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Simon Singh To Appeal In UK Court Today

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the words-you-never-heard-in-the-bible dept.

Censorship 213

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 Today's decision could have far-reaching implications for the movement to reform Britain's horrifically outdated libel laws (that even America is making moves to protect its citizens against), and to begin taking steps to elevate Britain above the likes of China when it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."

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Summary writer is a full blown moron (4, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31249858)

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.

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31249906)

He got FP and I was trying to get FP, but ball licking slashdong didn't let me post as AC *again* so I had to post from another IP and by the time that happened, this tool had already gotten FP. So mod him into oblivion. Thanks!
 
-timothy

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN (-1, Offtopic)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250060)

Why are you posting anonymously? Why do you want FP? You might want to read this FAQ. [slashdot.org] Seriously, there is no reason whatever to mod the GP down. Are you thirteen years old, mentaly handicapped, or just a troll?

Don't be a TROLL, mcgrew (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31250196)

Mod parent off-topic!

Re:Don't be a TROLL, mcgrew (-1, Offtopic)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250598)

Actually, that would be a fair mod. I would have modded myself down but the "no karma bonus" button seems to not be working.

MOD DOWN MCGREW (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31251108)

Had enough yet? Captcha: picketed

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31250188)

They don't let you post, Timothy?

Damn, that's harsh. You must be the Jason Newstead of Slashdot editors.

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (4, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250006)

I know! Britain has *just as much* freedom of speech as China does!

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (0, Flamebait)

monoi (811392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250290)

So China has incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights, then?

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (5, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250092)

Agreed. Less free speech than China is clearly hyperbole. Libel laws are a complete mess and need reform but comparing freedom of speech in Britain to (lack of) freedom of speech in China adds nothing to the debate.

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (1)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250858)

IANAL and certainly know nothing of this British Libel law, so I'll go ahead and ask:
Is the submitter now at risk of a libel suit from the British Government for so egregiously insulting the nation's legal system and free speech rights? Could the submitter be liable in a libel suit for falsely comparing Britain to China in regards to Human Rights?

If not, then clearly he is mistaken in his assessment.

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (5, Funny)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250346)

Hyperbole, Motherfucker! DO YOU SPEAK IT?

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (4, Funny)

TACD (514008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250656)

Jesus Christ all this talk of hyperbole makes me want to shoot a nuclear rocket through my fucking head.

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251410)

I really should look that word up one of these days....

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251362)

I don't remember asking you a GOD DAMN THING!

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31250472)

this is the country where saying a horse looks 'gay' is liable to get you a 3-month jail sentence [secularism.org.uk]

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250634)

this is the country where saying a horse looks 'gay' is liable to get you a 3-month jail sentence [secularism.org.uk]

Read your own link, the guy's going in front of a judge for a public order offence (probably breech of the peace or similar), but suggesting it's because he called the horse gay gets more eyeballs.

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31250962)

Actually, it seems pretty accurate. He (stupidly) asked a cop if he knew he was riding a gay horse, and the cop cited him for violations of the public order act. There's actually a lot of action around this law in Britain right now, as you can basically run afoul of the law by offending any sensibilities at all. Reason Magazine had a couple of articles on it late last year.

You are correct that the actual offense was "mouthing off to a police officer", rather than the actual "gay horse" content, but still.

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (3, Insightful)

got2liv4him (966133) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250830)

I thought it was obvious from the "even America" remark that the author of the summary has a certain leaning or agenda...

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (1)

TACD (514008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251070)

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." - 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]

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

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (4, Insightful)

CherniyVolk (513591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251114)

Truth is far stranger than fiction.

Perhaps it's you who is living in a fantasy world? A world where you believe you have a freedom of speech? Never mind other freedoms. Have you ever tried to exercise this freedom of speech?

Let me do that for you, "THE US PRESIDENT IS AN ASSHOLE! ISRAEL IS KILLING PALESTINIAN BABIES!"

There, does that make you feel proud? Happy? Secure? Free? Is that an example of free speech, a posting on /. a couple of simple sentences? Boy, if that's all it takes to make you happy and believing you have a legally protected Right... then you, my dear friend is much the fool.

