Talk:Water memory

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The Cowan reference[edit]

CONTEXT: The "your" referred to below is apparently Mann jess. See diff here. -- Brangifer (talk) 20:00, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks -- that's correct. --Brian Josephson (talk) 20:07, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

In your revert you say that including this reference is not OR. I'll accept that. However, the expt. cited measured persistent correlations, something totally different (as I said) from what Benveniste measured (i.e. bulk properties of water). Any resemblance between the two (in the absence of a reasoned argument) is superficial, and the cited expt. no more deserves a place in the water memory article than an article on chalk deserves a place in an article on cheese.

I can't recall now what the official w'pedia term for it is, but one of the guidelines warns against quoting something with the intent to make the reader believe something other than what the quoted text actually implies. Here it looks to me suspiciously as if quoting the fact that local correlations quickly fade is an attempt to make the reader think the expt. argues against Benveniste's claims, which it does not (the ferromagnetism article I quoted shows that the two are not necessarily correlated). The fact that quoting the reference may mislead the reader in this way is a strong reason for not including it in the article.--Brian Josephson (talk) 15:42, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

I think the term you are looking for is synthesis (SYN). I do not have access to Cowan et al. in its entirety but from the list of references, I can see that Beneviste is not referenced in that paper. Therefore, without a secondary source to make the association, it is editorial synthesis to apply it to Beneviste's results. What we need is a good secondary source that reviews all this work and synthesizes it for us. Then we can summarize that source and cite whatever sources the review paper includes. Without such a source that shows the relationship of the Cowan paper to Beneviste's results it should not be included per SYN policy. Jojalozzo 20:09, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
That sounds right. SYN violations do occur, so this is a good catch. Jojalozzo is right. A secondary source which does the synthesizing for us is what's needed here. -- Brangifer (talk) 20:14, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
(Stricken through per my next comment. At first it appeared there was a synth violation, but there isn't. -- Brangifer (talk) 17:41, 30 November 2013 (UTC))
It can be safely stated that the above assertions by Jojalozzo are valid and there is no direct connection beetween Cowan and Benveniste concept, therefore editorial SYNTH is valid.
Please do explain in what the appearance consists since is clear that the Cowan article has no explicit connection/reference to memory of dissolved substance (Benveniste term), therefore synth violation cannot be invalidated.-- (talk) 21:59, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
Looks like a consensus about SYNTH has emerged.-- (talk) 10:12, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

