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Tags chiropractic , simon singh

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Old 7th May 2009, 07:59 AM   #161
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Absolutely bizarre
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Old 7th May 2009, 08:05 AM   #162
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Is that an insurmountable hurdle?
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Old 7th May 2009, 08:09 AM   #163
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Originally Posted by volatile View Post
Is that an insurmountable hurdle?

Don't know. Keep reading this developing discussion:
http://www.badscience.net/forum/view...php?f=3&t=8946
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Old 7th May 2009, 09:58 AM   #164
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Some details at http://www.indexoncensorship.org/200...famation-case/
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Old 7th May 2009, 11:15 AM   #165
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BCA statement just released:
Quote:
7 MAY 2009

In April 2008 Simon Singh published an article in the Guardian newspaper and on Guardian Online in the course of which he wrote that:

“the British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence. This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.”

The BCA asked Dr Singh to retract his allegations because they are factually wrong, defamatory and damaging to the BCA’s reputation. Dr Singh refused to do so.

In July 2008, the BCA issued libel proceedings against Dr Singh. He defended his position and the case has been continuing.

At a hearing on 7 May 2009 in the Royal Courts of Justice before Mr Justice Eady, Dr Singh’s submissions that what he published was not defamatory and that it was fair comment were roundly rejected by the Judge. Mr Justice Eady held:

1. that what Dr Singh had published was defamatory of the BCA in exactly the way the BCA had claimed; and
2. that Dr Singh’s allegations were not comment but were serious defamatory allegations of fact against the BCA.

Dr Singh’s application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal was refused by the Judge. Dr Singh has indicated, however, that he proposes to challenge that decision at the Court of Appeal and he now has three weeks to lodge that challenge.

Mr Justice Eady ordered Dr Singh to pay the BCA’s costs of the hearing within 28 days.

After the hearing BCA President Dr Tony Metcalfe said, “The BCA brought this claim to preserve its integrity and reputation. I’m delighted that the Judge has vindicated the BCA’s position.”

The trial will conclude later this year.

http://www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk/gfx...%2005%2009.pdf
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Old 7th May 2009, 11:55 AM   #166
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So in what way was this a preliminary hearing? Because if Simon is having to pay costs now, that makes me think that it is all over.
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Old 7th May 2009, 12:56 PM   #167
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One of the first reports from inside the court room:
http://godknowswhat.wordpress.com/20...n-in-the-neck/
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Old 7th May 2009, 12:56 PM   #168
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Wow. I wonder how big of a bribe the BCA paid to that judge?
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Old 7th May 2009, 01:23 PM   #169
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I was very concerned about Simon's statement that there is "not a jot of evidence" that chiropractic treatment can "treat" the conditions listed, as it wouldn't surprise me to find that they can produce something a judge would regard as evidence, even if it was only a handful of testimonial letters. I thought he might stumble on that point. What has actually happened is quite a shock.

However, maybe it shouldn't have been. The BVVS had a simmilar experience with the RCVS, who decided that a link from the BVVS web site to Peter Bowditch's anti-homoeopathy articles called "How could any honest person sell this rubbish?" and "It's official - Homeopaths can tell lies" amounted to a statement that veterinary surgeons who practise homoeopathy are guilty of deliberate fraud. This despite the fact that the links were clearly part of an "external links" listing, and the actual articles make no mention of veterinary surgeons or veterinary homoeopathy. The RCVS was very very abrupt on the subject and would listen to no argument, even resorting to threats against the BVVS members when the links weren't immediately removed. This was in marked contrast to the kid gloves with which the BAHVS were treated when they repeatedly procrastinated over an instruction from the RCVS to remove a clearly fallacious claim on their web site (that homoeopathy was an RCVS recognised speciality).

Interestingly, the links are still on the BVVS site - all we did was change the wording displayed from the titles of the two articles to "Another article" and "Yet another article". This was trumpeted by the BAHVS as the RCVS "forcing the BVVS to remove some of the most egregious claims from their web site." Which was a bit of a climb down really, because the original complaint had asked for us to be suspended from the Register - which would have meant us losing our jobs and being unable to earn a living from our profession.

So I really shouldn't be surprised by any of this.

