Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Victory for Skepticism

This was reported in another skeptic blog and I will paraphrase as I think it important.  October 24 the California Court of Appeals vindicated Dr. Bruce Flamm, an OB/GYN and Professor at U.C. at Riverside and a member of the skeptics society.  The case involved a defamation lawsuite filed by a Dr. Cha a Korean fertility specialist at Columbia University.  He got published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine 2001 a claim that prayer increased the chances of conceiving of  women undergoing in vitro fertility treatment by 50%.  Dr. Tim Johnson of ABC reported the finding at that time.  Dr. Flamm was skeptical and through careful analysis and research of his own found several things.  First he found numerous methodological errors were made in the study.  One of the authors David Wirth, aka John Wayne Truelove, was not an MD, but a M.S. in parapsychology.  He was also found since the publication to have admitted guilt to charges of mail fraud and theft.  He is now serving time in prison.  Columbia University has launched an investigation and the Journal of Reproductive Medicine has withdrawn the article.  One of the other authors Rogerio Lobo had not participated in the origninal study and withdrew his name from the published article originally. 

Dr. Kwang Yul Cha stood his ground and instead of doing more research filed a lawsuite against Dr. Flamm in the Superior Court of L.A. in August 2007.  It was thrown out in April in 2008.  He appealled to the California Court of Appeals in June 2008.  That court found that Judge James Dunn ruled appropriately October 24 2009. The following is a quote from Dr. Flamm that I found very good:

Today’s ruling is a victory for science and evidence-based medicine. Scientists must be allowed to question bizarre claims. Cha’s mysterious study was designed and allegedly conducted by a man who turned out to be a criminal with a 20-year history of fraud. A criminal who steals the identities of dead children to obtain bank loans and passports is not a trustworthy source of research data. Cha could have simply admitted this obvious fact but instead he hired a team of lawyers to punish me for voicing my opinions. Physicians should debate their opinions in medical journals, not in courts of law. Judges have better things to do with their time and taxpayers have better things to do with their money.


Skeptical DoDo

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