By - Wayne Linklater 01/12/2018 39


The responses to my recent article reveal that some in the conservation community, including scientists, policy-makers and managers, are having difficulty understanding the difference between facts and values.

They appear also to be having trouble understanding how the distinction is an important guide to scientists when they advocate publicly for one side of an environmental conflict, like that currently being had over 1080 toxin-use, genetic engineering and RoundUp.

Gareth Morgan doesn’t get it either.

Perhaps the examples I used challenged readers values too much for them to read and think dispassionately about the issues I raised?

I wondered, therefore, if a simpler, non-environmental example might help?

Aren’t you cold?

I woke up yesterday feeling cold. It wasn’t a windy or rainy day. The sun was out, but I was feeling cold, bone-deep cold. You might identify with me when I say that there are just some days when, for no apparent reason, I feel colder than others.

I dressed accordingly – trousers, jersey and beanie – and set out for work. I met Robin, my neighbour, also leaving home for work, as she crashed through her falling-down front gate. She was in a short skirt and light shirt, but smiling like the day was hers for the taking. “Hieeeeee” she sang.

“Aren’t you cold”, I asked, involuntarily shivering just at the sound of the word.

“No” said Robin. “I’m comfortable thanks. It’s going to be a lovely day”.

“But you’ve bare legs and, forgive me for being personal but, they’re white and turning blue!”.

Robin recoiled. “Bastard”, she said and gave me a neighbourly wink. “Oh, I’ll be fine. This walk will get my blood moving.”

Then, pulling my phone to show her the temperature – “Robin!, it’s 13 degrees!”.

“Yes, it is. That’s a warmer than average day in Wellington”. Robin was resolute.

I pulled my beanie lower, crossed my arms to fortify myself against the cold and walked with her. The conversation moved on from the weather.

“When are you going to fix that gate?”

Facts, beliefs and values

That the temperature was 13 degrees is a measured, scientific fact. That it is cold or warm is not a fact. It is a subjective interpretation of temperature. Robin cannot be wrong, just as I cannot be right.

How each person interprets temperature is a consequence of complex interactions between brain and body, physiological and neurological processes, culture and values, and experience. Everybody interprets feelings of temperature differently and those interpretations will also vary over time. The differences of interpretation are not wrong or right. They’re just the reality – the real world is a place of variable realities (values and beliefs).

A professional error

Thus, if I was to use my position of authority as a scientist to advocate that the day is cold based on the fact that it is 13 degrees centigrade I would be committing a professional error. To do it and not acknowledge my values-based prejudice (bias) that it is cold is to mislead and misrepresent reality.

And, that people vary in their interpretations of temperature is also a measurable (scientific) fact. Thus, for me to impose my belief that it is cold on others would be to contradict the scientific fact that my belief cannot be true for everyone. I would be pretending to know a universal the “truth” when no such thing exists. I would also then be using my authority to subjugate other people and their different beliefs.

Then, if I was to use my authority (individually or collectively with other scientists) to legitimise the use of power by a third party (e.g., police) to enforce my belief that it is cold, I am being a bully (actually, the technical term is fascist because I would be legitimising the use of government authority to subjugate dissent from minority or less powerful communities).

1080 facts and scientists’ values – ETHICS

And so it is with conflicts over 1080’s use. Science can tell us what and how many are killed by a poison. It can tell us what happens if we do and don’t poison. It can tell us how poisoning might be done. Those can be measured, like temperature. But it cannot tell us that 1080 is good or bad, right or wrong. It cannot tell us whether it is safe or humane.

Scientists need to be absolutely clear about the difference between a fact and their values when advocating for a particular environmental action. In the 1080 debate they have not been.

And, it is unethical for scientists to use their authority to lend support to the subjugation of others’ values and beliefs just because they are different from theirs.

The solution must come from communities, not scientists

Whether 1080 is used is a decision which our nations’ communities and communities of stakeholders must decide – together. Different decisions will be arrived at in different places at different times that reflect different communities’ values. Sometimes 1080 will be used, sometimes it won’t. Sometimes it will be used more, sometimes less. That is for them to decide.

