Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Compare the Science Coverage for Yourself

If you're one who thinks "facts are facts", you probably didn't major in Statistics. No matter what your position, if you look at recent articles on two major issues of social and political concern, the scientific approach applied to them seems, I don't know, different. Here are the story links.

Pot Smoking and Global Warming

1) About the possible increase of mental illness among juvenile marijuana smokers:
While researcher Neil McKeganey claims, "If we wait until we understand that mechanism, we will lose thousands of young people," another researcher who is also quoted extensively is taking a more measured approach.

...Paul P. Casadonte, MD, a psychiatrist and associate clinical professor at New York University, cautions in an interview that research is not yet strong enough to show a causal link between marijuana use and serious mental disorders... "That's dangerous territory. It's politics more than science at this point," says Casadonte, who is also director of substance abuse treatment programs at New York Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center..."Marijuana has more of an addiction potential than most people want to believe," he says. "But basically we just don't have the science" to claim a causal link with mental illness.

This report is from Fox News, hardly considered the bulwark of liberal bias, but they provided a legitimate voice against reactionism. It's already illegal to smoke pot, so I'm not sure what else McKeganey is hoping will save the youth. However, I might imagine this preliminary research will get less reasoned (or zero) coverage elsewhere where its conclusions are less welcome.

2) About the human causes of global warming:
Two of the world's leading scientific journals have come under fire from researchers for refusing to publish papers which challenge fashionable wisdom over global warming.
A British authority on natural catastrophes who disputed whether climatologists really agree that the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity, says his work was rejected by the American publication, Science, on the flimsiest of grounds. A separate team of climate scientists, which was regularly used by Science and the journal Nature to review papers on the progress of global warming, said it was dropped after attempting to publish its own research which raised doubts over the issue.

With marijuana, let's do further research, don't rush to judgement, even though recreational marijuana use is already illegal and I'm not sure what else McKeganey wants done to save the youth.

But if it's global warming, let's accept the doomsday scenario, spend billions, squelch dissent and devlopment, and pretend everyone agrees.

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