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Author Topic: Skandal in Großbritannien  (Read 4007 times)


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Skandal in Großbritannien
« on: May 17, 2009, 11:14:24 AM »

FYI, Simon Singh is being sued by the British Chiropractic Association for
an article he wrote. The judge's ruling may have a stifling effect on
freedom of speech when it comes to criticism. See below.

Subject: Simon Singh Newsletter 33 - Libel Case Update

Unfortunately this is not the usual newsletter, for the reasons outlined
beow. I anticipate one further newsletter dominated by my legal battle, and
then I will return to the more usual mix of maths, science, new projects,
oddities and puzzles.

Simon Singh v British Chiropractic Association & Justice Eady’s
ruling on

An update from Simon Singh (Sunday 17 May, 2009)

I apologise for the silence since last week’s bad news at the High
but at last I have been able to take stock of the situation and write a
quick update.

It has been over a year since I wrote an article for the Guardian newspaper
(19 April 2008) about chiropractic, its effectiveness in relation to
childhood conditions and its risks. The British Chiropractic Association
then decided to sue me for libel and I have spent most of the last twelve
months building a defence.

Prior to the full trial it was agreed that it would be helpful for the
actual meaning of the article to be established in a preliminary hearing. On
Thursday 7 May 2009 the preliminary hearing took place at the Royal Courts
of Justice in front of Justice David Eady. It is not an understatement to
say that his ruling was, from my point of view, disastrous and misguided.

The core of my article, and the aspect that I thought was mainly under
scrutiny, suggested that chiropractors lacked evidence to support their
treatment of several childhood conditions. I therefore called these
treatments “bogus”.

The judge held that merely using the phrase “happily promotes bogus
treatments” meant that I was stating, as a matter of fact, that the
BCA was
being consciously dishonest in promoting chiropractic for treating the
children’s ailments in question, in that they were promoting
treatments they
knew were ineffective.

Although I maintain my position that such chiropractic treatment for
childhood conditions lacks any significant scientific basis and that
chiropractic in general carries risks, I do not and never have meant to
imply that chiropractors are deliberately and dishonestly offering such
treatments. My view is that, for example, they may not know the scientific
evidence, they may not understand it or they may have a biased
interpretation of the evidence – I don’t know. More generally,
I share the
commonly held view that alternative therapists who offer treatments
unsupported by reasonable evidence are deluded rather than deliberately
dishonest. I think that Justice Eady has failed to interpret the meaning of
the article in the way that a reasonable reader would understand it.

The current ruling by Justice Eady means that I stand very, very little hope
of a successful defence at trial, so going to trial is not a realistic
option. My two reasonable options are to:

1. Settle now, which will cost in excess of £100,000 (the vast majority of
these costs would be to cover the BCA’s legal bills, as opposed to

2. Submit an appeal in relation to the meaning of my article, hoping for a
more reasonable ruling on meaning and then fight the case on what the
article really meant.

I have until May 28 to lodge an application to appeal. I am seriously
thinking about this option and am discussing it with my lawyers. It would
increase my legal costs and eat up more time, but on the other hand I think
I deserve the chance to fight my case on a reasonable interpretation of my

Moreover, this case demonstrates the chilling effect that the libel laws can
have journalism in general, and science journalism in particular. The events
of last week impact far beyond the author of one article on the subject of

Last Thursday was a miserable day, but I like to think I am as resilient as
a Tigger. I am certainly in good spirits. In particular, family, friends,
readers and bloggers have all cheered me up.

Thanks also for your supportive messages. I will try to reply to emails, but
please forgive me if I don’t. The best option is to post to the
site (see below) – I do regularly read the wall and it frequently
makes me
smile. I should also point out that the enormous support that I have
received from around the world has certainly made me more enthusiastic about
lodging an appeal (if this turns out to be a practical option). Scientists,
journalists, comedians, rationalists, skeptics, bloggers, politicians and
those who care about free speech have all expressed their outrage at last
week’s ruling.

The next event that will interest those following the case is a public
meeting on Monday 18 May at 6.30pm at Penderel’s Oak Pub (283 High
WC1V 7HP). Speakers will include me, the amazing Nick Cohen, the fantastic
Dave Gorman and the heroic Evan Harris MP.

If you cannot make it to the meeting, then please help by letting others
know about the case, the ruling and the possibility of an appeal. If there
is an appeal, then it would be great to launch it upon a strong tide of
public support.

If you want to find out more about the case (or want to inform others) then
below are some useful links. This includes mainstream media coverage in New
Scientist, Nature and the Economist.

Thanks again to everyone who has been so supportive.

Simon (still smiling) Singh.

For Simon Singh and Free Speech - Against the BCA Libel Claim

This seems to be the best place for keeping up with the latest news and
developments. It contains links to various blogs and articles commenting on
the case. Joining the group is a great way to show your support.

Jack of Kent’s blog is well informed and written from an
expert’s point of
view. Recent update postings include:

Googling words such as SIMON SINGH, BCA, LIBEL will take you to lots of
blogs and articles about the libel case. Google news is particularly helpful
(search “SIMON SINGH”, and you can also then click on the blog


« Last Edit: May 17, 2009, 11:15:35 AM by ama »
Kinderklinik Gelsenkirchen verstößt gegen die Leitlinien

Der Skandal in Gelsenkirchen
Hamer-Anhänger in der Kinderklinik


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Skandal in Großbritannien
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2009, 07:46:59 AM »

in UK the situation heats up. Read the Quackometer!

Here is the attractor for the Quackometer. Please read the original at

The Quackometer
Experiments and Thoughts on Quackery,

McTimoney Chiropractors told to take down their web sites

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This letter has been issued from the McTimoney Association to all its members…

Date: 8 June 2009 09:12:18 BDT


Dear Member

If you are reading this, we assume you have also read the urgent email we sent you last Friday. If you did not read it, READ IT VERY CAREFULLY NOW and - this is most important – ACT ON IT. This is not scaremongering. We judge this to be a real threat to you and your practice.

Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors, we are now issuing the following advice:

The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research. The safest thing for everyone to do is as follows.
If you have a website, take it down NOW.

When you have done that, please let us know preferably by email or by phone. This will save our valuable time chasing you to see whether it has been done.
REMOVE all the blue MCA patient information leaflets, or any patient information leaflets of your own that state you treat whiplash, colic or other childhood problems in your clinic or at any other site where they might be displayed with your contact details on them. DO NOT USE them until further notice. The MCA are working on an interim replacement leaflet which will be sent to you shortly.
If you have not done so already, enter your name followed by the word ‘chiropractor’ into a search engine such as Google (e.g. Joe Bloggs chiropractor) and you will be able to ascertain what information about you is in the public domain e.g. where you might be listed using the Doctor title or where you might be linked with a website which might implicate you. We have found that even if you do not have a website yourself you may still have been linked inadvertently to a website listing you or your services.



If you use business cards or other stationery using the ‘doctor’ title and it does not clearly state that you are a doctor of chiropractic or that you are not a registered medical practitioner, STOP USING THEM immediately.

5. Be wary of ‘mystery shopper’ phone calls and ‘drop ins’ to your practice, especially if they start asking about your care of children, or whiplash, or your evidence base for practice.



Although this advice may seem extreme or alarmist, its purpose is to protect you. The campaigners have a target of making a complaint against every chiropractor in the UK who they perceive to be in breach of the GCC’s CoP, the Advertising Standards Code and/or Trading Standards. We have discovered that complaints against more than 500 individual chiropractors have been sent to the GCC in the last 24 hours.

Whatever you do, do not ignore this email and make yourself one of the victims. Some of our members have not followed our earlier advice and now have complaints made against them. We do not want that to happen to you.

Even if you do not have a website, you are still at risk. Our latest information suggests that this group are now going through Yellow Pages entries. Be in no doubt, their intention is to scrutinise every single chiropractor in the UK.

The MCA Executive has worked tirelessly over the last week keeping abreast of development and contacting at risk members. We have decided that this is our best course of action to protect you and the Association at this time of heightened tension. This advice is given to you solely to protect you from what we believe is a concerted campaign, and does not imply any wrongdoing on your part or the part of the Association. We believe that our best course of action is simply to withdraw from the battleground until this latest wave of targeting is over.

Finally, we strongly suggest you do NOT discuss this with others, especially patients, Firstly it would not be ethical to burden patients with this, though if they ask we hope you now have information with which you can respond.

Most importantly, this email and all correspondence from the MCA is confidential advice to MCA members alone, and should not be shared with anyone else.

Please be aware that the office phone lines are likely to be busy, so, if you need our help, please send an email to the office and we will get back to you as soon as we can.


Berni Martin

MCA Chair.

Best wishes,


Stunning. What have they got to hide?

The McTimoney web site itself now just reads:

For all enquiries regarding McTimoney chiropractic, please contact :

McTimoney Chiropractic Association
Crowmarsh Gifford
Wallingford OX10 8DJ
Tel : 01491 829494

The most stunning admission is that Chiropractors are told:




All the missing websites have been archived here:

Smashing job yaxu

PS Dont forget to sign the Simon Singh support campaign.

Labels: British Chiropractic Association, chiropractors, McTimoney, Simon Singh
Kinderklinik Gelsenkirchen verstößt gegen die Leitlinien

Der Skandal in Gelsenkirchen
Hamer-Anhänger in der Kinderklinik


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Skandal in Großbritannien
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2009, 07:47:52 AM »

posted by Le Canard Noir at 8:45 AM    ShareThis  
 nmg said...

Good grief.

It's not quite a smoking gun, but the phrase "any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research" followed by "whiplash, colic or other childhood problems" rather suggests that they're *aware* that there is no evidence for efficacy for the use of chiro to treat those conditions.

It puts Eady's ruling in an interesting light.
10 June, 2009 08:59  
 steeroy said...

That's really astonishing.

I wonder how professional bodies in proper medicine would respond to a campaign against their specialty? If practitioners were making unevidenced claims on websites and in advertising, actually in contravention of trading standards, would their professional body "have their back" like this? Actually try and prevent offenders being discovered?
10 June, 2009 09:08  
 pseudomonas said...

Steeroy: I imagine it'd be drama in the letters pages of the BMJ...
10 June, 2009 09:14  
 Skepticat said...

Loving it, loving it, loving it...
10 June, 2009 09:44  
 Zeno said...

