Physicist Hawking criticizes UK health secretary on service

FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2015 file photo, professor Stephen Hawking listens to a news conference in London. Noted physicist Hawking has criticized Britain’s health secretary for what he described as the selective use of scientific studies to support changes in the National Health Service. The world-renowned scientist has accused Conservative minister Jeremy Hunt of “cherry picking’’ evidence to support the changes and says the service is at risk. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

LONDON (AP) – Noted physicist Stephen Hawking has criticized Britain’s health secretary for what he described as the selective use of scientific studies to support changes in the National Health Service.

The world-renowned scientist has accused Conservative minister Jeremy Hunt of “cherry picking” evidence to support the changes and says the service is at risk.

Hunt rejected Hawking’s charges Saturday, but the public spat underscored the strains on the health service after years of cost-cutting.

Hawking, a supporter of the opposition Labour Party, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1962. He says he “would not be here today if it were not for the service.”

Hawking says when public figures “abuse scientific argument, citing some studies but suppressing others to justify policies they want to implement for other reasons, it debases scientific culture.”

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