My appearance on CNN with Ms. Deborah Arnott of ASH.

I hope you do not think I am being narcissistic but here is my debate with Deborah Arnott of ASH.





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54 Responses to My appearance on CNN with Ms. Deborah Arnott of ASH.

  1. What amazes me is that she seems to beileve that crap she spouted. It didn’t help that the interviewer appeared to side with her from the start.

  2. Pat Nurse says:

    The interviewer didn’t seem to care about health at all – just that people who didn’t it shouldn’t have to put up with it even if it isn’t harmful to to others. Debs came across as liar and a bully. What about the green room conversation Dave – do tell what she bullied you about behind the scenes.

  3. Smoking Hot says:

    Yes Dave, the green room … spill the beans! 🙂

    You didn’t by any chance covertly record it? 🙂

  4. Pat Nurse says:

    I imagine Dave is celebrating with a few Merlots as we speak SH – I hope he and Mr Puddlecote at least put that bigot Hitchens back in his box. Both should be at the Freedom dos tonight.

  5. TheBigYin says:

    Yeah, well done Dave, I’m glad you got the call. I tried to phone you yesterday afternoon to pre warn you when CNN called for a response to the New York parks ban but phone just kept ringing.

    Hopefully F2C will get these calls more often. Well done.

  6. Tony says:

    Congrats Dave! You came across very well . Also good to know that CNN have heard of and take notice of F2C.

  7. Junican says:

    Well done, David! The idea of being called without notice to speak on behalf of freedom would fill me with horror!
    I particularly liked your reference to ‘private property’. Arnott had no answer, other that to claim justification on the grounds that Parliament passed the law which denied private property rights. I am sure that Saddam Hussein’s parliament would have done the same.
    I was also impressed by the way that you did not fall for her ‘invitation’ to condemn the WHO etc. I would have fallen for it, I’m sure. I would have been very tempted to say, something like, “Oh. That gang of jobsworthies – somewhat similar to the IPCC” You were right not to be tempted, since, in the past, when the WHO did what it was designed to do (eg. eliminate smallpox), it did wonderful work.
    I was also very impressed by the way in which you made Arnott admit that the persecution of smokers was akin to the persecution of minorities of other kinds. That was particularly good.
    ASH et al do not like being confronted. I am amazed that the discussion actually happened. Did CNN stitch Arnott up? I cannot see her agreeing voluntarily to such a discussion – they do not engage if they can possibly avoid it.

    Well done!

  8. Klaus K says:

    United Kingdom ratified the WHO treaty in 2004 – before there was any public debate in England:

  9. Frank says:

    2-0 to us. It was a good day, yesterday. First was the excellent effort from Pat Nurse on the Lincoln Post and then Dave Atherton.

    I didn’t think the interviewer was too bad at all. We’ve got to remember that they are limited by time and have to throw in the simple and obvious questions, the ones the great unwashed will understand. Couldn’t imagine the same on the BBC. Arnott wouldn’t have won many friends from this appearance and I can understand if she threw a tantrum afterwards. She came across as pompous and smug, completely unused to being questioned.

    Many more days in the public eye like this and we’re on the road.

  10. Frank Davis says:

    A few thoughts of mine on the interesting encounter.

  11. Magnetic says:

    Good job, Dave. Those short interviews with someone spouting the standard propaganda are not easy at all.

    Just some thoughts. On the appeal to “authority”, e.g., Surgeon General, Royal College of Physicians, these groups were already committed to the “smokefree world” since the 1960s. The Royal College made it clear, publicly, by the early-1970s and the Office of the Surgeon General by the mid-1980s (see the Godber/WHO Blueprint for some detail )

    The antismoking intent from the outset has been to coerce smokers out of “normal” society (denormalization). By the late-1970s these groups were getting nowhere. It was probably nonsmokers that were the most reactive to the bullying of smokers by Public Health. By the late-1970s/early-1980s, the antismokers noticed that there was a reaction by a sub-group of nonsmokers to the idea of secondhand smoke “harm”. Governments were also interested in SHS because they could take action against smoking under advisement from “health” groups while justifying it on the grounds of “protecting” nonsmokers.

    By the time of the EPA (1993) Report on SHS, there were numerous public health groups and governments that were completely committed to antismoking and the idea of SHS “danger”. EPA (1993) had to find in favor of SHS “danger” or there would have been many, many, high profile-people and organizations looking like complete fools and with their reputations and ideology on the line. The Godber Blueprint highlights just some of the shenanigans employed to ensure the “correct” result. Unfortunately when governments aggressively support the initiative, they dominate the propaganda loop.

