Science In The Tyrant's Interest, Or Al Gore Is Poisoning My Children

..and not just with propaganda, about which more at the end of this post. Walter Williams on phony science.

Many Americans find tobacco smoke to be a nuisance. Some find the odor offensive, and others have allergies or asthma that can be aggravated by smoking in their presence. There's little question tobacco smoke causes these kinds of nuisances, but how successful would antismokers have been in a court of law, or public opinion, in achieving the success they've achieved based on tobacco smoke being a nuisance?

Solution: Make stuff up.
A serious public health threat had to be manufactured, and in 1993 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stepped in to the rescue with their bogus environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) study that says secondhand tobacco smoke is a class A carcinogen.
How do we know that's bogus?
The EPA claimed 3,000 Americans die annually from secondhand smoke, but there was a problem. They couldn't come up with that conclusion using the standard statistical 95 percent confidence interval. They lowered their study's confidence interval to 90 percent. That has the effect of doubling the margin of error and doubling the probability that mere chance explains those 3,000 deaths.

Do the Math for me.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) said, "Admittedly, it is unusual to return to a study after the fact, lower the required significance level, and declare its results to be supportive rather than unsupportive of the effect one's theory suggests should be present." The CRS was being kind. This kind of doctoring of research results would get a graduate student expelled from a university.
But I hate cigarette smoke, and I'm glad it's banned: Well, ok, but remember Lincoln said, as I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. Look what you usher in.
The tyranny-oriented solution is where one group uses the political system to forcibly impose its preferences on others. You might be tempted to object to the term "tyranny," but suppose you owned a restaurant where you did not permit smoking and smokers used the political system to create a law forcing you to permit smoking. I'm sure you'd deem it tyranny.
So the "consensus" on public smoking....?
has been settled through bogus science. My question is: How willing are we to allow use of bogus science in pursuing other public policy agendas, such as restrictions on economic growth, in the name of fighting global warming?
Yes, and let's review how well this approach has worked for us in the past.
  • Foreign Policy has a list of 10 things everyone believed would happen that never materialized.
  • Then there's the ban on DDT, responsible for the deaths of millions in Africa (not to mention making my backyard unlivable from April to December).
  • And, say, as far as greenhouse gases are concerned, wasn't it environmentalists who scared us off clean nuclear energy in the 70s, causing us to maintain our "oil addiction" in the first place?
  • And lookie what their "carbon offsets" do:
    The environmental movement has so far utterly failed to develop a coherent approach to replacing carbon producing power sources. Wind and solar are not such a coherent response without a massive breakthrough in battery technology, because variable sources are inadequate to provide base-load power. Also, they too have negative externalities: wind kills birds and destroys views, and many solar panels are loaded with gallium arsenide, a highly toxic substance that is apparently rather tricky to dispose of.
    It's bad enough science has reduced its interest from the four causes to two. But now it's all fashionable "causes" denouncing other people for being "unscientific."