Dr George J Georgiou, Ph.D, N.D., DSc (AM), Natural Medicine Practitioner is, apparently, a media star in Cyprus.
Dr Georgiou has a column in the Cyprus Mail and a recent offering caught the eye of a poster on the Bad Science Forum. A correspondent to the Cyprus Mail has asked Dr Georgiou how homeopathy works. Now, the correct answer to that question is “you don’t need to worry about how it works – because it doesn’t”. After giving the short answer of “don’t know”, however, George gives it some thought and decides that to answer that question you must first attack pharmacology and conventional medicine. He claims that if you asked medics if they could describe the mechanisms of action of all the drugs they prescribe that they would be unable to do so. TimW answers this by pointing out that:
Maybe as individuals they wouldn’t know all of them, I don’t know, but I think it’s safe to say that they know the mechanisms of some of them, unlike homeopaths. And collectively they know the mechanisms of all of them, unlike homeopathy.
MJ Simpson also responded and is paraphrased in the block quote below (I’ve asterisked MJ Simpson’s text).
It is well-known amongst energy therapists…
*There is no such recognised profession.
…that the human body emits vibratory information…
*No it doesn’t. Human bodies only vibrate if you sit on a washing machine.
…that precisely specifies the activities taking place within.
*No it doesn’t (see above).
Living tissues contain thousands of different kinds of molecules, each of which is surrounded by water (Watterson 1988).
*This is fairly obviously not true. Even with my A-level biology I know that most of the water in the human body is inside a cell, with mitochondria and other stuff floating in it. Only a small number of free-floating non-water molecules will be ‘surrounded by water’.
In homeopathy, molecular signatures are transferred from a biologically active molecule to the water in which it is dissolved.
*A molecule cannot transfer its molecular signature to anything. As far as I can tell, that phrase means the distinctive arrangement of atoms in a type of molecule so obviously it cannot be transferred. That’s as meaningless as saying that a car can transfer the size of its engine to the other traffic around it.
Succussion is a method of vibrating or sending a shock wave through a solution.
*It’s normally called ‘shaking’ and is what everyone, from chemists to barmen, does when they mix substances together in solution.
Dissolved molecules are made to vibrate intensely and coherently, and they therefore emit their electromagnetic signatures (emission spectrum).
*Shaking stuff does not make molecules vibrate or emit anything, it just mixes them up.
The rest of the article is mostly about vibrations the memory of water. Dr Georgiou cites a study from 1985 that allegedly provides a plausible mechanism for the “memory of water” and ignores more recent work in that area. In fact, similarly to the original question regarding the mechanism of action for homeopathy this can be answered thus: there is no need to find a plausible mechanism of action for the memory of water, because this memory lasts only for a number of femtoseconds. If that’s how long the memory of water lasts, perhaps we should be referring to the “amnesia of water”. If the so-called ‘memory of water’ lasts ~50 femtoseconds, what memory does the water in a homeopathic remedy have after, say, one second? None.
Memory of Water Links
The blog Hawk/Handsaw has a recent piece relating to the memory of water here. You can find Shpalman’s thoughts on the memory of water, via google, here. [UPDATE: See comment #4 for direct link to new Memory of Water category on Shpalman’s page] The Bad Science blog has some interesting comments on the memory of water, particularly here and here. The latest issue of Homeopathy includes some letters on the memory of water. AP Gaylard has also posted on the memory of water (this link via google again). Or, you can always the read about the memory of water via the category on AP Gaylard’s blog.