Talk:Homeopathy/Archive 32

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Archive 31 Archive 32 Archive 33

POV tag?

I see that some editors –including me- argue that the current article is biased and inaccurate. ( anthon01, DanaUllman, arion3x3,whig. Is this correct ? ) Should the administrators consider to tag it with the appropriate label? I think that since the article is under probation the tag could be added by the administrators only - not the editors to avoid an edit war. I m not sure if this is a good idea. I m researching. Comments. ?--Area69 (talk) 23:21, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

See the discussion above. Most do not think it has a POV problem, or a bias problem. And our article is no more biased than the German, French or Dutch versions of the same article. I humbly suggest that trying to put POV tags and templates on the article might lead to sanctions for someone trying to do this. Do not do it. Instead, try to learn and understand WP policy and why the article is written the way it is, and what NPOV is and why this article conforms to NPOV. If you do not like the way it is written, perhaps a wiki that does not have NPOV as an organizing principle might be more to your liking. I can suggest several for you if you want.--Filll (talk) 23:31, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
I might be wrong - just asking the editors --Area69 (talk) 23:41, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Just a word to the wise. Do not do it.--Filll (talk) 23:45, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Hey Area69: Your sense of things IS accurate. Many of us do believe that the article, as it stands now, is over-weighted to skepticism. Please know (!) that I have no problem with skeptism and with accurate and notable critiques of homeopathy. However, there are many features of this article that do warrant a POV tag. Heck, only in the past 2 weeks was there any links to leading homeopathic organizations. There are other important changes that need to be made for accuracy of an encyclopedia nature. And yeah...when people tell me not to say something or not to look somewhere, it is usually a good idea to say something and look there. DanaUllmanTalk 05:05, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
Over-weighted to skepticism? That's meant to be funny, right? NPOV does not mean "credulously accepting nonsense". Two thirds of the article uncritically presents fantasy as if it were true. The article still have a good way to go, because it underweights reality. Guettarda (talk) 05:56, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I do think the POV tag is warranted, the article is more concerned with debunking homeopathy than describing it, makes broad and false claims implying no studies have shown efficacy, ignores commonly used low potency homeopathic formulations in favor of dismissing the use of high potencies, and that's just looking at the LEAD. —Whig (talk) 05:57, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
And here we go again with bringing up the same topics repeatedly, intentionally misreading NPOV policy, and arguing for credulous support of claptrap. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 06:25, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
Excuse me, "intentionally misreading NPOV policy"? You seem to be assuming bad faith. —Whig (talk) 06:39, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm doing what now? Randy Blackamoor (talk) 06:46, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
You are accusing me of "intentionally misreading NPOV policy." That is not assuming good faith. —Whig (talk) 06:55, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

<RI>Good one Whig. I haven't laughed that hard in a month. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 07:09, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

If you have something to say, then say it or stop disrupting. This is not a chat room. —Whig (talk) 07:11, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
The responses from Orangemarlin and Randy Blackmoor verify the problem that exists in this article, therefore, proving that this article deserves a POV tag. DanaUllmanTalk 19:16, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I understand that you think the presence of clear-thinking people who respect science is a "problem." However, neither reality nor stated Wikipedia policy agrees with you. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 19:51, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

I think it is fair to conclude that within the medical community communis opinio is that this treatment is not different from using placebo. Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 19:59, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

If this article is POV, then so is the German version and the French version and the Dutch version. I suspect every version in every other language is also POV. So if you want to start some sort of crusade, it has to be done in every language. And I notice that the World Book Encyclopedia article on homeopathy is similar to this one, and is about 30% critical. And so is the Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia article on homeopathy, which is also about 30% critical. So you better start lobbying World Book and Funk And Wagnall's. The problem is, the readers deserve to read all about homeopathy, warts and all. They do not deserve to be on the receiving end of some uncritical sales pitch for some FRINGE belief.--Filll (talk) 20:03, 4 March 2008 (UTC)


I don’t know what a Pov tag is exactly but the article is not neutral. I wrote a review about it.--Radames1 (talk) 04:09, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

The article is not supposed to be neutral, but NPOV, which means it is supposed to have a substantial proportion of critical material in it. Do you think there is critical material in the article? If you do, that is good, that is NPOV which is one of the principles under which WP operates.--Filll (talk) 14:19, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
please nots lets not gett ingo this mess again. we ad a huge problem with tags and user boxes and whatnot a few archives ago and it completely stalld the debate and improvement of the article and turned the article into a probation case for the wikipedia community. a POV tag may or may not be appropriate but it uld be needlessly inflamatory and contradict the mitigation purposes of concensus, especially if it was added by an involved user and not a admin . Smith Jones (talk) 04:37, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Attempts to use the talk page as a forum for general discussion, and constant rehashing of generalities

Please remember that in accordance with stated Wikipedia policies, the talk page is not a forum for general discussion of the article's subject. Furthermore, specific queries such as "should the article have a POV tag," "should the article be forked," and so on are not a license to drop your canned statements about how great homeopathy is into the talk page for the 100th time. Constantly arguing the same discredited points (whether about homeopathy itself, or your erroneous interpretation of NPOV), because you hope to get some abuse of the process adopted during some window of time when the reasonable people are banned or not paying attention, is not acting in good faith, and thus good faith will not be assumed on the part of those who do it. Constantly arguing the same points even when they ARE rebutted, and acting as if the rebuttals were never posted, is the definition of "stonewalling" and is likewise not acting in good faith. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 19:51, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

I humbly suggest that this form of spamming the page with discredited points, over and over, is not acting in good faith, and not working towards actually writing an encyclopedia article. Since this article is under probation, there should be no problem with admins just blocking people who continue to engage in this sort of activity, against consensus and against Wikipedia policies.--Filll (talk) 20:05, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I would like an uninvolved admin to look at these accusations of bad faith by Randy Blackamoor and Filll and consider whether they are constructive. —Whig (talk) 20:38, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I see no substantive difference between their complaints about behavior and that comment right there. If their behavior is unconstructive, then so is yours (and mine too for pointing this out, most likely). --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 20:42, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
veritas dolorem adfert. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149;dissera! 20:45, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
There is a substantive difference, in that I am commenting on specific edits. —Whig (talk) 21:09, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
All of this should be moved to smeomes talk page as it has nothing to do with homeoptathy. Any volunters? Smith Jones (talk) 21:37, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I believe that we should start doing on this page what we do on other controversial pages when people repeat discredited and rebutted arguments, and spam with page with tons of material, repeated over and over. Userfy the posts, or just delete them on sight.--Filll (talk) 21:56, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
A few boilerplate responses might help as well, or maybe a FAQ page. If they repeat the same objections, we should be able to repeat the same responses. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 22:08, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
i disagree. i think Fillis suggesiton si a lot better since what Infophile is ugessting is more or less what is happening now. people raise the saeme objection above NPOV or make orhter demands and other people argue over whether or not the first people understand the policy or not and this goes on until someone gets blocked, someone leaves, or a new argument over a random word in the article springs up. it woudl be better to follow Filli's suggeston and moved it to a talk page unless it is obviously relevent to improving Homeopathy (the article, not the technique). Smith Jones (talk) 22:23, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
i do approve of hte creation of a FAQ though but im not sure how muht ill be able to contribute it to it since to be honest these debates are melting my brian like cheese and i have no idea whats going on ona ymore. Smith Jones (talk) 22:23, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
Neither side of this discussion has a monopoly on repetition. There are people on both sides who raise and argue the same points over and over again. Wanderer57 (talk) 03:08, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
exaclt y my point which is why immediately sticking this oftopic repetitive discussions into random peoples talk pages as I and Filli suggested is the only curretly viable way of dealing with such a mendacious problem. Smith Jones (talk) 03:28, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

smallish revert war on "medical and scientific analysis"

This addition [1] has been reverted and then re-reverted. I'm going to take that paragraph and rewrite it a bit, since the problem seems to be how the arguments from proponents of homeopathy are inlined with the critics' arguments and give the false sensation that the critics' arguments are refuted by the proponents' arguments. --Enric Naval (talk) 15:10, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Also, try to make smaller paragraphs, dammit, it's imposible to see the small changes on those walls of text --Enric Naval (talk) 15:10, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

I hate the paragraphs too, but it's too hard to do it without causing a minor war. And I don't think you ned to change anything about the science. The editor making changes does not appear to have participated much in the past. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 15:30, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, according to his contributions list he has never contributed before. Note: I made a comment on Komelbar's talk page about not removing lead paragraphs, since he didn't seem to know about WP:LEAD --Enric Naval (talk) 16:01, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Big paragraphs make copyediting the article for clarity a real pain --Enric Naval (talk) 16:01, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
(Joining in the ranting) Ditto for the citation templates. Inline refs are a lot shorter, but we're not supposed to use those anymore... --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 19:10, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

RFC

{{RFCsci}}

Summary of dispute: Broad disagreement over how much critical material the article should contain.

I'm opening this RFC in hopes that we can get some outside input on this matter. So far, it's just really been the same parties making the same arguments at different places. I invite all participants in this dispute to make a comment here explaining their position. Note that this is an article RFC, so let's try to keep it limited to the content and not stray too far into commenting on the behavior of editors. We can handle that via other processes if necessary.

Thank you in advance to anyone who takes the time to come here and offer their opinion.

(Comment that was previously here has been moved down to the next section.) --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 20:34, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Brief comments by involved editors

Uninvolved Respondents to RfC please comment below.

  • My view: Homeopathy presents itself as a form of medicine and should be appropriately judged as such. In this perspective, it is in a distinct minority (see WP:FRINGE). The perspective of mainstream medicine and science should be given predominant weight in describing the efficacy of homeopathy. Claims of homeopaths may be presented, but they may not be represent as factual. When these claims are specifically refuted by mainstream medicine, it is appropriate to state such. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 20:44, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. --Anthon01 (talk) 01:47, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
  • In a minority article, the majority scientific view needs to be properly weighed against the minority's scientific claims and not against the whole article. Anthon01 (talk) 01:47, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I believe the current weight to exposition and critical analysis is about right, give or take, and was the result of consensus previously of skeptics and homeopathy supporters. The translation of the French, German and Dutch LEADs show that all of these articles have a similar tone to our current article, if not more critical. This is relevant because these languages are associated with places where Homeopathy is supposedly far more popular and accepted than it is in the US and the UK. Also, homeopathy is definitely a FRINGE treatment by almost any measure:
  • the homeopathy share of world drug market is 0.3% [2]
  • money spent per person on medical items in the US in 2004 is 5267$ [3]
  • money spent per person in the US on all herbals including homeopathy is 54$ [4]
  • there were 315 professional homeopaths in the US in 1993, but counting lay homeopaths (unlicensed), maybe over 1000 [5] ( there were only 50-100 homeopaths in the US in the early 70s [6]) compared with 884,000 regular physicians in the US in 2006 [7]

Even in India, where about 15-20% of the medical professionals are homeopaths, homeopathy is 3rd or 4th behind regular medicine and ayurvedic medicine.--Filll (talk) 21:06, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

As has been discussed on WT:NPOV, Homeopathy is used by hundreds of millions of people and is an accepted part of the medical systems in some countries, therefore not fringe, though clearly a minority. —Whig (talk) 20:50, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
As something that purports to be a medical treatment, homeopathy should be judged according to scientists working in the medical field, not by the numbers of laymen who are interested in it ("professionals working in the medical field" who are not MDs are also laymen). "Wikipedia is not a democracy." Randy Blackamoor (talk) 21:24, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
Randy Blackamoor is correct: homeopathy purports to be a medical treatment and is judged as to whether it is a valid medical treatment by scientists and others working in the medical field. Large numbers of lay people who accept it have no bearing on whether it is accepted by the scientific community as valid medicine. Period. Odd nature (talk) 21:52, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
Millions of people think Bigfoot exists. Science doesn't work on voting or popularity. This article states the whole history of the Homeopathy from the POV of its promoters and marketers. Science, being based on experimentation, falsifiability, analysis, testing, and finally, publication in a peer reviewed journal, states that homeopathy is not medicine. Case closed. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 22:18, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
Not all scientists and doctors are quite so negative. Homeopathy has been available on the National Health Service in the UK since the Health Service first began in 1948. This is from the NHS Direct website (crown copyright) 'Complementary therapy is gradually becoming more widely available on the NHS. At the moment, the kind of complementary treatment you can access depends somewhat on where you live in England. However, complementary therapies are being introduced in more healthcare settings, including hospitals, GP surgeries and community clinics. Ask your GP if you're not sure what's available in your area. There are five NHS homeopathic hospitals in the UK. They are located in Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Tunbridge Wells, Kent.' The Tutor (talk) 22:17, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
So? Yes, nearly every scientific article on Homeopathy shows it's nothing. And utilizing the pathetic UK medical system as an example is sad. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 22:19, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Of course not all doctors think it is nonsense. You think the 315 professional homeopaths in the US think it is nonsense? Good heavens. But they are only 0.036% of the number of allopathic physicians, so you need to put these things in context.--Filll (talk) 22:23, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Marlin, careful how you flounce, sometimes I can see your petticoat. The Tutor (talk) 22:31, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
Not sure what a flounce is, and a petticoat? Well, whatever. Just that any medical system that, in an effort to provide placebo effects, utilizes homeopathic hospitals, ought to spend its money on searching for said Bigfoot. Oh never mind, you Brits spend money searching for the Loch Ness Monster. Sorry. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 23:20, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
  • The way this RfC is worded fits perfectly with my view. Homeopathy was developed to be--and is currently studied, promoted, and dispensed as--a treatment for medical maladies. While some regions have more practiononers and consumers than others, and some medical/science organizations give homeopathy varying levels of creedence, the overall practice of homeopathy is demonstrably subordinate to modern evidence-based medicine by any objective metric. Furthermore, the modality relies upon theories seemingly in direct contradiction to current physical, chemical, and phamacological knowledge. Therefore, any discussion of its medical efficacy or mechanism of action is only appropriately written through the guidance of WP:FRINGE and WP:UNDUE. — Scientizzle 19:03, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
  • The criticism which is contained mostly in the Medical and scientific analysis and Research on effects in other biological systems sections, IMO, violates the WP:UNDUE section of WP:NPOV which states, Minority views can receive attention on pages specifically devoted to them—Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia. But on such pages, though a view may be spelled out in great detail, it must make appropriate reference to the majority viewpoint, and must not reflect an attempt to rewrite majority-view content strictly from the perspective of the minority view. This H page is a minority view's page specifically devoted to H. There is not provision in WP:NPOV that requires a particular percentage split of non-critical vs. critical information. The points made in the criticism are valid as per V & RS, however, the level of detail in the criticism sections is excessive and can be summarized and take up considerable less space on the page. IMO, appropriate reference doesn't mean great detail, but referencing key points that convey the overall SPOV on H.
  • Separate from what I raise here already, a separate article on "Homeopathy research" could easily go into even greater detail comparing pro, neutral and anti-H views, could be cooperatively written and much more informative in regards to the SPOV. Key point:I think this would end the constant fighting at this page. If a summary style article is the best, then let's do it that way. Anthon01 (talk) 14:41, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Don't know why you seem to be double-posting the above comment, Anthon01, but I'll answer it here. Summary style is the only way, POV forks are not acceptable. Note that all the provisions of NPOV continue to apply, and the main article should not give undue weight to the minority view against the majority medical view by depth of detail, quantity of text, prominence of placement, juxtaposition of statements and the like. Balance has to be maintained, and while critical commentary is best incorporated into relevant sections rather than segregated, it will also be appropriate to consider use of summary style to tighten other sections of the main article. .. dave souza, talk 15:59, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps, for me (maybe others) this is the crux. In my read of WP:WEIGHT, minority pages are an exception to "quantity of text" part of WP:WEIGHT as they "may be spelled out in great detail." The majority POV requirement(SPOV) on such pages is "appropriate reference to the majority viewpoint," and no attempt to "rewrite majority-view." Anthon01 (talk) 18:45, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
As I've said before, the right balance is needed to represent fairly, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views on the topic that have been published by reliable sources. Giving attention to the minority view and showing it in detail doesn't allow editors to structure the article to make it difficult for a neutral reader to fairly and equally assess the credibility of all relevant and related viewpoints. Each article has to show balance, and avoid undue weight. Again, see WP:SPINOUT and WP:SUMMARY. .. dave souza, talk 20:36, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
I have re-read those sections. I think we're in agreement. Is there something that I have said that concerns you? The majority SPOV needs to be balanced, in a minority article, against the minority's SPOV and not against the whole article. Anthon01 (talk) 01:12, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
What does "The majority SPOV needs to be balanced, in a minority article, against the minority's SPOV and not against the whole article" mean? SPOV is a deprecated policy in the first place, and the allegedly "minority" point of view here is by definition not a scientific one, so it doesn't make sense to refer to the "minority's SPOV." Randy Blackamoor (talk) 01:56, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Redo: In a minority article, the majority scientific view needs to be properly weighed against the minority's scientific claims and not against the whole article. Anthon01 (talk) 03:23, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
The minority is not making scientific claims. The minority is claiming that science is an invalid means for learning about the world. That's the whole point. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 03:58, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're talking about, but leaders in homeopathy are trying to use science to prove and explain homeopathy. Anthon01 (talk) 04:37, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Respondents to RfC

  • My position has already been stated: "The perspective of mainstream medicine and science should be given predominant weight in describing the efficacy of homeopathy." Homeopathy must be judged by the standards of medical science - the only alternative is that it be presented as a cultural phenomenon of historical interest, or a belief system without basis in science. Sheffield Steeltalkstalk 17:56, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
  • As a bystander, and observing the recent turmoil leading to the current status, I would think editors should take note of Intelligent Design. Just as controversial yet still it is presented factually as non-scientific and entirely unsupported by scientific evidence. The same is true for homeopathy. Although interested and sympathetic to the underlying idea I do think we should not ignore the the fact that WP has to present things accurately. AFAIK medical literature, nor any other scientific discipline, has supported the efficacy of this form of treatment. The article grosso modo appears to adhere to presenting what it stands for, while simultaneously recognising its unscientific nature. We should be careful and heed WP:FRINGE and WP:UNDUE.217.166.60.19 (talk) 18:55, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
  • The current state of this article is about as neutral and even-handed as I can imagine it being. Given the weight of scientific consensus against homeopathy, great prominence should certainly be given to the evidence against it. Ben Ram (talk) 06:30, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Does homeopathy work?

