I think I’ve been neglectful about reporting on Simon Singh’s case. I suppose it’s too late for me to go into a comprehensive summary of the case, but let me hit the high points as I recall them.
Simon Singh is a science writer in the UK, he wrote a critical article about chiropractors and their lack of reliable, objective evidence demonstrating efficacy of some of their claims, particularly with regards to certain childhood ailments and asthma. He used the word “bogus” and, having read the original piece myself, I think it was quite obvious the word “bogus” meant “ineffective” rather than “fraudulent”.
The British Chiropractic Association sued Singh under Britain’s laughingstock-of-the-free-world libel laws. The initial ruling was determined by a judge that Singh meant fraudulent and allowed the suit to proceed. In the face of enormous legal bills and with the support of skeptics, scientists and writers from around the world, Singh continues his fight in the hopes of causing much-needed reform of the English libel laws.
Meanwhile, the BCA has been unable to provide any real evidence that their claims are true, and have been caught instructing their members to remove such claims from their websites. (Nah, they don’t sound like they know their treatments don’t work, do they?)
Today, they were at a pre-trial hearing, and things are, for the first time, sounding good:
Presiding at the appeal court in London today in a pre-trial hearing on the meaning of words in a 2008 article by Singh criticising chiropractic treatments, Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge said he was “troubled” by the “artificiality” of the case.
“The opportunities to put this right have not been taken,” Lord Judge said.
He continued: “At the end of this someone will pay an enormous amount of money, whether it be from Dr Singh’s funds or the funds of BCA subscribers.”
He went on to criticise the BCA’s reluctance to publish evidence to back up claims that chiropractic treatments could treat childhood asthma and other ailments.
“I’m just baffled. If there is reliable evidence, why hasn’t someone published it?” [From Index on Censorship » Blog Archive » Judge ‘baffled’ by Simon Singh chiropractic case]
Update: You can learn more about the “problem” with English libel laws here: The Libel Reform Campaign