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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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    • CommentAuthorbeelbeebub
    • CommentTimeApr 19th 2012
     
    Fostertom (FT) asks us to enter into his debate in the spirit of scientific enquirey and not knock him back just for thinking "outside the box".

    Science is often in a difficult situation regarding "leftfield" theories, sometimes scientific orthodoxy stands in the way of strange new ideas, yet a generation later the scientific orthodoxy is what appears quaint and "woolly headed". Quantum mechanics is so counter intuitive and "wrong" at first glance yet it is fundamental to our modern world, only a few decades ago the idea tha a bacteria caused the majority of stomach ulcers was quackery, yet now it is mainstream.

    So I will attempt to examine FT's arguments (FT, please correct me if I have misinterpreted any of your comments or concepts, likewise anyone else please feel free to point out the flaws in my chain of logic)

    Let me start with the theory JSHarris (JSH) put forward that em radiation from mobile phones, wifi etc are highly unlikely to be significantly increase the risk of adverse health conditions in the general population.

    It seems to me his argument boils down to two factors.

    1. He has measured the levels of em radiation.
    2. The levels observed fall below (or almost below) the levels considered safe by the scientific consensus.

    So to attack his theory I must disprove (or at least cast significant doubt) on either 1 or 2.

    For now I will take as read that 1. is solid and no-one is disputing the levels (correct me if I am wrong!)

    FT appears to be putting forward a "what if" related to item 2. Namely that the assumption that the relationship between risk and dose continues downwards as dose falls. FT asks what if the risk/dose curve had an inflection point below which the risk actually increased? This is a valid question to ask.

    Paul in Montreal (PM) poses the counter argument that we have been exposed to weak em fields (from natural sources) since the beginnings of our evolution, and if they were harmful then the effects should be obvious.

    I believe (I can't cite sources at 11pm!) a number of studies have been conducted on electro sensitivity and if memory serves me, all studies where the study was carried out double blind, showed no link between em radiation and any symptoms.

    It is widely accepted that a double blind study gives the most reliable result.

    FT counters (and please correct me if I have misinterpreted) that "intentionality" is an important part of the system.

    Quote from FT:

    In such an experiment, forget double-blind - double-blind is the problem, not part of the answer. The subject wd need to be aware that he's being irradiated otherwise it might go right past him as per usual. That's exactly why 'scientific method' consistently refutes the postulate in such experiments.

    In fact awareness alone of such radiation might get same result even when in fact the researcher has switched it off! Don't call it Placebo (veiled insult) - call it Intentionality (powerful and useful!).

    I'd like to focus on the "intentionality"

    If I am correct I can paraphrase FT by saying

    1. The subject needs to be aware if they are being irradiated other wise no effect might be recorded
    2. In some cases if the subject thinks they are being irradiated effects may manifest themselves (even without radiation)

    So I set up a perfectly screened room (no em of any kind inside) and place 2 identical black boxes that are test em emitters inside, A and B. I then conduct a large number of tests where one of 4 possible situations is played out.

    a. A emitter is on, B emitter is on
    b. A emitter is off, B emitter is off
    c. A emitter is on, B emitter is off
    d. A emitter is off, B emitter is on

    So the classic double blind (that FT does not trust)

    If we assume that the results are as follows:

    a: reaction
    b. no reaction
    c. no reaction
    d. reaction

    I would think that FT would have to conclude that the reaction correlates with B and not A (FT, please correct me if I'm incorrect)

    So now we reveal that (surprise!) A emits em in the range used by wifi and B is a light up sign saying "wifi on".

    We would have to conclude then that thinking that the wifi is on causes the ill effects and not the wifi itself.

    FT is the following this what you are claiming?

    The risk of adverse effects from em radiation increases as dose decreases (i.e. the curve suggested by FT is correct) if you think that the risk of adverse effects from em radiation increases as dose decreases

    That is the conclusion I get from reading your posts. If I have made an error please point it out to me.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDamonHD
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012 edited
     
    fostertom: the reaction of the 'rotweillers' in New Scientist is to people fraudulently claiming scientific qualifications/status for themselves or attributes for their products in order to con the gullible amongst other things. You find fraud against the vulnerable OK? You'll find the response of the scientists rather less forceful than against those con artists who pass themselves off as (say) lawyers or builders or doctors and also cause damage to their clients. These 'fruit-loopery' idiots do damage their clients, and smear real science.