I haven't even received an acknowledgement of my complaints yet!

It's a pity it's taken till now to finally make them take down anything that can't be backed up by research and to stop them misleadingly using the title 'Dr'.

If chiropractors hadn't been making claims that were not backed up by research, if the GCC had been doing their job properly in keeping their members in line, this wouldn't have been necessary. This is not a witch hunt: just making sure 'bogus' claims are not being made.
10 June, 2009 09:55  
 yaxu said...

Here's a list of websites scraped from the bca website, together with links to and the google cache:

I searched for those with a space in the name, might have missed some.
10 June, 2009 10:09  
 Le Canard Noir said...

Ha Ha Ha!!!

All the missing websites archived!! Amazing morning
10 June, 2009 10:18  
 Matt Volatile said...

In light of the furore over "happily promoting bogus treatments", might this serve as some evidence even of the "Eady meaning"?
10 June, 2009 10:18  
 Bastard Sheep said...

Would this be admissible as evidence in the Simon Singh case?
10 June, 2009 10:26  
 Stephen Curry said...

Excellent work - congratulations to all those who lodged complaints.

A good day for evidence-based medicine.
10 June, 2009 10:26  
 John H said...

And they are doing it.

My local backcrackquackery has already changed their website big time.

Last week they claimed that:

""""""Chiropractic care has been beneficial in a wide range of child-hood ailments, including:

- Asthma
- Bedwetting
- Colic
- Poor posture
- Allergies """""

All of these references have gone now.

Plus they have modified the use of the word Doctor. One is referred to as a Doctor of Backcrakery and the other uses the title doctor (backed up with a Ph.D from the University of Wales which is probably justifiable although I would argue that it probably depends on what it was).

They have remodelled themselves as a sort of aches and pains outfit with all sorts of high tech gizmos to detect your subluxations (yes that nonsense is still there).

It still seems to be a load of nonsense though with claims that:

""""A computerised nerve and muscle scan is performed to determine the state of the nervous system"""

"""SECOND GENERATION SUBLUXATION STATION. Our state-of-the-art technology will objectively help us: DETECT AREAS OF NERVE DISTURBANCE"""

"""The three standard tests will measure:
- SEMG - the amount of electrical current in the muscles.
- Thermography - skin temperature along the spine.
- Inclinometry - range of movement of the spine."""

And there is a nice diagram of a spine with it's SEMG patterns. Any bets on most of these being red when you pays your money and takes your choice of quackery.

ALthough they make it up, just to prove that I don't here is the science:
10 June, 2009 10:34  
 Anonymous said...

you needed to rip the websites - easily foiled...


"We're sorry, access to has been blocked by the site owner via robots.txt."
10 June, 2009 10:39  
 yaxu said...

You got the link to my list wrong there lecanard, remove the '.' from the end.
10 June, 2009 10:52  
 Dr* T said...

This McTimoney Chiro has followed the advice

Now reads
10 June, 2009 10:55  
 Mojo said...

"...the other uses the title doctor (backed up with a Ph.D from the University of Wales which is probably justifiable although I would argue that it probably depends on what it was)."

Not quite sure about that: the GCC code of practice says that "chiropractors who use the title of 'doctor' and who are not registered medical practitioners must ensure that they make it clear that they are registered chiropractors and not registered medical parctitioners" (my emphasis). I'm not convinced that merely waving a PhD around achieves this.
10 June, 2009 10:59  
 David Bradley said...

The chiro case cracked, you think?
10 June, 2009 11:29  
 Anonymous said...

Wow. That's quite a turnup.

The explicit equating of "we're being prevented from making claims we can't back up" with a "witch hunt" is quite extraordinary.

10 June, 2009 11:30  
 Mojo said...

"Would this be admissible as evidence in the Simon Singh case?"

Unfortunately this was sent out by the MCA, so it isn't evidence of what the BCA believed.
10 June, 2009 11:38  
 Carmen said...

It's slightly disconcerting to think that they assume sceptics are on a "witch hunt" rather than just trying to establish that when someone says they can cure all manner of ailments, they are able to show us the proof. Is there really a lack of funds to test these claims?

Last time I checked, it was bloody expensive to visit a chiropractor. As my dear old mum used to say: "Where there's a will, there's a fortune to be made"...
10 June, 2009 11:39  
 pvandck said...

Witch hunt? It's like shoplifters caught on camera claiming the shopkeeper has a grudge against them. That's alternative realitiy medicine for you.
10 June, 2009 11:53  
 pvandck said...

Witch hunt? It's like a shoplifter being caught on camera then claiming the shopkeeper has a grudge against them.
This just so reeks of deliberate dishonesty.
10 June, 2009 11:56  
 Mojo said...

@pvandck: "...alternative reality medicine..."

Can I steal that?
10 June, 2009 11:57  

Wow!!! What is happening! :)
What an interesting life in UK! ;)
10 June, 2009 12:09  
 Anonymous said...

Hey my local back quack still has his up, can someone archive it


10 June, 2009 13:13  
 Mojo said...

"Be wary of ‘mystery shopper’ phone calls and ‘drop ins’ to your practice, especially if they start asking about your care of children, or whiplash, or your evidence base for practice."

The SoH issued a similar warning to its members in 2007. See DC's blog:
10 June, 2009 13:16  
 Jason said...


"Hey guys, you know how we're selling quackery and calling ourselves doctors? Well, tone that down for a bit. Be suspicious if anyone asks you how our treatments actually work, and for goodness sake DON'T ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS!"

Never once a suggestion that evidence be produced. I've always kind of wondered if they actually believed it, or were just lying, but this is a smoking gun showing that they know what they're up to.
10 June, 2009 13:17  
 Anonymous said...

Sorry, it's already on the list

10 June, 2009 13:17  
 John H said...

The phrases "Oh bollox, we've been rumbled" and "thats the end of a nice little earner" spring to mind.

Or maybe "Run, it's the rozzers" (
10 June, 2009 13:40  
 Northern Doctor said...

"Finally, we strongly suggest you do NOT discuss this with others, especially patients, Firstly it would not be ethical to burden patients with this, though if they ask we hope you now have information with which you can respond."

What? Keep buggering on regardless of the patient? It's an interesting perspective on the purported patient-centred, holistic care model that areas of chiropractic remain so controversial that these shouldn't be discussed.

How is is ethical to stifle the debate about the quality of chiropractice evidence? My experience of patients is that they don't usually feel burdened when they are given decent quality information.
10 June, 2009 14:05  
 BSM said...

"Keep buggering on regardless of the patient?"

I think that is probably a different kind of offence. :-)

More seriously, I have found this "It's an interesting perspective on the purported patient-centred, holistic care model that areas of chiropractic remain so controversial that these shouldn't be discussed." to be a widespread phenomenon in the world of woo. Pleasant superficial manner but deeply intolerant of challenge.

I think it reflects a deep mindset with these people that they are utterly devoted to the idea of "Authority" though what they market is often wrapped up in a blanket of left-field 'alternative' free-thinking. They might be an alternative to the mainstream, but they are not free-thinking at all.

Because their arts have no rational evidential base the only source of their confidence is the faith they place in the authority of their teachers and, once trained, they demand that respect is paid to them because of the authority they have now acquired. Scratch below that surface and all sorts of nastiness jumps out.

I declare Godwin's law to be fulfilled at this point and state that their view point is actually fascist. As Wikipedia says "Fascist governments forbid and suppress criticism and opposition to the government and the fascist movement." Insert chiropractic, homeopathic in place of fascist and see how the sentence sounds.
10 June, 2009 14:19
Kinderklinik Gelsenkirchen verstößt gegen die Leitlinien

Der Skandal in Gelsenkirchen
Hamer-Anhänger in der Kinderklinik


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Skandal in Großbritannien
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2009, 07:48:14 AM »

Jeff Pickthall said...

FWIW Newcastle Chiropractic has very obviously removed the sticker on their door which declared the quacks within to Dr this-that-and-the-the-other. I also made a complaint to Newcastle TS about the sticker.
10 June, 2009 14:49  
 Mojo said...

"I declare Godwin's law to be fulfilled at this point"

I think it was already fulfilled when Richard Brown complained that "pro-Singh professional and lay scientists have mounted a nationwide campaign of intimidation against chiropractors and via widespread blogging have encouraged a ‘blitzkrieg’ against the BCA."
10 June, 2009 14:50  
 Jeff Pickthall said...

In many cases old websites will be archived here: for all to see.
10 June, 2009 15:06  
 Peter in Dundee said...

Well done all who have lodged complaints and caused them to run from the 'field of battle' even thought they are portraying it as merely a strategic withdrawal it certainly looks like a rout. Anyone keen to be a cossack and harry them across the Elbe? Shall we use the MCA as the massacre in Smolensk with the BCA and their lawsuit Murat and the valiant rearguard?

Sorry, always been fascinated with Napoleon's greatest failure (sorry Britophiles, it wasn't that skirmish at Waterloo).

@Jason it certainly could be seen as prima facie evidence that the MCA are not confident they have a valid defence against the complaints. If they don't I doubt the BCA do, go for it Simon Singh!
10 June, 2009 15:11  
 Andy said...

Google cache doesn't appear to suffer from the robots.txt problem. Just do a search, use the "more results from..." option if it's there than view the cached versions of individual pages.

Note that Google cache often changes quickly.
10 June, 2009 16:00  
 Andy said...

As I see it, this "smoking gun" will be of little use to Singh unless he loses all appeals and finds himself having to defend Eady's definition of his intent (after all, he's not claiming the BCA knew of the lack of evidence).

And even then, the plaintiff could probably claim they weren't aware of the lack of evidence before the ASA ruled on it.
10 June, 2009 16:06  
 Commonly Sensible said...

You can see their whole (now deleted) site if you use the cached links here:
10 June, 2009 16:08  
 Jason said...

John H@10 June, 2009 10:34:

That page you linked to ( is hilarious:

"The three standard tests will measure:

* SEMG - the amount of electrical current in the muscles.
* Thermography - skin temperature along the spine.
* Inclinometry - range of movement of the spine.

green bars: mild
blue bars: moderate
red bars: severe "

Mild, moderate or severe what?

My back is warmer in some spots than others, and the electrical monitor is picking up... electric flux that my heart produces during every beat? higher galvanic skin response? higher conductivity produced by sweating?