To be honest, it is not important if homeopathy works or not for the purpose of this article. Whether it works or not, clearly there are some who believe it works, and some who believe it does not work. It is not up to us to prove that homeopathy works, or does not work. It is up to us to document that some believe it works, and some believe it does not work. And to give some sort of idea about who believes it and who does not, and why.--Filll (talk) 15:12, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Then you can't allow the main article to allege that Homeopathic medicines are placebo. I wish you can put back what I had posted earlier (that it works)61.2.67.72 (talk) 16:12, 5 March 2008 (UTC Dr.Jhingade
Dr. Jhingade, you are misunderstanding. Let me ask you: Does anyone believe that homeopathy's action is due to a placebo effect? Obviously, some do. And so we have to describe that. You see? We do not declare if it is a placebo effect or not, but we do declare that some believe it is a placebo effect, or that the studies demonstrate that it has an effect that is not much different than placebo. Do you understand the difference?--Filll (talk) 16:47, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Doctor, your argument is weak and your continued spamming of this talk page with your manifesto is both useless and irritating. Your response to Filll's statement is a non-sequitor. Since people use, advertise and study homeopathy, we must cover homeopathy within the various Wikipedia policies and guidelines...which includes stating the general lack of scientific support for the claims of its practitioners (including you). — Scientizzle 16:30, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

I don't understand why "Dr. Jhingade's" obvious commercial testimonials get removed from the page, yet other people who are selling homeopathic products continue to be allowed to edit here. What's the difference between one and the other? Randy Blackamoor (talk) 19:47, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
if you want to ge others removd from this page then you should identify the person selling homeopathic products and request a interventioin or try o handle it here. Selling homeopathic products is not in itself against the rules regairndg conflict of interest; trying to sell them here on the talk page is. the customs apply even if the person was trying to sel penis-enlargement pills or computers or anything like that. the talk page is for the improvmenet of the article, not for people to sell products of any kind. Smith Jones (talk) 20:18, 5 March 2008 (UTC)


I had posted about the 'book (in .pdf format)', "Homeopathy: The scientific proofs of efficacy" for more proof/evidence; please search for the book and download it from the Internet (it doesn't lead to our web-site, so I can safely say I don't have commercial interests - I just want the truth to be known). Effects should be good enough to accept that Homeopathy works. There is a Homeopathic remedy, "Nux Vomica", which in the 30th potency, taken thrice a day, can produce loose motion in anyone except the 'Constitutional' Nux Vomica Patient - this any one can try, to prove it works. —Preceding 122.167.27.207 (talk) 04:01, 6 March 2008 (UTC)Dr.Jhingade comment added by 122.167.27.207 (talk) 03:59, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

I think we have to start treating this article like we do other controversial pages:

  • Have an FAQ
  • Remove repetitive spamming from the talk page, either to userfy it or archive it or just delete it.
  • Start using administrative sanctions against those who violate WP principles. We have pussy footed around so long that we have created an ugly atmosphere here.--Filll (talk) 22:01, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Problem with swimming pool example

I believe that User: Wikidudeman pulled the swimming pool example from another site such as [8]. However, as I slowly work a more advanced article discussing homeopathic posology scales, I realized that there is a problem or two with this discussion. For example:

  • There is a probability of getting a molecule of active substance associated with drinking a certain quantity of the Olympic swimming pool. However, this description does not mention probabilities anywhere. For example, if I was unlucky to only drink regular water, I could easily drink half the pool and not get a single molecule of the original substance.
  • We are assuming that the molecules of the original substance do not "clump" together. Otherwise, the calculation would be much different.
  • The current claim that one would have to drink 0.01 of an Olympic swimming pool would lead to a probability of consuming at least one molecule of about 1-exp(-.01n), where n is the number of original molecules left in the pool. If n is very small, this probability is small. If n gets larger, this probability approaches 1. For n=100, which is what the example in our article implies, we get a probability of about 1-(1/e).
  • To consume at least 1 of n molecules of the original substance in a swimming pool containing N molecules, with probability P, one would have to consume k molecules, chosen independently, where k= log(1-P)/log(1-n/N), where independent means Statistical independence.

Comments?--Filll (talk) 20:58, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, that's all true, but I don't think we need to go into that right there. We should make a mention of this, though it doesn't have to be much. Perhaps just add in an "unlikely" somewhere? --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 21:08, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
I have to check my figures, but I think that the current suggestion of drinking 25 tons only gives one about a 60% chance of consuming at least one molecule of the original material. Perhaps we should mention this probability to make it clear we are not completely stupid. --Filll (talk) 21:14, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

I will also note that if I drank half an Olympic swimming pool, assuming that the molecules of the original substance were randomly and independently distributed, the probability of consuming at least one would be about 1-exp(-n/2) where n is the number of molecules of the original material in the pool. For n being a few dozen (as in the example on the front page), the probability of consuming at least one molecule is very good. For more drastic dilutions, n is much smaller, and the probability drops accordingly.--Filll (talk) 21:12, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Ok I made the text more precise. I hope this does not make it too hard to read. I put the technical bit in a footnote for anyone who wants to check it.--Filll (talk) 21:56, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

I noticed that you substituted "expect to get" with 63%, but wouldn't that phrase be best represented by a 95% chance? A better approach here might be to leave "expect to get" and change the 1% of the pool value for the appropriate volume given a 95% chance. Maybe 1% does represent a 95% chance, I have not checked. Where did the 1% come from? David D. (Talk) 22:21, 5 March 2008 (UTC)


The 1% comes from being sloppy. Want a 95% chance of consuming at least one molecule of the original material? Then we have to change the 1% to another figure.--Filll (talk) 22:55, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

To get to 95% probability you have to drink about 3 times as much, about 3% of the pool, assuming that the pool contains 100 molecules of the original substance (slightly dubious; I think a more accurate figure is 83 but never mind).--Filll (talk) 22:59, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Stipulated that high potency (>12C) homeopathic remedies contain no molecules of original substance. What is the point being made here? —Whig (talk) 23:02, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

A drug's properties are an outcome of the arrangement of the matter in the drug. If there is no matter, it can have no properties. Tim Vickers (talk) 23:06, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

That isn't quite true, unless you really stress the arrangement of the matter. Energetic medicine has properties, viz. radiation is used to treat cancer. —Whig (talk) 23:10, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
You are welcome to produce a WP valid citation to support the assertion homeopathic remedies have properties that might fairly be described as "energetic medicine". OffTheFence (talk) 15:07, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
The point is, if we are doing examples, we should try to make sure they are at least approximately accurate.--Filll (talk) 23:08, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
The swimming pool isn't a good example, since a remedy is created with a lot less water than that. A 24X could be created with less than a liter of diluent very easily. —Whig (talk) 23:10, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

The swimming pool example and reference looks like OR. The Tutor (talk) 23:13, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

It actually comes from a dilution recommended by Hahnemann: 30C, which does reach approximately this scale is far beyond the scale of a swimming pool. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 23:14, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Not at all. If you use 10ml bottles to create a remedy, using 1ml of mother tincture and 9ml of diluent to create 1x, 1ml of 1x and 9ml of diluent to create 2x, ..., a 60x (equivalent to a 30c) would take a total of 9x60=540ml of diluent. Still barely over half a liter. (If you used 100ml bottles and centesimal dilutions you'd still use less than three liters total.) —Whig (talk) 23:21, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

I am fairly certain Hahnemann did not recommend doing the dilutions in swimming pools. But I may be wrong. Do you have a reference. The Tutor (talk) 23:16, 5 March 2008 (UTC)


Swimming pool examples are common in the literature to try to give some sort of feeling for the dilutions. We are allowed to do simple arithmetic and it not violate OR. And the swimming pool example we have here is incomplete without a statement of probability.--Filll (talk) 23:17, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Please give a citation to a reliable source that makes a swimming pool example. I do not believe that this example is common in the homeopathic literature, perhaps it has been used by one or more skeptics. —Whig (talk) 23:18, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, would a probability calculation be pushing OR a bit far, though? --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 23:18, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Is it worth also calculating how much energy is put into the swimming pool by the succussion, and how much hydrogen peroxide is generated by all that shaking. The Tutor (talk) 23:28, 5 March 2008 (UTC)


Naw I do not think so. Look at what goes on in the mathematics, physics and chemistry articles here. This is nothing. It is simple arithmetic.--Filll (talk) 23:31, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

I just did the arithmetic for you above. If you create a 30C using three liters of water, you could say that the entire volume of mother tincture was dissolved in three liters, and you would have no problem recognizing that the remedy was present. Because of the method of separation and amplification (dilution and succussion) you doubt the remedy is present in the highest potency, but it is clearly distributed through the potencies. —Whig (talk) 23:38, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

No, you forgot that with mixing the matter in the original, undiluted sample would not be distributed through not 540ml of diluent, but 6010ml of diluent - a volume comfortably larger than the volume of the earth. Tim Vickers (talk) 23:49, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

No, Tim. Not at all. Only in your imagination does this happen. In reality, we used exactly 540ml of diluent in the 60x example. Not a drop more. —Whig (talk) 23:50, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

It is easier to understand what is happening if you think about adding water to the entire volume of a solution to make the dilution, rather than removing a fraction of the original and then diluting this sample. To get a ten-fold dilution 10X you would need to add 9ml of water to 1 ml sample (10ml final), to then dilute this to 2X you need to add 90ml of water (100 ml final), to get this to 3X you need to add 900ml of water (1,000ml final), to 4X you need 9,000ml (10,000ml final), to 5X 90,000ml (100 litres final), and so on. Do you understand what is going on now? Tim Vickers (talk) 23:53, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

I understand exactly what you are saying but I am telling you that is not how it is done. —Whig (talk) 23:54, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Well no, homeopathic remedies are prepared by serial dilution, not single dilution, but the calculation is the same in either case. You can't side-step chemistry by using smaller bottles. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:00, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Your method would try to preserve the matter and not dilute it away, but make it statistically unlikely. However though it would be impractical to carry your method very far, LM potencies might be more believable to you. High potencies cannot be described in chemistry terms, as you cannot deal with submolecular things in chemistry. —Whig (talk) 00:02, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
It's not a method, it's a representation of the total dilution. David D. (Talk) 00:03, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
But dilution isn't what homeopathy does to make it more potent, dilution is what homeopathy does to reduce the material portion, succussion adds energy. —Whig (talk) 00:05, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Please produce a WP valid citation to support the assertion that succussion does anything more than add low level mechanical/thermal energy. OffTheFence (talk) 15:14, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
It's a representation of how much the material portion has been reduced. I don't think the swimming pool analogy is related to potency. David D. (Talk) 00:08, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

The point is that it is used to debunk the effectiveness of homeopathy, because of the unlikelihood of material portion being present in a dose. Succussion adds vibration, vibration is resonant with the matter that produces it, and as the matter is reduced, the vibration is amplified at each stage. This is the method, whether you believe it works or not, the matter is not what the homeopath seeks to preserve, but the vibration. —Whig (talk) 00:10, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

While I appreciate that normal chemistry and physics can't deal with what is essentially faith healing, Whig seems to have pointed out a serious discrepancy, in that the examples given here are 1:10 dilutions. "C" commonly means 100, and this is how it's shown in the article, with dilutions of 1:100. Does something need corrected? . . dave souza, talk 00:11, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
While disagreeing that it is essentially faith healing we are talking about, there is nothing wrong with using Centesimals instead of decimal dilutions, the calculation works out to less than three liters of water using 100ml bottles to create a 30C. —Whig (talk) 00:13, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Exactly, it is used to debunk because to a scientist the fact there is nothing but water is the main issue with 30C. This, coupled with the scientific consensus that "vibrations" have no basis in chemistry at the molecular level (as opposed to the atomic level) is why it is important. If a physical distinction between a remedy after 30C and regular water after 30C could be reliably demonstrated the swimming pool analogy is less relevant (since then a possible mechanism exist, although how these vibrations survive the harsh conditions in the stomach to find their target would still baffle me even if they were detectable). But no difference has been reliably shown (disputed by homeopaths, I know), so the dilution becomes relevant from the perspective of medicine. Just saying there are vibrations is not enough, especially when the scientific community cannot even detect a difference between the remedies and placebo (disputed by homeopaths, I know). As far as science is concerned there is no need to consider homeopathic vibrations since there is no observable effect. David D. (Talk) 00:30, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Recognizing that vibrations are there but at very small wavelengths we are into quantum territory, which increases the level of skepticism by people who are not comfortable with the reality of quantum worldviews. Still, medicine uses vibrations. See Lithotripsy. —Whig (talk) 00:35, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Ah, quantum territory. There was a programme on the telly about the chap who's the lead singer in Eels, whose dad sorted out the Schroedinger's cat problem by postulating alternative universes. That's where you're at! . . dave souza, talk 00:41, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I've noticed some people have problems dealing with quantum reality, too bad. It's part of our physics now. Has been for a century. —Whig (talk) 00:58, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm talking about vibrations that are cause the water to keep some medicinal/biological property. That is what science disputes, cannot observe and cannot repeat (i.e. benveniste). Science is not disputing vibrations. David D. (Talk) 00:39, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
There is a separate argument over effectiveness, and appropriate methods of determining same. Double blind placebo controlled studies of homeopathy to treat single conditions does not match ordinary practice of individualization and symptom matching. —Whig (talk) 00:42, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I told you I would remind you of your purchase of a mass-market over-the-counter remedy and I am doing so now. "Calms Forte" is sold with neither more nor less individualisation than goes on in the trials that have been done of Arnica and similar. This objection is not available to you. OffTheFence (talk) 14:46, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
And there is the problem. It ends up coming down to testimonials and there always seems to be a reason to explain the cases where it does not work. Without reliable and repeatable success it can never rise above a placebo phenomena. Prayer works for some people too, and the testimonials for that are just as amazing and convincing. Are you saying homeopathy is more successful than prayer from a medical perspective? It sounds like a wacky example but from a scientific perspective the evidence is about on a par. Placebo is the parimonious fall back that fits with the data already known. David D. (Talk) 00:55, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I think it comes down to people believing what they want to believe on both sides, at times. I don't think we're about to settle it here, however. You can test it for yourself if you want, or choose which evidence to follow. We aren't here to decide who is correct but to document the practice and the arguments. —Whig (talk) 01:00, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm just trying to explain why to a scientist the dilution is relevant, more so than to a homeopath. But can I try it myself? This is something that has confused me for a while. I aggree that homeopathic remedies are available off the shelf with no prescription. Yet, according to homeopaths, the remedies are not generally applicable (i.e. the reason why large scale double blind studies cannot be done with success). If so, why are they sold off the shelf rather than being carefully prescribed by experienced homeopaths? David D. (Talk) 01:08, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Suppose you wanted to test a decongestant drug but you don't have congestion. Will it do anything for your nose? Homeopathic drugs are matched to symptoms in a similar way but take more care to choose at higher potencies if you want it to be most effective. The effect on healthy people might be to introduce a sympathetic resonant vibration and cause symptoms in the sensitive individual, which is how provings are supposed to be done at the 30C potency. —Whig (talk) 01:13, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
But this is my point, if they are matched to symptoms it would be easy to test their effectiveness. But the criticism of the scientific meta analyses, that find nothing better than placebo, is that the remedies cannot be generalised. Or am I misunderstanding the homeopathic critique? Likewise if the remedies can reliably cause symptoms in healthy people scientists would be fighting to document the phenomena. So why aren't they? Most likely because they do not produce symptoms. Why don't you e-mail me a remedy I can buy off the shelf that could give me symtoms, as a healthy person, and I'll try it. David D. (Talk) 01:24, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I'll e-mail you and we can discuss it. —Whig (talk) 01:27, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

