Osteen doesn't make it

Osteen doesn't make it

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Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#1 Jul 20, 2010
For four years during the 1990s, the tobacco industry's campaign to discredit the EPA and dodge the effect of that agency's classification of secondhand smoke as a human carcinogen was focused on a Winston-Salem, North Carolina courtroom. The presiding judge was William L. Osteen, a federal judge who had, in his younger days, served as a tobacco industry lobbyist.

Some thought Osteen should have recused himself from the case, but others pointed to his recent decision upholding the FDA's authority to regulate tobacco products as drug delivery devices as "proof" of anti-tobacco sentiment.[The industry execs referred to their products in exactly this light internally, but their legal and PR boys advised them NOT to do so publicly specifically to avoid FDA involvement.]

At the end of those years, Osteen wrote an opinion substantially agreeing with the tobacco companies and their co-plaintiffs and vacated part of the EPA report.

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Flue-cured_Toba...

The EPA appealed and--on the strength of one of the first motion considered but one earlier dismissed by Osteen at the pre-trial stage--Osteen's ruling was thrown out.

In their decision the appellate court judges said,“Because questions of subject matter jurisdiction concern a court’s power to reach the substantive issues of a case, Owens-Illinois, Inc. v. Meade, 186 F.3d 435, 442 n.4 (4th Cir. 1999), we first address EPA’s contention that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction.”

The "substantive issues" of this case lay entirely within the realm of science, not jurisprudence.

http://pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinion.pdf/982...

The premise for discarding Osteen's ruling rendered the entire trial invalid and the EPA evaluation of SHS was therefore vindicated and its validity recognized.
The judges acknowledged personal tendency toward bias based on tobacco's importance to their regions econom, but were not able to uphold Osteen even so. They DID delay effect of their ruling for 30 days in case the tobacco industry wished to appeal on the premise that, had the tobacco industry been directly involved, the EPA research might have gone differently. The tobacco companies failed to take this course.

Still, the tobacco industry got what it wanted from the affair. There was now a stronger appearance of legitimate doubt regarding that classification and a reduction of public confidence in the EPA. Moreover, public opinion had been focused on the issue of carcinogenicity, where causation is trickier to prove. The industry had not challenged the other areas of the EPAs damning report. Thus, the entire question of harm from SHS was cast as equally tenuous.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#2 Jul 20, 2010
Despite the negation of Osteen's decision, the industry and its apologists have continued to insist that Osteen is the definitive source on the validity of the EPA's SHS research. "The dismissal was only on a technicality," "Everything Osteen said was gospel," that sort of thing.

IN FACT the EPA motion that was granted by the appeals court was, in essence, to dismiss Osteen’s ruling—negating the entire exercise—because the courtroom was NOT AN APPROPRIATE VENUE for the issues involved. The court agreed. As this is the case, it would be ridiculous for the EPA to have argued the issues in the courtroom. It is nonsense to apply significance to their “failure” to do so beyond consistency with their belief in the premise that they DID argue.

The EPA did, however, publish their response to the attacks.

http://www.epa.gov/smokefree/pubs/strsfs.html
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#3 Jul 20, 2010
One of the most commonly attacked elements of the EPA report is the use of a 90% confidence interval in the risk assessment of ETS as a human carcinogen.

Here is what the EPA explanation says:

"Critics of the EPA report have charged that EPA changed the confidence interval in order to come to a predetermined conclusion. However, the conclusion that secondhand smoke is a known human carcinogen simply does not hinge on whether or not a 95% or 90% confidence interval" was used. A confidence interval is used to display variability in relative risk estimates in the epidemiology studies. As discussed above, the Group A designation is based on the total weight of the available evidence. The consistency of results that are seen in the numerous studies examined lead to a certainty of greater than 99.9% that secondhand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer in nonsmokers.

"Use of what is called in statistics a one-tailed test of significance," which often corresponds to a 90% confidence interval, is a standard and appropriate statistical procedure in certain circumstances. The one-tailed test" is used when there is prior evidence that if there is an effect from a substance, it is highly likely to be an adverse rather than a protective effect, or vice versa. In the case of secondhand smoke, an extensive database exists for direct smoking indicating that if chemically similar secondhand smoke also has a lung cancer effect, this effect is likely to be similarly adverse. EPA used one-tailed significance tests for lung cancer in both external drafts of the risk assessment document as well as the final report. Ninety percent confidence intervals were also used in other EPA cancer risk assessments, including methylene chloride, coke oven emissions, radon, nickel, and dioxin.

