Rethinking Biology

It was in 1988 that a friend asked me if I would be willing to repeat the experiments of Louis Kervran. He had observed that chickens fed a calcium free diet still produced normal eggshells when potassium in the form of mica was available. Conventional science states that such chemical element transmutations, in this case from potassium into calcium, are totally impossible. The consequences of mainstream science being so wrong would be nothing short of revolutionary. The very foundations of science would need rethinking.

Then, seven years later, I was asked again. This time it was by the daughter of the recently deceased Professor LWJ Holleman. She wanted her father's biological transmutation research to be continued. I agreed to compile, translate and publish, with comments, the unfinshed review article that was the culmination of his life's work. In Holleman I had discovered an analytical chemist with a careful, critical approach towards an understanding of a phenomenon about which I was, by then, merely torn between open-mindedness and scepticism.

Holleman was inspired by the work of two men. Firstly, Rudolf Steiner, whose biodynamic agriculture lectures Holleman obtained in 1933. In his copy he underlined just one sentence from the fifth lecture; that biological transmutations of chemical elements may be ascertained even by the purely external standards of quantitative analytical chemistry. His other inspiration was that of the chemist Herzeele who was, in turn, inspired by Goethe. He believed that inorganic nature was a product of the organic.

In the hopes of overcoming the challenge of statistical variability Holleman later chose to use the microscopic single celled green alga Chlorella, so that the elemental composition of an extremely large number of individuals, contained within just a few small culture dishes, could be studied over a number of generations. In 1981 Holleman's Chlorella experiments produced positive, though unexpected, results. The potassium concentration in the first culture cycles initially decreased, but then increased back to its original level. Detailed considerations of possible errors by both Holleman and myself have proved negative. However, further improvements to his experimental methodology failed to obtain positive results.

Because of my publishing this work on the Internet the Professor Dr L. W. J. Holleman Stichting, a not-for-profit foundation set up to further Holleman's research ideas, was contacted by Professor Jean Paul Biberian of the Marseilles Luminy University. He is a physicist with an interest both in biological transmutations and the related phenomenon of 'cold fusion'. Financial support from the Triodos Bank enabled him to conduct preliminary experiments with the marine bacterium Marinobacter.

The results of Biberian's experiments, conducted during 2003/4 were just as unexpected and inexplicable as Holleman's were before him. Taken as a whole they were extremely variable and no general trends could be clearly made out. However one set of results was completely inexplicable. Two parallel, supposedly identical, experimental cultures showed equal but opposite elemental deviations from the original nutrient solution. However, since each of the individual chemical elemental deviations were not equal, one dish could not have merely obtained culture solution from the other through spillage. With both Holleman's and Biberian's results it was as if somehow the fundamental conservation laws of matter were capable of transcending space or time.

As a step towards understanding such a phenomenon I accepted Biberian's invitation to attend the 11th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (cold fusion) ICCF-11 in November 2004. Whilst mainstream quantum mechanics states that chemically assisted nuclear reactions are impossible, the evidence presented was sufficient even for sceptics to acknowledge that 'anomalous behaviour' had been observed. Of note was that the outwardly irreproducible nature of the results fell within a consistent pattern.

The Ukrainian nuclear physicist Vladimir Vysotskii presented some of his latest biological transmutation research at the conference. His initial research, published in the book co-authored with Alla Kornilova, a nuclear physicist from Moscow State University, Nuclear Fusion and Transmutation of Isotopes in Biological Systems - by far the best on the subject - involved using his knowledge of conventional nuclear physics to identify a single nuclear reaction that produces an isotope of iron not normally found in nature. Using a number of bacteria species (including Deinococcus radiodurans) capable of growing in a hostile culture solution containing heavy water (water containing the heavier deuterium isotope of hydrogen). Isotopes are chemical elements with different atomic weights. Some are stable and naturally occurring, though most are radioactively unstable. A change in isotopic composition can only occur by means of a nuclear reaction. All chemical element transmutations are, in fact, isotopic transmutations. Isotopic analysis is therefore essential for an understanding of the physical aspects of such phenomena.

Also present at the original meeting of Biberian, in November 2001, with members of the Holleman Stichting, was Dr. Jennifer Greene, an Anthroposophical scientist and expert in the life giving properties of water. She proposed that I should search for a scientific paradigm within which such phenomena may be understood. This was unanimously agreed by all present. For me, however, this was a huge emotional/intellectual commitment. I had, at that time, yet to find any incontravertable evidence for biological transmutations. The possibilities of error always haunted me. I was also unaware of anyone who had devised the beginnings of either a plausible theory, or a framework within which one might be developed. Nevertheless, 7 years after being asked to further Holleman's research, I accepted.

Using Holleman as my inspiration, I made the decision to start with Goethe. Eventually this led to my discovering Nick Thomas's linked space-counterspace work, my initial understading of which I presented as a poster display at the ICCF11 conference. The paradigm was, however, too far away from that which most - even open-minded - scientists were willing to consider. If it were not for the long, slow, challenging journey that I have made via Goethean plant observation I too would be extremely sceptical. For a non-Anthroposophist, especially for a conventionally trained scientist, a paradigm of reality involving a dual etheric aspect is something that is totally alien. Nevertheless, Thomas' work appears to be the most promising framework within which such phenomena at the boundaries of natural science may begin to be understood.

My work has only just started. Both evidence and theory are a long way from being acceptable to either sceptical mainstream or Anthroposophical scientists. However, Baumgartner's meticulous attempted replication of Hauschka's earlier experiments was a notable exception. Nevertheless, the challenging nature of the subject led to inconclusive results. If it was easy it would already be part of mainstream science. To design better experiments one needs expertise in biology, analytical chemistry, nuclear physics, and one might also add, bio-dynamics.

Like Holleman before me, I believe that the way in which the phenomenon is approached is essential to its understanding. Holleman proposed working within a Goethean paradigm that is complimentary to the mainstream analytic approach. There are many great scientists, engineers, mathematicians, philosophers, farmers, artists, doctors and teachers with an interest in the works of Goethe and Steiner. What I desire is to be given the opportunity to meet with some of them, to learn from them, and apply their knowledge towards the question that drove Holleman all his life; are chemical elements fixed immutable objects incapable of change except in high energy nuclear reactions? For most Anthroposophists, a living natural world is a fundamental spiritual truth. It is the illucidation of the relationships between the physical and the living that is the concern of myself and the Holleman Stichting.

For further reading I can recommend:

David Cuthbertson, 50 Balsdean Road, Brighton, Sussex, BN2 6PF