TCS Daily


Chemical Ban Will Not Help Kids

By Gilbert Ross - June 19, 2009 12:00 AM

Activists and some politicians are exploiting parents' legitimate concerns for their children's health by trying to convince state governments to pass a ban on the safe and eminently useful chemical bisphenol-A (BPA).

BPA has been used in many familiar guises for decades, with absolutely no reliable evidence of harm to humans of any age. Considering its many uses, one might say it's almost ubiquitous. Among the most common uses: plastic bottles of many types--it's required in the manufacture of shatter-proof polycarbonate plastic, which is also invaluable in baby bottles, bike helmets and protective car-seats, eyeglass lenses, and medical devices of many kinds. The resin coatings that protect the integrity of canned food and beverages--as well as nearly all electronic circuit boards--also depend on BPA.

So what's all the fuss about? It has been claimed that low doses of hormonally-active substances in the environment may cause health problems, but this allegation is highly controversial. Multiple studies by both government and private researchers have not shown any evidence of adverse effects in humans. My organization, the American Council on Science and Health, published a peer-reviewed scientific assessment of the available data, including both animal and human studies, that found no compelling evidence that people are being put at risk by the trace levels of exposure to BPA.

Since BPA is found in our bodies--although at extremely minute amounts--some groups have seized upon this as an excuse to frighten parents and seek government and media attention. However, with our increasingly sophisticated analytical techniques, near-infinitesimal quantities of almost anything can be detected in our blood and tissues. Even the Centers for Disease Control have stated that the mere presence of a substance in our bodies does not mean that it's harmful.


Periodically, activists with an anti-chemical agenda pick up on these issues and start pressuring politicians at various levels of government to ban or restrict consumer products, based on nothing more than hypothetical dangers like this one.

Despite what's been painted as received truth in the activist blogosphere, the FDA's conclusions are based on the full weight of scientific evidence after their review of hundreds of studies from all sources, not just a few industry-funded studies. Official scientific analyses worldwide have comprehensively reviewed the actual data, and have reached similar conclusions: BPA in consumer products is safe as currently used.

If states take a stricter view of BPA than the U.S. FDA, and even the ultra-precautionary EU, what will be activists' next target? With a safety track record spanning more than fifty years, BPA is one of the best-tested substances in commerce. What would replace BPA in the many applications it is essential for? Will glass replace shatter-proof baby bottles? Will some other chemical replace it in bike helmets--only to come under activist attack in a year or two, since the safety record of any replacement will be more suspect than this well-known substance?

Let's not throw the baby bottles out with the bath water. There isn't a shred of scientific or medical sense in the proposed ban of bisphenol-A. If there were, wouldn't the regulators and their expert scientific advisors around the world have taken notice, after decades of its safe consumer use? Regulators should resist the political pressure to target BPA and follow the scientific and medical database supporting BPA's continuing safe use--for all ages of consumers.


Dr. Ross is Medical Director of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH.org), which recently published a report skeptical of "low-dose" chemical effects.
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149 Comments

Teratologic chemicals are your friend
Search for "bisphenol a mutagenesis" and you'll find 5,470 articles discussing the known mutagenic potential of this chemical.

Search for "bisphenol a endocrine disruptor" and you'll find another 22,500 articles.

Search for "bisphenol a genital abnormality" and you'll find another 2,710 articles.

It has been well established that bisphenol A, used in sippy cups, baby bottles and numerous other articles intended to be in contact with the human mouth, disaggregates in the presence of heat and enters the immediate environment.. including the mouth.

One aspect that is being thoroughly established right now is the link between loose bisphenols entering the system of the expectant mother and the birth of male children with uro-genital deformations. Perhaps you should read some of the scientific literature before concluding with the American Council on Science and Health that the potential for danger to fetuses has not yet been established.

Food causes cancer!
"Although cancer-causing substances are often thought by the general public to be synthetic, there are numerous carcinogens that occur in nature, and in food plants. (Concon,1988)

For example, tannins occur widely in plant foods and we ingest them daily in tea, coffee, and cocoa. Tannic acid has caused liver tumors in experimental animals, and may be linked to esophageal cancer in humans.

Cycad plants are important food sources in tropical regions. Cycads contain cycasin and related azoxyglycosides that were found to cause liver and kidney tumors when fed to rats.

Safrole, which is a liver carcinogen in rats, is found in sassafras tea, cinnamin, cocoa (trace), nutmeg, and other herbs and spices.

Black pepper was found to be carcinogenic to experimental mice. Pyperadine and alpha-Methylpyrroline are secondary amines in black pepper which can be nitrosated to N-nitrosopiperadine, a strong carcinogen. "

http://extoxnet.orst.edu/faqs/natural/natcarc.htm

DHMO causes cancer!
"The causative link between Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) and Cancer is currently not established, although a significant amount of evidence seems to suggest that DHMO at least plays a role in the formation of cancer, including:

* Hodgkin's Lymphoma,
* Ewing's Tumor,
* chondrosarcoma,
* fibrosarcoma,
* multiple myeloma,
* colorectal cancer,
* Leukemia,
* basal cell carcinoma,
* squamous cell carcinoma, and
* malignant melanoma.
"

"Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is perhaps the single most prevalent of all chemicals that can be dangerous to human life. Despite this truth, most people are not unduly concerned about the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide. Governments, civic leaders, corporations, military organizations, and citizens in every walk of life seem to either be ignorant of or shrug off the truth about Dihydrogen Monoxide as not being applicable to them. This concerns us. "

http://www.dhmo.org/

Be more specific
While the title of the article is wrong, because banning BPA would indeed help kids. The premise may be correct, that banning BPA is over-reaching, because the main danger of BPA exposure lies in the ingestion of BPA particles that are inevitably released through the use of products that contain BPA.