"In the non-cancer respiratory effects portions of the report, two-tailed tests" and 95% confidence intervals were used, since there was less prior evidence from smokers to suggest that secondhand smoke would cause bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear infections in children."
==========

I asked for information/access to the other risk assessments mentioned as having used the 90% confidence intervals, and received this response:

"This is in response to your recent questions about the EPA's 1992 risk assessment on secondhand smoke. You requested information about where you could find other risk assessments that also used a 90% confidence interval in statistical analyses. Unfortunately, the studies for which you have requested information were developed prior to 1990 and, to the best of our knowledge, are not available on line nor do we have hard copies of them.

"While the EPA risk assessment was among the early scientific reports documenting the health risks of secondhand smoke to adults and children, numerous studies and reports since then have both confirmed and extended the findings of EPA's 1992 risk assessment, which was and remains a technically sound report. In the almost 18 years since that report was completed, both the science documenting health risks from secondhand smoke as well as secondhand smoke policy have only grown stronger. None of the findings and conclusions of either EPA's report nor any of the subsequent reports were based exclusively on that single statistical analysis."

Disappointing, yes, but clearly suggesting that those saying the 90% confidence interval was something new in '92 had it wrong.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#4 Jul 20, 2010
It is not my intention here to grace the "SHS is harmless!!" BS with the credence that comes from legitimizing debate.

Rather, I am hoping that this single event can be argued on the strength of its own validity, inconsequence, or existence as nothing more than an elaborate example of the tobacco industry's corrupt PR assault on science--an assault that led to the much more recent RICO convictions of most of the major companies involved.
Free_America

Stevens Point, WI

#5 Jul 20, 2010
Hugh Jass wrote:
It is not my intention here to grace the "SHS is harmless!!" BS with the credence that comes from legitimizing debate.
Rather, I am hoping that this single event can be argued on the strength of its own validity, inconsequence, or existence as nothing more than an elaborate example of the tobacco industry's corrupt PR assault on science--an assault that led to the much more recent RICO convictions of most of the major companies involved.
Junk Science is junk science no matter how you cut it.
http://veritasvincitprolibertate.wordpress.co...
If it were not thrown out based on jurisdiction the decision would stand.
http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/22...
Here are the passages from the Federal Judicial Center's 2000 "Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence
http://veritasvincitprolibertate.wordpress.co...
Activist based science is no science.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#6 Jul 20, 2010
Free_America wrote:
<quoted text>Junk Science is junk science no matter how you cut it.
http://veritasvincitprolibertate.wordpress.co...
If it were not thrown out based on jurisdiction the decision would stand.
http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/22...
Here are the passages from the Federal Judicial Center's 2000 "Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence
http://veritasvincitprolibertate.wordpress.co...
Activist based science is no science.
Osteen?
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#7 Jul 20, 2010
The tobacco industry's argument included such clever items as :

"EPA sought parties near the "middle" of the spectrum when establishing SAB panels and allegedly avoided representation from either end of the spectrum. As a general rule, the tobacco industry occupies that end of the spectrum contesting the carcinogenicity of ETS and EPA's motives. A committee aspiring to represent the middle of the ETS debate necessarily suppresses the tobacco industry's perspective."

In other words, "avoiding bias makes the committee hopelessly biased against us extremists."

At least Osteen wasn't so blatant as to let that one pass.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#8 Jul 20, 2010
Oh, yeah, here's a URL for a PDF file of the EPA report:

http://oaspub.epa.gov/eims/eimscomm.getfile...

It might be useful to see for yourselves what the references in the other linked documents are all about.

“Veritas Vincit. Pro Libertate”

Since: Jun 08

peoples republic of Madison

#9 Jul 21, 2010
Hugh Jass wrote:
<quoted text>
Osteen?
Osteen was overturned on the fact that since it was not policy but a report and that the court did not have jurisdiction. I just showed that based on scientific evidence his findings would be upheld today. Of course you fail to mention that the Congressional research group came to the same conclusion.
http://www.forces.org/evidence/files/crs11-95...
And on your beloved EPA they have had a long history of cooking science to suit an agenda.
http://www.amlibpub.com/liberty_blog/2006/10/...
A practice that goes on to this very day.
http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2008Apr23/0,4670...
But then we all know how well versed your kind is in science.

