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Originalarbeit · Original Article

Forsch Komplementärmed Klass Naturheilkd 2003;10:192–200

Entanglement Model of Homeopathy as an Example of


Generalized Entanglement Predicted by Weak Quantum
Theory
H. Walach
Samueli Institute–European Office, Institut für Umweltmedizin und Krankenhaushygiene, Klinikum der Universität, Freiburg i.Br.

Key Words Schlüsselwörter


Entanglement · Quantum mechanics · Weak quantum theory · Verschränkung · Quantenmechanik ·
Homeopathy · Semiotics Verallgemeinerte Quantentheorie · Homöopathie · Semiotik

Summary Zusammenfassung
Homeopathy is scientifically banned, both for lack of consistent em- Die Homöopathie wird wissenschaftlich nicht ernst genommen.
pirical findings, but more so for lack of a sound theoretical model to Dies liegt zum einen daran, dass empirische Befunde nicht konsis-
explain its purported effects. This paper makes an attempt to intro- tent und nicht ausreichend stark sind. Zum anderen ist es aber auch
duce an explanatory idea based on a generalized version of quan- wesentlich darauf zurückzuführen, dass kein ernst zu nehmendes
tum mechanics (QM), the weak quantum theory (WQT). WQT uses theoretisches Modell existiert, das die behaupteten homöopathi-
the algebraic formalism of QM proper, but drops some restrictions schen Effekte plausibel machen kann. Diese Arbeit versucht, einen
and definitions typical for QM. This results in a general axiomatic solchen theoretischen Erklärungsansatz einzuführen. Er stützt sich
framework similar to QM, but more generalized and applicable to auf eine explanatorische Idee, die sich aus der verallgemeinerten
all possible systems. Most notably, WQT predicts entanglement, oder schwachen Quantentheorie herleitet, die unter dem Namen
which in QM is known as Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) correlated- «weak quantum theory» (WQT) von uns publiziert wurde. WQT ver-
ness within quantum systems. According to WQT, this entangle- wendet den Formalismus der algebraischen Quantentheorie im ei-
ment is not only tied to quantum systems, but is to be expected gentlichen Sinne, lässt aber einige Beschränkungen und Definitio-
whenever a global and a local variable describing a system are nen fallen, die typisch für die Quantenmechanik (QM) sind, so etwa
complementary. This idea is used here to reconstruct homeopathy das Planck´sche Wirkungsquantum oder die Addierbarkeit von Zu-
as an exemplification of generalized entanglement as predicted by standsoperatoren. Durch diese Verallgemeinerung ergibt sich ein
WQT. It transpires that homeopathy uses two instances of general- Formalismus, der ähnlich dem der eigentlichen QM ist, der aber
ized entanglement: one between the remedy and the original sub- weiter und allgemeiner anwendbar und im Grunde für alle Systeme
stance (potentiation principle) and one between the individual gültig ist. Insbesondere sagt dieser Formalismus der WQT Ver-
symptoms of a patient and the general symptoms of a remedy pic- schränkung vorher, die in der QM als Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen
ture (similarity principle). By bringing these two elements together, (EPR)-Korrelation bekannt ist. Nach der WQT ist Verschränkung als
double entanglement ensues, which is reminiscent of cryptographic Phänomen nicht auf Quantensysteme im eigentlichen Sinne be-
and teleportation applications of entanglement in QM proper. schränkt, sondern tritt in jedem System auf, in dem eine globale
Homeopathy could be a macroscopic analogue to quantum telepor- und lokale Beschreibung (oder Observable) zueinander komple-
tation. This model is exemplified and some predictions are derived, mentär sind. Diese Idee wird hier aufgegriffen und dazu benützt,
which make it possible to test the model. Homöopathie zu rekonstruieren als ein Beispiel generalisierter Ver-
schränkung, wie sie von der WQT vorhergesagt wird. Es zeigt sich,
dass Homöopathie als ein System verstanden werden kann, das
eine zweifache generalisierte Verschränkung benutzt: diejenige zwi-
schen Arzneimittel und Substanz (Potenzierungsprinzip) und dieje-
nige zwischen individuellem Symptomenbild und Arzneimittelbild
(Ähnlichkeitsprinzip). Durch die Verbindung dieser beiden Elemente
entsteht eine Situation der doppelten Verschränkung, die an krypto-
graphische und Teleportationsanwendungen von EPR-Verschrän-
kungen innerhalb der QM erinnert. Homöopathie könnte also ein
makroskopisches, generalisiertes Beispiel von Teleportation sein,
wie sie innerhalb der QM diskutiert wird. Das Modell wird ausge-
führt und erläutert, und einige empirische und theoretische Konse-
quenzen ergeben sich daraus, die empirisch testbar sind.

