Respectful Insolence

Homeopathy remains the perfect quackery because it is nothing but water. Even homeopaths seem to recognize this implicitly. If they did not, then there would be no need for all the mental mastubation they engage in to imbue their magic water with “memory,” such that, as Tim Minchin so famously put it, it “remembers” all the good stuff it’s been in contact with but forgets all the poo that’s been in it. Truly, it is magic. Alternatively, homepaths will try to claim that the process of dilution and vigorous shaking between each serial dilution (or, as homepaths refer to it, succussion) somehow change the structure of water to produce such fantasmagorical creations as “nanocrystalloids.” Clearly, the mental contortions homeopaths can undergo would make their brains eligible to get a job with Cirque du Soleil.

Sometimes, homoepaths even try to write scientific papers that “prove” these things, such as the “memory of water.” Of course, these articles are virtually invariably crap. However, analyzing them from time to time, I still argue, is a useful excercise because it gives me insight into how homeopaths think, if thinking you can call it. Gaining that insight then helps me to recognize other forms of pseudoscience. Besides, when I see an article being shoved in my face as “proof” that homeopathy is more than just water, it’s very much akin to waving the veritable red cape in front of a bull, which is why I give my readers a word of advice: Don’t do it. At least, don’t do it unless you want me to go all not-so-Respectfully Insolent on it.

Like now, with today’s target topic, an article by Prashant Satish Chikramane and his colleagues at Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, India. Entitled Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanoparticulate perspective. Basically, the investigators…well, it’s too easy to give away the results in a sentence or two; so let me pontificate a little more before I do.

First off, this article appears in the journal Homeopathy. Yes, there is indeed a journal called Homeopathy. Given the level of pseudoscience that must be within the pages of a journal called Homeopathy, I fear a block hole of woo, which will suck all real science into its event horizon, leaving nothing behind but more woo. Personally, though, I like to think of Homeopathy as one of those fake journals designed to put a patina of science in the form of science-y sounding jargon and the appearance of using the scientific method but without actual science. Either that, or the articles within do actually adhere to the scientific method, but in the end they are nothing more than what Harriet Hall likes to call “tooth fairy science.” Given that homeopathy violates several known physical laws and that, for homeopathy to work, not only would scientists have to be wrong about huge swaths of well-characterized science they’d have to be spectacularly wrong.

So let’s see how Chikramane et al try to justify homeopathy. After all, I love reading introductions to homeopathy papers. After having declared homeopathy to have “stood the test of time,” Chikramane et al then go on to level this howler:

However, a major lacuna has been the lack of evidence of physical existence of the starting material. The main difficulty in arriving at a rational explanation stems from the fact that homeopathic medicines are used in extreme dilutions, including dilution factors exceeding Avogadro’s number by several orders of magnitude, in which one would not expect any measurable remnant of the starting material to be present. In clinical practice, homeopathic potencies of 30c and 200c having dilution factors of 1060 and 10400 respectively, far beyond Avogadro’s number of 6.023 × 1023 molecules in one mole, are routinely used.

Many hypotheses have been postulated to justify and elucidate their mechanisms of action. While some hypotheses such as the theory of water memory,formation of clathrates, and epitaxy are conjectural in nature, others such as those based on the quantum physical aspects of the solutions and have not been sufficiently tested, either due to complexity in validating the hypothesis or due to non-reproducible results. The ‘silica hypothesis’ is the only model that proposes the presence of physical entities such as siloxanes or silicates resulting from leaching from the glass containers. Following a dearth of credible and testable hypotheses to identify any physical entity responsible for medicinal activity, most modern scientists continue to believe that homeopathy at best provides a placebo effect.

