Will David Tredinnick Help Us Test Astrology?

David Tredinnick, MP for Bosworth and a member of both the Health Committee and Science and Technology Committee, has recently stated a number of times that he believes in the use of astrology for medical purposes:

Our interest was piqued by these remarks, so we wrote to him asking if he would like to help us set up an experiment to test the accuracy of astrology:

David Tredinnick MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

3rd November 2014

Dear Mr Tredinnick,

I am writing to you regarding your recent statements concerning the potential role of astrology in healthcare, which you made both during your appearance at the Glastonbury Festival and more recently while being interviewed on Channel 4 News. During the former you stated, “I am absolutely convinced that those who look at the map of the sky for the day that they were born and receive some professional guidance will find out a lot about themselves and it will make their lives easier“, while during the latter you suggested that the use of astrology (alongside other alternative systems) “could probably save 5% of budget” for the NHS.

I work for the Good Thinking Society, a charity which aims to promote critical thinking, not least regarding ideas that lie outside of the mainstream. We are particularly interested in your advocacy for the usefulness of astrology – whether it be in its predictive powers or for any role you believe it could play in healthcare. With that in mind, we would like to work with you to arrange for a simple test of the accuracy of the astrological system – something we feel you will be interested in, having effectively challenged Julia Hartley-Brewer to much the same thing during your LBC interview with her in July.

Given your expertise in the matter and your long-term advocacy for astrology, we would like you to suggest an astrologer who you feel is best able to offer the kinds of diagnostic readings you believe to be of value, so as to give our test every chance of being successful. In your LBC interview,  you highlighted a company called Equinox: if you believe them to be capable of providing accurate and informative readings, I would be happy to contact Robert Currey from Equinox to arrange a test, with your backing. We have actually spoken at length with Robert in the past, so I am sure that with your support he would be very willing to try to demonstrate what astrology has to offer. Naturally, we would ensure that any test is designed in collaboration with the astrologer in question, to be certain that both you and they felt it fair and that success was attainable.

If astrology really has any potential benefit to public health and really can, as you suggested to Julia, “change your life”, then we are sure that you will agree that passing a simple test ought to be a straightforward matter and (more importantly) could change people’s views on the potential role of astrology . With that in mind, I look forward with great anticipation to your response and your support in this venture.

Kind regards,

Johnnie Shannon
Good Thinking Society

After hearing nothing for a number of weeks we did receive an email from Mr Tredinnick just before Christmas. He said he “would  like to talk to you about your work and possibilities” and we agreed to set up a conference call in the first week of January. However, on the 8th of January we received an email stating:

Although this is an issue in which I am interested I now find I have increasing constituency commitments in the run up to the General Election, and these, added to my existing Parliamentary and Select Committee work, means that I am unfortunately not able to pursue this at this time. If you wish to discuss with me further after the General Election please do so.

We wrote back asking if he could propose an astrologer that we could work with in the meantime, but have so far received no further response. We are disappointed that Mr Tredinnick can find the time to promote astrology, but can not find the time to test whether or not the claims of astrology are genuine.

We will obviously be back in touch with him after the next General Election, and we remain optimistic. After all, as a Capricorn (born January 19, 1950), we know that “underneath that aloof, indifferent outside lies a physical, passionate loyal person that will come out when the time is right.”