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Bad advice about cancer from icon / CANCERactive

Professor David Colquhoun apologises formally over content in blog: Bad advice about cancer from icon / CANCERactive

Professor David Colquhoun of UCL has now formally apologised to Chris Woollams and his family for inaccurately suggesting that Mr Woollams used the charity, directly or indirectly, for personal gain.

‘The issue was never one of science. Colquhoun made inaccurate claims about my business affairs and then suggested I was making money from the death of my daughter’, said Chris.

Professor Colquhoun Formal Apology

In my blog posted under the heading ‘Bad advice about cancer from ICON/cancer active’ on 18 May 2012 allegations were made that Chris Woollams’ business affairs involved him obtaining significant personal financial benefits from the charity CANCERactive. I accept, and wish to acknowledge publicly, that Mr Woollams has never taken any money from the charity; to the contrary he has made sizeable donations to it and undertaken significant voluntary work for it. I also accept that the charity and the company Health Issues Ltd, that was associated with it, have nothing to do with Mr Woollams’ business affairs.

He is a father who lost his daughter to cancer, and has devoted considerable funds and time to charitable work in this area. I do not question either his motives or his integrity. I apologise for the distress this has caused both him and his family.

‘Frankly, I would now expect Colquhoun to resign his post at UCL’, said Chris. ‘He used his title as Professor of Pharmacology to give credibility to his inaccurate claims. Once before the President and Provost of UCL, Professor Malcolm Grant, went on record saying Colquhoun should not use the UCL website to make personal comments of this nature.

Here he was not just inaccurate in his attack, he extrapolated some dodgy research into nonsense. Worse, the comments were obnoxious and in the worst possible taste. I would be surprised if UCL didn’t agree. He did suggest on this same DC’s Improbable Science blog back in 2006 that I had founded the charity to make money, but took those claims down when I protested to him and explained that I founded the charity when my eldest daughter was dying from cancer. This time, despite me spelling everything out again in detail, he maintained his empty claims. So much for someone who prattles on about the rigours of science and robust research! While he formally apologises he still shows links on his site to other skeptics making ridiculous claims. So much for his ‘rigorous’ approach to research.

Interestingly he has not just damaged the UCL Pharmacology chair but also damaged the credibility of the whole UK Skeptic movement, and I would think they will push him out to grass too.’

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