Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship The Courts United Kingdom

Simon Singh To Appeal In UK Court Today 213

Posted by kdawson
from the words-you-never-heard-in-the-bible dept.
TACD writes "Simon Singh, author, television presenter and known critic of pseudoscience, is in court today appealing the decision made against him last May over his use of the term 'bogus' to describe the methods used by the British Chiropractic Association. Today's decision could have far-reaching implications for the movement to reform Britain's horrifically outdated libel laws (that even America is making moves to protect its citizens against), and to begin taking steps to elevate Britain above the likes of China when it comes to open debate and freedom of speech."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Simon Singh To Appeal In UK Court Today

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @03:37PM (#31249872)
    So I so we let him off!
  • More Importantly (Score:5, Informative)

    by JamesP (688957) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @03:37PM (#31249876)

    Simon Singh is the author of VERY COOL books:

    Fermat's Last Theorem
    and
    The Code Book

    (those are the ones I read, at least)

  • by Anonymous Cowpat (788193) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @03:47PM (#31250042) Journal

    the fact that on first glance, the former means what you expanded it to, whereas the latter is more commonly used as a generic insult.

  • Chiroprators (Score:5, Informative)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @03:47PM (#31250050)
    There are a few conditions a Chiropractic practitioner is good for, e.g. pinched nerves. However, their contention that manipulating the spine can fix virtually any condition is, er, properly described as "bogus".
  • by Anonymous Cowpat (788193) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @03:49PM (#31250082) Journal

    for the newspapers it's called 'filling the pages with guff about reality TV', for The Eye, it's 'having good lawyers yourself'.

    Also, most of us aren't sailors.

  • Re:What a joke.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @03:57PM (#31250192) Homepage Journal

    My family used chiropractors for years; the industry is so good as passing itself off as mainstream medicine, that I actually had to see the Simon Singh case to realize that chiropractice is woo-woo alternative medicine.

    Just look for peer-reviewed studies that show it does anything. If I recall, James Randi's $1,000,000 prize is open to Chiropractors who can show they can do anything other than help some minor back pain.
  • Judge not impressed (Score:5, Informative)

    by rugatero (1292060) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @03:58PM (#31250214)

    "Simon Singh, author, television presenter and known critic of pseudoscience, is in court today...

    Well, given that it is now approaching 9PM in the UK, it is more correct to say Simon Singh was in court today. And so far things look promising – Lord Judge is less than impressed by BCA's case. See http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2010/02/simon-singh-chiropractic-bca-libel-appeal [indexoncensorship.org]

  • Re:What a joke.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @03:59PM (#31250230) Journal
    They are very much helped in this by the fact that some of them are basically just a combination of physical therapist/hardcore masseuse, so(as long as they stick to addressing assorted aches and pains), there isn't anything especially quacky about them.

    The ones who think that they can treat ear infections just by twisting your spine, though? Haha not so much. Unfortunately, as the Singh libel case demonstrated, they tend to stick together when somebody questions the quack side of the house.
  • Re:What a joke.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @04:03PM (#31250288) Journal

    I suppose that depends on what your Chiropractor is claiming to fix.

    For example, my girlfriend visits a chiropractor because one of her spinal discs pinches a nerve in her upper back and that causes backpain and headaches.

    She says it helps - and I take her word for it that someone cracking the back is helping the issues aligned with her spine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @04:14PM (#31250446)
    In cadaver studies the whole pinched nerve thing was shown to be bogus. The amount a spine would have to be manipulated would cripple the subject.

    They now resort to "subluxations" which, again, have been shown to be bogus. In experiments with n subjects, some with and some without diagnosed "subluxations" were examined by n chiropractors.

    EVERY subject was diagnosed with a "subluxation" and rarely in the same spot.

    Bullshit all around.
  • Re:What a joke.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by History's Coming To (1059484) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @04:17PM (#31250488) Journal
    Fair enough. I'm in the UK too. However, I would like to say the following: homoeopathy is fraud. I work in the science section of a large bookshop in Edinburgh, I should be easy enough to find and will identify myself if asked.

    Bring on the lawyers. I could intentionally produce a fraudulent, counterfeit, fake homoeopathic remedy (ie a small phial of water), but it would be indistinguishable from a "real" one. I would welcome a court's attention to the matter.
  • by VJ42 (860241) * on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @04:31PM (#31250736)

    1. The libel stuff is fairly new - probably only the last 5 years or so. We always used to consider the USA the place for that, but it seems to have moved here recently.

    A lot of it come from one single judge as well: Mr Justice Eady. [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:What a joke.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @04:32PM (#31250764) Homepage Journal

    acupunctute [...] has been tested and found effective.

