Diluting Felicia

Bad Astronomy
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!  

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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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