Scientists’ expertise, experience and authority can be used to inform those community-based decisions, but it cannot and should not be used to dictate to those communities what is right and wrong.


39 Responses to “Science and environmental conflicts e.g., 1080 poison”

  • Similarly, both sides of WWI argued that the use of poison gas in the battlefield was more humane than the use of bullets. They used objective evidence of such things as rapidity of death to infer subjective interpretations about suffering and efficiency. Only the dead know for sure.

  • Hi Wayne. Thanks for the clarification.

    How do you think scientists should respond in situations where communities are misinformed, and often misinform each other to a greater extent as a consequence, potentially creating a net negative outcome not just for themselves but for everyone?

    Vaccinations seem like an apt example. There’s much misunderstanding, sometimes outright lies, being spread by certain groups. Sometimes because they genuinely believe it and perhaps sometimes driven by ulterior motives. Maybe they have moral values which are suspicious of vaccinations, but then utilise the various mis-information and lies in discussions when trying to justify values which they can’t otherwise justify with clarity in a discussion.

    Scientists and other medical professionals with facts have to compete with frequently-unjustified highly emotive paranoia being rapidly spread by social media. An outcome of this is that significant populations of people are choosing not to vaccinate their children due to values which tend to be primarily based on false understandings, and a consequential outcome is that it doesn’t just put those children at risk, but also (due to the herd immunity thing) the children of parents who are unable to vaccinate their children for genuine medical reasons. Do you disagree with Dr Lance O’Sullivan’s assertion that parents should be penalised if they refuse to vaccinate their children? (Ref: https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/parenting/105282807/dr-lance-osullivan-penalise-parents-who-wont-vaccinate-their-kids )

  • In the Middle Ages in Europe and elsewhere the nations’ communities and communities of stakeholders decided – together that witchcraft was evil span of Satan and punishable by death..burnt at the stake.
    Different decisions will be arrived at in different places at different times that reflect different communities’ values. That was for them (the community) to decide.

  • Thank you for the clarification. As you said science is the indisputable fact of a given thing and how we observe it. The quantum mechanics can change particle behaviour just by observation. When we conduct experiments are we really trying to confirm our beliefs? The New Yorker a few years ago wrote an interesting article “The truth wears off” (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/12/13/the-truth-wears-off) about the waning efficacy when studies were re tested a few years later. I think we confirm our expectations in the initial smaller studies, and not really take into account the importance of outliers, but as we spread it out to the wider population over time we see the enormous differences in people. As experienced by the simple example of Dr. Linklater. Vaccination is an example of the waning efficacy and overlooked adverse effects that now has a strong bias placed on it either way. So parents should not be penalised for not vaccinating as their decision is usually informed differently.

  • As a non scientist but with some casually gained scientific knowledge I feel that the problem is more one of trust. We are asked to assume that all scientists are moral people; more moral than the general population.
    Suppose a community picnic was taking place in an area not too far from a 1080 drop. The pilot doing the drop had made a error in reading the site map. A child at the picnic had wandered into the bush with little friends and had picked up the bait and tasted it and died. The autopsy had indicated 1080.
    The project manager was informed and decided that if this was made public the whole program was in jeopardy. He decided to hush it up for the good of the New Zealand environment. We cannot know whether events such as this or worse have taken place in the past or will happen in the future.

  • Hi Wayne,
    Hard to tell if you are being (intentionally) ironic here. You appear to be doing exactly what you peach against? Maybe to make the point?

    I don’t think science or scientists have done what you are claiming at all. If anything, scientists have been coy to offer professional expert opinion on topics like 1080. Only when really pushed by journalists and science media folk have they shared their thoughts and opinions. For example, yours is the single science blog pushing thier point of view freely On this topic, and you do so strongly.
    You tell us that ethics are not for someone else to dictate to us, then, almost in the same breath, push your views on what is and is not ethical from scientists.

    Seems wildly hypocritical? Hoping this is dramatic irony to hammer your point home?

