June 4, 2011

"Fluoridated water. Artificial sweeteners. Genetically modified foods. Power lines. Vaccines"

"Now cellphones have officially been served with their own baseless indictment, by no less than the World Health Organization."

Those who pollute science with politics, emotion, and other things that are not science deserve our contempt. Expose them. Criticize them. They are great malefactors.

89 comments:

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"Fluoridated water. Artificial sweeteners. Genetically modified foods. Power lines. Vaccines"

Politicians.

Chef Mojo said...

Let's add Anthropogenic Global Warming to that list, shall we?

The greatest confidence trick the world has ever seen.

Robert Cook said...

"Those who pollute science with politics, emotion, and other things that are not science deserve our contempt. Expose them. Criticize them. They are great malefactors."

I agree. The Wall Street Journal should be condemned for its reflexive and politically-based dismissal of WHO's advisory. In support of big businesses who seek profit above all, the WSJ continues to denigrate without basis for refutation any suggestions that we may possibly be causing harm to ourselves through our various activities.

Let's ignore the WSJ and allow the science to be done to find whether WHO's findings can be affirmed or supported by other studies.

nevadabob said...

Malefactors? Guess we should include Mitt Romney in there somewhere, since he came out Friday for a cap-and-trade like scheme to reduce "global warming."

http://www.wbur.org/2011/06/03/romney-voters

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@Robert Cook

Because, everything can be explained by science. Or the World Health Organization. Or the New York Times. Or Charles Schumer.

Or Robert Cook.

Thanks for the reading recommendation Robert, but, no thanks. I can make up my own mind about that.

Now if you'll excuse me I'll be getting back to my genetically modified oat bran and coffee.

Jay said...

Those who pollute science with politics, emotion, and other things that are not science deserve our contempt.

Yet Al Gore is a hero and voice of authority in the political party you vote for.

A. Shmendrik said...

Al Gore is the epitome of the politicization of science. All by itself, a good reason to hate the guy.

The Crack Emcee said...

Whoa, I do - all the time - and all it gets me is called crazy.

If you were serious about this claim, Oprah would have left the air in disgrace, and not glory.

vet66 said...

The WHO represents those who would have us living in caves keeping warm by a fire fueled by organic manure. Then they would complain that our efforts to keep warm causes global warming so we should douse the fires and freeze to death. Problem solved.

Of course the Al Gores of the world would continue to stop traffic when the mood strikes them by driving their fleet of black SUV's down the streets temporarily closed to the rest of us. Note the recent story of the doubling of the limo fleet under BHO.

Limousine liberals are "criminals" who are well on their way to an extinction that the EPA would have trouble saving. Reminds me of the French before the revolution.

"let them eat cake" indeed.

the jackal said...

Add DDT to the list...

chickenlittle said...

I agree with Chef Mojo. Of the political science topics mentioned, only AGW has captured the imagination of top US policy advisors.

paul a'barge said...

these dudes equate vaccines with artificial sweeteners?

Shouting Thomas said...

Let's ignore the WSJ and allow the science to be done to find whether WHO's findings can be affirmed or supported by other studies.

Translation: Let the commies run things.

Starvation, shortages, poverty and Gulags will be the result, but at least everything will be divided evenly.

Except, you know, the party official will get a little extra.

Shouting Thomas said...

And, let me spell this out for you, Kookie, because you're too dumb to understand anything but the most literal stuff.

1. Yes, the capitalist system is based on self-interest and greed, which are sinful and regrettable. Unfortunately, this is the only thing that works in what people call reality.

2. Your commie system is great in the idiot fantasy world that you inhabit. Just doesn't work for humans.

You've made your choice. I've made mine.

Pogo said...

I do not think they are polluting science with politics, emotion,and other nonscientific claptrap, I think they are infusing a political agenda with science and emotion for the purpose of naked power.

In his new book, "Primetime Propaganda", Ben Shapiro proves the obvious: that TV industry executives, writers and producers use their clout to advance a liberal political agenda.

Shapiro has video Shapiro of producer-director Nicholas Meyer being asked whether conservatives are discriminated against in Hollywood.

"Well, I hope so," he answers. Meyer also admits his political agenda for "The Day After," a TV movie he directed for ABC that was seen by 100 million people when it aired in 1983. My private, grandiose notion was that this movie would unseat Ronald Reagan when he ran for re-election," Meyer said."

It's nothing new. The Soviets abused science in exactly the same way.

Soviet scientist Trofim Lysenko rejected Mendelian genetics in favor of Russian hybridization theories, in order to improve crop yields. He believed in the heritability of acquired characteristics, which is bullshit, and coupled the science with Lenin's principles. Lysenko rose quickly to the hierarchy of the Communist Party, and was put in charge of agricultural affairs. He was known to denounce biologists as "fly-lovers and people haters," (i.e. those who understood genetics) and criticized fellow scientists who exposed his failures as "wreckers" in biology.


This ain't a new tactic.

bagoh20 said...

During my lifetime the skeptics have have turned out to be right about 90% of the time on these scares, yet they lost the argument every time. To be skeptical is to be exceptional and right, but unpopular.

Robert Cook said...

"Starvation, shortages, poverty and Gulags will be the result" if the currently insatiable and savage rapacity of our financial institutions is not arrested by stringent regulation.

Of course, as our government is Wall Street's bitch, that won't happen. So...welcome to American Gulag, coming someday soon to a locale near you!

Bob Ellison said...

Ulcers.

traditionalguy said...

