This post originally started life as a roundup of the links available on the Simon Singh case before the support meeting or the announcement that he intended to appeal the decision from the preliminary hearing. It has grown continuously since then and so now I am going to reorganise it so that it provides a chronological and comprehensive list of all the material available online on the case. The most recent coverage will thus always be available around the bottom of the list.
Before getting to the links two sites worth visiting and signing up to for updates are the Sense about Science site for the campaign Keep Libel Laws of Out of Science and the blog of skeptical, legal blogger Jack of Kent who has been providing detailed coverage and legal analysis of the case since it was first announced (the Bad Science bloggers also do alot of good work though they are also covering alot of other stories). Ok so now onto the links.
Updates will be announced here:
UPDATE 23/09/09: In light of the next fast approaching court date wherein Simon and his lawyers will try to ‘appeal to get his appeal heard’ I thought I would update the links. This will take a few days so please bear with me but I’ll try and get everything. Interesting developments with the Lib Dems and Richard Dawkins too so plenty to keep up with!
UPDATE 1/08/09: After Simon’s article was reposted so widely seemed like a natural time to update. SOrry it’s took so long been rather busy as of late!
UPDATE 17/07/09: You’ve guessed it more links!
UPDATE 30/06/09: More and more links and some more developments regarding the complaints. Have also started to re-edit the page so it’s a bit more relevant to what’s happening now!
UPDATE 18/06/09: Wow! A lot has been happening lately, new links being added now… going to try and update this weekly now!
UPDATE 11/06/09: A bloggers work is never done. New links added.
UPDATE 10/06/09: Alot of new links added which include some interesting developments… (thanks to Le Canard Noir in particular for bringing some surprising links to my attention).
UPDATE 06/06/09: New links added mostly courtesy of another new and nicely organised roundup over at Zeno’s blog- check it out!
UPDATE 04/06/09: Simon announces he will appeal! New (very important) links added... see the bottom of this page!
UPDATE 03/06/09: New links added.
Anyone who comes across any I’ve missed please leave a link in the comment section and I’ll add them in. Alright, here goes:
–Before the preliminary hearing–
Holford Watch provides an excellent round up of the articles covering the trial before the outcome of the preliminary hearing.
The ‘For Simon Singh and Free Speech Against the BCA Libel Claim’ facebook group has an excellent, chronologically arranged list of the main articles and posts on the topic from when the case was announced until now.
Jack-of-Kent, a skeptical legal expert, provided a series of must read articles that covered the developments of the legal case, the strategies being employed and the problem with UK libel law in a straightforward and step by step manner:
- First comments on the case.
- A brief guide to English libel law.
- 10 questions BCA members should be asking the BCA about the case.
- Round up of good blog entries on the case.
- Summary of the BCA’s case.
- Summary of Simon Singh’s defence.
- Discussion on the BCA’s lack of reply.
- On the motives of the BCA.
- Discussion on reforming the UK libel law.
- On the potential costs of the case.
- Article on Counter Knowledge discussing the case and the misuse of UK libel law.
- Summary of what will be covered in the preliminary hearing.
- Warning about the Contempt of Court Act.
- Further details about what will be discussed at the preliminary hearing.
–After the preliminary hearing–
- The Hearing
Jack of Kent again provides an excellent summary of the ‘astonishing illiberal ruling’ of the preliminary hearing and it’s legal implications and a useful discussion of the legal options now available to Simon Singh.
Skepticat provides another detailed eye witness account of the hearing.
I also attended the hearing and provided my own non-legally informed account and perspective on the hearing.
Index on Censorship provided a short summary of the outcome and the expenses awarded.
The BCA released a short press release of it’s response to the hearing.
The Little Atom podcast featured an interview with Simon where he discussed his thoughts on the outcome of the hearing and where the case might go from here.
- Mainstream (or quasi-mainstream) Coverage
Fantastic article in the Observer by Nick Cohen providing an up to date run down on the case and it’s aftermath, chiropractic’s origins and a discussion of the larger implications of the case. A must read especially for anyone who has just heard about the case. (So good in fact it’s mentioned twice…see below).
