Skeptical Voter Questionnaire Response
[1. Do you support the use of NHS money to provide unproven health products such as homeopathy?]
Q1. The problem you have with dismissing homeopathy is the lack of scientific evidence that extreme dilutions do anything. Then again how effective is aspirin when diluted to one part in 10,000,000. It does nothing so should aspirin be denied to everyone?
[2. Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?]
Q2. Not sure if the question is badly written or a deliberate obfuscation. I infer that you are talking about Darwinian speciation. As you are aware despite being around for a long time it remains a theory because there is no evidence to support speciation. No-one has ever produced a new species as part of a scientific experiment. It is a scientific orthodoxy and should probably be excluded from science lessons in the same way that the many and varied creationist theories should be. If you are sceptical of anything that isn't proven than you must reject Darwinism, or be a hypocrite.
[3. Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?]
Q3. No-one should have to suffer ridicule on the basis of their beliefs. Then again since there isn't a belief that is universally accepted then they are all open to mockery. Those who believe in anything will not change their minds just because someone is 'taking the piss' and surely only someone who is terminally arrogant would expect themselves to be above lampooning.
[4. Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly?]
Q4. If they can't express a view then they are not independent.
[5. Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?]
Q5. One people, one law.
[6. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?]
Q6. Another badly worded question. You are proposing that there is no alternative to animal testing and that animal testing is always effective. Thalidomide perhaps? It makes beautifully healthy baby rats but doesn't have the same effect on humans. I can't share your argument that animal testing should be a necessary part of all medicine development, and I am afraid that I shall have to remain sceptical of this point.
[7. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?]
Q7. There are lots of crackpot scientific theories. However if the evidence to support them is strong then perhaps they only look crackpot. So the answer is yes and no.
[8. Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?]
Q8. I remain sceptical about these people's abilities to decide upon anything. Abortion raises such high emotions that it would be impossible to trust anyone's opinions on the matter other than your own. Hopefully with sensible and appropriate sexual health education and the availability of contraception abortion will become less necessary.
[9. Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?]
Q9. The House of Lords should be fully elected. There is a good case for the inclusion of "co-opted" members who would provide a wider view on certain subjects, but who should not vote.
[10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?]
Q10. Perhaps there should be a change from libel being about the calling of a reputation into disrepute to it being the unfair or incorrect calling of a reputation into disrepute. If what is said is correct then there is no libel. But not being a lawyer this might be too simplistic. There also needs to be some regard to the 'punishment' of libel as there is a difference between the invention of something about someone by an individual for their own gain and the utterance of an individual who really believes that what they are saying is true, but they are actually wrong.