- McLibel -

Whats with the unproven not being false?

Posted by: David ( Australia ) on October 14, 1999 at 17:32:12:

Whatís the deal on the unproven not being false? Isnít a case either proven or unproven in a court of law. Not true or false.

If I make a statement that I think is true, however I can't prove it, isn't this a theory (or a fabrication).

The fact is that there were statements made about MacDonaldís that have not been proven. This means they are not fact (yet).

They could be true. They could also be something someone dreamed up to deliberately discredit someone or something.

McSpotlight, try to stick to the facts. The simple matter is that there were statements made against MacDonaldís that, as of yet, havenít been proven in a court of law. You might personally believe them, however, you should not keep referring to them as anything other than an unproven opinion.

McSpotlight: "There are no people 200 years old on Earth"; this is probably true. It is also unproven; and unproveable in a court of law. Does that make it false?

In the McLibel trial, there were many issues under trial that were defended strongly by expert witnesses and attacked equally strongly by expert witnesses.

Take nutrition, for example. The issue of nutrition in the case was one of the crucial points of contest; the statement "A diet high in fat, sugar, animal products and salt and low in fibre, vitamins and minerals is linked with cancer of the breast and bowel and heart disease" was one of the major points of the case; McDonald's market their food as good for you - you can see here one such example of their advertising.

The balance of the collected evidence suggests that a diet high in fat and so forth is bad for you; and the evidence is getting stronger year on year; but there are a body of opinion who still dissent. If McDonald's was the only party allowed to publicize their opinion, you would receive a skewed version of the picture; and it is worth noting that the advert I linked to above was considered so misleading that McDonald's were not allowed to show it by the government.

There exists reasonably strong evidence to say that a continual diet of hamburgers is bad for you. If you hold this to be the case, is it not your duty as a citizen to make this known to your fellow citizens despite the efforts of the hamburger company to stop this evidence being known. If there exists "reasonable" doubt, then you have a reason to publicize it, despite the case not being entirely proven. If McDonald's continue to promote an unhealthy diet as healthy, then they are making a profit on false premises and false advertising.

Note that they have changed their statement on nutrition from "hamburgers are good for you" to "hamburgers are good for you as part of a balanced diet"; a meaningless statement when it comes down to it; as anything that doesn't actually kill you can form "part of a balanced diet", regardless of whether it's actually good for you. The witness in the stand for McDonald's (David Green, Senior Vice-President, Marketing) defended Coca-Cola as "nutritious" because it is "providing water, and I think that is part of a balanced diet".

By that token, you could defend the eating of icebergs, trees and clouds; they all contain water. However, by any reasonable definition, they are *not* nutritious; as anyone in the street will happily confirm.

Would you deny that there is reasonable doubt that McDonald's food is good for you? If not, what criteria do you need to start doubting; if so, then why do you feel that people should be stopped from expressing this reasonable doubt as a counterattack to the advertising coming from McDonald's?

Would you say that McDonald's have to prove their food is nutritious *before* they can advertise it? Or is "unproven" a valid reason to publicize things in their case?

Rex, McSpotlight.

Follow Ups:


The Debating Room Post a Followup