Simon Singh has won his appeal against the British Chiropractic Association, who sued him for libel after he wrote that the BCA “happily promotes bogus treatments”.
The appeal court has decided that this is fair comment, which of course it is. This is excellent news for him, and for all of us. It should mean that scientific debates can now be held robustly and in public, without the fear of libel writs being slapped down left, right, and centre. The libel laws have long been a weapon for well-funded cranks, and it is tremendous news that Simon has stood up to them, and disarmed them.
As Milton said, and their Lordships quoted:
“I have sat among their learned men, for that honour I had, and been counted happy to be born in such a place of philosophic freedom, as they supposed England was, while themselves did nothing but bemoan the servile condition into which learning among them was brought; …. that nothing had been there written now these many years but flattery and fustian. There it was that I found and visited the famous Galileo, grown old a prisoner of the Inquisition, for thinking in astronomy otherwise than the Franciscan and Dominican licensers thought.”