Perhaps if the author paid better attention to the marketplace, he would be aware that many baby bottles no longer contain BPA and almost all are phasing out its use because consumers are more widely educated about the risks and thus have used the information to make educated decisions about which bottles they buy/use. Babies are the most susceptible to the risks of BPA exposure. We're all screwed for the time being because of the use of BPA in plastic bottles and containers, and the inner linings of metal food containers. These uses don't appear to be changing in the short term.

The science is unable to show a direct link to disease from the use of BPA, this may be true, but do we really need a smoking gun to accept the fact a shooting murder has occured? No. We know there are dangers of BPA exposure thanks to science. I suspect the author simply has an ideological agenda, it appears the same agenda comes from the ACSH given the dominance of biased opinion on the website.

Word of advice, don't microwave your plastic containers. Its the quickest way to release BPA particles directly into your food. You may not die of cancer tomorrow from BPA, but maybe you will in ten years. Maybe. Really, is it worth the risk to adhere to an ideology based on "maybe"?

That's a great site Marjon
Now where do I go to get my fifteen minutes back?

Squaring the circle
Interesting how enthusiastic this American Council on Science and Health is over the wonders of bisphenol A. Especially as their contributors include both Ciba-Geigy and Ethyl Corporation. Both these firms appear to be involved in the production and sale of bisphenol A.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Council_on_Science_and_Health

In fact Ciba-Geigy has been described as a "leading supplier" of the chemical.

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/EP0576057.html

So we would appear to be getting these messages "straight from the horse's mouth".

Attributing motives poisons the well
The problem of automatic attributing bogus science to sourses of financing is that it poisons the well by attributing motives instead of scientific method and investigation of what is being asserted.. Any research recieves financing and is done by human beings with motives.
We all have motives here also. Governments and individuals and all organizations have motives and only peer reviewed scientific testing of premises allows us to check out assertions of truth or falsehood definitively.
Testing assertions with logic and science avoids assigning motives directed by our own rarely pure motives.
Minds are also rarely opened by poisoning the discussion well.

Cancer research is going to pot
Pot smoking causes cancer just like cigs according to these scientists. Maybe worse.

http://apnews.excite.com/article/20090619/D98U1L380.html

Be prepared for ad hominem attacks Dancquill, 4 daring to HIGHLIGHT that someone funds ALL research
And for daring to mention the futility of attributing motives.

Wegman Report
"One of the interesting questions associated with the ‘hockey stick controversy’ are the
relationships among the authors and consequently how confident one can be in the peer
review process. In particular, if there is a tight relationship among the authors and there
are not a large number of individuals engaged in a particular topic area, then one may
suspect that the peer review process does not fully vet papers before they are published.
Indeed, a common practice among associate editors for scholarly journals is to look in the
list of references for a submitted paper to see who else is writing in a given area and thus
who might legitimately be called on to provide knowledgeable peer review. Of course, if
a given discipline area is small and the authors in the area are tightly coupled, then this
process is likely to turn up very sympathetic referees. These referees may have co-
authored other papers with a given author. They may believe they know that author’s
other writings well enough that errors can continue to propagate and indeed be
reinforced. "

http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:SELHKxp-qlAJ:www.climateaudit.org/pdf/others/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf+wegman+report&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

This discusses the incestuous relationships among climate researchers.

One could hope not all peer 'reviewed' research is treated so.

But if our news media is any indication, with ABC and NBC becoming the White House press office, who can be trusted these days?

You a smart boy...
Great post. I never liked plasticizers much myself and I don't feel comfortable microwaving anything that might contribute little bits of itself into my food...however.

The lab rodents they use for carcinogenic studies are genetically fine tuned to be sensitive to just about anything or nothing at all. They'll get a tumor from a subcutaneous injection of sterile water.

Most of us are probably not in any real danger but what the heck...it's easy enough to be extra careful since we are wealthy enough to throw out our plactic ware and buy new stuff made out of safer stuff as often as we get worried about any little thing.

But how about malaria and doing something about those mosquitoes? I know the poor people are all way over there in deepest, darkest somewhere else and it's literally their own fault they have disfunctional governments and all...but we sure do spend a lot of time worrying about how many parts per million of mostly benign molecules we have in the tissues of our dogs...now that we have the equipment to measure to those tolerances...but what about the mosquitoes? First things first...really.

Living in bubbles
Growing up among cows and pigs, and all the associated bacteria and viruses was probably a good thing for me. So many today suffer from allergies and a hyper immune system because they have been exposed to so little.

Oh, did I attribute motive?
I thought I was just pointing out the enormous coincidence that the article under scrutiny offers what seems to be a detached scientific opinion.. and that it was written by one of the principles of an advocacy group that is itself underwritten by the manufacturer of the substance that is the subject of controversy.

The author could just as readily (albeit bravely) have taken their money and then published what the rest of the scientific community has come to understand.. that exposure to this substance has strong statistical links to teratological effects on developing fetuses, even in extremely tiny doses (parts per billion). And that it has been used in water bottles, including baby bottles. And that it spalls off the surface of these vessels when exposed to microwave energy.

But if he mentioned any of that in the article, I must have just missed it.

That should no more imply that the information being divulged was biased than, say, if we were to read the opinions contained in a popular political blog.. and then find out that the blog in question was being funded by the Iranian Revolutionary Council.

What could such a fact possibly have to do with an objective evaluation of the views expressed?

At any rate I would advise the readers of ANY informational site, whether funded by Al Gore, the US government the Church of Scientology or the Society for the Flat Earth, to utilize their critical faculties, and verify the material personally as best they can.

And if one finds himself short of the grounding in the field he needs to form an intelligent opinion, he bone up a bit on his developmental biology, his statistical analysis, or whatever field he finds himself weak in, before offering anything beyond the most tentative opinion.

That's all. I didn't mean to cast any stones.

Look at politics of authors
When 'scientists' like Mann begin to use politics to advance their agenda, I question their 'science'.

Also, scientist are not immune from ego and petty politics amongst themselves. Look at what they did to Fleishman and Pons. And there were many pioneers that were ridiculed for challenging the status quo. I thought that is what real science was about.

