Bizarre Scientific Paper: Amulets may prevent COVID-19

Graphical illustration taken from the actual paper

I used to think that the weirdest most bizarre paper of 2020 was the “5G causes COVID-19” paper. I wrote about that last August. This latest one appears to up that game with a claim that wearing Jade Amulets “may” prevent COVID-19.

Note the use of the term “may” because the paper does not claim that it does, nor does it claim that it does not, but instead it claims that it just might.

The Paper: Can Traditional Chinese Medicine provide insights into controlling the COVID-19 pandemic: Serpentinization-induced lithospheric long-wavelength magnetic anomalies in Proterozoic bedrocks in a weakened geomagnetic field mediate the aberrant transformation of biogenic molecules in COVID-19 via magnetic catalysis

Yes, that really is just the title and not the abstract. In fact, if you check the link you will find that the publisher has withdrawn it.

The Journal is “Science of The Total Environment“. There the focus is usually the publication of original research on the total environment with emphasis on changes caused by human activities.

So this paper caused a bit of a stir when published …

“Retraction Watch” Reaches out

Ivan Oransky, the co-founder of Retraction Watch noted that the lead author was a chap who was listed at the University of Pittsburgh. To tick all the boxes, he reached out asking if he was indeed the author. It is a basic journalistic check, is the claimed author really the author …

From: Ivan Oransky <> Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2020 11:20 AM
To: Bility, Moses Turkle <> Subject: STOTEN paper

Dr. Bility
I blog at Retraction Watch. Can you confirm that you co-authored this paper?
Ivan Oransky

The response that came back is truly jaw dropping stuff …

Dear Dr. Ivan Oransky, yes, I published that article, and I kindly suggest you read the article and examine the evidence provided. I also suggest you read the history of science and how zealots have consistently attempted to block and ridicule novel ideas that challenge the predominant paradigm from individuals that are deem not intelligent enough. I not surprised that this article has elicited angry responses. Clearly the idea that a black scienst can provide a paradigm shifting idea offends a lot of individuals. I’ll be very candid with you; my skin color has no bearing on my intelligence.

If you have legimate concerns about the arcle and wish to discuss, I’ll address; however, I will not tolerate racism or intellectual intolerance targeted at me.



Wow … just wow.

He blogs about the exchange. What follows is more of the same. The author not only plays the race card, but he also takes a stance that his paper is novel and suggests that anybody questioning his paper is too stupid to understand it and probably racist.

When you do stuff like that, is just screams “crank”.

Others also Engaged with him

Jonathan Jarry of McGill university reached out and had a long conversation with him to try and understand what was going on here. He blogs his conclusions. Briefly in summary …

…Dr. Bility’s “COVID amulet” paper (which never tested said amulet but simply inferred it might work based on Bility’s larger theory) is not the first time he has written about this topic. …

…His theory around COVID can be summarized, to the best of my ability, as follows. Bility suggests that when the magnetic field of our planet weakens, the amount of water that is found on land masses (like lakes) increases and this leads to more iron oxide being made in certain rocks. These iron oxides have their own magnetic field which now interacts with the iron in our bodies more readily. This interaction affects a property of the electrons in our atoms, and this can allegedly cause DNA sequences in our own genomes to turn into fully functional viruses that make us sick. Are you still with me? Because in his recent work, Bility has fingered this hypothetical magnetic boogeyman as the culprit behind not just COVID-19, but Zika outbreaks, vaping-related lung illness, Ebola cases in Africa, a polio-like illness called acute flaccid myelitis, and even the opioid epidemic. And according to him, Stonehenge may have been a man-made magnetic field generator designed for public health.

His hypothesis has a few rather obvious flaws.

Let’s for the moment take a huge leap and assume he is correct. Yes I know, that is a Grand Canyon type of leap, but stick with me me just as a thought experiment.

If we assume all of modern germ theory is wrong and it is all to do with magnetism, then how exactly can Jade help?

Jade is so weakly magnetized it will not help.

Should such stuff be published?

If you are going to articulate wild whacky ideas that challenge our modern understanding, then that is fine. However, if you fill the paper with lots of jargon that obscures what you are saying, then become highly defensive when asked for clarity and evidence, it will really not be a fun ride for you.

If he does indeed wish to assert a claim that amulets really do ward off disease, then he needs to establish that with evidence. The almost universal rejection of this is not because of some racial bias, but rather is due to the complete lack of any credible evidence for this claim.

Further Reading on the Amulets paper

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