  • Values aside, there is still a big issue concerning the so-called “facts” regarding 1080, particularly relating to possible public health effects. There are no long-term studies on possible health effects of exposure to small concentrations. It is therefore risky to put significant amounts of 1080 near to a major public drinking water reservoir, i.e. the Hunuas. The concentrations which are considered “safe” are based on limited studies, mostly on animals. The crucial point to understand is that people aren’t going to drop dead en masse from contamination of drinking water with low concentrations of 1080. That much we do know. HOWEVER, in the long run the contamination could result in an increased level of health issues which are difficult or impossible to relate back to the 1080 contamination, except by long term statistical studies looking at particular health issues. For example, people with cancer typically do not know what caused their cancer. These unknown risks to public health have been dismissed outright by those who stand to benefit financially from the “predator free NZ” economy!

  • Hi Stephen. What’s your proposed vector for people ingesting any 1080 at all when it’s never been detected in any drinking water supply?

    What we do know is that if the entire contents of toxin in a pellet were released into a moderately small stream all at once, which simply doesn’t happen, it’s diluted to levels easily within Ministry of Health guidelines. Within a matter of hours, it’s always undetectable. Soon after it’s diluted far beyond detection, it biodegrades. Even if there wasn’t very strong evidence that it passes straight through the systems of people and other organisms that don’t ingest enough to be harmed, how do you propose that people even get any at all?

    If you don’t trust tests which aren’t detecting anything below their best possible detection limits, which themselves are orders of magnitude more sensitive than limits officially deemed safe, which themselves are additional orders of magnitude more sensitive than limits known to have any measurable effect, then imagine all the other crazy things we could be ingesting which we have no idea of knowing they’re there.

    If you think 1080’s a risk at such small concentrations because it *might* cause harmful health effects at those levels, then we may as well stop doing everything, just in case. Stop going outside because undetectable levels of pollen might have unanticipated negative effects on human health. Stop driving cars because undetectable levels of engine fumes might have unanticipated negative effects on human health. Stop. Stop. Stop.

  • Mike M is uniformed regarding positive tests in water supply.
    My creek tested positive after the 2008 west coast drop.
    We were promised water, non arrived.
    Two heart attacks since 2008.
    First weeks after 1080 drop

  • Hi John.

    “My creek tested positive after the 2008 west coast drop.” How “positive”? For how long? Which 2008 West Coast drop?

    “We were promised water, non arrived.” This is not a failure of science or scientists. Who was it that promised a water supply to you? In any case, why would you need water transported in? The answer to this is dependant on your answer to the ‘how positive?” question.

    “Two heart attacks since 2008. First weeks after 1080 drop”. 1080 decays rapidly in the human body – any that you may have ingested was likely expelling in days, not weeks. Corelation is not causation. Heart attack is not a typical outcome of sub-leathal 1080 poisoning.

  • @MikeM You line of argument is the standard rhetoric, the logic in which soon falls apart under careful scrutiny. Firstly, you don’t seem to grasp the concept of risk. The recent 1080 drop in the Hunuas hopefully did result in none getting into the public drinking water supply, and hopefully nobody got sick or will get sick down the track. However, the point was that it was a risk taken by those who benefit financially, who played down the risks. Secondly, the rate of breakdown of 1080 in water varies with environmental conditions (temperature, etc.), and the literature seems quite inconsistent regarding the details. Secondly, your argument to the effect that we can’t know that anything is 100% safe, so by my argument we can’t ever do anything, is bogus. Whether or not we should proceed with a plan that is not known 100% to be safe depends on a risk assessment involving weighing up the potential risks with the likely benefits. In this case, the potential risks to public health greatly outweigh the likely “benefits” of “more birds”. The scenario has been misrepresented as saving native birds from extinction, but it is just “more birds”, and this could be a bad thing if native bird numbers increase unchecked within the limited remaining fragments of native forest. Many native birds eat native insects, some of which are themselves threatened by extinction (from habitat modification, not necessarily from predation by introduced mammals), so an exploding native bird population could tip these native insects over the edge into extinction. Fiddling with ecosystems is never a good idea. Things are stable at the moment with reduced native bird levels due to predators. There will be no ecological catastrophe from maintaining the status quo, but there could be from “fiddling”!

