[beliefs] Re: OT Voting Results

From: James J. Lippard ([email protected])
Date: Sat Sep 18 1999 - 16:31:35 MST

On Sat, 18 Sep 1999, Rosemary Jacobs wrote:

> "James J. Lippard" wrote:
> > I didn't
> > realize this was a business here, I thought (based on my reading of
> > Peter's messages about the purpose of the list) that it was a discussion
> > list.
> It is not a business. I said, "Peter and I and a few others have plans for actively
> combating health fraud.
> We plan to use a business model. That means that we will try to form a team
> that sets attainable goals. There will be a boss who keeps us focused. Right
> now the boss is Peter."

OK, then I take issue with the Microsoft analogy you gave as a reason for
disregarding the poll I started, when you wrote, immediately after what
you quote above:

> Does Microsoft take a poll of employees to see what new program they
> ought to develop? I doubt it. They may consult employees, but I think
> that Gates makes the decisions based on what he believes will best help
> him attain long and short term business goals, and if he does opinion
> polls, I bet that he is pretty certain that he doesn't have trolls on
> the payroll with goals that are different than his.

This paragraph seems to me to be pushing the business analogy on the list
pretty strongly, and is what motivated my remarks.

By the way, speaking of Peter's role as boss here and his termination of
the plagiarism discussion despite the poll results, I note that back in
message 81 of this mailing list, he wrote on September 4:

> 2. I will be very tolerant of disagreements. I will also never stop or
> truncate message threads here. (I think it defeats the whole purpose of
> a list to only allow discussion for a week or so then stop it for being
> 'tedious'!)

Apparently he (and you) don't actually endorse this.

> > BTW, you do not accurately report the content of my web page regarding my
> > political views. The paragraph which you are alluding to is the first
> > full paragraph above "Various Interests" on
> > http://www.discord.org/~lippard/bio.html, for anyone who cares.
> This is what I wrote: "Now while we are off topic, I believe you say that you are an
> anarchist on your
> webpage. Does that mean that you don't believe that governments should
> regulate drugs, therapies or the practice of medicine?"

I know that's what you wrote, and what say you believe I say is not what I
do in fact say. I suggest you read it more carefully, paying attention
to verb tense. I answer your question below.

> > I don't think anarchism is workable, except perhaps in small communities,
> > though I think it's an admirable ideal. I think voluntary cooperative
> > action is almost always preferable to coercion. Unfortunately, coercion
> > is sometimes necessary. I'd be happy to discuss it further, but I think
> > that political philosophy is even farther afield than allegations of
> > plagiarism in SRAM in this forum, and it would be rather hypocritical of
> > you to want such a discussion to be carried on here. If you want to
> > create another free egroups list for that purpose, I'd be happy to join
> > you and other interested persons there.
> I didn't want to discuss it. I just wanted a simple answer. I wanted to know if you
> believe that governments should regulate drugs, therapies and the practice of medicine.

I think that given the practicalities of existing government institutions,
it is reasonable for governments to establish laws governing such things
for the purpose of preventing fraudulent activity, sure. There may be
alternative means of achieving the same ends, and I certainly don't
endorse all actual regulations. I think that specific regulations need to
be judged on the basis of their actual and forseeable consequences, and
that it doesn't make sense to, for example, have regulations which save
very few lives at a very great cost, or where the positive consequences of
the regulation can be achieved by different means (e.g., spending the same
amount of money on education, for example). I further think that the
burden of proof should be on the proponent of a new regulation.
> > I would be interested in seeing your proposed business model for
> > combatting quackery. That would seem to be a more appropriately on-topic
> > subject for the list.
> I would be interested in knowing why you are on this list. The "proposed business model
> for combatting quackery" is not something I will discuss with a stranger who has not
> expressed a strong position on whether or not he believes that governments should
> regulate drugs and therapies. From your posts so far I don't have any idea as to what

Your choice. I'll discuss my views with anybody who can carry on a polite
discussion. I enjoy hearing viewpoints different from my own; that's how
learning occurs, and I like to learn new things.

I'm on this list because I'm a skeptic with an interest in health fraud
and quackery. I used to be an NCAHF newsletter subscriber for a number of
years, though I haven't subscribed for several years. I used to run the
Arizona Skeptics, I've written several articles for Skeptic magazine and
used to maintain their web site (http://www.skeptic.com), and currently
maintain a Yahoo-like search engine for information on skeptical topics
(http://www.discord.org/skeptical/). I have relatives who seem to
frequently adopt fad health practices, and I like to keep tabs on what the
evidence actually is so that I can periodically offer an informed opinion
and try to get them to drop it.

> your interest in quackery is. I don't even know what specific drugs and therapies you
> classify as quackery. In other words I don't know whether or not you share my views and

I haven't undertaken a detailed study, but I suspect I'd conclude that
everything in Jack Raso's _A Dictionary of Alternative-Medicine Methods_
(http://www.acsh.org/dictionary/index.html) would qualify.

> objectives or not. If you want to know what they are, go to my webpage or check the HF
> archives.

It looks like your objectives are primarily focused at elimination of
silver supplements. I can't say that I have any particular interest in
that specific objective (apart from a general interest in seeing quackery
combatted), but I wish you luck.

Jim Lippard [email protected] http://www.discord.org/
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