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In the UK, a Victory For Free Speech

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the untangling-law-from-science dept.

Censorship 130

Forget4it was one of several readers to note that British science writer Simon Singh, whose prosecution for libel we have discussed on several occasions, has won an interim victory in a UK appeals court. "The landmark ruling will allow the writer, whose battle has become a catalyst for demands for libel law reform, to rely on a 'fair comment' defense of his statements about chiropractors. It will also strengthen the position of others — from science writers and medical professionals to bloggers — who face libel suits, as the judges made clear the court was not the place to settle scientific controversies."

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Bad things to say about chiropractors? (-1, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705840)

I'm not a scientist. But I do know that going to the chiropractor leads to feeling great.

What could he have been saying about them? It seems that if you're going to bad mouth an entire profession, there should be some kind of evidence to back it up. It sounds like he's just got it in for chiropractors. And I'm not so sure we can consider it anything but hate speech.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (3, Insightful)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705858)

Well, he can soon publish his papers, meaning you can make your own informed opinion.

Before, it was suppressed, not allowing anyone to make their opinion.

Not exactly (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705980)

Well, he can soon publish his papers, meaning you can make your own informed opinion.

The appellate court didn't decide the case, they just reversed the lower court on the standard to be used: "fair comment" rather than "objective truth." He still has to go through a trial on whether his column was, in fact, "fair comment."

Re:Not exactly (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31708264)

Why was this in court to begin with? I know that an individual can be slandered against, but an organization? I didn't know they had such rights.

Is there a lawyer in the house to explain?

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (3, Informative)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706042)

Here's the pdf of the judgement [indexoncensorship.org]
It's pretty damn scathing and looks like escalating this further up the court is pointless.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706408)

Wow. Pretty good paper. I'm not British, so I don't speak quite like that - but it's more understandable than some of our US legal opinions and documents!

Very nice job by the court! A good decision, given in understandable language.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (5, Informative)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705866)

Trolling or just not reading the previous discussions? The issue is indeed about making claims without evidence to back them up: Singh observed that the British Chiropractic Association claims that they can cure a laundry list of medical issues but that there was no evidence to support this. The BCA responded by suing him.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

ferd_farkle (208662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706080)

um... I thought that the issue in this particular proceeding was another judge's decision that by Singh's use of the word "bogus" he meant that chiropracters were intentionally dishonest (libelous), rather than an opinion (fair comment) of the scientific merits of chiropractic.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31706384)

So what? The BCA claimed its members could cure just about anything with their techniques, despite these members knowing they can't, and not having "a joy of evidence" to back up their claims. Because the UK has crazy libel laws, the BCA was trying to go after Singh personally, and not the paper that published the piece, which is the normal practice, seeing as the papers have far deeper pockets. The BCA also declined to do a rebuttal in the same paper. I.e. they know they have no evidence that will withstand the slightest scrutiny.

Furthermore, the BCA also contacted all chiropractors in the country, telling them to remove anything advertising or suggesting they could cure what they previously claimed. Why? Because members of the public seeing what was going on started going into these places collecting evidence to demonstrate they were indeed deliverately making false claims. So yes, the chiropractors are being intentionally dishonest when they sell there services claiming they'll cure viral infections, whooping cough, ear infections, et al, and they knew it. Let's be honest, if you are an expensive professional, you have a pretty good idea what works and what doesn't in your chosen field.

The initial judge was a disgrace, he chose to make the worst case assumption, twisted common word usage, and selected archaic disused meanings. I.e. he was buddying up with the BCA, probably via of local lodge membership (yes, the UK is rife with freemasonry favours). Any common sense in this would have had the BCA prove their methods with standard scientific methods, they're the ones making the claims of success going against current science and medical knowledge. Know any real doctors? Ask them what they think about chiropractors.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (0, Redundant)

SOdhner (1619761) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706754)

Mod parent up, please.

This is indeed the issue at hand - nobody can deny that they have claimed to be able to "cure" all sorts of things despite those claims being proven false.

The word "bogus" was latched onto as implying that the chiropractors were making these claims *despite knowing they were false* rather than actually believing what they said.

Had this recent ruling gone the other way, Singh would have needed to prove that they *knew* it was all lies which would have been nearly impossible. (Certainly he could have made a great case, but in the end no matter how much they should have known it's very very hard to prove that someone believes something.)

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (3, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31708408)

"Had this recent ruling gone the other way, Singh would have needed to prove that they *knew* it was all lies which would have been nearly impossible."

Not in the slightest, he simply amasses an army of QUALIFIED doctors who can simply say "No way in hell can they cure a viral infection by adjusting your bones, PERIOD. Even they should know that from the basics of medical school" and that's the end of that bullshit.

I know chiropractors that claim they can cure illnesses by adjusting your back, I saw several after my accident.

Chiropractors are primarily quack doctors that only make money by giving never-lasting relief. The FEW chiropractors that do realize they only provide temporary relief and are honest about it are almost universally fucked by the moron quacks that make their spurious claims.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31705876)

I'm not a scientist. But I do know that going to the chiropractor leads to feeling great.

What could he have been saying about them? It seems that if you're going to bad mouth an entire profession, there should be some kind of evidence to back it up. It sounds like he's just got it in for chiropractors. And I'm not so sure we can consider it anything but hate speech.

You know what else leads to feeling great? Reading TFA. He had commented on some claims that the industry made and not about what they do or an individual chiropractor.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (3, Insightful)

u38cg (607297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705894)

And that, in a nutshell, is why you are not a scientist. The efficacy of any treatment needs to be judged by reliable trials, not by what some guy on slashdot said. What did Singh say? The libellous words were "there is not a jot of evidence that chiropractic works", or something to that effect. That's a pretty reasonable summary of the scientific evidence. I'll leave it to you to explain why it's better to respond to such a statement with a lawsuit than a study of your own.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (4, Informative)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706118)

Not exactly. What he said was:

The British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence. This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.

The BCA latched onto the word "bogus". They claimed that it implied intentional deception, that the BCA knew it didn't work but promoted it anyway. It's still stupid, of course. No one reading the piece by Singh will think he accuses them of not believing what they teach.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

byornski (1022169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31708540)

In the judgement pdf (see above post by by BeardedChimp) they mention that the issue was the "not a jot of evidence" and "happily" rather than the word bogus. It goes on to say that the BCA didn't "make a major issue of the word bogus. "

The question that the judge decided was whether the "not a jot of evidence" was fact or a value-judgement. Singh argued that it was meaning there was no worthwhile or reliable evidence, rather than no evidence at all, and the judge in this case agreed.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (4, Informative)

The Yuckinator (898499) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705902)

It seems to me that if you're going to run a for-pay business that purports to "heal people" then you ought to have at least a little evidence to show that what you're doing is actually working. There is currently no evidence to support Chiropractic's "subluxation" theories. I used to live above a chiropractor who claimed that he could cure diabetes via direct spinal manipulation.