Let's take it up a step further. I walk down town, find a hill, raising 6 feet high, pull out a bull horn and announce controversial views to be heard around for blocks. The views must be controversial, because otherwise the concept of free speech is masked by conformance of what those in power want you to believe; this is called effective free speech, something you apparently know nothing of. Along with effective free speech comes the prospect of actually having people listen to you, and see your ways... you have to effect people, this is the part of free speech people do not understand, like you. If you can't get someone else to see your ways, free speech or not... you're just mumbling to yourself, effectively. And guess what? Rebels and resistance has always mumbled to themselves, regardless of whatever freedoms they are claimed to have.

So there I am, speaking of controversial views (any view that makes people see things differently is controversial, or will soon become controversial; this I hope you do understand).

No one stops by, maybe a few that wish to yell back, nothing more than displaying their obedience to their cruel overlords. Police see that my speech has no effect, so they elect to adhere to laws that best suits the situation (my controversial views aren't causing a ruckus), so by laws handed down, noise ordinance laws allows me to be as loud as I want till 10pm. So then, I'm just wasting breath.

People start forming up around me, listening. A few shy away, a few in the front start showing signs of comprehension and acceptance. Now, the police again has elect the best course of action for the situation. In this case, I'm enlightening the people, so the noise ordinance laws are ignored because I'm actually effecting people. Now comes laws from the other side of the spectrum, assembly laws. Do I have a permit to rally? Do I have a permit for public announcement? Noise ordinance laws are for private individuals with private interests, if I'm making a speech, then they do not apply to me in the same way. Speech being justified by the congregation before me that has been formed. Police aren't there to protect me, but those in power. So they step in, grab the bull horn, and ask for permits. If everyone disperses quietly and no lasting effect has been made on the sheep, then I get off with a warning. But if there's any resistance, showing maybe I opened some eyes, then I go to jail, and maybe some of them too for disrupting the peace; among other laws such as not having a hundred different permits to legally be allowed to do such a thing.

Depending on the speech, if I anger the wrong people. Then you have libel suits brought against me. Maybe I garner the wrath in all the many forms from those that I anger. The more effective my speech, the worse the wrath will be.

So, you see, you don't have freedom of speech. Just because you can whisper what you want amongst the crowd of yelling fanatics, doesn't mean your thoughts are going to have any effect therefore pose any real threat to those in power. You think you can change the world with your words, but you can't, and you won't even attempt to prove me wrong because you know I'm right. Do everything you can to justify this believe you so long for.

In China, you think they don't have freedom of speech. In China perhaps it's illegal to say the president is an asshole. So legal bounds prevents someone from saying so on the street to prevent them from having other people see his ways. At least in China you're taking seriously, at least someone hears you. In America, you're laughed at from above. Those in power don't even care if you speak the truth. No one will listen, and if they do, then comes the police to charge you with all sorts of charges... but not a charge directly assaulting your precious "freedom of speech". Fool.

Re:Summary writer is a full blown moron (1, Informative)

TACD (514008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251372)

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!

His cryptography book is a good read (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31249872)

So I so we let him off!

More Importantly (4, Informative)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#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)

Re:More Importantly (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250108)

I've read The Code Book as well. A very good read.

Re:More Importantly (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250392)

As well as Big Bang.

Re:More Importantly (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251006)

Fermat's last theorem wasn't a very good book. I remember it going on and on repeating itself, but, crucially, not getting far close to actually explaining, to an intelligent laymen, exactly what the problem was and/or how clever an answer would be. It was like a good magazine article stretched into hundreds of pages.

Re:More Importantly (1)

bigbird (40392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251658)

You've got to be kidding. You read the book & you don't know what Fermat's last theorem is?? How is that possible?

Humbug! (5, Interesting)

calibre-not-output (1736770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31249904)

This reminds me of the first episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! when Penn explains why they call people "motherfuckers" and "assholes" instead of liars, frauds, quacks, etc.

