In which Dr. Gorski once again finds himself a target of the “pharma shill” gambit

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182 thoughts on “In which Dr. Gorski once again finds himself a target of the “pharma shill” gambit

  1. David Gorski says:

    You don’t know the half of it regarding how nasty things have gotten. I have, however, gone back and looked at Jake’s post again because curiosity drove me.

    There are more errors there than I remember from this morning, including links that don’t back up his claims and an astounding ignorance of the basic science of what I do, in which Jake states that my angiogenesis studies are the same as my riluzole studies (and all about testing riluzole):

    In fact, one of the two primary interests of the Gorski lab is this Sanofi-Aventis drug. In the Wayne state description, the lab’s two interests are described, “First, we are interested in the transcriptional regulation of vascular endothelial cell phenotype.” Worth noting is that a patent relating to this was issued listing David Gorski as an inventor. In his blog bio, Gorski admits receiving money for the patent in 1994 from a drug company, but that was only during the provisional filing before the patent was issued. Whatever the compensation was, its timing does not suggest any licensing of the intellectual property rights.

    Also, according to the Gorski lab, “Our second area of interest is the role of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) in breast cancer,” which relates directly to the therapy linking the use of Riluzole to breast cancer treatment. However, the description concludes, “In addition, we have noted that mGluR1 is expressed on vascular endothelial cells and have preliminary evidence that its inhibition is also antiangiogenic, thus linking our laboratory’s two interests and suggesting a broader application for metabotropic glutamate receptor targeting in cancer therapy.” In other words, David Gorski’s entire research focus, including a patent still listed in his name for which he admits receiving drug company money, ties into finding new uses for a drug made by Sanofi-Aventis, while the university housing his lab is in partnership with the company.

    There is so much wrong there. For one thing, one of the areas of interest in my lab is the receptor mGluR1, not riluzole per se. We use riluzole because it is a convenient strategy to target the receptor. Moreover, my studies of the transcriptional regulation of endothelial cell phenotype have nothing to do with riluzole. (Look up my two publications this year if you don’t believe me.) They have to do with a homeobox gene known as GAX or MEOX2 and formed the basis of my first R01. The patent was for the use of this gene in the gene therapy of atherosclerosis, not cancer, a use that never panned out, given the development of drug-impregnated stents in the late 1990s. In fact, our studies of mGluR1 on endothelial cells have nothing to do with GAX or MEOX2 or the transcriptional regulation of endothelial cell phenotype. The two projects are unrelated other than by the fact that they look at different mechanisms of angiogenesis. In fact, more funding in my lab has gone to angiogenesis studies than to riluzole or mGluR1.

    I could pick apart virtually every paragraph in Jake’s post equally ruthlessly if I were so inclined. I just picked these two because they were the easiest.

  2. Matt says:

    Jake lost me when early in his post he makes this statement:

    Subtract three years from 2008-2009 and you get 2005-2006 – when David Gorski started blogging heavily about vaccines. Currently, the Barbara Anne Karmanos Cancer Institute of Wayne State University is sponsoring the trial for Riluzole, and Wayne State is the only university listed in the Yahoo! Finance stock summary of Sanofi-Aventis as being in a financial partnership with the company

    If it wasn’t clear to him before, it should have been after reading the above post by David Gorski–he hasn’t spent his whole career at Wayne State. A little (very little) digging by Jake and he would know that in 2005, David Gorski was at a different institution in a different state.

    To take a cue from Penn ( , even if the Sanofi Aventis thing was a conflict of interest, which it isn’t, but even if it was, which it isn’t, but, even if it was–it wasn’t in 2005 when (according to Jake) you started blogging about this.

    My guess is that Jake knows this and just didn’t want to let a fact get in the way of a good (or so he thought) narrative.

    The fact of the matter is this–when it comes to who is a friend to the autism community, it is the person with accurate information. Jake Crosby and his Friends at the Age of Autism are *not* friends. They propagate misinformation. In his efforts to counter the bad science that comes out of AoA David Gorski has shown himself to be a friend to the community.

    I wish there was a lot more counter information like this when I started trying to test the claims of groups like Generation Rescue. Blogs like Science Based Medicine are a great resource.

  3. David Gorski says:

    To take a cue from Penn ( , even if the Sanofi Aventis thing was a conflict of interest, which it isn’t, but even if it was, which it isn’t, but, even if it was–it wasn’t in 2005 when (according to Jake) you started blogging about this.

    Actually, my involvement in the riluzole project didn’t start until 2006, at least a year after I started my online activities with respect to vaccines.

  4. SD says:


    “A boring, bloviating libertarian. I stopped reading in this thread when he boldly asserted that the fact that some enterprises thrive on capitalism, they ALL would.”

    lrn2grammar plz kthxbi

    I are good at English… and so can you!

    “It speaks of a simple mind when someone thinks that the deciding factors for success of a sham-wow should be the same as those for chemotherapy.”

    And why, precisely, should they not?

    If a Sham-Wow satisfies my need for “cleaning things up”, then I purchase a Sham-Wow.

    If chemotherapy satisfies my need for “getting rid of cancer”, then I purchase chemotherapy.

    You betray here a lack of faith in the correctness of SBM; if it satisfies better than the alternative, then why would someone prefer Brand X instead? (Hint: they generally don’t. iPods tend to satisfy better than the competition; that’s why competition is scattershot at best.)

    Here’s a fundamental Truth for you: things that satisfy human wants more effectively than the competition tend to win *without the need for intervention*. Things that don’t, don’t.

    “Capitalism can create a better iPod, but the argument that it could create a better fire department is pretty silly…”

    Yeah, you know, except for where it has.

    Private fire departments have existed since the Roman Empire. Funny thing – you had the option of paying beforehand and getting guaranteed service, *or*, you had the option of going without and taking the risk that your house burns down. If your house was afire, you had the option of paying on the spot (a substantially increased premium), in the hope that something could be salvaged.

    Some people choose risk, and pay a little at a time. Some choose safety, and pay more later. Welcome to the magic of actuarial math.

    “at the very least it’s NOT analagous to the iPod and should be analyzed differently.”

    No. This thought-process is Fail and the mother of Fail, and is a verbalization of a belief in magic. This is a political version of the Eucharist, where goods and services are magically transformed by handwaving and histrionic rhetoric into “rights”. Truth: They are *exactly the same*. Both are attempts to satisfy human wants.

    Learn that lesson and you have learned much.

    For the bonus round, articulate what those wants *are*.

    “He’s posted before about his standards of evidence, and they are lacking.”

    Only because I am describing qualitative and homogeneous things that you persist in the Error of perceiving as quantitative and heterogeneous.

    “He’s a moron with an above-averge vocabulary and a loose grasp on logic which he has mistaken for intelligence.”

    Aw. Thanks.

    “Do not feed him, you will gain no satisfaction from the excercise.”

    Well, I keep feeding you.

    “truth, dirt cheap”

  5. Adam_Y says:

    You betray here a lack of faith in the correctness of SBM; if it satisfies better than the alternative, then why would someone prefer Brand X instead? (Hint: they generally don’t. iPods tend to satisfy better than the competition; that’s why competition is scattershot at best.)

    Here’s a fundamental Truth for you: things that satisfy human wants more effectively than the competition tend to win *without the need for intervention*. Things that don’t, don’t.

    Really?????? Someone is stupid enough to actually claim this with a straight face. Tell me then why obsolete medical modalities (Which defy the laws of physic) are still around. Its not because of they satisfy any human wants.

  6. SD says:


    “I would much rather see the NIH fund Dr. Gorski’s work rather than Sanofi-Aventis.”

    Great. As long as the NIH is soliciting donations to fund its projects instead of sucking down tax money, I have no problem with that. Hell, I might even donate.

    Trouble is, we don’t get that option. We get to “just pay”, on pain of death or imprisonment, into a system which distributes these spoils to such valuable projects as bank bailouts, videogame wars in far Araby, building brick shithouses for Hmong refugees in Dubuque, studying the effect of interpretive dance programs on crime rates in Detroit, alternative-medicine treatments for shingles, office-based pornography therapy for GS-13s at the SEC, and really awesome parties for the Louisiana branch of the Minerals Management Service. Maybe some of it makes its way to something I care about, but not perceptibly.

    I fail to see how this is a superior system to “Why don’t you just keep your money, and write a goddamned check to the NIH if you like it so much?” That at least has the moral virtue of being a charitable act (as opposed to coerced), and imposes a financial discipline on the receiving institution that does not exist in a politically-funded system.

    “Well, at least you know who the Federalists were. Many teabaggers liberally quoting the Constitution don’t seem to get that the Federalists (strong central government) actually WON.”

    Yeah, thank God those anti-Federalists were all wrong and stuff, about how the Federalists were creating a centralized monstrosity that would be taken over by “designing men” and do silly things like adventure in foreign countries without cause, destroy the substance of the middle class, sell favors to the politically-connected, and use the public purse as a personal piggy-bank.

    “But if you don’t see the problem with printing limitless amounts of money to cover your debt, I dunno what to say.”

    That would be what we refer to as “sarcasm”, Virginia.

    “no, virginia, there ain’t no santa claus”

  7. SD says:


    “What the heck do you mean by: “Or, in other words: Since good things do not happen except by force of law, then what law compels you to disclose your conflicts of interest?””

    What part of that sentence is not in plain English?

    “Do you really believe that? Or are you putting words in Dr Gorski’s mouth that he never said? He has always been a proponent of disclosing any conflicts of interest.”

    Read what I actually wrote – a question – and then answer *that* question, not the straw-question you think I asked.

    “Maybe I don’t understand your viewpoint. Or maybe you just don’t want to live in a civilized world.”

    I would very much like to live in a civilized world. Unfortunately, it’s infested with governments. Rather than being a synonym for ‘civilization’, ‘government’ is an antonym to ‘civilization’.