Many of them also refuse to acknowledge Pasteur's Germ Theory of Disease [wikipedia.org] . I'd say that they could use a little bit of evidence on their side instead of hiding behind ridiculous libel laws. I wonder if this post will get me sued in the UK?

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (2, Insightful)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706628)

There is currently no evidence to support Chiropractic's "subluxation" theories.

You are right, of course, but it would be more complete and accurate to say 'there is currently an abundance of evidence that Chiropractic's "subluxation" theories are false and misleading'. Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack; but in this case there is plenty of evidence of lack.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (4, Informative)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705948)

So, you had a back rub and it felt great. Great, nobody is disputing that back rubs feel great. If you RFTA you'd see that isn't what this is about.

What this is about is claims by the BCA that a nice back rub can cure a laundry list of aliments that have no connection to you back whatsoever such as: ADHD/learning disabilities, dizziness, high blood pressure, vision conditions, asthma, baby colic, bedwetting, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, kinetic imbalance due to suboccipital strain (KISS) in infants and menstrual cramps.

If you can explain how a back rub can cure these conditions, then there's a Nobel prize in medicine with your name on it.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706428)

I spent 2 years - TWO - having so much back pain that I had trouble tying my shoes, picking stuff up, couldn't do dishes, vacuum... Feeling like crying, not so much because of the actual pain, as because of the despair of not being able to do much anymore.

I went to a regular doctor, gave me pain killers and muscle relaxants. Felt goofy, but not healed. So relaxed I had trouble holding anything, actually.

He then sent me to a Kinesitherapeute, which is the officially anointed cure for back pain in France. Massages, rubing stuff on it, pills again... same results. I felt a bit less goofy, the treatment hurt like hell, and I didn't actually feel much better afterwards.

A friend of a friend sent me to his Chiropractor. In 1 one 45-minutes session, that guy put me back to normal. I could tie my shoes, I actually still remember I felt like tap-dancing in the streets right out of that first session: for the first time in 2 years, I didn't hurt anymore. That was 8 years ago. I've gone back a few times, twice because I was hurting again, then every 3-6 months for an oil change. I once had to go to another Chiro, nowhere near as good results.

Best 75 bucks I ever spent. I agree that's not scientific at all, it just worked for me, may not work for you, may not work for me next time...

I did gave regular medicine 2 shots at my back pain before going rogue, and it failed me.

Back pain / headaches is really the core of what Chiropracy is about, so I'm a bit doubtful about claims in other areas. I'll be willing to try it just in case though. Worst case, it won't do damage, best case, it'll actually be as good as for my back.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706594)

For many years I couldn't sleep on my side (i'm only 29) so I'm not sure how it happened but after a few minutes of lying on my side it would hurt. I learnt to sleep absolutely still lying on back. Then I had to do a photography project about medicine, I spoke to my friend who was a chiropractor and while we were waiting for patients to photograph he gave me a free session. He clicked my spine so hard I started to laugh and since then I can sleep anyway I like, its amazing to have that freedom (no doubt you feel free as well by orders of many magnitudes). I couldn't believe it when I told him I could sleep like normal again and he was puzzled that he treated such a long standing problem because he was just showing me how he treats people. Anything to do with the spine and nerves I believe Chiropractory works wonders and I've been back to him twice for 5 bucks a go (mates rates ;)). Anything else like the above from the parent I don't believe can be treated nor is it something my friend said he could treat. Some of them are just bad apples in order to lie to people.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (2, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706778)

Some of them are just bad apples in order to lie to people.

But in this case, it's not a few bad apples, it's an entire professional organization that claims to represent chiropractors in Britain.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

growse (928427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706748)

You mean: "Worst case, the chiropractor does significant damage, base case, placebo kicks in and heals me"?

The data suggests that the best case with chiropractic is just the placebo effect. And I haven't got hard data to hand, but I've read reports in the past of people being seriously injured by chiropractors.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (3, Informative)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706940)

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31707508)

Wow! Somebody mod the parent up.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31708290)

does anyone have comparable stats for regular medicine ?

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31708336)

1- It's even better if it's placebo. The only thing better that medecine that works, is non-medicine that works.

I got fixed for less money, side effects, suffering and hassle than by my 2 trys at regular medicine.

I'm 100% sure there IS some psychological part to any illness and cure, indeed. Your point is ? Placebo cures are bad, and non-placebo -non-cures are good ?

2- I've heard reports of people seriously injured by regular medicine. Plenty of them actually. My take is that medicine is not a perfect science ?

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (2, Insightful)

growse (928427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31708556)

1- It's even better if it's placebo. The only thing better that medecine that works, is non-medicine that works.

How is non-medicine that works 'better' than medicine that works? Surely in the first case, we hvae no idea what happened and don't have much of a chance of successfully repeating it in the future. Surely if it worked, we'd call it just 'medicine'? If we have a situation where the only conclusion we can come to is 'non-medicine worked', we're basically saying 'we don't know what the fuck happened'.

I got fixed for less money, side effects, suffering and hassle than by my 2 trys at regular medicine.

You may have gotten fixed for less money than 'regular medicine'. However, I'm sure you know, this doesn't mean that chiropractice 'works'. And by 'works', I mean we can go and get measurable reproducable results across all sorts of situations, and then actually use those results to help people.

I'm 100% sure there IS some psychological part to any illness and cure, indeed. Your point is ? Placebo cures are bad, and non-placebo -non-cures are good ?

My point about placebos isn't that there's inherently bad or good, but that we should know it when we see it. Doctors use placebos all the time to treat people, and they don't try to dress it up as something different. Chiropractice (and a lot of 'alternative medicine', whatever the hell that means) does exactly that sort of dressing up. If they came right out and said "It works by placebo", most people wouldn't have a problem with that.

2- I've heard reports of people seriously injured by regular medicine. Plenty of them actually. My take is that medicine is not a perfect science ?