An article in New Scientist discussing the case and it’s implications for scientific criticism of alternative medicine written by none other than Jack-of-Kent. A shorter article providing a brief summary of the case and the outcome of the hearing was also posted.
An article in the Economist providing a sympathetic (and accurate) summary of the case and some thoughts on the negative effects of Uk libel law.
An article in the Guardian providing an overview of the case, the hearing and the Guardian’s official response to the whole affair.
A guest article in the Times written by Edzard Ernst echoes Simon’s original points and calls for scientific debate instead of litigation.
Short summary and voice of support on the New Humanist blog.
Another short summary on the Nature blog.
Naomi Baker wrote a summary on the JREF Swift blog.
The case was mentioned in Private Eye by ratbiter (sorry no link).
Jack-of-Kent provides a fantastic wide ranging analysis of the BCA’s legal strategy and how (in)effective it has been at protecting it’s reputation. The article also covers the wider legal context making a case for why British libel law is in dire need of reform in matters relating to public health and how Simon’s case is directly involved in this issue.
David Gorski published a superb detailed article on the Science Based Medicine blog and on his Respectful Insolence blog wherein he examines the case, the implications of the ruling and provides comparisons with a variety of other related cases. He also wrote a follow up post offering his support for Simon and his willingness to support any appeal.
Steven Novella, a neurologist and host of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe, wrote an article for the SkepticBlog offering a summary of the case, it’s potential chilling effect on valid criticism and voicing his support for Simon’s case.
Ben Goldacre wrote a short ‘pitch’ for an article on the topic on his Bad Science blog providing a very brief outline of his views on the subject.
A highly critical article was posted on the Quackometer blog by Le Canard Noir highlighting research that reveals the exorbitant rate of defending libel cases in the UK compared to elsewhere in Europe and discusses many of the other issues with the UK libel law. Simon’s case was also discussed in detail and used as an example of the deep flaws inherent in the current system.
Another detailed article posted by blogger Heresiarch over at Heresy corner which summarises the case eloquently and discusses the terrible effects when libel law is used “to silence criticism of factual claims and exposés of pseudoscientific charlatranry”. A follow up also includes a quote from a sympathetic MP and a discussion on the viability of a ‘Heresiarch Maneouver’ an attempt for Simon to apologise for the judge’s mistaken interpretation and continue to defend his original meaning.
The Language Log blog addresses the case from a new angle examining the semantics of the word ‘bogus’ and exploring just how unique Justice Eady’s interpretation really is.
Petra Boynton, pyschologist and blogger, considers the case and discusses her own experience of the deeply disconcerting effects of litigation threats.
Dr. Aust provides some interesting final thoughts just before Simon makes his announcement in a detailed and highly recommended article that also covers the reaction so far to Justic Eady’s decision.
- Blog Coverage
Jack-of-Kent (who must never sleep) provides another update on the case and a roundup of some notable links over on his blog.
The Lay Scientist posted some excellent analysis of some of the BCA’s claims while the hearing was going on and then discussed the negative implications of the judge’s decision for UK skeptics.
Comedian Robin Ince posts a short entry on myspace and breaks a non-blogging vow in order to publicise the case and show his support.
PZ Myers, the (in)famous science blogger, sums up his feelings on the topic in a short blog post at the immensely popular Phryangula blog which ends with the unpleasant thought “we are all screwed”.
In a post at net.wars, Wendy M. Grossman- founder of the UK Skeptic magazine, provides a thorough summary of events and discusses the inherent flaws in UK libel law.
Peter A. Lipson, physician and contributor to the Science Based Medicine blog, expresses his dismay over the hearing on his White Coat Underground science blog.
Dave Gorman, the popular comedian and writer, wrote an entry on his blog offering his views on how muddled the decision was and how potentially chilling the effects are for science journalism.
jdc325 inspired by the trial carried out a critical review of the research mentioned on the BCA’s website. He also wrote to his local MP about the UK libel laws and got a response.
