RECENT POSTS RSS

 

Tredinnick’s continuing abuse of his membership of the House of Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology

Posted 3 March 2014 by Lee Turnpenny

He just cannot help himself. During the fourth evidence session of the House of Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology’s inquiry into antimicrobial resistance last week, David Tredinnick, quoting a statistic from a source he had located in the HoC Library, deemed it relevant to ask (@ 09:55) the first witness panel: “Between 1994 and 2008, almost half of the drugs approved have been based on natural products. Have you looked at the possibility of greater use of herbal... Read more

Is the House of Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology sufficiently rigorous?

Posted 26 February 2014 by Lee Turnpenny

To re-emphasise, the raison d’être of the House of Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology is: ‘… to ensure that Government policy and decision-making are based on good scientific and engineering advice and evidence.’ This week (Wednesday 26th February), the Committee holds the fourth evidence session of its ongoing inquiry into antimicrobial resistance. The names/organisations on the consecutive witness panels certainly read reassuringly authoritative, although the last name on the list provokes a quizzical frown. Michael McIntyre is Chair... Read more

The (un)acceptability of pseudoscience in Parliament

Posted 23 January 2014 by Lee Turnpenny

The transcript of the second evidence session of the Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology’s inquiry into Antimicrobial resistance is now available. Here, I edit and compile contributions to proceedings by Committee member David Tredinnick: ‘Much of the Government’s antimicrobial resistance strategy, perhaps naturally, focused on increasing supply—looking at new ways of finding antibiotics and looking at encouraging drug companies to produce them. Would you agree that we should be looking at reducing demand much more and looking at... Read more

The untenability of Tredinnick’s membership of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee

Posted 12 January 2014 by Lee Turnpenny

According to its pages on the Parliament website, the role of the Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology is: ‘… to ensure that Government policy and decision-making are based on good scientific and engineering advice and evidence.’ That’s scientific advice; not, note, pseudoscientific. We’re also informed that the Committee ‘scrutinises the Government Office for Science (GO-Science)’, which ‘… “supports the Government Chief Scientific Adviser and works to ensure that Government policy and decision-making is underpinned by robust scientific evidence”.’... Read more

Comment on the commenting policy at ‘Junk Science’

Posted 7 January 2014 by Lee Turnpenny

Now that the silly season of collective mass delusion has passed, it is time to re-confront those perpetual other irrationalities which persist on account of the quackery-beguiled’s receptiveness to pretty much anything that serves to kid us we can feel better, no matter our blight or plight. There has of late been quite a lot of spat between sceptics and (acolytes of) Chris Woollams, leading to (as one example) the generation of a defensive, paranoid Junk Science post positing a... Read more

WDDTY’s ‘inconvenient’ editorial guide to recognising quackery

Posted 20 November 2013 by Lee Turnpenny

Over at QuackRag.com there is a blog post entitled ‘The inconvenient truth‘. From what I can gather, this article is the reproduced editorial of the latest print edition, which, though still to be found on the shelves of certain retailers who in their commitment to profit customer choice are complicit, I haven’t sought to purchase. It and numerous other WDDTY articles are receiving due treatment at the excellent new What “What Doctors Don’t Tell You” Don’t Tell Youproject, which I... Read more

George and Pete go to Parliament

Posted 5 November 2013 by Lee Turnpenny

Four years ago, during the House of Commons Science and Technology Sub-Committee’s Evidence Check on Homeopathy, Dr. Peter Fisher of the (then named) Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, in response to subtly sardonic questioning from then Committee member Evan Harris, unashamedly said (@ 1: 34 → ), “The shaking is important… If you just gently stir it, it doesn’t work.” The Committee didn’t buy this physician’s belief that succussion (shaking water containing no active ingredient) works to potentise intended homeopathic remedies;... Read more

The pseudoscience of the creator of pseudoscience’s petty petition

Posted 12 October 2013 by Lee Turnpenny

My recent frowning response to what is, in effect, a defensive CAM-promoting petition brought informative comment on its creator. Hence, I’ve learned that the ‘M’ in ‘Jessica Braid (formerly M. United Kingdom’ [sic], indicates Middleton. Who, it turns out, is a CAM practitioner of some notoriety. I’ve looked again at Braid’s petition, and considered her reasoning for raising it. And I remain of the opinion that: i) it gives a misleading account of the motivation of the Advertising Standards Authority;... Read more

Pseudoscience’s petty petition

Posted 24 September 2013 by Lee Turnpenny

Avaaz (according to its own website) is: ‘… a global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.’ It does, by and large, apparently conduct itself reasonably, raising awareness of and providing a campaigning vehicle for important humanitarian issues. I have myself signed and drawn attention to a number of its petitions. However, there is indication that Avaaz’s sympathies may, on occasion, be mis-directed: a new campaign is entreating support to counter what it purports to perceive as: ‘ASA... Read more

Kinesiology as (not is) CAM

Posted 1 September 2013 by Lee Turnpenny

Some time back I discovered, amongst the piles of leaflets advertisers are permitted to display in the foyer of my favourite local cinema, material promoting the services of one or two providers of things CAM, including: holistic massage therapy, Reiki (yeah!), reflexology, face tapping Emotional Freedom Techniques, and something (misleadingly) termed ‘kinesiology’. Only £40/hr! What’s to complain about? Well, it read like common-or-garden pseudoscientific bullshit to me. Regardless (or even more so because) of the logo displaying affiliation to some... Read more