I am a new member at Atheist Nexus. Let me share a bafflement that I have faced and on which I am sure friends here can throw some light. I have been a follower of Homoeopathy and have personally seen several miraculous cures through this system of medicine. But I was baffled by some atheists, who are also well respected scientists and activists of popular science, who have made some very harsh statements about the scientific validity of Homoeopathy. As a layman, who is interested in the propagation of scientific thinking, I am pained at this attack of scientific community on a system of medicine which has been serving me for quite some time. Can anybody help me understand my own position?

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Thanks Michael. I have heard of the placebo effect. But how does placebo act on infants who are immune to suggestions. I have seen Homeopathic drugs working very well on infants.
And here is the problem...You have no way of proving said "drugs" worked at all.
You are also forgetting that said infants have an immune system. Had you not used any homeopathy,the infant would have still got better on it's own...
Trick or Treatment is one of the best books I have read on the subject.

http://www.trickortreatment.com/
I forgot to mention the BBC series on homeopathy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ozfio_e1Xj0
I've found, with my 2 year old daughter as a teacher, that most childhood 'conditions', (rashes, sniffles, etc), will generally clear up by themselves. Evolution has enabled our immune system to battle 99% of all childhood illnesses.

We recently were prescribed, by a doctor, a cream which could actually be used on cancer patients bed sores - just for a nasty rash around her mouth that she'd had for 3 months !! I told my wife to throw it out and wait, and a couple of weeks later, it just began clearing, and disappeared all by itself...

Until homeopathy can produce scientifically verifiable, test-situation results for the cures, which can definitely NOT be attributed to the placebo effect, it can only be regarded as a psuedo-science. It has to be treated skeptically until the evidence is there - the same as religion, psychics, numerology, astrology, etc !! I will be first in the queue for a homeopath once its proven to have valid, repeatable results... Thats what seperates us skeptics from the religious, we can change our minds - all it takes is evidence.
James Randi..U the man!!!!!

Homeopathy ,is at worst a non-science....
At best a psuedo-science.Or maybe the other way around!
i have water moelcules in me that have the memory properties of the bile from the gut of a 150 million year old diplodocus ..yea for me!
Yet again, I :heart: you!
I just love James Randi!
What is mis-labeled as Homeopathic Medicines (A link to purchase these found here), these concoctions are created with the belief that as a substance becomes more and more dilute, it becomes more powerful. The initial application of homeopathic medicine is as follows:

1. Feed somebody a poisonous chemical.
2. Watch them get a horrible headache, turn red, vomit blood, and flop around on the floor like a fish.
3. Take note of the results.
4. Find somebody with similar ailments.
5. Recall what horrible substance gave your unlucky subject those ailments.
6. Dilute the poison and give it to your patient.
7. Symptoms go away. Along with the patient.
8. Claim success.

This came from a very real and understandable, yet totally misconstrued observation.

You can blame this initially on Samuel Hahnemann. He was looking around and found that a certain kind of tree bark, which was used in the cure for malaria, when taken in significant doses, caused the same symptoms as malaria. However, his conclusion couldn't be further from accurate. Compare this to the following experiment for drawing conclusions:

You have a frog on a lab table, a frog that has been trained to jump when you yell "Jump, frog!". You sit it on the table, and yell "Jump, frog!", to which there is success. You then take out a scalpel, and remove one of the frog's legs. You yell "Jump, frog!" and, with a little difficulty, the frog still jumps. You remove a second leg, yell "Jump, frog!" and the frog jumps, but with greater difficulty. A third leg is removed, and you yell "Jump, frog!", but the frog sits there. CONCLUSION: Removing three legs from a frog makes it unable to hear.

The practice of homeopathy is approximately 200 years old. However, it is very much alive and well, bringing in completely absurd amounts of money. For example, lets look at the site I linked to before, and look at what kind of products they sell. I looked in the "A"s and selected a random chemical from the list which has reported homeopathic effectiveness.

