Yet Another Scare
Author: Gian Turci
Article Published: 12 February 2008
I am an internet subscriber to the "Natural Health Newsletter" of a Dr. Mercola. I look at it because it sometimes touches on issues of interest, however, it's not always accurate, and the commentary can be quite astounding.
Recently my attention was caught by Mercola's attack on cellular phones, towers and radiation. Specifically, because Mercola wrote that “using cell phones is far more dangerous than smoking cigarettes ever was." “Wow," I thought, “maybe Dr. Mercola sees the light?” Too much to hope for. I followed the link and then I read:
“Almost everyone reading this is not old enough to remember the JAMA (Journal of the AMA) ads that showed physicians smoking and describing all the health benefits of smoking. This happened in the 1920s and appeared in one of the most widely distributed medical journals. Nearly 100 years later, after science has had time to document the destructive effects of tobacco these ads look absolutely ridiculous. I suspect many of these experts are voicing these opinions because they are in denial and don't want to face the reality that they may need to reduce their cell phone radiation exposure.”
First of all, if excessive habits generally (e.g. eating, drinking, smoking) may all contribute to risk, Dr. Mercola knows that there is no disease purported as "related to smoking" which is unique to smokers. To avoid being "absolutely ridiculous" himself, Dr. Mercola should procure scientific evidence that proves causality of death by smoking in one single case since 1920. Just one would do! Rather, he trusts mountains of epidemiological trash and fallacious Healthist dogma that ascribe nearly all health conditions in smokers as caused by smoking.
Consider. In large nations people die most typically in their seventies. They die most typically of heart disease or cancer. This is true of people who smoke and of people who don't. The dogma is that non-smokers die because they are mortals but smokers die because they smoke. This is mad superstition. Now Mercola projects the same superstition onto cellular phones to demonstrate the “denial” of both the tobacco and the cellular phone industries!
The tobacco madness has taken root for decades. Let us concentrate on Mercola's fear expansion to cellular phones. Think about the basic implications of what Mercola is saying, which are too common in today’s misguided society.
Firstly, he implies that paranoid interpretation of circumstantial evidence is sufficient to consider the phenomenon as scientifically demonstrated. Now, the junk epidemiology on cell phones and their relay towers is as self-contradicting as on most subjects, and even the hysterically-inclined World Health Organization does not proselytize fear on the subject. Mercola, however, has got wind of seven cases of cancer in a London apartment building with a relay tower on its roof. The rate is said to be high for the top floor of the building but would not be for the complex. Mercola lives in the USA. He knows nothing about the building or any of those who may have lived in it. His stated news source (original link) (stored link) tells us little else other than that the cancer cases were of common types amongst elderly persons. Mercola simply declares that if people live near things he has decided to fear, ipso facto, any cancer, or anything else they complain of down to headaches, is caused by his chosen bogeyman.
In other words, Mercola and countless other health & environment (H & E) crazies support the concept that, given a case of, say, homicide, the first person accused should be fried in the electric chair because judicial bias over circumstance is “better than nothing” or (take your pick) “we know”, “it is clear “, “it’s intuitive”, “it makes sense” or “just in case” the guy is the killer. It's really worse than this with the H & E nuts. Any death can be a murder, anybody the health inquisitors take a dislike to is a murderer, and the proof is their dislike of the poor slob. How many readers woulds be content to charge up the electric chair they put this fellow in?
However, executions of the food, alcohol, tobacco, cellular, and numerous other industries are regularly carried out on just that basis — and execution it is, most of the time, as the actual damages to economy and to society are immensely greater than that of killing an innocent man. If more people realised the enormity of this they might well want to put a lot of health and environment scare-mongers in the chair.
At any rate, the criminal laws of free and civilized countries do not allow conviction on circumstantial evidence, let alone by consensus of fear and hate. Real science has never considered circumstantial evidence (observation) as proof of causality, and by this very token, statistical association (a mere tool of observation) is never sufficient to determine cause and effect. The degradation of what is called "science" in this era is among the most serious crimes of the H & E cultists.
