Thursday, June 04, 2009

Mainstream Science and Medicine, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Legal Action and Double Standards from the Mainstream

In the 16th May Issue of New Scientist David Allen Green, otherwise known as Blogger Jack of Kent, wrote a piece entitled “Don't criticise or we'll sue” New Scientist 6th May 2009, page 24. Until the the British Chiropractors Association legal action against Simon Singh, I had not heard of much by way of legal action by Complementary and Alternative therapy practitioners, against any mainstream scientists, or anyone else, or vice versa. Even in the situation between the chiropractors and Simon Singh, the chiropractors gave an opportunity for the offending comments to be withdrawn, though that was declined, even though it would have made little difference to the thrust of the argument.

Everyone I know in the CAM field is somewhat bemused and, to some degree, amused by the general attitude of the mainstream people, both scientists and their “hangers on”. Their arrogance is, admittedly, an irritation, though the immaturity of their absolute certainty in themselves and their ways, as well as their juvenile language is, usually, met by indulgent smiles, gently shaking heads and wondering how long it will take them to grow up.

In the current issue of New Scientist (6th June 2009, page 26) there is a letter from Dr George Lewith, who also writes that, until the chiropractors' action against Simon Singh, he was unaware of any CAM people taking legal action against critics. On the other hand he has been on the receiving end of legal action from anti-CAM people. The was of no great surprise to me as the ant-CAM brigade, as George Lewith refers to them, as well as a vast swathes of mainstream scientists and their supporters are consistent in very few ways, though one of those ways is inconsistency. Another way is the obvious juvenility; I deliberately hold back from using the word “childish” for the simple reason that to so characterise the behaviour and attitudes of very many of the anti-CAM brigade and many other of the mainstream types, would be an insult to children. There is a similarity with children in the “running to mummy” syndrome that rapidly develops. While they are deriding and “bad mouthing” others everything is fine; as soon as someone hits back, “Wah!, That's not fair.” I think we have a long wait before they grow up.

I have reproduced George Lewith's letter below:

George Lewith,
Complementary and Integrative Medicine Research Unit
University of Southampton, U.K.

David Allen Green suggests that there is an increasing trend towards complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners threatening libel action against those who criticise them (16 May, p 24). I am unaware of anybody prior to the chiropractors he describes taking this course of action in the U.K.

Furthermore, as a medically qualified researcher of CAM, I have experienced two prominent members of the “anti-CAM brigade” attempting to take legal action against me, which I had to defend. It should be noted that the article you published on this matter is from a prominent member of the anti-CAM brigade.

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