In what is almost certainly a Sisyphean task I'm going to try to apply logic to homeopathy. And it's going to be a bit obnoxious. So, all you believers who already hate me better get out your voodoo dolls and pins ready. As usual, hate mail is welcome but you'll have to pay the postage.
If you cut through all the BS (and it's all BS) and look at the molecular level it is fairly easy to explain the "essence" of homeopathy - that dilute solutions of X (it doesn't really matter what X is, but homeopathy guys really like duck guts) are more powerful than concentrated ones and are thus able to heal what ails you by some magical mechanism that probably didn't even make sense in 1796 - the year that Samuel Hahnemann came up with the four principles of homeopathy.
Since I'm (nominally) a chemist, I figured I'd just focus on the one - the "law of infinitesimal" - which violates every principle of chemistry and pharmacology, not to mention common sense: the more dilute a solution the more powerful it is. But I'm not going to debunk it. Oh no. I want to make it work even better!
First - here's how these "remedies" are made.
Four serial dilutions make stuff stronger. Original image: Skeptical Raptor
Even four homeopathic serial dilutions produce a solution so dilute that there is almost none (0.0000000001%) of the original crap remaining. And after 10-15 dilutions there is not even a single molecule of crap remaining, just water.
SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION FOR HOMEOPATHIC SERIAL DILUTION
It would seem counterintuitive that as each solution gets 100-times more dilute that whatever you put in the first flask would work better, especially after all of it is gone. But this doesn't bother homeopaths in the least. They explain away this trivial discrepancy by postulating that before the last crap molecule is lost in the dilution process that it wove a magic wand and imparted energy to a water molecule that just happened to be hanging out nearby. This caused the water molecule to remember what it saw, giving it the ability to sure things. Sort of like this.
The memory of water. Explained in graphical form.
SOLVING THE OPIOID CRISIS USING SUPER-HOMEOPATHY
If less is better, then less than less must be better still. One can only imagine how this technology could impact problems in today's world, for example, opioid addiction. Over the past two decades, a whole lot of Vicodin was made and some people became addicted. Now, people in pain have to beg to get a handful of pills even if they have an alligator clamped on their arm. But, fear not - super-homeopathy to the rescue:
- Take one-billionth of a Vicodin pill. (Even Andrew Kolodny wouldn't object to this.)
- Dissolve it in water.
- Perform 15 serial dilutions; there is no more Vicodin present.
- But the water will remember that the Vicodin was once there so it will work just fine.
- Put this "solution" into bottles and send it to all pain patients along with instructions to take one teaspoon as needed.
- For severe pain, one drop will work better, hence, SUPER-HOMEOPATHY!
- There will be no side effects. We know this because of one of the other principles of homeopathy. It is called "the minimum dose."
"Furthermore, as the potency increased with dilution, the safety profile of the remedy also increased. This is the opposite to conventional medicines which usually exhibit greater toxicity with increased potency."
8. Problem solved.
BUT YOU BETTER BE CAREFUL
Nothing in life is risk-free. There are always unintended consequences of any action. This can be demonstrated (below) by using Mervyn as an example. Mervyn has a problem common to middle-aged men - a prostate the size of a canned ham. This causes Mervyn to have all kinds of trouble emptying his bladder. While urinating he dribbles like the Harlem Globetrotters. Therefore, he can never be far from a men's room.
And like other middle-aged men, Mervyn just doesn't cut it in the sack anymore. So it is not unreasonable for him to seek pharmacological enhancement.
When these two factors are combined one can clearly see the possibility of this happening:
Since one molecule of testosterone now exists (or doesn't - it doesn't matter) in the ocean it is not unreasonable to expect that it will have an impact on marine life.
Image: The Mercury News
She may not look so great anymore but at least it provided another career option:
(1) Ask any New Yorker whether peeing in the East River will make it cleaner or dirtier. No one will know.