Science and the law

The case of Simon Singh has challenged British libel laws. Simon Singh is a science writer – having authored best selling books such as Fermat’s Last Theorem and contributing regularly to The Guardian. In 2008 he was sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) because of an article he wrote pointing out that some of the treatments offered are bogus, such as those for treating child colic and feeding problems. Singh’s view was that such practice was pseudoscientific and not evidence-based. However the BCA’s claim is that Singh has no evidence to support this and therefore his views are libelous. Within the scientific community this is regarded a challenge to the very nature of science – it should not be libelous to ask a scientist ‘where’s your evidence’ – in fact such a move would stifle the progress of science. Singh’s case and campaign has gained very high profile support from the science and entertainment business (including Jonathan Ross and Stephen Fry) – you can see the names and read much more about the case here (KEEP LIBEL LAWS OUT OF SCIENCE) or here.