Sure, people get hurt by medicine all the time. The key difference is that medicine also makes a demonstrable statistically significant positive difference to millions of people daily. Sure, there's a risk with everything that we try and do to make our lives better, that sometimes it'll go wrong. Usually, that risk is worth taking if the upside is big enough. I'm just saying that for me, the risk of being injured by a guy with no medical qualifications practising something that's never been properly demonstrated to be anything other than the placebo affect is not a risk I'm willing to take. I am willing to go to the hospital if I'm sick though.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706812)

Nobody disputes that a good back rub can help with back problems. If something in your spine is out of place and causing (back) pain, a good whack could conceivably help. Just like a dislocated shoulder can sometimes be fixed through manipulation alone.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31707038)

Actually worst case you take your kid to a chiropractor to treat something for which spinal manipulation has shown no evidence to treat (see other posts for examples), rather than taking him to a physician who will be able to actually treat the ailment. It's the same thing people say about homeopathy: "Well, worst case scenario it doesn't do anything, so I'm no worse off right?" Wrong. If you do something ineffective then you're going untreated. Not all things go away on their own, and many things get worse over time. If you go see a chiropractor to cure your cancer (Dear England, I don't know if they have ever claimed to be able to cure cancer, it's just an example so please don't sue me) instead of going to an oncologist, your cancer will kill you. That's the worst case.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31707558)

Worst case, it'll cause a stoke leading to paralysis or possibly death, best case, it'll actually be as good as for my back.

FTFY

Thanks to sFurbo below for the links:

Adverse effects of spinal manipulation: a systematic review [rsmjournals.com]

Adverse Events Associated With Pediatric Spinal Manipulation: A Systematic Review [aappublications.org]

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (4, Insightful)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705968)

Hello BadAnalogyGuy,

I'm not a scientist. But I do know that going to my drug dealer leads to feeling great.

There you have your 'bad' analogy

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706158)

With the bonus that many drugs are, in fact, as evidenced by trials, effective in curing or stabilising many of the ailments that chiropracty claims, without evidence, to cure.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

aquila.solo (1231830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31707744)

Except that those drugs (the ones with trials, evidence, etc.) generally come from people called pharmacists or druggists (depending on which way you face to look at the Atlantic). While the people known as drug dealers generally peddle things with a less reputable track record that, best case, leave you "feeling good" for a while.

That said, I did visit a chiropractor for a while, and he did great work on my neck pain. I think chiropractic can be very helpful for nerve and joint issues (in your spine, where the trouble is). The other stuff? Not so much.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31705974)

How is this a victory for free speech in the U.K.? Just try saying that you don't agree with immigration of non-whites into your country, then you'll soon be either sacked from your job, or arrested and imprisoned for 'inciting racial hatred'.

I don't remember the British public being given a VOTE on these 'laws', which are clearly designed to protect the state and their rich friends, who want an endless supply of third world cheap labour, no matter the consequences for the majority of the British people. (The REAL British people, the indigenous population, not the third worlders who happen to have been born here, and claim they are 'British' because it benefits THEM, not us.)

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706034)

It seems that if you're going to bad mouth an entire profession, there should be some kind of evidence to back it up. It sounds like he's just got it in for chiropractors.

It seems to me that if you're going to bad-mouth a profession, it should be understood that this is your personal opinion, it may or may not represent reality, and you're entitled to it. Anyone who is undecided about the efficacy of chiropractors and is looking for information about them -- and for that matter, anyone else participating in serious inquiry -- needs something a lot more substantial than one man's opinion. To put that another way, anyone who makes (or alters) medical decisions based on some random dude's personal opinions had no reasonable expectation of good results in the first place.

And I'm not so sure we can consider it anything but hate speech.

Well let's see. Maybe it is and maybe it isn't. If you want to officially settle that, then we have two options here:

Option A: monitor the speech of everyone in order to track down occurrences of "hate speech", spend tax dollars prosecuting them or waste time defaming them, place a chilling effect on free speech, and tell adult people when they are or are not allowed to hate something. Side effects include the use of the police power of government in situations where no one is using force or fraud to infringe anyone's civil rights, as well as a population that is incapable of understanding that you get to choose whether or not the words of another are going to injure you or affect how you feel. This is otherwise known as having a spine, having some self-determination, and other things that are falling out of fashion these days. The popular practice now is to let your emotions and your general well-being depend on what other people do, and the next logical step (since everything is always evolving or progressing along its path) is to want more control over other people. Thus, we have concepts like "hate speech". The strange thing is that many people seem incredibly determined to never question any of this or to look very deeply at what motivates it.

Option B: teach people how to actually perform research. This would naturally equip them to differentiate between factual data and personal opinion. That would mean this person can say whatever he wants about chiropractors or any other profession, because anyone seriously considering hiring a chiropractor or any other professional of any sort would rightly ignore him in favor of better sources of information. Side effects include a population that can easily distinguish good information from bad, more free speech with fewer negative effects, and people who can explain what is wrong with even actual hatred and use it as an example of what one shouldn't do without feeling a need to use force (i.e. police) in order to censor it.

Having carefully examined both of the available options, I must say that I have a strong preference for the latter. If you still support the "hate speech" concept, and especially if you believe that legal sanctions (including arrest, a criminal record, possible fines, possible incarceration) are the very best way to deal with this person, then I'd like to know why you disagree with me.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706070)

Hate speech, by definition is destroying freedom of speech. Also, note that hate speech is different than threats. No one person is targeted if someone said "I hate Mexicans" but if someone said "I'm going to kill Jose because hes a mexican" that is a threat, and Jose should be allowed to sue if the comment was not said in jest and the person had the means to kill him.

Why should we care what opinions people have? And why waste tax dollars on them? Same thing with "hate" crimes. If someone killed someone, thats bad and you charge them for murder, unless it was on accident. Why does it matter that the person killed them because they were of a different race? They are still just as dead. No one is more dead because someone didn't like their race. Are the Jews in the holocaust more dead than someone who died of old age? I think you will find both are equally dead. Similarly, someone has an equally broken arm if someone broke it in dislike of their race, or if they got into a fight.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31706192)

I think it matters, because the motive for a crime matters.

There's a difference between the following :
Killing by accident/carelessness
Killing in self defence
Killing in the heat of passion
Killing for revenge
Killing for money
Killing for pleasure

Those are in increasing levels of "danger to society" and as such, should be treated slightly differently by the courts.

When you have a case where, I dunno, say a bunch of kids kill another kid because he was gay. Where would that fall on the gradation?
It's somewhere in the last three. Democrats *tend* to think that such a hate crime/thought crime is analogous to the last (most serious) placement. In other words, killing for virtually no reason other than they wanted to, and it made them feel better about themselves.

I don't intend to convince you of the rightness of their opinions, just explain to you where they're coming from, since you seem to be coming from the "dead is dead, what does it matter the reason" school of thought.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706438)

I don't intend to convince you of the rightness of their opinions, just explain to you where they're coming from, since you seem to be coming from the "dead is dead, what does it matter the reason" school of thought.

I generally agree with the GP. When you read his post, I believe there is an implicit meaning that you have missed.

It's not "dead is dead, what does the reason matter". It's "intentionally dead is intentionally dead, except for legitimate self-defense, what does the reason matter". If someone intentionally murders another human being who was no physical threat to them, the purpose of arresting and incarcerating (or executing) that individual is to remove them from society, thereby protecting society from a known murderer and potentially deterring others who would murder.

