The random thoughts of a sceptical activist

Taking the strain

The General Chiropractic Council‘s occasional News from the GCC publication rarely makes interesting reading. It’s usually a mish-mash of stuff only of interest to chiropractors.

But there is an occasional interesting item or two.

The latest issue discusses the apparent ongoing debate between the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the GCC:

The ASA Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) – the debate goes on

The latest issue we’ve flagged up to the team at CAP relates to claims to treat minor sports injuries.

Its AdviceOnline in respect of osteopathy and physiotherapy states that CAP has accepted that they may claim to help minor sports injuries, but there is no mention of this for chiropractic. In respect of physiotherapy, CAP goes on to state that

“At the present time, CAP is unlikely to ask to see evidence for the treatment of minor conditions.”

We’ve asked CAP to confirm that it would take the same approach to any claims made by chiropractors about minor sports injuries. As ever, we’ll keep the profession in touch with progress.

We have the situation where the GCC  — the statutory regulator for chiropractors, who frequently claim to be a primary health-care profession — is asking the ASA — the voluntary advertising regulator, funded through a levy on advertising spend — to add minor sports injuries back onto their list so their registered chiropractors can make claims about it!

Let’s see if we can help answer the GCC’s query.

A chiropractor advertised in our local free paper at the beginning of last December: It may be a bit difficult to make out, but the claims are crystal clear:

CONDITIONS TREATED

  • Back Pain
  • Neck/Shoulder Pain
  • Headache/Migraine
  • Road Traffic Injuries
  • Scoliosis
  • Sciatica
  • Sports Injuries
  • Whiplash

Among others, sports injuries are mentioned as one of the ‘conditions’ this chiropractor treated. But some of the others are also interesting.

ASA guidance

After having considered the Bronfort report last year, the ASA revised their guidance on chiropractic, effective from 1 September 2010. The full guidance is on the ASA’s Copy Advice website as Therapies: Chiropractic (free registration required).

It states:

To date, CAP accepts that chiropractors may claim to treat these conditions: (NB: this advice was updated following a review of evidence conducted in September 2010):

  • Joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis as an adjunct to core OA treatments and exercise

Chiropractors may also refer to general aches and pains including those of joints, muscle spasms and cramp

  • General, acute and chronic backache, back pain (not arising from injury or accident), including Lumbago
  • Uncomplicated mechanical neck pain (as opposed to neck pain following injury e.g. whiplash)
  • Headache arising from the neck (i.e. cervicogenic)
  • Frozen shoulder, shoulder or elbow pain, or tennis elbow arising from associated musculoskeletal conditions of the back and neck, but not isolated occurrences
  • Prevention of migraine
  • Tension and inability to relax (through lifestyle advice rather than chiropractic care)

In line with the review of evidence conducted in September 2010, chiropractors are advised to avoid referencing the following conditions unless they hold suitable evidence.

  • Sciatica
  • Rheumatoid pain, rheumatism and neuralgia
  • Whiplash
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Peripheral joint/ muscle/ nerve complaints e.g. repetitive strain injury

Some of these are interesting, particularly the restrictions (my bold) and I may return to them in a future blog post.

No mention of sports injuries, minor or otherwise.

How does the Islington Chiropractic Clinic claims fit in with this list?

Not much, it would appear.

Complaint

I submitted a complaint to the ASA.

The ASA were originally going to conduct a formal investigation that would have resulted in an adjudication being published on their website, but the ASA then told me that the advertisers:

…have given us an assurance that they will remove the claims from their advertising and ensure in future that their ads comply with the relevant guidance set out in the CAP Code Advice document ‘Therapies: Chiropractic’.

…and they closed the case. All that appeared on the ASA’s website was a mention for the advertiser under Informally Resolved Cases on 16 February this year.

And again…

It’s good to get the assurance that they would abide by the ASA guidance in future.

Did they?

In the 10 February 2011 issue of the same local free paper, they had a new ad:


This has the following:

CONDITIONS TREATED

  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headache/Prevention of Migraine
  • Neck related Headaches & Dizziness
  • Shoulder, Elbow & Wrist Pain
  • Hip, Knee & Ankle Pain
  • Minor Sports Injuries

This might be closer to the ASA’s guidance, but it’s not quite there yet.

I complained again, noting the conditions not listed in the ASA’s guidance.

The ASA told me:

…with a view to acting quickly, we have instructed Islington Chiropractic Clinic to change the ad. We have asked them to remove from their ads, any claims relating to migraines, dizziness, wrist pain, ankle pain & minor sports injuries.

