Wikipedia on Homeopathy: The Crux of the Argument

A series of posts examining some of the statements made on Wikipedia regarding Homeopathy. (These comments derive from a 2012 edition of the Wikipedia article. I will not quote the entire article but will quote only those statements which should be corrected.)

The second paragraph sticks to the facts for a while, describing the homeopathic holistic approach and how homeopathic remedies are made. Then:

Wikipedia: “Dilution usually continues well past the point where none of the original substance remains.”

MAYBE TRUE: An accurate way of stating this would be to say that dilution sometimes, theoretically, continues past the point where none of the original substance remains in the solution, according to Avogadro’s theories of molecular distribution. In fact, new tools have detected nanoparticles of the original substance in homeopathic dilutions way beyond Avogadro’s Constant, and there is likely a very good explanation for that.

Avogadro’s theory was derived by measuring the concentration of molecules in a gaseous dilution, where molecules are able to distribute equally because they are not affected by other factors like surface tension. Liquid dilutions like the ones used in homeopathy (alcohol, water, etc.) have qualities that make them different from gaseous dilutions, notably that surface tension we just mentioned.

Wikipedia: “The low concentrations of homeopathic remedies, often lacking even a single molecule of the diluted substance, lead to an objection that has dogged homeopathy since the 19th century: how, then, can the substance have any effect?”

PRESUMPTIVE: We’ll let the suggestive use of the word, “dogged,” slide for now. This is indeed the question, and a fair question it is. Indeed, it seems to be the question past which the Wikipedia editors cannot move. Because something subtle or immaterial cannot, according to their world view, have a physiological effect, they do not even bother to address the preponderance of evidence that the Law of Similars is valid. They do not read homeopathic cured cases. They do not study homeopathic literature. They simply know that because the molecules are not there in a concentration they can respect, all of these other aspects are moot points. We will see that the entire anti-homeopathy argument of the Wikipedia page, all 30,000 words of it, boils down to this one objection. (As mentioned above, some scientific research is suggesting that applying Avogadro’s Constant to a liquid homeopathic solution may be a flawed approach.)

Although, as I say, this objection is quite fair in the context of modern physical science, the problem is that it is a theoretical objection, not an evidence-based objection. Based on a theory of molecular distribution postulated well before the disciplines of quantum mechanics and particle physics were even born, the opponents of homeopathy object that homeopathic remedies can have no action. (Actually, they propose that homeopathy can have no validity, which is a big leap from the first.) Well, it’s fine to make that objection, but the data does not bear them out.

Science is observation, not theory. It may use theory in experimentation, but largely experimentation is meant to either bolster or debunk theory. When observations do not match your theories, something is flawed: either the data or your theories. In this case, we have 200 years of clinical and laboratory evidence, most of it not as empirical as the fundamentalists would like, but some of it quite as rigorously derived as any randomized controlled drug trial, that homeopathic remedies diluted beyond Avogadro’s Constant have a physiological effect AND are able to cure the sick.


2 responses to “Wikipedia on Homeopathy: The Crux of the Argument”
  1. Unknown Avatar

    Excellent post.I want to thank you for this informative read, I really appreciate sharing this great post. Keep up your work..

    Homeopathy Clinic in Mohali

  2. […] brings me to the crucial second point: the Minimum Dose. At the time Hahnemann was writing the Organon, physicians were giving large doses of sulphur for […]

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