sas-libelAustralian chiropractor Joseph Ierano was rather upset with the Australian Skeptics organization recently. So upset was he, that he filed a complaint with the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission, a government body that keeps track of and prosecutes based on claims of malfeasance regarding medical issues.

So what was Joseph Ierano's complaint? He's upset that the Australian Skeptics republished an article by TAMLondon speaker Simon Singh. He sent Australian Skeptics a very detailed list of questions based on the article, even though they were merely reprinting it and not the original authors. When he hadn't received an answer in two weeks, he filed his complaint. In fact, a very detailed response was sent three weeks after the original request by Ierano. Eran Segev, president of Australian Skeptics painstakingly went through each of Ierano's points and provided detailed answers. You see, Ierano claims to be a "self-professed genuine sceptic." Why he needed to profess his "self-professedness," I'm not sure. I'm also not sure who the authority is granting the "genuine" stamp to skeptics, self-professed or not. I wonder if I'm an artificial skeptic after all.

But I digress. Why involve litigation at all? If Ierano has some valid points to make, the Australian Skeptics would have been glad to consider them as well as promote them, should they prove to be valid. Skepticism sides only with evidence, and if Ierano had heretofore unrealized information about how chiropractics is effective, he had a chance to convince some people.

Instead, he chose to complain, revealing to all that he is not interested in a discussion but rather silencing of an organization that did no more than report on an already widely publicized article. Now, a volunteer organization once more has to deal with the burden of frivolous legal entanglement, something the JREF is all too familiar with. Given what happened to Singh after his article was published, I wonder if this isn't a sign of things to come.

Please familiarize yourself with this case by visiting the Australian Skeptics site, and with Simon Singh's case as well. Litigation should not be allowed to stifle information.