The advertiser’s name appeared a second time on the ASA’s website on 23 March as another Informally Resolved Case.

And the answer is…

Way back at the Investigating Committee (IC) stage of my complaints, the GCC’s IC stated many times:

The Investigating Committee noted the reference to: disc problems; shoulder, arm, wrist and hand problems; sports injuries; and leg, knee, ankle and foot problems. It concluded that such terms are broad in nature and the [web] pages provided do not enable the Committee to understand what is covered by the use of these terms. The Committee accepted that due to the generic nature of the terms, it is unlikely that randomised controlled trials will have been conducted that address them.

Note the mention of ‘sports injuries’.

Even though the IC couldn’t understand what it meant, they still thought it unlikely there was any robust evidence for treatment by chiropractors.

However, including ‘sports injuries’ in an advert is a clear claim to be able to treat, well, ‘sports injuries’ and if it’s too broad a term for even their statutory regulator to understand what is meant, then perhaps chiropractors shouldn’t be claiming they can treat sports injuries with chiropractic (cached)?

But the ASA seem clear about it: ‘minor sports injuries’ was removed last year from the the list of conditions they allow chiropractors to make; ‘sports injuries’ doesn’t appear at all and they have now asked at least one advertiser to remove ‘minor sports injuries’ from their advert.

When they asked the ASA, I hope the GCC was able to tell them exactly what they meant by ‘minor sports injuries — they certainly didn’t know last year when they were dealing with my complaints.

But perhaps we already know the ASA’s answer.

35 Responses to Taking the strain

  • @ Zeno

    This website has been a revelation. Initially I thought it was a site that a sceptic could enjoy and involve themselves in but it is simply an anti chiropractic site. This is in itself ok, but maybe you should take the coloured wrapping off and make it perfectly clear to your readers exactly what it is. Thanks to David, I am more aware of both sides of the argument and sadly what you portray is not the full story. But your site, your musings.

    As a director of the Nightingale Collaboration, will this bias towards attacking the chiropractors not eventually taint the reason it exists or will it truly review bad advertising in all healthcare? I suppose only time will tell.

    In your favour, I can understand after all that effort in complaining to their council, it has lead to very few convictions or is that not important in the scheme of things?

    But as a site for anti chiropractic debate it has it’s merits, I think I would like to see more David’s coming forward for a more balanced exchange but I believe that others have been banned, which is your right?

  • Interesting post, Zeno and thank you for continuing to switch the floodlights on what lies behind the chiropractic facade.

    Readers might also be interested to know that the GCC hasn’t been the only chiropractic body to engage the ASA. There has also been this submission from the Alliance of UK Chiropractors (AUKC):

    A submission was made to the CAP Copy Team at the Advertising Standards Agency in April 2010 for a further 28 conditions not included in the Bronfort Report to be reviewed and accepted. We are still waiting for this documentation to be reviewed and assessed.

    http://tinyurl.com/36y3qwm

    Does anybody know the outcome of the above?

  • tzspense said:

    …it is simply an anti chiropractic site. This is in itself ok, but maybe you should take the coloured wrapping off and make it perfectly clear to your readers exactly what it is

    If it appears so perfectly clear to you, why don’t you think it wouldn’t be clear to others?

    Everyone is, of course, perfectly free to go read whatever other sites they believe provide ‘balance’.

    As for your misapprehension about David and/or others being banned, I have only ever had to ban one user and that was not David.

  • Blue Wode said:

    Does anybody know the outcome of the above?

    If they made their submission in April, it would seem very likely that the ASA included that alongside their evaluation of the Bronfort report. So, the answer to your question would appear to be that the ASA have already told us what they think of the AUKC’s submission.

  • Thanks for that, Zeno. No doubt the AUKC will now be hoping for the reinstatement of the GCC’s vaguely-worded definition of the (mythical) chiropractic ‘subluxation’ so that they can climb aboard the subluxation-adjusting gravy train once again. See C-210411- 16 here:
    http://www.gcc-uk.org/files/link_file/agenda%20-%20open.pdf

  • @Blue Wode

    You have to ask why, 17 years after the Chiropractors Act 1994, they still seem to have difficulty in definitively, clearly, intelligibly and unambiguously defining the fundamental of chiropractic. It’s almost as if they still have absolutely no idea what they are charged with regulating.

  • Indeed. As has been said many times, regulating nonsense is still nonsense.

