Being clear on Tredinnick

Here is the text of an article submitted to a newspaper, the locality of which encompasses the constituency of David Tredinnick MP:

David Tredinnick, MP for Bosworth, frequently takes opportunity to remind whomever of his membership of the House of Commons Select Committees for Health, and for Science and Technology. His recent pronouncements further question his suitability to serve on either.

He has been ridiculed both in Parliament and in the media for his re-assertion that the strain on the NHS could be alleviated by doctors’ recourse to… astrology. He organised an event in Westminster to consider a role for non-contact healing as ‘a complementary therapy within and alongside the NHS’. And, in his continued promotion of homeopathy (including a call for the NHS to consider a homeopathic flu remedy), he recently stated in the House of Commons that “there is clear evidence [it] is effective in treating autism”.

The latter disregards the fact that there is no evidence that homeopathy is effective at treating any condition; and quite how it could work for autism is especially confusing. Accordingly, the NHS Choices website does not discuss homeopathy as a treatment option for autism. Tredinnick’s misleading statement is thus very problematic in its implication that there is effective treatment, which the NHS is nevertheless not making available to (parents of) those with autistic spectrum disorder.

What/where is this ‘clear evidence’ Tredinnick claims? Certainly not in any published, peer-reviewed, scientific/clinical research papers. Rather, in a letter to a Health Minister who had requested this evidence, Tredinnick supplied copy of an article from a homeopathy magazine, and a screenshot of a homeopath’s website, which include propaganda for the long discredited link between autism and the MMR triple vaccine.

Tredinnick fails to see that the anecdotes contained in these quackery-promoting documents do not constitute evidence. Moreover, provision of such material raises serious concerns: of Mr Tredinnick’s attitude to vaccination; whether he subscribes to the Big Pharma conspiracy theory, which would have you believe that the medical profession doesn’t actually want to help those on the autistic spectrum; whether he is fit to serve on the House of Commons Select Committees for Health, and for Science and Technology.

Surely a minimum requirement for a role on those committees is an objective understanding of what, and what does not, constitute scientific/clinical evidence. But, despite efforts to enlighten Mr Tredinnick that the type of material to which he refers does not constitute such evidence, he pays no heed. Rather, whether astrology or homeopathy, he evasively belittles and dismisses his critics and detractors as “ignorant bullies”; whilst continuing to waste parliamentary time promoting his inappropriate and irresponsible agenda.


And here is what it published:




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