  • @Ashton Dempsey You said “Corelation[sic!] is not [necessarily] causation”. I wholeheartedly agree! This was my point above, i.e. any health problems resulting from 1080 contamination don’t come with a label saying “caused by 1080”. There will just be a statistical correlation from which causation must be demonstrated by long-term statistical analyses comparing treatment with control groups. If those studies aren’t done, then we can’t know one way or the other whether exposure to low concentrations of 1080 results in increased rates of health problems (not necessarily death) in the long term.

  • Wayne makes a good point that communities should decide together whether to use 1080. But to make a good decision we need to know the facts. Many people who are opposed to 1080 are being misinformed by the anti 1080 propaganda and lies that are being perpetrated on social media. Does Wayne make the same argument with regard to the science about global warming / climate change – i.e. if some communities want to keep burning fossil fuels because it fits with their “values” then that would be ok?

  • @ Stephen “This was my point above, i.e. any health problems resulting from 1080 contamination don’t come with a label saying “caused by 1080”. ”

    And here we have the problem – you are assuming there are health problems resulting from 1080. This is the same approach used by anti-vaxx, anti-GMO, anti-Roundup anti-amalgam fillings, anti-flouride etc. All immediately attribute illness to a cause, and then attempt to find evidence that supports the position.

    The reason the gentleman’s heart attack is not attributed to 1080 is because there is no plausible link – temporal, biological, physiological, epidemilogical – none. Except, perhaps, geographical. But, hey, good luck with that one. On that basis, Cave Creek might well have been because of 1080.

  • “you are assuming there are health problems resulting from 1080”

    No, I most certainly am not! I am saying that there might be, and so there is a plausible risk, a risk that is being dismissed outright by those who stand to benefit from the “predator free economy”. Since there have been no long-term studies on the health risks to humans, you cannot say that there are no health risks! Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence!

  • PS: I never said anything at all about that heart attack example, so pls don’t misattribute that to me!

  • Hi Stephen. State your hypothesis. “There might be and so its plausible” is niether logically valid nor a hypothesis.

    For example, rubbing myself with a mix of linseed oil and pink himalayan salt blessed by a shaman ‘might’ ensure I never get cancer. By your definition, this is plausible.

    I beg ot differ.

  • No, you are still missing the point. Since 1080 is a known toxin, long term heath effects at low concentrations are a plausible risk. The risk is not worth taking just for “more birds”!

  • Common salt is a known toxin. Have you given up swimming in the ocean?

    Not wanting to school you in toxicology since I have no qualification in it, but even as a lowly pleb I am aware that the dose makes the poison.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dose%E2%80%93response_relationship

    As a next step, I will point you back to the research you allude to showing that 1080 breaks down rapidly and becomes undetectable in a matter of hours in flowing water. Like most decay curves it is dependant on temperature and other variables, but not inconsistently so.

    http://www.1080facts.co.nz/1080-and-water.html

    So to summarise, there is no plausible risk.

    Unsurprising then that there has never been an identified public health problem associated with 1080 in New Zealand. This is not a moral judgement (to bring us back on topic) but an observation of the facts as we know them and can demonstrate.

  • … Which brings me back to my original comment.

    I accept that people have moral views on things, but given stuff in Wayne’s post, I’m interested in Wayne’s thoughts about the ways in which misunderstandings, misrepresentations and sometimes outright lies are being spread by various people as a way to justify what are often moral beliefs. How should scientists and policy makers be expected to respond to that?

    If we’re in such a polarised argument, it seems to me that the lying and the malicious actions of certain people for getting an outcome more consistent with their moral views is at least as responsible for the polarisation as the occasional frustrated scientist who might say something weighted by their own morally tainted assumptions about how reality works and how people behave in it.