I just finished 'Expelled' by Ben Stein. Looking at how the biology community treats anyone questioning ID is appalling.

When questioned directly, even the Dawkins had no answer to the question of how life began. One of his speculations how life on earth began was it was seeded by aliens but then how did alien life begin? He had no answer.

Science cannot proceed when some questions are not allowed to be asked.

Roy, there is NO SUCH THING as a "detached opinion", scientific or not
Opinion implies there IS an "opinioner", if there is such a noun.

As such, EVERY opinion is ATTACHED to a person.

Do you have an answer to 'who created "God"'? If not, why do you keep dragging Him into discussions?
..

I said nothing abourt God. It is you who keep dragging Him into the discusson.
Maybe you should ask yourself why you become so irrational when you think of God?

There's most of your problem, right there
We really are two different kinds of people.

For me, an objective opinion is one that aims to reflect what is actually true.. regardless of whether it's an opinion I might enjoy believing. Or one that fits neatly into my schema of the way things ought to be.

And for science, it's the same way. Wherever the facts point toward ought to be the benchmark for a scientific opinion. The Scientific Method itself is just a way of codifying a methodology to reach objective statements one can make about the world.

Plainly put, if you think there is no such thing as an objective opinion, you think there's no such thing as truth. Everything, everywhere, to you would be just a matter of opinion.

The origins of living matter
You seem to think that all the biological sciences have a political element. Is that true? Did Darwin, for instance, hold political views that corrupted his data and analysis?

"Science cannot proceed when some questions are not allowed to be asked."

Any question is allowable. But there are questions that are not amenable to scientific exploration.. for the reason that there is no verifiable evidence. Every scientist concedes that these are a matter of faith, not science.

As Creationism and ID deal in this area, the proper place in the school curriculum for these subjects would be in religion or philosophy. They are inappropriate to a science classroom.

As matters of faith they are perfectly legitimate. As science though, they are mistakes.

We can, on the other hand, say quite a bit about the way life began. As the years go by we are learning more and more about the Archean Era, while the planet was still cooling. Suffice it to say for here that the properties of life are inherent in the properties of the various elements. And that a planet with abundant liquid water as well as sufficient quantities of nitrogen, iron, potasium and phosphorus is likely to in time build life.

"Looking at how the biology community treats anyone questioning ID is appalling."

My impression is that many of them rather look forward to it.. assuming you really mean supporting iD, not questioning it. They only give up after they see they're not getting anywhere.

But the final point should be that what we are considering to be unique is Life, not God. Therefore it should be Life that we hold in the highest of esteem. No God is required to make it run.

Where is the science to explain how life began?
If it was known, it could be duplicated in a lab. That is how science works, proof.

What is gravity?

The point is not to be too arrogant about what is thought to be known.

"My impression is that many of them rather look forward to it.. assuming you really mean supporting iD, not questioning it. They only give up after they see they're not getting anywhere.


They give up because their colleagues were fired.

Disease studies
I have a question, concerning the study of noninfectious diseases.

It's very easy to pinpoint cancer clusters.. for example. And once we find them, we're naturally curious as to why there are more cancers there, and less or maybe none someplace else.

We now have a temporal cluster, of childhood and even neonatal cancers. These used to be vanishingly rare. Now they're pretty common. Isn't it natural for us to wonder what has changed?

Inevitably the spatial clusters are near something. Maybe it's a factory. Or a nuclear plant. Or an old toxic waste site. Isn't it natural to wonder whether there's a connection?

Or is such a prurient interest just proof that someone's gunning for the corporations?

Let's put it again: when we find a cancer cluster near some industrial site and posit a connection it's common to see members of that industry put out articles deflecting any criticism of the product. And saying things like "not proven" or "politically motivated" or "leftist plot".

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Likewise we see environmental groups putting out money to study the issue, to try to find out whether there is an actual connection or just an apparent connection.

Again, is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Should we just sweep all these disturbing questions under the rug? And trust in God and DuPont Industries?

Hoping for your opinion in this matter. Second point.. mosquitos.

It's unfeasible to destroy the race of mosquitos, for the same reason it's impossible to exterminate ants. They're part of the fabric. And research has shown beyond any possible doubt that when the saturation method is employed-- killing as many as possible with blanket spraying-- what happens is typically that the mosquitos are more resistant than their insect and avian predators. So the mosquitos quickly come back stronger than ever, and their natural enemies don't.

You end up with more mosquitos and less other wildlife.

So more sophisticated methods are being explored. DDT works fine in most tropical areas, but not all. And in time these areas will become home to DDT-resistant mosquito populations. The thrust of the current UN drive for alternatives appears to be in this spirit, to get there first with alternatives and not just wait until nothing works any more.

If this is not the universal opinion, it should be. Use DDT wherever it has been shown to be the best stuff out there, as is currently the practise. But have other approaches ready for the day when it doesn't work any more.

Just as the progression between infectious diseases and medical advances is demonstrably an arms race, with each side getting a jump on the other, so it is with mosquitos and bug killers. Whenever we're ahead, it's only for a little while.

Even with "terrorists" (that is, people who object strongly to the way we rule the world) we'll never, ever be permanently ahead. It's always going to be just an arms race between us and them.

"More Science, More Fraud"
"Science is often said to bar dishonesty and bad research with a triple safety net. The first is peer review, in which experts advise governments about what research to finance. The second is the referee system, which has journals ask reviewers to judge if manuscripts merit publication. The last is replication, whereby independent scientists see if the work holds up."

"To be sure, most scientists resist pressures to cut corners and adhere to the canons of science, honoring the truth above all else. But surveys suggest that there are powerful undercurrents of misbehavior and, in some cases, outright fakery.

In June, a survey of 3,427 scientists by the University of Minnesota and the HealthPartners Research Foundation reported that up to a third of the respondents had engaged in ethically questionable practices, from ignoring contradictory facts to falsifying data."

