And was tested (the assertion that alcohol can be good for you) in that quasi-scientific way that wisdom, theories and wishes are tested: poorly and with many assumptions. Funding for the clinical trials at various universities has often been provided by Big Booze.
"Some researchers say they are haunted by the mistakes made in studies about hormone replacement therapy, which was widely prescribed for years on the basis of observational studies similar to the kind done on alcohol." I remember that. One day I was on hormonal replacement therapy, the next day I was terrified I'd allowed myself to fall for the hype, and stopped taking the pills.
Another possibility, author Roni Caryn Rabin poses, is that moderate drinkers who are healthy are healthy because they are Aristotelian (well, the article doesn't mention him). They practice moderation - Aristotle's golden mean - in all things, alcohol consumption among them.
I am not against booze, and I drink now and then, but I must say, I see it cause more harm than do good. Over and over. After the Civil War, when so many men were ravaged by the years of brutal battles, drinking picked up, and over the next fifty years reached a sort of critical mass, so that Carrie Nation, who was born during the Civil War, staged her famous temperance campaign.
Prohibition doesn't work. I don't know what does. I just found the article interesting. Read it for yourself http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/health/16alco.html?_r=1&ref=health .
photo: Carrie Nation in Ann Arbor, Michigan