Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

University challenged for giving undeserved credibility to alternative therapies

By Various signatories

Some of Australia's most prominent doctors, medical researchers and scientists have put their names to a letter criticising a university's decision to teach an alternative medicine course as if it were science.

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Thirty four of Australia’s most prominent doctors, medical researchers and scientists have voiced their concern that the public are at risk of being misled about health treatments after another Australian university announced plans to teach an “alternative” medicine course as if it were science.

Doctors and scientists have written to Central Queensland University (CQU) criticising the university’s decision to train chiropractors, deploring what they see as a trend to offer courses in the sciences and health that are not supported by valid scientific evidence.

The signatories maintain that such initiatives diminish the academic reputation of participating institutes and Australian science as they give credibility to pseudoscience or blatant anti-science.

Prominent science writer and broadcaster, Professorial fellow Rob Morrison commented: “We want the public to be aware of the importance of the treatment they receive being based on scientific evidence. Alternative therapies may have a placebo effect, but wrapping them up as science and discussing them in the same way as treatments that pass rigorous efficacy and safety tests is harmful for everyone. When “alternative” practitioners claim that they can treat a range of serious illnesses as many alternative websites do, they need to be subjected to rigorous scientific scrutiny.”

Professor Marcello...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

In July/August 2011 Australasian Science published an article criticising RMIT's paediatric chiropractic clinic, which was headed by Professor Phillip Ebrall. See http://www.australasianscience.com.au/article/issue-julyaugust-2011/chir...