© 2003 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg PD Dr. Dr. Harald Walach


Klinikum der Universität
Fax +49 761 4 52 07 14 Accessible online at: Institut für Umweltmedizin und Krankenhaushygiene
E-mail Information@Karger.de www.karger.com/fkm Hugstetterstr. 55, D-79106 Freiburg
www.karger.com Tel. +49 761 270-5497, Fax -7224
E-mail walach@ukl.uni-freiburg.de
Weak Quantum Theory bitrary precision [4]. Yet, both aspects of a pair of comple-
mentary observables are needed to give the full picture of
Quantum Mechanics and Its Generalization what we are able to say about reality. In other words, comple-
Quantum mechanics (QM) is a theory of matter, which in a mentary variables are not only maximally incompatible in the
more recent form is formulated algebraically. It is effective sense that the knowledge of one precludes the knowledge of
and powerful because it is restrained to be applicable only the other variable (in the same measurement experiment), but
within a specified realm of validity, within which mathematical they are also both needed to describe the full picture and thus
operations can be carried out and formalized argument and are both requirements for a holistic view of reality [5].
logic can be used. It is probably one of the most successful This leads to the strange situation first pointed out by Einstein
theories ever constructed by scientists, and has stood many et al. [6] that complementary variables are at the base of en-
hundreds of empirical tests of predictions derived from it. This tanglement and result in non-local correlations, also called
does not mean that QM is the only way in which material real- EPR-correlations. Entanglement means that elements of one
ity can be conceived and described. Neither does it mean that system remain correlated in their behavior, as predicted by
QM gives the ‘true’ picture of reality, let alone the only possi- theory, as long as the holistic structure of a system is not bro-
ble one. But it is a starting point for a possible generalization ken by a measurement process. Moreover, strictly speaking it
to realms other than material reality and to systems in a very does not make sense to talk about ‘elements of a system’ be-
general sense. Thus, QM also provides a theoretical structure cause by virtue of the QM formalism those ‘elements’ are
which can be used in a generic form and which if used in that treated as one holistic system, and the elements are only con-
way describes systems in a general way, irrespective of their stituted as separate by definite measurement decisions. Thus,
material (or non-material) make-up, their size or their func- if one of two entangled parts of a system is measured or other-
tion. Such a generalized framework has been described as wise manipulated, the corresponding part behaves in a certain
‘Weak Quantum Theory’ (WQT) [1]. One of the features of correlated fashion, predicted by theory. For this to happen a
this approach is that it keeps some central elements of QM quantum system can be widely distributed in space and time,
and incorporates them into the algebraic formalism of WQT, and still exhibit this strangely entangled behavior.
while dropping some of the restrictions typical for QM proper, It is important to note here that entanglement does not oper-
like Planck’s constant. One of the elements adopted from QM ate via signals, which would be an operation obeying the local-
by WQT or the generalized version of QM (note that in the ity principle or a local operation, but non-locally, via holistic
following I will use the term ‘WQT’ and ‘generalized version correlations. Entanglement is a special case of complementarity
of QM’ interchangeably) is the fact that it incorporates the and occurs if variables that describe one global and one local
handling of non-commuting or complementary observables. aspect of the system are complementary. Entangled parts of a
The axiomatic framework and the formal treatment for what system act coherently, as it were, without the need to orches-
is claimed in this paper is given in [1], and for reasons of gen- trate their actions by signals mediating them. They are corre-
eral readibility and comprehensibility the formal argument is lated by the very make-up of their structure. While this notion
not repeated here. Instead, the technically interested reader is of entanglement is well known within QM and meanwhile an
referred to the original publication. empirically demonstrated fact [7], it is unclear, exactly when
this entanglement decays and how far its outreach is. This area
Complementarity and Entanglement is currently one of hot debate known by the term ‘decoher-
Complementarity is at the heart of QM proper, since it is the ence’. The question here would be: Precisely when do those
reason for uncertainty relations typical for QM [2]. For it is entangled states become so weak or thinned out that we do
complementary variables, like position and momentum, that not realize them in our everyday world and experience the
create the uncertainty relations of the Heisenberg type. This presence of separated objects which can be acted upon as dis-
means that precise knowledge of one variable precludes pre- tinct entities? More simply put: Precisely when does the world
cise knowledge of the other variable in the same measurement of Newtonian physics emerge out of the world of QM? There
experiment [3]. Mathematically this is formalized as an alge- seems to be general agreement that entanglement in the strict-
bra of non-commuting operations, non-commuting meaning ly quantum mechanical sense is fading away, as a system inter-
that the sequence of the measurements of two complementary acts with other systems and is not shielded well enough
variables makes a difference. If we decide to measure position against its environment. Following this line of reasoning of
first we do not know a particle’s momentum precisely, and quantum mechanical entanglement proper, there is little scope
vice versa. Thus, ‘non-commuting’ and ‘complementary’ are of using EPR correlations for explaining large and partly clas-
synonymous notions within QM, sometimes also denoted as sical interacting systems like doctors, patients and homeopath-
‘incompatible’. Complementarity was Bohr’s way to take ic remedies. And it is very important to notice and realize that
apart elements – like position and momentum – which in clas- this is exactly not the way entanglement is used here. I rather
sical mechanical descriptions had been together, because in adopt the generalized version of quantum mechanics, which is
QM they cannot take defined values at the same time with ar- applicable to all sorts of systems, and the generalized version

