The Good Thinking Society

Simon Singh
Photo by English PEN [CC BY 2.0]

Simon Singh founded the Good Thinking Society (website ) in 2012 as part of his crusade against alternative medicine. The Society aims to fund skeptical projects and to campaign against homeopathy, ear candling and other forms of alternative medicine. It also supports mathematical education, encouraging schools to set up Top-Top sets.

In 2015 the Good Thinking Society threatened legal action against the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group over the spending of £30,000 per year on homeopathy. Singh said, “Homeopathic treatments when paid for by the NHS are a waste of crucial resources”. Singh then campaigned for all other clinical commissioning groups in Britain that supported homeopathy to withdraw their funding. However he has provided no evidence that this would actually save money for the NHS. The patients who were receiving homeopathic remedies before Singh’s campaign did not simply evaporate. When people who had been supplied with homeopathic remedies were no longer provided with them, doctors might well have prescribed allopathic remedies instead which cost more.

In 2019 the Good Thinking Society filed a judicial review claim in the hope of dis-accrediting the Society of Homeopaths Register.

In this black-and-white world of the Good Thinking Society, alternative medicines and therapies are almost all Bad. The list of what Good Thinkers are against is a long one. In the A’s alone the list includes the Alexander Technique, Alternative Diets, Alternative Diagnostic Techniques, Alternative Exercise Therapies and Alternative Gadgets, Anthroposophic Medicine, Aromatherapy and the Ayurvedic Tradition.

On the Good Thinking Society website, Singh claims that the goal is “To encourage curiosity and promote rational thinking”. But the Society has shown very little curiosity and rational thinking about misleading claims by drug companies, the non-publication of negative results from drug trials in scientific journals, the fact that the majority of papers on biomedicine in scientific journals cannot be replicated, and the dubious practices of the pharmaceutical industry, as summarised, for example, in Ben Goldacre’s book Bad Pharma.

Although Dr Singh devotes much of his time and energy to his crusade against alternative medicine, he has no medical qualifications. His PhD is in particle physics. The project director of the Good Thinking Society, Michael Marshall, was a co-founder of the Merseyside Skeptics Society and organises skeptical conferences. He too has no medical qualifications, nor does the project leader, Laura Thomason, who is also first and foremost a skeptical activist. The only member of the advisory panel with any medical training is Professor Edzard Ernst, who was the co-author with Simon Singh of the book Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial, a polemic against alternative medicine. Most of the other members of the advisory board are also committed skeptics with no experience of medicine or medical research, including Richard Wiseman and Chris French, who are both Fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, as are Ernst and Singh himself.

Also see: Simon Singh Exposed