Monday, 29 June 2015

Mad Stan Speaks, The World Laughs

"There there Stan, time for your pills?"
On Thursday we had a chuckle about Mad Stan's latest piece of hilarious garbage. To cut a long story short, he managed to write a study which proved itself wrong, simply because he's a pathetic obese gnome who hates e-cigs.

Others have had fun with it too because it really is a work of simpleton art, but now anti-smoking Dr Michael Siegel - a Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health - has put the boot in too (do read the whole thing - DP).
The authors of this article set up a straw man by arguing that the reason for the promotion of electronic cigarettes is that the smoking population is hardening. Then, if they can show that the smoking population is actually softening, they can argue that e-cigarettes are not needed. However, this is a straw man argument because the reason why advocates like myself are promoting electronic cigarettes has nothing to do with whether the smoking population is hardening or softening.

Mad Stan's hypothesis was that e-cigs should not be promoted because his wealthy fellow tobacco control narcissists have a plan all laid out for making people quit smoking and they don't need any help, thank you very much. Well, not any help they aren't paid out of your taxes to provide, that is.

But as Siegel notes, it doesn't matter how much more difficult or easy it is to 'encourage' smokers to quit, there are still real smokers around, so anything - according to Siegel - that can persuade those smokers to quit is a good thing, right? Well, not according to lifelong tobacco control advocate Mad Stan, no. He's quite content with what's happening right now, so he is - if people continue to smoke because e-cigs are not on the table, he's happy as Larry.

I argued on Thursday that Mad Stan's study proved the opposite of what he claimed - quite a feat for the dickhead - and Siegel tends to agree.
Although the potential value of electronic cigarettes is not conditioned on whether the smoking population is hardening or softening, this article misinterprets its own data to incorrectly conclude that the smoking population is softening. 
This article confirms that the proportion of smokers making quit attempts in the United States has increased over time. However, trends in smoking prevalence during the same time period confirm that the decline in prevalence has declined over the past decade and a half. And since the number of quit attempts has gone way up, this means that the proportion of quit attempts that are successful has dropped. In other words, smokers are finding it more difficult, not easier, to quit. This actually suggests that the smoking population is hardening.
Indeed. As I said on Thursday, it's laugh out loud funny that the bespectacled berk has managed to construct a study which manages to ridicule both itself and the idiot charlatans who wrote it. 

It's a sloppy and laughable dog's breakfast of a study, as Siegel also concludes.
The rest of the story is that in this new article, the study sets up an irrelevant straw man argument, misconstrues the reasons why e-cigarettes are being promoted, misinterprets the data analysis, and draws an invalid conclusion about the "irrelevant" research question which it set out to answer.
I'll let you in on a secret, I took around 30 minutes to write Thursday's article - including finding links, adding images and choosing tags - because it just about wrote itself.  The study is such transparently incoherent junk science cockwaffle that Twitter was collectively laughing almost before it was published. When they next update the online Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of 'ineptitude' will simply have a link to Mad Stan's self-defeating study, with a note to also see the entry for "shooting oneself in the foot".

No-one, but no-one, could believe it to be an important piece of research because they would have to be functionally illiterate or certifiably insane to do so.

Oh well, there's always one idiot in every town I suppose.


Frank J said...

Mad Stan acting the clown again so no news there. Trouble is that these idiots speak only to each other and their fellow nuts in the Legislature.

Therein lies the problem.

TomO said...

Public 'Elf England have nudged their nanny transmission into overdrive with "no safe level of sunshine" Now then ... puting your shoes on the wrong feet can be a trip hazard and make sure you always have the hi-viz waistcoat on when crossing the road.

PR pours forth from every local rag and obliging broadcaster across the UK - yeah, the silly season arrived early.