[ RadSafe ] Precautionary Principle or Paranoia (was "More on cell phones")

Clayton J Bradt cjb01 at health.state.ny.us
Mon Jan 4 09:39:50 CST 2010

On Thursday, December 31, 2009 Mike Quastel wrote:

 "I agree that no significant clinical effects have yet been found with
microwaves and with cell phones, and I certainly am against the hype
on the subject. To be the devil's advocate, however, there appears to
be some local heating to the part of the brain adjacent to the cell
phone, the biomedical significance of which is not clear. As is well
known, manifestation of the carcinogenic effects of ionizing
radiation can be delayed many years, even as many as 25 years after
the initial exposure. How long have cell phones been around - maybe
10? It would therefore be wise to reserve judgement on the long term
consequences of cell phone use and to encourage the use of earphones
for those who use cellphones intensely."

Now consider the following variations of this statement:

Variation 1:

"No monsters have yet been found in my closet. As is well known, monsters
can hide very well and can even become invisible.  It would therefore be
wise to reserve judgement as to whether there really are monsters in my

Variation 2:

"No tuxedo has yet to be found in my closet. I don't recall ever owning a
tuxedo, but that doesn't mean someone could not have put one in there
without my knowing it. As is well known, in a dark and crowded closet it is
often difficult to find a tuxedo among the other clothes. Therefore it
would be wise to reserve judgement as to whether there is a tuxedo in

Variation 3:

"I cannot prove that you are not controlled by radio signals from Mars.
Afterall, it is logically impossible to prove a negative. And you may not
even be aware that you are an instrument of Martian aggression.  Any
malevolent acts against me which you may engage in as a result of
instructions from Mars, may not occur for many years. Martians are patient
and relentless foes.  It would therefore be wise to reserve judgement as to
whether you, as an unwitting agent of Martians, will do me harm in the
future.  You must be watched."

My question:  Why does the original statement seem reasonable while the
three, admittedly absurd, variations do not?

Clayton J. Bradt
Principal Radiophysicist
NYS Dept. of Health

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