So the problems all arise from bad character in the scientists that have no more ethics than the standard home burglar. It works for wealthy the EPA Czars with their windmill industry kickbacks. So why not let the entire educational community in on the spoils from looting the fools who actually believe in Newspapers as their gods?

Oligonicella said...

It's not about science. It's about control.

Oligonicella said...

Robert Cook -

"Starvation, shortages, poverty and Gulags will be the result" if the currently insatiable and savage rapacity of our [financial institutions] bureaucracies is not arrested by [stringent regulation] reduced power.


Made an error there Cookie. Thought I'd correct it for you.

rhhardin said...

A management career path is what corrupts science.

Actual science is driven by curiosity.

Look for curiosity in any science pronouncement. You won't find it in any of the list.

The mistakes in the list are mostly statistical mistakes. Studies are done to 95% confidence; so one in twenty is false, even if they do it right.

Thousands and thousands of studies are done every year.

So thousands of correctly done results are incorrect every year.

The ones that keep you from tuning away have news legs and those are the established truths.

More at 7.

Robert Cook said...

"So the problems all arise from bad character in the scientists that have no more ethics than the standard home burglar."

Yup! The scientists--being brainiac eggheads and all--are by definition commies and scoundrels, and they conspire at all times to find every way possible to spoil our fun.

Never take scientists seriously...if their studies suggest that commonly held assumptions or practices may be erroneous or harmful.

Why, the next thing they'll be telling us is that cigarette smoking is dangerous!

ricpic said...

The Cookie parody continues.

Interesting that coconut oil is on WHO's cancer list. Everything I've ever read about healthy oils puts coconut oil at the top of the healthy list.

Skipper50 said...

Behind every health scare are some class-action lawyers. Who is it this time?

Robert Cook said...

"Made an error there Cookie. Thought I'd correct it for you."

Don't be coy. I know you're amplifying my previous statement by slyly pointing out that our bureaucracies are in bed with and puppets of the rapacious financial institutions who are destroying our world, and have willingly surrendered their power to the financial institutions to remove any impediments to their global march to the sea.

Kudos, Comrade!

Pogo said...

Cook learned to debate on the internet.

chr1 said...

That could be why Al Gore is a poster child for this stuff, always coming up short...second rate poet, vice president, also-ran etc.

From the start, he and global warming were about infusing another wave of Western Enlightenment idealism (away from God, toward Science as absolute truth) into American politics, public sentiment, and civic life...

...strangely benefitting Al Gore and other true believers...but Al was just the vessel.

The attachment of Science to Lefty causes and politics are more common now. I suspect the cronyism, the silly idealism that forms often ineffective international organizations, the warped incentives, and somewhat corrupt politics aren't a bug,

but a feature.

As to the actual science...maybe that's another debate.

John Lynch said...

Fine with me. Observe what can be observed.

Oligonicella said...

Robert Cook --

"I know you're amplifying my previous statement by slyly pointing out that our bureaucracies are in bed with and puppets of the rapacious financial institutions..."

And your suggestion is to allow them unfettered regulatory power?

Synova said...

In a debate about which was more dangerous, religion or science, someone made the argument that science was more dangerous because a person was allowed (and more likely) to disagree or have their own opinion about religion. That the pressure and social constraint to agree with anything labeled "science" was greater than for religion and that science was actually a heavier stick to drive the population.

I know I've told the story before of my friend, Karen, in high school (Crack will like this) after watching a video about recovered memories of past lives in our biology class responded to my scoffing of it with, "It's true because it's science! The people were wearing lab coats."

I'd just like to point out that, Cooke, I think your real name is Karen.

edutcher said...

The cell phone thing has been around for about 20 years. Funny how, now that they've been used to start a few revolutions, the World Dictators' Conference (i. e., UN) wants them banned.

PS Artificial sweeteners are dangerous. After The Blonde had her gall bladder out, any artificial sweetener gives her a pancreatitis attack that lasts a couple of days.

(booze has the same effect, because most artificial sweeteners are basically sugar alcohols)

Synova said...

There are worse things than being accused of being anti-science, but it's an accusation made with the expectation that it holds a great deal of weight.

It's not permissible to question science the way it is to dismiss and even revile religion but for the most part it holds the exact same *function* in society.

I think that the more someone actually understands science and what it does the less they are prone to do this. No doubt there are exceptions. But generally I think that those most prone to appeal to the authority of science, to insist upon giving up their own understanding for someone elses, are the people who understand it the least.

It's no different, no different at all, than the religious person who says of some natural process, "I don't know about that, but I'm going to go with what this religious leader says." It's just switching out the blind acceptance of what some policy advocacy group of other people who don't understand either, or who have an agenda, for the religious leader.

And it holds the same place, purpose, and all that.

The complaint about the WHO is that it is accepted as an authority without question by other government organizations that make decisions that effect our lives directly, and often enough, disastrously.

John Lynch said...

Science is for observing the world. Religion and philosophy are for questions that cannot be observed.

Use the right one! I understand people like Crack who just want to ignore anything not observable because those ideas tend to get out into places they don't belong. Can't deny it. It happens.

Since politics has become a religion, but concerns itself with the world, it's very pernicious. We shouldn't let them get away with having it both ways.

Ideologies aren't factual or scientific, and aren't good guides of how to lead our lives. They don't have much meaning other than justifying who should be in charge. Yet so many people put so much faith in them.

And it's faith. It's not rational.

William said...

