Intellectual Terrorism in Science (Yes, It Happens)
Nobel laureate Dr. Luc Montagnier is moving from France to China. In a recent interview with Science magazine, the co-discoverer of the HIV virus indicated that he planned to continue his research into the electromagnetic waves that emanate from highly diluted DNA of pathogens.1
“I can’t say that homeopathy is right in everything. What I can say now is that the high dilutions are right. High dilutions of something are not nothing. They are water structures which mimic the original molecules.” Montagnier published a study in 2009 that demonstrated that bacterial DNA sequences could induce electromagnetic waves, even at high aqueous dilutions up to 10^18.2
Montagnier revealed that there is an intellectual fear in the science community that revolves around high dilution research started by Dr Jacques Benveniste, a French scientist who conducted research on homeopathic doses whom Montagnier has called a “modern Galileo.”
In 1988, Benveniste, a highly-respected virologist working for the French government, performed an experiment showing that high dilutions, prepared in the same way as in homeopathy, have a biological effect, and submitted the paper to Nature, the world’s most prestigious scientific journal, and the voice of scientific orthodoxy.
The editor of Nature, John Maddox, “didn’t believe a word,” but agreed to publish Benveniste’s paper on two unprecedented conditions: the experiment had to be replicated by other labs before it went into print, and Benveniste had to allow a committee to come into his lab to attempt to replicate the experiment. He readily agreed to both conditions, three other labs did get the same results (so their chief researchers’ names, including Dr. Bruce Pomeranz at the University of Toronto, were added on to the paper as co-authors), and it was published.
It was when the committee came to visit that the trouble started. It was comprised not of virologists, or even scientists, but of the prejudiced Maddox himself, a known “debunking” journalist, and the illusionist—i.e. professional deceiver—“The Amazing Randi”. The disruptive way they behaved in the lab is documented on video.3 Not surprisingly, the experiment failed, and Nature published another paper decrying Benveniste for self-delusion, and denying the validity of his “memory of water” results.
As a result, Benveniste’s reputation as a scientist was destroyed, and his funding cut off. He continued to research the properties of high dilutions until he died in 2004.
What is not usually mentioned in this story is that no “debunking” committee was ever sent to any of the other three labs that replicated the experiment. Critics who claim that Benveniste’s results were never replicated are pretending that three other names on the paper, representing three independent and successful replications, do not exist.
“Benveniste was rejected by everybody, because he was too far ahead,” Montagnier told Science. “He lost everything, his lab, his money. I think he was mostly right, but the problem was that his results weren’t 100 per cent reproducible.” That and… intimidation. “I am told that some people have reproduced Benveniste’s results, but they are afraid to publish it because of the intellectual terror from people who don’t understand it.”
Montagnier refuses to be deterred by slurs that his work is somehow not legitimate: “No, because it’s not pseudoscience. It’s not quackery. These are real phenomena which deserve further study.”
As it turns out, his colleagues in Mumbai are also diving into this this type of research. They recently published a paper that has revealed the existence of “nanoparticles” in high dilution research of homeopathic doses of metallic substances.4
This study reveals how researchers used Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction and chemical analysis by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES) to discover the presence of physical entities in dilutions as high as 200C.
In pharmaceutical-controlled science territory—where money talks—anything to do with homeopathy is decried with the same fervour as, well… religious heresy. Or blasphemy.
Homeopaths regularly encounter people who claim to be critical thinkers saying, “if homeopathy is right then all of science is wrong!” While this sentiment may be extreme, and hardly the response of a truly inquiring mind, we have to ask “which science?”
It is too simple to say homeopathy is dismissible because a single principle of chemistry (Avogadro’s limit) says that no molecules of a substance can exist in a solution diluted past a certain point. Remedies are not mere dilutions – there is a process of dynamization or potentization that is employed in their preparation. We now have to look at physics, even quantum physics, to find the answer. Living beings would be mere puddles of chemical substances if chemistry was the sole principle of existence, devoid of energy or any other influences on matter. The world is actually holistic. Individual scientific disciplines that exist in their own little boxes, forever separate and apart, cannot explain it.
Think of it this way: applying chemical analysis to homeopathic remedies will tell you no more about their properties than applying chemical analysis to a CD will tell you what music is on it. Chemical analysis is too limited a tool for either.
Orthodox drugs rely strictly on material chemistry, which has produced innumerable casualties in its use of ever-changing theories. In 200 years, homeopathic principles have never changed. Homeopaths use the same remedies Hahnemann did because they still work.
There is even indication that medical journals have dictated to researchers that in order to be considered for publication they had better remove any references to dilution studies or anything having to do with the molecular structure/memory of water.5
In the world of “publish or perish,” this really stacks the deck against true scientific inquiry.
One team’s extensive and well-accepted research has shown that the world of medical science so lacks objectivity and accuracy—even when it’s not studying anything to do with homeopathy—that the studies doctors rely on could be wrong as much as 90 per cent of the time.6
To read more:
Benveniste and one of his partners give their account : (“An essential feature of medical research is its openness: laboratories are not hermetic or vowed to secrecy like witches’ covens or societies of conjurers. Like medieval wandering scholars, researchers come and go and, within the laboratory structure, change teams, hobnob over coffee and drop by for chats with colleagues. Researchers examine each others’ results…”)
2 Electromagnetic Signals Are Produced by Aqueous NanostructuresDerived from Bacterial DNA Sequence. Luc Montagnier, Jamal Aissa, Stéphane Ferris, Jean-Luc Montagnier, Claude Lavallee, Interdiscip Sci Comput Life Sci (2009) 1: 81-90