    So, please don't misuse art terms or cherry-pick without even basic scientific method if you don't want to be ticked off for doing so is my view. And don't call scientists nasty names for not confusing your lack of understanding with your being right: you might possibly be, but as I say, extraordinary claims would would require extraordinary support and it would be *your* responsibility to provide it. You can't ignore the laws of physics just because you find them hard/boring.

    Rgds

    Damon
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    Posted By: beelbeebuba. A emitter is on, B emitter is on
    b. A emitter is off, B emitter is off
    c. A emitter is on, B emitter is off
    d. A emitter is off, B emitter is on

    So the classic double blind (that FT does not trust)

    If we assume that the results are as follows:

    a: reaction
    b. no reaction
    c. no reaction
    d. reaction


    Set up nicely for a Chi Square statistical analysis, that will never lie to you:wink:
    • CommentAuthorSeret
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012 edited
     
    What exactly is "bodily effect" and how is it measured?
    •  
      CommentAuthorDamonHD
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    Possibly something to do with trapped unicorn wind, if I'm to be a little waspish...

    Rgds

    Damon
    •  
      CommentAuthorDamonHD
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    I repeat that there may be some odd effects, like too little exposure to antigens as kids may cause more health problems as adults, but the slope of that graph and whether it's claiming to be asymptotic to the y-axis or not are rather vital bits left curiously vague there, ie does zero 'radiation' causes infinite disease? And how would 'zero' even be defined or measured?

    Rgds

    Damon
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    Posted By: DamonHDAnd how would 'zero' even be defined or measured?

    At Cern
    • CommentAuthorJoiner
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    And if you accepted the outcome of certain runs, the results would show up before they even ran the test. :shocked:
    •  
      CommentAuthorJSHarris
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012 edited
     
    One or two of latest posts have summed up what we normally call "placebo effect", but could equally well call "intentionality".

    There is evidence that some "alternative" medical treatments (such as homeopathy, acupuncture and a few far-field treatments involving magic crystals and the like) have no discernible effect unless the person being treated, or the person giving the treatment, is fully aware that the treatment is intended to produce a positive result.

    There is also a lot of evidence to show that if people believe that something will do them good then they do indeed get better. This has been the mainstay of medicine since prehistoric times, and is something modern medicine sometimes seems to struggle with.

    As a retired scientist I'd like nothing better than to be able to remove the belief element from assessing any particular hazard or treatment and only measure physical effects. The only way we have found to do this is using the double blind trial method, where neither the person being tested nor the person doing the testing knows what's being done or administered.

    It's very hard to argue that this method isn't valid to assess the physical effects of something, so it seems the supporters of some forms of "alternative" medicine have fallen back to the view that belief is essential for their pet treatment to work. In effect, they have become supporters of the placebo effect, which brings into question the efficacy of their "medicine" as being the true cause of any measured effect.

    The danger is in assuming that everything can be treated by belief, to the extent that people with serious, but treatable, conditions deny themselves that treatment. Equally, there is a risk that if people don't believe physical treatment will work it may not work as well as it could.

    As pragmatist I'd have to say that I believe that "belief medicine" should sit right alongside "physical medicine", with the two working together to provide the best combination of treatment possible. For as long as extremists on both side of the treatment divide continue to profess that the other lot are wholly wrong we're unlikely to get such a partnership, which seems a shame.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012 edited
     
    This is great - thanks everyone, especially beelbeebub's careful summary - and I like JSH's final para next above.

    Posted By: DamonHDfostertom: the reaction of the 'rotweillers' in New Scientist is to people fraudulently claiming scientific qualifications/status for themselves or attributes for their products in order to con the gullible amongst other things. You find fraud against the vulnerable OK? You'll find the response of the scientists rather less forceful than against those con artists who pass themselves off as (say) lawyers or builders or doctors and also cause damage to their clients. These 'fruit-loopery' idiots do damage their clients, and smear real science.
    is a fine example of law-maker, judge and jury rolled into one instictively conservative whole. I rest my case.

