Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Deceiving Degrees

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While it may seem like there is more quackery now than ever before, however, British universities are finally starting to see the light and refuse to offer these pseudoscience courses any longer. A wonderful article in the Telegraph 1 this week discusses this sudden change of the range of courses offered by British universities in response to mounting pressure and campaigns by both the public and scientist, one of the largest was 10:23 2 which is a campaign to raise awareness of the ludicrous claims behind homeopathy, which involved thousands of people ‘overdosing’ on homeopathic tablets, only to show no side effects. While the situation seems to be improving within the UK, there is still a long way to go. The NHS still offers homeopathy and chiropractic treatments; which are a waste of resources, tax payer’s money as well as misleading the patients. Other countries with world renowned universities are also seeing their global reputation tainted because they still offer pseudoscience courses, most notably Australia. While they are many popular Australian evidence-based medicine proponents and celebrities, like Tim Minchin, this seems to not be enough to discourage ‘higher institutions’ from offering degrees is fake science.

 So why are students allowed to waste their money and time on pointless courses, which discourages critical thinking, whilst lowering the value of real scientific courses? For the moment it seems to be down to money, as universities are run like any business, and require tuition to pay for professor’s wages and building maintenance. But putting pressure on the universities by exposing these fake courses has been shown to be successful in the UK, so it’s only a matter of time before the knock on effects are seen in Australia and other countries, in response to increased awareness and protest, but also increased pressure from the student and parents for quality courses in the wake of the depression and rises in tuition fees.

1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9051103/Complementary-medicine-courses-in-universities-how-I-beat-the-varsity-quacks.html
2. http://www.1023.org.uk/

E Markham (2012). Deceiving Degrees Blogspot

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