Rolfe.
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Last edited by Rolfe; 7th May 2009 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 7th May 2009, 01:33 PM   #170
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Rolfe - I had no idea all that had happened with the BVVS. Am a bit boggled.
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Old 7th May 2009, 02:23 PM   #171
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Quote:
I’m delighted that the Judge has vindicated the BCA’s position.

Actually, all the judge has done is to decide upon the exact meaning of the words complained of, as far as any further argument in the case is concerned. No evidence has so far been heard.

ETA: the quote is from the BCA statement.
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Last edited by Mojo; 7th May 2009 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 7th May 2009, 02:41 PM   #172
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Interestingly, the links are still on the BVVS site - all we did was change the wording displayed from the titles of the two articles to "Another article" and "Yet another article". This was trumpeted by the BAHVS as the RCVS "forcing the BVVS to remove some of the most egregious claims from their web site."

Spin, in other words.
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Old 7th May 2009, 03:04 PM   #173
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Yup.

Rolfe.
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Old 7th May 2009, 05:27 PM   #174
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I'm really surprised at this, I'll admit that I'm not very well versed in the legal system and this is quite an eye-opener.

As has been said elsewhere, Simon has been put in the position as I see it, of being asked to prove something he doesn't believe and didn't say(or at least didn't intend to say).
I'm interested in what happens next, at the Court of Appeals he can presumably refer to his other writings where the idea of people believing what they are doing despite the evidence should be clear.

I have a few questions if anyone is familiar with the legal system.

Why can the judge refuse the right to appeal? What factors would affect his decision to do so?
This seems to be an extra hurdle for Simon: next he challenges the judges decision to refuse an appeal, then, if successful, he makes the appeal itself. Correct?
If he is unsuccessful in appealing the judges interpretation of his words it seems likely the defence will be dropped as he is not going to argue something he does not believe to be true. If he does this is he free to then discuss his reasons publicly where he could make his decision clear or would he be in contempt of Court or something?

Sorry for all the questions.
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Old 8th May 2009, 07:36 AM   #175
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Originally Posted by fingersmith View Post
I'm really surprised at this, I'll admit that I'm not very well versed in the legal system and this is quite an eye-opener.

As has been said elsewhere, Simon has been put in the position as I see it, of being asked to prove something he doesn't believe and didn't say(or at least didn't intend to say).
I'm interested in what happens next, at the Court of Appeals he can presumably refer to his other writings where the idea of people believing what they are doing despite the evidence should be clear.

I have a few questions if anyone is familiar with the legal system.

Why can the judge refuse the right to appeal? What factors would affect his decision to do so?
This seems to be an extra hurdle for Simon: next he challenges the judges decision to refuse an appeal, then, if successful, he makes the appeal itself. Correct?
If he is unsuccessful in appealing the judges interpretation of his words it seems likely the defence will be dropped as he is not going to argue something he does not believe to be true. If he does this is he free to then discuss his reasons publicly where he could make his decision clear or would he be in contempt of Court or something?

Sorry for all the questions.

Jack of Kent has now blogged on yesterday's ruling:
http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2009/...illiberal.html

It might be an idea to put those questions to him in his comments section.
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Old 9th May 2009, 01:17 AM   #176
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More from Jack of Kent:
http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2009/...h-do-next.html
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Old 9th May 2009, 01:30 AM   #177
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I was very concerned about Simon's statement that there is "not a jot of evidence" that chiropractic treatment can "treat" the conditions listed, as it wouldn't surprise me to find that they can produce something a judge would regard as evidence, even if it was only a handful of testimonial letters.
I agree. It was that sentence that worried me. In a rhetorical sense, we know what he meant and would agree, but when "not a jot" is literally equivalent to "absolutely zero" it is hard to defend its literal truth.

