by Carl V Phillips
An aside that does not relate to THR, but provides a rare opportunity to observe how the ANTZ act when they have to admit one of their claims was wrong. It is exceedingly rare because no matter how badly the ANTZ bungle their data or analysis, and no matter how clearly it is refuted, they never admit they made a mistake. They are not, after all, real scientists; they are marketers who ape science to support their propaganda. But in this case, a newspaper retracted the data so they had to respond.
A letter to a Japanese newspaper was supposedly from a six-year-old, telling the heartwarming story of talking a merchant into letting her buy cigarettes as a present for her grandfather, the only product that he really cared about. This story sparked condemnation by the usual suspects about how screwed up Japanese society must be that a young child would be allowed to buy cigarettes for any reason, and that Something Needs To Be Done About It.
It became apparent that the letter was a hoax. So the ANTZ naturally expressed relief that the world is not such a terrible place.
Ha! just kidding, of course. What they actually did was publish a commentary in their pseudo-journal official party newsletter, Tobacco Control, that acknowledged the hoax but repeated the conclusion. They interpreted the fact that the letter was considered a heartwarming story was evidence that Japanese society was screwed up and that Something Needs To Be Done About It.
Yes, life sure is easy in the ANTZ hill. Not only do you take all the money you could ever want from smokers, providing job security as long as you dutifully recite the party doctrine, but no matter what the data shows, there is never a need to rewrite your conclusions.