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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
The Fun Contest 
1st-Feb-2009 08:36 pm
Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, a post noting that a bunch of lefty law professors had written a paper against Cass Sunstein, whom Obama wishes to add as his regulatory czar. He notes with some amusement that they advocate "the precautionary principle" and "It is difficult to think of a single public health or environmental threat that with the benefit of additional research has not proven even more dangerous over time."

This sort of statement, besides tickling the funnybone, is subject to rebuttal, and he responds:

Now that's a fun game! Let's see, off the top of my head, here are some things that turned out to be a lot less threatening than many, including at least some "experts," thought:

Mercury in vaccines; Bendectin; Silicone breast implants (and medical grade silicone in general); PCBs; Asbestos in buildings; Flouride in water; Birth control pills; Occasional marijuana use; High fat diets; Exposure to low level nuclear radiation; New carpet fumes; "Toxic waste dumps"/Superfund sites; Moderate overweightedness; Moderate alcohol consumption; Spermicides; Metal fillings (for teeth); Cancer from physical trauma; Masturbation; Predictions in the 1970s of worldwide food shortages; "Overpopulation"; Global Warming (the predictions of the level of man-made warming have decreased dramatically, even among strong advocates of the theory); Miscarriage from video display monitors; Cancer from electromagnetic field radiation; Radon; Dioxin; Pesticides commonly used on fruits and vegetables causing cancer to "eaters";

Feel free to add more, below.

The comments duly take him up on that, and serve as a quick reminder of all the ridiculous scares (did someone say "Alar"?) that the "experts" have foisted on a gullible public. The longer your experience and the better your memory, the less impressed you tend to be by "expert" claims of impending catastrophe: you realize the odds are that they've just bollixed up their work again.
2nd-Feb-2009 05:10 am (UTC)
is he arguing these things are not harmful?

birth control pills, for example, are a bit of a calculated risk.
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