“Responsible” Physicians, Hot Dogs, Cigs & Ig Nobel Prizes

The fantastically imaginative group called “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine” — they once even tried to hijack the Ig Nobel Prizes! (see below) — has come up with another doozy. The Tehran Times reports, via something called ChristianPost, on a press release issued by the group:

Eating hot dogs as risky as smoking cigarettes?

Hot dogs are an American favorite and served in about 95 percent of the homes across the nation. Americans ate more than 16 billion hot dogs last year alone, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council…. However, health officials say eating processed meat is a really bad idea because it can cause colon cancer. That’s the message leaders at the Cancer Project of the group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) want to get out.

In 1995 this same “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine” issued a press release in which they claimed to be awarding Ig Nobel Prizes to people they disliked.

We, the organizers of the actual Ig Nobel Prizes, then issued a press release in response:

Washington Lobbyists Try to Interlope on Ig Nobel

(CAMBRIDGE, MA), January 9, 1995.  These days nothing is sacred to Washington lobbyists — not even the Ig Nobel Prize. A lobby group has tried to appropriate the good name of the Ig Nobel Prizes. The genuine prizes are awarded
each fall by “The Annals of Improbable Research” (which has been described as “The MAD Magazine of science”) and The MIT Museum. They honor individuals whose achievements “cannot or should not be reproduced.” Last week an animal rights lobby group calling itself “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine” issued a press release in which it tried to announce its own list of Ig Nobel Prizewinners. The international science community is shocked.

“I am shocked,” said Harvard Professor William Lipscomb, a 1976 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.

“I am shocked,” said Harvard Professor Sheldon Glashow, a 1990 Nobel Laureate in Physics.

“It’s outrageous. My hair stands on end at the very thought of it,” said New England Biolabs research director Richard Roberts, a 1993 Nobel Laureate in
Physiology or Medicine.

“I am shocked and disgusted,” said Harvard Professor Dudley Herschbach, a 1979 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.

“I am appalled that someone would try to use the vehicle of the Ig Nobel awards for political aims,” said MIT Professor Jerome Friedman, a 1990 Nobel Laureate in Physics. “The purpose of these awards is to enhance the humor of our lives, something that is in short supply and should be protected.”

At the Fourth First Annual Ig Nobel Ceremony, held this past October 6 at MIT, several Nobel Laureates and 1200 lab-coated hecklers announced the 1994 winners, several of whom accepted their prizes with humorous speeches.

Marc Abrahams, AIR’s editor and Chairman of the Ig Nobel Board of Governors, has issued the following statement:

“We were shocked, shocked to hear that a lobbying group in Washington, DC has tried to claim credit for the Ig Nobel Prizes. It seems unthinkable that a group called ‘Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’ would knowingly commit an irresponsible act. Yet, it has oft been observed that we live in an imperfect universe. While we sympathize to some extent with the group (for
example: we no longer advocate that monkeys be forced to become crack cocaine addicts), we cannot permit them to appropriate the good name of the Ig Nobel Prizes. We must protect the purity and essence of the genuine Ig Nobel Prizewinners.”

Abrahams stressed that the genuine prizes are nominated by scientists from around the world, and are carefully researched before the winners are chosen. “It’s not clear whether these would-be AIRheads in Washington have checked their facts. Maybe they’re just frustrated that they have never won an Ig Nobel Prize, and feel this is a novel way to campaign for one.”

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