    BTW, it’s interesting to note what Edzard Ernst and Peter Canter had to say when they investigated the effect of statutory regulation on osteopathic and chiropractic research in the UK:

    “[The] data do not support the hypothesis that regulation of a healthcare field will increase research in that area…Regulation should be a step towards professionalism, which, in turn, should stimulate research activity and eventually lead to answers to the most pressing open questions… Regulating uncertainties, it seems generates regulated uncertainties rather than certainties.”

    http://dcscience.net/canter-ernst-2005%20The%20Effect%20of%20Statutory.pdf

    And those observations seem to be supported by the pathetic number of chiropractic studies that are currently recruiting:
    http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/chiropractic/Pages/clinical-trial.aspx

    Pretty damning stuff, IMO.

  • @Zeno

    Zeno:
    Monday 25 April 2011 at 12:55
    tzspense said:
    …it is simply an anti chiropractic site. This is in itself ok, but maybe you should take the coloured wrapping off and make it perfectly clear to your readers exactly what it is’

    Zeno said in response :If it appears so perfectly clear to you, why don’t you think it wouldn’t be clear to others?
    Everyone is, of course, perfectly free to go read whatever other sites they believe provide ‘balance’.
    As for your misapprehension about David and/or others being banned, I have only ever had to ban one user and that was not David.’

    @zeno 
    At least you have done the decent thing and come out and said this is simply an anti chiropractic site. Sorry for the confusion, I didn’t read it as such in the initial stages as the language and odd other thread suggested a more general approach. 

    Not sure who you have or havent banned, that’s not my business but reading on other sites you have a reputation for having banned people? I am sure you have your reasons for curtailing this debate. I presume they broke your rules in some way that was over the top eg swearing or blatant lying and therefore should be stopped if they were offensive to yourself and the rest of the contributors. 

    I was just hoping for more of a debate on the subject as it is inconceivable to most fair minded individuals that  not all these guys can be bad, nor can every member of the public that sees one receives no benefit at all? It’s seems that your portrayal of a whole group of people seems very harsh and one sided? Are all chiropractors bad? Is the same level of evidence being used to measure them, the dame as for everyone else or is this just simple witch-hunt?

    It would be interesting to find out what the real reason behind all this is as I genuinely don’t buy into the save the public from themselves thing? 

  • tzspense said:

    At least you have done the decent thing and come out and said this is simply an anti chiropractic site.

    I’ve said no such thing.

    Not sure who you have or havent banned, that’s not my business…

    Correct.

    …but reading on other sites you have a reputation for having banned people?

    Maybe you read the wrong sort of sites. However, if that was a question, then I have already answered it: I have only banned one commenter, therefore your assumption that I have curtailed the debate has no substance.

    You make the assumption that I think all ‘these guys’ are bad. I have said no such thing, nor have I implied it. Nor have I said that no one feels better after visiting a chiropractor. However, you have obviously missed the point and I suggest you go all the way back to my original complaint and read that before commenting further. There you will find extracts from the Code of Practice that chiropractors are supposed to have followed. Reading the ASA’s website and CAP Code might help in understanding what claims are allowed and not allowed in adverts and why. And just in case it’s not obvious, the standard of conduct and the claims that can be made are decided by the GCC and the ASA, not me. So, if you have a query about how they apply their rules to other advertisers, I suggest you take it up with them.

    I genuinely don’t buy into the save the public from themselves thing?

    Thanks for your argument from personal incredulity, but would I be right in saying that no matter how many times I said it was about protecting the public from misleading claims and trying to ensure regulators play their part in protecting the public, you still wouldn’t believe me? If so, what does that tell you?

  • tzspence said,

    “I am sure you have your reasons for curtailing this debate. I presume they broke your rules in some way that was over the top eg swearing or blatant lying and therefore should be stopped if they were offensive to yourself and the rest of the contributors.”

    No debate was curtailed and yes, the commenter who was banned did blatantly lie and was repeatedly abusive. Are you, perchance, that same poster returned to try a different approach? I only ask because his many posts here didn’t actually say anything intelligent or useful and didn’t contribute in any way to any debate. Whichever blog he trolls, he always comes across as an embittered chiro and his comments are consistently pointless. Rather like yours.

    Like you, he says he “doesn’t buy into” into the apparently incomprehensible notion that many people don’t like being lied to and conned by those who make a living out of one or other healthcare therapy and want to stop it happening to others.

    But he’s never had the balls to say why not. Do you? I mean, seriously, what is so hard for you people to understand?

  • @skepticat

    You suggest my posts don’t say  anything and are pointless? I have entered into the debate and asked questions, some of which have been answered by people such as David? I have offered opinions on my understanding of chiropractic pre and post that conversation, is this not debate?