The cult determines which elements of bias and panic become "science" by way of "consensus." Their sickened minds confuse science with democracy. Mercola — and many even more adamant than he is — would have us believe that, as soon as a chosen bogeymen comes to be feared by a colony of cultists, government must limit, curtail, or in most cases ultimately eliminate the “danger." This is indeed sick and very damaging. Science never worked on consensus, as majority does not matter, and authoritarian statements are not recognized. Proof is all that matters. Yet, according to what I shall here dub Mercolian logic, without any proof, we could be forced to eliminate, for example:
- Almost every industry on the planet because they all produce CO2 which, suddenly, has turned into a “pollutant” although every living thing produces it. Furthermore, industries should be eliminated because they produce "toxic substances." Whether the quantities of those toxins that we adsorb are sufficient to cause harm is irrelevant, because zero is the only number that is understood as “safe” in a nihilistic culture.
- Cars also must be eliminated for the reasons above, as there is a “consensus” that with their fumes they ”kill” both people and environment.
- Cigarettes, foods, and alcohol are already undergoing a process of elimination, as in regulation to extinction. Who dares disagree that they are “bad for you”? Who dares ask for sane perspective and real science? Those who do themselves face vicious attempts at elimination!
- Cellular phones, as Mercola says, kill, because Mercola say so. All he is waiting for is a “consensus.” One day that consensus probably will come. The more scares the merrier for paranoid grant-seeking researchers! Expanding propaganda, such as Mercola's, will make it convenient for more "experts" to "agree" on cell phone speculation. Never mind that he cannot prove that the “biological frequencies” he talks about cause cancer. It “makes sense,” to a paranoid, and that’s all it takes! Actually, cellular phones themselves do not cause cancer, Mercola says. It is the repeaters or relays (“towers of doom”, as he calls them) that "kill." Thus we should regulate them to extinction, I suppose. Of course, without towers, cellular phones do not work. So, in effect, we would eliminate cellular phones. Once again we see hypocritical target displacement at work: we don’t “hate” smokers, but their cigarettes (and the industry that gives them to them); we don’t “hate” motorists, but their cars (and the industry that gives them to them); we don’t “hate” cellular users, but cellular towers (and the industry that provides them.) Objects and industries are the “bad guys”, nowadays. They make bigger and better targets for "anti" propaganda but we all suffer in the end. The people who freely choose to use those products are depicted as innocent victims in need of help and education by those who claim doom and gloom in the name of "precaution." The desires of the users, of course, do not matter when they clash with the H & E ideologic crackpots. After all, if the products were not available, people simply would not use them! Simple, no?
- Computers should be heavily regulated as well, because they “cause” people to sit down (bad for your health!), and that causes you to be fat, and there is already a “consensus” that “fat is as bad as smoking," which is “as bad as drinking," which is “as bad as using cellular phones," which is “as bad as killing the planet," which is “as bad as …”
Well, you get the drift — and the list of examples could now range to infinity, rather longer, than I have space for here. So finally, let us roll the infinitude of paranoia messages into one big ball, and ask ourselves three questions:
1) If those things are all so bad, why are we all still alive?
2) If those things are all so bad, why are we living so long that we are managing to overburden the social structures we have created for our well-being, such as medicare and pension systems?
3) Even assuming that those things are all so bad, what would Dr. Mercola — and the other thousands of panic button pushers — propose as alternatives?
Maybe something like this: a cellular-free, smoke-free, alcohol-free, fat-free, car-free, industry-free society, inevitably recessed into pre-middle ages conditions, whose only concern (and pleasure, it seems) would be the narcissistic cultivation of bodily “health” in the pursuit of eternal life. Yes, happiness is an illusion of immortality. Health fixation is all. All else is evil. HOW that mindless nirvana would be achieved without industrial (thus polluting) support systems nobody ever gets around to explaining. I understand my own childish and nihilistic generation well: “I don’t wanna” does not necessarily mean: “I have an alternative.” It simply means: “I don’t wanna”!
Of course Mercola would disagree because he wants all those comforts too, and I would be surprised if he even set the one example of forsaking his cellular. He'll never explain how he can have cars without energy consumption, industries without pollution, communications without radiation, life without CO2 production, and pleasure without risk. He'll probably never be asked. It's understood these days that prohibitionists are "heroes" and explanations or logic are simply not their department, nor anybody's, for that matter. It's time to bring sanity back into vogue again.