As a remark, the only legitimate use of SYN policy is to avoid misleading by faulty insinuation like in the exemple about UN and peace. In cases where there are valid use of logical operators like logical conjunction (a basic operation and immediate inference) and no divious insinuation involved, an appeal to SYN policy does not hold.-- (talk) 20:30, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Agreed. Before we jump the gun and remove that content, we need to be certain we've covered all the bases. This article isn't exclusively about Benveniste, but about water memory. Is the Cowan source about water memory in any conceivable manner? If it is, it's probably fair game as a source here. It would only be synthesis if it were claimed to be about Benveniste, but didn't mention him or his research at all. Even if Benveniste measured one aspect, and Cowan measured another, they may both be covering different aspects of this topic. So.....what's happening here? Who has access to the original source? -- Brangifer (talk) 20:37, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
Brangifer, you have asked from someone with access to full text if there are explicit claims re′ Benveniste concept and it has been answered below that no such connection exist.-- (talk) 21:59, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
I have repeatedly made the point that this is faulty insinuation. If quoting that reference is not intended to insinuate the invalidity of Benveniste's claims, what is it there for at all?
I do have access to the full text of the Cowan paper and can confirm no connections are made with the Benveniste claims, the aim of the research being simply to find out more about water using the tools available to the authors, whose scope does not include investigating the kind of water memory involved in the Benveniste claims. And while the title is 'Water memory', it is pretty clear from the lede that it is not intended to be about any kind of memory in water but about the kind of claim made by Benveniste. Enlarging the scope of the article would radically change the article which would be most undesirable (unless you are able to indicate in detail what the content of this enlarged article would be). --Brian Josephson (talk) 21:11, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
So it is clear that the use of the named reference is tendentious SYNTH and must be removed. I have removed it but someone has reverted it on the ground that the issue hasn′t been decided.-- (talk) 18:36, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
As mentioned above, this article is not about Benveniste. This article is about "water memory", and this paper discusses water memory explicitly. The title of the paper is "Ultrafast memory loss...of liquid H2O." Quoting from the abstract: "...liquid water essentially loses the memory of persistent correlations in its structure within 50 fs." Please read WP:SYNTH before quoting it as a reason for removal; no source is being combined with any other source to draw novel conclusions. We are quoting directly from just one source.   — Jess· Δ 19:02, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
I repeat that the lead indicates what the article is intended to be about, and the Cowan paper is clearly something different. I don't know how to put it more clearly than that. Editors are inventing spurious arguments to justify its inclusion, but are unwilling to admit this. --Brian Josephson (talk) 22:23, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
The article does not discuss explicitly the kind of water memory defined in the first sentence, contrarily to an appearence. The memory of persistent correlations in structure is entirely different concept than that of the memory of dissolved substances. it is a faulty insinuation based on a deviation from the law of identity which synthesizes two different meanings of terms in one.-- (talk) 20:52, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
Whoever disagree with the above clarification is asked to explain his reasoning in this talk page before an intervention in the article.-- (talk) 21:01, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
They're not different concepts precisely because the mechanism by which water would retain memory of a dissolved substance has never been properly defined. A correlation in structure is, indeed, one way of positing that water could retain memory in the context of homeopathy (see here for one example). Cowan's paper has also been tied to homeopathy independently (see here for example). This should not be removed until it is discussed and consensus forms to remove sourced content. Right now, we simply have "no consensus", albeit considerable room for more discussion. I'm restoring the content until we're able to conclude the discussion. As I said in an edit summary, WP:WEIGHT could apply here, but WP:SYNTH certainly does not.   — Jess· Δ 21:11, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
That the mechanism by which water would retain memory of a dissolved substance has never been properly defined does not support the supposition that two aspects/concepts are necessarily the same. I also disagree about the claimed lack of consensus when by above edits from 20:yy 9 November 2013 a consensus involving Brangifer and Jojalozzo about SYNTH seems to have emerged.-- (talk) 19:55, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
I have stricken my name above because my initial statement was based on incomplete understanding of the issue. My next comment reveals I was having second thoughts and asking for clarification. Only on a superficial basis does there appear to be a synth violation, when in reality there is no improper synthesis. -- Brangifer (talk) 17:41, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
That article on the connection between homeopathy and Cowan et al., on the web site is clearly a blog, not an RS. And again the link between structural correlations at a small scale and global properties is merely assumed, not derived. Proof by diktat again! --Brian Josephson (talk) 20:15, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
@5.15: Your unilateral actions in the article are disruptive and counter to policy and you are in no position to demand discussion prior to reversion of your edits. Once a discussion is ongoing it is inappropriate to make changes to the content under discussion until consensus has been reached. Clearly no such consensus has been achieved here and your actions inhibit the process. To bring yourself back into compliance with policy, please restore the content to its state before this edit. Jojalozzo 21:30, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
It seems that my actions are not unilateral considering the edits on 9 November 2013, the unilateral status being that of ManJess who insists that is not SYNTH when the mentioned edits indicate something else.-- (talk) 19:55, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
Anyway, let's get back to the point, irrespective of the merits or otherwise of 5.15's views. Let's suppose for the sake of argument that it is OK, as has been suggested, to include the Cowan reference in the article. The problem then is that readers may be tempted to infer from the conclusion of that experiment (which I don't dispute at all) that there can be no water memory at all (the Cowan et al. paper makes no such assertion). That would be a false inference because what is measured in the Cowan expt. is something very different from what is measured in a Beveniste-type situation, and there is no such connection. We can't assume that readers will realise this, so in order to prevent their making such unwarranted inferences there needs to be an explicit statement (such as one to the effect that no connection has been established) that will prevent this. --Brian Josephson (talk) 19:35, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
Right now, we're just reporting exactly what our sources indicate. We can't include original research to prevent readers from drawing a conclusion from those sources. We would need a source indicating it was possible for water to have memory for us to include mention of that.   — Jess· Δ 21:15, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes you are right about reporting what sources indicate. We need a source that explicitly says that memory of dissolved substances is the same with the memory of persistent correlations. There is no such source and the Cowan reference does not state an explicit connection. We can′t use OR to make tacit assumptions.-- (talk) 10:58, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
I believe the term sophistry (in its modern sense) was invented to characterise exactly the sort of argument you have just made, which you have simply spun out of thin air. Remarkable! --Brian Josephson (talk) 21:30, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
And here is a reference that discusses the very issue at hand. Quote:

We examine the argument that the “rapid breaking and remaking of bonds” excludes the possibility of different structures co-existing in liquid water.

And 'different structures' implies memory, a point made clear in the paper. It mentions memory in a number of places and is therefore very appropriate for including in the article. --Brian Josephson (talk) 22:27, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
Hasn't Rustum Roy been discredited? bobrayner (talk) 02:54, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
Has he? In what way? --Brian Josephson (talk) 09:36, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
Hum, this lengthy paper was published in a journal of which he was editor-in-chief? That's already a bad signal.... Then he made an experiment where people sent Qi energy from a distance to influence a sample of water[1]? Then he published a very speculative article in the issue that Homeopathy dedicated to water memory[2]. Then he gave scientific support a company that sold "structured water"[3], they sell that water that has been "programmed" with "[O]ver 4000 frequencies of herbs and other 'naturals'"[4]. And the Chopra Foundation( from Deepak Chopra) has an award with his name[5]. As far as I know, this sort of quackery should be enough to destroy the reputation of any serious scientist...... --Enric Naval (talk) 14:05, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
I suggest we stick to the point. Is anything wrong with the paper itself? In particular, is any of the analysis unsound? --Brian Josephson (talk) 14:39, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes. It's an unreliable source. And insulting other editors isn't going to get you very far, btw.   — Jess· Δ 15:35, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
On what grounds do you make the assertion concerning the unreliability? Without specifying them, your assertion is an worthless expression of dislike of the source.-- (talk) 10:42, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
Answer from MJess required here as well as below.-- (talk) 21:59, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
Let's stick to the essentials. I repeat: is the analysis in the paper unsound, and if so in what respect? An error is an error regardless of where a paper is published (and equally the reverse). Will you please provide a source to back up your evident belief that the paper is unsound, and not introduce the red herring of where it was published, and other distractors.
You talk of it being a 'bad signal' that the paper was published in a journal where the lead author was editor-in-chief. However, if you look at the beginning of the paper you will see that the acceptance date (14 Sep. 2005) is more a year after submission (2 Aug. 2004), implying an extensive period of reviewing. Hence your assertion that it is not a reliable source has no legs.
Also I'd like to point out that denigration is easy (equipment needed: one armchair, as Dan Drasin has put it), proof rather more difficult. And I'm still awaiting a proper basis for what I described above as sophistry. If a proper basis for that statement is supplied I will withdraw that characterisation. --Brian Josephson (talk) 16:05, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
It seems that no reply from the brave wikiobjectors has been posted here since Brian′s post above. Have they somehow lost their tongue?-- (talk) 10:47, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

Content of the reference[edit]

Perhaps the content of the article could be useful for other articles like hydrogen bond-- (talk) 13:30, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Presence on arXiv[edit]

Is this reference somehow available on sites like arXiv?-- (talk) 13:58, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

If it is, would simplify a situation like that discussed on usertalk ManJess: (brought text) -- (talk) 15:17, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

I've checked -- it is not available on, and Google Scholar doesn't turn up any additional possibilities for viewing the whole paper either. It does however reveal a second paper (by Thomas Elsaesser) on the same subject (those who think structural memory loss and memory loss in bulk water may be disappointed to learn that this paper makes no reference to bulk memory in water either). --Brian Josephson (talk) 12:45, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Misrepresentation of the source[edit]

The presence of word memory in title and abstract is totally incidental. The paper is about hydrogen bond network dynamics and has nothing to do with the Benveniste concept.