We are here to represent all views, not just homeopath views. Sorry Whig. If you want to just have a single view in the article, you are in the wrong place.--Filll (talk) 00:09, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Of course we are, Filll. I am not seeking to suppress anyone's views. —Whig (talk) 00:11, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
But of course arithmetic is a proof rather than a view. Despite having failed my O-level arithmetic, I think I can see the flaw in your numbers. You're giving the impression that there's 10mL of the original goes into each dilution, and thus your 3L has in it 10mL of the original, but of course at each dilution you've discarded 90% of the previous solution, and have done that 60 times. The progression is geometric rather than arithmetic. Tim would tell you if he was here himself. .. dave souza, talk 00:36, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I did. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:38, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
And there is no disagreement, the process geometrically dilutes away the original matter and introduces resonant vibrations at each dilution. —Whig (talk) 00:40, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Mmmm, good vibrations! Sorry, Tim, it was a catchphrase adapted from Para Handy. Dougie wad tell ye if he wis here himsel' ... dave souza, talk 00:45, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
And this example explains exactly how the matter is diluted away. I think you can now see what we are trying to explain. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:42, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
But there's no controversy over this, which requires such a dramatic example which is not relevant to actual practice. Nobody does swimming pool dilutions, everyone agrees there is no molecule of original substance in a >12C potency. —Whig (talk) 00:44, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, there could be a few molecules in a swimming pool. Easier for the brains of mortals to grasp. it's an ILLUSTRATION. .. dave souza, talk 00:47, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
It could be used, but it has to be done carefully and explained that from the homeopathic view this is really not relevant to potency only to the likelihood of encountering a molecule of undesirable toxic substance. —Whig (talk) 00:49, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Since you're venturing beyond obvious arithmetic and into opinion, a source is needed. Got one? .. dave souza, talk 01:00, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I could find plenty of sources that will tell you that the purpose of dilution is to reduce the toxicity of the original crude drug. [9]Whig (talk) 01:02, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
We all agree that you've diluted the homeopathic lotions and potions to remove the toxicity, since there are no molecules left in solution. So, we have common agreement. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 01:18, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Correct, and homeopaths who use high potency remedies do not believe molecules are necessary if the potentization procedure has been followed to produce resonant vibrations. Lionel Milgrom describes disease states as "solitary waves or 'solitons'" and remedies as "equally soliton-like". —Whig (talk) 06:31, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

What is the value of these sorts of examples?

  • Commonly published by skeptics so notable; in many WP:RS
  • Bridge the gap between homeopathic pratice and atomic theory
  • Provide an illustration for the reader to understand what is going on better

I think we need these kinds of examples. I also think we should do the best job we can with them so they make sense, including getting the arithmetic correct. I do not think anyone except someone trying willfully to be difficult thinks that this is how homeopathic remedies are manufactured.--Filll (talk) 01:10, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

We're still waiting for those reliable sources that use this argument, Filll. —Whig (talk) 01:24, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Filll here, and would suggest that rather than talking about the probability of encountering a molecule in a 15C dilution, perhaps the illustration would be clearer if it just focused on volumes. Something like, "In an Olympic swimming pool filled with a [however many]C dilution, there would only be [however many] molecules of the original substance." Given that one would typically imbibe--what a teaspoon full?--of a homeopathic remedy, it should be obvious to the reader that the chances of getting even a molecule are infinitesimal. I think this would be more intuitive and understandable than what the article currently says: "there are in the order of 1032 molecules of water in an Olympic size swimming pool and if such a pool were filled with a 15C homeopathic remedy, to have a 63% chance of consuming a single molecule from the original substance, one would need to swallow 1% of the volume of such a pool, or roughly 25 metric tons of water." Yilloslime (t) 07:09, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
But the swimming pool example doesn't go nearly far enough, in that case, even a 30C potency is so much less likely for a molecule to be encountered as to be thoroughly impossible -- and furthermore molecules don't really exist in solution anyhow -- they are dispersed in various atomic and subatomic configurations throughout the medium. —Whig (talk) 07:16, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I get 1.5 molecules per 25 million liter olympic pool, assuming you do 15C dilution starting with a 1M solution. My math could very well be wrong. Someone should check. Yilloslime (t) 07:23, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
And for a 30C dilution, you'd need a volume of water larger than the 1,460 teratonnes of water covering the Earths surface.... Yilloslime (t) 07:29, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Hey, why not go for broke and calculate for 200C, or 10M. If you want to imagine it that way, your imaginary volume of water might be larger than the universe at some point. —Whig (talk) 07:36, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I am not sure that we should be encouraging people to drink the water from Olympic swimming pools. I think it is generally recognised as probably unhealthy, which rather detracts from any NPOV analogy. The Tutor (talk) 08:25, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Original research

If there is a source that talks about swimming pools, this section may be acceptable; however, any sort of constructing examples to illustrate what is meant by a statement would be original research. Wikipedia does not engage in synthesis or analysis of information coming from reliable sources. We faithfully report and summarize. That's it. Jehochman Talk 13:16, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

As I said before, of course there are sources that talk about Olympic swimming pools (I will list some but they are easy to find). That is where Wikidudeman got this example; you think he invented that? The only problem with all the examples I have looked at so far, is that none give the probability (which a moment's thought will tell you is necessary to understand the example). However, as I survey the WP articles on mathematics and physics (and even chemistry), this kind of trivial arithmetic is common on WP and is not regarded as OR.--Filll (talk) 13:54, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I think this sort of thing is not encyclopedic, and I don't care how often people violate no original research. Either stick closely to what the sources say, or else the material should be removed. Jehochman Talk 13:57, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

We are sticking so closely to the sources in this case that I think we are plagiarising.--Filll (talk) 14:14, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, the guideline is specifically "veriability, not truth"... By that, even if the probability is accurate, we can't use it unless the sources do. Tch. Of course, there's always Ignore all rules, so if we can make the argument that this inclusion makes the encyclopedia better, than it shouldn't be a problem. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 15:57, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Ignore all rules does not apply to simple cases of original research. There is an overwhelming consensus that this sort of stuff does not belong in our articles. Citing WP:IAR isn't a free pass to ignore consensus. Jehochman Talk 16:04, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
By "this sort of stuff," do you mean probability calculations? Or is it OR in general? If the latter, then why doesn't WP:IAR say instead "Ignore all rules except WP:OR"? --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 17:06, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I think quoting the original, and putting the arithmetic as an explanatory footnote, would be a way around the problem. Tim Vickers (talk) 16:14, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Bear in mind that this pool analogy has been done in an argumentative style. It is not at all the same as calculating percentages for voting results or other simple use of mathematics to summarize information. The swimming pool analogy is much more of a synthesis to put forward the writer's own arguments against homeopathy. Jehochman Talk 16:24, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I was not under the impression that we particularly cared what reason the sources had for producing this example. I thought it was only important that the sources have this example, or something similar. I will note that there are pro-homeopathic sources that also include Olympic swimming pool examples for illustrative purposes as well, as near as I can determine. Have you not even done any searches? --Filll (talk) 16:30, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

From Wikipedia:Attribution#What_is_not_original_research.3F:

Editors may make straightforward mathematical calculations or logical deductions based on fully attributed data that neither change the significance of the data nor require additional assumptions beyond what is in the source. It should be possible for any reader without specialist knowledge to understand the deductions. For example, if a published source gives the numbers of votes cast in an election by candidate, it is not original research to include percentages alongside the numbers, so long as it is a simple calculation and the vote counts all come from the same source. Deductions of this nature should not be made if they serve to advance a position, or if they are based on source material published about a topic other than the one at hand.

I have also asked for a bit of advice on the Mathematics and Village Pump pages and the responses agree with Tim Vickers. --Filll (talk) 16:19, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Its not WP:OR to do a little math to illustrate a point and put things in perspective, and the passage quoted by Filll above supports this. I disagree with Filll that a calculation of "the probability... is necessary to understand the example." I don't think is, in fact I think it makes things more complicated than they need to be: it make the calculations harder (and thus less transparent), and a lot of people just don't understand probability very well anyways. I think simply stating that "an Olympic swimming pool filled with 15C potency remedy would contain, on average, only 1.5 molecules of the original substance" gets the point across nicely, concisely, and understandably. Yilloslime (t) 16:45, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the number of molecules in the pool is easier to grasp. David D. (Talk) 16:47, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
First, discussing a pool seems like OR to me. Saying that 2+2=4 is straight simple math and allowed. WP is not a textbook. Second, the claims made for ultra-molecule homeopathic dilutions is that some other factor other then the mother tincture's molecule is having an effect. So what is the point of this analogy? Anthon01 (talk) 17:08, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
[10]. Pick a source. Any source. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 17:13, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
It underscores those claims. It is an important characteristic of homeopathy that it cannot act through molecules, but only through a mechanism outside current scientific knowledge. We don't need to beat the idea to death, but it should be stated in a way that is easily grasped. --Art Carlson (talk) 17:20, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

A very minor bit of looking and I found 22 sources that use this analogy. Maybe about half of these are blogs, so not that useful, unless we can use some sort of WP:SPS clause. Two or three are pro-homeopathic sources, trying to help people understand what serial dilution does. Two or three are mainstream press articles. Two or three are from specialized medical publications. And so on... This is not rocket science you know. The problem is trying to decide which sources to cite, not trying to find sources. Good heavens...--Filll (talk) 18:03, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

I will correct something I said before. I suggested that no sources talked about probability. In fact several of them do, they just talk about it wrong. They say to be certain of getting one molecule of the original substance, you have to drink 1% of the pool. Certain of course means 100% probability, or a probability of 1. And this is inaccurate. As I said before, drinking 1% of the pool gives you a chance of about 63% of consuming at least one molecule of the original substance. So the sources do talk about probability, they just have it slightly incorrect.--Filll (talk) 18:06, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Do you have a V & RS? The pool illustration does not conform to the theoretical or philopsophical underpinnings of H and has nothing to do with H. Anthon01 (talk) 18:35, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Anthon01 and with Art that this is not a useful illustration might in fact be highly misleading and serves no useful purpose in the article that I can see. But then I am not mathematically minded. I also agree with Art that homeopathy has little or nothing to do with molecules, but that is just a personal view. Peter morrell 18:23, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

From the perspective of homeopaths, I can see why you might not think it relevant, but maybe look at it another way: Part of the reason for dilution is to remove toxicity (which all sides agree it does). Since toxicity is related to the number of molecules remaining, mentioning how unlikely it is to have any left (or on what scale one needs to go to to expect any) is relevant to showing how safe homeopathic remedies are. This reasoning both sides can agree on. The anti-homeopathy side would also add that this shows how unlikely it is to be effective, but that fact doesn't take away from the other reasons it's a useful illustration. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 18:38, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
The illustration is overkill and inaccurate as regards to H. All you have to say is that, in the case of ultra molecular dilutions, the original is diluted to the point that no molecules of the original substance is left. The effect of this illustration is to make a point about homeopathy that no homeopath makes. How does that make sense? Anthon01 (talk) 18:53, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Have you been paying attention? Some homeopaths do make this point. Even if they didn't, it's irrelevant. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 18:54, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I missed that. Who said that? So far I find the analogy irrelevant although I'm not beyond convincing. Anthon01 (talk) 19:17, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I think Peter Morrell may have misunderstood me. Although homeopaths may not care much about swimming pools, there are two major problems with homeopathy from a scientific point of view, one is the lack of clear evidence of clinical efficacy, the other is the lack of a plausible mechanism. The latter is directly related to the ultramolecular dilutions, so it is important to get the point across that homeopathic remedies are not just dilute, they are dilute beyond comprehension. As a matter of fact, I think using mere swimming pools is a bit misleading. At the common potency of 30C, we'd be talking about 1 molecule in a billion suns. But who can comprehend that? If you want to stick with swimming pools, you could imagine making up a tub/pool of 15C remedy by putting in a single molecule, and them making a 30C remedy by taking a single molecule out of that pool and putting it in a second pool. Oh, heck. Can't we just say that there are no molecules left, period? --Art Carlson (talk) 20:49, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
As long as you can figure out how to succuss a swimming pool... ;-) —Whig (talk) 22:18, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

If I understand correctly, the skeptical and critical sources use this kind of example to show how implausible homeopathy is. The pro-homeopathy sources use this sort of example for illustrative purposes to show what dilution is, and to suggest that there is something outside of regular science and medicine going on in homeopathy, some other mechanism responsible for its efficacy, and to show how limited and unrealistic and inapplicable the conventional thinking of allopathic medicine is when dealing with homeopathy. So the example is useful for people on both sides of the debate, depending on how it is interpreted.--Filll (talk) 18:41, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

And we're still waiting for those reliable sources that use this argument, Filll. —Whig (talk) 19:11, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Do what Infophile does and find your own source. I am still trying to decide which of the 22 sources I dug up I like best. --Filll (talk) 19:15, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Pick one and let us know. —Whig (talk) 19:32, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Why don't you pick your favorite? It was even quoted on ABC's 20/20 even a couple of years ago.

--Filll (talk) 19:46, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Do you have that quote? —Whig (talk) 19:59, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Maybe you could do some work and look around for yourself. I have to say, right now it seems you're purposefully not looking, because you'd prefer that no such sources exist. I sincerely hope you'll prove me wrong on this count, though. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 20:10, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm sincerely and truly not looking whatsoever for your reliable sources, which you purport to make a point that I don't think makes any sense at all as I've already discussed at length above. I think this whole exercise is absurd because a swimming pool is a terrible analogy for anything. And when Filll says something without providing a reliable source, I have no reason to believe him. —Whig (talk) 20:17, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I think such violation of WP:AGF and WP:CIVIL needs to be sanctioned. I was challenged previously several times in such an obnoxious fashion and I always produced. Of course, you never heard a peep out of such loud rude bullies after I showed my sources. But it is not hard to find these sources kids. All this immature whining...there is no rush. This sort of text has been here for months and months. It can wait a little longer, if you are too important to be able to use google yourself.--Filll (talk) 20:52, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I've already explained that AGF does not apply in your case, because you make things up. —Whig (talk) 22:06, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
An accusation like that is certainly going to need evidence, lest you look like a hypocrite. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 22:22, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
[11] [12]Whig (talk) 22:38, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
There seems to be a misunderstanding about what constitutes original research. You can add 1,000 references about swimming pools and measurement, without a WP:RS relating this to homeopathy/dilution, it's original research/synthesis. The guidelines are pretty clear. Boodlesthecat (talk) 23:03, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
1) It's actually not WP:OR as the passage cited by Filll in this edit makes clear. 2) There are plenty sources that make the swimming pool analogy anyways as demonstrated by Infophile in this edit. So can we stop arguing about whether it's OK to include it, and start figuring out the best way to word it? Yilloslime (t) 01:49, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
No reliable source has been offered. Those diffs do not qualify. —Whig (talk) 02:06, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
These are not RS, just an assertion that they exist. I'm patient. Anthon01 (talk) 03:16, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

There are plenty of sources, including a textbook and several magazines and pro-homeopathy websites for this example. And when I have all the information put together, I will just add a couple of reference cites and everything will be fine. So everyone just relax and we will get things buttoned down. It has been like this for months, and there is no rush here.--Filll (talk) 01:53, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

The guidelines state "Deductions of this nature should not be made if they serve to advance a position, or if they are based on source material published about a topic other than the one at hand." So a WP:RS that discusses swimming pools and homeopathy should fit the bullseye. I assume that is what you are planning to provide? Boodlesthecat (talk) 02:07, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

I guess you were unable or unwilling to read the material written above? Why not try to familiarize yourself with the situation first. Thanks.--Filll (talk) 03:11, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

From Wikipedia:Scientific_citation_guidelines#Examples.2C_derivations_and_restatements

Wikipedia is neither a textbook nor a journal. Nonetheless, in mathematics and the mathematical sciences, it is frequently helpful to quote theorems, include simple derivations, and provide illustrative examples. For reasons of notation, clarity, consistency, or simplicity it is often necessary to state things in a slightly different way than they are stated in the references, to provide a different derivation, or to provide an original example. This is standard practice in journals, and does not make any claim of novelty.[1] In Wikipedia articles this does not constitute original research and is perfectly permissible – in fact, encouraged – provided that a reader who reads and understands the references can easily see how the material in the Wikipedia article can be inferred.

