‘Show me the bodies’ challenge unnerves enviros

For decades the enviros and the EPA have ducked defending their outrageous claims by simply ignoring their critics. It was easy to do with the complicity of the mainstream media.

So if they do respond to criticism, that means the criticism represents a serious threat that cannot be ignored.

Last week’s “Show us the bodies, EPAWashington Times op-ed has achieved this status. Since “Show us the bodies, EPA” ran on July 20:

Though the enviros have whinged about “Show us the bodies, EPA“, they have yet to show us any bodies or anything else to back up their assertions that current air quality is sickening and killing hundreds of thousands annually.

We will continue to press our point. They will either produce the evidence or face the prospect of air pollution hysteria following global warming hysteria into implosion ignominy.

FYI, below is the transcript of this week’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in which Rep. Kucinich questioned Deputy EPA Administrator Robert Perciasepe about “Show us the bodies, EPA.” Our comments are in bracketed bold.

REP. KUCINICH: On July 20, 2011, the Washington Times ran an op- ed by Steve Milloy, the publisher of JunkScience.com, titled Show Us the Bodies, EPA. The subtitle reads Green Agencies Use Phony Death Statistics to Justify Job Killing Rules. Quote, unquote. The op-ed described a TV add run by the Environmental Defense Fund saying, “The TV ad for this theme features a young girl in a hospital bed, supposedly having an asthma attack. She’s wearing a nebulizer, face mask and chest compression device that is rhythmically but disturbingly squeezing the child, giving the appearance that she is in severe respiratory distress, by implication, from air pollution. But like the EPA’s 17,000 lives saved statistical fabrication, the ads are fake.”

Now, Mr. Perciasepe, I’d like to give you a chance to respond to this op-ed. It’s apparently aimed at EPA’s proposed toxic — air toxic rule. Are EPA’s estimated benefits from the proposed rule a statistical fabrication?

MR. PERCIASEPE: They’re based on peer reviewed science. [Perhaps, but all the "peers" are EPA-minions and none of the data has ever been made available for independent review.] They’re not a statistical fabrication, and they’re — you’re not going to see on somebody’s death certificate, they died of air pollution. [That's probably because they didn't.] They’re going to die of the diseases that air pollution exacerbates and causes premature impacts. [Surely some notation would be made somewhere, no?] Even healthy people are impacted. [Show us]. But people who are more vulnerable, like retired folks, are going to be even more vulnerable to these things. [Show us.] So the impact of the damage on the lungs and the cardiovascular system. So I know you have other witnesses that will go into the science of this in more detail, but these are not fabricated, they’re based on peer reviewed science, both clinical and epidemiological studies. [All of which have been exposed and debunked.]

REP. KUCINICH: Mr. Milloy’s op-ed also questioned the public health impacts of mercury pollution. He wrote, “But there’s no evidence that ambient levels of mercury or of mercury emissions from U.S. power plants have harmed anyone,” quote-unquote. Now, Mr. Perciasepe, isn’t there clear evidence showing that mercury impairs the brain development of infants and children?

MR. PERCIASEPE: There are mercury warnings in every state for fish contaminated with mercury. [These warnings are based on junk science. See e.g., Steve Milloy's "Fish Mercury Warning".] Mercury causes damages to developing brains in children and fetuses. [There is no evidence that ambient mercury is harming anyone.]

REP. KUCINICH: So is that yes?

MR. PERCIASEPE: So yes.

REP. KUCINICH: OK. OK, can you describe why it’s important to control mercury pollution from the domestic power plants? Isn’t there a disproportionate impact on communities near plants that emit mercury pollution?

MR. PERCIASEPE: The mercury emissions from the power plants in the United States are the largest remaining source in the United States of mercury emissions, and they are — they affect the water and the — and the mercury bioaccumulates in fish, and then fish get eaten by humans. [Sorry, Bob. The vast majority of ambient mercury in U.S. air comes from Mother Nature and China. U.S. power plants emit less than 1% of global emissions.]

But I want to be — I went to point out one last thing on this point. The mercury and toxics rule is not just mercury. It includes acid gasses, arsenic, nickel, cadmium, all these other metals and acid gasses that also have health effects are included, which is why you have to look at the broad impact of all those different toxics, not just mercury, although mercury is very important. [Talk is cheap. Got some evidence?]

REP. KUCINICH: Thank you very much.

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64 responses to “‘Show me the bodies’ challenge unnerves enviros

  1. Boy oh boy, Steve Milloy, you are a piece of work. I have posted repeatedly on your website links to probably two dozen peer-reviewed studies over many years and across many countries and cultures showing in no uncertain terms a clear and obvious statistical link between air pollution and mortality. And still you obfuscate and hide behind the show me the death certificate line. Are you also a birther? I’m beginning to worry about you — This is verging on psychosis. Do you need to see someone?

    As I have posted several times before, there are lots of things you won’t find on a death certificate. You also won’t see “Eating a cheeseburger” on a death certificate, but you’re not questioning the link between fatty foods and heart disease, are you? You won’t see “Was texting on a cell phone while driving” on a death certificate, but you aren’t saying it’s safe to text while driving are you?

    Let me ask you a few very direct questions:

    1) Have you read any of the studies linking air pollution to mortality?
    2) Have you found any specific flaws in those studies? If so, what are they?
    3) Have you contacted any of the scientists and public health experts who have published these studies to question their methodology or to review their raw data? If so, who and what did they say?
    4) Do you believe in Santa Claus?

    I would love to hear your responses to these questions.

    • ROTFLMAO…Bud, you need to learn that statistical correlation does NOT mean causation!!!

      Education!!!

      • amjo7298 — Do you really think that I and — much more to the point — the hundreds of scientists who have worked for years assessing the data behind their studies don’t understand the difference between correlation and causation — a logical fallacy introduced to most high school students?

        You’re going to need to do a lot better than that to take on the findings in these and so many other studies:

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8179653

        http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/173/6/667

        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060523000408.htm

        http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info:doi/10.1289/ehp.00108347

        http://www.consenseus.org/downloads/health/OzoneHealthEffects.pdf

        http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(97)01211-7/abstract

      • amjo7298 — Do you really think that I and — much more to the point — the hundreds of scientists who have worked for years assessing the data behind their studies don’t understand the difference between correlation and causation — a logical fallacy introduced to most high school students?

