Calling a spade a spade should not leave one liable to be sued, yet this is precisely what happened to Simon Singh when he took on the quackery of the British Chiropractic Association. The claims made by the BCA that spinal manipulation could be used to treat children with colic, ear infections, asthma, sleeping and feeding conditions and prolonged crying were nothing but utter hogwash. Singh's decision to call their claims bogus has been shown to be 100% correct by the Court of Appeal.
The Court's judgement can be read in full here, and this really is a victory for common sense and for scientific progress. Quacks should not be allowed to make unfounded claims about their dodgy treatments, whether this be companies peddling nutritional supplements, practitioners of alternative therapies such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, chinese medicine, homeopathy and on and on, there are just so many quacks out there.
The way in which the British libel law was used to intimidate by the BCA is rather scary and it makes the case strongly for a proper overhaul of our antiquated and repressive libel laws:
"The ruling, by England's two senior judges, Lord Judge and Lord Neuberger, together with Lord Justice Smedley, was scathing of the way the BCA began libel proceedings rather than taking up the Guardian's offer of a right to reply. It acknowledged that the action had a "chilling effect on public debate". The BCA's actions had created the "unhappy impression" that it was "an endeavour by the BCA to silence one of its critics" "
I would urge anyone reading to sign the petition here are the libel reform site and have a look at the senseaboutscience site here. The likes of the BCA need to be shown up for the dishonest rip off merchants that they are.