how webcomics tackle woo with humor and logic
Once upon a time I took on homeopaths’ claims that diluting something hundreds of thousands of times is an idea that Big Pharma finds so dangerous, it must be suppressed at all costs. But if potentization was such an immensely powerful method, I asked, why wouldn’t businesses embrace it to save tens of billions a year in production costs? Just a few batches of medicine or vitamins would ever have to be made, so companies can save mountains of cash they could use to hire new employees to handle the increased volume of sales, pay a massive dividend to shareholders, and give their existing employees new perks. Well, Jonathan Rosenberg’s strip in Scenes From A Multiverse took that idea and ran with it, applying potentization to a not-so-local diner.
In the same vein, the always terrific xkcd made a handy chart for how woo of all stripes could be used by the business world and scientists to save and make trillions of dollars, if it was, you know, real. I know that the alt med crowd really, really loves its conspiracy theories, but when the woo you’re pitching could make people a fortune if it yielded consistent, reliable, and measurable results in experiments, and those very people ready and willing to take big chances on making a buck aren’t doing it, or toy with the idea and abandon it, only those in complete denial and with no grasp of logic would resort to a conspiracy about protecting one’s profits with a campaign against their favorite pseudoscience. How pray tell would anyone save money if she has to keep on spending cash to make real world products, especially if there’s nothing expressly forbidding her to adapt the very same techniques that supposedly allow quacks to circumvent the basic laws of chemistry and physics?
Unless of course we borrow from Mike Adams’ paranoid logic and conclude that pharmaceutical companies are secretly using potentization themselves in the secret factories built under their existing plants, supplying a steady stream of nearly infinitely diluted medicine, lashing out at homeopaths so others won’t learn their dark secret. But that really wouldn’t explain why it costs an average of $800 million to bring new medications to the local pharmacy, but I’m sure that part of it has something to do with actually having to meet safety and efficacy standards rather than just use a legal loophole to sell tens of billions of dollars worth of placebos…