Ah, those “modern” scientists! Those nasty, skeptical, reductionistic “modern” scientists! How could they not see the beauty and power of homeopathy? Whatever the reason, I chuckled heartily as I read the above two paragraphs. They look so much like the real introduction to a scientific paper. The authors have the style down cold. Too bad it’s all in the service of measuring the molecular composition of fairy dust. Of course, we’ve heard of “clathrates” before as a woo-ful justification for why homeopathy “works,” but I hadn’t heard of the silicate hypothesis. But, this being all science-y and all, there should be a testable hypothesis, and apparently the authors do have what appears to be at estable hypothesis. In any case, the apparent hypothesis is that there would be structural differences in the homeopathic remedies. So our intrepid investigators went out and obtained a bunch of homeopathic remedies from various Indian manufacturers of homeopathic remedies at three different potencies (how I hate ot use that word in this context), including 6C, 12C, and 30C, all of them in 90% ethanol. They then analyzed these physico-chemical aspects:

  1. The presence of the physical entities in nanoparticle form and their size by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) by bright-field and dark-field imaging.
  2. Their identification by matching the Selected Area Electron Diffraction (SAED) patterns against literature standards for the corresponding known crystals.
  3. Estimation of the levels of starting metals by a 500-fold concentration of medicines, followed by chemical analysis using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES).

The homeopathic remedies were chosen to have been based on various metals “so chosen that the metals would not arise either as impurities or as contaminants.”

Huh?

Did the investigators think that metals couldn’t find their way into these homeopathic remedies somewhere along the way in the manufacturing process? Another problem with the paper is that the investigators used as their control HPLC-grade ethanol and Milli-Q water. How on earth did they know that the manufacturers were so fastidious as to use HPLC-grade ethanol and Milli-Q water, the latter fo which is distilled, highly filtered, and then deionized to a ridiculously high electrical resistance? I use Milli-Q water all the time for molecular biology experiments because it is so pure and free of electrolytes. So, right off the bat, we see the investigators using a dubious control that isn’t equivalent to their manufactured homeopathic remedies purchased from “reputable” firms, meaning that any differences they observe can’t necessarily be attributed to the homeopathic dilutions of the metals. Not surprisingly, the investigators found differences, and, their being believers in homeopathy and all, they immediately made all sorts of ridiculous conclusions:

Zincum met, Aurum met, Stannum met and Cuprum met 30c and 200c were analyzed by TEM. The results are given as photomicrographs (Figure 1(a)e(p)), which clearly demonstrate the presence of nanoparticles and their aggregates. Due to extreme dilution often only a single nanoparticle or a large aggregate is seen. Hereafter, the term ‘particles’ collectively refers to the nanoparticles and their aggregates. We noted a high polydispersity of the particles in the solutions.

And this is what they saw:

i-1b0c8f1f9828170f92929b5b531f6adb-nano.jpeg

Perhaps an inorganic chemist out there can tell me if I’m wrong, but there doesnt’ appear to be any thing particularly special appearing about these particles. Looking at them, it also just occurred to me that there’s another possible explanation for these particles, one in which it is the authors themselves who introduced them into the homeopathic remedies:

The residues of Cuprum met, Stannum met, and Zincum met were acidified to solubilize the particles of their respective starting metals by addition of concentrated nitric acid. Similarly, aqua regia (concentrated nitric acid and concentrated hydrochloric acid in the ratio 1:3) was added to residues of Aurum met, Argentum met, and Platinum met.

I was a chemistry major, and, even though it was 25 years ago, I still remember that concentrated nitric acid had a fair number of heavy metal impurities. For instance, it can have 5 ppm iron and 10 ppm heavy metals. That’s a lot more heavy metal than a homeopathic dose. On the other hand, the authors report that their analyses were consistent with the metals used in the starting materials. This leads them to conclude:

The confirmed presence of these crystalline species of starting materials or those derived from them (as evident from the SAED patterns) despite the ultra-high dilutions such as 30c and 200c was astounding, proving that the starting materials were retained even with extremely high dilutions.

Actually, I’m a bit less than astounded. An alternative, more plausible, explanation, particularly given the propensity for ayruvedic herbs and other “alternative” medicines produced in India to be contaminated with heavy metals is that the manufacturing plants were thoroughly contaminated with the heavy metals that were supposedly the original starting material for the homeopathic remedies that they manufacture.

