I spend much of my time these days using equations of heat flow to construct elaborate models of the surface of the Earth. To be precise, I’m using this equation:
If gives the heat flow Q through a column of area A, length L, and thermal conductivity k, which has one end at temperature T1 and the other end at temperature T2. All these terms are very precisely defined. And in my model of the surface of the Earth I have a long chain of these little building blocks extending from the centre of the Earth at 7000º K to outer space above the Earth’s atmosphere at 0º K.
The current debate about Global Warming is conducted using equations of this sort. For example, Christopher Monckton published a paper last year calling into question the sensitivity of the Earth’s climate to greenhouse gas concentrations. The paper is full of equations of the kind shown above. And, in principle, disputes within science are resolved by one side demonstrating to the other where they have made a mistake in their calculations, or neglected to include some factor. And so we may be confidently assured that the current dispute about global warming will eventually be resolved (even if there is at present no sign of this happening).
Contrast this paper with another paper published a few days ago about the government’s proposals for Public Health in the UK.
There is no science of Public Health like there is a science of heat flow. There are no equations of Public Health. There isn’t even a precise definition of what is meant by “health”, and how it is measured.
The executive summary of this paper begins:
The 2020s will be the decade of proactive, predictive, and personalised prevention. This means:
• targeted support
• tailored lifestyle advice
• personalised care
• greater protection against future threats
New technologies such as genomics and artificial intelligence will help us create a new prevention model that means the NHS will be there for people even before they are born.
How wonderful! The NHS will be ready for people before they are even born. And they will be ready with tailored lifestyle advice, thanks to future new technologies.
How do they know what the 2020s will bring? Can they foresee the future?
Of course they can’t. The paper consists of nothing but wishful thinking. Its authors dream of a world of cradle-to-grave healthcare, in which everybody is “smoke-free”, and maintains a “healthy weight”, and stays “active”, and have not only good physical health but good “mental health” as well:
Good health is much more than the absence of illness. It’s a state of wellbeing that includes our mental as well as our physical health. Parity of esteem was enshrined in law back in 2012. This requires the NHS and local authorities to consider the ‘whole person’, and their mental and physical health needs as equally important.
How is mental health measured? Given that there is no measure of physical health, there won’t be any measure of mental health either. But probably what is meant by “good mental health” is that you think in the manner prescribed by the experts in Public Health.
I lived for many years in the city of Bristol. I haven’t been back there for 10 years or more.
‘Thrive Bristol’ is an example of the action taken by a signatory of the Prevention Concordat, Bristol City Council. It is a 10 year programme to improve the mental health and wellbeing of everyone in Bristol, with a focus on addressing inequality.
How utterly bizarre. Bristol City Council is working to improve the mental health and wellbeing of everyone in Bristol. Thank God I no longer live there.
The world of Public Health is a fantasy world. It’s a world of magical thinking, in which the primary key to good health is to be “smoke-free”, and where the smoke in question is tobacco smoke and tobacco smoke alone.
Public Health (a.k.a. Tobacco Control) is a disease of the medical profession, which has now become a global pandemic, infecting governments everywhere. Its principal doctrine is that all disease of every kind is caused by people smoking tobacco. Smokers are not only killing themselves, but they’re killing everyone else as well. The rational, scientific medicine of Louis Pasteur and Alexander Fleming has vanished, and been replaced by a toxic religious cult, a monomania, in which there is one single evil in the world: tobacco, or tobacco smoke of homeopathic dilutions.
The debates within climate science are essentially rational and scientific in character. But there is nothing rational or scientific about Public Health and Tobacco Control. It’s an extremely dangerous religious cult, which ought to be placed on a par with international terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, and treated in the same way.