If you have ever been to a public swimming pool then I am pretty certain that you will have swallowed water with a very diluted sample of someone’s else’s urine. People, and especially young children pee in swimming pools. Normally no one gives it a second thought but when a Portland 21-year-old man urinated in the Mount Tabor reservoir, administrators decided to dump the water supply at a cost of $36,000.
I reckon that he probably produced no more than a third of a gallon whereas the reservoir holds 7.8 million gallons. Urine is relatively sterile and even if he had hepatitis, I am reliably informed that the virus would not survive long. And of course, in some cultures, drinking urine is considered therapeutic. I am not advocating that practice but emptying the reservoir is somewhat of an over-reaction by the authorities. What’s more is that dead animal carcasses regularly turn up in the reservoir and yet, the authorities do not take any actions. When asked about the decision to drain the reservoir, administrator David Shaff said,”Do you want to drink pee?” When pushed further on the scientific rationale, he retorted, “Answer the question. It has nothing to do with scientifically. Most people are gonna be pretty damn squeamish about that.”
This incident reveals the strength of essentialism as well as scientific ignorance. No wonder homeopathy is perceived as being effective.