“When I started my Exeter post in 1993, I became the director of the country’s very first university course in complementary medicine. This was a surprising and somewhat traumatic experience. I soon realized that much of what was being taught for this BSc degree course was hair-raising nonsense and pure pseudoscience.
I therefore spent much of my first year in Exeter trying to disassociate myself from this dubious outfit. To achieve this aim, I even agreed to give £50,000 of my research funds to the ‘Centre for Complementary Health Studies’, as the unit that ran this course was called. Despite this injection of cash, the unit had to close a couple of years later.
Problem solved, I thought. But I was wrong. In the years to come, a multitude of similar courses cropped up in universities across the UK. Pseudoscience, it seemed, was popular and about to invade British institutions of higher education at an unprecedented speed.
Realising the danger in all this, Prof David Colquhoun, emeritus professor of pharmacology, UCL, has fought relentlessly for several years to first obtain information about such courses and subsequently disclosing the nonsense that was being taught to a wider public. His work was hugely successful, and most universities have now closed these quackery-infested courses.
Now, a new organisation, The Nightingale Collaboration, has been formed which is currently targeting the pseudoscientific remnants at UK universities. Only few institutions still run such courses:
· Edinburgh Napier University
· University of Central Lancashire
· University of Westminster
The latter provides a multitude of BSc courses with overtly nonsensical contents. It thus provides the current focus of action. The Nightingale Collaboration wants to assist the vice-chancellor of Westminster to save the reputation of his institution by discontinuing the teaching of pseudoscience.
If you think that pseudo- and anti-science have no place at UK universities, the Nightingale Collaboration provides detailed instructions as to what can be done. In the interest of good science, of more evidence-based healthcare, of progress and, most importantly, in the interest of your patients, I think you should consider helping.”
Professor Edzard Ernst is professor of complementary medicine at the Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter
© 2011 Coffee Loving Skeptic
Stop the teaching of pseudoscience
Taken from: Stop the teaching of pseudoscience - 12.53PM 28 July 2011 by Edzard Ernst
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