Dr. Aust, who earlier wrote an excellent analysis when the case was announced, gives some preliminary thoughts on the outcome and promises a more detailed post soon. [NOW ADDED TO ARTICLES] He also suggests a potential theme song that would be a suitable companion for this whole fiasco.
Brian Clegg another British science writer urges readers to support Simon on his blog.
Osteopath blogger Jonathan Hearsey posts an interesting Q&A that offers his perspective on the subjective.
A post on the Friendly Atheist blog lamenting the outcome of the hearing.
The Not-Quite-So-Friendly-Humanist expresses his anger at the ruling.
The Thinking is real blog seemed as suprised as I was at the judge’s ability to redefine what Simon meant.
The Capacious handbag blog offers another voice of support for Simon.
Cubik’s Rube voices his support and criticises the judge’s decision.
Harry’s Place promoted news of the suprising outcome.
Mondojohnson offers support from across the pond.
- Forum Discussion
Bad Science Forum thread includes some excellent further analysis, especially Blue Wode’s summary of the evidence relating to chiropractic treatments adverse effects.
Short post on MetaFilter with a long followup discussion (not technically a forum thread but it kinda works like that).
- International Coverage
An article on HPD a German site.
Two entries concerning the case on this Spanish blog.
A Spanish article from back in January discussing the case.
Hurrah here’s a French blog discussing the case- the European map is being slowly filled.
Swedish article at Dn.se complete with giant photo of Simon’s face.
–After the support meeting–
A news blog from New Scientist has a nice summary of the evening and further discussion over the need for reform of the British libel laws.
New Humanist’s blog has a good review with a detailed summary of Simon’s announcement.
Jack-of-Kent provides a very nice round up of reviews and important links along with a recap of the various statements of support read out at the meeting.
The Economist carries an interesting aticle which uses the support meeting to demonstrate how democracy is still alive and kicking.
Skepticat’s blog carries an amusing and very thorough account of the evening.
Dave Gorman’s blog has a post about his thoughts on the event and a recap of the main points from his talk (which was very good by the way). He also posted a priceless follow up highlighting that the ASA had actually upheld a complaint that the same kind of chiropractic claims Simon addressed were misleading and not supported by the evidence (props should also go to commenter Mojo for pointing out this decision).
Nick Cohen also blogged about the event and made some interesting observations about the BCA underestimating the effects of science activism.
My own slightly delayed summary of the evening.
Another good review over on the Free Speech blog from Salil Tripathi of Index on Censorship.
Excellent footage from the evening filmed by Michael Story of the JuJu Statue blog.
More footage of the event filmed by Nick Pullar and hosted up on Crispian Jago’s blog.
Stephen Curry blogs about the evening and the surrounding case over at Nature Networks.
Thinking-is-dangerous blog wrote a nice post about the case after attending the meeting.
The friendly humanist blog provides a summary of the situation and a selection of useful links.
–After the Advertising Standards Agency ruling–
After Mojo and Dave Gorman raised attention to a recent ASA ruling against a chiropractor promoting treatments for colic the story was covered in further detail:
Jack-of-Kent produced a thorough analysis providing further details on the actual complaint and the ASA’s ruling and what impact this was likely to have (or not) on the case. He also e-mails the BCA to ask for clarification on the status of the ‘Happy families leaflet’ that contains many of the claims Simon originally complained about and received an interesting reply.
The irrepressible blogger Gimpy also covered the ruling in some detail and called for readers to submit further complaints if they come across similar claims. He also revealed that the General Chiropractic Council had used the term bogus to describe certain chiropractors back in 2004!
Paul Sims, over at the New Humanist blog, also gave the ASA development some further publicity.
Quackometer calls for a blogging campaign to draw extra attention to the ‘bogus’ (no intentional deception implied) claims of specific chiropractors or associations.
Cargo Cult Science blog provides an excellent illustration of the kind of action called for in the Quackometer post: First outrage and solidarity is expressed after attending the support meeting, then a specific chiropractic clinic making specific dubious claims is identified and now a complaint has been submitted to the clinic in advance of being submitted to the GCC. [UPDATE] Success! The clinic in question after consulting with the UCA removed some of it’s misleading claims.