        You’re going to need to do a lot better than that to take on the findings in these and so many other studies:

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8179653

        http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/173/6/667

        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060523000408.htm

        http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info:doi/10.1289/ehp.00108347

        http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(97)01211-7/abstract

      • “So, it is possible that Steve Milloy is correct and all these studies over all these years are wrong.”

        Ah, argumentum ad verecundiam…Which is another logical fallacy!!!

        You tell me Steve Milloy has not produced evidence…Yet he asserts “The vast majority of ambient mercury in U.S. air comes from Mother Nature and China”, which I can find quite a bit of evidence in support of this assertion.

        Bogging down someone to prove every assertion, when in fact the evidence to back up those assertions exists, isn’t a very “honest” way to debate bud…

      • amjo7298 — Can we stay on point? What specific flaw do you see in the science linking air pollution to mortality?

        As for mercury, yes, mother nature is the source for almost all mercury. The critical difference between naturally occurring mercury and mercury air emissions from power plants is simple — mercury air emissions are carried in the air and spread throughout the environment, rain down into our rivers and lakes, and are there converted to methyl mercury which is absorbed into wildlife, bio-accumulating up the food chain where its concentrations in top predators can be one million times the level of the surrounding environment.

        That is what the science shows. What is the specific complaint you have with this?

      • Bud, “Can we stay on point? What specific flaw do you see in the science linking air pollution to mortality?”

        Check out life expectancy in the USA over the last 50 years…Can air pollution contribute to folk’s death, yes. Does the air quality in the USA hurt our mortality, not significantly!!! If it did, one would expect life expectancy to react differently than it has, correct?

        So, saying “air pollution is bad for mortality” isn’t really significant when the air quality in the USA is so good!

      • amjo7298 — Life expectancy? Again, off point. What does the overall average life expectancy have to do with the science showing that current levels of air pollution cause premature deaths?

        There are countless variables that influence life expectancy. The fact that we have seat belt laws and that we have cracked down on drunk driving has saved thousands of lives. The fact that people diagnosed with colon cancer can be treated with surgery has extended and saved lives. The miracles of prescription drugs have extended and saved lives.

        What does any of this have to do with air pollution?

      • “What does the overall average life expectancy have to do with the science showing that current levels of air pollution cause premature deaths?”

        ROTFLMAO…WOW, and that is Mr. Milloy’s point!!! Bud, not sure I can help you…But I wish you the best and would like to leave you with the following:

        “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.”
        — Galileo Galilei

      • amjo7298 — Nope, and obviously I’m not getting through to you. I just wish someone on here — anyone — would provide one single link to a peer-reviewed scientific study denying that current air pollution levels contribute to the premature deaths of tens of thousands of Americans per year. Is that really too much to ask?

      • LOL, “…obviously I’m not getting through to you”!!! Ok, let’s see if I can simplify things for you:

        My 1st post: Statistical correlation does not mean causation. To which you agreed that this is too basic to even mention.

        My 2nd post: Science is about developing a theory, then collecting data to see if that theory is valid or not (I used a recent example from the climate change realm, which apparently you focused on as me not “staying on topic”). To which you agreed that this does represent the “scientific method”.

        My 3rd post: Attempted to indicate that arguing about whose “experts” are valid and whose are not is really a logical falacy (i.e. the ol’ appeal to authority gotcha). To which you tried to go back to the argument that I need to show you where your “experts” are wrong…

        My 4th post: I sited the increase in life expectancy which should indicate the theory that this pollution has an adverse affect on mortality is suspect at the very least. To which you said “What specific flaw do you see in the science linking air pollution to mortality?”.

        MY POINT (!!!): The underlying theory of your “experts” and their studies is that mortality is reduced because of pollution…BUT…”mortality” data does NOT support their conclusion!!!

        As Mr. Milloy asks “where are the bodies?” and I sited the increase in life expectancy…One would actually have to look to “mortality” data in order to validate, or invalidate, your “expert’s” proposed theories!!! So when you ask “What specific flaw do you see in the science linking air pollution to mortality?”, I simply have to respond that they are wrong in the conclusions they draw from their studies!!! In order to validate their theories of a causal affect on human mortality rates from such small amounts of pollution, one would expecte the mortality data to vaidate their theory…In other words, “where are the bodies?”.

        One final thought, when the real world conflicts with one’s theory, true scientists change their theory…Not spin the data to fit their theory.

        Oh and btw bud, I’d recommend you learn how to do better research!!! Please check out Mr. Miloy’s article titled “Enviros ask, JunkScience delivers negative air quality study”, ok?!?!?

        Take care, and good luck with that education.

    • Sam, please understand that true science is about developing a theory…All of the “scientific studies” are used to develop a theory. Then one continues to analyze the REAL world to determine the validity of that theory…As more data is available, one can discount or reafirm the original theory.

      The problem with the alarmists is that they would rather stick with their theories than believe real world data…True scientists realize the theory needs to be changed when the real world conflicts with that theory!!!

      Check out the latest regarding NASA data blowing holes in the computer models, which were based on the global warming theory!!!

      Bud, the climate is SOOOOOO complex, to think human’s know everything about it at this point is just plain ignorant…The solution is education.

      • amjo7298 — This debate has nothing to do with climate change. That is a totally separate debate, one which I will be willing to have with you. But, it has nothing to do with what this specific debate is about.

        Can we try to stay focused here? Steve Milloy has questioned the science linking air pollution with mortality. I have asked him to provide any specific problems he has with the actual science. He has failed to do so. He denies a link between air pollution and mortality that has been thoroughly reviewed over hundreds of scientific studies by scientists, medical doctors, public health experts, and the like over the last 40+ years from around the world. These studies have been published and peer reviewed. And now Steve Milloy — without any specific evidence — just comes out, waves his magic wand and says “Nope, there is no link.”

        You talk about the scientific method, which you summarize well. Scientists start with a question, develop theories/hypotheses, collect data, analyze the data, publish results. Then other scientists have the opportunity to review the data and critique the work. That which over the years is not disproved is generally accepted as true until someone disproves it.

        Science uses an inductive method and therefore you can never prove anything is absolutely true the way you can in math. So, it is possible that Steve Milloy is correct and all these studies over all these years are wrong. But, we cannot know whether Steve Milloy is right because he has not produced a single bit of actual evidence to support his theory. That is the fundamental problem with this debate.

  2. Perhaps, but all the “peers” are EPA-minions and none of the data has ever been made available for independent review.

    I think that answers all of your questions.