    “Would you prefer not to have police, fire departments?”

    I would prefer to have private security companies and private fire departments, from which I could pick and choose. Police departments are not here to help you – they seem, mostly, to exist to satisfy the BDSM urges of a certain element of the American population. As I noted in the other post, the notion that “fire departments require public funding” is both ahistorical and ludicrous on its face. You mean to tell me that you really, seriously, think that nobody would pay for fire protection, considering it to be a positive good? Okay, so then explain why fire-protection services (volunteer, private, &c.) are set up the world over anyway? Explain, please, why you think it requires taxation to fund?

    “And no, vigilante groups didn’t work as well as a regulated police department.”

    There are a large number of folks that might disagree with you on that point. Here’s two websites to casually browse through:

    Vigilante groups have the singular virtue that they tend to form in *response* to something, and disband quickly once the task is complete. (Historical parallel – look at the ‘hue and cry’ law in old Britain for examples of how such a thing can be organized, even within law.) Police, on the other hand, tend to hang around and do things like, oh, Taser pregnant women for refusing to sign traffic tickets, do home invasions on octogenarian grandmothers and kill them in a hail of gunfire, things like that.

    Perhaps you view these things as a ‘net social good’. I do not.

    “Volunteer fire departments are well and good (my town has one) as long as there are enough people home and willing to participate. I’ll pay my taxes.”

    Why is it okay to rob your neighbor to make yourself feel safer? Is the notion of taking responsibility for your own fire-safety *really* that scary?

    “And yes, if I didn’t pay so much in taxes, I would probably happily pay money towards Dr Gorski’s research.”

    Well, there it is.

    “As a woman, as a person who has known several family members with breast cancer, his research is important to me. But I could not support him alone.”

    Who says you’d have to? Is Cde. Gorski such a failure, so personally repulsive, that you’d be the only person donating to him? I doubt it, much though sometimes I wonder. I suspect that Cde. Gorski would get *more* from his endeavors than he gets now.

    “And if I supported him, I would not be able to support other researchers who work on issues important to me: genetics, prostate cancer, macular degeneration, cardiac disease….”

    You can’t support them *anyway*! You’re not supporting them from *your resources*! You are stealing from your neighbor, giving the spoils to your pet causes, and naming it “charity”!

    Let’s say that you weren’t, though. What such a voluntary milieu imposes on you: the necessity to *make a choice* of how much to give to one vs. the other. Which one is most important *to you*? I’m guessing, “Breast Cancer”. So BC gets the big check, the rest get a few bucks each.

    Hint: you can see how important people *really* think something is when they have to make such a choice. It’s easy to play poker with someone else’s chips (or, equivalently, to fund your favorite projects with Other People’s Money), but when you’re forced to use your own, you do a little more thinking before you ante up.

    “So I am happy to pay taxes and let all the researchers, even those that I perhaps wouldn’t support now but will be grateful for their research sometime in the future, get money from my taxes.”

    … And fuck all the other people who would rather do something else with their money instead. Okay, got it. Can you see where this philosophy is beginning to crack at the seams, where people might get a little upset over the hidden subtext therein?

    “give of your own, but not of other people’s”

  8. SD says:


    ” Here’s a fundamental Truth for you: things that satisfy human wants more effectively than the competition tend to win *without the need for intervention*. Things that don’t, don’t.

    Really?????? Someone is stupid enough to actually claim this with a straight face. Tell me then why obsolete medical modalities (Which defy the laws of physic) are still around. Its not because of they satisfy any human wants.”

    Again: lrn2english. plz. kthxbi.

    Pretty much by definition they *are* satisfying some kind of human want, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this discussion. (Nobody “wants” a Pinto, for example, or a Commodore computer, or a buggy-whip. That’s why you don’t see them around.)

    The important question is, which want do they satisfy? That’s a thornier question. Well, Virginia, I don’t have any *evidence* of this, but here’s my gut feeling on the subject:

    (We’ll refer to it as “CAM” for the purposes of convenience here.)

    The reason CAM is still around is because the evidence- and science-based medical movement chose, way back in the Mists of Time, to seek succor from the State instead of competing on its own merits. Recall that the first Crusade against Quackery was around the turn of the century, and its fruits – Food and Drug Act, state licensing boards, &c. – have been with us for many decades.

    Funny thing about that – one would think that science would need nothing but its own light to demonstrate superiority. And, in fact, it does not; Maxwell’s laws do not care whether you “like” them or not, or think that they synergize nicely with a universe full of ‘living force’. They just are. Take ‘em or leave ‘em.

    However, a variety of unsavory sorts (charlatans seeking official sanction to camouflage them, grifters, ruthless political men, among others) teamed up with the idealistic “useful idiots” of the time (which idealistic vision of “technocratic Socialism” was beginning to sweep the world in that era) to weld a structure of power and privilege together that, so far, has stood unchallenged, and in fact has substantially grown in that time, as such structures are wont to do.

    This had two effects. The first, and most obvious effect, is to set up a sort of cognitive dissonance in the public mind; “if these guys are really so good, then why the hell do they need the protection of the State?” For such it is, make no mistake; the State does not exist for any purpose save the protection and unjust enrichment of the men inside that particular Trojan Horse, no matter what fairy-fables are whispered to you to send you back to sleep. Faced with the failures, unsatisfactory treatment, and excessive overhead in dealing with the Chosen Physicians, consumers – *of their own accord* – searched for alternatives. And found them, much to the chagrin of Cde. Gorski and his ilk. (Axiom Zero of libertarian theory: *there is always a choice*, including the choice to refuse to deal with the providers one has.) There was a gap; the gap was filled. Contrary to the beliefs and musings of those at SBM, there is no “mesmerism” at work behind the choice of a patient for a CAM provider; more likely to be at work is a silent, subconscious “Fuck You”, aimed squarely at the heart of the medical-industrial-government complex. It is a repudiation of all the inefficiencies, waste, fraud, untrustworthiness, and mistreatment inherent in the system we have kludged together from economic fallacies and moral vacuities.

    The second, and more pernicious effect, is on the physicians themselves; embedded in a political structure, they began to take on its mores and attitudes, and to bend their thought processes in systemically-favored ways. Before, medicine was a simple service provided by an expert to a customer for a fee; now it’s a magical, sacred bond that transcends mere money, except not really, because the bill for that magical, sacred bond is, well, let’s just say that there’s a lot of zeroes, okay? Gone are the days of ‘take it or leave it, buddy, and here’s what it’ll cost ya’. Now we have employer-linked insurance, rate schedules, officially-approved treatments, the whole nine yards. Before, a scientist had to explain to someone with a lot of money why what he wanted to research was a good idea, or had to have sufficient chops to say “Hey, I’m Dr. X, and if you won’t pay me money to buy me a lab and find shit out, then somebody else sure as hell will.” Now, a scientist is a political creature, dependent for his professional and economic life on satisfying not a single patron of means, or even a group of same, but rather a legion of bureaucrats controlled by dangerously powerful and corruptible men, in addition to the orthodoxy of his profession, without which no research project he proposes will move past “daydreaming” stage.

    These structures take their toll on the mind. There is a term for an analogous process: “institutionalization”. It happens in prisoners and military men; they become so used to their life and its bizarre rules, they are incapable of functioning outside of that context, and seek to return to it. Ex-convicts, sometimes, intentionally commit crimes, just so they can go back to prison and the life they knew. Soldiers, leaving the military, find that the only world that makes sense is one with a rank structure, and return after a short period of time, to remain their whole lives. Similarly, a man confronted with something that’s very nearly his dream job, in exchange for just a little bit of his soul… well, he’ll make the deal. After all, a little paperwork isn’t that much to fill out, right? Besides, you get over the hump, you got it made… do your thirty, then retire (“emeritize”) and you’re golden.

    All of this is a direct result of past Glorious Plans that were going to fix everything, or so we were told. And now, everybody gets to get his beak wet, justified or not… except for the patient, who pays over and over and over again. Many in this industry do quite well by it, except for the patients, who are frequently driven into bankruptcy (and, especially sadly, those with serious illnesses who are driven into bankruptcy and then die anyway). But hey, fuck them, right?

    The cure for this is now styled to be “more intervention”, to maintain the situation where everybody gets his beak wet. I can predict how well that will work: it won’t. Dissatisfaction levels will rise – *are* rising* – and will not easily be quelled. But hey, maybe the *next* major intervention will fix the problem…

    … But anyway, I digress. This situation is, I think, the genesis and the lifeblood of the CAM movement. Men mistrust authority instinctively. When science speaks with the ersatz authority of the State – when it refuses to simply throw its conclusion on the ground and say ‘Take it or leave it, as ye will’, without augmentation or coercion – then men mistrust it, as well. It is that mistrust, and the inconvenience of dealing with the State medical system as it exists now, that rolls out the “Welcome” mat for CAM. The cure – walk away from the unholy partnership with the State, and spend your time seeking Truth instead, without fear or favor – is not one that is ever seriously advanced. And so, here we are, and here I am, banging one little tin drum for Liberty before a furious crowd. >;->

    “facin’ the music”

  9. Adam_Y says:

    Again: lrn2english. plz. kthxbi.

    Yeah says the guy who renders his twenty pages dissertation unreadable because of an inability to master the quotation feature of WordPress. It so incredibly simple to use. Why the hell aren’t you using it?

    The reason CAM is still around is because the evidence- and science-based medical movement chose, way back in the Mists of Time, to seek succor from the State instead of competing on its own merits. Recall that the first Crusade against Quackery was around the turn of the century, and its fruits – Food and Drug Act, state licensing boards, &c. – have been with us for many decades.

    Actually, this is a butchering of the history. The push to form the FDA into what it is today was partially the publics doing. Namely because people don’t like randomly dying and having their jaws fall off. Then again I would never let reality get in the way of a good rant.