And what does this indicate? That I just walked up the stairs to the clinic? Colic? Bad chi flow? Demon possession? Lupus?

I'd loooooooove to see an electrical schematic for their e-Meter^H^H^H^H magic box^H^H^H^H "Second Generation Subluxation Station".

More on these silly boxes:
10 June, 2009 16:15  
 jdc325 said...

This is incredible news. I wonder if any other association societies will follow suit.
10 June, 2009 17:24  
 jdc325 said...

Note: I can still see the Bassett Chiropractic Clinics website that is listed on yaxu's site. Does this mean that some chiropractors on the list have not yet taken their websites down?
10 June, 2009 17:33  
 Paholaisen Asianajaja said...

I'll toast to this! Keep 'em coming.
10 June, 2009 17:50  
 Paholaisen Asianajaja said...

Wonderful piece of news. I only something like this would happen here in Finland.
10 June, 2009 17:51  
 gimpyblog said...

I wonder how popular the BCA are with the other chiropractic organisations and GCC?

It also puts the BCA in an awkward position, do they send a similar email to their members to protect them from 'persecution' and thus admit that they know their members offer 'bogus' therapies or do they do nothing and let their membership suffer?
10 June, 2009 18:20  
 mightybigcar said...

The line I like best is "we strongly suggest you do NOT discuss this with others, especially patients".
10 June, 2009 20:32  
 Back Quacker said...

i apprieciate the importance of evidence based research and practice but you lot on here seem rather blind to the fact that a HUGE proportion of mainstream allopathic medical treatments are not backed up by "gold standard" RCT evidence. I accept that people shouldnt make claims stating things as "fact" when there isnt any evidence for it. But as far as i'm aware, using the best available evidence is scientifically sound, so if most people seem to benefit from heart surgery for heart disease, then lets do it, doesnt mean there have been any RCT placebo trials on it though.
10 June, 2009 21:31  
 BSM said...

As Gimpy has said here;

"I wonder how popular the BCA are with the other chiropractic organisations and GCC?

It also puts the BCA in an awkward position, do they send a similar email to their members to protect them from 'persecution' and thus admit that they know their members offer 'bogus' therapies or do they do nothing and let their membership suffer?"

and I have said at zeno's site

"What do the websites of BCA members currently say?

If they suffer a rash of mysterious disappearances then some ineluctable conclusions may need to be drawn that would begin to impinge on BCA vs Singh quite significantly.

Have you checkmated them?

Website makes dubious claims;

1. Leave website alone. GCC should fulfill its statutory obligations and pursue them via their disciplinary process.
2. Take website down. Prima facie evidence that claims are 'bogus' in the sense imputed by Mr Justice Eady."

They are now royally screwed.
10 June, 2009 21:39  
 David Cognito said...

Wonderful news - but why has it taken so long? Why have quacks been allowed for so long to make bogus claims and fleece the desperate and the gullible of the back of it?

Let's hope this is the start of the end....
10 June, 2009 21:44  
 BSM said...

Oh, dear, we have someone who doesn't seem to understand what we mean by evidence.

Obviously not all of medicine has double-blind trials, but it uses methods that have biological plausibility, so the likelihood of observational studies genuinely spotting true causative effects from treatment are concomitantly higher, while accepting that the double-blind study is still the best.

Your therapy has zero biological plausibility, so the quality of any trial evidence you would require to overcome that obstacle has to be nearly infinite. Observational studies and anecdote are utterly worthless to you or to your deluded victims.

So, BackQuacker, Answer one, just one, question. Please provide unequivocal evidence of the existence of the "subluxations" on which chiropractic is based. These represent your core assertion. If you cannot demonstrate their validity you are no more than an ill-trained physiotherapist who will occasionally kill someone with an arterial dissection.

Meet my friend, the Reverend Bayes. He is your worst nightmare.
10 June, 2009 21:46  
 Vyadh said...

You can easily get stuff removed from google cache and We need to back these up quick...
10 June, 2009 21:52  
 daedalus2u said...

They should be warned that removing the information from websites is ok, but if they were in the US, destroying it to avoid possible prosecution is illegal and is obstruction of justice.
10 June, 2009 21:52  
 Le Canard Noir said...

My take on the Reverend Bayes...

Just substitute homeopathy for chiropractic and the argument holds.
10 June, 2009 21:53  
 Back Quacker said...

BSM: Dont be fooled by my name, im not a chiropractor, im an osteopath :)
I can't begin to start defending chiropractic therapuetic rationalisation since i wasnt trained as one. What i do know is that there's quite a bit of evidence showing that spinal manipulation is more effective and statistically much safer for low back pain than NSAID use. Given that most chiros and osteos spend day in day out treating back pain in this way, its of far more relevance than whether or not a few chiros think they can cure colic in babies.
The NICE guidelines published this month now point to spinal manipulation being "best practice" for acute and sub acute Low Back Pain, so obviously there is a little more to manipulative therapies than you arrogantly seem to think. Have you actually researched any of this evidence yourself i wonder or are you just jumping onto this intellectual band wagon?
10 June, 2009 22:04  
 Le Canard Noir said...

I think the more interesting question is have the Chiropractors researched their claims themselves or have they just jumped on a pseudoscientific, cult-like bandwagon?
10 June, 2009 22:11  
 Michael J said...

I think that you are mistaken that these guys will see this as an admission that their treatments don't work. The placebo effect and confirmation bias will have convinced most of them that what they are doing works and it is "evidence based medicine" that is the sham.
10 June, 2009 22:17  
 Le Canard Noir said...

Michael J - we do not expect for a moment that any chiropractors will have the insight to realise what is going on.

Today they will have been milling around like puzzled homeopaths. Uncomprehending. Angry. And probably ready to lash out.
10 June, 2009 22:20  
 Back Quacker said...

Well, the trouble with sites like this is that you are all so partisan. So many of these comments done seem to be by people who are interested in doing some actual reseach themselves into these matters. Like i already have said, im not a chiropractor im an osteopath who's just finsihing an evidence based research MSc in Pain Management. Ive spent the last two years researching evidence for back pain treatments and osteo and chiro stand up fairly well. In the tools used to judge hierarchy of evidence such as PEDro and Jadad, there is an inbuilt favouritism towards pharmacuetical testing since its impossible to double blind manipulation. This to some extent puts these therapies at a disadvantage, even so, there's still a fair bit of decent evidence out there if you can be bothered to look. This site seems to be more of a pissing contest than an grown up discussion about what evidence might ectually exist.
10 June, 2009 22:22  
 Mark said...

"This site seems to be more of a pissing contest than an grown up discussion about what evidence might actually exist." That is because BCA is trying to stop discussion and scientific challenge...
10 June, 2009 22:37  
 Anonymous said...

On a web tour of Leeds chiropractors: websites and 'doctors' still in place... And claims like:

'As your baby becomes a toddler they will experience all the normal bumps and bangs associated with crawling and learning to walk. This can cause their spine to become misaligned and cause more problems such as glue ear, recurring coughs and colds, hyperactivity and bed-wetting. It is far easier and quicker to deal with spinal problems at this stage rather than ignore and allow them to become chronic in later life.'

Is there evidence that childhood bumps misalign the the spine and lead to hyperactivity, chronic spine problems etc? I think the burden of evidence is against this, and so I do not see that you can prove a treatment efficacious for conditions that any way do not follow.
10 June, 2009 22:41  
 Anonymous said...

... and (re the Leeds chiroprator claim) I am concerned about therapists who on the one hand write material that can scare parents into seeking treatment, yet not divulge to them the serious level of doubt that surround the treatment on offer due to lack of evidence.
10 June, 2009 22:44  
 Back Quacker said...

Well i take your point and im totally against the way the BCA have behaved. Makes them seem paranoid, delusional, defensive and childish, but the original point of this whole debate was surely to assertain whether there's any evidence for what chiropractic claims to do. I think we can safely say that about 99% of the people on this site all agree with Singh and agree with each other, so you're all preaching to the converted really. Its all a bit masturbatary.
More interesting would be to actually look into the evidence and discuss it, but im guessing , and i might well be wrong, that no one here has bothered doing that. Its far easier to sit back on here and feel smug.
10 June, 2009 22:45  
 Back Quacker said...

ANONYMOUS: I absolutely agree with what you're saying. Thats shockingly unethical in my view and i would never make such claims about my own osteopathic treatment. There sadly, many osteopaths and chiropractics who do make all kinds of highly presumptive claims about their treatments and give us all a bad name.
10 June, 2009 22:49  
 Le Canard Noir said...

Be careful for what you wish for Back Quacker.

Coming soon... the BCA "plethora" of evidence
10 June, 2009 22:52  
 Anonymous said...

Back Quacker: I think its brave of you to come and make your points here :-)

It sounds as if you seek to run an ethical practice, but that your decisions as to the claims you make for osteopathy are those you make as an individual practitioner. Do you think it would be possible to introduce an ethical code governing the claims that could be made by all osteopaths / chiropractors? Wouldn't this have to use evidence as its touchstone? This would then protect you from unscrupulous practitioners bringing down the reputation of the therapy you offer. If the therapy really works, there is a powerful economic as well as ethical driver for securing the research that would give you reputable evidence and a basis for a shared and transparent code of conduct.
10 June, 2009 23:00  
 regularfry said...

Back Quacker: the issue here is not lower back pain. As you say, there is evidence to support that. What is specifically in question are the claims to be able to treat conditions where there is absolutely no medically feasible mechanism available, and where turning to a chiro first instead of your GP can be directly harmful.

There is a deeper question here that I don't often see addressed. The question is not "What are you doing?" but rather "What are you doing to improve what you are doing?" Allopathic (and evidence-based in general) medicine can point to a rational, scientific process as an answer to this. Chiropractic practice, as embodied by those practitioners who have had to change their websites, cannot and does not.
10 June, 2009 23:09
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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2009, 07:48:29 AM »

Back Quacker said...

Interesting points and as an individual osteopath ( but far from being the only one out there) who treats patients with musculoskeletal pain and disability in a very straighforward manner, using evidence to back up what i do whenever possible, i find these claims made by chiropractors very familiar. These are similar claims made by a huge ammount of osteopaths and this is something which the world of osteopathy is very devided over. I spent last saturday at a General Osteopathic Council conference where the bulk of the time was spent discussing this very point. The GOsC are at present trying to draw up some kind of more unified, and evidence based Osteopathic Framework. Isuppose one could say its rather timely and all this chiro crap could actually work in our favour if we put our own house in order.

