should brown cut off his johnson?

Wow. AN Wilson's made a right tool of himself over at the Daily Mail. So much so that even their normally bovine and reactionary comments posts contain a large proportion of people saying that he's talking bollocks.

Wilson inadvisadly commented on the Nutt-sack controversy, in which Professor David Nutt was forced to resign as senior drugs adviser by Alan Johnson after Nutt wrote a paper with perfectly uncontroversial comments about the artificial separation of alcohol and tobacco from illegal drugs. Remarks by Johnson such as this from his letter to Nutt,

I cannot have public confusion between scientific advice and policy, and have therefore lost confidence in your ability to advise me as chair of the ACMD.

and in interviews come close to saying that evidence of harm is irrelevant to government policy.

Among the many gems in Wilson's piece is this instantiation of Godwin's law that Ben Goldacre was justifiably quick to draw attention to on his twitter feed,

The only difference between Hitler and previous governments was that he believed, with babyish credulity, in science as the only truth. He allowed scientists freedoms which a civilised government would have checked.

Complete with a large picture of Hitler for the slow children at the back. Apart from anything else, given the well-documented general credulity and fascination with pseudo-scientific cock of many in the Nazi hierarchy, this is simply untrue. Even if it were it is not a criticism of science or scientists but of human nature and especially of the compromised moral character of the Nazi regime.

My personal favourite remark of Wilson's however is this from earlier in the piece,

The trouble with a 'scientific' argument, of course, is that it is not made in the real world, but in a laboratory by an unimaginative academic relying solely on empirical facts.

Yes, damn those scientists and their empirical facts. If it weren't for them forcing their 'empirical' science on us I could have a candy tree growing in the garden and a pair of wings to fly to work.

Of course, Brown's Johnson is in absolutely no danger. An evidence-based approach to drugs policy however appears to have taken a beating.


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