制造科学的不确定性

数十年来,烟草行业制造的不仅是香烟。在不遗余力地营销烟草产品的同时,他们也发动了一场成功的公关攻势,旨在令其产品致命性和毁灭性的特点模糊化。虽然许多吸烟者很晚才发现该行业如此劣行,但在法律诉讼中发现的档案表明该行业一直协同发力攻击公共卫生科学及科学家,以规避政府监管。

很少有比弄清人类疾病的成因更为复杂的科学挑战了。例如,科学家们不能将有毒化学物质注入人体来观察什么样的剂量能导致癌症。相反,他们必须利用已经发生的“自然实验”进行研究。

确切地说,在实验室里,科学家们用受控试验状态下的动物来探究毒性介质的作用。但是,就如流行病学证据一样,实验室研究有许多不确定性,科学家们必须从特定的研究证据开始用外推法进行因果判断,并推荐预防措施。绝对的确定性几乎是不存在的。

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