The speaker is Dick Taverne. Lord Taverne studied philosophy and ancient history at Balliol College, Oxford. He became a lawyer (Queen's Counsel), a Member of Parliament and served as a Minister from 1966 to 1970, first in the Home Office and then the Treasury, where he was Financial Secretary. In 1996 he was appointed to the House of Lords.
In recent years he has become interested in science and society and founded Sense About Science in 2002. He was a member of the House of Lords Committee on the Use of Animals in Scientific Procedures and is currently a member of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee. He is the author of The March of Unreason - science, democracy and the new fundamentalism, published by Oxford University Press in March 2005.