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Simon Singh - Case closed

About two weeks ago, on April 15, 2010, the British Chiropractors Association decided to cancel the defamation lawsuit it issued against Simon Singh for an article he wrote on the subject and which made it clear that it was alternative medicine and not part of modern medicine

Simon Singh. From Wikipedia under the CC license
Simon Singh. From Wikipedia under the CC license

In an ongoing battle that has brought to the public's attention the very problematic nature of English defamation laws, the British Chiropractors Association has sued science reporter and author Simon Singh. The innovation in this case was that the suit was personal against Singh. No lawsuit has been filed against The Guardian, the newspaper that employed and approved the article written by Singh.

In the article, Singh criticized chiropractic's claims for its ability to treat childhood illnesses. It is important to note that although chiropractic enjoys an established status and that the majority of the public associates it with modern medicine, it actually belongs to alternative medicine since it did not meet the conditions of the scientific test. Classical chiropractic claims the ability to cure a variety of diseases with the help of spinal alignment. In recent years, claims have also been made by chiropractors regarding their ability to cure diseases that are not at all related to the nervous system or the skeleton, such as infectious diseases for example.

The English defamation laws are structured so that the owner of the money wins since the legal costs are so high that even the winner may end up with losses equivalent to buying a new house. Unlike many others, Singh refused to fold in the face of the prosecution against him and drew a lot of attention to the distortion of justice created by English law. According to these laws, anyone can be sued for alleged libel on English soil. The plaintiff and the defendant are not required to have English citizenship and since the Internet can also be read in England, legal tourism was created in which huge corporations sued reporters and private individuals for defamation, knowing that the latter would fold.

After a long trial, at the beginning of April, Singh won the appeal he filed and in which he received the ability to argue for an expression of opinion. According to British law, if you have stated a fact you must prove it in order to be eligible. If I said that so-and-so committed murder - I must prove that he did indeed commit murder (and not the police, for example, or the Ministry of Health in Singh's case). In light of Singh winning the appeal, the British Chiropractors' Association decided not to continue with their (ridiculous) lawsuit and actually end the affair.

Simon Singh on the win: "It still shocks me that the British Chiropractic Association and half of the chiropractors in the UK made unsubstantiated claims. It frustrates me that the organization then decided to sue me for libel and send me through two years of hell before I was acquitted. And it still angers me that our libel laws not only allow but encourage such ridiculous libel suits. English libel laws are so intimidating, expensive and hostile to serious reporters that they have chilling implications for all areas of controversy, silencing scientists, reporters, bloggers, human rights activists and anyone else who dares to address important issues of public concern. In the fields of medicine, this means that good research is not always published because those invested in it may sue, and bad research that should be ethical is not repeated because the authors may sue the magazine, and in both cases it is the public that loses because the truth is not revealed. My victory does not mean that our (England) libel laws are fine, since I won despite the libel laws - we still have libel laws that infringe on freedom of speech in a way that is notorious in the world."

Their official statement is here (PDF)

18 תגובות

  1. Alternative medicine has saved thousands of people from poverty. Anyone who practices alternative medicine lives well at the expense of stupid people. Alternative medicine is no different from African pagan medicine or other pagan medicine. It's time for the Ministry of Health to file lawsuits against these fraudsters.

  2. All the professions called "alternative medicine" have one and only one main goal and that is to allow people who are not doctors according to their education, to engage commercially in an activity that they claim has the power to relieve and sometimes even cure various pains, according to them.
    The complicated foreign names given to these types of activities are only intended to impress the poor potential customers, whose illness and suffering, unfortunately, disrupts their judgment, and to encourage them to open their wallets.
    And so if a patient suffering from back pain as a result of a disease of the joints is offered a refreshing massage, he will not see it as a pleasant momentary caress and nothing more. But, if they offer him the exact same treatment, but in the name of "a series of restorative chiropractic treatments" at a specialist chiropractor, at some prestigious medical clinic, at a special price of xyz NIS for 30 minutes.... He will not give up the opportunity of his life to "get rid" of his medical problem. And if the medical problem is not cured first he will convince himself that although the problem is not completely solved but...there is a significant benefit. After the situation will get worse and he, the patient, will return to the pagan therapist
    And he will ask questions, what will the idol healer tell him? He will tell him two things: a]. Your case is an extremely rare case, it does not appear like it in the professional literature in Israel since the days of the XNUMXth century]. No one lives forever.
    The main thing is that he has the money. And that's actually... the point.

  3. Echo hominem is a type of logical fallacy
    When arguing with someone about something, it is advisable to avoid logical fallacies, otherwise the argument will get nowhere.