Mobile phones--cigarettes for the ears. It's sad to see so many young people holding these satanic devices next to their ear while they yammer banalities at each other. The early warning signs of brain cancer are already there: the tattoos, the piercings, the Obama worship. Although the physical damage is blatant, they pass by unaware. Their minds are too buzzed with radiation to see how distorted their judgement is. People here make fun of Rep. Weiner, but they will be ashamed of their laughter when the MRI reveals how massive the glioma that afflicts his brain.

Hagar said...

How does genetic modification differ from selective breeding?

As for the AGW, cap and trade schemes, and renewable energy technologies, let us keep in mind that there are very large amounts of money at stake in all this, most of it furnished by the taxpayers, and that all the corporations involved are heavily dependent on favorable Government regulations for their existence, even in their traditional fields.

Robert Cook said...

"And your suggestion is to allow them unfettered regulatory power?"

Um, no. Read carefully. I said that only stringent (not "unfettered") regulations could arrest the destructive assault on us by the financial institutions, but, alas, that won't happen, because our government "is in bed with and puppets of" the rapacious financial institution.

By definition, such urgently needed regulation would and will and can only happen if we, the people, wrest control of our government away from the whores to Wall Street who presently populate every branch in both parties.

I don't see this happening anytime soon...if ever.

Robert Cook said...

"...the World Dictators' Conference (i. e., UN) wants them banned."

Crack is wack, dude, meth is death. Stop the drugs!

WHO suggests a possible danger of brain cancer from use of cell phones and advises ways to mitigate this danger, and you see "the UN"(!!) moving to ban cell phones.

No wonder so many commenters here seem deranged all the time...they are!

MadisonMan said...

It's sad to see so many young people holding these satanic devices next to their ear while they yammer banalities at each other.

If by young you mean 30s, yes.

However, none of the high schoolers I see all the time are talking on their phones. They are all texting. I never use my cell phone to talk -- I have a horrible time remembering how to answer it! I'm just texting people.

Synova said...

Thumb cancer.

Robin said...

Robert Cook, the "study" on which the WHO bases its warning is just junk. It has the statistical validity of a horoscope.

If you bothered to find out about that, rather than just trotting out the "trust the Scientists" horse manure, you might show more credibility.

Then again, I'm not holding my breath in the meantime.

E.M. Davis said...

1. Yes, the capitalist system is based on self-interest and greed, which are sinful and regrettable. Unfortunately, this is the only thing that works in what people call reality.

All other systems are built on greed, too.

RuyDiaz said...

Let's ignore the WSJ and allow the science to be done to find whether WHO's findings can be affirmed or supported by other studies.

That's the thing. The WHO is ignoring a whole lot of science. As is 'Quantum Mechanics'. The warning is absurd.

traditionalguy said...

Science is a study of measurable data experiment that can be repeated by others to find the same results. I respect scientists so much that witnessing the widespread counterfeiting of data for profit by political cabals funding the studies is the saddest thing that has occurred in my lifetime. Today even the touted peer reviews are counterfeited. I hope that somewhere the real data is still known and there is cutting edge scientific work being done by someone. It is not shared with the public anymore. So Robert Cook and Sarah Palin have much more in common than they know, which is a love for the truth.

RuyDiaz said...

From the article:

As for glioma, the 40% finding was merely suggestive, i.e., not proven. It comes from the largest study of cellphones and cancer to date, conducted in 13 countries and published last year. But this was a "case-control study," a not very rigorous method.

The words 'case-control study' alone should set off a warning in people's heads. Even if you find a correlation, you are likely to miss the causation. That's what happened in the Power Lines scare; the incidence of cancer was correlated to living close to those huge power lines, but the people living in those houses were poorer than the population at large.

Phil 3:14 said...

Well that explains the worldwide explosion in glioma cases!!

Phil 3:14 said...

And the irony for the World Health Organization making this pronouncement is that the cell phone may be one of the greatest tools worldwide for lifting people out of poverty and the coincident health risks.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Bank foreclosures.

bagoh20 said...

Don't Tread: Bank Foreclosure ^^^

That's beautiful. It would be very cool to have done that as a lawyer or a homeowner.

Thanks

Writ Small said...

The enemy of science is not religion. It's bias.

Conflicts between religion and science on issues like whether the earth or sun is the center of the solar system and creationism versus evolution have led many scientists to be suspicious of religous folk and by extension, the political right.

Those historical and modern disagreements blind many left-leaning scientists to the real issue. It is not that religion can interfere with one's reason, although it surely can. It is that any devotion to an ideological system can close one's mind to contrary evidence.

These days, the bias most likely to affect an objective assessment of facts is political, not religious. The person with the unreasonable fear of GM foods, an overly skeptical view of vaccines or an insufficiently skeptical view of AGW is unlikely to even attend church.

Intelligent design, cell phones causing cancer or vaccines being more dangerous than good: junk science is junk science.

Steve Koch said...

Politicized science isn't an accident. Politicizing science (or law or history or anything else) is part of the left's long march through institutions to establish cultural hegemony. So far the left is doing an outstanding job on its long march, having captured education from K through grad school, the entertainment business, the news media, Wikipedia, a plethora of professional societies, etc.

Cultural hegemony from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_hegemony

"Cultural hegemony is the philosophic and sociological concept, originated by the Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci, that a culturally-diverse society can be ruled or dominated by one of its social classes. It is the dominance of one social group over another, e.g. the ruling class over all other classes. The theory claims that the ideas of the ruling class come to be seen as the norm; they are seen as universal ideologies, perceived to benefit everyone whilst really benefiting only the ruling class."