Similar goings ons at jdc325’s blog wherein he discussed some of the claims made by a specific chiropractic clinic on the BCA’s membership list and provided a good summary of the evidence for chiropractic treatments (lack of effect) on whiplash. He then contacted the relevant clinic and asked them about the evidence for their claims, got some dismissive replies that were less than impressive and eventually lodged a formal complaint.
The Lay Scientist also gets involved contacting another clinic promoting chiropractic treatments for colic, gets some rather strong feedback in the comment section and a very telling reply from the actual clinic. He also catalogues the possible negative implications of previous advertsising standards rulings for chiropractors.
A discussion on the Chiropracticlive blog of the potential financial damage of a skeptical campaign to the GCC by Richard Lanigan a chiropractor who is critical of the bodies governing chiropractic practice.
–After the BCA’s official response–
Jack-of-Kent gives his initial thoughts on the BCA’s ‘extraordinary’ press release and argues that actually it is a freedom of speech issue and then offers his first weekly round up of recent developments and interesting coverage of the case. JoK also takes the first steps towards a fiction writing career providing an amusing, tongue-in-cheek fable about the exploits of Bogus and Plethora.
**Also from Jack-of-Kent the text of the official ruling from the preliminary hearing by Justice Eady**
Fantastic article in the Observer by Nick Cohen providing an up to date run down on the case and it’s aftermath, chiropractic’s origins and a discussion of the larger implications of the case. A must read especially for anyone who has just heard about the case.
Gimpy blogs about the letter writing campaign being organised by chiropractoric supporters in response to Nick Cohen’s article discussing the impressive amount of irony and folly involved.
Jack-of-Kent expresses his genuine delight after his sterling work finally receives the accolade it deserves with not one but two citations by homeopaths!
Richard Brown, vice president of the BCA, explains in an article on Pulse why he thinks the criticism against the BCA’s libel claim is misguided and also details the issues he has with Edzard Ernst’s article in New Scientist. (Read the comments at the end of the article!)
Short blog entry on Omnologos criticising Simon’s choice of words and arguing that the BCA’s decision to sue was unavoidable.
Another blog entry by an ex-chiropractor with some comments which Jack-of-Kent accurately described as ‘curious’. Particularly intriguing is the suggestion that new findings in quantum physics have shown that double blind trials are not all that useful. Anyway, worth a look for an alternative perspective!
The BCA offers an ‘extraordinary’ press release defending it’s actions and accusing Simon Singh of failing to respond to the evidence.
An article at ‘Homeopathy worked for me’ criticises Simon’s article and the support campaign that has followed in the wake of the decision ta the preliminary hearing. Arguing, with no irony intended, that Simon is not interested in defending his position with evidence and is simply promoting his position as an ‘opinion’. The article also advocates a letter writing campaign to complain about Nick Cohen’s article.
The BCA offer a reply to Simon’s announcement that he intends to appeal on the front page of their website wherein they dispute the claim that the libel case has anything to do with free speech.
In the Dark blog offers a well argued article addressing the case and the support campaign which contends that Simon’s comments in the article may indeed have been libellious, the judges’ decision may not be that unusual and the support campaign may be wrong. Can’t say I agree with most of the points but certainly worth reading.
–Simon Announces he will appeal and support campaign launched–
- The Announcement
Simon Singh gives a detailed account of the case to date and explains what has motivated his decision to appeal over at the sense about science.
Sense About Science has organised a campaign to reform UK libel laws based around Simon’s case and has created an fantastic website to provide coverage and resources to those who want to get involved. Check it out now! Also go here to read and sign a statement and show your support for the need to keep libel laws out of scientific disputes.
Jack-of-Kent carries the announcement that Simon will appeal the decision of the preliminary hearing and provides the full list of signatories and statements from eminent supporters who have signed an open statement to the effect that “the law has no place in scientific disputes”.
Quackometer covers the announcement, the statement and it’s supporters and the newly launched campaign by sense about science to highlight the issues raised by Simon’s case.
