New threat — Global Diet Warming

One of the commentors on my last post concerning Paula Deen’s new status as punching bag for the anti-fat hysterics took me to task for my condensed description of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.  I’ve never had any prior correspondence with him, but he stated that he’s a 20 year insulin dependent diabetic.  Based on his statements concerning fat, I guess him to be motivated and very well-read on the topic.  Unfortunately, he seems, like many other folks, to be in the wrong library.

His screen name and email indicated he’s a political candidate.  A trip to his site and a little Googling showed him billed as a conservative (Republican) small business owner.  His site seemed to show a good grasp of the issues of the day, with some concrete ideas on what to do about them.  In other words, he’s probably unelectable.

He challenged me on my science, and I think I acquitted myself satisfactorily.  I occasionally hold forth on nutritional topics here, but am not generally interested in an all-out nutrition science debate in this forum.  I’ll do it, but I have to keep looking  up references and fact-checking and it’s just a slow process for me.  Not in my wheelhouse.  I’d prefer to just send them over to the Younger Brother’s site and then tell them — as the Younger Sister did to me once with the biggest, meanest kid on the block — “let’s you two fight!” (forty years on and my ribs still hurt if I turn just right.)

Anyway, the more I thought about it, the more I thought I could make a convincing case to this young man based on some common ground.

Here goes:

Dear Mark,

I appreciate your weighing in on my post, especially as we seem to disagree.  Keeps things more interesting.  I’d like to make an appeal for you to reevaluate your current understanding of this particular topic based on a political argument, as your email and website seem to imply this is an area of common ground for us.

Unless you’re a Newt Gingrich-style “consistent conservative,” I assume we’re on the same page on global warming (I’m actually libertarian, but we should see eye-to-eye here).

What do we agree on regarding this issue?  Here’s some premises…

*  Global Warming (previously “Global Cooling,” currently morphed into just plain old “Climate Change”) got its start with a group of what you would call “true believers” with an agenda who jumped to some very fast conclusions based on what was then sketchy but plausible evidence.  Since it supported their preconceived notions, they were more rigorous about defending their conclusions than preserving scientific integrity.

*  The initial alarms having rung, governments were delighted to jump in with grants and other support, because it’s obvious on its face that the answer to every problem this line of inquiry raises is — “more government!”  This resulted in an immediate, entrenched, politically and financially vested special interest group.

*  Criticism pointing out the flaws in the initial and all subsequent models were/are delayed until well after the initial conclusions are spoon-fed to a generally unquestioning media.

*  Every model designed to “prove” Global Whatever has been shown to be either flawed or hasn’t supported the desired conclusion.  The result is always then described as “inconclusive.”  In more honest science, this outcome is called “failed to support the hypothesis.”  And in real science, the goal is to  devise experiments that would actually disprove the hypothesis.  Then if the experiment finds results not in accordance with predicted results, the correct conclusion is “the hypothesis was disproved.”

*  Even when these models fail, as they all do, the “researchers” still insist that we should behave as if the hypothesis had been proved — “just in case” — because everyone knows they’re probably right, they just haven’t been able to prove it yet.

*  The researchers cherry-pick their data sets with the goal of supporting the conclusion they’ve already decided they’re going to publish, and ignore contrary data sets.

*  The summaries published by the researchers say their hypotheses have been supported, even when analysis of the actual data refutes their conclusions.

*  Casual observations that correspond to the chosen models, like a few years of record warm weather, are trumpeted as further evidence, while contrary observations, like unpredicted lowering trends, are explained away as irrelevant or “paradoxes.”

*  When questioned, supporters insist that their work is above reproach because it’s been peer-reviewed.  As Climate-Gate exposed beyond question, the peer-review process is completely controlled by the same group pushing the preordained conclusions.  In other words, a favorable peer review will only result from getting the “correct” answer, and real challenges won’t be accepted by the “peers.”