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2003;10:192–200
compatibility refers to orthogonal concepts which are situated
in a different plane altogether. Nevertheless complementary
elements are both needed to describe the situation in full.
Niels Bohr, who introduced the concept of complementarity
to QM [8], chose as his coat of arms the Chinese Yin-Yang
symbol with the Latin inscription ‘contraria sunt complementa
– opposites are complementary’ [9].
It is important at that point to pause for a minute and distin-
guish several semantic layers of the term ‘complementarity’:
In QM proper strong complementarity is operative. The com-
plementarity between position and momentum, for instance, is
an irreducible aspect of matter and not only due to our lack of
knowledge. The same is true for the complementary descrip-
tion of the wave and particle nature of photons or indeed any
subatomic particle. This fundamental level of reality is nor-
Fig. 1. A schematic and graphical representation of the meaning of ge-
neralized entanglement. The black squares represent elements described mally referred to as ‘ontic’ level [1]. From this we can discern
by local variables or observables that are complementary (black arrows) a weaker version or an epistemic notion of complementarity.
to the description of the whole system (circle). Hence they are entangled The term ‘epistemic’ refers to our knowledge of a system.
(round arrows), while other elements of the system (large rectangles or While two aspects may be epistemically complementary, they
fuzzy objects) are not. For reasons of clarity other routes between squares
might, on an ontic level, be one and the same, but we cannot
are omitted.
say anything about it, for lack of knowledge of that ontic level.
Most of the examples mentioned above – the complementari-
of entanglement derived from it. Generalized entanglement, ty between individual and society, novelty and confirmation,
according to WQT, can happen in all sorts of systems, provid- love and justice, and many others – fall in that category. We
ed the general preconditions hold. Thus generalized entangle- can distinguish a third meaning from those two technical us-
ment is not simply (and inadequatly) an extrapolation of EPR ages of the term complementary, and this is a rather trivial and
correlatedness proper to non-quantum systems. It is rather an loose one. Examples of that loose and trivial usage of comple-
extrapolation of the formal structure used by QM proper to mentarity are the two sides of a coin, which cannot at the
other systems, that predicts entanglement also in those sys- same time be visible, or the fact that a door cannot be open
tems, if some preconditions hold. Thus, generalized entangle- and closed at the same time. It is not always easy to distin-
ment is more like a general template of which QM entangle- guish trivial and loose versions of complementarity from rich
ment would be a very well defined instance. epistemic notions. One distinguishing element is the fact that
whenever complementarity is an essential element of descrip-
A Generalized Version of Entanglement tion, non-commutativity holds, that is, the sequence of ‘mea-
Therefore, the WQT approach is different: WQT proceeds surements’ makes a difference and changes the situation.
from the assumption that the generalized framework of QM While for a coin it does neither change its size, value, or mate-
can be useful in general, even for systems other than material rial composition, whether I view it first heads or tails, for ontic
ones, especially if complementary variables are to be expected and epistemic notions of complementarity sequence this does
within such systems. The idea that complementarity or non- matter, and hence non-commutativity is a defining element.
commuting operations or variables can be expected outside While trivial examples of complementarity are not important
QM is intuitively clear, but it is difficult to say how to define in any sense, QM proper addresses ontic and epistemic levels
or formalize this. Different areas of practical importance for of complementarity. WQT addresses mainly epistemic levels
humans are representative of complementary relationships. and leaves the question open, whether there are also ontic lev-
The classical antithesis of individual and society, or individual els of complementarity. Due to the generalized nature of QM
subject and group, the moral antithesis of love and justice, the used in WQT, the question whether complementarity is ontic
therapeutic antithesis of diagnosis and treatment, the systems or epistemic cannot be addressed and solved. However, WQT
theoretical concepts of novelty and confirmation, or con- still offers a way of dealing with epistemically complementary
stituent and system, are all examples of complementary no- observables and predicts that they produce entanglement
tions. This means that both elements are necessary to describe within a system, independent of its ontic make-up. Thus, most
the full situation, although they are maximally incompatible. examples of complementarity encountered through the formal
Maximal incompatibility is more than a simple negation or treatment of systems according to WQT will in fact reveal
predicative contradiction. To speak in a quasi-geometric anal- richly epistemic descriptions of complementarity, but they will
ogy: Negation or contradiction can be viewed as two extreme not pose any ontic claims about these systems. Nevertheless,
ends of one continuum, as used in visual analogue scales. In- and contrary to first intuitions of many physicists, entangle-

