The editorial team at The Des Moines Register, (as well as many liberals), seem to think that anyone who does not follow the recommendations of our government’s scientists is a “science denier.” That’s not true. People can believe the science but disagree about how to respond politically. Science can give us a pretty good idea of what will happen when we take certain actions, but science does not tell us what risks are acceptable or what trade-offs we are willing to make to achieve any specific level of safety. Those are either individual or political decisions. We could stop COVID-19 completely if everyone was required to stay in their home for the next 30 days. But even then, some would die in their homes. There is no perfect answer. It is a proper role of government to use its force to stop or slow the spread of a communicable disease. But as we can clearly see there are wide differences of opinion regarding what trade-offs we are willing to make and what level of safety should be our goal. To the extent that those who are not willing to take a risk can protect themselves, others should be free to take risks.
The Des Moines Register recently published a report about Madison County Boar of Supervisors considering a requirement that wind turbines be setback 1.5 miles from the nearest home. Ben Johnson, a cardiologist who lives in Madison County was quoted as saying, “Industrial wind turbines have never been proven to be safe, nor free of adverse health effects,”
It is difficult, if not impossible, to prove that anything is safe or free of adverse health effects. For example, driving or riding in a car at any speed has never been proven to be safe. No amount of second-hand barbeque smoke has been proven safe. Eating chocolate has never been proven free of adverse health effects. We live in a risky world. It would be impossible to live our lives if we were prohibited from doing anything that was not proven safe or free from adverse health effects.
We should not have policies that prohibit things until they are proven safe or free of adverse health effects. Unless something is proven to be unreasonably dangerous, it should be allowed.
The Des Moines Register on Friday, July 12, 2013 included an article that stated:
“…a Purdue University study has found that diet sodas may be linked to a number of health problems from obesity to diabetes to heart disease, just like their more sugary counterparts. Susie Swithers, a professor of psychological sciences and a behavioral neuroscientist, reviewed a number of recent studies looking at whether drinking diet soft drinks over the long term increases the likelihood that a person will overeat, gain weight and then develop other health problems.”
If you go to the source, you find that the author of the “study” classifies the paper as an “opinion”, not a scientific study. She reviewed a number of other studies and wrote her opinion about what she concluded from her review. She speculated that drinking artificially sweetened soda may induce “metabolic derangements” that may end up causing a person to ear more other food.
I think she is wrong and I think she reversed the cause and effect.
I speculate that people who are thin don’t worry so much about what they drink and so they drink regular sugar soft drinks. People who are overweight try to reduce calories when they can, and diet soda is a relatively easy way to reduce calories. So, there is a tendency for people who are overweight to drink diet soft drinks. The article/opinion reverses the cause and effect. Diet soda does not cause obesity. People who are obese, or who tend to have weight control problems, drink more diet soda than relatively thin people.