Astrology-loving MP seeks health answers in the stars

By BBC

 

A Conservative MP has spoken of his belief in astrology and his desire to incorporate it into medicine.

David Tredinnick said he had spent 20 years studying astrology and healthcare and was convinced it could work.

The MP for Bosworth, a member of the health committee and the science and technology committee, said he was not afraid of ridicule or abuse.

“There is no logic in attacking something that has a proven track record,” he told BBC News.

He said he had studied the Indian astrological system Iahiri and the way it was used by that country’s government and recalled how Chris Patten, Britain’s last governor of Hong Kong, had an official astrologer, whom Mr Tredinnick had consulted while on a parliamentary delegation there.

The MP recently spoke about his beliefs at the Glastonbury Festival, sharing a platform with Daily Mail astrologer Jonathan Cainer.

Recalling the experience in the House of Commons, he said he had been invited to take part because of his “radical agenda” on complementary medicine – he is vice-chairman of the government’s herbals working group.

48 COMMENTS

  1. If people keep electing monkeys like this, we really will end up living in a mad jungle!

    http://edzardernst.com/2014/06/david-tredinnick-perhaps-the-worst-example-of-scientific-illiteracy-in-government/

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2010/mar/12/mps-and-evidence-for-homeopathy

    Last month, the Commons science and technology committee published a detailed report into the evidence for the efficacy, or otherwise, of homeopathic remedies. You can read it here.

    After taking oral testimonies from scientists, doctors and homeopathy advocates, the committee recommended the government halt NHS funding for this kind of alternative medicine and said the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency should ban false statements of medical efficacy on the labels of homeopathy products.

    ..

    But I digress. Two weeks ago, Tory MP David Tredinnick, set down an early day motion expressing concern about the science committee’s report. He’s not happy that evidence was taken from a limited number of people and wanted to hear more views from people who are fans of homeopathy.

    The early day motion itself is by the by. There is a long and colourful history of nonsense EDMs that come and go with no one noticing. But what is staggering about this one – as pointed out on David Colquhoun’s blog – is that 58 MPs have signed it. As Colquhoun, a professor of pharmacology at University College London, says, that’s 9% of all MPs.

    http://www.badscience.net/2008/02/magnificent-torrent-of-canards-in-parliament-from-david-tredinnick-mp/

    Tredinnick has been blathering pseudoscience nonsense in and out of parliament for years! – So if they ever need a minister of quackology – he’s just the man!

    • “… He’s not happy that evidence was taken from a limited number of people and wanted to hear more views from people who are fans of homeopathy. …”

      . . . As though it were only a matter of surveying all the points of view out there in the community! As though evidence and reason had nothing to do with it!

    • Miserablegit Jul 27, 2014 at 12:57 am

      So, if you make the claim that any old shit has a proven track record then that makes it true even without a scrap of evidence

      That kind of depends on if it scrutinised by people who can distinguish peer-reviewed “evidence” from sloppy pseudo-science blither!

      http://edzardernst.com/2014/06/

      From February 2007 to February 2008, Get Well UK ran the UK’s first government-backed complementary therapy pilot. Sixteen practitioners provided treatments including acupuncture, osteopathy and aromatherapy, to more than 700 patients at two GP practices in Belfast and Derry.

      Following the “successful completion” of the pilot, the results were analysed by Social and Market Research and recommendations were made to the Health Minister.

      The link shows the glowing report published on improvements in patients across a range of issues ..

      BUT the linked analysis tells a different story! :-

      Impressed? Well, in case you are, please consider this:

      there was no control group
      therefore it is not possible to attribute any of the outcomes to the alternative therapies offered
      they could have been due to placebo-effects
      or to the natural history of the disease
      or to regression towards the mean
      or to social desirability
      or to many other factors which are unrelated to the alternative treatments provided
      most outcome measures were not objectively verified
      the patients were self-selected
      they would all have had conventional treatments in parallel
      this ‘trial’ was of such poor quality that its findings were never published in a peer-reviewed journal
      this was not a ‘trial’ but a ‘pilot study’
      pilot studies are not normally for measuring outcomes but for testing the feasibility of a proper trial
      the research expertise of the investigators was close to zero
      the scientific community merely had pitiful smiles for this ‘trial’ when it was published
      neither Northern Ireland nor any other region implemented the programme despite its “spectacularly good results”.

  2. Human sacrifice had a proven track record for the Mayan’s until….

    Bleeding a sick person had a proven track record for surgeons until ….

    Earth centricity had a proven track record until Copernicus……

    Burning witches had a proven track record until …..

    Religion had a proven track record until…..

    Until rational evidence based reasoned displaced their proven track record.