    SHS “danger” is vital to antismoking. Without it, the antismoking house of cards would collapse. SHS “danger” has been vital, critical to stepping towards the “smokefree utopia”. Indoor bans have been justified on this “danger”. But we can see that this is not enough for the antismokers. They now want outdoor bans which has us straight back to unmasked coercion to conformity. The intended assault has always been on smokers to conform, and it is now evident again. And it follows the Blueprint to the letter.

    The goal is to make smoking an “immoral” act not fit for public display – indoors or out. And there are all manner of incoherent analogies employed to this end – smoking is like urinating, or smoking is like masturbating, or smoking is like defecating, or smoking is like cocaine/heroin use, etc. This was the intent from the beginning. Smokers are depicted as poor moral examples for The Children®. Smokers are depicted as so “lost”, such “write-offs”, that, according to the fake moralists, society should not risk even one more of The Children® becoming one of the “pathetic” smokers. Or, as Godber put it, to prevent The Children® from being “led astray” by the “addicts”. It is all bigotry.

  12. Brenda says:

    Well done Dave.
    It’s not often a debate on smoking actually contains a smoker.

  13. daveatherton says:

    Hi guys thanks for the comments. Now I have done radio and TV a few times I am more relaxed. Without wishing to sound too extreme I got the impression that this blog and some new research I have discovered could destroy anti tobacco.

    I live in hope. Please keep an eye out as most of my research is based on papers from the WHO/IRAC.

  14. Junican says:

    You mention that your research is based upon the evidence supplied by the WHO/IRAC. But is not that the problem?

    As it happened, IRAC published a genuine finding – SHS is harmless. Enstrom and Kabbat did the same thing. The WHO then rubbished these studies and commissioned new ones which were PAID to find the result which the WHO wanted.

    One could spend ten years examining these paid for studies and get no further forward in ‘proving’ that they are false. Is this not what Tobacco Control rely upon? If you have the funds, you can commission as many studies as you wish, all over the world, and find the same sort of results – provided that the people doing the studies ARE PAID to find the desired results. This is a consequence of the uncertainty of Epidemiology. As an example, one could take the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). In 2009, 156 infants died for no apparent reason. No one was able to discern any specific cause for their deaths, and so the doctors called this ‘syndrome’ SIDS. And then, Tobacco Control associate SIDS with Tobacco Smoke.

    But, surely, the whole point is SIDS was that there was no discernible cause of death! If smoking was the cause of death, then it would be simple to say so.

    None of this hysteria makes any logical sense. But there is another factor, and that is EMOTION. Emotion is not intelligent. Animals have emotions. Should our laws be driven by emotions? It seems to me that this is what politicians do. They do not know the facts, and are possibly not clever enough to know the facts, but they have feelings, and are driven by their feelings.

    Is this not the essence of our present difficulties? Tobacco Control is playing upon feelings (emotions), and not intellect.

    We must complain. We must complain about the emotion driven laws (The Smoking Ban is one such). But who to complain to? One’s MP is useless since politics is emotionally driven.

    I do not actually see it happening, if only because all us smokers prefer to just moan. And yet, it is simple to complain to the Press Commission, or the Charities Commission, or the Health and Safety Executive.

    I will finish. But there is a serious idea in what I say. It needs to be developed.

    Are there FACT based organisations which are amenable to complains? I think that there are. The Press Commission is one, as is the Charities Commission and the Health and Safety Executive. These are avenues which we have not explored (as a group). But, there again, one might ask, “What group?” The reality seems to be that ‘people who enjoy tobacco’ are becoming like ‘people who enjoy alcohol’ = the pits, the dregs of society. Odd though, is it not, that Parliament is, literally sitting on ÂŁ500000 of vintage wines, and so is The Palace? Very odd.

    If there is one thing that is totally wrong with our political system, it is the EMOTIONAL aspect. This is the problem that needs to be solved. MPs should be fully conversant with THE FACTS (and not the emotions) when they make decisions.

    The good thing about the Smoking Ban is that it is bringing these ideas to our attention. “To what extent do MPs rely upon their emotions, rather than their intellects, when passing laws?”

