Friday, January 14, 2011

Spooky science or snake oil?

When a Nobel Prize winning medical scientist and researcher comes up with a new finding, people generally stop and listen.

However, when that finding appears too incredible to be true, many are left scratching their heads, unable to decide whether the person in question has "lost the plot".

And so it is with the most recent work of Luc Montagnier, the guy who won his Nobel award in 2008 for work he'd previously done that uncovered the link between the HIV virus and AIDs.

This of course, was all good, sound science. His reputation and credibility within scientific and medical circles was greatly enhanced by the Nobel Prize he was awarded so perhaps the claimed results of his latest work can't be dismissed too easily, despite the seeming improbability of it all.

Montagnier says he has demonstrated that DNA can effectively teleport itself over distance, using electromagnetic radiation as the medium.

Yeah, sounds unlikely but here's what he did.

In a magnetically shielded chamber, he placed two small vials of water.

In one vial, the water contained short strands of DNA, in the other was nothing but pure water.

Inside the chamber was also a coil which created a weak magnetic field, fluctuating at a frequency of around 7Hz.

The field was activated and the chamber left undisturbed for several hours.

When the two vials were then examined, to everyone's surprise, the previously "clean" vial of water was found to contain DNA material identical to that in the other.

Montagnier claims that the magnetic field induced the DNA to "imprint" its own structure onto some of the molecules of water contained in the other vial which was also subjected to the same changing magnetic flux.

Sounds crazy eh?

I dare say that, like me, you're thinking that this must surely be nothing more than cross-contamination between the vials which may have occurred at any stage during the experiment. However, Montagnier's team claim that this is not the case and that the experiment was performed under rigorous conditions to avoid such corruption of the results.

At this stage the precise details of the experiment are yet to be disclosed by way of a published paper but it is expected that this will happen sometime in the next few months.

Skeptics still doubt the veracity of the results or methodology of the experiment but there are some who are jumping on Montagnier's work and suggesting that it provides proof that there is scientific substance to the practice of homeopathy.

What ever the truth turns out to be, the internet will likely explode into a hotbed of debate over this report and discussions will rage for a long time -- or at least until someone is able to reproduce Montagnier's results or disprove them.

Science or snake oil?

We don't know (yet).

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