The article is well worth a read.

Steve Koch said...

One obvious extension to Gramsci's theory is that if you are able to control the molding of minds through control of education, entertainment, and news media, then you can make your ideology the dominant ideology.

You can control the intellectual conformance to this ideology via political correctness coercion.

One you have made your ideology the dominant ideology via the long march through society's opinion molding institutions, you can seize power. That is, you don't have to have dominant political power first to achieve cultural hegemony.

27183 said...

Althouse, we know you're 1) and art student, and 2) a lawyer. And we have no idea of the background of the editorialist.

I understand YOU think all these claims are bogus.

Perhaps you can tell us WHY you think all these claims are bogus.

Seriously, under what circumstances should we either take your blogpost or an unsigned WSJ editorial as any sort of evidence that these claims are bogus?

You are at your best when you're not a mere dipshit meme retweeter.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@Bagoh

Yep, I ran across that and it kind of made my day.

I always love it when David kicks Goliath's ass. Renews my faith, if even just a little.

Oligonicella said...

Robert Cook --

"I said that only stringent (not "unfettered") regulations could arrest the destructive assault on us by the financial institutions,..."

Yeah... Now tell me how good the government (*any* government) is at merely sticking to "stringent".

I'm actually fine with your solution as long as I get to define stringent.

Synova said...

And 27183 appeals to authority.

Althouse's credentials are questioned.

No other argument is put forward.

Dear child... most people think that the laundry list of claims is bogus or at least recognize it as a list of "scares" that are based on hysterical fear-mongering emotion rather than science.

This is something that an art student, lawyer, welder, retail associate, computer programmer, or homemaker who pays even a little bit of attention can figure out without a great deal of assistance.

27183 said...

@Synova,

I take it Synova, that you don't bother going to an MD for medical matters, a JD for legal matters, a licensed commercial pilot for your aircraft piloting needs,

You just, in some hippy dippy matter, believe anyone has the ability to practice or pontificate on any of these matters, otherwise you stand outside wearing your hippy dippy protest clothes and shout APPEAL TO AUTHORITY, APPEAL TO AUTHORITY, APPEAL TO AUTHORITY.

You should learn more about what the appeal to authority is.

On the other hand, arguments from authority are an important part of informal logic. Since we cannot have expert knowledge of many subjects, we often rely on the judgments of those who do. There is no fallacy involved in simply arguing that the assertion made by an authority is true. The fallacy only arises when it is claimed or implied that the authority is infallible in principle and can hence be exempted from criticism.

I have not suggested that the WHO is infallible with their claim that cell phones might be harmful, I have only pointed out that Althouse has no background herself to understand much less comment on these claims.

You might also learn about scientific and logical thinking.

Just because you took a poll and can somehow claim most lay people think these claims are bogus, does not mean squat in terms of whether these claims are bogus.

I would (and do) place higher credibility in Althouse on matters of law, and many other matters of popular culture that she specializes in.

On claims outside her domain, then she needs a whole bunch of citation-needed.jpg added to her posts to rise above even your blithering.

Further, the WSJ clumps many issues together: Fluoridation, artificial sweeteners, GM foods, Power Lines, Vaccinations.

These are not all at the same level of scientific claims. There is no support for some, and strong support for others of these claims.

The fallacies that a wise logician such as yourself should point out in the WSJ opinion are Appeal to Ridicule, Guilt by Association, Hasty Generalization, and Poisoning the Well.

The Crack Emcee said...

Synova,

I know I've told the story before of my friend, Karen, in high school (Crack will like this) after watching a video about recovered memories of past lives in our biology class responded to my scoffing of it with, "It's true because it's science! The people were wearing lab coats."

ROTFLMAO!!!! (I tend to do that a lot around here,...)

gadfly said...

This panic session is brought to you by the World Health Organization, the infamous perpetrators of the worldwide H1N1 Flu pandemic which cost "untold" billions to produce and administer the worthless anti-virus "vaccines." Worldwide deaths as a percentage of infections proved to be far below the mortality rate of good-old-fashioned common influenza strains.

The Crack Emcee said...

John Lynch,

I understand people like Crack who just want to ignore anything not observable because those ideas tend to get out into places they don't belong. Can't deny it. It happens.

Folks, in a debate of this nature (science and religion) it should be clear that I am a skeptic, first and foremost - as I think we all should be. I'm an atheist, but I don't accept AGW (meaning I don't bend to "science") nor will I attack religion, willy-nilly, except as a "belief" because I think beliefs have no place in the modern world. I understand (and even feel) the impulse, and emotion, behind both, but think it's time we, the inhabitants of "The New World," got a hold of ourselves.

What I'm trying to say is I do not "ignore anything not observable," but give more credence to that which is, especially when cross-referenced, because - in the end - that's all we actually "know". And what we know (not believe) by all observable standards, has served us very, very well.

One more thing - about being inhabitants of "The New World":

Unless they've really traveled, Americans, by and large, don't think of ourselves that way. We're just "folks," going about our day-to-day, being humiliated by Anthony Weiner's escapades or whatever. But, in truth, we are the culmination of the entire world's knowledge, and we do ourselves a disservice - as the super-modern human beings we are - not to abandon the restrictions of the rest of the planet. True, they will bring us grief for doing so - especially in the Middle East, where their thinking can still be so primitive it's frightening - but discarding the past is as much a part of our heritage as the concept of "freedom" can endow upon us. We must not be afraid. We are the future - now. (Ask anyone in a really old society, or look at how their kids look at us.) We are Americans. We are a brand-spanking new kind of human being. They've never seen anything like us. And, if we embrace that, we'll continue to leave them so far behind they never will again.