    Posted By: wookeyWe're scornful Tom, because you appear to be talking complete bollocks with a distinctly 'homeopathy' bent. I haven't got much time for anyone who thinks that double-blind tests are a bad thing, or posits that our immune systems resonate with infinitesmally small EM radiation levels. There is enough crap and nonsense in the world with out making up more of it and then asking people to disprove it.
    is a statement of personal world-view (presumptious 'We'), which is fine, but enforced slavering Rotweiller-style, which is not.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDamonHD
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    No Tom, you can't wrap yourself in the words (and achievements) of post-Enlightenment science while selectively ignoring some of its basic rules and be happy for others to flout them to con people too. That's an intellectually-dishonest and inconsistent position.

    Not 'slavering' but 'honest'.

    You are being incredibly disrespectful and rude to suggest otherwise to those who spend their lifetime trying to be consistent and accurate sometimes at significant personal cost. Stop it. Please.

    Rgds

    Damon
    • CommentAuthorJoiner
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    There is always danger in offering up unfounded ideas without qualification and/or a clear statement of intent.

    Mind you, even that's no safeguard against a piss-take. :bigsmile:
    •  
      CommentAuthorDamonHD
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    I'm actually still shaking with anger here about the insouciance re rigour/accuracy/consistency/honesty, while trying not to be too rude in my words, but you are right Joiner.

    It's not the offering up of unfounded ideas: we all have those. It's the piss-take of selectively ignoring parts of how the world works and then demanding that other people do the legwork to 'prove' the idea wrong. Or capriciously and fraudulently misusing selective parts to con the gullible, which is apparently OK, while other forms of callous fraud are somehow not.

    Rgds

    Damon
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012 edited
     
    .
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    The problem with that graph is that it's incomplete. What happens at zero dose? What happens between zero dose and the small dose that causes such a large effect?
    •  
      CommentAuthorDamonHD
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    As I mentioned above that is one of many problems with that graph, at least for the basis of informed discussion. The bit at the left-hand edge is completely critical to any explanation (or likelihood of being right) and isn't shown.

    Rgds

    Damon
  1.  
    I note a tendency to rubbish homeopathy but can the knockers explain the reports of success when used to treat animals?
    •  
      CommentAuthorDamonHD
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    Links to peer-reviewed suitably-blinded papers please?

    Rgds

    Damon
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012 edited
     
    Interesting debate, with a slight whiff not dissimilar to religionism. Many otherwise clever, rational, reasoning, scientists believe in a supernatural deity without any concrete proof. That's one thing I've never really understood. If you personally need the crutch, the talisman, the belief, and, like Cheri Blairs crystal, foil hats, using the cellphone handsfree, or eating a wafer and drinking a bit of red biddy on a Sunday: if it makes you feel good and safe, and it doesn't harm anyone else, do it. Just don't expect everone to think the same, and don't be rude when they dissagree. :bigsmile::wink:
    •  
      CommentAuthorJSHarris
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012 edited
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Brianwilson</cite>I note a tendency to rubbish homeopathy but can the knockers explain the reports of success when used to treat animals?</blockquote>

    There are two reasonably understood mechanisms by which "belief" treatments work. One is that the person being treated believes, even subconsciously, that the treatment will be effective, the second is that the person giving the treatment believes, again even subconsciously, that it will be effective. This is the reason for double-blind testing, where both the person being treated and the person giving the treatment are unaware of what's being given.

    It's fairly straightforward, I believe, to understand why belief by the person being treated could have an effect, what's less easy to understand is why belief by the person giving the treatment should do so. There are several views as to why belief by the person giving the treatment has a measurable effect, including subconscious reinforcement to the person (or maybe animal) being treated, but as far as I know no absolute proof as to the cause of the effect.

    Homeopathy has been pretty extensively studied and tested, and as far as I'm aware it pretty much always fails to show any sort of effect, beneficial or otherwise, under double blind testing.
    • CommentAuthorbeelbeebub
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    I shall assume that as FT hasn't corrected me, I have understood his position correctly (as laid out above).

    Therefore by FT's own belief system the following must be true (again point out if I am wrong):

    Intentionality/placebo effect are independent of the actual exposure to em radiation i.e. they are two separate effects.

    So we can say:

    1. belief in the ill effects of em radiation increases your risk of ill effects attributed to em radiation
    2. exposure to low levels of em radiation is unrelated to your risk of ill effects attributed to em radiation

    In the case of lung cancer I can also state a similar pair

    1. Smoking increases your risk of lung cancer
    2. morris dancing is unrelated to your risk of lung cancer

    In the case of lung cancer, anyone who tells you that your reducing your time exposed to morris dancing will reduce your risk of lung cancer but advises you to take up smoking is actually doing you great harm.

