Some notes from various sources about the Memory of Water and the persecution of Benveniste by narrow minded guardians of scienticic orthodoxy:
* THE MEMORY OF WATER, Homeopathy and the Battle of Ideas in the New Science, by MICHEL SCHIFF. The French researcher, Jacques Benveniste, was attacked and persecuted for his extraordinary research into the capacity for water to exhibit a "memory": solutions of antibodies were diluted repeatedly until they no longer contained a single molecule of antibody, however, they were still able to produce a response from the immune cells. This is the basic premise underlying the effectiveness of homeopathic dilutions. This book not only reveals the research, but also the vicious attacks by the scientific establishment (led by Nature magazine) which culminated in "official dirty tricks" and the forced ending of his government-supported research at INSERM (The French equivalent of the USA's National Institute of Health). Import 166 pp. $29.00 Hardbound
MEMORY OF WATER (Discovery Channel) Controversial research by French scientist Jacques Benveniste purported to explain how homeopathic medicines could work. He claimed that the water that a chemical was in could retain a 'memory' of that chemical long after it had been removed. Their results were published in the Journal 'Nature' in 1988. Shortly afterwards, the Editor of Nature, John Maddox, sent a team to investigate Benveniste's claims. The team judged Benveniste's results to be a 'delusion', yet Benveniste was adamant that he had been victim of a witch-hunt. Recently, Benveniste's Laboratory was shut down by the French Institute of Medical Research. Michel Schiff at the French National Centre for Scientific Research has worked closely with Benveniste. Schiff has now written a book called "Memory of Water" in which he argues for a more open-minded approach to scientific research. Michel Schiff spoke to Martin Redfern.
Memory of Water was published by Thorsons on 23 October 1995 at £14.99.
Review of Memory of Water
More deserving the appellation "devastating critique" is Michel Schiff's The Memory of Water: Homeopathy and the Battle of Ideas in the New Science. Technical in places but in general explained in such a way as to be accessible to the general reader, it details the struggles that new ideas in science have had and are still having to get a hearing, faced as they are with the variety of means, normally used in an unexceptionable manner, that editors, referees and review panels, and so on have at their disposal to prevent work that they consider unsatisfactory from being published or funded. The general directions of the author's critique may be indicated by a selection of his headings: "it is impossible a priori, hence it never happened", "debunking as a substitute for scientific arguments", "censorship as part of the normal scientific process", "mock attempts to duplicate an experiment", and "A scientific exploration gets paralysed by the burden of proof". As a historical example, Schiff cites the case of the Hungarian obstetrician Ignazius Semmelweis, who 20 years before the discovery of bacteria by Pasteur showed that deaths from puerperal fever could be reduced if the doctors were to wash their hands with antiseptic before attending their patients and was ridiculed for his proposals, and as a current parallel the suppression of evidence gained by Schiff's colleague Jacques Benveniste that particular kinds of saline solution might have adverse effects on patients in whom it was injected. Much of the discussion relates to Benveniste's work on homeopathy and the "memory of water", which expressions, the author observes in his introduction, are "capable of turning a peaceful and intelligent person into a violently irrational one". Benveniste's in vitro experiments on homeopathically prepared samples met with a hostile response from Nature and its referees when he submitted the work for publication there, but since they could not point to any errors in it the Editor eventually agreed to publication under the curious condition that after publication Benveniste would allow a team of investigators to carry out investigations at his laboratory. Schiff lists a number of errors that he claims are present in the published investigators' report, as also in published reports of failure to confirm the Benveniste results by other scientists. Publication of a successful replication by Benveniste was refused on the basis of a referee's report which, according to Schiff, contained elementary mistakes such as confusing error and variance (i.e. error squared).