published on Sep 21st 2011

The Challenge of Homeopathy

I have a great challenge for you.

Take on a serious subject—health—and convince millions of people that you have found a revolutionary method of curing many illnesses. Claim that you can help or even completely cure people of everyday maladies as well as deadly diseases like AIDS and tuberculosis. Pit yourself against the science of medicine, one of the humanity's greatest achievements.

And for all that, you cannot use anything other than the most trivial, commonplace, clearly non-medicinal substance—a drop of ordinary water.

You must make millions of people think that your remedies are really helping them, even more than other healing methods. Make them avoid going to real doctors. Make them stop taking real medicine because they are convinced your water will heal them. Make them push your products to their friends and family. They should be giving it to their sick children thinking it will help, even going so far as to endanger their lives.

But, it's not enough to convince lay people. Your practitioners should believe that their drugs are effective. Convince pharmacists and physicians that it's a real alternative to actual drugs. Let there be hospitals treating patients with nothing but water and schools giving diplomas in your made-up science. Make governments and health insurance firms pay for your remedies like they were for real—and not only in corrupt and uneducated countries, some of the most advanced countries should do so.

The media should talk about it as an advanced method, in spite of it being as primitive as phrenology, and that it has completely missed the advancements of the 20th century medicine. People should think that it is a part of the "spiritual" eastern medicine, although it is historically grounded in West European traditional medicine, just like bloodletting and drinking alcohol.

It should be sold in pharmacies right next to drugs that have to pass tests and clinical trials—but let your products be exempted from these procedures. And you can't hide behind effects which are difficult to discern: make little granules that anyone can test for efficacy. Then, after a century of testing which had failed to confirm even a single one of your claims, let it be popularly asserted that your remedies are "scientifically proven to work". Go as far as writing on each bottle "not proven to work", and people should nevertheless buy it thinking that it is.

And should someone ask for an explanation how is it possible, you can only provide theories that contradict almost all of what we know of physics and chemistry. Make it acceptable to say that all of the knowledge that we have collected through the centuries is somehow invalid, should it happen to disagree with your ideas.

And if you can get away with all that, you will show how human kind can be fooled with just about anything.

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