Suing Simon Singh will be a disaster for the chiropractic profession

June 4, 2009
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Suing Simon Singh will be a disaster for the chiropractic profession

It would be funny if it was not so tragic for the chiropractic profession, and the BCA leadership will not have the sense to call off their dogs. On the other hand it could turn out that the BCA council knew exactly what they were doing and their action was deliberate so chiropractic sceptics would clearly demonstrate the GCC is not fit for purpose and unable to regulate the chiropractic profession. The video above was from the Channel 4 news on Thursday.

This posting below is from a blog called the Lay scientist and I agree with every word of Martins posting and I am a “chiropractor”. That is everywhere in the world except in the UK where education standards for chiropractors are lower than required in the rest of the world, which may explain why the BCA and the GCC were so fond of sending me solicitors letters when I said something they did not like.


By Martin – Posted on 04 June 2009, 12:24 (GMT)

free debate Simon Singh has announced, with the support of Sense About Science, that he will fight on in the courts to defend his 2008 article about chiropractic. You can see the details here, along with a petition signed by a host of famous names that you add your name to. I’ve reproduced the statement and the first 100 signatures below. I’d like to add a few thoughts of my own (and apologies in advance for the Jim Hacker style hand-waving).

It is impossible to say which way the appeal will go. The odds are probably not good, and the process could take years as the incomparable legal blogger Jack of Kent has warned. There is every possibility that Simon will lose the legal case.

But there are many different kinds of victory and defeat. As a result of this court action and appeal, the reputations of the British Chiropractic Association specifically, and chiropractors in general, are being dragged through the mud. Chiropractors are complaining of receiving letters from angry people across the country. Mass complaints have been sent to Trading Standards and the ASA. The General Chiropractic Council have been deluged with complaints about their members. In short, the chiropractic profession in Britain is now under siege from an aggressive grass-roots campaign, and facing a public relations nightmare that the BCA have created for themselves. What must have looked at the time like a clever response to silence a skeptic has turned into a catastrophe, as their increasingly angry and desperate press releases appear to show.

Against this backdrop we have successfully framed this as a freedom-of-speech issue. All of the major newspapers are carrying stories about the appeal, and with the likes of Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross, a cross-party group of MPs, many journalists and the entire scientific community behind this one hopes that this stream of publicity turns into a river and then a torrent. This is no longer about Simon Singh and the BCA, this is about the defense of fair criticism against censorship, of enlightenment against ignorance. It is about the freedom of you or I to stare a quack in the eye and say "your claim, sir, is bogus."

And that is no trivial matter, in an age when AIDS denialism in South Africa spread by our own crackpot colonialists is estimated to have cost upwards of 300,000 lives. The freedom to criticise claims is vital to a healthy democracy, and freedom itself is a right fiercely protected by the British people. In taking on freedom, the BCA have made a monumental error.

And it is up to us now to compound that error. That means doing more than just tossing a fiver into a pot, but going out and taking action. If you have a computer, and a spare hour this evening, find the website of a chiropractic, see if their claims fall foul of previous ASA rulings, and if so spend ten minutes writing an e-mail to Trading Standards and to the GCC asking them to take action. We should make sure that every bogus claim by every chiropractor is the subject of a complaint, and if we achieve that then we should go back to the beginning of the list and start again, and keep going until every last one has been appropriately sanctioned.

If we can do that, then regardless of the outcome of Singh’s adventures in our legal system, he will be the winner.

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