  • @Ashton Dempsey

    Your argument is once again deeply flawed. For a start, websites like http://www.1080facts.co.nz/ cannot be trusted to be unbiased. The wikipedia article you point to probably is unbiased, but the key point there is “Studying dose response, and developing dose–response models, is central to determining “safe”, “hazardous” and (where relevant) beneficial levels and dosages for drugs, pollutants, foods, and other substances to which humans or other organisms are exposed.” What I am saying is that such studies HAVE NOT BEEN DONE for 1080. To quote this official N.Z. govt. document: https://t.co/RHxky7oAq0 : there are few studies on the risks to humans and most of what we think we know is extrapolated from studies on animals. In the case of salt, we know from millennia of ingestion of salt by humans what is or is not safe, though, I might point out that it is generally accepted that too much salt in the diet can cause health problems!

    “Unsurprising then that there has never been an identified public health problem associated with 1080 in New Zealand”
    Because we haven’t looked hard enough! Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence!

  • Once again, Wayne says, ‘Let’s let every endemic organism in New Zealand get eaten to extinction’, in his own roundabout, somewhat cryptic, way.
    Maybe this is his way of coping with the fact that most New Zealand residents would prefer having more endemic birds around over having more deer and feral horses around?

    -SG

  • Introduced predators are simply keeping native bird populations below their full potential, they are not “slowly eating them to extinction”. The effect of predators on NZ birds was massive initially (i.e. for the first few decades after arrival in N.Z. of the predators), but has long ago reached something akin to equilibrium. 1080 is a drastic solution to a minor problem, somewhat like trying to blitz a common cold with full-on chemotherapy!

  • “Because we haven’t looked hard enough! Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence!”

    Again with the logical absurdities. Using exactly that argument, every product and service we use is currently unsafe.

    There is ample evidence of the safety of 1080 in the fact that we have not had any illness identified as associated with it. The absence IS the evidence.

  • @Ashton Dempsey

    Absence of evidence can be evidence of absence, but only if you look for the evidence hard enough and still don’t find any. In the case of 1080, there are simply no studies to see if, for example, there is an increased rate of cancer down the track (say 10yrs after exposure) in a group of people exposed to low levels of 1080 for a certain period of time, compared with a control group. You can’t look at it on a case by case (person by person) basis, because cancer, for example, doesn’t come stamped with what caused it!

  • “Absence of evidence can be evidence of absence”

    You sound like you’re confusing yourself. I’d leave the pop philosophy alone.

    You sound as if you mean “this has not been has tested” but that’s a quite different thing.

    The key point as others have pointed out that tests show a lack of 1080 remaining. If there is a lack of a hazard there is nothing to look at or consider. Unless you’re a believer in homeopathy, I guess :-/

    “Speculative what-ifs” are an easy (i.e. a cheap) argument played for scares. They mix sophistry with scaremongering, or try to. I’ve no idea who is starting this, but I’ve seen it played this way for GMOs for years. Unfortunately sometimes politicians and people fall for it 🙁

    Speculation on something that is only worthwhile to the extent that the speculation is realistic. For example, 1080 isn’t polonium. I suspect simple arithmetic will show that the numbers don’t stack up to give reasonable concern. This isn’t an issue I follow, but it seems that EPA, etc. report simply not finding it in detectable amounts at all, and they test immediately after drops. It’d follow there is no hazard present to test for.

    For those that work using 1080 there might be something worth investigating, perhaps.

    Perhaps it’d help to calm you down to remember that we have take in small amounts of toxins all the time. They inflict small amounts of damage, too. Our bodies cope with that. If the amounts are undetectable or extremely low, then we really have better things to worry about.

    I think you need to move on. You seem stuck in a rut, trying to “find” something that’s not there.

  • Well, @Grant Jacobs, you too fail to understand the concept of risk. Hopefully, no 1080 was detected in drinking water after the Hunua drop (though testing should continue for a while since 1080 dropped on land could end up in the waterways at any stage). But the point is that something could have gone wrong (such as an undissolved lump of 1080 somehow finding its way into drinking water, or into an animal which was then killed and eaten by humans), and the risk to public health was taken just for the sake of “more birds”! While I do take your point about 1080 not being polonium, we do seem to have cases where health problems can result from say, too much salt in the diet, possibly also excessive tea drinking, etc., so low levels of various substances can cause heath problems down the track (not necessarily leading to death). My main point is not about the details of the risks in this case, but mainly how risks suddenly seem negligible when there is money to be made (i.e. the “predator free economy”). Usually we err heavily on the side of caution!