    I think Randi's $1M prize is open to acupuncture. Also doing a quick check of PubMed, I don't see any studies showing benefit. Granted this was a quick search.
  • by Spad (470073) <slashdot@NOsPAM.spad.co.uk> on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @04:42PM (#31250938) Homepage

    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?”

    Why not indeed? I can't imagine...

  • by TACD (514008) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @04:42PM (#31250946) Homepage

    Well, given that it is now approaching 9PM in the UK, it is more correct to say Simon Singh was in court today. And so far things look promising – Lord Judge is less than impressed by BCA's case. See http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2010/02/simon-singh-chiropractic-bca-libel-appeal [indexoncensorship.org]

    You got to posting the important link before me, so let me instead say that even if Simon wins this round there is still a whole lot more work to be done; firstly, this is only the appeal against the previous judge's decision of what was meant by his use of the word 'bogus', and a win here will just make the rest of the case easier to fight. Secondly, Britain still lacks a proper 'public interest' defense in these sorts of cases, and that is why it is important to support full and considered libel reform [libelreform.org] so that this ridiculous charade does not have to be repeated, at enormous expense, for every individual who would reasonably criticise his peers.

  • Re:What a joke.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Luthair (847766) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @04:45PM (#31250986)
    I remembered this article [scientificamerican.com] in which a few studies had found that poking people with needles could relieve pain, but there was no difference between traditional locations and random locations.
  • bob (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @04:45PM (#31251004)

    This isn't Uk libel law it's English and welsh libel law Scotland and Northern Ireland have a different legal system.

  • by TACD (514008) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @05:06PM (#31251372) Homepage

    Seriously, anyone who can claim with a straight face that Britain has less freedom of speech than China (and hence is only beginning to take steps to elevate above it) is living in a fantasy world.

    "When it comes to censoring publications and blocking online content, it is arguable that Britain has an even worse record than China." - Simon Singh, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/7294539/Simon-Singh-it-is-too-late-for-me-but-libel-laws-must-change-for-the-public-good.html [telegraph.co.uk]

    But yes, there may have been a trace of hyperbole in my post, on the internet. Gold star!

  • Legal Context (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alistair Hutton (889794) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @06:08PM (#31252258) Homepage
    Just to give you some idea of what is going on. Singh was found guilty of libel by a Judge know as Justic Eady, he is the Eastern Texas District Court of Libel Judges. Ridiculous libel decision after ridiculous libel decision has been made by him, well beyond the bounds of Britain's already incredibly strict laws.

    Britain's senior judges have been begging parliament for reform in the libel and defamation laws due to their stupidity. The three judge appeal panel has Britian's two most senior judes on it, they have specifically requested this case for two reason's
    1) To smack down Eady and deliver a sternly worded "No" to him while clipping his nose with a rolled up newspaper.
    2) A spot of judicial activism because the politicians are dragging their feet something rotten

  • Re:More Importantly (Score:3, Informative)

    by Quantumstate (1295210) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @06:09PM (#31252276)

    The theorem is remarkably simple to state. It was definitely explained very early in the book. The technical details needed for the proof are pretty advanced maths which would be basically impossible to explain to a layman without teaching a lot of maths after which they would no longer be a layman. So the book is about the history of the problem, since this is the only reasonable thing to write.

  • Re:Chiroprators (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @06:49PM (#31252774)

    I think you'll find, with some minimal digging, that Physiotherapists in the UK (as well as places like Australia and New Zealand where they're professionals and regulated) actually have and continue to provide research to back themselves up. It's harder to do this for physiotherapy since, by the nature of the injuries it treats, getting groups of patients with the same injury so a more traditional study can be done is nigh on impossible. However, there are lots of research based Physiotherapists in Universities getting that all important clinical and practice based evidence. Heck, it's even in peer reviewed journals!

    Please, please don't mix up people calling themselves 'physical therapists'* who don't know their ass from their elbow and real Physiotherapists.

    *Not that I'm calling everyone with the job title 'physical therapist' a fraud. I just know that in the UK, you have to actually be a qualified professional to call yourself a Physiotherapist while anyone can call them self a physical therapist.

  • Re:What a joke.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <{taiki} {at} {cox.net}> on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @07:18PM (#31253144)

    The placebo effect isn't that powerful.

    The placebo effect works for low grade pain, but anything that Tylenol can't handle, the placebo effect won't.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @12:12AM (#31255732)

    No. Just read Simon's work and you'll find it well-researched and rock solid. The reason he has to face trial is not because he was careless, but a) because the law is incredibly strict, so strict that it causes people to apply self censorship, so strict that it makes the UK the #1 libel tourism resort and b) because he had the ill fortune of having to face Eady, a judge who is known to read the laws in the strictest possible manner and who interprets the things people say in the most slanderous manner possible and then stretches the truth a little bit further just to be sure. According to some, Eady is "clearly diagnosable".

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane

Working...