Simon Singh and the Fight for Free Speech … Simon Singh: The Fight for Freedom of Speech and Against Pseudoscience. Simon Singh is being interviewed by Julia Offe (GWUP) at the 6th World Skeptics Congress in Berlin 2012.

Simon Singh talks about his fight for freedom of speech and against pseudoscience in the UK regarding the chiropractic lawsuit: In 2008, The Guardian published Singh’s column “Beware the Spinal Trap”, an article that was critical of the practice of chiropractic and which resulted in Singh being sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA). When the case was first brought against him, The Guardian supported him and funded his legal advice, as well as offering to pay the BCA’s legal costs in an out-of-court settlement if Singh chose to settle.

Court case: In 2009, Mr Justice Eady ruled in a preliminary hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice that merely using the phrase “happily promotes bogus treatments” meant that Singh was stating, as a matter of fact (rather than as a matter of personal opinion or metaphor), that the British Chiropractic Association was being consciously dishonest in promoting chiropractic for treating the children’s ailments in question. Singh denied he intended any such meaning.

Singh decided to appeal the ruling, which raised substantially the potential financial liability that he would face if he lost the case. Leave to appeal was granted in October 2009.

The pre-trial hearing took place in February 2010 before three senior judges at the Royal Courts of Justice. In April 2010, they allowed Singh’s appeal, ruling that the high court judge had “erred in his approach”. The Court of Appeal overturned the previous ruling that Singh’s comments were an assertion of fact and instead ruled that Singh was entitled to defend his comments as legally permissible fair comment.

BCA withdrew their libel action shortly after this ruling, resulting in the end of the legal case.

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Simon Singh is an author, journalist and TV producer, specialising in science and mathematics. His written works include “Fermat’s Last Theorem” (in the United States titled “Fermat’s Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World’s Greatest Mathematical Problem”), “The Code Book” (about cryptography and its history), “Big Bang” (about the Big Bang theory and the origins of the universe) and “Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial” (about complementary and alternative medicine; co-authored with Edzard Ernst, the world’s first professor of complementary medicine.).

In 2006, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Design degree by the University of the West of England “in recognition of Simon Singh’s outstanding contribution to the public understanding of science, in particular in the promotion of science, engineering and mathematics in schools and in the building of links between universities and schools”.

This was followed up by his receipt of the Kelvin Medal from the Institute of Physics in 2008, for his achievements in promoting Physics to the general public. In 2008, he was also awarded a degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by Royal Holloway, University of London. In 2011, he was awarded another degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by the University of Kent for services to Science.

Simon Singh is a member of the Advisory Council for the Campaign for Science and Engineering. He is the maiden winner of the Lilavati Award. In February 2011 he was elected as a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

6th World Skeptics Congress, Berlin 2012: Promoting science and critical thinking in a world of uncertainty.

Why do people turn to pseudoscience for help? What makes alternative medicine so attractive – and how can we find out what really works? Why is it so difficult for us to deal with risk and uncertainty in a rational way? Can we teach children to think critically and scientifically? And how can academic disciplines like biology or psychology protect themselves from pseudoscientific contamination?

Keywords: Simon Singh Fight for Free Freedom of Speech Science Pseudoscience Chiropractic Lawsuit Legal Case Court Justice Sued For Libel Law UK The Guardian BBC Critical Article Bogus Treatments British Chiropractic Association BCA Critical Thinking Complementary Alternative Medicine Mathematics Physics Fermat’s Last Theorem Enigma Code Book Big Bang Theory Trick or Treatment on Trial



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