Of course, I haven’t even gotten to the most howlingly hilarious flaw in the whole study is where the authors:

During our analyses we also noted the plateauing effect of the concentrations of the starting metals per se in a particular concentration range in potencies 6c, 30c and 200c, in spite of 30c and 200c potencies being 1048 and 10388 respectively more dilute than 6c. It is interesting to note that the plateau for non-noble metals showed a higher metal content than for noble metals. Our ICP-AES results suggested that the asymptote effect commences around 6c potency

Did it ever occur to the investigators that the reason the asymptotic effect occurs is because maybe, just maybe, that’s about the level of contaminants that are naturally in the plant and/or the water being used to dilute and succuss the homepathic remedy at each step? That maybe, just maybe, it’s impossible to figure out whether those particles they detected were there all along as contaminants in the diluent water used? The authors don’t even consider that possibility, nor do they do any experiments to test for it. Rather, they simply assume that the manufacturers got it right and that these particles are truly a result of the homepathic dilution and succussion process. They speculate wildly about “nanobubbles” and “nanobubble-nanoparticle complexes” as keeping the metal particles from being diluted and succussed way to nothing through 30 100-fold dilutions. Even if this were true, there is no explanation how these particles could have any biological effect. Rather, it is merely assumed that they do and that their very existence somehow validates the woo that is homeopathy, so that the authors conclude:

We have found that the concentrations reach a plateau at the 6c potency and beyond. Further, we have shown that despite large differences in the degree of dilution from 6c to 200c (1012 to 10400), there were no major differences in the nature of the particles (shape and size) of the starting material and their absolute concentrations (in pg/ml).

(I can’t help but again ask the authors if they ever considered that the reason tha tthe concentration of nanoparticles didn’t change in concentration or appearance was that they are natural contaminants of the water used to produce the homoepathic dilutions. Apparently not.)

How this translates into change in biological activity with increasing potency needs further study. Concrete evidence of the presence of particles as found by us could help take the research in homeopathy a step forward in understanding these potentised medicines and also help to positively change the perception of the scientific community towards this mode of treatment.

Uh, no, it’s more like this: This sort of work will lead to well-deserved ridicule from chemists who wonder how analytical chemists can’t remember the first thing about doing proper controls. The authors, however, are surpassed in even their level of nonsense by a commentary that accompanied the article, entitled Do serial dilutions really dilute? The entire essence of the editorial is summed up in one paragraph:

The identification of nanogram amounts of the starting minerals in 200c remedies is both astounding and welcome. To quote Thomas Pynchon, “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers”. The skeptics have gotten the homeopathic world so busy trying to defend various theories of water memory that we have overlooked the possibility that some of the material somehow actually persists in highly diluted homeopathic medicines. If these findings are independently replicated, we can perhaps turn to the more relevant questions of how a remedy may interact with the individual organism based on the Principle of Similars and, beyond a certain threshold, how much the potency matters.

Here’s the problem. Once you get into nanogram quantities, however they got there, you’re in a realm that pharmacology can easily study. No, those nanogram quantities of heavy metals almost certainly didn’t get there because of “nanobubbles” or “nanocrystals.” They got there through a much more prosaic and dull process, more than likely through contamination of the homepathic remedies during their manufacture. Even so, nanogram quantities of compounds can be measured and their effects quantified using quite standard techniques in analytical chemistry and pharmacology. It’s not magic anymore. Only the beliefs and rituals that homeopaths impose on them are.

In the end, it’s truly amusing how a group of homeopaths can take a result that almost certainly is nothing more than detecting heavy metal contamination in homeopathic remedies manufactured in India, a country known for having heavy metal conatmination in herbal remedies and ayruvedic medicines it manufactures and then run with it straight off the end of the plank into a sea of woo.