I don't understand the concern and fascination with what a murderer was thinking. To punish one more severely than another, which would mean one might get out of jail sooner than another, makes no sense to me. To choose whether I want a guy who would murder for money back on the streets, or whether I want a guy who would murder over someone's skin tone back on the streets is like choosing from which bucket of puke to drink. Both are equally unappealing. I don't really want either person to ever walk the streets again.

I'll clarify. You are saying that the motive for the crime matters to "Democrats". So to them, a guy who comes home to find his wife screwing another man and murders his wife is "more understandable" or "less punishable" than a guy who murders a member of a racial minority because he was a member of that minority. But guess what? Other people get cheated on by someone who claimed to love them, and they don't kill over it. Other people have totally inappropriate racism and sexism and other "isms" and manage not to murder anyone. Other people see a rich man walk down the street and envy his wealth and manage not to kill that man.

To worry about the murderer's excuses and justifications is madness. I don't care what the reason is. The point is, other people also have reasons not to like someone, valid and invalid, and they manage to deal with them peacefully. If someone cannot do that, there's something seriously wrong with them and society needs to be protected from them.

Like far too many laws, these "hate crime" concepts were written, voted upon, and made law without first addressing the above. That's a weak form of "might makes right" reasoning. The message is, we have the votes, we have the means, we have the political clout, so we're going to make this law whether we can justify it or not, whether we can answer the objections to it or not. Anytime you're asked to have faith in a concept by a person who cannot address your objections to it, because it sounds good to them but they can't give you a truly good reason for it, what you are dealing with is religion. Even if it doesn't call itself that. To give a hypothetical, let's say that, heaven forbid, a guy is driving down the road, visibility is very low, conditions are bad, and he hits a pedestrian that he honestly did not see. This person had no intention of hitting anyone, and is quite horrified that this happened. That's an honest accident. I would not call this person a murderer.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706492)

Bah, replying to myself. I meant to end that comment with "Even if it doesn't call itself that."

Note to self: don't brainstorm a paragraph at the end of your text and then leave it in the finished post.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31707082)

So to them, a guy who comes home to find his wife screwing another man and murders his wife is "more understandable" or "less punishable" than a guy who murders a member of a racial minority because he was a member of that minority.

The difference is that, as a culture, America has a long history of racially motivated violence and (this is the important bit) we want to do everything in our power to remove that impulse from society.

It's the exact same kind of reasoning behind luxury taxes or gas guzzler taxes on cars.
There are certain behaviors we want to discourage in society and so we put into place extra penalties to discourage them.

The message is, we have the votes, we have the means, we have the political clout, so we're going to make this law whether we can justify it or not, whether we can answer the objections to it or not.

No.
If you really care to educate yourself, go find a book. Endless pages have been written about hate crime laws.
If that doesn't suit you, find the specific law that you object to and dig through the congressional record &/or C-SPAN's archive.

I think the problem is not so much that your questions haven't been answered, but that you don't/wouldn't like the answers anyway.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706588)

Motive matters in some cases because we can hold more than a single, direct perpetrator guilty of the same crime. We can, for example, charge the get-away driver with bank robbery, even though he never entered the bank.
        Right now in the US, there's a young girl accused of conspiracy to commit attempted murder, because she allegedly pointed out the victim to the assailant. Her motive certainly matters. Did she want at least a fight to happen? The principal assailant's motive probably doesn't matter as much in this case, maybe not at all.
        As long as more than one person can be guilty for contributing the same single act, motive must be considered, or tremendous injustices would become not just possible but the norm. I'd suspect that's also the general case even where there is only one criminal, but I can see some counter arguments there.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31708174)

Motive matters in some cases because we can hold more than a single, direct perpetrator guilty of the same crime. We can, for example, charge the get-away driver with bank robbery, even though he never entered the bank.

But driving a get-away vehicle, or otherwise taking part in a robbery, is already a crime. The person either drove the get-away car or they didn't. If they did, they are guilty of a crime. If they didn't, they aren't. What they were thinking, or why they drove the car, or why they want to take what doesn't belong to them is immaterial.

Right now in the US, there's a young girl accused of conspiracy to commit attempted murder, because she allegedly pointed out the victim to the assailant. Her motive certainly matters. Did she want at least a fight to happen? The principal assailant's motive probably doesn't matter as much in this case, maybe not at all.

Like my above commentary on a hypothetical bank robber, I don't care why she did it. If she helped someone commit murder, then she's guilty of a crime. What difference does it make why she did it? I believe you're confusing this issue with motive. Motive might help a prosecutor build his/her case, but we are not talking about that because a hate crime is a matter of how to punish the perpetrator once guilt is established.

As long as more than one person can be guilty for contributing the same single act, motive must be considered, or tremendous injustices would become not just possible but the norm. I'd suspect that's also the general case even where there is only one criminal, but I can see some counter arguments there.

Why do multiple perpetrators give significance to what they were thinking when the crime was committed? The point is not why the perpetrator feels justified. The point is that other people have been tempted to punch someone out, or to steal something valuable, etc., and they chose not to do it.

Some people find out their spouse is cheating on them and they deal with it by getting a divorce or maybe some marriage counseling. Other people find out the same thing and they deal with it by committing murder. We hear about those on the news every day. The difference between those two groups is why we have a justice system. The latter group has demonstrated that they are not fit to be in our society and must be separated from it to protect everyone else. I really don't care what the murderer was thinking once they have established that they are a member of the latter group.

The time to worry about what tempts people to do harm to others is when your goal is crime prevention. We can and sometimes do recognize pathological behaviors and inclinations before they are acted upon. Those individuals may have psychological problems that can be treated and managed. Some of them may get such help and change their lives before they go too far down the wrong path. But after the crime has been committed and guilt has been established, it's too late to do anything meaningful with this concern.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (2)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706614)

"The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen." - I don't know who said it but it seems the simplest solution.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (2, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706110)

Hate speech. Where did they dream that phrase up, anyway? What's wrong with having an opinion, anyway? Should a person go to jail if he says he doesn't like teachers? Lawyers? Police? I don't think so. Why should chiropractors enjoy protection? I think chiropractors are overly expensive, much like doctors. There, have I pissed off almost everyone yet?

Oh, of course not. If I want to piss people off around here, I'll have to point out that nerds and geeks are wierd, IT people are pains in the ass, developers are mostly eccentric twits, and most support personnel (the kind you call on the phone) are totally clueless.

Hate speech. What a sissy concept.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

virg_mattes (230616) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706278)

Your error is in assuming that the fact that BadAnalogyGuy used the phrase wrongly means that the phrase itself has no useful meaning. I noticed that both you and he used professions in your discussion, but that's not where "hate speech" is a useful term. It's when speech is used to generate hate about something that isn't reasonably changeable, like a person's skin color or religion, that it takes on meaning.

