[theproving] Critomancy: The Yeast Test
             Wed, 21 Jul 1999 17:26:39 -0700
             John Benneth <>
             "Dr.James the Amazing Randi" <>
   , "Dr. Robert Park" <>


James Randi wrote:

  Benneth:  I thought I'd made my point of view very clear to you, but I
  guess not.  Now, I do not speak for Bob Park, of course.  But for myself, I
  will say that "nobody gives a rat's ass for Benneth and his claims" -- when
  much bigger game is in sight, Benveniste and Josephson.  Mind you, they
  seem to be elusive targets, but I believe that Bob will stay the course,
  until they either refuse to be tested, or are tested and fail.

  On the other hand, since neither B nor J are at all interested in my
  million-dollar prize, I believe that the time has come to offer it to you
  by default.  Thus, if you will be kind enough to send me the "yeast"
  protocol, I will submit it to my people for examination, and we'll move on
  from there.  It's my understanding that this would not be an expensive test
  to conduct, so it will be easy on you as a financial burden.

  If, by the 11th day of August, three weeks from now, Benveniste and
  Josephson have not agreed with Bob Park on a protocol for an APS-sponsored
  test, I will accept your bid to do a preliminary test, using the "yeast"
  method, providing of course that it is an appropriate test of the
  homeopathic effect.  (Proceeding with a test of your claim should not in
  any way compromise any APS test, I would hope.)

  I add to that this statement: you are a very small fish in this fish-fry.
  But you are a very noisy fish, and you annoy me.  I know that real
  homeopaths out there are going to object that your failure does not
  indicate that homeopathy has been disproven.  And I agree with that
  statement, entirely.  But I have to get this noisy fish into the net, into
  the batter, and into the frying-pan.  I'm sure you will assist me in this

  I am forwarding this posting to Bob Park, for his information.  And I'm
  quite sure that it will be distributed far and wide.  Please be bombastic
  about it, roar with delight, and build yourself up for a crescendo of
  wailing.  The more noise you make now, the deeper the silence that will

  So please send the paperwork on the "yeast" test -- AND SPARE ME THE
  THEORIES!  Just the facts, please.  No long-winded notions, inspirations,
  or crackpot ideas.  Just the protocol.

  I await your response.
                                  Signed, James Randi.
  James Randi Educational Foundation
  201 S.E. 12th Street (Davie Blvd.)
  Fort Lauderdale, FL   33316-1815

  phone: (954) 467 1112
  fax: (954) 467 1660

  [Incidentally, Bob Park is not the Director of the APS.  I know it's
  difficult for you, but try to get your facts right.  Of course, if you had
  your facts right, we would not be in this discussion, in the first place.]

John Benneth writes:
Very well then, Dr. Randi, please consider that the following is not an
amendment but is submitted in support of my January 24th, 1999 claim:


"We have used cultures of yeast which showed a marked sensitivity to potentized aqueous
homeopathic remedies." - Jones and Jenkins, British Homoeopathic Journal, July 1983

     "The state of basic research into the effect of low dosage remedies on biological models has
recently been summarized by Kollerstrom. The review covers the period up to 1978 and concludes
that very little of the many attempts in this field survives critical assessment. In pursuing further the
method which was previously reported in this journal, we believe we are able to add something to the
field of plant response in this context . We have used cultures of yeast which showed a marked
sensitivity to potentized aqueous homeopathic remedies. A number of potencies of one remedy
(Pulsatilla) were run in parallel, using two models: wheat coleoptiles and yeast cultures. The results
indicate that the yeast method is a quicker and more sensitive method with which to study the
potentization processes. "

(information on the wheat test has been deleted)


