Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares

Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth At what point does preventive action justified by the Precautionary Principle become a Moral Panic Hindsight is a wonderful thing but a plethora of scares based on very dodgy science tells the tale of gross sensationalisation of new scares and of gross overreaction by officials and government ministers It makes one very sceptical of the next doomsday scenario Swine Flu or especially devastation caused by Climate Change.Dr Richard North, eminent food safety consultant and now political analyst for eureferendum.com, and Christopher Booker, first editor of Private Eye, provide carefully documented, devastating case studies of a whole series of scares which resulted in the government wildly overreacting and destroying industries and livelihoods and incurring hugely disproportionate costs.This is close to my heart Indelibly imprinted on my mind is Stephen Dorrel s Health Minister statement on the 20th March 1996 linking the BSE epidemic in cattle to CJD in humans From that day it was a race against time to relaunch my business in a new industry and avoid going bust I suspected, as did many others, that the link between BSE and vCJD was tenuous and that the prediction of 500,000 deaths a year from vCJD an exaggeration By October 2006 after the entire UK meat export business and many other businesses , mine included, had been destroyed and the government had spent 3.45 billion on the scare, vCJD incidence was running at 3 cases a year and 106 in total in 10 years.Richard North and Chris Booker describe a whole series of such scares since the 1980 s from salmonella in eggs, to listeria in cheese, dioxins in poultry, DDT, the Millenium bugs infecting computers at the turn of the century , nitrate s in water, vitamin B6 lead in petrol, passive smoking, SARS, and asbestos where the pattern was repeated One of the most heart rending scares that tore families apart revolved around the belief that gained currency in the mid 1980 s in some social service departments that child abuse was rife In Cleveland in 1986, 121 children were suspected of being abused and taken away from their families sometimes for years with only 4 successful prosecutions a pattern repeated in Rochdale, Nottinghamshire, Pembroke and Orkney until the scientific diagnosis technique upon which the charges were based were discredited.But on the other hand they then examine the great organophosphate cover up whereby the catastrophic effects of organophosphates in sheep dips and aircraft fuel has been systematically denied despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.However plausible scares may seem it is crucial to examine the scientific evidence objectively and be prepared to review the solution in the light of the unfolding evidence.Their direst critiscms are levelled against the totally inappropriate reaction to the warming of the globe in the late twentieth century So much economic and political capital is being invested in measures to reduce carbon emissions that it will take years to undo this act of faith whatever the evidence that such measures are not necessarily the best response. Well written and with copious and appropriate references to support the grim sequence of events in each chapter I wish I could find errors in their development of the principles presented but I have to admit it hangs together all too convincingly The scientific concepts are accurately described without being inaccurately oversimplified, but even if you skip these bits, you will be left with a disturbingly accurate account of what has been going on I hate to think what an American edition would be like. As you ll note from the mixed nature of the reviews on here, this book investigates areas of heated debate Focusing mainly on the modern s of the media fuelled health scare, the authors investigate causes of such panics such as the BSE scare that almost ended beef consumption for a period, asbestos panics through all the way to the most controversial of them all passive smoking Generally the opinion on all of the subjects is that based on limited evidence, the media begin clamoring for the government to act Based on such an outcry, as in smoking, the government weighs in heavily such as the indoor smoking ban and then follows with a program of denigrating the activity, such as through the heavy handed cancer pics on the back of cigarette packets and adverts via the health promotion agency.What really makes this book very thorough is that it considers many aspects of how such health panic crazes arise From the limitations of science and a public misunderstanding of how there really are few established truths in science, and there always will be dissent to some extent i.e plank s constant in physics , through to the paramount nature of health in modern eyes as well as media spin Also, as alluded to, the role of big government in regulating these activities and the tendency towards excess therein Well evidenced as well as having a convincing thesis.Despite the fact that the ASH people and others who have already adopted counter positions to the arguments in this book will largely account for its poor reviews, no one could argue that it is well written and in a pleasingly non alarmist style It is very engaging and should hold the attention of people who maybe aren t that interested in the issue itself It peers deeply into the machinery of modern society, through its cogs of politics, science and want.A very good book indeed. A well researched and superb selection of the sort of madness and mass delusions that have always gripped mankind The staggering costs and human tragedies of the scares is well presented and I only hope many people who are not usually interested in this sort of thing will read it, so that the next time they hear something like measles vaccine causes autism they ll demand to see proof before diving into the deep end As for the media, I d like to see them display responsibility, but quite frankly, I doubt they ever will If it bleeds, it leads seems to be branded into their brains at journalism school A shame time wasn t spent on skepticism and research As an example, any time they hear someone say It s for the children they should assume that those people are incompetent, lying, or pushing an agenda, and start their investigation with that in mind.I give out very few 5 star reviews, so that should indicate how impressed I as by this book. From salmonella in eggs to BSE, from the Millennium Bug to bird flu, from DDT to passive smoking, from asbestos to global warming, scares have become one of the most conspicuous and damaging features of our modern world This book for the first time tells the inside story of each of the major scares of the past two decades, showing how they have followed a remarkably consistent patternIt analyses the crucial role played in each case by scientists who have misread or manipulated the evidence by the media and lobbyists who eagerly promote the scare without regard to the facts and finally by the politicians and officials who come up with an absurdly disproportionate response, leaving us all to pay a colossal price, which may run into billions or even hundreds of billions of pounds This book culminates in a chillingly detailed account of the story behind what it shows has become the greatest scare of them all the belief that the world faces disaster through man made global warming In an epilogue the authors compare our credulity in falling for scares to mass hysterias of previous ages such as the post mediaeval witch craze , describing our time as a new age of superstition The mystery to me is why this book hasn t been widely heralded or attacked It s been out almost 2 years now and contains what appear to be unassailable arguments and documentation as to why two of the current scares, global warming and secondhand smoke are nonsensical as threats It hasn t made the best seller lists, yet it also contains a lucid explanation of why reliance on wind energy is both costly and foolish hint winds don t always blow and you have to have a backup system when they don t, ergo the cost calculations are nonsense Where are the global warming acolytes to attack this thing Where is the savior, Al Gore, to explain it s fallacies A must read for the serious skeptic, but tough slogging Worth the effort. Brilliantly written, faithfully researched I am old enough to treat everything with suspicion and this book only reinforces why I do.It is unfortunate that many of the players involved in the scares recounted here will simply not read the book and hang their heads in shame.A virtual study in what makes the human race look and act stupid This book should be a standard study for all high school students, business heads, civil servants and media chiefs. A fun, quick introduction to the foolishness of politicians and regulators Very informative and well written The illnesses and food scares became a bit tedious after a while, however the chapters on Global Warming, lead, asbestos, and second hand smoke were facinating and very well documented The author provides details most have never heard behind the suppression and discrediting of dissenting studies, which are abandoned after they fail to support the politically correct position I ve watched since the 60s as passive smoking went from a stinky habit which was impolite to do in the company of non smokers, to the 2000 s when near panic would errupt by the fanatical anti smoking lobby if a single whiff entered their nostrils on a beach Truly silly stuff Its always surprised me that Americans would buy into that nonsense This book really details how deceived we ve been and still are. I found this book interesting from beginning to end It was well documented The content was sobering and I found it amazing that the entire world could be duped by government officials, media, politicians and environmentalists to take up causes that have cost the world billions and billions of dollars I recommend this book to all and even if you disagree with the content you would have to admit that the run away train mentality is alive and well today It is a must read


About the Author: Christopher Booker

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth book, this is one of the most wanted Christopher Booker author readers around the world.


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