and VIOLENTLY shake or "add a great amount of kinetic energy to it --- then you are transfering 99.99999999999% of the herb, mineral onto the liquid medium and it does not matter if a few contaminants are present because they are greatly outnumbered by the herb, mineral.

    apparently with each dilution and violent shaking there is some type of DEEPER AND DEEPER imprinting onto the subatomic energy/matter. possibly the VIBRATORY STRINGS as in "string theory" are affected with each successive dilution. IT WORKS!!!!

    this is where it bogs down for me, but i KNOW it works. Cal tech and a hundred other labs don't do sloppy work ---- neither does the Lancet or the british medical journal print sloppy research.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    92
    Quote Originally Posted by kellyann7

    If you start with a 10% solution of herb, mineral, etc and VIOLENTLY shake or "add a great amount of kinetic energy to it --- then you are transfering 99.99999999999% of the herb, mineral onto the liquid medium and it does not matter if a few contaminants are present because they are greatly outnumbered by the herb, mineral.

    apparently with each dilution and violent shaking there is some type of DEEPER AND DEEPER imprinting onto the subatomic energy/matter. possibly the VIBRATORY STRINGS as in "string theory" are affected with each successive dilution. IT WORKS!!!!

    this is where it bogs down for me, but i KNOW it works. Cal tech and a hundred other labs don't do sloppy work ---- neither does the Lancet or the british medical journal print sloppy research.
    Medical journals and universities do publish sloppy work. The people who write the articles are not perfect.

    If the herb is in a liquid medium, and has created a perfect mix, each substance has become something new. Herbs and water sound like soup to me.

    "Deeper imprinting" for only the one substance? If sucessive dilutations really make the mix more powerful, wouldn't the substance in the least amount be the strongest? Why does it have to be 10%? Will it not happen at 9% or 11%?

    I wish I had my book on string theory here with me, because I could look up the "vibrating strings" you're talking about. It sounds vaugely related to the part of the theory that says a black hole in essence is one atom (don't make me do the math). Once again, why do the strings only vibrate for that substance? Does this happen in all dilutations? If I mix some sort of breakfast drink in water with 10% mix and dilute it to 30C, will I have enough energy to last the week? Do I drink it all or just take a sip?

    Originally, I was wondering how this was related to the board, but subatomic physics do have an effect on astronomy. Although this is the last place I thought I'd be discussing homeopathy.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    8
    http://www.science-frontiers.com/sf121/sf121p07.htm

    HOW HOMEOPATHY MIGHT WORK
    Although some people swear to the efficacy of homeopathy's "remedies," skeptics have been fond of pointing out that these fluids are so dilute that no molecules of the active ingredients are likely to remain. Believers respond that the fluid remedies somehow retain the "essence" of the active ingredient. In effect, they maintain that water has a "memory." No wonder mainstream scientists scoff at homeopathy.

    But wait, perhaps water can have a memory!

    A Cal Tech chemist has put extremely dilute solutions under his electron microscope and found that some contain strange "ice" crystals, even though room temperature and pressure prevail. Called "IE crystals," they are produced through the action of ions. They are stable even at higher temperatures.
    Subsequently, an immunologist at the University of California at Los Angeles discovered that the IE crystals can stimulate parts of the immune system. Water containing these strange forms of ice show a hundred times more bioactivity than plain water.
    (Anonymous; "Homeopathy and IE Crystals," Spectrum, p. 18, November/ December 1998. Cr. E. Fegert)
    Comment. Of course, we want to see independent confirmations of the Cal Tech and UCLA work , but we hope they will be objective rather than the usual knee-jerk reactions to homeopathy. See SF#59 and SF#69 for past confrontations over homeopathy.

    ************************************************** **********

    http://www.hmedicine.com/news/guide/ncsu.php

    Researchers at CalTech have discovered magnetic particles throughout the human brain. The Cal Tech team speculates that homeopathic dilutions create a higher level of the electromagnetic field, thus triggering the defense mechanisms of the body
    It seems that the boys at Cal Tech have been hard at work. Apparently they discovered that magnetic particles called MAGNETITE is found throughout the brain.

