A Simple Research Project

Hat tip to Pat Nurse for this (click to enlarge):

It would be quite easy for them to find out how many incidents of violence or disturbance there have been in UK prisons. Each one will have a) a date on which smoking was banned, and b) a record or log of prison events over time.  All that needs to be done is for incidents of violence after date a) to be found in record b). Easy. It would be a simple research project that a single research assistant could carry out in a few months, going from prison to prison to read the prison records.

What’s really needed is not the number of incidents of violence before and after the introduction of prison smoking bans, but the number of incidents per annum. It would almost certainly be found that there was a sharp uptick in the rate at which such incidents took place.

And this is what the Tobacco Controllers in the UK government wish to conceal.

Because Tobacco Control engages in systematic lying all the time. They never do anything else.

Related to all this, I’ve been toying with an idea for a new attack on Tobacco Control, and this time on all the research they’ve ever done.

Because for the past 6 months, as I’ve been piecing together a glaciation computer simulation model, I’ve been wondering why climate scientists don’t seem to have done what I’ve been doing, which is simply to model conductive heat flow deep inside the Earth, and not just in the atmosphere above its surface. Why couldn’t they do that? It’s a very simple thing to do.

And the answer, almost certainly, is that nobody asked them to do that. Because all the people who work in climate science are employees who are doing what they’re told. They’ll be employees in the University of East Anglia, for example. They’ll be employed as lecturers and research assistants and professors, and they’ll be paid by governments or other grant-giving bodies. And it’s the people who provide the money who determine what needs investigation, what needs further research. And their employees in the university will simply conduct the research they want done. So it’s always top-down-controlled research. And the research that’s being carried out will only be as good and imaginative as the controllers at the top. And since the controllers will in many cases be politicians, they will most likely conduct politically-motivated research. And that’s why climate science has become politically-motivated.

But I’m not top-down-controlled. Nobody’s paying me. And I just follow my nose. And over the past 6 months my nose has led me to build a model of the inside of the Earth rather than just the outside.

The climate scientists in the University of East Anglia are perfectly capable of doing this themselves. In fact they’re probably a lot better at doing it than I am, and they’ve got far more powerful computers than my little personal computer. But they’re all employees who are doing what they’re told, and nobody has asked them to do what I’ve been doing.

I don’t know whether I’ll find out anything particularly interesting with my little simulation model. Most likely not. But the only people who can do any real, imaginative, daring research are people who can think for themselves, and not simply act as employees who are doing what they’re told.

Isaac Newton was a professor of mathematics in Cambridge university, but nobody much ever came to his lectures, which he sometimes delivered to empty rooms. And  so he had all his days to pursue his own mathematical ideas. And that’s exactly what he did. And ended up writing Principia Mathematica.

Charles Darwin was a man of independent means, and that meant that he had all his days to pursue whatever interested him, which was principally biology. So that’s exactly what he did. And ended up writing The Origin of Species.

Orville and Wilbur Wright don’t seem to have been employed by anybody. They seem to have been men of independent means as well. And they had plenty enough time and money to spend their days constructing a variety of experimental aircraft. And one day, December 17, 1903, one of those experimental aircraft actually flew a short distance.

The Flyer cost less than a thousand dollars, in contrast to more than $50,000 in government funds given to Samuel Langley for his man-carrying Great Aerodrome.

It’s only if you have independent reseachers, following their own noses, that you’ll ever find out anything. You need to have people who search everywhere for answers, and not just down the most orthodox routes.

This isn’t just a problem with climate science. It’s a problem with all science. Once you’ve got institutionalised, top-down-controlled science research being done, it’s almost certainly not going to do any more than reproduce the prejudices of the people who’re funding it.

Which brings me back to Doll and Hill, and Wynder and Graham, back in 1950. So far as I know, none of these people were independent researchers. I think they were all employees, with their wages being paid by someone else. Who provided the money for the research? And what did they want to find out? For I suspect that they wanted to prove that smoking caused lung cancer. And Doll and Hill, and Wynder and Graham, gave them the results they wanted.

All this research is directed research. And such research will only ever confirm the prejudices of the people who fund it. Doll, Hill, Wynder, and Graham were yes-men who were doing their masters’ will.

About Frank Davis

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19 Responses to A Simple Research Project

  1. Rose says:

    Which brings me back to Doll and Hill, and Wynder and Graham, back in 1950. So far as I know, none of these people were independent researchers. I think they were all employees, with their wages being paid by someone else. Who provided the money for the research?