    IMHO, this says more about voters and societal rationalism than it does about the MP, when people like this are a dime a dozen. When voters rate a candidates rationality before all is when we may have a chance of an evidence based world. How can anyone vote for Tredinnick or people of a similar ilk.

    • Hi David,

      I like your post.

      I found your post a bit confusing at the end, perhaps because I’m not familiar with “societal rationalism”.

      As far as I can see this story tells us nothing about voters. Voters are not included in the story. If I wanted to hear what voters think, then I would need to see something that asks the opinion of a significant number – like a poll.

      Let’s put this report into a wider context, and study the sociological interactions of politicians, political parties, and the communication links between these social elements and voters. Are we able to conclude, rationally, that “voters rate a candidate’s [insert trait or position of choice]” in any way?

      According to research into this area, based on heuristics and avoiding the complex arguments taking place in fields like cognitive psychology and behavioral economics, a working model of voters is that they are only capable of considering a limited amount of information about candidates and they consider just enough information to reach a decision that satisfies them.

      Which heuristics do voters choose, how do they process them and do they actively reject some heuristics?

      Three key elements appear to come into play (though please note I am only an amateur student of voter sociology):

      Time, we all have limited time, even if we take our voting responsibility seriously – which clearly many do not.
      Education, it is often assumed in sociology models that the population has an equal access information and equal access to the ability to process what they receive rationally. This does not accord with the Real World.
      Dogma, many people will vote for someone simply on the basis that they claim to support an ideology, or because ‘S/he is just like me’.

      Don’t even get me started on vested interests such as the press, and their almost exclusively negative influence on elections.

      On that basis it seems to me that it is spectacularly, extra-ordinarily and stupendously unlikely that anyone voted for Tredinnick, or people of a similar ilk, in the knowledge that they’re idiots. For now we will need to swallow the bitter pill that the only way to weed out the Tredinnick’s of this World in any parliament or congress is post facto.

      True democracy can only re-emerge when we treat life-long education as our greatest achievement, and we put in place the mechanisms for judging each candidate as individuals – i.e. voters are actually enabled to apply rational thought to all the heuristic values.

      Peace.

      • True democracy can only re-emerge when we treat life-long education as our greatest achievement, and we put in place the mechanisms for judging each candidate as individuals – i.e. voters are actually enabled to apply rational thought to all the heuristic values.

        It was a bit of throw away line. I concur with your Time, Education and Dogma. I lament for humanity, when so few can mount a rational analysis or argument about anything of importance. I live in this dream world where humans can assess issues based on evidence, and vote accordingly. That voters invest the time and effort to inform themselves with more that a 5 second grab on that media I also detest. (Democracy must have a vibrant 4th estate. We get News Corp)

        Most voters think that (Un) Reality TV is reality. The TV ratings rate our collective commonsense quotient. I inwardly cheer when I don’t recognize the top 10 rated programs in Australia. Most think that sport, cooking shows, Your Countries Got Talent, soap operas and commercial news broadcasts are the height of entertainment….

        I could go on and on, but that would make as sad as Eeyore who lives in that sad and boggy place.

        So when I hear a story like this one about an elected representative who believes in astrology, Dear Mr Tredinnick, I ponder the future of mankind, if this is what the electors elect.

        Goodbye cruel world.
        Peace.

  3. I just reread the last bit of this article… “he is vice-chairman of the government’s herbals working group”… the UK are sooooo lucky to have a government group that might be able to determine once and for all whether Basil or Oregano will go better with the tomato paste I spread on my home made pizza bases.

    Apologies… this is so left field, I am struggling to take this one seriously. I would be curious to know if this guy spouted his astrological opinions in the material/pamphlets he sent out to voters to promote his election?

  4. The MP for Bosworth, a member of the health committee and the science and technology committee, said he was not afraid of ridicule or abuse.

    Can anyone think of a better reason why politicians with any scientific literacy or integrity, should kick him off these two committees?

  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosworth_%28UK_Parliament_constituency%29#Elections_in_the_1990s

    I think that the voters of Bosworth England, must be strong contenders for a “thickest in the country award”, having re-elected Tredinnick since 1987 DESPITE CLEAR WARNINGS – especially in 2010!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Brooks_%28science_writer%29

    In 2010 Brooks set up the Science Party to campaign in the UK general election on a pro-scientific manifesto. Brooks stood for the seat of Bosworth against incumbent MP David Tredinnick, who Brooks described as “a champion of pseudo-science and a hindrance to rational governance”. Tredinnick is a supporter of Alternative medicine and critical of science. It was revealed in the 2009 United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal that Tredinnick had spent £700 of public money on astrology software, which he then repaid following media publicity.[10] Brooks received 197 votes in the election, more than he expected, but certainly not enough to unseat Tredinnick.

