Simon Singh Wins His Case

Chiropractic associations’s attempt to silence critic backfires disastrously

It slipped my mind to mention that the British Chiropractic Association had last week withdrawn its libel suit against Simon Singh.

Singh, you might remember, wrote an article for the Guardian in which he criticised the BCA for endorsing bogus claims by chiropractors , and was promptly sued by them for defamation.

The BCA’s action had an unexpected effect, resulting in a flood of complaints about false advertising by individual chiropractors.  It also focussed public scrutiny on the twilight world of alternative medicine, where most assertions are unsupported by fact, and where hard scientific research is in very short supply.

As a consequence of the bad publicity, one chiropractic umbrella group  advised its members to close down their websites, on the very sound logic that, since their claims were nonsense, they might receive unwanted attention from the authorities.

It took Singh two years, and cost him more than £200,000, to defend himself against this attempt to silence his honest expression of scientific opinions, but in the process, he changed English defamation law, which is among the most draconian in the world.

He did rational thought a great service.

I’m surprised at the British Chiropractic Association being so stupid.  After all, the majority of chiropractors are decent, hardworking people who actually do something useful and know what they’re doing.  Furthermore, their work can be studied, quantified and assessed.  It can be peer-reviewed and repeated under controlled conditions.

This is in contrast to homeopathy, neuro-linguistic programming and thought-field therapy.  If you’re a regular reader here, you’ll know that this site has covered all sorts of pseudo-healing guff over the past few years and has several posts on the subject.  Two that spring to mind are the post about NLP, and this one about TFT (thought-field therapy).

Those posts contain links to the websites of various practitioners, and I personally believe that many of the claims contained in those websites are unsupported by scientific research.

It is open to any member of the public to make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland, HERE, and if you happen to believe the same thing as I do, you have the legal right to make a complaint to the ASAI, should you consider it appropriate to do so.

5 replies on “Simon Singh Wins His Case”

His book ” Trick or Treatment ” was a very fair and balanced approach, It was a hare brained reaction by the Chiropratic Association to have sued him, Smacked of gross arrogance.
As a writer he had to suspend his career to fight the case at a huge monetary cost and the additional cost of his loss of earnings through his writing, I hope next week he will be able to recoup at least most of his losses and carry on to educate us further.

THere’s no hocus-pocus surrounding neuro-linguistic programming, any more than with hypotism. Where people go wrong is assumiing it works on everyone and that you can us it on yourself to consciously trick your own subconscious. People who claim they use it on themselves are quite literaly saying they have fooled themselves.

This was truly a great piece of news – the stakes were high – apparently he risked personal penury had he lost.

Here’s a question: Would he have won, had he taken the case here? Am I right in thinking that our libel laws discourage free speech except for those with deep pockets even more than the UK laws?

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