"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Lacking Facts, Attack the Messenger

Readers who venture into the Comments section of my previous post will notice that the first voice to jump in exemplifies my point perfectly. Unable to answer the facts, the commenter claims that the author of the article cited has been bought by special interests. Of course, being bought by special interests would not necessarily make Joel Schwartz's statements incorrect, but it is interesting further to note that the commenter does not even offer any evidence whatever that Schwartz has distorted the facts, instead simply assserting that Schwartz is a shill and a liar.

It's important also to remember that the Left gets a mountain of money from foundations and from businesses who hope to benefit from government regulation of their competititors. Their thumbs may be green, but so are their souls, and it is dishonest to pretend otherwise.

30 comments:

Tlaloc said...

*shrug*

I've been in science a while. you learn the game.

There is a whole cottage industry of bought "think tanks" that exist to provide only one service: they pollute the discussion with endless lies.

They can do this because the time taken to refute the lies is always longer than the time taken to write them. It works so long as you let them define the play area.

I don't. I somply call them out as what they are: liars.

Is it good for a formal debate? no of course not. And if these people had one tiny shred of dignity amongst them I might feel bad.

Go on, guess if I feel bad...

So yeah I'll attack the messenger gleefully because the messenger has a long history of being completely unreliable (speaking of conservative think tank "science" in general and not Schwartz in specific).

More to the point if the charges weren't true they wouldn't have bothered you so much that you had to post about them. The reflex action of your exposed nerve is awfully telling, Karnick.

Tlaloc said...

Heartland institute-

tobacco industry shill:

"The effort to create a scientific defense for secondhand smoke was only one component in the tobacco industry's multi-million-dollar PR campaign. To defeat cigarette excise taxes, a Philip Morris strategy document outlined plans for "Co-op efforts with third party tax organizations"--libertarian anti-taxation think tanks, such as Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Citizens for Tax Justice and the Tax Foundation. Other third party allies included the National Journalism Center, the Heartland Institute, the Claremont Institute, and National Empowerment Television, a conservative TV network."
http://www.prwatch.org/prwissues/2000Q3/junkman.html


Logging industry shill:

"Facts Not Fear attempts to debunk specific major environmental and health concerns--over-population, depletion of natural resources, forest destruction, species extinctions, air pollution, climate change, pesticide contamination. The 150 pages that it devotes to these topics can be summed up as, "Don't worry, be happy."

Sanera and Shaw offer specific suggestions on how parents "can readily answer questions that your children may ask." The answer to each question is pretty much the same: "Are there too many people? No. . . . Does population growth cause starvation? No. . . . Is America running out of trees? No. . . . Will the rainforests disappear? No. . . . Are Americans exploiting the rainforests by eating too much meat? No." A few sentences of familiar rationalizations provide the counterweight to each carefully posed question.

Marilyn Quayle's preface promises that these claims have all been carefully reviewed by "respected scholars . . . so you can read this book with confidence." The "scholars" cited, however, are names that will be familiar to anyone who has monitored the far-right anti-environmental movement: Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute, Ronald Bailey and Michael Fumento of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Robert Balling of Arizona State University, Joseph Bast of the Heartland Institute, Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute, Frederick Seitz and Sallie Baliunas of the George C. Marshall Institute, Steven Safe of Texas A&M, and the late Julian Simon of the Cato Institute."
http://www.prwatch.org/prwissues/2000Q2/fearnotfacts.html


You can read all about the Heartland institute here:
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Heartland_Institute

Like I said it explains a lot, Karnick. Out of curiousity, what is 30 pieces of silver with 2000 years of inflation?

Tlaloc said...

More on Heartland (from the sourcewatch site above):


Funding
Funding comes from various private sources (ExxonMobil donated $15,000 in 2002 [13] (http://www2.exxonmobil.com/files/corporate/public_policy1.pdf)), plus several right-wing institutional foundations:

Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation
JM Foundation
John M. Olin Foundation, Inc.
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
Scaife Foundations (Sarah Mellon Scaife, Carthage)
The tobacco industry has also been a regular funder. According to a 1995 internal report by Philip Morris USA on its corporate contributions budget, the company uses its contributions "as a strategic tool to promote our overall business objectives and to advance our government affairs agenda," in particular by supporting "the work of free market 'think tanks' and other public policy groups whose philosophy is consistent with our point of view. ... [W]e have given general support over the years to such groups as the Heritage Foundation, Heartland Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Washington Legal Foundation and a variety of other organizations that help provide information about the ultimate course of legislation, regulation and public opinion through their studies, papers, op-ed pieces and conferences." [14] (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/mmr57d00)