I will say one thing though, it would be a mistake to cling to closely to the idea that allopathic medicine is based on "good science" and scrupulous testing. Have any of you seen the death rate of NSAID users? Shocking!
10 June, 2009 23:23  
 Back Quacker said...

If anyone is at all interested in the evidence base for manual therapy then an excellent place to start is a book by Prof Eyal Lederman: The Science and Practice of Manual Therapy. An excellently researched, evidence based and clearly written attempt at identifying the biophysiology behind manual therapy.

There you go you grumpy ol' skeptics!!
10 June, 2009 23:27  
 Mojo said...

"Coming soon... the BCA "plethora" of evidence"

I find it odd that, when challenged by the ASA, a BCA member was apparently unable to submit the BCA's "plethora" of evidence that chiropractic can cure colic.
10 June, 2009 23:56  
 Mojo said...

"Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors..."

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and weighs the same as a duck...
11 June, 2009 00:02  
 pseudomonas said...

Back Quacker: I'd really hope that most of the people here would call for evidence-based medicine with regard to drugs etc. as well. It's not an either-or situation. As you say, it shouldn't be a partisan issue. Manipulation-based therapies for various musculoskeletal issues don't seem to be problematic.

Glad that you're here and hope you don't feel personally got-at. Thanks for references - I'll have to look through them when I'm in the university library.

In an unrelated therapy, am starting physio tomorrow...
11 June, 2009 00:03  
 Anonymous said...

"Allopathic" and its cognates are like "scientism" and its cognates. I.e. indicators of some seriously woolly thinking and a likely precursor of bullshit. One might even consider them symptoms....

Why is it that "alt med" types think this is some species of team sport? The cries of "tu quoque" every time anyone asks for evidence supporting their claims is deafening. There is no such thing as "alternative medicine", it doesn't exist. There is stuff that works (medicine) and stuff that doesn't (wishful thinking). If wearing a toad on your head at midnight whilst chanting an Inuit death song and chewing a piece of yew tree whilst sitting at a crossroads cures your cancer (and can be demonstrated to do so in a decent trial and each element has a demonstrable mechanistic input) then it's "medicine", there's nothing alternative about it.

Consilience is one of the many things that "alt med" proponents (and all other species of denialists from Holocaust denier to creationist) can never understand.
11 June, 2009 00:07  
 Stewart McOwan said...

Wow 70 posts in 17 hours! Is this a penny share that has just doubled? No it's just a bunch of geeks having a party on the internet. The sore heads in the morning will be a pretty sight!
11 June, 2009 00:13  
 Simon said...

@Stewart McOwan: Such hubris from a guy who thinks water has a memory. You're next.
11 June, 2009 00:36  
 Back Quacker said...

@Anonymous: Just for the record..never thought of myself as an "alternative" to the main event!!
11 June, 2009 00:45  
 Stewart McOwan said...

Hi Simple Simon, I honestly know nothing about chiropractors. Just curious about the excitement and the currently steamy lenses of your thick goggles. So weird what you get off...
11 June, 2009 00:46  
 Simon said...

@Stewart: Yipes. Silly intertubes; that comment came across as a hell of a lot more dark than I had intended. I was referring to the homeopathy books at the bookstore linked under your username, but I think it probably best if I just tuck tail after that one.
11 June, 2009 01:05  
 Stewart McOwan said...

Simon, if I had a magic flower on my leather jacket and five wishes I would include a wish for some scientific thinking in the homeopathic world. I'm the wrong guy to attack believe me. If it's all baloney I could find something else to do. I do my best talking to whoever I can about double-blind re-provings of the most commonly used remedies. Perhaps one day my dreams will come true.
11 June, 2009 01:33  
 Matthew Cline said...

Even if this letter had been issued by the BCA rather than the MCA, I don't think it could be taken as any sign of guilt. They most likely are convinced by their clinical experience that the treatments they offer are effective, and see the demands for non-clinical evidence as a form of persecution. I'm not trying to claim that they're right, merely that they're being honest.
11 June, 2009 01:38  
 Michael Kingsford Gray said...

It seems that they are copying the tactics of the Roman Catholic Church when caught out, vis: cover it up in an institutionalised manner, and protect the guilty, meantime blaming the whistleblowers as being the root cause of their troubles!
11 June, 2009 02:37  
 BSM said...

Back Quack, you seem not to have either read or understood my first reply to you. It was also not helpful to style yourself "Back Quack" in a discussion of chiro then say you are not a chiro. Chiros are quacks.

The tu quoque fallacy is always a fallacy, but actually, and strictly speaking, it requires that there is a direct parallel between the two parties being compared. The idea, though, is that a fault of the second party does not refute the same fault in the first party.

BUT, the faults are not the same! Do you get it? Proper medicine may use therapies that do not have the full weight of DBRCTs behind them, but they have biological plausibility. This makes the inherent likelihood of inferred claims of causality being true effectively infinitely greater than the claims of a quack therapy with zero plausibility.

So, you have attempted to deploy a logical fallacy in your argument, but can't even get that right.

When you have read up on Bayes theorem and understood the ideas you will have earned the right to an opinion. Until then all I can hear is quacking.
11 June, 2009 07:46  
 BSM said...

p.s. The fact that chiros may, accidentally, help to improve back pain no less badly than a host of other rather useless treatments even though their techniques are based on a flawed theory does not validate that theory and does not validate claims that their therapy has any positive impact on any other medical condition. You need to lift your sights from the narrow field of back pain. Chiro claims to be a universal form of medicine, just like homeopathy and a variety of other childrens' tales. Officially it doesn't even believe in the germ theory of infectious disease!

The time has come for the chiros to decide what they want to be. Chiropractic is a brand with a lie at its heart. Honest chiropractors need a new brand or they need to admit that lie and redefine the brand as something more akin to physiotherapy. How they would then be regulated and who would do it are then questions that need to be answered. First, they have to show the courage and integrity necessary to make that change.
11 June, 2009 08:05  
 Back Quacker said...

BSM: Yes i "get it" and what a charmer you are.
I chose my name on here to take the piss a little, both out of myself and out of self righteous skeptics on here. As far as chiro goes there's a lot of biophysiological evidence for what they do in terms of musculoskeletal pain, as there is in osteopathy and also physiothereapy. Beyond that, i doubt there's much at all. Im not here to defend chiropractic, nor to get into a debate with someone who evidently hasnt bothered to do any research themselves. Or have you?
11 June, 2009 08:29  
 Andy said...

As a matter of interest, does anyone know what was in the previous email referred to in this one?

"...we assume you have also read the urgent email we sent you last Friday."
11 June, 2009 09:56  
 krog said...

Regardless of anyone's point of view or beliefs, why isn't this all over the news? An organisation is telling its members to effectively hide their activities when they had been previously public. I'm surprised the chiropractors aren't asking questions publicly. If an organisation I had trusted and believed in did this I'd want to know what was wrong. Maybe they are.
11 June, 2009 12:21  
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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2009, 08:16:56 AM »

The first panicky retreat in the war on free speech in the UK has begun.

As I wrote last week, the British Chiropractic Association is suing science journalist Simon Singh for saying that chiropractors practice "bogus" medicine. Instead of defending what they do with research and testing, they are acting to silence Singh and chill anyone else who may want to expose what they do.

This attack on free speech has been rippling outward over the past few days, and now there is an ironic twist: the McTimoney Chiropractic Association has strongly warned its practitioners to take down their websites and replace any information on their techniques with just brief contact information. Why would they do that?

Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors, we are now issuing the following advice:

The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research. The safest thing for everyone to do is […] f you have a website, take it down NOW.

Heh. Gee, why the heck would anyone want to make sure that a chiropractor — a person who will be futzing around with your spine — be able to substantiate their claims with (gasp) RESEARCH?

It’s very telling, isn’t it, that the McTimoney group isn’t telling its people to only stick with proven methods, but instead to take down any claims that might get them sued.


If you go to the McTimoney website, all it has now is a terse note with contact information, with no other information on the technique at all.


Of course, this being the web and all, the missing websites are archived and can be found online.

Very interesting!

And the word is spreading; this is on Quackometer, Sys-Con Media, and ChiropracticLive. You can expect to see it lots of other places soon as well.

Maybe the British Chiropractic Association and other such practitioners should have looked up the Streisand effect before acting. But then, "Ready, fire, aim!" is the mantra for a lot of groups like this.

The backlash has begun, folks. Let’s make sure it keeps going.

June 10th, 2009 9:40 AM by Phil Plait in Antiscience, Cool stuff, Debunking, Politics, Science, Skepticism | 85 comments | RSS feed | Trackback >
85 Responses to “Chiropocalypse”
1.   John Paradox Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 9:42 am

Saw this elsewhere.

If it’s not on the Interwebs anymore, it doesn’t exist.

Except it’s still on the Interwebtubes….

2.   Greg Fish Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 9:50 am

I think their rush to remove online information is ironic. After all, the web is how quacks get to sidestep the requirements for backing up their claims with evidence and one of their main tools in silencing critics…

And of course you’re absolutely right. Every website out there is cached and archived about 20 times over so every claim they made is always there for the world to see. It’s just harder to find.

I wonder if their actions could be presented as evidence of wrongdoing in court, something like obstruction of justice statutes in the U.S.?
3.   David Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 9:52 am

This has certainly made for a happier morning for me. Good to see the Streisand effect is alive and well on the tubes.
4.   Sc00ter Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 9:53 am

The other nice thing is the part where they tell them to make sure that it’s clear that they’re a doctor of chiropractic and not an MD.
5.   Ginger Yellow Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:00 am

“The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research”

Heaven forfend! Unsubstantiated medical claims are illegal, not to mention morally odious. You’d have thought that policing such claims would be the remit of a chiropractic association.
6.   Ginger Yellow Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:03 am

Incidentally, isn’t this letter proof that chiropractors are knowningly promoting treatments that have no evidence of efficacy? It specifically singles out claims for treatment of whiplash, colic and “childhood problems”, which strongly suggests they know that’s where they’re breaking the law.
7.   Charles Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:07 am

Backfire if I ever saw one. Try to silence a critic by censoring their own dreck…
8.   Steve Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:18 am

Ginger Yellow (#6) makes an interesting point. The MCA announcement could easily be interpreted as an admission that their members knowingly make unsubstantiated claims of efficacy, which fits in nicely with Judge Eady’s interpretation of the word “bogus” in the Singh case.
9.   Richard Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:19 am

You would hope that the message of a professional body would be “tell the truth” rather than “here is how to hide the bodies”


Almost feel bad for them now, like they’re that kid who is compelled to touch the hot stove again…
10.   Jules (Julia) Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:22 am

I find this whole thing so very very interesting. I think this has to do with living in a province where chiro is covered by my medical (as well as massage and other alternate “medical” treatments) yet physio is not unless you are having to go to physio while in hospital. Medical doctors where I live often give referrals to the alternative health care choices such as massage and chiro. Even some naturopathic treatments are covered.

