Could this be why I’m not a brilliant medical pioneer?
Posted by c. wagner on November 1, 2009
Was reading Superstition by Robert Park the other night and came across this description of the invention of homeopathy.
Unfortunately, some of the side effects associated with the use of these substances were serious, bringing Hahnemann perilously close to the sort of medicine he had earlier condemned. In an effort to reduce the severity of the side effects, he took the rather obvious step of diluting the medicine. As you would expect, dilution reduced the side effects, but to his astonishment Hahnemann also observed that patients given the dilute medication recovered more quickly from their illness.
At this point, you and I might have concluded that the medicine was preventing them from getting better. Perhaps that’s why you and I have never discovered a new principle of medicine. Hahnemann reached the opposite conclusion. He thought it showed that the more medicine is diluted, the more potent it becomes. He called this the Law of Infinitesimals, and declared it to be his second great discovery. [page 148-9]
I’ve probably ranted enough about homeopathy on this blog already. I’ll sum up: it’s total bullshit. Save your money. I promise I won’t say anything more about homeopathy unless there’s big news about it.
But this excerpt was just too snarky to pass up.