    “Hill replied vigorously rejecting the suggestion and writing of his and Stocks’ being ‘intensely interested’ and of there being no economies by doing the work elsewhere.

    As to ‘medical supervision I shall have a Rockefeller Scholar in my department who might be used on it at little cost. A much better alternative would be Richard Doll who has been employed by the Council in the survey of peptic ulcer (sic) in industry and which is coming to an end I believe.”

    “Mellanby gave grudging consent to the Statistical Unit doing the work: ‘It seems to me that one of the main reasons against your Department carrying out the work is the extra medical cost involved, but if you can get your Rockefeller scholar to do this, that point is no longer worth consideration.’ Bradford Hill had won his main point and played for time on the question of a medical appointment.”
    http://www.denialdelay.org.uk/prologue.htm

    Chronology- London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

    1914-1918 The Great War. Teaching in abeyance,staff and hospital part of the war effort.

    1919-1920 Preliminary moves by Rockefeller Foundation to explore possibilities for School of Public Health in London.

    1922 A week before his death Manson accepts Rockefeller proposals for School.( Medical officer to the Colonial Office 1897)

    “The new School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine was opened in its present building in Keppel Street, a gift from the Rockefeller Foundation. At that time, the term ‘hygiene’ was not restricted to its current meaning of ‘cleanliness’ or ‘sanitary science’, but was used in the wider sense of the establishment and maintenance of health – now more usually described as ‘public health'”
    http: //www.lshtm.ac.uk/prospectus/intro/ no longer works

    1933 Bradford Hill appointed Reader at LSHTM

    1945-1946 Large numbers of ex-service men and women apply for DPH courses.
    Rockefeller Foundation offers fellowships for training “hand-picked” students in Public Health Department.
    Introduction of lectures on sociology and social medicine.

    1950 Preliminary report by Doll and Hill on smoking and lung cancer.
    Bradford Hill fights and wins his case for the Department to be classified as “pre-clinical”
    http: //www.lshtm.ac.uk/library/archives/chronology.html no longer works

    “In 1921 the Athlone Committee recommended the creation of an institute of state medicine in London, this built on a proposal by the Rockefeller Foundation to develop a London based agency that would lead the world in the promotion of public health and tropical medicine. The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine was founded by Royal Charter in 1924.
    The purchase of the site and the cost of a new building was made possible through a generous gift of $2m from the Rockefeller Foundation”
    http: //k1.ioe.ac.uk:80/is/archives/Beginnings/begslshtm1.html

    Rockefeller Foundation
    Standard Oil

    History of pharmaceutical interests

    “In the early half of the 20th century, petrochemical giants organized a coup on the medical research facilities, hospitals and universities. The Rockefeller family sponsored research and donated sums to universities and medical schools which had drug based research. They further extended this policy to foreign universities and medical schools where research was drug based through their “International Education Board”. Establishments and research which were were not drug based were refused funding and soon dissolved in favor of the lucrative pharmaceutical industry.”
    https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Rockefeller_Foundation

    • Frank Davis says:

      As to ‘medical supervision I shall have a Rockefeller Scholar in my department who might be used on it at little cost. A much better alternative would be Richard Doll who has been employed by the Council in the survey of peptic ulcer (sic) in industry and which is coming to an end I believe.”

      Doesn’t that suggest that Doll wasn’t the Rockefeller Scholar, and that there’s no link with the Rockefeller Foundation?

      Who funded the London Hospitals study, and the later British Doctors study?

      .

      • Rose says:

        From the first link

        “The Ministry took the views of Sir Ernest Rock Carling, its highly distinguished adviser on all matters related to cancer and radiotherapy[5], and Lord Amulree, one of its medical officers, and then asked the MRC to take on the work.

        In June, Sir Edward Mellanby wrote ‘I am in favour of a statistical investigation . . . Would it not be possible for Stocks to get in touch with Bradford Hill and arrange for an investigation of this kind to be made by the Statistical Committee of the Medical Research Council? It might be interesting to know not only the relative incidence of cancer of the lung in different trades, but also whether there is any difference between town and country dwellers, and whether smoking, especially cigarette smoking, is of any importance, etc. . .’,

        “Mellanby gave grudging consent to the Statistical Unit doing the work: ‘It seems to me that one of the main reasons against your Department carrying out the work is the extra medical cost involved, but if you can get your Rockefeller scholar to do this, that point is no longer worth consideration.’

        If Richard Doll wasn’t the Rockefeller student mentioned who did the study, then who ever did’s name is lost to history.

