Stephen Lathwell

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Stephen Lathwell was an independent candidate for Luton South in the 2010 general election.

Skeptical Voter Questionnaire Response

1. Do you support the use of NHS money to provide unproven health products such as homeopathy?

The evidence for homeopathy is observational. Consider 'Consciousness' - scientifically (I am a contributor to ResearchGate's debate on the subject) we can neither define it, even less recreate it. Does that mean that 'Consciousness' is then unproven, just because it is purely based on observational evidence? If Homeopathy achieves better results at a fraction of the cost of pharmaceutical companies products (who are the protagonists against homeopathy), - shouldn't we consider RESULTS more important than Pharmaceutical Companies obscene profits? I'm interested in your reply.

2. Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?

NO.

3. Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?

Yes. I am a Roman Catholic - if you are talking about Richard Dawkins - he lied in the God Delusion. The Roman Catholic Church provided the first piece of real scientific evidence in favour of Evolution. Have you ever heard of Mandel because Richard Dawkins apparently hasn't? He was an Austrian Catholic Monk - who established the Mandelian laws of Inheritence, and settled the Catholics belief in evolution in 1855 while the Scientists were still arguing about whether Creationism or Evolution was the formation of animals. One of the earliest and most popular books on creationism was on the Catholic Banned list until the list was abolished. So how about an argument that is based in reality and not just personality, lies, deception and deceit? Read the Dawkins Delusion - then start your argument.

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.

5. Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?

No, as a Roman Catholic, State Law comes before Catholic law. However in matters of Morality - such as divorce, the state law legalises the divorce, Ecclesiastic Courts (found in Eire) legitimises it in all matters religious (if at all, but the Ecclesiastic Court cannot over-rule the secular courts).

6. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?

Yes, until an appropriate alternative is found.

This is an old argument in new clothes. The question is: Should we risk testing using new technologies in the avid hope that they are '100%' as effective as the new technologies. There's an expression in engineering, 'if it works - don't fix it.'. This is primarily an insult to NASA who take working technologies (ie the Apollo rockets - which can get to the moon) and replace it with the shuttle - which can't get the moon.

Again we come back to the question of risk - if there's a failure, the results can be catastrophic, upto and including deaths. When someone's life is at risk - there is always the emphasis on conservativeness in approach to testing. - who wants to be liable - or just morally responsible for someone elses death? the 'I killed you' guilt is a strong incentive to be cautious - maybe too cautious - but that's the problem with risk - define too cautious - and if the risk was too great - who's responsible?

I'm reminded of the Thalidomide babies. Despite testing, the babies born with malformations was unexpected. Oprin (an 70s/80s anti-Arthritis drug) - despite testing there was significant side-effects on the test subjects including developing prolonged/permanent side-effects to exposure to sunlight.

Medics have the Hypocratic Oath - but that does not mean that Scientists and Engineers do not have a moral imperitive, and it is the issue - especially in the light of Thalidomide and Oprin that there is a strong want, need and sense of caution. No-one wants to make a mistake, not when the consequences can be ...?

7. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?

Yes.

8. Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?

Yes.

9. Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?

Yes. They provide a moral compass, which is embedded in the laws established 3,500 years ago - as a formula to create and maintain a peaceful and ordered society. Tell me adultary doesn't cause someone to get hurt - then argue with the 10 commandments.

10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?

I believe that newspapers are using the 'public interest' argument to continue a personal agenda set by their reporters. If the newspapers believe there is 'public interest' then they should prove it by supplying a signitory or otherwise list of the 'public' who are 'interested'.

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