    I wonder if this could be part of the “all elusive” BRAIN -- GUT disturbance that seems to be a part of a lot of our dysfunction??? Could it be that something has altered our brains ability to issue the proper commands that must be issued in order to adequately protect and heal the body???

    Could it be that the homeopathic medicines are able to somehow SHOCK the brain’s magnetite into some type of correct alignment???? ---Thereby initiating the healing effect???

    It is very possible especially now that it has been established that these medicines do indeed transfer some type of memory onto a liquid solution.

    Anyone out there a physicist?

    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%


    http://www.mercola.com/2003/aug/23/impossible_cure.htm


    In "Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy," author Amy Lansky tells the incredible story of how she used homeopathy to cure her son of autism. Although Lansky is not a medical professional, she has a Ph.D. from Stanford and worked for NASA as a researcher. She has more than enough scientific training to provide a compelling and easy to understand description of how homeopathy can be used to treat "incurable conditions" like autism.
    Along with this compelling testimonial, Lansky provides an in-depth account on the history, philosophy and practice of homeopathy, as well as dozens of other testimonials on the power of homeopathy in curing various health problems.

    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%


    http://www.healingwithhomeopathy.net/introduc.htm

    According to Trevor Cook, Ph.D., DI Hom., President of the United Kingdom Homeopathic Medical Association, the explanation of the therapeutic action of the highly dilute homeopathic remedies appears to lie in the domain of quantum physics and the emerging field of energy medicine. A study using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging demonstrated distinctive readings of subatomic activity in twenty-three different homeopathic remedies. This potency was not demonstrated in placebos (substances having no pharmacological effect).
    Some researchers believe that the specific electromagnetic frequency of the original substance is imprinted in the homeopathic remedy through the process of successive dilution and succession, says Dr. Cook.
    The distinguished Italian physicist Emilio del Giudici has set forth a theory that helps explain homeopathy's mode of therapeutic action. Del Giudici proposes that water molecules form structures capable of storing minute electromagnetic signals. This proposition is given added weight by the findings of Dr. Wolfgang Ludwig, a German biophysicist, who has demonstrated in preliminary research that homeopathic substances give off measurable electromagnetic signals. These signals show that specific frequencies are dominant in each homeopathic substance.

    If del Giudici's model is accurate, a homeopathic remedy may convey an electromagnetic "message" to the body that matches the specific electromagnetic frequency or pattern of an illness in order to stimulate the body's natural healing response.

    What Dr. Hahnemann may have been doing in his empirical research was unwittingly "matching the frequencies of the plant extract with the frequency of the [patient's] illness."

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    8
    physics -- astronomy -- it is all incredible!!!!

    your questions and responses are identical to what i kept asking 6 months ago when i was a skeptic.

    i put some online homeopath (a pure volunteer) through all living heck. eventually she got through to me. actually it was after i kept studying it and studying it that it finally started to make sense.

    most of my questions were easy to explain away.

    9% or 11% it does not matter at all --- for "c" remedies they start with 1%. just as long as the impurities are extremely small --they don't affect anything. the only thing that matters is the starter herb --- since it comprises 99.99999999999% of the soultion it takes precedence over any impurities (99.9999999999% not including the water/alcohol)

    concerning your breakfast drink question. it does not work that way. the key for a good remedy is for the doctor to exactly or )close to exact) match the symptoms --- and from there the proper remedy is chosen.....


    homeopathy is very big all over germany, france, poland ---- HUGE in India etc etc etc

    IT WORKS!!!!

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    8
    If I mix some sort of breakfast drink in water with 10% mix and dilute it to 30C, will I have enough energy to last the week? Do I drink it all or just take a sip?
    you'll end up with something that has the energy imprint from the breakfast drink, but according to the homeopaths it won't matchup with any vibratory frequency that your body contains --- or something like that??????

    a good homeopath can actually induce quite severe symptoms in a person.


