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127) Water remembers: Homeopathy does seem to be pseudoscientific

Ludwik Kowalski (1/31/04)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

On 1/30/04 I watched a TV fragment on homeopathy. It was a 20/20 “Give Me a Break” report by John Stossel on ABC . Those who defended homeopathy claimed that “water remembers.” The idea is to prepare a water solution of something that, in a strong dose, would produce sickness, or some other undesirable effect. A much weaker solution of the same thing causes the opposite effect, they said. For example, a person who can not fall sleep, after taking too much coffee, would fall asleep rapidly after drinking a highly diluted coffee. The claim is that a medicine can be effective even when it is diluted to a point at which the probability of finding a single molecule becomes practically zero. How can I accept this?

I have no doubt that some homemade remedies can be as effective as prescription drugs. Or that the “truly holistic” approaches are often desirable. But I can not accept the “water remembers” idea, as presented in the ABC program. Homeopathy became popular after a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, started promoting it two centuries ago. He was guided by the so-called law of similarities: '”That which makes you sick in large doses shall heal you in small doses.” That philosophical principle is likely to be consistent with some experimental facts (for example, vaccination) and be contradicted by others. It is not a law of nature confirmed by all available experimental facts. In my opinion those who defend the “water remembers” idea are pseudoscientists.

The only statement about homeopathic medication that I am willing to accept is that it cannot cause side effects or addiction, especially when the dilution process is carried out to the level of “nearly nothing is left.” One might say “water has an excellent memory for good things but no memory for bad things.” Hmm, what is the mechanism by which water distinguishes between what is and what is not good for a patient? Here is a brief description about how the remedies are made; I fetched it from the following Internet site:

“ The remedies which homeopaths use come from many different sources. Most are derived from plants, but minerals, metals and some poisons which have been used medicinally for generations are also used. After initial preparation of the raw material the remedies are made by serial dilution and succession (vigorous shaking) in a solution of alcohol and water. This is done a few (three to four) times or up to many thousands of times. The liquid dilution is then used itself as a remedy or soaked into tablets or granules for convenience. The diluted remedies are described as being 'potentized', in recognition of the dynamic healing power they can stimulate.”

And here is an advertizing of “energized water;” it seems to be nothing but commercial deception and pseudoscience. “An Energy Mug to energize your water in 1-2 minutes. . . . Highly charged water inside the hollow of the mug transfers positive information to your drinks (water, juice, coffee, colas), giving them a positive spin and a sweeter, softer, less acidic taste. This information stays with the drink even when poured into another glass. (Do Not X-Ray Or Microwave).” What does it mean to “energize water?” What is “positive information?” In which form does is “stay with water?” What is the purpose of the last recommendation?

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Since this is a short unit let me append to it a short e-mail message about BPL, the company described in my unit #47. This message, dated November 4, 2003 and signed by Charlie Arruda, was fetched by Google.

“I have a general business comment about Blacklight Power. It's been 12+ ‘years’ now and what started as a great ‘concept’ to provide an alternate energy supply is turning into another big ‘song and dance’ story. I have stuck with the hydrino group and initially was very excited about the Blacklight Power Company and its science/business. But now I'm wondering what happened and what must being going through the minds of their poor investors.

For instance, what happened to the very promising ‘Hydrino Hydride’ battery? I remember the nice pictures of the ‘Hydrino Hydride’ compounds and thought that was very impressive to have that much pure compound so early in their initial development. It all looked like a great ‘concept’, but after several years there is neither a ‘proof of concept’ demonstration nor viable product. I'm starting to think that hydrinos, if they exist in a stable state, are possibly very hard to control/use outside the low vacuum conditions (>1torr) of the plasma ‘test’ chambers and just aren't easily commercialized in large quantities - just like the early solar cells or the current carbon nanotubes (@ $500/gram). I wonder what the energy density would be at that pressure, most likely not much to commercialize. Maybe in 20 years there will be a way to use them in marketable quantities to become viable. Maybe the new ‘Electrokinetic Microchannel Battery"’concept will prove a better alternative... or maybe not. “

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