Gimpy provides coverage of the announcement over at his blog and urges others to show their support for the new campaign.
Dr. Evan Harris MP discusses the appeal in an article for the British Medical Journal wherein he uses it to address the wider issue of how English libel law threatens scientific debate in healthcare.
- Mainstream Coverage
Channel 4 news carries interviews with Simon and the BCA and a short report on the case.
The Times covers the story going with the unusual title “Review of libel law called for by Comedians”.
The Guardian provides coverage in a rather matter-of-fact manner.
The Times Higher Education supplement provides a good account (and a fair amount of quotes).
The Independent has a good article on the developments written by it’s science editor and including some interesting facts about the founder of chiropractic.
The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article on the story along with a detailed discussion of the need to reform the Uk libel laws.
The Daily Mail has also covered the story which highlights the significant impact that celebrity support has had on the case.
The news site for the famous science journal Nature covers the new developments and later offers some encouraging words as the support grows. UPDATE: Futher strongly worded support for Simon and criticism of the English libel laws is offered in the editorial of Nature issue 459.
New Humanist blog provides more coverage and a good summary of the announcement (which will probably feature somewhere in the next issue).
SEED magazine provides emphatic support for Simon and the campaign on it’s editorial column.
Extended interview with Simon discussing the case on the Nature podcast.
- Blog Coverage
Phil Plait at the very popular Bad Astronomy blog offers support and a detailed discussion of the announcement, the background to the case and why it is important. He also provides further coverage in his role as president of the JREF over on the JREF Swift news blog.
Strong support from Steven Novella host of the Skeptics Guide in an excellent article on his Neurologica blog. Along with news that Simon will feature on the upcoming SGU podcast.
Jack-of-Kent discusses the PR nightmare that the BCA has unleashed and considers some of the lasting effects that Simon’s case is likely to have. In another post he also offers a reply to George Lewith a staunch supporter of alternative medicine who criticised his article in New Scientist. And finally he offers another weekly roundup.
DC’s Improbable Science discusses the announcement and gives a good round up of important articles and links.
Cubik’s Rube blog again voices support and provides some interesting thoughts on the whole sorry affair.
Dr. Aust tears into the BCA’s response to the appeal on his blog and identifies a number of problems in regards their commitment to free scientific debate.
PZ Meyer’s Phyrangula blog offers a short message of support for the ‘brave and principled’ Simon.
Orac on his Respectful Insolence blog throws in his support and provides a good summary of events.
Richard Dawkins gives further publicity to the Sense About Science Campaign on his website.
So too does Derren Brown on his blog.
consider, evaluate, act blog gives a considered account of Simon’s appeal is the right thing to do and the support it’s receiving is well deserved.
thinking is dangerous blog provides some important links for the appeal and reminds folks that Simon is giving a talk in Oxford on the 8th June!
Irish Technology website Silicone Republic covers the case and the announcement with the fitting heading “Science should challenge ideas without malice”.
Support from vetsurgeon.org in a news posting.
The lightbucket blog has an excellent summary of the entire case up to the appeal announcement complete with detailed references. Well worth checking out!
–The McTimoney Chiropractic Association Tells its Members to remove their websites–
Carrying on the momentum from the earlier individual complaints against misleading claims from chiropractors Zeno organises an “Omnibus complaint to the General Chiropractic Council” on his blog which proves to have surprising results…
UPDATE: In another twist the blogger from Adventures in Nonsense revealed that independently from Zeno they had also orchestrated a mass complaint campaign reporting 500 cases to trading standards and the GCC. Read the detailed account on their blog and also the rather significant impact the complaints seem to have already have.
Quackometer, Chiropracticlive (original source), Skepticat and Gimpy all reveal the e-mail that the McTimoney Chiropractic Association has sent to it’s members in response to the complaints campaign advising them to take down their websites and stop using the title of Dr.
Of course, Zeno also gives his thoughts and some further coverage on his blog on the avalanche of action his letter has apparently set off. UPDATE: He also catalogues the various responses he has received from the GCC and you can see the first response, second response and third response on his blog (there is also seem interesting discussion in the comment section).