    • bulkhead50 — how do you know that all these “peers” are EPA-minions? And how do you know that none of the data have ever been made available for independent review? Have you asked?

      Start with this study and tell me which one you think is an EPA-minion and why you think that:

      http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(97)01211-7/abstract

      • What does a Bavarian air quality study made from 25 years old statistics have to do with anything (especially since they were made before the Iron curtain fell, so their quality is in serious question)? Especially considering that these former East Block countries are far more poluted than America is.

      • RE — You completely miss the point of my question. Bulkhead50 said that all these studies over all these years were produced by EPA minions. I was asking a very direct question challenging him on that point. Which of these authors are EPA minions? Which of all the authors of all the studies are EPA minions?

        If they’re all minions, it shouldn’t be any problem to provide evidence on one of them. I would love to see what you all can come up with.

  3. Moreover, there’s no settled science establishing a link between eating fatty foods and heart disease, unless you’re referring to the possible link between trans fat and heart disease. Bald assertions never have and never will constitute scientific fact.

    • Really, Randy. You’re going with that? I guess you know more than the good people at the American Heart Association: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Know-Your-Fats_UCM_305628_Article.jsp

      Of course there are differences in the kinds of fat and the amounts. But, you really can’t be that myopic to debate the basic point that you won’t find “Eating cheeseburgers” on a death certificate. Neither will you find “Texting while driving.”

      • Anyone can be wrong like the “experts” of the 60s and 70s who told new mothers use formula don’t breast feed because it was more healthy. Now science is showing that not only is this not true but that nothing could be further from the truth. Incidentally, being fed formula instead of breastmilk as a baby makes you something like four times more likely to have athsma, which could also explain the increase in occurance (if any) of respiratory problems. So mabye we should just fire all the supposed experts instead. Incidentally I have a friend with very high LDLs and they stay high no matter what he eats.

      • RE — And back in the Middle Ages, they used to believe in bloodletting. What’s the point?

        I don’t have any knowledge of the baby formula vs. breast milk controversy. But, the bigger point is that science evolves. The scientific method is about the pursuit of truth by testing evidence and observations against hypotheses. If evidence contradicts assumed theories, they are disproved and scientists work hard to understand why.

        The problem is that there are no studies I’m aware of that refute the hundreds of studies that have been conducted that show a correlation between air pollution and mortality. That’s what this debate is about.

  4. Dennis Sidwell

    I just love it when the “human caused pollution is the cause of specific deaths to both man and animals” crowd start calling their critics names like a 5 yr old because they do not have, I don’t know, evidence or perhaps a sufficient vocabulary to use big words l “rigor”. I am sorry, that is not a very big word is it. Thanks. Dennis

  5. Robert of Texas

    So, being a deniest (or maybe just curious?)..I decided to go lookup some of the sources to the statistics being thrown out about childhood asthma. First I went to the EPA site and found generalizations that referred vaguely to studies but no references or even enough to find a reference. Then I followed links to some “supporting web sites” – which landed me on “Natural Resources Defense Council”. They made some less vague references with both a statistic (30%) and a date 2002 whereby I finally found the article in question: “Environmental Pollutants and Disease in American Children: Estimates of Morbidity, Mortality, and Costs for Lead Poisoning, Asthma, Cancer, and Developmental Disabilities” Philip J. Landrigan

    Being curious (or a deniest?), I wanted to see how they came up with 30%: “To estimate the proportion of each attributable to toxins in the environment, we used an environmentally attributable fraction (EAF) model.

    Oh…so how exactly does one measure the EAF? “…Data are not available on the fractions of diseases in children that may be caused by toxic exposures in the environment. Therefore, to estimate the proportion of cases…that are potentially attributable to toxic environmental factors, we used a formal decision-making process, the modified Delphi technique (42,43). We initiated this consensus process by selecting three expert panels…assembled from among prominent physicians and scientists with established national reputations and extensive records of publication in relation to the diseases under study…Each panelist was asked to review this literature plus other relevant publications and then to develop an initial best estimate, from 0 to 100%, of the EAF for the disease in which they were expert…”

    Umm, I mean…REALLY? We cherry-picked “experts” and they guessed at the value? And then we used this to compute the number of childhood deaths attributable to air pollution…REALLY? And our government calls this science?

    Sigh, I now wish I had just ignored this entire topic – it just saddens me

  6. I can’t grok this math, but seems meaningless to the question of US air quality standards being tightened.”In January, 1985, high concentrations of sulphur dioxide (mean 200 μg/m3) and total suspended particles (mean 98 μg/m3) were recorded during a 13-day period in Augsburg. In men, the odds ratio for plasma viscosity above the 95th percentile of the distribution (1·38 mPa s) was 3·6 (95% CI 1·6—8·1) comparing measurements during the air pollution episode with non-episode measurements after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors and meteorological variables. The corresponding odds ratio for women (95th percentile of plasma viscosity 1·37 mPa s) was 2·3 (1·0—5·3). High concentrations of carbon monoxide were also associated with increased plasma viscosity in women.”

    • Kevin — the point is simply that Steve Milloy and others have said air pollution doesn’t kill people or cause any significant public health harm. This is one of many, many studies I’ve posted on this site in recent days, all of which overwhelmingly show that Steve Milloy is wrong in his claim.

    • Mr. Baikie, One note. No one (Milloy included) is denying that the absurd overdoses that you describe are bad for human health. Nor is anyone that I know of challenging that excessive pollution is bad for you. What is being challenged is that modern, ambient pollutant levels cause damage and death. Neither the study you describe nor Mr. Parry’s repeated links demonstrate that (in fact, Sam, as I have pointed out in the past, they are either so low as to be statistically null, minor but extremely untenable, or fail to eliminate y socieoeconomic factors). In comparison, please look at cigarettes. Despite the HUGE amounts of research spent on this matter, cigarettes are strongly linked only to lung cancer and weakly linked to an overall shortening of life (meaning that you are more likely to die at 50 or 60 rather than 70-75). As a cigarette is merely concentrated air pollution, you have to wonder how it can be said that young men and women are dying due to ambient air pollution.

    • One final point, the first studies you mention, Sam, are over 20 years old. http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/pm.html
      Since 1999 (first data available on the EPA’s web site), PM2.5 has decreased by 24%. That is after a sharp drop in PM emissions during the 90s. This undermines the argument of the strongest paper cited, which is based on ’77-’83 data (in the environmental engineering world, collectively known as “the bad old days”). The study was done based on a level of pollution that is nonexistent now. Despite this, it gave only a 1.26 ratio of death rates. That is far below tenability (which is generally considered a ratio of 2.0).

