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The center for inquiry is suing CVS for selling homeopathic treatments. What do you think of the video? I agree with it, but it isn't kind to people who may think that homeopathic remedies work, plus I don't think that they explained the dilution part very well.

Stephanie99 8 July 25
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I believe in evidence based medicine but although the placebo effect is real, when it prevents valid treatment for serious illness complementary me Devine is dangerous.
What do you think of chiropractic?

Superwhiff Level 3 Nov 25, 2018

Selling a placebo or selling a poison diluted to 1/1000th or less is selling a product meant to fail on purpose. Is that not the dictionary definition of fraud?

Keita Level 5 July 26, 2018

There isn't a single specific example of what they are calling homeopathic medicine, which makes me skeptical of their widespread condemnation of homeopathy.

Heraclitus Level 8 July 25, 2018

How homeopathy works is that like cures like. To cure an allergy, for example, they might take the thing that you are allergic to, add it to water, and then dilute it so many times that there can't even be one molecule left. The water is supposed to still have the memory of having had the molecule in it. If that were the case, that water would remember everything it had every been in contact with. The idea behind homeopathy makes absolutely no sense. That's why they have no specific example.


Here's a specific example of a fun and popular homeopathic "medicine" for you to look into. As soon as anyone understands, really understands, how these fraudulent medicines are created, there's no more skepticism needed, unless you are just a general believer in "woo".


In a nutshell, when you think of active ingredients in medicines, the more there is, the stronger it is, right? If you take 600 mg of an actual medicine, it's general going to have more of an effect on your body than if you take 200 mg.

Dosage works the opposite way in homeopathy. "C" is the measure of the number of dilutions. 1 C means that they made a single 1:100 dilution. So they put 1 ml of ingredient into 100 ml of water. 2C means that they then took 1 ml of the dilution and added that to 100 ml of water.

Oscillococcinum is a super "potent" (LOL) medicine that is rated at 200C. So they diluted it 200 times.

So the first clue that this is BS should be that there's no evidence in the first place that duck organs can cure influenza or relieve its symptoms.

The second clue is that at 200C dilution, means that there is 1 part active ingredient to 10 to the 400 parts water. (sorry don't know how to format that number properly.) Understand that's 10 + 400 zeros after it.

From the wiki above, the amount of active ingredient in one gram of Oscillococcinum is 1×10−400 g, the mass of a single proton is 1.67×10−24 g. (roughly)

While I can't even fathom being able to make an exact calculation, I would venture to say this is like tossing an aspirin into Lake Michigan and expecting that if you drink a shot glass full of that water, it will cure your headache.

@Stephanie99 Well, that's weird. But it doesn't sound too far off from the allergy shots I was given by a doctor when I was young. They gave me shots of the allergens under the theory that I would develop some immunity to the things I was allergic to by being exposed to them. Didn't seem to work very well, though it gave me a lot of red, sore arms.

I can see how you would say that. What you miss is the dilution factor. With homeopathy, the dilution is so extreme that there can't even be one molecule of the thing being diluted anymore.


They make their point well and have a solid case. Now, about kindness to people who believe in the effectiveness of homeopathy. Homeopathic 'remedies' are available all over. Shutting down CVS for fraudulent behavior would not make it impossible for them to obtain the stuff, but it would go a long way toward complying with that notion of honesty in advertising. I doubt an action would be sought if CVS had shelved all its homeopathic goods in a section labeled as such.


I have no sympathy for people who sell homeopathic remedies. There's no excuse for a "reputable" company to deceive customers like this.
I don't really care that some people's feelings may be hurt if they were gullible enough to buy homeopathic quackery.

JimG Level 8 July 25, 2018

I first saw the video embedded in a CFI email. think the it aims more to explain to supporters why they are suing CVS than to explain to homeopathy fans that they are wrong. BTW, there's a video of a Carrie Poppy speech generally about how to approach believers in woo in which she uses homeopathy as a specific example:

ScottRP Level 5 July 25, 2018

Thanks, I wish I have time to listen now. I hope I remember to come back.

Thank you. That was a good listen.


A couple of years back, a woman at work was taking a homeopathic remedy. A naturopathic "doctor" in a naturopathic clinic had told her that she needed to rehydrate her cells. For "treatment", every hour, she had to put 6 drops of a "special" homeopathic fluid into a glass of water and drink it. Riiiight (eye roll)

She wouldn't tell me how much the "treatment" cost or let me have more than a quick glimpse of the medicine jar. Most naturopathic clinics in our city charge over $125 dollars for the first consult plus more for tests and the follow up visit or two needed before "prescribing" treatments.

I tried to gently talk her out of it. No luck, just made her angry.

pixiedust Level 8 July 25, 2018

Sad. I had a relative contact me for a naturopath recommendation. My only recommendation was not to go to one.

@Stephanie99 I hope your relative listened

@pixiedust Unfortunately not.

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