User Yaux set up a very impressive archive of almost all the chiropractic websites that have been removed… ah the internet!
Jack-of-Kent gives his initial thoughts on the revelation and it’s relevance to the Singh/BCA case and then a more detailed analysis of the causes and effects of what he dubs as the ‘quacklash’ chiropractors are now experiencing due to the BCA’s case.
Mainstream coverage provided by the Times Online in an article describing the developments as chiropractors scoring an ‘own goal’ by raising the libel case.
The Lay Science blog discusses “the mass website withdrawal”.
The Science Punk blog provides some coverage of “the slash-and burn” tactics promoted by the McTA.
Dr.Coloquhoun’s Improbable Science blog covers the story and offers the interesting thought that the letter might be “as near as you can get to an admission that many chiropractors make claims that are against the law”.
Evidence Matters blog has some discussion about the developments along with a roundup of some important links and gives notice that if the ‘ plethora of evidence’ isn’t going to be presented by the BCA all the evidence will inevitably be dealt with in the blogosphere.
Phil Plait on the Bad Astronomy blog discusses the “first panicky retreat” of the “Chiropocalypse”.
Gimpy’s blog also covers the BCA’s leaked and somewhat delayed advice to it’s members in response to the ASA’s ruling.
Thinking is dangerous blog provides a good list of sources covering the McTimoney story and some analysis.
PZ Meyer’s ever popular Phyrangula blog provides a short summary and undoubtedly a major increase in awareness.
jdc325’s blog has a nice roundup of links and a good discussion on the developments.
ziztur blog provides some more coverage and explains why a ‘witch hunt’ may not be the best description.
Reason check blog points out that the original chiropractor who was the source of the e-mail is perhaps angry for the wrong reasons.
–The BCA provides it’s third statement and it’s ‘plethora’ of 27 studies–
After fifteen months of delay the BCA finally unveils it’s ‘plethora’ of studies to the public and makes it’s third statement on the case.
Jack-of-Kent leaves the assessment of the studies to others and instead provides his thoughts on the multiple problems with the BCA’s third public statement. Then after a day of hyper blogging activity which he describes as the BCA’s “worst day yet” he provides a useful round-up of the blogs which have already examined and demolished the BCA’s ‘plethora’ of studies.
David Colquhoun takes apart the studies dealing with colic on his Improbable Science blog.
The Lay Science blog provides an excellent general review of ‘the plethora’ and notes that in actual fact only 6 of the 27 are even charitably recognisable as relevant studies as well as highlighting a horrific instance of quote mining.
Another fantastic overview and examination of three of the colic papers over at the Ministry of Truth blog.
On the God Knows What blog (here) I compare the BCA’s plethora against the studies mentioned in Simon Singh’s publicly available (via JoK) defence from back in Novemeber. Suprisingly the plethora doesn’t come out looking good.
I canna’ change the laws of physics blog takes a look at the studies dealing with bed wetting and unbelievably finds they aren’t quite as persuasive as the BCA claimed. Who would have thought it?
Holford Watch has further analysis of the BCA’s folly under the accurate heading “British Chiropractic Association (BCA) demonstrate what evidence-based medicine isn’t”.
Thinking is real blog offers some thoughts on the BCA’s plethora and a discussion over why exactly the BCA might lock the pdf to prevent editing!
Phil Plait on his Bad Astronomy blog joins the chorus of voices suggesting that the BCA’s long awaited evidence is less than overwhelming.
jdc325 sums up the blogging world’s response to the BCA’s third statement nicely in his analysis of how their various bizarre arguments and claims (such as hoping that by bringing a court case they would not end up in court) are ‘baffling bloggers’.
Can’t resist adding Jonathan Hearsay’s reaction to the above demolition of the BCA’s long awaited plethora of studies. Very accurate!
– The ongoing Mass Complaints against Chiropractors –
Chris French discusses the complaints campaign in his column for the Guardian and asseses whether the Chiropractors claim that it is a ‘withchunt’ really holds up to scrutiny.
