Re: Use of science/facts in decision making
From: John Beutler (
Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2016 11:21:52 -0800 (PST)
I think it's a matter of the order of magnitude of the insult. One whiff of cigarette smoke is tens of thousands of times less likely to cause lung cancer than years of smoking, whether passive or active.

Same deal with inverters in photovoltaic systems. Extremely Low Frequency radiation might possibly be a problem if you slept very close to it (e.g. a rooftop system directly over a bedroom), but would be an infinitesimal risk if the solar array is 300 feet away. Scientific studies have focused rightly on rooftop PVs, and have found no alarming effects.

It's partly people's inability to evaluate the magnitude of risk, because they don't always understand big and tiny numbers very well. Innumeracy, in other words. And the deterioration of education in science (and history).

<Rant over>

John Beutler
Liberty Village Cohousing
Libertytown, MD

On 12/31/2016 1:16 PM, Elizabeth Magill wrote:
So smoking policies are one of the situations I wonder about.

If one person believes that if their child walks through an outdoor area where 
there is smoke they will probably get lung cancer, is there any way to use 
facts to help resolve that discussion?

(The Rev.) Elizabeth M. Magill

On Dec 31, 2016, at 12:33 PM, Richard L Kohlhaas <rlkohl [at]> 

In our early days, we had endless discussions over a pet policy and a smoking 
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