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2003;10:192–200
ment is predicted also for those more general examples. To which purportedly carry some ‘information’. The rule of simi-
distinguish these examples from proper QM examples, we lars was known long before the invention of homeopathy by
refer to them as examples of ‘generalized entanglement’. The Hahnemann, but it was Hahnemann’s genuine insight into
claim of the formal treatment of WQT as in [1] is that such how to operationalize it: He used the remedial substances of
generalized entanglement will result also in certain instances his days and what he later on thought might be useful as a
of epistemically complementary situations and not only in sit- remedy, gave these substances to volunteers, so called
uations treated by QM proper, where complementarity reigns ‘provers’, and observed the symptoms they experienced. This
on an ontic level. is what homeopaths call a proving, traditionally, or a patho-
Thus, we expect that a formalized theory like WQT which is genetic trial more recently [10]. The symptoms collected that
able to deal with complementary variables is useful beyond way make up the homeopathic materia medica, the body of
QM proper. This, then, is the approach taken by WQT. It knowledge about remedies. In the case of an ill patient the
adopts the notion that non-commuting variables are possible, symptoms the patient exhibits are matched with the symptom
indeed necessary to describe some situations, and expected for picture produced by the remedies in healthy volunteers. By
many contexts other than the description of material process- serendipity Hahnemann discovered that when he prepared
es. One prediction following this formalization is analogous to the substances in a certain way, by stepwise diluting and suc-
QM. It predicts entanglement within any system governed by cussing them, and later on by triturating them in lactose, they
complementary relationships. More precisely: Whenever with- become more active and powerful. He called those remedies
in a system there is a global variable describing the complete potencies or dynamisations of the remedies, and nowadays
system and local variables describing parts of the system, then most homeopathic remedies are used in potentized form, al-
entanglement ensues within the system. Figure 1 represents this though treatment with mother tinctures and crude substances,
situation graphically and schematically. as well as low potencies that contain molecules of the original
If this prediction of WQT is not a truism and at all relevant as substance can also be homeopathically indicated.
well as true in the sense that it reflects some aspect of reality, To date, empirical investigations have shown conflicting evi-
then we should be able to both use it as an explanatory struc- dence concerning its efficacy, which is more akin to the empir-
ture for phenomena badly understood so far as well as to ical database of parapsychology [11] than that of medicine. Al-
make predictions which can be empirically tested. And it is in- though some empirical evidence exists which makes the state-
deed necessary to underline at this point that the generalized ment plausible that something other than chance fluctuation
version of entanglement, which I use here, is at the moment a goes on in homeopathy, it is very difficult to pinpoint homeo-
pure prediction in analogy to QM proper. While QM entan- pathic effects in experimental models. It was argued that very
glement has been tested and verified experimentally, general- likely homeopathy is not a causal phenomenon but has more
ized entanglement is only a theoretical option, derived from similarity with magic and paranormal phenomena [12].
the formal framework of WQT. However, it can be tested ex- What is in itself interesting is how something that is not found-
perimentally, because it makes definite predictions about cer- ed on at least a partial grasp of reality could survive two cen-
tain situations. At the moment, we can use generalized entan- turies, as homeopathy has done, in the face of strong academic
glement only as an explanatory tool and test its explanatory and political opposition, if there wasn’t a grain of truth in it.
power as to different phenomena, which have been badly or Historical research has pointed out that at the same time Hah-
not at all understood until now. In what follows I would like to nemann developed homeopathy other theories like Browni-
use homeopathy as an example in which WQT can unfold anism were much more influential and were adopted by the
both explanatory and predictive strength. Lest readers accuse majority of academic medical teachers and intellectuals. Yet
me of undue speculation I repeat here that these explanatory because of the lack of therapeutic effects these died out with-
structures are at the moment purely theoretical and founded out leaving any trace in modern practice [13], while homeopa-
on derivations from an axiomatic framework modelled ac- thy is on the rise. This is so, despite the American Medical As-
cording to QM. They are valid and useful inasmuch as gener- sociation’s witch-hunt against homeopathy during the last cen-
alized entanglement will be experimentally proven to be a real tury [14], or despite the fact that there is little official academ-
phenomenon. Experimental tests of that statement are in the ic research and structural support. The renaissance of
process of being conducted. homeopathy is completely consumer driven, due to word of
mouth of therapeutic effects, and certainly also because it fits
certain world views [15, 16]. Thus we face the situation that
Homeopathy as an Example of a Generalized Version of homeopathy, as a medical theory, is only weakly supported by
Entanglement experimental facts, and highly endorsed by circumstantial and
anecdotal evidence which is unique in the history of medicine
Homeopathy: A Short Introduction over such a long time. Although many other therapeutic prac-
Homeopathy is considered to be a (para-)medical discipline tices were used for a long time, some of which were even
following the rule of similars and using potentized substances harmful, like bloodletting, the situation with homeopathy is