“Veritas Vincit. Pro Libertate”

Since: Jun 08

peoples republic of Madison

#10 Jul 21, 2010
Hugh Jass wrote:
The tobacco industry's argument included such clever items as :
"EPA sought parties near the "middle" of the spectrum when establishing SAB panels and allegedly avoided representation from either end of the spectrum. As a general rule, the tobacco industry occupies that end of the spectrum contesting the carcinogenicity of ETS and EPA's motives. A committee aspiring to represent the middle of the ETS debate necessarily suppresses the tobacco industry's perspective."
In other words, "avoiding bias makes the committee hopelessly biased against us extremists."
At least Osteen wasn't so blatant as to let that one pass.
You must be smoking the good stuff! "middle" Does the name Jonathan M. Samet, M.D., and the 1992 EPA Report

One might wonder how omissions, distortions, and exaggerations like those pointed out above could occur in a document as important as a Surgeon General’s Report on ETS. To better understand this phenomena one must realize that Samet has dealt with the ETS issue in this manner for many years. In particular, he played a major role in the epidemiologic analysis for the December 1992 report on Health Effects of Passive Smoking:
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerende...
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#11 Jul 22, 2010
Free_America wrote:
<quoted text>Osteen was overturned on the fact that since it was not policy but a report and that the court did not have jurisdiction.
The decision included the reasoning behind that rule--as I quoted above. The reason that rule exists is because the issues involved are beyond the ability of the court to address. Osteen should appear in textbooks as an example of the justification for the rule. He fails in his decision to distinguish between hypothesis and theory or to grasp the essence of that difference. He also seems to think that "similar" must mean "identical".

The rule he broke is there to protect science from the meddling of overbearing ignorant judges.
Free_America wrote:
<I just showed that based on scientific evidence his findings would be upheld today.
No, you didn't. You may have shown that there are still people making the same claims the tobacco industry's lawyers made back then, but nothing more than that. Worldwide, however, the scientific community has embraced, exonerated, and expanded on the EPA study. Virtually every major medical organization in the world has arrived at the same conclusion.

But that is more recent history. As I said, I started this thread specifically to address Osteen.

If you want to discuss the claims surrounding the Congressional Research Group, please start a thread for that. I think it is important that people have a place to look for analysis of each of these issues.

Oh, and I don't think ANYONE is going to be very impressed with the "impartial dedication to truth" of FORCES. What does their acronym stand for again? "Fight Ordinances and Restrictions to Control and Eliminate Smoking", right? If you want to defend that lot, go ahead and start a thread for that. You'll need a lot of space--and a lot of imagination--and a thick skin because you will surely be called all kinds of things.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#12 Jul 22, 2010
Free_America wrote:
<quoted text>You must be smoking the good stuff! "middle" Does the name Jonathan M. Samet, M.D., and the 1992 EPA Report
Do you want to try that sentence again? You apparently meant to be saying something withering and it just makes you look incoherent.
Free_America wrote:
One might wonder how omissions, distortions, and exaggerations like those pointed out above could occur in a document as important as a Surgeon General’s Report on ETS.
Huh? You're bashing your own incoherence?
Free_America wrote:
To better understand this phenomena one must realize that Samet has dealt with the ETS issue in this manner for many years. In particular, he played a major role in the epidemiologic analysis for the December 1992 report on Health Effects of Passive Smoking:
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerende...
Oh, I see. You're quoting Enstrom in his infamous "My work ain't neither fatally flawed and I don't care HOW many prominent medical/scientific organizations say it is!" spiel.

The Enstrom/Kabat study is an entirely different matter from Osteen, and deserves, again, a thread of its own.