Comments

  1. #1 The Wookie Monster
    November 18, 2010

    the process of dilusion and vigorous shaking

    What an appropriate typo;)

  2. #2 Dr. Bab
    November 18, 2010

    Wouldn’t this result, if true, mean that either:

    1-They had happened at a “million-to-one-chance” to find a sample with the original material still in it, or

    2-If all samples have comparable concentrations, they have discovered a way of producing heavy metals from water?

  3. #3 Todd W.
    November 18, 2010

    I would have thought that a proper control would have been to have the manufacturers put some ethanol or water through the same process they normally would, but without ever first introducing the “active” ingredient. A second control would be the ethanol or water that they start with, before anything happens to it.

    Science; you’re doing it wrong.

  4. #4 dt
    November 18, 2010

    What if some skeptics got together and submitted a pro-homeopathy article to Homeopathy or a similar woo journal, just to test the rigor of their peer-review and scientific process?

    The article would be entirely made up of fabricated pseudoscience about nonoparticles and quantum entanglement. Then once it is published, they can fess up and smear egg on the faces of the journal.

  5. #5 harey
    November 18, 2010

    I am fascinated by their finding that if you keep diluting their ‘medicine’ the same mg/l concentration of the metals will remain in the water. Given that the absolute volume of the whole stuff increases, that means the mass of the metals increases. And doesn’t that mean they claim to create heavy metals by shaking water? Now, that I call a real sensation: heavy metals created out of thin air by shaking water. I think they actually missed the most important implication of their study. No more fighting for rare metals, we can now create them! ;)

  6. #6 Dangerous Bacon
    November 18, 2010

    Photos (d) and (h) above show objects that look suspiciously like the agents of Morgellons’ disease* (at least they’re similar to things I’ve seen on Morgellons’ sites).

    We better alert the CDC, and maybe Lionel Milgrom too.

    *I wouldn’t count out (b) or (c) either.

  7. #7 MikeMa
    November 18, 2010

    @Dr Bab,
    That 1 in a million odds you gave for finding a single molecule of active ingredient are considerably higher than reality (and math) would suggest for the 20c dilution. And even that assumes perfect dilution which, of itself, is not likely.

    This article notwithstanding, homeopathy remains a fundamental fraud.

  8. #8 MikeMa
    November 18, 2010

    @Dr Bab,
    That 1 in a million odds you gave for finding a single molecule of active ingredient are considerably higher than reality (and math) would suggest for the 20c dilution. And even that assumes perfect dilution which, of itself, is not likely.

    This article notwithstanding, homeopathy remains a fundamental fraud.

  9. #9 Kaydee
    November 18, 2010

    @ The Wookie Monster:

    I thought it was rather apropos, too.

    Dilusion = dilution + delusion?? :-)

  10. #10 Calli Arcale
    November 18, 2010

    The other thing that puzzles me is what exactly they are attempting to test here. Their findings would be entirely consistent with contamination at the manufacturers’ site, or even use of a less-than-ideal solvent (which is highly likely, given that they compared it to a solvent unlikely to be used industrially). And their findings do not jive with homeopathic principles, which discuss how water has a memory which can be programmed by a special method of serial dilution and succussion. If this isn’t contamination, then it isn’t homeopathy either — it’s alchemy, creating metals where there weren’t any before.

  11. #11 MikeMa
    November 18, 2010

    Calli,
    You hit on just the kind of thinking I see over and over when homeopaths attempt to defend their woo. Its like a water-filled balloon animal. Squeeze one spot (water memory), all the wooists rush to another compartment (nano-particles). Squeeze that and there is a rush to quantum crap. There seems to be no way to squeeze all the spots at once.

  12. #12 Militant Agnostic
    November 18, 2010

    This isn’t a case of hearing hoof beats in the night and thinking zebras instead of horses. This is a case of hearing hoof beats in the night and thinking unicorns instead of horses, unicorns that fart rainbows.

    With regard to controls – what Todd said @3. I can only think this experiment was designed to produce a positive result. Science, you are doing it wrong.

  13. #13 Todd W.
    November 18, 2010

    @MikeMa

    Steamroller?