    Isn’t the whole problem of ‘spin’ associated with ’emotions’? Is that not what the Third Reich depended upon? Are we not now embarking upon the Fourth Reich , albeit with a totally different set of emotions? Instead of Jews, it is Smokers. Of course, Smokers are not to be blamed directly. ‘Big Tobacco’ is the culprit.

    There is much more to this. When I hear that the Surgeon General opines that a single whiff of tobacco smoke can cause a heart attack (which is obviously silly), I must ask, ‘what is her motivation’? Could it be that she is an obese. black person who is still fighting the ‘white supremacy’ situation which existed in the Southern States of America, the very states which are the States which produce tobacco? How do we know that this is not true?
    And how do we know whether or not our MPs are controlled?

    Gosh! I feel a bit ill!

  15. Walt says:

    Hey, was she referring to the old Hirayama studies from Japan? If so, they’ve been widely discredited by “experts” on all sorts of grounds. And after being chastened by the guy (Mantel) who invented the statistical method that Hirayama used for having used it incorrectly and (per Mantel) being off by 1000%, Hirayama admitted to being off by at least 100% in a printed article. Further, while the SG report of 1986 hung its hat primarily on Hirayama, the studies were so convincingly trashed in the aftermath that the EPA (1993) didn’t even give them a footnote.

    If you need any Hirayama deconstructions, with sources, you can reach me by e’ing Michael Mcfadden.

  16. Rollo Tommasi says:

    Hi Dave. Hope you’re well. I enjoyed watching the CNN debate. And I’m not sure I could be so brave as to appear on telly, so well done for that.

    But I have to challenge you on your comments!

    You claimed that there are 82 studies into passive smoking – 15% suggest risk; 10% suggest protection; 85% have got null hypothesis. Leaving aside the fact that your figures don’t add up (!), your statement is a corruption of professional scientific principle. Pro-smoking activists may try to draw conclusions in this way; respected scientists do not.

    You referred to the Rand Corporation meta-analysis, in an attempt to claim there is no link between passive smoking and heart attacks. That is garbage, because the Rand Corporation meta-analysis did not cover that issue. It simply looked at links between passive smoking and SHORT-TERM RISKS of heart attacks.

    You claimed the 1998 Boffetta paper “proved that passive smoking is harmless”. That is a blatant falsehood!

    Deborah Arnott was also justified in stating that the smoking ban has 80% support and support from a majority of smokers. See Tables 7.9 & 7.10 of: And the question asked was basically as she said it was: “What is your opinion on the legislation which made all enclosed public places and workplaces, including pubs, smokefree?” So you’re wrong on those counts too, Dave.

    If Deborah Arnott had relied on mistruth after mistruth in her arguments, you and your chums would have castigated her, and rightly so too. But apparently those standards don’t apply to you.

    So here’s a question Dave. If you’re on the telly again, are you going to continue playing fast and loose with the facts or are you going to make sure there is at least some truth to what you have to say?

  17. Pat Nurse says:

    And of course smokerphobes like Rollo depend on lies and misinformation hence why he calls us “pro-smoking” when he knows we are not.

  18. chas says:

    Rollo and other anti-smokers should be denormalised as they are in the minority. The majority of people belive that they should have the freedom to choose how they live their lives.

  19. db says:

    Publication bias:

    Conclusion.— There is a publication delay for passive smoking studies with nonsignificant results compared with those with significant results

    Two approaches are used to assess publication bias in the environmental tobacco smoke/coronary heart disease (ETS/CHD) literature: (1) Statistical tests applied to all sex-specific relative risk (rr) estimates from 14 previously published studies indicate that publication bias is likely. A funnel graph of the studies′ log relative risks plotted against their standard errors is asymmetrical, and weighted regression of the studies′ log relative risks on their standard errors is significant (P < 0.01). (2) Previously unpublished ETS/CHD relative risks from the American Cancer Society′s Cancer Prevention Studies (CPS-I and CPS-II) and the National Mortality Followback Survey (NMFS) do not show an increased CHD risk associated with ETS exposure. CPS-I: men, RR = 0.97 (0.90-1.05); CPS-I: women, RR = 1.03 (0.98-1.08); CPS-II: men, RR = 0.97 (0.87-1.08); CPS-II: women, RR = 1.00, (0.88-1.14); NMFS: men, RR = 0.97 (0.73-1.28); women, RR = 0.99 (0.84-1.16). Comparison of pooled relative risk estimates from 14 previously published studies (rr = 1.29; 1.18-1.41) and unpublished results from three studies (rr = 1.00; 0.97-1.04) also indicates that published data overestimate the association of spousal smoking and CHD (χ2 = 25.1; P < 0.0001).