As an example, the article on the Lambda-CDM model quotes values for Hubble parameter h and the fraction of the present universe made up of baryons, Ωb. For technical reasons having to do with their Fisher matrix, the WMAP collaboration quotes values for h and Ωbh2.[2] The values quoted in the article are more useful for the lay reader. Any reader who looks at the WMAP paper, and has a basic knowledge of error analyses, will understand how to go from one to the other.

--Filll (talk) 03:37, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

So I take it this means you don't have any reliable sources and you're just going to try to brazen an argument to get your synthesis in? —Whig (talk) 03:58, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
There's a better way to demonstrate that this is not original research, Filll, than insulting me, which would be to supply a single WP:RS discussing the swimming pool example in the context of discussing homeopathy. What you are trying to do is quite different than deriving "70%" from a reference that says "7 out of 10," which is what you keep citing actually refers to. Boodlesthecat (talk) 04:04, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
Nitpicking. 70% is proportionally equivalent to 7 out of 10, if you set it up as a proportion. Granted this is original research but it think that it is not unreasonable to expect an editor to use basic math when writing an article. The source's claims are not being misrepresented or significantly altered by using 70% so I don't think that it should be a massive screaming debate. Smith Jones (talk) 04:07, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
Huh? —Whig (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 04:14, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Almost this whole section is an example of a WP:NOR violation.

Comparing these levels of dilution to the number of molecules present in the initial solution, a 12C solution contains on average only about one molecule of the original substance. The chances of a single molecule of the original substance remaining in a 15C dilution would be roughly 1 in 2 million, and less than one in a billion billion billion billion (1036) for a 30C solution. For a perspective on these numbers, there are in the order of 1032 molecules of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool and if such a pool were filled with a 15C homeopathic remedy, to have a 63% chance of consuming a single molecule from the original substance, one would need to swallow 1% of the volume of such a pool, or roughly 25 metric tons of water.

Why are we discussing the lack of a molecules in such great detail when it is not significant to ultramolecular homeopathy? WP:NOR states that OR includes any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position. Anthon01 (talk) 09:00, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

It is significant, in as much as it completely rules out any known mechanism of action. (You could also say that we have to state that there are no molecules in order to establish the insignificance.) Are you objecting to stating this fact at all, or only to the detail in which it is discussed, or to the particular way of explaining the facts? --Art Carlson (talk) 10:46, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
My bad, the italics is what I'm objecting to. The details are OR way of advancing a POV. No molecules left. Three words. Why the pool analogies and probability? Anthon01 (talk) 13:54, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Come on now. No incivility violations ok? And WP:AGF. Why not try to be constructive and productive on WP for a change of pace? --Filll (talk) 13:20, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

It is hilarious to see a lot of people who seem to have no interest in writing an encyclopedia article, let alone an NPOV article, let alone doing anything productive here at all, engaging in smear tactics and bullying and general nastiness. Come on. Just relax. The sky is not falling here. But the more of this kind of ridiculous behavior you engage in, the worse it looks.--Filll (talk) 13:20, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
The way you post makes it hard to know who you are addressing. Indenting below a post makes it easy to figure out who you are responding to. When you unindent without noting it (which you often do) or addressing the person you are talking to, it makes it difficult to know what you're responding to. Anthon01 (talk) 13:58, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

I think it might be helpful to summarise the situation. The swimming pool or ocean or atoms in the Universe examples of extreme dilutions are "obvious deductions". They are arithmetically equivalent to the same rate of dilution being created serially. Full-stop end of story. Because they are arithmetically equivalent it is instructive and illustrative to use these examples to give a sense of scale. Where Whig and other advocates of homeopathy quibble is in insisting that the serially diluted version differs from the single-step dilution in the "energy" or "structure" in the solvent created by shaking, banging vortexing or whatever form of mixing has been arbitrarily chosen by the preparer of the remedy. This is simply asserted as a fact. If anyone would like to produce a WP:RS, WP:V source that demonstrates such a difference has been shown in any experiment conducted to normal laboratory standards then this should be cited in order to support their assertion. Similarly, baldly asserting that homeopathy is "energy medicine" does not make it so. If Whig or someone else would like to produce an appropriate citation to support the idea that succussion adds anything other than low level mechanical/thermal energy to the solvent then they are welcome to do so (and win $1M along the way if they can distinguish the different "energies" in different remedies). OffTheFence (talk) 15:03, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

The analogy is a waste of time and violated NOR, since no claims are being made for molecular action of the mother tincture. Diluted to point of no active molecules tells the fact. The pool example promotes a POV and is in no way a response to a claim made by homeopathy. It is just a POV, an extra fact. It is like saying cars don't run by combustion of anti-freeze. So what? Anthon01 (talk) 15:17, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
Dilution (actually replacement with solvent) is central to homeopathic remedy manufacture. It is a trivial matter to find homeopathic literature discussing this from many angles. To exclude mention of dilution would be to try to hide a rather important feature of homeopathic practice. Why would you want to do that? OffTheFence (talk) 15:24, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
This is getting a bit silly, but here we go- "Apart from some specific procedures for the preparation of low potencies that depend on the nature of the substance itself, the mother tincture is potentized stepwise with no consideration of the degree of dilution. Dilutions far beyond Avogadro’s number are used in daily practice." [doi:10.1016/j.homp.2007.05.005] Dilutions far beyond Avogadro's number? What does that mean? I think we need a reasonably worked example. Job done. OffTheFence (talk) 15:31, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
Silly? I agree. You might want to read a little closer what I said. I don't have a problem with discussing dilution. I never said that. I said the pool example is nonsense since it proves there are no molecules in a bottle. Well homeopathy makes no claims that there are in a high dilution preparation. I'm happy with the sentences you quoted. Anthon01 (talk) 15:46, 7 March 2008 (UTC)


Absolutely correct OffTheFence. If anyone wants to read purely confusing jargon-filled inconsistent contradictory mumbo jumbo, there are thousands of websites out there. That is not what we do. And all the claims about "not a single molecule left" are incorrect in many instances. We are trying to clarify a very murky situation. For example, tincture has a special meaning in homeopathy. Succussion has a special meaning in homeopathy. Diluent has a special meaning in homeopathy. Proving has a special meaning in homeopathy. Potentization and dynamization have special meanings in homeopathy. The X, D, C, M, Q, LM, MM, CH, CK, CFCK etc designations that homeopaths use are not uniform and are confusing and are not standard practice in chemistry or regular science, and even some homeopaths have their own definitions of these that disagree with other homeopaths. Remedy has a special meaning in homeopathy. Trituration has a special meaning in homeopathy. Molecular dose has a special meaning in homeopathy. Avogadro's limit has a special meaning in homeopathy. All the names of the active ingredients have special names, unique to homeopathy. For example, lactose is not called lactose in homeopathy. Potassium dichromate is not called potassium dichromate in homeopathy. And on and on and on.

In the face of this, what should an encyclopedia do? I believe that our mandate is to cut through this nonsense, and make the subject clear (or at least as clear as we can). Someone who is reading a puff piece produced by a homeopath should be able to come to WP and get some help in translating the homeopath's writing into English, and find a way to make a connection between what the homeopath's claim and mainstream science. To do this, we have to define these unusual terms with unique and specialized meanings, and we have to explain the principles of homeopathy. And we have to use examples. And if you do not like that, you are not here to be productive. There are plenty of other wikis and other websites for you to go to.--Filll (talk) 15:56, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

With all that, it is not a good example. And your request to have editors leave is not helpful. Said another way your example confuses pharmacology with homeopathy. Pharmacology depends upon the molecules to act on tissues, homeopathy depends upon an after-effect left after the molecules gone. So your pool example is molecule dependent explanation applicable to a pharma mindset and homeopathy is neither. Anthon01 (talk) 23:55, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
I'll have to ask you once again to stop preaching on this page. There is no such thing as "an after-effect left after the molecules gone" or a "pharma mindset" as something distinguishable from "reality and science." Your religious beliefs are not going to be presented as true here no matter how much time you spend evangelizing. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 00:27, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
You are misunderstanding my post. I'm not preaching. I presenting homeopathy's POV. I am not making a judgment about homeopathy, just a comment on the different theories. Anthon01 (talk) 01:16, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
That's your POV, and your religious belief, Randy. Obviously Anthon01 has a different view.Whig (talk) 00:32, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
"Science is just another religious belief" and "facts are just another POV" is the last refuge of people with no real arguments. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 00:39, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
No, science is a method, not a belief. You are expressing religious beliefs. —Whig (talk) 00:51, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Yeah yeah, "I know you are but what am I," excellent rebuttal. Meanwhile, Anthon01 thinks that a "molecule dependent explanation" is a "POV." Once again, you guys have tipped your hand--you want all science banished from Wikipedia under a ridiculous interpretation of NPOV rules, and for the whole website to be even more of an advertisement for hokum than it is now.
Oh, and let's avoid any ambiguity this time: You, Anthon01, and others, are purposely misreading NPOV. You are not acting in good faith. I am accusing you of not acting in good faith. I am not assuming good faith from you. This is because because you have repeatedly proven that such an assumption is incorrect, by acting in bad faith on dozens of occasions. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 00:55, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
You should provide diffs. Unsupported accusations of bad faith should be dealt with by appropriate sanction. —Whig (talk) 00:59, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

BTW, no novel conclusions are being reached by the text under discussion, so there is no NPoV or OR violation. The only question I think that is important here is: Is this a useful illustration to the reader? Jefffire (talk) 15:59, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

To cut through the current complaints, maybe we can find a source for the swimming pool analogy/example. I see no problems with it and I have even personally come across a few homeopathic critics who have used a similar analogy and I have not seen any assertions that they are bad or unhelpful. Therefore I recommend that we keep this example, but if possible we could go and look for a similar example in a published, verifiable source and replace it in order to quell any further aggravations. Smith Jones (talk) 21:38, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
I've found plenty of sources. All it takes is a simple a Google query to find hundreds. Personally, I think this is just illustrative of how certain editors here would rather flail about complaining of a lack of a source for a statement than take trivial steps to find one themselves. I have to wonder whether the situation would be different if the source we were discussing were supportive of homeopathy. You want to show me you're still deserving of good faith, stop complaining and show me that you're willing to find a source yourself. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 21:51, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
i dont know why you're biting at me for. i have no problem with Fillis example being in the article with or withotu a source. the only reason i even mentioned finding one was to end this sily and winding debate going on and move on to a matter of actual substance. of course, naturally i am treated with the assumption of extreme bad faith, even to the point where my views are (perhaps dleberately) misrepresented as being the oposite of what they are. frankly i am not suprirsed that this continues to be the case. the atmosphere on here is so hostile that even when i am AGREEING WITH YOU i am still being attacked on all sides like i am some kind of nazi war criminal. Smith Jones (talk) 02:24, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, that's the fundamental problem here. There is a requirement to assume good faith, but no requirement to actually act in good faith. The rule and its enforcement are completely biased towards those with less than honest intentions. Nowhere does that flaw in the Wikipedia system manifest itself more than in articles where all of the reality-based evidence is on one side of a so-called POV. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 22:04, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
I believe that editors who claim to have hundreds of sources and refuse to produce a single one are not acting in good faith. —Whig (talk) 22:19, 7 March 2008 (UTC)


Will you please please give it a rest??

  • The swimming pool example we have is almost taken word for word from a textbook:

Homeopathic remedies are made from substances that, in undiluted form, cause symptoms similar to the disease they aim to treat. These substances are repeatedly diluted, with shaking at each stage. Three potency scales are in regular use in homeopathy. Hahnemann pioneered and always favored the centesimal or "C scale", diluting a substance 1 part in a 100 of diluent at each stage. A 2C dilution is one where a substance is diluted to one part in one hundred, then one part of that diluted solution is diluted to one part in one hundred. This works out to one part of the original solution to ten thousand parts (100x100) of diluent. A 6C dilution repeats the process six times, ending up with one part in 1,000,000,000,000. (100x100x100x100x100x100, or 1006) Other dilutions follow the same pattern. In homeopathy, a solution is described as higher potency the more dilute it is. Higher potencies - i.e. more dilute substances - are considered to be stronger deep-acting remedies. Hahnemann advocated 30C dilutions for most purposes (a dilution by a factor of 1060) and a common homeopathic treatment for the flu is a 200C dilution of duck liver, called Oscillococcinum in homeopathy. Comparing these levels of dilution to the number of molecules present in the initial solution, a 12C solution contains on average only about one molecule of the original substance. The chances of a single molecule of the original substance remaining in a 15C dilution would be roughly 1 in 2 million, and less than one in a billion billion billion billion (1036) for a 30C solution. For a perspective on these numbers, there are in the order of 1032 molecules of water in an Olympic size swimming pool and if such a pool were filled with a 15C homeopathic remedy, to expect to get a single molecule from the original substance, one would need to swallow 1% of the volume of such a pool, or roughly 25 metric tons of water.

Also, there are plenty of homeopathic publications and websites that also use similar swimming pool examples. So either do some web searching yourself, or just wait until those who are willing to actually do productive work here instead of wantonly attacking others and impeding the work can get the references all in order and selected and placed in the text. We will fix this, and everything will be fine. But just fighting and attacking each other will make things worse. So just relax everyone.--Filll (talk) 01:52, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

What textbook is that, please. Until there is a reliable source presented, this text should be removed. —Whig (talk) 03:17, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Why do I doubt the presentation of a source will change anything? You're just going to move back the goalposts. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 03:24, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
So don't bother. Just keep on making assertions without reliable sources and see how much credibility you have. —Whig (talk) 03:39, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Just another request for the POV tag, third or fourth this month, eh?

As I said several editors asked for a POV tag since they argue that the article does not comply with the NOPV policy and it is not even consistent with the cited references.The adminstrators ignored the request; they did not ignore it and locked the POV tag in the article when the skeptics requested it in Jan. Should we take this as an evidence that the discussion is not moderated according to wikipolicy and it is unfair? Were the probation and disrutpion concepts invented in order to maintain the bias of the editors ? Just wondering.--Area69 (talk) 22:33, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it seems that way to me as well. There are multiple editors who have called for a POV tag, and who have restated their reasons that the present article does not comply with the NPOV policy of Wikipedia. A clear NPOV dispute exists and is not being respected by administrators. This should be addressed. —Whig (talk) 22:37, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

If you are anxious for something to do, I will arrange it. Just stop agitating for trouble please.--Filll (talk) 01:58, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that there should be a POV tag on this article - until this article is changed to one that is neutral in tone. This is expected of any encyclopedia article on any subject. The obvious debunking POV that this article currently has is obvious when just considering the ridiculous stuff - like comparisons to water in swimming pools - that has been inserted into this article. Arion 3x3 (talk) 03:08, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Every neutral commenter who has not been involved with editing the article that has replied from RfCs and etc, and etc, and etc, for the last several months has said this article does not have an NPOV problem. This issue of putting a POV tag on it pops up every week or so. Probably from frustration that those who want this to be an advocacy article have their edits removed, and discussion clearly shows the edits are not appropriate, or they cannot get their point across on the talk page. That is not indicative of a reason to use the POV tag, it is indicative of whining.
After several months of this talk page going around in circles, it is probably time administrators took a hard look at removing some of the participants who persist in disrupting any forward progress on the article with these red herring disputes. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
In fact, Area69, who started this discussion again, brought up this very issue just four days ago. It hasn't even scrolled to the archive. Enough. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
Your answers lie here. Neutral editors called in by an RfC see no problem. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 03:32, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

