The dictionary defines the word mislead; “to lead in a wrong direction or into a mistaken action or belief often by deliberate deceit” or “to lead astray: give a wrong impression” and “mislead implies a leading astray that may or may not be intentional”.
Clearly there is a distinction between intentionally or unintentionally misleading the public. That it can happen unintentionally is without doubt and one might compare this to an “unclear” road sign that cause some users to accidentally turn left instead of the intended right. Importantly, once it is noticed that the road sign is somewhat confusing it should be corrected. Hence remedial action will be taken by the local government once data becomes available that the sign is misleading. When this happens you know that it was unintentional.
However, if the road sign is not fixed even after compelling data become available, then clearly something is wrong and you are being intentionally misled. Only some people, usually experienced people, will notice this and investigate why this is. More often than not, this happens due to the persistent lobbying of local government and the public, that the sign is fine as it is, by a person who owns a business down the road but then on the left. The main reason for intentionally misleading the public is almost always money.
There is also a varying degree of how well or how easy you can intentionally mislead the public. The worst scenario is where everything you say or write contradicts every known principle of science – it completely lacks common sense. Typically, very few people fall for this and these guys are made out as lunatics. The top achievers, however, are the ones that stay within the rules and regulations and stick to the truth with >90% of what they say or write, making it for the uninformed or inexperienced almost impossible to know that they are being misled. It is that one single twist of the truth or that vital piece of information that is withheld, whilst the rest of what they say is perfectly fine, that misleads you.
The NICM is a top achiever when it comes to intentionally misleading the public. It is always that vital piece of information that is either withheld or presented in a twisted way, whereas the rest of what they say or write sounds so good. For example: their continued blanket support of complementary medicine in general, specifically homeopathy, whilst ignoring the compelling data that homeopathy is not effective for the treatment of any condition and that it can put people’s health at risk. I have written about this topic here where I explained that what they say sound so good but, oh boy, it is so wrong. Recently some of their acupuncture clinical trial results were also exposed by experienced scientist for what it is – you can read it here and here.
The most important aspect is; when the NICM is presented with the facts will they change their stance on a specific issue – e.g. are they unintentionally misleading the public? They have all the information regarding the NHMRC report as well as all the information that I have provided either via letters to the vice chancellor and later via this blog. They have had this compelling data for a number of years- so have they fixed the road sign? No they have not – their misleading public statement regarding homeopathy is still on their website. They are therefore clearly intentionally misleading the public. Do they then make money out of it – is this their motive? For sure! Millions donated from supporters of homeopathy and in exchange, the WSU went as far as to bestow an honorary fellowship on the NICMs main sponsor! Probably hoping that this will ensure future donations.
The NICM have the data and the info to know that they are misleading the public and their motive is clearly money. Thus, I feel confident to state that the NICM is intentionally, and with the support of WSU, misleading the public. And they are extremely good at it!