Full text is required to clarify the erroneous impression got when reading just abstract, Editors who have not read the full text and insist on the word memory are not entitled to have a word in deciding consensus due to lack of displaying the technical understanding required in this case.-- (talk) 19:02, 4 December 2013 (UTC) very detailed analysis of the sources

Lol. I don't think you are going to get any traction in blocking editors from taking part in consvery detailed analysis of the sourcesensus building this way. Dougweller (talk) 22:08, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
I haven′t said that editors should be blocked from taking part in consensus building. I have specified a necessary condition for those who insist to have a word in consensus building.-- (talk) 10:00, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
As a remark to comments by Dougweller: Please don′t twist my comment by using a straw man, as your friend Manjess does.-- (talk) 10:09, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm having a little difficulty here distinguishing between 'blocking' someone from taking part in consensus building and saying they 'don't satisfy the necessary conditions for taking part'. I can't see any reason for not letting people comment whose technical understanding is inadequate, as long as due account is taken of this limitation in determining the final decision. If, for example, A who understands relativity says that the mass of a particle increases with its velocity while B who doesn't insists that the mass is constant then naturally more account should be taken of A's views on the issue than of B's. But I wonder whether the rules assert this, since they sometimes seem to insist that 'ignorance is bliss', or at least that ignorance is no barrier for editors? --Brian Josephson (talk) 16:45, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
It seems that there is some precautionary specification regarding technical understanding at WP:CIR#Lack of technical expertise. Also there are other specifications regarding editing scientific articles, but just essays: WP:ESCA and WP:AESA.-- (talk) 20:30, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
Well that seems clear enough! Addressing the question of whether Cowan et al. and Benveniste are addressing different issues or not is one where naive comments here show up the need for technical expertise, though paradoxically only people who have the relevant technical expertise can appreciate this! I assume you have training in this area yourself and we seem agreed that a lot of people are using superficial arguments that miss the point, as I suspect any expert would agree.
On this point, the statement 'The concept is not consistent with accepted scientific laws and is not accepted by the scientific community' is rather instructive. I think we'd agree that the concept is not accepted by that fictitious entity 'the scientific community', and no doubt one can find a reference for that. But the statement that it is not consistent with accepted scientific laws is not correct, since we know (e.g. in the case of the transition from water to ice) that one can change properties without dissolving any molecules. But not being possessed of unlimited time I will not waste time arguing that the statement be removed. --Brian Josephson (talk) 20:55, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
I consider that a cn tag can be safely inserted without objections from our co-editors to that misconceived statement.-- (talk) 18:40, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
No. The sentence is already sourced.   — Jess· Δ 19:18, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Seeing this discussion I have to ask: Which sentence do you consider sourced? They are two connected by logical conjunction.-- (talk) 10:00, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
Are you referring to the claim of being sourced by Langone and Ball? If so, they are not very useful in explaining the alleged lack of consistency with accepted scientific laws and thus not very reliable. The claimed lack of consistency is a very strong claim and requires very strong sourcing. The credentials of Langone and Ball should be checked.-- (talk) 20:55, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
As I read it, the source referred to by Jess applies just to the second part, which I am not disputing, but not the first. Am I right to assume this? If so, then the first part of the sentence, relating to inconsistency, should be removed as being unsourced. --Brian Josephson (talk) 21:07, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
I've now checked the Ball article. It does not state inconsistency with accepted scientific laws, only that certain kinds of explanation fail, something very different. --Brian Josephson (talk) 21:12, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The entire sentence is sourced.

