Which is the biggest scientific fraud in history?

There are some circles in America where it seems to be more socially acceptable to carry a hand-gun than a packet of cigarettes.
Katherine Whitehorn–journalist

I study global warming to the point of immersion (hours every day). It has long been my belief that global warming, and the resultant push for cap-and-trade, is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on the world. Maybe I am wrong, not in the fraud, but in it being the greatest scientific fraud.

In my curiosity-induced wanderings of the internet, I stumbled over the resurrection of another scientific issue I had not read about lately: secondhand smoke—or passive smoking if one is more politically correct.

A recent article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11844169 in the BBC News reports on the first global study on passive smoking. My first alarm bell rang when the article said 600,000 people a year die of passive smoking. The second alarm was when I saw the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted the study.

The WHO is the same organization that brought us the swine flu pandemic, which they said would directly result in millions of children and young adults dying if they were not immunized. Some well-positioned pharmaceutical companies (WHO contributors perhaps) made millions of dollars on their vaccine, even though millions of doses ended up in the trash due to lack of interest. The total loss of life WORLD WIDE from the swine flu was less than 15,000, and most of them were of people with their health previously compromised through asthma or other lung diseases. The normal death toll, to our regular, garden-variety flu in the United States, is around 30,000.

Now, when I see the WHO quoted, I turn on my crap detector. When I see something like this:

The global health body said it was particularly concerned about the estimated 165,000 children who die of smoke-related respiratory infections, mostly in South East Asia and in Africa.

my crap detector jumps off the scale. Excuse me, most of them in South East Asia and in Africa? Is that not where the average income is about $2.00 a day? Who knew they were spending it on Chesterfield menthol lights? A better guess might be that those children are living in unventilated huts that use dried dung for cooking and heating. While I suppose one could call that passive smoking, tobacco has nothing to do with it.

While wondering just how the WHO came up with the 600,000 number, I went back to an old Numbers Watch blog http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2003%20April.htm. That particular article had to do with the statistical convolutions the Environmental Protective Agency (EPA) had to go through to show a 1.9 risk ratio in secondhand smoke. A risk ratio of less than three is within the margin of error and considered meaningless. The 600,000 passive smoke deaths, without any verifying information showing any of those who died were ever in a tobacco smoke environment, is an example of a PDOOMA number, see https://stlouisooz.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/pdooma-and-error-bars/.

In science, the poison is in the dosage. Massive doses of almost anything can become poisonous. Sucking smoke directly into the lungs from the filter of a cigarette is a near perfect delivery system, and the results show up on the death index; however, it is much different from picking up the much-reduced concentrations of smoke released into the air by a smoker. Most of the passive smoke inhaled is immediately exhaled, leaving only a harmless trace dose actually absorbed.

While there is a small percentage of the population who has an adverse effect to passive smoke, there is a similar percentage of the population allergic to shellfish, chicken feathers, peanuts and other substances. These people are expected to avoid the things they are allergic to, but for some reason there is no push to keep the rest of the population from ingesting them. Actual science, not meta-analysis of hundreds of studies involving different, conflicting factors, indicates that damage of passive smoking is in the mind, not in the lungs, of the average person.

Please do not read any personal bias into my doubts of the dangers of secondhand smoke. I have no axe to grind. I do not smoke and never have; in fact, I believe smoking it probably the worst single thing people can do to their own bodies short of suicide. Still, science is science, and if one has to cook the books to garner support for a particular position, in global warming or secondhand smoke, it is wrong.

Published in: on December 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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