    @Calli

    I think the researchers’ point was that “water memory” does not need to be invoked as a rationale for how homeopathy “works”. Since there are, according to them, actual ingredients still in the solution, then “water memory” is needless.

  14. #14 Scott
    November 18, 2010

    Although they don’t seem to notice that their rationale is even less sensible than “water memory.” Violating conservation of energy is even more profound a problem!

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    November 18, 2010

    It’s so ironic that the woo-susceptible- terrified of minute amounts of toxins in vaccines or public water- buy Ayurvedic or TCM products that are highly contaminated ( we’re not talking homeopathic doses here!). Never fear! There is a solution! An “industrial toxicologist”, Dr. Hildegarde Staninger**, has developed methods to eliminate contamination by metals, nanotechnologies, GMO’s, and- you guessed it- Morgellons.( the Staninger Report.com/ Integrative Health Systems; HealingGrapevine.com )”Release the toxins, Recover the Light ™”

    ** I have encountered some truely *fascinating* ( read: bizarre) woo from Dr. Hildy.

  16. #16 Militant Agnostic
    November 18, 2010

    Although they don’t seem to notice that their rationale is even less sensible than “water memory.” Violating conservation of energy is even more profound a problem!

    Perhaps the metal knows to stay in part of the solution that will be used in the next dilution step. It senses the intent of the sucsusionist:)

  17. #17 qetzal
    November 18, 2010

    Of course, we only have the manufacturer’s word that they really performed 200 serial dilutions, right? I’d bet that one of the biggest costs in making these things is the labor involved in doing so many operations. Anybody else think they might skimp just a bit? Maybe only do 6-10 dilutions? It’s not like there’s any danger that a customer will notice any loss of ‘potency.’

  18. #18 Mu
    November 18, 2010

    I think it’s a great article, it disproves homeopathy as a pharmaceutical active remedy. If it’s impossible to dilute past 6C, you simply cannot get the potencies require be Hannemann. Great idea, practically impossible, case closed, recall the everything on store shelves.

  19. #19 stripey_cat
    November 18, 2010

    I’m amused that they’re surprised that they found less precious metal contamination than cheaper metals.

  20. #20 Calli Arcale
    November 18, 2010

    Heh; I didn’t even notice that, stripey_cat. That’s hilarious.

    “Whoa, there are less precious metals than common ones! Who would’ve expected THAT?”

  21. #21 René Najera
    November 18, 2010

    So when will Age of Autism go after these homeopaths for giving heavy metals to our children?!

  22. So they are essentially taking a loaves and fishes and Hanuka approach to homeopathy? They are trying to claim that somehow, despite the process of serial dilution, that some particles of the substance do remain. Presumably particles also remain in the samples discarded as part of the serial dilution, which means we have a way of creating an endless supply of any substance, albeit in very small quantities.

    It seems that whenever someone tries to come up with a scientific explanation or basis for any form of woo, they end up painting themselves into a corner. What exactly is the purpose of serial dilution beyond the point you would expect no particles to remain if some particles remain; why dilute further if you don’t expect it to reduce the concentration any further? Not only is the succession magic, but the process of dilution must also have some form of vitalistic action beyond simple reduction of concentration.

    If one were to accept the findings of this paper, one would probably be likely conclude the higher dilutions are unnecessary.

  23. @#12 Militant Agnostic,

    “…unicorns that fart rainbows”

    Priceless, I had to add that to my random quotes page on my blog.

    -Karl Withakay

  24. #24 Pieter B
    November 18, 2010

    Clearly, the mental contortions homeopaths can undergo would make their brains eligible to get a job with Cirque du Soleil.

    Well played, sir.

  25. #25 Matthew Cline
    November 18, 2010

    If this isn’t contamination, then it isn’t homeopathy either — it’s alchemy, creating metals where there weren’t any before.

    No, no, you’re misunderstanding them. They’re not saying that the manufacturing process produces the metal particles. They’re saying that, each time that 90%/99% of the diluted water is thrown out in the serial dilution process, the nano-particles are (somehow) herded into the part of the water that isn’t thrown out, resulting in something that’s much less diluted that it should be.