    Funny thing about that – one would think that science would need nothing but its own light to demonstrate superiority. And, in fact, it does not; Maxwell’s laws do not care whether you “like” them or not, or think that they synergize nicely with a universe full of ‘living force’. They just are. Take ‘em or leave ‘em.

    Fine then Mr. Libertarian why didn’t the take it or leave it approach work with Wallace when he proved that the earth was round. Mind you I do have more examples of how incredibly dumb such an argument this is.

  10. Adam_Y says:

    Warning: I know all the tropes you can pull out in response, and can demolish all of them. Do yourself a favor and think about this question instead: If it were possible for kids to work at occupations they were skilled at, how much would that improve their lives in the long run, compared to the current results of our system, which is incarcerating them in publicly-funded mental masturbatoriums until they turn 18? A kid who’s apprenticed to a carpenter at age 14 does not have time to huff paint, knock up girls/get knocked up, or vandalize property. They’re too busy *doing something* that makes them money and learning valuable things.

    I’ve known people who do the things that you suggested and they are missing a finger. Demolish that trope Mr. Libertarian.

  11. BillyJoe says:

    I came here for some educational reading. Imagine my disappointment when most of the posts were labelled Silly Dude.

  12. David Gorski says:

    Sorry about that. We don’t censor comments.

  13. I don’t know the details of Dr. Gorski’s situation, but the “Big Pharma Shill” ad hom attack is actually fairly mild compared to the one that preceded it and that so many who decry it would have supported: The use of “Big Tobacco Shill” as a reasonable attack on anyone questioning the imminent deadliness of the slightest wisps of tobacco smoke in the air (or, in the case of “third hand smoke” not even in the air.)

    Having been the target of such attacks many times over the last twenty years I recommend honesty as Dr. Gorski’s best defense. Let him declare, openly and publicly, that he has never taken a dime from any pharmaceutical company or interest and if he has unfortunately done so in the past, return it.

    He’ll still get attacked, as I have, but he’ll at least then be able to challenge his attackers to submit proof and threaten them with libel if they do not apologize and recant.

    Michael J. McFadden,
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

    (And, as I noted in the first two sentences of my Author’s Preface, “I am not now, nor have I ever, been a member of the Communist Party. I am also not now, nor have I ever, been affiliated with Big Tobacco or their stocks, nor do I have any plans to be.” It hasn’t stopped the attacks totally – those unable to criticize the science or reasoning behind my arguments still resort to such at time – but it’s quieted them down.)

    second sentence of my book so there would be no confusion, “

  14. Dawn says:

    @Michael J McFadden: Dr Gorski has, time and time again, listed any/all of his conflicts of interest. The fact that you didn’t take the time to READ the disclaimer link IN BOLD that Dr Gorski has at the top of the posting does not speak well for you.

  15. David Gorski says:

    Well, given the usual quality of Mr. McFadden’s “research,” it doesn’t surprise me that he didn’t bother to read the disclaimer.

  16. Dawn says:

    I thought that, but thought I would leave the insolence to you…

    I edited my comment 3 times before posting it. :)

  17. Dr. Gorski, odd, I don’t recall you ever having offered any specific criticisms of any of my “research” as you put it. Please back up your inference about its “usual quality” by doing so. Thank you.

    Dawn, I thought I made my background in the subject quite clear when I introduced my comment by saying:

    “I don’t know the details of Dr. Gorski’s situation, ”

    I had happened across this page by accidental happenstance of some sort of search, saw the note about someone being attacked as a “Big Pharma Shill,” and just thought I’d offer some advice from someone who had suffered similar attacks. It’s quite true I hadn’t read the disclaimer – this was purely a “drive-by posting” and indeed his disclaimer states exactly the sort of thing I recommended: a clear and honest statement of his situation and history showing his lack of connections.

    The fact that he has to enumerate such relatively innocent things as once having received payment for an invention and the Pepsi thing shows just how far critics will go in seeking to sling mud however. I did some research with David Kuneman from Missouri about five years ago which was later attacked on the TobaccoScam website for several totally spurious reasons and one reason that had the barest tinge of truth to it: About 25 years ago Dave worked for several years as a flavoring chemist for 7-Up soda company. At some point during his tenure it was bought by Philip Morris. So TobaccoScam tried to dismiss our research on the basis that it was done by someone who’d been “a tobacco company researcher.”

    Financial conflicts of interest can be pointed to as reasons to be particularly diligent in examining someone’s research, but the research itself has to stand or fall on its own – which is why I’m now asking Dr. Gorski to note the bases for his comment about the “usual quality” of my research.

    – MJM

  18. I guess I should add some starting points for readers who might not be as familiar with my work as Dr. Gorski. If you visit

    you will find a chapter from my book that offers some examples of the sort of research I engage in, and if you visit

    and read the section on “ETS Exposure” you will find some more. {Heh… there actually IS one quite valid, though effectually minor, criticism to be made of something in the ETS Exposure section!} You can also see a few somewhat superficial (for reasons of space/brevity) examples of my own criticism of others’ work in the area in my “Lies Behind The Smoking Bans” at:

    – MJM

  19. Chris says:

    You seem a bit defensive, and tense. You should probably cut down on the nicotine. ;-)

    (and yeah, I’m not taking you seriously since in the last ten years several family members have died from smoking related illnesses, including a 43 year old cousin who had his jaw removed due to mouth cancer but it had metastasized… and I see no way to reason with someone who voluntarily spends money so they can stink to high heaven, so be a scumbag somewhere else)

  20. Chris wrote to me, “so be a scumbag somewhere else”

    Hmm… I’m not sure if that’s a step up or a step down from the “You’re a Shill” argument, but it’s arguably somewhere around that level.

    I’m sure Dr. Gorski and Dawn will do better though.

    – MJM

  21. squirrelelite says:

    @Michael J McFadden,

    I don’t know why you decided to drop in on this comment thread which had ground to a halt three weeks ago to discuss your anti-antismoking ideas.

    But, if your first link is an example of putting your best foot forwatd, then I see no reason to bother digging through the rest of your links.

    Since it consists solely of a list of strawman arguments that you put forward so that you can attack them without providing any real information that tobacco smoking is even safe, much less beneficial, I see no reason to bother with any of your other links.

    Instead, I suggest you demonstrate your superior research skills by providing one good reference not from yourself for published research that refutes or at least disputes some real antismoking arguments. For convenience, I picked this list from the National Cancer Institute.

    Argument 1: Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing an estimated 438,000 deaths – or about 1 out of every 5 – each year.

    Argument 2: In the United States, approximately 38,000 deaths each year are caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.

    Argument 3: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the United States, with 90 percent of lung cancer deaths among men and approximately 80 percent of lung cancer deaths among women attributed to smoking.

    Argument 4: Smoking also increases the risk of many other types of cancer, including cancers of the throat, mouth, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix.

    Argument 5: People who smoke are up to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack than nonsmokers, and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. Smoking also causes most cases of chronic obstructive lung disease, which includes bronchitis and emphysema.

    Argument 6: In 2007, approximately 19.8 percent of U.S. adults were cigarette smokers.

    Argument 7: Twenty-three percent of high school students and 8 percent of middle school students in this country are current cigarette smokers.

    I await your elucidating response.

  22. Also the health problems related to passive smoke have been documented.*

    ETA is Environmental Tobacco Smoke

    “In children, ETS is associated with an increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs), such as bronchitis and pneumonia. An estimated 150,000-300,000 cases of LRTIs in children younger than 18 months are attributed to ETS annually. ETS is causally associated with increased prevalence of fluid in the middle ear, upper respiratory tract irritation, and reduced lung function. It is also associated with increased severity of asthma in children;2 the asthma of an estimated 200,000-1,000,000 children is worsened by ETS. Finally, ETS is a risk factor for the development of asthma in children.”

    Gosh, It looks like you’re just trying to sell your book by attaching yourself (lamprey like) to Dr. Gorski’s situation.

    Good luck with that.

    *But, I should note, when I’m having asthma symptoms, exposure to cigarette smoke is guaranteed to severally worsen my symptoms. I guess my preference for being able to breath at work and in a restaurant could be considered a COI.

  23. Dawn says:

    Mr McFadden: Most of your links are blocked by my employer so I will have to try to look at them later.

    I realized when I first read it that your first sentence said that you were ignorant of Dr Gorski’s situation. That still does not excuse the fact that you didn’t take the time to read the disclaimer that was bolded at the top of the post. All it did was point out that you didn’t care enough to read all the information that was important to the post.

    You say: “I had happened across this page by accidental happenstance of some sort of search, saw the note about someone being attacked as a “Big Pharma Shill,” and just thought I’d offer some advice from someone who had suffered similar attacks. It’s quite true I hadn’t read the disclaimer – this was purely a “drive-by posting” and indeed his disclaimer states exactly the sort of thing I recommended: a clear and honest statement of his situation and history showing his lack of connections.”

    And “advice from someone who had suffered similar attacks” would have been MUCH more effective if you had realized the information was at the top of the page before your first comment, since, I would hope, the tone of your comment and what you had to say would have changed if you had read the disclaimer FIRST.

  24. My, so warmly welcomed. Well, let me see if I can answer some of the concerns raised in a reasonable amount of space.

    Squirrel, I explained why/how I stopped in. It was accidental.

    My first link was to an examination of 24 of the common lies told by Antismokers in pushing for tougher bans and higher taxes. If the best Antismokers can offer. It certainly is not my fault if they don’t have better evidence or arguments: those are the ones they use.

    I’ve never argued that tobacco smoking is safe, so I think you’ve built your own strawman there. However that sort of attack is so common that I actually addressed it in the THIRD sentence of my Author’s Preface (right after the two noted above): “I also do not now, nor have I ever, tried to claim smoking is good for you, although many may enjoy it enough to justify its risks.”