    ************************************************** *********

    okay i think i am done. i shall get a kick out of watching some very smart people jump to all kinds of silly conclusions about this --- it will be fun!!!

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    92
    "Vibratory frequency?" If I tune that right can I get my favorite station halfway across the country?

    I'd sure like to know if someone's discovered a cure for autism - my sister's autistic. And I wouldn't go near anyone who said they could induce severe symptoms in me. And the fact like doesn't cure like. Opposite doesn't cure opposite either.

    Once again, how does the water know the herb is supposed to be the active ingredient? There are other things in water, and may even be a substantial amount. How does the water "know" which substance to "imprint?" If it doesn't matter how much of the herb is there, then how come other impurities are just ignored?

    It might be big in Europe, but blood-letting was big until the twentieth century. And all the sites you cite are pro-homeopathy, so of course they're going to put as good a spin on it as they can. Not that the information is wrong, but it may be selective. (I can think of a book that did that.)

    Someone else help me with this. I'm a stupid college student over my head. Maybe it's all my bio minor teaching being contradicted that's killing me. Please jump to the "silly conclusions" the original poster is so waiting for.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,498
    Quote Originally Posted by kellyann7
    9% or 11% it does not matter at all --- for "c" remedies they start with 1%. just as long as the impurities are extremely small --they don't affect anything. the only thing that matters is the starter herb --- since it comprises 99.99999999999% of the soultion it takes precedence over any impurities (99.9999999999% not including the water/alcohol)
    But you keep diluting it, right? How do the impurities not matter when you've diluted it?

    Do you have any links to double-blind studies? You can't validly claim that something works unless you can show that it works better than doing nothing (which is what homeopathy ends up being). I wonder what you would use as a placebo in a homeopathic remedy double-blind test...

  24. #24
    Glom's Avatar
    Glom is offline Insert awesome title here
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    11,289
    Experiments have been done.

    Given that homeopathic remedies are just sugar water, I find nothing unusual about them helping people feel better. Plenty of water is always a good start when you're ill.

    All the talk about string theory and magnetic fields in the brain sounds like hallmark new age pseudoscience. Even the dreaded "meta-" was used. The truth is that you have just taken scientific terms and applied them in a way that sounds scientific but in fact does not explain anything. This is done all the time on Star Trek. It's called technobabble.

    Do we have any biologists on the board? We're essentially a bit outside our field of expertise here. So even if you don't believe our comments are sound, don't just go away a cry victory. This is an astronomy board. Failiure of a bunch of astronomers to refute an assertion about biology doesn't go far to validating the assertion. If you really want to see if homeopathy can stand up to scrutiny, go to a medical board.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,498
    Quote Originally Posted by Glom
    Experiments have been done.

    Given that homeopathic remedies are just sugar water, I find nothing unusual about them helping people feel better. Plenty of water is always a good start when you're ill.

    All the talk about string theory and magnetic fields in the brain sounds like hallmark new age pseudoscience. Even the dreaded "meta-" was used. The truth is that you have just taken scientific terms and applied them in a way that sounds scientific but in fact does not explain anything. This is done all the time on Star Trek. It's called technobabble.

    Do we have any biologists on the board? We're essentially a bit outside our field of expertise here. So even if you don't believe our comments are sound, don't just go away a cry victory. This is an astronomy board. Failiure of a bunch of astronomers to refute an assertion about biology doesn't go far to validating the assertion. If you really want to see if homeopathy can stand up to scrutiny, go to a medical board.
    I was wondering if anyone had shown that homeopathic sugar water gave (statistically meaningful) better results than plain ol' water in a valid test. I didn't see anything in your link that related to this.