Quoted from Wikipedia:
Since their act is not normally associated with a frequent use of profanity, Jillette explains their choice of using the term bullshit in the opening episode: if they referred to people as frauds or liars, they could be sued for slander, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of chicanery, but as "vulgar abuse" is not legally considered slanderous, referring to them as assholes or motherfuckers ostensibly expresses an opinion rather than a statement of fact and is legally safer for them.

Incestuous snakes on an incestuous plane (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31249978)

referring to them as assholes or motherfuckers ostensibly expresses an opinion rather than a statement of fact and is legally safer for them.

Liar: "It is my opinion that you have lied." Motherfucker: "It is my opinion that you have committed incest." What key difference am I failing to see?

Re:Incestuous snakes on an incestuous plane (2, Informative)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250042)

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.

Re:Incestuous snakes on an incestuous plane (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250162)

In the US, it is not defamation if a reasonable person wouldn't find it believable. Therefore, saying "Dennis Rodman and Lady Gaga are aliens from outer space!" is not defamation, but saying "Dennis Rodman and Lady Gaga have committed incest!" is defamation. Anybody who accuses you of defamation is really insulting themselves by declaring that those outlandish claims you made which rightfully should be considered satire or hyberbole are actually close enough to the truth so as to be believable by the average person!

Re:Incestuous snakes on an incestuous plane (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250424)

Therefore, saying "Dennis Rodman and Lady Gaga are aliens from outer space!" is not defamation

Chop off the "from outer space" and you might defame them to people who are prejudiced against immigrants. My point is that just about every English word has a meaning that defames and one that does not.

Re:Incestuous snakes on an incestuous plane (2, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251472)

Liar: "It is my opinion that you have lied." Motherfucker: "It is my opinion that you have committed incest." What key difference am I failing to see?

Liar only has one meaning. Motherfucker has many, with incest being just one of them (and in fact, usually it doesn't mean that). It's generic and vague, just the sort of thing to call some litigious motherfucking asshole.

Re:Incestuous snakes on an incestuous plane (3, Funny)

Cederic (9623) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251584)

Indeed.

"You motherfucker!"
"Yeah, but it was your mother. She was a lousy lay though"

Re:Incestuous snakes on an incestuous plane (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251722)

What key difference am I failing to see?

Well, I don't know about you, but when I hear one person call another person a "motherfucker", I don't usually think that one person is accusing another of incest. Whereas, if I hear one person call another person a liar, I usually think they mean it literally, not just as generic insult for someone who pisses you off.

Re:Humbug! (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31249994)

referring to them as assholes or motherfuckers ostensibly expresses an opinion

I dunno, I suspect someone might have considered an unsubstantiated accusation of incestuous sexual congress with one's own mother as factually slanderous. And then we'd see the limits of the "we didn't mean it literally" defense.

Re:Humbug! (2, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250232)

No, you'd see the bog standard "what would a reasonable person understand the statement to mean" being applied. And nowhere near the limits...

Re:Humbug! (3, Insightful)

ndogg (158021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250638)

And in this case, Penn calls these guys "baby twisting motherfuckers."

I don't think I could have come up with a better phrase than that.

Re:Humbug! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31251098)

This reminds me of the first episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! when Penn explains why they call people "motherfuckers" and "assholes" instead of liars, frauds, quacks, etc..

So in Amercia it's (in the eye's of the law) better to say that someone has sex with their mother rather then lies about something? Hahaha.

A question for the limeys: (0, Flamebait)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31249922)

how is it your famously pugilistic press can survive in this walking-on-eggshells libel law environment?

the british press seems especially mean and nasty, but you would think they'd all be cupcakes with the legal environment they work in

Re:A question for the limeys: (2, Informative)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250082)

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:A question for the limeys: (2, Insightful)

artg (24127) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250110)

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. 2. The establishment understands the Streisand effect and ignores the popular press. But now the lawyers rather than the clients are creating the market. They don't care whether they actually suppress the 'libel, they just want to get paid. So they lead stupid people to try. Doubtless they'll get over it eventually.

Re:A question for the limeys: (4, Informative)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:A question for the limeys: (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250146)

Perhaps there is a bit of Darwinism here.

