Diluting Felicia

The entire universe in blog form
March 4 2011 10:02 AM

Diluting Felicia

It's not hard to describe just how silly homeopathy is -- after all, diluting a substance in water until nothing is left is clearly not a great way to base a medicinal practice. Unless you're trying to cure dehydration. But if describing homeopathy's silliness is easy, doing it well is another matter; most people don't have a very good sense of scale when it comes to very big and very small numbers (I guess numbers that dwarf even a trillion weren't necessary for our ancestors on the plains of Africa, so we never evolved a way to grasp them).

However, Steve DeGroof at MadArtLab (the same guy who does the skeptic web comic Tree Lobsters) has found a way to put homeopathy into perspective: use Felicia Day!

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Advertisement

[You really must click through to see the whole thing.]

Well, pictures of her, anyway, and the concept of Felicia's uniqueness. This is actually a pretty good analogy: you can put Felicia into various categories (like women named Felicia, redheads, guest stars on "House"*, and so on) and compare that number to how much homeopathy dilutes various solutions.

I think this method really works! I love how he used Marian Call and Adam Savage in the redhead category, too.

Anyway, I hope this gets picked up far and wide by the geek 'net. The more people who grasp the nonsense of homeopathy, the better. After all, there's nothing to it.



* Or, for that matter, cast members of SyFy channel's show "Eureka" when it comes back soon -- I can't wait to see it!



Tip o' the 100C solution to reddit.

Related posts:


TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 21 2014 11:38 PM “Welcome to the War of Tomorrow” How Futurama’s writers depicted asymmetrical warfare.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.