        Who funded the London Hospital Study?

        According to Richard Doll – Oral History, it appears to have been the Medical Research Council.
        https://academic.oup.com/jpubhealth/article/26/4/327/1565997

      • Rose says:

        No Smoking Day: LSTHM and the link between smoking and lung cancer
        March 11, 2015

        “March 11th is No Smoking Day and we thought that we would highlight the fact that the link between smoking and lung cancer was made at the School.

        In 1950, Richard Doll, a member of the MRC Statistical Research Unit based at LSHTM and Austin Bradford Hill, Director of the Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, published their study of lung cancer patients in 20 London hospitals which concluded that the risk of developing lung cancer increases with the amount of tobacco smoked.”
        http://blogs.lshtm.ac.uk/library/2015/03/11/no-smoking-day-lsthm-link-smoking-lung-cancer/

      • Fredrik Eich says:

        I am pretty sure that funding for the British Doctors Study was supplied by the tobacco industry.

        https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/#id=jfwh0209

        “I am sending you two copies of our annual report on the progress of studies relating to
        lung cancer financed from the Tobacco Maufactures’ gift to the council [MRC]”

        The British Doctors Study is listed.

        Seeing as the BMJ no longer publishes studies financed by the Tobacco Industry one wonders why the results of that appalling study are still held in such high regard.

        I don’t know about the London study (which Doll probably cheated on by excluding 80 or so cancers from never-smokers) but I would guess it would have been HMG.

        • Philip Neal says:

          Doll actively solicited funding from the tobacco industry as late as 1973, and made use of Tobacco Reseach Council studies of animals exposed to cigarette smoke. My work on Burch persuaded me that he expected his researchers to produce statistics to order and that Richard Peto’s willingness to do so won him the succession.

          As for motivation, I think it is a mistake to concentrate on money to all else. Looking through Denial and Delay I am struck by the way the medical profession were regarded, not least by themselves, as the only proper source of wisdom on cancer to the exclusion of biologists and other scientists with no medical qualifications. E.g.

          Dr Goodman noted: ‘I know Fisher and his work and I know Todd personally. The latter is relatively harmless but the former is an enfant terrible who is dangerous because of his statistical eminence.’ The suggestion [of a genetic approach] was therefore refused.

          Goodman simply takes it for granted that he must know better than an FRS who was not a physician.

        • Rose says:

          Richard Doll in his own words, on why he didn’t refer to Schairer and Schöniger’s paper at the Medical Research Council in 1947, but did refer to Muller’s study.

          “The issue of Zeitschuft für Krebsforschung in which Schairer and Schöniger’s paper appeared did not reach Britain during the war (although most other issues did) and it is still not held by many libraries and was not indexed in the cumulative medical index”

          “It is understandable, therefore, that it was not mentioned at the conference held by the Medical Research Council in 1947 to discuss the reasons for the increase in mortality attributed to lung cancer (Hill, personal communication) and was not referred to when Hill and I published our first paper on the association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer,although we did refer to Müller’s paper that had been published in 1939”
          http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/30/1/30.full

          Muller’s study is credited as the first German study and curiously enough has that same 30% of mystery lung cancers, later mentioned by the MRC.

          “A few years later, in 1957, the Medical Research Council was planning to issue a statement saying although smoking was a significant cause of lung cancer, up to 30% of cases might be caused by air pollution.”
          See further down the page.

          Muller’s study “Abuse of Tobacco and Carcinoma of Lungs” was published in English in JAMA in 1939.

          Muller sums up
          “The fact that about one third of the subjects surveyed smoked moderately or not at all indicates the presence of other cancerigenic factors besides smoking, such as influenza and industrial working conditions.
          The great significance of the latter can be inferred from various indications but needs further study.”
          https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/docs/#id=rnvp0042

        • Rose says:

          Quality, originality, and significance of the 1939 “Tobacco consumption and lung carcinoma” article by Mueller, including translation of a section of the paper
          2012

          “In 1950, Wynder, a medical student, and Graham, a thoracic surgeon, wrote: “Mueller in 1939, from a careful but limited clinical statistical study, offered good evidence that heavy smoking is an important etiologic factor”

          Appendix A. Translation
          Box 1

          Franz H Mueller, Misuse of tobacco and cancer of the lung (Zeitung fuer Krebsforschung, 1939.
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3640840/

