Oh the Agony of the Research Community

Here is a story of a woman committed to child health, specializing in leukemia epidemiology, who is condemned for speaking sensible to the hysterical about lead. And I am forced to wade through the usual BS from Huff Post.

Whoa–you mean if you are not one of the anointed lead poisoning panicmongers, you can’t speak to the issues?

My my. Of course I admire Milloy for actually looking at the web sites of the goofy ones, like Huff post–a loathsome small minded place for sure.

Milloy’s JunkScience approach is different from mine, probably better–he likes to show these people for what they are, but I get nauseous and can’t take it. It’s like listening to Obama give a speech–or watching an amateur talent show–I get physically uncomfortable watching idiots perform or pretend to be smart and insightful. Sorry, I care about science and thinking and music/performance art too much to put up with incompetence.

However this story compelled me to demonstrate–Dr. Buffler was good, Huff post is bad. Dr. Buffler was right about lead–the dangers were exaggerated. Huff post and all the panic mongers on lead are bad. Simple isn’t it? Good, bad.

For all this tut tutting about the conflicts created by private consulting, how come no one in the journal or media community ever talks about the whores that get money from the guvment? Take millions in grants, get appointments galore and enjoy wide acclaim and promotion even though they are mindless and corrupted shills for the EPA or some other guvment agency.


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7 responses to “Oh the Agony of the Research Community

  1. I read the Huffington post on Dr. Buffler. Oh so smugly written, where the point seems to be that if anyone takes industry money they are an industry whore. I’ve looked at a lot of complex observational data sets and they are very difficult for (even honest) experts. Hayek would likely put these data sets as so difficult that even experts will not be able to sort them out. The track record for experts making sense of observational data sets is very checkered. Experts at Harvard School of Public Health mostly fail when their claims are tested in randomized clinical trials.

    Clearly, industry should be able to hire any person they want and a university person should be free to take the work.

    We want the best experts possible to help lawyers and judges. As we should know, they need all the help they can get.

  2. Definitely an “ad hominem” hit piece. Repulsive, since she’s not around to respond. No data supplied or linked to, only unreferenced opinions or supposed facts. I’d bet all the opposing studies have very weak statistical correlations. Par for the course.

  3. If lead can aid cancer, I’d use it. Turns out the metals that can kill us can cure us in another light. And yet the scaremongers don’t want to hear it.


  4. None of that lead scare business seems to be happening in the Queendom, where every other house either has a lead roof or at least lead flashings and spouts. A multi-storey building next door to my office is entirely lead-clad, except for windows, which are made of lead glass. Get that, bitches?

    This fits with Milloy’s original observation that one can only succeed in scaring the public about something they can be expected to give up without a fight.

  5. What a hit piece! Academic research types are always on the hustle for grants from public money and private/industrial sources. To suggest that one source makes you are forever tainted and no longer pure enough to protect the public and the other doesn’t is absolutely idiotic. If that is so, why do the “pure” researchers happily use products and services made by evil industry? If exposure to lead, in any amount as suggested by this article is so deadly, how did the human race survive?

    Is there really an association with lead and childhood or any leukemia as this article kept implying? The article seemed to want to say that. Loose, weak associations from data dredges and asking people what they remember? I took one of those surveys on exposure to chemicals while farming. All I had to do is remember what, how much, and how often I used 50 years previously as a teenager.

  6. How much junk science thinking like I saw in that article gets in the way of real research on things like leukemia? It’s a terrible disease, especially the acute forms, in adults or children. Demonizing and concentrating on something like lead when you don’t really know the cause, seems to get in the way of productive research.

  7. Lead is the new asbestos. Something to ban in order to look like you are “saving humanity!!!!!” And something to file lawsuits over. “Join our class action suit!” (and get your $15).

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