  • “But the point is” – and you go off sideways, trying to find something new. My point stands, and, I do not “fail to understand the concept of risk”.

    “My main point is not about the details of the risks in this case,” – but that is precisely what you did, earlier in that very paragraph.

    “but mainly how risks suddenly seem negligible when there is money to be made” – and you circle around to *assuming* there is a risk. Conspiracies only work by making giant assumptions. I’ve previously pointed out to you a *long time ago* that the money isn’t what you claim it is.

    All you seem to have left is side-tracking and potshots. Again, I think you need to move on.

  • Assuming risks, eh? That’s called precaution, Grant! It is really very simple: 1080 is a known toxin, therefore there are risks associated with its use. At the very least, there are risks of something going wrong. Such risks might be worth taking depending on the risk-benefit analysis, but in this case the benefits are just “more birds” (perhaps more than we actually want) and funding for some institutions (and, no, you didn’t argue effectively that “money isn’t what you [I] claim it is”!) Admittedly, for me it is more a matter of principle than anything else, I simply object to risk assessments to public health being made by parties who stand to gain significant ongoing funding if the risks are taken. In the present case, the risks may be “small”, but how small we really don’t know, but it represents a concerning potential slippery slope. You are the only one talking about “conspiracies”. This is an obvious tactic by you t

  • …try to discredit me by way of a straw man argument. There are no conspiracies, there is just simple bias due to economic factors. Conspiracy is a serious crime, bias is not, but it can still be dangerous!

  • “Assuming risks, eh? That’s called precaution, Grant!”

    No, and please don’t lecture me. As I pointed out earlier, if if doesn’t exist there is no hazard for their to be risk, but you responded by shifting goalposts. You’re having and not having all sorts of things. They test the water, but somehow they also don’t. Etc. You need to move on.

    “…try to discredit me by way of a straw man argument” — you offered the conspiracy and have from the onset, e.g. “how risks suddenly seem negligible when there is money to be made” and many, many other times. I didn’t invent it as you have made out here; I simply pointed to what you are saying yourself. I seemed you need a mirror, I’m just holding one up.

    No more replies to me, please. I’ve made my points, and I stand by that I think for your own sake that you need to move on. Cheers.

  • You are making a simple logical fallacy: sure, if there is no 1080 in the water, then there is no risk, I fully agree with that! However, my argument is that there was a significant enough risk of 1080 getting in the drinking water (e.g. if something had gone wrong). The fact that it seems to have worked out OK is simply good luck (like playing Russian Roulette, if there is no bullet in the barrell when you fire, then there is no risk!), but vested interests have gambled with public health.

    Again, making decisions taking into consideration monetary factors is bias, not conspiracy. It may even be “unconscious bias”. That is why we have what at least appears to be a system in which COIs must be declared, and independent reviews sought, but in practice this system of checks is far from perfect, as the present example (and many others) illustrates.

  • “You are making a simple logical fallacy… if something goes wrong.”

    What could go wrong Stephen, in any real-world practical sense, as against in the fevered imagination of the conspiracy-minded?

    The math of getting to a public health risk limit has been gone over many times. It requires a direct drop of bait in vast quantities into a small watercourse directly and immedaitely connected to an unmonitored water reticulation system during a low rainfall period. Fortunately, the people using 1080 know this and so they make detailed plans that ensure this cannot happen.

    Not a “something goes wrong” event then, but a “many many things go wrong, some of those things being a practical impossibility” (a helicopter can only lift so much bait after all).

    Far from being “good luck”, the failure of 1080 to cause catastrophic public poisoning is the result of, you know, planning. Boring as that might seem, its the fact.

    “…but vested interests have gambled with public health….”

    Deep breaths here Stephen. You appear to be hyperventilating. Grant has covered off the problem of your conspiracy theory. I have no need to go further.