The journalists that survive end up becoming accustomed to getting their ducks in a row before going after someone. So by being forced to do their homework properly, they are more confident about their claims and more willing to press them.

It sounds like Singh didn't do that. It sounds like he was just talking trash and got called out for it.

Re:A question for the limeys: (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250824)

The press are very careful to refer to "alleged" actions and "reported" events and make it clear that they are only expressing an opinion and not stating "fact", which will get you around most of the libel laws in the UK.

What a joke.. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31250024)


"I crack backs; I cure cancer!"
"I crack backs; I cure deafness!"

Chiropractic is pseudo-0scientific bullshit. Along the lines of Homoeopathy, Acupuncture and "bad humours"

Posted AC cuz I'm in the UK oddly enough.

Re:What a joke.. (1)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250122)

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.

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

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250192)


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.

Re:What a joke.. (2, Interesting)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251732)

I know it is anecdotal evidence but personally I am convinced of the value of Chiro in some circumstances.

I suffer from FSH muscular dystrophy, and get extreme headaches due to it. The ONLY thing that reduces the frequency of these headaches is a regular visit to the chiro.

  I literally can feel an improvement immediately after a visit. That said there are some chiro's who I have tried who got no useful result, leading me to believe that this is not a placebo type effect.

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

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250230)

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.. (3, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250486)

Well, so some degree, ear infections can be caused by muscle tension around the eustachian tubes not allowing the ear to drain properly, so to the extent that this is the case, chiropractic medicine can help (as can a good massage therapist without cracking your spine). This is probably not by any stretch of the imagination the majority of ear infections, of course.

I suspect that a lot of the things that many people suspect are quackery do, in fact, actually prove beneficial *in some cases*, depending on the underlying root cause. The problem comes when somebody overgeneralizes and distorts this to say that he/she can, as you put it, cure ear infections by twisting your spine. Occasionally, yes, but usually not.

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

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250288)

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.

Re:What a joke.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31250952)

Just curious,
Does your girlfriend have an actual MRI showing a nerve being compressed ("pinched").
In my case, my "pinched nerve" was not. I actually had muscles that were overly tight,
almost stuck in a tensed state. Once these muscles were eased, the "pinched nerve"
went away.

I ditched the chiro after a few visits, it just seems that it is half bullshit, also noted
that he was very pleased with my insurance coverage, and wanted me to come weekly.

Re:What a joke.. (2, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251154)

I've actually often wondered that myself, since it apparently helps with her headaches when I give her massages (though that could just be her using my kindness to get massages) and I am by no means a licensed Chiropracticioner. Though my massages only aid during the length of the massage, and a headache can return quite quickly, whereas she says the Chiropractor makes it disappear for days.

However - its apparently free while you are a student at the University. So I don't press on it too much. Come Graduation time - if she starts spending money on that kind of stuff, I'll tell her to get it checked properly.

Re:What a joke.. (2, Insightful)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251078)

All true - and also helped by the fact that chronic pain is one area where the placebo effect is particularly powerful. Powerful enough to be effective in over 50% of cases. That will get you a lot of testimonials.

Re:What a joke.. (3, Insightful)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250386)

it depends on the claims being made. for instance, the chiropractor I go to makes no claims beyond being able to help you if you throw your back out, and I have found these claims to be justified. anecdotal I know, but not every single chiropractor out there is as you describe.

Re:What a joke.. (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250478)

Hoemopathy has been scientifically disproven, but not accupuncture. In fact, many mainstream physicians use it these days; it has been tested and found effective. Chiropracy clearly won't do anything for any ailment not related to bones or nerves, such as cholic or cancer, but if you have an aching back it can do wonders. I know several people who had surgeons tell them surgery was their only recourse, only to have a chiropractor fix them good as new. At least one (my dad) was extremely skeptical of chiropracty but gave it a shot anyway, and the results spoke for themselves.

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

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250764)


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.

