Archive for the ‘law’ Category

Discovery Institute Caught Illegally Censoring Free Speech

August 13, 2009

If you’ve been under the impression that the Discovery Institute has any interest in open debate about the legitimacy of their challenges to evolutionary theory, allow me to relieve you of that burden. The DI has been caught illegally censoring free speech that criticized their own dishonest and scientifically illiterate tactics. An individual who posted a critique of an interview given by Casey Luskin, a major DI mouthpiece, on Fox News surprisingly found himself the subject of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act complaint despite the fact that the video did not constitute a violation of the DMCA and, most obviously, the Discovery Institute doesn’t own the copyright to the video! Depending on your familiarity with the DMCA, this may or may not seem like a big deal. However, maliciously filing a false DMCA claim is a federal crime and yet another example of the tactics employed by the Discovery Institute.

This first video is an explanation of what happened.

And here’s the original one that the DI tried to censor.

Faux Outrage From The Discovery Institute

August 13, 2009

“It’s a strange scientific revolution that seeks to establish its position in secondary school curricula before the research itself has been accomplished. But this obvious impediment is removed if the revolution is based on a redefinition of science rather than on new research.”1

America’s favorite Intelligent Design cranks are at it again.  Admittedly, this most recent release from the DI is somewhat tame.  It is, however, just the latest in an incredibly long line of deliberate misinformation being spouted by the leading propagandists of modern creationism (read: Intelligent Design).  Today, they’re unhappy about a paper published by members of the National Center for Science Education.  However, a quick examination of past and current tactics of the Discovery Institute and its predecessors quickly illuminates why those seemingly innocuous words the DI is so up in arms about really are troubling.

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Simon Singh Libel Case Update

August 11, 2009

For my original post on Simon Singh and the BCA, click here.

Lifted from Science-Based Medicine

Legal Update BCA v Singh

Simon Singh announced today that he will continue the fight in his libel case with the British Chiropractic Association after his application to appeal the preliminary ruling was rejected last week. He has now has the option to try and overturn that decision at an oral appeal. If this fails his case will be tried on a meaning of a phrase he did not intend and is indefensible. This highlights the problem of narrow defences that, along with high costs and wide jurisdiction, make the English libel laws so restrictive to free speech.

Simon said today: “I can confirm today that I have applied for a hearing to ask the Court of Appeal to reconsider its recent denial of permission.  A great deal has happened since my original article was published back in April 2008 and I suspect that the libel case will continue for many more months (or maybe years). While my case is ongoing, it continues to raise a whole series of arguably more important issues, particularly the appalling state of English libel laws. I am pleased that the Culture Secretary has agreed to meet with signatories of the Keep Libel Laws out of Science campaign statement to hear how the laws affect writers. We are also pursuing a meeting at the Ministry of Justice and with front benchers in other departments to lobby for a change in the law.”

Read Simon’s full statement and more about his next steps here: http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/freedebate

Antivaxxers Under Fire

August 7, 2009

I’m leaving for the weekend, but wanted to share some good news on the anti-vaccination front before I took off.  As you may or may not have heard, the Australian Vaccination Network (an utterly misleading name) is going to be investigated by the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission for its dissemination of misinformation and outright lies about vaccination.  I don’t have time to write a nice long piece about the suffering this group has caused, but I will link to one particularly disturbing case.  Do some searching about the aftermath to get a real look into the AVN’s agenda.

In addition to word of the impending investigation, the Australian Skeptics ran a scathing ad in The Australian on Thursday.

Australian Skeptics Ad

Here’s a link to a story on the story behind the ad, and a link to Phil Plait’s thoughts on the subject.  Okay, I gotta run.  Have a good weekend.

Beware The Spinal Trap

August 3, 2009

Sense About ScienceI’m behind the times once again.  Last week, science blogs across the web reproduced Simon Singh’s column on chiropractic.  In it, In Singh criticizes chiropractors for claiming to be able to treat conditions such as colic, asthma, and ear infections, despite lacking a shred of credible scientific evidence.  When the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) complained to The Guardian, the newspaper that had printed the article, they were given the opportunity to write a 500 word response to rebut Sing’s claims and present their evidence for the efficacy of chiropractic.  Instead, the BCA sued Simon Singh for libel.

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