Now Showing: The Latest Scary Story

04Aug06

A Little knowledge is a dangerous thing, they say. For some, that is all they need for fame and quick bucks. First the Center for Science And Environment comes up with allegation of pesticides in cola drinks three years back, and now they say the pesticide content is more than before, and they used the meantime to improve their testing laboratory.

So as the story goes, they made their earlier allegations without a proper testing lab. And now they also say “Good science” is a convenient tool to obstruct action. Oh! So, they also accept they are unscientific – Frighten people of drinking pesticides, sue companies and make money.

It happens thus. Fear is such an able tool to alarm people into submission. Eat something, you get cancer. Drink colas, your intestines dry up. Talk on your mobile, you get brain tumor. Walk in the sun, you get cancer. Drive your vehicle, the ozone breaks open and you get cancer. Take another breath, you get a jolt of lightning traveling straight from the next galaxy.

Make some scary stories and people budge. People are becoming more afraid of life than death. Research studies, like the cola-pesticide one, vindicate not the facts but the people who fund them. Certain researches begin with the conclusion, thereby being only a process of justifying an already made conclusion. The Global Warming, for instance. Most research begins by concluding that Global Warming is true, and then looks for data to prove their stand.

Instrumental Temperature Record shows that,

Most of the warming occurred during two periods: 1910 to 1945 and 1976 to 2000; the cooling/plateau from 1945 to 1976.

What is not explained though, is why do we find cooling of the earth in one block of time and not a constant warming up? Also,

The Antarctic peninsula has warmed by 2.5 °C (4.5 °F) in the past 5 decades in certain places meanwhile East Antarctic has cooled.

Why does some part of earth warm-up and some part cools down? The climate has warmed considerably in the last two decades. So what’s new? Warming and Cooling cycles have been happening since the time Earth came into being. Now, Is Global Warming really happening?

The simple answer is, nobody knows! But then, with that answer how do the umpteen Environment Protection organizations survive? So let’s just say there is this looming disaster, a major catastrophe the planet is facing, and sue automobile companies and factories who let out smoke. Let’s just show people the melting ice caps and frighten them, but zip our lips about the cooling ice caps.

Fear earns money. And that is all that matters. Survey of US state climatologists says that,

The fact remains that current science is unable to isolate and measure variations in global temperatures caused only by man-made factors.

We really don’t know if Global Warming is for real. We don’t know anything to predict any looming catastrophe. But the facts in their totality are never stated as they are.

Another classic example is, when someone came up with the theory that Mobile phones cause brain tumor. Tell the word “Tumor”, and people get terrified. And then someday someone exploits this fear and comes up with an indigenous plastic cover to wrap the phone so talking won’t cause tumor. And people buy it because they don’t want tumors and so, a new industry of mobile gadgets has opened, saving humanity from brain tumor. That is, if the facts were not put straight, as BBC noted

A study that researchers claim suggests links between using mobile phones and brain tumours is flawed, radiation experts have said… the study “lacks statistical precision” to draw such conclusions.

You cannot pronounce as truth, anything you cannot factually demonstrate. The pesticide in colas episode blown open recently, is only another such example of preying on the phobias of unsuspecting people and making money out of it.

Correct analysis is one thing, correct solution is another. You will not get brain tumor if you talk on your mobile. You will not get cancer if you walk in the sun. The world will not submerge under melting ice caps. Our planet is a safe place to live. We humans are good people. So, why don’t we just Live, please?

Updated on 8th August, 0900hrs:
Thanks Raghavan, for sharing this link to the TOI article on the Pesticides issue. Its quite revealing.

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3 Responses to “Now Showing: The Latest Scary Story”

  1. 1 Raghavan

    Nice article Kishore. We think we are living in a age of information, but the fact is we are living in a age of misinformation. Scientists say what their sponsors want, media say what will fetch them more TRPs, politicians say what will garner them more mandate. Nobody will say the entire truth. All we get to know is the manipulated versions whether it may be on Global warming or on pesticides in colas. Well on the pesticides, couple of weeks back Ramadoss (Health minister of india, also in news before for sacking AIIMS head) asked cine stars to refrain from Cola ads. Immedialtely after that we get this so called research from CSE, well do we see a nexus here?
    BTW do go through this link which I feel makes things clear http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-192821,prtpage-1.cms

  2. Controversies…

    Happens… :)

  3. 3 Kishore

    Raghavan,
    Thanks! Especially for that excellent pointer. I’ve updated the post.

    Mahen,
    It does! :)


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