As you may know, journalist and author Simon Singh had also been sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) over his use of "bogus" in the April 19 2008 edition of the Guardian.
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 judge who heard the case sided with the BCA. Singh appealed and after a costly battle a celebration is in order. Yesterday, the judges presiding over the appeal dealt a coup de grace to BCA's breathtaking inanity.
Among other things in their decision is this:
We would respectfully adopt what Judge Easterbrook, now Chief Judge of the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, said in a libel action over a scientific controversy, Underwager v Salter22 Fed. 3d 730 (1994):
"[Plaintiffs] cannot, by simply filing suit and crying 'character assassination!', silence those who hold divergent views, no matter how adverse those views may be to plaintiffs' interests. Scientific controversies must be settled by the methods of science rather than by the methods of litigation. … More papers, more discussion, better data, and more satisfactory models – not larger awards of damages – mark the path towards superior understanding of the world around us."
So we've had both quacks and Big Pharma try to stifle critique by enlisting the courts. But as Easterbrook says scientific matters are not settled through litigation. Science has its own courts for arriving at the truth.