This is a collection of thoughts and statements about things that annoy me. I am a big, angry man. Hear me roar, or piss off and give me peace.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Smoke... and mirrors.

The Hootsman on Sunday gleefully reports: "Smoking's hidden death toll revealed"
SMOKING causes hundreds of thousands more deaths each year than previously thought, dramatic scientific research has revealed.

Dramatic? This must be the first time I have heard scientific research being described as that, so whilst my bullshit detector and bogometer have both just pegged at 11, clearly, they want us to think this is serious stuff...
A study, led by experts in Glasgow, showed heightened chances of dying from cancers of the colon, rectum and prostate, as well as from lymphatic leukaemia.

We're a' doomed!
Dr David Batty, of the Medical Research Council Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, based at the University of Glasgow, said: "What this study shows is that smoking is linked to more kinds of cancer than previously thought. It's important to remember that cancer is not a single disease and that the various kinds of cancers are different illnesses so you couldn't necessarily assume that smoking was linked to them in the same way. What's unclear is how exactly smoking causes these cancers."

Let's just run that one by again - "What's unclear is how exactly smoking causes these cancers".

In other words, they do not know!

What I suspect their statistics show is that a great swathe of society since the 60's, since apparently, most people did. If someone then got some disease, and they were of that vintage, then the chances of them having smoked would be quite high - and that there's not necessarily a causal link between them...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Or they might do some of that science stuff.

Johnny said...

So why do I have to pay to see research paid for by tax money.

This is just the usual epidemiology bs, trawling the data for correlations that are deemed `significant' in retrospect and, as usual, with no causal mechanism for justification in sight.

This isn't science, it's the equivalent of divination using chicken entrails.

BobG said...

If smoking is causing cancer of the rectum, maybe someone is doing it wrong...

Johnny said...

I note "New Scientist" is extolling the virtues of Lysenkoism in its latest issue, trying to pretend that epigenetic factors invalidate most of what we understand about genetics, in spite of that BS having been repeatedly staked thru the heart by real scientists.

hettie said...

would love to see those correlation coefficients...

I'm getting totally fed up with the epidemiology+mass media combination, it's bad for my health.