I should probably avoid the Intention Experiment website, but it's such a fabulous compendium of nonsense and loony ideas that it's hard to leave alone. Now they're channeling the ghost of Jaques Benveniste. As many will know, Benveniste caused a storm of controversy when his lab published a paper in Nature that appeared to show that homeopathic concentrations of a certain type of antibody could have a biological effect, even though the chances of the solution containing any actual molecules of the antibody were tiny. This is the basis of the idea of 'memory of water' in homeopathy. The Nature paper was published with an unprecedented "editorial reservation", and a team assembled by Nature visited the Benveniste lab to look into the results. The results of the investigation were damning, showing that the design of the experiments was poor, and an article outlining the problems was published in a later issue of Nature. Ever since, homeopaths and other brands of quacks have been convinced that Benveniste's results were suppressed by the scientific establishment on behalf of Big Pharma, and so on.
Benveniste, however, was not put off by this setback, and continued in his work, going on to suggest that not only did the 'memory of water' effect exist, but that it could be transmitted digitally, down phone lines or over the internet. Brilliantly, this only gave 'positive' results when the equipment was being run by a particular researcher. Benveniste doesn't seem to have reflected too hard on why that might have been the case. Benveniste called this "digital biology", which would have "immense consequences on medical diagnostic procedures and the agro-food industry, with huge technological and commercial impact", and was only being held back because scientists are "opposed to the evolution of science". You recognise the narrative here, don't you?
Why do I mention all this? Because the Intention Experiment blog carries news of an experiment into "healing by e-mail". Apparently, a "Francesca McCarney, Ph.D., teacher of professional intuitives at the Academy of Intuitive Studies and Intuition Medicine" conducted the experiment, where 88 people were each sent 2 e-mails. One of these e-mails had "healing energy" "encapsulated" into it, and the other one did not. Apparently, the e-mails were indentified correctly 31.9% of the time, against a 25% probablity of getting them right by chance. This seems like a deeply unimpressive result, with no confidence interval to give us an idea of how likely it would be for such a result to occur by chance, but we're told that "scientists would consider it highly significant result" [sic]. We also don't know whether there might inadvertently have been clues in the text of the e-mails.
It seems that loony ideas never die; they just re-appear periodically in a slightly different form.