Evidence should trump “legal muscle”

Ian at Evidence Based Thought reports on a conflict that has arisen over the use of titles by some alternative medicine practitioners – in this case chiropractors.

While this is a case of a group attempting to claim scientific credibility inappropriately there is a bigger issue here. The New Zealand Chiropractic Association has responded to a critical article in the New Zealand Medical Journal with a threat of legal action if the article is not withdrawn.

The Editor of the Journal has rejected these demands and has called on chiropractors to debate the evidence presented in the original article. He said “lets hear your evidence, not your legal muscle.”

We should all applaud the editor’s stand.

The person in the street might be surprised by the frequency with which legal pressure is used to suppress information they should rightly have access to. Often the facts never come to light – legal threats being sufficient to maintain silence. I have personally twice experienced the institutional restriction on publication of research findings – purely because of legal threats from a commercial company.

Citizens should not have scientific information censored when it concerns products they are considering purchasing. Their access to information about environmental issues should also never be censored.

But, more important still, our access to information on health and medicine should not be subject to censoring by legal threats like this.

See also:
Chiropractors resort to legal intimidation?
Silence Dissent!

5 responses to “Evidence should trump “legal muscle”

  1. Yay, good to see your comment on this one. I was appalled to see the legal threat to the journal, when the article in question was basically stating facts. Unpalatble in some quarters, perhaps, but facts nonetheless.

    In a related vein, I see that the CAM practitioners have set up their own wiki for ‘telling their own stories’, no dissenting voices allowed. My favourite medical blogger tells the tale: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/08/wiki_woo.php


  2. Pingback: Chiropractors resort to legal intimidation

  3. Let’s hope for a court case.

    I’d like to see the bone-popper quacks get disected under oath.


  4. Pingback: Professor Frizelle’s Instant Classic: Let’s hear your evidence not your legal muscle « Holford Watch: Patrick Holford, nutritionism and bad science

  5. Pingback: Suppressing science « Open Parachute

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