But still, it is a huge great clunking legal fist being used to try to intimidate a single person instead of dealing with the issues of evidence and risks versus benefits.
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Old 9th May 2009, 01:50 AM   #178
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Of course if it is shown not to be libel then...
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Old 11th May 2009, 03:32 PM   #179
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Simon Singh interviewed on the always excellent Little Atoms. There's very little new on the case (of course he is still limited on what he can say) but we can all be happy he's still sounding upbeat!
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Old 13th May 2009, 04:05 AM   #180
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The case is discussed by 'Ratbiter' in this week's Private Eye.
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Old 14th May 2009, 12:50 AM   #181
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Latest update:
http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2009/...d-roundup.html
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Old 14th May 2009, 05:10 AM   #182
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http://www.inditop.com/health/indian...-chiropractors

Quote:
The Guardian said in a statement published Thursday it has removed the article from its website because it was the subject of a legal dispute.

“We supported Simon and funded his legal advice when the case was brought against him. The recommended legal advice was to settle out of court and we offered to pay for the British Chiropractic Association’s costs should he choose to follow this course of action,” the newspaper said.
Very commendable of the Guardian to offer that support. Hats off to them.
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Old 14th May 2009, 06:05 AM   #183
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We're unlikely to find out if he has any links to Chiropractors....From a Daily Telegraph article of last year:

'Colleagues describe him as unclubbable, preferring to retire to his London flat or catch the train home to Kent after work rather than going for a drink to unwind. He guards his personal life with such jealousy that his Who's Who entry contains no details of any hobbies or interests, and few of his neighbours appear to have any idea who he is. '

And it doesn't augur well for any appeal:

"The fact that he has not been promoted just gives him even more power. His decisions are rarely successfully appealed, a fact which speaks for itself, and he has such seniority within the High Court that he will carry on shaping the law in a way that few other judges can."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...s-privacy.html
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Old 14th May 2009, 09:26 AM   #184
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Now in The Economist
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Old 14th May 2009, 11:49 PM   #185
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From the Facebook group
Quote:
I understand that Simon Singh will announce whether he will appeal on Monday 18 May 2009 at a public support meeting to take place in London at 6.30pm.

The venue will be the Penderels Oak, the usual meeting place of London Skeptics in the Pub.

As well as Simon Singh, the leading UK journalist Nick Cohen will be speaking. Other speakers are currently being confirmed.

For more, see: http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2009/...d-roundup.html

I also have an article in this week's New Scientist, see http://www.newscientist.com/article/...-well-sue.html

Many thanks for your support!

Best wishes
David
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Old 15th May 2009, 03:23 AM   #186
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Originally Posted by edd View Post
Now in The Economist
And with a supportive comment from Evan Harris MP, a tenacious member of the parliamentary select committee on innovation, universities, skills and science, and a determined anti-quackster.
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Old 15th May 2009, 05:46 AM   #187
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Originally Posted by Thing View Post
And with a supportive comment from Evan Harris MP, a tenacious member of the parliamentary select committee on innovation, universities, skills and science, and a determined anti-quackster.
We have one of those? Are there any more in parliament?
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Old 15th May 2009, 12:06 PM   #188
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Depends if you count Dick Taverne.

Here's Evan's comment:
Quote:
As a Member of Parliament in the UK with an interest in evidence-based healthcare, free speech and scientific rigour, I am very concerned by what is happening in the Simon Singh case.

It is vital that this case is not lost because it will chill scientists, journalists, writers and even comedians from criticising the work of others which is vital component of the scientific method. It will also embolden the non-evidence-based (so called "alternative") health care industry to threaten any critic of their approach, work or claims. It will also add credibility to the claims of these organisations.

The article also points out some of the problems with UK libel laws which are rather more perilous for the defendant than the claimant with regard to defences and burden of proof and the current interplay between UK law and international agreements means that libel tourism is taking place with London being the most attractive resort for wealthy and powerful individuals to seek damages.

The good news is firstly that Simon has many friends and supporters who will be organising a campaign on this and secondly that the UK Parliament is aware of the problem with libel law and there has been debate and an on-going enquiry into the issue. See http://pubs1.tso.parliament.uk/pa/cm...17/halltext/81... and http://www.publications.parliament.u.../cmcumeds/memo... for these.

The stakes in this case are very high for the future of rigorous scientific criticsim and for free expression.

