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No. 125: Sep-Oct 1999

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Dr. internet

You can order books, airplane tickets, and a host of other products and services over the Internet. Soon, perhaps, you will also be able to order and actually acquire medicines without leaving your cozy computer chair. This would be a great boon to shut-ins and PC potatoes.

J. Benveniste, a French researcher, claims that he has developed a way to transmit the essence of homeopathic remedies electronically. He states that homeopathic solutions emit characteristic electromagnetic "signatures." These signatures, he continues, can be detected by a copper coil surrounding a beaker containing the solution. By digitizing these electromagnetic signatures, he plans to transmit them over the Internet to similar coil-surrounded beakers containing pure water. The signals are picked up by the pure water and the medicine's signature conferred. Presto! The medicine has been conveyed as surely as by a Startrek Transporter beam.

Skeptics will have none of this on three counts:

  1. Homeopathy is of no value. It relies upon highly dilute solutions of substances that in large doses cause the symptoms of diseases. This makes no sense to most scientists.
  2. Homeopathic medicines are so dilute that no molecules of the active substances exist in most solutions. How can nothing generate a characteristic signal?
  3. Even if the active substance were present in the solution, how could it generate an electromagnetic signature?

Nobel laureate B. Josephson has challenged Benveniste to participate in a randomized, double-blind test.

(Jaroff, Leon; "Homeopathic E-Mail," Time, p. 77, May 17, 1999.)

Reference. Benveniste has made the pages of SF several times in the past in connection with homeopathy and the "memory of water." (SF#121, SF#69, SF#59)

From Science Frontiers #125, SEP-OCT 1999. 1999-2000 William R. Corliss