The Absolute Impossibility of Homeopathy

Hi all,

I enjoyed overdosing on Homeopathic Medicine this morning for the TV cameras, and since then I have been doing some thinking.

In particular, I've been pondering the numbers.

I think I have got my head around what the dilutions mean:

6x means "1 to 10 dilution, 6 times over"
30c means "1 to 100 dilution, 30 times over"
50M means "1 to 1,000,000 dilution, 50 times over"

Now, presuming I don't have the above system wrong, the sheer impossibility of these claims really smacked me in the face!

For example, if one were to take an original substance and homeopathically dilute it until it was 24c, this product would be MORE DILUTE than 1 molecule of substance placed into the entire contents of the world's oceans.

That is, a 24c product is diluted to 1 part in 1x10^48. The number of water molecules in the entire earth's oceans is modeled at 4.4*10^46 (not my figure).

Are they telling me that to achieve a dilution of 25c they happen to run the tap until it has poured around 100 times the available oceanic water through their homeopathy bucket? That's one impressive homeopathy factory. Somehow, I don't think so.

Next, let's move on to debunking the 50M solution.

If somebody were to dilute a solution until it was 14M, this would be more dilute than the equivalent of ONE ATOM diluted into the atoms of THE ENTIRE KNOWN UNIVERSE.

That is, the number of atoms in the entire known universe is 1x10^80 atoms, whereas a 14M solution would be diluted to one part in 1x10^84.

Are they trying to tell me that a 14M solution is as dilute as one atom in 10,000 universes? This is just banal, dribbling, insanity. I don't possess a calculator capable of coping with the numbers required to understand a 50M solution.

Either I am missing something in my understanding of homeopathic dilutions, or something is utterly wrong here.

~ Iain.

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Are they telling me that to

Are they telling me that to achieve a dilution of 25c they happen to run the tap until it has poured around 100 times the available oceanic water through their homeopathy bucket? That's one impressive homeopathy factory. Somehow, I don't think so.

Not at all.


  1. Take 1mL of initial substance and put into 99mL of water.
  2. Take 1mL of that solution and put into 99mL of water. Discard or do whatever with the rest.
  3. repeat step 2 twenty five times.

I see where I went wrong now

Haha okay *face-palm*

Now I'm going to have to slink away into the corner and think about what I've done ;)

Ahhh, i see my problem, I wasn't discarding the 99mL. Rather, I was presuming total dilution of the resulting product each time.

You don't have to face-palm,

You don't have to face-palm, in fact it's a great illustration of how hard it can be to work it all out and figure out why it just ain't so. Most people just look and see "arnica 30C" or whatever on the label and assume that it means it has arnica in it and don't even entertain the notion of searching out what it means. It's all a learning process, and I know that even if I've got it wrong and then later I've worked out why, I've gained something in the meantime and that's the bit I missed.

False advertising?

So, if I see a homeopathic product listing an ingredient of "arnica 30C", isn't this false advertising? They admit that there is no arnica in there at all ... they may as well say "finger bone of St. Septimus the Gullible 107AD", because that isn't in there either ...

They do refer to it as

They do refer to it as "homeopathic" ingredients. The packaging I can recall also includes a separate ingredients section to describe the solvent or pill.

M?

M's a thousand isn't it?

/me checks...

Yep.

You may facepalm for that...