Internal company documents show the following contributions from Philip Morris to Heartland (probably an incomplete list):

$25,000 in 1993 [15] (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ugs57c00)
$65,000 in 1995 [16] (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/doy57d00)
$50,000 in 1996 [17] (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/fah53a00)
$50,000 in 1997 [18] (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/qwi82c00)
$50,000 in 1998 (proposed) [19] (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/avj37c00) [20] (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/fwo83c00)


(me:) Kind of looks like I was right about the source, huh, Karnick? Paid corporate shills who take money to lie to people.

S. T. Karnick said...

All of this is a pure diversion from the fact that the health consequences of ozone have been exaggerated far beyond all reality, once again proving my point. Talk about hitting a raw nerve!

James Elliott said...

Even if we accept your premise, based on one person's meta-analysis, that the ozone-related effects of health are out of proportion, it is still hugely dishonest to generalize that to air pollution in general, as both you and Schwartz do.

Tlaloc said...

More heartland astroturf goodness- it's also a shill for telcom companies.
http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/02/04/1522223

This really isn't a fight you should have picked, Karnick.

Tlaloc said...

"All of this is a pure diversion from the fact that the health consequences of ozone have been exaggerated far beyond all reality, once again proving my point."

No the point is that your "evidence" comes from people who are paid to lie. They have no credibility. Examining their propositions therefor is a waste of time. They are dead as far as the debate is concerned.

S. T. Karnick said...

Once again confirming my point about the bankruptcy of the Left's arguments.

S. T. Karnick said...

Mr. Elliott, please note that my post never once went beyond discussion of ozone and ozone policy, so you are entirely incorrect to accuse me of saying that the foolishness of our ozone policy means that all air pollution control efforts are wrong. See also my response to this point on my comment on the original post.

James Elliott said...

As I read the post, and the article, "ozone" and "air pollution" appeared interchangeable. So, I'll accept that such was not the intent, and retract the statement, with apologies.

However, not only does Schwartz misrepresent the CHS, your end conclusion, "So, when commenters jump on this site and cite "evidence" showing that ozone does indeed have deleterious health effects, and when you hear "experts" on television telling us about how dangerous atmospheric ozone is to us all, you shall know exactly how to respond: BUNK!!" is not warranted by the single refutation of one study.

Such a conclusion reminds me of the brilliant new movie and novel, "Thank You For Smoking," in which the main character states that cigarette smoking is beneficial to fighting Parkinson's Disease. You draw a broad conclusion based on a single meta-analysis of one study, and that's as flawed as science commentary gets.

S. T. Karnick said...

Schwartz's article did not just refute a single study. He pointed out the flaws in the very (single!) study that was originally used to create an ozone health scare, and also refuted other claims and arguments subsequently made to support belief in a danger of ozone to human health.

It is interesting that it appears to be all right to create a huge, intrusive government policy based on a single study that doesn't even say what its researchers claim it does, but it is not all right to point out the that study and its follow-ups have been refuted and draw the conclusion that policies based on such false claims should be set aside. As I pointed out, real environmentalism goes hand in hand with economic growth and technological advance; it does not try to suppress economic activity when there is no need to do so.

James Elliott said...

"As I pointed out, real environmentalism goes hand in hand with economic growth and technological advance; it does not try to suppress economic activity when there is no need to do so."

I absolutely agree with that idea. Been saying it about nuclear energy for years. And, if Schwarz's refutation holds true, all the better. I'm just pointing out that you're putting the cart before the horse, so to speak.

Tlaloc said...

"As I pointed out, real environmentalism goes hand in hand with economic growth and technological advance;"

No. Fake environmentalism is the slave of economic growth. real environmentalism requires economic sacrifices. Sustainability instead of growth.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Of course, "pro-" environmental scientists have their self-serving agenda, too: If they can't find something to warn about, the grants and the prestige dry up, not to mention the dinner invitations.

(Why is Paul Erlich not working at a car wash by now?)

In this face of this epistemological conundrum, as a last resort, we may have to actually try to penetrate the facts.

Tlaloc said...

"Of course, "pro-" environmental scientists have their self-serving agenda, too: If they can't find something to warn about, the grants and the prestige dry up, not to mention the dinner invitations."

No, not really. That's another lie perpetuated by the astroturf groups like Heritage, Heartland, and Hudson (what is it with the H names?).

