Critique my anti-homeopathy arguments

So I was sitting around at work one afternoon, and I came upon an idea against homeopathy that I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere else before. Please have a look at it, and tell me if you see any glaring errors.

Thoughts on the “memory effect” of water as it applies to Homeopathy

November, 2003

Basic principles claimed by homeopaths:

  1. Certain substances, when taken internally, will cause the body to react in a manner that is similar to certain diseases or conditions, such as cold, flu, asthma, etc.
  2. These substances, when diluted, will become a remedy for the condition the substance mimics.
  3. A remedy becomes more potent the more it is diluted.
  4. Even after the dilution limit is reached, the remedy will still work due to what is known as the “memory effect” of water molecules. The memory effect is the basis for homeopathy, because even while no molecules of the original substance remain, the memory effect is still present.
    If water can be imbued with a memory of a substance it once was in contact with, this presents two possibilities:

i. The substance being remembered is equal in all molecules of the source water at all times. In this condition, think of the molecules as a switch. Either their memory is on, or it is off. Once the memory infects a molecule, the molecule keeps it full strength Or,
ii. The memory of the molecules is scalable and shared. In this condition, as a molecule with memory touches one with no memory, it transfers half of its memory to the other. Each of the two now has 50% of the total memory. A molecule will only share memory with one that contains less memory that itself. This continues throughout the vial until all molecules of water are equal in memory.

Looking at option * above, (water molecules do not share memory, but retain 100% of it) we are given now two possibilities:
a. The molecules of water can be diluted down among other vials, or
b. The memory molecules can further imbue other molecules by coming into contact with them, such as making a copy of a program on a disk. Memory is not shared, but rather “copied” into the neighbor molecules.
In option [a] we can reach a dilution limit with memory molecules as well as substance molecules, and therefore memory effect cannot be the source of healing since we would quickly reach a situation where no memory effect molecules would remain in the diluted water just as we did with the original substance.
If we look at option ** all vials will eventually become equally potent as the molecules of memory “teach” the water molecules their remedy. Therefore, remedies cannot become more potent with successive dilutions, since all remedies with or without the source ingredient will eventually become the same potency as far as memory is concerned.
Looking now at possibility [ii] from above concerning the sharing of memory among molecules, we see that memory effect should be 100% in the source vial. As the source is diluted down, this should cause the memory effect to reach exponentially smaller potency. This means that the source vial should have the highest potency. If dilution in this case caused more potency, plain distilled water should therefore be a universal remedy for all conditions. Ultimately, the result is that memory effect cannot be the source of healing.


With no original ingredient, and no possibility that memory effect is working, homeopathy is further reduced to nothing more than a placebo.

My question is if the water molecules retain “memory” from, say the belladonna or whatever homeopatic remedy is being diluted, why doesn’t it also retain “memory” from the countless other substances that were once dissolved in the water? Or is it that the “memory” of the minerals, impurities, and various plant and animal life is removed when the water is distilled?