The Scaremongers

The more I think about passive smoking and global warming, the more I think that we’ve entered a new religious era. It’s not what you know that matters. It’s what you believe. Or don’t believe.

The old religion, which in the much of the western world was Christianity, has been sidelined, and a new bunch of priests and bishops and cardinals have stepped into their shoes. They are scientists and experts of one sort or other. They don’t use the Bible to justify their doctrines, but the modern canon of mathematics and science.

Somehow or other, the old bunch of priests lost credibility. The congregations melted away from their churches. People stopped believing in the old authorities. They instead paid much more attention to doctors and scientists who had a track record of getting things right, from preventing or curing dozens of previously intractable diseases, to building ships and planes and cars using the extraordinary technologies they had developed. Clear moral guidance was lacking.

The solution to the deepening moral vacuum was simple. The doctors and the scientists became the new priests. They used the credibility of their science to take over the vacant moral leadership of society.

And their message is much the same as before. “Repent, for the End of the World is nigh!” Stop smoking, else be damned to endure lung cancer, yeah even until the end of thy days. Stop burning oil and gas, lest verily ye be consumed by Fire from the Sky. You carry on scaremongering just like the previous scaremongers did.

Your family doctor has replaced your local vicar. Sir Liam Donaldson had taken over the job of the Archbishop of Canterbury until he stepped down last year as Government Health Officer. In the USA, the Surgeon General, C Everett Koop, started wearing his admiral’s uniform, and so too does the current Surgeon General. It helps to have a snappy blue chasuble if you’re an archbishop preaching damnation and hellfire.

The UN and the WHO are a new Vatican, and the UN Secretary General is a modern pope. The UN International Panel on Climate Change is a modern Council of Nicaea, thrashing out a modern Nicene Creed. That council was convened by the emperor Constantine, when the new religion of Christianity was being adopted by the Roman state. It was necessary to find a consensus of opinion among the bickering Christian bishops and theologians back then. And it’s just as important to find a consensus among climate scientists today.

What this new priesthood is exploiting are the grey areas on the borderlands of science. Nobody really knows what causes lung cancer, but if it’s possible with a little statistical chicanery to plausibly lay the blame on tobacco, nobody can conclusively prove the matter one way or the other. Nobody really knows how the climate works, but if a little scientific legerdemain can be used to indict carbon dioxide, nobody can conclusively prove it one way or the other. Nobody really knows. And when nobody really knows, all that’s left is belief.

And either you believe what the scientists – the scientific consensus – say about tobacco and carbon dioxide, or you don’t. It can hardly be said to be a crime to place one’s trust in the scientists and doctors who made such tremendous real progress over recent centuries – before they decided to become priests and politicians.

Over on Smoking out the Truth:

I can deal with intelligent people being fooled from time to time. It’s a by-product of keeping an open mind on things and knowing that the debate change as newer facts emerge. But, those same intelligent people closing their minds and settling on something false, that nevertheless fits into their comfort zone, is infuriating. The debate on ETS, far from being over, never actually took place. A false fact was placed with the proviso that it must never be questioned and otherwise intelligent people choose to swallow that, hook, line and sinker.

Is it a crime to place one’s trust in doctors and epidemiologists? Not really. They’re the ones who’re supposed to know, after all.

But, in the end, is such trust any different from blind faith in the teachings of the Church? In the end, it all boils down to trusting what someone else says, whether they be a scientist or statistician or climate scientist or bishop or theologian or pope. And trusting and believing somebody else very often entails disbelieving yourself.

If I’m sceptical about the reputed dangers of tobacco and carbon dioxide, it’s partly because these claims contradict my own personal experience. Nobody in my family has died of lung cancer, or any form of cancer at all. My 60-a-day father remained as strong as an ox until more or less the day he died at age 79 after a series of strokes. My hard-smoking grandfather died aged 71 after a bout of flu. The only person I ever met who was dying of lung cancer was a non-smoker.

The notion that secondhand tobacco smoke is any threat to anyone’s health is also contradicted by personal experience. It never happened. Ever. It’s so implausible as to hardly need saying at all. Why should I start believing something that I’ve never believed in my entire life?