"Still, the frauds kept coming. In 1999, federal investigators found that a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., faked what had been hailed as crucial evidence linking power lines to cancer. He published his research in The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences and F.E.B.S. Letters, a journal of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

The year 2002 proved especially bleak. At Bell Labs, a series of extraordinary claims that seemed destined to win a Nobel Prize, including the creation of molecular-scale transistors, suddenly collapsed. Two of the world's most prestigious journals, Science and Nature, had published many of the fraudulent papers, underscoring the need for better safeguards despite two decades of attempted repairs."

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/20/science/20rese.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2

Another reason to question the consensus
"A year ago, the American Physical Society passed a resolution calling on the government to delay deployment of a missile defense system until it was demonstrated to be workable against realistic threats."

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/22/science/essay-the-citizen-scientist-s-obligation-to-stand-up-for-standards.html?sec=health&pagewanted=2

"Comforted by the U.S. military's missile defense systems, Hawaii residents doubt a North Korean missile would light up the clear island sky like fireworks on the Fourth of July."

"On Wednesday, a military radar system - shaped like a giant golf ball - slowly disappeared from Hawaii's coast as it headed out to sea. The 28-story missile X-Band defense radar is designed to work with ground-based missile interceptors on the island of Kauai to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system was returned to Hawaii after the mobile launcher recently was tested at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Since 2005, all six tests of the ground-based missile system have intercepted their targets, excluding tests when the targets malfunctioned, Missile Defense Agency spokeswoman Pam Rogers said.

It is one of two missile defense systems the military tests at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai. The other is the sea-based Aegis system, which has recorded 18 successful firings in 22 attempts.

"We're in a good position should it become necessary to protect American territory," Pacific Fleet Lt. Cmdr. Chuck Bell said."

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090621/D98V3T0O0.html

Had the advice of the APS been followed, the only option would be a direct attack on DPRK or nuclear retaliation at the cost of thousands to hundreds of thousands of lives.

Scientists certainly have the right and obligation to vote and speak up. However, when their associations begin to engage in politics as is done with missile defense and 'climate change' to name two, science can get lost in the rhetoric.

Government health 'care' at work.
"For patients with prostate cancer, it is a common surgical procedure: a doctor implants dozens of radioactive seeds to attack the disease. But when Dr. Gary D. Kao treated one patient at the veterans’ hospital in Philadelphia, his aim was more than a little off."

"For patients with prostate cancer, it is a common surgical procedure: a doctor implants dozens of radioactive seeds to attack the disease. But when Dr. Gary D. Kao treated one patient at the veterans’ hospital in Philadelphia, his aim was more than a little off."

"Had the government responded more aggressively, it might have uncovered a rogue cancer unit at the hospital, one that operated with virtually no outside scrutiny and botched 92 of 116 cancer treatments over a span of more than six years — and then kept quiet about it, according to interviews with investigators, government officials and public records.

The team continued implants for a year even though the equipment that measured whether patients received the proper radiation dose was broken. The radiation safety committee at the Veterans Affairshospital knew of this problem but took no action, records show. "

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/health/21radiation.html?em

Our government at work.

Start with LUCA
I think you're just being contentious here.. only without the content.

"If it was known, it could be duplicated in a lab. That is how science works, proof."

Nuclear fusion. We think it works. Can we duplicate it in a lab?

We could test the hypothesis that life arose randomly from natural activities (that is, nondirected, random interactions of bits of flotsam) prevalent on the young earth. We would recognize that these chance compilations of molecular changes only resulted in a living or pre-living molecular structure once every.. oh, let's say ten to the sixteenth number of occasions.

So the kind of lab we'd need would be one the size of the earth, and the duration of the experiment might be fifty or a hundred million years.

As a matter of convenience, they like conducting a sequence of less ambitious experiments instead. If you want to see where some of the current exploration starts, begin with LUCA-- the last universal common ancestor. And work your way back from there.

The general approach is to look for natural mechanisms that could produce the results we see. And only when we run out of natural explanations tdo we resort to the supernatural.. that is, magical thinking.

So far we've been able to find ready explanations taking into account only what we know of the natural world. Not wizards behind curtains staging the arrival of living organisms.

By contrast, what experiment would you propose that might give us a glimpse of the Divine Intelligence at work?

On more careful consideration..
On second thought I should edit the first paragraph of my last comment. I implied that you were some kind of idiot. And actually your comments were well reasoned.

So, on that note, let's move forward. It seems to me that you've been searching for opposition, trying to find inflammatory comments by people like Richard Dawkins, whom we all know has something of a bug up his behind about God.

Instead, why not look for that majority of biologists who DO believe in God (yes, they are in the majority) and see what they have to say about mixing their religious beliefs with their scientific assumptions. Scientific American occasionally publishes articles in this vein.

Try it. You should find it very enlightening.

What Divine Intelligence?
Why do you assume 'divine intelligence'?

How do you assemble a collection of molecules and create the simplest form of life, a virus, which is really half life?

"Nuclear fusion. We think it works. Can we duplicate it in a lab?"

It has already been done, many times since the 50s.

Why don't you watch the film?


"Anthony Flew, renowed atheist philosopher,
caused quite a stir when he came to accept
the case for Intelligent Design: “It now
seems to me that the findings of more than
fifty years of DNA research have provided
materials for a new and enormously powerful
argument to design.”"

"Is Intelligent Design science?
Yes. All scientific reasoning is based on uniform
and repeated experience, and everything we know
from that experience tells us that information
always comes from an intelligent source. So when
we find information in the cell in the form of the
digital code in DNA, the most probable scientific
explanation is that DNA also had an intelligent
source.

Is Intelligent Design the Same as
Creationism?
No. Creationism typically relies on a religious
text or religious faith as its basis, and attempts to
reconcile science with it. The theory of intelligent
design (ID) relies on scientific data to show that
design in nature is the product of an intelligent
cause or designer"

{This is what many early scientist, who were very religious, tried to do. To understand God's creation. However, the concept of a designer does not predispose that it is God.}

http://www.expelledthemovie.com/downloads/expelled_leadersguide.pdf

Look at ignorance of marjon
First off marjon, what does ID have to do with Biology? What does ID have to do with science?

