SciencePunk

Nick Cohen has a great article in the Observer discussing the British Chiropractic Association’s legal action against science writer and producer Simon Singh:

Reputable medical authorities could test the evidence and decide whether the treatments work or not. Instead of arguing before the court of informed opinion, however, the BCA went to the libel courts and secured a ruling from Mr Justice Eady that made Singh’s desire to test chiropractors’ claims next to impossible. Because Singh used the word “bogus”, the judge said he had to prove that chiropractors knew they were worthless but “dishonestly presented them to a trusting and, in some respects perhaps, vulnerable public”.

The learned judge did not seem to understand that the worst thing about the deluded is that they sincerely believe every word they say. On Eady’s logic, a writer who condemns as “bogus” a neo-Nazi’s claim that a conspiracy of Jews controls American foreign policy could be sued successfully if lawyers jumped up and said neo-Nazis sincerely believed their conspiracy theories to be true.

The consequences of letting the libel law loose on scientific debate are horrendous. Science proceeds by peer review. A researcher’s colleagues must submit his or her ideas to scrutiny without fear of the consequences. If they think they could lose their homes and savings in the libel courts, however, they will back off.

Full article.

Comments

  1. #1 will
    May 31, 2009

    I blame Bush.

  2. #2 Randall Klopping
    June 1, 2009

    I never got the slightest bit of benefit from going to a chiropractor! I too question the medical value and fear in some cases like a friend of mine, they do harm.

  3. #3 M BOLES
    June 7, 2009

    It appears that the critics of chiropractic are wallowing in a self deluded pool of ignorance heck the word luddite comes to mind.
    Why not seek out the millions of people who are helped by chiropractors and the many others who have avoided crippling back surgey through the efforts of chiropractic doctors……come on waken up.