  26. #26 sirhcton
    November 18, 2010

    If I understand their contention correctly, dilutions that should not contain even one molecule of the original substance somehow do contain measurable amounts of it, then these gentlemen are headed for riches. Just dilute one molecule of the most valuable material into literally countless “doses,” then concentrate them and there will magically be more than they started with. They can turn water into whatever they want.

  27. #27 Composer99
    November 18, 2010

    Pieter B @24:

    Speaking as someone who had a chance to see Cirque du Soleil in action, I agree.

  28. #28 Militant Agnostic
    November 18, 2010

    Matthew Cline – I explained how the and particles are herded @16. This also explains why homeopathic preparations can not be produced by skeptics.

  29. #29 Scott
    November 18, 2010

    The “herding” idea would, of course, be very easy to test – subject the discarded 99% to the same measurements. If the particles are being herded, they will be present only in the 1%.

  30. #30 Todd W.
    November 18, 2010

    @Scott

    That would never work. The particles are immune to skeptical investigation. I mean, you’ve heard of “herd immunity,” haven’t you?

  31. #31 Amenhotepstein
    November 18, 2010

    @kaydee

    I thought it was rather apropos, too.

    Dilusion = dilution + delusion?? :-)

    The perfect description of homeopaths – their delusion gets stronger the more it’s diluted!

  32. #32 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    November 18, 2010

    @MikeMa #11

    The only way to squeeze equally in all directions would be to use the methodology for inertial confinement fusion. If they were using heavy water, maybe we’d get some fusion out of the deal. Then, for the first time in its sordid history, homeopathy would provide both light and heat.

  33. #33 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    November 20, 2010

    @Christo – You claim homeopathy works. Do you have evidence that homeopathic remedies are effective? If so, which remedies and for what in particular? Would that evidence be sufficient to prove the effectiveness of a drug (in the non-homeopathic sense)?

  34. #34 k
    November 20, 2010

    This “study” was not properly blinded.

    The labels should have been removed from all bottles prior to testing to find out whether it could be determined what, if any, metal(s) were in each sample. In this case, the results would likely have been significantly different, and that bilge would not have seen the light of day.

    Disclaimer: I am a graduate of IIT – the Illinois Institute of Technology – and attended classes with many talented Indians and other international students.

  35. #35 Victima Invictus
    November 21, 2010

    I fail to understand what exactly they were trying to prove in this study (I use the term “study” loosely here). Even if the ingredient you were diluting somehow magically knew which bit of water you were going to keep and which parts you were going to throw out, and moved to the part you were going to keep, this defeats the purpose of homeopathy rather than proves it. If it’s impossible to actually dilute an ingredient by homeopathic methods, then you might as well save yourself the trouble and do away with the dilutions altogether. It certainly doesn’t show that homeopathic dilutions of an active ingredient would have any positive health benefits.

  36. #36 kemist
    November 21, 2010

    Of course, we’ve heard of “clathrates” before as a woo-ful justification for why homeopathy “works,” but I hadn’t heard of the silicate hypothesis.

    I remember voicing that hypothesis a few years ago on the JREF forum on a thread where a Roy or Milgrom paper was discussed – not in support of homeopathy but as one of the things that might explain the spectrometric differences in dilute solutions – very pure water like Milli-Q water will dissolve borates from glass bottles – enough to affect measurements of borates, succussion or no succussion.

    I have no idea if I was the first to write that hypothesis and those doofusses ran away with it… If so, I apologize.

    Anyway, I’ve always found chemists studying homeopathy particularly pathetic. They should know it’s bullshit. The cognitive dissonance must be particularly painful. They are always reduced to chasing after various impurities and contaminants, trying to ignore the little voice that berates them that this is not how you should conduct quantitative analysis.

  37. #37 kemist
    November 21, 2010

    @58

    Homeopathy papers are always like that.