  • Time: "a phenomenon that defied the laws of physics and molecular biology: water apparently retained a 'memory'"
  • Nature: "But (Benveniste's results) defied conventional scientific understanding, specifically the law of mass action"   — Jess· Δ 16:12, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
What Ball is saying is that Benveniste's claims are inconsistent with the law of mass action, and were the article to be reworded thus there would be no problem. One has to distinguish between laws that are valid in specified circumstances (but which might be subject to exceptions), and laws believed to be universal; for example there are many laws of the form A is proportional to B, which would be violated if A were sufficiently large that nonlinear terms started to become significant. The present wording does not make it clear which kind of law is being violated. Ball's article makes it clear that it is not a universal law that would be violated; he goes on to say:

but what prevented it from being dismissed straight away was that liquid water has a complicated molecular-scale structure that is still not perfectly understood.

The statement in the article 'The concept is not consistent with accepted scientific laws' is ambiguous in the sense I have described, and to avoid this it should be reworded thus "The concept is not consistent with the law of mass action and is not accepted ... "
Re the Time article, I suspect this is a case of a quotation being taken out of context, and were one to read the whole article one would find that it was, as in the case of the Ball article, stating a provisional view rather than a final one. It is all too easy, if one wants to attack Benveniste, to find a quote that appears to support one's PoV, but which actually supports it in a way that is suspect, and does not live up to the high standards one might hope for. --Brian Josephson (talk) 17:03, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
You may find it useful to speculate that the source may not match its summary in Time, but that's not how we operate here. The quotes from both sources strongly back up the current wording, and there are a plethora of others we could add (but don't need to). That each source gives specific examples of scientific laws "water memory" is inconsistent with doesn't somehow mean that the statement "it is inconsistent with scientific laws" is incorrect. You're doing original research to try to invalidate our sources. We cannot do that. If you think Time and Nature aren't adequate to back up the current wording, you should inquire at RSN to get broader input.   — Jess· Δ 17:35, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
My main concern is that the article should not mislead; your concerns are clearly rather different. I don't, frankly, see in what way my suggested rewording was inappropriate and it seems to me an excellent reconciliation of our different views. And if you think the wording from the compressed introduction in Time isn't taken out context, may I suggest you post text from the bulk of the article to back up that assertion? --Brian Josephson (talk) 18:09, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
And speaking of 'how we do things here', one of the criteria that 'we' adopt is that of 'RS'. Is Time an RS for scientific matters? Hardly! No peer review, I'm sure. And articles are liable to be 'spiced up' to increase sales. Incidentally, I can't say I recognise anything in WP:NOR that justifies how you are using it to object to my comments. By my reading NOR refers to something rather different. --Brian Josephson (talk) 19:07, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
See WP:FRINGE. We don't require scientific sources when discussing many fringe topics. Time and nature are certainly reliable. RSN is there if you disagree.   — Jess· Δ 21:23, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
Time may be RS, but is vague and rather useless in this case where an established scientific concept/law is involved and therefore a scientific source must be used instead of a general newspaper.-- (talk) 21:51, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
It would be good to stay on the safe side here. There is uncertainty, in the statement in the article that the claims are "inconsistent with scientific laws", as to whether what is being referred to is all universal scientific laws, ones that are supposed to apply to everything, or merely certain commonly applicable ones such as the law of mass action. The article needs to make it clearer which option applies. It would be good to remove that deficiency in the wording, yes? --Brian Josephson (talk) 21:44, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
There is no implication that water memory conflicts with every scientific law. We say it conflicts with "accepted scientific laws", and our sources go into detail with examples. We expand on the idea two additional times in the article body. At no point is there ambiguity that water memory may conflict with laws of aerodynamics. We would say "water memory conflicts with all known scientific laws" if that were so.   — Jess· Δ 22:00, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I should have written universal laws, the laws that everything is supposed to obey, not all laws. I've amended the above accordingly. --Brian Josephson (talk) 22:18, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't see our sources distinguishing between "universal laws" and others, and I don't see any reason we should fabricate terms for our article. A specific proposal might help, because the goalposts keep shifting and I'm not sure what you're suggesting anymore.   — Jess· Δ 00:12, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Indeed they don't distinguish, you have to read the article to understand what is being referred to. This is exactly why there can be confusion when the comment is quoted out of context. Many thanks for confirming my point that context needs to be supplied in the article. I am truly grateful: it shows that we can indeed work together to improve the article as someone once suggested. --Brian Josephson (talk) 20:58, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
And because of that ambiguity, it would be highly desirable to state explicitly which law is involved: in other words instead of the non-specific 'not consistent with accepted scientific laws' we should put 'not consistent with the law of mass action' (as far as I am aware, that law is the only one that memory of water is inconsistent with). --Brian Josephson (talk) 20:07, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Of course it would be desirable to avoid vagueness.-- (talk) 21:44, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
Does anyone disagree with that?--Brian Josephson (talk) 22:07, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
And also the nature of the supposed deviation from the law of mass action must be specified.-- (talk) 21:56, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
That's less important I think: the statement that the claims contradict the law of mass action is given in a RS (the Ball reference). If there were a RS that presumed its readers to be so unintelligent that they couldn't see the point and so explained it for them, that reference could be quoted, but I see no urgent necessity for this. --Brian Josephson (talk) 22:07, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
I thought that the source was not reachable by full text, but looking more attentively I have discovered a confusion in the source between the law of mass action and the law of reaction rate (But they defied conventional scientific understanding, specifically the law of mass action that demands that the rates of chemical reactions be proportional to the concentrations of reagents.) which diminishes the reliability of this source.-- (talk) 23:23, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
The wikipedia article on the law says 'Taken as a statement about kinetics, the law states that the rate of an elementary reaction (a reaction that proceeds through only one transition state, that is one mechanistic step) is proportional to the product of the concentrations of the participating molecules'. I can't see any confusion there, unless the WP article is incorrect, which I don't think it is. --Brian Josephson (talk) 10:19, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
The section Contemporary statement of the law points out to a confusion due to historical development:'The fact that Guldberg and Waage developed their concepts in steps from 1864 to 1867 and 1879 has resulted in much confusion in the literature as to which equation the Law of Mass Action refers. It has been a source of some textbook errors.[10] Thus, today the "law of mass action" sometimes refers to the (correct) equilibrium constant formula, and at other times to the (usually incorrect) rate formula.'
In the mean time the intro of the law of mass action has been corrected to be consistent with content.-- (talk) 17:50, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
It can be noticed that MJess has ignorantly reverted some consistency edits at the law of mass action in a way he thinks it supports his POV.-- (talk) 20:17, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────As I said above, our sources are clear that the idea of water memory conflicts with "established scientific laws" generally. They give some examples, including the law of mass action. We cannot change their words to say water memory only conflicts with the law of mass action, just because that's an example they gave.   — Jess· Δ 16:11, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

