Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I agree with you, in spite of your argument

I find myself saying this to my good lefty friends all too often. Today's episode is brought to you by formaldahyde officially being listed as a carcinogen, and from my favorite daily news hour, Democracy Now.

The following is part an analogy between defending a violent dog, and defending a possibly harmful chemical.
Then we start finding it in our environment. We find it in our food, in our water, in our air, and in people’s bodies with biomonitoring. And then the chemical industry will say, "OK, my dog bites. It bit you. You’re exposed. But it didn’t hurt you. Don’t worry." And the arguments there go something like, "Well, it causes cancers in lab rats, but those lab rats are different than people," for differences that are hard actually to explain for the industry. "And so, don’t worry about it. Jut because it causes cancers in lab animals, don’t worry. You’re safe. Even though you have it in your body, your families, it’s in your food, in your drinking water, it’s contaminating the air you breathe, don’t sweat it."

What they are trying to say (I think), is that there are often major corporate interests in slowing down the classification of various materials as cancerous, and that this is a BAD THING. I agree. But for crying out loud! Just because it causes cancer in lab rats at some consumption level doesn't mean that we should be afraid of it at any level. Lab rat's AREN'T HUMAN (with some exceptions on the blogospehere noted).

Aspartame is the first example of "bad for lab rat/safe for human" that comes to mind.

Please, my lefty activist comrades, don't misuse science to promote your ideas. Science presumes a null-hypothesis that has to be rejected. While politics can slow down this process, it does take time, and that time is legitimate and necessary, not a conspiracy against the public good. Please don't fear monger when there are actual scary, important issues at hand. Misinformation is a bad thing. It just hurts me more when it comes from my team.

1 comment:

  1. I welcome your views Barefoot. I am glad you are beginning to notice how agendas are often passed off as science. You know who I am, dont you :)