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

Luthair (847766) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:What a joke.. (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251526)

At the same time, there was another that showed needles applied to the foot in an area supposedly related to the eyes caused activation of parts of the visual cortex visible in an fMRI. But only when a skilled accupuncturist did it. Medical personel sticking needles into the same general area didn't trigger the brain activity.

Re:What a joke.. (3, Insightful)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251100)

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.

Benefit relative to placebo. Placebos are very effective in treating pain. So both statements could in fact be true.

Re:What a joke.. (2, Interesting)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251500)

Hoemopathy has been scientifically disproven, but not accupuncture. In fact, many mainstream physicians use it these days; it has been tested and found effective.

They also found that a chimpanzee in a white coat poking you with toothpicks was every bit as effective as a trained doctor using needles on meridian points and all that nonsense.

Acupuncture works as a placebo. It's been well documented that the more invasive a placebo is, the more "effective" it is. Me hitting you in the head with a rubber mallet is more likely to "cure" your headache than if you just took a sugar pill, but neither one actually has any real effect.

I know several people who had surgeons tell them surgery was their only recourse, only to have a chiropractor fix them good as new.

I know several people who swear that some plastic gizmo in their air-intake doubles their gas mileage. If you're going to base your understanding of reality on the testimony of idiots, you're going to make a lot of frauds and scam-artists very happy.

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

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250488)

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.

Chiroprators (4, Informative)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#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".

Re:Chiroprators (2, Interesting)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250154)

I've tried both chiropractice and physiotherapy, and they seem like much of a muchness, although I suppose I have a little more confidence in conventional medicine -- I doubt that the certification process for chiropractors is as rigourous or lengthy as physiotherapy. I've recently heard enough horror stories about people being maimed or killed outright by dodgy chiropractice to ever consider returning to a chiropractor.

Re:Chiroprators (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31250468)

i think most professional athletes would take issue with Physiotherapy being much of a muchness. As would I. As would pretty much every hospital in my County.

Physiotherapy quite literally got me out of bed and walking without being in agonizing pain within 3 days after spending weeks with Chiropractors. In fact I visit a Physiotherapist a couple of times a year who has helped me no end manage shoulder damage I have had doing sports over the years.

I am not sure what Physiotherapists you have used, but assuming you are from the USA (I am from the UK) I am led to believe that 'Physical Therapists' and Physiotherapists are two different things and that the former (from anecdotal evidence) is not much better than a glorified masseuse.

Re:Chiroprators (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250616)

The human back is a tricky thing to deal with. If you want find horror stories, then you don't need to restrict yourself to chiropractors.

Re:Chiroprators (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31251590)

I doubt that the certification process for chiropractors is as rigourous or lengthy as physiotherapy.

The process to become a chiropractor is quite lengthy.

After all, you don't want to go see a quack, you want a certified quack with a nice framed piece of paper on their wall.

[citation needed] (1)

xerent_sweden (1010825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250220)

Is it your opinion or experiences you're stating? Otherwise, can you supply those claims with evidence or references?

Re:[citation needed] (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250318)

Anecdotal evidence from myself and my father, so yes, in my own opinion.

Re:[citation needed] (0, Redundant)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250580)

You mean other than the dearth of peer-reviewed medical studies to back up the claims? You seem to have the burden of proof backwards. Until they can provide some double-blind studies that prove the efficacy of the treatment, there is no reason to accept any of it as fact.

Re:[citation needed] (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251122)

Is it your opinion or experiences you're stating? Otherwise, can you supply those claims with evidence or references?

I don't subscribe to all the claims chiropractic makes concerning the benefits of chiropractic care, but it helps with a lot of things. I have had horrible tension headaches or even trouble breathing because of neck or back pain, and those were almost instantly removed after getting an adjustment. For that purpose, it's well worth it.

Re:Chiropratic is bullshit (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Two And A Half Men (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250168)

Is "Two And A Half Men" broadcast in the UK? One of the main characters is a chiropractor and most of the other characters say libelous things about his profession. Where are the lawsuits over this?

Re:Two And A Half Men (2, Insightful)

riddic (1751720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250264)

Is "Two And A Half Men" broadcast in the UK? One of the main characters is a chiropractor and most of the other characters say libelous things about his profession. Where are the lawsuits over this?

