Gross And Brown

Dogfighting Over A Non-Existent Bone

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GROSS AND BROWN:
DOGFIGHTING OVER A NON-EXISTENT BONE

FORCES' INTRODUCTORY NOTES

We report on a study performed by Alan J. Gross of the Department of Biometry and Epidemiology, Medical University of South Carolina, concerning the deaths allegedly caused by secondhand smoke, and an ensuing debate with Stephen K. Brown from the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science and Health Behaviour Research Group at the University of Waterloo. Gross, performing the study with a grant from Philip Morris,finds that the deaths attributed to seconhand smoke cannot be substantiated by the data.

"...the epidemiologic data considered by Glantz and Parmley are equivocal at best and do not include data from the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Studies (CPS-I) and (CPS-II) and the National Mortality Followback Survey which, when added to the original epidemiologic database considered by Glantz and Parmley, indicate no statistically significant association. Furthermore, most of the epidemiologic studies indicate a myriad of biases and confounders that have not been adequately adjusted."

Of course Brown, notorious mouthpiece of the anti-tobacco cartel, disagrees. After the back-and-forth correspondence (see bottom of page), where mathematical dexterity is shown in abundance on both sides, Brown pulls the usual stunt of anti-tobacco.

He writes: "I would ask Gross to comment on what he feels is an unacceptable number of deaths from ETS exposure, and then challenge him to demonstrate, scientifically, that the number of deaths per year due to ETS exposure in the US is less than that number. In other words, maybe the evidence is strong enough that the shoe should move to the other foot. Can the tobacco concerns prove with scientific rigour that ETS exposure causes no harm""

First of all, one cannot prove a negative (that is, that there ISN'T something) -- and the gangsters of the anti-tobacco cartel know that very well. If Brown and the cartel where honest, they would accept the burden of proving a positive (that is, that there IS something) BEYOND a shade of doubt, and at least in a VERIFIABLE, REPEATABLE way. That is the way of uncorrupted science. That is why when a scientist claims to have found a solution, orto have discovered a new phenomenon, other scientists always lean on the side of caution until verifiability, repeatability, and predictability have been broadly satisfied. But this is not the case of anti-tobacco.

Brown knows very well that it is impossible to answer his question -- not because of the existence of an "acceptable" threshold in the number of deaths, but because NO number of deaths can be proven with any credibility. Thus tobacco (or anti-tobacco) concerns CANNOT PROVE with any scientific rigour whatsoever that second-hand smoke causes any harm.

With meta-analysis it is always possible to get to a positive risk, though minimal and statistically insignificant. All it takes is to play with certain assumptions that the anti-tobacco cartel has unilaterally declared "reasonable" -- and the positive result is unavoidable. The same applies to Gross, Lee and others even if they have been financed by the tobacco industry.

Fifty thousand, six thousand, or even five hundred deaths... all the anti-tobacco cartel wants is to project the perception that there is even a small bunch of "corpses" to scream bloody murder. Then the cartel can pretend to justify prohibition, the looting and marginalization of smokers and the tobacco industry, as well as the hysteria they continuously propagate.

But above and beyond this garbage there is an indisputable fact: meta-analysis is not applicable to the ETS studies because they are too heterogeneous (a fact that all the texts dealing with this matter clearly specify) -- but statisticians cannot exist without statistics.

And even if statistics were so desperately needed, then the results shown should cover all possible interpretations -- a procedure called sensitivity analysis. But this would inevitably lead to the conclusion that the calculated risks can be either positive or negative, given the generally arbitrary conjectures that are used as a basis.

But even if we put aside the logistical heterogeneity, there is one more reason to condemn meta-analysis: each study is inevitably corrupted by its own and unique series of "confounders and biases"(usually not controlled) that increase the heterogeneity. In this way, the studies may even measure something with statistical precision, but they cannot guarantee to have measured what they intend to measure.

It is incredible that on these flimsy foundations -- and on these foundations alone -- immense fortunes have been wasted by governments and made by the looters, and an entire sub-economy has been created to support those who out of cheating and lying have made a profession.

So many nations have copied the US paranoia without verification, pushed by the minions of the pharmaceutical industry, motivated by political greed, or simply to imitate a country that is advanced only on repression techniques and population brainwashing.

Even the best epidemiological study on tobacco cannot guarantee more than 95% certainty (confidence interval). That means being wrong once in 20 times.

Who would be so foolish to be operated by a surgeon who kills 1 in 20 patients"

Who would buy a car whose manufacturer states that its brakes work 19 times over 20"

Nobody. But the criminal anti-tobacco ministers of health, the anti-tobacco organisations, and other sold-out politicians and medical professionals do not hesitate to demonise people, infringe on freedoms, lie to children, interfere with businesses and private lives basing their actions on this type of reliability.


1THE RISK OF CORONARY HEART DISEASE IN NON-SMOKERS EXPOSED TO ENVIRONMENTAL TOBACCO SMOKE2THE RISK OF CORONARY HEART DISEASE IN NON-SMOKERS EXPOSED TO ENVIRONMENTAL TOBACCO SMOKE: A REJOINDER TO GROSS3THE RISK OF CORONARY HEART DISEASE IN NON-SMOKERS EXPOSED TO ENVIRONMENTAL TOBACCO SMOKE REVISITED: RESPONSE TOELLISON AND MORRISON AND TO BROWN4THE RISK OF CORONARY HEART DISEASE INNON-SMOKERS EXPOSED TO ENVIRONMENTAL TOBACCO SMOKE: REPLY TO GROSS'S RESPONSE


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