    I get the impression that some of my questions or comments have upset Zeno, but surely they were fair questions and communicated in a fair and reasonable manner? 

    As I don’t know who zeno banned and do not wish to spend the time checking back through this blog to find out, I find your accusations bizarre. Is this a debating forum or not?  

    As I said previously, I agree with some comments made here, and disagree with others. I came here with an open mind and to quote Ben Goldacre:  “Just because someone gets into a lifeboat doesn’t mean they support the sinking of the ship” . I believe that should be the position of any sceptic and that is what I have attempted to do here.

    @Zeno

    In relation to you admitting it was an anti chiropractic site you responded by saying:

    If it appears so perfectly clear to you, why don’t you think it wouldn’t be clear to others?

    Surely that is a statement of clarification?

  • tzspense said:

    Surely that is a statement of clarification?

    No. It was a question, asking why you thought something that was apparently perfectly clear to you would not be clear to others.

    I get the impression that some of my questions or comments have upset Zeno…

    You got the wrong impression.

    Is this a debating forum or not?

    Not. It is a blog that allows others to comment a topic. If you’re looking for a debating forum, I suggest you try the Bad Science forum, the James Randi Educational Foundation forum or any of the other similar discussion forums.

  • @tzspense

    How refreshing to hear the voice of a true sceptic. Someone who questions, then researches and forms an opinion on the basis of what they discover.

    I suspect that you may be feeling the same way I do, that there is a gulf between scepticism and the bigotry that masquerades as “skepticism”.

  • @ David

    Not scepticism as I know it, bias and bigotry, well that’s not for me to say but definitely agenda driven.

    The post by skepticat is totally bizarre? Who is this guy and why would he automatically assume I am a chiropractor or does that make it easier for him to deal with someone who is skeptical about the rationale behind some of Zeno’s threads.  A little bit of insecurity or paranoia maybe? Weird behaviour and definitely not someone who wishes to engage in any form of reasonable debate based on those irrational accusations?

    @ Zeno

    With regards your response and whether it was a question or statement of clarification  I personally read it differently from you and in fact my belief is supported by the multitude of threads attacking these guys?  Surely the evidence of it being seen as an anti chiropractic site is obvious?

     As I said before, if that’s what it is, and I think the site speaks for itself, then I have no problems with that but that is not what it says on the box and definitely not random?

     Tzspense said:

    I genuinely don’t buy into the save the public from themselves thing?

    Zeno responded with;

    Thanks for your argument from personal incredulity, but would I be right in saying that no matter how many times I said it was about protecting the public from misleading claims and trying to ensure regulators play their part in protecting the public, you still wouldn’t believe me? If so, what does that tell you?

    My answer to this would have to be: I’m a sceptic?

  • tzspense said:

    With regards your response and whether it was a question or statement of clarification I personally read it differently from you…

    My response started with the word ‘If’ and ended with a question mark. No amount of contortion can make it anything other than a question. But it seems you had already made up your mind and unlikely to be swayed by anything I say.

    …and in fact my belief is supported by the multitude of threads attacking these guys? Surely the evidence of it being seen as an anti chiropractic site is obvious?

    I ask you the same question again: if it’s so obvious to you, why did you feel it necessary to say:

    …maybe you should take the coloured wrapping off and make it perfectly clear to your readers exactly what it is.

    If it’s obvious, why would I need to do anything? Or don’t you think other readers are as perceptive as you?

    My answer to this would have to be: I’m a sceptic?

    You are perfectly free to believe what you want, but I leave it to other readers to conclude whether or not you are a sceptic.

  • Ho hum.

    @tzspence

    You suggest my posts don’t say anything and are pointless? I have entered into the debate and asked questions, some of which have been answered by people such as David? I have offered opinions on my understanding of chiropractic pre and post that conversation, is this not debate?

    Well, no. Asking questions and offering opinions isn’t “debate” but that’s neither here nor there. This isn’t a debating forum, it’s a personal blog and there’s nothing wrong with just asking questions or just expressing opinions. My observation is simply that your questions and comments are, at best, irrelevant and, in some cases, downright stupid.

    Examples: In your first comment here, you posted some idiotic rumour about Zeno you claim to have heard; a rumour which, even if true, would not make the blindest bit of difference to Zeno’s mission of challenging false claims made on chiropractors’ websites, using the CoP of their regulatory body to do so. It is hard to imagine a more pointless and irrelevant comment, unless your purpose was to try to undermine Zeno by attacking his character, in which case it probably seemed a very worthwhile use of your time to you. (And “innocently repeating” an ad hominem in order to ask whether it is true fools nobody, we weren’t born yesterday.)

