Frequently Asked Questions:

1) Am I a Big Pharma Shill?

I’d love to be, but sadly no one seems to want to give me oodles of cash for my tawdry, unimportant opinions. Hence why I am giving them away for free on the internet. Yes I have worked, and do work in the pharmaceutical industry. Yes I generally approve of things like making small molecules for medical interventions. No that does not mean I am a) blind to, or b) happy with the vast number of genuine mistakes, nonsense, and outright evil that happens in my industry. I’m a scientist first.

2) But what about {Insert issue here} and the Unpalatable Evil of it all?

It’s likely that, if something is demonstrably Unpalatable Evil, I’ll already agree with you. You can buy my work but you can’t buy my integrity. Well, not for the salary I’m on. You do know scientists get paid comparatively little, right? Other than that, stuff is often complicated, it just really isn’t them and us, black and white, good and evil. So please, binary thinkers, or those of shallow understanding with axes to grind, save me the trouble of clicking a button and go away now. You could be saving both of us time better spent on vanquishing Unpalatable Evil.

3) Do you have a comment policy?

Yes. Glad you asked. Here it is. I’ll say this once: I’ve never pretended to be infinitely nice. I’m only finitely nice. People occasionally differ with me about the precise degree of my niceness. So please read the comment policy.

4) Can you make me some drugs/explosives? Will you make me some drugs/explosives?

In order: Yes. No.

5) Will you let me advertise my product or advocate for it in some way? Will you endorse my product?

No and No. Coo! These are easy.

6) May I meet up with you in a pub, pay for your drinks, get you horrendously drunk and have a very good time in general?

Yes. This is very likely to be warmly accepted. In fact, please offer.

7) Is homoeopathy total bullshit*?

Yes. Two words: Dose Response Curve. Okay that’s three words, but hey, if they don’t care about accuracy, why the hell should I?

* In the sense of bullshit defined by Harry G Frankfurt in “On Bullshit”.

8) Are you now worried that, given your response to 7), you will be inundated by homoeopaths and their chums?

Yes-ish. Not that they have anything interesting or new to say. Sorry chaps and chappesses I have read around a bit. I’m not one of them knee-jerk sceptics you get nowadays. I actually know what I’m talking about. It’s just the tactics of denialists, and let me be very blunt homoeopathy advocates and sundry funsters are ALL denialists of one stripe or another, however well meaning, are very annoying and extremely boring. Once you’ve seen denialism in action on one topic, it’s identical on another.

9) Why “Points on a Journey”?

Well life IS a journey isn’t it? Okay, it’s a tired cliché, but it has some merit. Humans are exposed to a welter of ideas over their lives, all of them are interesting if you know how to look at them. One thing I have learned was that an afternoon in the library can save you a month in the lab. We live in a time where we are lucky to be standing on the shoulders of millions of humans who have had some really interesting ideas. Without being unnecessarily Whiggish, the ratchet of “progress” is no mean thing. Ideas flow and evolve around dinner tables, in party conversations, in what we accept from our friends and they in turn accept from us. This blog is a few points on my journey. It’s not representative of anyone but me, all views expressed are my own and the many mistakes made are all mine. If I get anything right, it will be because of the myriad of people before me and around me. I can’t hope to do justice to all I’ve seen, all anyone has seen, but I can highlight the occasional point and hope someone else likes it too.

10) Can I, like, use your work and stuff?

No. Please don’t.

Actually, let’s make that clearer. In the incredibly unlikely event of me writing something so earthshatteringly interesting someone else wants to use it, then please, contact me and ask (louisredux at poaj dot net). The chances are that any reasonable, not for profit usage will fill me with such overwhelming joy I will come over all gushy and just say “yes” without thinking about it.

11) These are not the questions we were looking for, can you make some others?

Yes. This is a living document (sounds posh). It will be updated based on requests/questions.





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