Further Information

Warning: Anti-tobacco activism may be hazardous to epidemiologic science | Carl V Phillips
Article Published: 2007

Type: Articles and Dissertations
Published By: Epidemiologic Perspectives & Innovations 2007, 4:13

Further Information

From the pages of FORCES many of our readers know that we consider multifactorial epidemiology junk science. This seems to be a good time to point out that we do not say that “epidemiology is junk science.” Epidemiology has been instrumental to the successes against mass-diseases of the early twentieth century but epidemiology was designed to track a disease with a known cause and means of transmission, as to learn its patterns of spreading, and thus predict/prevent further spreading. That was the good stuff.

It wasn’t until the mid-30s or so that another kind of epidemiology – multifactorial epidemiology also known as lifestyle epidemiology – went into high gear especially thanks to the Nazi regime. The spreading of non-contagious diseases such as cancer, for example, which may involve a vast variety of suspected or unknown risk factors (click here for more references) interacting in endless ways, became another objective of epidemiology. Let it be clear that the cause of cancer is not known. Potential influences upon susceptibility to cancer have come to be called "the cause" or "a cause" altogether fallaciously.

The "esteemed experts" refuse to say "I don't know" when in fact they don't. The unknown causality at the individual or mass level is simply not faced up to. Instead the "experts" assign “attributions” – more or less educated guesses as to the "cause(s)" (really opinions on possible influence rather than true cause) of the disease being tracked. The extreme “flexibility” of attributions based on opinions rather than hard scientific facts (that are measurable, verifiable, and repeatable) made multifactorial epidemiology the perfect tool to justify ideology and policies “scientifically,” in spite of the fact that epidemiology itself is statistics, and statistics is not science. Junk science was born.

In this paper by Carl V. Phillips, the author takes us one step further by describing the unethical conduct of antitobacco, known to attack viciously those who, using the same pseudo-science that antitobacco uses, come up with different results. Specific cases are described. It is useful to notice that the cases reported in the paper concern persons who actually believe that epidemiology of multifactorial diseases with macro-causality is as good a science as chemistry or biology is. Nevertheless, they – and many others – have been excoriated by the Healthist establishment. They practice the faith, but their results are heretical, hence they are damned by the hierarchy.

Why don’t we see these kind of attacks between chemists or physicists, for example, when they come up with “different” results? The answer is simple: chemists and physicists deal with real science, and results as to causality can be repeated, measured, verified and demonstrated. That is never the case with multifactorial epidemiology, now utterly embraced by “public health” authorities as gospel science (please forgive the contradiction in terms but it fits.) In junk science, the way questionnaires (on vague memories) are constructed, the attributions made on unverifiable responses, and the conclusions drawn on those grounds reflect ideological biases far more than they do objective reality.

For example, a researcher or an entity that already believes that passive smoking “kills” will attribute to passive smoking the lung cancer of non-smokers based on the unverifiable responses on the vague memories coming from the questionnaires, and the conclusions will reflect the belief/ideology or political or financial agenda of the researcher or entity. Conversely, those who do not believe that passive smoking “kills” as much will come up with different “scientific results” – and in that way they give away their beliefs which, in the case of the researchers described in this paper, do not match the “tobacco kills in any form and any amount” fanatical ideology of “public health”.

Their “crimes of opinion” (incidentally, a real criminal article in many legal systems of totalitarian regimes), now made evident from the different “scientific results,” must therefore be punished, and that legitimizes unethical behaviour for a “good cause," as this paper demonstrates – the “good cause” being the  ideology of prohibition, demonization, and control which misrepresents itself as being scientifically based – read: based on multifactorial epidemiology, that is, based on junk science.

Aside from the ethical issue, therefore, both the ad hominem attacks and the arguments of those who are attacked demonstrate conclusively one very measurable reality: that we are not dealing with science, but with beliefs, politics and ideology – and none of these belong to science.

Virtual science, virtual deaths, virtual arguments. This is recommended reading.

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