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New Times: Something to think about when it comes to ads 

In your last edition, a half-page ad appeared in your news section attacking a local contributor for speaking out for nuclear power. The ad was sponsored by the World Business Academy of Santa Barbara, and it cited a "peer-reviewed" study by a Dr. Christopher Busby, who has some notoriety in the Green Community. According to Dr. Busby, there is a 28 percent increase in infant mortality rates in the zip codes near Diablo Canyon, presumably implying that Diablo Canyon may be responsible. In April 2014, the San Luis Obispo County Health Department refuted the findings of the health study stating, "There are substantial and obvious problems in methodology wherein basic statistical precepts were overlooked," and asserted that the study showed "selection bias in choosing case and control groups."

In 2011, The Guardian's George Monbiot wrote a piece about Dr. Busby ("Christopher Busby's wild claims hurt Green movement and Green party," Nov. 22, 2011). According to the piece, at the time, Dr. Busby was self-published and his work not subjected to the scientific assessment required by peer-reviewed journals, and the article went on to portray Dr. Busby as a menace to the Green community. According to The Guardian, Dr. Busby was also peddling pills (presumably cures for the hazards outlined in his studies) but was unable to confirm if they actually worked.

The World Business Academy advertisement also accused Diablo Canyon of murdering 1.5 billion fish annually but did not offer anything in the way of substantiation or any explanation as to why Central Coast beaches are not perpetually littered with fish corpses.

The Guardian piece also pointed out in its conclusion that we have a moral duty not to spread unnecessary and unfounded fears; we have a moral duty not to use these unfounded fears as a means of extracting money from frightened and vulnerable people; we have a moral duty not to divert good, determined campaigners away from fighting real threats, and into campaigns against imaginary threats; and finally, we have a moral duty to assess threats as clearly and rationally as we can, so that we do not lobby to replace a lesser threat with a greater one.

Your advertising people might give that some thought.

Mark Henry

San Luis Obispo

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