Friday, April 07, 2006

Argument from Tap Water

Homeopathy has two primary tenets:

  • The Law of Similars, or Likes Cure Likes: use remedies based on substances that cause similar symptoms in large doses.
  • The Theory of Infitesimals: the further a remedy is diluted, the more it is enhanced.
A straighforward reductio against these principles came to me yesterday. Chances are you consume tap water on a regular basis; yet tap water is full of pretty much everything, nearly infinitely diluted. For example, I'm sure there are trace amounts of mercury in tap water — mercury, in large amounts, can cause dementia. By the claims of homeopathy, then, no one who drinks tap water should ever go insane. Yet there are plenty of people who go insane — and believe things like homepathy. Maybe they're all drinking bottled water? Or would that have even stronger curative powers?

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