Academic grants simply don't work that way. If they did you wouldn't find the alarmism confined to simply environmental studies. Instead you'd have continuing dire predictions about variations in the fine structure constant of the universe and warnings about invisible but devestating cosmic strings that could be heading this way!

Needless to say that is not the case, never has been. The entire idea that people go into academia to get rich is ludicrously stupid.

We have proof in this very thread that big corporations are willing to pay top dollar to those with no self esteem who will trade on their name and swear to false statements. Compared to that what does academia offer? A nice tenure? Get real.

Hunter Baker said...

S.T., thank you for bringing out the all too rarely understood or even heard of problem of businesses actually building the regulatory state as a hedge against competition. People usually think all businesses do is fight regulation, but they often seek it as a weapon against legitimate competition that would benefit the consumer.

Devang said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Devang said...

This isn't a very different debate from the one about "independent" studies paid for by corporations selling the product rather one done by a fully independent firm (in so far as we restrict this debate to think-tanks).

I don't know what kind of inside access corporations expect when paying, what kind of an agreement is made beforehand, or what kind of access they actually get but when they pay, the results more often than not come out biased in their favor. Such is the case with microsoft 'studies' against linux (the debate i'm familiar with). When the US government chooses, it almost always chooses linux.

With think-tanks there are essentially no rules, they're somehow paid (the money is hard to track) to (obviously) further the corporate interest, not much else, and if they can get their favored debate before hand, all the better, it's like disease prevention for corporations

If there was a trial on this subject, there is enough proof around to put away all corporations for lacking this sort of independence... alas, most americans can't seperate capitalism from democracy, so, run along, the clean air act wasn't recently challenged successfully in court :)

PS: Anybody looking to hire a electrical engineering intern for the summer? I promise I'll go away afterwards :)

Platypus said...

OK, first, when an appeal to authority is made it is not ad hominem to discredit that authority. It's answering the argument that one's interlocutor has put forward.

"It's important also to remember that the Left gets a mountain of money from foundations and from businesses who hope to benefit from government regulation of their competititors."

Do you have any actual figures to support that generalization? In particular, can you show that the intellectual left is more driven by such contributions than their ideological opponents? Most of the prominent stink tanks out there - e.g. Cato, Heritage, AEI - seem to be distinctly anti-left.

"Their thumbs may be green, but so are their souls, and it is dishonest to pretend otherwise."

I was roundly condemned recently for characterizing libertarians in much the same way. "Poisoning the wells" they screamed on QandO, completely failing to address the actual points I'd gone on to raise. Of course, I said what I said because I constantly see this kind of crap from libertarians directed at me and people like me, and had come to regard it as normal for the blogosphere. If you want civility, be civil. Don't demand the highest standard of debate from people you routinely accuse of "green souls" and dishonesty.

If you want a more direct response to Schwartz's points, maybe you should wait more than the 19 days since the article was published. Investigating some of his claims might take time. However, even a non-scientist like me can see at least two problems. One is treating a purported ozone/asthma connection as the only reason for ozone-control regulation, as though refuting that connection justifies doing away with all such regulation. Nonsense. Another problem with Schwartz's argument is that it's disproof by fallacy - show that one argument toward a conclusion is invalid, and decide that the conclusion itself is incorrect. So there are bad studies? Don't throw out all studies as a result. Better yet, counter with good studies. Has Schwartz done a scientific study himself, that shows opposite results? Of course not. Does he even cite one? Does he even cite anything to support his claims about regulatory costs? No, and no.

What Schwartz has presented is not a real argument. Why should it require any kind of response, other than to note that fact?

tbmbuzz said...

Allow me to respectfully present a column by a noted science academic that contradicts some of the exegesis promulgated by our progressive friend in this thread.

Climate of Fear

Global-warming alarmists intimidate dissenting scientists into silence.

BY RICHARD LINDZEN
Wednesday, April 12, 2006 12:01 a.m.

There have been repeated claims that this past year's hurricane activity was another sign of human-induced climate change. Everything from the heat wave in Paris to heavy snows in Buffalo has been blamed on people burning gasoline to fuel their cars, and coal and natural gas to heat, cool and electrify their homes. Yet how can a barely discernible, one-degree increase in the recorded global mean temperature since the late 19th century possibly gain public acceptance as the source of recent weather catastrophes? And how can it translate into unlikely claims about future catastrophes?

