In case the title might throw you a bit, this blog post is about a contemporary scientist over-stating the amount of persecution that Galileo received by the hands of the Church… which was “founded” by a fellow from Galilee. So don’t start off by confusing the two historic figures.
Professor David Nutt has a few reasonable points now and then. Recently he has criticized restrictions on research involving controlled substances such as opioids and hallucinogenics. While he’s not persuaded of the harms of these drugs (and managed to undercut the UK drug advisory body in the process), restrictions on the ability to measure the impacts of these substances do nothing to assist the capacity to help those addicted to or otherwise affected by them.
Regrettably, Nutt comes across as a much better publicist than advocate. Fond of big gestures and dramatic actions, he can make for good copy. But in his exhortations to drop bans on drugs research (and frankly, on the drugs as well), Nutt manages to diminish his own cause by elevating it (and by extension himself) into a martyrdom both unappealing an unearned.
Nutt continues to stoke cognitive dissonance in articles about relative harms, but lately…
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