Rationalism 4 – Superstition 0

Over the last two days, as part of the debate on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, Parliament has had four votes[1] where the forces of Medievalism tried to impose the views of their imaginary friends to prevent the advance of science.

As you’ll have seen in the news, they lost on all four counts. This is fantastic news. I really think that we might be seeing the power of Bronze Age myths starting to fade away in the UK. It’s laughable, of course, that anyone could even consider debating in the House of Commons on the basis of fairy stories. But it’s heartening to know that rationalism might be starting to break out.

Of course, the objections to the Bill weren’t all religious in nature. During the abortion debate there was plenty of mention of a poll which says that 75% of women want a reduction to the 24-week limit on abortions. Of course the poll was conducted on behalf of the Christian Institute (so maybe I was wrong and there wasn’t any non-religious objections). And given that this is a debate on a medical topic, shouldn’t we give more credence to the views of the medical profession, rather than the general population?

Well, apparently the majority of MPs agree with me. They did listen to the medical advice and didn’t lower the limit. Let’s hear it for rational debate and the defeat of superstition.

I’m looking forward to looking at the front pages of our more reactionary press this morning. I bet they’ll be livid. The BBC was a little disappointing. Their lead story (at least on  the 7am bulletin I saw) was a preview of some football match that is taking place tonight.

A final word from Health Minister Dawn Primarolo, talking about Nadine Dorries contributions to the debate: “She has asserted many things as fact which are not this evening.”

[1] Ok, actually more than four as there were a few amendments to the section on abortion.


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