Same with global warming. The English climate today doesn’t seem very much different from what it has been for the past 60 years. From time to time it’s been slightly freakishly hot. But just a month back it was freakishly cold. Why should I start believing now that the whole world is warming when it’s something I’ve never believed in my entire life? To do so would mean ceasing to trust my own judgment, and starting to trust the judgment of self-styled experts.

It would’ve been different if friend after smoking friend had died of lung cancer. Or if ambulances had showed up regularly at smoky pubs to cart away the dying. And if I’d dispensed with woollen clothes and central heating, and watched the grass turn brown. But those things didn’t happen either.

And furthermore I’ve stopped believing the scientists and the doctors. I think they’re all trying to use their authority and expertise to pull the wool over my eyes. I think that they’re all pretending to know more than the science has so far discovered in those foggy borderlands of science. I think they’re pretending to be more certain than they actually are. They exaggerate. These days they even tell outright lies.

But I can understand why lots of people still believe them, even if I don’t. Maybe those people know lots of smokers who’ve died slow, agonising deaths from lung cancer. Maybe they were present when an ambulance showed up to take someone from a smoky pub to Accident & Emergency at their local hospital. Maybe they remember a bitterly cold climate in their childhood, and hot weather last summer. Maybe their personal experience doesn’t contradict the dire warnings of scientific authorities, and it’s easy for them to believe them.

E.g. Duncan Bannatyne:

He used to be a smoker. His father died of cancer, and Bannatyne in his infinite wisdom decided that it was the smoking that caused the cancer.

No, it wasn’t “infinite wisdom”. It was instead that Bannantyne’s personal experience agreed with the authoritative medical consensus. There was no conflict. It all fitted together. And created complete certainty.

By contrast, someone like me endures conflict and uncertainty, because my experience does not concur with authority. There’s no certainty, but instead an ever-shifting stalemate in a tug of war.

What’s remarkable, if anything, is not that so many people trust what medical and scientific authorities tell them, but that so many people don’t trust them. Twenty or thirty years ago, everybody trusted these authorities.

There is a growing epidemic – a pandemic – of distrust sweeping the world. Not just in doctors with respect to tobacco, but in doctors with respect to alcohol and food and almost everything else. MMR vaccine and swine flu being a couple of examples.

Distrust of climate scientists is rising sharply, and with it distrust of all of science.

And who trusts politicians these days? Who trusts any of them at all?

What’s remarkable about these times is perhaps not so much the waves of scaremongering (about passive smoking and global warming and global terrorism), but the deepening public loss of faith in scaremongering authorities. People simply stop believing scaremongers.

The new IPCC Nicene Creed of Global Warming is being rejected almost as soon as the ink has dried on the paper.

Where does it end?

In a complete loss of trust and faith in all authorities. People will fall back on their own judgment, and the judgment of trusted friends. And when people don’t trust governments, governments must fall. And when people stop trusting scientists, scientists will stop getting grants of public money. When people stop trusting formerly trusted authorities, it’s time for new authorities.

Insincerity and artifice cannot persist indefinitely. In the coming era, it will be honesty and trustworthiness that people will demand, and which it will be for politicians and scientists and doctors to step up and provide. There will be new politicians and scientists struggling to find credibility in a climate of pervasive suspicion and distrust. They’ll have to be new ones, because the old ones have comprehensively blown it.

The era of propaganda and spin and fashion is coming to an end. The coming era will be one in which people speak honestly and openly and plainly. It will be one in which both sides of the argument will be heard. In which a political correctness which prevents open and honest debate will retreat. In which nothing is stage-managed to reach a predetermined outcome.

It will be a time when the scaremongering stops, and all the scares lose their force, because nobody believes a word of them anymore. And the world will once again seem serene and placid. Nobody will worry about global warming, because there isn’t any. Nobody will worry about the threat of passive smoking, because there isn’t one. Not in their personal experience, anyway. It takes experts with statistics and charts to conjure up these threats out of nothing.

It will be a giddy time. It will be a scary time in which, in the absence of guiding authority, nobody will know what anyone else believes, or even what they themselves believe.

