Monday, 18 May 2009

Is Chiropractic Bogus?

So the British Chiropractic Association has sued the science writer Simon Singh for a Guardian piece in which he wrote

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.

Sadly "
According to a report by Jack of Kent, the presiding judge in the English High Court, Sir David Eady, decided last Thursday that Singh's passage was a statement of fact. But more surprisingly, the judge decided that

The word "bogus" meant deliberate and targeted dishonesty. So it did not mean that chiropractic for the six named children's ailments (including asthma) was simply wrong, or that it was contrary to established medical practice or research, or even that it completely lacked evidence.

"Bogus" meant a lot more. The judge held that by the mere use of the word "bogus" Simon Singh was stating that, as a matter of fact, the BCA were being consciously dishonest in promoting chiropractic for those children's ailments."

Read the whole of the article on the language blog. It is worth it.

You do wonder about some elements of the British Legal System. Dr Singh has been hit therefore, with a massive legal bill for the use of a word in a context that most English speakers would not believe to have the meaning ascribed by the judge. I think that the word bogus can be taken to mean complete rubbish without implying conscious deceit. And anyway, it is outrageous that he can be successfully sued when the substance of his article is true!

There seems to be no evidence to support

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