* Supporters rely heavily on various “appeals to authority” arguments.  The biggest whopper is the “there’s a consensus!” argument, citing x number of scientists who agree.  Besides simply refusing to acknowledge highly qualified people who don’t agree, the idea that scientific fact is somehow subject to some quorum is ludicrous on its face.  “I’m sorry Mr. Newton, but you’re two votes shy of the two-thirds majority defined in our bylaws, so the whole gravity thing is now false.”  Oh yeah, and don’t bother looking again because — “the debate is over!”

Let’s keep in mind, however, that all of this research is done by very smart, usually sincere people in lab coats with advanced degrees and lots of initials after their names.  They’re published, highly regarded in their fields, and head whole departments at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world.  Keep in mind also, once they’ve bought in to the orthodoxy, they have a lot at stake.

…Okay, what’s this got to do with your health?  Everything.  See, the global warming folks didn’t invent all of this.  They just cobbed the playbook from the “Lipid Hypothesis” crowd.  Every one of the points above was preceded by years in the diet/nutriton field, from Ancel Keyes’ cherry-picking of flawed data from six out of twenty-two countries (because the others didn’t support his “fat causes heart disease” conclusion), to the original diet guidelines cooked up by a George McGovern staffer over the objections of scientists, to the hearthealthywholegrains cheerleading and funding of the USDA and it’s “buy more commodities” food pyramid, to the massive funding expended by the government (and Big Pharma) on studies to “prove” the fat=cholesterol=heart disease connection (so $tatin$=low cholesterol=better heart), to the complete failure of those efforts, and the subsequent hearlding of the “proof” even in the face of the actual results.

So as a conservative, do you really think that this was the one area where the government was going to be intelligent, objective, efficient, honest, and immune to politics and literally billions of dollars of profits and influence?

But I don’t want you to listen to me — I’ve got an Accounting degree, for crying out loud.  I’m just suggesting that you apply the same level of honest inquiry and intellectual rigor to a topic that will directly affect your life, health and hapiness as you would any other topic where very interested, very vested parties are saying “trust us.”

As I stated before – -you’ve been lied to.

Cheers,

JN

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8 Responses to New threat — Global Diet Warming

  1. Sarah says:

    Good job, Jerry!

    It never ceases to amaze me how so very many otherwise intelligent people will believe anything their told as long as it’s delivered by scientists and doctors. People seem to believe it’s somehow sacrilegious to question a PhD or M.D.

    I’m expecting Newt Gingrich to show up for the next debate in a lab coat.

  2. Sean says:

    As Chris Masterjohn pointed out a while back:

    I argued for the importance of distinguishing the lipid hypothesis, which holds that high concentrations of cholesterol in the blood cause heart disease, from the diet-heart hypothesis, which holds that high amounts of saturated fat in the diet cause heart disease.

    So when someone says that eating fat clogs the arteries they are technically invoking the diet-heart hypothesis. GCBC is the place to start the deprogramming. Then there’s the, I dunno, the cholesterol hypothesis, that dietary cholesterol causes high blood lipid cholesterol, hence clogs the arteries and cause CHD. Throw them all together and you’ve got the ringing disaster known as the USDA Food Pyramid.

  3. Gerard says:

    Jerry I know it would be rather a long job but it would be awesome if you or your brother would do a speech on such a topic. While your post is funny – it doesn’t actually cite anything to back up your case.

    I watched the global warming swindle and was amazed that Al Gore in his film misrepresented the data showing that heat follows C02 and not the other way around. On further looking into that documentary The Global warming swindle I also found it too was filled with half truths, lies and cherry picked data.

    For me the jury is still out. I agree with you that there is a real danger when orthodoxy becomes the “truth” – and no one questions it. But on the other hand It also concerns me that people and scientists with Liberterian leaning political views may not want to accept the possibility of global warming caused by C02 due to the political solution it may entail….. more government.

    You know the left had to suck it up when communism didn’t work….. And I know this going to sound like utter blasphemy :) :) here but if global warming is occuring due to C02 then perhaps big, big international government cooperation might be a pragmatic solution?

    You know I *LOVE* the free market. But at the end of the day I’m first a foremost a pragmatist. I hope that people look at science in separation of both their political ideology and what “they know as right”…..

