Interestingly, there are a few lonely scientists who do believe in Homeopathy as Science
. Not as medicine
, but based on real scientific principles
. The distinction may seem subtle, but it's important. There are many 'alternative' therapies that are not
based on (western?) science (herbal medicines, acupuncture
, crystal healing
) yet can have a noticable effect. Whether this is a placebo
effect or a real one is unimportant - if you get better, it's a useful technique.
All well and good - but not scientific, surely. Well, at least two physicists (what do they know? :-) believe in the 'memory of water' principle. The two main homeopathic rules are:
- Like cures like.
- Infinite dilution.
This second principle involves diluting the medicine so many times that (effectively) there is practically zero possibility of any molecules remaining in the solution. A drop of this 'mother liquor
' is then added to a bottle of sugar pills and the bottle shaken to distribute the drop around the pills. The liquid medicine is also shaken (or 'potentiated') during the dilution process, at each stage.
Now this all sounds rather silly to me; not so Brian Josephson (who invented the 'josephson junction'). He is convinced that the structure of the drug is recorded in the shape of the water left behind. A sort of 3D footprint. This sort of meshes with ideas on clathrates and solvent shells which form around molecules in solution. However, these structures depend on the molecule and would surely collapse when it is diluted out.
A Parisian researcher tried to replicate the effect in the lab, with apparent sucess. Last time I heard, he was claiming to be able to email molecules...