It is always interesting to watch dogmatic groups devour their own young, or to put it another way, dissension with the potential of making basic arguments both stronger and more subtle, and thus more persuasive to opponents, is aggressively rooted out to keep it simple. And here the KISS message directive of Keep It Simple Stupid only leads to misinformation and more smoker death. With any luck it will accelerate the demise of these dangerous anti-health organisations.
1. Michael Siegel is ejected from the Americans for NonSmoker Rights list serve (link here).
The true colors of the modern-day anti-smoking movement showed brightly last week, as a prominent smoke-free air advocate (me) was thrown off a smoke-free advocacy list-serve for daring to criticize an inflammatory and unfounded personal attack, bordering on defamation, of an individual (private citizen) who is a smoking ban opponent which was posted on the list-serve.
2. Christopher Snowdon follows up this story with an older one of Siegel running afoul of the same organization when he attempted to correct his own error (link here). He had written an article with what turned out to be an inappropriate characterization of a researcher, in communication with that researcher realized his error, and in good faith tried to remove the article and publish an open retraction. Again, the organization refused to on the grounds that this would contradict a previous position and erode the bulwarks in general.
Following is an excerpt from the letter from the ANR on why it would not allow Siegel to publish a retraction to his own writing.
But at this point ANR must put its political credibility ahead of what you consider to be your scientific credibility. As I stated to you earlier, you are being much too hard on yourself and perhaps after some time passes you will feel more comfortable with the notion that the paper was accurate and that you really had nothing to apologize for. You have done far too much good on this issue to let this one incident deter you from further strong advocacy, and I hope you will continue to be a valuable asset to the movement.
The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them. ~George Bernard Shaw