Saturday, 30 October 2010

Bad Science Is Always Bad Science*

Subrosa has unearthed an important video which tends to suggest that tobacco control have finally jumped the shark with their laughable nonsense.

Below we see Professor John B. Davies of Strathclyde University expressing deep disquiet at the methods being used to denormalise smoking. He uses words such as 'absurd', 'immoral' and 'deceitful' while describing negligible relative risk conclusions of bad epidemiological science and their subsequent use in 'social marketing' by politicians.

Have a watch, it's only four minutes, and you can sense the exasperation in his words.


Now, if you've been conditioned to believe that everyone who expresses a contrary view to anti-smoking nutters must be a tobacco-funded stooge, you'll no doubt be questioning his provenance. So I had a look. Yep, he's a Prof at Stathclyde.

In the area of public health, CASP (John being a part) has undertaken work for the Scottish Executive, the Chief Scientist's Office, numerous health boards and trusts, the Department of Employment, the WHO, the Social Work Services Directorate and many other organisations. The topics researched include alcohol and smoking, illicit drug use, health education, suicide, depression and prison work.

John Davies is also a member of the special Health Board, Quality Improvement Scotland, the NHS 24 Review Group and a number of other health-related committees.
Not a crank, then.

Well, how could he be? He's also a member of Health Scotland's Qualitative Bar Study.

Ah, but he could be a tobacco industry plant, yes? Those clever bastards get everywhere, huh? Well, fortunately, I don't have to much research on that because ASH gave us a comprehensive report earlier this year detailing everyone who had so much as looked at the brickwork of a cigarette company. I've searched it and Prof Davies ain't there. Though I'm sure they'll be slinging unsubstantiated shit at him very soon for his insolence.

This is the problem when you build an empire based on lies. Just when you think you're unassailable, you push too far and the whole thing comes crashing down around you.

The junk 'science' behind anti-smoker bullying is being deconstructed day by day, it's only politicians who haven't noticed it yet.

* Unless you're a member of the Bad Science forum, of course, in which case some bad science is fine.


16 comments:

SimonF said...

Unfortunately he invoked Godwin (gas chambers) so that will be used against him.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Even if he is quite justified, you mean? ;)

Magnetic said...

Although the main emphasis of eugenics in the last century was genetic/heredity, many are not aware that eugenics also has a behavioral aspect. Within the eugenics framework, tobacco and alcohol are considered body/racial “poisons”. This “behavioral” aspect of eugenics is anti-tobacco, anti-alcohol, and with further emphasis on diet and physical exercise.

There are a number of points that define the eugenics framework. Firstly, the framework is biological reductionism: Life, and health, is reduced to an entirely biological phenomenon. There is no mind, soul, spirit, God, or freedom (individual autonomy) in biological reductionism. The human condition is stripped of the art and detail of life, and the very dimensions that make humans human. In eugenics, humans are simply another animal – a human “herd”. Secondly, eugenics has an ideological aspect. It is believed that a self-installed eugenics elite should direct the “herd” in the quest for a “better herd”, i.e., applied biology. Eugenics defines certain genetic and behavioral characteristics as “desirable” and others as “undesirable” or “defective”, the former to be nurtured, the latter to be eradicted. Thirdly, given the goal of a “better herd”, coercion to conformity is a major weapon of the eugenics mentality. The State does not exist to honestly inform the autonomous individual who then makes his own decisions based on the information. Rather, the State decides how individuals – as members of the herd – should act. Since the goal is conformity, then all means, e.g., propaganda, are considered legitimate towards this end. Eugenics sees no problem in setting one sub-group of the population against another sub-group – under false pretenses – to achieve a “better herd”. Coercion can range from legislation to incarceration, to extermination. In that the emphasis is the population level rather than the individual level, in ideo-political terms, eugenics is Statist, e.g., socialist. In its intent to control the population within a superficial framework, eugenics is dictatorial/tyrannical.

Being a superficial framework, eugenics is dangerous. It tends to bring out the worst of the human potential - e.g., bigotry, racism, cruelty, brutality – and in “mass” (mob) terms.