  7. Oh,The Lancet. Wasn’t that the journal that published the Iraq war civilian deaths – y’know 650,000? Sure, quality peer reviewed stuff in that one, absolutely.

    http://www3.nationaljournal.com/about/njweekly/stories/2008/0104nj1.htm

    • Really, Tony? The Lancet is one of the top medical journals in the world. I don’t know anything about the story you link to or the issue of Iraqi civilian deaths. No journal is perfect, but questioning the Lancet is a bit like questioning the role of Shakespeare in English literature.

      • So some sources are beyond question, even when they publish questionable studies? So we must accept The Lancet on all things, KNOWING they aren’t perfect?

        Real scientific argument there…..

      • Stan B — Question away. I insist. Please find one specific flaw in the scientific literature that links air pollution to mortality. It seems the best that you all can do is say:

        1) Some (though certainly not all) of the studies use older data;
        2) The level of mortality reported in these studies is an acceptable level, arguably not worth the investments that would be made to clean up the pollution; and
        3) Some of the studies have been published in scientific journals that you don’t like for totally unrelated reasons.

        Of course Steve Milloy won’t even go there. He insists there’s no link. After repeated efforts to get Steve Milloy to find one specific flaw in the scientific literature on this, all we can get out of him is “Show me the death certificates.” This is a bit like denying that the earth is round unless you personally take a rocket ship into outer space to see for yourself.

  8. sam, why dont you stfu with your lies.

    • Tired, please don’t call them lies. Sam’s studies may be unconvincing, but they are true studies that were done by real researches attempting to do their best to quantify the effects of pollution. The fact that they found statistically significant but untenable correlations with the pollution levels of the 70s-early 90s is an important fact. The proper response is to point out that the already low correlations are mitigated by massive pollution reductions in the past two decades and there is no indication that they are above a threshold effects limit.

      Dismissing Sam, who is making a valid point, as merely peddling lies makes you a denier. That is something that we cannot afford to become. Please either respond intelligently or be silent.

  9. To find our for myself if the Lancet is credible, I decided to check one study chosen at random reported in the most current Lancet (The Lancet, Volume 378, Issue 9789, Pages 403 – 411, 30 July 2011). Reading the findings as to the absence of benefit compared with placebo and increased risk of adverse events, I checked one part of their study – the dosage of the drugs they administered. Determine for yourself if this was a good study. I can only assume peer review will make the same determination I did.

    I went on-line to find the recommended dose for the drugs used in the study reported in the Lancet.

    “For adults with depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), sertraline dosing guidelines generally call for a dose of 50 mg once daily. The dose of sertraline usually used to treat panic disorder or social anxiety disorder usually starts at 25 mg once a day and then often increases to 50 mg daily.”

    “The mirtazapine dosing guidelines that your healthcare provider will follow depend on factors such as your age, existing medical conditions you may have, and other medications you may also be taking. The recommended starting dose when treating depression is 15 mg, taken once a day. Your healthcare provider may increase your mirtazapine dosing amount if symptoms of depression continue, or decrease the dose if you develop side effects.”

    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(11)60830-1/fulltext

    “Methods
    . . . The clinical trials unit at King’s College London (UK) randomly allocated participants with a computer-generated block randomisation sequence, stratified by centre, with varying block sizes, in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive sertraline (target dose 150 mg per day), mirtazapine (45 mg), or placebo (control group), all with standard care. The primary outcome was reduction in depression (CSDD score) at 13 weeks (outcomes to 39 weeks were also assessed), assessed with a mixed linear-regression model adjusted for baseline CSDD, time, and treatment centre. This study is registered, number ISRCTN88882979 and EudraCT 2006-000105-38.

    “Findings
    Decreases in depression scores at 13 weeks did not differ between 111 controls and 107 participants allocated to receive sertraline (mean difference 1•17, 95% CI −0•23 to 2•58; p=0•10) or mirtazapine (0•01, −1•37 to 1•38; p=0•99), or between participants in the mirtazapine and sertraline groups (1•16, −0•25 to 2•57; p=0•11); these findings persisted to 39 weeks. Fewer controls had adverse reactions (29 of 111 [26%]) than did participants in the sertraline group (46 of 107, 43%; p=0•010) or mirtazapine group (44 of 108, 41%; p=0•031), and fewer serious adverse events rated as severe (p=0•003). Five patients in every group died by week 39.

    “Interpretation
    Because of the absence of benefit compared with placebo and increased risk of adverse events, the present practice of use of these antidepressants, with usual care, for first-line treatment of depression in Alzheimer’s disease should be reconsidered.”

    • JF, I see this as a reasonable and rational study. From your tone, I pressume you see a critical flaw that I do not. The correlations are significantly below tenability, the consistent death rate indicates that proper randomization was achieved, and they reach a rational conclusion to reconsider using a drug these effects. Is there a problem that I am overlooking?

      Anyway, to look with condemnation upon the Lancet is merely ad-hominem, and beneath us all. I don’t care if your publication is in the Proceedings of the National Academy or in US weekly. It should stand or fall based on its merits alone. Everyone, please cease this nonsense at once and return to proper debate WITHOUT the fallacies.

      • They used three times the dosage recommended! How am in condemning the Lancet when I have only looked at one study in Lancet? I have never had a reason to before Sam Perry said “No journal is perfect, but questioning the Lancet is a bit like questioning the role of Shakespeare in English literature” so I was curious as to what is in the Lancet. I assume peer review will correct this results of this “study.”

        Ben of Houston You say “please cease this nonsense at once and return to proper debate WITHOUT the fallacies.” Just how do you debate air pollution and the resulting deaths and injuries without including fallacies (usually incorrect argumentation in reasoning resulting in a misconception or presumption) on both sides ??? It seems to me there would be no debate at all !!!

      • JF, you fail to understand. If someone is presenting evidence and you point out there is a flaw, that is not a falacy. That is reasoned debate.

        To point out that someone is not listening is not a falacy, that is a reasonable objection to a lack of debate.

        Insulting and/or praising a study based on its publisher is not debate. Depending on which side, it is argument from authority or ad-hominem (and at this point, reducto ad absurdum). Disagreeing with the method used by one author in one paper published by the Lancet and using it to try and discredit the entire publication is ridiculous, and you discredit no one other than yourself and the rest of the regulars on this board.

