Freedom of Speech and the Internet

December 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm (Miscellaneous) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Freedom of Speech and the Internet


According to Boing Boing and Wikiquote, it was John Gilmore who once said that: “The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Silencing Critics: Legal Chill

November 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm (Legal Chill) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A company called Rodial have threatened a doctor with a lawsuit after she raised doubts about a “boob job cream”. While Rodial’s lawyers letter states that Rodial would have provided information on “clinical assessment and product ingredients” on request, they failed to do so when contacted by Ben Goldacre. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jeni Barnett’s Good Advice

July 16, 2009 at 7:49 pm (Anti-Vaccination) (, , , , , , )

I was irritated, and a little concerned, to note (via Zeno’s blog) that Jeni Barnett was planning to discuss swine flu and vaccination on her radio show. Then I spotted something on Jeni’s blog that amused me. I now have conflicting emotions: I’m cheerfully annoyed. Read the rest of this entry »

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MMR, LBC, EDM: Initial Thoughts

February 20, 2009 at 9:55 pm (Anti-Vaccination, Bad Science, government, Media) (, , , , , , , , )

There is an Early Day Motion that refers to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and also to LBC radio (London’s Biggest Conversation). Ben Goldacre discusses it here. You can find the EDM here. You can view the list of MPs in alphabetical order and check to see whether yours has signed the EDM. If they haven’t, then you can write to them using this website:

It’s also possible to group the EDM signatures by party – this shows 11 Liberal Democrats, 15 Labour MPs, and 2 Conservatives. Given that the parties have, respectively, 63 MPs, 350 Members of Parliament, and 193 Members, this means that 17 per cent of Liberal Democrat MPs have signed, with 4% of Labour MPs attaching their names to the list and only 1% of Conservatives putting their John Hancock on the EDM.

I wrote to my MP and I suggest you do the same if you haven’t already. Here’s an example of the kind of correspondence you get between MP and Whiny Sceptic Constituent: Read the rest of this entry »

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AltMed Responses To Criticism – from Holford to Barnett

February 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm (Alternative Medicine, Bad Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Here, I have some examples of the, fairly limited, debate between sceptics and proponents of Alternative Medicine – and a couple of examples of how scientists generally respond to criticism. The most recent example of a supporter of Alternative Medicine (anti-vaccinationism, with a smidge of homeopathy) responding to criticism is Jeni Barnett. She referred on her blog to incandescently stupid comments she made about MMR during a radio broadcast on LBC, and the fuss that followed the broadcast. The comments section soon included critics explaining why Jeni was so dangerously wrong. Jeni’s response to the criticism? To remove the blog post and the comments. Thankfully, it’s been preserved and is available at The Quackometer website. Further discussion at Holford Watch. LBC’s response to the original criticisms? Legal chill tactics – a pretty disgusting way to tackle legitimate criticism. Other examples of legal chill (and other threats) come from nutritionists, chiropractors, homeopaths, herbalists, and an American Christian organisation. Read the rest of this entry »

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MMR Round-up [UPDATED. Again.]

February 7, 2009 at 10:18 pm (Anti-Vaccination, Bad Science) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Recently, MMR seems to have been quite a hot topic. Ben Goldacre of the blog wrote about Jeni Barnett’s LBC broadcast (which contained an incredible amount of misinformation). As have many other bloggers – most (or perhaps all) of whom are listed at Holford Watch. Holford Watch also have a post up listing some rebuttals to Jeni Barnett’s canards. Meanwhile, Sensibly Common has updated the graph of measles cases in the UK (the original is here) and the post including the updated graph ties in quite well with a news story on the BBC website Read the rest of this entry »

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[UPDATED 7/2/09] MMR Scaremongering From Jeni Barnett: LBC Use Legal Chill Tactics. Ugh.

February 5, 2009 at 10:55 pm (Anti-Vaccination, Bad Science, Dangerously Wrong) (, , , , , )

[I’ve updated this post to include more links to blogs covering this, and to add information on the serious complications of measles, mumps, and rubella. There’s also a link to Jeni’s ‘response’ to the Bad Scientists.]

I was going to post some ramblings on the dangers of homophily, but I’ve just found out that LBC have contacted Ben Goldacre (or had their lawyers contact him) to complain about a segment of Jeni’s show that appeared on the Bad Science blog along with (brief) commentary from Ben. I think this is a bad move – LBC should really be apologising to the nation for allowing Jeni to pollute the airwaves with ignorant tosh about vaccines, a subject she seems to know very little about. Read the rest of this entry »

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