    The thing is, while you may need to be a biologist to understand the mechanics of what is going on in an explanation of whether homeopathic remedies work, you need not be one to understand whether or not a study of their effects was scientific. Any scientist should be familiar with basic statistics and be able to discern whether or not reasonable rigor was used, at some basic level. It's at least a top-level filter of junk.

    Your link does point out that it may be helpful that people not understand biology if you want to sway with (or be swayed by) multisyllable buzzwords masquerading as science.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    3,108
    Too bad beskeptical is "missing" ..this topic is right up her alley. I agree with swansont and Glom in that homeopathy must pass rigorous scientific scrutiny to prove it's worth and I haven't seen any. kellyann7, if you want to follow up on this discussion you should start a thread in BABBling which is the one forum on this board that isn't astronomy-only . There's probably some here with the background to add to this topic that haven't seen this discussion.

    BTW, welcome to the board!

  27. #27
    Glom's Avatar
    Glom is offline Insert awesome title here
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    11,289
    Quote Originally Posted by swansont
    Your link does point out that it may be helpful that people not understand biology if you want to sway with (or be swayed by) multisyllable buzzwords masquerading as science.
    My link didn't contain any multisyllable buzzwords. I was just reporting on the Horizon programme.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    The Heart of Darkness
    Posts
    1,763
    Did you hear the one about the homeopath who died of an overdose after drinking distilled water.

    The water can't retain any memory of what's been dissolved in it because of the constant motions of the molecules. There might be temporary structures, but their lifetime is on the order of milliseconds. Another thing to consider is that most homeopathic "medicines" are sold as tablets. They take a drop of the solution and put it on a small sugar tablet. How does the sugar retain the "memory" after the water evaporates? Attempts to bring QM into this are mere hand waving, a typical example of attempting to bring real science into the pseudoscience. There's no mechanism for how quantum effects store the memory.

    When first developed in the late 18th centure homeopathy was superior to other forms of medicine precisely because it did nothing to the patient. Compared to blood-letting it was very benign. It worked through the placebo effect and by letting the patient recover naturally. Basically, anyone who is "cured" by a homeopathic "medicine" would have recovered anyway.

    So there's no real science here. Just a suggestion that it might be so. However to quote Tweedledee (or was it Tweeldedum?).

    "If it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be, but as it isn't, it ain't."

    Or maybe Pauli said it best.
    "I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind." - William Thompson, 1st Baron Lord Kelvin

    "If it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be, but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic!" - Tweedledee

    This isn't right. This isn't even wrong. - Wolfgang Pauli

  29. #29
    Glom's Avatar
    Glom is offline Insert awesome title here
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    11,289
    But don't underestimate the medicinal values of the water that comprises the homeopathic remedy. Plenty of water is always a good thing when you're ill. (Although too much and your brain explodes)

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,498
    Quote Originally Posted by Glom
    Quote Originally Posted by swansont
    Your link does point out that it may be helpful that people not understand biology if you want to sway with (or be swayed by) multisyllable buzzwords masquerading as science.
    My link didn't contain any multisyllable buzzwords. I was just reporting on the Horizon programme.
    Check your link perhaps? It led me to a thread on a paper entitled "Postmodern Deconstruction Of Newtonian Science" and later on made mention of Alan Sokol's hoax paper. No mention of anything called Horizon.

    Perhaps I am just missing the point of the link, or something contained therein (I didn' read all of it)

Similar Threads

  1. I need help! (herbal medicine)
    By UFOvsUSO in forum Space/Astronomy Questions and Answers
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 2007-Oct-21, 11:06 AM
  2. Bad Medicine
    By NEOWatcher in forum Small Media at Large
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 2007-Sep-23, 12:06 AM
  3. bad...uh, medicine?
    By Kebsis in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 2005-Jun-01, 12:24 PM
  4. Bad Medicine: The Next Book
    By The Bad Astronomer in forum Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 2003-May-31, 05:56 PM
  5. Bad Medicine?
    By Silas in forum Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 2003-Feb-09, 03:09 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •