Contrary to Nature?

Many scientists cannot understand why the episode was handled as it was—if not for the sensation of it all.

Eugene Garfield
Sep 4, 1988

Commentary

Contrary To Nature?
AUTHOR:EUGENE GARFIELD
Date: September 05, 1988

The science story of the summer—if one can judge such things by the amount of attention received in the general press—was plainly the Benveniste affair (see page 1). Jacques Benveniste and his research team at INSERM in Clamart, France, published in Nature (June 30, 1988, pages 816-18) their report on observations that, if true, would seem to validate principles of homeopathy. Their claim was fantastic, and Nature said as much, holding its nose as it published the article.

So why did editor John Maddox decide to print it? “One of the purposes that will be served by publishing the article,” reads an accompanying editorial, “will be to provide an authentic account of this work for the benefit of those, especially in France, who have gathered rumours of it from the popular press. Another is that vigilant members of...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?