Validating Woo

[BPSDB]I recently made a Freedom of Information request to the University of Westminster via the What Do They Know website, for documents relating to the decision to offer the Diploma in Qigong Tuina. These are the documents I received as a result.

The Proposal for Validation gives the total campus costs of providing the course as £32,378.17, Central Cost recharges as £9,873.59 and estimates a total income of £84,300 would be generated. Thus the profits surplus would be £42,048.24. This is not really much compared to the total budget of a University and therefore does not seem to be the primary motive for offering the course.

When we learn here that in January 1998 offering such a course was part of the stategic plan of the University’s Centre for Community Care and Primary Health, enlightenment dawns; they actually believe this stuff. In some ways this is more scary than them just wanting to make money. If their interests were purely financial it would be possible to persuade them that it would not be in their best interests to let loose a load of healers with somewhat inaccurate views of the human body. If, as seems likely, they actually believe what they are teaching (in a Life Sciences Department, please note) then they are not going to be so easily persuaded.

Lest anyone thinks that such beliefs are harmless if useless, let me refer them to this item by Ben Goldacre. Ms Wu’s patient now has cancer, kidney failure and heart disease but by God her acne got better! As an aside, if some product of Big Pharma had such drastic side effects the entire alt.med crowd would quite rightly be screaming about it but their silence on this issue is deafening. Now why could that be?

From the information to the Validation Panel we find such gems as:-

…it basically refers to the practice of balancing one’s own or someone elses qi in the body…

and:-

There is growing interest in the Chinese medical model amongst practitioners of Western modalities because its different conceptual framework provides an alternate approach to diagnosis and treatment that can complement Western medicine or even provide a way forward when Western diagnostic
methods are inconclusive.

These are serious points being put forward in a proposal to validate what is allegedly a science diploma. When I previously asked for evidence to support similar statements Westminster did not even try to blind me with science (possibly because there isn’t any), instead they opted to attempt to baffle me with bullshit.

Westminster and other universities were shamed out of thei B.Sc homeopathy courses by David Coquhoun’s revelations as to their content. We can only hope that he and Ben Goldacre are similarly successful here. Because if they are not, many more people are going to be made seriously ill or die as a result of using these faith-based medications.

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3 Responses to “Validating Woo”

  1. Sir Tainley Barking Says:

    There are a lot of things that the course could come under, but a scientific classification is not one of them.

    Philosophy? various things revolving around religion, faith or something similar? Maybe. But SCIENCE? NFW

  2. Louise Says:

    Maybe keeping potential undergrads informed would be a good way to make some noise about the sillyness of this course, is there a facebook group or site for applicants to UoW? Telling them if they’re applying for a biochem course, their school also promotes this nonsense might put students off and have a bit of effect. Undergrads are also great at spreading the word and making some noise around campus, posting a link to here on their facebook group or a student group’s website might be a good way to highlight the issue.

  3. A Third Year of Steam « Letting Off Steam Says:

    […] by the University of Westminster, woo still has a place in Higher Education, covered here and here. The worst of it is that the life sciences faculty of a British University see no problem in basing […]

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