It gave a rude shock when we came to know that the Indian National Junior Science Olympiad – 2020 exam question 31 makes a mockery of Homoeopathy. It describes Homoeopathy as pseudoscience and does not leave any opportunity to hammer this on young brains.
The Olympiad movement is aimed at bringing the most gifted secondary and higher secondary students of the world together in a friendly competition of the highest level. The Olympiads are not merely competitions, they are the meeting places of the brightest young minds of the world. Indian National Junior Science Olympiad (INJSO) is a competitive examination open to students primarily studying in secondary schools. This is a wonderful platform to nurture the young brains. Thousands of children, parents and teachers study this.
Indian National Junior Science Olympiad comes under the government of India. Ministry of Ayush is also part of Indian government. Homeopathy is an integral part of Ayush ministry. How one part of the government can do this?
We strongly appeal to our Prime minister who loves and supports Homoeopathy to take disciplinary actions against concerned people and withdraw the question immediately.
We appeal all our colleagues and well-wishers to support this so objectives are achieved.
Following is the link for the Indian National Junior Science Olympiad – 2020 exam. Go to question 31
Question No. 31. (7 marks) The term pseudo-science refers to the ideas which claim to be scientific, but don’t stand the scrutiny of modern science. Although many such claims have been clearly shown to be un- scientific through detailed studies, they continue to fool non-experts by using scientific sounding arguments.
The pseudo-science of homeopathy began over two hundred years ago, long before modern medicine. The main claim in homeopathy is that the medicines become increasingly potent the more they are diluted. Let us do a series of calculations to estimate the amount of supposed medicinal molecules in a typical homeopathic solution.
Homeopaths recommend a diluted solution of arsenic oxide (As2O3) as a treatment for diges- tive disorders and anxiety. In their vocabulary, it is called by its Latin name Arsenicum album (white arsenic). The oxide is prepared industrially by roasting arsenic containing ores, such as arsenopyrite (FeAsS), in air. The other products formed are Iron(III) oxide and sulphur dioxide.
- (a) Write the balanced chemical reaction for the preparation of As2O3 from FeAsS.
- (b) As2O3 is moderately soluble in water. When dissolved in water, the oxide reacts to form Arsenous acid (H3AsO3). Write a balanced chemical equation for the formation of Arsenous acid from As2O3.
- (c) One litre of a saturated solution of As2O3 at 25 ◦C contains 20.6 g of As2O3. Calculate the concentration of the Arsenous acid in mol/L in the saturated solution.
In homeopathy, a ‘decimal-scale’ is often used to specify the dilution of a given sample: D1 (sometimes labelled 1X) means the sample has been diluted 1 part in 10. D2 (or 2X) means the sample has first been diluted 1 in 10, then 1 part of that solution has been further diluted 1 in 10 again to give a 1 part in 100 dilution. A D6 (or 6X) solution has repeated this process six times to give a final dilution of 1 in 106.
Arsenicum album is often sold as a D30 preparation. Let us assume that the initial stock solution, before dilution, was the saturated solution containing 20.6 g/L of As2O3.
(d) Calculate the mass (in g) of As2O3 present in 100 mL glass bottle of the D30 Arsenicum album.
(e) How many such bottles (in millions, 1 million = 106) of the supposed medicine should one drink to be sure that at least one atom of arsenic has entered one’s body?
(f) Total volume of water on the Earth is estimated to be about 1.4 × 109 km3. If our stock solution at the start is 1 L of saturated solution of As2O3, what is the maximum dilution of the entire stock solution one can achieve by utilizing all this water?
Note: In reality, more than 97% of water on the earth is salt water. However, for this calculation, you may assume that even this water can be desalinated and be made available for dilution.
This is a purposeful defaming statement against homeopathy, and misleading the young students.