I haven’t been following Vincent Fleury’s escapades for some time. You may recall Fleury — he’s a woozily litigious crackpot who tries to explain all of development and evolution with swirling fluid vortices and claims that he has a
hydrodynamic explanation of transiton from apes to humans, and threatened to sue me for criticizing his ludicrous scientific claims. I’ve heard through the grapevine that he’s also threatened to sue other people for pointing and laughing at his ideas, but he really has no grounds for a claim since he’s still employed at Paris-Diderot University, and doesn’t seem to have any problems getting his work out there.
He’s presenting at a conference today, in fact:
La vie au fil de l’eau,
Life Over Water, on
Embryonic morphogenesis and dynamics of fluids. Some things never change.
If anybody is in Lille, France, and planning to go, let me know about it. It sounds very entertaining. Also on the program is Marc Henry, a quantum chemist, who’s going to talk about the physics of how water can retain a homeopathic memory, and Bernard Poitevin, a student of Bienveniste, who will explain
the role of water in the process of realization of the homeopathic remedy, and Etienne Krencker, an anthroposophist. Those still exist? Wow.
Nope, no one’s ever going to suggest Fleury is part of a community of kooks, no sir.
I anticipate some more bluster and threats of lawsuits over pointing out his associations. He really doesn’t like me very much.
When I saw the title I thought you meant this
chigau (違う) says
Golly gee whiz.
Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says
Have the homeopaths figured out you can put water in an NMR and check for changes with each dilution? I don’t think so Tim….
Ok, who else had to look up what anthroposophist is?
I must admit I gave up when a quick skim of Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge burbled: “Anthroposophical proponents aim to extend the clarity of the scientific method to phenomena of human soul-life and to spiritual experiences.” And then it burbles into bafflement overload…
chigau (違う) says
Christophe Thill says
Sponsored by Boiron, Weleda, and some manufacturers of food supplements, as well as by a company that sells an anti-electro-magnetic waves gizmo :
How does it work? Well, the waves stimulate some stuff inside the little disc, and it emits a “bio signal” that counters the nocive waves. Or something.
“Penguins, dear loon, penguins”, sayeth the mildly deranged penguin, “with sniny teeth and no peas.”
So I look at the link PZ added in the article and I see this:
I cried a little inside.
Fleury didn’t seem to like PZ much, but Suzan Mazur seemed to like PZ even less:
So the question I had was: who is she and why does she hate PZ?
And the answer was crankery. It is often either crankery or bigotry, so it was a coin flip.
Rob Grigjanis says
You mean Benveniste?
I thought the water memory thing was settled;
1 fs = 10^(-15) s
More on this Susan Mazur from the Encyclopedia of American Loons:
Good grief, someone actually believes classic crackpot Pivar? (Well, Ok, there was the just-as-absurd Velikovsky the other day…)
Anton Mates says
I just assumed it was an anthropophagous theosophist.
Pierce R. Butler says
“Anthroposophy” I knew, but I had to go look up “birl“.
At first I felt sort of sorry for Fleury, in that I understand the impulse of wanting to look like the genius in the room by coming up with heterodox theories. Sure, he makes the twin errors of fixating on a single pattern that explains everything (“vortices”; weirdly there are many pseudoscientists who like vortices…), and (more egregiously) dismissing lots of science (and scientists, all working, often without success, to add even a bit to what we know) as foolish orthodoxy. I get it: science is hard. I can imagine a different version of me making some of his errors (if I’m to grant that I don’t often do that now).
But then… being a part of a community of self-reinforcing kooks… Nope, he really should (always have) know better.
chigau (違う) says
Pierce R. Butler
The documentary at the link explains ‘birling’.
It’s a shame how much we seem to love homeopathy in my country….. [blush]
I play that on my fiddle. If any girl laughs, I know it pleases but I’m not sure how completely.
Rob Grigjanis says
chigau @17: Yay Kate & Anna McGarrigle!
Fleury brings to mind The Big Snit.
George Smoot is also a professor at Paris-Diderot University. Talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous. I wonder how their faculty selection process works – casting chicken bones on the floor?
I’ve never heard that before. Now I have a big ol’ smile on my face. You have my thanks, completely.
Lots of fluid dynamics around here the last couple of weeks. It’s been raining cats and dogs that come from Hawaii and Siberia. I’m thinking of raising myself to the next spiritual level and revert to a fish-like creature, or perhaps an aquatic ape a la Hardy and Westenhöfer. Stay tuned.
Marcus Ranum says
Generally, crackpots have plenty of “um, uh, are you sure…” feedback before they go trumpeting forth.
Speaking as a professional who has told others, “you’re going to make a fool of yourself if you do that…” there’s usually ample opportunity for giving and receiving such advice. When I encounter someone charging out making an idiot I assume they’re overcoming the advice of their friends, their mom, and even their dog.
I knew anthroposophist from reading books about bad science, and knew that birling was a lumberjack / log thing, but I just have no clue what a “quantum chemist, who will discuss the physics of water” might be except person lying their ass off.
Maybe the quantum chemist can explain gravity magnets?
PZ Myers says
Quantum chemistry is a real thing. They study interactions between molecules using sophisticated physics techniques: NMR, IR spectroscopy, that sort of thing.
I looked it up because I had never heard of quantum chemistry, and it sounds very fascinating from the parts I could understand since I have only a very basic understanding of all those fields. It’s the physics of water as quantum chemistry that tripped my BS meter. Water does have some interesting and unique properties, but I’m thinking that plain chemistry and the classic physics of fluid dynamics applies to water because it’s not a sub-atomic substance.
I am now curious if water has unique properties in quantum chemistry, just as it does in chemistry and physics. Perhaps I will research it later.
I’m currently researching how to stop cane toads from digging up the garden with their burrowing for one of my sons, and learning all sorts of things about all manner of strange and invasive species. ie: Acetaminophen is toxic to brown tree snakes and is best administered by placing it in a non-living pinky mouse, placing the mouse in a cardboard tube with strings ( so the coconut crabs can’t get to them), and then airdropping them into the trees in your target control area. I really appreciate cold Minnesota winters after reading that USDA bulletin.
Chicken wire digging barriers is the best control idea I have come across for the cane toad, but I am less than thrilled with the number of dangerous venomous creatures that live near my grandbabyspawn.
Hi, chemist here. Yeah, water has a whole bunch of interesting properties that arise from the magic stuffs. But they don’t give it memory. They just give it structure.
On a separate note, “La vie au fil de l’eau” would be better translated as “life going with the flow”.
“Sure, he makes the twin errors of fixating on a single pattern that explains everything (“vortices”; weirdly there are many pseudoscientists who like vortices…”
Since Descartes attempt to explain the movements of celestial bodies by vortices they have always had a patriotic attraction to the French mind.
No love here for the inspiring speech of Presidential candidate
“My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom! “
I must have heard that song a dozen times and always heard “twirling”. Embarrassing, as I used to live almost beside of on the major log-driving rivers and have never even heard of the word “birl”.
I also had no idea that peaveys could have such long, long handles until I watched the intro with the real log drivers.
Peaveys have long handles for two reasons. For reach, of course, but also to input rotational energy to counteract rolling off a log which is proverbially easy. The guy on the high wire has a long pole for the same reason. Watch the log drivers smack the water with them. They’re not trying to brain beavers. ( A little known Canadian sport. )
I realized the purpose once I saw them in the film, I just had never see a peavey with such a long handle before. I took me by surprise
Ours, at home when I was growing up, probably had a handle about 4 ft long, about the same as a shovel but a lot thicker. We didn’t need the length as we would just be using it when skidding out a few logs from the woods.