Monday, July 9, 2007

You are not a Skeptic if you're not skeptic

I wrote to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, after the podcast had mentioned the case Sickesz vs. VtdK and I had blogged about it. The nice thing is, my mail was mentioned on the latest show (#102). That's nice. The blog is also mentioned, that is even nicer. But the nicest thing is the Skeptics prove to really be skeptics.

They read the blog and not matter it is called Anne is a Man!, they treat the writer Anne Frid de Vries as a she. She writes this, she goes on to say, etc etc. I think this is a point for SGU. Never take anything for granted. However, dear skeptics, I am really a man. Look at the picture, just so that you can be convinced.

While I am making side notes, let me make two more. One is: Perry is right; the VtdK must dissolve itself and a new association against quackery must arise and they must not go and publish the rectification that Mrs. Sickesz is not a quack - because she in fact is. However, and this is the side note, it is not going to help the president of the VtdK. Sickesz not only sued VtdK, but also the president. So even if the association goes bankrupt and from them the rectification or compensation cannot be coerced, from the president it can. And the bankruptcy laws are not very comforting for real people (natuurlijke personen) if they still are as they were when I left the country.

The second side note is on how I think, as a legal professional, the court should have handled such a case. I think that anybody who offers medical services out of the realm of EBM (evidence based medicine) is automatically loading on him or herself the suspicion of quackery. With little extra scrutinizing of the made claims, just as the VtdK did, this person can be called a quack and the quack must show evidence of the contrary if he wants to rid himself of the label. If on the contrary, one must prove quackery, there is almost, if not completely, an impossible task. When no connection with EBM is there in the first place, there is likely to be no study and in particular cases, the inherent claim will likely be that such studies are not valid anyway. In such an approach NOBODY can be called a quack and then the law would rule out a certain opinion as forbidden to be uttered in general which is against the freedom of expression. Hence, since Mrs. Sickesz is outside the realm of EBM and you can look at her claims and see that they are not reliable, then she can be called a quack. Mevr. Sickesz is een kwakzalver!
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