    They either misuse a machine beyond the specifications of the builder, use inappropriate controls or prepare their samples inappropriately for the technique that is used…

    An example of gross inadequacy in sample preparation I have seen was for Raman spectrometry – a notoriously impurity-sensitive technique for which samples must be filtered, degased, and specially purified solvents must be used. One of the spectra, on which the authors discussed at lenght, had a broad acetone band sitting in the middle of it, suggesting that the doofusses who had made the measurements had not used spectrometric grade ethanol.

    Another reported calorimetry measurement without any error bars for some critical samples – a notoriously finicky technique with which the authors demonstrated little familiarity, published in PNAS of all places.

    I like the expression ‘cargo-cult science’ for such things. It’s like these people see real scientists using those technological means that yield so many interesting results, and they believe that if they massage their numbers enough it will puff their wishful thinking into reality.

  38. #38 OurSally
    November 22, 2010

    >India is obsessed with Homeopathy. There are even state-sponsored homeopathic ‘medical’ colleges, granting bachelors and masters degrees in homeopathic ‘medicine’

    Now I’m curious. If a student only attends one lecture, then goes pogo-jumping, does he then know more than the others who attended all lectures? If he only scores 1% in an exam is he judged better than those who score 100%?

  39. #39 OurSally
    November 22, 2010

    >India is obsessed with Homeopathy. There are even state-sponsored homeopathic ‘medical’ colleges, granting bachelors and masters degrees in homeopathic ‘medicine’

    Now I’m curious. If a student only attends one lecture, then goes pogo-jumping, does he then know more than the others who attended all lectures? If he only scores 1% in an exam is he judged better than those who score 100%?

  40. #40 sidhe3141
    November 22, 2010

    Well, I have (appropriately) a glass of tap water here…

    Quantum! Drink!
    Blurry photographs with no explanations! Drink!
    Using Latin names instead of standard names! Drink!
    Complete lack of logic! Drink!
    No control groups! Drink!
    Attacking science as “modern science”! Drink!
    Hiding behind jargon! Drink!
    No analysis of effects of higher dilutions! Drink!

  41. #41 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    November 23, 2010

    Isn’t picture D above the Mandelbrot Set?

  42. #42 paulmurray
    November 24, 2010

    ” in spite of 30c and 200c potencies being 1048 and 10388 respectively more dilute than 6c.”

    Some punctuation getting lost, there – the superscript on the exponent. 30c is 10^48 more dilute than 6c, and 200c is 10^388 more dilute.

    That is … a lot, to put it mildly. A dilution of 50c = 1 in one google.

  43. #43 Obelisk
    December 15, 2010

    When I saw the premise of this “research” paper in my newspaper today (which is notoriously pro-homeopathy and – surprise, surprise – didn’t mention that it was published in the journal Homeopathy), I knew there had to be something fishy. (I’m from India.) Thanks for the rebuttal. I, however, am disappointed that this woo-woo is from IIT and not a homeopathic institution.

  44. #44 AJ
    December 18, 2010

    As an Indian engineering student, I’m quite sad such woo has come out of the sacrosanct doors of the IIT’s. Trust me, these are some of the most intelligent and hard working students you will ever see, but this is a real slap in the face to science education in India.

    Its probably because in India, science is viewed more as a subject than a way to approach things. The scientific method is not touched upon in lower levels of education at all, and in a sense, all those chemical equations and formulae are the only science students end up learning. A distinction is drawn between the science learnt in text books and applying scientific principles to life, say regarding religion or superstition.

  45. #45 merlin
    December 26, 2010

    this whole experiment looks like a sham to me. and to think that the paper has been written by one of the premier institutes of India just makes me throw up. i wish Indian students do more science based research than just ‘some’ research for the sake of publishing it in some fake journal and for cheap publicity and fame.

