In medicine and beyond, folks just want stuff to be true. Sometimes, we believe stuff that is unproven, but might be true. We doctors recommend such treatments to patients every day. On other occasions, a benefit of a drug or food item is extrapolated way beyond the data. For example, if Nexium is known to be effective against stomach ulcers, then why not use it for patients with stomach aches who are ulcer-free? There’s not a gastroenterologist on the planet that hasn’t engaged in this therapeutic mission creep. More interestingly, folks often persist in beliefs that have been disproven. The notion, for example, that certain vaccinations can cause autism has been thoroughly debunked by rigorous scientific study, yet there remain diehards who defy the science.
Curiously, many unproven or disproven practices have gained a fair measure of street cred in the Court of Political Correctness. Keeping a gluten-free diet today is downright chic. Colonic cleansing is the bomb. Kale is king.
If we want to generate some heat in the green crowd, just mention the word ‘radiation’. Ingesting irradiated food, for example, is believed to be tantamount to swallowing strychnine. No persuasive evidence necessary. Faith will suffice. Nuclear reactors are regarded as atomic bombs in waiting, as if burning coal or hydraulic fracturing (fracking) are as clean and pure as the first snowfall. The sun’s radiation, which assaults us daily is somehow not demonized, nor are cosmic rays, high energy radiation which bombards our atmosphere and can reach down to earth itself.
Cell Phone-Free Zone!
The City of Berkeley, the epicenter of New Age Goofiness, has just passed an ordinance that requires retailers to warn customers about the medical risks of devices that emit radiation, such as cell phones.
Here’s an excerpt from the caveat.
If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is on and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to radio frequency radiation. This potential risk is greater for children...
Luckily, I'm mostly in the clear. I am not a child and do not don female underwear. I secrete the phone into the left inside pocket of the sport jackets I wear each day to work. The phone, therefore, rests above my heart. Perhaps, the gentle radiation from my beloved iPhone is conferring a cardiac benefit on me? While it's just conjecture, perhaps, if my heart gets tempted to beat out of step, that my iPhone's rays keep my rhythm sure and steady.
If I were the cell phone companies, here's how I would fight back. Forget about litigation or trashing the fiends who fear all radiation, foreign and domestic. I would sell my theory of cardiac protection to the American Heart Association. For a proper donation, they might consider cell phones to be 'Heart Healthy'.
If your adversary argues without facts, then shouldn't you?