(Sorry, Ari sent this direct to me, but I've sent it back to the list,
because it might foster discussion)
Thanks for your email.
On 3 Aug 2004, at 16:37, Ari _s wrote (in private email):
> We do not have nationalized healthcare, thank God (oops, skeptic
> list). I
> have excellent insurance which I worked for, just like my salary. I
> believe the indigent have the right to better healthcare access,
> I believe that like any commodity - you have to work for it. It's not
> free, and that means someone's got to pay for it. I find being in the
> tax bracket sufficient as far as I'm concerned.
> I know the alternative argument, I worked for a British man for over a
> year and he was a strong believer. However, the people who I know in
> US who believe in HMO's (kind of like nationalized health care), and
> nationalized healthcare have never been ill.
> I, on the other hand, have very expensive medications due to a
> and I know for a fact that no "nationalized" system would supply me
> the most up-to-date medications due to their phenomenal expense. Since
> past medications have been recalled, it's very important to get the
> up to date one. Sure, I'd like to give them all up, but I've tried and
> it's just impossible. I've even spent $30,000 on alternative care in
> last 4 or so years. No luck.
But, wouldn't you say that, regardless of politics, regardless of
whether or not you agree with something like social health care, it is
a worthwhile ambition to bring rationality to politics?
For example, I have recently lobbied my government on the topic of
polygraph testing, demanding that their policy toward polygraph testing
is based on rational and skeptical perspectives. Look at the evidence
critically. Until the evidence shows a positive effect for the use of
polygraph testing, don't use it.
And, on the topic of finance, isn't it important that we should ensure
that in either system - whether it be a system like in Britain or in
the US - that healthcare is based on science and rationality rather
than pseudo science. Of course, when it is a state-run national system,
you have to do that by lobbying. While in a private system, you have to
deal with individuals and health insurance providers. For example,
wouldn't it be great if skeptic's decided to build a list of health
insurers who didn't use homeopathy or acupuncture or any other
fraudulent or irrational alt-med treatments? Then, imagine, if people
decided to use their choice of health provider not to fund
> But, what do I know! And I *won't* argue about homeopathy or any other
> modality. Homeopathy has no basis in science, defies physical laws, and
> there's really no other argument. My best friend believes in homeopathy
> and I keep my mouth shut. My friendship with her is more important than
> what she does with her health.
That may be. But, it is important, as a society, to ensure that
irrationality doesn't get a foothold. I think debate does have a useful
part to play in this.
> Thank you for responding. To be honest, as I stated earlier, I'm a
> reject because I'm a scientist, but I am not an atheist. Having worked
> science for 20 years or so, I knew almost no other atheists, even
> brilliant minds.
You do not have to be an atheist to be a skeptic. Look at Martin
Gardner. He's an über-skeptic and believes in God because it consoles
Thanks for your email!