    Similarly

    In the case of ill effects attributed to em radiation, anyone who tells you that your reducing your exposure to em radiation will reduce your risk of ill effects attributed to em radiation but advises you to take up the belief in the ill effects of em radiation is actually doing you great harm

    Anyone spot any flaws in that?

    BTW +1 to JSHarris :bigsmile:
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    Richard Herring had something to say about it, the audience sounded very nervous, but he got away with it:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vkycj
    Hurry though it only has a few days left on the iPlayer.
    • CommentAuthorJoiner
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    Oi, don't go dragging morris dancers into this. :angry: Especially Border morris! :wink:
    •  
      CommentAuthorDamonHD
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    I think that we can all agree that morris dancing is beyond rational discussion. I was even forced to do some at primary/junior school in Oxfordshire... B^>

    Rgds

    Damon
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012 edited
     
    Posted By: JSHarrisHomeopathy has been pretty extensively studied and tested, and as far as I'm aware it pretty much always fails to show any sort of effect, beneficial or otherwise, under double blind testing.
    Posted By: fostertomIn such an experiment, forget double-blind - double-blind is the problem, not part of the answer ... That's exactly why 'scientific method' consistently refutes the postulate in such experiments.
    Prime exponent being Edzard Ernst http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edzard_Ernst, an ex-homeopathic practitioner himself. I was told by veteran biologist/prof, who knew and greatly respected him, that Ernst's game is (was) to volunteer to be the ultimate scientific scourge of homeopathy and the rest, so as to lay bare the inherent disparity between conservative science, and what very many know and experience to be otherwise.

    To recap
    Posted By: fostertom... Intentionality (which is the v first thing that Scientific Method eliminates as 'bias') but is actually what makes human existence function
    for 'human existence', read homeopathy, and a whole lot more.

    It's not Intentionality (call it Placebo) OR 'real' physical effect - it's both, hand in glove, and in fact neither working without the other. Conservative science desperately looks for physical treatments that can be shown to have some slight effect even when Intentionality is stripped out. An almost hopeless search! The NHS lives out that proposition - in a hospital ward, there's scant Intentionality at work, in fact every discouragement of same, so many people die of being in hospital rather than of their illness. Who profits? Big business!
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012 edited
     
    Posted By: beelbeebub..........In the case of lung cancer, anyone who tells you that your reducing your time exposed to morris dancing will reduce your risk of lung cancer

    It probably does Brian,- the exercise would be good. Not sure about the copious tankards of beer though.:wink:

    BTW did you hear about the Voodoo acupuncturist?
    You don't have to go. You'll just be walking down the street,.. and....."Oooh, that's much better". :bigsmile:
    •  
      CommentAuthorJSHarris
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012 edited
     
    FT, science is just science, there's no "conservative science", just as there's no "alternative science".

    Science is about determining truth, finding out why things happen the way they do and providing evidence to support such conclusions.

    Homeopathy isn't science, neither is acupuncture or a whole host of other "alternative" medical treatments, as when subjected to the same scientific rigour we rely upon to underpin many modern day technological benefits these treatments have been found not to have an effect.

    If people wish to classify homeopathy etc as belief systems then that's fine by me, as that is how I think they should be classified. To pretend they are science-based is, in my view, fraudulent, as is the use of pseudo-scientific terminology to try and give them false credibility (something the cosmetics industry is also guilty of).

    We can't pick and choose how we demonstrate efficacy or safety. For example, if we decided that belief was good enough to, say, determine the material and dimensions for structural beams it wouldn't be long before one failed. That's not to say that belief systems don't have a part to play in enhancing our lives, perhaps an important part for many, it's just that when belief systems defy demonstrable scientific proof there will inevitably be a loss of confidence in both by people at the extremes of both sides.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    Posted By: DamonHDI was even forced to do some at primary/junior school in Oxfordshire... B^>

    I am calling the police!!
    •  
      CommentAuthorDamonHD
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    It'll be with their cold-case unit now.

    Rgds

    Damon
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2012
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Brianwilson</cite>I note a tendency to rubbish homeopathy but can the knockers explain the reports of success when used to treat animals?</blockquote>

    See..
    http://www.ukskeptics.com/article.php?dir=articles&article=it_works_in_animals.php
   
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