I'm curious about Stein's book now, it may be entertaining to read how the biology community treats ID people. ID people deserve it. Its like a black guy trying to join the KKK.

"Science cannot proceed when some questions are not allowed to be asked."

Any question can be raised in the realm of science. But science cannot proceed when the rigors of the scientific method cannot be applied to test the question. This is why ID can go nowhere in the realm of science.

Truth is, science is currently unable to provide an answer to the origin of life.

This is why people who are unable to accept the reality we don't have all the answers turn to religion. Religion is a mental weakness in this regard. How silly to think, if science doesn't have the answer, you can just turn to a predetermined set of beliefs to fill in the holes of knowledge. As if.

Cancer and Malaria...two subjects...
Roy,

You said "These [cancers] used to be vanishingly rare. Now they're pretty common. Isn't it natural for us to wonder what has changed?"

We are now very good at detecting very small cancerous growths. So the occurance numbers are way up. However, the data is starting to show that such early detection and treatment has very little impact on ultimate rates of cure. The reasons for this seem to be several.

A cancer cell is a statistically normally occurring anomoly among our 100 trillion cells. Technically what happens is that part of the DNA that codes for the maximum number of times a cell can divide...it is a counter that drops off one small unit per mitosis event in a mature cell is disabled and the resulting cell is able to divide an indefinite number of times. At any moment we have tens of thousands of these cells in our bodies and moving through our bloodstream. Normally, they do not find a place to settle in and establish themselves because the surrounding cells have specific expectations about who their neighbors should be and those intruders are walled off and disassembled harmlessly.

The small tumors we are able to find are typically slow growing...even if the cells themselves are considered malignant...and they never amount to much before the body's natural defenses reduce them away. Rapidly growing tumors, on the other hand, skip right over the small stage, quickly present themselves. When they sluff cells into the surrounding tissues and lymph they develop mestasteses that can be stubborn. But we are getting very good at going after those.

So a lot of this early diagnosis leads us to do heroic things that are pointless. It turns out that we are all lousy with cancer cells...most of which amount to nothing and it is the underlying mechanisms that combat tumors that are more important than early detection of small cancerous clusters.

Malaria. This is a human disease with a mosquito vector. If you can knock down the mosquitoes long enough to kill off the resevoir of malaria in the human population then when the mosquitoes move back in there is no malaria for them to spread. All they do is suck blood (and they don't eat much.)

But if you don't kill the mosquites then treating only most of the people at any one time won't be enough. Since you can't treat all of the people with malaria simultaneously because some were only recently infected and are not yet showing symptoms the presence of those mosquitoes will keep the disease spreading to healthy human hosts, you'll never catch all the sick people before the mosquitoes have a belly-full and the malaria just never goes away.

When we have malaria outbreaks in the United States and Europe we spray the bejesus out of the local mosquito population until everyone with the disease presents symptoms, is treated and the mosquitoes...and the other insects that were knocked down...can safely move back in again. We used to have crazy outbreaks of malaria in our world but we summarily put a stop to them. Anyone who denies that same opportunity to live without malaria to the people of the developing world is a racist...I don't care how green they say they are. They would never let their own children die like that. Knock the mosquitoes completely down one region at a time. It's absolutely the only way.


Cancer and Malaria...two subjects...
Roy,

You said "These [cancers] used to be vanishingly rare. Now they're pretty common. Isn't it natural for us to wonder what has changed?"

We are now very good at detecting very small cancerous growths. So the occurance numbers are way up. However, the data is starting to show that such early detection and treatment has very little impact on ultimate rates of cure. The reasons for this seem to be several.

A cancer cell is a statistically normally occurring anomoly among our 100 trillion cells. Technically what happens is that part of the DNA that codes for the maximum number of times a cell can divide...it is a counter that drops off one small unit per mitosis event in a mature cell is disabled and the resulting cell is able to divide an indefinite number of times. At any moment we have tens of thousands of these cells in our bodies and moving through our bloodstream. Normally, they do not find a place to settle in and establish themselves because the surrounding cells have specific expectations about who their neighbors should be and those intruders are walled off and disassembled harmlessly.

The small tumors we are able to find are typically slow growing...even if the cells themselves are considered malignant...and they never amount to much before the body's natural defenses reduce them away. Rapidly growing tumors, on the other hand, skip right over the small stage, quickly present themselves. When they sluff cells into the surrounding tissues and lymph they develop mestasteses that can be stubborn. But we are getting very good at going after those.

So a lot of this early diagnosis leads us to do heroic things that are pointless. It turns out that we are all lousy with cancer cells...most of which amount to nothing and it is the underlying mechanisms that combat tumors that are more important than early detection of small cancerous clusters.

Malaria. This is a human disease with a mosquito vector. If you can knock down the mosquitoes long enough to kill off the resevoir of malaria in the human population then when the mosquitoes move back in there is no malaria for them to spread. All they do is suck blood (and they don't eat much.)

But if you don't kill the mosquites then treating only most of the people at any one time won't be enough. Since you can't treat all of the people with malaria simultaneously because some were only recently infected and are not yet showing symptoms the presence of those mosquitoes will keep the disease spreading to healthy human hosts, you'll never catch all the sick people before the mosquitoes have a belly-full and the malaria just never goes away.

When we have malaria outbreaks in the United States and Europe we spray the bejesus out of the local mosquito population until everyone with the disease presents symptoms, is treated and the mosquitoes...and the other insects that were knocked down...can safely move back in again. We used to have crazy outbreaks of malaria in our world but we summarily put a stop to them. Anyone who denies that same opportunity to live without malaria to the people of the developing world is a racist...I don't care how green they say they are. They would never let their own children die like that. Knock the mosquitoes completely down one region at a time. It's absolutely the only way.