Virg

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706622)

Your error is in assuming that the fact that BadAnalogyGuy used the phrase wrongly means that the phrase itself has no useful meaning. I noticed that both you and he used professions in your discussion, but that's not where "hate speech" is a useful term. It's when speech is used to generate hate about something that isn't reasonably changeable, like a person's skin color or religion, that it takes on meaning. Virg

I wonder if you've thought that through. So it's wrong to hate a thing that is not easily changed, but okay to hate a thing that the person can change. If this is your guiding principle, what you end up with is a uniform society of conformists. They'll superficially look different (skin color, attire, etc) but any meaningful diversity will end there, because any real diversity of ideas, worldviews and philosophies is now on the "acceptable hatred" list. That's the problem with this notion, and more generally the problem with all of this focus on group identities instead of individuality.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706660)

Alright, then, I hate short people for always getting underfoot. And, I hate extremely tall people, because I have to look UP, and get a crick in my neck when I talk to them. I hate stupid people. I guess hating on phat people wouldn't count, because they can change their phat content?

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706134)

But there is no evidence to support any healing properties. You can go get a massage and feel great, but as soon as the masseuse starts saying he has magical healing abilities and can cure illness then they have crossed the line.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706482)

"A male masseuse"?
Isn't that what Julius Caesar said to Pompey before crossing the Rubicon?
I think that's crossing the line already.
As soon as the masseuse starts saying he has magical healing abilities and can cure illness then he will begin to attract disciples and followers. Of course, "masseuse" will have to be changed to "carpenter" later, to appeal to a broader customer base.
Carry on.

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706368)

But I do know that going to the chiropractor leads to feeling great.

So does getting a blowjob. That doesn't mean prostitutes are medical professionals.

(Sorry for stepping on your territory, that was a pretty bad analogy.)

Re:Bad things to say about chiropractors? (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706906)

You have an interesting definition of hate speech. I don't know that I've EVER seen it used in accusation against a profession.

At BEST, it's a perjorative against someone's ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc...

So HOW can it be hate speech?

Global warming? (1, Troll)

Fishead (658061) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705848)

So when can we start having honest discussions about chiropractors and global warming scientists?

Re:Global warming? (2, Insightful)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705964)

Yeah, because the skeptics are being suppressed by lawsuits for libel.

Oh, wait, they're not! Score 1 for free speech.

Just because we have to let you talk doesn't mean we have to listen.

Re:Global warming? (2, Insightful)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706038)

They don't need to be suppressed by lawsuits.

They are already suppressed by the AGW proponents' built-in safety clause that "anyone with a non-peer reviewed opinion can safely be labelled as crank".

Re:Global warming? (2, Informative)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706556)

In fact, it's the real scientists who are suppressed by lawsuits. The story of Roger Revelle and Justin Lancaster is a particularly ugly example.

Revelle was a conservative climate scientist, who waited quite long with asserting that the world was warming as a result of human actions. He was also the one who taught the climatology course Al Gore took in university. While he lay severly ill and dying, Fred Singer persuaded him to put his name to a paper he had authored, allegedly for helping with some details. Naturally, Fred Singer's paper denied AGW. But Singer was prudent enough to wait until Revelle was dead before starting to cite it (as a Revelle paper) far and wide. Revelle's last student and assistant, Jusin Lancaster, tried to call him on it, saying that Revelle told him he hoped the paper would "sink into the ground" as quickly as possible. Lancaster also disputed its authorship at a congress.

So what did that champion of free discourse, Fred Singer do? He filed a SLAPP libel lawsuit, of course. A student doesn't have the funds to stand up to a think tank veteran like Singer, although it wasn't for lack of trying. He tried to represent himself, and paid court costs for a while, until his wife convinced him to give up. He was forced to retract everything and forbidden from speaking on the issue. Fortunately for us, he did anyway [74.125.77.132] . (Google Cache link, maybe Singer found out as the original's gone)

Re:Global warming? (1)

StrategicIrony (1183007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31707146)

The only libel lawsuit I've ever heard of in the AGW arena is the one mentioned below of a skeptic suing a legitimate scientist after badly twisting some facts around to try to prove a point. ...

And what was your point exactly?

It's not a prosecution! (4, Informative)

augustw (785088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705880)

Just to be clear, Dr Singh is not being "prosecuted for libel" - that's only for criminal offences, and libel is not a criminal offence, but a civil wrong. He is being sued for libel, in the civil courts, by the BCA.

Re:It's not a prosecution! (2)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706142)

Prosecution - The institution and carrying on of a suit in a court of law or equity, to obtain some right, or to redress and punish some wrong; the carrying on of a judicial proceeding in behalf of a complaining party, as distinguished from defense.

Re:It's not a prosecution! (1)

augustw (785088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706200)

Pedantically true; however, in normal UK usage, a prosecution is a criminal suit, prosecuted by the state, concerning offences against the criminal law. Yes, a civil case may be prosecuted, but it is not a prosecution.

Re:It's not a prosecution! (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31708398)

He's being prosecuted in a court. Criminals get prosecuted. So he's a criminal; a bad man. It's a basic fact!!

Orwellian Misistry of Truth (3, Interesting)

overshoot (39700) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705900)

Yup, the Court used that phrase. The observations on the side aren't legally binding, but they do give a pretty strong indication that the Court was not happy with the insane British libel laws which lead to (as the Court observed) attempting to settle scientific disputes in a court of law.

Re:Orwellian Misistry of Truth (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31707380)

Unfortunately, absent a reform by Parliament, it looks like they might be making a "science exception" to avoid intruding into scientific controversies in particular, rather than some legal principle that would apply more generally. In particular, the UK courts have no similar problem wading into historical or political controversies, where the courts can be used to settle the correct version of history; it's only when it comes to science that they get cold feet.

Re:Orwellian Misistry of Truth (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#31707698)

the insane British libel laws
... as opposed to the insane American libel laws, where anyone can say anything they like about you - true or untrue - and there is no legal way to stop them. In the UK, you're only allowed to say what you like about someone if it's actually true.

The insane part is that the original judge decided that something that was substantially true was in fact untrue.

sarcasm doesn't work on the internet (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31708010)

You are obviously a scholar of the American legal system

Re:Orwellian Misistry of Truth (1)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#31708390)

It's an impressive phrase, certainly, and one that might result in real change to the system. The problem is, I'm not sure anyone knows what to change the system to. The US system is diametrically opposite in style but identical in effect, encouraging actual harm by exactly the same sort of fringe groups that abuse the British system, also without really giving any effective protection to the voice of those being victimized. In some cases, this is individuals versus individuals (such as the woman who coaxed the girl into killing herself), but in far too many cases it is special interest groups (be it industries or religions) against scientists. There is a very effective censorship in both nations that permits these organizations to stifle opposing views. Although it won't solve the individual-vs-individual cases, I would argue that the best protection for scientific cases is to argue that science (like art) deserves special privileges that extend beyond any normal protections on speech. My thought there is that you could apply the scientific method itself as a tool in such cases.

