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Simon Singh: Libel case championed 'rationality'

31st August 2010

Science writer Simon Singh felt compelled to defend himself against allegations of libel to tackle what he saw as society's irrationality.

In April, the Fermat's Last Theorem author used a defence of fair comment to win a Court of Appeal case, after the British Chiropractic Association claimed that an opinion piece he wrote for the Guardian was libellous.

Speaking to Wired, Singh said that if he had lost his appeal, people would have been able to cast doubt on anything he writes about alternative medicine, adding that it would have implied that chiropractic care is an effective treatment for many illnesses.

'Faced with that, I couldn't apologise. If you've written something that you believe is true, and if you can afford to defend it, then you've got to defend it,' he explained.

Additionally, Singh criticised the trend for ill-qualified celebrities and columnists to cast doubt on mainstream scientific ideas.

In 2008, Singh and Professor Edzard Ernst examined the validity of complementary treatments such as chiropractic care, homeopathy and aromatherapy in Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial.
 

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