I have to see a chiro regularly for many reasons. I have also had to go physio regularly twice. One was due to a dance injury and the other for rehab after my stroke. Dance injury I had to pay for, stroke was covered by my medical. My dance injury visits really didn’t help. My stroke rehab was well, I probably wouldn’t be walking today if it weren’t for the help I received through physio.

Even so I agree with keeping libel law out of science, this chiro debate I find interesting because chiro is viewed as a good medical alternative where I live and is promoted by both the province and MDs. Maybe that has to do with I have personally never seen chiro’s where I live make any wild claims about treatment. Chiro’s here take a complete medical history including what medications you are on. They do back x-rays before treatment. If you have certain medical issues they will not treat you. And the list goes on.

This chiro vs medical debate I will definitely have to read more about.
11.   Harold Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:25 am

We have a situation locally where a teen gang is torturing and killing cats and posting videos of their activities to YouTube. Prosecutors refuse to take action based on the videos, contending that once the video is posted to YouTube it could be altered by a third party.

This may be an “only in Northeastern Pennsylvania” thing.* But I wonder if an archived version of a website (archived anywhere other than your own computer) would ever be considered admissible evidence.

*Much like the case a few years ago where the son of a prominent local family crashed his car on the highway and then carjacked the vehicle - with children inside - of a woman who stopped to help him, so that he could complete his trip to meet someone at the local airport. He abandoned the vehicle, and the kids, at the airport. Prosecutors refused to file kidnapping charges agains him, noting that since he didn’t make a ransom demand, no kidnapping took place. Seriously.
12.   Ginger Yellow Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:27 am

“The MCA announcement could easily be interpreted as an admission that their members knowingly make unsubstantiated claims of efficacy, which fits in nicely with Judge Eady’s interpretation of the word “bogus” in the Singh case.”

Indeed it does, and I’m sure Singh’s lawyers will bring this up if the appeal is allowed to proceed, but conversely the BCA will argue that it doesn’t prove they knowingly promoted inefficacious treatments, only the MCA.
13.   Chiropocalypse « Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:31 am

[…] Chiropocalypse Posted in Bad Astronomy by Skepdude on June 10, 2009 READ THE FULL ENTRY AT “BAD ASTRONOMY” […]
14.   Todd W. Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:31 am

I liked this tidbit from the site you linked to:

Finally, we strongly suggest you do NOT discuss this with others, especially patients, Firstly it would not be ethical to burden patients with this, though if they ask we hope you now have information with which you can respond.

Yeah. It would be unethical to burden patients with the knowledge that chiropractors are being scrutinized for not following ethical standards of practice.
15.   Thomas Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:39 am

I used to live down the street from a major chiropractic school.

If there’s any kind of quackary that’s good at dressing itself up in the trappings of legitimacy, it’s that one. It’s not just the white coats and the illusion of medical expertise, it’s top to bottom.

The curriculum at the school is quite rigorous and the students have a top notch understanding of anatomy, particularly osteology. They have extensive training in reading X-rays and understand a number of advanced diagnostic techniques. At some point, though, it all goes off into left field.

Which is the saddest part of it. At least in the US, it takes a lot of time, intelligence and money to become a licensed chiropractor. Someone who does is well trained, medically speaking. They just stick to this foolish and demonstrably false idea that manipulating the spine is a medical panacea.

It’s quite sad actually. There’s a lot of wasted talent and expertise there.
16.   PhilB Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:43 am

Any chance we’ll get some knowledgable legal commentary about how this may affect Singh’s case?
17.   Andrew Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:46 am

I’ve been going to chiropractors for quite a number of years, starting after a car accident when I was 12. I’ve been to several.. some genuinely helped me and made me feel better. A few were quacks that poked me with thier magic stick and expected me to come back and give them more money. There should be resources that help the public distinguish between the two.
18.   Rob Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:59 am

It seems to me that if this is brought up in a court of law, then it will have a positive impact on Singh’s case. While I think that the judge’s definition of the word bogus is pretty… well… bogus, and I think that it’s bogus that the burden of proof is on Singh to prove the bogosity of said bogus treatments, I think Singh has a very good chance. This definitely seems to strongly suggest that the deception is intentional and that it is known to the deceivers. While it is certainly not proof in and of itself, it will strongly contribute to his case. Add to that the vast amounts of research debunking chiropractic (which any reasonable “expert” in the field ought to have read), and the completely outrageous claims made by some chiroquackers (A properly aligned spine will give you laser eyes!!! Ok a bit exaggerated, but you get the point), Singh has a very strong case. Let’s just hope that the judge sees it like this…
19.   Matt Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:03 am


“Most children easily shrug off the rough and tumble of daily life. As life progresses, however, there are many incidents which can lead to niggling discomfort, poor concentration, an inability to sit still, and also more specific problems such as back or neck pain, migraines and headaches.

These childhood problems can be as a result of a difficult birth, the numerous bumps, falls and tumbles that are an inevitable part of childhood, poor posture, carrying heavy bags to and from school, and sitting at ill-fitting furniture.
Birth - a hard introduction to life

Birth is probably one of the toughest events we undergo as humans. A baby’s head has to squeeze through a small birth canal to be born. In doing so the baby’s head in particular will absorb much of the shock, and the soft bones will yield slightly allowing it to travel down the birth canal. This is called ‘moulding’. After birth the baby’s head will gradually revert to a more normal shape. However, if this ‘unmoulding’ doesn’t take place completely, the baby can be left in some discomfort which they are unable to communicate.

Most babies cope extremely well with the process and emerge contented, happy, able to feed, sleep, and grow normally. However, for some, the recovery can take longer, especially those who had a particularly difficult entry into the world and these babies may show some, all, or a combination of the following signs:

* Irritability, fractiousness
* Feeding problems
* Continuous crying
* Sleeps little, difficult to settle
* Colic, sickness and wind

All of these could indicate that there is a misalignment in the baby’s skeletal system and that the baby is uncomfortable as a result. These misalignments could be causing discomfort both when lying down and when lifted, hence many parents report that whatever they do, whether they lift their baby up or lie him down, it seems to make no difference, and the crying continues. Feeding problems may indicate that there is a problem with the nerves at the base of the skull and that the digestive system is compromised, or more simply the baby may be uncomfortable sucking due to mechanical stresses on its skeletal structure.

Older Children

The simple bumps and tumbles associated with growing up can often cause misalignments of the skeleton. In addition, carrying heavy bags, playing sports, sitting on ill-fitting furniture at school, and playing for hours in front of a computer in the wrong position can all lead to problems such as:

* Headaches or Migraines
* Back and Neck pain

There is also a range of problems which cannot necessarily be associated with a bump or fall, but which may nonetheless be due to bony misalignment and the subsequent interference with nerves. There are many recorded incidences where treatment has been beneficial for the following symptoms:

* Some childhood asthma
* Learning difficulties and behavioural problems including:
o Poor concentration and inattentiveness
o Fidgeting and difficulty sitting still
o Hyperactivity
* Vunerability to infections including:
o Ear infections
o Repetitive colds
o Sinus and dental problems
o Clumsiness or poor co-ordination

So if I crack my baby’s back before bed, he’ll sleep thru the night? or do I need to squeeze his head?
20.   Scott Nutting Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:05 am

I have one word to describe these jokers: BOGUS!
21.   Dave S Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:07 am

I think the Scientologists and the Chiropractors are the same group of people. Or at least they went to the same classes on Organizational Behaviour.
22.   Ginger Yellow Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:08 am

“This definitely seems to strongly suggest that the deception is intentional and that it is known to the deceivers”

Yes, but only to the MCA. Singh allegedly libelled the BCA, not the MCA. So it doesn’t matter what the MCA does or says. I wish it were otherwise, but the BCA will have very little trouble batting this away - at least in court. Public opinion is another matter, but then Brits are remarkably indulgent of palpable nonsense when it comes to medicine.

“Singh has a very strong case.”

Really, he doesn’t, given the Eady interpretation. He’s said as much himself, as has his lawyer (I was in the room when he said it).
23.   Bad Albert Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:09 am

“Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors…”

Shouldn’t that be “quack hunt”?

“The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research.”

That covers just about everything they do, doesn’t it?
24.   JSW Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:12 am

Remember that most Internet archiving services will make the archived copies of your website inaccessible if you insert the appropriate code in your robots.txt file (I know that does this, at least.) It would probably be best to make your own copies of these before the chiropractors figure this out.
25.   Darth Curt Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:15 am

I don’t really get what the deal is. When my wife was pregnant the first time, her back muscles started to really really hurt. She went to the Chiropractor, he used this clicky thing on her back, kind of like a center-punch, and the pain went away. He didn’t even crack/pop her spine, like some do. She had to visit the chiropractor about 4 or 5 times over the course of the pregnancy. This was the case with pregnancies two and three as well. She doesn’t need to go when she isn’t pregnant, so how are they quacks? It seemed to work for her, and we aren’t at all into alternative medicines. Give me a doctor and Advil, and fill my kids with Vaccines, because they work, but so did this.

Anyway… is there something else the chiropractors say they do, other then loosen up stiff muscles?
26.   Zeno Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:17 am

It’s amazing that there were any claims on chiroquactors’ websites left to complain about! You’d have thought any responsible and aware organisation would have warned their members a year ago when the BCA started to sue Simon.

It shouldn’t have taken my complaint against 523 chiroquacktors (along with the others making individual complaints) to make them jump into action. However, it seems to be having a beneficial effect. It remains to be seen how the GCC deal with it.

