Happy Birthday Samuel Hahnemann

Before we go on, I had a quick chat with Hayley from the Healthy Dose of Skepticism blog this morning. She has kindly produced a birthday cake for Samuel Hahnemann, which it worth a look!

Today marks 258 years since Samuel Hahnemann’s birth, the creator of homeopathy. It also marks the start of World Homeopathy Awareness Week. A week in which proponents of homeopathy tout their nonsense just that little bit harder. Twitter can be especially annoying this week with not just homeopaths tweeting, but also skeptics and science-based, rational people retweeting the homeopaths in derision.

BEFORE he died. No, really!

While important to remember the direct harm that homeopathy can cause, we wanted to give Hahnemann our own special Birthday present.

Through some quirk of brain chemistry, I remembered reading that in all of us are atoms that were either part of, or expelled by Shakespeare in his life and his death. It’s a probability based calculation based on weight, fluid intake and loss, life length and air inhaled and exhaled. It also helps if the person in question died a few hundred years ago to allow time for atoms from the corpse to have passed into the soil and water systems.

Of course this probability calculation works just as well for Samuel Hahnemann. Having died some 170 years ago we can assume that his atoms have fairly dispersed around the entire globe. Sadly, his body is entombed in Paris making actual body atoms from after death a lower probability than hoped! Still, if we work on a low base figure that 0.01% of his mass escaped entombment and for arguments sake that he weighed 80Kg’s, that would still be 8 grams of Hahnmann floating loose in the Parisian and then World air.

Ignoring the other factors (bodily functions during his living years) we can estimate the amount of Hahnemann loose in the world as 4×10*23. I was going to explain the full ins and outs of the mathematics, but it’s much less time consuming just to link to this well explained and detailed post.

We can infer that, as the products of our environment, the estimate means that as a figure each person, pig and plant weighing 80 kilos contains roughly 10,000 atoms from the dead corpse of Samuel Hahnemann! A nice thought, right?

On its own, just an interesting probability equation. What also dawned on me was that due to probabilities and the dilution process involved in the production of homeopathy, (repeated dilutions of a substance until probability states not a single atom of the original substance remains), Samuel Hahnemann’s deathbed body, 170 years after his death, probably has a greater direct effect on your health than any homeopathic remedy!

Something to think about.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann.

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1 Response

  1. H Jo says:

    Haha, love this.

    Similarly, at our SITP talk on homeopathy, someone suggested that if water has a memory, he was convinced that the memory Oliver Cromwell’s urine is the only thing keeping us alive.

    Homeopathy really is that daft a concept.

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