Magnetic said...

In addition to curtailing the procreative potential of “defectives” and “undesirables”, negative eugenics was also anti-tobacco and anti-alcohol, viewing these as “racial poisons”. In early-1900s USA, the tobacco ban in many states and alcohol Prohibition were eugenics-driven. Eugenics was supported/funded by many of the mega-wealthy, e.g., Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford: The mega-wealthy supported/funded eugenics and anti-tobacco/anti-alcohol. Nazi eugenics was a continuation/extremizing of USA eugenics. Hitler was a student of American eugenics. There was a strong (and since downplayed) connection between American and Nazi eugenics.
http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1981/2/1981_2_94_print.shtml
(The antismoking crusade of the early-1900s USA proceeded on a plethora of inflammatory lies producing a “bigotry frenzy”. Note, too, that Dillow does not indicate that eugenics was mainstream at that time)

It is not surprising that California lead the “antismoking way” post-WWII, and now attempting to lead the way with “thirdhand smoke danger”. It is a continuation of its strong eugenics heritage. Eugenics was mainstream in America for the first half of the last century. California performed, by far, more sterilizations than any other state over this period.
http://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/CA/CA.html

Some insight into the connection between American eugenics - California in particular - and Nazi eugenics.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/11/09/ING9C2QSKB1.DTL

Nazism (“applied biology”) and anti-smoking
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-tobacco_movement_in_Nazi_Germany
http://www.bmj.com/archive/7070nd2.htm

Magnetic said...

A little known fact (well covered-up) is the “Business Plot” in the USA, in 1933/34. Very shortly after the fascists took power in Germany (supported and funded by IG Farben, the German petrochemical giant), there was an attempt in the USA to overthrow the Roosevelt government and install a fascist government. The backers of the “plot” was a “who’s who” of the mega-wealthy, many of these were supporters/funders of American eugenics (and antismoking, anti-alcohol) and of the Nazi regime.
A congressional hearing concluded that there was an attempted, but failed, coup. No prosecutions followed.
BBC documentary
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXGUgFXoRu4&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGPb6ulVEK0&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mav69K2zkgw&NR=1
Another documentary
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvyXuANtSH4&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxh4kVnBkFI&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxOOgZBXkSs&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p5wM5tm4eE&feature=related

Junican said...

I think that Magnetic makes a good case. There is no doubt at all that the Nazis were intent upon exterminating those who did not conform to their idea of ‘the healthy beast’ concept of human beings. And it does not surprise me that the whole idea started in the USA – we must perhaps see that, at the time, millions of ‘imperfect’ people were pouring into the USA from Europe. We must also perhaps bear in mind that the vast majority of these people were not only ‘unhealthy’ but also ignorant and uneducated. Yes, I can see that, although it has been very much brushed under the carpet – the victors write the history.
But, I am a bit sceptical that ‘eugenics’ is a CONCIOUS process at this time. It is there, but hidden in other words. “These unhealthy people are a cost to the NHS.” Also, they stink. Unless, of course, they are deserving of the sympathy of the MSM. That is, those people who are dying, but are deserving of the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of pounds on expensive drugs which may keep them alive for a few more months.
There is a full page article in the Daily Mirror today which amply illustrates this point.
QUIT (the anti-smoking organisation), ably supported by ASH, seems to have started a campaign against the LADYKILLERS. They clearly state that big tobacco is aiming at young women. They state, in effect, that these young women have been persuaded by big tobacco to take up smoking, and that they are mostly absolutely desperate to give up smoking. They say that these young women are trying to give up themselves, to no avail, but that if they accept ‘support’, they are more likely to succeed.
The implication, of course, is that these poor young women are unable to look after themselves or decide for themselves. They need the government to BAN something in order to help these stupid, silly, little beasts, and they need chemical support in the form of nicorette, or something – at the expense of the taxpayer. Thus, they will become healthy little beasts and will never become ill and will never die.

That is my extrapolation from the article.