    Our Government recently put in a carbon tax which im in favor of. While the Jury is still out on global warming Im pretty convinced the recent acidification of the ocean is a real environmental concern. Plus burning fossil fuels spew out lots of other pollutants into the atmosphere. Id prefer we all go Nuclear while we develop other clean technologies.

    Speaking of free markets – Australia has moved up to #3 on the heritage free market index. Mate! Whats going on!?!? lol- we convict centrists must be doing something right….

    Take care …


    Hi Gerry,

    The models proposing CO2 as a source of global warming have been debunked elsewhere, particularly when it’s pointed out that temperatures have risen before CO2 levels in many instances, which apparently means just the thought of CO2 seems to be enough to scare the world into warming before it actually shows up.

    Keep in mind that my post was specifically not intended to do an argument on the scientific merits per se. I wanted to point out the cognitive dissonance of people who see the global warming industry as junk science perpetuated by vested interests; who can look at the same set of circumstances in the nutritional science FUD machine and not see that it’s the same thing.

    You seem to be restating the “just in case” argument for regulation — which is not science — it’s the “Pascal’s Wager” of the environmentalists’ religion. You have to have noticed that the people who are the most vehement proponents of global warming (and big government solutions) also tend to be the most vehemently opposed to nuclear.

    Who the hell beat Australia on the free market question? You may want to demand a recount. Kind of moot here — I see we only made 10th place. Probably slip off the damned list by the election.

    Good hearing from you!

    –jn

    • Chris says:

      Gerard,

      You should read this book:

      http://www.amazon.com/Heaven-Earth-Warming-Missing-Science/dp/1589794729/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327934210&sr=1-1

      I believe that Tom Naughton actually recommended it on his blog. It was very effective in clearing up any doubts that I had about CO2 causing climate change.

      Additionally, even if CO2 were causing global warming, foolish government interventions that destroy the free market like Cap and Trade and CO2 taxes would never be the solution.

      — Chris

      • Jason Brady says:

        Thanks for the book link. I was wondering if the older brother might point to someone else who would be good for a fight on the climate change scandal.

        I would say that it would take some good science to prove to me that what the government proposes would work, before I would agree to a government solution. Their track record doesn’t support them as the pragmatic choice.

  4. Tom Naughton says:

    Let me add another book suggestion:

    http://www.amazon.com/Air-Seriously-Inconvenient-Global-Warming/dp/0958240140

    Written by a journalist, easier read than Plimer’s book while still doing a bang-up job of examining global warming (ahem) science.

  5. Tom Naughton says:

    I realize you didn’t write this post as a critique of global warming hysteria per se, but nonetheless this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal is rather interesting:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html

    There goes Al Gore’s “consensus” … again.

    What would they know — they’re just a bunch of world-class scientists!

    You could take each of their points and substitute “lipid hypothesis” for global warming and it would read the same.

    I thought the part about how scientists can argue if the mass of a proton can change — but if they question that global warming is “incontrovertible,” they’re thrown off the island — was especially profound.

    Why do I think Einstein, unlike today’s lab coat lobbyists, would be intellectually elated to hear that real scientists think they’ve seen particles moving past the speed of light, calling into question his most famous legacy of E=MC(squared)?

  6. Rebecca Fox says:

    But wait…science IS incontrovertible, isn’t it? Everything scientists speak is gospel truth, there are no mistakes, and science is unchanging.
    Just ask those who question the status quo. Could it be possible that global warming is just a ruse to make money with green technologies? Hush, scientist…that’s not the accepted body of knowledge. Could it be that cholesterol and fat really aren’t the culprits in the diabetes/cardiovascular disease crisis? Shhhh, scientist…that’s not yours to question. Could it be that our earth shows evidences of being designed by an intelligence (whether god-like or alien) rather than evolved? Shut up, scientist…we throw out all anomalies and outliers, like any other accepted truth.
    Will true science ever exist? Science that deals only with evidences doesn’t exist. In all big scientific debates, it’s best to pick a side and just stick with it. That way we won’t confuse people with competing theories.
    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take a walk on our flat earth while munching a heart-healthy stick of margarine and staring off into the ether.

    Of course true science will never exist, but it should be aspired to; especially, one would hope, by scientists.

    -jn

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