It would appear that Ben Goldacre’s criticisms of the Society of Homeopaths (read them at www.badscience.net/?p=553#more-553 ) have stung, judging by the letter they have sent to The Guardian. (read it at http://www.homeopathy-soh.org/whats-new/press-releases.aspx ).
They are claiming that they took the Newsnight/Sense About Science malaria sting very seriously and promised to take action if required. They claim that the programme makers were unable to provide a single example of a Society member giving potentially lethal advice. As I recall, Simon Singh alleged that three of the homeopaths caught claiming their nostrums could prevent malaria were members of the Society and one was a Fellow. If these individuals were telling the truth then clearly the Programme makers did provide the evidence the Society required.
It is possible, of course, that these homeopaths were lying about their membership/Fellowship of the Society. In which case, surely the Society should have been concerned with these false claims linked with dangerous advice? Surely these individuals were lowering the reputation of the Society? Surely the Society would have sent in the lawyers, insisting that these individuals cease their false claims of Society membership? To the best of my knowledge, the SoH took no action whatsoever.
Now consider the action they took against Dr Andy Lewis (lecanardnoir). They claim that his Quackometer website is not merely critical of the Society but defamatory, with the effect that the Society’s reputation could have been lowered. They ignored his email asking what they objected to and sent in the lawyers.
Given that they took no action against individuals whose claims of Society membership, linked with the dangerous advice they were giving, must have lowered the Society’s reputation but did send in the lawyers against a blogger who criticised them, I can only stand by my original conclusion that the purpose of the Society is purely to silence criticism of homeopathy and homeopathists.