Editorial Reservation vs. Real Science

Dr. Weeks’ Comment: The scientific process is simple.  A scientists does A then B then C and the results consistently is D.  If someone doubts his conclusion they don’t send in magicians and fraud experts, they simply act like scientists and they themselves do A then B then C and then they see whether indeed the results is also D.  If it is, then there is no need for magicians and non-scientific assessments.  When Dr. Jacques Benveniste, a world-class scientist dared to scientifically investigate the validity of homeopathy, the scientific world became incensed!  Who was Dr. Benveniste in 1988?  He was the senior director of the French medical research organization INSERM’s Unit 200, in Clamart, which studied the immunology of allergy and inflammation. But he strayed from the condoned paradigm and was punished. Here we see the original article and the shameful treatment of this scientist by then editor of NATURE  John Maddox. While Maddox urged “prudent people should, for the time being, suspend judgment.” in his  1988, an editorial in journal Nature entitled “When to believe the unbelievable” judgment was not suspended at all, for Maddox led the charge against an honest scientist who was condemned and ridiculed and eventually lost his funding.

Here is how it came down:  (Source: As a condition for publication, Nature asked for the results to be replicated by independent laboratories. The controversial paper published in Nature was eventually co-authored by four laboratories worldwide, in Canada, Italy, Israel, and in France [1]. After the article was published, a follow-up investigation was set up by a team including physicist and Nature editor John Maddox, illusionist and well-known skeptic James Randi, as well as fraud expert Walter Stewart who had recently raised suspicion on the work of Nobel Laureate David Baltimore [2]. With the cooperation of Benveniste’s own team, the group failed to replicate the original results, and subsequent investigations did not support Benveniste’s findings either. Benveniste refused to retract his controversial article, and he explained (notably in letters to Nature) that the protocol used in these investigations was not identical to his own. However, his reputation was damaged, so he began to fund his research himself as his external sources of funding were withdrawn. 

Here is a You Tube video  by Dr. Benveniste which is impressive.



Title:  Human basophil degranulation triggered by verydilute antiserum against IgE
E. Dayenas, F. Beauvais, J. Amara*, M. Oberbaum*, B. Robinzon t, A. Miadonna t, A. Tedeschit, B. Pomeranz§,P. Fortner§, P. Belon, J. Sainte-Laudy, B. Poitevin & J. Benveniste
Source: Nature  vol 333  June 30th 1988  
1) INSERM U 200, Universite Paris-Sud, 32 rue des Carnets. 92140 Clamart, France*
2) Ruth Ben Ari Institute of Clinical Immunology, Kaplan Hospital, Rehovot 76100, Israelt Department of Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, PO Box 12, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot 76100, Israel
3) Department of Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Immunopathology, University of Milano, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico,Milano, Italy
4) Departments of Zoology and Physiology,* Ramsay Wright Zoological Laboratories, University of Toronto. 25 Harbord Street,Toronto. Ontario  M51Al, Canada
When, human polymorphonuclear basophils, a type of white blood cell with antibodies of the immunoglobulin E (IgE) type on itssurface, are exposed to anti-IgE antibodies, they release histamine from their intracellular granules and change their staining properties.The latter can be demonstrated at dilutions of anti-lgE that range from 1x 10 to the 12th power to 1×10 to the 120th power over that range, there are successive peaks of degranulation from 40 to 60% of the basophils, despite the calculated absence of any anti-lgE molecules at the highest dilutions. Since dilutions need to be accompanied by vigorous shaking for the effects to be observed, transmission of the biological information could be related to the molecular organization of water.
Therefore we propose that none of the starting molecules ispresent in the dilutions beyond the Avogadro limit and that specific information must have been transmitted during the dilution/shaking process. Water could act as a ‘template’ for the molecule, for example by an infinite hydrogen-bonded network or electric and magnetic fields. At present, we can only speculate on the nature of the specific activity present in thehighly diluted solutions. We can affirm that (1) this activity was established under stringent experimental conditions, such as 

blind double-coded procedures involving six laboratories from four countries; (2) it is specific for the ligand first introduced, as illustrated when goat antiserum (IgG) anti-human IgE, but not goat IgG anti-human IgG supported this phenomenon. The link between high and low anti-IgE dilutions is shown as we could not detect basophil degranulation at high dilutions if it did not occur within the classical range. High dilutions of histamine, but not of its carboxylated precursor histidine, inhibited IgE-dependent basophil degranulation. Finally, ionophores at high dilution did not work when the specific ion was removed from the cell suspension (F.B., unpublished results). (3) Using six bio-chemical and physical probes, we demonstrated that whatsupports the activity at high dilutions is not a molecule. (4) Whatever its nature, it is capable of ‘reproducing, subtle molecular variations, such as the rearrangement of the variable region of an IgG (anti-x versus anti-y) molecule, The precise nature of this phenomenon remains unexplained. It was critical that we should first establish the reality of biological effects in the physical absence of molecules.The entities supporting this ‘metamolecular’ biology can only be explored by physical investigation of agitation causing inter-action between the original molecules and water, thus yielding activity capable of specifically imitating the native molecules, though any such hypothesis is unsubstantiated at present.
Editorial reservation by John Maddox
Readers of this article may share the incredulity of the many referees who have commented on several versions of it during the past severalmonths. The essence of the result is that an aqueous solution of an antibody retains its ability to evoke a biological response even whediluted to such an extent that there is a negligible chance of there being asingle molecule in any sample. There is no physical basis for such anactivity. With the kind collaboration of Professor Benveniste, NATURE has therefore arranged for independent investigators to observe repetitions of the experiments. A report of this investigation will appear shortly.

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