    Your arguments 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 are irrelevant to anything I’ve written although some of them have been argued by others or are simply incorrect. E.G. the most respected source for youth smoking behavior is the YRBSS which pegs the percentage of current (well, smoking at least a single cigarette on at least 20 of the last 30 days, but it’s reasonable to count that as a current smoker) high school smokers not at your 19.8% but at 7.3% … lower actually than your claim for middle school students.

    Your claim about the 438,000 deaths is simply an imaginary number pulled out of the SAMMEC computer program: change a few formulas or assumptions and the number becomes totally different. I used a similar, though more primitive system in one of the Appendices of Brains and came up with a figure of over 900,000 “Deaths Due To Eating.”

    The ONLY relevant argument you presented was #2: claimed # of deaths due to secondary smoke. If you examine the results of the 100+ studies I presented in Appendix A and reproduced at: you’ll see how questionable the claim of causality is even for something as strongly related as lung cancer. Meanwhile 35,000 of the 38,000 you claim are for heart disease: a link so weak that the EPA wouldn’t even touch it in their hallowed Report. Heh… another funny thing about that 35,000: they were continuing to claim 50,000 up until a few years ago when people started pointing out how odd it was that the number stayed the same for over 20 years while secondary smoke exposure went down by around 80%. Care to explain that Squirrel?

    OK… let me finish this and move on to Michele.

    – MJM

    Why would I want

  25. Michele, your post is mainly a pasting of claims about the effects of ETS on children. Why is that relevant to smoking bans in bars and restaurants and strip clubs where adults commonly go and where alcohol is served. True, some parents DO take their children to alcoholic restaurants, but that’s more on the parents’ ledger of responsibility than society’s. And even most restaurants that serve alcohol have tended to ban smoking on their own in recent years, so why the need for a universal ban other than to serve the purpose of denormalizing smokers?

    LOL! And I can assure you that adding a post on this blog about Big Pharma Shills would be a pretty poor way to “try to sell my book” in terms of time/effort expended vs. return. Are you really serious? Plus, if I *was* posting for that purpose I’d be signing all my posts with the book title and a link to go buy it, wouldn’t I? On the other hand, if I never mentioned my potential “competing interest” just how long do you think it would take before I’d be jumped on for hiding it? :>

    Dawn, I’m not sure what algorithm your employer uses for blocking links, but it must be pretty strict. That’s ok, I can wait till you’re home. And I believe I have at least implicitly agreed that I should have read the disclaimer. As noted though, I wasn’t expecting to get into anything too deeply here until I was met with the warmish reception.

    – MJM

    (who has this time remembered not to leave odd fragments of things below his posting…)

  26. MMF – quoting one page you linked to: “Smokers often find themselves in the uncomfortable position of defending their chosen practice against accusations by family, friends, or even complete strangers that they are harming people around them. ”

    My comment speaks to the idea that when a family member complains that the smoking is harming the people around them, namely the smoker’s children, then that accusation is supported by science, regardless of whether it is uncomfortable for the smoker or not.

  27. Calli Arcale says:

    Just as a little piece of friendly advice, Mr McFadden, drive-by posting is generally considered rude. It is to your credit that you actually returned to the thread to respond to comments, but it is much less to your credit that you not only admitted to it being a drive-by post but appear not the least bit troubled by that. You further admitted that you did not read much of Dr Gorski’s post before offering your advice, which means you cannot know whether your advice is even useful, and appear to be offended that people took exception to this display of rudeness.

    You did, however, make a point of linking to your website and discussed your particular topic of interest (whether antismoking claims are actually true) at some length, even though it is not relevant to the thread at all.

    The term for this is “thread hijacking”, though as you took pains to provide several links, it is equally possible you were aiming more at the Googlebot than at human readers. Either way, it is evident that you have no interest in the actual thread.

    (Mind you, SD had done a pretty good job of thoroughly derailing the thread already. That doesn’t excuse an additional derailment, though.)

  28. Michelle, you are taking the special case of children, where there is indeed some reasonable support, and speaking as though that is where I am making my case. I am not seeking to remove smoking bans in pre-schools and kindergartens, nor would I chastise someone for remonstrating about a smoker regularly smoking around a child prone to ear infections, suffering from asthma or a LRTI. It should be noted however that the numbers you adduce in support of your position are also SAMMEC produced and are questionable both on that basis and in terms of confounding influences introduced by questions of the parents’ health and other factors. I have not examined those studies closely as I am not seeking to change bans in child-oriented enclosed settings and it has not generally been necessary yet to battle the State’s removing children from smoking parents on charges of child abuse.

    Calli, I believe I have apologized twice already about my entry into the thread, and also should be able to claim at least a smidgen of credit for being so open about the circumstances of that entry. Those circumstances clearly illustrate however that I was not engaging in thread hijacking. Indeed, if no one but Dr. Gorski had responded to me, and had done so merely with the polite suggestion that I read the disclaimer, my participation would likely have ended with a simple apology. And finally, while I *did* roughly categorize my visit as a “drive-by” it obviously was NOT a drive-by in the technical sense since I returned to see what Dr. Gorski may have said.

    Oh, and I did not “link to my websites” in either my first OR my second post, and when I did do so it was clearly for informational reasons. If I had been linking for spam type reasons I would have linked to the sales site on Amazon where I generally direct people nowadays who are buying single copies as they seem to provide them more cheaply than I can myself! LOL!

    – MJM

  29. Calli Arcale says:

    I was referring to the fact that you specified the URL of your website in your account. I suppose I can give you some benefit of the doubt; maybe you didn’t realize that would show up in every single post you make. (Click on your username in your posts to see what I mean.) However, that would suggest you’re a bit of a blogging noob. It is a tactic often used by those looking to increase their website’s Google ranking, usually with somewhat relevant posts made to dead threads (which are less likely to attract a moderator’s attention). If this is not truly the case, then I apologize.

    I do admit that my years as a moderator on another site have made me somewhat cynical about such things. That site banned URLs in signature lines years ago because of actual, proven googlebot abuse, so I may be a bit oversensitive towards it.

  30. Er, Calli, when you fill out the form it has a space for your website. By filling that out then people who might join a thread midstream where I’ve simply signed myself “MJM” several times in a row can quickly check and see that I’m not spouting off about this stuff because I’m on RJR’s or PM’s payroll and are also connected up to the best resource I know of for more information (Well, Snowdon’s “Velvet Glove, Iron Fist” now vies for that honor… LOL! But I still like mine better for burgeoning activists.)

    But again, if I was oriented in that direction, wouldn’t it make more sense for me to send them to Amazon?

    – MJM

  31. Oh… and yeah…. definitely not a blogging “noob.” I’ve been writring online on this subject on and off since the mid 1980s.

  32. Well, it’s been five days now and Dr. Gorski hasn’t apologized for the comment he made about the “usual quality” of my research nor has be backed it up. I think that’s rather poor. Dr. Gorski, are you there?

    Calli, it took a bit of searching, but I *think* I have removed the link to my website from my name here and will identify myself and my “competing interest” in text at the bottom instead. May I ask what board you were working on that had the problem you mention? I would also like to point out that I most certainly did NOT “hijack” the thread into a secondhand smoke discussion: that was done by several posters responding to me. I simply answered their concerns.

    In an effort to answer the question as to how I got to this thread to comment in the first place, I looked around a bit. I’m not *sure* this is where it came from, but it might have been from a partial exchange I had with him here in April 2009 where he had offered an opinion on a book and its contents based upon reading a review rather than the book itself:

    and while doing so he said, “Come to think of it, I’ve been meaning to do a post on secondhand smoke and the scientific evidence. However, it’ll have to wait until I get past this wave of grant season (late April, at the earliest),”

    I think I was looking for that promised post and couldn’t find it (Can you point me to it if I simply missed it? Thank you.) and stumbled upon this thread instead. I’d also offered Dr. Gorski a response on that board, carefully written and informative and heavily referenced, to which he offered no response. It is the last message in that thread and I would invite him again to share his thoughts.

    Finally, I would also like to known if Dawn or squirrellite had any substantive reactions/criticisms to offer regarding my responses to them.

    Michael J. McFadden,
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

  33. Sorry. Link is still there. I don’t know HOW to remove it. :/ – MJM

  34. squirrelelite says:

    @Michael J. McFadden,

    I don’t have this morning for a more detailed response, so I’ll settle for two questions.

    1. Why are the documented hazards of smoking “irrelevant to anything I’ve written although some of them have been argued by others or are simply incorrect”? Or, more simply, which do you consider irrelevant and which do you consider incorrect?

    2. What is the difference between being anti- antismoking and being pro-smoking?

  35. squirrelelite says:


    Dr Gorski blogs on things that attract his attention and are currently of interest. They are his own choices. It is not his responsibility to thoroughly address each and every question posed by a commenter. He has more important priorities like treating cancer patients and trying to find out how to do it better, i.e. research.

    I would hazard a guess that your request simply fell through the cracks.

  36. daedalus2u says:

    MJM, I looked very briefly at your site, and the only arguments that you seem to be making as to why tobacco should not be banned is that the toxic effects from ETA are not that bad, and that people should be allowed to smoke where ever they want to simply because they like it, even if it is bad for them.

    Don’t you see the hypocrisy in this? You want smokers to be allowed to pollute the air that non-smokers breathe simply because the smokers want to, and because the toxic effects are not that bad.

    Why shouldn’t non-smokers be allowed to breathe air free from tobacco simply because they want to? By what legal, moral or ethical basis does the desire of smokers to smoke (and necessarily pollute the common breathing space) trump the desire of non-smokers to breath air free from tobacco?

    I have sympathy for people addicted to nicotine. It is unfortunate that the tobacco company merchants of death make lots of money selling useless, addictive and deadly products. It is unfortunate that people addicted to nicotine are so invested in denying that they are addicted and come up with disingenuous arguments as to why they continue to smoke and why smoking isn’t that bad.