It is broadcast in the U.K., very regularly (it is on syndication on Paramount Comedy or some channel). No, it is not an issue. The reason you've had to ask this question is because you've been subjected to kdawson's ridiculous idiocy where he compares freedom of speech in the U.K. to China.

Re:Two And A Half Men (0, Troll)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250540)

I don't know about the UK, but I suspect that there as well as here comedy is not considered libelous, or the guys from Monty Python would have had the shit sued out of them. For instance, the "mad doctor" sketch - "Now they want to socialize medicine!"

Or the brain surgeon sketch.

"My brain hurts!"

"Well, it will have to come out then."
Followed later in the sketch with the surgeon saying "my brain hurts, too."

And what about the archetect and the Masons? If comedy were considered libel in Britain, those giuys would have been in deep poodoo.

Re:Two And A Half Men (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31251214)

Truly. It would be as if someone was expecting the Spanish Inquisition.

(...in three, two, one...)

Re:Two And A Half Men (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251478)

Truly. It would be as if someone was expecting the Spanish Inquisition.

(...in three, two, one...)

*SIGH* ... fine...

*Ahem* NOBODY EXPECTS...

Hold on, I'll come in again.

What the Judge Said... (2, Interesting)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250176)

Everyone knows what bogus treatments are. They are not merely treatments which have proved less effective than they were at first thought to be, or which have been shown by the subsequent acquisition of more detailed scientific knowledge to be ineffective. Bogus treatments equate to quack remedies; that is to say they are dishonestly presented to a trusting and, in some respects perhaps, vulnerable public as having proven efficacy in the treatment of certain conditions or illnesses, when it is known that there is nothing to support such claims.

Please, get this story right, people. It's not about whether these remedies work or not. It's the implication that they offer them, knowing full well that they don't work.
Here's the OED definition of bogus:

pretending to be real or genuine

Re:What the Judge Said... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250254)

Please, get this story right, people.

Welcome to /. :-)

Re:What the Judge Said... (3, Interesting)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250554)

If the British Chiropractic Association claim the use of chiropractic works for certain children’s ailments such as asthma, colic, and frequent ear infections, but refuse to provide any evidence that they do then one can only presume that they knew full well that that they don't work and are hence bogus.

However this is immaterial to the case. In England and Wales (could be different in Scotland as we have a different legal system) the mere fact that Simon Singh's claim whether right or wrong was made and has damaged the claimant aka liabled him to the general public is all that is required in theory for the BCA to win. Truth is no defence against liable in England and Wales.

Re:What the Judge Said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31250948)

Actually, truth is the only defense against libel. If it can be shown that what was written s true and your statement can be verified then this is a defense. If you can't verify as true what you said then you can be sued for libel, even if it cannot be proved that what you said was false. Of course one can say 'in my opinion ....' and as such this is safe.

Note that libel only applies to published written statements, not things that are said (that would be slander and covered differently in law). So this doesn't infringe on your right to say anything you like, just don't write it down and publish it!

Re:What the Judge Said... (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250980)

Truth *can* be a defence, but it's not always a sufficient defence on its own.

Re:What the Judge Said... (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251324)

Sorry, thinking of the US. Ignore me.

Re:What the Judge Said... (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251162)

please, please rtfa. the key issue here is the meaning of 'bogus' and if it meant that the bca members knew that chiropractic does not work.

it's the bca's knowledge and the meaning of bogus that the court will decide. the truth of the singh's claim is key, but the court has to decide what singh was claiming -- and to decide what singh was claiming, the court must decide what 'bogus' meant in this context.

so truth is a defense -- but it's a different truth to your simplistic view.

Re:What the Judge Said... (1)

Jonti (795505) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251168)

You've got that arse-backwards, I'm afraid.

Under English Law, one may say untrue things about someone and not be liable (sic) for libel (sic). This would be true if you said Ian Huntley (a convicted child killer) is into beastiality, for example. He has such a lousy reputation anyway, it's impossible to further tarnish it, however outrageous a lie about him one tells.