Dr Evan Harris (MP Oxford West and Abingdon)
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Old 15th May 2009, 12:48 PM   #189
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Also an chat with Simon about the case at the start of his interview in this weeks Little Atoms:

http://www.littleatoms.com/simonsingh.htm

Interview 2, somewhat obviously.
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Old 17th May 2009, 02:33 AM   #190
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An update from Simon Singh, Sunday 17 May, 2009
(Via his e-newsletter – not yet available on his website http://www.simonsingh.net/)

Quote:
I apologise for the silence since last week’s bad news at the High Court, but at last I have been able to take stock of the situation and write a quick update.

It has been over a year since I wrote an article for the Guardian newspaper (19 April 2008) about chiropractic, its effectiveness in relation to childhood conditions and its risks. The British Chiropractic Association then decided to sue me for libel and I have spent most of the last twelve months building a defence.

Prior to the full trial it was agreed that it would be helpful for the actual meaning of the article to be established in a preliminary hearing. On Thursday 7 May 2009 the preliminary hearing took place at the Royal Courts of Justice in front of Justice David Eady. It is not an understatement to say that his ruling was, from my point of view, disastrous and misguided.

The core of my article, and the aspect that I thought was mainly under scrutiny, suggested that chiropractors lacked evidence to support their treatment of several childhood conditions. I therefore called these treatments “bogus”.

The judge held that merely using the phrase “happily promotes bogus treatments” meant that I was stating, as a matter of fact, that the BCA was being consciously dishonest in promoting chiropractic for treating the children’s ailments in question, in that they were promoting treatments they knew were ineffective.

Although I maintain my position that such chiropractic treatment for childhood conditions lacks any significant scientific basis and that chiropractic in general carries risks, I do not and never have meant to imply that chiropractors are deliberately and dishonestly offering such treatments. My view is that, for example, they may not know the scientific evidence, they may not understand it or they may have a biased interpretation of the evidence – I don’t know. More generally, I share the commonly held view that alternative therapists who offer treatments unsupported by reasonable evidence are deluded rather than deliberately dishonest. I think that Justice Eady has failed to interpret the meaning of the article in the way that a reasonable reader would understand it.

The current ruling by Justice Eady means that I stand very, very little hope of a successful defence at trial, so going to trial is not a realistic option. My two reasonable options are to:

1. Settle now, which will cost in excess of £100,000 (the vast majority of these costs would be to cover the BCA’s legal bills, as opposed to damages).

2. Submit an appeal in relation to the meaning of my article, hoping for a more reasonable ruling on meaning and then fight the case on what the article really meant.

I have until May 28 to lodge an application to appeal. I am seriously thinking about this option and am discussing it with my lawyers. It would increase my legal costs and eat up more time, but on the other hand I think I deserve the chance to fight my case on a reasonable interpretation of my article.

Moreover, this case demonstrates the chilling effect that the libel laws can have journalism in general, and science journalism in particular. The events of last week impact far beyond the author of one article on the subject of chiropractic.

Last Thursday was a miserable day, but I like to think I am as resilient as a Tigger. I am certainly in good spirits. In particular, family, friends, readers and bloggers have all cheered me up.

Thanks also for your supportive messages. I will try to reply to emails, but please forgive me if I don’t. The best option is to post to the Facebook site (see below) – I do regularly read the wall and it frequently makes me smile. I should also point out that the enormous support that I have received from around the world has certainly made me more enthusiastic about lodging an appeal (if this turns out to be a practical option). Scientists, journalists, comedians, rationalists, skeptics, bloggers, politicians and those who care about free speech have all expressed their outrage at last week’s ruling.

The next event that will interest those following the case is a public meeting on Monday 18 May at 6.30pm at Penderel’s Oak Pub (283 High Holborn, WC1V 7HP). Speakers will include me, the amazing Nick Cohen, the fantastic Dave Gorman and the heroic Evan Harris MP.

If you cannot make it to the meeting, then please help by letting others know about the case, the ruling and the possibility of an appeal. If there is an appeal, then it would be great to launch it upon a strong tide of public support.

If you want to find out more about the case (or want to inform others) then below are some useful links. This includes mainstream media coverage in New Scientist, Nature and the Economist.

Thanks again to everyone who has been so supportive.

