Posted by: Kash Farooq | August 22, 2010

The unscientific method of homeopathic proving

One of your provers caught a cold? Well done. You've just invented a cure for colds!

There are a lot of things weird about homeopathy. Like-cures-like. Remedies get stronger the more you dilute them. Water has memory.

This post is not about any of those things.

This post is about “proving”.

Proving is the technique homeopaths use to determine what can be cured by a newly created remedy. This area of homeopathy doesn’t seem to be mentioned (ridiculed?) as much. In my opinion, if the public knew how homeopaths establish what can be cured by a remedy, the game would be over. Nobody would take it seriously after that.

So how does it work?

First, you need to invent a remedy. Perhaps you go for a walk on a beach and see a rotting shipwreck. Take a bit of the wood. That will make a fine ingredient for your remedy.  Or perhaps you realise that the blood of a peregrine falcon has not been tried before. Basically, it does not matter. Think of ingredient and make a remedy out of it – it is bound to cure something. And homeopathic proving will tell you what.

So, you’ve got your remedy (and, of course, you’ve given it a sciency-sounding name like “Falco Peregrinus Disciplinatus”). What next?

Well, find some fit and healthy volunteers. We don’t want someone who is already ill. Give your volunteers (called “provers”) the remedy with some dosage instructions (e.g. 2 drops every 8 hours) and make sure they write down everything that happens to them afterwards. Basically, we’re trying to find out if your provers will exhibit any symptoms. As we know, according to the “science” behind homeopathy, if a remedy causes a symptom in a fit and healthy person, then that remedy can fix a medical complaint in an ill person – as long as that medical complaint exhibits the same symptoms.

So, if a prover gets a headache during the proving, bingo! You’ve invented a cure for headaches. If one catches a cold, you’ve now also got a cure for colds. An all-in-one remedy. Bargain!

But…erm…what if that person has just picked up some sort of seasonal bug? Won’t that skew the results? Don’t be silly, you health fascist!

OK…what happens if one your provers has just been working late, staring at the screen too long and has developed a headache? Now you’re just being ridiculous. Of course if won’t skew the results.

We’re doing homeopathic science here. Have faith.

So, quite weird, I’m sure you’ll agree. It is possible to invent a remedy for any medical complaint. You just need to do enough provings and get enough provers to exhibit a symptom (or emotion) that can occur due to illness.

But wait. It gets weirder.

During one homeopathic proving, 4 out of 7 of the provers had a bad commute to work. Surely the homeopath conducting the proving would just write this off as a coincidence?  No! It’s highly significant. The homeopath decided that the remedy can…wait for it….stop you getting stuck.

Some of the symptoms and emotions that provers record are equally bizarre (and possibly disturbing). Examples include: “Destruction”, “Desire to harm”, “Dreams: stabbing, needles, teeth”, “Violating Mother Earth”, “Primitive gnome woman” (eh??), and “Grandmothers, grandfathers”. Many more can be found on the Positronium symptoms and emotions map.

You can’t make this stuff up. Well, at least science can’t make it up. Homeopaths are very good at it.

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Responses

  1. What if:

    During the “proving” the healthy participant finds that they experience the symptom: “belief in homeopathy”.

    Would the remedy in question then cure an unhealthy person of this condition?

  2. [...] ‘provings’. Again, to avoid wasting our time in pointless iteration, I refer you to the Thought Stash, where you will find an explanation of ‘proving’ and links to accounts of provings of [...]


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