The answer has much to do with misunderstanding the science of climate, plus a willingness to debase climate science into a triangle of alarmism. Ambiguous scientific statements about climate are hyped by those with a vested interest in alarm, thus raising the political stakes for policy makers who provide funds for more science research to feed more alarm to increase the political stakes. After all, who puts money into science--whether for AIDS, or space, or climate--where there is nothing really alarming? Indeed, the success of climate alarmism can be counted in the increased federal spending on climate research from a few hundred million dollars pre-1990 to $1.7 billion today. It can also be seen in heightened spending on solar, wind, hydrogen, ethanol and clean coal technologies, as well as on other energy-investment decisions.

But there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.

To understand the misconceptions perpetuated about climate science and the climate of intimidation, one needs to grasp some of the complex underlying scientific issues. First, let's start where there is agreement. The public, press and policy makers have been repeatedly told that three claims have widespread scientific support: Global temperature has risen about a degree since the late 19th century; levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased by about 30% over the same period; and CO2 should contribute to future warming. These claims are true. However, what the public fails to grasp is that the claims neither constitute support for alarm nor establish man's responsibility for the small amount of warming that has occurred. In fact, those who make the most outlandish claims of alarm are actually demonstrating skepticism of the very science they say supports them. It isn't just that the alarmists are trumpeting model results that we know must be wrong. It is that they are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right as justifying costly policies to try to prevent global warming.

If the models are correct, global warming reduces the temperature differences between the poles and the equator. When you have less difference in temperature, you have less excitation of extratropical storms, not more. And, in fact, model runs support this conclusion. Alarmists have drawn some support for increased claims of tropical storminess from a casual claim by Sir John Houghton of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that a warmer world would have more evaporation, with latent heat providing more energy for disturbances. The problem with this is that the ability of evaporation to drive tropical storms relies not only on temperature but humidity as well, and calls for drier, less humid air. Claims for starkly higher temperatures are based upon there being more humidity, not less--hardly a case for more storminess with global warming.

So how is it that we don't have more scientists speaking up about this junk science? It's my belief that many scientists have been cowed not merely by money but by fear. An example: Earlier this year, Texas Rep. Joe Barton issued letters to paleoclimatologist Michael Mann and some of his co-authors seeking the details behind a taxpayer-funded analysis that claimed the 1990s were likely the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year in the last millennium. Mr. Barton's concern was based on the fact that the IPCC had singled out Mr. Mann's work as a means to encourage policy makers to take action. And they did so before his work could be replicated and tested--a task made difficult because Mr. Mann, a key IPCC author, had refused to release the details for analysis. The scientific community's defense of Mr. Mann was, nonetheless, immediate and harsh. The president of the National Academy of Sciences--as well as the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union--formally protested, saying that Rep. Barton's singling out of a scientist's work smacked of intimidation.

All of which starkly contrasts to the silence of the scientific community when anti-alarmists were in the crosshairs of then-Sen. Al Gore. In 1992, he ran two congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting his climate alarmism. Nor did the scientific community complain when Mr. Gore, as vice president, tried to enlist Ted Koppel in a witch hunt to discredit anti-alarmist scientists--a request that Mr. Koppel deemed publicly inappropriate. And they were mum when subsequent articles and books by Ross Gelbspan libelously labeled scientists who differed with Mr. Gore as stooges of the fossil-fuel industry.

Sadly, this is only the tip of a non-melting iceberg. In Europe, Henk Tennekes was dismissed as research director of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Society after questioning the scientific underpinnings of global warming. Aksel Winn-Nielsen, former director of the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization, was tarred by Bert Bolin, first head of the IPCC, as a tool of the coal industry for questioning climate alarmism. Respected Italian professors Alfonso Sutera and Antonio Speranza disappeared from the debate in 1991, apparently losing climate-research funding for raising questions.

And then there are the peculiar standards in place in scientific journals for articles submitted by those who raise questions about accepted climate wisdom. At Science and Nature, such papers are commonly refused without review as being without interest. However, even when such papers are published, standards shift. When I, with some colleagues at NASA, attempted to determine how clouds behave under varying temperatures, we discovered what we called an "Iris Effect," wherein upper-level cirrus clouds contracted with increased temperature, providing a very strong negative climate feedback sufficient to greatly reduce the response to increasing CO2. Normally, criticism of papers appears in the form of letters to the journal to which the original authors can respond immediately. However, in this case (and others) a flurry of hastily prepared papers appeared, claiming errors in our study, with our responses delayed months and longer. The delay permitted our paper to be commonly referred to as "discredited." Indeed, there is a strange reluctance to actually find out how climate really behaves. In 2003, when the draft of the U.S. National Climate Plan urged a high priority for improving our knowledge of climate sensitivity, the National Research Council instead urged support to look at the impacts of the warming--not whether it would actually happen.