    My sympathy toward people addicted to nicotine does not extend to enabling them to perpetuate their addiction by accepting their disingenuous arguments as to why they smoke or to enable them to get the next generation of smokers addicted to nicotine by considering it to be acceptable to smoke in public places. If you want to smoke in private, go ahead. Just don’t pollute public spaces with tobacco smoke, or with images of people smoking as if smoking were somehow a rational life-style choice. It isn’t.

    There is no known benefit to smoking tobacco, other than to relieve nicotine withdrawal. All the arguments as to “taste”, “enjoyment”, “flavor”, are all disingenuous rationales to protect smokers from the narcissistic injury of accepting that they are addicted to nicotine, that they made a bad decision when they started smoking by thinking that they wouldn’t become addicted the way every other smoker has, and they continue smoking to relieve their nicotine withdrawal because they are too addicted and too weak to stop.

  37. Watcher says:

    You know, I thought this was thread hijacking of thread hijacking; going from Dr. Gorski being accused of bedding big pharma, to libertarianism, to smoking rights. Now that I think about it, the smoking rights argument gels with the libertarian discussion above. While this is a thread zombie, at least it’s kind of in the same vein.

  38. d2U – “There is no known benefit to smoking tobacco”

    Oh come now. If I happened to be looking for a long, drawn out way to commit suicide while substantially lowering the quality of life in my remaining years, I might find smoking beneficial.

    Really it’s all in your perspective. :)

  39. Whew… busy morning here I see. Let me try to answer all concerns in order:


    1) The hazards of smoking are largely irrelevant to my writings because I don’t generally argue against them although I may argue against their possible exaggerations.

    2) You ask which of your statements was incorrect. In my earlier response to you I pointed out, with documented backup that your figure of 23% of high school students being current smokers was actually almost 200% above the real figure. I also touched on the problems of using the SAMMEC guesstimates as real figures.

    3) Anti vs. prosmoker: Antismokers generally want to reduce smoking for varying reasons. Some (I believe many) of them are willing to do things that are arguably either unethical or harmful in reaching that goal. Prosmokers would, I imagine, want more people to smoke. Free Choice advocates believe that people have the right to make their own choice as to whether to smoke and that neither smokers nor nonsmokers should be unjustly discriminated against or socially engineered to alter such choice.

    4) Dr. Gorski’s responsiveness: He responded to my initial post within five hours with a derisive comment about the “usual quality” of my research. He’s now had five DAYS to apologize or back up that statement. I do not feel my concern about that is unreasonable…. do you?

    5) Somehow in your response just now you completely neglected to answer the SINGLE question I put to you: How did the number of deaths from ETS exposure stay absolutely constant over a 20 year period when ETS exposure was reduced by roughly 80%? And since you missed that, I’ll now add a second question in the same vein: Why have childhood asthma rates increased by 300% or more while their exposure to ETS has gone down by 75% or so if ETS is really an important factor?

    – MJM

  40. D2U: please show me a single statement from ANY of my writings where I say “people should be able to smoke whereever they want to.”

    And please show me any evidence where I claim that the only reason tobacco should not be banned is because the toxic effects of ETS are not that bad. Even if I assume that you were referring only to smoking in people’s homes or in their private businesses or clubs, I think there are other good reasons for not banning Free Choice in many matters besides proof that the behaviors are “that bad.”

    And please show me any “disingenuous arguments” I have made for “continuing to smoke” or “why smoking isn’t that bad.”

    And please show me any place where I have advocated that nonsmokers be forced to go into places where people are smoking.

    I’ll also note that you seem very fond of the words disingenuous, addict, and pollution. Am I an addict because I crave chocolate every day? Am I polluting your air when I drive a car down your street or when I enter a room and pour out my metabolic waste through respiration? Or if I order a burger at the McWhopperie and you have to breathe in the byproducts of the cooking (unless its done in a separate building with 100% efficient air-scrubbers of course: remember – ventilation and separation are NOT adequate protection.)

    And finally, as much as you might prefer it to be otherwise, it *is* still generally acceptable for people to smoke in many public places where Antismokers have have not been able to force laws through that prohibit it.

    – MJM
    And I’m afraid you’re wrong about the “no known benefit” to smoking tobacco. I believe there are several medical conditions where smoking has been shown to have some positive aspects (Alzheimer’s, ulcerative colitis, depression/schizophrenia, possibly Crohn’s Disease are a few though I haven’t really examined this area much: remember… I’m not arguing FOR smoking… just against antismoking.)

  41. Watcher, thank you. Anyone who reads my initial posting a dozen or so posts above this will see that any “thread hijacking” that occurred happened because of the sort of responses I got to my initially quite on-topic posting.

    – MJM

  42. Chris says:

    Ignore the stinking thread hi-jacker.

  43. squirrelelite says:

    @Michael J McFadden.

    I looked at all 24 items on your list of “lies”. Every one starts with “antismokers claim that …”, but in no case did you cite even a single reference that gave an example of that specific claim being made. You claimed to “refute” your versions of those claims, but in several instances your “refutation” consisted only of a reference to Appendix B of your book. I also noted that for several of these, you simpified away all the sublety and nuance that I suspect were in what ever original source you mined them from. Thus, you made them more absolutist and easier to argue against. Sounds like a strawman to me.

    In response, I cited a real and easily checked source and challenged you to provide a real source that “one good reference not from yourself for published research that refutes or at least disputes ” them. Since many of your anti-lie arguments are in fact arguments against health effects of smoking or second-hand smoke, it seems to me that real arguments quoted from a real source are very relevant. However, you chose to dismiss most of them as “irrelevant” and only responded to #7 with an unlinked reference to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS).

    Your own source states that 23% smoked cigarettes on at least 1 day in the previous 30 in 2005, which is most likely where the number came from. Your “200% less” number looks as if it comes from comparing that with the 7.3% who smoked cigarettes with an earlier number for a lower risk behavior. In other words, quibbling over definitions or where to draw the line.

    I note that the all behaviors total from your source has gone down from 43.4% in 1997 to 26.0% in 2009. So, the current laws are having a beneficial effect and I endorse them.

    In conclusion, I find your response to my challenge from 4 days ago completely unelucidating if not down right obfuscatory and any further attempts at discussion with you are likely to be uninteresting, in other words a complete waste of time.

    Therefore, I also endorse Chris’s advice.

  44. Hmmm… Still nothing from Dr. Gorski. It’s starting to look like a “drive-by insult” made on his own board! Odd that he would do that since it should be easy as pie for him to provide three or four examples of the “usual quality” of my research — unless he has a different understanding of the word “usual” than I do. Although I’ll grant that perhaps he’s had offline obligations and may simply not have visited SBM in the past week.

    Nothing new from Chris other than an obvious demonstration of either not having read my above statement on thread hijacking or not having understood it before making his comment.

    Squirrel, let me address your points clearly and in order:

    1) is simply a small excerpt from a 400 page book with over 600 references. It is one of about a dozen Appendices to that book. There was no need for it to repeat earlier references or earlier arguments: thus the fact that a number of the lies examined simply refer the reader back to the earlier presented fully referenced material. You state that “for several of them (I) simplified away all the sublety and nuance” in the original sources. Please name three and I will either show why you are wrong or admit that you are correct. If you cannot name three then that’s a pretty clear indication you cannot.

    2) You say “many” of my anti-lie arguments are against “the health effects of smoking or second-hand smoke.” OK… name three of those “many” that were “against the health effects of smoking.” If you cannot, then see above.

    (2b) I am gratified to note however, that despite reading my “24 lies” appendix carefully enough to make the above statements you were not able to find a single thing within them that you could point to and substantively criticize.

    3) My reference to the YRBSS was unlinked, but easily tracked down, and, obviously, correct since you found nothing to refute what I said. Yes, I used the most recent data, data for 2009. I see nothing wrong with using that data rather than data which came from five years ago. Here is the link to make research easier for any who follow: I thought it would be an easily found page so didn’t bother to point to it.

    4) I think using a definition of “current smoker” for a high school kid who may have smoked a single cigarette 29 days ago to be a bit of a stretch. I believe most people, when speaking of current smokers are thinking in terms of people who smoke at least several a day virtually every day. I chose the definition of having “smoked cigarettes (note: not “a cigarette”) on at least 20 of the last 30 days” as meaning “current smoker” which I think is more valid. I do see where the confusion can arise unless one is looking at the data itself. Perhaps the 800 million dollars a year the states spend on Tobacco Control isn’t enough to allow them to update their data more than once every five or ten years on their web pages.

    5) I don’t see where you get the 43.4% figure from? Can you explain?

    6) I believe my response was quite elucidating and not at all obfuscatory. You may disagree. I’m quite content to let others read your comment, read my response, and make their own judgement as to your possible motivations for stating that further discussion would be “a complete waste of time.”

    7) In terms of endorsing Chris’s advice I suggest that you also re-read my last comments above about thread-hijacking. My initial posting here was quite on-topic and my subsequent postings have only been to defend or answer against unjustified attacks or inferences, or to answer questions raised. Again, I’m content to let followup readers be their own judges in that regard. Just as Dr. Gorski noted in the referenced link to the earlier SBM piece above, that is why this form of discourse is preferable to live debates: you can’t avoid a question just by hollering louder about something else, and you can’t state a fact without knowing that you may be asked to back it up.

    – MJM

  45. David Gorski says:

    Now that you’ve completely hijacked the the thread completely off topic over the course of a few days, let me ask you: Did that study of yours with Mr. Kunneman ever get published? If so, which journal? If not, why not. And, if it wasn’t published, would you be willing to post the manuscript?