I’ll be blogging any response I get from them:
27.   John Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:23 am

No knowledaeable comment, but my understanding is that Simon Singh hopes to appeal against the judges interpretation of the word bogus, that this meant that the BCA knowingly promoted treatments they knew to be ineffective.

So the apparent admission by the MCA, who are not connected with BCA, as far as I am aware, will have no effect on this.
28.   Ginger Yellow Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:27 am

“Shouldn’t that be “quack hunt”?”

Well, if it weighs the same as a duck…

“Anyway… is there something else the chiropractors say they do, other then loosen up stiff muscles?”

Yes. That’s the whole bloody point of the Singh lawsuit and this letter. Many chiropractors make all sorts of claims about being able to treat non-back pain related conditions such as colic or childhood asthma.
29.   Larian LeQuella Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:27 am

Witch Hunt?  

CROWD: A witch! A witch! A witch! We’ve got a witch! A witch!
VILLAGER #1: We have found a witch, might we burn her?
CROWD: Burn her! Burn!
BEDEMIR: How do you know she is a witch?
VILLAGER #2: She looks like one.
BEDEMIR: Bring her forward.
WITCH: I’m not a witch. I’m not a witch.
BEDEMIR: But you are dressed as one.
WITCH: They dressed me up like this.
CROWD: No, we didn’t… no.
WITCH: And this isn’t my nose, it’s a false one.
VILLAGER #1: Well, we did do the nose.
BEDEMIR: The nose?
VILLAGER #1: And the hat — but she is a witch!
CROWD: Burn her! Witch! Witch! Burn her!
BEDEMIR: Did you dress her up like this?
CROWD: No, no… no … yes. Yes, yes, a bit, a bit.
VILLAGER #1: She has got a wart.
BEDEMIR: What makes you think she is a witch?
VILLAGER #3: Well, she turned me into a newt.
BEDEMIR: A newt?
VILLAGER #3: I got better.
VILLAGER #2: Burn her anyway!
CROWD: Burn! Burn her!
BEDEMIR: Quiet, quiet. Quiet! There are ways of telling whether
she is a witch.
CROWD: Are there? What are they?
BEDEMIR: Tell me, what do you do with witches?
VILLAGER #2: Burn!
CROWD: Burn, burn them up!
BEDEMIR: And what do you burn apart from witches?
VILLAGER #1: More witches!
VILLAGER #2: Wood!
BEDEMIR: So, why do witches burn?
VILLAGER #3: B–… ’cause they’re made of wood…?
CROWD: Oh yeah, yeah…
BEDEMIR: So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?
VILLAGER #1: Build a bridge out of her.
BEDEMIR: Aah, but can you not also build bridges out of stone?
VILLAGER #2: Oh, yeah.
BEDEMIR: Does wood sink in water?
VILLAGER #1: No, no.
VILLAGER #2: It floats! It floats!
VILLAGER #1: Throw her into the pond!
CROWD: The pond!
BEDEMIR: What also floats in water?
VILLAGER #1: Bread!
VILLAGER #2: Apples!
VILLAGER #3: Very small rocks!
VILLAGER #1: Cider!
VILLAGER #2: Great gravy!
VILLAGER #1: Cherries!
VILLAGER #3: Churches — churches!
VILLAGER #2: Lead — lead!
ARTHUR: A duck.
CROWD: Oooh.
BEDEMIR: Exactly! So, logically…,
VILLAGER #1: If… she.. weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood.
BEDEMIR: And therefore–?
VILLAGER #1: A witch!
CROWD: A witch!
BEDEMIR: We shall use my larger scales!
BEDEMIR: Right, remove the supports!
CROWD: A witch! A witch!
WITCH: It’s a fair cop.
CROWD: Burn her! Burn! [yelling]
BEDEMIR: Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?
30.   TechSkeptic Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:28 am


Pick up singh’s book “trick or treatment” for a history and detailed discussion about different forms of chiropractic “medicine”. It’s an easy read, and it couches everything against a very good description of how we know what works in medicine and how we know what doesn’t, as well as the effects of placebo.

the quick synopsis: Chiropractic work as well as, and no better than advil and is many many times more expensive. There is also a penchance for using way too much X-ray.
31.   Dodger Dean Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:32 am

“Bogus” by ANY definition…
32.   Jules (Julia) Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:33 am

@Bad Albert #23

” “The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research.”

That covers just about everything they do, doesn’t it? ”

I don’t know about that. I decided to go the BC Chiropractic Association’s website and they have links to independent research regarding the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of chiropractic care.

As well, here in BC it is legislated exactly what chiropractors can and cannot treat.

The BCCA also only recognizes 2 schools in all of Canada that you can attended to become a licensed chiropractor in BC.

Like I said in my previous post (10) I find this all so interesting since chiropractors are heavily regulated in BC under the Heath Professions Act and the laws surrounding what exactly they are allowed to treat has been recently updated (Mar 2009).

As well in Canada, each province has its own guidelines, so that does not mean that in other provinces their scope of practice is limited. However, in BC it is clearly defined what they can and cannot treat and what claims they are allowed to make.
33.   Steve Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:34 am

Darth Curt: “Anyway… is there something else the chiropractors say they do, other then loosen up stiff muscles?”

Yeah, that’s the problem. Here’s a good example:

They list ADHD, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, ear infections and fibromyalgia as conditions they can treat.
34.   wright Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:37 am

@ Andrew,

Well, you could consider this backlash as part of the process that could, potentially, reform chiropractic treatment. My impression (mainly from the ongoing debate) is that there are some chiropractors who understand that their specialty has a narrow range of genuine applications and apply it within that range.

Unfortunately, they are vastly outnumbered by those who claim they can accomplish virtually anything with it, and also denigrate “conventional” medicine and doctors. Organizations like the BCA have a lot of the second sort as members; their reaction is unfortunately not surprising.
35.   jtradke Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:38 am

I love how the phrase “Streisand Effect” is now kind of a meta-Streisand Effect. Babs is now drawing negative attention to herself by having drawn negative attention to herself!
36.   irritated Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:45 am

my wife has gone to a chiropractor occasionally to help with her back pain. she says it works for her. (okay, placebo, or nice massage effect)

anyway, she went in yesterday and the chiro dude started berating her for not coming in more often. she told him our money is tight and that she can’t afford to go in three times a week like he says she needs to. he started saying that she could cancel cable bills and cell phones to help get the money.

what? we supposed to eat ramen noodles and dry bread? cancel our dental and health insurance? default on our mortgage? sell the car and ride the bus? donate plasma? rob banks? start a pyramid scheme? to pay his frackin’ bills for? is he a chiropractor or a financial advisor?


seems like he should be more concerned with alleviating my wife’s pain than with fleecing her.

totally inappropriate.

if money is tight for him, maybe he should get rid of his frackin’ lexus (really!) and ride the bus himself.

i am this close -> <- to calling up and ripping him a new a$$hole.
37.   PhilB Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

@27, Is there any overlap between the MCA and the BCA? I wouldn’t think it terribly unusual for a chiro to be affiliated with both organizations. But, I don’t really have any knowledge in the matter.
38.   Zeno Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 12:47 pm

@32. Jules (Julia): Do you know where I can get a copy of the Canadian rules for chiros?

@35. PhilB: There could well be some overlap, but I think they are two separate cults of chiro and each association represents their own branch.
39.   Jules (Julia) Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 1:07 pm


Canadian rules I cannot help you with as each province is responsible for regulating medical services within themselves.

Here is the link for the BC Chiropractic
40.   Andy Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Minor point - the link should be to ‘Quackometer’ not ‘Quackwatch’.

41.   Dan I. Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

While I don’t know much about English law on the subject and I am just a law student it certainly seems to be that, on appeal, this could be viewed as an admission regarding “bogus.”

This is is going to be whether the appeal is de novo. If its a de novo appeal then the case basically gets heard all over again. If it’s NOT a de novo appeal then all the appellate court is looking for is error on the part of the trial judge. That basically means NO FACTS are argued, just law (or in this case the meaning of the term bogus)
42.   Jules (Julia) Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 1:34 pm

@Zeno as well in B.C. Chiropractors are considered primary-contact health care practitioner and have a Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

[…]The Curriculum must include: anatomy; biochemistry; physiology; microbiology; pathology; public health; physical, clinical and laboratory diagnosis; gynecology; obstetrics; pediatrics; geriatrics; dermatology; otolaryngology; diagnostic imaging procedures; psychology; nutrition/dietetics; biomechanics; orthopedics; physiological therapeutics; first aid and emergency procedures; research methods and procedures; professional practice ethics and other subjects appropriate to the mission, goals and distinctiveness of the institution or program.[…]

That information can be found here:
43.   JPS Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

This is fantastic news. Chiropractors who make claims that have no research evidence backing have been given a free-pass for too long. I am certain that there are honest and forthright chiropractors out there who are not as shady as many of these groups highlighted here. But unless they go the way of osteopathic medicine and begin to understand that there is a place for rational inquiry and healthy skepticism, they will continue to hurt, maim, and swindle millions of people.
44.   Alan French Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Chiroquacktic, in many cases.

Clear skies, Alan
45.   Ginger Yellow Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

“While I don’t know much about English law on the subject and I am just a law student it certainly seems to be that, on appeal, this could be viewed as an admission regarding “bogus.””

Again, it’s an “admission” (and I do think it is such) by someone other than the victim of the alleged libel, so it has no direct bearing on the alleged libel. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there will be no indirect effect on the case, but Singh can’t use this admission directly to argue that the BCA was fraudulently promoting treatments.
46.   Pat Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 2:25 pm

The above page concludes:

“It is advisable for both mother and baby to have chiropractic treatment within six weeks of the birth. This Mrs C and baby did, and they both continue to have regular check-ups at intervals recommended by their chiropractor. “
47.   Phil Plait Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Oops! Fixed the Quackometer thing. Thanks!
48.   PhilB Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Yes he couldn’t use it directly, but possibly if it could be shown that both BCA and MCA were making similar treatment claims, would it be feasible to argue that BCA had similar knowledge to the MCA as they would both have the same overall knowledge-base. But the closest I get to being a lawyer is Bosten Legal so I don’t really have a good feel for the territory.
49.   Ginger Yellow Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Like I said before, I think it helps his case in a loose sense, but any libel lawyer worth his/her salt would be able to argue that it’s not relevant. The essence of British libel law is that an identified person’s (including a private body’s) reputation has been defamed. The MCA is not the identified person in this suit. The flipside of not being liable to a defamation suit from someone you haven’t identified is that evidence about someone who you haven’t identified doesn’t provide a defence to defamation.
50.   Zeno Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Thanks, Jules!
51.   Jules (Julia) Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 3:00 pm

You’re welcome Zeno
52.   theinquisitor Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 3:30 pm

I laughed so hard I think I hurt my spine.
53.   The plot thickens « Cubik’s Rube Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 3:48 pm

[…] The Quackometer The Lay Scientist DC’s Improbable Science jdc325’s Weblog Pharyngula Bad Astronomy Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)TinfoilspottingColorado Supreme Court Round-Up […]
54.   Anon Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 4:26 pm

I went to a chiropractor once, barely able to walk or stand up, I had been this way for more than a week, and went to a “regular” doctor for the problem - who prescribed muscle relaxers and pain-medication, neither helped.