China's no threat to us. We can only destroy ourselves.

The Crack Emcee said...

27183,

I have not suggested that the WHO is infallible with their claim that cell phones might be harmful, I have only pointed out that Althouse has no background herself to understand much less comment on these claims.

Ha! Dude (or Madam) while I agree with you that people can get too carried away with screaming "logical fallacy" at anything that moves - I'd never encountered the phenomena until I got online, and tend to find it silly - it's not as silly as suggesting an artist "has no background,...to understand much less comment on these claims." We artists - and I definitely include Ann Althouse in that definition - are one of the few groups who, when serious about our work and studies, can exist unpolluted by the dogma that batters the rest of you. While I think it's wrong, from a point of view of our humanity (Adolf Hitler comes to mind) we don't have to care. We are masters of nuance - and spotting it. We, so empowered (Gawd, I hate that word) can turn reality on it's head. I laugh to think, today, they're still trying to figure out the Mona Lisa, while a 10-year old girl just validated one of Einstein's theories. Ooooh, scientists are so smart!

I've said many times that art is the one area of life where I will accept any idea, no matter how outlandish or repulsive, on it's merits alone. This sometimes causes me to enter worlds I've never imagined existed - actually ENTER THEM - not just conceptualize them as (most) scientists must. I have rode on a dinosaur, been to outer space, and attended Nazi rallies, so if you think some pipsqueak in a lab coat is going to throw me, you have no clue what it means to really be an artist. Or a skeptic for that matter.

I mean, while science may have brought us film, and the brilliance of the IMAX theatre, the hot new movie is still about the wonder of some god damned prehistoric cave paintings.

If you ask me, flawed as we all are, Ann Althouse can "see," and, in the right hands, that ability is vastly superior to science's arbitrary, rule-based search for knowledge, any day.

Long story short (because I know I'm rambling) there's a reason scientists had to rely on magicians to explain why Uri Geller was a fraud.

Gabriel Hanna said...

The reason the cell phone-cancer link is bogus is because the physics is wrong. Microwaves don't have enough energy, or a short enough wavelength (same thing really), to do any more than bend a long molecule or agitate a polar one.

Science polices science. Nothing outside science is capable of that.

The WHO is a political organization that wishes to wrap itself in the mantle of science, but it is not "scientists" generally who are colluding with it. Much of the debunking of the cell phone-cancer link, and the only RELEVANT debunking, has been done by scientists.

@tradguy:I respect scientists so much that witnessing the widespread counterfeiting of data for profit by political cabals funding the studies is the saddest thing that has occurred in my lifetime. Today even the touted peer reviews are counterfeited.

You have seen no such thing, and when you say you have you are a liar.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

edutcher,

(booze has the same effect, because most artificial sweeteners are basically sugar alcohols)

I thought aspartame was a slightly modified dipeptide. That's the only artificial sweetener in anything I drink.

Of course, you can't bake with it, b/c it breaks down. But I don't bake much sugary stuff anyway. Sugar-free soda, OTOH, is a Godsend, as far as I'm concerned.

wv: besselyz, which would be a great name for a new sugar-free sweetener.

Elliott A said...

Thank you for defending fluoride!

Writ Small said...

Perhaps you can tell us WHY you think all these claims are bogus.

It's not realistic expect someone to debunk all of these claims in a single blog post. If you are truly interested in the scientific consensus on these issues, I would direct you to the skeptoid podcast. Brian Dunning does an excellent job of taking a single claim and going over the evidence for and against it. He has devoted at least one episode to each of the claims listed in the WSJ piece (and many, many others). A fair number of his podcasts are devoted to debunking UFO stories, famous ghost stories, miracle cures and the like.

If you feel that one or more of the claims was unfairly lumped in with the others, why not tell us which one(s) and why you feel that way?

27183 said...

The reason the cell phone-cancer link is bogus is because the physics is wrong. Microwaves don't have enough energy, or a short enough wavelength (same thing really), to do any more than bend a long molecule or agitate a polar one

@Gabriel, you're in the fallacy of X ⊃ Y, ~x ∴ ~Y. But that's wrong of course.

Could be that Q ⊃ Y as well, where Q might be chemicals, or heating effects, or heating effects of various chemicals, eg. nicotine, & charbroiling.

The cell phone effects (that I have huge doubts about) are supposedly not radiation based but heating effects.

@The Crack Emcee, I agree that some artists might have unique perspectives that sometimes can plow through the bullshit and cant, but I disagree that artists can make up their own science, or somehow understand science they never studied because they think they know what the words mean.

How many times do I have to sit through some artiste's word salad of relativity, quantum mechanics, and culture. Oh yeah, just re-read your copy of "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics" as the counter argument.

If Ann wants to say she thinks these claims often amount to bullshit because of her experience, or she notes that wsj also thinks its bullshit, than that's one thing. That's her opinion.

She might also point out Ioannidis 2005: Why Most Published Research Findings Are False that this research is most likely false too.

But this statement of hers, while a fine statement in general, as placed in this post is her scientific conclusion of a science she does not understand, and there she is out of line:

Those who pollute science with politics, emotion, and other things that are not science deserve our contempt. Expose them. Criticize them. They are great malefactors.

