The story about how Anke Zimmerman, a naturopath in Victoria B.C. treated a young boy’s behavioural problems with a homeopathic remedy concocted from the saliva of a rabid dog has “gone viral.” A deluge of comments have expressed outrage about this nonsensical treatment, mostly focusing on the crazy use of the saliva of a rabid dog. There should be outrage for sure, but it should be redirected.
The fact that the “remedy” was made from the saliva of a rabid dog is totally irrelevant since there is no dog saliva in the homeopathic “Lyssinum” that was administered to the boy. The homeopathic dose was 10M, which means taking a drop of saliva and adding a thousand drops of water, then taking one drop of this and adding another thousand drops of water and then repeating this eight more times. Not only does the final solution not contain a molecule from the original saliva, it doesn’t even contain a water molecule that has ever been in contact with any molecule from the dog saliva. Finally a drop of this infinitely diluted solution is placed on a sugar tablet, and presto, we have a homeopathic remedy!
Why the saliva of a rabid dog? Because this brilliant naturopath concluded that the boy’s problems were the result of having been bitten by a dog that had been vaccinated against rabies. What is the perverse logic here? The boy’s symptoms were reminiscent of rabies, and according to the ludicrous tenet of homeopathy, “like cures like,” so that the cure is the saliva of a rabid dog. I kid you not. Of course, even the homeopaths recognize that there is no saliva in the “remedy,” so they have to come up with some rationale. They claim that repeated dilutions, and shaking the solution between dilutions, imprint a healing image on the solution. This image is then transferred to the sugar pill. Hard to write this without laughing. But a homeopath has attempted a serious explanation:
“How can it be that the more a substance is diluted, the stronger, or more potent, it becomes? Isn't it a paradox that the highest potencies have the least amount of the original substance? This paradox resolves when we understand that a remedy acts not as a chemical or material factor, but rather as an informational field. Through a process that we are just beginning to be understand, the repetitive dilution and succussion impart a patterning to the molecules of the diluent. The pattern varies depending upon the nature of the substance to which it is exposed, and apparently carries information related to the nature of that substance. The more the solution is diluted and succussed, the more the pattern becomes coherent, intense and detailed.”
Then the explanation continues with this bizarre analogy: “Consider a slide projector sitting a certain distance from a screen. As we move the projector further and further away from the screen, the image becomes larger, and we are able to perceive more details. The image is like the remedy. There is no substance to it; but consider how powerful a picture can be! The saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" points to the rich, informational quality of imagery. When the vital force of an organism is presented with the information conveyed by an appropriately selected image, it is able to use that information to propel itself back to a position of health and balance. A remedy is like a roadmap which illustrates exactly how the organism traveled off its intended course. Now that it has this information, it can turn around and retrace its steps.” There you have it. Straight from a homeopathetic mouth.
So where should the outrage be directed? Yes, the naturopath deserves a dose, and not a homeopathic one. But the real culprit is Health Canada for “approving” homeopathic “remedies” such as rabid dog saliva and granting them a Health Canada identification number. The regulators claim that this has nothing to do with efficacy, only with safety. Of course these products are safe. They contain nothing! But is it not reasonable for the consumer to assume that a Health Canada approval number means that the remedy is effective? Homeopathic dilutions amount to concentrated nonsense. Get with it, Health Canada!
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