One of Canada’s most prestigious universities has defended a course that promoted the benefits of cancer and taught students that vaccines are unsafe, because quantum mechanics. The department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto encouraged health science students to believe many things completely contrary to all scientific evidence, and the University has largely endorsed the course.
For the last two years, the university, which prides itself on its medical research, has run a course known as Alternative Health: Practice and Theory. The lecturer was Beth Landau, a homeopath who tells parents not to vaccinate their children.
Much of the course veered wildly away from the scientific mainstream, but it was week 9 that really attracted attention. Titling the week, “Vaccination- The King of Controversy”, Landau set a reading list entirely made up of comprehensively disproven claims about vaccination, including that it causes autism. She has also publicly stated that measles and chicken pox are great for children’s development (presumably not including the ones that die).
Far from “teaching the controversy,” Landau failed to set any reading from pro-vaccine sources. Readings that draw on peer-reviewed research were presented on epigenetics and beneficial bacteria, but were otherwise studiously avoided.
On the other hand, required reading and viewing requirements included material that appalled scientists from every field. As the National Post reports, the course description included the astounding line that quantum physics “offers clear explanations as to why homeopathic remedies with seemingly no chemical trace of the original substance are able to resolve chronic diseases.” The statement was news, to say the least, to the university’s physicists.
There is even a required reading paper titled, “Cancer is not a Disease – It’s a Survival Mechanism,” with no response from oncologists. This claims that cancer keeps people with “underlying sicknesses” alive.
Canadian scientists have been fighting a brutal assault on science from their government over the last nine years, but probably expect their universities to have their backs.
This time, not so much. The university held an inquiry that largely cleared the course, stating that “the instructor’s approach in the class towards the issue of immunization in particular had not been unbalanced.” The report also claimed that no students had complained, which the campus’ student newspaper appears to contradict.
The university appears reluctant to discuss the course, and the chair of the Anthropology Department has denied that the lecture on vaccination occurred this year, but has not commented on the message sent to cancer patients.
Meanwhile, many people are wondering why an institution with 188 years of reputation to lose would allow this to occur within its hallowed walls. When Toronto University scientists discovered insulin and invented the electron microscope, they didn’t do it by waving their hands and referring vaguely to “quantum mechanics” and “energy traces.” Some have drawn conclusions from the fact the Dean of the University’s Scarborough Campus is Landau’s husband, Dr Rick Halpern.
This course was not entirely isolated, however, with one leading Canadian university conducting research for an organization that compares vaccines to the Holocaust and another recycling disproved conspiracy theories.