Well, the Independent newspaper here in the UK (that would be as in independent of any journalistic credibility) has launched a campaign of unprecedented hysteria about the dangers of WiFi. There have been suggestions – without solid evidence, mostly extrapolation from studies on mobile phone radiation – that WiFi is causing bad behaviour in children. If WiFi were the root cause of bad behaviour in British school children, Suw would have killed me by now with our chef’s knife seeing as we have three WiFi hotspots in our postage stamp-sized flat in north London. Of course, the cause for bad behaviour could be a host of other things such as large class sizes resulting in high pupil-to-teacher ratios.
Ian Betteridge does a far better job than I possibly have time for today debunking this new public scare campaign. Ian puts the journalists feeding this nonsense to shame with a well reasoned post with actual facts, instead of baseless assertions and logical fallacies. Wow. Facts. Look folks, the ability to write flowing prose doesn’t mean you know jack about statistical analysis or science. It would appear that journalists (or the sources the quote) don’t “know the difference between high-frequency ionizing radiation – things like gamma rays emitted by a nuclear bomb – and non-ionizing radiation like radio waves”, as Ian points out. Although you’d think a fine liberal arts education that most journalists have would at least give them a basic grounding in rhetoric and logical fallacies.
Fallacy: Just because you don’t know something to be false doesn’t make it true. I find it ironic that this particular fallacy is called Argument from Ignorance.