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The Show Must Grow On: Intermission 3/21

The Show Must Grow On: Intermission 3/21 published on 18 Comments on The Show Must Grow On: Intermission 3/21

Rowan: Is Rhodey back with the thing yet? The hospital rental. The floaty thing? Or maybe he’s one stop away? I can hold it for one stop.

Rosie: No — he says he just got on the train.

Rowan: Nnngh . . . then I gotta walk.

Rosie: Don’t get up yet! I brought a special painkiller, just for you. I’ll pour you a mug. It’s super effective!

Rowan: . . . What’s in it?

Rosie: Water!

Rowan: What else?

Rosie: Just water. But at one point it was in the same bowl as a ginkgo leaf!

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Oh, by the Navigator, the Traders, and the Unconquered Sun… she’s one of those…

Like ,I understand the concept of homeopathic remedies. The water ‘remembers’ the poison/disease, spreads that memory when exposed to pure water, and works like antibodies.

What I can’t wrap my head around is lesser concentrations being MORE effective, and they sell Ground bits of The Berlin Wall as a cure for claustrophobia. how is THAT supposed to work?!

The problem is that water doesn’t have any way of “remembering.”

With the human immune system, antibodies are specialized proteins produced by white blood cells, and you can test a blood sample to see whether it has them. Water molecules don’t produce anything new when exposed to bits of the Berlin Wall (or whatever). Once you filter the water out, it doesn’t have any physical difference from non-exposed water. There’s no test you can do to find which sample is which.

It basically starts with a cure that seemed to someone like it should logically work, and they tested it without a control group, let alone any blinding, and found that it performed slightly better than no treatment, but patients were still dying a lot. But they *had* run multiple trials, with the concoction at different strengths. And the *weakest* one had the best results.

So they tried it at ever weakening strengths, and found that if they diluted the substance so much that the water contained none of the deadly poison they had chosen to administer to people, they got a pure placebo-level effect. And as Too Much Coffee Man would be happy to tell you, a placebo is the most powerful drug known to man, based on the sheer variety of things it can treat with minimal side effects.

Now, our medical community likes to do *better* than placebo for specific conditions, but if there is no medically approved treatment for a condition, we don’t have anything better than a placebo.

Given the “lesser concentrations being MORE effective”, I suppose drinking the homeopathic potion is actually less effective than just inhaling the water vapor from it. Even better, don’t open it, leaving it closed will dilute the concentration even more … in fact, don’t bother buying. Just visit the shop and you will be cured of everything just by being near all those potions …

Actually, homeopathic “drugs” are routinely used by German doctors when normal medicine doesn’t work. It sounds pretty logical to me – placebo actually works quite well in many cases, it’s definitely better than nothing for many people and it’s guaranteed to have no side effects. Of course if you’re a person who’s convinced that it won’t work, it probably won’t work.

And if you genuinely believe just visiting the shop will help then it will. Placebo effect is not limited on pills and potions. It’s just that nowadays, people are somehow believing more in convincingly labeled water than in their god.

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