About 9 years ago, a user inquired about a medical claim from an islamic text, a claim that a fly falling into your drink should be dipped in then thrown away (the claimed explanation being that dipping cancels out the harmful effects of the fly, making the liquid safe to drink again). Now, a few Muslim researchers have published papers trying to demonstrate this belief. Here's a example: Baeshin et al., 1990, "Effect of Natural Falling and Dipping of House Fly (Musca domestica) on the Microbial Contamination of Water and Milk", KAU: Science Journal, King Abdulaziz University.

In this study, the researchers measured the bacterial contamination of water and milk by flies, depending on whether the flies simply fall or were dipped (several times) in it. The reported result is that the liquids with fallen flies come to harbor more bacteria than those with several instances of dipping, which is counter-intuitive to say the least!

However, this study seems suspicious from my lay-man's perspective: it was published in the inhouse journal of a Saudi university (raising the possibility of bias) and Google Scholar indicates an egregious lack of citation (only one instance). Still, is their methodology sound, or does it contain obvious flaws? Are their results plausible?

  • The full paper text.. Jul 24, 2021 at 3:14
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    Interestingly, it seems to be somewhat of a precursor to this paper which is analytic in bent with no religious overtones that dominated the first. I guess the political climate changed. Jul 24, 2021 at 4:34
  • Wasn't there a more recent version of that question here? I can't find it, so it may have been deleted at some point or something, but I could've sworn that I saw one more recently asked than 9 years back. Jul 25, 2021 at 5:10
  • @fyrepenguin About four or five weeks ago, shredded in the comments. I seem to remember it had a reasonable answer, but due to vote count it seems to have gotten deleted anyway. It wasn't precisely the same study, but in a similar religious vein. It seemed, if I recall to have been even more dedicated to proving the validity of religious text rather than empiricism and had methodology which was even more ambiguous and poetic in nature. Jul 25, 2021 at 16:27


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