David Cameron's new minister of state for science has drawn criticism online for his past support of the widely-discredited pseudo science of homeopathy.
(Sorry, water fans, there's no debate on that score.)
Greg Clark MP, whose full title is Minister of State for Universities, Science and Cities, was among 206 MPs in 2007 who signed an early-day motion that "welcomes the positive contribution made to the health of the nation by the NHS homeopathic hospitals".
The EDM said that its co-signees:
"believes that complementary medicine has the potential to offer clinically-effective and cost-effective solutions to common health problems faced by NHS patients, including chronic difficult to treat conditions such as musculoskeletal and other chronic pain, eczema, depression, anxiety and insomnia, allergy, chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome; expresses concern that NHS cuts are threatening the future of these hospitals; and calls on the Government actively to support these valuable national assets."
Clark has not made obvious or public endorsements of homeopathy since 2007. But his appointment has drawn criticism online from those who maintain -- along with the overwhelming peer-reviewed consensus -- that homeopathy, or the practice of diluting medicine to the point of absurdity in order to inspire the body to heal itself, has zero grounding in medical science.
More reshuffle fun: New universities and science minister Greg Clark supported NHS homeopathy in parliament http://t.co/XT3uOaMxjX
— Chance (@ChanceFurlong) July 15, 2014
New science minister Greg Clark is pro-homeopathy and anti-abortion: http://t.co/aleDY36uP8
— James O'Malley (@Psythor) July 15, 2014
— Jon Abbott (@jon_abbott) July 15, 2014
Clark replaces David Willetts MP, who has been praised on his departure for a forward-thinking and engaged response to the needs of the science community -- needless to say, an unusual occurrence.
Imran Khan, chief executive of the British Science Association, said: "David Willetts is one of the UK's sharpest and most talented politicians; we've been extraordinarily privileged to have him as the UK's science minister for the past four years.
"We in the science sector like to moan about there not being enough scientists in Parliament, but it was obvious from early on that Willetts - despite not having had much to do with science previously - developed a genuine passion for the subject. You'd be hard-pressed to find many in our sector who have a bad word to say about him."
His view was echoed by John Womersley, head of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), which provides Government funding for "big" science projects in the fields of nuclear and particle physics, space and astronomy.
Professor Womersley said: "David Willetts was seen throughout the science community as an excellent minister - he has been an intelligent advocate for science who really enjoyed his brief, and he worked hard to make the case that science has a strong role to play in our future prosperity and should be adequately supported.
"His commitment to new capital investment has given a major boost to science projects and I very much hope his departure doesn't in any way compromise the Government's commitments in this area."
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