    Brooks holds a PhD in Quantum Physics from the University of Sussex.[1][2] He was previously an editor for New Scientist magazine,[3] and currently works as a consultant for that magazine. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, The Observer, The Times Higher Education Supplement, and Playboy.

    I wonder who would have been the better candidate for the Parliamentary health committee and the science and technology committee, if they were being selected by voters with brains?

  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosworth_%28UK_Parliament_constituency%29#Elections_in_the_1990s(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosworth_%28UK_Parliament_constituency%29#Elections_in_the_1990s)

    I think that the voters of Bosworth England, must be strong contenders for a “thickest in the country award”, having re-elected Tredinnick since 1987 DESPITE CLEAR WARNINGS – especially in 2010!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Brooks_%28science_writer%29

    In 2010 Brooks set up the Science Party to campaign in the UK general election on a pro-scientific manifesto. Brooks stood for the seat of Bosworth against incumbent MP David Tredinnick, who Brooks described as “a champion of pseudo-science and a hindrance to rational governance”. Tredinnick is a supporter of Alternative medicine and critical of science. It was revealed in the 2009 United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal that Tredinnick had spent £700 of public money on astrology software, which he then repaid following media publicity.[10] Brooks received 197 votes in the election, more than he expected, but certainly not enough to unseat Tredinnick.

    Brooks holds a PhD in Quantum Physics from the University of Sussex.[1][2] He was previously an editor for New Scientist magazine,[3] and currently works as a consultant for that magazine. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, The Observer, The Times Higher Education Supplement, and Playboy.

    I wonder who would have been the better candidate for the Parliamentary health committee and the science and technology committee, if they were being selected by voters with brains?

  7. I think individuals like this are attention seekers, consequently they’ll accept flack for their silly statements, because although it may be relatively unpleasant, it’s better than receiving no attention at all; and that’s probably why they say such daft things to begin with.

    If asrtology had track record it could be falsified and or verified, but it doesn’t so it can’t, from which it follows that it’s a waste of time arguing with people who believe it.

    But of course if an elected representative comes out with this kind of tripe they need to be watched, which brings us back to attention seeking.

    Mummy, watch me; mummy, mummy, mummy look at me, watch what I’m doing; muuummy!

    I remember saying something like it myself when I was a child.

  8. So Tredinnick is MP for Bosworth eh ! Well the Battle of Bosworth was where Richard III lost his crown. (” A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.”) So now we have the modern Tory MP as the hunchback who is crippled in his thinking !

    As always with the likes of this hunchback and Deepshit Crappa, I almost feel ashamed to be a member of homo sapiens ! But then I look to wiser counsel and I am proud !

  9. Tredinnick has a long history of stupidity, comically incompetent attacks on scientists, and promoting and rushing to the defence of quacks! He is the chief stooge of pseudo-science!

    http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2009/10/mp-david-tredinnick-calls-for-more.html
    Most offensively, he claims critics of alternative medicine are from ‘superstitious’, ignorant and racially prejudiced scientists. It would appear he has a cheek calling scientists superstitious. He says that scientists should not criticise other culture’s quackery because “Criticism is deeply offensive to those cultures, and I have a Muslim college in my constituency.”

    One would have thought the only reasonable response to such a display of delusion, stupidity and irrationality would have been to laugh the poor man out of the chamber. But the minister for health, Gillian Merron, appears to take him seriously. I would hope this is just parliamentary custom,

    but she begins “I congratulate David Tredinnick on securing this debate on the important matter of complementary and alternative medicine”

    Yes, medical astrology is the most important thing that is missing from our health service.

    Tredinnick continued his advancement of nonsense by pressing the minister to comment on

    “healers who can do remote healing, it is no good people saying that just because we cannot prove something, it does not work. The anecdotal evidence that it does is enormous. I know that the Minister is a forward thinker, and I believe that the Department needs to be very open to the idea of energy transfers and the people who work in that sphere.”

    He also presses on,

    problems of negative information, particularly in the context of the Royal London homeopathic hospital and homeopathy generally, and of what is effectively an attack on a statutorily regulated body dealing with chiropractic. Will the Minister offer to look into the position, and perhaps write to me about both the state of the Royal London and the disinformation that has been issued and the chiropractic regulatory council?

    The Minister’s response shows how far the government is from understanding the issues raised by protecting the public from the false claims of alternative medicine.

    Merron says “that the Government’s position on complementary and alternative medicines, which I shall refer to as CAM, is the same as our position on mainstream medicines. “

    This is a major mistake. To treat the claims of pseudo-medical cults in the same way as you treat the claims of scientific medical research is an absurdity. The result is a complete failure to understand how best to protect the public from harm.

