[Marxism] Junk Science and CJD: Or, Erving Goffman told you no lies

Jeff Rubard jeffrubard at fusemail.com
Tue Feb 3 15:25:40 MST 2004

> Message: 8
> Date: Tue, 03 Feb 2004 10:07:56 -0500
> From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] Junk science alert: Human Mad Cow, variant CJD,
> 	may	be wide-spread in USA
> To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
> 	<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Message-ID: <401FB94C.6030002 at panix.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed
> Jose G. Perez wrote:
>>  "[Mad cow] is a crisis that could get a whole lot worse. U.S. studies
>> of autopsies are showing that between 3 per cent and 13 per cent of
>> patients found to have Alzheimer's or dementia actually suffered from
>> variant CJD, the human form of mad cow disease."
>> http://www.canada.com/montreal/montrealgazette/columnists/story.asp?id=d
>> c873be3-f9a4-4406-b33b-bf5fefc73118
>> This assertion is unsourced in the original Montreal Gazette article,
>> and is not backed by scientific data.
> But there appears to be substantial research that does make such links:
> http://www.mad-cow.org/~tom/Alzheimer_cjd.html
Well, no, Lou: one of those papers says two distinct things (posits a
homology between the 'idiopathic' etiology of plain CJD and BSE,
suggesting that the widely accepted theory which has it that sheep offal
is responsible for the British animal epidemic lacks adequate support; and
thusly evidence of beef's causative role in such cases of vCJD as have
occurred there is not strong, but that cross-species transmission of
encepalopathies is indeed possible) and the rest of them concern
themselves with possible etiologies for Alzheimer's (a very poorly
understood disease, near-syndromic in its diagnosis even compared to
Parkinson's) and make no epidemiological claims, such as is appropriate in
the absence of 'quality' statistical information concerning prion
dementias other than kuru.  In other words, this is very fine science
which underwrites absolutely no practical claims; but having been around
enough casual enemies of "junk science" to know from which political
sector such sentiments derive, I would point out that 1) bad science is
the historical enemy of the left but that 2) "garage logic", i.e.
"philosophy of praxis", has a lot to do with actually-existing political
action and that there is no guarantee a diktat against junk science will
fall upon the former rather than the latter.

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