It’s been a bad week for zombie science.
Zombie science is defined as a science that is dead but will not lie down. Instead, it keeps twitching and lumbering around so that it somewhat resembles Real science. But on closer examination, the Zombie has no life of its own (i.e. Zombie science is not driven by the scientific search for truth ); it is animated and moved only by the incessant pumping of funds.
Firstly ASH’s Deborah Arnott admitted (and then denied admitting) she wanted to get rid of smoking. And then the BMA had to climb down on its claim that passive smoke in cars was 23 times more toxic than in bars.
DO YOU believe what your doctor tells you? When the doctors’ trade union, the British Medical Association, speaks out, do you think it must be a reasoned and rational opinion based upon hard evidence?
I would expect most people would give an unequivocal yes to the first question but be more hesitant about the second simply because, as Adam Smith identified, when groups of people from a profession or trade get together they tend to conspire against the public interest rather than put it first. Nonetheless I think people would give the BMA the benefit of the doubt because they are doctors, not butchers, brewers or bakers.
Last week we found out that doctors, as represented by the BMA, can no longer be trusted. The BMA is no more worthy of trust than any political leader, union boss or second hand car salesman.
The author of the above piece, Brian Monteith, goes on to say:
For the BMA to so blithely or cunningly mislead the public deserves the strongest condemnation and the perpetrators to be removed from office.
(I thought I was the only one calling for the medical establishment to be decapitated.)
And then the Duke of Edinburgh laid into windmills.
And now today another few thousand Climategate emails have appeared, rubbing salt into the wounds of the battered climate science fraternity. My current favourite quotes are:
“but for GODS SAKE please respect the sensitivity here and destroy the file immediately when finished and please do not tell ANYBODY I sent this. Cheers Keith” (3755.txt)
Wils:  What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably [...] (1682.txt)
Adams: Somehow we have to leave the[m] thinking OK, climate change is extremely complicated, BUT I accept the dominant view that people are affecting it, and that impacts produces risk that needs careful and urgent attention. (4716.txt)
Having established scale and urgency, the political challenge is then to turn this from an argument about the cost of cutting emissions – bad politics – to one about the value of a stable climate – much better politics. [...] the most valuable thing to do is to tell the story about abrupt change as vividly as possible (3332.txt)
And last week, the incoming new Spanish prime minister, Rajoy, hinted at a relaxation of Spain’s smoking ban. Which might help when Spain – which is now paying out more on its borrowings than Greece was – is forced to seek the same kind of bail-out from the EU as Greece.
The entire EU is tottering, and in the USA Tim Geithner is asking for US banks to be ‘stress-tested’ against what looks like an approaching tidal wave from Europe – but the EU has nevertheless managed to slip out a new ban – on claims that water rehydrates dehydrated people.
And at the end of the day, nothing has changed. The EU is still there. And so is the smoking ban. And no doubt the windmills will keep on going up, and continue to be justified by an appeal to climate change, even if nobody believes a word any climate scientist says.