  10. Richard01 Jul 27, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    This beggars belief? Surely its a joke?

    You should realise that in politics, the lunatics really are running the legislative asylum!

    The 2013 accountability hearing with the General Medical Council
    (The General Medical Council (GMC) is the independent regulator of doctors in the UK.)
    http://vimeo.com/89699299

    This film has a few short extracts from the 2013 accountability hearing with the General Medical Council which was held on Tuesday 10th December 2013.

    The Committee was chaired by David Tredinnick, MP. In this film you hear evidence from Professor Sir Peter Rubin, Chair, Niall Dickson, Chief Executive and Registrar of the GMC. The last contributor is Charlotte Leslie, MP.

  11. Astrology is a complex science and can be blended with medicine for human health . Astrology and human health are both outcome of an algorithm which manages our lives . which people call GOD and they are related . This can be proven scientifically .

    • dinesh sinha Jul 28, 2014 at 10:46 am

      Astrology is a complex science

      Nope! It has nothing whatever to do with scientific methodology!

      Astronomy is a complex science!

      and can be blended with medicine for human health .

      It can but is useless quackery and possibly dangerous in distracting people nfrom REAL medical treatment they need.

      Astrology and human health are both outcome of an algorithm which manages our lives .

      Rubbish! The laws of physics run the Solar System, the galaxy, and the universe.

      which people call GOD and they are related . This can be proven scientifically .

      Really?? Centuries of failed attempts and not one scientifically validated result! Go and start to study some real science, instead of making silly assertions !

      The only astronomical forces affecting humans or other life, are those of cyclical changes in seasons and weather.

    • Mr DArcy Jul 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      One statement I agree with wholeheartedly but which caused ripples in the astrological tea cup world was

      In the interests of balance on the BBC, yes astrology is nonsense

      I was watching the programme at the time – but the astrologers are unimpressed with these mere physicists and astronomers.

      The astrologers’ star reading interpretations, have been carefully checked by reading tea-leaves, and independently confirmed by a reader of goats entrails, – so there – Yah-boo-sucks scientists!!!! What more evidence do you need?

    • What about the world famous astrologer appearing on the BBC before England played Uruguay in the World Cup. He predicted that England would win easily and that Uruguay’s star striker Louis Suarez would have a poor game? Guess what? England played badly and lost 2-1 and Suarez scored two magnificent goals.

  12. As usual you Britts are copying the yanks, in this case “the great communicator” Ronald Reagan. Although it was more his wife but I think Raygun believed in it as well, in any case it’s a documented fact that there was an astrologer who visited the Reagen white house and gave advise on policy issues.

  13. While touring Australia’s magnificent outback, I attended a night time star gaze event with a well credentialed astronomy. Wonderful night. The Milky Way and the stars fairly blaze and light up the sky. But one of the wonderful things the astronomy said that has stuck with me was on astrology. The astrology charts were all laid down and set in stone around 3000 years ago. Capricorn is December. Aquarius is January-ish. etc. The astronomer pointed out that the earths axis undergoes precession, that is, it wobbles. (As predicted by Einstein) This means that over time, it points in different directions in space. The effect since astrology was laid down is that the earth’s axis now has moved so far, that if you thought you were a Capricorn, born when this star group was dead centre above, then you are actually an Aquarian, because of the earth has changed rotations.

    Someone needs to tell Tredinnick that he is not actually an Aquarian, but he is a Pisces. I’m sure this will make all the difference to his rationality and we can all sleep peacefully again.

  14. This is the excellent foppery of the world, that,
    when we are sick in fortune,–often the surfeit
    of our own behavior,–we make guilty of our
    disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as
    if we were villains by necessity; fools by
    heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and
    treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards,
    liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of
    planetary influence; and all that we are evil in,
    by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion
    of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish
    disposition to the charge of a star! My
    father compounded with my mother under the
    dragon’s tail; and my nativity was under Ursa
    major; so that it follows, I am rough and
    lecherous. Tut, I should have been that I am,
    had the maidenliest star in the firmament
    twinkled on my bastardizing.

    King Lear; Act 1 Scene 2

  15. Now lets see you have prostate cancer and your a scorpio? I’m afraid the prognosis is very poor. Now if you were a leo your chances of a five year survival rate would increase almost 23%! That means we really can’t waste any time or money on palliative care so please go home and die. (Government plan hatching to save cash strapped NHS). What? Your father was a leo? Genetics has nothing to do with the stars it really doesn’t make any difference. Here take one of these jujus three times a day and pray very hard you never know it might just work. Positive thinking and all that! Reiki, isn’t available on the NHS yet.

Leave a Reply