  10. JF — What does any of this have to do with the link between air pollution and mortality?

    I’ve spent the last week on here asking a simple question: you all deny a link between air pollution and mortality. Okay, what is you source for that hypothesis? What specific flaws have you found in the hundreds of studies that have demonstrated a clear statistical link between air pollution and mortality? So far, this has mostly been a shell game in which instead of answering that question directly, you all have attacked the messengers. Deal with the science.

    To his credit, Ben of Houston has at least done his homework and has offered two arguments on the scince — 1) that the data in some (though not all) of the studies I have sourced is 20 years old; and 2) that the statistical link between air pollution and mortality is weak.

    To those points, I simply offer that even weak statistical links can be valid if there is enough data over a long enough period of time. Given that there are hundreds of studies over several decades from around the world that all roughly say the same thing, the data speaks for itself.

    We are not talking about people dropping like flies here. We are talking about something like 25,000 Americans dying prematurely every year.these people tend to be sick already. Some are old. Some of them may not have lived much longer anyway. But these finer points don’t undermine the clear evidence of what the overwhelming body of science says.

    Would we be better off investing money in cancer research or in better health care? That is a separate debate. Frakly, given the budget cuts that are coming, there will be much less money for all those other things anyway. So, where would the money come from? I suppose you could let polluters emit any level of pollution they wanted but we could tax the crap out of them to fund health treatment programs. And somehow I doubt this crowd would be happy with that alternative approach.

    All of that is beside the point. Air pollution kills. Cutting air pollution will extend lives and improve public health.

    • Sam: The question is not if pollution kills, but do current US ambient mercury levels kill? Also, what is the gain in further reducing the US AML?

      This gets back to the old saw that says given proper dosage, everything kills. When are we going to be happy with safe levels and stop reaching for clean room levels?

  11. Sam Perry. You are right. Air pollution kills – too much of anything kills. So the debate is about diminishing returns. Included in this debate must be the consequences of the process of cleaning the air. At what point, if any, does the increase in price endanger people’s lives? At what point are the lives of people in other places endangered? China, for example, where they are dumping toxic silicon tetrachloride which is a by-product of the manufacturing of polysilicon needed in solar collectors. It isn’t an either/or only. It isn’t ” let polluters emit any level of pollution they wanted” (except in China, of course) or “extend lives and improve public health.”

    You ask for a simple answer to your query “What specific flaws have you found in the hundreds of studies that have demonstrated a clear statistical link between air pollution and mortality?” There may be numerous flaws in the studies or there may not be. I don’t think it matters.

    Ben of Houston responded to my critique of a study reported in Lancet and said “I see this as a reasonable and rational study. From your tone, I pressume you see a critical flaw that I do not.” I consider it a critical flaw when they gave the participants three times the recommended dosage, but Ben didn’t see that as a flaw.

    If there are NO flaws in any of the studies, they were all done perfectly and with unbiased results – it still means we need this debate! Because we do not live in a static world, it is not either/or.

    • JF — I think we are getting somewhere. So, air pollution can be linked to mortality. And, indeed, while I have not read all of the scientific literature available, from what I have read it appears that at current pollution levels something like 25,000 Americans die prematurely every year because of current air pollution levels.

      Now, here is where this gets tricky. There is a totally valid point to be made here on your side. You ask about diminishing returns. And there is a very valid question about how many of these ~25,000 people would have died soon anyway. Would they have lived some extra number of days or weeks or months or years? I am not aware of a study that has quantified this question. That’s not to say that there are no such studies. Just that I have not come across them.

      But, there is another side to this coin. Air pollution does not only cause premature deaths. But it also increases the number of respiratory attacks and hospitalizations. In layman’s terms, air pollution makes people sick and requires medical treatment. So, even if we were to say, “I don’t care about those 25,000 people who are dying prematurely every year because of air pollution,” we’d still have to deal with the significant societal costs of lost work days, lost school days, medical treatment, lower productivity, etc. caused by air pollution.

      I grant that this debate is a complex one and both sides are sometimes guilty of dumbing it down to simplistic terms in order to make their points. But, at the end of the day, folks like Steve Milloy who just offer a flat denial that air pollution kills people or that there are significant societal costs associated with air pollution don’t do your side of the debate any credit. Especially when folks like Steve Milloy fail to provide any actual evidence supporting their theories.

      • The question is not if pollution can kill, but what are the dangers of current US pollution?

        The point is that the current rules are very strict. What does tightening the rules further buy us? Can we show a current problem in the US that will be addressed by the new rules?

        Switching the discussion over to “but pollution kills” is dishonest and a journey off the path of the original debate.

      • Pockets64 — Actually, getting agreement that air pollution kills people is a significant step in the right direction. This entire dust up stems from Steve Milloy’s bizarre demand that EPA show us the bodies of the people who die from air pollution. Steve Milloy has said that air pollution doesn’t kill people. So, getting a basic agreement that Steve Milloy is wrong is a significant development in this debate.

        Moving on from whether air pollution kills people to look at how much damage air pollution causes is a completely legitimate point of inquiry.

        The question is one of costs versus benefits, and the ground gets more treacherous for both sides of the debate. On your side, the question is how many premature deaths and hospitalizations and lost work days and sick people are you willing to live with? On our side, the question is at what cost to the polluting industry?

        The good news is that not only have clean air limits saved lives and prevented disease, but pollution limits have delivered tremendous net benefit to the U.S. economy. Indeed, the entire cost of current Clean Air Act pollution limits — which the EPA estimates at $65 billion/year and Cato estimates at $104 billion/year — is at least tripled by the $300 billion/year environmental technology industry that has grown her in the U.S. That’s a 3:1 or better benefit to cost ratio just looking specifically at the question of economic innovation and growth vs. upgrading power plants.

        And then, if you calculate all the benefits from cleaner air vs. all the costs from pollution control, the equation gets even more lopsided in favor of tighter pollution limits. Now, I’m sure you won’t believe this report, so I’m not sure it’s even worth posting. But, the EPA published this report earlier this year showing a $2 trillion net benefit from existing clean air standards by 2020: http://www.epa.gov/air/sect812/prospective2.html.

        I know you will discount it. And, frankly, like all similar studies everything rides on your assumptions and models — what you count and how you count it. I flat out do not know enough about all of the details to judge the validity of this report. But, it’s out there and is part of the debate.

  12. Follow up: I think “show me the bodies” is valid but it should apply to both sides of the debate. You show me those who are sick now and wouldn’t have been if they lived in the pure bubble you strive to create, and I should show you the consequences of creating a bubble for us to live in.