    In another comment you emotively refer to people complaining to the ASA about questionable claims in healthcare advertising as “using the ASA as their own personal police force against CAM”. You evidently don’t realise how silly and peevish that sounds to someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in CAM. That’s not debating, that’s just petty sniping.

    In the same comment, you speculate that the ASA will be vulnerable in a court of law because they know that the NC are encouraging complaints. As you don’t cite any legislation, any case law or any other precedent in support of this risible suggestion, it does nothing more than flag up your poor reasoning skills, as does offering a half-remembered quote from ‘you’re not sure which’ newspaper as an appeal to authority.

    It is the daft comments like these that remind me of that other poster, talking of whom…

    As I don’t know who zeno banned and do not wish to spend the time checking back through this blog to find out, I find your accusations bizarre.

    The post by skepticat is totally bizarre? Who is this guy and why would he automatically assume I am a chiropractor or does that make it easier for him to deal with someone who is skeptical about the rationale behind some of Zeno’s threads. A little bit of insecurity or paranoia maybe? Weird behaviour and definitely not someone who wishes to engage in any form of reasonable debate based on those irrational accusations?

    Hmmm…touched a nerve, did I? I was only asking. :-)

    It so happens that, like you, the poster who was banned — I’ll call him “Bruce” — tried, for the purposes of his intervention here, to adopt the persona of one who (a) has no axe to grind for chiropractic and (b) doesn’t understand the difference between a forum and a blog. Like you, he criticised zeno’s blog for being an ‘anti-chiropractic site’. Like you, he banged on about how chiropractors were being treated unfairly compared to practitioners of other muscular-skeletal therapies. Like you, he claimed to be “sceptical about some things” and, like you, he suggested that critics of chiropractic weren’t really doing skepticism, so to speak, but “bigotry”. (Like you, he demonstrated an misunderstanding of what the word ‘bigotry’ actually means.) Like you, he suggested that the attack on the chiropractic wasn’t motivated by any desire to protect the public but by some other “agenda” which, like you, he never actually spelt out.

    Quite a coincidence, eh? One could almost say ‘bizarre’. In fact, the only difference between the two of you is that you initially tried not to pepper your posts with the same nasty and unsupportable insults that got Bruce banned. Alas, in your last comment, the effort proved too much and the mask — which was pretty transparent anyway — has begun to slip. Whatever happens, rest assured that your posts here won’t be censored just like Bruce’s weren’t. In fact, your flinging out the absurd notion that anything on this blog is censored — as in “curtailing debate” — is another thing that reminds me of Bruce.

    Funny, that.

    Watching you ask David leading questions to bring out the virtues of chiropractic has afforded some limited entertainment – I particularly loved how you slipped in the ‘chiropractory’ then drew attention to it yourself to emphasis just how little you know about chiropractic.

    But why bother? Nobody except other chiros takes anything David says seriously because, as his many posts here serve to illustrate he, like you — sorry, I mean “Bruce” — is just an embittered chiropractor who feels threatened by the challenges being made by people who’ve had enough of the nonsense and he doesn’t know how else to fight back. Coming here to cast aspersions against Zeno’s character and motives (and those of everyone who happens to agree with Zeno) makes David feel better, bless him, and — let’s face it — chiropractors don’t have much to feel good about these days. That said, at least David doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what he is. ;-)

    Your posts thus far and in both your incarnations indicate you are here for the same purpose and I confidently look forward to being proved right.

  • @ skepticat

    I apologise profusely for assuming you are male this of course may not be the case. The sentiment remains the same.

    @ Zeno

    I am more than happy for your readers to make their own mind up but I am happy in my own mind that I am sceptical but also fair minded. When you put your head above the parapet you must be willing to be shot at I guess, but that will apply to all who offer criticism or critique wouldn’t you agree ?

  • tzspense said:

    When you put your head above the parapet you must be willing to be shot at I guess, but that will apply to all who offer criticism or critique wouldn’t you agree ?

    To take pot shots, you need a good aim…

  • …or you risk shooting yourself in the foot, lol.

  • Skepticat wrote @tzspense:

    In your first comment here, you posted some idiotic rumour about Zeno you claim to have heard

    If I am correct, your first post here, and the one Skepticat is referring to, included the comment:

    I have however just come across information that suggests Alan (Zeno) that when you complained about the chiropractors you requested that you remain anonymous so the chiropractors wouldn’t know who made the complaint but the regulator ignored your request and sent your name and address out anyway? I can’t believe it’s true as based on your high profile, why would you? Just letting you know what’s being said and they seem adamant it is true.

