“UK chiropractors try to silence critic with libel claim”

by Walter Olson on May 20, 2009

“The British Chiropractic Association is using the libel laws to try and silence Simon Singh’s discussion of some of the more, uh, unusual claims they make for Chiropractic treatments (such as curing Colic and Asthma).” [Boing Boing, Orac first and second posts, Jack of Kent] And Dave Gorman writes really carefully about the case.

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“Keep libel laws out of science”
06.14.09 at 11:44 am

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1 April 05.20.09 at 12:07 pm

I recently saw a sandwich board in front of a chiropractic clinic touting their cancer treatments?! Wish I had snapped a picture.

2 A.W. 05.20.09 at 3:01 pm

one creepy trend is for non britons to go there and use their libel laws to silence you in america. for instance that was done in a case where a woman called famous holocaust denier Irving, a holocaust denier. He sued, saying more or less, “that is libel. The holocaust didn’t happen.”

The judge decided to gratuitously determine whether the holocuast happened (surprise! it did!), and then found for the defendant. i presume the judge thought he could “settle” the issue for all time, but really, all the judge has done was convince those conspiracy nuts that he was in on it. If you believe a conspiracy that massive and thorough, the belief essentially becomes nonfalsifiable.

So, since it was probably useless, convincing literally no one, i say he shouldn’t have bothered. After all, there is no question Irving denied that the holocaust happened, so he was a holocaust denier. His claim in court papers that the holocaust didn’t actually happen is beside the point. i mean imagine if by some wild series of events the idiot was right and the holocaust didn’t happen. that wouldn’t change the fact that he was a holocaust denier; it would just mean that being one is not such a bad thing.

In that case the historian accused of calling him a holocaust denier wasn’t particularly upset. i guess she reveled in the publicity of getting to prove the holocaust. but american free speech advocates can rightfully feel a shiver down their spine hearing that story.

3 Patrick 05.20.09 at 3:20 pm

While David Irving is a despicable person and his suit was ridiculous for reasons that you point out, he’s not the best example of British libel tourism. He was suing an American author, true, but he is British himself, and his suit was premised on the British publication of the author’s book.

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