I was handed a prospectus for Schumacher College in Dartington when I gave a talk on supernatural beliefs at the Literary Festival there last week. Judging by the picturesque cottages in the glorious Devonshire countryside, I was reminded of Enid Blyton novels and wrongly assumed that the area had a sense of wealthy middle-class conservatism. But I was wrong. After Glastonbury, the epicentre for New Ageism in the West of England, is apparently nearby Totnes.
This may explain the content of some courses offered by Schumacher College. I was particularly drawn to the Masters Degree in Holistic Science (MSc) as this was the first course of its kind and is accredited in partnership with the University of Plymouth. The residential course integrates qualitative and quantitative approaches and explores methodologies that go beyond reductionism in understanding the dynamics of whole systems, from individual organisms to organisations and eco-systems to the Earth. This all sounds great but I wondered about the scientific rigour of the content. Also it seems expensive at £11,465 for home students and £14,105, for a one year course. Still I expect there should be some demand for this.
I have to be careful about slating a university-accredited graduate science degree but when it has contributions from astrologers and morphic resonance theorists, I guess I will leave it up to Ben Goldacre to investigate… now where did I put his email?