"Denialism" and cycle helmets

This sub-forum all discussions about this "lively" subject. All topics that are substantially about helmets will be moved here, if not placed here correctly in the first place.
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horizon
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"Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby horizon » 3 Aug 2018, 12:25pm

(This is a bit of a heavy topic so please feel free to move on to lighter stuff :D)

This thread has been stimulated by an article in the Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/a ... -the-truth

Personally I think it's good to challenge conventional wisdom, firstly because it stimulates new ideas, secondly it's fun and thirdly because conventional wisdom is often wrong (q.v. the earth being flat). But if, as this article suggests, challenging conventional wisdom is condemned as denying the truth (or should that be The Truth?), then I think we 've lost a bit of our human freedom. Of course, if radical ideas (such as pretending the Holocaust didn't exist) are simply a cover for more pernicious political ideology, then OK, we have to move against them.

My own challenge to orthodoxy is against "denialism". I think it's daft as a concept and even dafter to lump climate change with vaccinations and the Holocaust and various conspiracy theories. What seems to me to be going on here is that anyone who steps outside conventional science is branded a heretic - not a good omen for a free society. What happened to harmless eccentricism?

And so onto cycle helmets. In fact, I'm rather surprised the article didn't refer to them or to the "anti-helmet brigade" or "helmet deniers". Is there a danger that those who question the efficacy of helmets risk being lumped in with climate change "deniers" and other odd-balls? Or accused of questioning science? Or even worse, being villified for endangering their children? Is this not a case of shooting the messenger?

So my question is: in what way does your stance on helmets fit in with your other views on society and science?
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Marcus Aurelius
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Re: "Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 3 Aug 2018, 12:29pm

Everyone loves a good old.

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gaz
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Re: "Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby gaz » 3 Aug 2018, 12:40pm

My view on cycle helmets is that I doubt neither the science of physics that proves a properly worn helmet will offer protection in lab conditions nor the science of epidemiology that proves a properly worn helmet makes no appreciable difference to real world accident outcomes.

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Cunobelin
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Re: "Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby Cunobelin » 3 Aug 2018, 1:25pm

I believe in informed choice.I read the actual evidence and decide on reality

As far as helmets are concerned when the evidence in favour is a barrage of lies, cheating, fiddled statistics and bullying people with emotive claims then it becomes obvious who is practicing denialism

brynpoeth
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Re: "Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby brynpoeth » 3 Aug 2018, 1:50pm

I love the Grauniad but any time I see the Long Read I just scan it

Did the article mention h*****s?

I am a Denaliist, I insist on using "Denali" for the highest peak in n. America :wink:
Cycling - of course, but it is far better on a Gillott..alternative facts welcome

broadway
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Re: "Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby broadway » 3 Aug 2018, 1:53pm

brynpoeth wrote:I love the Grauniad but any time I see the Long Read I just scan it

Did the article mention h*****s?

I am a Denaliist, I insist on using "Denali" for the highest peak in n. America :wink:


You bought the subject up,why not read it first?

broadway
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Re: "Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby broadway » 3 Aug 2018, 2:14pm

Here's some pseudoscience for you disproving the link between "greenhouse gases" and climate change.

http://sciencefrauds.blogspot.com/2017/ ... ocent.html

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Re: "Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby roubaixtuesday » 3 Aug 2018, 2:19pm

My view on cycle helmets is that I doubt neither the science of physics that proves a properly worn helmet will offer protection in lab conditions nor the science of epidemiology that proves a properly worn helmet makes no appreciable difference to real world accident outcomes.


Very well put indeed.

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horizon
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Re: "Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby horizon » 3 Aug 2018, 2:50pm

BrianFox wrote:
My view on cycle helmets is that I doubt neither the science of physics that proves a properly worn helmet will offer protection in lab conditions nor the science of epidemiology that proves a properly worn helmet makes no appreciable difference to real world accident outcomes.


Very well put indeed.


But which risks, if other subjects are to be believed, the label helmet sceptic.
It's autumn in England with the trees turning golden. So we say leaves mean leaves.

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gaz
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Re: "Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby gaz » 3 Aug 2018, 3:28pm

horizon wrote:But which risks, if other subjects are to be believed, the label helmet sceptic.

Only from those I'd label helmet zealots :wink: .

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Re: "Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby pjclinch » 3 Aug 2018, 3:33pm

Denying science and denying what boils down to a mix of culture and psychology are really quite different things. It's not like you can wander over a border and suddenly find that vaccines cause autism, but you can walk (or ride) over a border and find people cycling safely without the perceived need for helmets.

It needs to be remembered that science isn't a pile of Magic Facts that can't be challenged, t's a process to establish a best understanding of actuality. And in that process is the inbuilt ability (actually requirement) to revise the understanding. Your "denialist" starts off with their preferred conclusion and then decides everything else is wrong, and that's that.

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: "Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby Wanlock Dod » 3 Aug 2018, 4:35pm

horizon wrote:... My own challenge to orthodoxy is against "denialism". I think it's daft as a concept and even dafter to lump climate change with vaccinations and the Holocaust and various conspiracy theories. What seems to me to be going on here is that anyone who steps outside conventional science is branded a heretic - not a good omen for a free society. What happened to harmless eccentricism? ...


But Climate Change is very much mainstream/conventional science, it's the fact that we find the truth unpalatable that means we have tended to deny its effects however apparent they may be in our daily news reports. We just tend to focus on the extreme nature of the weather, rather than that these days we consider it to be extreme virtually all the time.

Similarly, our society has known that building roads leads to more congestion for almost a century, but we are still building roads to "solve" congestion problems to this very day.

It would be great if cycle helmets were the solution to all cycling problems, especially those that involve inattentive drivers, and they have already been extremely effective in reducing the numbers of cyclists which at least means they aren't getting run over by careless drivers so surely that's good? For a while I'm sure the helmet thing was adopted by many in good faith, and it's only now that a quarter of a century of trying to prove how good they actually are has demonstrated their ineffectiveness for the kinds of accidents that really matter that it is unpalatable.

I tend to think that there is a strong element of obviousness in the promotion of helmets which conveniently avoids any potential requirement for evidence. Why would you need evidence when it's so obvious? I suppose you could consider this to be ignorance rather than denialism, but are they really any different?

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Cunobelin
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Re: "Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby Cunobelin » 3 Aug 2018, 6:00pm

Brexit is the classic illustration of why the concept of Denialism is dangerous

There are many legitimate concerns, worries and real issues that need to be addressed, yet the Rabid dismissal of anyone who raises the concern as being "remainers" rather than a legitimate discussion is almost as bad as the dismissal of anything that Trump fins inconvenient as `"Fake News"

It will only be a matter of time before "Denialism" is used to dismiss reality, argued debate or informed choice

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Re: "Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby drossall » 3 Aug 2018, 10:03pm

horizon wrote:So my question is: in what way does your stance on helmets fit in with your other views on society and science?

I think there's a strong echo of Kuhnian paradigms here - the idea that science is not an abstract process leading to conclusions, but something done by humans who slowly adopt what, in time, becomes the new consensus, so that, during the debate, there are very much sides, with people switching.

A protection for me is to read the views of others. Looking for those with no particular axe to grind, I'm particularly impressed by Ben Goldacre of Bad Science fame.

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Re: "Denialism" and cycle helmets

Postby Mick F » 4 Aug 2018, 11:39am

I don't care.

I wear track mitts because it makes my hands comfortable when I ride, and I wear a cap because it make my head comfortable when I ride.

I don't care what people think, and I don't care if anyone disagrees with me.
Mick F. Cornwall