You do it (dragging Him into politics) often Marjon; don’t bluff. Here is one instance
Government is not god (http://www.tcsdaily.com/discussionForum.aspx?fldIdTopic=9734&fldIdMsg=103540).

In this - and in so many other instances - you implied that “God” grants “Rights”.

By the way what's rational about "God" Marjon?

THAT I agree; we really are two different kinds of people. You confuse opinions for TRUTH, I don’t
Do you even know the meaning of the word opinion Roy?

Here it is, the meaning of opinion, as applicable in the context of this exchange.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/opinion

a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.

a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.

"Any question can be raised in the realm of science. "
And you call me ignorant?

Do some research and discover how many scientists have lost their jobs for asking the wrong questions not only challenging Darwin but also challenging AGW.

"Intelligent Design and Academic Freedom"
"Sternberg was the editor of an obscure scientific journal loosely affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, where he is also a research associate. Last year, he published in the journal a peer-reviewed article by Stephen Meyer, a proponent of intelligent design, an idea which Sternberg himself believes is fatally flawed.

"Why publish it?" Sternberg says. "Because evolutionary biologists are thinking about this. So I thought that by putting this on the table, there could be some reasoned discourse. That's what I thought, and I was dead wrong."

At first he heard rumblings of discontent but thought it would blow over. Sternberg says his colleagues and supervisors at the Smithsonian were furious. He says -- and an independent report backs him up -- that colleagues accused him of fraud, saying they did not believe the Meyer article was really peer reviewed. It was. "

"But Sternberg says before closing the case, the special counsel, James McVay, called him with an update. "As he related to me, 'the Smithsonian Institution's reaction to your publishing the Meyer article was far worse than you imagined,'" Sternberg says.

McVay declined an interview. But in a letter to Sternberg, he wrote that officials at the Smithsonian worked with the National Center for Science Education -- a group that opposes intelligent design -- and outlined "a strategy to have you investigated and discredited." Retaliation came in many forms, the letter said. They took away his master key and access to research materials. They spread rumors that Sternberg was not really a scientist. He has two Ph.D.'s in biology -- from Binghamton University and Florida International University. In short, McVay found a hostile work environment based on religious and political discrimination. "

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5007508

"
Taylor has held the title of "state climatologist" since 1991 when the legislature created a state climate office at OSU The university created the job title, not the state.

His opinions conflict not only with many other scientists, but with the state of Oregon's policies.

So the governor wants to take that title from Taylor and make it a position that he would appoint.

In an exclusive interview with KGW-TV, Governor Ted Kulongoski confirmed he wants to take that title from Taylor. The governor said Taylor's contradictions interfere with the state's stated goals to reduce greenhouse gases, the accepted cause of global warming in the eyes of a vast majority of scientists. . . .
"
http://johnrlott.blogspot.com/2007/02/when-global-warming-meets-academic.html

Lives of Others
"The Lives of Others (German: Das Leben der Anderen) is a 2006 German drama film, marking the feature film debut of writer and director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. The film involves the monitoring of the cultural scene of East Berlin by agents of the Stasi, the GDR's secret police. It stars Ulrich Mühe as Stasi Captain Gerd Wiesler, Ulrich Tukur as his chief Anton Grubitz, Sebastian Koch as the playwright Georg Dreyman, and Martina Gedeck as Dreyman's lover, a prominent actress named Christa-Maria Sieland."

"Dreyman, though a faithful socialist, disapproves of the way dissidents are treated, and quietly stands up for those he thinks unfairly treated. One friend, Jerska, is a director who has been blacklisted. At Dreyman's birthday party, Jerska gives Dreyman a sheet of music to a piece titled "Sonata for a Good Man", and shortly afterwards commits suicide. This finally spurs Dreyman into speaking out against the regime. He arranges to anonymously publish an article on carefully concealed suicide rates in the GDR in the West German magazine Der Spiegel. Because all typewriters are registered, Dreyman uses a typewriter smuggled in from the west with a red ribbon to write the article, which he hides under the threshold between two rooms of his apartment. Before discussing sensitive issues in the flat, Dreyman and his friends try to test whether the flat is bugged by a feigned attempt at smuggling. However, out of compassion, Wiesler fails to pass on the information, making the conspirators think that the flat is not bugged."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lives_of_Others

The state tries to suppress facts about suicide.

Reminds me of how our state tries to suppress academic freedom.

I said nothing about God in the post you replied to.
Your irrationality is showing, again.

In a word.. no
My comment had nothing to do with detecting "small cancerous growths", which you assume are virtually inconsequential. The unprecedented increase we've witnessed in neonatal and childhood leukemias, sarcomas and other malignancies has been of aggressive, rapidly growing and matastasizing tumors that erupt suddenly and lead directly to life-threatening crises.

THAT is the problem with the new childhood cancers. It is more than cause for alarm.. and as it has coincided with wholesale lifestyle changes it leads naturally to an inquiry into which of the novel conditions life now is exposed to is making normal cell division a more hazardous undertaking for fetuses and the very young.

It isn't just some nuisance they have to pay a doctor to burn off with his laser. These things kill. You don't remember in the 1950s, when leukemia was something new, poorly understood and universally fatal for kids?

What is an all-capital letter TRUTH?
In light of your definition of simple opinion, as being "a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty", I agree that that would describe most personal opinions.. for example, that of which candidate would make the best president. But scientific opinion occupies quite a different category.

Scientists tend to be cautious about absolutes, and rarely say they are completely certain about anything. Yet most would agre, for instance, that the greater the amount of greenhouse gases in a volume of air, the greater will be its ability to retain heat.

This was discivered by experiment well over a century ago. And no one yet has performed an experiment that overturns the observation.

So it's a scientific opinion.. and a very good one, with a high degree of certainty. The only problem is that unlike you, scientists don't deal in ABSOLUTE certainties.

Tell me.. you speak of TRUTH, in all-caps. What kind of thing, for you, is true and beyond all contradiction? And on what do you base your certainty that this is so?