Alarm rather than genuine scientific curiosity, it appears, is essential to maintaining funding. And only the most senior scientists today can stand up against this alarmist gale, and defy the iron triangle of climate scientists, advocates and policymakers.

Dr. Lindzen is Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT.

tbmbuzz said...

Most of the prominent stink tanks out there - e.g. Cato, Heritage, AEI - seem to be distinctly anti-left.

Could it be because conservatives-Right wingers are routinely shut out of the good ol boy liberal-Left wing network that constitutes 80-90% of the faculty and administrators in American academia these days? (The ratio of conservative to liberal think tanks is roughly 2:1 [Sourcewatch], so the Left is hardly underrepresented in this arena, certainly not to the extent that the Right is underrepresented in academia).



What Schwartz has presented is not a real argument. Why should it require any kind of response, other than to note that fact?

Fact? This seems like an assertion to me.

Schwartz simply deconstructed the following syllogism and showed it to be devoid of logic:

1. The prevalence of asthma has nearly doubled in America during the past 25 years. (fact)
2. At the same time levels of ozone and other air pollutants sharply declined nationwide. (fact)
3. Therefore spending to radically reduce the ozone levels must be increased sharply to reduce the incidence of asthma. (huh?)

(Implied corollary: there can be no other causes of asthma).

I may be slow, but I have yet to see Schwartz debunked here. Fancy attack-the-messenger "arguments" don't count.

Tlaloc said...

"Yet how can a barely discernible, one-degree increase in the recorded global mean temperature since the late 19th century possibly gain public acceptance as the source of recent weather catastrophes?"

TBMBUZZ, he can stop right there. Anyone making that statement is either profoundly ignorant or profoundly dishonest. A one degree mean change in GLOBAL temperature is enormous. It corresponds to tens of degree changes in local areas that are more sensitive (and near 0 changes in areas that are less sensitive of couse).

Now given who the guy is it is a good bet that he isn't ignorant. He afterall contributed to the IPCC report that strongly concludes human activity is a cause of global warming. After he worked on the report he seemed to suffer a sudden conversion and started attacking it.

Bribe or blackmail?

Tlaloc said...

"I may be slow, but I have yet to see Schwartz debunked here."

You are right about that, it is unneeded when it is clear he is a paid shill. He has no professional credibility due to his employment by an organization that exists only to lie. Therefor bothering to disprove his thesis is a waste of time.

Platypus said...

Could it be because conservatives-Right wingers are routinely shut out of the good ol boy liberal-Left wing network that constitutes 80-90% of the faculty and administrators in American academia these days?

I knew that would be the answer, but it's a big red herring. No matter how biased you think they are, institutions of education and scientific research are not directly comparable to institutions that have no students, perform no experiments, share office space and staff with overt PR organizations, etc. Compare apples to apples, or don't bother.

Schwartz simply deconstructed the following syllogism and showed it to be devoid of logic:

Even if that were an honest paraphrase of opponents' arguments, which it's not, it doesn't make Schwartz's own argument valid. He hasn't actually shown that ozone does not contribute to asthma, only that one particular study does not prove the connection. Then he compounds the error by suggesting that air-quality regulation is overly burdensome, without either giving a credible estimate of the burden or considering other reasons besides asthma for such regulation. Along the way, he engages in exactly the same kind of character assassination and appeals to motive that you find so odious when the same behavior is reflected back at him or you.

Saying that Schwartz does not present a reasonable argument is not just opinion. I've shown, in detail, how it fails to meet that standard. Are you going to refute points already made to that effect, or toss in a few more red herrings?

Devang said...

Lindzen is debunked thoroughly here

If you knew about Lindzen then you probably knew about realclimate.org though.

Devang said...

Let's try this, if it is all about economic growth, and alternate ways we could spend tax-payer money, according to this:
1) Bunker busters will likely never be able to destroy any well built/protected bunker out of the approx. 10,000 around the world. They will either shatter at high speeds, or not penetrate deep enough at low speeds.
2) Even low-yield bunker busters will likely spread and cause much radiation, and the chances of there being a radiation-contained explosion are close to nil.
3) Despite the DOD's own studies saying this, bunker busters have been held on to as if they're proven weapons.

so, millions spent on junk weapons programs with weapons likely never to be used, despite violating the NPT, hundreds of millions spent on that requiem-for-a-dream cause is still ok?

