Chaos Theory Metaphysic Intelligence?

John Miller (
Fri, 2 Aug 1996 09:15:22 -0800

The following is from the APS weekly newsletter, Robert L. Park, Editor.
The road from hard-to-understand evidence to soft speculation is indeed
tenuous, at least to me as a no-nonsense engineer.

Take an unproven medication, dilute it until it's gone, and you
have a homeopathic remedy! If it's not a mere placebo response,
Wayne Jonas says, information from the medicine that isn't there
anymore must be stored in the water-alcohol mixture--maybe in its
molecular structure. Or maybe in "bioelectromagnetic energy"; if
a solution of frog thyroxine, so dilute that not one molecule
remains, is sealed in a test tube and placed in a frog tank, he
tells us, the frogs still respond. Hence, the response must be
mediated by an elusive "biophoton"; only one biophoton is needed.
After all, Jonas points out, chaos theory shows that storms can
be triggered by the flapping of a butterfly's wings. (Maybe we
can prevent hurricanes by killing all the butterflies!) Pretty
straightforward so far, huh? But what if research shows these
mechanisms don't work? In that case, Jonas cautions, "highly
speculative and imaginary explanations may be required." Well,
you guessed it: "consciousness" is invoked. Quantum potentials
might be "collapsed" by the thoughts of the healer or the healee,
he explains, creating molecules that do the healing! Uh, Wayne,
no offense, but maybe we should just stick to the placebo thing.
Wayne Jonas? He's the director of the NIH Office of Alternative
Medicine -- the Office responsible for evaluating homeopathy.


John M. Miller, Geophysical Institute, Univ Alaska Fairbanks
903 Koyukuk Drive, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks AK 99775-7320
voice: 907-474-7363 fax: 907-474-7689, alt fax: 907-474-7290