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A Science Lesson from a Homeopath and Behavioral Optometrist

Charlene Werner is getting a lot of attention she probably did not anticipate or desire. She is the star of a YouTube video in which she explains the scientific basis of homeopathy. Before you watch it, make sure you are sitting down, relax, and brace yourself for an onslaught of profound scientific illiteracy combined with stunning arrogance. For those with more delicate constitutions I will give you the quick summary:

Einstein taught us that energy equals matter and light, but because matter can be condensed down to a very small space if you remove all the empty space between the elementary particles (I am paraphrasing to make her statements minimally coherent), we can mostly ignore matter. Therefore energy is light, and we are all made of energy – not matter (or at least so little matter, you can ignore it). Stephen Hawking then came up with string theory, which tells us that all matter (which we can ignore) is made of vibrating strings. Therefore we are made of vibrating energy. All diseases are therefore caused by unhealthy vibrational states, and all disease can be treated by returning the body to a previous healthy vibrational state. This can be done with homeopathy, which extracts the vibrational energy out of stuff and places it in a small pill that can be used at any time.

Got it? This is now my favorite example of meaningless pseudobabble from a CAM proponent. Also, I am not picking on some unrepresentative crank – this is as good as homeopathy gets. Werner may be more clumsy and fumbling than more eloquent homeopathy proponents, but when you strip it down, magical vibrations is what you get. But Werner does a fabulous job of exposing the gaping holes is homeopathic nonsense.

Werner is also Dr. Charelene Werner which made me curious of her degree and practice, and this led me to a topic that I do not think we have every covered on SBM – behavioral optometry. Dr. Werner is an optometrist who engages is a host of pseudoscientific practices, homeopathy being just one.

Behavioral or developmental optometry is similar to chiropractic, in that it is a health care profession that is self contained, separate from mainstream medical science, with historical roots survival into modern practice. There is a kernel of legitimacy (perhaps) to some of what they do, but then a vast expanding set of clinical claims for which there is little or not evidence. The big difference is that behavioral optometrists, unlike chiropractors, have largely been flying below the radar.

There also appears to be a spectrum, like with chiropractic, and I’m sure those behavioral optometrists who try to be evidence-based may take exception to being lumped in with the likely of Dr. Werner. But – professions have an identity, and you don’t like what’s happening under the banner of your profession, clean it up from the inside.

A look at Dr. Werner’s website give us a clear picture of her philosophy:

We are a holistic based optometric practice dedicated to the highest quliaty vision care for your entire family. We believe that 70% of how you physically function is through the vision system. Therefore, when the vision system is improved or enhanced it also increases overall physical wellness and performance.

This reflects, in my opinion, the tendency for practitioners who are not science-based to slowly expand their claims and scope of practice.  If anecdotes are all you require (not even minimal biological plausibility) to accept that your interventions work, then before long you will think they work for everything. Dr. Werner likely does not grasp how extraordinary a claim it is to say that 70% of physical function is through the vision system. I wonder how she came up with that figure. The vague claims to “improve or enhance…physical wellness” leaves the door nicely open to treating just about anything.

Behavioral optometry is premised on the belief that eye and visual function can be improved, at any age, through training, exercises, or glasses with special lenses or prisms. There is little support or plausibility for this claim so broadly conceived, although there may be some truth to this concept in specific cases. A thorough review of the claims and literature for the various treatments of behavior optometrists is beyond one article, but I did find some recent reviews. This review from 2008 takes a broad look at behavioral optometry practices and concludes:

There is a continued paucity of controlled trials in the literature to support behavioural optometry approaches. Although there are areas where the available evidence is consistent with claims made by behavioural optometrists (most notably in relation to the treatment of convergence insufficiency, the use of yoked prisms in neurological patients, and in vision rehabilitation after brain disease/injury), a large majority of behavioural management approaches are not evidence-based, and thus cannot be advocated.

That is what I found from a look through the literature. The studies that are being cited by proponents are small, unblinded, pilot studies. There is a distinct lack of large randomized controlled trials.

Some of the claims made run directly contrary to evidence in the neurological literature. For example, using prisms to treat dyslexia (a reading disorder) based upon the premise that dyslexia is largely a visual problem (despite normal standard visual testing). However, the evidence has shown that dyslexia is not a visual problem but a disorder of the language area of the brain – a language and learning disorder. The claims of behavior optometrists regarding dyslexia started out being without evidence, but have increasing run contrary to prevailing evidence, but optomestrists failed to adapt or update their theories and practice.

The one condition that seems the most plausible and is most accepted is called convergence insufficiency – difficulty in properly focusing both eyes on near objects. There is weak evidence to support training exercises to help with this disorder, but other methods that are used to treat it (for example and exercise called pencil push-ups) has not been shown to be effective. While this condition requires more research, it is plausible.

At the other end of the plausibility spectrum is syntonic phototherapy. This is the use of specific colors of light to treat a wide range of symptoms and conditions, and improve performance. A search in pubmed on “syntonic phototherapy” yielded zero results. There is probably some research under different terms, but just using “phototherapy” as a search terms yields too many results to wade through (legitimate phototherapy is used for a range of skin and other conditions).

According to promotional sites, syntonic phototherapy dates back to the 1920′s and one man, Dr. Harry Riley Spitler- always a red flag. They seem to follow the pattern of referencing some legitimate basic science (for example the existence of light pathways in the brain that are not involved in conscious vision) to justify specific clinical claims without referencing quality clinical evidence.

Opthalmologists (MD eye doctors) historically have flirted with some of the claims of behavioral optometry, but a recent survey of practice concluded:

Although visual training has been used for several centuries, it plays a minor and actually decreasing role in eye therapy used by the ophthalmologist. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, most visual training is carried out by non-ophthalmologists and is neither practiced nor endorsed in its broadest sense by ophthalmology.

In short, there is generally low plausibility for many of the claims of behavior optometry, a lack of evidence for most of the methods used, a lack of consistency with the overall scientific literature and practice, and an expanding list of conditions they believe they can treat. These are all symptoms of a profession that lacks an appropriate level of respect for evidence and science-based medicine.

It is therefore no surprise to find a practitioner who also uses other unscientific modalities, such as homeopathy, and can so casually display such profound scientific illiteracy. Dr. Werner therefore managed to be an embarrassment to two professions at the same time.

Posted in: Homeopathy, Ophthalmology, Science and Medicine

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41 thoughts on “A Science Lesson from a Homeopath and Behavioral Optometrist

  1. zeno says:

    If a physicist had come up with this as a parody of the tripe spouted by AltMeds, I would have found it unconvincing.

