|Junk science flourishes because progressive dogma is antithetical to objective reality.|
My Alar Epiphany Thanks to Meryl Streep
By: George Noga – February 4, 2018
The zeitgeist of 21st century America (and the world) is the increasing inability to distinguish fantasy from reality, junk science from genuine science, witch doctors from authentic doctors and fake news from real news. Like most Americans, I once trusted science and the media; however, I had an epiphany during the 1989 Alar hysteria. I will share my personal journey with you; but first, bear with me as I remind you about some of the more notable examples of junk science during my lifetime.
Laetrile, pesticides, fluoridation, overpopulation, BPA, organic food, EMFs, global cooling, acid rain, ozone hole, Alar, silicon breast implants, falling sperm counts, killer bees, GMOs, vaccines and autism, global warming, swordfish overfishing, mad cow, SARS, landfill shortage, avian flu, thiomersal, swine flu, dioxin, satanic day care child abuse, PCBs, pink slime, campus rape crisis and artificial sweeteners.
The list goes on: paper consumption, cell phones and brain cancer, gender wage gap, Superbowl spousal abuse, anti-packaging paranoia, fracking, plastics, acrylamide, ethanol, bio energy, infant mortality worse than Cuba, Keystone XL Pipeline, Arctic sea ice, antibiotics in animals, caffeine, Dakota Access Pipeline, baby powder and cancer, E-cigarettes, electric blankets, X-ray scanners, sodium and ad infinitum.
I still trusted science and the media in the mid-1980s when a neighbor, whose children attended the same day care as ours, contacted me about EMF (electromagnetic field) risks from high voltage transmission lines – then being hyped by the media as the panic du jour. Our children’s day care facility was located directly under such lines. I researched the issue and concluded there was nothing to worry about; nevertheless, we both withdrew our children. The EMF scare turned out to be 100% junk science.
Although chastened by my EMF experience, I continued to drink the kool-aid until 1989 when mass hysteria erupted over Alar, a chemical sprayed on apples to prevent rotting. I was in agriculture and knew people who used Alar. After much research, I concluded Alar was harmless; my conclusion soon was ratified by, inter alia, the UN, AMA, Surgeon General, FDA, WHO and the National Academy of Sciences.
The Alar panic began when 60 Minutes ran a segment claiming 6,000 preschoolers may get cancer caused by Alar-treated apples. CBS showed an image of an apple with a skull and crossbones. Phil Donahue said, “We’re poisoning our kids“. Meryl Streep, a NRDC stooge, testified in Congress and raised the panic to a new crescendo. People worldwide quit buying apples and apple juice; both disappeared from grocery stores. The industry lost $2 billion. Hysterical parents called state troopers, who dutifully stopped school buses to confiscate apples from students’ lunch boxes.
The Alar episode was a media-fueled hoax based on junk science perpetrated by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an extremist environmental group backed by Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. Alar never posed any risk whatsoever to health. Despite the Alar panic being a total fraud, extreme environmental groups today regard it as a success story. Neither 60 Minutes, Redford nor Streep has ever recanted.
Since my Alar epiphany, I am uber-cynical about science and media. All the science scares listed supra proved to be either totally or mostly junk science. We are in a new age of unreason because progressivism is antithetical to objective reality; it much prefers dogma, mythology and political correctness. Progressives have transmogrified into 21st century witch doctors, corrupting science, the media and now sports. I learned to distrust science and the media in 1989 – thanks to Alar and Meryl Streep.
Our February 11th post takes on the cosmic issues facing government.