One of the effects of this affair has been the posting of some critical examinations of some of the writings of Dr Ann Walker. I make no comment. The links are here.
This item appeared originally on the old IMPROBABLE SCIENCE page
The reversal of UCL’s request to remove this page from UCL’s server was, in large part, the result of the power of the blogosphere. Here are some of the things that did the trick.
“Moved to tears by the beauty of blogs”. Goldacre wraps up the affair in the Guardian, and on badscience.net (“Stifling Debate – When Bloggers Attack”).
He gives links to the close examination of the work of Dr Ann Walker that that is now appearing.
“UCL have just issued a smashing statement on Prof Colquhoun’s de-excommunication.” Comment from badscience.
This episode seems to have sparked a close inspection of some of the claims made by Ann Walker. Here are some examples.
“Dr Ann Walker and Her Neanderthal Theories”. An analysis of Walker’s theory about the Neanderthal diet, on the quackometer blog. Goldacre comments
“In one piece, Walker promotes the idea that neanderthals were not a distinct kind of human, but degenerate and malnourished versions of ordinary humans: buy pills or regress to a sub-human state, seems to be Walker’s message. Yikes.”
“Ann Walker festival: “There is no convincing evidence that Ginkgo biloba is efficacious for dementia and cognitive impairment” ” Holfordwatch takes a cool look at more claims by Ann Walker.
“Red Clover comments leave a bitter aftertaste” Click here
“The War Against Gobbledygook” Comment from Astrophysicists.
“UCL Makes good” Comment from the University of Minnesota
University Diaries. A US Professor of English reproduced Ben Goldacre’s first
“Science bloggers unite” Comment from a Yale neurologist.
“The Guardian: a quackbuster . . . “ Comment from MIT (and it’s on the MIT server).
“UCL change tack: Colquhoun is back” The Sceptical Preacher speaks
Freedom of speech and litigious herbalists
Announcement 13 June 2007. UCL restores
DC’s IMPROBABLE SCIENCE page.
After taking legal advice, the provost and I have agreed a joint statememt.
Read it on the UCL web site.
“ . . . the Provost and Professor Colquhoun have taken advice from
a senior defamation Queen’s Counsel, and we are pleased to announce that Professor Colquhoun’s website – with some modifications effected by him on counsel’s advice – will shortly be restored to UCL’s servers.”
I am grateful to UCL for its legal support, and I’m very grateful too for the enormous support I’ve had from many people, especially since Ben Goldacre mentioned the site move. Now all I need is a bit of help to get it into a more convenient format. The page will stay at its present address until there is time to sort things out. For some of the fallout from these events, click here. The name of the page has been changed from quack.html to improbable.html on the advice of lawyers, but the old addresses still work.
Announcement 30 May 2007.
My item about claims made for alleged benefits of the red clover and other herbs has resulted in complaints being made to the provost of UCL (Malcolm Grant), and to Chair of Council (Lord Woolf). The complaints have come from Alan Lakin, husband of Ann Walker. I have received no complaints from them myself.
In the six or years that I have been running this attempt to improve public understanding of science, I am aware of only two serious complaints being made, and as far as I know, this is the first to reach the level of the provost. This one resulted in a request to remove of this page from the UCL server, but that is now reversed.
[…] Goldacre has posted the complete text of the provost’s reply to one of the many people who have written to him. You should read the other side of the story too (click here and search for “letter from provost”). Grant has a real problem. He shouldn’t have to spend time fending off herbalists. Yet if they aren’t fended off, more attacks will occur. Who’d be a provost? That is all sorted out now. […]
[…] the one who recently wasted so much time for the Provost of UCL. Luckily that little episode worked out fine in the end. At the last check she worked one tenth of her time for the University of Reading, and […]
[…] for a moment. The herbalists were bluffing no doubt, but they caused enough nusisance that I was asked to take my pages off UCL’s server.at incident. A week later I was invited back but by then I’d set up a much better blog and […]
[…] The fallout from DC’s de-excommunication […]
[…] Ann Walker was able to have David Colquhoun’s blog* removed from the UCL server temporarily after he blogged about red clover and used the word gobbledygook to describe the term ‘blood-cleanser’. The story of DC’s excommunication was carried on the Bad Science blog under the headline “The Mighty David Colquhoun”. […]