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2003;10:192–200
law of
similars
ease, with a certain meaning, namely the remedy indicated.
similarity Both are matched by the law of similars (fig. 2).
remedy symptoms There are multiple modes of entanglement present here:
sign sign
A) The remedy itself is something like a magical presence of
the past, at least in the case where ultra-high dilutions are
used (note that in the case of low dilutions there might be a
matching mix of entangled states and signalling processes via mole-
object meaning meaning object
cules). We have a general descriptor of something that is not
substance remedy remedy disease present any more, by virtue of Avogadro’s number, and a local
picture
descriptor of something that is used as if it were present. One
Fig. 2. Semiotic triad of homeopathic process – two semiotic processes way of interpreting complementarity here would be temporal,
(object, its sign and meaning) are linked by the law of similars.
then, as something, which used to be present but is not any
more. Thus, the homeopathic remedy might itself be an entan-
gled system by virtue of the process of stepwise dilution and
altogether different. Those practices were backed by a theory succussion used for the preparation, producing a magical pres-
and only partially by empirical experience. They were ence of the substance without the actual material presence.
dropped not as a consequence of empirical research, but as a Then this substance is brought into a relationship with a par-
consequence of change in therapeutic theory. With homeopa- ticular diseased organism exhibiting special signs, which in
thy neither a change in therapeutic background theory, nor other cases were related to and brought about by this sub-
negative experimental results have changed the climate of stance, as represented in the knowledge system of homeopa-
public acclaim together with professional disdain. thy and its materia medica.
B) This therapeutic rationale of homeopathy might enact an-
Explanation: Homeopathy as Enactment of Double- other entangled state between substance and diseased organ-
Entangled States ism, but in this case ‘transferring’ the symptoms from the or-
This points to the fact that some other phenomenon might be ganism back to the substance. If this is true, then, homeopathy
operative here, which is the reason why we propose to look at would be an ingenious system of using entangled states not to
it in terms of an entanglement model along the lines of WQT. induce something, but to exduce symptoms, as it were. In that
This is, how a theoretical reconstruction along those lines case, the substance which is not present, that is the homeo-
might proceed: pathic remedy, would become a kind of receptacle which ‘ab-
The systems aspect of homeopathy is rather obvious. It is a sorbs’ symptoms, insofar as they are related by similarity, the
strong ritual, a healing system of its own with clear rules and more so, the less the likelihood of material presence in the
precepts. In homeopathy remedies are used according to the remedy, or, in homeopathic parlance, the higher the potency.
simile rule which states that in the case of illness the symptoms In homeopathy, then, we would have a double entanglement
of an ill patient have to match the signs which have been ob- situation: The remedy is an entangled state itself between ac-
served in healthy volunteers ingesting a certain substance, ei- tual remedy and original substance (a). This is achieved by po-
ther in crude form or potentized. The potentization principle tentization. The homeopathic ritual enacts another entangled
states that by stepwise diluting and succussing of a substance state between the symptomatology of the patient and the re-
the resulting remedy becomes more active, even beyond Avo- medial substance (b). This is the similarity principle. Only this
gadro’s number. The latter yields the number of molecules per entanglement functions in reverse order. The (unwanted)
mol of substance and in reverse the boundary dilution from symptomatology of the diseased organism is ‘transferred’ via
which onward no molecule of the original solution can be ex- the entanglement produced by the therapeutic ritual from the
pected statistically. In applying a potentized remedy according organism back to the remedy field, as it were.
to the simile rule, then, a homeopath uses something which is This analysis makes obvious that homeopathy hinges on two
not present any more – a substance diluted out – to treat a separate exemplifications of generalized entanglement and thus
symptom picture, which in the past and in other people was re- is in a double sense vulnerable to actions disturbing entangle-
lated to this very substance. This is a double-semiotic structure ment or to incomplete production of entanglement. The first
that has been elaborated on elsewhere [17]. ‘Semiotic’ means one is that of the remedy production process. Entanglement
here that the basic relationship is the one of a semiotic triad could be described here by the global variable ‘no substance
developed by Charles S. Peirce [18], who pointed out that the present’ and the local variable that the remedy is really treated
semiotic triad of object, sign, and the meaning of the sign is as if it were a remedy with ‘something’ in it. Another way of re-
universal. It can be applied to homeopathy in that the homeo- constructing would be that of a global variable ‘specific remedy’
pathic remedy can be construed as a sign for an object, the sub- and the local variable ‘no substance present’. Thus, the first part
stance, conveying a certain meaning, the remedy picture. In the of the generalized entangled state (a) depends on the proper
same sense the symptoms of a disease are the signs of that dis- production process and is intimately connected to the ritual of

