This is just a few highlights of tonight’s Westminster Skeptics as: 1) I’m not a journalist (infact barely a blogger) and 2) it being in a pub, I’ve had a few pints!
Prof. Brian Cox kicked off the night with an excellent presentation on science funding and how it is so small that to cut it would be insignificant; except for the huge advances and increase in GDP that it brings. To see for yourself how small government science funding is, check out this graphic from the Guardian and see if you can spot it! A good illustration of the point is that the Apollo program paid for itself 14 times over its cost in terms of GDP generated for the American economy.
After this we heard from Nick Dusic of CASE (Campaign for Science & Engineering in the UK). His basic message was that there is a science vote out there to be won, and we as voters need to be stronger, more vocal and show our presence. This is a point I totally agree with.
Dr Evan Harris MP (Lib Dem Science Spokesman) was also there, but he basically re-iterated Brian Cox, so I shan’t bother re-writing. He did come out with one beautiful quote during the Q&A session, but I promptly forgot it so will have to paraphrase. He was discussing the Government funding of humane animal research and said he advocated writing on the pill bottle “Only made possible by the public spending on humane animal research and testing”, and went even further to suggest we should disclose how many animals went into a treatment in the original (he suggested MRC) press release for the treatment, making very sure the public spending is acknowledged. I like this point very much: scientific triumphs need more proper celebration rather than derision or ridiculous hyperbole.
The rest of the session was unremarkable (as far as I have noted anyhow), but enjoyable as ever. And we only managed to slip into homeopathy once, which I presume is some kind of record for the skeptics!