“I can not tell a lie,” I said to mother, with no knowledge of trees or axes. “I did not hide those Subbuteo goal posts.” There was an issue, the goal posts weren’t mine and they’d amazingly vanished shortly after my brother argued with me. It was puzzling, the combined minds of Kojak, Columbo and the cast of The Wire were unable to get to the bottom of it.
What is a lie? Are they all the same?
Your partner returns home. He or she has had something done to their hair that makes them resemble the successful splicing of a traffic warden and a sexual predator. Do you:
a) Tell them it accentuates their cheek bones
b) Tell them a cap will help smother it until it grows out
c) Scream something about Hell as you run into a machine with rotating blades
If you answered mostly A’s, then you are a rare gem. If you answered mostly B’s, then you are probably in the pub. If you answered mostly C’s, then you are most likely to be the kind of vaper who likes walks on winter beaches, pulls the wings off flies and find the actions of anti-harm reduction advocates quite reprehensible.
Some scientists are busy producing papers on vaping that we find *ahem* dubious. Many will be quick to point fingers and accuse those involved of having a cosy relationship with pharmaceutical companies. Hang on, says the Association for Science and Health (ACSH) – be wary of being a member of the “hyperpartisan ‘Follow the money’!" gang, it says. Or rather, as it writes: “in science (as in life), it is best to assume that people are well intentioned, until there is sufficient reason to believe otherwise. In law, we call this "innocent until proven guilty," and on the Internet, we call this Hanlon's Razor”.
The ACSH reckon there are five scenarios for some of the ropey stuff we see:
1. They screwed up
2. The data is right, but the conclusions are wrong
3. The [well intentioned] scientists don't know what they're doing
4. The scientists are pushing an agenda
5. The scientists are committing fraud
So, is it possible to apply Hanlon’s Razor to Doctor Ninad Katdare?
Katdare wrote an article for the Huffington Post titled “Why tobacco is never safe - not even in an e-Cigarette or hookah”. It’s not a scientific paper, and the Huffington Post is not a journal of repute, but the doctor is meant to be a man of science. If he is then, when he presented his arguments, did he screw up? Did he not know what he was doing? Or was he committing fraud and pushing an agenda?
If you go and read the piece, and we don’t recommend it, he states that vaping is just another form of tobacco use, “implicated in causing asthma, coronary artery disease along with lung cancer.”
If we’re going to be honest, I’ll start – I hid the goal posts in my chest of drawers. Now it’s your go, Doctor Katdare…