It would be like me on my blog stating that my analysis of the law suggests lawyers that illegally, immorally defend gitmo are unlawful traitors that should be shot.

Our opinions: check.
Based on our understanding of the underlying science or law: nope.
Bullshit: double check.

traditionalguy said...

Gabriel Hanna...I am a lawyer, and I understand what a liar does. We coach clients in the art. The East Anglia climate scientists and Michael Mann it Penn State were only accomplished liars. Ff a jury heard them , they would impress the jurors with their Authority for just long enough to win the case. But they could not keep their self confident show going when real scientists demanded to see their "massaged" data and computer programs it ran through. Their only defense was destruction of the real scientists means to be heard. Keeping secrets about the counterfeit of data was what they worked yhe hardest on. But as Julian Assange says, "the way to protect yourself from disclosure of secrets in never to keep a secret. IMO all real scientists do not keep secrets.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@27183:

The cell phone effects (that I have huge doubts about) are supposedly not radiation based but heating effects.

And you SHOULD have doubts that heating from cell phone microwaves causes cancer, given the intensities involved.

But this statement of hers, while a fine statement in general, as placed in this post is her scientific conclusion of a science she does not understand

But I do understand the science, have the credentials to prove it, and I agree with Ann, so now you really don't have much of a leg to stand on.

The WHO did not conclude that cell phones cause cancer, that they are likely to cause cancer, or that any studies showed that they do; they made a policy recommendation anyway which is not supported by any of the science they quoted. Essentially they said that since no one can prove yet that they CAN'T cause cancer then caution is justified; if this principle were applied across the board we'd be using very little of the technology developed over the last 100,000 years, back to and including treating meat with fire.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@tradguy: Gabriel Hanna...I am a lawyer, and I understand what a liar does.

Your name IRL is Epimenides?

We coach clients in the art.

Then the law demands you be disbarred.

But they could not keep their self confident show going when real scientists demanded to see their "massaged" data and computer programs it ran through.

You have no proof whatever that any data was falsified in any way. You repeat the claim anyway. You sir, are a liar.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@tradguy:

Proof that you are a liar is found here: I have sent you to this link many times. You repeat your false claims anyway. You are a liar.

http://clearclimatecode.org/

All of the methods that climate scientists use have been opnely published, and openly discussed, and are avaliable for free either by direct download or at any university library, and always have been.

You know this, and choose to lie anwyway.

traditionalguy said...

Gabriel...The truth has come out and will continue to come out. calling me a liar will not prove the truth of the data collections that the APGW guys just made up. If I was to tell you that the ski resorts in the Colorado mountains were still open today with more snow than ever seen before in June, would you call me a liar about that too? Go see for yourself.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@tradguy:calling me a liar will not prove the truth of the data collections that the APGW guys just made up.

You have NO evidence that data was made up. You claim you know it was. Therefore, you ARE aliar, not because I call you one, but because you lie.

If I was to tell you that the ski resorts in the Colorado mountains were still open today with more snow than ever seen before in June, would you call me a liar about that too?

No, I'd say that your scientific education is at the kindergarten level. You need heat to produce snow, so "more snow" is not the same thing as "colder", and even if it were "colder in Colorado' is not that same as "average global temperature is lower".

But we knew already you know nothing about science, given that you are a creationist.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@tradguy: It is ill-mannered of us to have a nasty, off-topic argument on someone else's blog; get your last lick in and then let us drop the subject, ok? I don't like disagreeing with you at this level, anyway.

You ever run into those cranks who say that if you refuse to let the government put your name in all caps then you can reclaim all your sovereignty rights and not pay taxes, or that when you see a flag with a gold fringe that means you are under Admiralty law and an unconstitutional tyranny? That is what you sound like to a scientist, when you say things like extra snow in Colorado means the earth is cooling.

Steve Koch said...

Gabriel,

You know something about simulation of quantum dynamical processes in condensed phase systems but that doesn't mean you are an expert about whether cell phones can cause cancer or not.

The idea that only scientists can police scientists is ridiculous. Engineers can police scientists, for example.

The reality is that many scientific projects span multiple disciplines and it is common to find non scientists (such as a statistician or a software engineer) who are far more expert than the scientist in a particular discipline that is part of the scientist's project. Scientists tend to focus on an extremely narrow area to advance knowledge in that area. There is an element of truth to the old joke that in the limit, scientists know everything about nothing.

Calling Traditional Guy a liar was childish, rude, and counter productive. By the time a guy is 33 years old he should be more mature than that. Maybe you can get away with talking to people like that in Canada but in Ann Arbor (and most of the USA) being so rude can provoke physical conflict.

Synova said...

"There is no fallacy involved in simply arguing that the assertion made by an authority is true."

I dare say there is a fallacy, however, in claiming that an assertion made by someone without a claim to authority is untrue.

"The fallacy only arises when it is claimed or implied that the authority is infallible in principle and can hence be exempted from criticism."

Or that the authority is exempted from criticism by anyone without the proper credentials.

That was exactly the substance (and limit of the substance) of your first remark, 27183. That the WHO was exempt from criticism by the WSJ, and exempt from criticism by an artist/lawyer named Althouse.

And if it's a formal logical fallacy or not, I simply don't respect anyone who takes on a mantle of, lets call it borrowed, intellectual acuity through, lets call it "toad-eating," science.

By all means, cite the expert, but to cite the expert and then define who is allowed to so much as participate in a discussion of the expert is a slight of hand designed to win an argument by failing to so much as make an argument.

