A canna’ change the laws of physics

Scotty, The Naked Time, stardate 1704.3, Episode 7

Water Water Everywhere

Posted by apgaylard on November 14, 2007

The recent special issue of the journal Homeopathy on ‘The Memory of Water’ gave rise to a lot of skeptical comment.  A significant amount of this was facilitated by a Journal Club that Ben Goldacre ran at www.badscience.net, with the permission of the publishers (Elsevier) and editor (Peter Fisher). 

It’s pleasing to be able to report that one of the two ‘letters’ I submitted will be published by Homeopathy in the January issue.  It looks like it will be in good company.  The status of the remaining submission is unclear at the moment, though I am hopeful that it will make it in the end!

[ed.  News just in; the remaining letter will also be published in the January issue.]

It is good to see that Homeopathy and its editor are fostering an open engagement with those of us who were unconvinced, to say the least, by what we read in the special issue.

I am also looking forward to seeing what the authors will have to say for themselves.

Finally, I must admit to being somewhat bemused at the prospect of being published in Homeopathy.  As I work in a fairly obscure field, it probably has the highest impact factor of any journal that I’ve been published in.

2 Responses to “Water Water Everywhere”

  1. pleick said

    Do not rejoice too soon, your letters may end up in some bad company. Apparently, Homeopathy will also publish a text I wrote [1], in which I criticise explanations of homeopathy based on “weak” or “generalized” quantum theory.

    While the scientific standards of some articles in the recent “Memory of Water” special issue of “Homeopathy” were questionable, the editor Peter Fisher deserves a lot of praise for making the articles available online and for publishing critical letters. Inviting an open and critical discussion is one of the hallmarks of the scientific method. Science is not about being “right” or “wrong”, but about the way in which conclusions are reached (and modified).

    Independently of how the spectrum of opinions in the discussion section of the January issue of Homeopathy will turn out to be, I hope that the letters will clarly show that the “Memory of Water” is not a reality (as was claimed by Martin Chaplin in the editorial of the special issue), but a subject of controversy. How controversial, of course, being strongly dependent on the exact definition of “Memory”…
    Also, I hope that it will become clear to the readers of Homeopathy that those raising valid objections are not professional naysayers or dogmatic skeptics defending the status quo or “orthodox medicine”…

    Finally, I’m also very keen to see the authors responses to the critical letters posted here…

    [1] http://www.badscience.net/?p=528#comment-17246

  2. apgaylard said

    Well said.

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