Skeptical Voter Questionnaire Response
[1. Do you support the use of NHS money to provide unproven health products such as homeopathy?]
1. The provision of NHS treatments should always be based on the best available scientific evidence about its benefits. This would indeed exclude homeopathy but also potentially some other treatments of unproven overall value, such as fluoridation of water (for example the University of York review of available scientific literature came to some rather ambivalent conclusions). One caveat is that the value of certain types of treatments (such as counselling) might be difficult or impossible to evaluate in conventional double-blind trials.
[2. Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?]
[3. Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?]
[4. Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly?]
4. Yes, to promote openness in public debate
[5. Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?]
5. Absolutely not
[6. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?]
6. This is not purely a question about rationalism but also ethics as there is a question of suffering inflicted on animals. In short, I could not agree with the point as it stands.
[7. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?]
7. Yes, subject of course to a thorough body of evidence.
[8. Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?]
[9. Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?]
9. The short answer is no. I would support an entirely elected House of Lords, so the representation of religious leaders would not continue (unless they were elected of course). In fairness, however, I think that within the current arrangements, religious leaders are no less qualified to vote on legislation than unelected and unaccountable individuals who are sometimes appointed because of cronyism.
[10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?]
10. Yes. In fact I believe the libel law should be reformed to allow greater freedom of speech in general.