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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Man Behind the Curtain

In 1988, a group in England called ARISE (Associates for Research into the Science of Enjoyment) was formed and remained active until 2004. They promoted themselves as “a worldwide association of eminent scientists who act as independent commentators”.

This group was very active in the '90s and appeared frequently in various British media. Their purpose was to show how “everyday pleasures, such as eating chocolate, smoking, drinking tea, coffee and alcohol, contribute to the quality of life.” In other words: If it feels good, do it!

The group mocked what they called the "health police," and tried to convince people that there were "scientific studies" that proved that indulging in your vice of choice was actually good for your health.

The leader of the group, Professor David Warburton of the University of Reading, published academic journal articles to dispute the finding of the U.S. Surgeon General that nicotine was addictive, and incredibly, actually concluded the opposite, that nicotine was good for you!

Well, guess what! Last year George Monbiot, of The Guardian newspaper, came across some very interesting documents from the big tobacco companies, who had been forced to make them public. It turns out that Big Tobacco had been secretly funding ARISE the whole time, with the express purpose of putting out their propaganda and disguising it as "science."

Moral of the story: The next time you see some "scientific" research that purports to prove something about smoking, global warming, or anything else that doesn't pass the smell test, you might want to check out who their corporate masters are.

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