About Frank Davis

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36 Responses to The Scaremongers

  1. Anonymous says:

    One of the problems with any religion/belief system which becomes the “new big thing” to replace the old one is that people’s expectations run so high, partly due to that “new big thing’s” keen desire to remain as the “big thing.” Something like this:
    1 The lies/wrong interpretations/exaggerations of the old religions begin to be shown up for what they are by good old-fashioned reality and people begin to doubt that they can any longer trust what the religions’ leaders are telling them.
    2 Some new group emerges, offering a whole new way of looking at the world and with promises to solve some of its worst problems and allay some of humanity’s deepest fears. Because they are new and looking at things which the old religions avoided, they make good progress. People see how successful they are in fulfilling their promises, and start to believe in them instead of the old religions.
    3 The old religions, feeling threatened, castigate the newcomers, accusing them of being in the grip of Dark Forces and their adherents of being at risk of eternal damnation if they believe all this new nonsense. By this time, however, the people’s trust in them has gone and their protestations fall on deaf ears. Support for the new belief system continues to grow and it becomes firmly established and perfectly respectable.
    4 With the support of the public, the new belief system progresses further and further, reaching heights that even its original followers could only have dreamed about. Support increases still more, and those at the top of the new belief’s “tree” become increasingly respected, wealthy and powerful. They like this very much.
    5 After a while, the new belief system finds that it is struggling to keep coming up with new and ever-more-wondrous ways of impressing the public and maintaining their enthusiastic and unfailing support. Progress slows, and people begin to notice.
    6 By now, thoroughly taking their high status for granted and not wanting for one second to lose it, the leaders of the new belief system have to resort to a bit of “spin” to maintain the public’s support and trust. The lies, factual manipulation and skewed statistics start to appear. Just a few, and only little, vague ones at this point.
    7 At first, this works. People are still saying things like: “It’s wonderful what they can do these days,” and “Of course they’ll come up with a cure for cancer. It’s only a matter of time.”
    8. But then, that “matter of time” passes, and many of those later promises fail to materialise. “They” actually can’t do very much at all. “They” still haven’t come up with a cure for cancer. Indeed, by concentrating so much on how the public sees them, rather than what the public originally loved them for, in many cases the new belief system now spends so much time and money on PR and presentation that it actually starts to go into reverse in real terms. Not only can it not deliver on the promises it made for the future, it now can’t even deliver on the things it used to be so good at in the past! Support begins to look distinctly saggy.
    9. In the absence of being able to deliver on the promises they have recently made (because they were fabricated from the start), the only options are (a) to admit that they aren’t as wonderful as they first made out – and risk their high status, or (b) to move the “lies and stats department” up a gear or two in the hope that some world-shattering pronouncements might distract people. Clearly (b) is the more palatable option. So, claims made by the new belief system become increasingly at odds with what the majority of people experience in their everyday lives. And as the lies grow in breadth and scale, the faith diminishes in equal measure, although the remaining few loyal footsoldiers seize upon the task of “super-spinning” with the traditional religious zeal seen in the devotees of any fast-failing belief system.
    9. The lies/wrong interpretations/exaggerations of the new belief system begin to be shown up for what they are by good old-fashioned reality and people begin to doubt that they can any longer trust what the belief system’s leaders are telling them.
    Which, in case you haven’t noticed, is precisely where we started at No 1 ……

