The views of Dick Taverne, member of the UK’s House of Lords, are well known to many of us who have natural leaning to things natural. He has, for example, rallied long and hard to promote genetically modified (GM) foods, while campaigning vociferously against natural medicine. He has been a member of both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats, was Financial Secretary to the Treasury under Harold Wilson’s Labour government, and has served on the House of Lords’ Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee. Crucially, he founded the arch-skeptic organisation Sense About Science in 2002 and remains its Chairman.

In our experience, Sense About Science is neither sensible nor particularly interested iin objective science. It is one of the loudest voices among the skeptic movement, which is well-known for misusing science to serve a corporate agenda.

Now, Lord Taverne has raised a question in the House of Lords that runs like this: “To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to discourage United Kingdom universities from offering Bachelor of Science degrees for courses in alternative medicines such as aromatherapy, reflexology and Chinese medicine.

Have you picked your jaw up from the floor yet? Yes, a peer of the realm thinks it appropriate that the state should intervene to prevent universities from teaching the courses they choose. Soviet Commissars could not have put it better! This is all from someone who has no training in science. His conflation of Chinese medicine, a tradition which stretches back centuries and which is one of the fastest-growing healthcare modalities in the world, with aromatherapy and reflexology, which have been somewhat less studied, can only be deliberate. It is a tactic as old as the hills, and fortunately, it seems, the other peers in the debate did not fall for it, in the main.

Read the full debate.

Do you think someone who heads up an organization as un-objective, biased, and anti-natural medicine as Sense About Science, should be trying to put pressure on universities to close down course in natural medicine?

Do you think it’s just possible that the timing of this attack might be carefully planned to coincide with the increased regulatory pressure against Chinese and Indian medicine that’s apparent as we approach the date of full implementation of the EU’s Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive in May 2011?


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