“Veritas Vincit. Pro Libertate”

Since: Jun 08

peoples republic of Madison

#13 Jul 23, 2010
Hugh Jass wrote:
<quoted text>
Do you want to try that sentence again? You apparently meant to be saying something withering and it just makes you look incoherent.
<quoted text>
Huh? You're bashing your own incoherence?
<quoted text>
Oh, I see. You're quoting Enstrom in his infamous "My work ain't neither fatally flawed and I don't care HOW many prominent medical/scientific organizations say it is!" spiel.
The Enstrom/Kabat study is an entirely different matter from Osteen, and deserves, again, a thread of its own.
Hate to pop your bubble but Osteen based on science would be upheld today. The use of Meta on observational studies is highly questionable. Especially cherry picked studies. I again refer you to Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence

Bailer was also quoted in the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence Page 389

[P]roblems have been so frequent and so deep, and overstatements of the strength of conclusions so

extreme, that one might well conclude there is something seriously and fundamentally wrong with the

method. For the present ... I still prefer the thoughtful, old-fashioned review of the literature by a

knowledgeable expert who explains and defends the judgments that are presented. We have not yet

reached a stage where these judgments can be passed on, even in part, to a formalized process such as

meta-analysis.
http://www.fjc.gov/public/pdf.nsf/lookup/scim... $file/sciman00.pdf

If you read further into the reference manual you will also see that the courts won't accept anything less then a relative risk of 2 as evidence. So you can spin all you like, it was a good ruling.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#14 Jul 23, 2010
Free_America wrote:
<quoted text>Osteen was overturned on the fact that since it was not policy but a report and that the court did not have jurisdiction. I just showed that based on scientific evidence his findings would be upheld today. Of course you fail to mention that the Congressional research group came to the same conclusion.
http://www.forces.org/evidence/files/crs11-95...
And on your beloved EPA they have had a long history of cooking science to suit an agenda.
http://www.amlibpub.com/liberty_blog/2006/10/...
A practice that goes on to this very day.
http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2008Apr23/0,4670...
But then we all know how well versed your kind is in science.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =Xi1LU45Nip0XX
So, you have FORCES in your mix, and that is an absolutely rabidly biased outfit as evidenced by their acronym.

You have a blogger. You have something on Youtube. And you have a FOX News report on the political pressure being put on EPA scientists. The report was published in the last year of the BUSH administration, which was notorious for having White House staff edit scientific reports before they were permitted to be published because the administration was so widely known to be anti-science.

This last is the closest to reasonable sourcing you provided, and it is something I would probably agree with and which has nothing to do with Osteen.

IOW, you have no case there.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#15 Jul 23, 2010
Free_America wrote:
<quoted text>Junk Science is junk science no matter how you cut it.
http://veritasvincitprolibertate.wordpress.co...
If it were not thrown out based on jurisdiction the decision would stand.
http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/22...
Here are the passages from the Federal Judicial Center's 2000 "Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence
http://veritasvincitprolibertate.wordpress.co...
Activist based science is no science.
Here you have two links to a site that is strictly anti-tobacco-regulation. And you use that site as if it somehow says "Activist based science is no science"? What the heck else is the site but activism?

Then you have a link to the Heartland Institute--one of the tobacco industry's front groups, essentially.

What do you think you are proving?
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#16 Jul 23, 2010
Free_America wrote:
Here you linnk to someone who works for the tobacco industry because they pay him so much above market value?
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#17 Jul 23, 2010
Free_America wrote:
If it were not thrown out based on jurisdiction the decision would stand.
http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/22...
Okay, I looked at your baccy lackey page. It is an opinion piece, pure and simple.[As part of your effort to learn critical thinking, I suggest that you look into the origins of the Heartland Institute and see how many execs the organization has shared with tobacco companies.]

Using the search function on that webpage didn't bring me to a single instance where the name Osteen appeared. What sort of sourcing are you trying to get away with here? The author of the piece is identified as the president of the organization and as the publisher of the magazine in which the piece was printed. Nice, peer-reviewed journal research. Not.

First thing that jumped out at me screaming "LOOK AT ME! I'M BOGUS!!" was the assertion that relative risk was more than one single factor in determination of statistical significance. Please see the EPA page provided for analysis!/defense of their study. Then, if you like, look for credible sources on the meaning of statistical significance.

Second act there was the claim that the studies cited in Carmona's report were "rejected by a federal judge in 1993". Your expecting me or anyone else to be swayed by some hack who can't even get the YEAR right for the trial that is the subject here? It seems to me the judge rejected the EPAs conclusion drawn from the studies, not the studies themselves. Yes? moreover, he doesn't mention that the judge was, himself, a former lobbyist for the very industry on whose behalf he "rejected" that conclusion.