    It’s unbelievable that anyone who believes in this utter nonsense is allowed to call herself a doctor.

  2. Watcher says:

    Call me crazy, but isn’t Michio Kaku considered “the guy” when it comes to string theory? I didn’t think Hawking had much of anything to do with string theory. Also, stating that light and energy are the same thing is a gross mischaracterization of that relationship. It’s like the old saying that all enzymes are proteins, but not all proteins are enzymes. All light is energy, but not all energy is light. Maybe she just misspoke …

  3. iDoc says:

    Hello Dr. Novella -

    As a recent Optometry school graduate (who enjoys reading this blog), I’d like to let you know that this small group of “behavioral optometrists” is shrinking, but still exists. Optometry as a whole is moving more to an evidence based/medical model and these practitioners definitely don’t fit that label. They have their own set of journals that they publish in and their own classes that they teach. Most of it is all vague theory, with little evidence beyond individual case studies to back it up. These facts were not lost on my fellow classmates and I. We described it as “voodoo” and regularly poked fun at the things being promoted as “treatment.” Thanks for this post – I will be passing it around.

  4. Jayhox says:

    It’s Hawkings, Steve. At least get the man’s name right! ;-)

  5. Jayhox – I suppose you are being sarcastic – but just to be clear to everyone else – it is Stephen Hawking.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Hawking

  6. iDoc – yes, it does appear to be a small subculture within optometry. I am glad to hear it is shrinking and not gaining traction in the mainstream of optometry. Marginalizing this kind of pseudoscience is the best we can do.

  7. Beowulff says:

    I can testify that getting the wrong prescription on your glasses can indeed generate headaches and fatigue. I have pretty strong astigmatism and even slight changes in the angle of a lens in my glasses can get me headaches. But that’s just simply because in that case my eyes are constantly working to try to bring everything into focus, even though they can’t anymore due to the wrong prescription. I’ve had this a couple of times now. Last time, they simply adjusted the lens in the frame by 1 degree (there’s always a little wiggle room), and the problems went away.

    So I suppose you could say that optometry can “cure” headaches, if and only if those headaches are caused by the inability to focus. But the idea that this means that optometry should be considered for other complaints just seems ridiculous. It sounds very much like how I imagine bloodletting got started: since it works for some health problems, let’s apply it to all health problems.

    And that video is just painful to watch. She should ignore the matter in the floor that she’s standing on and just sink through it from shame.

  8. leonet says:

    Just for the sake of accuracy, string theory is credited to Leonard Susskind, Yoichiro Nambu and Holger Nielsen. None of whom are well-known in the popular consciousness. It’s funny but not surprising that she just picked Hawking and assumed he invented string theory.

  9. Soliton says:

    Ouch.

    String Theory is usually, if not always, attributed to Leonard Susskind, never Hawking. In fact, a more perfect example of irony couldn’t be had as Hawking would likely be the last scientist on any string theory list considering the “war” between Susskind and Hawking. Indeed, Susskind book, “The Black Hole War: My battle with Stephen Hawking to make the world safe for quantum mechanics” is famous for saying Hawking is wrong about the true nature of black holes (but that’s another story).

    While wiki (ugh) indicates that Hawking has investigations in many areas (including string theory), that is akin to saying an ophthalmologist once investigated eclampsia during her obstretric rotation.

    Anyway…the other premier notables in String Theory development are Nambu and Nielsen.

    Current physicists getting a fair amount of media time regarding string theory are Kaku and most notably, Brian Greene/Ed Witten.

    http://xxx.lanl.gov/PS_cache/hep-th/pdf/0007/0007118v3.pdf

  10. daniel says:

    “If I wanted to make a bomb, and I took all these chemicals, and I encased it in a …. y’know, bomb.”

    This is gold.

  11. Lawrence C. says:

    If this had been an audition for MadTV I’d be impressed. So much nonsense, complete with random hand gestures, packed into so little space.

    Wait! Space, that’s it! And Mass! And Infinite particles of Light whirling from God’s grand Hawkings design to uplift the visual receptors by performing string symphonies of vibratory healing designed to encourage and support the body’s natural processes by introducing HealthyVibes(tm) that are shelf-stable so they don’t rattle and fall on the floor. And all for only $19.99 in easy-to-swallow tablets.

    I’d no idea homeopathy had come up with a grand unification theory of everything that not only explains it all but also cures bad eyesight. And they say theoretical science isn’t practical!

  12. relativitydrive says:

    All,

    I left a comment on Youtube. As a man with a Ph.D. in chemistry I can safely say there’s none in that abomination! The worrying thing is the other comments SUPPORT that total BS!

    I say Steve for World President then we’d get somewhere with this dangerous pseudoscience. Lives can be saved. This leads me to a thought – should those who shun reality be allowed access to science based therapy when they need it? Would that be enough for them to actually think about what’s right and wrong before we gladly treat them, save their lives (as we would always do without question) and allow them to run off and pretend we couldn’t help them?

  13. Rob810 says:

    No way no how to defend Charlene but the poke at all Optometrists is unjustified.

    Citing the fact that “eye MDs” use less and less therapy is surprising? Ophthalmologists are first and foremost surgeons. $2500 for a 6 minute cataract extraction or 2 minutes for anti-VEGF intravitreal injection to treat macular degeneration or $100/hour for therapy. Surprised?

    In fact, many pediatric ophthalmologists will attempt therapy with occlusion, exercises, prisms, and/or lenses before operating.

    Turn on the TV at any time and there will undoubtedly be a quack MD or DO offering some new widget. But that doesn’t bring in readers.

    Overall good post–I just want to reiterate that out of 30,000+ Optometrists practicing in the USA, there are not a lot of behavioral ODs out there.

  14. antipodean says:

    Rob810

    I think you’ll find this blog spends plenty of time hoisting shady MDs and DOs up the flagpole of ridicule when they deserve it.

    And I think this is the first time an optometrist has been a subject here?

  15. Calli Arcale says:

    Rob810, my brother underwent therapy from a ophthalmologist for his lazy eye. It was nearly successful; he still requires prismatic glasses. And the ophthalmologists I saw for my recurrent chelazions have always encouraged me to try and wait them out rather than having them excised. (Turned out to be a mistake with the last one; he recommended waiting, and the next day, it ruptured through the skin on the outside of the eyelid. I didn’t see much point in having a second incision made to finish the job, so I let it drain over the next few weeks. I really wish I hadn’t let him talk me into the wait-and-see approach on that one. But hindsight is 20-20, no pun intended, and he made the recommendation that made the most sense from the available information.)

