Jul 6, 2009
Last week, I heard Simon Singh at the World Conference of Science Journalists discussing the state of England’s libel laws, chiropractic, and more. At least I assume that’s what he was discussing, the acoustics in the conference centre were terrible and he seemed to be showing a Katie Melua video at one point, and my aging aural cavities really couldn’t cope.
Regardless, there is growing support for Singh’s defence against the British Chiropractic Association who somehow managed to sue him for libel against their organisation. I always thought it was only individuals that could be libelled not organisations. In an article in The Guardian, Singh apparently referred to certain practices as bogus, on the basis that they allegedly have no clinical trials or scientific explanation to support the claims. Sense about Science has more on the case here as well as a petition aimed at keeping libel laws out of scientific debate.
I wonder though whether Singh was in on the script for this Mitchell and Webb comedy sketch about a homeopathic ER (probably not). A road accident victim is brought to the casualty department and various treatments called for, including wolfsbane, flower remedies, and a near infinitely diluted infusion of the Ford vehicle that collided with the man. None of them work, but then the surgeon has a brain wave…
It’s very near the knuckle (ish), but I suspect the Association of Homeopathic Remedyists won’t be taking Mitchell and Webb to court any time soon because they never once use the word bogus. And, even if they had, that word has so many meanings as to render any libel case null and void, assuming a sensible judge with a more than vague understanding of medicine, at least. Just for the record, I’ve personally had successful chiropractic treatment, but this whole case is ludicrous.
Unfortunately, the pub scene punchline totally ruins the comedic atmosphere. You see the pair order a pint of lager to drown their sorrows after the victim dies. But, a drop of lager in a pint glass of water would have absolutely no effect on them homeopathically speaking. Far too concentrated, you see?