On mathematical certainty
I tried to answer my own question, to see whether I could find a category of beliefs that anyone could say were TRUE. And I only found one. Mathematics.

It's inherent in our numbering system that mathematical statements can be either true or false. One plus one ALWAYS equals two. Never more, never fewer.

But this kind of truth isn't a good fit for the world we live in. One man plus one woman, for example, can equal many little humans.

True?

You're talking about politics of science, not science
I was talking about science, not the politics of science. You may be accurate with what you're saying, we're talking about two very separate things. The political passion on both sides is very fierce.

Its a trickier subject with climate change because we don't have solid answers to the details. But with ID there is no doubt it is a religious proposition and has nothing to do with science.

ID is not religious
Many science fiction authors and stories have asserted life was seeded (created) on earth by some advanced intelligence. Is that religious?

Since we are now beginning to understand more about time and space, the idea that an advanced intelligence can span time and space is not inconceivable.

Also, as we learn more about cell structure and dynamics, we may be able to design self replicating cells. Is that an intelligent design?

That you associate religion with ID shows your hostility to honest, open discussion.

Politics does not drive science?
I wonder how many requests for federal grants in the past few years all had some sort of 'climate change' aspect to the request?

How many other, more valuable science projects were rejected because of politics?

In roy's mind, suggested actually does equal "well established"
Assuming I can use the phrase "In roy's mind" that loosely.

Let there be Light
"How do you assemble a collection of molecules and create the simplest form of life, a virus, which is really half life?"

You don't. Words like "assemble" and "create" assume a Creator. It doesn't happen that way.

Large arrays of molecules in a watery soup, or drying on a rock, or struck by lightning, take all sorts of shapes. Some of these simple molecules combine into larger molecules. The amino acids (occuring readily in a typical ancient-earth environment) make dandy catalysts for all sorts of interesting reactions to occur.

In time, some of these systems assume a form that is self-replicating. Much like the growth of a crystal formation in fact, although orders of magnitude more complex.

So you get bacteria, archea and other simple, non-nucleated forms that can replicate and draw energy from their environment. In time chlorophyll (a close cousin of hemoglobin and cyanoglobin) develops, and the little bit of something can even manufacture its own food.

And in time life occurs.. in the sense of consciousness. A symbiotic group of organelles takes stable form, one as the nucleus of a little factory, another as a chloroplast perhaps, another as a cilium and another as the powerhouse feeding the factory the sugars it runs on. That would be its mitochondrion.

It puts itself together, IMO, because it feels good about doing it. Not because some celestial biochemist has decided to make it his experiment. Life comes from within, as the esoteric teachings tell us.

By the time this thing sees the Light, I would call it fully alive. It flees the darkness and goes toward the light. It smells its environment with its chemical sniffer, eating what smells good and avoiding what doesn't.

Very far down the road, it is us.

Viruses may be simpler than living things, but I don't think that makes them precursors. I think they are bits and pieces of life that broke off.. and came to lead an independent existence as infectious agents. They have evolutionary strategies, in a manner of speaking, that can appear to be quite ingenious. But I see nothing there that implies conscious life. Everything they "do" can happen automatically.. other than perhaps the bacteriophages.

Is this design all that intelligent?
Sorry, I don't do downloads. I'm on dial-up. The fastest thing I can do is just type words on a page. But I'm sure it's a good movie.

If a Designer who is intelligent but is not God makes sense to you, great. Believe in Him.. it.. that. I find that only three things are necessary to describe the world we live in, including us.

1) Physical laws;
2) Mathematics; and
3) Consciousness.

And I find it easy to think that it probably all just happens automatically.. as directed by all the individual conscious entities in existence.

BTW, not everyone would think the design was all that intelligent. All the animals have to eat one another (or at least plant life) in order to survive. That seems problematic, for a just and moral universe.

I see you haven't read all 5,470 articles yet
Here's just one of them:

"Dangers of BPA are Confirmed by Weight of the Science

Bisphenol-A can alter the expression of several hundred genes with effects varying among specific tissues and also depending upon the timing of exposure. More than 130 studies suggest that BPA exposure at very low doses is linked to a staggering number of health problems, including prostate and breast cancer, obesity, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, brain damage, altered immune system, lowered sperm counts, and early puberty.

Although the safe level of BPA exposure set by U.S. EPA based on experiments conducted prior to 1988 is 50 ppb, some examples of effects at significantly lower doses of BPA include:

Behavioral changes: Many laboratory studies show that low-dose exposure to BPA causes behavioral effects, including hyperactivity (at 30 ppb);(6) increase in aggression (at 2 to 40 ppb);(7) changes in response to painful or fear-provoking stimuli (at 40 ppb);(8) impaired learning (at 100 ppb);(9)reversal of normal sex differences in the brain structure and elimination of sex differences in behavior (at 30 ppb);(10)decreased maternal behavior such as reductions in time spent nursing, increases in time resting away from offspring, and increases in time spent out of the nest (at 10 ppb);(11) altered play and other socio-sexual behaviors (at 40 ppb);(12) and increased susceptibility to drug addiction (at 40-300 ppb).(13)

Diabetes and obesity: Low-level, chronic exposure to BPA causes insulin resistance in adult mice.(14) Such insulin resistance leads to Type II diabetes in people as well as hypertension and cardiovascular disease. A recent study shows that even a single dose of BPA at levels currently found in humans can result in altered levels of blood glucose and insulin, and twice-daily exposure for just four days results in insulin resistance. Several studies show an increased rate of postnatal growth in both males and females as a result of maternal doses between 2.4 and 500 ppb per day, and accelerated postnatal growth is associated with obesity, insulin-resistant diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.(15)

Early puberty: Low-dose exposure to BPA can affect the timing of the onset of puberty. Several studies reveal the early onset of sexual maturation in females occurring at maternal doses between 2.4 and 50 ppb per day.(16)

Down Syndrome: BPA exposure is linked to an error in cell division called aneuploidy, which causes 10-20% of all birth defects in people, including Down Syndrome. In studies with mice, BPA causes aneuploidy even at extremely low doses.(17)

Reduced sperm count: Several studies show that low-dose developmental or adult exposure at levels between 0.2 and 20 ppb reduces daily sperm production and fertility in males.(18) In one such study, low-dose exposure to male rats caused decreased sperm count and affected testicular weight and structure.(19) The authors concluded that “BPA alter[s] spermatogenesis in a linear manner in a dose range which is perhaps relevant to the daily level of exposure in man." An important aspect of this finding is that BPA decreases the levels of testosterone in males.