Under this line of reasoning, the defendant would be asked to show that their speech follows the underlying principles of science (ie: is a theory, conjecture, or other form of testable hypothesis, rather than being a wholly subjective opinion) to show that this is the correct classification. The plaintiff would then be required to falsify the theory. This is not just a matter of showing that the theory isn't always perfect or exactly correct. For example, Copernicus' circular orbits weren't perfect or exactly correct and so should be a yardstick for the flexibility permitted scientific thought as it would be unthinkable that a solution to the problem would permit geocentrists suing Copernicus. The Leeds University microbiologist who reported Mad Cow Disease in the mid 1980s should also have complete immunity under such a system, as it was a perfectly valid hypothesis that turned out to be entirely correct. Those would be the benchmarks for ensuring the system would protect scientists when expounding unpopular and controversial theories that needed public dissemination

The plaintiff, to falsify the argument, must show by the scientific method that the theory is false, that it meets the requirements laid down for determining that a theory is not an acceptable description. If the theory was produced with malicious intent, but is actually correct in and of itself, then there should be a distinct mechanism separate from libel/slander to deal with that, as libel/slander is intended for untrue statements. I'd argue that a malicious attack for malicious purposes which is factually correct but intended to cause actual mental suffering/harm should fall under a classification such as "Grievous Mental Harm" (akin to the UK's Grievous Bodily Harm laws). I'd argue that a theory that is true as far as it goes but where evidence of incorrectness is deliberately suppressed with the intent to create an illusion of a theory that is false (as is alleged of a lot of the more questionable studies by the pharmaceutical industry and GM industry) is not protected as scientific speech, under the above description, as the presented theory is falsifiable regardless of the accuracy of the status of the theory it is based on.

However, this should not be sufficient for libel. That should merely be what is required to determine if the speech is protected as scientific speech. In the event that it is scientific speech, it should be protected against all legal attacks until such time that falsification occurs. If it is not scientific speech, then it should be for the plaintiff to demonstrate that not only is the claim falsified in the scientific sense (which is a far higher standard than legal tests), but is also false in a legal sense AND is false in such a way as to cause non-scientists to become prejudice against the plaintiff or otherwise impact the plaintiff's standing in the community in a way that runs counter to the facts of the matter., or cause direct harm to the plaintiff personally.

That would ensure that the scientist is protected against attacks by fringe groups who have nothing but their extreme attitudes to base their conclusions on, but would also protect those who have suffered genuine harm by those who purport to be scientists but are not acting in a scientifically-responsible manner.

Ok, how would you go about such a system? Scientific validation is well beyond most people. Seems easy - you have a system akin to a Grand Jury to see if the speech is scientifically protected, where this Grand Jury is presented solely with expert testimony as to whether the speech is given this scientific protection. You'd also need a Constitutional ruling (in the US) or a law to be passed (anywhere else) where scientific speech receives special protections that both include all protections on individual speech but are also given extra protection to safeguard it on borderline cases where individual speech may be judged to have harmed another, but where the natural underlying uncertainties of science make either the proof or disproof of "untruthfulness" by communal standards impossible to judge until scientists themselves have examined the statement by academic standards, and where academic truthfulness should outweigh communally-accepted truths.

Ultimately, it should be possible to boil the rules down to "reasonableness" (as understood by common law), where what is reasonable in science is not necessarily reasonable in society, where society's views of what is acceptable should never be permitted to limit genuine scientific inquiry (whether that is through labeling genuine science as libel OR by attacking genuine scientists by means of libel). That last part is far too common in many countries, where Creationists and AGWers can drown out actual scientific views by means of speech which is protected when it damn well shouldn't be, and where actual scientists can be suppressed through expensive lawsuits claiming libel/slander. (Doesn't matter who finally wins, bad publicity is bad for tenure and bad for sponsorship, and big companies can usually pay to avoid frivolous lawsuit rulings.)

If you went with the above, you'd need to also tweak common carrier rules. Science journals deserve common carrier protections WITH the additional scientific speech protections above, UNLESS they deliberately act in a manner as to become nothing more than a promotional vehicle for their advertisers, suppressing contrary views. Then, they are NOT common carriers (and should lose all immunity that follows), but should still retain scientific speech protections for anything that is scientific speech (as outlined above).

Problem 1: Neurotypicals will fail to comprehend why scientific speech, like artistic expression, deserves protections greater than the ramblings of their drunken, drug-addled, deranged minds. Which is why scientists and artists often get burned on either real or proverbial stakes (depending on era and the availability of stakes).

Problem 2: The First Amendment in the US is already subdivided between individual speech, artistic speech, commercial speech, privileged speech and felon's speech (in those States where felons lose Constitutional rights). Further subdivisions should be added with caution, as it has become a completely confusing unholy mess.

Problem 3: Those funding a lot of research will be unhappy, as it protects the researchers only so long as the researchers put integrity over and above the interest of those doing the funding. Shareholders are going to be utterly opposed to anything being put above their interests. Which means that the conflict of interests currently hidden over will be pushed into plain sight, which will impact what is funded whether the funders like it or not.

Freedom of Thought (2, Interesting)

wxjones (721556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705920)

Freedom of thought of absolute. Action can be regulated by government. Speech is closer to thought than action, and should be as lightly regulated as possible (e.g. forbidding threatening someone with physical harm). It is interesting that no society has explicitly recognized through law freedom of thought. I would guess this is because it seems obvious and what can government do about it anyway? With new technologies coming such as fMRI http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fmri [wikipedia.org] , we should be carefully considering these assumptions. Should someone be imprisoned (or perhaps subject to mandatory treatment) for having sexual thoughts about children? Should airline passengers be subject to brain scans to see if they are terrorists? This technology could well come sooner than society and law can adapt.

Re:Freedom of Thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31708306)

Is it ok to express beliefs unlflattering to someone else ?
Or to publicly inform of inquiries into the reality of such opinions ?
Or
Is it ok to declare intent to do bodily and moral harm ?
Or
Is it ok to declare that someone's actions and statements harm or offend higher values of public morality, ethics and decency ? Of common good ?
Or
Is it ok to express the opinion that official institutions ignore or are connivant with the failings supposedly percieved ?
Or
Is it ok to express a desire that such harm deserves be checked by redress to public measures, whether official or not ?