As someone said... pick something from that list and explain why it shouldn't be there.

If you can.

Gabriel already spanked you over the cell phone.

The Crack Emcee said...

Gabriel Hanna,

That is what you sound like to a scientist, when you say things like extra snow in Colorado means the earth is cooling.

And what do those of you defending AGW sound like when you refuse to acknowledge we can see through the heads-I-win/tails-you-lose game you're playing? WE aren't the ones who left "Global Warming" for "Climate Change." WE aren't the ones who claim "Climate isn't weather" until tornadoes roll through - and then they're because of AGW. WE aren't the ones who let a charlatan, like Al Gore, advance our arguments. WE aren't the ones who had to back-track on one hyperbolic claim after another. That was all done on your side and the results are obvious. You've destroyed your credibility.

Claiming everyone else is a crank because you supposedly smart guys can't come up with even the simplest of through-lines in your explanations - to an audience favorable to your profession - is just one more log on the bonfire your theories are being destroyed by. You're lying to us, and we know it.

And none of us have to be scientists to be experts on that.

Synova said...

"- to an audience favorable to your profession -"

I think this is key. I mean, I agree with everything Crack said about the loss of credibility. Normally I'd fuss a bit about the loss of credibility not taking people off the hook for coming to their own conclusions, but it's just so egregious. It seems so blatant that the facts are irrelevant to the need to manipulate people into the "correct" conclusions.

And frankly, "- to an audience favorable to your profession -", being emotionally jerked around and lied to and then told to like it or be branded "anti-science" or worse is an incredible insult. This is the sort of tactic an organization like PETA would use and PETA supporters approve of because, well, it's ending up with the right opinions that matter, not the lies told to get you there. (Not to pick on PETA necessarily except that I've actually had the exact conversation with a friend and PETA supporter.)

The worst sort of lies have been told "- to an audience favorable to your profession -" and that audience of mostly science-hobbyists is fully right to point those lies out and figure that Gore can stuff the millions he's made on the outright scam up his fat butt.

27183 said...

@gabrielhanna

But this statement of hers, while a fine statement in general, as placed in this post is her scientific conclusion of a science she does not understand

But I do understand the science, have the credentials to prove it, and I agree with Ann, so now you really don't have much of a leg to stand on.

The WHO did not conclude that cell phones cause cancer, that they are likely to cause cancer, or that any studies showed that they do; they made a policy recommendation anyway which is not supported by any of the science they quoted.


Huh?

She didn't cite you, you are actually now citing your own Ph.D studies as an authority without proving them, and your logical error that I pointed out indicates you clearly misread what the WHO said.

I don't have a leg to stand on because Ann agrees with the WSJ and some random, Ph.D student that she did not cite agrees as well.

I don't think logic, or science, or argumentation works that way.

Anyway, placing our ph.d studies up against the WHO's scientists and MDs.... Yeah, if you're going to appeal to your own authority that way, than again, I will say I will stand with the WHO.

Now... After you have your ph.d, m.d., and have had a career and published article in oncology, then you can swing your dick against the WHO.

We'll see if this posts, the last one I tried a few hours ago did not.

Oliver Manuel said...

Thanks for the site!

When leaders of the scientific community failed to speak out against manipulating of experimental data, they foolishly squandered their greatest asset:

Public confidence!

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo

bagoh20 said...

Respect my authoritay!


8 out of 10 authorities are watching porn right now.

Synova said...

Hehe... I think Gabriel just found out what it's like to try to discuss something with someone who would (as I was once told) explain that Freeman Dyson isn't *qualified* to hold an opinion on the reliability of computer models.

The number-fellow has, again, made the same error as before. Not in citing authority, but in proclaiming that the authority is impervious to criticism. Deciding that, oh, a PhD just isn't good enough. Sort of like my long ago person who claimed that Freeman Dyson could be dismissed without a second thought. (Freeman Dyson might well be wrong, but dismissed? Some people just beg to beclown themselves.)

See now, I disagree with Gabriel all the time. No doubt I'm annoying about it. But I know that he knows what he's talking about. Not because he's got degrees, but because he explains himself. I know that he argues in good faith. And I know that I understand the argument that he's made when he makes one.

What he said about the WHO and cell-phones was simple... he made the claim that the advisory was issued on the basis of failure to prove a negative. That was the gist of it.

And saying then that one must be an oncologist in order to so much as be allowed to question, also means that number-fellow has no *personal* responsibility to even understand the problem of proving a negative. Off. The. Hook.

And riding high on *borrowed* smarts. Smarts by association.

I know that I fail to be impressed.

Utterly.

The Crack Emcee said...

Wow - first a mention by Steyn and Taranto, and now a visit by Oliver K. Manuel.

Althouse is really moving up in the world!

yashu said...

Re AGW and whether the data was "made up," I recommend watching this youtube video. It's a very clear explanation of the "hide the decline" controversy, from a lecture given by a Berkeley professor who actually believes in AGW… but is disgusted by what Mann et al did under the rubric of "science." This professor--again, a believer in AGW, but at least an honest scientist-- characterizes the collection and analysis of data used as evidence for AGW (which he himself had relied on) as a work of arrant deception.

Gabriel, if a Berkeley professor who believes in AGW can call these guys what they are-- "deceivers of the public"-- I don't see why TradGuy is "a liar" for saying pretty much the same thing (perhaps slightly overstated).

Bruce Hayden said...

