Some days I need look no further than my comments. H/T prog in the comments:
¤Butter ISN’T bad for you after all: Major study says 80s advice on dairy fats was flawed
¤Dietary advice from 1983 ordered cut of dairy fats and increase of carbs
¤UK and US governments ‘practically destroyed’ dairy industry with advice
¤Advice to eat more carbs ‘to blame for obesity and diabetes epidemic’
…governments in both the US and UK have ‘practically destroyed the dairy industry by suggesting that butter, cheese and full fat milk increased cardiovascular disease risk, when the contrary is true,’
It’s rather mind-boggling really. People have been told this stuff for 30 or 40 years, and now they’re being told it was all wrong. But if they were wrong 30 or 40 years ago, how do we know they’re right now?
I must say that all this dietary advice has always gone straight over my head and out the other side. Because I’ve always been very thin, and almost all dietary advice was aimed at weight-watchers, and I’ve never ever had any reason to watch my weight. So I never read any of the stories about milk and butter and fat and sugar and white bread and cholesterol and all the rest of it. Still ringing in my ears is my mother’s shouted admonition: “You MUST eat!!” And I ignored her too.
But if I never paid any attention, pretty much everybody else did. All the girls were always weight-watchers, even if they were as skinny as I was. And by early middle age, half the men were too.
Not that I entirely escaped. Sometime in the 1970s I decided to stop buying white bread, and start buying brown bread. And stop buying white rice, and start buying brown rice. And even stop putting white sugar in my tea, and start using brown sugar instead. Because, y’see, brown was ‘healthy’ and white wasn’t. It didn’t last long. The white stuff was more plentiful in the shops, and it was cheaper too. So sooner or later I was back on the white stuff.
These days I see it as a cultural war that was launched on Western societies in the 1960s. It was a war on everything. It was a war on everything we ate, everything we drank, and everything we smoked. And also a war on everything else we believed as well. And so these days I see myself as retreating, shell-shocked, across a bomb-cratered land, trying to find my way back to how it used to be.
So now I use white lard to fry food, just like my mother did before all the funny sunflower oils showed up. And I buy full cream milk and butter and white bread and cheese and jam. And pork sausages and lamb chops and bacon and eggs and black pudding. Some day I’m going to treat myself to that old childhood delicacy of two slabs of thickly buttered white bread with half an inch of white sugar between them.
GLOBAL WARMING: SO DISHONEST IT MAKES ENRON LOOK LIKE A PARAGON OF INTEGRITY
“Fiddling temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever,” says Christopher Booker, not pulling his punches. And I think he’s right not to do so. If – as Booker, myself, and few others suspect – the guardians of the world’s land-based temperature records have been adjusting the raw data in order to exaggerate “global warming” then this is indeed a crime against the scientific method unparalleled in history.
Sure you could make a case that Lysenkoism or Hitler’s war to discredit “Jewish science” were more evil but these were confined to discrete geographical regions under specific totalitarian regimes. What’s so extraordinary about the manipulations to the global land-based temperature sets is that they affect every one of us, wherever we live.
This is another piece of cultural war. Nobody used to worry about carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Nobody worried about the atmosphere at all. Now half the world lies awake worrying about the global warming that isn’t happening.
In science the raw data is – or ought to be – sacrosanct. Theory must conform with the raw data. If a mercury thermometer has been properly calibrated, the air temperature it records anywhere is what the air temperature is (assuming it’s been kept out of direct sunlight, and away from other heat sources), and that’s what should be recorded, and left unaltered thereafter. And if one thermometer says that it’s 10°C in one town, and another says it’s 15°C in a town a 10 miles away, then those are the temperatures that should remain recorded. But now they’re saying, in effect, that in such cases you should take the average of the two temperatures, 12.5°C, and maybe the averages over far wider areas. What should have remained set in stone is becoming elastic. Temperatures can be, and are being, adjusted up or down.
But if you’re doing that, it really means that you don’t trust the thermometers. You don’t believe they’re giving the right readings. But if you think that, then you’re effectively saying that we have no way of measuring temperatures accurately, and all the met stations around the world are more or less useless. And we actually have no idea what the temperatures are anywhere. So we have no meteorological record. And no basis for believing (or disbelieving) in the theory of global warming. The raw data has vanished, and all that’s left is a theory that no longer has anything to conform with.
Ideologies – or theories – flourish in the absence of good raw data. If we don’t know what the temperature is within 3 or 4 degrees, then it may be compatible with both a theory of global warming and a theory of global cooling, and any number of other theories as well.
It’s the same with health. We have no good raw data. We don’t know how much anyone eats or drinks or smokes, because unlike the met office, there are no records. When someone says that they smoke 10 or 20 or 30 cigarettes a day, it’s not because they actually counted them: it’s their best guess from memory. And maybe not even their best guess, if they’re trying to conceal something. And then bear in mind that some cigarettes are two or three times larger than other cigarettes. And then add the fact that some people don’t inhale, and some people leave them burning on ashtrays, and some people just take a couple of pulls on them before stubbing them out. And all of a sudden you have no idea how many cigarettes anyone really smokes. You have no good data.
Which brings me on to Walt’s comment about Michael Bloomberg:
Bloomberg once excoriated the press for spilling too much ink over the 2300 casualties at the World Trade Center considering (as he preposterously did ) that “that number of people die every year in this city from secondhand smoke.”
The difference between the numbers of WTC casualties and the number of NYC secondhand smoke casualties is that the former all consist of real dead bodies, and the latter all consist of imaginary or theoretical dead bodies. Because there are no real dead bodies of secondhand smoke victims lying in mortuaries in NYC. None. Nada.
The number of real dead bodies is found by counting the bodies. But the number of secondhand smoke casualties is the product of a mathematical calculation of how many people are likely to die prematurely, based on some hypothesis. One is factual, and the other is theoretical. Bloomberg was asking people to pay more attention to theories than to facts. But there’s no data to support the theory, because there are no bodies.
These days all we ever seem to have are theories, unsupported by facts.