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Friday, September 10, 2010

Homeopathology

It's not the Onion, but it's funny as hell regardless:

When Detective Inspector Craig King hits a dead-end with conventional investigative police-work, he knows where to turn. Forensic homeopathologist Simon Yates.

...

‘Oh, Simon is great, an absolute miracle worker,’ enthused DI King. ‘It’s not just the work he does, but the time he spends with you. You come out feeling so clear-headed and convinced that there really is cause to lock his suspects up.’

Homeopathology is based on the “law of similars” formulated by Samuel Hahnemann in late 18th century Germany, and involves serial dilutions of substances in water or alcohol, followed by forceful shaking in a process known as “Succussion”.

Simon Yates applies this to substances found at the crime scene – a drop of blood, the victim’s tears – it could even be powdered glass from a broken window. After preparing the solution and drinking the ‘potentized’ remedy, Yates will roam the vicinity guided by its power until one or more suspects have been identified. They are then also asked to drink the solution while in police custody until a conclusion is reached.


You should read the rest because, short as it it, it's awesome. Still, I'm a little sad that the author missed the true parallel: if we wanted to use homoepathology to find a bludgeoner, we should bludgeon people in the faintest way possible until someone finally confesses. It is the law of similars, after all.

It is eternally confusing to me that a strategy that seems obviously stupid in all other domains suddenly seems plausible when speaking of health.

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