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2003;10:192–200
remedy producing. It follows that a more dedicated, more pre- common denominator or the similar remedy, and on the cor-
cise and more time- and energy-consuming production of reme- rectness of the individual symptomatology. That is, the patient
dies should produce better remedies. One prediction would be and the doctor must have hit the nail and have found out the
that remedies which are produced by hand, by trituration or decisive, individual symptoms during the case-taking inter-
other complicated procedures should be more effective than view. This aspect of creating entanglement is more deeply con-
those coming from industrial production with succusion ma- nected to the technically correct application of the rules of
chines or sonicated production. Thus the first part of the entan- homeopathy. It can be disturbed by many aspects, like con-
gled state depends on a correct production process that is possi- necting a patient’s symptoms to the wrong remedy picture, or
bly helped by a pseudo-causal theory, which Walter von Lu- by not finding the truly individual nature of the patient’s suf-
cadou has called a pseudo-machine [19]. fering. If this entanglement between remedy picture and indi-
Let us pause here to note that it is possible to use different vidual symptomatology is created, then any symbol or sign
modes of reconstructing entanglement in a system. It might representing the substance, which is in fact not present, will do
also be possible that the consciousness of the persons active in the job. Hence the anecdotal reports of slips of paper with the
the production and application process plays a role. We have name of the remedy written on as effective (Jeremy Sherr,
deliberately left consciousness out here to show that by only personal communication) or the purported effectiveness of
focusing on the technical aspects of homeopathy a reconstruc- the radionic version of homeopathy.
tion in terms of generalized entanglement is already possible. This double entanglement thus creates a kind of circularity be-
This does not mean, however, that the theoretical reconstruc- tween substance – remedy picture – individual symptomatol-
tion offered here is the only one possible; indeed other ways ogy – remedy/sign of the substance – substance, which is remi-
using similar considerations have been offered already [20]. niscent of circularity in systems-therapeutic contexts and of
The second type of entanglement, that between symptoms and semiotic webs. This double entanglement relates substance to
remedy picture, depends on the global description that the patient and remedy, and patient to substance via remedy, thus
whole symptom picture – that of the patient and that of the obliterating the symptomatology [17]. This analysis construes
remedy – is coherent, i.e. that there is sufficient similarity homeopathy along the lines that are known in modern QM as
(global variable), and the local description that the symptom teleportation of states and distillation of entanglement for the
picture is individual (local variable), since the symptoms of purpose of understanding and creating quantum computers or
the patient are new and unique. The complementarity here is for quantum cryptography [22–25]. This should only be seen
between uniqueness/individuality and similarity/globality. as an analogy, although the fact that a generalized, albeit
One part of this second generalized entangled system depends weaker version of QM can be constructed should warn that
on knowledge and technicalities, namely of finding the correct other quantum phenomena based on entanglement like
remedy in order to link remedy picture and symptom picture tunelling and teleportation might also have macroscopic
of the patient. This link has to be sufficiently strong as well as equivalents, if the situation is prepared accordingly. Quantum
sufficiently correct and similar such that one single global de- teleportation applications always use double-entangled states
scription ensues, namely the remedy picture. The other part is plus a weak classical channel of communication. The latter is
rather simple and of a defining nature. For by the very nature needed to actually decode the original signal, while the entan-
of being individual symptoms the local description of the sys- gled states are used to get the code across. In homeopathy we
tem is always complementary to the remedy picture. The rem- have an analogous situation in that traces of the original sub-
edy picture contains symptoms collected in the past and by stance as a classically conceived information channel could ei-
other subjects; thus, they are temporally and factually differ- ther be materially left over in terms of single molecules, or as
ent. The individual symptoms are complementary to the reme- imprints of those molecules. Thus the research tradition which
dy picture in the sense that they are not common and general- tries to localize signals in homeopathic remedies might in the
izable, but very individual, idiosyncratic exemplifications of end be important in that a classical channel could be estab-
the generic remedy picture. The individual symptomatology is lished by that route which enables the teleportation element
in the same sense complementary to its common denomina- stemming from generalized entanglement to become effective
tor, the remedy picture, as individual and society, freedom and in the first place.
responsibility, singularity and communion are complementary As noted above, it might be possible to reconstruct an entan-
notions [21]. Thus the individual symptom picture and the glement version of homeopathy along different lines, and it
commonality of the remedy symptoms or materia medica are might be possible that for different versions of homeopathy
the complementary descriptions that create the entangled different processes are active which could even be conceived
state of the second entangled system (b). But this entangle- as operating in parallel. The purpose of this analysis was to
ment is, as it were, a negative one and blots out the individual show that such a reconstruction along the lines of WQT is pos-
symptomatology, absorbing it, so to speak, in its common de- sible and yields a plausible explanatory model of homeopa-
nominator. The success of this second entanglement depends, thy, which is able to explain some of the paradoxes and the
on the one hand, on the technical correctness of finding the two basic rules of homeopathy.

