99.44% pure

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sun Dec 24 16:25:42 UTC 2006

>That's the whole point isn't it?  These  degrees of "purity" being
>unobtainable, there's no way of proving that  any particular homeopathic
>remedy either is or isn't efficacious. (Or, for that matter, that some
>undetectably low level of an unintended contaminant might equally have been
>responsible for whatever the outcome!)
>For general flummery, smoke & mirrors ain't in it!

Sure there's an easy (albeit expensive) way to measure efficacy. Simply do a
double-blind field trial measured against a placebo control. What
homeopathic "cures" that have been tested in this fashion have been shown to
have absolutely no effect whatsoever. The reason this isn't done routinely
for homeopathic substances is cost. It's really expensive to conduct field
trials and since the main impetus behind such trials is safety and the
"cures" are nothing but water, there is no government requirement to do so.
It's snake oil, but non-toxic snake oil.

If you want to directly measure purity, one part per billion is routinely
achieved by modern lab equipment. One part per trillion can sometimes be

As for Ivory Soap, a 0.66% impurity content (parts per thousand) would be
trivially easy to directly measure. My question was always 99.44% pure what?

--Dave Wilton
  dave at wilton.net

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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