The right to belief and opinion must be preserved. As must be the right to unfettered expression of the same. ( Except for a list of words that trigger known Mandchurian Candidates, of course. You know, "Rosebud", "Salinger", "Niagara Falls", or ... "Cucamonga!" - for example. ) The right to investigation and discussion should also be open - and subject to laws of fact, or 'reality'.

Reality and Opinion are key concepts, here.

And, doing harm by expressing an opinion must be weighed against the harm of not being allowed to have or express an opinion. And the onus of proof of harm should lie with the 'victim'. But, that's why the Lady has scales. Very special ones, where ethics and good weigh much, much more than mere gold.

So ... n ... nnn ... Ni! :)

Re:Freedom of Thought (1)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 4 years ago | (#31708430)

We do have an interest in preventing government censorship. We also have an interest in protecting ourselves from false accusations. If somebody were to call me a pedophile, or child pornographer, or terrorist, I could suffer real and unpleasant consequences, despite the fact that I'm none of those. In an ideal world, this wouldn't happen. In this one, it's best if I have a means to defend myself by having a penalty imposed on slanderers and libelers, and if I have some sort of ability to get compensation.

Obviously, there's a very wide and fuzzy line between allowing free speech and protecting the innocent, and different societies have to decide for themselves where to put the balance. There are valid interests on both sides, though.

For the record... (2, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705922)

Chiropractic is quackery. Of course, in the UK, they spend tax money on homeopathy, too.

-jcr

Re:For the record... (5, Funny)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705976)

Homeopathy works and it is based on a known, scientifically studied effect. The placebo effect.

Re:For the record... (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706196)

Wrong.

You can not base something on a placebo effect. You will not I said A placebo effect. There are different kinds, all are well known, and none heal anything.

Let me know when they sell a homeopathy birth control that doesn't need actual birth control to go with it. Then we will talk.

I suggest you make an attempt to actually understand what a placebo effect is before sounding like a wanker.

Here is a good start:

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?cat=5 [sciencebasedmedicine.org]

Re:For the record... (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706434)

Wrong.

... You will not I said A placebo effect.

A convincing argument. Consider however:

Placebos have been shown to have the same effect in the brain as pain relief drugs (e.g. Aspirin). It is most effective in double-blind scenarios (patient and doctor don't know there it is a placebo).
Of course, you can't treat everything with it, and it has to be kept track of.

Your link just states an opinion of comparability to acupuncture, but provides no evidence. Acupuncture has been shown to be equally effective when using random "energy points".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo [wikipedia.org]

People like getting attended.

Re:For the record... (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706466)

You can not base something on a placebo effect. You will not I said A placebo effect. There are different kinds, all are well known, and none heal anything.

Placebo effect cures psychosomatic illness just fine. Indirect effects of improved mood - such as getting off your butt and exercising instead of drowning your sorrows on beer - can also have quite a large effect on your health.

Of course homeopathy won't help with serious illness, but most illnesses are not serious, and will pass by on their own. In such case, a placebo to alleviate the symptoms - or, rather, how the patient experiences the symptoms - can be the best possible help.

Re:For the record... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706856)

Of course homeopathy won't help with serious illness, but most illnesses are not serious, and will pass by on their own. In such case, a placebo to alleviate the symptoms - or, rather, how the patient experiences the symptoms - can be the best possible help.

Perhaps, but I don't think that justifies deliberately deceiving the general public, nor spending tax dollars on what is quite literally making people feel better.

Re:For the record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31707520)

Parent was accurate and correct in asserting that homeopathic is remedies are equivalent to placebos.

Let me know when they sell a homeopathy birth control that doesn't need actual birth control to go with it. Then we will talk.

Because placebos can not now act as effective birth control, neither can homeopathic remedies. Again, what you suggest is consistent with what the parent said

I suggest you make an attempt to actually understand what a placebo effect is before sounding like a wanker.

The parent does seem to understand what the placebo effect is, and used it to good effect in a clever criticism of homeopathy. In all honesty, your lack of reading comprehension makes you look like, to use your own term, a wanker.

Re:For the record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31708628)

Check out "voodoo blackmail" (mainly in Africa). And the "disappearing penis extortion". Also over there.

And Australian aborigine "bone pointing".

The Fortean Times used to have a lot of references to that sort of stuff.

Oh, and - just for laffs - the guys From India to Oceania that hang from hooks during religious festivals.

Re:For the record... (2, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31705986)

Chiropractic is not totally quackery. It all depends on which school of thought the chiropracter is in: If the chiropracter believes in subluxation, he or she is a quack. If they don't, they can be of some help in those few areas that spinal manipulation can help (primarily back and neck pain). However, a chiropracter generally does no more good than a good massuese.

Re:For the record... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706514)

However, a chiropracter generally does no more good than a good massuese.

Exactly, a good chiropractor is basically a masseuse, which means they CAN help their patients out.

Re:For the record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31708124)

If the chiropracter believes in subluxation, he or she is a quack.

Citation, please? My experience, and your assertion, are at opposition, and I'd like to run it down.

Re:For the record... (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706116)

Chiropractic is not quackery. While I -am- skeptical of all the benefits of it, its pretty common knowledge that if your back goes out of alignment it hurts. When a chiropractor puts it back into place, it stops hurting. Correlation does not imply causation, but when it happens to most everyone, I think it is safe to say that it does help alleviate back pain.

Re:For the record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31706462)

That's physical therapy, something a chiropractor may perform, but you can get the same thing performed by regular physical therapists. However, chiropractors also claim to be able to cure a huge list of ailments by manipulating bones, they claim they're parallel to proper medical doctors. "common knowledge" counts for nothing, see MMR myths. There's a reason why real doctors can't stand this "profession", go ask one some time. If you want to learn something about them, try quackcast [squarespace.com] , he's quite funny too.

Re:For the record... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706658)

Depends on what you mean. But for dislocated joints, they are perfect.
What I mean are those things, where they practically do a quick jerk that moves everything in place again.
It’s obvious that this is no quackery, as it is the obvious solution to the problem.
And then just learned how to do it properly.

You go there, and the explanation not to be surprised takes longer than the few seconds the action does, and you are done!
Nothing beats that! :)

Of course some other parts of what they do are a bit... vague...
And homeopathy is just plain proven bullshit.

Re:For the record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31706678)

When you are lucky to believe in something enough to trigger a placebo effect. It would be dumb to stop enjoy that benefit. It makes even sense for the state to subvention it if it is cheaper than an actual medicine with not too different effects.

Re:For the record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31708468)

Chiropracy (if you're talking about the usual jointcracking limbtwisting I'm half-familiar with) does bring a lot of relief.

And homeopathy, and acupunture, do work rather well on babies and animals.

So ... no, it's probably much more than placebo-effect. Despite the fact that even antibiotics' effect has been shown to be increased by "faith" ... er, sorry : "trust" ( in the doctor, hospital, medical team, pharmacist, preacher, nun, nice person, mom, ... ).

