Example why legal courts will wither on the vine: One decides mobile phones cause brain tumours

So, here’s the latest court decision:

From http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4597109/Mobiles-can-give-you-a-tumour-court-rules.html

Absolute rubbish, of course

This is even less reliable than the stuff about poor Amanda Knox.

But it does illustrate an important point and why I’ve put this thread in Gread Debates.

The reality is that the legal process is DYING. Eventually, reality is gonna take over. While it isn’t the case yet, eventualy science will establish the safety (or not) of phone arials and so on.

But going forward, it will establish reality. And you, stupid courts, will be discredited. You will only make decisions when you are wrong. You will be universally mocked. You already look silly with this decision.


…says the recently convicted felon. :rolleyes:

I suspect court will continue to exist as the primary means of dispute resolution for centuries to come.

For clarity: coffee, diesel fuel and gasoline are in the same class.

This is IMHO - so I’ll say I have no problem with the courts (even in Italy) or their verdict.

Since OP seems to think this is in Great Debates, but writes as if it is in the pit, I’ll reserve any further comment until we see where this one lands.

Legal courts may, indeed, be withering on the vine. Perhaps it was a natural progression following the demise of clear and rational thesis statements.

Really? The Italian justice system is the standard by which we’re willing to judge all courts? A country unable to control organized crime? Where a large chunk of the police and courts are controlled/influenced by mob alliance? A situation largely unchanged for decades?

Sheesh, who knew?

No country’s courts are without fault but I really don’t think what happens in Italy is going to rock justice systems around the world, to be honest.

Heck, in the US you don’t have to prove anything in court-all you need is to convince 12 ignorant people that you are right. That is why women were awarded money for breast implants gone bad-even though there is no proof that leaking implants caused their problems (BTW, women are still getting them).

This all sounds like someone had a bad day in small claims court.

PunditLisa - I’m personally waiting for cage matches. I think that is a far better way to clearly express and prove a theory.

At least we’d be entertained, instead of mildly disappointed.

Having spent a considerable part of my last 25 years talking to juries, I can assure you that they are not usually “ignorant.” I’ve found that the vast majority of time, they are trying hard and working through the evidence and reaching a rational result (even when I don’t like it). As for your assertion that “you don’t have to prove anything,” it is, unfortunately, just the opposite. Many conservative judges think it is there job to stand between an injured plaintiff and a corporation’s money, and throw out the case on summary judgment before you even get to see a jury. The procedure to frustrate a litigant’s right to have a jury decide the case (see Seventh Amendment) often results in more injustice than all the best implant cases combined.

We have a wonderful system to resolve disputes and seek justice in this country. I’m tired of seeing it attacked by the right wing thoughtless attack machine.

In fairness, it is supposed to be a jury of your peers… so, the OP’s experience may not be indicative of the average.

I would agree with the above, if it referred to “stupid Italian justice system”.

Beyond the the Amanda Knox case and the Monster of Florence mess, there was a recent Italian court verdict blaming a child’s autism on the MMR vaccine. Add to that this cellphone decision, and it seems Italian courts have decided they are competent to ignore the great weight of scientific evidence and issue nonsensical verdicts.

What a farce. I pity those in Italy who suffer because of the stupidity and grandstanding of their public officials.

I’d say the OJ Simpson case is proof of the ignorance of most jurors!

One problem with using a relative handful of cases as evidence that courts are typically wrong is that it’s almost never done by someone who actually knows what happened.

“The verdict in this case as I understand it based on the TV news is not justified by the facts of the case as I understand them based on a third-generation e-mail forward and what common sense and self-serving hazy recollections tell me the law is” is, er, slightly different from “the verdict in this case is not justified by the facts and the law.”

Of course, I have no better a grasp of the facts, but I’m willing to default to the assumption that the jury knows what they’re talking about, or t least did the best they can.

Objection; relevance?

You do realize that courts require a certain level of proof before they are allowed to take away your rights? It isn’t like they can throw up an Internet poll and go by those results. I personally think OJ was guilty, but the prosecution didn’t prove it sufficiently. That isn’t the court’s fault or the jury’s fault.

Uh… science established the danger of phone radiation in this court. What do you think they presented as evidence?

I don’t see how it could prove anything about anyone but those twelve jurors, and perhaps not even them. Can you explain your position?

I disagree. From Science Based Medicine blog:

Unless you have a counter-cite, I’ll go with Neurologist Steven Novella.

I was careful not to claim all juries made the right decision in every case. No one claimed perfection. Also, as others have pointed out, the Prosecution flubbed the O.J. case to some extent and the verdict was not completely out of line.

I agree.

It might prove the ignorance of those twelve jurors. Between missed opportunities by the prosecution, the glove not fitting, the lack of candor by Furhman, the mismeasured/missing blood samples and the life experiences of the individual 12 jurors, they found that there was a likelihood of framing or bias that outweighed how far the evidence went to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty.

Contrast that case with the Goldman v. Simpson civil case, where the shoes were easily proven to have belonged to Simpson and he was shown to be a liar. Where the standard was a preponderance of the evidence, i.e. more than half.

Neither jury verdict surprised me.

With respect to cell phones causing brain cancer, I have my doubts. If it were true, brain cancer rates in cellphone using countries would be skyrocketing after 20 plus years of constant usage by a large swath of the population. While correlation in individual cancer cases does not equal causation, it would seem to me to be that if cell phones cause cancer (and I am open to that idea), there would be a significant upswing as compared to other cancers. Let’s Google/Bing and see:


The link summarizes a British Medical Journal article that points suggests that actual observable rates do not match the projections made by earlier studies that predicted increases. There are no actual increased rates. Yet. The summary suggests that latency may be longer than 20 years, and indeed it may be.

I had a friend who died of brain cancer 20 plus years ago who was always on one of those huge brick cell phones. He went really quickly. It occurred to me then that this was something to look out for. But I also knew that he was a chain smoker, which the date in incontrovertible that it increases rates of almost all cancers. The science as we know it is that ionizing radiation can cause cancer, not regular em waves. If, in the coming years cell phone usage continues to be near universal in developed countries, and we see a significant rise in brain cancers that cannot be attributed to say, awful pollution levels as in China, we may have to rethink this. But I am going to continue to use my cell phones.