Don’t contaminate your water with water

imagesAs is so often the case, seriously-intentioned pieces of writing – if written by quacks – can be rather funny. And so it is with a report on a recent homeopathy conference in Barcelona, which I was alerted to by Andy Lewis (who is responsible for the excellent Quackometer website). If you read the report, you’ll discover that homeopathy is even more powerful than you might currently believe. For example:

physical contact with a remedy may not be required to feel its affects. So presumably, individuals in a placebo or control group could still be affected by the action of a remedy.

Translation: homeopathy is unfalsifiable, and we don’t care. In fact, it’s a virtue.

Dr. Gustavo Bracho, an immunologist from Cuba, … discovered completely by accident,that if he stored water (for his control / placebo group) next to a homeopathic dilution of the extract, the water would take on the same properties as the remedy.

Translation: one sample of water, with no detectable traces of the homeopathic “remedy”, tested as having the same properties as another sample of water with no detectable traces of the homeopathic “remedy”.

But on his reasoning,

if a remedy is already imprinted, it cannot be affected by another. So word of warning to homeopaths, and homeopathic aficionados out there – make sure you keep your blank pellets and water far away from your remedies.

Because imagine the panic that might set in if you’re racing against the clock to cure someone’s dread disease, and all of the water you thought was “blank” had brushed against the glass containing water intended to banish faeries (or something. I’m not quite sure how this is supposed to work.)

By Jacques Rousseau

Jacques Rousseau teaches critical thinking and ethics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is the founder and director of the Free Society Institute, a non-profit organisation promoting secular humanism and scientific reasoning.