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I haven’t had a rant about bad science for a little while, so I’ve decided to make this a good one. You are going to just love this. Honest, you are. It’s a beauty. The subject of this polemic  is beyond the wildest imaginings of the fevered mind. I’m giving it to you as a freebie in the runup to my long delayed post about the charlatanry that is homeopathy. You’ll like that, too. It will have been worth the wait.

Let me set the scene. Dr Masaru Emoto is a Japanese scientist who claims that water’s molecular structure is affected by the ‘energy’ in thoughts and emotions. Positive, touchy feely thoughts make for positive changes; negative, naughty, coveting thy neighbour’s ox type thoughts have an adverse effect.

As you’d expect, there’s a YouTube post about this. Actually there’s quite a lot of them from persons living on the ragged edge of reality, but this is one of the best because it’s the official video.


Now if you watch and listen, you’ll find that in order to illustrate the changes, the revered Dr Emoto (dodgy name, that, considering his field of research) has to ‘crystallise’ the water. In grown up English, he freezes it. What the good Doctor is doing is making snowflakes. I think I told you I was fairly certain someone must have been making snowflakes in a lab, and there you go, I was right. He’s making snowflakes.

What he then does is choose to present a photograph of just one of the snowflakes made from water exposed to good or bad energy. Pretty convincing, eh? It’s not as if there may be more than one snowflake in his collection, is it? Maybe he really does use iggywiggy sample sizes. It could happen.

As a random example, let’s take the Mother Theresa snowflake. It’s up there on YouTube, don’t take my word for it. This snowflake, made from water exposed to the words ‘Mother Theresa,’ is apparently especially interesting because it has a heart in the centre. Really, it does, I’m not kidding you. A heart. You can see it on the screen. Amazing!

I do wonder though why Mother Theresa wants to create flaws in the structure of snowflakes, as the heart is a flaw in the normal structure of a snowflake. You’d think she’d be having a good rest now. She did quite a lot when she walked this Earth, and deserves a break. I’m pretty sure she’s got better things to be doing in her afterlife than support the ravings of a Japanese lunatic.

By the way, the heart shape is asymmetrical. So’s the human heart, yes, I accept that. But this looks like a ‘broken-hearted’ emoticon. You might expect the shade of Mother Theresa to like things a bit more neat and tidy. Maybe not though. It might just be me being cynical. Who knows?

The switched on urban warriors among you will have spotted the flaws in his arguments right out of the trap. He’s not photographing at a molecular level. These are macrostructures. No evidence at all that the underlying molecular structure has been altered in any way, shape, or form. As for the ‘polluted’ water notsnowflakes, we have no idea of the scale of the photos. Indeed we have no idea at all of the scale of any of them, but they must be biggish, since you can’t photograph molecules. Trust me, you can’t. You can infer their structure from X-ray diffraction crystallography, but this is a pretty high energy process that would melt the crystals anyway, even if they didn’t sublime in the high vacuum required for this technique.

So all in all this is what we scientists refer to as a right load of old socks. It would be funny were it not for so many people of easy susceptibility actually believing the old fraud.

It’s amazingly easy to fool the gullible. I’m still beavering away on my website about the health benefits of a common, nay ubiquitous substance. I’m having second thoughts about this. Because I reckon some dimwits are going to take it seriously.