The third person to be visited by The Pieman can come as no surprise to anyone. It is fellow doctor, story Prof. David Colquhoun, a man who won’t mind me saying has devoted huge amounts of time and effort to attempt to debunk various forms of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). His website, is as fine a testament to what my mentor Eric Ledermann termed naïve realism as you can find on the internet. His arrogant and insulting attacks on homeopathy and any form of CAM that he personally does not consider to conform to his exclusively mechanistic view of medicine, is something to behold. This is a man of strong views – blinkered as these views may be.
Alas this has been a rather bad week for the professor as he watched the NHS irrationally and inexplicably (in his opinion I’m pretty sure) endorse and make available acupuncture (a ridiculous form of therapeutics inexplicably used by billions of Chinese for 5000 years) this week. And in New Zealand, clearly another country whose citizens are incapable of logical deduction, the New Zealand Medical Journal reports that 65% of patients who participated in a survey at a GP surgery had used homeopathy and 92% believed it had helped them! What is is the antipodal world coming to? Clearly participants in this survey must have been suffering from the sequalae of nasty rugby related head injuries. They need psychiatric medication (ECT if necessary) to rescue them from their fugue and make them realise that they have not nay could not have been helped by homeopathy.
In an article criticising degree courses in CAM, published on Ft.com, Colquhoun features prominently along with fellow professorial pie recipient, Edzard Ernst.
Here are some choice quotes (taken from that article) from the honourable professor:
On Homeopathy: “One thing every scientist would agree on is that homeopathy is garbage, and it’s therefore very offensive to us that people are offered BSc degrees in it.” (Every scientist? I don’t think so Prof. Try reading the well-known professor of physics, Fritjof Capra’s The Turning Point just for starters.)
On Homeopaths: “it is ethically objectionable for doctors to lie to their patients about the efficacy of treatments” (When Edzard Ernst made a similar allegation I challenged him to a duel. Homeopaths may be deluded in your opinion Prof. but they believe in the efficacy of their treatments and therefore your oft repeated slur is untrue, vulgar and grossly insulting.
On Prince Charles: “He’s an absolute bloody menace on this.” (In the brave days of old people – even doctors – would have been beheaded at the Tower of London for a lot less than this!)
The article then makes the usual mistake of criticising homeopathy as being non-evidence based and implying that conventional medicine is largely based on reliable evidence. This is simply not true as George Lewith is quoted as saying in the article, as the majority of commonly used and prescribed medicines are far from evidence-based – as has been clearly stated by the BMJ’s Clinical Evidence.
So sorry Prof. Colquhoun, but the time has come for you personally to be visited by The Pieman. And don’t try to dodge his pie by saying that ‘most treatments’ prescribed by doctors are evidence based (as I heard you say at the UCL debate). This pie baked by the BMJ clearly states that it classifies ‘commonly used’ treatments. The opportunity has arrived for you to examine the pie and accompanying notes in the BMJ’s Clinical Evidence at close quarters. Bon appetit!