As most people in Great Britain will know, there is a general election approaching, which usually means that issues that have been bubbling over for awhile tend to come to the forefront. This election’s political hot-potato has thus far been the NHS (National Health Service).
Few would deny that the NHS is facing something of a crisis, but I doubt that many would have predicted the unusual rescue method suggested by David Tredinnick, and reported by the Telegraph today. The MP for Bosworth in Leicestershire believes that astrology is the answer.
Consider the irony of that, a system based upon the scientific method and the provision of evidence, should be saved by a system with absolutely no evidential basis at all.
Tredinick states in an interview with Astrological Journal this month:
“Astrology is a useful diagnostic tool enabling us to see strengths and weaknesses via the birth chart…And, yes, I have helped fellow MPs. I do foresee that one day astrology will have a role to play in healthcare.”
He goes on to boldly opine that those who oppose the use of astrology are “bullies” who have never studied astrology. Even stating at one point that those who oppose astrology are racist! Whatever “race” those who support evidence-based medicine over superstition are prejudiced against is not clear. In fact he later seems to acknowledge why almost anyone with a shred of knowledge would oppose a system of health care based on astrology, it can’t pass the test:
“They are also ignorant, because they never study the subject and just say that it is all to do with what appears in the newspapers, which it is not, and they are deeply prejudiced, and racially prejudiced, which is troubling…. Astrology may not be capable of passing double-blind tests but it is based on thousands of years of observation.”
Tredinnick fails to grasp that this isn’t a minor inconvenience, the idea of double-blind testing is the foundation of modern medicine. Doctors and health care staff should not be relying on treatments based on anecdote.
Of course this isn’t Tredinnick’s first ludicrous statement. He has a long track record of making such silly statements about astrology (Member of Parliment Tredinnick is saying silly stuff again) or homeopathy. And he only seems to be more strident in his stance.
Here is a link to a petition to have Tredinnick removed from the health committee and the science and technology committee. Does he really belong there?