There’s Nothing In It

Glasgow event

Just in case you missed it on the news, this morning there were demonstrations across the country where people took massive overdoses of pills. Homeopathic pills.

A campaign co-ordinated by an organisation called “10:23” (http://www.1023.org.uk/) seeks to stop the National Heath Service spending four million pounds a year on this pseudoscience; and to embarrass the Boots pharmacy chain into dropping homeopathic products. The title of the campaign, “There’s Nothing In It” is about the facts that there’s no substance to homeopathy and that the “remedies” are nothing but water. (The homeopathic pills are sugar pills which have been “anointed” with the water.)

Boots, incidentally, gave evidence to the Commons Science and Technology Committee in 2009 that they did not believe homeopathic products have any effect. But they sell them because of “customer demand”.

A lot of people think that homeopathy is a “herbal” or “complimentary” or even “natural” system of medicine, but in fact, it’s nothing but a scam, made up by a Samuel Hahnemann in 1796. The process he developed, of putting a small quantity of a chemical into solution, and then diluting and diluting and diluting, ends up with not a single molecule of the substance left behind in the water, but the water is supposed to “remember” the chemical that was in it. They never explain how the water knows not to remember silica from the glass bottles, or the odd bacterial spore, or anything else it was ever in contact with.

And the laugh is that you can make the water even more homeopathically powerful… by diluting it again! Just add water.

That, actually, highlights a flaw in 10:23’s demonstration this morning. Swallowing a hundred sugar pills can’t be a homeopathic overdose, because according to the system’s crazy logic, the less you take the stronger the effect. So they should all have stood in front of Boots and taken just one sugar pill. Or for maximum effect: none at all.

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