Skeptical Voter Questionnaire Response
[1. Do you support the use of NHS money to provide unproven health products such as homeopathy?]
1.. No, but the placebo effect should not be discounted.
[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?]
3.. No, but religious beliefs and freedoms must be defended against hate crimes and discrimination.
[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.. Government advisers, whether they be civil servants or "experts" are paid to advise the representatives of the people not set public policy for them. If the people who carry the democratic mandate decide to act differently to advice they are free to do so. However they should be willing and able to explain why they chose not to take the advice offered. That is what political leadership is all about, taking decisions and justifying them to the electorate.
[5. Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?]
[6. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?]
6.. I would wish to see unnecessary animal testing done away with. Work needs to be done to find alternatives where ever possible. The real value of animal testing should not simply be accepted without vigorous challenge. But when there is absolutely no alternative to animal testing it has to be accepted, reluctantly.
[7. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?]
7.. Policy makes must always respect scientific evidence. However blind trust of one interpretation of the evidence can be just as damaging as ignoring it because it appears to be counterintuitive. Policy makes must be willing to listen and weight up the conflicting arguments as they seek to interpret the 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.. No. Only democratically elected representatives should be allowed to vote in our Parliament.
[10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?]