The claim that "Every neutral commenter who has not been involved with editing the article" has "said this article does not have an NPOV problem" is simply not true. "Dicklyon" and "Slim Virgin" are just 2 of a number of uninvolved editors who have noted over the last several months the biased "anti-homeopathy" advocacy tone of this article. Arion 3x3 (talk) 03:43, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, and the fact that multiple editors say that an NPOV dispute exists is a strong inductive argument that an NPOV dispute exists. —Whig (talk) 03:50, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
perhaps instead of messing around with tags and text boxes and nitipicking we coud actually go ahead and start dicussing some edits that should alleviate concerns on both sides of the fence. the current atttude right now, of using the NPOV tag as a bludgeon to bludgeon the article into a certain POV or another is not only harmful but a waste of itme. the only way we can succesfuly achieve a solid and well-writetn article is via the use of compromise, consensus, and strict adherence to the baisc tenets of wikipedia -- verifiability and neutrality. anyhting else, including induction, should be used not as all the time as it is now. Smith Jones (talk) 03:54, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but perhaps you haven't noticed we can't seem to make progress on the article until there is an acknowledgment that an NPOV dispute exists and that changes need to be made. What edits do you suggest? —Whig (talk) 04:00, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry but we're been doing this tag debate for the past 6 months now and it has gone nowhere. all it doe sis eat up more time and build more resentment betwen the two factions corrently jockeying for powre and prestige. i know that were all a little cramped here especially since we are now on probation and the tendency ot lash out is hard to resist but we have to work together instead of agianst each other. regardless of whether or not its true or not, an NPOV tag would only alienate all the other editors who dont agree with its placement further. the best thing to do now is instead of slapping buckets around we should instead identify problems that we recognize on our own and look for VERIFIABLE NEUTRAL and NOTABLE sources on the Internet or on books and or on databases/archives and use them to fix any errors that we see. there is no need to lecture or harass any other users with a box; if there is POV on any side, we should be able to fix it without causing a 2nd nuclear war. Smith Jones (talk) 04:04, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't think you have made any helpful suggestion toward progress, however. It's nice to talk about holding hands, but what edits can we all agree to make? There is opposition even to removing unsourced original synthesis that is present in the article. There are editors who make things up. This whole thing needs to go back to arbitration soon in my opinion. —Whig (talk) 04:08, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
you see i cant answer that because instead of moving forward and coming up with new ideas we keep going through the same old crap over and over and over again. how many times has someone demanded a NPOV tag? we used to have one, you knwo, way back in the day, and even when it was there and there was no article probation we still had disagrements. every controversial subject has disagrements, and i cant imagine how putting a controversial tag is going to fix that. neitehr will removing fillis sourced argument.
perhaps arbitration is the best solution. however, i would like someone to take a stab at editing the article even once without trying to radically rework it into either a pro-homoepahty commercial or an anti-homeopathy hit job . Smith Jones (talk) 04:11, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
When was there an NPOV tag "way back in the day"? —Whig (talk) 04:23, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

<RI>Well SmithJones, there is no "anti-homeopathy hit job." There is only anti-science, pro-homeopathy promoters, and an article that does not give undue weight to fringe theories that lack verified and reliable sources. So if you think that's a hit job, wow, I'm not sure what we can do at that point. By the way peer-reviewed articles are way better than "internet" or books. Any woo-pusher can write an article on the internet or write a book. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 04:42, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

considering i never siad that the article that does not give undue weight to fringe theories was a hit job, I am glad that you decided to make up a wild and bad faith interpration of a hypothetical scenario that i was using to explain what this article should not be. it is really a good exmaple of this article will remain on probation for a very long time. Smith Jones (talk) 05:00, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Swimming pool nonsense

  • Drop volume

A swimming pool sized volume of diluent is not required to make homeopathic remedies. Only very modest quanities are really required. Here are two examples.

  • Because 20 drops = 1 ml

[13] so a 30c requires 30 x 100 drops of 30% alcohol = 3000 drops = 150ml

  • A 200c potency requires 200 x 100 drops of EtOH which is 20,000 drops = 1 litre of EtOH

The 100 drops of 30c can moisten many phials of lactose pills; for each 7gram bottle, only 3 drops are required. Therefore the 100 drops of 30c can produce 33-34 7g bottles of remedy. So all the talk of swimming pools is nonsense and is an analogy only found in the works of critics and sceptics of homeopathy. Mathematically it may seem credible, but it is absurd precisely because it is not how remedies are prepared in reality.

The idea has been proposed many times in the last 100 years or so, always coming from the scoffers.

  • Oceans

"This process of dilution and succussion is repeated as often as 12C which is the equivalent of a pinch of salt in both North and South Atlantic Oceans! Dr Schuessler's tissue salts have a common 6X inscribed on the bottles or 1 part in a million, or 1 teaspoonful in a bathful of water. A dilution of 12X would be the equivalent of a teaspoonful of the original mother tincture in a mass the size of the Empire State Building, (Homeopathy Investigated, A.D. Bambridge RGN, p. 9)." [14]

  • Lake Geneva

"Hahnemann believed that the more it was diluted, the more potent or effective it became. He was once asked if he could cure a serious epidemic by pouring a bottle of the correct poison into Lake Geneva and allowing the world to take of its substance. He replied "If I could shake Lake Geneva 60 times, then yes, I would do this." (Ibid, p. 4)" [15]

Therefore, it is clear that this analogy with a swimming pool is highly misleading and probably pretty useless as a serious addition to this article. I would say it serves no useful purpose as any kind of elucidation of actual homeopathic processes. Peter morrell 07:05, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

You say that it only comes from the fact-based sources that aren't trying to sell people something, as if that's a bad thing. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 07:21, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, Peter, that makes it clear that variants on this are a well established critique of the dilution, and Hahnemann's response is a useful way of setting it in context. Do you consider that site a reliable source, or do you have another source for the story? ... dave souza, talk 09:47, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Here is another [16] and there are a few others but the same idea is presented ad nauseam. Hahnemann suggested 60 succussions as a standard sometime in the 1830s, but then he changed his mind on that and decided 2 or 3 succussions was sufficient so it goes. The emphasis, for attack, has always been on the dilution and the incredulity folks express about such doses ever having any possible therapeutic effect is of course laughed out of court and has been since Hahnemann's day.

Regarding Randy's point about profit, well just look at allopathic medicine please and check out the massive drug company profits which bankrolls every so-called drug trial on this planet. Is that fair or is it biased? so the argument that homeopathy is a rip-off backfires on allopathy just the same. What is not used for profit in this world? Saying something is a rip-off does not of its own invalidate it. just 2 cents. Peter morrell 09:59, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

What's been "laughed out of court"? What court? By who? What are you talking about? What is "allopathic medicine?" Do you mean "actual medicine?" Please do not use slur terms on this page. Most drug research is funded by the US government, not drug companies, and another difference is that a number of people on this talk page are selling homeopathic products, while no one here works for a drug company. Essentially, you and the other homeopathy proponents are either wildly misinformed, or lying, about pretty much everything you say, which should come as no surprise. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 10:20, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Allopathic is no longer considered a slur. Anthon01 (talk) 16:16, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

I did not know that about 'Most drug research is funded by the US government, not drug companies'. Do you have a source for that? The Tutor (talk) 10:43, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Of course, any drug company research done in the US is partially funded and encouraged by the US federal government and US state governments and local governments through tax policies and other policies. So this has a huge multiplier effect. In certain parts of the US, one can find drug company labs from every drug company on the face of the earth, even if they do not sell much product in the US (like New Jersey for example, but there are several other places)--Filll (talk) 14:02, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Oh I see; do those tax breaks form most of the funding for drug companies in the US then? The Tutor (talk) 16:25, 8 March 2008 (UTC)


This is completely off-topic and has nothing to do with this page. If you want to continue baiting and attacking, it might be time for administrative sanctions for your outrageous behavior here. If you are so interested in US and global drug research budgets, why not do a little research yourself? The US federal government medical research budget is maybe 30 billion dollars, and the state and local budgets add to that. The US drug company research budgets are about 31 or 32 billion dollars, and a good fraction of that is paid for or encouraged by tax breaks and tax credits and other inducements. How much would the US drug companies spend without government encouragement? Well that is a good topic for a PhD thesis in economics. But perhaps you can find someone who has already published on this topic. But in any case, it does not belong here on this talk page, and you bringing it up is just an excuse to try to start a viscious fight and engage in foul uncivil behavior. So I am asking you nicely, to just back off. Thanks for your consideration.--Filll (talk) 16:42, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

I certainly do not consider my behaviour outrageous or baiting or attacking or uncivil. I did not bring this up. I asked for clarification of a claim made by Randy. You have answered that now in your own way. Thank you. The Tutor (talk) 17:24, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Straw man

Let's get this back on track. Right now a straw man is getting battered to death:

  • "A swimming pool sized volume of diluent is not required to make homeopathic remedies."

Maybe someone has carelessly used that argument, but it's off track, so forget it and get back on track. The box from above makes the point quite well:

Homeopathic remedies are made from substances that, in undiluted form, cause symptoms similar to the disease they aim to treat. These substances are repeatedly diluted, with shaking at each stage. Three potency scales are in regular use in homeopathy. Hahnemann pioneered and always favored the centesimal or "C scale", diluting a substance 1 part in a 100 of diluent at each stage. A 2C dilution is one where a substance is diluted to one part in one hundred, then one part of that diluted solution is diluted to one part in one hundred. This works out to one part of the original solution to ten thousand parts (100x100) of diluent. A 6C dilution repeats the process six times, ending up with one part in 1,000,000,000,000. (100x100x100x100x100x100, or 1006) Other dilutions follow the same pattern. In homeopathy, a solution is described as higher potency the more dilute it is. Higher potencies - i.e. more dilute substances - are considered to be stronger deep-acting remedies. Hahnemann advocated 30C dilutions for most purposes (a dilution by a factor of 1060) and a common homeopathic treatment for the flu is a 200C dilution of duck liver, called Oscillococcinum in homeopathy. Comparing these levels of dilution to the number of molecules present in the initial solution, a 12C solution contains on average only about one molecule of the original substance. The chances of a single molecule of the original substance remaining in a 15C dilution would be roughly 1 in 2 million, and less than one in a billion billion billion billion (1036) for a 30C solution. For a perspective on these numbers, there are in the order of 1032 molecules of water in an Olympic size swimming pool and if such a pool were filled with a 15C homeopathic remedy, to expect to get a single molecule from the original substance, one would need to swallow 1% of the volume of such a pool, or roughly 25 metric tons of water.

The swimming pool illustration isn't about how much diluent is needed to make a remedy, but is used to illustrate the degree (not volume) of dilutions used in the dilution process, and how much of a volume is needed to even contain one molecule. That's all. Can we let the straw man sleep now and just use the swimming pool to illustrate the degree of dilution? That isn't nonsense, but basic math. The question of succussion is also important, but sometimes things need to be explained individually and in detail first. This one's about dilution. -- Fyslee / talk 07:40, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Since, in the end, the one molecule isn't important, the illustration isn't important either. Anthon01 (talk) 12:40, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Okay, now you're just repeating. Take it to WP:NORN. This has been fully discussed on other threads. —Whig (talk) 08:38, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Repeating? Spreading the discussion to another forum? This is Whig talking? Anyway, glad you think it's been fully discussed, I thought there were some aspects still to be resolved. .. dave souza, talk 09:47, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

One way to justify the analogy would be if it is included as an example of how critics have historically tried to discredit homeopathy. Not sure if that is important though. Anthon01 (talk) 14:53, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

There is a problem with the text in the box above. This part doesn't make sense: "…a 12C solution contains on average only about one molecule of the original substance. The chances of a single molecule of the original substance remaining in a 15C dilution would be roughly 1 in 2 million, and less than one in a billion billion billion billion (1036) for a 30C solution…" We need to know the volume of the solution we're talking about before we can say how many molecules of substance are in it. The 12C solution with only ~1 molecule of original substance in it—is this solution we're talking about a drop? a teaspoon? a swimming pool? an ocean? A one liter solution has 1000X as many molecules as a 1 mL solution. And what about the 15C and 30C solutions? This basic, 9th grade chemistry, not WP:OR, and for the passage to make sense, we need to specify the volumes we're talking about. Yilloslime (t) 20:13, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Ok a little math: 50mL of 12C potency Natrum muriaticum preparation contains about 1 molecule of Natrum muriaticum (NaCl).
  • The 9th grade chemistry: [density (g/cm3)]÷[Molecular weight (g/mol)]×[unit conversion (1000 cm3/L)]÷[Dilution factor (10^(2*"C"))]×[Volume (L)]×[Avogodro's Number (6.022*10^23 molecules/mol)] = Number of molecules in a given volume of a __C preparation of _______.
  • Plugging in: (2.16g/cm3)÷(58.442g/mol)×(1000cm3/L)÷(10^24)×(0.050L)×(6.022*10^23 molecules/mole) = 1.11 molecules. QED
Yilloslime (t) 21:44, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Your math there isn't really representative of reality. For it to work that way, one would have to start off with 1000cm^3 of NaCl, which I doubt is the case. I can't say what exactly homeopaths generally use to start off with, but that seems incredibly unlikely. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 22:34, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm a chemist, I make dilutions all the time, and this is representative of how you do things. My calcs above assume the "mother" 1C dilution is prepared by taking one volume of NaCl, and diluting it with 99 volumes of diluent, to yield, approximately, 100 volumes of the final solution. "Volumes" could mean any measure of volume: teaspoons, mL, cm3, olympic swimming pools, etc. Yilloslime (t) 23:01, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, are you a chemist, or a homeopath? (You may feel free not to answer in order to preserve your anonymity.) I don't want to go assuming from the get-go that how chemists do dilutions and how homeopaths do them is the same. Speaking from a chemistry perspective, though, wouldn't it be equally valid to start the dilution from, say, a 1 Molar solution of NaCl (or whatever)? --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 23:07, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm a chemist, and sorry I was a bit brusk in my previous response. You raise a good point, in that how the math shakes out is going to depend on the how the original mother solution is prepared. One way or another, it's clear that:
  • [number of molecules] = [Molarity of "mother solution"] × [Dilution factor] × [Volume in question] × [Avogodro's Number]
But the question is, "what is the molarity of the mother solution?" This article has consistently described volume by volume dilution as the method of preparation, so I've assumed the initial mother solution is the pure substance, and the molarity of a pure substance is a substance's density divided by it's molecule weight (e.g. the molarity of pure water is 55.5 M, a value that should ring a bell to chemists in the room.) So if you where going to make 1C dilution of say, butanol, you'd start with perhaps 10 drops of butanol and add 990 drops of water. But maybe the starting, mother solution is not the pure substances, but rather an already diluted preparation. I must admit, I'm not a homeopath, so I don't for sure. Yilloslime (t) 00:07, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
You are correct about considering molarity. It is a concept that has been lacking from this discussion. Raymond Aritt and I touched on it about 10 days ago, but otherwise its been ignored. Anthon01 (talk) 00:59, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
My understanding from my readings is that often the mother substance is already diluted often (for example, a tincture is often fairly diluted plant material, and that can be used as a mother substance). However, it depends on the remedy. There is a lot of variation.--Filll (talk) 00:15, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
And that's why I've use the specific example of NaCl. Yilloslime (t) 00:27, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

The reference to the swimming pool and other similar analogies provide mis-information to readers. The 200C potency requires simply 200 test tubes of water. Any (!) metaphor that compares the 200C to anything dealing with more water than exists on the planet is simply deceiving. If people want to keep this metaphor, then, perhaps we should now list under every drug that number of molecules in a daily, monthly, or yearly dose (such numbers might scare people, but such numbers are as ludacrous as the metaphor used here as describe, incorrectly, the point of the homeopathic doses. Unless there is strong consensus for keeping this deceiving idea, it should be deleted. DanaUllmanTalk 00:12, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

With all due respect Dr. Ullman, NPOV dictates that this article be written from multiple viewpoints, including those of skeptics and critics.--Filll (talk) 00:15, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Dana, please feel free to suggest a (preferably cited) alternative that effectively illustrates the extreme dilution of a common preparations. — Scientizzle 00:19, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Dana, you don't seem to understand the point of the example. No one is saying that preparing a 12C, 15C, 200C, etc dilution requires swimming pools of water. We all know that it doesn't—we get it. And the article makes that clear. The point of the example is to illustrate just how dilute these "potencies" are. It's a lot easier to illustrate the magnitude of dilution by saying it's as dilute as one molecule in a swimming pool versus simply describing 30 serial 1 in 100 dilutions. Yilloslime (t) 00:27, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you Filll. I have no problem with good and accurate critique of homeopathy and to references to scientific research that observed negative results. However, I do have a problem with misinformation or information that deceives. Just being critical isn't worthy of an encyclopedia or notable. Unless someone can say why 200 test tubes' worth of water should somehow to equated with more water than exists on our planets, we are doing a disservice to readers. So, Yilloslime, using an illustration that hyper-exaggerates the dilutions used is the problem. Homeopaths agree with skeptics who assert that all homeopathic potencies above the 12C or 24X do not have, in all probability any of the original molecules of the medicinal substance. THAT is an accurate statement...and we could say that...and to many skeptics, this admission is quite damning, though homeopaths assert that the dilutant (the water) is changed. Skeptics of homeopathy have enough to say about this subject without engaging in exaggerated and inaccurate metaphors. DanaUllmanTalk 00:44, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

