A Disaster for Science

I’m not sure that ‘Science’ exists any more. I suppose that, in relation to sending rockets to Mars and Asteroids, real science must still exist, but in relation to things like disease, it does not seem to. Medical science seems to have become so corrupted by politics and money that no trust can be placed upon it. Real medical scientists seem to have been ousted by charlatans from academia whose ‘scientific’ qualifications seem to have come from ‘advertising studies’ or ‘mechanical engineering studies’. Faraday was a scientist; Pasteur was a scientist; they performed experiments and discovered things. People like Chapman and Glantz are not scientists – they do not perform experiments. They do not discover things. What they do is count – that is, they do simple mathematics.

That would be fine if they did not then draw conclusions about what might have happened or what might happen in the future from the counting. Only when the counting is actually applied and tested scientifically, by experiment can it have force.

Take, for example, the Doctors Study. Let us accept that it was genuine and that no data fiddling took place. What it showed, when the counting took place, was that around the age of 50, after 30 years of smoking, the heaviest of smokers started to peg out, and so did moderate smokers, and so did light smokers, and so did non-smokers. But more heavy smokers pegged out than moderate smokers, and more moderate smokers pegged out than light smokers, etc. Doll proposed that it was smoking which caused the deaths. But what is not even remotely considered and explained is why so few smokers died at that age, and the vast majority did not. If we were to consider tobacco smoke as though it was a poison, we would expect people who take a measured dose of that poison day after day, year after year, to be equally affected by it, give or take a little. We would certainly not expect any of them survive taking the measured dose for such long periods of time, from the age of, say, 20, to survive into very old age. If some did, we would expect there to be massive interest in what was different about the survivors.

That has not happened with regard to tobacco smoking. No attempt at all has been made to explain why it is that many smokers, even heavy ones, managed to avoid the effects of the poison. ‘Proper science’ would want to investigate that immensely curious phenomenon.

But the same applies at the other end of the scale. Why were specific heavy smokers poisoned at the early age of 50 when the rest of them were not?

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The epidemiology of smoking has been accepted as proof of harm, when it can only be an indication of a suspicion. You could just as easily say that smokers live, whereas non-smokers survive, for that is just as valid a conclusion to be drawn from the epidemiology as is anything else.

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This uncertainty about smoking is bad enough, but, as regards Second Hand Smoke (and Third Hand Smoke), the uncertainty has become infinite for all intents. That is, the danger of SHS is so tiny that it is impossible to say who might be affected by the dangers within normal human lifetimes. Thus, it is not that SHS is not dangerous. It is that the danger is too small to affect a person who is less that 100 years old at least.

Thus, the Smoking Ban was based not upon science, or even pseudo-science, but was based upon irrational fear of some sort of ghosts which will ‘do you in’ after you are dead.

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I expect to continue this theme tomorrow.

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2 Responses to “A Disaster for Science”

  1. garyk30 Says:

    Along those lines:

    Universities cause more medical distortions than journalists

    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-12/10/exaggerated-medical-reporting

    Exaggerated and scare-mongering health journalism might just seem like an attempt to shift papers, but research conducted by Cardiff University and published in the BMJ has found that in fact the majority of this hyperbole and sensationalism originates in academic press releases.

    They compared the press releases to the peer reviewed papers, looking for three different types of exaggeration. What they discovered was that 40 percent of the releases contained exaggerated advice, 33 percent contained “exaggerated causal claims” and 36 percent contained exaggerated inference to humans from animal research.

    “Our principle findings were that most of the inflation detected in our study did not occur ‘de novo’ in the media but was already present in the text of the press releases produced by academics and their establishments,” they said.

    Journalists were not found to be completely innocent. Rates of exaggeration in news stories when applied against the three different criteria were 17 percent, 18 percent and 10 percent respectively.
    This is far lower than the level of exaggeration discovered in the press releases.

    If they were to apportion blame for exaggerated and alarmist reporting, the researchers said that it “lies mainly with the increasing culture of university competition and self promotion, interacting with the increasing pressures on journalists to do more with less time”.

    • junican Says:

      I’ve already seen that elsewhere, but thanks for the info anyway.
      Will Big Tobacco pick this up and run with it? After all, they have been accused of misleading the public over and over again. Someone must pick this up because it illustrates perfectly clearly how science has been manipulated.

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