Tlaloc said...

Dvang, right sentiment wrong program. The nuclear bunker buster program has already been shelved.

The missile defense program on the other hand is a 10 billion per year hand out to the aerospace industry. It can't work as promised and even if it did the Russians already have a missile that it couldn't touch.

The money wasted on keeping locheed's stock up could be spent on much better things, of which environmental programs is one.

tbmbuzz said...

Even if that were an honest paraphrase of opponents' arguments, which it's not, it doesn't make Schwartz's own argument valid. He hasn't actually shown that ozone does not contribute to asthma, only that one particular study does not prove the connection. Then he compounds the error by suggesting that air-quality regulation is overly burdensome, without either giving a credible estimate of the burden or considering other reasons besides asthma for such regulation.

Platypus, I have to admit I only read S.T. Karnick's writeup, which then becomes a second hand account of Schwartz' claims. However, I simply do not see S.T.'s article saying what you claim it says, and I stand by my paraphrase of opponents' arguments, which you reject. Schwartz not only shows that one particular study's data proves the exact opposite of its claim of an ozone-asthma connection, but that numerous other studies use this particular source and false conclusions as justification for their own calls for limitless spending at the margins for dubious or zero results.

Would a study by the Australian government on asthma convince you? Here is part of what it says:

Australia has one of the highest rates of asthma prevalence in the world, along with New Zealand and the UK. There is a wide variation in asthma incidence worldwide, and it is the highly developed, less polluted Western countries that have the highest rates of asthma. Contrary to popular belief, the global pattern of prevalence shows that air pollution is not a major risk factor for developing asthma. Rather, it is a trigger for symptoms in some people with asthma. Several early life factors may reduce the risk of developing asthma - these include attendance at day dare, exposure to animals in the home, having older siblings, living on a farm and absence of early exposure to antibiotics.

The wide variations in asthma prevalence may point to other environmental factors: changes in housing and furnishings allowing greater numbers of house dust mites to breed, indoor pollutants like passive smoking, and perhaps changes in diet. Children of mothers who smoke during pregnancy are twice as likely to develop asthma.


Asthma in Australia

I really don't care, unlike some others around here, whom someone works for or his/her political affiliation in the field of science. Rather, just show me the data. Schwartz presents agreed upon data (asthma incidence up, air pollution down) and then debunks studies and individuals that distort these data for their own political-money grubbing purposes. All the protestations from the Left here convince no one but themselves.

tbmbuzz said...

The missile defense program on the other hand is a 10 billion per year hand out to the aerospace industry. It can't work as promised and even if it did the Russians already have a missile that it couldn't touch.

I know you're just jerking my chain here, Tlaloc, but perhaps you can define for everyone what the "missile defense program" promises. Heck, how about defining "missile defense program" itself before throwing out specious statements about a field you have already demonstrated little knowledge about.

Let me give you a start. No promises have been made about defending against maneuverable ICBMs which the Russians claim to be developing (and which may just be hot air from a country with a GDP no larger than the Netherlands') nor have any promises been made against an attack by numerous ICBMs simultaneously, of which only Russia and to a much lesser extent China are capable of.

Devang said...

What you're saying is, show me the data, I don't care if it's misrepresented. Britannica has 10-20% fewer errors per article than Wikipedia, well, not quite since the average Wikipedia article is 3-4 times as long. Windows has less critical vulnerabilities than Linux, well, yes because Microsoft doesn't make certain vulnerabilities public and Linux use varies wildly from development to critical operations.

I'm not a respiratory disease expert, but according to this, and what you cited, ozone is a known respiratory irritant, and as far as the rest is debatable, note: debatable (I really agree with tlaloc, it's muddying the conversation, really, but I can step back a bit..), Schwartz specifically calls for less regulation and even tries to rationalize the outcome he's advocating for using spin, going too far. Given the orwellian use of the clean air act by the epa, excuse me if I'm a bit skeptical of right-wing think-tanks. The whole picture, including who is funding whom, is critically important to me, and given the choice, I'm not choosing nukes over less environmental regulation.

I like the way a recent foreign affairs article sought to use, and publicly sell (atleast they're honest) the missile defense system as protection againt any retaliation to an offensive attack. Any retaliation being very small, since the offensive would be devastating.

I'll even mention the blatantly obvious conflict of interest with Cheney's wife working on Lockheed's board.