This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
In the "correlation = causation" stakes all you do is pick a cluster of anything you fancy, look for something you are against with some kind of geographical relationship and then make your "intuitive leap of imagination" and bingo, you have a cause.
Send a report to the newspapers and it will be some time before anyone an extract the basic facts that there is no actual causative link.
It is a new ay to get your 15 minutes of fame.
I agree with you. It seems these days that the tide has turned and that all too often nowadays you have to prove you innocence when accused of a crime i..e the default these days appears to be a presumption of guilt. The only winners in these situations are the ambulance chasing lawyers who more often than not stoke up this litiguous fervour. What I find sad in thi ssituation is that it appears that nowadays becaus eof the large sums of money involved you are always going to find an 'expert' out there somewhere who will testify on your behalf based on the findings of a variety of dodgy research carried out and more often than not funded by some SIF NGO that you have a legitimate case. There no longer appears to be a requirement to demonstrate a link between cause and effect.
Thanks for the link. it caused me to do some further googling and I subsequently found this link
It's well worth a read.
It seems that Justice Akenhead preferred the expert testimony from the Claimant's experts to the Defendants experts. In fact he seemed singularly unimpressed by the testimony of all the Defendants experts.
Consequently I've changed my mind on this one as CBC were most definitely negligent in their management of the reclamation of the BSC site. However i am still worried by this ststement by the judge.
"Mr Penman was impressive, straightforward and fair; his approach in giving evidence was to listen carefully to the questions and give precise and reasoned answers. Dr Emmerson also gave his evidence in a straightforward and helpful way; although he clearly and honestly believed what he said, much of what he said seemed to be based upon what he thought the literature did not prove; he had a tendency to say that, because there was no clearly established case in the past, that demonstrated or helped to demonstrate that there could be no case in the future. The problem with the literature based approach is that on that basis there may never be advances in science if one follows the view that, because there is no existing literature on a given teratogen causing birth defects, that teratogen simply cannot cause birth defects.”
While I agree with the last sentence, I don't agree that the default (as in this case) should be to assume that a given teratogen can/could cause birth defects despite any evidence demonstartes this cause/effect relationship.
After looking into this news story further, it seems that it has been sloppily reported by the news media. The impression I had was that the claimants had won a full victory and it was being likened to a modern day version of the Thalidomide case.
But from this Times article it looks like the case could drag on for years in regard to the claimants being able to prove causality:
So far the claimants have only achieved a limited victory in getting the judge to rule that Corby council were negligent in regard to the clean-up of the steelworks site twenty years ago.
The closest equivalent of a redevelopment project like Corby today is the London Olympics site. It has a similar land area of about 600 acres, but the cost of the land remediation work for the Olympics site is supposed to be something like £750 million (the official figure for the cost of acquiring and remediating the land is £1.086 billion) paid for from National Lottery funds. I don't think Corby council will have spent anything more than a small fraction of that in cleaning up the steelworks site. The cost escalation seems to be coming from the firms who do this sort of work just doing it more rigorously, and it looks like the costs are approaching nuclear clean-up type costs.
Yes, the Compensation Culture rampant. Once again a corporate body has been found negligent and has to pay compensation. Naturally, no individual within that "organisation", least of all anyone who was unwise enough to make a decision, will suffer one jot or tittle. All the claimants see is a large pile of money coming their way and it's none of their business whence it comes. In practice, of course, the money is extorted from the hapless taxpayer who has no effective redress.
i remember when the "Criminal Injuries Compensation Board" was set up in the early seventies. I thought it was a bad idea then and still do now. If anyone is going to compensate the victims it should be the criminals directly. What is so difficult about saying to the vermin in the dock "You have caused damage to this person/family, and you will make it good. You will work for them until you have paid it off." Cue for smirks from the dock "Milud, I haven't got a job and can't get one. I've got no money to pay them". "Very well, you will be housed in a Council hostel (for which you will pay the full commercial rate for board and lodging) and it's then up to you to find work to pay off your debt (plus any interest accruing). All your income will be taken by the court and used to pay off your keep and your debt, and you will be released only when all debts are settled."
Obviously compensation payouts would be dramatically reduced. There would be a major incentive to all parties to form a realistic view of the actual harm done. It would also stop criminals swaggering around with their bling and BMWs on show showing that crime really doesn't pay since all their assets would go straight away to those they've harmed.
It might well be tough on drug addicts, but they should have thought of that before they went for instant gratification. Two or three doses of cold turkey should do it.
The political left of course, displaying all the envy and spite that is their hallmark, will whinge that it's not fair because the rich would be out of debt sooner and so could afford to commit more crime. To them I say, just think about it.
The Courts want to find somebody negligent because they want to help people who have suffered injury. The 'somebody' has to be big enough, or sufficiently insured, to pay adequate compensation. This tempts judges "to do a great right, do a little wrong" and find negligence where none actually exists.
Perhaps we should have a taxpayer-funded compensation fund that would pay out in all cases where the injury was not self-inflicted (deliberately or negligently). This fund would then seek to recover the money from any third party that really had been negligent. Judges would no longer have to lean towards awarding compensation; the injured need not wait for their money or have to hold their breath for the results of the legal lottery; there would be greater consistency in compensation awards and most cases between the Compensation Board and the insurers would be settled by agreement.
We seem to have been infected with quite a few of the worst traits from the US system and precious few of any of their good ideas.
Pretty soon we'll be able to sue over what our great grandparents did and have the taxpayer pay.
Whatever happened to the statute of limitations?
Now I'm not saying we should exempt everyone from responsibility in every situation after some years have elapsed but what i would like is a better approach to some common sense. Sadly the UK legal system is rather more about the letter of the law than the spirit of the law and badly written laws at that.
Yes, if you drive out of a hamburger store with your open coffee cup on the dash and suffer scalding after driving through a storm drain, the fault is the hamburger stores for supplying you with hot coffee.
Nonsense, of course, and even within this nonsense, more nonsesnical is that the hamburger place should rather be sued for selling their dreadful coffee as dirnkable in the firts place.
I thought I'd see what this much vaunted site would have to say about a number of issues.
They do discuss the Corny case and they address the new "Ham causes cancer" claim.