  2. Anonymous says:

    One of the problems with any religion/belief system which becomes the “new big thing” to replace the old one is that people’s expectations run so high, partly due to that “new big thing’s” keen desire to remain as the “big thing.” Something like this:
    1 The lies/wrong interpretations/exaggerations of the old religions begin to be shown up for what they are by good old-fashioned reality and people begin to doubt that they can any longer trust what the religions’ leaders are telling them.
    2 Some new group emerges, offering a whole new way of looking at the world and with promises to solve some of its worst problems and allay some of humanity’s deepest fears. Because they are new and looking at things which the old religions avoided, they make good progress. People see how successful they are in fulfilling their promises, and start to believe in them instead of the old religions.
    3 The old religions, feeling threatened, castigate the newcomers, accusing them of being in the grip of Dark Forces and their adherents of being at risk of eternal damnation if they believe all this new nonsense. By this time, however, the people’s trust in them has gone and their protestations fall on deaf ears. Support for the new belief system continues to grow and it becomes firmly established and perfectly respectable.
    4 With the support of the public, the new belief system progresses further and further, reaching heights that even its original followers could only have dreamed about. Support increases still more, and those at the top of the new belief’s “tree” become increasingly respected, wealthy and powerful. They like this very much.
    5 After a while, the new belief system finds that it is struggling to keep coming up with new and ever-more-wondrous ways of impressing the public and maintaining their enthusiastic and unfailing support. Progress slows, and people begin to notice.
    6 By now, thoroughly taking their high status for granted and not wanting for one second to lose it, the leaders of the new belief system have to resort to a bit of “spin” to maintain the public’s support and trust. The lies, factual manipulation and skewed statistics start to appear. Just a few, and only little, vague ones at this point.
    7 At first, this works. People are still saying things like: “It’s wonderful what they can do these days,” and “Of course they’ll come up with a cure for cancer. It’s only a matter of time.”
    8. But then, that “matter of time” passes, and many of those later promises fail to materialise. “They” actually can’t do very much at all. “They” still haven’t come up with a cure for cancer. Indeed, by concentrating so much on how the public sees them, rather than what the public originally loved them for, in many cases the new belief system now spends so much time and money on PR and presentation that it actually starts to go into reverse in real terms. Not only can it not deliver on the promises it made for the future, it now can’t even deliver on the things it used to be so good at in the past! Support begins to look distinctly saggy.
    9. In the absence of being able to deliver on the promises they have recently made (because they were fabricated from the start), the only options are (a) to admit that they aren’t as wonderful as they first made out – and risk their high status, or (b) to move the “lies and stats department” up a gear or two in the hope that some world-shattering pronouncements might distract people. Clearly (b) is the more palatable option. So, claims made by the new belief system become increasingly at odds with what the majority of people experience in their everyday lives. And as the lies grow in breadth and scale, the faith diminishes in equal measure, although the remaining few loyal footsoldiers seize upon the task of “super-spinning” with the traditional religious zeal seen in the devotees of any fast-failing belief system.
    9. The lies/wrong interpretations/exaggerations of the new belief system begin to be shown up for what they are by good old-fashioned reality and people begin to doubt that they can any longer trust what the belief system’s leaders are telling them.
    Which, in case you haven’t noticed, is precisely where we started at No 1 ……

  3. Anonymous says:

    One of the problems with any religion/belief system which becomes the “new big thing” to replace the old one is that people’s expectations run so high, partly due to that “new big thing’s” keen desire to remain as the “big thing.” Something like this:
    1 The lies/wrong interpretations/exaggerations of the old religions begin to be shown up for what they are by good old-fashioned reality and people begin to doubt that they can any longer trust what the religions’ leaders are telling them.
    2 Some new group emerges, offering a whole new way of looking at the world and with promises to solve some of its worst problems and allay some of humanity’s deepest fears. Because they are new and looking at things which the old religions avoided, they make good progress. People see how successful they are in fulfilling their promises, and start to believe in them instead of the old religions.
    3 The old religions, feeling threatened, castigate the newcomers, accusing them of being in the grip of Dark Forces and their adherents of being at risk of eternal damnation if they believe all this new nonsense. By this time, however, the people’s trust in them has gone and their protestations fall on deaf ears. Support for the new belief system continues to grow and it becomes firmly established and perfectly respectable.
    4 With the support of the public, the new belief system progresses further and further, reaching heights that even its original followers could only have dreamed about. Support increases still more, and those at the top of the new belief’s “tree” become increasingly respected, wealthy and powerful. They like this very much.
    5 After a while, the new belief system finds that it is struggling to keep coming up with new and ever-more-wondrous ways of impressing the public and maintaining their enthusiastic and unfailing support. Progress slows, and people begin to notice.
    6 By now, thoroughly taking their high status for granted and not wanting for one second to lose it, the leaders of the new belief system have to resort to a bit of “spin” to maintain the public’s support and trust. The lies, factual manipulation and skewed statistics start to appear. Just a few, and only little, vague ones at this point.
    7 At first, this works. People are still saying things like: “It’s wonderful what they can do these days,” and “Of course they’ll come up with a cure for cancer. It’s only a matter of time.”
    8. But then, that “matter of time” passes, and many of those later promises fail to materialise. “They” actually can’t do very much at all. “They” still haven’t come up with a cure for cancer. Indeed, by concentrating so much on how the public sees them, rather than what the public originally loved them for, in many cases the new belief system now spends so much time and money on PR and presentation that it actually starts to go into reverse in real terms. Not only can it not deliver on the promises it made for the future, it now can’t even deliver on the things it used to be so good at in the past! Support begins to look distinctly saggy.
    9. In the absence of being able to deliver on the promises they have recently made (because they were fabricated from the start), the only options are (a) to admit that they aren’t as wonderful as they first made out – and risk their high status, or (b) to move the “lies and stats department” up a gear or two in the hope that some world-shattering pronouncements might distract people. Clearly (b) is the more palatable option. So, claims made by the new belief system become increasingly at odds with what the majority of people experience in their everyday lives. And as the lies grow in breadth and scale, the faith diminishes in equal measure, although the remaining few loyal footsoldiers seize upon the task of “super-spinning” with the traditional religious zeal seen in the devotees of any fast-failing belief system.
    9. The lies/wrong interpretations/exaggerations of the new belief system begin to be shown up for what they are by good old-fashioned reality and people begin to doubt that they can any longer trust what the belief system’s leaders are telling them.
    Which, in case you haven’t noticed, is precisely where we started at No 1 ……