    I don’t read this post as a poke at all optometrists, personally. It seems pretty clear that it’s a poke at optometrists [i]who practice woo[/i]. Every field seems to have its own batch of woos. Optometry, dentistry, nursing, family practice medicine, oncology . . . every field. No exceptions. I guess it’s a bit like Internet Rule 34: if it exists, there is porn of it. For woo, it’s “if it exists, there is woo which exploits it.”

  16. Rob810 says:

    antipodean

    I’m glad time is spent hoisting anyone who deserves to be hoisted regardless of title.

    A quack MD or DO does not set off alarms against all MDs and DOs. I’m not sure the same can be said for ODs.

    Just wanted to offer a bit of clarification.

  17. John Snyder says:

    Werner’s rantings are astoundingly, frighteningly inane.

    While I agree that there is often a CAM-like filling of the science void in much of the practice of so-called developmental optometry, the field of optometry isn’t truly CAM, and often gets a bum rap. As pointed out by iDoc, above, there’s a movement toward a more science-based approach to the field. Unfortunately, the more traditionally science-based field of ophthalmology has turned its focus (excuse the pun) away from optics/optometrics over time, and the younger field of optometry, really an offshoot of the former by default, has taken up the slack. However, the science lags behind. As David Gorski points out, the only good data in support of vision therapy at the moment, is for the treatment of convergence insufficiency (see references below). That said, there is still a tendency toward the blanket discrediting of vision therapy.

    Another area that currently lacks an evidence-base but that has good plausibility and an increasing consensus of support, is the treatment of astereopsis, or the lack of stereopsis, usually due to a congenital misalignment of the eyes. When a child’s eyes are misaligned, such as with esotropia, when one eye deviates inward, the brain suppresses vision from the deviated eye to avoid seeing double. Conventional teaching has been that there is a critical period (usually thought to be 6-10 years) during which realignment of the eyes can result in stereopsis, and after which stereopsis can never be obtained. This has been bedrock dogma in ophthalmology, but there is growing evidence that there’s more plasticity to the binocular neurons of the visual cortex than previously thought. And vision therapy has, at least anecdotally, resulted in stereopsis in people well past the “critical period” of neuroplasticity. The most well-known case is that of Susan Barry (so called “Stereo Sue”), but others have been described as well. The problem is, “the plural of anecdote is not evidence”, and it’s up to the field of optometry to produce the data. To improve the credibility of the field and it’s practices, a larger science-base is crucial.

    Scheiman M, Mitchell GL, Cotter S, et al. Randomized Clinical Trial of Treatments for Symptomatic Convergence Insufficiency in Children. Archives of Ophthalmology, Vol. 126 No. 10, October 2008

    Scheiman M, Mitchell GL, Cotter S, et al; the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial (CITT) Study Group. A randomized clinical trial of treatments for convergence insufficiency in children. Archives of Ophthalmology 2005; 123:14-24.

    Kushner Burton J. The Treatment of Convergence Insufficiency. Archives of Ophthalmology 2005, 123:100-101.

    New Yorker article on Stereo Sue: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/06/19/060619fa_fact_sacks

  18. John Snyder says:

    I mistakenly credited the above post to David Gorski, but it was written by Steven Novella.

  19. Arnold T Pants says:

    The bit about how we vibrate like either animals, vegetables, or minerals was also pretty good.

    This video could become a very deadly drinking game.

  20. NateBW says:

    Steven,

    As a residency-trained practitioner of optometric vision therapy, some lines of this blog sting a bit. Not because they aren’t largely accurate, but because it may leave impression that Dr. Wener is the norm. And that may be a reader’s natural reaction when faced with Dr. Werner’s video, rather than implied.

    However, as John Synder ably points out, there are providers of vision therapy who believe strongly in evidence-based medicine and are, slowly, demonstrating the legitimacy and efficacy of vision therapy for specific diagnoses. This is desperately needed 1) to guide practitioners when developing the most efficacious treatment plans and 2) to validate the claims that are made about vision therapy.

    Unfortunately, the majority of optometry has written-off the plausible and valuable aspects of vision therapy, as iDoc has, as voodoo. While it is difficult for them to realize between laughs, there are areas of optometry that are not disease related and are not practiced by any other profession. And these areas are slowly shrinking, making further quality research that much more difficult to undertake.

    For those of us who equally believe in evidenced-based medicine and the value of treating eye movement and focusing disorders, it is a delicate balance. One does not want to fail to provide beneficial care, when the diagnosis and treatment are obvious, just because the clinical studies have not reached the power that we would all like. On the other hand, one does not want to waste the patient’s time and resources only to be disappointed with the results, or worse, provide the patient false belief that they are receiving treatment when they are not.

    A final thought: In my circles, optometric vision therapy is more closely aligned with occupation therapy than chiropractic. We endeavor to provide the patients with specific skills to overcome specific diagnoses that are negatively affecting the patient’s quality of life. Few occupational therapists are seen as quacks, but, for better or worse, chiropractors can be.

    Thanks, Steven, for the post. This is the type of examination that would best come from within optometry, but when made from the outside WITHOUT a swipe at the entire profession of optometry, it can be useful as well.

    Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD

  21. Profpop says:

    If Homeopathy worked it would be part of Medicine not Alternative.

  22. Andrew86 says:

    Rob810:
    What “poke at all optometrists”? Steve was quite clearly criticising “behavioural optometrists” and not optometrists in general.

  23. eyedoc23 says:

    As Nate and others have pointed out so well is that in every profession there are a spectrum of beliefs. There are some optometrists that perform vision therapy and others that don’t. There are some that perform vision therapy for children with learning related vision problems and others that work with children on the autism spectrum. In medicine, there are many doctors that offer alternative treatments and there are those that stick to “just the science.” When a medical doctor attempts a non-traditional treatment for migraines without a double blind study, is this poor doctoring or bad medicine?

    I am proud to have participated in some of the double binded studies that validate vision therapy for convergence insufficiency as well as those that have turned the treatment of amblyopia on it’s head. Speaking of those amblyopia studies, I interact with ophthalmologists that despite numerous double blinded studies, they still stick with what they know because it works for them or thay know better. Essentially, they ignore the evidence and prescribe treatment based off of arcane knowledge.

    I am not saying that I agree with what this doctor is saying and honestly, I have not seen the video. I practice and prescribe vision therapy every day and will continue to do so. I have seen children and adults have their lives transformed by what I do. Imagine yourself trying to read and every time you do so you see double. Imagine trying to complete homework seeing double. Imagine trying to read for pleasure seeing double. I have seen way to many people cast off and left behind by medical doctors that it is embarrasing!