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2003;10:192–200
Some Predictions and Possible Tests ough hand-made process or a more time-consuming proce-
dure would produce stronger remedies.
Some predictions can be derived from this analysis, some of 5. Since the nature of the homeopathic therapy relies on a
which are trivial, others could be used as experimental tests: double entanglement process, according to the model advo-
1. Substances which produce stronger symptoms in the origi- cated here, the remedy itself does not do anything by itself,
nal remedy provings or pathogenetic trials should be more if the context is disturbed. If the context is disturbed in a
effective in experimental tests or clinical practice than sub- controlled way, this feature can be studied. One prediction
stances producing the same, albeit weaker type of symp- would be that completely blinded studies produce weaker
toms. Should two substances produce comparable sympto- effects. In EPR entanglement proper the entangled state it-
matologies, then a generalized entanglement theory would self cannot be experimentally tested directly, but entangle-
predict that in a system susceptible to both substances the ment can only be experimentally derived from the statistical
substance which was originally more powerful should pro- behavior of a large ensemble of measurements. In other
duce stronger effects, even if diluted beyond Avogadro’s words, entanglement is observed as a meta-property in ex-
number and used in the same potency as the other one. For periments that do not probe it directly, but indirectly. Due
instance, a plant substance producing mild nephrotoxic ef- to the information-transfer prohibition theorem an entan-
fects used in a kidney-cell system for protective effects, gled state cannot be used directly for information encoding,
should produce smaller effects than mercury, a strongly but only indirectly [26]. If that were possible, super-lumi-
nephrotoxic substance or cadmium, even if all substances nous telegraphy would ensue which violates special relativi-
are used in ultramolecular doses of, say CH200. ty. Thus, a favorable strategy would be to perform a large
2. If two new substances are tested, which have not been series of simple experiments and do a meta-analysis or test
known to homeopathy so far and which, from a phenome- for meta-properties of a statistic, like a change in variance.
nological or physiological point of view are comparable, Also, experimental systems that have more degrees of free-
then the following prediction can be derived: If one sub- dom are more favorable. Thus, in experiments a complex
stance is tested in fewer subjects and hence produces fewer remedy consisting of more compounds is more likely to
symptoms, its therapeutic action should be more restricted show effects than single remedies, or an experimental test
regarding symptoms in people who have been treated, but with multiple outcome measures tested by complex multi-
who were not originally covered by the proving data. By the variate statistics, which uses a compound variable for a sta-
same token, substances better known are more potent, a tistical omnibus test should be more favorable. Also, in
fact widely known and corroborated by practice, and new basic models which use blinding, ‘blinder’ experiments or
substances should become therapeutically more powerful experiments with a stricter policy on keeping the blinding
across subjects with increased use. code should produce weaker effects.
3. This is also an explanation for the widely observed fact that 6. In pathogenetic trials one would expect that the symptoms
clinical symptoms become part of the remedy picture, experienced by volunteers are closely connected to the rem-
which were never observed in provings, but healed by a edy picture. Thus, the symptoms seen should not simply be
homeopathic remedy, as in the case of Rhus tox., which in placebo symptoms, background noise of indiosyncrasies, but
provings mainly produces skin symptoms, but is very useful symptoms specific to the substance. In a blinded trial, which
also in arthritic diseases or certain types of flu. In the same induces another type of entangled state between the true
vein, it should be possible to broaden and amplify the rem- homeopathic and the placebo group, we would not expect
edy picture of a new remedy by frequent clinical use and symptoms to stick to the group taking the homeopathic
incorporating symptoms cured by the substance, which remedy, but also to be seen in the placebo group, but they
were not part of the original picture. are still expected to be typical for the remedy. First data,
4. If in the near future an easy-to-use basic research model is which we are in the process of evaluating, support this.
developed, the following prediction could be tested: If we 7. By the same token, blinded trials of homeopathy are not a
use the same substance in the model, potentized by differ- good idea at all. They are difficult enough for conventional
ent ways, the model would make the prediction that a more pharmacology, although pharmacology deals at least with
time-intensive production process produces more potent some causal mechanism. But they are fatal, if no such
remedies. This prediction could be used to distinguish be- causal mechanism is at work. For the blinding of a trial in-
tween local and non-local models of homeopathy. For a duces another kind of generalized entangled state, namely
local model time or intensity of the production process between the treatment and the placebo groups. The global
does not make a difference, as long as the physical parame- descriptor in that case is that of a trial as blind, the local
ters like energy input and the like are equal. The model of variable is that of a definite assignment of a subject to a
a generalized version of entanglement predicts that even if group. Both variables – blinded study and definite assign-
the physical parameters are less favorable – less kinetic en- ment – are complementary variables and hence entangle-
ergy used in sum total of the production process – a thor- ment would be predicted. This is something we see repeat-