  • For the last time, there is no “conspiracy”, I just don’t like to see funding influence the outcome of risk assessments. You are talking about the lack of risks to public health on a large scale. I don’t disagree about that. I’m talking about smaller scale risks, i.e. with so much 1080 being dropped, the chances of getting lumps which don’t dissolve quickly must be quite high, and we don’t know what sort of chance events could “conspire” to get such a lump lodged in someone’s water supply, long after testing for contamination has ceased. Such risks may be worth taking if the benefits to the public good are great enough, but “more birds” and “funding for DoC, etc.” hardly count. When money influences the outcome of risk assessments, even huge disasters can be the result, e.g. Bhopal.

  • “When money influences the outcome of risk assessments, even huge disasters can be the result, e.g. Bhopal.”

    So close to a Godwin I’m going to treat it as such.

  • I just don’t like to see funding influence the outcome of risk assessments.

    You are making the claim that this is happening in the context of 1080 use in NZ. You have provided no evidence to support the claim, other than your own beliefs/perceptions.

    I’m with Ashton.

  • Hi Stephen,

    My comment to you was in the sense that I don’t think you’re helping yourself. You seem very “stuck” on this in the way that someone who is mildly obsessive might. You are going around in circles wanting this “bias”, or whatever else you want to name it, to be there.

    I’m someone who very occasionally will step up and suggest someone might do better to stop. Sometimes someone “stuck” on something will respond to someone suggesting they’re stuck and that they’d be better to move on. It’s a game that’s easily played back at me (sometimes in awful fashion too), but I still would rather put myself up in the hope of a better end.

    My previous points stand. (I also asked if you could stop addressing me.)

    I don’t think accusing me of logical fallacies helps. I disagree, and in any event you immediately follow claiming you weren’t claiming a conspiracy by repeating the (conspiratorial) claim you say you’re not making. What else can anyone do then but point at it in the (vain?) hope you’ll eventually “get” it? 🙁

    Either this or you are very, very bad at explaining yourself. If that’s the case, you’re best not to point fingers at people, but look at your own “explanations” and try understand what you have said to others.

    There are many examples of you saying people are conspiring to turn things to their financial gain.

    *IF* what you mean is the very ordinary thing that people will see if, say, their trapping business might be able to benefit, then yes they’re “in for the money” in the sense that businesses always look for new opportunities. But you keep pointing at big government departments, and (vaguely) “science”.

    Yes, researchers unfortunately have follow funding to varying extents, but accusing people of “rigging the books” is a very different thing, and conflating that with “health risks” is excitable stuff.

    In any event I wrote what must be months ago now that most of the money is for the execution of plans – manual labour, etc. I haven’t time to re-discover the comment to dredge up a quote for you.

    I’m sure there will be the usual few consultancies etc who bill somewhat in their favour, but other than that, and the odd twit claiming (say) a bigger trapping operation than they’ve got, it’s really hard to see where this amazing ripping off of money is supposed to be. CRIs or government bodies are very unlikely to even be able to rip off the government as CRI and govt dept accounts are tracked internally.

    Science work is applied for competitively from the research community as a whole. Assessment includes outside players for good reasons. The funding for a grant is invariably stripped back from what was asked, with the effect that the reality is research labs are chronically under-funded.

    The only way I can see what you’re saying would work is if all the years of testing 1080 were somehow a long-planned aim to “fake it” for this year’s announcement. It just doesn’t make sense.

    re shifting goalposts & and being a bit “stuck” on this –

    re “However, my argument is that there was a significant enough risk of 1080 getting in the drinking water”

    “I’m talking about smaller scale risks,”

    Perhaps this example might help you you see you’re goalpost shifting. You’re even contradicting yourself. The first is large-scale, the second small.

    “Your argument” seems to be ten different things, as it were, as long as you can accuse some vague entity of taking “the money”.

    You’re also going around in circles. The research for risks of 1080 getting into water has been pointed out to your before.

    “as the present example (and many others) illustrates.”

    I’m genuinely sorry, but you haven’t illustrated anything. You have made (vague) claims that are not making sense.

    A common problem in these things is repeating something; after a while it feels more likely. Unfortunately that’s just convincing yourself in something that may not be there.

    I really do think you need to move on.