Nieuws - 17 november 2011

Anti-quackery brigade cross with Wageningen

The Dutch Society against Quackery (VtdK) is cross with Wageningen's Studium Generale.

The society says the SG gives the floor to pseudoscience. The view is expressed in a letter to rector magnificus martin Kropff. The bone of contention is a lecture series on Biophysical Medicine. According to the VtdK, biophysical medicine is a form of alternative medicine that is based on pseudoscientific fantasies. ‘The university should not give these kinds of idiotic ideas a platform', wrote chair Catherine de Jong in the letter to Kropff.
‘That we promote pseudoscience is utter nonsense', responded Rob van Haarlem, who organized the lectures. ‘Studium Generale offers a platform to scientific and societal developments of all kinds. Biophysical medicine is based on a number of theories drawn from scientific research, such as the effect of bio-photons and electromagnetic radiation.'
Biophysical medicine is a movement that is beyond the bounds of conventional science, admits spokesman Simon Vink on behalf of the executive board. ‘And you won't find it in the research or educational programmes at Wageningen UR. But these sorts of ideas are knocking around in our society. So it is only right that Studium Generale organizes a discussion about it. That is the role they should play. There is scope for it, and it fits in the context of a university. Studium Generale makes no value judgements, but draws attention to the issue. That is not the same as promoting something: they are not legitimizing the movement.' The series had ended now anyway; the last lecture was last Tuesday.