The Supramolecular Chemistry of the Homeopathic Remedy
Duration: 58 mins
About this item
|Description:||John Benneth reviews the attempts that have been made to model ‘memory of water’, which has been proposed as an explanation for the claimed benefits of homeopathic remedies.|
|Collection:||Brian Josephson's lecture collection|
|Copyright:||Mind-Matter Unification Project, University of Cambridge|
|Keywords:||memory of water; structured water; homeopathy; chemical bonds;|
|Abstract:||The talk was recorded in audio only. The slides shown at the lecture are available, in a variety of formats, at
in the 200 years since its invention, homeopathy has been the subject of much controversy. The major feature of opposition has been the lack of a rational explanation for the action of its pharmaceuticals. The question of "what is it?" is what in part has made the effects of homeopathic treatment difficult to understand and homeopathy impossible to rationally accept in the occidental corpus of science. I propose here that homeopathic remedies are actually supramolecular chemicals, which may well be the missing link between homeopathy and modern science. A supramolecule is an organization of two or more molecules that are held together by intermolecular forces. Citing recent studies, I propose that aqueous structures and their electromagnetic (EM) signals are what give homeopathic remedies their reportedly unique biological action.
Supramolecular chemistry is a non-traditional branch of chemistry that examines these intermolecular forces, the weaker and reversible non-covalent interactions between molecules. It is used here to explain how liquid aqueous structuring is created by the unique linking characteristics of water molecules, how the biological action of the solution is maintained in the absence of the original molecule, and what provides the homeopathic remedy with its specific EM properties. Novel proposals are supported by the orthodox literature in this controversial presentation.
[note by organiser] Those wanting to know of more conventional research on the structure of water may wish to consult these sources:
1. a review of water structure, and possible relevance to homeopathy, at http://site.fixherpes.com/roy_structure_water.pdf
2. computer simulations showing growth of structure in liquid water and explanations in terms of cooperativity, at http://arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/0206354
Statement by organiser
The invitation to this speaker to speak on a scientific subject, which it must be stressed was not in any way an official invitation from the Department, in no way constitutes approval of the unpalatable videos he has posted on YouTube. It may noted however that these videos appear to be the speaker's peculiar way of responding to equally unacceptable attacks on homeopathy, attacks that, to the extent that they were to achieve their aims, could quite possibly have adverse implications for the health of the nation (in the latter connection, one might note that two fairly senior colleagues of mine at Trinity, who have tried homeopathic remedies as a last resort, have felt that benefit had been gained from their use).
Objections were received from some at having an amateur, unqualified speaker, to which one can only answer that amateurs may be perfectly able to study a subject and give a coherent review, as John Benneth in fact did. The fact that in some places he was confused about the science does not mean the lecture was of no value, since a professional audience can determine where there are misconceptions and make the appropriate adjustments, and the speaker did competently dispose of some of the false objections that have been made to homeopathy.
There were also objections on the grounds that by allowing the speaker to speak in the Mind-Matter Unification Project's seminar series we were 'giving a platform for his views'. His view is that there are good reasons to suppose that persistent structures in water, a possible basis for homeopathic practice, exist. Is it wrong to make the arguments supporting this hypothesis more widely known, thereby opening them open for discussion? Would it have been better instead to have suppressed discussion by not allowing the lecture to be given?
I must finally address the 'pseudoscience' claim which is the other main reason why correspondents wished us not to hold this lecture in the department. Here I will be brief, and simply make this statement:
"Memory of water can be readily disposed of by any of several easy to understand, wrong arguments".
The fact of the matter is that no argument is better than the assumptions on which it is based, and almost all arguments contain hidden assumptions. It is obvious, is it not, that if chemical reactants are mixed the system will proceed monotonically to its equilibrium state? And so everyone thought, until they were forced to accept by the evidence of their own eyes that oscillatory chemical reactions exist. And so it is with arguments against memory of water; unsustainable assumptions are slipped in before believers' eyes, and not noticed, in a way that magician James Randi, also someone whose presentations might be thought problematic, would be proud of. And, further:
"belief that something is impossible, however strongly held, does not constitute proof that it actually is impossible".