Simon (still smiling) Singh.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=33457048634
For Simon Singh and Free Speech - Against the BCA Libel Claim
This seems to be the best place for keeping up with the latest news and developments. It contains links to various blogs and articles commenting on the case. Joining the group is a great way to show your support.

http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/
Jack of Kent’s blog is well informed and written from an expert’s point of view. Recent update postings include:
http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2009/...illiberal.html
http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2009/...h-do-next.html

Googling words such as SIMON SINGH, BCA, LIBEL will take you to lots of blogs and articles about the libel case. Google news is particularly helpful (search “SIMON SINGH”, and you can also then click on the blog option.
http://news.google.co.uk/news

Coverage
http://www.newscientist.com/article/...-well-sue.html
http://www.nature.com/news/2009/0905....2009.479.html
http://www.economist.com/science/dis...ry_id=13643973

For another superb round-up, see here:
http://godknowswhat.wordpress.com/20...ponse-roundup/
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Old 17th May 2009, 02:52 AM   #191
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Excellent, Thanks for posting this Blue Wode, I am in London tomorrow so will try to make this and show Simon my support.
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Old 17th May 2009, 10:52 AM   #192
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I can't go tomorrow. Can those that do give us a report, please?

p.s. I'll be at SitP, same venue, on Wednesday. Any others going?
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Old 17th May 2009, 01:07 PM   #193
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I'll be there on Wednesday. Probably tomorrow also.
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Old 18th May 2009, 04:11 AM   #194
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I'll be there tonight. Can't make Weds, annoyingly - why has Sid moved it from a Monday?
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Old 18th May 2009, 07:50 AM   #195
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By the way, there is no firm evidence yet that Justice Eady took large cash bribes from people in the alternative medicine community.
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Old 18th May 2009, 09:07 AM   #196
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For those of us unable to make the meeting, it seems very possible that we'll get updates through Twitter:
http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23singhbca

I'll be there Wednesday though. I conveniently look like my icon
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Old 18th May 2009, 12:50 PM   #197
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First online posting giving a good summary of tonight's meeting in the pub:

Simon Singh hopes to appeal chiropracty libel ruling, but can't confirm yet
http://blog.newhumanist.org.uk/2009/...iropracty.html
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Old 19th May 2009, 03:00 AM   #198
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A message from lecanardnoir:
Quote:
A Carnival of Bogus* Chiropractic

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

One of the side effects of the BCA vs Chiropractic libel case is that there are a growing number of people who now realise that Chiropractic is bogus*. Even though Simon Singh may well have suffered a set back from a judge who according to the law can define words as he sees fit, we are now seeing increasing exposure to the bogus* practices of the chiropractic trade.

One way to show the ridiculousness of the legal decision and of chiropractic would be to have a little blog carnival on the bogus* nature of chiropractic claims and practices, and so I suggest that sceptical bloggers and writers help out by doing the following…

1. Find a chiropractic claim from an association or practitioner and examine the evidence for it critically. Look at Cochrane reviews (if they exist), papers and the basic science behind the claims. Write to the claimant involved and ask them for their evidence for their claims.

2. If the evidence for effectiveness is lacking, call it a bogus* treatment.

3. Let me know what you have written and I will do a round up in a few weeks. Email me or twitter me @lecanardnoir.

4. Spread the word. Twitter like crazy.

I am on hols at the mo, so can I suggest all entries are emailed to me (see my ‘about’ pages) so that the carnival will appear y June 5th.

I think with not much effort we could turn the chiropractic google space into a web of critical articles. That would be a small step in the right direction.

* deliberate deception not implied.

http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2009...ropractic.html
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Old 19th May 2009, 08:10 AM   #199
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Serious question:-
Have any of the parliamentary expense claims been described by the media as "bogus"?
If so, there would appear to be a case for the MP concerned to sue.

Or a case for Mr. Eady to consider.
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Old 19th May 2009, 11:28 AM   #200
geni
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
Serious question:-
Have any of the parliamentary expense claims been described by the media as "bogus"?
If so, there would appear to be a case for the MP concerned to sue.

Or a case for Mr. Eady to consider.
A number of MPs have already threatened legal action and allowing them to do so sucessfuly would be consistant with Mr. Eady's past record.
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