With all due respect Dr. Ullman, WP is about verifiability and notability, not truth. And if you want to get rid of everything misleading from this article, from some people's perspective, every single homeopathic reference and homeopathic claim would have to be removed. All these different views, whether you personally like them or not, whether you personally agree with them or not, have to be together in this article. You might not like it, but that is Wikipedia. Other Wikis are not organized like this, but that is how Wikipedia is organized. --Filll (talk) 00:53, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Let's be honest. The reason for using oceans to describe dilutions is to further what critics describe as the "ridiculousness" of homeopathy. There is no other reason for using it. Anthon01 (talk) 00:55, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Dana, setting aside, for moment, the issue of whether it's relevant to article or is a useful illustration, do you agree or not that if a swimming pool sized 15C remedy could be made, it would contain about 1 molecule of the original substance? Yilloslime (t) 01:00, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
First, "Dr Ullman" in my family is my father. Please refer to me as Dana. Secondly (and more importantly), one can always make anything seem ridiculous...and I agree with Anthon01...the only possible way to use it here in this article is by adding a statement such as, "skeptics of homeopathy try to make homeopathic doses seem ridiculous by alluding to an inaccurate metaphor for its dilutions such as...." Without this introduction, it is simply deceiving and wrong. DanaUllmanTalk 01:04, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
So you don't agree with the general chemistry presented above? Yilloslime (t) 01:10, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Homeopaths use these kinds of examples as well to illustrate some of what is involved. It is not only done by skeptics, as I have said a bunch of times above (and you can readily find by doing some searching yourself). But even if it is done only by skeptics, only for the purpose of making homeopathy look ridiculous, that is too bad. That is what NPOV is. Learn it, understand it and accept it. Or leave.--Filll (talk) 01:19, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

It's a lot easier to illustrate the magnitude of a 30C dilution (and succussion) by saying that it is created by 30 serial 1 in 100 dilutions - not by saying that it is as dilute as one molecule in a swimming pool. Arion 3x3 (talk) 01:30, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. Perhaps I'm not as sophisticated as you, Arion, but for me the swimming pool example is much more understandable than (1/100)^(2*60). And I can't be the only dummy out there, either, hence the swimming pool is example is very useful to have in the article in addition to (1/100)^(2*60). Yilloslime (t) 03:32, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Yilloslime: In case you've missed it, IMO, the pool example is suppose to be a rebuttal of homeopathy. In fact, it doesn't rebut homeopathy but simply smears it. That, no molecules exist in 30c remedies is a point that homeopathy doesn't refute. A direct rebuttal to it's underlying premise, that molecules of water suffering an after-effect of serial dilutions that leave none of the original solvent, is fair and scholarly. Anthon01 (talk) 03:46, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Sounds like blatant WP:OR to me. Do you have a WP:RS for that claim of yours? Even if you do (which I doubt), it is basically irrelevant in this case since so many others have resorted to this kind of example.--Filll (talk) 01:45, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

There is nothing wrong with presenting the pool example as long as we follow NOR, V, RS and NPOV. So far I don't see any of these policies being complied to this situation. Were is the verifiable, reliable source? I have been looking but have not found a RS. This is an article on homeopathy. How does this relate to homeopathy? Does it serve to truly discredit homeopathy? Would a serious scientist use this to argue against homeopathy? It seems like it is simply a fact that critics use, but it is a criticism that misses the mark and basically smears homeopathy. Criticism of homeopathy should be directed at the proposed theory, that somehow, an after-effect is left after the mother tincture is diluted out of the final remedy. How homeopathy doesn't comply with our current knowledge of physics is a valid and scholarly point of criticism. Or "Critics use the pool analogy to ..." is possible. So far, the pool analogy as it is used is OR. Anthon01 (talk) 01:47, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes, Robert Park's quote is from a book he wrote, not from a peer-review journal. Is this RS and notable? No one yet has made a case for keeping it. DanaUllmanTalk 02:11, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Park is a prominent figure and therefore what he writes is notable and suitable as a WP:RS under WP:SPS, even if it was not peer-reviewed (although many science books are peer-reviewed).--Filll (talk) 19:51, 9 March 2008 (UTC)


Well I guess your searching skills appear to be inadequate in this case. Sorry to hear that.--Filll (talk) 02:09, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

You have a way of poking. You are stonewalling. If you have a reference then present it. Anthon01 (talk) 02:18, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

I have plenty of references. Others found them with no problem, as can be seen above. Why can't you? The very wording we use is identical to probably dozens if not hundreds of sources, and we appear to have plagiarized from a textbook, which means I have to change the wording. I will not reveal what I have found until it has all been compiled and edited appropriately. To do otherwise is pointless and will just add fuel to the fire of a huge fight since few if any on this talk page are here for any constructive purposes, as near as I can tell. I am here to write an encyclopedia according to WP principles. Others should examine why they are here, because I see very few others who are here for the same reason I am. And I do not want to be further distracted from doing real work instead of nonsense and fighting. I will note that this text has been fine for months on end and was the text under which this article reached GA status. What is your rush? Just relax. The only reason to lobby for more information on this issue is to use this as an avenue to create some massive ugly disgusting unproductive fight. And that I do not want to do. You are welcome to try to rewrite the entire article in a sandbox according to your own principles if you like and see if you can get support to replace the current article with one of your own design; why not try that if you are so sure you are right? --Filll (talk) 02:30, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

You are stonewalling. I have placed a citation tag on the sentence. You are jaw jawing about a lot of unrelated things. If no citations are presented I will remove the text in a few days. And we are not discussing the entire article, but one point. Which one of your above citations do you consider to be a RS? Lets discuss that. Anthon01 (talk) 02:45, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

An interesting threat, considering your position here.--Filll (talk) 03:49, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
No threat. I am following WP policy and guidelines. The current citations do not support the sentence. Now. Which reference you provided above do you consider a V RS? Anthon01 (talk) 04:24, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
What is the wikipedia policy or guideline that forbids making basic math on numbers on the article? Maybe WP:OR original research, but it's just some math operations that follow naturally from the numbers provided by homepaths. Also, for the citations, I doubt we can find a citation from a scientific paper since they don't publish this sort of stuff (basic math that you can do yourself on the back on an envelope, what is the point of publishing such a thing on a scientific journal), so demanding a scientific journal RS for this is demanding an imposible thing. However, the swimming pool example is widely used by debunkers of homeopathy, so we should put a citation to a verifiable debunking site --Enric Naval (talk) 11:19, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Let me try to clarify this. By WP policy, we do not need to have a RS source for the swimming pool example. As Enric Naval points out, this is basic math. Just look at the two direct quotations of WP policy I posted above. We can have far far far more advanced mathematics than this swimming pool example in the article as an illustration by WP policy. Sorry if you don't like it, but that is WP policy.

Nevertheless, even though we do not need sources for this example, we do have sources. As pointed out repeatedly above, even with links, dozens if not hundreds of sources. Hahnemann himself talked about a Lake Geneva example (in jest, I gather). People have talked about ocean examples. And many many have talked about pool examples; both debunkers and critics and skeptics, and homeopaths themselves. BOTH. Even if the pool example was just used by skeptics, since it is such a common example, it is probably notable, but it is used by both skeptics and homeopaths, contrary to the nonsense and threats made repeatedly here. But in any case, it does not have to be a notable example for us to use it. And it does not have to be used by both skeptics and homeopaths for us to use it, although it is. And it does not even have to have been published previously for us to use it, but it was.

In fact, it is so close to what was published before that looks to be a piece of plagiarism by User: Wikidudeman that somehow found its way into the article. So I am rewriting it. The one thing we cannot do is engage in plagiarism. But:

  • We can make up an example like this ourselves according to WP policy
  • We can use an example like this even if there are no RS for its prior publication
  • We do not need to have both skeptics and homeopaths use these kinds of examples, but they do
  • This example does not have to be notable for us to use it but it is

Get it?--Filll (talk) 14:17, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Eric: You are allowed to make basic computations. However, More complex calculations, for instance those involving statistics, advanced algebra, or calculus, should not be included, because they require skills that many readers do not possess, or involve a large number of steps that may not be obvious and introduce the possibility of difficult to detect errors. I bet the average reader and many editors here don't have the math skills to compute molecules in serial dilutions.
A V RS citation would solve one problem, but there are others. Another problem I've mentioned numerous times, but since you haven't addressed it here, I'll repeat it. Homeopathy doesn't claim to use solvent molecules (mother tincture) to create an effect. The homeopathic claim is that an after-effect imposed by the mother tincture on molecules of water is the therapeutic agent. But mother tincture molecules are not present after serial dilutions and is of no consequence to homeopathy. So how relevant is this analogy if it doesn't rebut the premise of homeopathy? Please address this issue.
Finally, I agree that one possible way to include this in the article is if it is presented not as a rebuttal, but as a fact used by critics to try to debunk homeopathy. In other words, "Some critics use the analogy of a pool to explain the lack of molecules present in homeopathic remedies." Look, the encyclopedia needs to be accurate. Anthon01 (talk) 14:26, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Second paragraph reword. Said another way, if homeopathy claimed that molecules of mother tincture were present in the remedies and were providing a therapeutic effect, than the pool analogy would make a great spot-on rebuttal. Anthon01 (talk) 14:51, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Oh. Sorry. I thought we had already covered this. As far as accepted science goes, the only way a liquid can act is through molecules. (The act of swallowing the liquid can have a psychological effect as well, and solids have a few more possibilities because their molecules can have a stable arrangement.) If homeopathy did not use such extreme dilutions, science would not have such a big problem with it. (There is plenty of scientific criticism of herbalism, for example, but nobody tries to claim that there is no known mechanism.) It is to point out this contrast between known science and homeopathy that it is important to mention that ultramolecular dilutions are commonly used. (The best way to bring across this fact is a legitimate subject of this discussion, of course.) It is precisely because homeopathy "doesn't claim to use solvent molecules" that we have to mention swimming pools (or something equivalent). --Art Carlson (talk) 15:29, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Some points:

  • The swimming pool example does not use any advanced mathematics that is inaccessible to anyone. Everyone knows what the statement "60 percent chance of rain means" for example. And everyone can divide and multiply.
  • The passage you quoted is from an essay, not policy or guideline. The passages I quote are from official WP guidelines, and a summary of official WP policy. And they contradict the passage from an unofficial essay you posted. Sorry.
  • We do not need a RS, even though they exist. Can you not actually click on the links above? Do you have some sort of infirmity that prevents you from clicking?--Filll (talk) 15:04, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Now we are talking, sort of. Address the issues I present and I will support the inclusion. Please provide the link to the official WP guidelines, and a summary of official WP policy. The essay I quoted also says, involve a large number of steps that may not be obvious. You didn't address the issue raised in the second paragraph. Anthon01 (talk) 15:15, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

The essay you pulled that from is contradicted by guidelines and policy. I provided these before. Do you not actually read what is posted on the talk page? From Wikipedia:Scientific_citation_guidelines#Examples.2C_derivations_and_restatements

Wikipedia is neither a textbook nor a journal. Nonetheless, in mathematics and the mathematical sciences, it is frequently helpful to quote theorems, include simple derivations, and provide illustrative examples. For reasons of notation, clarity, consistency, or simplicity it is often necessary to state things in a slightly different way than they are stated in the references, to provide a different derivation, or to provide an original example. This is standard practice in journals, and does not make any claim of novelty.[3] In Wikipedia articles this does not constitute original research and is perfectly permissible – in fact, encouraged – provided that a reader who reads and understands the references can easily see how the material in the Wikipedia article can be inferred.

As an example, the article on the Lambda-CDM model quotes values for Hubble parameter h and the fraction of the present universe made up of baryons, Ωb. For technical reasons having to do with their Fisher matrix, the WMAP collaboration quotes values for h and Ωbh2.[4] The values quoted in the article are more useful for the lay reader. Any reader who looks at the WMAP paper, and has a basic knowledge of error analyses, will understand how to go from one to the other.

From Wikipedia:Attribution#What_is_not_original_research.3F:

Editors may make straightforward mathematical calculations or logical deductions based on fully attributed data that neither change the significance of the data nor require additional assumptions beyond what is in the source. It should be possible for any reader without specialist knowledge to understand the deductions. For example, if a published source gives the numbers of votes cast in an election by candidate, it is not original research to include percentages alongside the numbers, so long as it is a simple calculation and the vote counts all come from the same source. Deductions of this nature should not be made if they serve to advance a position, or if they are based on source material published about a topic other than the one at hand.

I have no idea what you mean by the second paragraph. This example can be provided under a number of rubrics, any one of which is sufficient. This is just wikilawyering and violation of WP:TE and WP:DE and probably calls for a sanction.--Filll (talk) 15:22, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

I don't agree with your claim of TE. Do you read what I post? I have said this many times in different ways in the past day or two, but you have chosen not to address it. Here is the second paragraph again. Homeopathy doesn't claim to use solvent molecules (mother tincture) to create an effect. The homeopathic claim is that an after-effect imposed by the mother tincture on molecules of water is the therapeutic agent. But mother tincture molecules are not present after serial dilutions and is of no consequence to homeopathy. So how relevant is this analogy if it doesn't rebut the premise of homeopathy? Please address this issue.

I have answered this "complaint" dozens of times above. This article has to be written from several viewpoints, including that of the critics and skeptics, which is the mainstream. And what you are advocating would constitute a violation of WP:NPOV (as many of your other positions do as well). Just because you or some homeopaths want to ignore molecules, does not mean that everyone does.--Filll (talk) 15:33, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't believe may position violates NPOV. I have said that I might consider it appropriate to include it as "some critics use the analogy of a pool to explain the lack of molecules ..." Please address this.
So you believe that even though the pool analogy doesn't address the premise of homeopathy, that it should be used anyway? Ok. So I will support your position if the consensus agrees with your POV. I may consider an RfC. Anthon01 (talk) 15:51, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Before filing an RfC, consider educating yourself. See below. ScienceApologist (talk) 16:00, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Inability to communicate

Part of the problem here is that homeopathy supporters are generally incapable of discussing the science that is directly relevant to their subject. Anthon01's post that he so desperately wants Filll to comment on is an example of this. I quote it here:

Homeopathy doesn't claim to use solvent molecules (mother tincture) to create an effect. The homeopathic claim is that an after-effect imposed by the mother tincture on molecules of water is the therapeutic agent. But mother tincture molecules are not present after serial dilutions and is of no consequence to homeopathy. So how relevant is this analogy if it doesn't rebut the premise of homeopathy? Please address this issue.

Now, here are the problems:

  1. the use of the new term "mother tincture" is a bit absurd. A tincture is simply a solution with alcohol as the solvent. Thus, Anthon01 is adopting a new terminology that is very difficult to follow in the context of his paragraph. Apparently, Anthon01 is not comfortable using the actual chemical terminology, so it is dubious as to whether he is capable of even understanding the points that he is trying to argue against including.
  2. The first sentence, if interpreted with the equivalence mother tincture=solvent molecules, states that homeopaths do not believe that solvent molecules create effects. (That is, homeopaths do not "use" the solvent molecules to cure people.) The next sentence says that homeopaths use an "after-effect" of the solvent molecules on the "molecules of water" to be the theraputic agent. Obviously, Anthon01 is confused about the scientific terminology/actual mechanisms involved here. The "molecules of water" in this case are the solvent molecules and therefore are the "mother tincture". So, something went wrong with Anthon01's attempt to talk about science. My personal belief is that "mother tincture" is not referring to the solvent molecules at all (despite Anthon01 explicitly stating this), but rather the solute molecules. This is borne out in the next sentence where Anthon01 declares that the "mother tincture" molecules are "not present" after serial dilutions. Obviously solvent molecules are still present, so Anton01 must be referring to solute molecules. If this is the case (and I'm going to assume it is, because to assume any other way is just patently absurd) then we have to remake the equivalence as "mother tincture"=solute molecules and re-read the paragraph for the comprehension assuming this error. Doing so, we have the new conclusion that Anthon01 is (perhaps?) making that it's the solute molecules creating an "after-effect" on the water molecules ("solvent") that is the "therapeutic agent". I have always been under the impression that this is how homeopaths think homeopathy works after they are made aware of the Avogadro limit and the lack of solute molecules in their remedies. I have had enough discussions with Filll to believe that he too thinks this way. So, if we take Anthon01's first statment to be a misappropriation of solvent and solute, it is simply reiterating a point that Filll already knows and has addressed multiple times in this article and on the water memory article, for example.
  3. Anthon01's point then seems to be that since there are no solute molecules left in the substance, homeopaths are only interested in solvent molecules. This is a fine idea (see water memory) but it is patently a-historical and not at all likely to be the way most homeopaths who lack scientific literacy view their art. The fact is that when homeopathy was invented, atomic theory and Avogadro's limit were not known by the people developing homeopathy. They believed that it was the solute that was doing the curing: just that there was such a small amount in it that the harmful effects could be avoided. Now, today, more sophisticated homeopaths who know a little bit of chemistry have realized that 30C dilutions will never have any solute molecules in them: so they change their story and claim that it is the solvent molecules that do the curing and not the solute molecules. Fine: this idea is easily debunked by statisical mechanics, the extreme longevity of atoms/molecules, and the absurdity of a belief in being able to control the arrangements of a liquid through processes that amount to little more than shaking and diluting: but it is definitely a separate belief from the original reason homeopathy was developed. Filll is not talking about water memory when he discusses absurd dilutions: he is pointing out (along with the article) that there simply is no solute molecules in these solutions. That's a well-known scientific fact, though many homeopaths didn't become aware of this until well after science had established this. Whether homeopaths feel this is relevant or not is beside the point: this is not "homeopathopedia". This is a place for reporting the facts: the facts are that the solute is missing from most homeopathic remedies. Fantasies such as "water memory" are not going to get around this.