Breast cancer: Studies show that low-dose BPA exposure stimulates mammary gland development.(20) In one study, scientists exposed mouse fetuses to a daily dose of 250 nanograms per kilogram of their body weight—less than 1% the amount deemed safe for humans in the U.S—causing increased breast tissue development. Higher density breast tissue is a risk factor for cancer. One study author, Dr. Ana Soto, indicated the results lead her to believe that BPA likely increases the risk of breast cancer in humans.

Prostate disease and cancer: Low-dose exposure to BPA can significantly increase prostate size. Several studies show an increase in prostate size due to hyperplasia in male mouse offspring at very low maternal doses. (21) Another study shows extremely low doses of BPA initiate the proliferation of human prostate cancer cells.(22) In addition, exposure to a very low dose of BPA for just a few days after birth predisposes male rats to develop prostate cancer in adulthood.(23)

Impaired immune function: Studies show altered immune function occurring at BPA doses between 2.5 and 30 ppb.(24)

Decreased anti-oxidant enzyme levels: A decrease in antioxidant enzymes (required to protect against cell damage) occurred at the very low dose of 200 parts per trillion (ppt) in adult male rats.(25)

Brain damage: Low doses of BPA can disrupt important effects of estrogen in the developing brain, causing brain damage. In most studies, BPA has been found to mimic the actions of estrogen in developing neurons, but in specific areas of the brain, BPA can have the paradoxical effect of inhibiting the activity of estrogen, which normally increases the growth and regulates the viability of connections between neurons. The concern relating to this finding is that this type of disruption is associated with impaired learning and memory.(26)

Changes in brain chemistry: Low-dose exposure to BPA causes changes in the brain, including an increase in progesterone receptor mRNA levels at 400 ppb of BPA,(27) increase in estrogen receptor alpha mRNA levels at 40 ppb of BPA,(28) increase in estrogen receptor beta mRNA levels at 25 ppb of BPA,(29) and a change in brain somatostatin receptors at 400 ppb of BPA.(30) These receptors are involved in regulating the brain control systems that coordinate the functioning of the reproductive system as well as reproductive and other social behaviors.

The U.S. government has concluded that animal studies are a vital guide to identifying health risks for humans.(31) Furthermore, there is extensive evidence that the sensitivity of tissues to BPA in the animals used in the experiments cited above is virtually identical to the sensitivity of human tissues to BPA. There are some strains of rat that are particularly insensitive to BPA as well as any other estrogenic chemical or drug, but these highly insensitive animals are considered by regulatory agencies to be inappropriate for use in toxicological studies aimed at predicting the potential risks to human health posed by exposure to low, environmentally relevant doses of BPA.

Miscarriage and polycystic ovarian disease in women: Low-dose BPA exposure is also associated with miscarriages in women.(32) In one recent study, scientists found levels of BPA in women with a history of recurrent miscarriage three times higher than in women who had normal pregnancies. (33)Specifically, the scientists examined patients who had suffered three or more consecutive miscarriages and compared the BPA levels of women who had subsequent successful pregnancies with women who miscarried again. In another study, women who had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) had higher levels of BPA, were more obese, and had higher levels of male sex hormones, suggesting a range of physiological abnormalities, relative to normal, non-obese women without PCOS.(34)"

http://www.environmentcalifornia.org/environmental-health/stop-toxic-toys/bisphenol-a-overview%20

Quite a lot of the knowledge we possess about bisphenol A is very well established. Among people in the field there is little room for doubt that the safest approach would be to ban it.

Wow, verry scientific: "And in time, life occurs..."
And this is the best science can do today?

And if a monkey pokes at a typewriter long enough he could type out War and Peace?

Crystals grow and assemble structures in nature. Is nature the 'creator'?

No excuse, it is on DVD. A good lilbrary should have it if you are too cheap.
Be careful about consciousness. Many scientists now believe that is all just chemical reactions.

"EVERY day, we live under the spell of an illusion: that our conscious mind is autonomous, and in control of our bodies and decisions. We think we have free will, yet as neuroscience digs ever deeper into the mystery of the human brain, that delusion becomes harder to justify. We are, as one neuroscientist told me as he used a powerful magnet to take control of my body’s movements, brain-machines."

http://www.13thingsthatdontmakesense.com/chap.aspx?ch=11


From what I can tell, those who want to explore ID are being punished for exploring all avenues. Is that science?

The best scientific guess
Yes, that's the best scientific guess. Do you have any idea of the problems in analysing something as immaterial as living forms in rocks three billion years old? The challenge is daunting, just to find anything. Yet they have a tentative grasp on what surface temps probably were, and the composition of the young atmosphere and oceans.

Mostly what we know is that once there was no life, and later there was. You can put forward any theory that fits the facts.

One might be that an intelligent designer came along, sat down and said "Now this might be a good place to invent life." I would rate that one about as likely as someone from the presumably far advanced future inventing a time machine.. then going back and making sure the whole shebang got started.

A much easier model would just suppose an earthlike planet, a lot of time and natural processes. No reason why such a normal event would NOT result in life.

"Crystals grow and assemble structures in nature. Is nature the 'creator'?"

This is also something that just happens. The crystalline format is just inherent in the properties of the elements. Mostly, their atomic structure.

An old sage in India said it best: The world is boundless in every direction; it has no beginning and it has no end. As it has no beginning it cannot have been created. And as it was not created, there can have been no Creator.

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