Skeptical Voter Questionnaire Response 2010
1. Do you support the use of NHS money to provide unproven health products such as homeopathy?
Homeopathy is not an issue that I know a great deal about, although I am fairly sceptical of 'new age' remedies. However in my own experience sometimes the trick in healing seems to be a question of mind over matter. I think many of the drugs given to my late grandmother were little more than placebos, but she complained if she didn't get them. I am not convinced that everything the NHS dispenses is necessarily a proven health product.
2. Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?
Definitely not. Creationism is a religious opinion which bears no relation to the theory of evolution, which is a rigorously-tested scientific view. Creationism should be taught only within a religious setting.
3. Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?
No! In a society based on free speech then we must be allowed to ridicule or criticise anyone else's views. Religion deserves no special protection. My political views are very sincerely held, but I defend those who wish to ridicule them, even though I don't agree with them. This is the worst kind of censorship and political pandering to special-interest groups. Also it is the worst-kind of thought-control a la 1984 (George Orwell).
4. Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly?
Yes, what is the matter with free debate? However the advisor would probably need to be conscious of statements made to him or her in confidence.
5. Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?
No, there should be one rule and one justice system for everyone, I think we made a mistake in allowing Jewish courts in the first place.
6. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?
I am not sure about this as I have never been involved in scientific experimentation, so I wouldn't know if there was an alternative. However if this was deemed the only way to save human lives then I would be in favour. However for the purposes of cosmetic medicines then I think this is somewhat debatable.
7. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?
People making decisions need to take many things into account, science is very important but scientists have prejudices and weaknesses the same as other humans. There is no such thing as value-free advice. Sometimes the best decisions are made from an intuitive perspective.
8. Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?
The current consensus is also likely to change so that is not the only consideration. Abortion limits are something that the general public needs to feels comfortable with, as it is the 'public purse' which is largely finding this activity.
9. Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?
Only if they are elected, there should be no appointees in our second chamber. It must be composed only of those elected.
10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?
I am against celebrities and those with power or money being able to stymie legitimate journalism or criticism. Fundamentally I believe in free speech, people should be allowed to make their own judgements on whether something is lurid or not.