I think this summarizes why it is so problematic to get into discussions with people who are unfamiliar with the science they are trying to fight against on the talk page. The fringe-promoters basically either have no awareness that points they think confirm their beliefs are already discussed, or they cannot even develop their ideas well enough to make them understandable. Both issues are problems with Anthon01's statement above: his paragraph evinces a sincere lack of scientific literacy to the point of almost being unworthy of comment. We cannot go through a pedagogical deconstruction lesson as above for every misconception fringe-supporters trot out onto the discussion page. At some point, we're going to have to tell them to take a science class. I hope that Anthon01 considers doing this: I can send him a list of inexpensive higher-education institutions where he can learn about chemistry and thermal physics and then avoid such damning mistakes.

It is a shame that we waste so much text trying to explain basic science to people that are so committed to fighting against basic science. I think it is basically a waste of time, ultimately, because there is no indication from any of the posts that Anthon01 has made in his entire time at Wikipedia that he is willing to learn anything about the basic science he seems to be railing against.

So what are we to do? Perhaps Filll had the right idea: ignore the comments that are too convoluted or impossible to respond to without extreme amounts of pedagogy. We are not Wikiversity. Please learn about science somewhere else.

ScienceApologist (talk) 15:42, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Your post shows your lack of knowledge on the subject. I have an advanced science degree. Anthon01 (talk) 16:06, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Mother tincture is the standard term used in homeopathy for a plant tincture. It is the correct term. Whether either of these folks have given a good account of the process, is, however, another question. Peter morrell 15:55, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Whether either of these folks have given a good account of the process ... Please explain as I think SA is misunderstanding your comment. Anthon01 (talk) 16:14, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
If I understand you correctly, Peter, a mother tincture (or plant tincture) is just the extract from a plant like vanilla extract or almond extract. It is not, however, solute or solvent molecules per se (it's the complete alcohol-based solution). So not only was Anthon01 not using the right terminology for the science, he wasn't using the right terminology for the homeopathy side either. How are we supposed to proceed with such issues? ScienceApologist (talk) 15:58, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, mother tincture is described here [17] it is the plant material in the 30% EtOH shaken every day for 1 month and then decanted, filtered and kept in a dark green bottle. Potencies are made from this. The solvent for serial dilution is usually 30% EtOH. That's about it really. I can't understand why the argument has arisen. It is a very simple process. Peter morrell 16:02, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

I would rather not get drawn into the dispute but I reckon both of you made a few errors in your descriptions. Some errors in the science and maybe in the homeopathy too. It's not such a bigdeal, can we please move on? thanks Peter morrell 16:22, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

I respect your desire not to get drawn into the dispute, Peter, but leave it to the reader to see that Anthon01 (with his supposed "advanced science degree") made basic errors in confusing solvents and solutes. ScienceApologist (talk) 19:30, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

New version of image

Just as a FYI I modified the remedies lead image a little to improve the brightness and contrast and crop out some of the background. Tim Vickers (talk) 18:31, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

thanks for that. i just hope thats not a violation of some arcane policy or anthing. Smith Jones (talk) 21:17, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
No, its a public-domain image. Tim Vickers (talk) 21:59, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

30c

With regard to that ref about Hahnemann recommending 30c for provings, this is not entirely accurate. Most provings during his lifetime were done with crude doses of drugs or very low material dose potencies (such as 1x, 3x etc) so that quote is correct as per the later Organon, but taken on its own is very misleading. A better quote would be his recommendation that remedies should be given in 30c to patients. That can be found in Bradford's Biography. In any case Hahnemann did not recommend 30c for all patients until about 1830. Do you want me to find a good ref for that? For example: In the year 1829, Hahnemann came upon the strange idea of setting up a kind of standard dose for all curative remedies used in homoeopathy. This was to be the 30th centesimal. (Haehl, Samuel Hahnemann His Life and Works, Vol 1, pp321-22) thanks Peter morrell 19:17, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Here you go: "but for the Homoeopathic treatment of patients it is expedient in the preparation of all kinds of medicines to remain stationary at the decillionth attenuation and potency, in order that Homoeopathic practitioners may be able to promise themselves uniform results in their cures." (Hahnemann to Dr Schreter in a letter quoted in T L Bradford, Life and Letters of Hahnemann, 1895, p.467) [18] The decillionth dilution is of course the 30th centesimal. It shows that Hahnemann desired at that time (c.1830) for homeopaths to fix potency at 30c and not go higher. This is a better quote or source than that placed in the article today by User:Brunton IMO thanks Peter morrell 19:30, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

That is a good idea, though I think that it would be wise to make it clear that Hahnemann begun using simply somewhat small doses and that after 20+ years of careful observation of the results of his patients, he and fellow homeopaths began using high and higher potencies. At present, the article seems to suggest that homeopaths began using doses "without a single molecule" from the beginning (which is not true). DanaUllmanTalk 21:34, 11 March 2008 (UTC)


The Martinphi-ScienceApologist Interview

What is the role of science in producing authoritative knowledge? How should Wikipedia report on pseudoscience? Veterans of numerous edit wars and talk page battles spanning dozens of articles across Wikipedia, User:Martinphi and User:ScienceApologist will go head to head on the subject of Wikipedia, Science, and Pseudoscience in a groundbreaking interview to be published in an upcoming issue of Signpost. User:Zvika will moderate the discussion. Post suggested topics and questions at The Martinphi-ScienceApologist Interview page.66.30.77.62 (talk) 11:24, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Filll's new template at the top of this page

I am not impressed with Filll's new template. There is obvious personal POV editorializing by his inclusion of the following:

A common objection made often by new arrivals is that the article presents homeopathy in an unsympathetic light and that criticism of homeopathy is too extensive or violates Wikipedia's Neutral Point of View policy (WP:NPOV). The sections of the WP:NPOV that apply directly to this article are:

Does anyone else see a problem with Filll's template? Arion 3x3 (talk) 00:25, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Actually I was lazy and just copied it directly from the intelligent design talk page. So although it could be improved I am sure, I figured I would just start with what we already had on an FA article.--Filll (talk) 00:51, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
I think its fine, although i would reccomend expanding it since i am quite certian that those are not the only 4 issues ever discussd here. perhaps a reference to WP:Orignal research and WP:balance would be in order. Smith Jones (talk) 01:21, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
OR is already there, though it's not as prominent. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 01:28, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
yeah right Anywy i added it in. Smith Jones (talk) 01:32, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

I would add the following:

  • Where it says "tempers have flared," I would say that for some unknown reason homeopathy seems to excite in people the very wildest passions for or against it. Please therefore go steady and try to assume good faith and adopt as far as possible a collaborative and respectful attitude at all times towards other contributors.
  • where it says about "soapboxing and personal attacks" it should also add that repeated abuse of the talk page or of other contributors will not be tolerated and is likely to lead to blocks or bans. Peter morrell

I added the link to the NPOV policy on "Fairness of tone" Arion 3x3 (talk) 23:53, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

in rough proportion to their prominence ?

I thought NPOV meant "neutral point of view." Negative material does not seem very neutral.

Actually NPOV is not really neutral, but includes all points of view in rough proportion to their prominence, including negative views, critical views, mainstream views etc.

"In rough proportion to their prominence" ; how this is defined? By the publiched studies in RS? If yes then the lead should change a bit to reflect that. --70.107.246.88 (talk) 15:02, 11 March 2008 (UTC)


There are a lot of ways to determine prominence, and I am not aware of any "official" method on WP. What it basically means is that there must be a good strong measure of mainstream and critical material in any FRINGE article, or pseudoscience article. Many view this negative material as nonneutral, but NPOV does not really mean neutral (in that sense anyway); instead, NPOV means including all the divergent views in one article. Some think that NPOV leads to bad writing, and it could be; however, there are other wikis which do not have NPOV and allow each article on a topic to promote a different view or agenda.--Filll (talk) 16:11, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
thanks Filll. ( The rest of your answer does not concern me - of course - otherwhise I would take it as a personal attack )

Anybody who has an idea how prominence is determined? --70.107.246.88 (talk) 16:17, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=17429507-- Pharmacists should also be aware that the data assessing the efficacy of homeopathy are mixed—there are rigorous, reproducible studies that show homeopathy is effective,39,42-44 and equally scientifically sound studies that show it is not.270.107.246.88 (talk)

15:12, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

This would be a good source if we decide to create a subsiduary daughter article on scientific studies of homeopathic efficacy, or science and homeopathy or something.--Filll (talk) 16:13, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
@ Filll this is already in the article.

@ Jehochman what action are you taking if someone reverts without discussion? --70.107.246.88 (talk) 16:20, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

The data assessing the efficacy of homeopathy are mixed—there are rigorous, reproducible studies that show homeopathy is effective,and equally scientifically sound studies that show it is not. I will add this in the article. --70.107.246.88 (talk) 16:33, 11 March 2008 (UTC) Comments ? Objections?--70.107.246.88 (talk) 17:03, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Go ahead but some will doubtless object. Peter morrell 17:38, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

The paper has some lies serious misstatements in its lead which suggest it should not be used as a reference. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 18:25, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Well maybe you can detail these LIES here so we can all assess what you say? thanks Peter morrell 18:53, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

"Regulated under federal Food and Drug Acts in Canada and the United States, homeopathic preparations are recognized as drugs in both countries...." is false in regard the US. They are regulated under FDA acts as foods or dietary supplements, not as drugs. There's no requirement for proof of safety or efficacy, as required even for grandfathered drugs (drugs in common use before the FDA acts). — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:01, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
You are confusing various regulations imposed on conventional drugs with classification as a "drug". However, the FDA quite clearly classifies homeopathic remedies as drugs (as ridiculous as that seems), including the normal establishment of rules on over-the-counter sales and prescriptions of such "medicine".[19] Vassyana (talk) 08:36, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure we can call them lies exactly more perhaps as errors of fact, apart from which the article would seem otherwise to be a good source, yes? Peter morrell 19:06, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

As such an error of fact should have been caught in the peer-review stage, it seems to be to negate the presumption that an article in a peer-reviewed journal is itself peer-reviewed. Hence it depends solely on the reputation of the secondary author (the primary author being a member of the society passing the article on for publication). If we can assert that the secondary author is a recognized expert in the appropriate field, the article might remain, and the statement might remain in the lead as a minority opinion. Otherwise.... — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:10, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Ernst E (2005). "Is homeopathy a clinically valuable approach?". Trends Pharmacol. Sci. 26 (11): 547–8. PMID 16165225. 
    • "Homeopathy is defined as ‘a therapeutic method using preparations of substances whose effects when administered to healthy subjects correspond to the manipulation of the disorder (symptoms, clinical signs, pathological states) in the individual patient’ [1]. It is based on two axioms: the ‘like cures like principle’ (as in the definition above) and the notion that ‘potentiation’ (serial dilution with vigorous shaking) renders a medicine not less and less but more and more powerful. Thus, many homeopathic remedies are diluted beyond Avogadro's number (6.0225×1023) where the likelihood approaches zero that a single molecule of the original substance is contained in the remedy. Both axioms are scientifically implausible."
  • Johnson T, Boon H (2007). "Where does homeopathy fit in pharmacy practice?". American journal of pharmaceutical education. 71 (1): 7. PMID 17429507. 
    • "This is a system of medicine that has been in widespread use for the last 200 years, the theory of which is diametrically opposed to modern pharmaceutical knowledge and theories."

What is the problem? Tim Vickers (talk) 19:24, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Sorry about the {{verify source}} tag. I had assumed Boon (not Johnson, as I read the heading of the article) was used to reference the statement there that were some scientific studies showing a clinical effect, rather than the existing "diametrically opposed" clause. {{verify credibility}} is still open, though. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:32, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

TIBS is one of the top pharmacy review journals, I don't see why you are concerned that it might not be a reliable source. Could you explain your problem? Tim Vickers (talk) 19:37, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

The statement that homeopathic remedies are regulated as drugs is clearly false. Even our article recognizes (with sources) that they are regulated as food supplements, rather than as drugs. Such a misstatement of fact seems to remove the presumption of peer review, as I commented in the section above. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:42, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Reading the later sections I notice they cite the later paper PMID 10391656 as "Additional scrutiny, including methodological revisions by the authors themselves in a subsequent paper, confirmed these findings", while in fact the re-analysis by the authors concluded that "We conclude that in the study set investigated, there was clear evidence that studies with better methodological quality tended to yield less positive results." and in the discussion "The evidence of bias weakens the findings of our original meta-analysis. Since we completed our literature search in 1995, a considerable number of new homeopathy trials have been published. The fact that a number of the new high-quality trials (e.g. [14,15]) have negative results, and a recent update of our review for the most “original” subtype of homeopathy (classical or individualized homeopathy), seem to confirm the finding that more rigorous trials have less-promising results. It seems, therefore, likely that our meta-analysis at least overestimated the effects of homeopathic treatments." Any review that describes this conclusion as "confirming" the findings of the original meta-analysis is being at minimum disingenuous. I think I agree with you about this source Arthur, something with such obvious distortions can't be used uncritically. Tim Vickers (talk) 19:47, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Tim, I have a lot of respect for you and for you knowledge of research. However, you somehow overlooked the first sentence (!) of the article by Linde to which you refer above. "There is increasing evidence that more rigorous trials tend to yield less optimistic results than trials with less preacutions against bias." (They then provide 3 significant references). Their observations are that ALL clinical research results (not just homeopathic research) have diminishing positive finds the better the studies are designed and conducted. Further, you inserted into the article a statement that asserts that conventional medical studies are of a higher quality than homeopathic studies. According to Shang (2005), more than twice the homeopathic studies reviewed were of a "high quality" than the conventional medical studies reviewed. Can you show good faith by inserting this statement (it seems that some editors delete my contributions). DanaUllmanTalk 21:42, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
In response to: According to Shang (2005), more than twice the homeopathic studies reviewed were of a "high quality" than the conventional medical studies reviewed. What's the ratio of studies done by homeopaths to those done by conventional medical researchers? Because this can easily explain how it can both be true that conventional studies are, on average, better than homeopathic studies and that there are more high-quality homeopathic studies than conventional studies.
Let's take an example. Let's say that 80% of all studies on homeopathy are run by homeopaths, while 20% are run by mainstream researchers. Now, let's say that of the studies run by homeopaths, one quarter (25%) are high-quality, and that of the studies run by mainstream researchers, half (50%) are high-quality. Then we get the results that of all studies, 20% are high-quality and run by homeopaths, and 10% are high-quality and run by conventional researchers. Thus, twice as many high-quality studies by homeopaths as conventional researchers, and yet conventional researchers have a higher standard for quality in general. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 21:55, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
The Linde review deals only with the trials of homeopathic medicines, so their analysis and observations only apply to their data set. However, you're quite right that this is a problem across all clinical trials, it just becomes more of a problem when you're trying to distinguish the difference between no effect and a small effect. However, homeopathic trials seem particularly poor PMID 11801202, I've changed my addition so this statement should be uncontroversial. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:05, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
I think that we all agree that MOST trials (homeopathic OR not) are poorly designed and/or conducted. I suggest that we ignore poor trials and only report on those trials that are RS and/or have had RS secondary sources say were high quality. The various meta-analyses that I posted earlier today are worthy of discussion because of their high quality. DanaUllmanTalk 01:31, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Dana, what exactly do you mean by "high quality"? Skinwalker (talk) 02:05, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Good question, Skinwalker. First, I do not think that we editors can or should make the determinations of what is and what isn't "high quality" research, though it is always tempting to do so. Instead, most meta-analyses have specific criteria for how they define high quality. Thus, I think that we need to rely upon RS's secondary literature. The exception here is when there is NEW research for which secondary sources have not yet evaluated them. The other exception might be publication in the upper region of RS. That said, all editors need to know that each field and type of scientific experiment has its own definition of high quality. For instance, while double-blind research seems essential for clinical research, there are research published in high impact physics journals that are not blinded. Also, there is also a body of "clinical outcome studies" that may represent more real and typical clinical medicine, thereby providing us with reliable information. Double-blind and randomized trials are not the only "gold standard." DanaUllmanTalk 03:49, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
" Also, there is also a body of "clinical outcome studies" that may represent more real and typical clinical medicine, thereby providing us with reliable information. Double-blind and randomized trials are not the only "gold standard." " Well, I think you have disqualified yourself from further comment on this subject, but in case it needs to be spelled out "clinical outcome studies" is just a euphemism for customer satisfaction surveys as applied to SCAM therapies. They allow you to infer exactly ZERO about the specific therapeutic benefit of the intervention under consideration. The fact that this tired canard is trotted out so frequently by SCAM advocates merely serves to show how weak is their evidence-base. Please do not insert any such surveys into any articles concerning homeopathy. To continue, you will find many RS to say that double-blind randomised controlled trials are the 'gold standard'. However, that is not quite true. DBRCTs are rather poor at allowing correction assessments of be made of highly unfeasible hypotheses. The fact that homeopathy, given a relatively easy ride in trials, still comes up with such weak trial data simply adds to the overall weight of evidence against it. "Instead, most meta-analyses have specific criteria for how they define high quality." Since the Linde meta-analysis of toxicology trials[5] failed to define the parameters by which they judged trial quality I shall now remove it from the Ars Album page. Thank you for clarifying and agreeing this point. OffTheFence (talk) 18:44, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Wrong! The Linde meta-analysis (1994) cited have 31 (!) criteria (see page 483) for their evaluation of studies. Either you are showing sloppy scholarship here or are showing bad faith to fellow wiki-readers and editors. This subject was previously discussed, so I'm not clear how you missed it, but heck, we all make mistakes. I wish to AGF, and I hope that you will now stop inflicting your POV on this article. Work to maintain consensus and avoid large changes without it. DanaUllmanTalk 00:37, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, friend, they list the criteria, but they do not do so in a manner that permits one to work out how they were applied. Though there is enough detail to know that it was done badly. We needn't trouble the nice people here with all 31 criteria, but among them we have "Month of intervention(animal studies)" which is given 1 point, just the same as "Randomization/Matching". Well, that makes sense. Not. "Adequate Description of Number per test/group" gets 2 points. Note that the points are given for the adequate description, not whether the numbers are adequate. Well done. "Blinding" also gets 2 points. Hooray! Didn't stop them from creating a subset of studies to submit to meta-analysis where almost none of the studies were blinded and randomised so I think we can fairly conclude that their quality evaluation scheme didn't work. Another triumph from the homeopathic literature archive lies shredded on the floor. OffTheFence (talk) 21:23, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Placebo? Quackery!!

