Re: Use of science/facts in decision making
From: Elizabeth Magill (
Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2016 11:25:13 -0800 (PST)
So in your community, do you get to a discussion of the “order of magnitude” of 
the insult?

Or does the discussion end with “i’m afraid this might hurt me”?

(The Rev.) Elizabeth M. Magill

> On Dec 31, 2016, at 2:21 PM, John Beutler <jabeutler [at]> wrote:
> 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?
>> -Liz
>> (The Rev.) Elizabeth M. Magill
>> 508-450-0431

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