  46. #46 Walter
    February 3, 2011

    I’m writing about homeopathy for a paper on misrepresented data for my undergrad biophysics class, so I skimmed through this sad excuse for a study. Besides this being a study done at the Indian Institute of Technology (this alone should ruin that college’s reputation), there’s one thing that really amused me. Towards the end, the authors propose an explanation for why there are still nano-particulates in diluted solutions. This explanation being that a Pickering emulsion-like process passed all the metals from one dilution to the next during manufacture. In other words, THEY WEREN’T DILUTED! This undermines the whole point of the study, which is to prove that infinitely diluted metal solutions still contain metal.

  47. #47 Dr.Christo
    November 9, 2011

    HOMEOPATHY IS THE MOST ADVANCED SCIENCE OF HEALING…SCIENCE HAS PROVED HOW HOMEOPATHY WORKS…DEAR FRIENDS PLEASE UP DATE YOUR SCIENCE KNOWLEDGE….HOMEOPATHY IS THE MEDICNE OF FUTURE, EVEN THE FATHER OF MODERN MEDICNE SUPPORTED HOMEOPATHY.
    This NOTE is published by antihomeopaths, because many poeple are turning to homeopathy for better health, SO IGNORE THIS FOOLSIH NOTE.

  48. #48 Gray Falcon
    November 9, 2011

    Something that still amazes me is that there are people who still think caps lock is a valid substitute for evidence.

  49. #49 Prometheus
    November 9, 2011

    Wow! “Dr. Christo” is a Level 4 Necromancer for posting his all-caps, fact-free, spittle-spraying screed on an article from almost a year ago. Bravo, “Dr. Christo”!

    Are you related to the “environmental artist” of the same name?

    Prometheus

  50. #50 Krebiozen
    November 9, 2011

    Dr.Christo,

    IGNORE THIS FOOLSIH NOTE

    Will do.

  51. #51 visitador
    March 3, 2012

    Uh, the most commnentts and seudpo analysis of this blog is really fantastic.
    My explain; this blog uses argument ad-hominem, prejuicies and explanations based in your own experence, never advocattes a use refutation whit cites, journals of authors.
    Is made easy, the psychology effect porovacted a view, for lectors, a homeopathy and investigation for absurd, ilogical, magic and irrational.
    The blog uses arguments based in appeal authority and low comprension of read a full text.
    This blog select a many parts of text whit unique purpose of a main laugh.
    In conclusion the article of this blog:

    Arguments: poor.
    Fallacies: in maximum.

  52. #52 Matthew Cline
    March 4, 2012

    My explain; this blog uses argument ad-hominem

    What ad hominem arguments? I don’t see any.

    never advocattes a use refutation whit cites, journals of authors

    Criticizing the methodology of a study doesn’t necessarily require citing other studies.

    The blog uses arguments based in appeal authority and low comprension of read a full text.

    The blog post and comments were criticizing the methodology used. If the methodology is sufficiently flawed (as it was in this study) then the results can be ignored and don’t need further refutation.

  53. #53 visitador
    March 11, 2012

    You say that:

    “What ad hominem arguments? I do not see any”

    It is clear that the joke is ad-hominem attack, it seems a shame not to know that an ad-hominem argument. Every skeptic who have criticized the eLearning Awards website tells me: “Where or ad-hominem argument which? Do not see” It seems they are unable to realize their own fallacies.

    This is more surprising still:

    “Criticizing the Methodology of a study Does not Necessarily require citing other studies.”

    No further studies are required to quote? Please research in any scientific call if you deign to contrast with other studies the authors and do not own opinon. This article appears therefore more disposed to speculation that a scientific possibility legitimately automatic viable. It seems strange that on one hand the homeopaths exigan studies showing positive and when they do something at least worthy of attention devoted skeptics to speculate and give their opinion based on a poor argument that appeals to the emotions: Ad-misercordiam. Go now another fallacy?

    “The blog post and comments criticizing Were The Methodology used. If the Methodology is sufficiently It flawed (as It Was In This study) then the results can be ignored and do not need weitere refutation.”

    Perfect no one had bothered to talk about the study. And you are right here did not criticize the methodology but gave their own Reviews posted and lemjor cases a wrong way to aobrdar criticism, or rather made ​​a pseudocritique.