A: The same way it causes rashes and headaches when its turned on – entirely due to psychogenics.
Or to put it another way, the tower does not cause any health effects at all, people just believe it does and their belief is so pervasive that it makes them believe they have an illness that they don’t. Worse still, this kind of self-suggestion has a nasty tendency to compound when more than one person in an area becomes convinced that something is making them ill, creating a mass panic over something that isn’t even there.
Yes, this kind of a mass panic has happened many times in human history, but with more and more dishonest parties trying to convince everyone that the condition “electro sensitivity” is not complete fiction, it seems that radio towers are now responsible for just about every symptom you can imagine, even at distances that make the power density roughly the same as normal ambient levels.
This would seem to be exactly what is happening around one tower in South Africa.
Massive revelation in iBurst tower battle
Over the past few months a battle between certain concerned Craigavon residents and iBurst reached fever pitch, with residents demanding that iBurst move a tower that was erected in Fourways Memorial Park on 12 August 2009.
A Craigavon Task Force was established shortly after the erection of the tower, partly because some residents in the area complained about ailments which they attributed to the tower. They staged a protest a few weeks after the tower went live, handing out flyers with the message: iBurst subjects a residential community filled with children to uninvited microwaves from their tower.
In an email one Craigavon Task Force member, Tracey-Lee Dorny, describes the affected community’s symptoms: â€œseveral rash cases were presented in person and by photos from people who could not attend [a meeting with iBurst]. Headaches, nausea, tinnitus, dry burning itchy skins, gastric imbalances and totally disrupted sleep patterns, especially with some of the children, were some of the issues presented by the residents.
Dorny told The Star that she and her son are spending alternate nights at her mother’s house to get some relief. â€œWhen Iâ€™m off the property, the symptoms subside, she said.
Another resident, Dave McGregor, is also quoted in The Star as saying that his wife and nine-year-old son suffer bouts of nausea and retching, and have developed skin rashes since the erection of the tower. â€œWeâ€™ve told our son that the tower is only switched on one day a week, so it’s not psychosomatic, McGregor told The Star.
Craigavon Task Force members remained unimpressed, and according to Van Zyl the residents reiterated their viewpoint that their ongoing health problems were caused by the tower. â€œAt the meeting on the 16th of November 2009 a number of residents and their staff confirmed that they were still experiencing symptoms such as rashes, headaches and the like and that these symptoms disappear when they leave the vicinity of the tower.
Ah, so Mr. McGregor lied to his son and told him it was on only one day a week, but his son was sick all seven? Well, that would prove it’s not psychosomatic, right? Actually, no. This is the entire reason why we have “double-blind” studies, because Mr. McGregor was still aware that the tower was on all seven days of the week and thus would have been expecting his son to be sick every day. He may have given him non-verbal cues or claimed to be sick himself.
But the jokes on Dave McGregor, because the tower wasn’t on seven days a week or even one day a week.
At the meeting Van Zyl agreed to turn off the tower with immediate effect to assess whether the health problems described by some of the residents subsided. What Craigavon residents were unaware of is that the tower had already been switched off in early October â€“ six weeks before the November meeting where residents confirmed the continued ailments they experienced.
MyBroadband was furnished with technical reports which confirmed that the Fourways Memorial Park iBurst tower was turned off in early October and that it did not provide any services over the next few weeks.
Van Zyl argues that this clearly proves that the iBurst tower could not be the cause of the health symptoms described by some of the residents. Van Zyl reiterated that residents said that the symptoms typically subsided in hours or days after leaving the Craigavon area, and since it still prevailed in mid-November it means that it could not have been related to the iBurst tower radiation.
Well, looks like some of the local residents and their little “task-force” are going to be looking a little foolish. One might expect that this would be a situation where the case is closed. Unfortunately, people really don’t like to be called out for having fallen for the placebo effect, and these kind of beliefs are not only hard to admit to, but are often so deeply ingrained in people that they will insist that they MUST be true, regardless of how much evidence they are presented with to the contrary. Rather than admit to being suckered into believing something that is not so, one would expect many to claim that there must be a mistake or that perhaps there is another transmitter or even some other, as yet unknown, force radiating from the tower.
Alternatively, they may just go hide.
The story continues:
Van Zyl added that â€œwhatever caused their symptoms, it was now a fact that it could not be attributed to the iBurst tower and the tower was switched back on in the 2nd week of December. The iBurst CEO added that residents failed to show up for subsequent meetings scheduled for the 30th of November and the 2nd of December.
Didn’t show up? Jeez, who woulda thunk.
It seems that the legal battle will continue. After all, just stopping it would be like admitting that they were wrong all along. Now the legal firm representing those opposed to the tower is claiming that the concerns also include environmental issues and the fact that the public was not allowed to participate in the decision process for tower placement. Yes, that’s right, the public is supposed to participate in the planning of something that doesn’t pose any threat to anyone, despite the fact that they believe it does. The inmates, it seems, would like to run the asylum.
That said, there are some important lessons to be learned from this kind of thing. Not only is mass hysteria a very real and potentially dangerous phenomena, but it’s very important to realize that everyone is susceptible to the placebo effect and nobody should ever assume that their symptoms might not be partially or completely in their head. It also shows how dangerous misinformation and outright lies can be when they are disseminated to the public by apparent figures of authority. In the worst circumstances, mass panic can occur during times when there is a real crisis, and in the process, cripple health-care and emergency response services.
Thanks to “Scott in AL” for the link to this
This entry was posted on Saturday, January 16th, 2010 at 2:40 am and is filed under Bad Science, Culture, inverse square, Misc, Not Even Wrong, Quackery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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