Quack blogger censors inconvenient truth

I’m delighted to draw readers attention to this fascinating insight into the mind of a quack blogger by reproducing a post from elephants and mice and, more importantly, the comments beneath it.  I wouldn’t normally do this but, for reasons that are not clear, the blogger has decided to censor one of my comments and to misrepresent what I say in it, which I’m not entirely happy about.

I’m sure he understands and is grateful for the publicity.

December 13, 2009
Goldacre’s Badscience Forum Censors Inconvenient Truths

After linking and discussing this blog’s entry on the fact that Sense about Science is directly sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and that Goldacre has received “awards” from pharmaceutical companies, Badscience forum has pulled the plug on the link and discussion.

Badscience forum is the training ground for skeptics who are anti-complimentary medicine. Ironically, currently Goldacre and Sense about Science have joined forces to push politically to change libel laws for so called scientists like Goldacre (actually a journalist and psychiatrist) and Tracy Brown (actually a public relations consultant) to say and do anything without legal consequences. This comes after one of their associates, Singh was found guilty of libeling the chiropractic profession.  They both recently presented their own version of science to a British parliamentary committee looking into homeopathy.

Comments (6)

1. Singh hasn’t been found guilty of anything. The case hasn’t even gone to trial yet.
Comment by Skepticat — December 16, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

2. Are you living on another planet? Or have you been duped by someone? Or, like other skeptics, are you trying to dupe the public?
Comment by elephantsandmice — December 16, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

3. Or perhaps still looking for the colonic irrigation set they were given last Christmas?
Comment by wakeupplease — December 16, 2009 @ 7:33 pm

4. None of them. I’ve followed the case closely and attended both public hearings pertaining to the case so far but it is very far from over. The next hearng is scheduled for 22 February. Whether the case ever actually gets to full trial is far from certain. It behoves you to get your facts straight, especially about information which is in the public domain and as such can be easily checked. Making a demonstrably false statement “Singh was found guilty of libeling the chiropractic profession” makes you look a bit thick. And may well be libellous itself.
Comment by Skepticat — December 16, 2009 @ 11:13 pm

5. Oh dear me. A threat from a skeptic, a skepticat. What else is new. Are you threatening to sue? Or threatening for Sense about Science or the pharmaceutical companies behind Singh and Sense about Science? Of course, from your perspective, suing CAM supporters is fine, but not supporters of pharmaceutical “science”.

But the no sue strategy, (of course it won’t apply to supporters of homeopathy and anything that doesn’t fit into drug company science) is a brilliant strategy. It worked for vaccination- governments have been lobbied to allow drug companies absolutely no liability for their vaccine product.

And now create a legal environment where you can say anything about your competition and not get sued. Brilliant public relations strategy.
Comment by elephantsandmice — December 17, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

6. Are you feeling OK, dear? There is no threat in my post; you haven’t libelled me.

I am simply pointing out that you have said something which is demonstrably false about someone else and it is possible this would be considered libellous under English Law. I couldn’t care less what you say about Singh, as long as you allow correction when you are wrong, so that others are not misled – ‘duped’ as you put it – by the falsehood.

Your assertion that, from my perspective ’suing CAM supporters is fine’ is groundless, risible and somewhat ironic given that, in Singh’s case, it is the quacks who sued and who chose to do so rather than take advantage of a 500-word right of reply. They resorted to using legal muscle rather than trying to defend the indefensible and that would seem to be par for the course for quacks and fraudsters. It’s people like the BCA, Pengelly and McKeith who sue, not people like Singh.
Comment by Skepticat — December 17, 2009 @ 11:09 pm

7. skepticat- I’m not going to publish your last comment. It is full of vindictive hateful words about alternative practitioners. Rather than discussing the situation it seems to me you want to use it as a vehicle for insults and hate. What is this skeptic movement? Is this where you believe science should go to? A socio-political or religious movement that hurls hatred and insults with religious and pompous self-righteousness?
Comment by elephantsandmice — December 18, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