          “Dr Goodman minuted a private meeting with Dr Ernst Wynder, who with Evarts Graham had published a similar study just before Doll and Hill’s: “He is a young man ‘far gone in enthusiasm’ for the causal relationship between tobacco smoking and lung cancer. (I had been told when I was in New York this spring that he was the son of a revivalist preacher and had inherited his father’s antipathy to tobacco and alcohol.)”
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1117791/

      • Rose says:

        London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

        “Sir George obtained the Diploma in Public Health at the School in 1936, following training at the London Hospital”
        http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/alumni/news/sir_george_godber.html

  2. waltc says:

    What I pull from this is that their study “concluded that the risk of developing lung cancer increases with the amount of tobacco smoked.” which is simple dose/response. Concluding from that conclusion that any amoint of smoking causes lung cancer is like concluding that any amount of sunlight (a two-block walk in July) causes skin cancer. Then, too, whatever happened to the part about the defference between country and city dwellers, since industrial and traffic–especially deisel–pollution has been (at least statistically) linked.

    • Rose says:

      Politics

      Medical Research Council
      Rockefeller Medical Fellowships
      1932

      Click to access brmedj07385-0032a.pdf

      “Professor Virginia Berridge of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s History Unit has researched papers relating to cabinet committee meetings in the late ’50s looking into smoking, air pollution and lung cancer.

      She asserts that although there were clear political reasons for obscuring the link between air pollution and lung cancer, other factors, including a shifting public health agenda, which focused on an individual¹s responsibility for their health rather then environmental influences, were also key in ensuring that the issue of air pollution was ‘damped down’.

      “In 1953, Dr Guy Scadding, speaking on the television programme Matters of Medicine, had expressed a belief that air pollution was as much a factor in whether someone developed lung cancer as smoking, citing the significantly higher number of deaths from the disease among those living in polluted cities, as opposed to the countryside, and assuming that rates of smoking were likely to be similar in both populations.

      A few years later, in 1957, the Medical Research Council was planning to issue a statement saying although smoking was a significant cause of lung cancer, up to 30% of cases might be caused by air pollution.

      But the Cabinet committee on cancer of the lung, fearful of another political embarrassment which could be caused by stressing the air pollution connection, asked the MRC to reconsider its statement.

      On 31 May 1957 a modified version was published, which asserted that although it was likely that atmospheric pollution did play a role in lung cancer, it was ‘a relatively minor one in comparison with cigarette smoking’.

      A committee was appointed by the Royal College of Physicians in 1959 to consider both the connection between smoking and air pollution, and to produce a report. But when it met on 17 March 1960, it decided to publish a separate report, giving smoking priority.”
      https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news/2002/smogpollution.html

    • Frank Davis says:

      whatever happened to the part about the defference between country and city dwellers

      I know the answer to that.

      They collected the data for the London Hospitals study, but never used it. There was supposed to be a paper about that, but it was never written. They pretty rapidly fixed on smoking, before they’d even collected all the data. And Richard Doll quit smoking.

      They may as well have not collected all the data, and just collected the smoking data. And in fact in the subsequent British Doctors study, the only question asked was about smoking.

      All of which says to me that they either jumped to a conclusion before they’d even got all the data, or (more likely, in my opinion) the study was always intended to fix upon smoking from before it even started

  3. Joe L. says:

    How can they claim “there is no conclusive evidence of an increase in violence in prisons attributable to the tobacco ban” when they haven’t done the necessary research to reach such a conclusion because “it could only be obtained at disproportionate cost”?

    It would be a simple research project that a single research assistant could carry out in a few months, going from prison to prison to read the prison records.

    Agreed. And your scenario assumes UK prisons are still keeping their records in paper files. Maybe they are, but I assume that by the time the prison smoking bans started taking effect, most prisons migrated to a computerized system with some sort of centralized database. Thus, it should be even easier to find the annual number of violent incidents, as the research assistant wouldn’t need to travel from prison to prison.

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      I can’t imagine a prison not keeping data on security incidents and assaults in the facility since that data is essential to actually running a prison. In fact, I suspect that is actually a reportable set of data used to establish staffing levels and evaluate the performance of wardens and other management staff. Sounds like a decree from the tobacco controllers seeks to limit public discussion once again.

      Indeed, The Guardian ran a story back in April (April 26, 2018) entitled “Prison violence in England and Wales hits record levels.” https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/apr/26/prison-violence-in-england-and-wales-hits-record-levels

      According to that report, “Prisoner-on-prisoner assaults up 11% and assaults on staff up 23% in 2017, MoJ figures show” and “The figures also show there were 44,651 incidents of self-harm among inmates last year, up by 11% compared with 2016. The number of self-harming individuals increased by 6% to a new high of 11,630.”