    IMHO

  24. Kausik Datta says:

    The bit about how we vibrate like either animals, vegetables, or minerals was also pretty good… This video could become a very deadly drinking game.

    Or a good marketing ploy for vibrators, with terms like ‘in sync’, ‘out of sync’, ‘alignment of vibrational energy’ generously thrown in…

  25. Calli Arcale says:

    I am not saying that I agree with what this doctor is saying and honestly, I have not seen the video. I practice and prescribe vision therapy every day and will continue to do so.

    You sound quite sensible, so I’m pretty confident that you would not agree with what this optometrist is saying. She’s not speaking about optometry in the video; she’s . . . well, it’s complete gibberish, frankly. She says that because we are mostly empty space, you can disregard our mass, which means that according to Einstein’s famous formula, we are actually energy, which is equivalent to the speed of light squared. She’s seriously saying you can disregard the “m” in the equation.

    And that’s not the only bizarre thing she says. It’s safe to say that what she’s talking about here has nothing to do with what you do in your practice, or any other responsible optometrist’s practice.

    Bless you for providing therapy for ambylopia, and even more for participating in studies to improve the therapies. I’m skeptical of therapy to treat extreme myopia (like mine) but amblyopia is another matter; there it’s more of a processing issue in the brain, and the brain has a prodigious capability to adapt.

  26. Dr Benway says:

    HAHAHHAHAHA! That video is awesome!

    My husband with a physics degree couldn’t stop himself from swearing at the screen (he’s not really prone to that).

    I laughed out loud at the bowling ball of all matter, the “Hawkings” string theory, the bomb analogy, and the post-TBI algebra. Much giggling at the YouTube comments ensued.

    It’s hard to believe there wasn’t a single snigger, chortle, or WTF? from anyone in the room listening to the talk as it happened.

    YouTube is a treasure chest of stupid alt med. Good to keep in mind for you regular bloggers who might occasionally be stumped for a topic.

  27. JohnW says:

    For more information on what Charlene believes, you may want to visit her site at the Austin Integrative Medicine website:

    http://www.aimmd.com/page.php/about/werner

    Warning: Be prepared for a large load of Woo!

  28. The Blind Watchmaker says:

    Although I am not in any way responsible for this load of smelly horse-woo, I feel the need to personally apologize to Dr. Stephen Hawking for having watched it.

  29. Dr Benway says:

    Dammit JohnW! Austin IM is a buzzkill.

    Of course I’m not pro-quackery. But I can kinda sorta tolerate it, provided it’s outside of legitimate medicine.

    Austin IM is run by a genuine MD who trained at good programs.

    There once was a world where doctors didn’t associate with woo. 1980s-ish. That was long enough ago that now we have a generation who can’t recall a time when supermarkets lacked an isle filled with dodgy supplements from filthy overseas factories.

    Meh.

  30. MaxJerz says:

    I haven’t ever heard of “syntonic phototherapy”, but I have had a number of people recommend Irlen lenses to “cure” my Migraines.

    http://irlen.com

    I’m wondering if these methods are related?

  31. yeahsurewhatever says:

    Einstein taught us that energy equals matter and light, but because matter can be condensed down to a very small space if you remove all the empty space between the elementary particles (I am paraphrasing to make her statements minimally coherent), we can mostly ignore matter. Therefore energy is light, and we are all made of energy – not matter (or at least so little matter, you can ignore it). Stephen Hawking then came up with string theory, which tells us that all matter (which we can ignore) is made of vibrating strings. Therefore we are made of vibrating energy. All diseases are therefore caused by unhealthy vibrational states, and all disease can be treated by returning the body to a previous healthy vibrational state. This can be done with homeopathy, which extracts the vibrational energy out of stuff and places it in a small pill that can be used at any time.

    http://img692.imageshack.us/img692/9913/stupid.png

  32. CanEyeDoc says:

    Rob810,

    1. Medicare reimbursements for cataract surgery are listed at $700 – $900, depending on complexity, not $2500 (and most of us take a little longer than 6 minutes to do them). Where did you get the $2500.00 figure?

    2. All Ophthalmologists will treat amblyopia with patching, atropinization and glasses as indicated; there is no surgical treatment for amblyopia.

    eyedoc23,

    Could you give me some references to these studies that “have turned amblyopia treatment on its head”? I can’t seem to find them. There is a quick review in the British Journal of Ophthalmology on future trends in amblyopia treatment (Br J Ophthalmol. 2009 Oct;93(10):1271-2). Interesting, but nothing too revolutionary there to my reading.

    Dr. Novella,

    As a practising ophthalmologist, I resent this post being categorized under “Ophthalmology”!

  33. eyedoc23 says:

    Dr. Novella,

    If you go the website for PEDIG, there is a list of all of their work. Before they started 15 or so years ago, it was taught that more patching is better and that after the age of 7, there was nothing that could be done. This as you are well aware has been tossed into the dumpster. For moderate amblyopia, 2 hours of patching is just as good as full time. For patients over 7, while patching is less effective, it is still able to help improve vision.

    I will look at that article in BJO though. The PEDIG group is looking further at atropine and have completed a study using levodopa.

    Dr. Marc Taub

  34. Samuel Hahnemann says:

    Dr Werner’s exposition was embarrassing. Once she got to the bowling ball of all matter in the universe I turned it off.

    The Principle That Makes Homeopathy Scientifically Possible:

    ‘The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts’
    – Alex Hankey, Ph.D.

    This paper examines the materialist, scientific view that homeopathy is necessarily contrary to all known laws of science, and shows it not to be the case. Recent theoretical advances contradict it. They indicate that systems involving correlations at both microscopic and macroscopic levels provide appropriate models. Materialism posits that no effect can occur without a material cause, failing to take into account the more abstract concept of information. It effectively holds that, for all systems, ‘The Whole is (only) Equal to the Sum of its Parts’. However, systems exhibiting correlations between subsystems possess hidden information, so that:

    ‘The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts’

    a principle for which a quantitative definition is given. The principle is well known and applies widely – for a system to be holistic, it must be true. To avoid violating scientific laws, theories of homeopathy must satisfy it – Holistic Medicine can only be described by appropriately holistic physics. By way of illustration, it is shown how the principle applies to the analysis of homeopathy itself, and to various theories of homeopathy.