  13. Details be hung. Forget those studies. Look at the bait-and-switch language used in the transcript!!!

    Why would he, in response to US ambient mercury levels, say that mercury is known to be bad to developing brains?

    He said NOTHING about current US anthropogenic mercury levels. This whole debate is about lowering current US AML. Why are we discussing Germany 25 years ago or pollution created in developing nations? The EPA rules will not, can not, and should not address that pollution.

    • Pockets64 — As I posted above, I think we are making progress in the debate. Here’s where we are:

      1) Does air pollution kill people? Steve Milloy denies it. But, it seems that there is some acceptance on this site that air pollution at the very least can kill people.

      2) Does the current level of air pollution kill people and/or threaten human health? According to the scientific literature, the answer is a very definite yes. Folks on this site remain unconvinced, though detailed analysis of the existing scientific literature has been hard to come by here.

      3) Is the cost worth the benefit when it comes to tightening air pollution standards to protect more lives? Very debatable point. I come down on the side that not only have air pollution standards already saved tens, even hundreds of thousands of lives, but they have given birth to a $300 billion/year environmental technology industry that employs millions and more than offsets the costs of implement pollution controls, estimated by EPA to be $65 billion and by Cato to be $104 billion.

      • I did not see where Steve said that pollution at any level does not kill. I think using that as a justification for this red herring is weak.

        Referring to studies that link deaths in the US to pollution in the us begs Steve’s original statement and the starter of this whole discussion: “Show me the bodies.” You argue extreme cases that we do not have in this nation to avoid having to meet the original challenge.

        We saw this argument the global warming debate, and you see it in religious people who are unsteady in their faith yet feel the need to create new converts: wouldn’t it be better to take this action just to be on the safe side?

        At what point do we stop taking more and more lifestyle-changing little (and not so little) actions just to be on the safe side? As someone else posted, soon we will all be living in little plastic bubbles just to keep us safe from ourselves. Life is for living, not worrying.

      • Pockets64 — Steve Milloy has indeed denied ANY link between air pollution and mortality in his comments back to me on this site. And the claim that we need to show him the bodies is THE red herring in this entire debate.

        As I have posted on this site repeatedly over the last week, you won’t find air pollution listed as cause of death on death certificates. Neither will you find eating cheeseburgers, though the American Heart Association warns against eating fatty foods. You won’t find texting while driving on a death certificate, though it’s hard to deny the science that shows people who drive while texting are more likely to get into a car accident.

        The entire point of this entire debate is that the vast body of scientific evidence — not just from one or two or ten or 50 reports, but from literally hundreds of studies over many, many years — does indeed show a clear link between air pollution and mortality. And, while some of these studies are older, some are more current and do indeed look at current pollution levels.

        Perhaps the best proof of this is that even the Bush EPA issued a new rule to tighten ozone standards from the current 84ppb to 75ppb. The EPA’s science advisory board had recommended a standard of between 60ppb and 70ppb, which a court ruled was correct and tossed out the Bush EPA’s 75 ppb standard. The Obama EPA is now considering a new ozone rule as instructed by the court and will issue a rule at the upper end of the 60ppb – 70ppb range.

        Point being that even the Bush EPA saw a science-based need to tighten ozone standards to save lives. Do you all really think the Bush EPA — certainly one of the most industry-friendly EPAs in history — would have lifted a finger on any of this if new standards wouldn’t produce health benefits?

        This study from 2005 using data analyzed from 1987 – 2000 shows that for every 10ppb increase in ozone pollution, the mortality rate increases 0.87%: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15951661. The beauty of this study is that it doesn’t matter what the current pollution level is or what the natural pollution level might be. It simply says that if you increase ozone levels from 70ppb to 80ppb, you will increase mortality rates 0.87%.

        Is 0.87% a big number? No. Can anyone say that James Smith of Lubbock, TX, age 67, died at 3:34pm on August 2nd because of exposure to 83ppb of ozone on a red alert day? No. But extrapolate out those pollution levels and those mortality rates over 300 million Americans and who knows how many days of higher ozone levels and you start to see the thousand of bodies pile up right there in the data.

  14. Sam Perry: As someone who has worked for the gov’t at the federal, state, and local levels, let me warn you against trusting what a gov’t organization produces to justify their actions.

    I worked for a university a number of years ago. The administration wanted a new field house, but they did not have the budget. As a result, they needed to create a student fee. They couldn’t do that without upsetting the student body, so they put it to a vote. The students voted it down. The admin built it anyway. When challenged, they said, “The students voted on it.” BTW, this field house was not handicap accessible nor did it have rest rooms.

    We are being distracted by the “does pollution kill?” question as we all agree that it can, given adequate doses.

    The reason I say we are being distracted is that in the article, the question was regarding current US mercury ambient levels. The answer was “mercury kills.” While the answer was truthful, it did not answer the question.

    Let’s keep the question properly framed.

    • Millions of river and lake acres across the U.S. — including the entire Great Lakes region — are under state-declared mercury-related fish advisories. I suppose they are all doing this for the fun of it.

      Every prenatal caregiver in the country warns pregnant women or women who may become pregnant to avoid eating certain kinds of fish because of the mercury-exposure risk. I suppose they all to that for the fun of it.

      A teaspoon of mercury can render all the fish in a 20-acre lake unsafe for human consumption. America’s coal-fired power plants emit 72,000 pound of mercury air pollution every year.

      Mercury emitted into the atmosphere is much more dangerous than naturally occurring mercury because it travels and rains down in to our rivers and streams, where it becomes methyl mercury and bioaccumulates in the bodies of fish as it moves up the food chain. That is why mercury compounds can be up to a million times higher in contaminated fish than the surrounding water.

      You want to see what mercury does to the brain? View this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHqVDMr9ivo.

      Tell me which of these facts are wrong.

  15. From the article by Mr. Milloy “Though the enviros have (sic) whinged about “Show us the bodies, EPA“, they have yet to show us any bodies or anything else to back up their assertions that current (CURRENT) air quality is sickening and killing hundreds of thousands annually.”

    Sam Perry said “Does air pollution kill people? Steve Milloy denies it.”

    We all know air pollution kills people – that’s why you are told not to sit in your garage with an engine running and the door shut!