    Zeno’s response at the time was:

    Anyone interested in the truth and spending more than a few seconds on my blog will find out that I did not request that I remain anonymous to the chiropractors I complained about.

    Interestingly, I have just been reading through some of the documents related to the complaints made by Zeno against the 500+ chiropractors that have made him (in)famous. I shall refrain from including his address, but the first lines of the original letter to Margaret Coats of the General Chiropractic Council read:

    Dear Madam

    Complaints against various chiropractors

    Under no circumstances is my name, postal address, email address or any other details that would allow me to be identified, to be divulged to anyone other than absolutely necessary for the processing of my complaints.

    I am not at all sure why Zeno should be so keen to deny that he insisted on anonymity. Await some “woolly, weasel words”, to coin a phrase.

  • @David

    I can’t see what’s so difficult for you to understand here, so it looks like I will have to spell it out for you.

    I could have asked for my identity to be kept from the chiros I complained about as I would have been perfectly entitled to do under the GCC’s rules, but I chose not to.

    Even if I had wanted to, what would have been the point? It was already well known what I was doing because I had announced it on several public forums long before I submitted my complaint and I even published my complaint (which you quoted from) on my blog at the same time I sent it to the GCC.

    If you care to read it properly and not try to contort it to suit your own purposes, you’ll see that I was asking the GCC to ensure my personal details were only used legitimately. That was in vain of course — I’ve had to report the GCC to the Information Commissioner’s Office on numerous separate occasions for unauthorised disclosures of my personal details that were clear breaches of the 1998 Data Protection Act.

    However, you just seem to be trying to create a diversion, just like ‘tzspense’, rather than focussing on the topic in hand, which is, I will remind you: are claims made by chiros compliant with ASA and other regulatory rules and guidance?

    Talk about having an agenda.

  • @ Zeno,

    Thank you for that. I’m sure that everyone is clear now that you didn’t insist on anonymity at all.

    However, you say that the GCC’s rules allow for your complaints to have been processed with you remaining anonymous. Wouldn’t that rather suggest that when you wrote:

    Under no circumstances is my name etc…to be divulged to anyone other than absolutely necessary for the processing of my complaints

    you would have expected them to withhold that information and therefore to have remained anonymous?

    I don’t see anywhere in your letter the part where you asked for your details to be made available to ANYONE, only the part where you insist that they should NOT.

  • David, I appreciate your staying up late just to demonstrate what I said about you in my last comment, but what exactly is your point here?

    Given that Zeno has never made any secret either of his identity or about the fact that he was complaining about the chiros – quite the opposite in fact – the suggestion that he wanted to “remain anonymous so the chiropractors wouldn’t know who made the complaint”, as Bruce put it, is demonstrably ridiculous.

    Do you think his stipulation that his contact details should not be divulged by the GCC unless “absolutely necessary” was unreasonable? If so, why? I have to ask, because you seem to be reading something deeply significant into a request that most people would see as nothing more than a common sense precaution.

  • @David,Zeno and skepticat

    There is no doubt that Zeno asked to remain anonymous during his complaint to the chiropractors council, I hadn’t seen that bit David, just read it on another site, but now all the evidence points to that being factual.  Anything else leads any sceptical person to become wary of anything else posted? To try and argue away from the facts as presented is a banal attempt at a whitewash, one must ask why? The only reasons I can see for the request are cowardice, which is what I warned Zeno was being said on another website or fear of retribution, which I suppose was and still is valid if you upset masses of people. 

    My frustration with all this is that reading this blog especially but not specifically I got the impression that all chiropractors were uneducated fraudsters doing no good at all in there area of healthcare. That there was absolutely no evidence to support chiropractic compared to medicine or allied profession and that the public needed to be protected from this particular profession. My own research would suggest this is totally inaccurate and the current ASA listing would support it. 

    The subluxation thing I couldnt get my head around until I read around the subject, clarified by David and it is basically describing a mechanical problem. Yes and? What is the problem if these guys are treating mechanical problems?  This has led me to believe, along with statements by Zeno who had in all fairness played to the the crowd, that this whole thing was initiated because of the Simon Singh case, not because he was concerned with public safety. Hence my reason for suggesting it was agenda driven and once again the facts speak for themselves.  But the readers must also decide for themselves what is happening here and also read around the subject.  

    I also now understand that there are traditional and MSK practitioners in that profession but that is the same for osteopaths, interestingly it would also seem that there are sceptics and skeptics, I fall into the former category and cannot buy into the latter. Does that make me more principled, ignorant or loosing the right to have an opinion, I hope not?