To be clear, we could add information about some examples of scientific understanding which conflicts with water memory to the body of the article. It would not be appropriate in the lead. However, your interest appears to be diluting the existing statement, and we can't do that.   — Jess· Δ 16:16, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes indeed we cannot change meaning by SYNTH of the first source (who is evasive by giving no examples and thus its usability is very low) with the second source which specifies only a law that is supposedly inconsistent with water memory. We cannot make generalizations by SYNTH, we should specify only what a nonevasive source states (even though with confusions between mass action and rate equation).-- (talk) 18:02, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
"a phenomenon that defied the laws of physics and molecular biology: water apparently retained a 'memory'"
"But (Benveniste's results) defied conventional scientific understanding, specifically the law of mass action
You (Mann Jess) claim that my interest is in diluting the existing statement. On the contrary, my interest is in strengthening it by making it clear which law would be violated by the claims. You seem to want to dilute my version by turning it into something less explicit. --Brian Josephson (talk) 19:28, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
To be clear, one can safely state that the inconsistency between water memory and established law of mass action is alleged by some evasive sources. This wouldn't be any dilution of sources which beside being evasive, contain confusions between concepts.-- (talk) 18:07, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
As a remark, we cannot use evasive assertions just because ManJess whishes it.-- (talk) 18:12, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
I get it. You think Nature is a dubious source. Argue that at RSN. I'm not interested in engaging it further here. If you have a new proposal, start a new section at the bottom of the page. I don't plan to continue repeating myself in this section.   — Jess· Δ 18:22, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
You didn′t it get right. I haven′t used the word dubious, but evasive, something entirely different. And we are not referring to Nature in general, but to a specific (evasive) editorial.Please stop using sophistry (We cannot change their words to say water memory only conflicts with the law of mass action, just because that's an example they gave) and straw men to twist other editor′s phrasing. If you are not interested in engaging it further here, then please stay out of things you do not understand. Lack of technical understanding cannot be replaced by ′′′Argue that at RSN′′′ reasoning from someone ignorant in a topic in which insists interfering.-- (talk) 20:06, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Given his latest revert, I wonder if MannJess has studied my very detailed analysis of the sources (originally posted previous to that revert)? I think he should. --Brian Josephson (talk) 17:47, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
My own views on this issue can be seen in the subsection 'The law of mass action'. --Brian Josephson (talk) 19:34, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Wikirule against misquoting/misrepresentating the source[edit]

