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Old 4th October 2008, 03:57 AM
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Default I haven't read much but homeopathy just doesn't make sense to me

I'd love if someone could give me a very brief scientific explanation of how homeopathy works. I'm taking chemistry and high school now and at first glance it doesn't make any sense to me for a few reasons:

1. Diluting a substance to a greater degree should reduce it's effects, not increase them.

2. When I look at the substances being used/diluted I don't see scientific reason as to why that particular substance would cure a disease.

3. When looking at things that are diluted to a ratio of 1 x 10^24 or higher wouldn't that mean you likely have only a few molecules of the substance in the actual treatment/medicine? How could this be enough to cure someone of a disease? And if it's diluted significantly higher like around 100, the odds of there being a single molecule of the substance in your treatment are incredibly small.

I've only just taken an interest in this today and may have a lot of things wrong. Right now the only reason I can think of it working is a placebo effect, but any simple further explanation of how homeopathy works would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 4th October 2008, 02:41 PM
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There are various theories, but the truth is that nobody knows how homeopathy works. According to our current scientific understanding - it shouldn't work. But it does. It would seem that science's belief that a substance can be diluted completely out of existence is incorrect.

For convincing evidence that homeopathy works:

Sock horror in homeopathic cholera statistics Laughing my socks off
The history of homeopathy in the Russian Empire - Alexander Kotok, M.D.
Homeopathy for Influenza
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Old 4th October 2008, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Similibus View Post
There are various theories, but the truth is that nobody knows how homeopathy works. According to our current scientific understanding - it shouldn't work. But it does. It would seem that science's belief that a substance can be diluted completely out of existence is incorrect.

For convincing evidence that homeopathy works:

Sock horror in homeopathic cholera statistics Laughing my socks off
The history of homeopathy in the Russian Empire - Alexander Kotok, M.D.
Homeopathy for Influenza
"It would seem that science's belief that a substance can be diluted completely out of existence is incorrect."
Not diluted out of existence, diluted out of probability. It's just math.

1 gram of phosphorus (P) contains 1.947 * 10^22 molecules of phosphorus
10 grams of water (H2O) contain 3.348 * 10^23 molecules of water

So say your dosage is 2 grams and is diluted by 10 50 times.

You have a 2 in 10^27 chance of getting one molecule of phosphorus in your dose. Expressed without exponents that's about a 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 chance of one molecule being in your dose. Your chances of being killed by lighting are 1 in 2,320,000.

-----------------------------------

As for the websites, they're all citing the flu pandemic and one source. I'm more interested in placebo controlled studies published in the last 10 years. The vast majority that I looked at showed homeopathy to be only slightly more or less effective than a placebo, and much less effective than commonly prescribed medicine.

Also, some of the authors of those articles actually profit off of homeopathy making them biased, as their income depends on people believing homeopathy works.
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Old 4th October 2008, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alach11 View Post
"It would seem that science's belief that a substance can be diluted completely out of existence is incorrect."
Not diluted out of existence, diluted out of probability. It's just math.

1 gram of phosphorus (P) contains 1.947 * 10^22 molecules of phosphorus
10 grams of water (H2O) contain 3.348 * 10^23 molecules of water

So say your dosage is 2 grams and is diluted by 10 50 times.

You have a 2 in 10^27 chance of getting one molecule of phosphorus in your dose. Expressed without exponents that's about a 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 chance of one molecule being in your dose. Your chances of being killed by lighting are 1 in 2,320,000.
That is certainly the current scientific view. Unfortunately for science, the fact that homeopathy works throws this into question. Of course you are assuming that you need a molecule of original substance for the medicine to work, which might not be the case.


Quote:
Originally Posted by alach11 View Post
As for the websites, they're all citing the flu pandemic and one source.[1] I'm more interested in placebo controlled studies published in the last 10 years.[2] The vast majority that I looked at showed homeopathy to be only slightly more or less effective than a placebo, and much less effective than commonly prescribed medicine

Also, some of the authors of those articles actually profit off of homeopathy making them biased, as their income depends on people believing homeopathy works.[3]
1. Look again - they refer to the 1831 cholera epidemic and the 1918 'flu epidemic. The aggregate statistical results for cholera treatment in Europe and America show that allopathic hospitals had a mortality rate of 40%, compared to 4% in homeopathic hospitals.

For the 1918 'flu - allopathic hospitals had a mortality rate of 30%, compared to <1% in homeopathic hospitals.