    Sir/Ma’am – We also need to ask “How many people’s health is endangered by the rules and regulations put on by the EPA?” For example, there are consequences to getting the mercury level even lower – the “your side” as you call them should express this in “show us the bodies” terms as well as “our side.”

    Mr. Malloy is correct in bringing up the “”Show us the bodies, EPA” Washington Times op-ed”

    Both sides need to substantiate their arguments and then they need to have true discourse. Which means “repeat the other sides case so you show you understand their premise even if you disagree with it.” Saying things no one is actually saying, for example “Does air pollution kill people? Steve Milloy denies it.” are not helpful. Nor is your statement which indicates you thought the other side was stupid, “Actually, getting agreement that air pollution kills people is a significant step in the right direction.”

    All this said . . . the “side” proposing changes is responsible for presenting their evidence CLEARLY and SUCCINCTLY. They need to present the dilemma, the cure they propose, and the ramifications of that cure – the side effects, both positive and negative.

    Less power plants or more expensive power increases the use of solar panels which need to be manufactured – are solar panels producing more poisoning in China than they are eliminating in America?

    As in the study I used earlier on giving anti depressants to Alzheimer patients. They came up with a finding that not only don’t the anti-depressants work, they have too many side effects to justify their use. All this by giving three times the recommended dose!

  16. Well I worked my way through many of the postings and read a multitude of the studies and here is what I found. There seems to be a correlation between particulate count and difficulty breathing (DUH!) The problem is that most of these studies only looked at particultes and the ones that did try to quantify chemical composition used very limited data sets. This means that while a person (oh say Sam Parry) might make the claim that air pollution kills, one has to define air pollution first. He seems to feel it means emissions from power plants but having read the studies, it appears most of the problem is with particulate counts which include many other things (i.e. spores, pollen, dirt, and other non-energy generated particulates). So to lay the blame soley at the door of a power plant is reaching at best and the EPA can do NOTHING about most of these items so while I admire his desire to have a HEPA filtered atmosphere, it is unrealistic to expect regulation of a small portion of the problem resolve the issue. I think a good approach is to let the states handle the issue as they will be most familiar with their set of problems and not trying to get under some “blanket” level set by some theoritician.

  17. Sam Perry: Your duck into “well I guess those lakes are whatever for the fun of it” is just a little too low. 1) You know I was talking about your preaching that the EPA was justifying their rules with an EPA-generated “study” that claims the new rules will improve the economy. Simply put, when you have to spend your money on what the government is telling you to spend it on, you are not stimulating the economy and you are not free. 2) Even allowing you to venture off into the lakes, where did you find that conditions under the current rules created this problem?

    As for your “Even the Bush EPA” line of “reasoning…” Compare W’s Crawford home to any home that Green Guru Gore is known to have lived in. W’s home was about as energy efficient as one could hope for (and he didn’t charge the Secret Service rent!!). W lived much closer to the center-of-left than most of his conservative base. Even though the left loved to say he was environmentally unfriendly, he was much more ecologically sound than most of us. But in case, this attempted argument from authority does not show well for you.

    I cannot speak to what Steve may or may not have said to you personally regarding air pollution as I have not seen it. From what I have read of his works and from judging your knack for creative reading, I would guess he was talking about the pollution in the US air at present time. But that’s just a guess.

    As for your “James Smith” from Lubbock… If a whole slew of people keeled over on that day, I might be able to attribute it to a common factor. One man with otherwise poor health who requires optimum living conditions going out into sub-optimum conditions does not mean pollution killed him. Should we ban the sun (and snow) as many more people die from exposure than from conditions aggravated by ozone? Nice straw man, though.

    I don’t think I’m going to talk to you about this any more. Your discussion tactics are not sound nor friendly. You are ignoring the content of the original article and bringing in points that no one else is recognizing as valid.

    If you want to discuss why, when asked if the anthropogenic ambient mercury levels are dangerous, the gentleman responded with “mercury kills” rather than answering the question, I might talk to you. I’m not staying on this path of discussing what Steve Milloy may or may not have said to you in some discussion.

    • Pockets64 — I agree. We’re locked in a circular debate and seem to be speaking past each other. I’m obviously not changing any minds here.

      But, I stick to the fundamental point that began this back and forth. The overwhelming body of science — as far as I know the ENTIRE body of science — demonstrates a clear link between current air pollution levels and mortality. The science goes further to point to specific sources of that pollution and the effects the air emissions from industrial activity has on our air.

      To take just one study, there appears to be a 0.87% increase in mortality with every 10ppb increase in ozone. Data suggest that power plants emit nearly 2 million tons of NOx into our atmosphere every year, roughly 25% of the anthropogenic NOx emissions, which interacts with surrounding volatile organic compounds and sunlight to form dangerous levels of ozone. NOx emissions from power plants have already decreased something like 50%, which has led to about a 9-16% decrease on ozone in the eastern U.S.

      Another study shows a 1.21% increase in mortality with every 10 microg/m(3) increase in previous day’s PM2.5. Data suggest that 425 power plants emit 600,000 tons of PM2.5 every year and that these emissions are associated with between 19,000 and 20,000 premature deaths per year.

      Another study estimates that industrial activities account for 70% of the mercury that is emitted into the earth’s atmosphere and that “Anthropogenic releases of Hg have substantially increased the entry of Hg into the environment; by some estimates by a factor of 3 to 5 times since pre-industrial times, and by another analysis, a 10-fold increase.”

      This is where the science is. The bodies are in the data. You have asked for evidence and the evidence is right in front of you.

      All I have asked of Steve Milloy and the rest of you is to provide specific evidence refuting these findings. Instead, we go round and round with “EPA-minions” and “EPA oppressors” and “EDF’s ad is fake” and “show me the death certificates” and “how many people are dying from clean air standards” and on and on and on.

      I’m just not sure what more I can do to focus the conversation around the science and perhaps I should stop trying.

      • You just changed your position. You have gone from “link to pollution and mortality” to “link to CURRENT pollution and mortality.” I am glad to see you can change your position, but I am disappointed you ventured further away from supportable claims.

        You yourself have agreed that the studies on which you are hanging your hat are 20 years+ old and do not reflect the current standards. But now you claim they reflect “CURRENT” pollution. Oops. It’s one or the other.

        BTW, you said that if you have statistics with little or no correlation over time (you said “weak”), you have correlation. I’m not sure where you studied statistics, but studies are not cumulative. It’s like your bank account: No matter how many times you read the statement, you only have $5 in the bank.