The chiropractor took an x-ray, then showed my on the x-ray what was wrong, and then proceeded to crack my neck and back in the most horrible sounding way possible. (I thought he broke my spine from the noise alone).

After which, I was 100% and completely pain free.

The same problem occured again a few years later, and I went to another chiropractor, who was a complete and utter scam artist - there is no other way to describe him. 90% of the time I was there was spent watching video’s and filling out paperwork all propogandized to convince me that chiropractors were a legitimate proffession - he did nothing to help my back at all.

So, from experience I know there is something to it - and from experience I know there are also frauds.
55.   spinedoc Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 4:26 pm

I am a Chiropractor… It’s a HUGE shame that those of us who choose to treat our patients only for problems which research shows we are effective get a bad name from these guys. For the record there is a plethora of research on the effectiveness of Chiropractic care with certain conditions. But I am not one of those who believe that it will cure anything.

There are 2 sides to every story, and in this case I think there are 3 sides. The anti-chiro’s, the super-chiro’s, and the 3rd party is the majority of Chiropractors who do their research, refer and receive referrals from MD’s, have to prove their efficacy with insurance companies with documentation and proof that a patients condition is progressing.

Please keep an open mind when running into stories like this. Not all of us are like this, in fact most of us are not like this.
56.   mrwynd Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 4:57 pm

I eventually went to a chiropractor when I wasn’t able to find any help from my doctor short of pain pills for my lower back. After going to the chiropractor I was even more skeptical. It just felt like a faux doctor visit. The first time alleviated a small amount of pain and I was willing to give it another try because I had to get rid of the pain. If you’ve ever lived with a constant back pain like mine you’d understand the desperation. After three visits the pain in my back ceased for over 2 years. Nothing else has achieved this. I’ve only paid one Chiropractor in my life and I can say without a shadow of a doubt it was worth every penny.

I do agree that scientific proof is necessary, but taking down websites because other doctors are having to go to court due to their claims seems reasonable.
57.   Pink Bull Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 5:06 pm

You guys wine about free speech yet you want them to stop claiming that their technique might help some people. You could be moderate and request that they clearly specify what is experimental and not, but you talk about taking them down.

Maybe you never take any risk, maybe you never do anything not proven by science except when you try the latest beta of Firefox. But you know what, some people do try stuff before they are fully understood at the time and endorse the risk. Not everyone stick to their stiff infantile scientific convictions when everything you tried from medicine failed to appease your pain.
58.   truthseeker Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Chiropractic does not treat any disease, however it can help the bodies own inborn recouperative power to express health to a hightened potential. Lets look at the facts. The nervous system is the master controler of the human body, much like a computer, it tells every cell, organ, and tissue what to do and when to do it. If you interfere with its comunication you could have malfunction which leads to a dis-ease process, like the one’s that have been noted. A good Chiropractor understands the nervous system is surrounded and protected by bone. It just happens to be 24 movable bones called vertebrae. Now, you don’t need double blind research studies to show that joints that don’t move right are suseptible to wear and tear, it’s called Arthritis or degeneration. It’s a well known fact, that weight bearing joints are common area to which you find these changes. A Chiropractors focus is to make sure the vertebrae are aligned and moving well, so the nervous system is free from interferance. I have been a Chiropractic patient for 40 years, I have seen the miracles and heard the myths, and in my oppinion if your looking for Quackery you should look into the drug companies and the 100’s of thousands killed every year by M.D’s.
59.   Bunny Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 5:22 pm

For a group that has never been to or seen a black hole, who have never taken a core sample of the sun, who have never experienced deep space conditions, who have never sailed the solar winds, who have never sampled the air on Jupiter, who hve never set foot on Venus, who have never been to another dimension, who have never used relativity to go back in time, who have never watched the entire lifecycle of one or more stars… you guys have a nerve accusing someone else of quackery!

By god, everything you “know” is a theory… often dreamed up by a sci fi author. Not one of your theories can be exhaustively tested, most can not be partially tested.

Pack of Quacks!
60.   Greg Fish Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 5:51 pm

For a group that has never been to or seen a black hole,

… but one that can see the quasars and accretion disks as well as measure the effects being caused by them…

who have never taken a core sample of the sun,

… which would be impossible to do considering that the temperatures there are tens of millions of degrees and pressures crush atoms themselves…

who have never experienced deep space conditions,

… which would kill us in oh just under 30 seconds or so…

who have never sailed the solar winds,

… which again could be impossible because solar winds are such low density, we can only measure and collect them rather than actually sail “on them.” although we can use the photons to help move a spacecraft forward, something actually tested in Earth orbit…

who have never sampled the air on Jupiter,

… which was done with the Galileo probe…

who hve never set foot on Venus,

… um, the USSR landed several craft on the surface on Venus and took detailed pictures and measurements since humans would be very quickly killed in a volcanic oven with pressures equivalent to the Earth’s abyssal plane…

who have never been to another dimension,

… well you got me there. We’ve never traveled into height, width or length although I’m sure you’ll guess why when you’ll learn what the word dimension actually means…

who have never used relativity to go back in time,

… because that’s what special relativity technically forbids and general relativity allows only if we can plug a star into an interstellar engine…

who have never watched the entire lifecycle of one or more stars…

… which is totally unnecessary when we can see every stage of their life cycle millions of times over…

you guys have a nerve accusing someone else of quackery!

And you have an interesting way of proving your point by randomly throwing out nonsensical things of which you clearly haven’t the slightest grasp.

By god, everything you “know” is a theory… often dreamed up by a sci fi author. Not one of your theories can be exhaustively tested, most can not be partially tested.

I’m just curious, where did you get your PhD in Everything? And how many decades did it take? Regardless, I would ask for a refund because half the points you brought up should be pretty obvious to a high school graduate with the minimum required science education.
61.   Joanne Munro Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 6:19 pm

I see a chiropractor regularly and would recommend them to anyone; the clinic I use was recommended by my doctor as she had heard so many great reports about them.

My chiropractor is brilliant; I went in barely able to stand & he fixed me in no time - I cannot thank him enough & find it incredible that their practices are even being bought into question. I know many people who see a chiropractor & they are just as amazed at what a fantastic job they do… I had to read the post again actually as I couldn’t quite believe what it was saying!
62.   Matthew Cline Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 6:26 pm

About the MCA advice being seen as some sort of admission of deceit: my take on it is that the chiros who make outlandish claims believe their claims because of their clinical experience, and dismiss the lack of non-clinical evidence for various reasons.
63.   Jules (Julia) Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 6:27 pm

@ Joanne Munro

The issue are those chiropractors that claim they can fix things that in reality they cannot, where there are no studies to support these claims (colic, ear infection etc) not the chiropractors that stick to what they can actually treat.
64.   Michael Gray Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Just where the hell is this mythical ‘plethora’ of research that the quacks claim exists?
(Including an anonymous poster above)

Somewhere over the Rainbow?

Until it sees the light of day, I have no reason to believe that such a ‘plethora’ even exists.
65.   Jules (Julia) Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 6:59 pm

@Michael Gray

I posted links to where some of it can be found. I haven’t had a change to read them all fully but they do exist
66.   Kris Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 7:20 pm

If you want a doctor that is a professional in both medicine and manipulation, I would suggest you see an Osteopathic Physician. Not only do they have medical licenses but they are knowledgeable in the neuromuscular system. Chiropracters do not have near the medical background and only know a fraction of what D.O.’s and M.D.’s know about the human body. Chiropractors should not be proclaiming themselves as doctors, this just confuses the public about what they actually are.
67.   Johan G Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Are there any subjects skeptics won’t comment due to lack of knowledge? So few of the skeptics I meet have any real education in science yet even fewer possess any reticence about making definitive statements on such diverse topics as medicine, space science, geology, evolution, physics, and of course, metaphysics and theology. All know the real truth, enough at least to shout down, ridicule, or gently enlighten those who don’t. This blog in particular seems to be written by an authority in multiple disciplines.
68.   Michael Gray Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 8:08 pm

64. Jules (Julia) Says:

I cannot locate your post where you say “some of it can be found”.

How about a bit more of pointer?
I suspect that it will consist of the same list of old discredited or irrelevant ‘papers’ that have been dredged up before now, and presented as ‘evidence’.

Where, *SPECIFICALLY*, is the PLETHORA of peer-reviewed science-based journal papers that show that chiropractic has any benefit whatsoever for the range of infant disorders that are in contention, such as colic, asthma etc?

I’ll tell you where. Nowhere.
They do NOT exist.
If it did exist, the various Chiroquacktic bodies would be proudly and very publically displaying them, linking to them, have a website established specifically to highlight them, etc.
They have no such thing.
Chiropractors have been recently advised to stop making such claims, and to remove any and efficacy claims from their websites, printed material etc., by a Chiropractic Professional Body, no less.
They seem to know that they are making claims that are not supported by any evidence.
If you think that there is sufficient evidence, I expect that they would be very relieved if you showed it to them.

That would be quite unneccessary if the ‘plethora’ of evidence actually existed.

Now you tell me that they DO exist, but do not reveal quite where, and that you have not read them all yet?

If you choose to respond further, how about a link to say, the BEST evidence available for say, the treatment of infant asthma?
69.   Jules (Julia) Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 8:27 pm

@Michael Grey

“Just where the hell is this mythical ‘plethora’ of research that the quacks claim exists?
(Including an anonymous poster above)”

You did not say anything about asthma, colic etc in your first post. You mentioned research period and did not clarify.