    This also must effect the credibility of the newly formed Nightingale Collaboration, which I thought was a great idea. I have just read  that the other director of this group is zenos partner Maria, whose avatar is skepticat?  So female yes, invested interest yes?

    All  this takes the NC concept beyond scepticism and into the dark corridors  of politics, once again agenda comes into play?

    I hope I have proven to you all as a sceptic: I question, I research and I form an opinion based on the facts presented to me. I also of course criticise but that is all part of having an opinion.

    It is nice to see that the random thoughts profile Zeno claims for the blog are being brought into play, pretty quickly. See new thread. But well done Zeno on trying to take my criticism on board, of course it also puts this current conversation to bed.

  • @ Skepticat

    My point is:

    In your attempted assassination of tzspense, you wrote:

    In your first comment here, you posted some idiotic rumour about Zeno you claim to have heard; a rumour which, even if true, would not make the blindest bit of difference to Zeno’s mission of challenging false claims made on chiropractors’ websites…

    The relevant comment from tzspense read:

    I have however just come across information that suggests Alan (Zeno) that when you complained about the chiropractors you requested that you remain anonymous..

    At the time, Zeno hotly denied this by saying:

    … I did not request that I remain anonymous to the chiropractors I complained about.

    In your reply to me you said:

    Do you think his stipulation that his contact details should not be divulged by the GCC unless “absolutely necessary” was unreasonable?

    I have made no judgement on whether his request to remain anonymous was reasonable or otherwise, it just seems strange to be denying that he made the request when in fact he patently did. Zeno claims that the GCC’s rules allow for him to have made the complaints anonymously and it is impossible to understand how the words:

    Under no circumstances is my name, postal address, email address or any other details that would allow me to be identified, to be divulged to anyone other than absolutely necessary for the processing of my complaints

    are not a request for that anonymity to be protected.

    It is true that Zeno made no secret about the fact that he was making these complaints. However, it is also true that at that time, it was not common knowledge that “Zeno” was Alan Henness and it would appear that this is the fact the Zeno was trying to protect.

    To be honest, I don’t care either way. The reason I made the point is that you have accused tzspense of posting “an idiotic rumour”, and Zeno has hotly denied what is quite evidently a truth. I have no idea what your combined reasons for this are, but, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  • Merci david

  • @ David

    If all chiropractors are as honest and reasonable in their approach as you seem to be, maybe the wrong people are being investigated? 

     Not a good beginning for the NC and it’s  future credibility I fear?

    @ Zeno

    To suggest that I am trying to divert from the issue at hand is wrong.  Your thread talked of chiropractic and their general council,  I read what you wrote, I then go and research the subject and open dialogue with David, who says he is a chiropractor. I pose questions and  he answered them in what I believe was an honest manner? How can that be a diversion?

    You then have the audacity to question whether I am a sceptic, based I presume on questioning your writings? Now who is trying to divert?

    I therefore offer criticism based on the slant of your blog and posts therein, which  clearly suggests that these guys are fraudulent, uneducated, unscientific, practicing a scam which is simply a money making industry devised to dupe the public. I would suggest this is grossly inaccurate and yet you perpetrate this as fact? 

    You state you did not ask their council to keep your name and address off your complaints against these guys. I would also suggest the facts show that to be grossly inaccurate. 

    If you have an open forum where you write with such authority and set yourself up as a bastion of all that is good and honest,  based on a skeptical approach,  then surely you are open to honest criticism if it is viewed you have fallen short?  

    On top of that I am accused and attacked by skepticat in some bizarre fashion for being able to string a sentence together, which  in itself was bad enough when I thought it was just another poster,  yet I find she is your partner? Diversion ?

    You’re right, let the other readers decide if there is an underlying agenda and who is or is not a sceptic, I have made my own mind up.

  • Sorry to interrupt the love-in, guys, but you started this and if you want to carry it on, I’m up for it. I’m well used to standing up to schoolyard bullies.

    FACT: Alan made no attempt to hide his id from anyone he complained about. He neither asked nor expected anonymity from anyone he complained about. The quote David has produced does not say he asked for anonymity from anyone he complained about. As the quote makes clear, he only asked that his details were not divulged from anyone who didn’t need to know them. You have decided for your own purpose to interpret this as including the complainees but that’s just daft. There was never any expectation on our part that complainees wouldn’t know who complained about them – that’s why Alan wrote about them and publicised them at every opportunity.

    @David

    Nice try but it was indeed common knowledge that Zeno was Alan Henness and that information was available to anyone who wasn’t already party to it via a couple of clicks of the mouse.