8. No problem. I’ll just reproduce the entire conversation on my own blog so readers can judge the content of my comment for themselves.
Comment by Skepticat — December 18, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

9. Done.
Comment by Skepticat — December 18, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

10 thoughts on “Quack blogger censors inconvenient truth”

  1. I can imagine how you feel. Some time ago I had a “run-in” with E&M, when he was fantasising about how the “Montagnier study” was proof for homoeopathy. I (like you) was trying to be nice, merely pointing out that he didn’t have his facts right, telling him that even if this study was focussing on homoeopathic dilutions (it wasn’t) it still would neither prove “high potencies” work nor that they get stronger with each dilution step, so it was miles away of actually proving homoeopathy. At first my comments were published and answered, and E&M seemed to accept that he might have been a little over-enthusiastic. But instead of modifying the entry, E&M said he wouldn’t change the headline and general tone of this blog entry until David Colquhoun admitted he made up one reference for his editorial Doctor Who? Inappropriate use of titles by some alternative “medicine” practitioners. (or something along those lines, this comment was deleted, as were many other comments on his blog).
    I wasn’t the only one to tell him he was wrong, but instead of reconsidering his own opinion he deleted every comment and then closed comments for the entry. Most of my comments somehow reappeared but of course they look a little strange now without the comments I was responding to.
    What I learned from this is not to waste my time on E&M’s blog. In his mind the things he writes may make sense, but everybody else has to live outside, in the real world.

  2. I don’t know when it went but it’s now gone. Another comment has been added saying that the skeptics are missing the point but I’m not sure how “There’s lies on your website” when there clearly are, misses the point.

    If anyone wants to find out the facts about the case they can read about it in the press or even go to the court and ask!

    Too easy perhaps. Can’t let evidence get in the way of a conspiracy theory! Once you start dealing with facts the whole thing will collapse!

  3. Well, I see my censored comment has now been published. Maybe the same will happen to yours, Dennis.

    The blogger seems a bit erratic, as well as cerebrally challenged. Poor sod.

  4. The irony of blogs like this one is that the authors have become the very monsters they claim to oppose. They distort the evidence base, allow errors to stand uncorrected and set out to destroy alterative views to their own. All things they accuse ‘Pharma’ of doing.

    The lack of self awareness and insight is the most fascinating thing about people like elephantsandmice.

  5. Hehe, the OP by E&M is quite relevant to something I just posted very briefly over facebook. I’m about halfway through Bad Science now, and one thing that’s surprised me so far is how much he lays into the pharmaceutical industry. It’s almost as much as into alternative therapies. My comment was that the people who call him a Big Pharma stooge really have no idea what they’re talking about. So I was glad to come across this just now.

  6. I just had a look at e&m’s blog and apparently s/he’s engaged in a “discussion” with David Colquhoun. Poor guy, he’s trying to “reason with the unreasonable” – an effort as promising as trying to teach your dog algebra. However, his comments are great (not that this would change e&m’s mind) and hopefully reasonable people who find e&m’s blog by chance will read this exchange so they realise that e&m-logic isn’t earth-logic 😉

  7. Vicky

    Yes, it’s amazing how many quack supporters don’t realise that we know we’re very unlikely to change their closed minds (even with all the evidence behind us), but that we engage in these types of discussions for the benefit of the casual reader who may be more amenable to reason and logic. Frequently, there is not even a need to respond to the rantings and witterings of a quack – we just let their fallacies stand bare for all to see and judge.

  8. I’m surprised that David gave the crackpot who writes that blog the time of day. I’d forgotten all about him til your last comment, Vicky. I’ve just had a look over there and he seems nuttier than ever and just as vile as he always was.

    It’s amusing to note that all the comments he gets from people agreeing with him all sound exactly like him. One could so easily imagine that he writes them all himself….

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