Monday, October 22, 2007

Society of Homeopaths 'pulls an Usmanov'

Via Toby Bryans and Peter Risdon and James Graham and Tom Watson and Justin McKeating and... well, almost *everyone*, really:

DC’s Improbable Science - Society of Homeopaths: cowards and bullies: Many people now have written about the disgraceful and dangerous claims by homeopaths to be able to prevent and cure malaria... One of the best contributions was on the Quackometer blog, The Gentle Art of Homeopathic Killing. But the post vanished at midday on Thursday 11 October. Quackometer’s ISP has received threatening letters sent by lawyers on behalf of the Society of Homeopaths, who claim that the truth is defamatory, while being unwilling to say which statements are wrong.

Bad Science - A corporate conspiracy to silence alternative medicine?: Did the SoH engage with these criticisms? Reflect on them? Challenge and rebutt them? No. They sent a threatening legal letter. Did this threatening legal letter say what was wrong with Dr Lewis’s post? No. It wasn’t even sent to him, it was sent to his hosting company Netcetera, demanding they take his page down. He contacted the SoH, very politely (I mean incredibly politely, read it here), to ask them what the problems were with his comments. No response. Instead their lawyers sent another angry letter to his hosting company, who of course cannot investigate this in full, are strictly speaking liable, and so – good call - the page was taken down. Corporate conspiracy silences the little man: except of course his piece has now been replicated a hundred times across the internet by an army of smirking bloggers.

You can read that awfully polite but sadly ignored letter in full here:

Quackometer - Unanswered Questions

You can read the offending post at any one of these fabulous new locations, but the best version is hosted by none other than James Randi, who helpfully points out where in the article the Society of Homeopaths might seek to gain legal advantage through the equally-misunderstood art of Semantic Origami:

James Randi - Criticize Carefully

Yes, with the exception of possible differences in body count, it's the Alisher Usmanov affair all over again.

The body of what Andy Lewis had to say was not challenged in any genuine legal sense by Homiety of Sociopaths; in fact, there appears to have been a determined effort to prevent Andy Lewis from seeing the body of the challenge in order to deny him the possibility of challenging it. Bodily. (Nurse! The sugar pills!)

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