How homeopathy works

You’ve been wondering, haven’t you. Good theories involve both substantiating evidence for a phenomenon and an explanation of the mechanism, and homeopathy has had neither: no evidence that it works (and plenty that it doesn’t), and no rational explanation for how it works, unless you count gibberish like “memory of water”. Now that has all changed. The way homeopathy works is nanotechnology.

Homeopathic pills containing naturally occurring metals such as gold, copper and iron retain their potency even when diluted to a nanometre or one-billionth of a metre, states the IIT-Bombay research published in the latest issue of ‘Homeopathy’, a peer-reviewed journal from reputed medical publishing firm Elsevier.

IIT-B’s chemical engineering department bought homeopathic pills from neighbourhood shops, prepared highly diluted solutions and checked these under powerful electron microscopes to find nanoparticles of the original metal.

”Certain highly diluted homeopathic remedies made from metals still contain measurable amounts of the starting material, even at extreme dilutions of 1 part in 10 raised to 400 parts (200C),” said Dr Jayesh Bellare from the scientific team.

Ah, the “reputed” publisher, Elsevier. They don’t say what their reputation is, but I will: they are a reputably venal organization that gouges libraries and buys up journals without concern for quality. If you want one symbol for all that is wrong with science publishing today, you can’t go wrong picking Elsevier.

Anyway, the explanation isn’t an explanation. It simply says that no matter how much you dilute a substance in principle, it’s still going to contain trace contaminants. I’d like to know if they examined the water they used to dilute their “remedy”; odds are good that it contains low concentrations of miscellaneous stuff. Also, doesn’t this mean it wasn’t actually homeopathic, but simply contained a dilute quantity of an active agent? This doesn’t explain how potency would be increased by dilution at all.

Finally, “quantum” is not the only potent word that fails to magically make a quack explanation scientific. Add “nanotechnology” to the list.

Oh, wait, not before I bring my new snake oil to market, the one that contains “quantum nanotechnology”! I’m going to make a fortune!