    There is also similar evidence for publication bias in epidemiology and the overestimation of risks (22) , such as for the case of health effects from environmental tobacco smoke (7, 23) .

  20. Pingback: Passive smoking and publication bias, hat tip DB | LifestyleReviews

  21. The Archivist says:

    Quote Rollo T: “Deborah Arnott was also justified in stating that the smoking ban has 80% support and support from a majority of smokers.”
    I would not say she was justified at all, if you wish to follow Kellner surveys that only ask the people they think will suit their purposes, whereas if you take a look a look at the ‘Licensees View’, published by last year you will find that – ‘More than 80% of pub operators want improvements to be made to the law to
    accommodate smokers.’
    They are the people that matter Rollo, they are the ones losing their businesses courtesy of smokers talking with their feet. Think back to the ‘Kerry Fenton’ affair too, how many smokers came back into her pub-and non smokers sat with them! Arnott relies on all surveys to suit the anti smoking lobby-a bit like the so called “Public Consultation” that never was!

  22. The Archivist says:

    Here is the link for you to check the above out Rollo:-

    Click to access F2CTheLicenseesView.pdf

    • Rollo Tommasi says:

      Archivist – Are you trying to argue that the ONS survey was biased or not? If not, you have no grounds to argue with its conclusions. If you are, then kindly show your reasoning.

      The F2C survey means nothing in this debate which is, after all, about whether passive smoking is harmful to health or not. But for what it is worth, the F2C survey was DEEPLY flawed. For instance, the pubs involved were self-selecting – no attempt was made to get a representative cross-section. As far as I can tell, the survey was actually conducted by F2C members themselves – who were both highly partisan in their opinions and not trained to conduct proper surveys. And there appears to have been no oversight of how these F2C members conducted their work.

      Is THAT really what you mean by a good survey????

  23. Rollo Tommasi says:

    Dave – Several hours have passed since we started our debate and it seems you are completely unable to back up these arguments you claimed to be “facts” in your recent CNN debate with Deborah Arnott.

    You tried to draw conclusions by adding together the isolated results of individual studies. That is not proper scientific practice and you have no answer to that.

    You claim that around 8 (or 10% of 82) lung cancer studies show a protective effect, yet you cannot name these studies.

    You tried to use the Rand Corporation report to back up your claim that there is no link between passive smoking and heart disease. Yet the report says nothing of the sort and you have no answer to that either.

    You claimed the 1998 Boffetta paper “proved that passive smoking is harmless”. That is a blatant falsehood which you have made no attempt to defend yourself about.

    Dave – You said all of these things on national television. Why are you unable to back these claims up?

  24. Walt says:

    Here, Rollo. Nice Rollo. Sit. Below is only a partial list of studies showing no link between ETS and lung cancer, or a statistically protective effect:

    Chan and Fung (1982) Hong Kong. RR for nonsmoking women married to smokers was 0.75 (or an apparent 25% decrease in risk.) It also showed similarly negative results for exposure in the workplace.

    Koo (1983, 1984) Hong Kong. “there was no association between involuntary smoking and lung cancer in nonsmoking women. The results were unchanged with increasing amounts of exposure or increasing amounts of time.”

    Garfinkel et al (1985) showed that people exposed at work had a lower expectation of actually getting lung cancer than people not exposed. And length of exposure didn’t alter the results: those with exposure for 5 years showed a negative RR of 0.88 and those with exposure for 25 years, yielded a negative RR of 0.93.

    Kabat and Wynder (1984) compared the exposed to the unexposed for a negative RR of 0.68,

    Kabat and Wynder (1987) “no indication at all of an association between ETS exposure and lung cancer for women from exposure at home, at work, or from spousal smoking.” The RR was a statistically significant 0.79, or a 21% decrease in risk

    Lee, (1986) came out in the same ballpark: a negative RR of 0.63.

    Wu-Williams, 1990) showed a statistically significant decreased risk of lung cancer among women married to smokers– RR: 0.7 (0.6- 0.9)– and similarly found no significant association with exposure from coworkers, cohabitants or parents. The study, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, was based on 417 cases

    Brownson 1992 “….there was no elevated lung cancer risk associated with passive smoke exposure in the workplace.”