2. RDBPCT's can never be a true measure of homeopathy's efficay. They are designed to show the effect of pharmaceutical medicines.

3. If that is your reasoning you must also discount every single piece of scientific reaearch and clinical drug trial ever conducted by a pharmaceutical company in relation to a pharmaceutical medicne.


All these topics have recently been discussed at length here: Which is more scientific: Allopathy or Homeopathy?

Why not join the discussion?
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Old 4th October 2008, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Similibus View Post
1. Look again - they refer to the 1831 cholera epidemic and the 1918 'flu epidemic. The aggregate statistical results for cholera treatment in Europe and America show that allopathic hospitals had a mortality rate of 40%, compared to 4% in homeopathic hospitals.

For the 1918 'flu - allopathic hospitals had a mortality rate of 30%, compared to <1% in homeopathic hospitals.
These are 177 and 90 years old, respectively. To suggest that this is a valid comparison when talking about modern medicine is stupid. Show me studies today comparing conventional heart disease treatment and homeopathic treatment that shows how effective homeopathic treatment is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Similibus View Post
2. RDBPCT's can never be a true measure of homeopathy's efficay. They are designed to show the effect of pharmaceutical medicines.
[/quote]
How exactly do they favor traditional medicine? In my eyes an RDBPCT is the only way you can truly measure the effects of a medicine. This is an interesting article discussing the reasons why any other method of proof is unacceptable:
Double-Blind Studies


I may join that discussion, though it's slightly more long winded than I prefer. Thanks for the link.
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Old 5th October 2008, 02:34 AM
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Wow!

You have a really bad attiutude!

Search the forum next time - this has already been discussed.

I'm not interested in talking to you.
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Old 5th October 2008, 03:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Similibus View Post
Wow!

You have a really bad attiutude!

Search the forum next time - this has already been discussed.

I'm not interested in talking to you.
I understand that you might not feel comfortable having your beliefs questioned, sorry if I came across as challenging.

It just frustrates me when I see threads on people that treat their babies with homeopathic remedies that as far as I see wont work. I feel the same way about people that refuse their kids medical treatment instead opting to pray over them.
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Old 5th October 2008, 04:43 AM
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But I expect you would happy to immunise your children - even though most vaccines have never been subjected to RDBPCT's!!!

Double standards!

I have no objection to having my views challenged - homeopathy is a science, and as such can withstand any degree of scruitiny. It was your attitude in your previous post, as I said.
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Old 5th October 2008, 04:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alach11 View Post
These are 177 and 90 years old, respectively. To suggest that this is a valid comparison when talking about modern medicine is stupid. .
I did not suggest this was a comparison - I suggested it was convincing eveidence for homeopathy's efficacy. Yet you imply I am stupid for (not) making this comparison!

Quote:
Originally Posted by alach11 View Post
Show me studies today comparing conventional heart disease treatment and homeopathic treatment that shows how effective homeopathic treatment is..
Who are you to give me orders? Attitutde!


Quote:
Originally Posted by alach11 View Post
How exactly do they favor traditional medicine?
Traditional medicine means herbs. In relation to pharmaceuticals it suggests bloodletting and the use of crude mercury as a medicine.

The validity of RDBPCTs is currently being discussed on another thread.
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Old 5th October 2008, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Similibus View Post
I did not suggest this was a comparison - I suggested it was convincing eveidence for homeopathy's efficacy. Yet you imply I am stupid for (not) making this comparison!
What's the point of mentioning it if it has no bearing on modern medicine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Similibus View Post
Who are you to give me orders? Attitutde!
If you can't find a study of a similar standard don't be offended, just admit that there is not evidence to prove the effectiveness of homeopathy in these fields of medicine.[/quote]


Quote:
Originally Posted by Similibus View Post
Traditional medicine means herbs. In relation to pharmaceuticals it suggests bloodletting and the use of crude mercury as a medicine.

The validity of RDBPCTs is currently being discussed on another thread.
Pharmaceuticals have progressed beyond bloodletting in the last few hundred years. Homeopathy hasn't changed much as far as I'm aware.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Similibus View Post
Of course you are assuming that you need a molecule of original substance for the medicine to work, which might not be the case.
Without a trace of the original substance all you have is pure water.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Similibus View Post
homeopathy is a science, and as such can withstand any degree of scruitiny.
I disagree. It does not stand up to mathematical scrutiny as I proved earlier.
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