DenisDeKat’s Symposium

At times one remains faithful to a cause
only because its opponents do not
cease to be insipid.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900)


Deleted Post - Response to Scourge

Filed under: — denisdekat @ 5:37 am

I mistakenly deleted this post, but was able to get it back by hitting back on the browser. So I will paste it here (my sincere apologies to Dick, I did not want to loose his input - I love to hear different perspectives and his is an interesting one at least)


Name: Dick Hanneman

Since your post references our court suit under the Data Quality Act, let me make a point. I’m the president of the Salt Institute and our case, Salt Institute v. Leavitt, will be heard by the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals at the beginning of February.

Your original post posits the DQA will lead to “corporate lawsuits against scientific analyses” and Scourge comments facetiously that “apparently, we no longer have need for scientists and their studies.” Both posts entirely miss the point.

As citizens, we will have different views of the policies we’ll use to govern ourselves — democracy sorts out those choices. But effective democracy is advanced by transparency and reliability of information. While we may disagree whether we have a problem and what that problem is, we should be able to agree on facts and not let government be unaccountable by making them up as it goes. That’s the way it’s done in so-called “Banana Republics” and not what we want to develop here.

Our lawsuit does not delay any policy — it’s in place. It doesn’t challenge the science nor even suggest that medical scholarship should not be at the center of our policy-making. Just the opposite. What we are saying is that the government can’t make up the “results” of a study and not allow citizens an opportunity to examine the data it is citing. People may disagree on whether the policy is a good idea or not, but when the government says it has something in the bag supporting its position but refuses to let anyone see it, we should all be concerned — left, right and center. Our original petition included an affidavit from a prominent researcher — the founding president of the American Society of Hypertension — that says that the data available to the public is insufficient to conclude what the government says it means. That isn’t to say the government may be right, only that insufficient evidence has been released to prove it. And the necessary evidence is a very simple table that the researchers clearly have in their possession and could be produced with the click of a mouse.

That’s the issue: no delay, no trashing of science or scientists, just an opportunity for all citizens to see the factual basis for a policy. In this case, the government says the data supports its current policy; all we’re asking for is a look at the data. What has been published does not justify the claim. Further details are on our website at or you may want to peruse our blog at

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