Recommended reading – For years FORCES has stated that multifactorial epidemiology (ME – the basis for all policies of “public health” today) is trash science and should not be believed. Furthermore, we even stated that it should be made illegal for governments to pass laws based on it. This piece is yet another confirmation of the correctness of our position.

This article, published by the NY Times, takes us by the hand across the wonderland of unsubstantiated theories and contradictory, flip-flop medical information based on those theories – all blown out of proportion by irresponsible media (for which sensationalism is far more important than truth), and by irresponsible ministries of “health” that use epidemiological hocus pocus to make laws and regulations.

Gary Taubes, the author of this piece, highlights the faulty and delusional philosophy of contemporary “public health” in one single sentence:

“Saving tens of thousands of lives each year constitutes a powerful reason to lower the standard of evidence needed to suggest a cause-and-effect relationship — to take a leap of faith.”

But science is not a religion, and often physical lives are taken rather than saving statistical ones on the basis of beliefs and speculations instead of science – such as in the case of hormonal therapy. Here are more teasers for this must-read:

“But they cannot inherently determine causation — the conclusion that one event causes the other … As a result, observational studies can only provide what researchers call hypothesis-generating evidence — what a defense attorney would call circumstantial evidence.”

“…Epidemiology is so beautiful and provides such an important perspective on human life and death, but an incredible amount of rubbish is published…”

“…an association between two events is not the same as a cause and effect.”

We have saved the best for last in this multi-part commentary.

“Smoking and lung cancer is the emblematic success story of chronic-disease epidemiology. But lung cancer was a rare disease before cigarettes became widespread, and the association between smoking and lung cancer was striking: heavy smokers had 2,000 to 3,000 percent the risk of those who had never smoked.”

Let us stop here for Part I, to see why this statement has been thrown in for the usual “reader’s credibility factor”. The entire article is, correctly, representing an essential and fatal flaw of ME: it does not know what it has measured in the best of cases. The effort to portray smoking as the “exception to the rule” (a rule that, all in all, states that ME is junk science) is quite clear. And remember that ALL which is said against active or passive smoking is based on ME.

But even the statement that infers that the active smoking issue is not junk science (“…but lung cancer was a rare disease before cigarettes became widespread”) is most likely false, and itself part of the sheer hypotheses and speculations that characterize this kind of epidemiology which the article condemns. Why?

· Cigarettes appeared around the 1890s.

· Up to the 1920s lung cancer was not even considered a separate cancer, but it was “rolled in” with other types of cancer.

· Diagnostic equipment for lung cancer detection was not available on a large scale before the 1920s. In fact, the first X-ray tube designed specifically for medical purposes was developed by the American chemist William Coolidge in 1913, and X-rays have been the first reliable way of detecting cancer in the lungs.

So, no reliable records upon which to base that statement exist. Before the appearance of cigarettes lung cancer could have been a very common disease – we just don’t know. But the lack of records is here represented as plausibility for the smoking-cancer association even by the author of this otherwise excellent piece.

Now let’s go further. Is it conceivable that, in the middle of the carbon-based industrial revolution – in the London or Pittsburgh of the 1850s, for example – with cities of all sizes literally black with coal dust from poisonous, unfiltered stacks, lung cancer was a “rare disease”? And what about even before then, when houses were warmed with wood and coal, and often even without proper exhaust systems? What means and what knowledge did the doctors of those times have to diagnose lung cancer? The answer is: none.

So, the “rare disease before cigarettes” postulation of this paragraph is most probably false and very improbably true (as it is implausible), and most certainly political. We can denounce epidemiology, but we cannot ruffle the feathers of the politically powerful antitobacco gangsters too much – or else. Let it also be known that the 2,000-3,000% risk elevation mentioned in the piece belongs to a few studies with the same flaws, and it is certainly not the rule. The average elevation gravitates around RR=10 (elevation 900%). But even that is to be taken with much scepticism, for the basic observation of this piece applies to ALL that multifactorial epidemiology examines.

“You can correct for what you can measure … but you can’t measure these things with precision … and you can’t correct for things that you can’t measure.”

Draw your own conclusions next time you draw a cig from the pack that has the “smoking kills” ideology printed on it.

The second part of this commentary will appear during this week.



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