    INTRODUCTION

    It is often said that the possibility of physiological action of potentised homeopathic medicines is ruled out by modern science. Editors of top medical journals refuse to publish articles on them [1]; invited editorials say they “cannot possibly produce any effect” [2]; the debate does not conform to normal scientific standards [3,4]; “The medical and scientific community has generally dismissed homeopathy because of a lack of plausible mechanism”, and despite properties of complex systems [5]. There is every indication of an incipient scientific revolution [6].

    Dylan Evans expresses the general misconception in his book, Placebo [7], as follows, “There is no place in our current scientific theories for any possible mechanism by which homeopathy might work.” Again, “either homeopathy is simply a placebo, or the whole of physics and chemistry as we know them are false.” Milgrom [8] quotes Ennis similarly: “if the findings of the pan-European experiment (Ennis) was part of, were repeated, the whole of physics and chemistry might have to be rewritten.”

    In point of fact nothing could be further from the truth. Recent advances indicate that the therapeutically active ingredient (TAI) of a homeopathic remedy has a quantum form connected to critical points. Torres [9], shows that critical points on networks provide suitable systems; Weingartner [10], that the TAI must obey scaling laws. In a heroic series of articles [11-15], Milgrom derives many known aspects of homeopathic medicine from his intuition that the TAI is a quantum wave function.

    Recently, a new model of cellular regulation has been used to show how an ultra-diluted solution of a toxin can reactivate a physiological system, deactivated by the original toxin – a scientific derivation of the principle underlying homeopathy [16]. The new theory of cellular regulation uses a new physical concept, critical regulation, based on well-known work by Prigogine [17], who pointed out that critical instabilities necessarily occur in biological control systems.

    The theory suggests that such instabilities can be dynamic attractors on which regulation becomes centered. The TAI is then identified as quantised critical point fluctuations since they can cause transitions in critically regulated systems. Significantly, there are reasons why such fluctuations can be activated by dilution and succussion – a theory emerges in agreement with the work of Torres [9] and Weingartner [10], consistent with Milgrom’s intuition [11-15].

    That the work of four separate scientists, pursuing quite different lines of approach to the problem of the TAI should result in a single self-consistent theory suggests that a genuine scientific theory of homeopathy may soon be completed. It appears to be a quantum theory of cooperative phenomena at far-from-equilibrium critical instability points. The mere possibility of such a theory, however, raises important philosophical questions:

    1. Why should the popular conception of what is and is not possible in science be so wide of the mark?
    2. More specifically, what fundamental principle that science and scientists have taken for granted, is being so spectacularly violated?
    3. Which scientific theories violate the principle? Is it valid or invalid?
    4. If it is invalid, what correct principle can replace it?
    5. How do the new theories conform to the new principle?
    IMPLICATIONS OF THE NEW THEORY OF HOMEOPATHY
    Answers indicated by the proposed theory of homeopathy [16], derive from the anomalous physics it entails. It uses unusual properties of physical systems: critical points where matter is unstable [18,9], such as occur in regulatory systems of living organisms [17]; that critical instability fluctuations obey scaling laws [19,10]; that in far-from-thermodynamic-equilibrium systems, instability fluctuations can induce phase transitions [20]; and the highly anomalous nature of the quantum fields of chemical instability fluctuations in the physiology [11-16,21-22], which thus have the power to induce observable phase transitions[1].

    All these elements of the theory possess properties contradicting common sense materialist science. Materialism posits the idea that all effect requires a material cause: without matter or energy, there can be no cause and effect. To the materialist, if all matter is removed, and a vacuum created, no effects can result from that lack of matter – it can have no action. Quantum theory and quantum field theory, however, are well-known to violate the mechanical materialist outlook; critical instabilities do so because they produce long range correlations so that different elements of the system are no longer independent of each other – independence of parts is a general supposition of the materialist perspective (see (2) below).

    First consider quantum systems: the necessity of material causes seems true in the macroscopic world, and remains true in the early quantum theories of Bohr, Heisenberg and Schrödinger, but it is not true in quantum theories of complex systems, because of the correlations pointed out by Einstein [23]. Nor is it true of quantum fields. In quantum field theory, the vacuum state itself is regarded as an infinite superposition of the ‘bare vacuum’ together with all possible ‘vacuum fluctuations’, consisting of all possible transitions from vacuum to vacuum with a virtual something in between. Virtual transitions, including vacuum fluctuations, virtual though they may be, are well recognized to produce real effects in matter and energy around them. They result in the famous Lamb Shift, in which two quantum states of the Hydrogen atom of otherwise equal energy are shifted relative to each other. If virtual transitions become correlated with similar virtual transitions in neighbouring systems in the environment, further energy shifts take place. Van Der Waals forces between non-polar chemical molecules, and the Casimir Effect, in which two parallel, uncharged conducting plates exert a measurable attractive force on each other, both arise in this way. The lowering of energies increases when such systems are closer to each other, giving rise to the forces between them[2]. In the Casimir effect, the cause may be visualised: tiny fluctuations in electrical polarisation in each plate spontaneously become correlated because this lowers their energy. The mechanics is clearly identical to quantum theory’s use of correlated virtual transitions, as outlined above, since quantum transitions are required to produce the tiny polarisations in each plate, and correspondingly virtual transitions to produce fluctuating polarisations.

    In the case of the quantum vacuum, spontaneous emission of quanta from any system, such as light from an atom in a light bulb, can be considered an effect of the vacuum and its fluctuations. This is seen most clearly from the theory of lasers. A state of n photons stimulates photon emission multiplying its probability by a factor of (n + 1). The extra 1 in the (n + 1) means that when no photons of the field are present, the vacuum state still has a stimulating effect. ‘Spontaneous emission’ can be attributed to stimulation by a residual potential in the vacuum state – its fluctuations, consisting of virtual, vacuum to vacuum, transitions.

    If all this is known and understood, what is the problem with homeopathy?

    If a quantum nothing, the quantum vacuum, can create effects by inducing transitions, why shouldn’t homeopathic remedies, similar kinds of nothing, in the form an ultra diluted solutions, also create effects inducing transitions in the physiology? The answer according to the new theory [16] is that they do, but the problem with accepting this possibility is two fold: first, the naïve materialism of popular scientific outlook, and second, the difficulty of seeing chemical systems in quantum terms. In fact, the new theories [11-16] adopt the latter perspective, but the first may still blind a person from seeing it.

