TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Don't Allow Under-9s to Use a Mobile

Re: Don't Allow Under-9s to Use a Mobile

Mark Crispin (mrc@CAC.Washington.EDU)
Mon, 24 Jan 2005 08:42:26 -0800

On Sat, 22 Jan 2005, Fred Atkinson wrote:

> I'm simply saying that based upon what I
> have read, I believe there is some sort of a problem here. As I
> stated, the jury is still out on just how big of a problem this is.

> I guess I'm the eternal skeptic here.

These two statements are fundamentally in conflict with each other.

First, you admit to a belief in an unproven assertation; one that many
knowledgable people say is nonsense. Then you claim to be a skeptic.

It is not skepticism to adhere to a belief just because it has not yet
been proven completely false under all possible conditions.

There is strong evidence that cell phone radiation is harmless in all
normal use. The amount of heat generated is neglegible compared to
normal environmental issues and the wavelengths are too long to damage
DNA (which is the mechanism by which radiation would cause cancer).

In the face of that evidence, there are only anecdotes to support the
belief that cell phone radiation is harmful. These anecdotes often
dismiss, disregard, or even denounce scientific study of the issue;
and often go into conspiracy theories.

Your comparison with tobacco is ludicrous. The harmful effects of
smoking have been known for hundreds of years. The claim that "the
tobacco companies told us that smoking was healthy" is a cop-out by
aging smokers who hope to extract some money rather than blame

If you wish to be a skeptic, you will dismiss anecdotes and irrelevant
comparisons, and go with facts. The facts are that there is no
evidence at all of any harm caused by cell phone radiation. What harm
is caused by cell phones is from other causes: possible carpal tunnel
though ergonomically poor design, accidents caused by inattentiveness,
and overwhelming the social harm caused by inconsisiderate use.

-- Mark --
Science does not emerge from voting, party politics, or public debate.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Just go back for a minute Mark, to your
discussion of aging tobacco users. I am about as aged as they come with
about a half-century of tobacco use behind me. Yet for the past thirty
years give or take a few years, I have seen that warning lable on the
packs and cartons, but have not heeded it. (Yes, I smoked for about
fifteen or twenty years *before* the government required that notice
on every pack; I recall when there were simply more logos and drawings
on the package before the government took over that valuable 'real
estate' with their required notices, etc). Yet it would not occur to
me today to blame my cigarette smoking on ignorance, inability to
break away, or any of the countless excuses people give when they file
those suits. I've had many opportunities to quit, and have chosen not
to do so.

Also, there have been countless class-action suits (various
governments against tobacco companies) to force the tobacco companies
to pay for expenses 'they caused', ie. smoker deaths, etc. Big Tobacco
*was* paying these costs, and still are in a few cases, but when it
was revealed that the governments were *not* dedicating that money to
treatment/education programs (just tossing it all in the general pot
and chronically running out of money before they got around to
smoker's treatments, etc), the tobacco companies wised up and said
'no more settlement payments from us until/unless you begin using the
settlement money as you agreed with the court you would use it.'

I mean, do you remember when the government used to say 'state lottery
is a good thing; the money will build new schools, better roads, etc?
Ditto with the settlement money from tobacco companies; its just a way
for the government to chisel even more money out of people; not being
used to 'find a cure' or 'treat sick people' at all. PAT]

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