    @tzspence

    Thanks for proving me right about your purpose here.

    The only reasons I can see for the request are cowardice,

    Then I suggest you remove your blinkers so you can see a bit better. The accusation about cowardice is particularly ironic coming from someone who (a) hasn’t got the guts to reveal his own id, preferring to adopt various “sockpuppets” while on his mission to assassinate the characters of people who are quite open about theirs; and (b) hasn’t got the guts to admit his own vested interest in the status of chiropractic. You’re fooling nobody, Bruce, so give up the charade, why don’t you?

    I can see why calling Alan a ‘coward’ may make you embittered chiros feel just that little bit better, but you’re on hiding to nothing with this one. Of course, with hindsight, it would have been better if he had asked that our address be kept from complainees so it wouldn’t have been misused by one or more of your vengeful colleagues (or you? As we don’t know which chiro was responsible for the hate mail, you’re all under suspicion and, judging by your behaviour here, I wouldn’t put it past either of you).

  • @ Skepticat

    I’m afraid that your tirade still doesn’t wash. The language is indisputable; Zeno requested that his identity be withheld.

    Like I said, it doesn’t matter one bit to me, but it was you who made the accusation that tzspense had posted “an idiotic rumour” and thereby started this “diverison”. You can’t have it all ways.

    Far be it from me to make any observations on your attitude or apparent intentions, for fear of being threatened with being banned again………..

    I’ll let you have the last word.

  • Don’t run away, David.

    I realise that the glaring flaw in your argument isn’t something you’re willing to address but this boils down to basic human decency. Do you have any? (It’s pretty obvious Bruce doesn’t). If you do then answer this:

    If Alan tried to “remain anonymous so the chiropractors wouldn’t know who made the complaint” as Bruce accuses him, then why did Alan publicly announced on the internet that he intended to complain before he did so and then again, after he had done so, all the while being perfectly open about who he is? How do you square that fact with the accusation that he is a coward?

    Well?

  • “We have the situation where the GCC — the statutory regulator for chiropractors, who frequently claim to be a primary health-care profession — is asking the ASA — the voluntary advertising regulator, funded through a levy on advertising spend — to add minor sports injuries back onto their list so their registered chiropractors can make claims about it!”

    Wot a larf. The GCC’s credibility was in shreds even before they started asking the ASA for favors. The ASA are proving to be a better regulator than the GCC or any of the quack trade associations. Just think, zeno, if only you’d waited until 1st March this year, you could have just got loads of other people to complain to the ASA about the chiros websites and saved yourself a lot of bother. I suppose getting them taken down 2? years ago will have saved some punters from being taken in.

    @skepticat
    re your last post, forgive me but you clearly don’t understand the selective quack approach to evidence. If they were capable of assessing it rationally as you seem to expect them to, they wouldn’t have become quacks in the first place.

  • @ skepticat

    Three very little points:

    Surely the clue is in the T of Tzspence?

    To agree with someone other that Zeno is a love in, what a strange take on things?

    Any attempt to respond to anything else would just give your comments the credability they do not deserve. 

    But if I was to give you any advice, it would be to be very careful with your accusations of something as serious as hate-mail. I genuinely find it appalling that Alan received it at all and would have to presume and hope the police are involved.  But more appalling is that you are silly enough or arrogant enough to accuse willy nilly, without any real reason or evidence, other than my opinion is obviously not yours. I would suggest thinking before typing next time as you really are barking up the wrong tree?  Alternatively if you can substantiate your rather off the wall statements I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

     In other words put up or be quiet and stop acting like a petulant child.

  • @jrm
    Thank you but I do indeed know about their selective approach to evidence and that is exactly why I chose to highlight the contradiction that they are conveniently ignoring. It’s not only the GCC’s credibility that is in shreds. The chiroquacks who post here know they are losing the battle of the right to lie to and rip-off the public and the only battle they have left is a personal one against the people who burst their bubble. And that’s one they can’t win because, as you can see from the posts on this page, they have neither the ammunition nor the brains to use it.

  • @ skepticat

    I think a selective approach to evidence seems to be something you and Zeno are just as guilty of if our conversations are anything to go by.

    You talk of David running away yet where is zeno in all if this, all we seem to get is a bizarre tirade and silly accusations from you?

  • @ skepticat

    You keep making the mistake of tarring all who question the motives or information of this blog with the same brush. But if that makes you feel happy that’s not a problem, wrong but not a problem?

    On a side issue and with the insinuation that you are brighter than most other posters, what is your PhD in? I presume you have had a tertiary education?

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