  4. junican says:

    Nice comment, Anon – and an excellent essay, Frank.
    But there is a huge difference between the ‘old’ religions and the new ones, and that is that, despite their failings, the old religions were logical, provided that one accepts the basic axioms. For example, before the logical and sensible idea that there is only, and can only, be one God, people believed that there were many gods. Only when philosophers and theologians ‘got to grips’ with the important ideas did some sort of sense prevail. However, as is often the case, once the basic ideas become accepted, all sorts of sub-ideas become manifest – most of them erroneous.
    What used to be wonderful was that Science, especially physics and astronomy, was at pains to ensure that axioms were certain in a physical sense. 1 + 1 = 2. But Science has begun to realise that even 1 + 1 = 2 is just an idea. In reality, 1 + 1 does not always = 2. In nature, everything that we say is an approximation. How much more, then, are epidemiology and statistics likely to be approximations?
    What is really, really horrendous is the attitude of politicians. Politicians need to stop being silly and childish. They must stop accepting the axioms of the medical profession and the drug companies as true (along with the climatologists).
    We very often hear the phrase ‘doing nothing is not an option’. That phrase sounds good, as does ‘smoke-free England’, but it is not true. Doing nothing is always an option.
    How long will it be before politicians realise that they are being conned by pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo? They need to understand that ‘doing nothing’
    is and option.

  5. junican says:

    Nice comment, Anon – and an excellent essay, Frank.
    But there is a huge difference between the ‘old’ religions and the new ones, and that is that, despite their failings, the old religions were logical, provided that one accepts the basic axioms. For example, before the logical and sensible idea that there is only, and can only, be one God, people believed that there were many gods. Only when philosophers and theologians ‘got to grips’ with the important ideas did some sort of sense prevail. However, as is often the case, once the basic ideas become accepted, all sorts of sub-ideas become manifest – most of them erroneous.
    What used to be wonderful was that Science, especially physics and astronomy, was at pains to ensure that axioms were certain in a physical sense. 1 + 1 = 2. But Science has begun to realise that even 1 + 1 = 2 is just an idea. In reality, 1 + 1 does not always = 2. In nature, everything that we say is an approximation. How much more, then, are epidemiology and statistics likely to be approximations?
    What is really, really horrendous is the attitude of politicians. Politicians need to stop being silly and childish. They must stop accepting the axioms of the medical profession and the drug companies as true (along with the climatologists).
    We very often hear the phrase ‘doing nothing is not an option’. That phrase sounds good, as does ‘smoke-free England’, but it is not true. Doing nothing is always an option.
    How long will it be before politicians realise that they are being conned by pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo? They need to understand that ‘doing nothing’
    is and option.

