Monday, August 04, 2008

All bloggers wrong, implies Copeland

Professor Jan Copeland has dismissed criticism of her public position on cannabis saying "We did get some negative press but it was only from bloggers". Copeland, pictured, is director of NCPIC (National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre)

She was speaking at NDARC's 2008 Symposium and was presumably referring to the many critical responses she received to an opinion piece she published on an ABC site (linked in the post below).

Several commenters exposed her criticisms of cannabis as flawed, quoting scientific studies at length. Despite the NCPIC website claiming to present evidence-based information, Copeland has ignored the content of these criticisms and rubbished them on the grounds that they were on a blog – a blog that she had started off herself!

Does this mean all blogs are wrong? Or does it mean that Professor Jan Copeland is just using that as an excuse to ignore extensive evidence that challenges her political bias?

After all, her organisation has a website and we all know you can't trust information from the web (especially if buying tickets for the Olympics). So all the information on her NCPIC site should also be ignored, at least by Copeland's questionable logic.

Even funnier, when they answer the phone at NCPIC they omit the 'prevention' bit from their name. I suppose that's because they know 'prevention' is the buzzword of conservative christian fundamentalists who want mandatory detention for all young people caught with cannabis, and it's becoming an embarrassment for a supposedly 'evidence-based' organisation.

Also strange is that Paul Dillon, previously known for his balanced reporting on drug matters, is the organisation's Communications Officer. The optimistic view is that Dillon will hit his stride soon and balance out the one-sided spin from Copeland. 

Here's a link in which Dillon lists the addictiveness of different drugs. After explaining how drug information needs to be accurate or kids just don't believe it, he offers these ratings:

"[Nicotine is no. 1, alcohol is no. 10] Heroin is about number 13, and ecstasy and cannabis are a lot further down the list."

That makes Copeland's description last week of young cannabis smokers as "a hard core of addicts" seem a bit purple, doesn't it?

But what would I know? I'm only a blogger.

PS This lead letter in The Sydney Morning Herald (Aug 1) nicely exposes how the NCPIC spin contradicts its own evidence.


Firesnake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Firesnake said...

Funny about those blogging amateurs eh? Writing all that evidence, linking to source material.

When clearly they should have a blog, that appears to be a site - nay a 'journalesque' looking site - with PDF buttons to boot - to... exactly the same blurb.

The anti blog, perhaps. Which would be... hang on... um... hmmm... diddlie... Doh!... trala... ummmm... Aha! - A GOLB. Golbbers, that's what the NitPIC authors are.

Golbbers - feedback suggests - collate 'Evidaintce' to use up entire PDFs to publish what the average school lad can burp out in 10 seconds - to the tune of Advance Australia Fair.

'Tis a bloody tragedization of erstwhile available funding. Methinks a fun exercise would be to note the frequency of subjective terminology "appears", "possibly", "could have been prevented", "my butchers, brothers, dogs, vet is certain": whatever.

I mean, compare their blurbs to a paper abstract. Same type of statement semantics, just an entirely different trick. Who remembers "could have" when "psychosis" is the obvious allusion.

Now. The flaw in my logic above [seriously] is most peer reviewed data does contain such terminology. But, [even more seriously] every minuscule point is there to be checked, agreed with, laughed at or rebutted with... Evidence.

I recently heard quite a lot about this blogging business and its contribution to balancing out biased assumptions and misinformation. At, um... oh yeah - National Science Week.

Paul makes v. good points. Eg, our favourite SSRI is more "addictive" than any illicit bar crystal meth'. But, it's not really. Just "discontinuation syndrome". Don't visit 'blogs' on Seroxat/Aropax/Paxil; paroxetine. Or Google with "suicide", "side effects", "withdrawal lawsuits". have updated their site, which has interesting comparisons.

My challenge to Jan Copeland would be, "what evidence shows that statement [on feedback from bloggers] is even relevant, much less shows 'bloggers' to be wrong"?

Since when does that constitute a reply of any sort? And why can't it run the other way - "criticism of bloggers only came from Jan Copeland".

Who - thanks to the blogosphere - is now 'tagged' as a propagandist, and has [by her own actions, words and responses] linked her name, career and reputation to that of a integrity free government mouth piece - forever.

Bummer for Sister Jan.