Hayley Stevens is one of the bloggers at The Heresy Club. I met her at QED – well sort of met; we were across the table from each other at the farewell dinner, though we never actually had the “Hi I’m __” moment. I saw her at QED, then, but I didn’t realize she’s the person who made a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority about ‘Healing on the Streets of Bath’ who were claiming to heal illnesses with prayer. I’m impressed! Young People Today eh…When I was Young People Today I wasn’t doing anything as productive as that.
She’s now being called a meany atheist because the ASA ruled against HOTS (and because three MPs are making an issue of it), but she points out that her atheism had nothing to do with the complaint.
…it wasn’t the religion of the HOTS members that was the cause of the complaint – just as it wasn’t me being an atheist that made make the complaint. It was the spurious health claims they were making that led to the complaint being made – just like the time I made a complaint about a ‘psychic surgeon’ who claimed to heal cancer and a whole list of other illnesses, the homeopath who was promoting her services with misleading claims on her website, or the people selling necklaces they claimed would boost your immune system.
I made those complaints – just as with the HOTS one – because the health related claims being made were misleading and potentially harmful, just as any non-evidence based claim is when it comes to the care for those with serious illnesses. It wasn’t because the homeopath, psychic, or the necklace seller was a certain religion, it wasn’t because the HOTS people were Christians, it was because in my opinion the claims being advertised were not evidence based.
Ah but you see it’s only atheists who think claims should be evidence based. Riiight.