Disgruntled chiropractor and longtime critic of the GCC Richard Lanigan discusses the GCC’s attempt to dismiss the claims.
Zeno who submitted over 500 complaints to the GCC provides extensive coverage of the GCC’s ‘moving of the goalposts’ in relation to the complaints in three blog entries (part one, part two and part three). He also published his correspondance with the GCC wherein they offer their explanation for their actions.
*Sticking with Zeno he has also been providing coverage of another story guaranteed to further damage the chiropractoric professions reputation whereby the e-mail address he has used to send his complaints to the GCC has now been signed up to a variety of websites and subscription services using fake details presumably by either a GCC member or one of the subjects of the complaint. Zeno is currently complaining to the GCC about this and rightly so!
jdc325 has also been chronicling his attempt to complain to the privvy council about the GCC’s goalpost moving over on his blog: he provides the letter he sent and the only reply so far a short acknowledgment. He also discusses the rather unpleasant implications of the ‘dirty tricks’ being played in regards Zeno’s e-mail address.
Thinking is dangerous blog illustrates the impact the campaign is having by examining what has happened to the claims of treating colic on a chiropractor’s website.
I canna change the laws of physics blog presents a short unpublished rebuttal to some of the arguments made in New Scientist by BCA vice president Richard Brown and a more detailed examination of the many flaws with alternative medicine advocate Dr. George Lewith’s letter in support of the BCA also published in New Scientist.
Jack of Kent provides a detailed examination of the BCA’s reply to Simon’s Defense filed back in November and made available now. The analysis is particularly intriguing when it focuses on the BCA’s curious comments in regards to ‘evidence’. Well worth a read!
Zeno relates a depressing tale uncovered after some good investigative work showing how a Scottish chiropractor claiming to be able to cure deafness eventually received ‘an admonishment’ from the GCC after a complaint was upheld but was subsequently elected unopposed to the GCC council a few months later.
–BMJ editorial agrees ‘the plethora’ has been demolished–
The British Medical Journal publishes a slew of articles about the case by Professor Edzard Ernst, Singh’s co-author for Trick or Treatment criticising the evidence presented by the BCA, Richard Brown, vice president of the BCA, defending the BCA’s position and Harvey Marcovitch, discussing the harm to medicine that libel laws cause. However, the editorial by Fiona Godlee shows that there is no uncertainty as to which side the evidence favours as she comments that the BCA’s evidence has now been demolished and goes on to say “weak science sheltered from criticism by officious laws means bad medicine.”
Quackometer has some good coverage of the development and makes some interesting observations about the editorial, it’s implications and the rather uncompelling nature of pretty much all of the arguments presented by Richard Brown.
Jack-of-Kent also covers the demolition noting that it is perhaps not unfair to say that after a complete demolition ‘not a jot’ remains! Sticking with the BMJ he also offers some thoughts on the response to the issue offered by one Lionel R. Milgrom LCH MARH MRHom BSc MSc PhD CChem FRSC.
The Independent has some brief coverage of the BMJ issue with Jeremy Laurance voicing his support of the editor’s conclusions.
Cubik’s Rube has a blog post discussing the BMJ’s editorial and even daring to announce some slight feelings of optimism about the case in light of these developments.
Simon confirms that the appeal has been lodged in his newsletter and provides references to some of his writings/interviews on the topic.
**I missed this epic coverage of the case by Sue Reid in the Daily Mail published back on the 1st July it gives an excellent overview of the case, the issues and unsuprisingly comes down strongly in favour of Simon’s case and free speech.**
Jack-of-Kent takes a retrospective look at what originally got him involved with the Singh/BCA case and discusses why any of it matters to him.
There is a video report on the case which also discusses some of the wider issues and Simon’s trip to Australia on ABC.
Zeno’s blog, Quackometer and Thinking is Dangerous all announce that the GCC is having to hire new staff to deal with the unprecedented level of complaints and as a result the processing of the complaints is likely to be delayed for several months. It is however likely a good indication that they are taking the complaints seriously.