    The problem lies in the apparent objectivity of what is being diluted. We think matter is ‘real’ because we can reach out and touch it, we can see it, taste it and smell it, all in a self-consistent way. We know matter is made of atoms, and therefore tend to think about them in exactly the same way, despite the fact that as scientists, we know equally well that they can only be adequately described by quantum theory with all its anomalies compared to the classical physics of the macroscopic world. We still tend to think of atoms as little, real, objects of the kind we see on the table in front of us – which they are not. As quantum entities they are not objectively real [24]. They have very different properties, and behave in surprisingly different ways. Naïve materialism fails to take this into account.

    When a chemical solution is diluted, we tend to think that it can only have properties we would ascribe to its component molecules as if they behaved the same as little billiard balls, or tiny versions of the ball and stick models we make to represent their internal structure. The idea that some hidden, latent property of atoms and molecules might manifest, simply because they have undergone a special process of dilution, does not occur to the materialist. To put it most simply, the materialist subscribes to a simplistic principle: ‘The whole is equal to the sum of its parts’ – get rid of all the parts, and, ‘Voila!’, there can be no effects.

    The ability of the quantum vacuum to induce transitions totally contradicts the materialist outlook, however. No longer is it true that nothing cannot have an effect. No longer can we say with King Lear, ‘Nothing will come of nothing’ [25]. The particular ‘Nothing’ consisting of the vacuum can exert a causative effect. If it can be shown that a ‘quantum nothing’ similar to the vacuum state of the electromagnetic field, but originating in dilution of chemical molecules, can produce changes in the physiology, a scientific theory of homeopathy would have been constructed consistent with what we already know about quantum theory.

    A NEW PRINCIPLE

    ‘The whole is equal to the sum of the parts’, is not universally valid. A deeper, more spiritual, principle holds. The old principle breaks down for correlated systems. Cooperative phenomena at phase transitions, such as are utilized in the new theory of homeopathy [16], and stimulated emission of light in lasers, are both due to correlations, which represent an internal ordering of a system’s subsystems. They have information value, but no inherent material energy – they are the domain of the information theorist, rather than the materialist. Nowadays, this is seen as the very nature of quantum physics, for as Stapp emphasises, ‘Information is the currency of quantum theory’ [26].

    Correlations’ internal ordering have observable consequences that cannot be predicted from gross knowledge of the system’s composition alone. If it is asked, ‘Why are observations on two such systems different?’ the matter energy content cannot explain it. The information contained in the abstract correlations is outside the materialist domain. Knowledge of the parts is not sufficient to predict all possible observations on the whole system – there is more information I (w) stored in the whole (w) than the sum Si of all the information I(pi) in each of the parts pi :

    I(w) > Si I(pi) (1)
    Such a system is said to be a whole more than the sum of its parts. In contrast classical systems conforming to the materialist idea that the whole is only equal to the sum of its parts satisfy:

    I(w) = Si I(pi) (2)
    The inequality (1) thus offers a quantitative definition, and criterion for the validity in any given system, of a different principle:

    ‘The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts’
    This principle is widely known, and applied in many ways, not just to physical or scientific concepts such as systems. In the humanities where internal ordering principles, balancing interrelationships and harmonies, have central importance, it is a fundamental concept. It is not just at work in the nothing of a quantum vacuum, in human situations it is important because a mere nothing – an idea, information – can motivate everything.

    In King Lear, the whole drama emerges from Lear’s reaction to Cordelia’s ‘Nothing’! Shakespeare is in effect illustrating the deep principle whereby the Void is the origin and source of all things, an idea embodied in modern quantum cosmology by the ‘inflationary process’. Conclusive observational evidence now exists for this process [27], which initiates the Big Bang from an unstable pre-physical potentiality – physics shows conclusively that the origin of the universe as a whole is governed by the new principle, not the materialist one.

    It applies to all systems of thought summarized by Aldous Huxley in his Perennial Philosophy [28]. Wordsworth alludes to it at the climax of his autobiographical ‘Prelude’, his longest, and arguably his greatest, poem. Reflecting on a full-moon cloudscape seen from above during a night ascent of Mt Snowdon, he locates in the scene ‘the Imagination of the Whole’ – the cosmic creative intelligence behind the whole creation – describing it as ‘the perfect image of a Mighty Mind, of One that feeds upon infinity’ [29] – an experience of the total wholeness of all creation, greater than the sum of its parts, thus revealing the truly holistic nature of reality. He tells how this experience of wholeness in the totality brought the final strokes of growth of (the cosmic) Imagination in the poet’s own mind – a true and valid experience of enlightenment, and principle theme of the whole poem.

    T.S. Eliot illustrates its role in writing and literature, at the climactic ending of Little Gidding, the final poem in Four Quartets: ‘every phrase and sentence is right, (where every word is at home, taking its place to support the others … the complete consort dancing together)’ [30]. Here, Eliot is also writing at a second, symbolic level, in which he uses ‘Word’ and ‘word’ consistently throughout his Quartets to represent the divine and individual soul. Incorporating the allusion to Shiva Nataraja, the passage’s symbolic meaning transmits an image of the wholeness of individual souls (words) rising to perfect wholeness in the divine, the ultimate basis of Wholeness and holism – once again, a realisation of enlightenment expressed in an image of the holistic nature of experience.

    The principle’s use is becoming more widespread, it is taught in schools and colleges around the world as one of the 16 principles of the core curriculum of the world’s largest and most successful system of private education, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Consciousness Based System of Education [31]. Sometimes in popular form, it is stated as: ‘A House is More than a Collection of Bricks’. Clearly a mere pile of bricks has little use compared to a house, or even a single wall, in both of which physical organisation creates potential uses and value. Organisation of what would otherwise be just a ‘pile of bricks’ both distinguishes it and makes it useful. Organisation results from information, and encodes it: once again inequality (1) holds. Such a role of spatial organisation in the uses of an object or system is one way the principle applies in classical physical science, and is of great significance, since it is the key to the relationship between structure and function – the way classical science begins to go beyond mere local causality. Similarly, the principle applies to any system with feedback, since the value of the whole is fed back to the parts, probably one reason why Cybernetics, Wiener’s work on regulation and control, made such a huge impact when it appeared [32].

    In all these ways, the new principle is of fundamental significance, to the universe as a whole, and everything within it. It is only those systems that do not satisfy it to which materialism applies. However, such systems were the only ones considered in the first centuries of mathematical physics, up to the 1930′s, so a false simplicity, materialism, was assumed to hold universally. In reality, the universe possesses a far richer structure due to the existence of correlations, quantum ones vilified by Einstein [23], and others at a classical macroscopic level. Such internal correlations endow systems with additional, hidden information, which can be denoted by I(C) and the numerical value of which is given by,

    I(C) = I(w) – Si I(pi) (3)
    the difference between the information I(w) attributable to the whole system and the sum of the values I(pi) attributable to its subsystems, or parts.

