Friday, April 19, 2019

Debunking a so-called "scientific" study

Karl Denninger points out - scathingly - that a recent study of fine particulate matter air pollution is fundamentally flawed in its recommendations, because it doesn't take the whole picture into account.  The study claims that there are up to 100,000 "premature" deaths every year due to such pollution.

100,000 dead people in a year is 0.03% of the American population.  A real number, to be sure.

But..... all those trucks, trains, cars, boats, agriculture and industry -- the source of that fine particulate emission -- is why we have:

  • Food.
  • Energy.
  • Warm houses in the winter.
  • Cool houses in the summer (A/C, to be specific)
  • Fire engines so if your house catches on fire it can be put out.
  • Water pressure at the hydrant so the fire engine can put the fire in your house out.
  • The ambulance to haul your about-to-be-dead ass to the hospital when you have a heart attack.
  • The chemicals required to sanitize your city water.
  • The chemicals required to turn your **** (literally) into safe discharge water in that same city.
And so on.... basically, all the trappings of modern civilization.

In short without those emissions many more than 100,000 people would "prematurely die" -- 10x as many, if not more, due to a lack of food, electricity, clean water and readily-available transportation yet that alleged "paper" includes none of the positive effects and avoided deaths, premature or otherwise, that come along with those emissions.

This isn't "science", it's political advocacy and lying wrapped in "environmental" claims.

There's more at the link.

I've seen so many of these superficial, special-interest-driven "studies" that I've long since lost count.  They all espouse an ideological position, and amass "scientific" facts (or what they allege to be facts) in support of that position.  In other words, they decide what they want to prove, then set out to find corroborating evidence.  They don't look at the "big picture" at all, because that might threaten their preconceptions.

In fairness, we have to admit that this is a problem on both ends of the ideological spectrum;  conservatives are just as guilty as progressives, and so on.  Unfortunately, that means we can't accept a "scientific" study's conclusions uncritically.  We have to presume the existence of bias and manipulation, and double-check for them before we decide whether or not the study can be trusted.  That's bad for all of us, and for science as a whole.



Uncle Lar said...

One of the more egregious examples of such bias in so called research studies was one done by the Violence Policy Center on defensive gun use recently.
Their claim was that there were something less than 250 such cases per year in the US.
You had to dig very deep into the report to find that they based this number strictly on justifiable homicides.
By their definition a defensive gun incident only counted if the victim shot and killed their attacker.
Shot and wounded, didn't count.
Held at gunpoint, didn't count.
Displayed their weapon and caused the attacker to flee, didn't count.
One can almost see a pattern here.

deb harvey said...

'climate change' caused by sun's activity we cannot control the sun
all is foolishness
should concentrate on learning how to adapt

Old NFO said...

And the 'peers' that review this claptrap are the same ilk... sigh...

John Ray said...

We do not know from whence the 100,000 comes. First, no death certificate lists "air pollution" as a cause of death. The numbers used (I've read numbers far in excess of 100,000 and numbers far less than 100,000). Second, the EPA numbers are estimations based upon assumptions -- that's not science at all.

Not that I am promoting air pollution, inhaling coal dust or other dirty air -- I am just saying, there is no science to date such that we can rely on a recited number.

CDH said...

More statistical medicine. You know about the kinds of liars, right...

John Ray said...

CDH: +1

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Census Bureau estimates the population to be around 378,000,000. 100,000 would be around .0003.