Feb 232011

An interesting comment on my previous post re. the absurdity of homeopathic dilutions prompted me to check out the ISO standard for laboratory water.

The purest grade of water in ISO 3696 is 10ppb or 10×10-9 – which is 4C. So at the fourth centessimal dilution the impurities in the very purest laboratory grade water are as significant in the solution as the supposed active principle. There’s no suggestion that succussion can’t affect these impurities the same way it affects the active principle because many if not all of the impurities themselves appear in other homeopathic remedies.

What this means is that every single homeopathic preparation over 4C is, if prepared with the highest laboratory grade water, necessarily a completely unpredictable and effectively random remedy which we could call inmunditia vagus or unpredictable impurity (no Latin flames, please, I did not learn Latin despite attending a thousand-year-old school). Or maybe substantia ignota, unknown substance.

In practice, homeopaths do not use water of this purity. We know they don’t because water of this grade cannot be stored in glass or plastic vessels – they would leach contaminants into the water.

In my view this is probably an even more compelling case against homeopathy than the Avogadro limit problem, because as far as I am aware there is no possible hypothetical mystical arm-waving explanation that can counter the solid and unambiguous fact that after a very few centessimal dilutions, every single homeopathic remedy is completely overwhelmed by random contaminants.

Now here’s an awkward question for the homeopaths. When did you last test your water with an optode? Pouring water into the mixing vessel will aerate it, probably of the order of at least one part per million dissolved oxygen. So now we’re down to 2C-3C before every single homeopathic remedy is vernum – or oxygen, to give its common name.

Has anyone seen a discussion of thse two problems in the homeopathy literature?

  2 Responses to “Homeopathy: 10 parts per billion”

  1. [...] first place. I’ve talked previously about the meaninglessness of using even this, in “10 parts per billion“; in the end it comes down to the fact that homeopathy is a belief system not a science and [...]

  2. [...] no chance of finding the needle of a pulsatilla complex (it’s not a single molecule) in the haystack of impurities and [...]

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