      Now, There is a briefing paper (No.CBP07467) from December 2017 published by the House of Commons Library entitled “Prison Safety in England and Wales” that reviews the statistics in aggregate (which means they had to be reported from the individual facilities to a central analytical point. That repair ti s available online at https://bit.ly/2IDCIug

      Finally, there is a detailed group of datasets on prison violence in England and Wales online at UK.gov the series is entitled Safety in custody statistics and according to the UK.gov website “Safety in custody statistics cover deaths, self-harm and assaults in prison custody in England and Wales” The latest update was released April 26, 2018. There are individual Excel spread sheets for summary data, deaths in custody, self-harm cases, and assaults covering multiyear data. The data is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/safety-in-custody-quarterly-update-to-december-2017

      • Smoking Lamp says:

        News reports point toward smoking bans in Her majesties Prisons as being factor in increased prison violence too. This news report mentions a HM Inspectorate of Prisons report that supports that assessment.

        See “Smoking ban ‘helped drive spike in violence at prison’ ,” ITV may 31, 2018 at http://www.itv.com/news/2018-05-31/smoking-ban-helped-drive-spike-in-violence-at-prison/

        The quote in the report is: “Managers attributed this rise to a combination of the smoking ban, an influx of younger prisoners from HMP Glen Parva and the influence of new psychoactive drugs — HM Inspectorate of Prisons report”

        • Smoking Lamp says:

          The quote from the actual HMP Leicester report (at page 20) states:

          1.12 Since the previous inspection, levels of violence had fluctuated and we could not see any clear trends or themes. Levels of violence had stabilised during 2016, and even decreased, but then rose dramatically again in the summer of 2017. Levels had not yet stabilised, with a further, recent surge in November 2017 (see main recommendation S56). Managers attributed this rise to a combination of the smoking ban, an influx of younger prisoners from HMP Glen Parva and the influence of new psychoactive drugs (NPS; these generally refer to synthetic cannabinoids, a growing number of man-made mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material or paper so they can be smoked or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices).

          The HM Inspectorate of Prisons reports are archived at their website: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons/

          This report was found at at https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2018/05/HMP-Leicester-Web-2018.pdf

  4. Rose says:

    This looks rather elderly.

    Tobacco control research at LSHTM

    “There is a diverse range of tobacco control research being done at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine from a variety of disciplinary perspectives including public health, epidemiology, political science, economics and history.

    Current work includes investigations into the connections between globalisation and the tobacco industry and the influence of the tobacco industry on policy and science through analysis of internal tobacco industry documents; analysis of the impacts of tobacco industry privatisation; epidemiological analysis of smoking patterns across countries in central and eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union; work on the impacts of and influences on tobacco control policies in the UK and the European Union.”
    http://cgch.lshtm.ac.uk/tobacco/index.html

    Publications start in 1993 and end in 2009,
    http: //cgch.lshtm.ac.uk/tobacco/publications.htm

  5. Tobacco Control engages in systematic lying all the time. They never do anything else.

    Anti-tobacco ‘science’ (and that also applies to epidemiology at large) lacks a real scientific cornerstone, namely the all-important baseline risk non-smokers (or ex-smokers) are supposed to benefit from vs lifetime smokers. This critical level of minimal risk being undefined, or shown to be widely variable according to different studies, time trends, or ‘gender’ susceptibility, is nothing more than a pile of mush, and that leaves us with a ‘cornerstone’ that’s little more than a chunk of marshmallow.

    In its turn, the widespread belief in tobacco harm does have a cornerstone, and that is none other than the – at this writing – petrified belief (yes, that’s also a belief!) in a radical separation / antagonism between State and Economy. The obvious decades-long collusion between Tobcoms and Tobacco Control has amply given the lie to that theory.

    The bottom line for smokers is this vital statement: tobacco smoking is a very poor predictor, even less a recipe, for “premature death”, and may even brighten your ‘twilight years’ by significantly reducing your risk of neurodegenative conditions (I admit that confirmation is needed on that one, though I’m confident it will not be forthcoming from the anti-smoking brigade any time soon).

    In the (everlasting) meanwhile, until some mysterious force comes into action to counter the utter madness that’s at play at the moment, I’d advise all pro-smokers, such as myself, to ‘keep on trucking’! The only available ‘force’ at our disposal is the average (pro-)smoker’s mindset.

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