  6. junican says:

    Nice comment, Anon – and an excellent essay, Frank.
    But there is a huge difference between the ‘old’ religions and the new ones, and that is that, despite their failings, the old religions were logical, provided that one accepts the basic axioms. For example, before the logical and sensible idea that there is only, and can only, be one God, people believed that there were many gods. Only when philosophers and theologians ‘got to grips’ with the important ideas did some sort of sense prevail. However, as is often the case, once the basic ideas become accepted, all sorts of sub-ideas become manifest – most of them erroneous.
    What used to be wonderful was that Science, especially physics and astronomy, was at pains to ensure that axioms were certain in a physical sense. 1 + 1 = 2. But Science has begun to realise that even 1 + 1 = 2 is just an idea. In reality, 1 + 1 does not always = 2. In nature, everything that we say is an approximation. How much more, then, are epidemiology and statistics likely to be approximations?
    What is really, really horrendous is the attitude of politicians. Politicians need to stop being silly and childish. They must stop accepting the axioms of the medical profession and the drug companies as true (along with the climatologists).
    We very often hear the phrase ‘doing nothing is not an option’. That phrase sounds good, as does ‘smoke-free England’, but it is not true. Doing nothing is always an option.
    How long will it be before politicians realise that they are being conned by pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo? They need to understand that ‘doing nothing’
    is and option.

  7. iessalb says:

    Koop and ETS
    You’ve got to wonder whether C. Everett Koop, arguably the father of ETS megaphone science, believes his own lies. He was raised around a ton of the stuff. His dad smoked 3 packs a day. He complained about the smoke-filled rooms at medical conferences he attended. He himself smoked a pipe until the 1970’s. In short he ingested enough ETS to kill ten mere mortals. If all his claims are true, he surely should have died at a young age.
    He is, unfortunately, still alive at 94.

  8. iessalb says:

    Koop and ETS
    You’ve got to wonder whether C. Everett Koop, arguably the father of ETS megaphone science, believes his own lies. He was raised around a ton of the stuff. His dad smoked 3 packs a day. He complained about the smoke-filled rooms at medical conferences he attended. He himself smoked a pipe until the 1970’s. In short he ingested enough ETS to kill ten mere mortals. If all his claims are true, he surely should have died at a young age.
    He is, unfortunately, still alive at 94.

    • Anonymous says:

      Re: Koop and ETS
      Yes, he is still alive, at age 94 – probably because of the fact he smoked. It seems as if so many who live into their very olden years smoke or did at one time smoke for a long period of their lives. There was that French woman who smoked through age 114 and lived through age 128, something like that.

      • Frank Davis says:

        Re: Koop and ETS
        Calment. Jeanne Calment. That was her name. And she lived in Avignon, or somewhere near there, in the south of France. She remembered meeting Vincent Van Gogh. She smoked all her life until at age 120 or something she gave up for a couple of years. On doctor’s orders, of course.
        Frank

        • Anonymous says:

          Re: Koop and ETS
          She only gave it up because of failing eye-sight caused her to be unable to light her cigs without always asking someone else for a light and she got embarassed about always having to ask for a light, was what she claimed her reason for stopping. Otherwise, if she had ’em, she’d of smoked ’em.

        • Anonymous says:

          Re: Koop and ETS
          She only gave it up because of failing eye-sight caused her to be unable to light her cigs without always asking someone else for a light and she got embarassed about always having to ask for a light, was what she claimed her reason for stopping. Otherwise, if she had ’em, she’d of smoked ’em.

      • Frank Davis says:

        Re: Koop and ETS
        Calment. Jeanne Calment. That was her name. And she lived in Avignon, or somewhere near there, in the south of France. She remembered meeting Vincent Van Gogh. She smoked all her life until at age 120 or something she gave up for a couple of years. On doctor’s orders, of course.
        Frank

      • iessalb says:

        Re: Koop and ETS
        I love what Frank “Tobacco is my favorite vegetable.” Zappa said of Everett Koop. In the song “Promiscuous” Zappa describes him as “all dressed up/ In his phony Doctor God get-up”. And he also said this: “What is he, the admiral of
        health?”–Frank Zappa.
        Be it a rightwing nutjob or a hippie healthfad nutjob sermonizing about cosmic consciousness, Zappa knew a fool when he saw one.

      • iessalb says:

        Re: Koop and ETS
        I love what Frank “Tobacco is my favorite vegetable.” Zappa said of Everett Koop. In the song “Promiscuous” Zappa describes him as “all dressed up/ In his phony Doctor God get-up”. And he also said this: “What is he, the admiral of
        health?”–Frank Zappa.
        Be it a rightwing nutjob or a hippie healthfad nutjob sermonizing about cosmic consciousness, Zappa knew a fool when he saw one.

