Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Beginning of the End for Quackademics at Salford Uni - but only the beginning for AIDS patients in Tanzania

According to their website, University of Salford (the Greater Manchester University) is the top university in the UK for winning funding from the EPSRC to promote public interest in science, maths and engineering - beating off competition from universities like Cambridge and Oxford.

This accolade is heavily diluted by the fact that you can also graduate with a Bachelor of Science (sic) in Homeopathy in Practice. I know, I know - the 'science' bit threw me as well. Prof David Colquhoun has been leading the charge in blogging about quackery in colleges and Unis for some time.

EDIT 22/01/09 - DC has now blogged this story fully here.

But things are to change, according to today's Times Higher Education Supplement article, "Salford to Shut Complementary Medicine BSc". The University seems to be coming to its senses by announcing that the courses are no longer considered "a sound academic fit". That's a euphemism for "the courses are a load of codswallop wrapped in bullshit". Chinese Medicine is one of the courses as part of this degree and according to the University;
The university plans to run out the undergraduate programme in traditional Chinese medicine for financial and strategic reasons.

However the University and College Union had the following quote, which aptly displayed their attitude towards any University course:
It's tragic that they are closing down a profitable course for spurious reasons related to it not having a social-science methodology.

Or roughly translated;
It doesn't matter if we're teaching bullshit that breaks every law of physics, chemistry and biology ever observed and pretending it's true, it MAKES MONEY!

To quote Adrian Gaylard from the comments section:
Good that its to be stopped; almost beyond belief that it was ever run in the first place

This is a quote I hope to be able to apply to the incredibly disturbing case of Jeremy Sherr, the evangelistic homeopath, who is trying to use his sugar pills to cure AIDS and thereby convince people that nasty lifesaving drugs like AZTs are unnecessary.

I know, difficult to believe.

This isn't just the organic yummy mummies giving Jocasta sugar pills because she didn't sing happily while pouring her exotic five-fruit muesli, this results (if they stop taking the AZT) in people dying. This is one of those occasions where the "What's the harm" argument is demonstrated by a body count.

The story is pretty big, but it is being covered expertly elsewhere, but please read the whole sorry tale - the trial involving AIDS patients on homeopathy or placebo (spot the difference?) followed by Mr Sherr's retraction, website changing, and all the dirty tricks involved with someone who is a homeopathy True Believer™. As is shown time and time again, True Believers™ cannot be wrong, the cognitive dissonance will not allow them to be unblinkered, even when there are people who will die as a result.

Gimpy first blogged about Jeremy Sherr in 2007.
The incredibly unethical 'trial' is blogged by Gimpy here,The Lay Scientist here, JDC325 here and JQH here.
Following some criticism, Jeremy Sherr responded with a typical CAM response - something akin to sticking his fingers in his ears yelling BLEAH BLEAH. The Lay Scientist responded here.
Gimpy's most recent post demonstrates that Jeremy Sherr is not just one whacko crazy mango on the fringes of the homeopathic tree, but in fact acts with the support of the whole homeopathic establishent.

So there you go - in effect, 2 blogs posts for the price of one. What the hell, it's a January sale.


  1. What a bargain though.

  2. If you go to Jermy Sherr's winge, blogspot have helpfully supplied links to this blog and mine. Wish I could see Sherr's face when he realises!

  3. I think he's realised now! I checked the stat counter - quite a few hits from his page......

  4. how about that :

    and that:

  5. Thanks anonymous. What is your point?

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Thanks Anonymous, You must be a very pleasant person to come anonymously onto a forum, and post personal information about someone you dislike.

    What a sweet, normal, likeable person you are.