But truth is an absolute defense against the charge of libel and slander in England, as it is (I imagine) everywhere. It's what it means; to libel (sic) is to tell a damaging untruth.

Judge not impressed (5, Informative)

rugatero (1292060) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Judge not impressed (2, Informative)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250938)

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...

Re:Judge not impressed (2, Informative)

TACD (514008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250946)

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:Judge not impressed (4, Funny)

Eil (82413) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251386)

It's probably hard to be impressed by anything at all when your formal title and name works out to be Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge.

Chiropractic = Quackery (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#31250860)

Chiropractic feels good and can be used to temporarily release muscle tension, but you're never going to make me believe that an adjustment on a chiropractor's table lasts beyond using your muscles to get up off the table and walk out of the office. You're better off with deep tissue massage which actually has lasting effects, but DT Massage is often uncomfortable or downright painful, unlike chiropractic. So called "Network Chiropractic" is complete bullshit. The idea that a chiropractor can tap or push on my spine to fix my liver or kidneys is utterly fucking stupid. These guys need to be lumped in with homeopathic "doctors", right behind "spiritual healers", performers of Reiki and Scientology's "touch assist".

Holy fuck there are a lot of gullible people on the planet.

At the risk of being called a troll... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31250886)

I have to agree with the court. The court's ruling is based on the finding that Singh implied that chiropractors were deliberately misleading people. Singh denies this, but I can't really believe his claim. He totally meant it in the manner the court took it. So it's down to libel law, which is pretty simple here. Singh made a damning accusation, which is believable to reasonable people (probably because it's so likely true). The BCA replied with a libel suit. The burden of proof lies on Singh, because even though the BCA brought the suit, it was Singh who made the original accusation. Singh cannot provide proof - in fact his original statement was based on the fact that there is no scientific proof that chiropractors provide health benefits. There's also no proof that they don't (there's evidence, but not proof). While this is a good reason to argue that libel law needs to be reexamined; as the law stands now, I cannot see Singh winning this case.

Re:At the risk of being called a troll... (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251222)

While it's true that the burden of proof lies with Singh, part of his claim was that there isn't "a jot" of evidence to support the BCA's position and the BCA's insistence that there's loads of evidence that chiropractic "medicine" cures all, while failing to produce any of it in court doesn't appear to have sat well with Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, who is overseeing the case.

bob (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31251004)

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

"outdated" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31251022)

I hate seeing things like "reform Britain's outdated libel laws". It makes it sound as if those laws were OK back then, which they weren't.

umm (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31251184)

(that even America is making moves to protect its citizens against)

Why the "even"?

bogus science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31251600)

I have experienced severe back pain in the past. I have never had an instance where "cracking the back" has made any difference whatsoever. They also tried some little clicker device that sent light punches to my back, to no effect. Occasionally, I will feel some relief from the accompanying massage... and I think that is where most people who swear by a chiropractor get their positive experience from.

Note: I'm not talking about physical damage to the back... that requires real doctors (not chiropractor specific). I'm just talking about the muscles, tendons and general tightness above.

By far, the best way to get rid of back pain is through light stretching and exercise of the back. I have a 2 page set of stretches to do on the floor, standing and in a chair. I now no longer ever need to pay a chiropractor for their specialty any more. Instead I follow the stretches on my sheet and just go to a massage therapist when required (which is never now).

I think the real bogus issue is why we are not taught how easy and cheap it is to resolve most back pain.

To be clear though... (in my opinion, hehe)... Chiropractors are not bogus. They work hard for their titles and offer relief to many of their patients. Unlike the homeopathy crowd, who in my opinion are the biggest bogus quacks on the take. At least every one I visited on advice from someone else was completely bogus. Unbelievably, laughing with me when I explain how their scientific explanation was impossible for the devices they used... and how easy it is to prove that. One doctor even advised me to go to a homeopathic quack... I returned to tell him never to assign another patient to this bogus bogus bogus non-science money stealing snake oil seller.

And for that homeo dick... if you're listening: No, I am not allergic to milk/dairy. and Yes, you are a bogus quack.

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