Homeopathy4health

29 April 2008

Society of Homeopaths’ press complaint against Goldacre and The Guardian

The Society of Homeopaths has sent an official complaint to the Press Complaints Commission concerning Ben Goldacre’sarticle in The Guardian: “A kind of magic” November 16th 2007 .  They say in the membership newsletter (not online):

“The Society maintains that the article is in breach of the commission’s “code of practise” in that it did not clearly distinguish between comment, conjecture and fact.  The complaint states that it was not clearly defined as an opinion article, with the introduction giving the impression that the piece was a journalistic appraisal of the issues.  It is the Society’s view that there are also statements in the article itself which give the impression it is fact rather than opinion.

The complaint also relates to key factual inaccuracies in the piece, notably that homeopaths are “killing people”, which the Society has pointed out is a potentially damaging statement without any evidence to back it up.”

I have checked the PCC code of conduct and number 1 is:

1 Accuracy
  i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.

 

 

The pictures I found particularly offensive (not on the internet piece but behind a paywall somewhere if you want to look [update: a portion of one is on David Colquhoun’s blog]): they depicted sharp suited, dark-glassed male homoepaths ‘loving’ their white pills and standing over their poor kneeling patients while they poured them down their throats.  As many UK homeopaths are female and are known to be quite gentle creatures it didn’t make sense to me.  And as for the ‘facts’ in the piece they were mostly ‘FLACTS’. I know you are a psychiatrist Ben but you can’t just go round making stuff up.

I look forward to hearing the PCC’s views on this in due course and will report back.

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10 Comments »

  1. This sentence was particularly interesting to me:

    I know you are a psychiatrist Ben but you can’t just go round making stuff up.

    I’m pretty sure Ben Goldacre isn’t a psychiatrist. I fear you’ve gone round making that up.

    PS. you really have to drop this absurd “flact” nonsense. The distinction you try to draw doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense.

    Comment by Andrew — 29 April 2008 @ 2:18 pm

  2. Well psychiatrists deal with people who are under false impressions (delusions) so it is interesting that if Ben Goldacre is a psychiatrist (according to Martin Walker he is or is associated with a pschiatric department) he is making up stuff and presenting it as fact and thereby creating a false impression, a collective delusion about homeopathy. Which I feel is his intention or his own delusion.

    I really don’t have to do anything you say. A bit control-freakish, Andrew.

    The distinction I am trying to draw is between facts and facts based ONLY on logic, but not actually true, not real. Just because things follow logically does not mean that it happens that way. The world isn’t logical. Sorry. You and many others like you can’t make it so even though you would dearly like it.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 29 April 2008 @ 2:47 pm

  3. Yes, well, I think it’s safe to ignore anything Walker has to say.

    I really don’t have to do anything you say. A bit control-freakish, Andrew.

    I didn’t mean “you have to drop it because I say so”; I meant “you should drop it because it’s moronic“.

    Just because things follow logically does not mean that it happens that way. The world isn’t logical. Sorry.

    Er, no, the world in strict point of fact is logical. We’ve looked at evidence and applied deductive and inductive logic to what we see and the result of this is aeroplanes and computers, the internet and medicine, space travel, television, WordPress and mobile phones. And all of these things work just like we thought they would.

    I challenge you to provide me with ONE EXAMPLE of something which is logically false but indisputably true. You’re making a statement that if true would represent a profound change in how I, and almost everyone in the world, would view the universe, and I think that requires some evidence. Go.

    Comment by Andrew — 29 April 2008 @ 3:38 pm

  4. “you should drop it because it’s moronic”. And what does ‘moronic’ mean to you Andrew, why is it a problem that I appear to be moronic to you? Moronic seems to be a sceptic code word. I don’t speak scepticese.

    “and the result of this is aeroplanes and computers, the internet and medicine, space travel, television, WordPress and mobile phones” All these things are man-made, and made from logic, and they are tremendous, well done logical people for this (you included Mr aero-engineerish person). We’ll have to see what the long-term effects are though. But they are NOT living objects.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 29 April 2008 @ 4:10 pm

  5. h4h, what do living objects have to do with proving that the universe isn’t logical? We know roughly how organisms are made, how they reproduce and how they behave because we have applied deductive and inductive logic to, and in pursuit of, evidence as Andrew states. We see no sign of supernatural events, which would be illogical, so yeah, its pretty clear that the world is logical.

    Comment by gimpy — 29 April 2008 @ 5:50 pm

  6. Yeh, this is fun. Come on homeopathy4health. Just one example of something logically false that is indisputably true.

    Comment by Andy Lewis — 29 April 2008 @ 9:04 pm

  7. In your world view.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 29 April 2008 @ 9:33 pm

  8. I am talking about things that appear logically true but are actually false. As in the explaining away of cholera statistics in Goldacre’s piece. As we have discussed before. Comments closed.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 29 April 2008 @ 9:41 pm

  9. […] The Society of Homeopaths is launching the first part of their action with the British Press Complai… – though surely they will make their way to the courts.  Here’s why that’s likely: Using a trick that the alternative practitioners often accuse Big Pharma of, the British Society of Homeopaths is becoming what they hate. Under British law, the plaintiff is easily favoured in the case of libel. This is something of a surprise considering the sheer amount of tabloid journalism that you see coming from the Isles. […]

    Pingback by More libel chill « rjjago.wordpress.com — 30 April 2008 @ 7:15 am

  10. […] Ernst and Singh’s Trick or Treatment.  The printed version of  Goldacre’s notorious anti-homeopathy piece in the Guardian contained cartoons projecting pharma’s love of its pills and forcefeeding them to innocent […]

    Pingback by ‘The trouble with skeptics’, ‘illiberal liberals’ and skeptic projection « Homeopathy4health — 20 December 2009 @ 12:41 pm


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