Pseudo-science take down

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This is not usually the sort of stuff I blog on, but this demolition job on the pseudo-science promoted by Jonas Himmelstrand, a Swedish “expert” who turns out to have no qualification of any worth in the subject he pontificates on (the mental health of children), in the Observer is so masterly that it deserves more coverage.

Here’s a key passage:

Himmelstrand’s talk received enthusiastic coverage in the Daily Mail andDaily Telegraph, which referred to him respectively as a “researcher” and “psychologist”. Lynne Burnham, the secretary of Mothers at Home Matter, told the Observer that Himmelstrand’s research was “all based on proper scientific figures”. She said: “He works quite closely with an American professor and sociologist. I can certainly send you some of his research papers.”

When contacted by the Observer, however, Himmelstrand said that he had been “self-taught”, although his late father was an internationally known sociologist. “I cannot say I have an academic degree, and I have never claimed to have one,” he said. “Some British media have mistakenly written that I am a sociologist. This is not correct.” In the introduction to his House of Commons talk, he said that he was the founder of the Mireja Institute and a “faculty member” of the Neufeld Institute, founded by Canadian psychologist Dr Gordon Neufeld. Last week, however, he conceded that Mireja was a “one-man outfit”. The Neufeld Institute says on its website that it invites people to become “faculty members” if they complete an advanced course in home-schooling and a two-year internship at its “virtual campus”, at a cost of more than £8,000.

One thought on “Pseudo-science take down

  1. Especially fascinating: The Guardian UK had a comment section for the article, with zero comments. It says “Comments closed” despite the publication date of 21 Apr 2013, i.e. today.

    My guess: There is a limit to what The Guardian UK can endure. From past experience, I have noted, sadly, that debunking of pseudoscience crud often elicits even MORE vehement endorsements by advocates of said pseudoscientists… what a terrible work, (I just made it up), “pseudoscientist”,

    Nice catch, CartesianProduct! Not your usual subject matter, but I enjoyed this.

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