British Chiropractic Association drops shameful libel case against science writer who criticised them

April 15th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, legal chill, libel | 20 Comments »

The BCA have dropped their case. It has not been good for them. It will now get worse. Singh has made it clear that he will pursue them for his costs: this will cost the BCA dearly, and it is money they can ill afford. I’m off to write about it for the Guardian but I thought you’d like to know, BBC and Times pieces below. People who sue people over criticisms of science are fools. The BCA statement, meanwhile, is typically vile. Especially the bit where they talk about being vindicated. Oh, and amusingly this is Chiropractic Awareness Week. Yes. Yes it is.

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The year in nonsense

December 17th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, big pharma, media | 7 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 18 December 2010

It’s been a marvellous year for bullshit. We saw quantitative evidence showing that drug adverts aimed at doctors are routinely factually inaccurate, while pharmaceutical company ghostwriters were the secret hands behind letters to the Times, and a whole series of academic papers. We saw more drug companies and even regulators withholding evidence from doctors and patients that a drug was dangerous – the most important and neglected ethical issue in modern medicine — and that whistleblowers have a rubbish life. Read the rest of this entry »

The noble and ancient tradition of moron-baiting

May 28th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, heroes, heroes of bad science | 23 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 29 May 2010

This week a man called Martin Gardner died, aged 95. His popular maths column in Scientific American (and 50 books on the subject) spanned the decades, but in 1952 he published a book about pseudoscience, quacks, and credulous journalists. How much do you think has changed over 60 years?

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Libel claimants get what they deserve. So do you.

April 15th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, legal chill, libel | 23 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Friday 15 April 2010
[Full text at guardian.co.uk, abbreviated in the paper]

After 2 years of pursuing one man through the courts, at a cost to him of £200,000 and 2 years work, the British Chiropractic Association yesterday dropped their libel case against science writer Simon Singh. The case was over a piece he wrote on this very page, criticising the BCA for claiming that its members could treat children for colic, ear infections, asthma, prolonged crying, and sleeping and feeding conditions by manipulating their spines. Read the rest of this entry »

Last chance for libel reform: mass lobby of MPs next Tuesday

March 19th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, legal chill, libel | 4 Comments »

This is your last chance to convince your MP that libel reform is a good idea before parliament dissolves. Politicians can feel like a dispiritingly disengaged shower of till-dippers, but here is one issue that you can care about, and it’s worth one final stab at making them see sense. Our libel laws stifle critical discussion of ideas and practices in science and medicine, and when you see cases like Matthias Rath, Simon Singh, and in particular Dr Peter Wilmshurst, a cardiologist, sued for raising concerns about a trial of a surgical device in which he was the primary investigator, it seems to me that these laws present a significant risk to public health, by restricting the public’s access to information. Please come if you can, details below. Read the rest of this entry »

The year in nonsense

December 19th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in annual roundup, bad science, big pharma | 27 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 19 December 2009

It’s been a vintage year for dodgy science in government. We saw reports on cocaine that were disappeared, dodgy evidence to justify DNA retention, and some government advisors who estimated the cost of piracy at 10% of GDP, to media applause, and then failed to tell everyone they’d got the figure wrong by 1000%.

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Behold the jot of evidence

October 17th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, legal chill, libel | 65 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, Saturday 17 October 2009, The Guardian

For those with the finances to try to silence their critics, this has been a week of spectacular own goals. Trafigura has loudly advertised the report on the dumping of toxic waste in Africa by taking out a super-injunction through Carter-Ruck. And on Wednesday Simon Singh, the science writer being sued by the British Chiropractic Association, won his right to an appeal. Read the rest of this entry »

Protecting the powerful is a feature, not a bug

September 21st, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, legal chill, libel, politics | 45 Comments »

Here’s a quick piece about libel that I bashed out on request for CiF, covers ground you’ll have read before but it’s always good to keep libel alive in peoples’ minds. Read the rest of this entry »

“We are more possible than you can powerfully imagine”

July 29th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, legal chill, libel | 37 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
Wednesday 29 July 2009

Today the Australian magazine Cosmos, along with a vast number of other blogs and publications, reprinted an article by Simon Singh, in slightly tweaked form, in an act of solidarity. The British Chiropractic Association has been suing Singh personally for the past 15 months, over a piece in the Guardian where he criticised the BCA for claiming that its members could treat children for colic, ear infections, asthma, prolonged crying, and sleeping and feeding conditions by manipulating their spines. Read the rest of this entry »

A characteristically amateurish and socially inappropriate approach to pitching an article

May 8th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, legal chill, libel | 21 Comments »

Hi there. I’m going to write 800 words on the British Chiropractic Association suing Simon Singh, and the early adjudication on meanings. I’m assuming the Guardian don’t want it, since they apologised over the original piece (let me know if you do, natch, wld love to). If you are some kind of editor, and you want to print it on paper, let me know, or I’ll give it to Padraig at Index on Censorship, who I love, but they are a bit little, and this issue deserves a wide readership as well.

I will say things like:

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