I was recently reading The New York Times and saw a fantastic ad:

Recent research indicates that the benefits of moderate exposure to sunlight outweigh the hypothetical risks. Surprisingly, there is no compelling scientific evidence that tanning causes melanoma. Scientists have proven, however, that exposure to all forms of ultraviolet light — both indoors and out — stimulates the natural production of vitamin D. And research has proven that vitamin D protects against heart disease and many types of cancer, in addition to providing other important health benefits.

If you go to their website, you can read all about it.

The similarities between the “skin cancer” scam and the “global warming” scam are all too clear. First, according to this website, there is actually no evidence linking sun exposure with cancer. Amazing. I thought the epidemiological data nailed that connection decades ago. Boy, was I wrong! This is similar to the fact that there is no evidence linking carbon-dioxide emissions with climate change.

In addition, the sunlightscam website talks about how there is an enormous conspiracy between dermatologists and sunscreen manufacturers to promote this scam. It’s all about the money. That’s just like the conspiracy between climate scientists and politicians to create the fake problem of climate change.

In addition, the website talks about how exposure to the sun is actually good for you. This reminds me again of global warming: if global warming does occur, it will be beneficial! After all, people love warm weather. Do you need any more evidence than that? Case closed.

And who sponsors this great and informative website? Why, it’s the Indoor Tanning Association:

Founded in 1999, the Indoor Tanning Association (ITA) represents thousands of indoor tanning manufacturers, distributors, facility owners and members from other supporting industries.

Again, this is reminiscent of the global warming debate. It is only large oil-producing companies like Exxon that have the credibility and moral authority to point out how the scientific community and others who promote global-warming hysteria are biased and corrupt.

Sigh.

I hope people realize I’m joking. The association between sun exposure and skin cancer is every bit as robust as the association between greenhouse gases and climate change. And that means it’s pretty damn robust. What’s interesting is that the Indoor Tanning Association seems to have virtually plagiarized the strategy incorporated by tobacco companies and global-warming denialists. The phrases “hypothetical risks” and “no compelling scientific evidence,” along with efforts to smear the mainstream scientific community with accusations of corruption, are right out of the global-warming denialists’ handbook.

This really underscores the effectiveness of the strategy. Regardless of how strong the evidence is — whether it’s the connection between smoking and lung cancer, exposure to sunlight and skin cancer, or greenhouse gases and climate change — it seems possible to create doubt in the general public’s mind with a concerted PR campaign.

Now that I’m done with this post, I think I’ll go lie in the sun and relax. After all, according to the Indoor Tanning Association, it’s good for me.