Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Luc Montagnier And Bad Memories In Good Water

There’s an interesting controversy playing out in the world of big science. I only know a little about the topic and I haven’t talked to any working scientists to get their informed views on it, but I want to say a couple of things about it anyway because it’s such an interesting issue and I’ve mentioned this topic at least once before.

Homeopathy And The Groupie Hierarchy

This is the latest flare-up over the issue of “water memory.” Homeopathy. It’s been an issue for generations and it’s an issue right now.

This latest business involves a French biologist who won a Nobel Prize in 2008 for his work on AIDS.

Luc Montagnier at Wikipedia

Nobel Prize Winner Luc Montagnier Supports Science of Homeopathy

Although Luc Montagnier’s research that was awarded the Nobel Prize was well-respected, since then he has spoken openly about his belief in homeopathy and just saying stuff like that is enough to get you labeled a crank. But he has also tried to publish scientific papers supporting his views on homeopathy and he has tried to publish the results of experiments which seem to confirm real-world mechanisms that may play a role in homeopathic functions.

Luc Montagnier: The Nobel disease strikes again

As I understand it, his experiments have not yet been replicated. And because of the contentious nature of the experiments themselves I don’t know if anyone will even try to duplicate his work. Montagnier has left France and moved to China.

As I understand it, there are two claims at issue.

First, Luc Montagnier claims to have identified electrical signals that are unique to or resonate with specific biological molecules such as DNA patterns.

Second, Luc Montagnier claims to have documented these electrical signals in water-based solutions containing measurable amounts of biological molecules AND in partial homeopathic dilutions which statistically would be expected to have been diluted beyond the point of containing any molecules at all of the biological molecules.

The bare-bones of homeopathic theory is that when molecules of a substance enter into a water solution and then are “activated”—I believe that just means bumping or banging the container—then the molecules in solution create a change of some kind to the molecules of hydrogen and oxygen making up the water. Then, even if the substance molecules are removed by diluting the water again and again, the changes made to the hydrogen and oxygen molecules somehow remain in the solution. It is, supposedly, AS IF substances can leave an IMPRINT—of some unknown kind—onto water itself.

Or it is AS IF water has some kind of MEMORY.

Now this is a topic that is something like astrology or alchemy. My experience has been that a lot of “amateur” scientists take it seriously. Some professionals are interested in it in an amused sort of way. And, now and then, a professional scientist will try to take his or her interest to the next level and establish this as a “real” part of science.

These things almost never end well. People in the pop media start using the phrase “pathological science” and making comparisons, in particular, to other Nobel Prize winners who use the recognition of that award as a kind of license to indulge their personal eccentricities.

Beliefs have the epistemological equivalent of inertia, and mainstream science keeps moving in the direction it is currently moving in unless a large force pushes it in a new direction.

I don’t think homeopathy research is going to generate enough force to change the direction of mainstream science, but you never know.

I want to mention this just in case this research does offer up extraordinary evidence of its extraordinary claims.

And I want to mention this because there are real-world political issues involved if this does turn out to be true.

As I observed in my earlier post, the chemistry of the Gulf of Mexico has had vast amounts of pollutants—oil and dispersants and drilling by-products—mixed into it. That water remains along the Gulf coast and has been mingling with water flowing up the Atlantic coast and into the Atlantic Ocean.

If water has a “memory” of some kind, that water has bad memories.

Now there is the unfolding nuclear disaster at the Fukushima reactor complex in Japan. Whether or not this is a straightforward geological disaster or a disaster driven to catastrophe by the Stuxnet computer virus rendering the embedded systems at the Fukushima complex unworkable, there are now nuclear by-products mixing with the atmosphere and mixing with the Pacific Ocean where natural currents and flow patterns will carry them to the West coast of the United States.

Again, if water has a “memory” of some kind, that water has bad memories.

The Gulf of Mexico disaster is still unfolding. There are still animal die-offs happening, there are still “unexplained” oil slicks.

Now the Pacific Ocean is an unfolding disaster as well.

All this stuff is bad enough if water is “just” water. If there is any reality at all to homeopathic beliefs, this water is going to “remember” all these pollutants and contaminants for a very long time. And we will have to live with those bad memories.

If we can.

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