Criticism is mounting in medical and scientific circles over the announcement by a community college that a course in homeopathy will be offered IMAGE-aga7ta/Shutterstock

Scientific anger over college degree in homeopathy

A number of medical and scientific personnel are expressing their shock at an Ontario Community College.

Starting this fall, Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario, will offer a diploma in homeopathy, a practice the critics says is mere quackery.

Critics say there is no scientific evidence that homeopathic compounds have any effect at all. Clinically unproven claims by makers of homeopathic treatments make them targets for class action lawsuits in the U.S PHOTO :CBC

The critics are also upset that public money is helping fund the three-year course as the community college is publicly funded institution and students can request loans and grants from the publicly supported Ontario Student Assistance Programme.

The critics say the college course is legitimising a pseudo-science. In a 1998 editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association,   Drs Fontanarosa and Lundberg wrote in part; “There is no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data, or unproven medicine, for which scientific evidence is lacking”.

Tim Caulfield , University of Alberta professor of Health Law and Policy was outraged to hear of a diploma programme in homeopathy IMAGEl Caulfield -twitter

In an open letter to the local paper the Barrie Advance,  Dr. Chris Giorshev wrote in part that the otherwise respected college “has recently drifted into teaching pseudo-science by introducing a homeopathy program”.

Saying that homeopathy makes no scientific sense he wonders how such a course could “even be delivered ethically” then adds,”A harmful consequence of offering homeopathy at colleges is that it gives it an air of legitimacy. This greater perceived respectability will inevitably lead people to assume, quite wrongly, that homeopathy is a valid form of medical treatment”.

In a PostMedia article, Joe Schwarcz, director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society is quoted saying, “The real danger in homeopathy is not toxicology — there’s nothing in there,” he added. “The real danger is toxicity to the mind because it can convince people to go down this ridiculous route when there actually might be treatments that can work for whatever condition they have.”
Homeopathy became a licenced profession in the province of Ontario in 2015, which also raised criticism at the time and since as giving some degree of legitimacy to the field.

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