  46. Hello Dr. Gorski! I hope your vacation went well. You seem to have forgotten my initial posting which was about Ad Hominum attacks on people by way of tying them to groups like Big Pharma and Big Tobacco. You responded to that post with a rather derisive comment about the quality of my “usual research” and I asked you to name a few examples or correct your statement.

    I think, since I asked that question six days ago, that it would only be polite for you to respond first. It would be rather rude of me not to allow you that.

    And then I’ll be more than happy to discuss the further research you haven’t seen yet to see if it’s better than “the usual research” you felt was of such poor quality.

    – MJM

  47. Squirrel, apologies for my #5: My browser window cut off the bottom row of figures. However almost all of the 17.4% drop you mention, from 43.4 down to 26.0 occurred between the spring of 1997 and the spring of 2003. Only 1.4% occurred between the spring of 2003 and the spring of 2009.

    Between the springs of 1997 and 2003 California banned smoking in bars in 1998 and tiny Delaware banned it in bars and restaurants in 2002. and NY followed in July 2003, joined by a Florida restaurant ban also in July. It’s unlikely the July 2003 bans had much effect on the overall 1997 – 2003 drop period but we’ll include them to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    So in that period of a 16% drop in total smoking by teens there was one state bar ban and one state bar/restaurant ban implemented. During the following period in which over 20 states imposed restaurant or total bar AND restaurant bans of their own. Bans in two states produced a 16% drop, while bans in twenty more more states produced less than one tenth of that, 1.4%

    I’d say that’s a pretty clear indication that “the current laws” banning smoking are really NOT responsible for the “beneficial effect” which you seem to think they have, so you might want to reconsider your endorsement of them.

    – MJM
    P.S. My research here *is* a bit fuzzy in that I didn’t look up and break down exact numbers for states after 2003. Only a bit fuzzy, but as always, when I’m fuzzy I admit it. If you feel I’m off significantly enough to have actually made a difference in the conclusion you’re free to show why.

  48. I’m sorry: I changed horses midstream as far as NY and FL were concerned once I realized that their July ’03 bans could not possibly have any influence on a survey taken in the Spring of that year. So it is indeed, as I pointed out in the next paragraph, bans in two states vs. bans in over 20 states.

    – MJM

  49. Strange. Once Squirrel was presented with the actual data showing that youth smoking dropped drastically during the six years when only two states banned smoking and then almost froze without dropping when twenty states banned it he got very quiet about his endorsement of current laws. He (and Chris) have also avoided responding to the very clearly seen historical fact in this thread history that shows that in *no* way did I myself do any hijacking of the thread: it was clearly done, literally 100%, by attacks made upon me or questions posed to me after my initial quite on-topic posting. Clearly it would have been highly irresponsible of me to simply ignore such things.

    And even stranger is the fact that it’s now been a week since Dr. Gorski seemed to forget that he’d earlier criticized the “usual quality” of my research and needed to back up his criticism or apologize for it before posing further questions about other research.

    I would have expected somewhat better from “Science Based Medicine.” Are other topics here handled in this as well?

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

  50. Chris says:

    Dude, don’t you understand? We are ignoring you. Go hijack another thread some where else.

  51. daedalus2u says:

    Michael, it is obvious that you are not a scientist and that you are not trying to present scientific arguments. It is obvious that you are not an honest broker of information. You present one side and one side only and do so disingenuously.

    Someone looking for honest answers cannot find them from you because you are not interested in being honest and have no intention of being honest. You are interested in only presenting your one side, and you do so with distortions, as if there was only a single side.

    You want to use an adversarial-type argument mode where it is inappropriate. An adversarial-type argument is only appropriate when the two adversaries are evenly matched (i.e. in a legal proceedings where both sides have competent legal representation), where the two sides are forced to share information (as in legal discovery), where there is an impartial arbitrator (as in a Judge), and where the rulings of that arbitrator can be enforced (as through court orders).

    You are not interested in a search for factual truth, you are only interested in getting your position adopted by any means, including lies, trickery, insults, exaggeration, and any and every other type of fallacious reasoning. If you can’t do that, then waste the time of people who disagree with you.

    This is SBM. If you want to present actual scientific arguments, then you need the intellectual honesty to put information adverse to your position on your website. If you can’t or won’t do that, then there is no point for any scientist to communicate with you. You goal is not education so a rational person can make a rational decision; your goal is to trick people into agreeing with you. You don’t have the goal of learning about the issues so you can make an informed decision, your goal is to obfuscate the issues so that individuals you have misinformed will make a decision in your favor.

    Dr Gorski obviously has better things to do than waste his time replying to you. Unfortunately I don’t ;)

  52. David Gorski says:

    Dude, don’t you understand? We are ignoring you. Go hijack another thread some where else.

    Actually, Mr. MJM apparently hasn’t figured out that we’ve encountered each other elsewhere before, which is why I am reluctant to waste much time jousting with him, a judgment based on previous experience. I’ll leave him to think about it some more, and maybe when he posts next week’s continuation of his thread hijack he’ll figure it out. I mean, heck, I gave him a massive hint. :-)

    At the very least, I’m sure he’s smart enough that it’ll come to him before the time limit for comments on posts expires and the comment section here shuts down. (That would be 90 days after the post–the same as for every post).

  53. We most encountered each other before Dr. Gorski a year or so ago on SBM when you attacked Dr. Kabat’s book on the basis of merely reading a review of it and on the basis of making him “a target of the ‘tobacco shill’ gambit” because he co-authored a study with Dr. Enstrom (although you thought his name was Dr. Engstrom). I offered an extensive, detailed, and well-referenced response to you in that thread which you also chose to ignore completely. That was also the thread where you stated your intention to soon examine the secondhand smoke arguments… which thread I have been unable to find. See my response at the bottom of:

    My delay in responding to you here was purely an act of politeness Dr. Gorski. You had made an accusation about “the usual quality” of my research above:

    # David Gorskion 15 Jul 2010 at 8:53 am
    Well, given the usual quality of Mr. McFadden’s “research,” it doesn’t surprise me that he didn’t bother to read the disclaimer. #

    and I offered you time and space to back it up or to apologize for it. You have done neither and instead proceeded to try to move onto new material.. I defy you to find, anywhere in my writings, a case where I have acted with such a lack of professionalism.

    You have now compounded your original faux pas though by your referral to my “thread hijack.” Anyone who scrolls upward to my original and succeeding posts will very easily see that I was not the one to hijack the thread. My original post was quite on topic and my succeeding posts were purely in response to attacks and questions by you and others here.

    Additionally, I think it will be quite clear to anyone who reads those exchanges that I answered virtually all the points raised while virtually none of the ones I raised in return were answered. {E.G. see my posting to Daedalus above on July 20th and the complete lack of responsiveness in his response on the 29th.}

    This is not what I would call “Science Based Medicine.” If you cannot back up your assertions or defend your positions you are most certainly not engaging in science.

    – MJM

  54. Btw Daedalus, in addition to my previous requests to you on the 20th, I would now ask you to show where I have here engaged in “lies, trickery, insults, exaggeration.”

    Thank you.

    – MJM

  55. Chris says:

    Y.. a.. w..n… Wait, he posted again! Why? He has nothing to say!

    Who is this person dubbed “Gorskion”? Who cares? It was posted by that tobacco troll. Doesn’t he know we really don’t care about his nicotine fueled fantasies?

  56. So on Thursday of last week, Dr. Gorski posts “maybe when he posts next week’s continuation of his thread hijack…” and I respond just ten hours later, pointing out again that the thread was clearly hijacked by those responding to me and again asking Dr. Gorski to back up his inferences two weeks ago about the “usual quality” of my research or apologize.

    It is now Wednesday evening of the following week and still nothing from Dr. Gorski.

    Nor has Daedalus responded to my requests on July 20th that he back up either his older claims about me or his new one that I engage in “lies, trickery, insults, exaggeration” in my postings. He has also had about a week for the second and two weeks for the first batch.

    Squirrel has not responded to my presentation of the data from the Government’s Youth Survey showing the 16% drop in youth smoking during the six year period when only TWO states instituted general bans followed by just a bit over a single percent further drop during the six years when TWENTY states banned smoking. Squirrel has also sat quietly now for two weeks after being presented with that data.

    As noted before, this is not what I would expect from a blog on the Science Based Medicine website… it’s more like something you’d find on the old anonymous usenet news groups.

    – MJM

  57. orange lantern says:

    Well, it’s what I’d expect if I was way off-topic on an ancient comment thread and perseverating about something that no one else is particularly interested in.

  58. David Gorski says:

    We most encountered each other before Dr. Gorski a year or so ago on SBM when you attacked Dr. Kabat’s book on the basis of merely reading a review of it and on the basis of making him “a target of the ‘tobacco shill’ gambit” because he co-authored a study with Dr. Enstrom (although you thought his name was Dr. Engstrom)

    Nope. I’m referring to an encounter that was before that. You’re too busy perseverating to ask yourself why I asked you the question I did.

  59. Orange, it is not however what you should expect when people have made false claims about your integrity and professionalism in responding to your initially quite ON-topic posting to a thread that was by no means ancient. Particularly when such dereliction takes part on the part of personages notably prominent on the SBM site such as Dr. Gorski or several of the other posters here. It ends up speaking poorly of the entire site.

    I see from Dr. Gorski’s week-late response to me just a few hours ago that he STILL refuses to back up his assertion about “the usual quality” of my research despite the request being plainly and politely made several times over the past two weeks. It is quite reasonable to ask that such an assault be dealt with through either justification or proper retraction/apology before moving on to other issues and I think Dr. Gorski is quite aware of that. The anonymous internet posters such as Squirrel, Daedelus and the like aren’t always expected to have the same responsibility for their words – unfortunately.

    – MJM

  60. Looks like Dr. Gorski is again taking some time off – despite the hint I respectfully offered him in return.

    – MJM

  61. Chris says:

    Possibly because you are an off-topic perseverating boor who is being ignored.