I am not sure how to handle this. I would have thought that no one takes much of this seriously, and when WHO makes one of these pronouncements, that most everyone just laughs. But, then we got an Administration that seems enamored with junk science. As long as they can find a PhD or two to back their policies, they seem willing to impose their Luddite dreams with that scientific veneer. Regulating CO2 based on the IPCC reports is just the most egregious of these.

"Crazed Sex Poodle" AlGore is in a category almost by himself. This is the guy who almost failed the two bone-head science classes he attempted in college. Of course, the journalists and politicians who follow him are likely not any better versed in science than he is.

The problem is that people actually listen to him. And, a lot of those on his side seem incapable of understanding the research papers that they so glibly cite. In particular, they invariably include numerous limitations, qualifications, and assumptions, that are conveniently ignored by those who use "science" to advance their causes, but don't understand the basics behind such.

Finally, just because something is in that list doesn't mean that it is good. Aspartame does adversely affect a small percentage (one estimate is 10%) of the population. I happen to be one of them - I get a buzz on a 12 ounce can of diet soda if it contains that compound, but not with 12 ounces of a non-diet soda, a soda with Sucralose (Splenda) sweetener, or tea. And, then, maybe a half an hour later, I crash. It also adversely affects my sleep. (In other words, the effects are from the Aspartame and not the caffeine).

Bruce Hayden said...

I agree that Yashu's video is a pretty good indictment of the main AGW "scientists". I have watched it several times.

The thing that drives me crazy about AGW is that there are so many reputable scientists and the like who state that they believe in AGW, but deplore what Mann, et al. did. The problem is that without that, now fairly well, discredited, research, the scientific basis for believing in AGW are pretty much demolished. The question then, as always, is why, if the science is suspect, do they continue to profess such a belief?

I would suggest that it might make more logical sense to be an AGW skeptic, instead of a believer, if the science is so suspect. (And, no, most of us AGW skeptics are not deniers, but rather, just have a more wait-and-see attitude, esp. before spending trillions of dollars that we don't have).

yashu said...

Bruce, I wonder the same thing. But paradigm change is usually a slow, drawn out process. We've just seen the first step: a nascent acknowledgement of the deeply flawed interpretation of data that was accepted "by consensus" as incontrovertible proof of AGW. The implications of Climategate-- that the empirical underpinnings of AGW theory basically consist of cargo cult science-- are only starting to sink in. At the very least, it now behooves all scientists to be skeptics in the true sense of the word (which, as you note, is not the same as "denier").

But even if the empirical basis for AGW remains as flimsy as it now appears, it'll still take some time for scientists and society at large to let go of AGW-- not because of its (dubious) scientific merits, but because it's been so deeply invested with political, ideological, moral, religious, monetary, psychological, socio-cultural (including 'class') meaning & value. Just think of the ways in which the topic of AGW is taught… preached… ritually ceremonialized in our schools, for example.

Something like that has a tenacious hold. Consider the fact that Marxism is not taught in economics departments (i.e. as valid "scientific" theory, rather than historical ideological phenomenon), but to this day, in academic humanities departments, among a large proportion of the world's intelligentsia (and sadly, perhaps, the current President of the United States), it remains pretty much the standard, normative ideological worldview, the primary theoretical framework by which history, economics, politics, culture, human reality is interpreted and understood. This, after the tragic empirical lessons of the 20th century.

It probably will be as hard to "disprove" AGW as it has been to "disprove" Marxism in the minds of this swathe of people (unfortunately, people who have a preponderant influence e.g. in education). Hard, because you have to prove a negative-- virtually impossible to do when you're dealing with phenomena as complex, with as many variables, and thus impossible to experimentally "test", as human history & world climate. Moreover, as we've seen, any actual empirical data that appears to contravene the theory (the historical record of Marxist societies, climate data) can be explained away as tainted, unreliable, etc. etc. ("the Soviet Union wasn't a 'pure' Marxist society"; "the tree ring data is unreliable"). Any data that goes against the theory (or the many predictions that have failed) don't count; only data that supports the theory (or predictions that come to pass) are admissible-- because the Truth (Marxism, AGW) is known in advance. It's virtually impossible to "disprove" cargo cult science to those in the grip of cargo cult thinking.

yashu said...

I often think of the leaker of the Climategate emails-- the unknown hero. So far we've only felt slight ripple effects: the scandal was pretty quickly "dealt with" and hushed up; as you note, not too many scientists have yet, at least publicly, abandoned AGW. But I think in time the consequences of that act-- that interruption, that intervention, at that precise moment in history, into what had solidified "by consensus" and the prestige of politico-scientific "authority" into incontrovertible "truth"-- may turn out to be momentous. Momentous maybe not so much in its transformation of the world as it is, but rather in the transformation that it will have prevented: the radical transformation of the world economy & concentration of political power that the politics of AGW, qua unshakable dogma, portended.

Thanks to Climategate, the authority of politico-scientific "consensus" re AGW has lost its aura. There's a big, slowly widening crack in it that can't be patched up. If the empirical evidence & predictive capacity of AGW remains as rickety as it now appears to be, then seriously, that leaker deserves the equivalent of a Nobel Prize. Nothing that Assange jerk has ever done-- perhaps nothing any other leaker has done-- will have contributed so much to the welfare of humanity world-wide.

jimspice said...

Few things are more depressingly humorous than conservatives trying to discuss science.

Synova said...

Or liberals who take the moral high ground of refusing to discuss it at all in favor of toad-eating the WHO.