Homeopathy: How Indeterminism can Cause Fatalities

Lacking suitable philosophical guidance, indeterminists often tend to be on the wrong side of scientific arguments. The debate over homeopathy is an example. Unfortunately, as mentioned recently in Jerry Coyne’s blog below, being on the wrong side can lead to fatalities. Homeopathy (the use of drug treatments so dilute that they are ineffective) has been shown conclusively to be no better than placebos. As I mentioned with regard to our dismissal of ESP (extrasensory perception), causes in the real world involve the collision of at least one microcosm with another. Drugs must contain enough of the colliding microcosm to have a chance of interacting with the part of the body being treated. A couple atoms in a bottle of water simply will not do it, in the same way that a drop of alcohol in a quart of water does not make an effective disinfectant.

Like all ineffective treatments, homeopathy can lead to delays that can allow unnecessary complications or to premature death. Like Jerry says, anyone who suggests its use should be guilty of murder:

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