  62. Or possibly because he asked you several direct questions on this thread which you have ignored.

  63. Chris says:

    All off topic, and Gorski did reply like he replied in 2007 (I found the thread he referred to).

  64. Chris says:

    See this and this. Take a hint. Gorski can’t be bothered by Mr. McFadden.

  65. Alison, the first direct question was the one I directed at Dr. Gorski, asking him to back up his July 15th slur about the quality of my research or apologize. He has refused to do either. I’m perfectly happy, as always, to answer questions put to me, promptly and directly, – As I did for “Squirrel” and the others who’ve asked me such here.

    And Chris, I know perfectly well what thread Dr. Gorski referred to but it was one where he posted under an anonymous handle (albeit a more creative one than “Chris”) and so it is up to him if he wants to reference it directly.

    – MJM

  66. Chris says:

    Bovine Excrement. And “Chris” is my actual name, you stinky fool. The answer has been given to you, especially in a pointed post by squirrelelite.

    Perhaps you might learn to think more clearly if you stopped purposely inhaling noxious fumes. Nicotine is actually quite useful as an insecticide. If my eighty year old grandmother can do it because her new boyfriend did not like smoke, you can too! Do try. And go away.

  67. Chris may well be your name, or not, whatever. Gee, I could post as Mike and then claim I wasn’t anonymous!

    In terms of answers from Squirrel, I note that after I gave him two postings in a row with a very thorough set of answers to his questions and concerns that he’s never come back to either acknowledge or challenge: typical Usenet type etiquette but surprising here.

    – MJM

  68. Dr Benway says:

    Michael J McFadden,

    Gorski made an off-hand, general quip about the quality of your “research” and you’re now asking for a specific critique of your research.

    I’m an outsider to this argument and wouldn’t bother commenting except that watching self-defeating behavior makes me anxious.

    I understand you’ve argued that smoking may not be as bad as many believe. That’s a minority position that contradicts a lot of data. It puts you in the same social category as AIDS deniers, global warming deniers, etc.

    Were I to meet an AIDS denier, I might say something snarky about the quality of their “research” –knowing nothing specific about it. That’s because I’m a bigot in favor the scientific consensus over random crackpots who think they know better. One of these days my bigotry may be proven wrong. But so far, so good.

    In sum: perhaps Dr. Gorski’s comment was not about your personal research methods so much as a general rejection of your discredited position.

  69. David Gorski says:

    Mr. McFadden should be rather more careful about what he perseverates in demanding for several weeks based on a perceived slight after having blatantly hijacked this comment thread. Given his websites, such as Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains, and in particular The Smokers’ Club (whose August 6 newsletter contains, right next to a link to an article by Mr. McFadden, a major Godwin right on the front page in the form of a Swastika partially made up of cigarettes) and the Pennsylvania Smokers Action Network, one day he just might get it. In the meantime, I’m more than happy to let my readers judge for themselves after reading Mr. McFadden’s numerous articles on his websites.

  70. MJM: David Gorski replied very clearly to your challenge. You are lying when you say he did not. He asked you some questions, which you continue to ignore. If you ignore his response to your challenge, why would he bother to respond to you again?

  71. squirrelelite says:

    I sat down last night to write a careful and more detailed response to Michael J McFadden’s comments from the last couple weeks, but about halfway through the project I realized it was a waste of effort.

    Oddly enough, it didn’t strike me when I noticed that he cited smoking rates among teenagers to dispute the National Cancer Institute’s rate for smoking among adults. Or, when I challenged him to respond to real arguments against smoking and he dismissed 6 of the 7 as irrelevant. Or, when I figured out that none of the sources he cited were from published sources other than his own. Or, even when I realized that it was futile to try to chase down the uncited source of numbers he was calling on me to defend.

    Actually, it hit me when I read his response to daedulas2u’s post on 20 July that described one of MJM’s arguments as “that people should be allowed to smoke where ever they want to simply because they like it, even if it is bad for them.” He instead demanded to be shown where he had used those exact words.

    If MJM does not want people to be allowed to smoke wherever they want, why is he arguing against nosmoking laws and ordnances?

    Instead, he fishes for hair’s width distinctions in definitions and semantics so that he can continue to disagree without having to directly address other commenters’ statements.

    But, more to the point, the evidence of the harmful effects of both active and passive smoking has been accumulating for over 36 years since the Surgeon General’s report in 1964 which stated “Pathologists and laboratory scientists confirmed the statistical relationship of smoking to lung cancer as well as to other serious diseases, such as bronchitis, emphysema, and coronary heart disease.”

    And, the Surgeon General’s 2006 report states that

    “Secondhand Smoke Is Toxic and Poisonous

    The National Toxicology Program estimates that at least 250 chemicals in secondhand smoke are known to be toxic or carcinogenic (cancer causing).

    Secondhand smoke contains a number of poisonous gases and chemicals, including hydrogen cyanide (used in chemical weapons), carbon monoxide (found in car exhaust), butane (used in lighter fluid), ammonia (used in household cleaners), and toluene (found in paint thinners).

    Some of the toxic metals contained in secondhand smoke include arsenic (used in pesticides), lead (formerly found in paint), chromium (used to make steel), and cadmium (used to make batteries).

    There are more than 50 cancer-causing chemicals in secondhand smoke that fall into different chemical classes.”

    For most other people commenting on this blog thread, for many Americans, and for many local and state governments, this evidence is sufficiently convincing to justify a major public health campaign to reduce both the direct and indirect risk from tobacco smoke. A major part of that campaign is antismoking laws. My state, New Mexico, passed such a law in 1985 and I am reasonably certain that similar city ordnances were in place before that.

    For MJM, “many may enjoy it enough to justify its risks”.

    So be it.

    There is no need for me to convince most other commenters and lurkers and attempting to convince MJM is a futile waste of time.

    Many years ago after devoting some work to cleaning up after smokers, I thought of a phrase I thought would make a good bumper sticker and it seems appropriate here.

    The world is not your ashtray.

    And, I see no reason I should let you make it so.

  72. Drs. Benway and Gorski, thank you for your replies: I will respond to them in a moment.

    Alison, you have called me a liar right above this posting. You should apologize or back up your words. Show me where Dr. Gorski “replied very clearly to (my) challenge” on July 16th above that he back up his claim about the “usual quality” of my research. Please do so or recant and apologize. Given your statement, I believe I am quite clearly in the right in asking for one or the other.

    Dr. Benway, good to meet you. May I ask how *you* would react if you had responded to a blog of mine where I had made a polite and reasonable posting and I responded in turn with the statement:

    “… given the usual quality of Dr. Benway’s “research,” it doesn’t surprise me that he didn’t bother to read the (links at the start of my blog)”?

    Would you have laughed at my “offhanded quip”? Or would you have asked me to justify it or apologize? Would you have been annoyed if over a period of several weeks I continued to avoid such justification or apology?

    A second point, you state, “I understand you’ve argued that smoking may not be as bad as many believe. ” Dr. Baldwin, I believe there have been reputable studies showing that smokers overestimate the risk of their habit on the likelihood of their developing such diseases as lung cancer. I believe that overestimation extends to some extent to other problems (such as debilitating levels of COPD) as well although I don’t remember research pointing to such.

    While I do believe and probably have stated at least occasionally that “smoking MAY not be as bad as MANY BELIEVE” I also think you’ll find that any such argumentation makes up an extremely small percentage of any of my argumentation and is usually presented more as a backdrop to my main theses. You state I am in “the same category as AIDS deniers and global warming deniers” because I believe smokers’ fears *MAY* be at least somewhat exaggerated.

    I think that’s a clear overstatement. I would say that I am more in the category of someone saying that a religious fundamentalist preaching chastity MAY be exaggerating the likelihood of getting AIDS when one has sex outside of marriage. Or perhaps in the category of someone arguing that natural processes involving solar and geological activity may be playing a larger part in a possibly quite temporary and/or cyclic environmental variation than radical than radical global warmers would have us believe.

    I will however agree with you that Dr. Gorski’s comment may have been a general one, however the proper response for him to have taken to my request was clearly to simply point out two or three easily found specific examples of the weakness of my position. I make no secret of my arguments and data. He’s obviously (as per his post immediately above) at least moderately acquainted with some of what I have written: he’s at least looked at a few websites, although crediting me with a “Godwin” merely because the Club newsletter editor put a graphic of a swastika next to my article seems to be reaching a bit.

    To end: you make no indication at all whether you yourself have actually read anything of mine that you feel would justify a “snarky” comment about “the usual quality” of my research. If indeed the “usual quality” is low you should quite easily be able to cite an example or two…. I could certainly easily do so with regard to the research out there in support of smoking bans.

    Since you yourself did not make the comment I have no grounds for pushing you to provide such examples. However your point would be greatly strengthened if you did so. I do want to thank you for your considered addition to the discussion though.

    Dr. Gorski, I will respond to you in my next comment. I apologize for the length of all this, but it should be clear that there’s no way to provide an adequate response to the attacks made upon my initial VERY ON TOPIC posting which others have hijacked into this extended discussion. (Oh, I’d also still appreciate an apology for the accusations that *I* was the perpetrator of the hijacking although of course I could also let “readers judge for themselves after reading” the exchanges begun on July 15th above.)

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains” (It’s a bit more than a website btw – it’s 400 pages with over 600 references. Given the “usual quality” of Dr. Gorski’s research as evidenced by his critique of a book after merely reading a review of it I think I should point that out. See:

    and note that there, as well, I had difficulty getting a response from him after a well-reasoned, referenced, and argued posting at the end.)

  73. Dr. Gorski, my perseveration in asking for you to back up your statement was quite justified. As noted to Dr. Benway above, I believe the “slight” was more than “perceived” and that I was quite within my rights to ask for such justification and I am quite content to let your “readers judge for themselves” after reading the “slight” and my request to you.