    • Anonymous says:

      Re: Koop and ETS
      Yes, he is still alive, at age 94 – probably because of the fact he smoked. It seems as if so many who live into their very olden years smoke or did at one time smoke for a long period of their lives. There was that French woman who smoked through age 114 and lived through age 128, something like that.

  9. iessalb says:

    Koop and ETS
    You’ve got to wonder whether C. Everett Koop, arguably the father of ETS megaphone science, believes his own lies. He was raised around a ton of the stuff. His dad smoked 3 packs a day. He complained about the smoke-filled rooms at medical conferences he attended. He himself smoked a pipe until the 1970’s. In short he ingested enough ETS to kill ten mere mortals. If all his claims are true, he surely should have died at a young age.
    He is, unfortunately, still alive at 94.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Re: Koop and ETS
    Yes, he is still alive, at age 94 – probably because of the fact he smoked. It seems as if so many who live into their very olden years smoke or did at one time smoke for a long period of their lives. There was that French woman who smoked through age 114 and lived through age 128, something like that.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Our lord smoke-hater, who art in ASH,
    Hallowed be thy name.
    Thy smoke-ban come, thy will be done,
    Unholy smokers we thus blame.
    Give us this day our daily rant,
    For smokers we must blame,
    For every ill into this world,
    Tobacco we doth name.
    And when we lay us down to sleep,
    Our lord will watch for smokers.
    For he must keep our hair smelt clean,
    And our clothes can go unlaundered.
    Amen,
    And all bless ASH.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Our lord smoke-hater, who art in ASH,
    Hallowed be thy name.
    Thy smoke-ban come, thy will be done,
    Unholy smokers we thus blame.
    Give us this day our daily rant,
    For smokers we must blame,
    For every ill into this world,
    Tobacco we doth name.
    And when we lay us down to sleep,
    Our lord will watch for smokers.
    For he must keep our hair smelt clean,
    And our clothes can go unlaundered.
    Amen,
    And all bless ASH.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Our lord smoke-hater, who art in ASH,
    Hallowed be thy name.
    Thy smoke-ban come, thy will be done,
    Unholy smokers we thus blame.
    Give us this day our daily rant,
    For smokers we must blame,
    For every ill into this world,
    Tobacco we doth name.
    And when we lay us down to sleep,
    Our lord will watch for smokers.
    For he must keep our hair smelt clean,
    And our clothes can go unlaundered.
    Amen,
    And all bless ASH.

  14. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Koop and ETS
    Calment. Jeanne Calment. That was her name. And she lived in Avignon, or somewhere near there, in the south of France. She remembered meeting Vincent Van Gogh. She smoked all her life until at age 120 or something she gave up for a couple of years. On doctor’s orders, of course.
    Frank

  15. Anonymous says:

    Horizon, 9.00pm BBC2 tonight. Why have the public stopped believing the scientific consensus on global warming, MMR etc? Should be interesting.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Horizon, 9.00pm BBC2 tonight. Why have the public stopped believing the scientific consensus on global warming, MMR etc? Should be interesting.

    • Anonymous says:

      A programme which raised more questions than it intended to answer.
      Climategate: to create a graph starting with 1 set of data up to the point when unsuspected data was obtained, then completing the line on the graph with another set of data can only lead to considerable doubts of the validity of data reaching the public.
      Consensus: Although the general consensus with respect to medical treatment might currently be the best course of action, one could argue that accepting this might stifle progress and development of less intrusive, more effective treatments to come.
      The very point made of looking at the whole picture, not only at isolated parts of research and the data obtained, was destroyed by using the example “smoking causes lung cancer” as well as yellow teeth a statement. After all, the taken point A (the cause) might well be point D’ in the whole picture.
      Critique: The use of ridicule is hardly convincing. Although it is questionable that cultivating one’s intestinal flora prevents the onset of AIDS, it is curious to see a person surviving without antiviral treatment for 13 years. Could it just simply be that this person is one of the very few people found to be “resistant” to the effects of the virus? We simply do not know.
      All in all a poor attempt, just skimming various issues to ridicule critique; how disappointing.

