Friday, 2 August 2013

Simple Test for the Efficacy of Homeopathy

Take the "Tetenterre Challenge"

  • Homeopaths claim that their so-called "remedies" are effective. 
  • By definition, something that is effective has an effect. 
  • If something has an effect, that effect can be observed.

This offers a simple double-blind, randomised test for the claims homeopaths make:
  1. An experienced homeopath selects sufficient quantities for a dozen provings of two remedies whose provings show them to have very different, preferably opposite, effects.
  2. This homeopath selects eleven homeopath collaborators.
  3. A researcher, using techniques determined by the homeopath, distributes the pillules of each remedy into a dozen separate identical new vials.
  4. A placebo (physically identical "inert" pillules) are distributed into another dozen identical new vials.
  5. The vials are individually randomly labelled by the researcher with identification numbers.
  6. The researcher records, for each ID number, whether it holds Remedy #1, Remedy #2, or Placebo.
  7. The vials are randomly grouped into threes, each group containing one vial each of Remedy #1, Remedy #2, Placebo.
  8. The homeopath collects a package containing the vials (no contact with the researcher).
  9. The homeopath distributes the groups of vials to his/her homeopath collaborators.
  10. Each homeopath, conducts "provings" of the contents of each vial.
  11. The homeopaths use the results of the provings to identify which vials hold the placebo and which vials hold which of the two known remedies.
  12. The homeopath's identifications are compared with the researcher's records.

Any takers?

(Yes, I know that there are more holes in this than in a decent roquefort, but if homeopaths can't distinguish between "remedies" with this....)