There is a rule mentioned at WP:SAYWHEREYOUREADIT which prevents the editors who have not read and understand the entire source to (mis)quot it.-- (talk) 12:39, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

text brought from elsewhere:

As (preliminary) remark(s) on full text of Cowan, the source is rather qualitative, no formula being included (unlike the other paper by Huot) and some vague concept are not (enough) detailed like the memory of persistent correlations. Some experimental spectroscopic data are presented and no sign of the memory of dissolved substances.-- (talk) 14:41, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

end of brought text-- (talk) 14:53, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

As consequence of full text preliminary analysis the Cowan quote will be removed or rephrased.-- (talk) 14:56, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Significance of 50 fs timescale[edit]

What is the significance of 50 fs time interval? The article should specify the nature and properties of this duration.-- (talk) 11:43, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Homeopathy remedies are claimed to keep memory indefinitely, they aren't even required to have expiration dates in the US[6]. But water memory lasts less than a second. The implication should be obvious: science doesn't support that homeopathic remedies keep their memory in water. Maybe a similar explanation could be added in the article, I don't know. --Enric Naval (talk) 15:48, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
I meant significance of the interval as presented in the Cowan reference, not other descriptions.-- (talk) 12:59, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
The reply by Enric Naval leads to the question whether he has read the (full text of the) Cowan source and undestood it.-- (talk) 14:14, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
The abstract of Cowan (reachable to all editors without efforts) says that (50) femtosecond timescale is the timescale of extremely fast sweep in OH stretching vibrations frequencies.-- (talk) 09:49, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

Another concept that need to be specified is that of spectral diffusion which is detailed in [7].-- (talk) 10:06, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

The key sentence in Cowan involving memory says explicitly: The OH stretching excitation loses its memory on extraordinarily fast timescales, faster than in any other liquid.-- (talk) 10:27, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

Cited excerpt from linked book[edit]

What exactly is the excerpt from newly linked book that mentions Cowan and at what page?-- (talk) 10:19, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

The description of edit of inserting the p 77 of a book said source that connects Cowan and Benveniste. What kind of connection is supposed to be? The excerpt shows nothing else that they are juxtaposed and thus appear together in the same paragraph. There is no shown causal connection between Cowan and Benveniste.-- (talk) 19:36, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

The text says "Chapter 4 Pathological science (...) [start of the entry for water memory] Water memory--In 1998, Jacques Benveniste speculated that water is capable of retaining a 'memory' of substances once dissolved in it to arbitrary dilution (Maddox, 1998). (....) Double-blind replications of Benveniste's experiments have failed to reproduce the results, and the concept is not accepted by the scientific community (Ball, 2007). The point is that it has been conclusively demonstrated that liquid water maintains ordered networks of molecules for no longer than a small fraction of a nanosecond (Cowan et al., 2005). [end of the entry for water memory]"
--Enric Naval (talk) 21:47, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
Has it really been conclusively demonstrated? That's not what the Cowan source says. This is a typical case of a misquotation of a source.-- (talk) 10:08, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

I think that a rewording or even a removal of Cowan is needed because the secondary source mentioned here that cites Cowan is clearly inaccurate in referring to it.-- (talk) 10:05, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

