There’s no shortage of nutty thinking and absurd claims in this world, and you have to love the Interweb for giving us so much access to some of this. In that spirit, I offer two of the more out-there examples of recent vintage.
Cancer too profitable to be cured
You know the drill. There’s way too much money to be made treating cancer serially to actually come up with a cure – or to release a cure should one “accidentally” devise one.
Is it just me or is it worrisome that this sparked a conversation on LinkedIn? A couple of weeks back, someone with whom I’m linked started just such a conversation, and I flashed back to the 1980s prattle about a carburator that could give a conventionally aspirating automobile a triple-digit level of fuel economy. But Snopes says this story has been around a lot longer than that.
If GM really did have that kind of carburator, they’d have made a lot more money using it and licensing it to other car makers than the oil companies could ever have afforded as bribe money. Likewise, anyone who came up with a bona fide cure for any one of the major cancers could write their own check … plus, their name would be up there with Salk and Pasteur.
Money and immortality await, and we’re supposed to believe this conspiracy nonsense? Please. Get a life.
Just one more donation!
We’ve all seen the commercial by now, replete with images claiming “Cancer cured!” The images are vaguely reminiscent of the kinds seen in pictures of Times Square when Americans reacted to the news that World War II had come to an end. It’s such a heart-tugging thing, one that only Madison Avenue or Hollywood could pull off with so much panache.
The problem with this commercial is that it’s a very studied exercise in mixed messages. “You’ll remember this day forever,” the narrator intones, depicting ordinary people doing ordinary things, including a middle-aged man picking up a newspaper bearing the headline “Cancer Cured!” Predictably, the narrator goes out of his way to avoid saying “cure” until near the end. “We’re almost there, but we need your help … making cures happen,” he promises.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the author of this commercial, but should we not ask whether they’re playing fast and loose with the facts?
Here’s one answer from another organization dedicated to cancer research. The American Cancer Society says explicitly at its website, “sometimes [cancer] never completely goes away.” Some cancers are chronic cancers, including some leukemias. This makes the claims of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society rather suspect, doesn’t it?
Count me among those who believe that because cancer is often a random disorder of DNA, it is equally often a disease of “information” rather than a disease of biology in the traditional sense. And given that DNA will never be quite as stable as we’d like, is it really plausible to imagine that all cancers can be cured once and for all? Or will some cancers become chronic conditions, as many experts believe?
The aforementioned commercial says “cure” only at the end, but the images suggest “eradicated.” I find the commercial troublingly disingenuous.