Experts are proposing more stringent health warnings amid the steady increase in the number of middle-aged men who drink beer more than the allowed quantities included in the guidelines of alcohol consumption.
A past study has found that 90 percent of people in England do not believe that alcohol consumption may cause cancer, despite the fact that about seven different cancers can arise from drinking alcoholic beverages.
In January, the UK’s chief medical officers have released a guideline [PDF] that lowered the alcohol intake of men from 21 units to only 14 units or 6 pints of beer. The new guidance on alcohol consumption is based on the fact that 14 units of alcohol spread across a week do not increase health risks. However, more than the said amount may up cancer risk and other alcohol-related illness, such as liver failure.
Who cares what “experts” say?
I don’t give a damn what “experts” say.
Whenever I read something like “Experts say…”, I get an immediate rush of disbelief.
I have my own opinions about all sorts of things, and I don’t change them just because “Experts say” something different.
Anyone who calls themselves an “expert”, and uses that to add force to any claims they are making, is mounting an Argument from Authority. They ought to be disbelieved.
I’ll weigh up the evidence for myself, thank you very much.
Suppose some Famous Mathematician says that (7.772 + 15.3) / 2.8 is equal to 8, I don’t have to believe him. In fact, I shouldn’t believe him. I should figure it out for myself. And if I do that, I find that actually it’s 8.24 rather than 8. So the Famous Mathematician was wrong. Maybe he wasn’t far wrong, and maybe the missing 0.24 doesn’t matter. Or maybe it does matter.
The trouble comes if I don’t know how to add and subtract and multiply and divide, and so have no way of checking for myself. Then it’s about whether I trust Famous Mathematicians to be able to do what I can’t do, and to always get the right answer.
All the claims that I currently don’t believe are actually mathematical claims of one sort or other. The authoritative claim by health experts that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer relies on mathematical arguments. The authoritative claim by climate scientists that carbon dioxide causes global warming relies on mathematical climate simulation models. The authoritative claim by NASA astronomers that the Chelyabinsk meteor wasn’t a companion of asteroid DA14 that arrived on the same day relies on mathematical orbital simulation models. It’s all mathematics.
But do any of these claimants ever tell people, “Don’t believe us just because we’re experts. Go work it out for yourselves. Here’s how we did it.”?
I’ve never heard any of these people ever tell anyone to work it out for themselves, or explain how to do it. They don’t want people to work things out for themselves, because they’ll most likely find that that they got it wrong – like I just found with the Famous Mathematician just now. No, they just want people to believe them because they’re Famous Mathematicians, or maybe famous Nobel Prize-winning mathematicians, or even knighted, famous, Nobel Prize-winning mathematicians wearing the kind of immaculate, well-cut pinstripe suits and Eton old school ties that shout “Trust me.”
Regardless of the fame and stature of an “expert”, if you have no way of checking the veracity of the claim they’re making, don’t believe it!!