Richard Lanigan, the disgruntled chiropractor, is now getting some seriously funky messages over his coverage of the case. Look at how many times God and Jesus is referenced in the e-mail he was sent, someone clearly has issues.
– Beware the Spinal Trap is Republished by the Sense About Science Campaign –
Simon’s original article with the 2 allegedly libellous lines removed is reposted by Sense About Science as part of the ‘Keep Libel Laws out of Science’ Campaign and is subsequently rehosted on Cosmos, The Skeptic, New Humanist and hundreds of blogs (which are listed at the bottom of the Sense About Science article).
Jack of Kent also reproduced the two allegedly defamatory statements although you probably should know them off by heart by now.
Ben Goldacre provided coverage of the widespread reposting of the article and also gave a nice round up and hat tip to the work of all the science and skeptical bloggers who have been covering the case, contributing to the discussion surrounding it and in many cases taking direct (and time consuming) action of their own (see the omnibus complaints or the analysis of the plethora for some examples).
Dr. Aust rehosts the article but adds in some ‘amateur legal musings’ about the removal of the much debated 2 lines. Interesting discussion and includes an updated footnote with some thoughts on Simon’s rejected appeal.
–Simon is refused permission to Appeal–
Jack of Kent broke the news that Simon had been refused admission to appeal. He then provided a sobering outline of the different ways the case could continue along with a frank discussion of what it would mean if the case ended here.
The BCA’s official response to the decision was notably more muted than its previous bombastic offerings.
Upon hearing the bad news the blogger Heresiarch wrote a rather compelling open letter to Simon suggesting that he had done enough and it might be more productive to accept defeat.
Simon issued a statement explaining that he intended to fight on and that he would be seeking “an oral reconsideration of his application to appeal”. This was followed by a detailed explanation as to why he felt it important to keep fighting and how his circumstances enabled him to pursue the case without being overwhelmed by the amount of time fighting such as case requires. His reply is another essential read for those interested in the case and also provided a response to a number of the points raised by Heresiarch.
Simon’s explanation was certainly compelling to me, so much so that I wrote a post about it, thanking Simon for his honesty and reiterating my support for his willingness to ‘fight the good fight’.
Crispian Jago injects some light relief on his blog with a satirical take on a skeptical version of South Park starring one infamous big haired science writer.
Sile Lane of Sense-About-Science writes in the British Medical Journal blog about the chilling effect that the UK libel laws can have and why we need to be concerned but also provides a ray of hope by detailing the “unprecedented counterblast” that Simon’s case has engendered.
–Richard Dawkins speaks out in Simon’s defence and Liberal Democrats vote to support Libel Reform at Party Conference–
Richard Dawkins spoke at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference about how Simon’s case revealed an urgent need for the UK libel laws to face reforms. His speech is available to read on-line at the sense-about-science site, as is some choice quotes from notable figures discussing why such a speech is necessary and important.
Le Canard Noir at Quackometer drew some attention to the speech shortly before it happened and also provided some thoughts of his own about the libel laws and their problems.
At the same conference, after an overwhelming vote, the Liberal Democrats officially announced their support for libel law reform! Much of the credit for this development must go to Prateek Buch who organised a ‘fringe conference’ event which included short talks by Simon Singh, Ben Goldacre, Nick Cohen and Evan Harris.
This development and Richard Dawkins speech received widespread coverage in:
- A very matter-of-fact report by the BBC.
– A similar quote heavy Guardian article.
– A short quote-a-rific Telegraph article.
– A pre-emptive article by the Times which also briefly discussed some significant libel cases.
– A short post on Press Gazette.
– Another short post on ePolitiX.com.
– A good summary article on politics.co.uk which was featured alongside a detailed ‘commentary’ article by Ian Dunt discussing ‘The law that shames Britain’.
Unrelated to the Lib Dem’s conference Jack of Kent provided some very interesting musings on “Corporations, Libel and the BCA” introducing the issue of whether the BCA actually has a “legal personality” that can be libelled. A topic that may become very significant if Simon loses the application to appeal.