      "The growing medium was 2% glucose with 0.2% malt extract powder in distilled water, sterilized
by a short period of autoclaving. The intital seeding culture was made up as follows: 0.05 g of dried
baker's yeast (granular) was added to 12 ml of medium and kept at 30 degrees C for one hour. The
test tube container was put on a vortex mixer (15 seconds at 6000 rpms)  and returned to the
incubator for another 23 hours. Sterile test tubes were set up in racks, in duplicate, for each
treatment. Using sterile precautions, 10 ml of medium and 0.5 ml of potentized remedy were added to
each of the tubes. Aliquots of 0.5 ml of distilled water were used in the controls. Finally the culture,
after 15 seconds of vortex mixing, was added in 0.5 ml ailquots to each in the series. Incubation was
at 30 C for 24 hours without mechanical agitation. Measurement of yeast growth was by cell count,
using an improved Neubauer chamber. The undiluted suspension of cells, thoroughly vortex mixed ,
was loaded into the chamber, in dfuplicate, by means of a fine tipped pipette. A binocular microscope
was used for viewing and counts made for each treatment of the number of yeast cells in 25 sets of
the 16 small squares. This gave something of the order of 1750 cells per sample. Mean counts were
normalized against controls (100)  and plotted graphically against potnecy number.

     "As a matter of practical convenience the range of potency tests was divided into segments, each
with its own set of controls. For wheat, potencies 2-4c, 5-7c, 8-10c,11-13c. For yeast, 1-5c, 6-13c.
Although 1c potencies were used in the wheat experiment, the results are not included, as the degree
of inhibition of growth was so large due to the carry over effect of the alcohol from    the mother
tincture. Previous experience has shown that wheat seedlings may tolerate alcohol in the growing
medium at below 0.05% concentration. Yeast, by its nature, is not affected at the 1c level in this


"Figure 1a shows graphically the variation of growth against potency number for wheat coeptiles for
Pulsatilla 2- 13c. Figure 1b shows this growth effect of the same remedy, potencies 1-13c, on yeast
cultures. Looking at the two graphs as a pair, one's attention is first drawn to the comparable rise and
fall in the vairation about the control values as the potency number changes. It should be noted that
this is so despite the fact that the coordinate for growth in the yeast series is five times greater than
that for the wheat. Secondly, the peaks and troughs in the two graphjs occur at the same potency
number. Analysis of vairance performed for the individual measurements is presented in Tables 1 and
2, indicating the degree of confidence in each of the two methods.


"Results show that there is good correlation between the two methods. The curve following of the
yeast versus wheat as to potency number is consistent especially in the position of peaks and troughs
in the graphs and in the direction of change with respect to the controls. However, the yeast method
is very much more sensitive. Furthermore, the yeast test may be completed in one day, whilst six days
are required for the wheat coleoptile measurements. We believe the yeast method to be a significant
advance in the search for methods studying the in vitro effect of homoeopathic potencies and the
process of potentization. The main drawback in practical terms with the yeast method used in this
experiment was the direct measurement of cell numbers by microscopy. We have studied methods
using optical density (spectroscopy and nephelometry) but found them unsatisfactory in their
reproducibility. We suspect this is probably due to scatter, there being an uuneven distribution in size
of the yeast cells.
    "Some preliminary tests have now been completed on a series of cultures of a "fission" yeast,
Schizosaccharomyces pombe, using an electric particle counter. The preliminary results indicate that
this may well be the preferred method of cell counting for these experiments. Hopefully, this could
lead to a rapid expansion in our programme of studying aspects of remedy preparation."

An acknowledgment is made to the Homoeopathic Trust.

Of the many tests for homeopathy that I have concocted, conducted or examined, the Jenkins Jones
method appears to be the most reasonable and efficient - John Benneth

Hey Jimmy, remember this?

John Benneth wrote:
> . . .  if I can produce a method for distinguishing potentized homoeopathic
> substances from similar non potentized substances, will this win the $1.2
>million dollars offered in the JREF challenge?<

James Randi wrote:
YES! Dammit, YES!  How many times am I going to be asked this question?
Surely, that is the ONE, most important, non-arguable aspect of whether
there is anything to homeopathy!  Just DO IT, and take the prize!