    • Anonymous says:

      A programme which raised more questions than it intended to answer.
      Climategate: to create a graph starting with 1 set of data up to the point when unsuspected data was obtained, then completing the line on the graph with another set of data can only lead to considerable doubts of the validity of data reaching the public.
      Consensus: Although the general consensus with respect to medical treatment might currently be the best course of action, one could argue that accepting this might stifle progress and development of less intrusive, more effective treatments to come.
      The very point made of looking at the whole picture, not only at isolated parts of research and the data obtained, was destroyed by using the example “smoking causes lung cancer” as well as yellow teeth a statement. After all, the taken point A (the cause) might well be point D’ in the whole picture.
      Critique: The use of ridicule is hardly convincing. Although it is questionable that cultivating one’s intestinal flora prevents the onset of AIDS, it is curious to see a person surviving without antiviral treatment for 13 years. Could it just simply be that this person is one of the very few people found to be “resistant” to the effects of the virus? We simply do not know.
      All in all a poor attempt, just skimming various issues to ridicule critique; how disappointing.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Horizon, 9.00pm BBC2 tonight. Why have the public stopped believing the scientific consensus on global warming, MMR etc? Should be interesting.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Re: Koop and ETS
    She only gave it up because of failing eye-sight caused her to be unable to light her cigs without always asking someone else for a light and she got embarassed about always having to ask for a light, was what she claimed her reason for stopping. Otherwise, if she had ’em, she’d of smoked ’em.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Religion
    I would imagine that explains why I always wonder why those people never finish their statements with, “AMEN” !!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Religion
    I would imagine that explains why I always wonder why those people never finish their statements with, “AMEN” !!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Religion
    I would imagine that explains why I always wonder why those people never finish their statements with, “AMEN” !!

  22. iessalb says:

    Re: Koop and ETS
    I love what Frank “Tobacco is my favorite vegetable.” Zappa said of Everett Koop. In the song “Promiscuous” Zappa describes him as “all dressed up/ In his phony Doctor God get-up”. And he also said this: “What is he, the admiral of
    health?”–Frank Zappa.
    Be it a rightwing nutjob or a hippie healthfad nutjob sermonizing about cosmic consciousness, Zappa knew a fool when he saw one.

  23. Anonymous says:

    A programme which raised more questions than it intended to answer.
    Climategate: to create a graph starting with 1 set of data up to the point when unsuspected data was obtained, then completing the line on the graph with another set of data can only lead to considerable doubts of the validity of data reaching the public.
    Consensus: Although the general consensus with respect to medical treatment might currently be the best course of action, one could argue that accepting this might stifle progress and development of less intrusive, more effective treatments to come.
    The very point made of looking at the whole picture, not only at isolated parts of research and the data obtained, was destroyed by using the example “smoking causes lung cancer” as well as yellow teeth a statement. After all, the taken point A (the cause) might well be point D’ in the whole picture.
    Critique: The use of ridicule is hardly convincing. Although it is questionable that cultivating one’s intestinal flora prevents the onset of AIDS, it is curious to see a person surviving without antiviral treatment for 13 years. Could it just simply be that this person is one of the very few people found to be “resistant” to the effects of the virus? We simply do not know.
    All in all a poor attempt, just skimming various issues to ridicule critique; how disappointing.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Poll Suggestion
    Do you know – I don’t know a single person who has died of lung cancer (I’m 42yrs) and I’ve known quite a few who have died. Now, apparently lung cancer occurs in 10% of long-term smokers. Well, I’ve known a lot of old smokers.
    So, I’d be very interested to see a post or a poll, where people can give us their (admittedly anecdotal) evidence on the numbers of people they know who have succumbed to lung cancer.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Poll Suggestion
    Do you know – I don’t know a single person who has died of lung cancer (I’m 42yrs) and I’ve known quite a few who have died. Now, apparently lung cancer occurs in 10% of long-term smokers. Well, I’ve known a lot of old smokers.
    So, I’d be very interested to see a post or a poll, where people can give us their (admittedly anecdotal) evidence on the numbers of people they know who have succumbed to lung cancer.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Poll Suggestion
    Do you know – I don’t know a single person who has died of lung cancer (I’m 42yrs) and I’ve known quite a few who have died. Now, apparently lung cancer occurs in 10% of long-term smokers. Well, I’ve known a lot of old smokers.
    So, I’d be very interested to see a post or a poll, where people can give us their (admittedly anecdotal) evidence on the numbers of people they know who have succumbed to lung cancer.

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