    Janerich 1990 “…an odds ratio of 0.91…indicating no evidence of an adverse effect of environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace” –

    Shimuzu, 1988 “…No association observed between the risk of lung cancer and smoking of husband or passive smoke exposure at work.” –

    Stockwell, 1992 “…no statistically signficant increase in risk associated with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke at work or during social activities.” –

    Zaridze, 1998 ” There was no association between exposure to ETS at the workplace and risk of lung cancer.” –

    All sentences in quotes are those of the researchers. A google should get you to the actual studies.

    • Rollo Tommasi says:

      Walt – Not good enough.

      Dave A said about 10% of the 82 studies showed protective effect, with most of the rest having “null hypothesis”. So Dave should be able to show 8 studies showing protective effect. But he can’t.

      And most of the studies you list don’t help him either – because their results are not statistically significant. And, if Dave is applying his own test properly, then these results should be classed as having null hypothesis, not being protective.

  25. db says:

    Rollo, you agree with much of what Deborah Arnott says. She believes that the NY outdoor ban is a good move because it denormalises smokers. Do you? Are you happy with a law that is based on moral judgement, given that you place so much emphasis on the use of science to justify indoor smoking bans? It must follow that you condemn the imposition of the NY ban; not to do so would surely be a betrayal of your principles.

    It now seems to have reached the point where, in some circumstances, no evidence is required in order to fine and discriminate against people smoking a legal product – other than the fact they’d been caught in possession of a lit cigarette.

  26. Magnetic says:

    Ah! Rollo the Mass Debater returns, peddling his early-20th Century mentality. Rollo, you would have fitted-in perfectly in early-1900s USA. And you most probably wouldn’t have looked out of place in Nazi Germany – a “progression” of early-1900s USA. You could have been the technical spokesman for the Reich Health Fuhrer.

  27. chas says:

    Neither the Dept of Health nor the ONS have any record of anybody being killed by second hand smoke.

  28. Able says:

    Dave (and others), you may be interested in some of the history of the last century that has gotten us to the current [antismoking] point.

    See the four posts (bottom of page) by “Shadow Guest” on Michael Siegel’s current thread.

  29. db says:

    Can someone tell me which scientific studies provide any evidence that ETS is harmful in outside environments? Is it really true that the antis assume they don’t need any, but simply rely on public opinion polls that they have designed and commissioned?

  30. Bill Gibson says:

    Maybe Debs should read this

  31. Walt says:

    WTF, Rollo

    I named 7 studies with RRs under 1. I believe Dave named another one or two. And as for Levois and Layard’s being trashed by your buds, name me one study or one researcher who turns up answers your team doesn’t like that they don’t viciously and often personally trash. That’s just SOP.

    And don’t make me laugh by claiming that the studies funded by goverment or ngo’s with axes to grind are all pure and objective. There’s too much hard evidence to the contrary on that. Memos, dodges, grant applications.

    • Rollo Tommasi says:

      Walt – The point is this.

      Dave argues that studies with RRs above 1 should support the “null hypothesis” if their results are not statistically significant. That is how he is able to argue that only 15% of studies show raised risk.

      If he applies that logic to studies with RRs above 1, then he also needs to apply it to studies with RRs below 1. Almost all of the studies you listed were not statistically significant. Therefore, according to Dave’s own logic, they do not show protective effect.

      I don’t know who you think my “buds” are. But the Levois and Layard article was strongly criticised on the basis of its contents – especially the methodology they deployed. That is appropriate scrutiny, which is an essential part of proper scientific debate. Just because you don’t like the work of two of your “buds” being strongly criticised, doesn’t make it wrong.

  32. Walt says:

    I’m certainly in favor of scientific scrutiny. Scrutiny is what science is all about. But the methodology of the “positive” studies has been equally questioned by qualified “experts” in articles, editorials, and letters to the journals in which they were published. So has the widespread misuse of meta-analysis. So, too, have qualified people in the field scathingly questioned the bias and cherry-picking that went into reports such as the US national EPA’s and the California EPA’s. So if you want to throw out studies based only on the fact that they’ve been criticized, nothing will be left.

