Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The lunatics have taken over the asylum

Back in the day, when I first joined the Green party, we had a credibility problem. The problem was that the party was thought to be filled with ex-hippies with odd fringe ideas. In truth, we probably did attract people with peculiar views, because the idea of a political party focused around the environment was pretty extreme.

These days, it seems that some of the same odd fringe ideas are getting traction in government. Let me give some examples:

Homeopathy. All sorts of alternative therapy ideas were very trendy, some of which have been found to have a solid basis, or at least provide some viable relief. One of these is homeopathy. Despite a commons report indicating that there is no evidence found for homeopathy to work, David Tredinnick seems to be supporting it and questioning the science that disproves it.

Over the summer, there were a number of people calling for homeopathic treatment for Ebola. So this is not an isolated incident. It seems that belief in homeopathy is alive and well in the heart of government - precisely what many critics of the Greens were afraid of if they voted for them.

Let me state it here clearly, in case there is any confusion: homeopathy is baseless, does not work, and should not be promoted as a serious medical discipline. It has placebo effects, but no more. That anyone in government could be considering promoting it or supporting it is a disgrace.

Climate change denial. Now of course, the greens have never really attracted any of these. However, in the early days, the idea of climate change - especially as caused by humans - was very fringe, very extreme. These days, the scientific evidence is absolutely clear, there is no doubt that climate change is happening, or that it is being caused by our actions. And yet we still have in government people like Owen Paterson, who rejects the clear scientific evidence. He is not alone - there are climate change deniers at the heart of government.

There are many reasons for rejecting the idea of climate change caused by us, but science is not one. The fact that there is not 100% agreement (more like 99%) is just the nature of the scientific process - it is rare to get 100% agreement. The evidence of the scientific community is overwhelmingly in favour of human-cause climate change. The focus should be on changing this, not arguing against it.

These are the main two areas that I have seen recently. Both are flying in the face of scientific evidence. I do not think that science has all of the answers, I do think there is more to life than that. But where there is a scientific conclusion, I have to accept that, however much I may dislike it. Science has dis-proven homeopathy. Science has supported climate change caused by us. Now I have to get on with it. I can make other arguments, but what I cannot do is argue that the science is wrong.

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