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! Follow him on Twitter.

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[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.

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