There are now 61 complementary medicine courses of which 45 are science degrees, the Nature journal reported. University College London Professor David Colquhoun urged watchdogs to act, as complementary medicine was not based on scientific evidence. But supporters of the approach said the views were a “sweeping generalisation”. Professor Colquhoun, of the university’s department of pharmacology, cited the example of homeopathy.
He said it had barely changed since the start of the 19th Century and was “more like religion than science”. He also pointed out that some supporters of nutritional therapy have been known to claim that changes in diet can cure Aids. He said the teaching of complementary medicine under a science banner was worse than “Mickey Mouse” degrees in golf management and baking that have sprung up in recent years as “they do what it says on the label”. “That is quite different from awarding BSc degrees in subjects that are not science at all, but are positively anti-science. “Yet this sort of gobbledygook is being taught in some UK universities as though it were science.”
He suggested it would be better if courses in aromatherapy, acupuncture, herbal medicine, reflexology, naturopathy and traditional Chinese medicine were taught as part of a cultural history or sociological course.