    At a macroscopic level correlations result from cooperative phenomena. They exist in all systems exhibiting phase transitions and critical instability points. At a microscopic level they exist in all multi-component quantum systems. This shows that the principle applies to all the theories proposed to explain homeopathy and referred to above [9-16].

    THE NEW THEORY OF HOMEOPATHY

    We still may ask, how does the validity of the new principle help to explain homeopathy? The answer is: in quantum field theory additional information I(C) hidden in a correlated system can, under the right circumstances, itself take on a quantum field form, endowing it with dynamic organizing power. The new quantum field, the quantised fluctuation field, is like a harmonic of the original field. Because of the details of their mathematical form, quantised fluctuation fields behave very differently from usual quantum fields when diluted. Apparently they are still observably present, even when the field itself has been diluted to zero. They can produce observable transitions, but only in special kinds of detector consisting of systems about to undergo a phase transition near far-from-equilibrium critical instability points. In such a detector, organizing power is supplied by the quantised fluctuation field, but most, if not all, the required energy comes from the dissipative processes required to maintain the system far from equilibrium.

    Where can such detectors be found? The answer is in the physiology of living organisms – provided they are organized according to the principle of critical regulation, whereby they are naturally centered on an appropriate phase transition region.

    The picture that has been constructed from the new principle is two-fold.

    1. Homeopathic remedies possess information and organizing power based on correlations; and

    2. like the quantum vacuum, they possess the ability to stimulate quantum transitions, albeit transitions of a very specialised kind, phase transitions in far-from-equilibrium thermodynamic systems near critical instabilities.

    On both accounts they violate the prejudices of scientific materialism. Further conditions must still be satisfied, however, for a given quantised fluctuation field to produce a phase transition. It will not do so at just any critical instability point. Each phase transition acts as an observing device specific to the quantised fluctuations of particular molecules. When this is considered in detail, it can be shown that diluted molecules of a toxin will restore function to exactly those systems poisoned by that toxin. The homeopathic principle precisely applies [16], a result that constitutes, more than any other, the final nail in the argument. It validates the entire line of reasoning. The whole theory is not only plausible; it predicts the correct relationship between chemistry and physiology.

    To summarize: the new theory of homeopathy yields a picture in which,

    1. a homeopathic remedy consists of a special kind of quantum field, the quantised fluctuation field of the molecules concerned;

    2. because of its anomalous properties, this field becomes activated during the processes of preparation of the remedy, while the ordinary field becomes weakened;

    3. the quantised fluctuation field has the specific ability to induce On/Off transitions in biological control systems when critical regulation holds – they are governed by critical points shown to exist by Prigogine [17];

    4. the homeopathic principle is valid.

    It is beyond the scope of this article to describe the new theory in full. That will be done in further papers. Instead, let us return to the five questions.

    ANSWERS TO THE FIVE QUESTIONS

    1. Why should the popular conception of what is and is not possible in science be so wide of the mark?

    Because, the common scientific outlook is wedded to materialism, despite all the evidence to the contrary of the past 100 years, and despite its being firmly negated by many important and essential aspects of quantum theory and quantum field theory – correlations, vacuum fluctuations, virtual transitions, and renormalization.

    2. More specifically, what fundamental principle which scientists and science have taken for granted, is being so spectacularly violated?

    Answer: that for any system, the whole is only equal to the sum of the parts implying that only the matter and energy constituting such parts can cause any observable effects. In fact all many body systems violate the principle because of information contained in correlations between their subsystems.

    3. Which scientific theories violate the principle? Is it valid or invalid?

    All theories of many body systems violate the principle that the whole is equal to the sum of its parts because of correlations between subsystems. Of particular interest are quantum theories of correlated virtual fluctuations since they apply to many chemical systems. All quantum field theories do so because of vacuum fluctuations and other, correlated transitions, giving rise to similar fluctuations. More generally, renormalization of the quantum field theory, in which the bare, unrenormalized, vacuum state becomes the physical, renormalized, vacuum state, does so. Vacuum fluctuations give rise to observable transitions between states (the renormalization process is crucial in theories of critical points and is central to the new theory).

    Since quantum theory is the fundamental language in which all physical theories of any and all systems ultimately have to be expressed, this means that no real physical systems at all satisfy the old principle. It is completely unfounded and subscribing to it an absolute error (it is worth reflecting for a moment how this reflects on our educational system, that such a simple fact about scientific systems should so completely have escaped notice).

    4. If it is invalid, what correct principle can replace it?

    The whole is greater than the sum of the parts: the principle that defines the meaning of the term holistic, and which contemporary physics finds to be valid throughout the observed universe, showing it to be holistic in nature and to have the potential to support every aspect of the Perennial Philosophy [26-31]. Woe betides those who deny this principle to be the case, so infinitely poverty stricken becomes their world-view, drowned in the slough of despond of scientific materialism!

    5. How do the new theories conform to the new principle?

    The different proposed approaches to understanding homeopathy embody the new principle in different ways. In Torres work [9], the fact that critical regions are proposed means that cooperative phenomena will be present, guaranteeing that the new principle holds. Similarly for Weingartner [10], the requirement that the TAI obeys a non-trivial scaling law is equivalent to invoking criticality and cooperative phenomena. In the case of Milgrom [11-15], the ordering by which the whole system is no longer equal to the sum of its parts, but is actually more than it, results from quantum correlations between the states of the subsystems, patient, practitioner and remedy. Milgrom expresses these in terms of super-positions of wave functions, without invoking the more complex aspects of the system. Even in the work of Walach [33], who succumbs to materialism and professes not to believe in a TAI, the effect of his symbolic content produces hidden information that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

    DISCUSSION

    These examples illustrate a new criterion for the validity of any proposed theory of homeopathy: all such theories must incorporate in their physics the principle that, ‘The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts’. Any theory that does not achieve this must inevitably be wrong.

    Interestingly, this is a slightly more sophisticated restatement of an idea first proposed by Hyland [34,35], namely that any physics of holistic medicine must incorporate the physics of complexity i.e. sciences like cybernetics, systems theory, and far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics. Hyland’s proposal agrees with the analysis of Bateson [36], who placed the sciences in two mutually exclusive classes, logical / mathematical and qualitative / holistic, which he termed pleroma and creatura. According to Bateson [36] holistic medicine, being in the creatura category must depend on sciences in the same category. This is precisely what Hyland indicates – valid theories of holistic medicine can only result from scientific theories with a similar holistic vein running through them. Cybernetics, Systems Theory and Far-From-Equilibrium physics (coming under complexity) all have the right quality. In all the systems to which they apply, the principle that, ‘The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts’ is satisfied.