But, going back to professor x statement, one wonders when other ‘scientists’ are going to start speaking out. One notices that he is quite ancient (!) and therefore may not be too worried about his future. How many other ‘scientists’ in a similar position there are who would be prepared to speak out if they had the chance? There must be thousands of recently retired ‘scientists’ (of all persuasions) who must be appalled at the misuse and abuse of science by propagandists.

Facebook?

Magnetic said...

Will not allow me to post concluding part of comment.
See
http://www.realstreet.co.uk/2010/10/godwins-law-needs-to-be-updated-in-this-age-of-bans-and-eugenics/comment-page-1/#comment-13350

Magnetic said...

Davies makes a critical point concerning the “diseasification” of smoking/smokers. Initially it was claimed that smoking caused disease. With an incoherent re-definition by the then US Surgeon General, C. Everett Kook (in 1988), of smoking as “nicotine addiction”, the very act of smoking was then defined as a “disease” requiring “treatment”. With the concoction of SHS “danger”, the “disease” of smoking had a disease potential for nonsmokers. With the attempt to concoct “thirdhand piffle”, the intent is to promote the idea of smokers “contaminating” their surrounds long after they have left.

The smoker, then, is “diseased” (smoking) with a further potential for disease in the smoker. The “diseased” smoker is also a “disease spreader” through SHS and as a “bad example” to youth who might take up the smoking habit (contract the “disease” of smoking). Further, smokers have a longer-lasting disease potential through “thirdhand piffle”.

This is all eugenics derangement. In Nazi Germany, Jews were denormalized in a similar way – as a genetic and disease threat to the superior Aryan race. Whether it is racial or behavioral, eugenics typically proceeds in the same ruthless, denormalizing manner.

It is useful that Davies makes the eugenics connection. Unfortunately, the only grasp that many have of eugenics is in its Nazi manifestation. So, they immediately refer to the conduct as Nazi-like. Nazism is but one possible manifestation of eugenics and a very brutal one at that. Comprehending that eugenics had an earlier start than Nazism is critical. The common thread in antismoking over the last century is EUGENICS.

Anonymous said...

He's a real Doctor.

Sam Duncan said...

Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I've commented before, either here or somewhere else, that the most dangerous of all are those who think they have.

This is eugenics, but those conducting it almost certainly don't realise it: thanks to poor education, the complex philospohy Magnetic describes has been reduced to “shoving people in gas chambers”. As long as that doesn't happen, everything's sunshine and rainbows.

Well said, Prof. Davies. It's a start.

Frank Davis said...

I thought it was a bit incoherent, like he'd only recently woken up to what was happening, and was still trying to put it into words.

But it's promising all the same, that a few people inside this monster might be beginning to wake up to what they're doing. He'll be fired, of course, for speaking out like this. Bad science, gas chambers, naughty.

Ann W. said...

John Davis has a great deal more to say on the addict theory at

http://www.fead.org.uk/video_bank.php?pageNum_videos=1&totalRows_videos=253&filterBy=contributorid&filterOrder=DESC

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Ben “Bad Science” Goldacre will have to say on the subject. Has anyone noticed how quiet our Ben is when really bad science is used to promote health equality, anti-smoking and anti-alcohol campaigns?

Any comments Ben?

Clams Linguini said...

Prof. Davies wrote a book in 1992 called 'The Myth of Addiction'. So, Frank, he hasn't just woken up. If he was going to get fired for his views it would have happened then. Sounds like he works for a real university that belives in academic freedom. How many of them are left?

Because his arguments in that book were that anyone can quit - there are no helpless addicts - people take drugs because they want to. You'd think the anti-smoking mob would love him - isn't that their message too - that you can quit?

Anonymous said...

'Social Marketing' is a reposte we should all use as standard to any junk science claims.

Andy

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the views of the honest
doctor will only be viewed by
web addicts, who,has we have seen with the smoking ban,hardly
stir the pillars of establishment
policies.
The hard men and women,standing in ten thousand wet backyards, waiting for leadership,read papers
not monitors.
Publish and be damned.

The Paper Boy