From Cowan's abstract: "Our results highlight (...), and that liquid water essentially loses the memory of persistent correlations in its structure within 50 fs." --Enric Naval (talk) 18:28, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
What is the exact meaning of this memory of persistent correlations in its structure and how is this connected to the wording from the secondary source about the duration of ordered network of molecules? Is the extraction of a isolated sentence from an abstract of a primary source enough for citing it in compliance with the rule that I see mentioned above on this page, namely WP:SAYWHEREYOUREADIT?-- (talk) 11:30, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
We are citing the secondary source, not the primary one....
The relevance of Cowan's paper to water memory has also been pointed out by another secondary source: this article in Skeptical Inquirer.
Just to show that isn't an isolated opinion, it's also mentioned in a blog that divulgates, written by a university chemistry lecturer and the blog of a doctor in medical physics. Unfortunately, serious scientific texts won't touch "water memory" with a ten-foot pole, due to its reputation. It's difficult to get any source that discusses the hard science behind the rejection by mainstream scientists (the difference between what Benveniste proposes, and what mainstream scientists consider factual reality). --Enric Naval (talk) 20:06, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
If it's difficult to get serious scientific texts that discuss the hard science behind the rejection by mainstream scientists, then perhaps the rejection by mainstream scientists is not so strong and clear cut as some editors here would want to be. It is advisable therefore to not insist too much on POV-pushing assertions of rejection by mainstream based on misquotation of sources which have been hijacked to support wishful thinking and to remove irrelevant citations of hijacked source(s).-- (talk) 14:03, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
It means that reputable scientists don't want to tarnish their reputation by touching this field. And that textbooks don't bother mentioning discredited theories except to discuss the historical interest, or as lessons to be learned from past mistakes. --Enric Naval (talk) 14:28, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Interesting this mentioning of reputation, a pure subjective factor, in this context. If Cowan truly had to do with water memory, it would mean that the reputation of Cowan & co-authors is already damaged. Reputation has nothing to do with the use of the scientific method.-- (talk) 15:58, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Wow, ok, this is going into the terrain of trying to "win" a forum-like discussions via complicated arguments that have no chance of improving the article. To go back to the point: Cowan's relevance to water memory already has secondary sources, and you didn't provide any secondary source indicating the link was mistaken.
And this is the moment when you present (reliable) sources saying that water has a long-term memory. --Enric Naval (talk) 07:38, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

It should be obvious if it isn't already that removing misquotation of a primary source by (allegedly reliable) secondary sources is an improvement of the article and surely no other secondary sources are needed to notice the error. It is like, for instance, noticing that 1+1=3 is false and no source is required to this purpose.-- (talk) 09:18, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

The so-called reliable secondary sources which misquote Cowan are mumbo jumbo and are not seriously to be considered as sources directly usable. That's way a rephrasing is needed in order to satisfy WP:SAYWHEREYOUREADIT. Rephrasing should be in accordance to the procedure Ref A quoted in Ref B, C for those who have not read the full text of Ref A (Cowan) prescribed by WP:SAYWHEREYOUREADIT and will be presented in the next section below.-- (talk) 09:39, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

Rewording needed[edit]

Given the analyzed aspects, it is necessary to reword or remove text based on Cowan.-- (talk) 12:18, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

To follow the prescribed procedure of indirect citation of unread sources the rewording should be like: It is claimed by sources who mention Cowan etall that water loses its memory in 50 fs.-- (talk) 09:48, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

A more accurate wording re Cowan has been formulated-- (talk) 21:52, 1 June 2014 (UTC).

The Ball reference phrasing[edit]

The Ball reference has the following phrasing concerning Benveniste's results: They defied conventional scientific understanding, specifically the law of mass action. This phrasing is slightly different than positing an inconsistency.-- (talk) 19:52, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

I think a rephrasing according to the source is needed to replace the current phrasing containing inconsistency.-- (talk) 10:08, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

I see that the rephrasing has been done.-- (talk) 09:47, 15 May 2014 (UTC)