Today, in The Australian newspaper, it was revealed that “Central Queensland University will next year offer [chiropractic] courses in Brisbane and Sydney alongside its Mackay courses”. The Chiropractors’ Association of Australia has been working hard since Macquarie University decided to dump its chiropractic course due, diplomatically, to its status of, shall we say, research unencumbrance.
It is interesting to note that CQU is undertaking its outreach into NSW with the financial backing of the CAA:
CAA said its offer of $250,000 to support learning and research had helped persuade CQU to extend its courses to Sydney and Brisbane. “The association is determined to drive a research-led culture in chiropractic and these decisions for Brisbane and Sydney are a vote of confidence in the future of the profession,” CEO Andrew McNamara said in a statement.
The “research” angle was also pumped hard by Phillip Ebrall, the head of the CQU chiropractic school:
“Our chiropractic science students can look forward to an evidence-based approach to the discipline, supported by growing research activity to ensure they will be future leaders of the profession,” said program head Phillip Ebrall.
Now, I’ve had it stated to me by chiros that the theory of subluxation is not, and has never been, taught in the major schools, such as Macquarie and RMIT. I often wonder, then, why it so prevalent amongst CAA chiropractors, and stated as a research prerogative by the Australian Spinal Research Foundation, an official “Associated Organisation” of the CAA. I just thought that it must happen once the claws of evidence based practice are retracted, when the young chiro goes out into free range practice, under the auspices of long-term CAA members.
Well, I guess we won’t need to wonder in the future. This is Phillip Ebrall, head of the CQU course, again. From 2009:
Inspired by a visit to Disneyland this paper explores the challenges associated with the need to teach something that may not exist…perhaps the entire profession of chiropractic is a ‘bizarre fiction’ with no substantive grounding. If so, what is the basis for anyone being a chiropractic academic? In writing this paper the content preceding the point was shared with an academic colleague of the writer. The colleague is a learned man with qualifications in chiropractic and philosophy and suggested the writer should stop wasting time and simply accept that the subluxation exists…as long as we lack a technological means to generate quantitative evidence of the subluxation and its effects on human function, there is little option other than to rely on an intelligent use of language within a true context of philosophy to encapsulate the discipline’s beliefs…it matters not whether the subluxation is a tangible clinical entity with physical dimensions or a mental creation; what does matter is that the statements used to describe it are in themselves true. – Ebrall, P., Chiropr J Aust 2009, 39: 165-70.
And, in 2012:
To this writer the construct of the subluxation, being central to the practice of educated chiropractors, is somewhere around where black and white television was in the 1960s. This means we must look ahead and prepare ourselves to move into colour and then upgrade to a flat panel. In other words, we are in the Century of the subluxation and this confers upon us all the imperative to learn more about this thing so we can live it better. – Ebrall, P. Chiropr J Aust 2012, 42: 121
The CAA has quite the war chest at hand for the promotion of chiropractic, as seen above. As noted in The Australian:
More developments are likely after CAA approved a $2 million fighting fund to improve the chiropractic’s research profile.
In fact, I’ve seen mention of a large accruement of funds before, but it wasn’t used for research. Maybe they’re serious this time. From the CAA 2012 President’s report; here are some of the expenses: the employment of a political lobbyist, and the employment of a public relations firm.
Evidence? No way, chirostars. It’s all about protecting the public image from questions regarding evidence. It’s not about providing evidence. It’s about holding back-slapping conferences of mutual admiration, selling each others’ wares, and promoting each others’ beliefs. It’s about attacking and denigrating people who ask for evidence. It’s about not being crystal clear about your anti-vaccinationism, and your belief in the invisible. It’s about avoiding public scrutiny, so you can privately affect the health choices of others, without having pesky regulations and codes of ethics intrude upon your love-circle. Then it’s about demanding respect in the public sphere, whilst threatening legal action against those who would ask legitimate questions. Then you claim it’s about the research…