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2003;10:192–200
edly in meta-analyses of conventional blinded trials, where According to the analysis presented here the technical aspects
high correlations between the improvement rates with of finding the correct remedy seem most important, and of
treatment and placebo have been reported [27–29], and guaranteeing a proper remedy in the first place. It might well
thus the effect is also bound to be active in homeopathy be the case that the consciousness of the practitioner and the
trials. We would expect open, non-blinded trials of single- patient likewise plays another important role, not, as yet, ana-
remedy homeopathy versus a control procedure – wait-list lyzed. It is one of the key features of processes such as home-
controls, conventional therapy – to be more potent than opathy, which are a kind of sophisticated modern magic based
blinded homeopathy trials. Since it is difficult to distinguish on a generalized version of entanglement, that they are not
this prediction from the trivial one that higher expectancy completely reliable. That is the reason why for the conduct of
in open trials produce better effects, additional measures our everyday life, we prefer causal systems like automobiles,
would have to be taken to control for that. This could be power-lines, and computers, and why in the normal case of
achieved by deliberately inducing low expectancy, by re- medical care – emergencies, clear causal diagnoses, etc. – we
cruiting patients with a high level of a priori skepticism rely on local processes. Entangled systems are not completely
about the treatment, or by measuring expectancy as a co- reliable, because we do not understand them properly and be-
variate, while at the same time not blinding patients or the cause entanglement by its definition can easily be disturbed. It
doctor. A trial could also be conceived where a simple form might be due to the little understood role of consciousness in
of individualized homeopathy is used, keynote prescribing, such systems that they lack reliability. It could be that if one
which can be done by any doctor, since he has only to dif- wants to enact the magic with a mechanistic-causal mindset, it
ferentiate between some prominent symptoms, which at will fail, precisely because consciousness plays an important
the same time function as inclusion criteria. If the doctors role. This would then constitute a built-in security button:
are deliberately chosen to be homeopathic skeptics and the whoever tries to misuse it, or uses it with a specific intent, can-
expectancy level in patients is measured, then a blinding of not use it at all. This seems to be one explanation for Hahne-
the trial is not necessary to test for the specific effects of mann’s continuous development of his theory and practice,
homeopathy. A trial could even be handled in a way that because he seems to have experienced more failures than his
part of the patients are assigned to the correct remedy and theory would have had it, and so he had to go on improving
part of the patients to the wrong remedy, which is not his method or finding new ways of creating entangled states.
blinded, however, without them or the doctor knowing. The analysis along the lines of a generalized version of entan-
This could be achieved by false ‘training’ of some of the glement presented here is only one of many possible ways of
physicians or nurses dispensing the medications. This could reconstructing entanglement. It is a feature of WQT that it
even be crossed with an induced level of enthusiasm in a does not regulate or quantify the amount of non-commutativi-
2*2 experimental design with ‘correctness of remedy’ ty. In QM proper this is achieved by Planck’s constant, which
(wrong or right) as one factor and ‘enthusiasm’ (high or quantifies the amount of non-commutativity. In WQT there is
low) as the second factor. A traditional placebo hypothesis no such term or constant. Thus, theoretically, entanglement
would predict the enthusiasm factor to be significant. A hy- could be even stronger. There could be multiple ways how en-
pothesis of specific effects would predict the remedy factor tanglement is brought about in real-world systems. And it
to be significant, and possibly an interaction between reme- does not at all preclude causal-local signalling processes going
dy and enthusiasm. But since the trial is not blinded this on in parallel and supplementing them. On the contrary, re-
would constitute a test of the specificity of homeopathy garding the potential biological usefulness of entanglement as
without violating the context conditions necessary for en- a communication system [30], it would be strange if biological
tanglement to be active. Hence it would not be a test of the systems had not used it. Thus it is likely that a closer look at
entanglement hypothesis of homeopathy, but a way to vin- the world and a thorough reconstruction of other situations
dicate the specificity claim against the placebo hypothesis along the lines suggested here, would reveal other exemplifi-
without having to take refuge to a blinded trial that would cations of generalized entanglement, which for lack of a theo-
disturb any potential entangled state. ry and for want of concrete predictions we have not seen so
These are some obvious predictions derived from an entan- far. But this is not surprising, since we normally see only what
glement version of explaining homeopathy. It would be an in- we are expecting or are prepared to see. We have recently
teresting task to devise more predictions and experimental proposed that generalized entanglement, if used by the body
tests. as a communication system to communicate between genes
and subsystems, would both constitute a hyperfast communi-
cation system and a means for the body to ‘know’ when a de-
Perspectives sired end state is reached [31]. It is likely that such processes
play also an important role in other branches of complemen-
Homeopathy can be highly effective, if and only if all circum- tary medicine. Generalized entanglement could be the key to
stances are respected which lead to successful entanglement. understanding a lot of the modern gadgets from radionics to

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2003;10:192–200
electro-acupuncture, from bioresonance apparatuses to other Acknowledgement
purportedly causal machines, which might be clever pseudo-
machines distracting the mind of the patient and practitioner My work is supported by the Samueli Institute (www.siib.org). The
thoughts expressed in this paper have developed over years of discussions
to capitalize on entangled states. If the analysis offered here is
and reading, stimulated first by Walter von Lucadou, and given a new di-
at all useful and has some truth to it we have to suppose that rection by Hartmann Römer. I am grateful for discussions with Hartmann
the same processes play an important role in other therapeutic Römer, who also encouraged me to pursue the analogy to quantum tele-
procedures as well. It is to be suspected that they supply the portation (which I had already discovered, but would otherwise have been
base of what is termed therapeutic alliance or was called rap- very careful to mention). He is a continuous source of insight and under-
standing of that complicated matter. Without this private tuition I would
port by the early hypnotists. My general prediction would be
hardly have been able to understand the important concepts properly.
that it is far more useful for CAM practitioners and re- What is still amiss is due to my own failure to grasp the concepts in full
searchers to explore generalized entanglement as a vehicle for depth. I am also grateful to the referees, Gary Bruno Schmid and Dr.
therapeutic processes and as a model for explanation than to Füchslin. They disagreed with our interpretation that epistemic comple-
find causal-local explanations [32]. The next step should be to mentarity can produce entanglement. Even if we disagree at that point –
and the question will ultimately be an empirical one, as it was in QM
incorporate consciousness into the model. For, after all, the
proper – their report has pointed out some weakness in terminology,
intimate relationship between mind and body, between con- which I have tried to amend. The distinction into strong, weak, and trivial
sciousness and the brain, is also a complementary one [21], concepts of complementarity is due to his intervention, as well as some
and we should expect entangled states both within a human other clarifications. I am also grateful to Lionel Milgrom, who encour-
organism and whenever the human mind relates to other aged me to pursue this line of reasoning. He had worked on his own ver-
sion of an entanglement model of homeopathy quite independently from
minds and to other bodies and objects. It may be here that
me, and was favorable and supportive, even though he opted for a slightly
WQT unfolds its greatest strength and promise, not yet different route.
touched upon. It has always been an intuition of Wolfgang
Pauli, one of the founders of modern QM, that physics will
only be complete if it has incorporated consciousness into a
final theory of matter [33].

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