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Where half-assed knowledge is further diluted into nothingness…


Well, this is fantastic news if you were wondering how to squander $80,000 in four short years:

The American Medical College of Homeopathy’s (AMCofH) new four-year doctoral program is the first of its kind in the country and will provide the most comprehensive homeopathic medical training in North America. The college will matriculate its first freshman class for this unique program beginning in 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. . . .

Those who graduate from the doctoral program will be qualified to diagnose illnesses and treat them with homeopathic medicine. This represents another major step forward in the establishment of integrative medical training in the United States.

For those who aren’t familiar with the terms, “integrative” and “complimentary” medicine are recent euphemisms for the blending of proper science with hilariously inept theories about the origins and treatment of disease. The folks at Science-Based Medicine have written extensively about this Trojan Horse (see here and here, for instance), and there seems to be no end lately to the list of hospitals, medical schools, and major research institutions that have for some reason chosen to accommodate implausible and evidence-free treatment modalities like homeopathy, reflexology, and energy therapy. Some offer continuing education courses (e.g., Harvard’s CME in acupuncture); some serve as hosts for centers in the study of so-called “complimentary and alternative medicine”; some (like the Mayo Clinic) publish entire books that offer undeserved dignity to a whole array of silly interventions. For promoters of “alternative” medicine, of course, these arrangements offer numerous advantages, including the affiliation with scientific disciplines that practitioners of the various crafts ultimately reject.  (Aside from a few extra coins, I don’t know what benefits the host institutions receive from the deal.  Imagine, for example, if a highly respected graduate institution — say, the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce — partnered up with The Weekly Standard and offered courses in the Green Lantern Theory.  We’d wonder if the good people of Kentucky had gone insane.  Then we’d remember Rand Paul, the Creation Museum, and the rest of it, and we’d realize that yes, the good people of Kentucky already are insane.  But still.)

Along these lines, the AMCoH apparently has a relationship with Arizona State University’s nursing program, thorough which students can receive a joint degree in homeopathy and clinical research management.  And as with most contemporary colleges of naturopathy and chiropractic, the new doctoral degree will simulate the pilgrim’s progress of medical school.  For example, students pursuing a Doctorate in Hahnemannian Principles — yes, that’s the name of the degree for now — will be required to attend hundreds of hours worth of basic medical lectures, including sessions on immunology, oncology, endocrinology and numerous other fields that of course have absolutely nothing to do with the animating fables of homeopath and which — if taken seriously — would cause everyone in the program to drop out.  I do have to wonder, though, what a seminar titled “Chemistry for Homeopaths” would actually entail.  Do these people even believe in the Periodic Table?  I kid, of course.  Some homeopaths, it turns out, insist that their water-drenched sugar pills work through some kind of undiscovered supermolecular force — a claim that is somewhat less entertaining than Luc Montaigner’s embarrassing theory that homeopathy works through some kind of undiscovered electromagnetic signal.

At any rate, it will be interesting to see how many hoopleheads actually throw down the $80,000 for this degree.  Homeopaths generally don’t earn high incomes unless they’re already licensed in some other practice (like chiropractic or osteopathy), in which case they can earn the extra income by forking over a few thousand dollars for bullshit online courses.  I’m not sure why anyone would put themselves that far into the hole for a career that offers wildly unpredictable financial rewards, but I suppose I’m really not the target audience for this sort of thing…

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