I came up with this link: http://www.hmedicine.com/homeopathic/dilutions/A/Anguilla_(Serum_Anguillae)

Scrolling to the bottom of this page in the catalog, you find the following:

Remedy: Anguilla (Serum Anguillae)
Dilution: 200C
Brand: WHP
Amount: 100 mL dilution
Retail: $52.50
Your: $50.04

A bit of information here. When you see a number following a letter, you are seeing what the dilution is. 2X would mean that it is 1 part of the original remedy in 100 parts of water. X is a ratio of 1:10. C is 100, (if you have been paying attention, you'll notice that it corresponds with Roman Numerals) so a remedy with dilution of 3C is a ratio of 1:1,000,000.
Source.

Going back to our $50, 100mL bottle of Anguilla, what does this mean?
It means you are paying $50 for 100mL of water and/or ethyl alcohol.

A mixture of 200C means:

There is ONE MOLECULE of Anguilla per (Your un-stretched page thanks me)

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

parts of water. A ratio of 1:10^400.

Avogadro's number is ~6.23x10^23. For those who haven't taken chemistry, this is how many atoms make up 1 mole of the substance. There are 6.23x10^23 atoms in 12 grams of carbon-12 (regular, every day carbon).

For every 1 in the exponent past 23, that decreases the chance of there being any of the original remedy left tenfold. Back to our remedy of Anguilla with a 200C dilution, once we apply a little chemistry, there is a 1 in a 10^347 (approximated) chance that a single molecule of Anguilla left in the mixture. I'll type the numbers out for appropriate mind-boggling effects.

There chance of there being a SINGLE MOLECULE of Anquilla in your bottle is 1 in

100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

And those are just your CHANCES that it will be present in this remedy!

A 1mL solution of a remedy diluted into 30C would would be the same as diluting that solution into a cube approximately 105 LIGHT YEARS across. A 200C solution would be the same as diluting 1mL of Anguilla in a cube of water larger than the VISIBLE UNIVERSE. Wakka-wakka huge. That ish is dilute.

So, any chance that the medicine would have of curing you, is simply left up in the air. You would be taking a placebo, that's all. You'd be drinking mostly water and/or ethyl alcohol. There is no science, no confirming studies, not medical reason to believe that homeopathic medicines work. There is absolutely no reason, no scientific evidence to conclude that water has a memory capable of working in the way that homeopaths claim they do. It is among crystal healing in terms of overall effectiveness and scientific concurrence. Virtually all relevant scientists agree that homeopathy is pseudoscience, the result of high-end quackery. When there is less than a 1 in 10^300 chance that a single molecule of the original solution is present in your "remedy", you are NOT taking anything to help you. They are placebos, you'd save yourself a ****load of money just by picking up some M&Ms and telling yourself that they are sleeping pills, such as James Randi did.

Other resources:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWE1tH93G9U
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z1QFZcnAi4&NR=1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy
WOW man...........that was pretty concise and persuasive!!!
In the first days of homeopathy, the patient would report feeling better.
Then they'd drop dead.

Reminds me of the Dead Parrot Sketch.

"You killed my husband."
"No I didn't, he came in for a headache, and he said it cleared right up. Didn't do any dying when I had him."
No cause they would have eventually felt better anyway..
I just got over a sinus infection...While sick,I ate some oranges...I could say said oranges made me feel better...In reality,my immune system beat the shit out if the nasties...That's what typically happens..People see a connection where there is none.Magic "medicine"=feeling better...Rather than reality which is:Immune system switches into high gear=feeling better.
ALSO,the child was led to believe she would feel better after she took the water,so she did...Placebo effect in action.
Next time you want to try your homeopathy for some ailment, substitute gargling with salty water for 2 minutes a day. Bet you'll find the same results, unless your ailment is a sore throat. In that case, you should see a slight improvement with the salt water over homeopathy. Point being, you can never say that these miraculous cures have worked for sure as you have absolutely no way of knowing if there was a placebo effect or that the disorder wouldn't have cleared up on its own anyway. If homeopathy really worked, they could show this in a double-blind study, but surprise, they can't. Ever.

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