    I'm actually a man, not that it really matters.
    Anonymous, it really has nothing to do with the years of study of the chiropractor. But you know what, for that matter, I'll come down to your level for a moment.
    Researchers who studied medicine for 30 years and more came to the conclusion through scientific research that chiropractic is not medicine.

    In fact, the connection made in chiropractic between vertebral problems and various other diseases, such as asthma/headaches/inflammations/cancer you name it, is a connection that does not exist physiologically.

    Asthma cannot be cured by moving vertebrae. Nothing can be cured by massage except back pain and tight muscles. And behind this sentence there is a solid scientific foundation. Capish? Or do you want references to studies as well?

  4. Luzzi, I'm not attacking you, I just don't know what you're talking about, it's like me going to a cancer doctor and telling him he's an alternative doctor, so let's respect doctors who studied medicine for 8 years and not make stupid accusations

  5. I have no idea how they decide whether it is "scientific" or not, but here in Israel chiropractors, at least those who belong to the union, are first and foremost conventional doctors. I personally know people with a severe herniated disc (one that has been determined to require surgery) who have been helped by chiropractors to alleviate their condition.
    I personally have a birth defect in the spine, which is also hereditary and came from my mother and my grandfather. The shock causes severe back pain. Both my mother and my grandfather were treated by chiropractors when they reached difficult situations of being unable to move, and the treatments helped. I wish I could help them too, it's just too expensive for me.

  6. to Luzzi
    An anonymous user is also Dr. Roy Lerner according to the wording.
    I would not consider such a response level. Here it is not wint.

  7. Anonymous user, instead of attacking me by making a logical fallacy of the classic echo hominem type, maybe you will address the claims I made?

  8. What can be understood from the scripture is as follows:
    If you make a factual claim against someone (such as "he committed murder" or "chiropractic has been proven to be harmful") then in order to be eligible in a libel trial you must prove that your claim is true.
    In the trial, Singh played a different note - thanks to which he was eventually acquitted.
    His claim was that he did not say that "chiropractic has been proven to be harmful" but only said that in his opinion chiropractic is harmful.
    The court believed him that this was indeed his opinion and therefore acquitted him.
    In short - with all the joy over Singh's acquittal - the trial that acquitted him did not incriminate chiropractic.

  9. I didn't understand that much from the article on who had the burden of proof;
    Simon has to prove that his claim is true in order to win, or do they have to prove that his claim is false in order to win?

  10. I didn't understand that much from the article on who had the burden of proof;
    Does Simon have to prove that their claim is true to win, or do they have to prove that his claim is wrong to win?

  11. For anyone who probably doesn't know yet,
    Chiropractic is medicine just like acupuncture and homeopathy.
    Chiropractic is not only not scientifically based, but it is scientifically based that does not work beyond the placebo effect or for that matter a regular massage.

  12. Simon Singh is a stupid and stupid writer who does not understand the whole subject of medicine
    I'm sorry that such people can write such incorrect things. Chiropractic is one of the professions that has proven its quality and if there was a case where surgery was necessary after chiropractic treatment, that therapist should be in prison.

  13. Chiropractic has never saved even one cancer patient and apparently has limited abilities in the narrow field of back problems (here, too, more studies are needed to confirm this claim, chiropractic may not have any medical benefit beyond a simple massage).
    There is no reliable evidence for the abilities of chiropractic beyond this area.
    Singh, by the way, was sued for attacking the claim of the British Chiropractors Association that chiropractic has a beneficial effect on alleviating colic in babies.
    At the same time as the lawsuit, the organization of chiropractors claimed to have in its possession a number of studies that substantiate the effect of chiropractic on colic in babies, a claim that revealed their nakedness to the public when they finally (after countless requests in press articles) published their studies which turned out to be nothing more than a tiny collection of some studies of very poor quality (without a control group, with a small sample size, etc.) which were mostly performed by chiropractors and were clearly designed to provide a biased representation.

    Modern medicine based on evidence and science has saved and saves cancer patients, everything else is eye catching and nothing more.

  14. Dr. Roy Lerner:
    And what about those suffering from disc problems who had to undergo surgery after being treated by a specialist chiropractor.
    As far as I know the purpose of the profession is to improve back problems. And it turns out that the dangers at the hands of chiropractors outweigh the benefits in this area. Maybe in the field of other serious diseases as you mentioned it works. But what is the use of curing them if you have to go to surgery after the treatment.

  15. Simon Singh is a liar and a plagiarist Chiropractic has already saved cancer patients and even sickle cell anemia can be treated by it

  16. I've been following this case closely since it started mostly through sgu and skepchick. It was very interesting. Kudos to Simon for persevering and investing a year of his personal life, and kudos to everyone who donated money to the fund to continue his trial.
    And it's really time for it to end in favor of the skeptics. Definitely a sweet victory.

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