        You have no data on current conditions. The discussion is about whether the EPA should impose a delta on environmental rules. Being the impetus behind the delta, the onus is on the EPA to demonstrate the need for the delta and the efficacy of the proposed delta. Simply put, they need to show the bodies.

        The point of diminishing return has been discussed before. You dismissed the concept. But as freedom-loving Americans (love of freedom is a factor in this discussion, not just 20-year-old compounded weak statistical correlations) we all must agree that there is a point at which we say, “We are safe enough!” Every freedom we trade for a little more safety nourishes and encourages the growth of an autocracy.

        Watching you “debate” this issue reminds me of the mortally wounded little mammal I saw hit on the road one day. It was squirming, biting at itself, biting at anything that came near it. A very sad sight, but there was nothing I could do about it. But in this case, there is something I can do about it. I am putting this discussion out of its misery (and I mean it this time).

      • I really don’t know how to make this any clearer. So if this doesn’t work, I give up, which will save a lot of us a lot of time.

        All I have asked of this entire audience is to provide one link to one study that refutes the overwhelming body of evidence showing a clear link between air pollution (not just air pollution levels from back in the 70s, but also including air pollution levels through recent years) and mortality.

        That is all I have asked. Everything else has been a sideshow circus.

        I have provided dozens of links to dozens of studies from across space and time in various threads on this site. No one has provided any evidence that any of these studies are flawed. Some have said that some of the data is old or perhaps the data ignores natural pollution levels or it is their opinion that the correlation between pollution levels and mortality is unconvincing. At least these few posters have actually looked at the science. Still, no one has stepped up with a source or a link or even a serious and detailed science-based critique of these studies.

        I would think that given the billions of dollars the utilities have to throw around and the hundreds of millions they spend lobbying Congress and influencing this debate, they would have bought at least one scientist to publish an actual peer-reviewed paper taking on the overwhelming body of evidence linking pollution (including observed pollution levels through recent years) with mortality. If any of you all are actually scientists, you should call AEP or Southern and offer to produce a study for $1 million. I’m sure you could work something out.

        I get it. You don’t believe the science. Fair enough. I’m not saying you have to. And you don’t have to like the fact that EPA is instructed by law to follow the science. You can pout and object all you want. Doesn’t change reality.

  18. Pingback: Enviros ask, JunkScience delivers negative air quality study | JunkScience.com

  19. Dude, you only cite ancient studies that show weak (your description) correlation. You have no foundation.

    The assertion is that we need change. The only ones who need to provide proof are the ones purporting change. Thus, “show me the bodies.”

    However, if I must, let’s refer to your own comments on your own references that, again, you describe as old and weak. What more proof do we need?

    And now you lean back on the leftist talking point about the “billions” of utilities $$ involved. Let’s get serious!! Don’t you even realize how much federal money is involved here? It dwarfs anything the private sector is putting out. We heard this tripe before. If you’re going to BS us, use fresh talking points. Don’t recycle the old ones.

    The development of acid rain, AGW, and now this pollution stuff is funded by heavy gov’t funding. The scientists are not necessarily dishonest, but the allocation of government departmental funds tends to be to directed to those who will support extending the power of the government department. It’s a Darwinian thing that nourishes those whose theories would result in bigger government (and fewer freedoms) and starves those whose theories would not support bigger government.

    Anyway, back to discussion: You posit a claim. You then support the claim with what you call evidence. You then later admit the evidence is old and weak. You now claim we are at fault because we have not provided any evidence to counter your claim. In short, you provided and then debunked some studies and now you holler for us to provide some studies to prove your claims wrong.

    Chicken Little did not gain credibility because no one else would not provide studies showing the sky was not falling. Rather Chicken Little lost credibility by making ridiculous claims (that in your case with evidence that even you debunked).

    I think your grasp of statistics, the scientific method and rudimentary debating techniques is tenuous at best. Your position has been debunked. You lack credibility.

    Now run along, Chicken Little.

    • This has been like trying to debate the Cheshire Cat — first you’re here, then you’re there. Only, it’s more frustrating because you keep putting words in my mouth.

      I do NOT say the evidence is old and weak. Others have used those words and in the course of debate I have acknowledged that SOME of the data is older, but have said that SOME is more recent and indeed SOME is as current as data can be in this field, i.e. up through the last year or two.

      I did not say that the correlation between human-caused air pollution and mortality is “weak.” That word was offered by Ben of Houston (and others) and I simply used his word to show that even what he perceived as a weak link is still statistically relevant.

      Let me be clear. The abundance of the science available to anyone who wants to review it shows a CLEAR LINK — NOT A WEAK LINK — between air pollution and mortality.

      I think you’ve blatantly exposed the lengths to which you are willing to twist words to make your point. I’ve been very disappointed with the level of dialogue here. Granted, I have come hard at Steve Milloy, because frankly he’s made a ton of money peddling the polluter bs. I suppose that opened me up for some of the nastier comments. Fair enough.

      But, for a site that claims to be defending “real” science in the face of “junk” science, I haven’t seen much in the way of real scientific debate.

      I see no point in continuing this dialogue. You all have a wonderful time talking among yourselves.

      • Methinks we hurt someones poor widdle feewings.

        But to rub it in a little: When you expounded on the postulation that data are weak by stating that repetitively collecting weak data in turn strengthens the data, you took ownership of the claim that the data are weak. In other words, you did not debunk the weak data claim, you built upon it.

        You really need to exorcise yourself of the notion that finding a correlation between death and filth proves that we currently live in filth. In Andersonville prison during the Civil War the water was so heavily polluted with filth that it was dangerous to consume it or even to bathe in it. But we are nowhere near those conditions. It gets back to determining what degree of freedom are we willing to sacrifice in order to have distilled water in our lakes and streams and clean room air to breathe. I have personally already crossed the line in sacrificing my freedom for safety.

  20. But . . . the fact that there is a lack of credibility doesn’t mean you won’t get your way. And, dare I use your tactics? Millions around the world may die because we exchange the known for the unknown and untested. Just how far back in time do you wish to go to get “pure air and water?” Do you even know it has ever existed, particularly in populated areas?

    Please, for your own good, consider all the consequences of the EPA’s actions, positive and negative. Using that skill in other areas also, will stand you in good stead in your life. We do not live in a static, zero-sum game world.

    Sorry to get preachy here at the close of this discussion. A negative cannot be proven so we go on faith and experience.

  21. Pingback: Greens try shifting debate on ‘Show us the bodies’ challenge | JunkScience.com

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