The Snowolf has a summary of stupidity perpetrated by those who should know better. There are those who don't know enough even to realise they are stupid. Here are some more for the collection.
Recently, on a smoking article in the Mail, some idiot declared that nicotine and nicotinic acid (niacin) were totally unrelated substances. That the commenter who related them had confused an evil addictive substance with a beneficial vitamin. I left a note to the effect that maybe he'd like to look up some organic chemistry before declaring his version of reality. I don't know if he ever responded because I didn't care enough to bother checking back. Maybe he came out with the usual Righteous 'do some research (it's what I do for a living, in fact it's all I do) or maybe he pretended to be an organic chemist (if he is, I wouldn't employ him) or maybe he didn't come back either. Doesn't matter, he's an idiot.
Then there's the oft-quoted veggie/vegan argument that 'chimps are our closest relatives and they're vegan'. Utter bollocks.
Chimps are between 90-98% genetically the same as us depending on whose numbers you look at. But look at what genes do. They define limbs, four, with shoulder/hip. elbow/knee, five digits on the end of each. One head with eyes, ears, nose and mouth and a brain in the middle. Sinuses, internal ear and eye structure. Internal organs - liver, kidney, gut, pancreas, spleen, bladder etc. All the skeleton and musculature. All largely the same in a human, a chimp, a rhino and a mouse.
The real killer is metabolism. Most genes are taken up with that, which means that if you want to relate yourself to other species on the basis of Krebs' cycle and cellular genetics, you will find that your genes are 70% the same as a banana. So even 98% similarity isn't relevant. It takes less than 2% to turn a banana into a Kiwi fruit.
As for this 'chimps are vegan', well chimps eat insects, frogs and even small monkeys. They eat them raw and they eat them alive. When a veggie declares he eats like a chimp, offer him mealworms, tadpoles and lemurs, all very much alive, and see if he really eats like a chimp. Oh, and a banana. Remind him that it's 70% the same as his own flesh, but only do that when he's halfway through it.
Today, Peter Hitchens repeats the ridiculous notion that -
And I have no doubt at all that the bans on smoking, in trains, cinemas, buses, pubs, restaurants and hotels are helping many people give up a habit that is actually much harder to quit than heroin.
Every smoker I know who gave up and stayed off the tobacco, gave up just like that. They just stopped. They stopped because they didn't want to do it any more. Every single smoker I know who tried patches and gum is still smoking now. They failed because they didn't really want to stop.
I'd like to see any heroin addict 'just stop'. A smoker might shout at you if you take his tobacco and hold it behind your back. Do that with heroin and the addict will claw his way through your midriff to get it.
Smoking 'addiction' is entirely in the mind. All the symptoms are psychosomatic and those who stop because they don't want to smoke any more don't experience any of them. Smokers who believe themselves addicted only believe that because they have had it drummed into them by people who don't want them to stop, but who want them to buy stick-on nicotine instead of smoking nicotine. If it was a nicotine addiction, the patches would work. You are not allowed to question why they don't.
Heroin addiction is very different. There are real and horrible physical effects of withdrawal.
Comparing stopping smoking to coming off heroin is like comparing the giving up of one sherry a month with stopping a three-bottle-a-day whisky habit. You can just stop the one sherry a month with no effect. Coming off the heavy drinking is not nearly so easy. A sudden stop can physically shock your system to death.
Banning smoking in some places helps people stop doing something that's even more addictive than something else that's been totally illegal for years? Dammit, Hitch, take that brain out and rinse it under the tap. It's so full of shit your thoughts can barely move.
When you tell smokers the lie that tobacco is harder to quit than heroin, you are not making smokers stop smoking. You are making it more difficult for smokers to stop smoking. You are telling them that it's even harder for them to stop than for a heroin junkie to stop. You are telling them it's almost impossible to stop. Even those who want to stop will be afraid to because of the imagined heroin-withdrawal symptoms you have convinced them they will experience. How does that help?
Well, Hitch, take a look at those Pharmer profit lines, and ASH's income.
Guess who you are really helping now?
There is more, much more, but it's late and I worry that covering too much stupid at once could make it infectious.