#libelreform and small online activism.

Most people are too shy to get out there and do real activism, but you should be aware there’s always something you can do.  Even the smallest thing helps, especially when you get a large number of people doing the same thing.

A mate of mine who goes by the online name Drunken Madman has come up with a brilliant idea (inspired by this) for a bit of small-time online activism anyone can do, so I’d like to promote the idea as well and get as many people onboard as possible.

If you use any geolocation services such as Foursquare, then you’re all set.  I’m sure there’s plenty of other similar services out there, so choose which ever one suits you.

You can read the full details of this small bit of online activism at his blog, My Colleagues are Idiots.  If you’re curious about the phrase he’s put forward (this phrase is especially for chiropractors), then take a gander at LibelReform.org and Sense About Science and get tagging.

While you’re at it, also check out the Skepticator and the latest on the Australian Vaccination Network.

Catchup #1: Simon Singh wins!

Sense about Science - keep libel laws out of science.

Some fantastic news to start off the catchup with, and that is that in the case of Simon Singh vs the BCA, Simon has won!

I shouldn’t need to spell out the events to anyone, but just in case you’re not already aware from reading every other skeptical blog out there (I’m quite late to the party to say the least), Simon was sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association a few years back after an article he wrote for The Guardian.  The line in question was “This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.”.

Despite this line being clarified before and after it, the judge who was assigned this case decided to ignore that and use his own interpretation, that being, that Simon Singh meant the BCA knew these treatments to be bogus and his statement was a matter of fact.  This is not at all what he was saying. Continue reading

Beware the spinal trap.

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A worldwide campaign was released on the 29th of July 2009 to republish the article by Simon Singh which was originally published in The Guardian and is the source of the current abuse of the horrendous English libel laws on Mr Singh by the British Chiropractic Association.

The latest campaign is to have Mr Singh’s original article republished as much as possible.  The article itself is complete bar one short otherwise insignificant line, the line at the centre of the controversy.  The hope is that this will give greater publicity to what was actually said by Mr Singh and the case he is facing.

I apologise for being late in getting on the bandwagon, but every little bit helps so below the cut you will find the article in full (minus the one line), as approved by Simon and Sense about Science.

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Why I don’t support the “Keep Libel Laws Out of Science” campaign.

sas-libel-1

(Note: All of my complaints have been addressed and changes have been made. This article is now null and void but I am leaving it here for the sake of historical accuracy).

There’s a campaign at the moment to keep libel laws out of science.  The campaign was started after author and TV presenter Simon Singh was sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association.

In essense, the libel laws in England are quite different from those in most other countries.  Here in Australia if I was to accuse someone of being a fraud, they would have to prove they are not. In England, I would have to prove that they are.  In this particular case it is over Simon using the word “bogus” when talking about the practise of Chiropractic, and despite the fact he very thoroughly explained his use of the word in the article, a judge has decided it meant something all together different from what he meant.  Now Simon is stuck with having to prove that something he did not even say is true and accurate.

You’re probably wondering now how I cannot support a campaign to help out someone wronged in such a way.  Well, keep reading.

Continue reading