[Powderworks] 60 Mins
Kate Parker Adams
Sun, 17 Nov 2002 14:33:01 -0500
At 10:59 AM 11/17/02 -0800, Jim Macdonald wrote:
>His argument is basically that the money is better spent on other risks
>that we have
>more knowledge of, and so it's not so much, I think he would say, that he's a
>reductionist about the precautionary principle, so much as he thinks there
>more pressing risks for which the evidence is more clearly known.
Ahhh, crass reductionism in a fashionably palatable social package. Gotta
Its such an appealing argument this "now lets solve the current problems"
business. So appealing that even Voodoo Risk Assessment Guru John Graham
and his bastard stepchild Ropeik are pumping it into every corner they can,
the topic depending on who is currently funding them to study something
into controlled submission (Ropeik's "antibiotic resistance is a much
bigger problem than pesticides and kids" in an article not remotely about
pesticides is one example of this ... never mind that the corporately
funded risk assessment machine was in high gear to tell us not to worry
about profligate antibiotic use in agriculture just a couple of years ago
Problem number one is that the two approaches are not mutually
exclusive. You can address current problems and ward off future problems
as well because prevention is very inexpensive by comparison. Problem
number two with this approach is that anyone with any knowledge of
exponentiation or the common wisdom of our elders will know that "a stitch
in time saves nine".
Uh-oh. One stitch given what we know about a small rip is much less
resource intensive than nine stitches in a big gash. And the restoration
effort that prevents the big scar from showing will employ even more people
and resources. There we precautionists go ruining the economy again!
But at least we know that our beds our burning ...