I have never seen a Chiropractor where I live make any quack claims. In fact it is legislated what they can and cannot treat and are considered primary care practitioners here.

Please see comments 10, 32, 39, 42.

You follow the links since the Chiropractors in B.C. make the independent research accessible. They do proudly display them on their websites!

Quack claims apparently exist. I have never encounters any such claim until Phil brought it to light as where I live MDs constantly refer patients for chiropractic care, they are a licensed government legislated body who’s treatment is covered by medical because of the research done into the effective of treatment for certain ailments and medical conditions and that is all they are allowed to claim where I live.

So before you jump down my throat about something I have not even said re: asthma and colic etc, read what I have already posted on said subject as I just wasted minutes repeating what should not have been necessary had you opened your bloody eyes.
70.   Charlie Young Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 8:29 pm

There are also quacks in other fields. There are dentists on the fringe promoting removal of amalgam fillings to cure a whole host of diseases such as MS, fibromyalgia, neuralgias, etc. There’s even a dentist in Texas who promotes Young Earth Creationism.
71.   Femmostroppo Reader - June 11, 2009 — Hoyden About Town Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 8:42 pm

[…] Chiropocalypse […]
72.   John Paradox Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Larian RE: Witches!


moderate, moderate….
73.   Chiropocalypse - SLUniverse Forums Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 8:46 pm

[…] that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research … only to stop advertising them. LAWL! Chiropocalypse | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine UTV News - Science writer Simon Singh to appeal against chiropractic libel judgement […]
74.   Northernskeptic Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 9:54 pm

@Jules (julia)

In all fairness you are repeatedly reciting that you have never heard a quack claim from a chiropractor along with the mantra that MDs constantly refer patients so they must be good. Well how about this one, as I was first delving into the skeptical community I was hearing the same legitimate criticisms of chiropractic but I was still visiting mine 2-3 times a week. I just brushed aside the genuine medical reports that showed that spinal manipulation was not the be all end all it was cracked up to be I just kept blindly paying $40 (Canadian) a session for a guy to pop my back while ignoring the fact that minutes after leaving I felt no better than when I went in.

What finally broke me of the delusion that Chiropractic was helping me out was after a friend’s fiancee died from the rare disorder TTP. I mentioned it to my “doctor” of chiropractic and he didn’t know what it was. After I explained what Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura was and what it did to this so called doctor he claimed that chiropractic would have cured it. The moment that came out of his mouth I woke up to the BS he had been feeding me for several years, and from the look on his face I’m sure he realized it too.

As for whether I started to feel worse now that I wasn’t getting adjusted for $120 a week ($480/month) I felt the same. In fact about a year later I started walking about a couple kilometres a day and that made me feel better than spinal manipulation ever did.

Now Jules regarding the requirements to become a “Doctor” of Chiropractic reading the link you provided shows that it is not from any accredited university like the University of British Columbia, or University of Victoria, or University of Calgary or from my own hometown the prestigious University of Alberta. No these are given out at a so called “chiropractic institution”. If it were considered a genuine science then other truly accredited institutions would be listed.

Jules you have also failed to provide any of this plethora of evidence in any of your posts, you have linked to the BC College of Chiropractors a couple of times but that is it, so it is understandable that there is growing frustration with a lack of further evidence. Please understand that most skeptics are not close minded we are just evidence driven like true science should be.

75.   Autumn Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Well, there is one verified and proven medical condition that is influenced by chiropractic treatment in the (thankfully, very rare) cases in which a “doctor” of chiropractic actually succeeds in “adjusting” someone’s spine: it is called paralysis.
76.   Jules (Julia) Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:34 pm


I am not denying the validity of being skeptical when it comes to chiropractic care. The point I am trying to show is that it is all not quackery and it is a very diverse thing. I don’t know how chiropractors are governed in Alberta so I cannot speak to your experiences as it is different that how it works where I live, to the point where it is covered by BC Medical. I can only speak on what the state of this situation re: quack claims from chiropractors are where I live. That is all I can speak to. In doing so I not trying to devalue what is a huge problem within the broad scope that seems to plague this particular profession but illustrate that it is not the situation for the whole profession. Chiropractic care does have benefits for specific conditions.

As for the links, they are on the BCCA site, as I said dig. But I guess people are unable to do that for themselves so here:
77.   Nullsession Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:41 pm

I am amazed there are over 30,000 chiropractors in the US, however I shouldn’t be surprised. Compared to getting an MD, this is an easy way to become a “doctor” and hang up a shingle and make good money. Palmer Chiropractic is the college here that started it all, and I had the experience of teaching intro physics there one summer. Let’s just say I am not very impressed with the caliber of student they get, compared to a reputable medical school. It was not pretty.

Palmer often has seminars with invited speakers who tell the students how they can see 100 or more patients a day in their practice. Their concern seems very focused on making quick money, and going through a process more than learning medicine. The school has branches in Davenport, San Jose and Daytona Beach. With a small student base, it has five fraternities, I think. I am not going to say anything I can get sued over here, but I remain a skeptic of chiropractors.

If a person has a medical condition, I cannot think of a thing that a legitimate chiropractor would do to actually provide therapy that a good, certified physical therapist could not also do, better. That’s been my experience, and that’s my recommendation for anyone with a medical condition.

The comparison with homeopathy is warranted, because when both started out, they were definitely bogus, claiming magical cures by either drinking magic water or by adjusting your bones. At least the official colleges in the US attempt to set ethical standards, and do train their students on basic science these days. It has come a long ways, but I still have a hard time seeing it as much more than a money-making endeavor. I agree with Nathan - after physical therapy for a couple weeks, and regular trips to the gym, I lost some weight and got more limber and felt much better. We live in a society where people think they should sit around, eat and not exercise, and then go to a doctor to cure them when they aren’t feeling in their prime.
78.   Tom Jones Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:40 pm

I have gone to a Chiropractor on and off for 3 or 4 years, he only does tightened-up joints, does not use tools other than his hands, and I have obtained a great deal of relief from being treated. He has never said that he could treat ADHD or anything like that. He has, however, cured me fully of Catarrh, Vapors, and Galloping Insanity.
79.   AndyD Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:42 pm

@ truthseeker,

You seem to be saying that if my TV blows, I should always call the power company and get them to check the lines that run from the station to my house looking for problems. After all, we know that those powerlines are the master controller of everything electrical.

Does the nervous system really tell EVERY cell what to do? I thought cells could survive quite happily in a petri dish.
80.   Bunny Says:
June 11th, 2009 at 12:18 am

@ Greg Fish

Not one of our excuses proves in any way that you know 100% for sure about anything. In fact not one of your excuses proves that you are any more than 1% sure of anything.

Watching quasars means nothing when all you can do is assume their source and their behavior. Again, even if you were studying quasars, at your current level of technology (equivalent to a stone club) all you can do is break things and watch them disintegrate.

81.   Bunny Says:
June 11th, 2009 at 12:22 am

@Johan G

Sorry, but YOU and your colleagues are claiming to be the experts. Tell us how you create a self sustaining fusion reaction. Can’t? Well I thought that you and your mates were all experts? Get back to us when you can actually crerate the things you claim to be an expert on, instead of theorising what may happen when you break something smaller than someone else has broken… and then theorise as to why you got some weird magnetic effects… of course you will be able to write the book on those effects, meaning you can come up with any reasoning at all, or make it fit any prior theory, true or not.

82.   Erik Says:
June 11th, 2009 at 1:37 am

I have gone to a Chiropractor on and off for 3 or 4 years, he only does tightened-up joints, does not use tools other than his hands, and I have obtained a great deal of relief from being treated. He has never said that he could treat ADHD or anything like that. He has, however, cured me fully of Catarrh, Vapors, and Galloping Insanity..
83.   Peter B Says:
June 11th, 2009 at 1:45 am

#67 Johan G said: “Are there any subjects skeptics won’t comment due to lack of knowledge? So few of the skeptics I meet have any real education in science yet even fewer possess any reticence about making definitive statements on such diverse topics as medicine, space science, geology, evolution, physics, and of course, metaphysics and theology. All know the real truth, enough at least to shout down, ridicule, or gently enlighten those who don’t. This blog in particular seems to be written by an authority in multiple disciplines.”

G’day Johan G

Yes, I’m one such skeptic - I make comments on all sorts of topics without being an expert in any of them. But the reason I can make comments is that I learn from the experts in those topics.

So when people in the medical profession point out the flaws in chiropractic and the evidence to support their conclusions, I can be confident in repeating what they say.
84.   Ginger Yellow Says:
June 11th, 2009 at 3:11 am

“You guys wine about free speech yet you want them to stop claiming that their technique might help some people. You could be moderate and request that they clearly specify what is experimental and not, but you talk about taking them down.”

Making unsubstantiated medical claims to be able to treat something is illegal. Something the MCA admits in its letter. If chiropractors don’t want to be “taken down”, they should avoid breaking the law and stick to claiming to be able to treat conditions for which they have evidence. Which many seem perfectly capable of doing.
85.   Damon Says:
June 11th, 2009 at 4:01 am

Lot of undeserved, under-educated anti-chiro bashing going on in this thread. Just because our overseas brethren went a little too far with the censorship (it’s the UK, what’s new) suddenly chiropractors are all evil, science-hating people.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Chiropractic works. I have the personal experience to prove it, as well as the signatures of several thousand satisfied customers in my region alone. If that sounds too anecdotal for you, then I’ll spell it out in flashy science-talk:

Spine crooked, bad. Subluxations pinch nerves. Nervous system not running at full capacity. Immune system compromised. Straight spine good. Curve in neck good. Symmetrical posture good. Improve health, mood, overall demeanor. Get sick less. Ug ug.

Remember: Chiropractors are doctors. They go to special schools to earn degrees in their profession, just like their apathetic medical brethren. Even better, they are trained in doctor-patient relations, i.e., actually caring about your personal life and not whoring themselves out to the pharmaceutical industry.

A few strokes here and there is dust in the wind compared to the constant deaths from malpractice and misdiagnosis at the hands of “medical” doctors. Just ask my poor girlfriend, who missed her window for preventative treatment because three doctors in a row refused to acknowledge that fibromyalgia exists.

Good times, good times.
Kinderklinik Gelsenkirchen verstößt gegen die Leitlinien

Der Skandal in Gelsenkirchen
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