Langara College and the Bullshit it Peddles

culture, Education, ethics, philosophy, science, skepticism 2 Replies

When I first came to Vancouver from Ireland, I found out about the student loan program that was available in Canada and discovered that I could actually afford to go to University. I’d just missed the enrollment deadline for the University of British Columbia, but a helpful advisor there suggested a number of avenues I could take. One of which was Langara College.

My two-ish years there were well-spent, studying a variety of topics, learning how much I sucked at mathematics, how much I hated chemistry, and how interesting I found philosophy. Twas a good period, and I believe that the academic faculty there, in most all disciplines, are great teachers.

But then there’s the “Health and Human Services” bullshit that it peddles…

The cash-cow of Langara College is the ‘how to do magic’ courses that sells. While not quite as explicit as Hogwarts, Langara is proud to sell to any gullible rube classes on “Cranial Sacral Therapy“, “Integrative Energy Healing“, “Holistic Aromatherapy“, and a whole pile of other hogwash. Let’s be clear here: these do not work. There are no well-conducted studies that support the conclusion that they work. Every well-conducted study that has been done has reported that ‘these interventions do not work’. This isn’t a case of ‘they don’t work for you‘, they simply don’t work.

In case the above sentence is tricky to comprehend: when you turn the key on a car and the engine starts one time in one thousand, it’s not that the car doesn’t work for you, it’s the case that it doesn’t work. The one time the car started was clearly a fluke of circumstances and had nothing to do with you reciting a “magical incantation” or anything else.

In order to pull in more dupes and unsuspecting marks, Langara College posted this to its Facebook page:

Langara College's "Information Evening" for various bullshit therapies

Both Advanced AND Intensive Integrative Energy Healing? Where do I sign up!!!

A quick caveat: neither Registered Massage Therapy (RMT) nor Yoga are necessarily bullshit. These can be taught with attention paid to the evidence-based studies that have been done so far. With regards to learning more about basing claims in massage around evidence, I can’t but recommend Paul Ingraham’s most excellent website Save Yourself (disclaimer: I personally know Paul). That said, RMT at Langara is based in a department infused with this tripe, and if you look at the curriculum for the program you can see that it does, indeed, teach these fraudulent practices.

This, I have to admit, frustrates me immensely. That an accredited educational institution is selling courses on how to defraud people while disingenuously calling it something else (i.e. “Integrative Energy Healing”) is extremely galling. It’s a black mark for the educational system of Canada, and a thumb in the eye for all who graduated from that institution: there’s no way I’m going to put “Langara College” on my resume. I have zero interest in being associated by an institute that endorses fraud and deceit.

If this bothers you too (and I hope that it does), you can let Langara know of your displeasure. While there is a general contact page, I would recommend contacting the ‘Community Engage’ people. I’ve saved you the trouble of searching for them, and have included their information here:

 

Name Type Phone Room E-Mail Position Department
Daykin, Roy Local 323-5630 C416 roy.daykin@langara.bc.ca Vice-President, Administration and Finance CFO & VP, Admin & Community Engage
FAX, VP Finance and Admin. Fax 323-5597 CFO & VP, Admin & Community Engage
Sharan, Doreen Local 323-5641 C412 dsharan@langara.bc.ca Executive Assistant CFO & VP, Admin & Community Engage

 

What do you think: is it appropriate for educational institutions to offer courses that do nothing but defraud the general public?

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