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The Sciences


Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitJune 10, 2009 6:40 PM


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The first panicky retreat in the war on free speech in the UK has begun. As I wrote last week, the British Chiropractic Association is suing science journalist Simon Singh for saying that chiropractors practice "bogus" medicine. Instead of defending what they do with research and testing, they are acting to silence Singh and chill anyone else who may want to expose what they do. This attack on free speech has been rippling outward over the past few days, and now there is an ironic twist: the McTimoney Chiropractic Association has strongly warned its practitioners to take down their websites and replace any information on their techniques with just brief contact information. Why would they do that?

Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors, we are now issuing the following advice: The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research. The safest thing for everyone to do is [...] [i]f you have a website, take it down NOW.

Heh. Gee, why the heck would anyone want to make sure that a chiropractor -- a person who will be futzing around with your spine -- be able to substantiate their claims with (gasp) RESEARCH? It's very telling, isn't it, that the McTimoney group isn't telling its people to only stick with proven methods, but instead to take down any claims that might get them sued. Interesting. If you go to the McTimoney website, all it has now is a terse note with contact information, with no other information on the technique at all. Interesting. Of course, this being the web and all, the missing websites are archived and can be found online. Very interesting! And the word is spreading; this is on Quackometer, Sys-Con Media, and ChiropracticLive. You can expect to see it lots of other places soon as well. Maybe the British Chiropractic Association and other such practitioners should have looked up the Streisand effect before acting. But then, "Ready, fire, aim!" is the mantra for a lot of groups like this. The backlash has begun, folks. Let's make sure it keeps going.

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