    While you still fail to back up your initial charge, you do at least provide some general sources allowing readers to judge whether indeed my “usual research” is of low quality. I am indeed quite happy to let readers examine the material at those sites and judge for themselves while noting at the same time that some of it is both rather old and rather informal.

    Dr. Gorski, while I do not feel your general pointers were sufficient in polite terms, I’ll take it as being all I can expect and now answer your follow up question. The original research paper on smoking bans and AMIs that David Kuneman and I submitted to the BMJ can be found at:

    I would like to note several things about it:

    1) This is the original unaltered version of what was originally submitted to the BMJ. Later versions submitted to Circulation and Tobacco Control incorporated some of the constructive peer-review suggestions that were given and were both considerably shorter.

    2) The full story of the publication process is reviewed in my article on the American Council of Science and Health website at:

    You will note that the primary reason given for the BMJ’s rejection was that they did not feel that it was of general interest that a much larger, publicly sourced, study had been done that directly contradicted their previously published work. You will also find that part of their justification for saying that was because they felt the earlier work had “been pretty roundly criticized already” in the form of Rapid Responses and thus did not require their publication of formal contrary research. Oddly enough I have never seen them take a stance like this on any other heavily criticized research they’ve published but perhaps that’s their normal procedure.

    3) I actually agreed with the single reviewer the BMJ utilized in its peer-review process when he indicated that the statistical analysis was both significantly different than the standard and perhaps too detailed and complicated. Later versions of the paper were significantly shortened and simplified. Unfortunately the BMJ appeals review board (which evidently consisted of a single colleague of the main editor) never got to see the improved version as she concurred with the “rejection without resubmission” decision.

    4) While I believe the statistical approach taken was unorthodox I believe it was basically sound. I am open however about not being expert myself at that level of statistical analysis and if you have important criticisms of it I will have to see if Mr. Kuneman is willing to enter the discussion here.

    5) Now that I have answered your question Dr. Gorski, are you willing to answer the direct questions and comments I have made to your anonymous persona in the past? I gather it may not be fully anonymous, but you *did* clearly express a desire to keep that identity discreet so I have not addressed it directly despite your oblique references to it. I believe such a discussion however might, finally, be legitimately termed a “hijacking,” so perhaps you’d simply like to follow through on your commitment in March of ’09 to write a blog entry on the secondhand smoke argument itself? I’ve been waiting for about 15 months but realize you may have been too busy to write.

    Squirrel, it’s a Sunday evening here and I’d like to have some dinner, but I’ve noted the response you penned to me written at the same time as I was penning mine to Dr. Benway. I’ll certainly get back to you in a more timely manner than some here.

    – MJM

  74. MJM: This is where David Gorski responded to you:

    Since you indicate in your most recent comment above that you read his question, when you denied earlier that he ever asked it you must have been lying.

  75. Dr Benway says:

    Michael J. McFadden.

    Anyone, including me, pushing a claim that contradicts the scientific consensus will meet disbelief and rejection. Especially on the Internet.

    Remember, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And extraordinary evidence doesn’t look like a guy whining about netiquette.

    These SBM guys are creampuffs. Try arguing something unlikely over at The crowd there will call you a moonbat and tell you to DIAF.

    Thicker skin. You needs it.

  76. LOL! Dr. B, I can assure you my skin ain’t too tender after all these years. But when I’m in a professional environment I expect the professionals to behave professionally. Whenever *I* make a claim I make damn sure that I’m willing to back it up or recant and apologize. I’ve had to do both over the years. A venue where people can simply try to dismiss you by calling you a moonbat or a denier is unprofessional and for the most part a waste of time: it wouldn’t matter at all what evidence you had, conclusive or otherwise.

    I expected SBM to be different.

    Squirrel, do you mind if I take ladies first here? I promise, I *will* return to thee soon if not this evening.

    Alison, I may be mistaken, but I do NOT think I ever said he’d never asked me a question above. My response to him was that I was refraining from answering it until he answered the question put to him first. See my direct response to Dr. Gorski on July 22nd: “I think, since I asked that question six days ago, that it would only be polite for you to respond first. It would be rather rude of me not to allow you that.”

    And here, in the response you refer to directly above, I wrote, “Dr. Gorski, while I do not feel your general pointers were sufficient in polite terms, I’ll take it as being all I can expect and now answer your follow up question.”

    So I clearly stated that I HAD seen his follow up question. I was simply giving him proper space to answer the question that had been put to him first.

    – MJM

  77. Squirrel, you initially wrote:

    “Argument 7: Twenty-three percent of high school students and 8 percent of middle school students in this country are current cigarette smokers.”

    I believe the response I gave you clearly based upon the YRBS figures for students aged 12 to 18 used by the NCI was quite clear. Now you write, “it didn’t strike me when I noticed that he cited smoking rates among teenagers to dispute the National Cancer Institute’s rate for smoking among adults. ” Your claim about smoking by adults was your “Argument 6″ that 19.x% of adults were smokers. As I noted, that’s largely irrelevant to any arguments I have made in my writings generally. If you believe otherwise please cite your sources.

    4 of the other 5 “arguments” you presented dealt with the effects of first hand smoking. Aside from occasional statements criticizing the imaginary SAMMEC computer modeling numbers I don’t generally argue against the thrust of any of those 4 arguments, so I don’t see why you should expect me to try to create arguments here for positions I don’t normally take. The “uncited source” of numbers I used for your #7 was cited quite clearly by me once I realized that you had not checked the original citation for the figures you’d produced in your argument 7 but had merely cited a “fact sheet” on faith — not a good research methodology.

    I answered your argument #2 about deaths estimated from ETS quite thoroughly. I cited figures from over 100 studies via the web link I offered, and it was not a link to a nameless fact sheet that I hadn’t checked the sourcework on, but a link to research I had done myself gathering those results from 70 or so separate studies and cross-checked compilations. If there were things wrong with it you could easily have pointed out any significant errors or misrepresentations. You didn’t … because there were none.

    {By the way, has anyone heard from Dawn? She was going to check my links when she got home that afternoon on the 16th but she evidently never got back online. Did she make it home OK?}

    Squirrel, you then criticize me for asking R2D2 to back up his claim that I wanted everyone to smoke everywhere. Since I’ve never argued this I asked for him to stand behind his words or retract them. He’s done neither.

    Squirrel, as to why *I* would argue against antismoking laws: I thought I’d made that clear in my writings. They are harmful and they are based on lies. I think those are sufficient grounds for any honest and caring person to argue against them.

    You say I refuse to directly address other commenters’ statements by using “hair’s width distinctions.” Please cite a few instances here or apologize.

    You then cite a statement from the SGR 1964 about the statistical relationship between smoking and several diseases. I have no dispute with that, as you would know if you’d actually read my writings, so what is the problem?

    You then cite several passages from the SGR 2006 on ETS, which *IS* actually the sort of thing I build my case around. Would you like me to address them specifically? I’d be happy to, although I think here I would offer you the same consideration I’d offered Dr. Gorski and give you a chance to answer my own previous questions first so that you may protect your honor.

    Specifically I am waiting for you to:

    1) Explain how the number of deaths claimed from secondhand smoke has miraculously stayed roughly the same for the last 20 years while the general population exposure to such smoke has been cut by about 70%. (Originally asked on July 16th and repeated on the 20th and afterwards.)

    2) You’ve also ignored addressing my question about your statement that “I note that the all behaviors total from your source has gone down from 43.4% in 1997 to 26.0% in 2009. So, the current laws are having a beneficial effect and I endorse them.” I pointed out that the “current laws” (which by which you clearly mean smoking bans since those are the only significantly changed laws in the period) resulted in 2 states banning smoking from 97 to 03, with a 16% drop in teen smoking while the TWENTY states banning it from 03 to 09 only resulted in a drop less than one tenth that size. If anything the “current laws” regarding bans would seem to be COUNTERproductive in reducing youth smoking, and I asked you to address this. You haven’t.

    I still think these issues would be better addressed on the proper ETS thread promised by Dr. Gorski, but if you all want to continue the discussion here after properly answering the questions raised I’ll be happy to see us migrate there.

    – MJM

  78. squirrelelite says:


    The 19.8% number is from the NCI’s argument 6 about adults.

    The rest of my statement stands.

  79. Squirrel, if you’d read my detailed response to you, you would have noticed I said “Your claim about smoking by adults was your “Argument 6″ that 19.x% of adults were smokers. As I noted, that’s largely irrelevant to any arguments I have made in my writings generally. If you believe otherwise please cite your sources.”

    You would also have noticed my repetition of the two questions I’d previously offered you and you could have responded to back up the correctness of your position.

    You did neither, and readers will be able to judge why for themselves.

    – MJM

  80. pmoran says:

    MJM, let it go. There is no question that there has been a bit of an overreaction in the public health aspects of smoking when it leads to ridiculous measures, such as some holes on my local golf course being designated smoking and others non-smoking (a “hole” being defined as within the INNER sides of trees lining the fairways, for any wishing to enforce this absurdity).

    It is also common for retrospective correlative data to give confusing results or to be taken by some as being much stronger than it truly is.

    It can even be massaged into producing preferred results. I was personally a little suspicious at how easily data was suddenly found showing harm from second-hand smoke, considering the dose/response considerations that we use to counter certain AM claims, such as mercury toxicity from thiomerosal in vaccines or from dental amalgam, and “toxin” paranoia generally.

    Nevertheless, I cannot be bothered dispassionately reviewing all the evidence, and I expect few others will either. If there are benefits for some from nicotine addiction, there are far less harmful and more socially acceptable ways of satisfying it than smoking tobacco.

    So what do you hope to achieve? To show that people are human, and subject to bias and prejudices and over-reactions? That’s not news.

    Or do you see some possibility of bucking the trend?

Comments are closed.