In Defence of Liberty

Driven by data; ridden with liberty.

Waiting for Godot

It is the wait for what will not arrive. (Edited: peter pallender)

It is the wait for what will not arrive. (Edited: peter pallender)

In addition to the rejoinder I wrote to the Bolton Smoker’s Club, I made comments both on my blog and their articles, requesting corrections for the mistakes they had published about me. The primary article described me in the title as an “anti-smoking vaper”, where both components are false.

The BSC’s main contributor referred to his personal health. I replied:

I praise you on your good health, and I apologise if this comment is overly long or I was previously aggressive. Unfortunately, I have known closely people have passed away from cancer, after lifetimes of smoking.

It is better to deal with data, rather than anecdotes.

That courteous end to a long discussion led to this inchoate point:

OK, I am rambling about now, but the idea of ‘an individual, living person’, as compared with ‘statistics’ came up in my recent spat with Dr Masters. When I told him that I was 75, a smoker since 17, and in good health, he described me as an ‘anecdote’. He preferred ‘data sets’.

Are his ‘data sets’ alive? Do they eat and drink, laugh and cry? ‘Data sets’ are what caused the slaughter of WW1. ‘Data sets’ are threats. ‘Data sets’ persecute people. ‘Data sets’ are cruel and inhuman.

When I asked for a correction, particularly for the insinuation I sought to dehumanise the author, I was informed this was “poetic license” and “creative writing”.


This was then proceeded by another mention in the main blog:

Dr Masters, the mathematician, told me off in the comments to my post yesterday. He complained that I misrepresented his views. I must admit that I tend to get a bit rhetorical, as I have above, but is that not part of the fun? When tobacco control stops exaggerating tiny differences, perhaps I shall stop being rhetorical.

Can you see what I did in that last sentence? I vaguely suggested that Dr Masters, the mathematician, is part of the ‘tobacco contol which exaggerates’. See how easy it is to imply! Tobacco Control does that all the time.

I have a bone to pick with Dr Masters and anyone else who chooses to believe in tobacco control doctrine (Oopst! I’ve done it again!)

This passage gave rise to another criticism of the Doll study.

To reasonable people, publishing an article where the title is factually incorrect would be embarrassing. To reasonable people, failing to issue corrections after the polite petition of the subject of these various erroneous statements would be disgraceful. To reasonable people, responding to these respectful requests with mockery, slander and spite would be despicable.

This author came to my blog, wielding the sword of truth and hoisting the flame of accuracy, to query a statistic about the mortal effects of habitual tobacco use. Yet, when the truth and accuracy of their own publications are questioned, the sword quivers and the flame dampens.

Once again, I hope corrections are published for these flawed descriptions and misrepresentations, but I fear it is a wait for Godot.



This entry was posted on March 7, 2015 by in National Politics and tagged .
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