Good Thinking Society

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The Good Thinking Society
Good Thinking Society Logo.png
Abbreviation GTS
Formation September 2012
Founder Simon Singh
Type Nonprofit organisation
Legal status Registered charity[1]
Purpose To encourage curious minds and promote rational enquiry[1]
Region served
England and Wales[1]
Chairman
Simon Singh[2]
Johnnie Shannon, Michael Marshall, Laura Thomason[2]
Website goodthinkingsociety.org

The Good Thinking Society is a nonprofit organisation promoting scientific scepticism established by Simon Singh in September 2012.

Activities

The society aims to raise awareness of and fund sceptical projects.[3]

During the 2014 World Homeopathy Awareness Week, the Good Thinking Society set up a website at homeopathyawarenessweek.org with the purpose of giving a factual scientific view on homeopathy.[4] They also ran Psychic Awareness Month in October 2014 which included handing out leaflets to audience members before a psychic's shows in the UK.[5] In April 2015 the organisation threatened legal action against the Liverpudlian Clinical Commissioning Group over its spending of £30,000 per year on homeopathy, with Singh saying "Homeopathic treatments when paid for by the NHS are a waste of crucial resources".[6][7] Thereafter, Singh and project director Michael Marshall called on all remaining homeopathy-funding CCGs in the UK to follow the example of Liverpool to reconsider their funding policies.[8]

Michael Marshall lecturing on GTS' homeopathy campaign at QED 2015.

In June 2015, the Daily Mirror reported that Marshall had investigated the curious case of Freeman's, a NHS-supplying pharmacy that, amongst other products, sold "homeopathic owl", apparently meant for people with sleeping problems or who "pick up the characteristics of [an owl]". Marshall commented that "Around £3-5 million is spent each year [on homeopathic products by the NHS] and it's completely worthless. People are being told that it works when there's no evidence that it does."[9]

In May 2015, GTS obtained video footage from the Spirit of Health Congress, where, according to Marshall, claims were made about health that 'appeared illegal and could cause serious harm': "The dangerous misinformation at the Spirit of Health event is shocking, particularly with regard to serious conditions such as cancer."[10]

In September 2015, Marshall showed how American televangelist and self-proclaimed prophet and faith healer Peter Popoff –previously exposed by James Randi– was trying to persuade people to send him money on promises of "fabulous extreme fortune" and "miracles". Moreover, at a recent London gathering, GTS filmed how Popoff supposedly 'healed' a woman 'who said her body was wracked with pain', but who Marshall and his colleague believed could have been planted in the audience as part of Popoff's team: they saw she was handing out pens and a questionnaire at the start of the event, and quietly left the room soon after the alleged miracle.[11]

In November 2015, following a threat of legal action by the Good Thinking Society, the British government stated that the Department of Health would hold a consultation in 2016 regarding whether homeopathic treatments should be added to the NHS treatments blacklist (officially, Schedule 1 of the National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) (Prescription of Drugs etc.) Regulations 2004), that specifies a blacklist of medicines not to be prescribed under the NHS.[12][13]

Awards

The society runs a number of awards including the Golden Duck award, given for a 'lifetime achievement of quackery', awarded to Andrew Wakefield in 2012.[14] The society also awarded a joint Science Blog Prize to Suzi Gage and David Colquhoun in 2012; Ben Goldacre and science writer Mark Henderson were among the judges, choosing from over 100 entries.[15]

References

  1. ^ a b c "1147404 - Good Thinking". charitycommission.gov.uk. Charity Commission for England and Wales. 5 April 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "People". GTS website. Good Thinking Society. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Sims, Paul (10 December 2013). "Adding up with The Simpsons". New Humanist. Rationalist Association. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Doctorow, Cory (April 12, 2014). "Celebrate World Homeopathy Awareness Week with homeopathyawarenessweek.org". Boing Boing. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
  5. ^ Stockwell, Tony (13 October 2014). "Good Thinking Society encourages scepticism at medium's Pavilion show". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Joshua Taylor (12 April 2015). "Liverpool NHS to review £30k homeopathy bill after threat of legal action". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  7. ^ Laura Donnelly (27 April 2015). "Homeopathy on the NHS to be reviewed". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  8. ^ Marshall, Michael; Singh, Simon (18 June 2015). "All NHS trusts should stop funding homeopathic treatments". The Pharmaceutical Journal. Royal Pharmaceutical Society. 294 (7867). Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  9. ^ Olivia Solon (3 June 2015). "NHS supplier sells 'homeopathic owl' that promises to help treat insomnia". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 31 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Laura Donnelly, Justin Stoneman (25 May 2015). "The fake cancer cure conference the 'healers' tried to keep secret". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  11. ^ Andrew Penman (24 September 2015). "Two very different charlatans both selling the divine right to get rich quick". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 24 September 2015. 
  12. ^ James Gallagher (13 November 2015). "Homeopathy 'could be blacklisted'". BBC News. 
  13. ^ Damien Gayle (14 November 2015). "Homeopathy on prescription could be banned from NHS". The Guardian. 
  14. ^ Jha, Alok (23 December 2012). "Struck off MMR doctor handed award for 'lifetime achievement in quackery'". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  15. ^ Parr, Chris (1 December 2012). "Science blog awards recognise youth and experience". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
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