Sunday, 7 January 2007

Ministers may fear science but the people still believe in progress

On Friday I reported that a general distrust of scientific progress caused by misunderstandings encouraged by anti-scientific groups was putting important scientific research at risk.

In this specific case, work aimed at finding cures for major diseases such as Motor Neurone disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s was being undermined because ministers (specifically health ministers Patricia Hewitt and Caroline Flint) had become spooked after a majority of the 535 respondents to an unrelated consultation on human fertility treatment reacted negatively.

At the time I implied that the majority of the 535 respondents to that consultation probably did not indicate a majority in the country. I would have guessed that most people in the country support this important and valuable research.

I am therefore glad to note that the BBC is running a poll on this question and so far there is clear support for the research. But there's everything left to play for, so please do go and cast your vote (whatever you believe).

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