You people say that you have a Neutral Point of View, but when the article has something like this:-
Pharmacists should also be aware that the data assessing the efficacy of homeopathy are mixed—there are rigorous, reproducible studies that show homeopathy is effective,39,42-44 and equally scientifically sound studies that show it is not (but I believe the latter studies were flawed), it can’t have this matter as well:-
Claims for efficacy of homeopathic treatment beyond the placebo effect are unsupported by scientific and clinical studies,[7][8][9][10] although meta-analyses of homeopathy, which compare the results of many studies, face difficulty in controlling for the combination of publication bias and the fact that most of these studies suffer from serious shortcomings in their methods.[11][12][13] The ideas behind homeopathy are scientifically implausible and "diametrically opposed to modern pharmaceutical knowledge".[14][15][16][unreliable source?] The lack of convincing scientific evidence supporting its efficacy,[17] and its contradiction of basic scientific principles, have caused homeopathy to be regarded as pseudoscience,[18][19][20][21] or, in the words of a 1998 medical review, as "placebo therapy at best and quackery at worst".[22]
Rather, it should be:-
There is evidence that Homeopathy works (see the book, "Homeopathy: The scientific proofs of efficacy"),[6] but critics who haven't tried it, say that claims for efficacy of homeopathic treatment beyond the placebo effect are unsupported by scientific and clinical studies[7][8][9][10] and that the ideas behind Homeopathy are scientifically implausible and "diametrically opposed to modern pharmaceutical knowledge"[11][12][13]; the lack of convincing scientific evidence supporting its efficacy,[14] and its contradiction of basic scientific principles, have caused homeopathy to be regarded as pseudoscience,[15][16][17][18] or, in the words of a 1998 medical review, as "placebo therapy at best and quackery at worst"[19]- the last sentence, obviously, will be objectionable to Homeopaths.
([[User talk:|talk]]) 08:26, 13 March 2008 (UTC)Dr.Jhingadé

Hi, the policies relevant to your discussion are WP:NPoV, WP:Reliable sources and WP:Undue weight. You'll have a hard time convincing people that "Homeopathy: The scientific proofs of efficacy" is a reliable source, you would be best to stick to publications from mainstream scientific journals for claims of efficacy. The article lead is written to reflect the weight of scientific and medical consensus on homeopathy, but also gives some space to the minority who believe it is effective. Giving equal weight is a common journalistic standard, but on Wikipedia viewpoints are represented according to their weight. Jefffire (talk) 08:47, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

We then need to change Wikipedia viewpoints to "a common journalistic standard". I believe Homeopaths are not posting here because of paucity of time or else this article would not have been allowed to be so 'anti-Homeopathy'. I can post about the clinical trials the book mentions, but there will be too many to post about. Is that O.K.?-Dr.Jhingadé

No, we do not need to change Wikipedia's founding philosophy to accommodate fringe beliefs. There have been dozens of homeopaths posting here, at great expense of time and wasted breath on all sides discussing this issue. The article is "anti-homeopathy" only to the eyes of those who are believers in it. The article reflects mainstream opinion and reliable sourced material. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)

When this sentence is O.K., viz.:"Pharmacists should also be aware that the data assessing the efficacy of homeopathy are mixed—there are rigorous, reproducible studies that show homeopathy is effective,39,42-44 and equally scientifically sound studies that show it is not (but I believe the latter studies were flawed)", one should accept the clinical trials the book writes about. I can post about the clinical trials the book mentions, but there will be too many to post about. Is that O.K.?-Dr.Jhingadé

We have that. We also have other material that's garnered us death threats. We don't let them sway us from NPOV, and so we're certainly not going to let your arguments do so. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 14:50, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Also, I'm posting this here because you seem to be on a rotating IP and I can't trust you'll see it on your talk page, but you should know that all homeopathy-related articles are currently under probation. There is reduced tolerance here for disruptive edits. You should be careful about continuing to advocate changing the rules of Wikipedia to accommodate the homeopathic viewpoint. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 14:53, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
The Wikipedia article on Islam is positive, it's only the article on Criticism of Islam that is negative, so why can't we apply the same rule here? Good you realised I'm on a rotating I.P., what else am I supposed to do? I can't let you guys allege we use placebo and are 'Quacks (I'm a Qualified Homeopathic Doctor)'.-Dr.Jhingadé

I'm considering semi protecting this page, because of inappropriate comments. In particular, the comment about Muslims was completely unacceptable. Also, stating the obvious, encyclopedic articles aren't written in the first person. Otherwise, your comments betray an overwhelming conflict of interest, to the extent that if you continue in this manner you are probably going to be banned from all homeopathy related subjects. Addhoc (talk) 14:59, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

I am afraid these comments show that "Neutral Point Of View" is misunderstood to be "neutral" or "positive" or "non-negative" or "noncritical" or something. You have to actually read the section WP:NPOV. NPOV really means we include all relevant viewpoints. And in this case, the mainstream thinks that homeopathy is nonsense. And so, we have to describe that or we are not following NPOV. You see?--Filll (talk) 15:04, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Then why don't you write all the critical comments about Islam in the article on Islam, instead of the article on 'Criticism of Islam'? Addhoc (I don't know your real name), Muslims will support me if I write what I've written above - they will defend their religion against criticism.-Dr.Jhingadé
I'm sure we can have the the article on Homeopathy, edited to say what Homeopaths want and create an article on 'Criticism of Homeopathy' where all you critics can post to your hearts content-Dr.Jhingadé

Dear Dr. Jhingadé, it is most definitely not OK to "post about the clinical trials the book mentions" here. If you have read the discussions among the editors, you will understand that we have very good reasons to rely on secondary sources and will consider mentioning individual trials in only very restricted circumstances. If you have not read the discussions, I strongly urge you to do before diving in - in order to maximize your constructive contribution and out of fairness to the other editors. I have a problem with your comment that you "can't let you guys allege we use placebo and are 'Quacks'". If you can support your position with reliable sources, that is fine, but if you feel your honor is under attack because of properly sourced negative material, you demonstrate a lack of the required editorial neutrality. --Art Carlson (talk) 15:15, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Art (if you don't like being called Art, let me know, I'll call you Mr.Carlson), I'm not here to become an Editor, but I do feel my honor is under attack because of 'properly (really?)' sourced negative material. "I can't let you guys allege we use placebo and are 'Quacks (I'm a Qualified Homeopathic Doctor)'".-Dr.Jhingadé

If you don't want to be an editor then you have no business being here. This talk page is to be used to improve the article not for general discussion. Make specific recommendations based on reliable sources or don't comment here. If you want to right great wrongs, this is not the place. If you want to go prove how great homeopathy is, this is not the place. We can't do anything for you, but James Randi can, he'll give you a million dollars. So without any new sources for us with explicit examples of how to change our article, this conversation should be closed. Thanks. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)


Some articles on WP do have "criticism forks". These are normally discouraged and only are created as a result of consensus, and in the case of topics that are so extensive that it is felt that criticism forks are necessary. There is no consensus to create a criticism fork for homeopathy. Also, there is a fundamental difference between the homeopathy situation and the Islam situation. In Islam, criticism of Islam is a minority position and view at best. Even among religions, criticism of Islam is not an overwhelming majority position. Criticism of Islam is arguably a WP:FRINGE position. However, in medicine, homeopathy is clearly a WP:FRINGE view. The criticism of homeopathy is the dominant mainstream view in medicine. Therefore, when comparing Islam and Homeopathy, it is like comparing apples to oranges.--Filll (talk) 16:06, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
I disagree, they're both fruit. It's more like comparing apples to camels. :) Tim Vickers (talk) 16:52, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

O.K. Schmucky, I'm going to be an Editor by default, because this article can be found on the Internet, presenting only the negative viewpoint. I did mention the book, "Homeopathy: The scientific proofs of efficacy" and if that is not reliable enough, I can post about the clinical trials the book mentions, but there will be too many to post about. Is that O.K.? Moreover, the trials conducted by Allopaths which condemn Homeopathy did not follow the principles of Homeopathy in selecting the remedies, so should y'all consider them to be reliable?

Filll, Homeopathy is not a fringe view, in fact, Homeopathy is the most widely used alternative medicine. Islam and Homeopathy are both articles and both are lesser known to the majority (Christians in the former and Allopaths in the latter case), so I'm sure you can create a fork for criticism with the main article giving the right perspective of Homeopathy-Dr.Jhingadé
P.S.: Effects should be good enough to accept that Homeopathy works. There is a Homeopathic remedy, "Nux Vomica", which in the 30th potency, taken thrice a day, can produce loose motion in anyone except the 'Constitutional' Nux Vomica Patient - this any one can try, to prove it works.
Most of you critics posting here haven't even tried Homeopathy, so if it is 'placebo', please try the above trial before posting about something you're ignorant about (I can send you the remedies for free, if you search for me on the Net and send me an e-mail).

I'm going to semi protect this page for a week, because of your failure to grasp this page isn't for promotion of homeopathy, but is supposed to focus on article improvement. Addhoc (talk) 14:07, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Read this Dr. Jhingadé

Your previous accounts were blocked because they were decidedly disruptive. Your edits from accounts Dr.Jhingaadey (talk · contribs) & Dr.Ramanand Jhingaadey (talk · contribs) simply placed large rants on this page (example 1, example 2). Furthermore, your edits from IP addresses (such as 61.2.70.140 (talk · contribs), 122.167.7.114 (talk · contribs), 122.167.21.159 (talk · contribs), 122.167.149.209 (talk · contribs)) have been similarly and repeatedly disruptive. I'm willing to believe your earlier efforts were disruptive only because you were ignorant of our various policies, guidelines and social norms. However, by now, you have been given plenty of opportunity to rectify this, and still don't seem to "get it". The way I see it, you have two choices from now on...

  1. Make a new account and use only that account to actively engage in proper Wikipedia editing, bound to Wikipedia policies and guidelines, and embracing the spirit of Wikipedia editing through consensus-seeking discussion. If you do this, I will even leave a welcome message on your page that will direct you to the policies and guidelines with which you should be familiar.
  2. Continue to ignore Wikipedia policies and guidelines, further exhaust everyone's patience, and eventually have every edit and comment you ever make ignored and immediately reverted or removed.

It's that simple. — Scientizzle 15:33, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

We'll just have to make sure that if he makes a new account, it doesn't get blocked again as sockpuppetry. Or, alternatively, he could place an {{unblock}} request on the user talk page of his original account. If he shows that he's willing to reform after this time, an admin might decide to give him another chance. Indefinite doesn't mean infinite, after all. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 16:17, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
FYI everyone--Ramaanand (talk · contribs) is the chosen account name for our editor here. Let's give this account a chance. I will endeavor to explain the objections to his statements. — Scientizzle 17:56, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
I have nothing against giving him another chance, but that decision is not entirely ours to make on our own. We need to get the blocking admin to unblock his accounts, then close all of them down and let him continue with this new one. He needs to make an agreement with the blocking admin. -- Fyslee / talk 20:35, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Fyslee, I blocked one of the accounts (Dr.Ramanand Jhingaadey), and I'm taking point on this. This ANI discussion and my comments on User talk:Ramaanand will clarify the conditions I've set for our Dr. J. You're right, though, that I should drop Georgewilliamherbert (talk · contribs) a note, since he blocked Dr.Jhingaadey. — Scientizzle 20:59, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Sounds like you have got this under control. Now our new user should read about the Rouge admins. They are the ones to fear. ;-) -- Fyslee / talk 21:33, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Three of the intro's "pseudoscience" refs should be supporting "quackery"

The last three of the four references after "pseudoscience" in the introduction call homeopathy quackery outright. They should be moved to follow the word "quackery." Are there any objections to this proposal? --Why? (Why not?) 09:43, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

The following part describes a specific source. Anyways, I've modified it to represent what the sources say. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 14:55, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Blocking unregistred users from articles on probation

I know that the issue of denying access for unregistred users has been discussed before. However, if the WP community make a formal decision that a small number of articles are to be put on probabation, I think is fair enough to also block anonomous users from these articles + the talk pages (permanently). If newcomers want to edit highly controversial articles they can spend 60 seconds to register. It is also helpful for good faith editors when they don't have to exhaust their 3RR reverting semi-vandalism. I would like to propose this but don't know the proper WP page for that. MaxPont (talk) 20:56, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Good idea. -- Fyslee / talk 21:34, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Seems entirely sensible. Dlabtot (talk) 22:41, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
I think the admins' noticeboard would be the place you'd want to propose that. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 23:09, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

"diametrically opposed to modern pharmaceutical knowledge"

A comment about this sentence in the Lead section. I assume it is a quote from the references. In that case it should probably stay. However I would prefer another wording, something like: "diametrically opposed to fundamental principles of western science". This is a more correct wording - and stronger. It also takes away the focus from the controversy between homeopathy and the "Big-Pharma-medical-establishment-conspiracy". MaxPont (talk) 21:13, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

I tried changing it, is that better? Tim Vickers (talk) 21:28, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Western science??? What??? There is science and there is not science. There is medicine and there is unproven folklore. China, Japan and India, presumably "Eastern" produce more scientific research than the US. And there is no conspiracy. Tim, why would you change the lead because one person is pushing a POV? OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 21:38, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
I think you are over-reacting. I had no POV pushing in mind (though I understand that the editing environment here has been quite toxic). My point with the "conspiracy" thing was that if the article could be less provocative for the pro-homeo camp, there would be fewer edit controversies ("science" is less of a red flag than "pharmaceutical"). MaxPont (talk) 21:49, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
I changed it to "directly opposed to the ideas of modern science and medicine.", calm down. :) I work with too many Chinese postdocs to think there is such as thing as Western science! Tim Vickers (talk) 21:39, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, and they would have kicked your butt if they thought you had changed the lead to "western science."  :) OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 21:56, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
As far as I know, science is the same East, West, North, and South.--Filll (talk) 22:08, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
I added the phrase "fundamental principles" in the text as a correct NPOV description. MaxPont (talk) 23:01, 14 March 2008 (UTC)