    So, are the whole of physics and chemistry as we now know them, false? Clearly not. It is only that the wider possibilities inherent in their further reaches have not yet pervaded the scientific mindset, still less the popular mind. What is false is the supposed limitation that popular materialism imposes on what it considers scientific. The new theory of biological regulation, critical regulation [16], shows that homeopathy is certainly ‘scientifically possible’. So are many other supposedly unscientific phenomena associated with life and living systems, and complementary and alternative medicine (vide [16,21]).

    The real lesson we as scientists must learn is never to deny the scientific nature of a phenomenon because we do not, or can not, yet understand it. As Jobst has put it: ‘So what if there is no immediate explanation?’ [37], and as Wootton comments [38], ‘For the truly open-minded scientists, nothing is implausible.’ It is time to cast aside the veil of illusion that science sets limitations on what can be scientifically understood. Kuhn’s theory of scientific revolutions [6] clearly indicates otherwise.

    Milgrom [8] suggests the root of the problem lies in education: ‘While physicists benefit from up-to-date and sophisticated ideas based on modern quantum mechanics, relativity and complexity theories, these have yet to fully inform the biomedical sciences, whose theories are largely steeped in the over-simplistic determinism of the 18th and 19th centuries.’ Surely this is why ‘mainstream medical science feels outraged by practices it perceives to be a travesty of scientific understanding’ [3] – inappropriate, as Ryan [39] comments: ‘It is a foolish world that neglects the richness of traditional systems and even wishes to destroy them.’

    Now is the time to bridge the gap between CAM and biomedicine with new understanding and new science: ‘New theories, particularly apparently implausible theories, demand appropriate methods developed with honesty and integrity’ [38]. All physical systems satisfy the new principle at a microscopic level. Some complex systems do so at a macroscopic level too, so violating every aspect of the old naïve principle, the basis of materialism. Holistic medicine may require holistic theories, but they are there in abundance.

    SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

    Contrary to popular belief, the idea that ultra-diluted chemical solutions can have a physiological effect does NOT violate all laws of science, only materialist prejudice. Materialism posits that no effect can occur without a material cause. Quantum systems behave differently. Virtual transitions give rise to Van Der Waals forces and the Casimir Effect, while virtual fluctuations in the quantum vacuum are held to ‘stimulate’ spontaneous transitions. In chemical systems, parallel effects are possible and occur.

    Materialism tacitly subscribes to the general principle that ‘The Whole is (only) Equal to the Sum of its Parts’. All correlated systems satisfy the principle that ‘The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts’. This points to the solution to the problem of homeopathy. The advantages of expressing the solution in terms of a change in underlying principle are many:

    1. The principle formalises the definition of holistic, and shows how to provide it with a quantitative definition in inequality (1).

    2. In doing so, it refines Hyland’s important insight that understanding Holistic Medicine requires complexity physics [34, 35]: holistic physical theories involving correlations satisfying Eq. (3) are required.

    3. It thus presents a criterion that any physical theory must satisfy for it to be applicable to homeopathy or other aspects of holistic medicine.

    4. The problem of the impossibility of homeopathy disappears – though the challenge of precisely formulating the correct theory still remains[3].

    With regard to ‘the whole of physics and chemistry having to be rewritten’, Vickers [3] opines, in statements of extraordinary prescience: ‘It is quite plausible that homeopathy could add to, rather than replace, existing knowledge, as a newly understood phenomenon following previously undiscovered physical laws. … Even if homeopathy were to cause fundamental changes in scientific understanding, this would probably not entail that existing knowledge ‘be thrown away’ ‘.

    Generally, in all physical systems, ‘The Whole is greater than the Sum of its Parts’, because of their underlying quantum nature. To emerge onto the macroscopic level, control theory and correlation producing complexity physics must apply as well – which is why cooperative phenomena like critical instabilities and phase transitions, are central to the new theories. When these apply, science can still ‘have its physics and chemistry’ in a world in which homeopathy is scientifically possible – and true!

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

    I should like to acknowledge conversations with Drs Bruce and Marianne Curtis, Brian Josephson PhD, Richard Bentall FRCSEd., Lionel Milgrom PhD, Cyril Smith PhD, Noah Clinch PhD and Harry Pilcher MSc. I would also like to acknowledge the generosity of Richard Bentall, Harry Pilcher and Deborah Wright which has made the writing of this paper possible.
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    ————————————–
    Alex Hankey PhD
    Hethe House, Hartfield Road,
    Cowden, Kent TN8 7DZ, UK
    Email: alexhank@dircon.co.uk
    [1] Normally, a quantum field is observed when it produces an observable transition in macroscopic matter, by means of its (material) energy. In contrast, a quantum field of instability fluctuations can only be ‘observed’ by a highly coherent system such as occurs in an unstable material in a critical state. Close to critical points with their potential for coherent long-range macroscopic fluctuations, the right physical situation arises, but actually to be observed, these more subtle fields require far-from-equilibrium systems where fluctuations have associated energy thruput, so they can effect macroscopic transitions. This property under these special circumstances enables quantum fluctuation fields to provide the missing concept linking the subtle aspects of a potentised medicine to gross aspects of the patient’s physiology.
    [2] More generally, such energy shifts are part of a general process known as renormalisation, of fundamental importance in quantum field theory. Only those quantum field theories which can be renormalised are acceptable, those which cannot be are rejected. For 40 years, this criterion has been used to identify acceptable unified field theories including string theories.

    [3] This will be the subject of future publications

  35. Chris says:

    Mr. Grenville, cutting and pasting an entire paper to a blog is considered bad form, use a link. Spamming is also bad. You posted the exact same thing here.

  36. pmoran says:

    This paper concerns proposes an unworthy hypothesis anyway. It is a theory looking for something to explain, where homeopathy is concerned.

    Homeopathy has been fairly well skewered as relying upon placebo and other non-specific influences of medical interactions. Most tellingly, identical observations can be made using “treatments” that don’t require such ridiculously tortuous pseudo-justifications.

    Medicine has abandoned many ideas with far more plausibility and at least as much empirical support, whenever there seems to be “nothing else there” once such nonspecific influences and a minimal amount of experimental artifact has been allowed for.

  37. David Gorski says:

    Oh, goody, Samuel. Blog fodder!

Comments are closed.