    The real point may be that with numbers (RR’s) so low in general, so hovering around 1, so almost universally lacking statistical significance, with a small number of significant studies saying yes and a small number of significant studies saying no, that the answer, at best, is merely equivocal, and the variations simply represent the vagaries of chance as they cluster around a rather large and imposing… ‘nothing to see here, please move on. ”

    • Rollo Tommasi says:

      Walt – You can certainly point to a few studies which have been questioned. But from my reading, the great majority of studies into the long-term effects of passive smoking on lung cancer and heart disease are respected. So too are most meta-analyses and overview reports – the fact you have to go back 15-20 years to dig up examples of controversy over the EPA and CalEPA reports shows that.

      The RRs do not hover around one – they quite clearly gravitate well above one. The resultant RRs may not be especially high but they are statistically significant via responsible meta-analysis. And the results also conform with most of Bradford-Hill’s epidemiological criteria.

      In accordance with true tests of epidemiology and statistical interpretation such as would be expected when considering other potential risks, the evidence about passive smoking DOES show it is harmful.

      • daveatherton says:

        Rollo while I remember there was a comment that you wrote that did nor appear instantly. Because of the URLs it was looked upon as potential spam and I had to publish it separately. I was not censoring in anyway.

  33. db, there are NO studies showing any harm from OTS (outdoor tobacco smoke).

    Repace was off on a cruise ship a number of years ago trying to get scary measurements in their casinos. He evidently wasn’t able to do so, so he began measuring the smoke in an alcove outside where smokers were gathering (maybe outside one of the no-smoking areas on this ship?) He supposedly found similar measurements to what he found inside and then tried to draw the picture that outside smoke was just as concentrated as indoor smoke generally.

    The U of Georgia was trying to get the students to go along with the idea of a campus outdoor ban a year or so ago. They did a study in one of the smoke pits outside a smoke-banned bar on a Friday night and compared it to an open field (actually studying cotinine levels in people hanging in such places for six hours) and concluded that the people in the smoke pit had blood levels 162% (of, or higher, forget which at the moment) the people hanging in the field and also tried to make that sound meaningful. Obviously it’s simply ridiculous since the blood levels of the control group were so low that it would matter if they went up by 162% or 762% or whatever hundred and sixty two percent…. they’d still be below any rational “worry level.”

    And, as noted, it was after six hours on in a Friday night smoke pit.

    And, as such, it had nothing at all to do with what a student might be exposed to walking around a campus in the course of a day, a week, a semester, or from kindergarten through Stan Glantz’s Ph.D. in mechanical engineering.

    (The public opinion poll thing was what Winickoff did with “thirdhand smoke.” — a different daisy field on the loony farm.)

    See my close-to-truth-satire on Klepeis at:

    – MJM

    • db says:

      Thanks Michael.

      So we have reached the point where they can now legislate against smokers merely on the basis of public opinion. I can only assume that Rollo to condones this.

      • db says:

        oops, typo…

        So we have reached the point where they can now legislate against smokers merely on the basis of public opinion. I can only assume that Rollo condones this.

  34. Greg Burrows says:

    Well done Dave, I thought you did a great job, I will show the interview to Stephen Simon who has been on the radio many times fighting our cause, as he has not got a computer.

  35. Walt says:

    Sorry, Rollo, I continue to disagree with your analysis.

    Almost all the studies have been criticized, in print, by accredited people.

    The most recent CAL EPA report was, I believe, in 2006 (which, if my math is right, isn’t 20 years ago) and there was another just a few years before that. They were both roundly criticized. Though the fact that the entire canon, going back to its 20 years ago roots has also been severely slammed isn’t irrelevant either. The science was iffy from the toes up.

    One of the grounds for criticism has been that the studies DON’T conform to the Bradford-Hill criteria (go through archives at John Brignell’s Number Watch, for example, where he seems to have collected the comments of critics to that effect).

    And yes, the majority of positive studies are neither statistically significant, nor do most exceed, or even reach, 2. And some have confidence intervals you could drive a herd of elephants through, a red flag of gross error. And (see the critics) most have serious methodological flaws. When you’re working with small (let alone inconsistent) RR’s, the slightest errors, of bias, confounding, and mathematical malpractice can skew the results and lead to statistical sleight of hand. As can the researchers’ open agendas.

    Then, too, as it happens neither history nor histology have borne out the theories about secondhand smoke.

    So without commandeering Dave’s blog for a study-by-study back and forth version of “and so’s yer old man,” let’s just politely agree to disagree.

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