1 out of 4 British Chiropractors is Under Investigation

Notes and transcript after the jump!

Thanks to the BCA’s lawsuit against Simon Singh, chiropractors have never looked stupider.

Links ahoy:

The blogger who started reporting chiros:

What chiroquacktors are allowed to claim

The blogger who demolished the BCA’s 29 citations:

Who is the same guy who wrote this Guardian article this week:

Sorry for the quiet sound. I’m investigating wtf is up with that.

Thanks to Jeff for the transcript:

Let’s talk for a minute about the awesomeness of bloggers. Particularly in the case of Simon Singh, who I’ve mentioned before both here on Youtube and on Skepchick. Simon Singh is being sued by the British Chiropractic Association because he called their treatments “bogus”, particularly referring to their treatments of infants for things like colic. Yeah, they manipulate baby’s spines thinking they can cure things like colic.

The BCA claimed that they had evidence to back up these treatments, but instead of presenting that evidence they sued Simon, hoping that he would just fold because they have more money. He didn’t fold, and now he’s spending hundreds of thousands of pounds in English courts trying to defend himself.

But the BCA didn’t just pick on Simon. I mean, they thought they were just picking on Simon. But the blogging community, the community of skeptics and scientists, stood up for Simon in a really cool way. First of all, they immediately mirrored Simon’s article, “Beware the Spinal Trap”, the one he’s being sued over. It’s now found all over the Internet. You can google it and see it on any one of dozens of web sites.

The other cool thing that bloggers did was: google every member of the British Chiropractic Association, look up their website, and find any dubious claims the were making and then reporting them to the Advertising Standards Authority. And now one out of four chiropractors is under investigation for making false or misleading statements on their website. One out of four, that’s 25%. Chiropractors are now spending hundreds of thousands of pounds just to defend themselves, which is pretty friggin amazing!

Eventually the BCA did offer what evidence they had, which turned out to be 29 citations. And within 24 hours of them posting these citations, bloggers ripped them to shreds! They found that 10 of the papers cited had nothing to do with chiropractic treatment, and several of them weren’t even studies. And the remainder were just poor quality.

Sop good job BCA! You thought you were just suing one single science writer. But instead, what you were actually doing was tanking all of chiropractic. It’s almost like you’re on our side.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor.

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  1. Awesome work for the folks reporting these chiros.

    OTOH, periods after the link that aren’t separated from the link by a space, make the baby jesus cry. :(

  2. @sowellfan: Oh, my mistake. They’re not periods after the link, they’re YouTube’s method of shortening URLs with ellipses, which works on YouTube but not for copy/pasting elsewhere as I’ve done. Will fix …

  3. Absolutely amazing. It’s like 2010 is the year of reason. This is not an isolated example of woo fail. There is much left to do, to be sure. But we should celebrate these victories. Congratulations to Simon and his supporters!

  4. I try to avoid schadenfraude whenever possible, but these fools brought it on themselves. Go free speech and science based medicine!

  5. This is all awesome, and combined with the strides being made against homeopathy in the UK…dammit, I wish Canada was doing the same thing. Sadly, up here we love teh woo.

  6. @DataJack: You don’t pay much attention to politics, do you ;)

    What are the repercussions for chiropractors who are making these false claims? Will they lose their licenses or have to pay a fine- or will they just have to take down the claims? Anyone know?

  7. @Displaced Northerner: It depends – the individual adverts would be banned if found to be misleading, but that doesn’t of course stop them publishing other adverts which may be misleading.

    The ASA could require the company concerned to have its adverts pre-vetted before they are allowed to be published.

    If a company is a repeat offender, it can be referred to the Office of Fair Trading – which can levy fines. The question is whether the ASA would regard each chiropractor as an independent trader, or consider the complaints as a whole case against the BCA.

  8. That wasnt a poke at you Tanstaafl56, it was just a blanket statement.

    I think its cause she smarter than the average bear and has boobs… and the glasses are epic.

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