Wednesday, September 23, 2009

BSA backs chiropractic quackery [update 2]

A complaints board, on which sits the likes of Tapu Misa, has decided that a doctor and medical researcher may not go on television to point out that chiropractic is quackery.  Apparently, it’s not okay to attack the quacks – even when they get the right of reply.

Back in March medical researcher Dr Shaun Holt appeared on Breakfast to say that chiropractic, isn’t worth the research it is printed on.

Naturally, chiropractors complained – like they always do.  (Like the Scientologists, they famously substitute legal muscle for rational discourse). And the Broadcasting Standards Authority – a fancy name for four self-important numb nuts – has now judged Dr Shaun Holt’s scientific evidence of  chiropractors’ pretensions, and decided that they, these amateurs, don’t find the doctor’s evidence persuasive.

The basic finding handed down on the scientific evidence by this gaggle of  journalists and bureaucrats is that:

  • Both sides have presented evidence
  • There is therefore a range of opinions
  • Therefore one side cannot claim that they are right.

This is post-modern bullshit of course and the answer is hardly worth saying....it is the quality of the evidence on each side that determines who is right. Scientific evidence on which journalists and bureaucrats are unqualified to comment.

[NB: You can download the full twelve-page decision here.  It’s worth reading to see how far radical skepticism has infected basic discourse.]

UPDATE 1:  The well-respected international science website site DC's Improbable Science is now covering the story.   After reviewing the evidence they reckon that, if anything, “he was over generous to chiropractic.” And of the BSA itself they say:

The BSA consists of four people, two lawyers and two journalists. So not a trace of scientific expertise among them. Having people like that judging the claims of chiropractors makes as much sense as having them judged by Mr Justice Eady. They seem to be the sort of people who think that if there is a disagreement, the truth must lie half-way between the opposing views.

One of the BCA members, Tapu Misa, has used her newspaper column to quote approvingly the views of the notorious Dr Mercola web site on flu prevention “Your best defence, it says, is to eat right, get lots of sleep, avoid sugar and stress, load up on garlic, Vitamin D and krill oil”. (Snake oil is said to be good too.)    There are some odd attitudes to science in some of her other columns too (e.g. here and here). Not quite the person to be judging the evidence for and against chiropractic, I think.

In fact the TV show in question was more than fair to chiropractors. It adopted the media’s usual interpretation of fair and balanced: equal time for the flat earthers.

    “The BSA consists of four people, two lawyers and two journalists. So not a trace of scientific expertise among them. Having people like that judging the claims of chiropractors makes as much sense as having them judged by Mr Justice Eady. They seem to be the sort of people who think that if there is a disagreement, the truth must lie half-way between the opposing views.
    “One of the BCA members, Tapu Misa, has used her newspaper column to quote approvingly the views of the notorious Dr Mercola web site on flu prevention “Your best defence, it says, is to eat right, get lots of sleep, avoid sugar and stress, load up on garlic, Vitamin D and krill oil”. (Snake oil is said to be good too.)    There are some odd attitudes to science in some of her other columns too (e.g. here and here). Not quite the person to be judging the evidence for and against chiropractic, I think.
    “In fact the TV show in question was more than fair to chiropractors. It adopted the media’s usual interpretation of fair and balanced: equal time for the flat earthers.”

Ouch!

I recommend their whole post on this for a farebetter summary and analysis of this than you’ll be allowed to get from our local media.  Read: Two lawyers and two journalists squash criticism of chiropractic on TV.

UPDATE 2: Shaun Holt stands by all his comments, and he reckons the non-scientists on the Broadcasting Standards Authority have been “:manipulated” by the non-doctors on the Chiropractors Association.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Some members of BSA panel have got qualifications in basket weaving and not in science. Tapu Misa should stick to being an expert in lalanga (weaving) ta'ovala, and leave the rulings on a scientific issue to those who know, because she has no clue about it.

9/23/2009 11:24:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Or perhaps they should simply shut up shop altogether . . .

9/23/2009 11:46:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have read the ruling. Your conclusion is incorrect. Shaun Holt has been found to be in error. Just one of the many examples. Another example is the recent release by the NZ Medical Journal about an anti-article by David Colquhoun. He used incorrect referencing, and virtually made up statstics in the article. The NZMJ realised the erroneous nature of the article and published the correspondence regarding it. (To their credit)

9/23/2009 12:08:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Sorry, mate. Citing yourself as an authority ("I have read the ruling. Your conclusion is incorrect") while posting anonymously is about as stupid a thing as I've ever seen.

About as stupid as going to a chiropractor to cure your asthma.

9/23/2009 12:18:00 pm  
Blogger Clunking Fist said...

Scientologists!

Shit, you done it now: they know your name. Just wait, they'll pop up in this thread.

9/23/2009 02:07:00 pm  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

Xenu here. You're all fucked now. I'm going to inflict 9 kinds of hell on your ass with my frickin' alien death ray. And maybe some lawyers.

Ta ra.

Big X.

9/23/2009 02:55:00 pm  
Blogger Clunking Fist said...

At least you won't unleash the psychologists on us, titter!

9/23/2009 06:14:00 pm  
Anonymous MacDoctor said...

Anon: The NZMJ realised the erroneous nature of the article and published the correspondence regarding it.

What utter twaddle. the correspondence was part of the normal debate engaged in in the letters page of the NZMJ and in no way represented a retraction.

I have yet to see you, your chiropractor friends or your lawyers provide the least bit of evidence refuting Shaun's claims.

And I have read the ruling and it is utterly ludicrous.

9/23/2009 10:40:00 pm  

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