Then he goes on to say, "when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first tried to classify secondhand smoke as a human carcinogen."

What priceless baloney! It is THE time that the EPA DID classify SHS as a human carcinogen. That classification--FROM THAT STUDY--stands today, supported by similar findings from many other major medical-science organizations worldwide and accepted virtually universally within the health science community.

Then he throws in the Enstrom study as supporting the accusation of cherry-picking in Carmona's report. But, as noted, I'm here to discuss Osteen, not Enstrom.

Using the search function on that webpage didn't bring me to a single instance where the name Osteen appeared. What sort of sourcing are you trying to get away with here?

I've provided content including the EPA report, Osteen's decision, the decision throwing out Osteen's decision, and the EPA's response to the accusations involved in the Osteen case.

I've also provided my own views, drawn from THOSE documents. Reading Osteen's decision persuaded me he was, contextually, an absolute idiot. But that was before I learned he was a former tobacco lobbyist, at which time I realized there was another plausible explanation. You, on the other hand, keep throwing all this simple bashing stuff at me--from opinion pieces written by tobacco lackeys and/or having nothing to do with the content of the Osteen decision--and proclaiming a win.

I set up this thread to discuss Osteen. What you got, bub? What do YOU think, after looking over the relevant documents?

“Veritas Vincit. Pro Libertate”

Since: Jun 08

peoples republic of Madison

#18 Jul 26, 2010
The links I gave are to my blog. I did the research and if you follow the link you would find that based on the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence OSTEEN'S decision would be upheld today, at least on a scientific basis. The decision overruling Oseen was strictly based on the fact that it was not policy but nothing but a report and that the courts did not have jurisdiction. You have shown absolutely nothing to show that the science would hold up in court. I have shown that it clearly would not.
http://veritasvincitprolibertate.wordpress.co...

Again read the passage and follow the link. You have got nothing!
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#19 Jul 27, 2010
Free_America wrote:
The links I gave are to my blog. I did the research and if you follow the link you would find that based on the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence OSTEEN'S decision would be upheld today, at least on a scientific basis. The decision overruling Oseen was strictly based on the fact that it was not policy but nothing but a report and that the courts did not have jurisdiction.
Once again, what "the courts say" is irrelevant to the validity of science.

It is because the judicial system is inadequate to address the underlying issues that scientific reports are not subject to the illegal legal action undertaken in Osteen's courtroom. That aspect of the rejection of Osteen is clear if you read the decision to dismiss his opinion.

The scientific community embraces the EPA report. Medical science worldwide embraces the EPA report.

The tobacco industry's internal documents are full of comments that endorse the findings while conspiring to thwart and discredit them.

At least one tobacco company exec went on record (before knowing that anyone outside the immediate distribution would read it) saying that they would "never find an unbiased scientist" who would claim SHS was harmless. Nevertheless, by removing the adjective they found plenty who would make such statements. As Endstrom says, he works for them because they pay so far above market value.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

#20 Jul 27, 2010
Free_America wrote:
The links I gave are to my blog.
Ah, I see. You were just masturbating.

Well, even permitting that, my objections to the site as a source stand. The fact that an obviously and totally biased anti-regulationist posted something on the internet does not equate with "having something".

As to the link FROM the linked site, I squandered twenty minutes or so poking through it without finding any significant support for your claim that it destroys the EPA report. I'll give it more time later, but so far found only a reference to the fact that the EPA used a 90% confidence interval--which is apparently consistent with their approach to risk assessment for numerous other carcinogens.

As to the disparagement of the "no safe level" standard, that is apparently also a long-accepted approach to mutagenic carcinogens. Most toxins build up to where they overwhelm the system. A mutagenic carcinogen, however, only requires one molecule to interact with one cell to produce cancer. As any single molecule of the substance is capable of producing the result, the only level at which there is "no risk" is zero.

That is logic, that is pure reasoning, that is simple common sense. That is good science.

I am sorry that it offends you by failing to support your views of some vast conspiracy against tobacco. I suggest that you get over it.

I am not aware, BTW, that this was part of the Osteen trial. Was it?

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