Except fo rainforest Shaman's handlaying, though. They're the first ones to claim it only works for 'Indian illnesses'. Not "white man's illnesses". But their traditional herbals usually help, though they're getting cagey about letting those out like they used to. I wonder why ?

Re:For the record... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#31708498)

There are Chiropractors who are quacks, but the majority are not.

Real Chiropractors would never make crazy inflated claims about their techniques, like that it can cure cancers. Real Chiropractors generally are also General Practitioners as well, meaning they're just as qualified to diagnose a medical condition as your family doctor.

The real problem is that there's no way to prevent quacks from using (and sullying) the word "Chiropractor."

Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31706016)

Freedom of speech? In my UK? It could be more common than you think!

The flip side of their libel law should be... (2, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706094)

From an earlier /. summary:

In Britain, libel laws don't have any presumption of innocence — any statement made is assumed to be false unless you prove it's true.

Any false and misleading statement made should then be actionable. If you want to sue Singh for questioning chiropracty's scientific validity, then if and when it is proved conclusively to have no scientific value, every single chiropractor should be civilly liable, even criminally liable, for telling the public that it is valid.

He still lost. (2, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706114)

"It is extraordinary that this action has cost £200,000 to establish the meaning of a few words."

Right. If you offend some person or group, you can be bankrupted.

--
BMO

Meanwile, a UK Defeat for Free Speech (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706168)

Meanwhile, in another segment of UK law, free speech is being undermined by the criminalization of "child pornography" that does not include actual photos of actual children. Apparently depicting something harmful is as harmful as doing something harmful.

Weight of Comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31706226)

Be careful not to think too highly of this "victory": it essentially says that what Simon Singh says is his personal opinion. That's not the same as saying that what he says is true or false. It's basically saying that whatever Simon Singh says is irrelevant.

Not EXACTLY what I would have liked to see.

Re:Weight of Comment (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31707392)

No, it absolutely is a victory - it says that when giving your opinion on a point of science you don't have to fear being sued by someone who doesn't like it.

I for one feel happier thinking that publicly proclaiming intelligent design to be bogus won't land me in court.

In Transit (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706652)

I'm currently reading The Emergence of a Scientific Culture [oup.com] by S. Gaukroger. My interest stems from past readings in epistemology as a study of the methodology of science, and, my interest in Mediterranean death cult religions like Islam, Christianity and Judaism as patriarchal control mechanisms, not unlike induced schizo-affective disorders, that come into play in agrarian societies with controlling oligarchies (monarchies) ensconced in developing urban centres. It's my own take on things that's evolved from trying to understand to what extent corruption is fundamental and necessary to democracy. I'm throwing it out in this thread because I think U.K. libel laws are symptomatic of a transition from class structured, shame-face saving patriarchal societies to modern democracies that have successfully tested empirical findings and common law and are putting aside almost Shamanistic believes that words are effectively magical or Gospel.

Cleisthenes [wikipedia.org] in Ancient Greek history is said to have instituted the first democracy. Sketchily put he did it by breaking up the political clout of existing clans by creating voting blocks that abstracted away from the clan bases and instituted time limits on political offices. He also, IIRC, enforced political participation. I'm sure that somewhere in the Federalist Papers [wikipedia.org] there are presumptions that all of us are corrupt, or subject to corruption, and, the American Founding Fathers instituted articles and laws to form a democracy that reflected their belief in the fundamental corrupt character of us all. I'm trying to formulate a view of modern democracy from the underlying idea that as a political institution democracy best addresses corruption. This sort of links up to Churchill's famous dictum that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others because it best addresses the citizenry and politicians of modern democracies as the worst of all peoples except for all the others, and, this because it best addresses our corruptible natures.

I believe modern democracies with universal suffrage given majority and capacity on the part of it's citizens are the most viable forms of modern government because they've stood the test of history in transitioning from agrarian to post industrial urban societies. British libel laws and things like hate laws have considerable merit but reflect a more industrial/agrarian society where class structure and "face" reflect more primitive belief systems wherein words carry magical import. Going into language goes to far afield but mentioning the "debate" between Newton and Leibniz over the discovery of the Calculus and the tribal wars of industrializing Europe give some character to where I'm trying to go with this stuff.

Archeology has in it's body the idea of a three generation window for viewing past cultures. A generation is somewhere between 20 and 30 years. Three generations give a vivid insight into a culture because grandparents, parents and offspring are a highly sympathetic and even empathetic cluster that transitions cultural values. The U.K., like all viable modern democracies, is transitioning to a new perspective that has as it's foundation empirical findings in Science and tested wisdom in law but still has to deal with the fundamental corrupt nature of our kind.

je m'amuse

Re:In Transit (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#31708586)

You wanna unravel that one, professor? What the holy shit is your point?

What? (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31706750)

Your error is in assuming that the fact that BadAnalogyGuy used the phrase wrongly means that the phrase itself has no useful meaning. I noticed that both you and he used professions in your discussion, but that's not where "hate speech" is a useful term. It's when speech is used to generate hate about something that isn't reasonably changeable, like a person's skin color or religion, that it takes on meaning. Virg

For once the legal system se sence. (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31707196)

It is, unless and until the quacks manage to overturn this decision, now legal to state that you think Chiropractic treatment is a croc-o-shite, as evidenced by the fact that the chose to defend themselves against people suggesting their services are a croc-o-shite using the legal system rather than any providing some good scientific evidencethat their treatments may in fact not be a croc-o-shite. This is indeed a GoodThing.

In the few cases that Chiropractic treatments have been shown to help, those relating directly to the spine, the same help could equally be given by any physiotherapist or in many cases anyone well trained enough to use massage theraputically.

In the UK, a Victory For Free Speech - Petition (1)

ramjr (1781608) | more than 4 years ago | (#31707352)

The original "New Scientist" article can be found here:

  http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18731-simon-singh-the-libel-fight-goes-on.html [newscientist.com]

There is a petition you can sign, anyone, from any country, here (also linked to in the article):

  http://libelreform.org/sign [libelreform.org]

Christ almighy (1)

wangi (16741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31707732)

FFS... "In the UK, a Victory For Free Speech" - what sort of bastardised subject is that? Perhaps stick the important bit up front, with the qualifier at the end?

Victory for Free Speech in the UK

Funny how... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#31708106)

The UK was also responsible for ruling against someone who had on a website defamed (supposedly, as I think telling someone what a religion does is not defamation) the Scientology cult and making certain aspects of its religion known to non practicing people...
and ruled in favor of Scientology, which to me contradicts what this now has been ruled. The English have soo many
backward ways about them, I am part British, and so many times have to laugh at how assenine they are....they still have royalty, in today's day and age, talk about still living in the old world.

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