Today has not been a good day for the British Chiropractic Association.
The last gasp of their increasingly wonky media strategy - the release of the "plethora" after fifteen months - has been discredited in less than a single day.
If you have not looked at the Blogs already, see the legendary David Colquhoun's easy demolition of the claims for colic and the incomparable Gimpy on the BCA having no evidence that chiropractic can help with ear infections. And then look at the deeply scathing blogpost at Ministry of Truth.
[Add: Evidence Matters subjects the BCA's claims on asthma to devastating bombardment.]
No wonder Phil Plait in America is just shaking his head at the inanity of the BCA.
And this humiliation is in the wider context of the Quacklash of activists and bloggers, hundreds of complaints to Tradings Standards, the strange (and possibly legally unsound) maneuvering by the General Chiropractic Council, and of course the wonderful Sense About Science campaign, which now has over 10,000 signatures.
But it was a point picked up by another Blogger which means that this case could yet take a more interesting turn.
The Lay Scientist Blog noticed a most curious discrepancy.
The BCA quote a Cochrane Review (no less) as saying:
"There was weak evidence to support the use of [chiropractic]."
But according to the Lay Scientist, the original statement is:
"There was weak evidence to support the use of hypnosis, psychotherapy, acupuncture and chiropractic but it was provided in each case by single small trials, some of dubious methodological rigour."
If this is correct, there can be no doubt that (a) such deletions would be deliberate and (b) the edited quotation would be likely to give a different impression to the original.
However, I will leave you to draw your own conclusion as to what the motives could have been behind this apparent "sexing-up" of the original quotation. I just hope that this dossier took more than 45 minutes to compile.
That said, and more gravely, I do not think those responsible for this editing - and for approving this statement for publication - can now be looking forward to any cross-examination on how this discrepancy came about, regardless of whether Simon Singh wins his appeal on meaning.
Generally, it is obvious there is now no good way out for the BCA in this awful litigation.
Their least bad outcome would be to drop the case now, relying on their "vindication" at the preliminary hearing, and suffering the current ridicule.
Their worst outcome would be to lose the case.
I have always maintained that this case should never have been brought; but it is simply not for me to call on the BCA to drop it.
Though, of course, it is never too late to make a good decision.