Parallels to Christians’ Selective Use of Science

Parallels to Christians’ Selective Use of Science November 10, 2015

Advanced Test Reactor at Idaho National Laboratory (the blue glow is Cherenkov radiation)The film Pandora’s Promise (2013, 86 minutes, $4) explores nuclear power as it interviews prominent environmentalists who switched from being against it to being in favor. I’d like to highlight some of the features of the transition these environmentalists went through. There are surprising parallels with the transition people make when leaving Christianity, and there are parallels between a dogmatic anti-nuclear attitude and a dogmatic religious attitude.

The charges against nuclear power

Dr. Hellen Caldicott (a medical doctor) is used as the representative of anti-nuclear environmentalism. She has been called “the world’s foremost anti-nuclear campaigner.” She has received many prizes, 21 honorary doctorates, and a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize by Linus Pauling and has been called by the Smithsonian Institution “one of the most influential women of the 20th Century.”

Caldicott uses nuclear accidents to make her case and claims that 985,000 people died as a result of the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl. She says that the 2011 Fukushima power plant accident will be even worse. Seven million will die in the next two decades, and tens of millions more will suffer from “debilitating radiation-induced chronic illnesses.”

And the rebuttals

The World Health Organization disagrees. About Fukushima, it concluded in 2013, “The increases in the incidence of human disease attributable to the additional radiation exposure from the Fukushima Daiichi NPP accident are likely to remain below detectable levels.” No deaths due to radiation have been attributed to the accident.

Caldicott’s source for the nearly one million deaths due to Chernobyl has been widely discredited. A consortium of United Nations organizations and others said about the Chernobyl disaster:

According to [the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation] (2000), [Acute Radiation Syndrome] was diagnosed in 134 emergency workers. … Among these workers, 28 persons died in 1986 due to ARS. … Nineteen more have died in 1987–2004 of various causes; however their deaths are not necessarily—and in some cases are certainly not—directly attributable to radiation exposure.

There were no radiation deaths in the general population, though there have been close to 7000 cases of thyroid cancer among children. These would have been “almost entirely” prevented had the Soviet Union followed simple measures afterwards.

The report estimates an increase in cancer mortality due to radiation exposure of “a few per cent” in the 100,000 fatal cancers that would be expected in this population.

In other words, Caldicott is about as wrong as it is possible to be. This is not to dismiss the problem—the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents were indeed disasters—but it doesn’t help to see them incorrectly. The Fukushima earthquake and tsunami caused 16,000 deaths, while the power plant accident caused none.

Not seeing the problem correctly causes its own problems. The World Health Organization concluded twenty years after Chernobyl that “its psychological impacts did more health damage than radiation exposure did,” and childhood obesity in the Fukushima area is now the worst in Japan because children are not allowed to play outside, in most cases without any valid reason.

Environmentalists—aren’t they the ones who should be following the science?

One critic compared environmentalists with climate change deniers.

Failing to provide sources, refuting data with anecdote, cherry-picking studies, scorning the scientific consensus, invoking a cover-up to explain it: all this is horribly familiar. These are the habits of climate change deniers, against which the green movement has struggled valiantly, calling science to its aid. It is distressing to discover that when the facts don’t suit them, members of this movement resort to the follies they have denounced.

I find this topic revealing because anti-nuclear attitudes are typically held by liberals. Instead of using science and technology to find solutions to the problems of nuclear power, some liberals simply want it to go away. But these problems have solutions. For example, the Integral Fast Reactor was an experimental fourth-generation reactor program begun in 1984. It was cancelled ten years later by Democratic pressure, after it had proven that it was failsafe (it survived a loss of electrical power and loss of all coolant) and shown that it could reduce the waste leaving the facility to less than one percent that of conventional reactors.

The mothballing of the reactor cost more than letting the project conclude. Democrats can be as mindlessly ideological as Republicans.

While the U.S. civilian nuclear power industry has caused no deaths, the U.S. health burden from fossil fuel power generation is 30,000 to 50,000 premature deaths per year. Worldwide, the total is perhaps millions per year.

Breaking free

Some of the interviewees spoke of their change of mind. Mark Lynas said, “I was under no doubt that my whole career and my whole reputation as an environmental activist, communicator was at risk if I talked publicly about having changed my mind about nuclear power.”

Richard Rhodes said, “I came to realize [journalists] basically avoided looking at the whole picture. They only looked at the questions that seemed to prove to them that nuclear power was dangerous, as I had, too.”

I was most shocked at how little some of these environmentalists knew about nuclear power. They had their standard line—nuclear power of any type was bad—and they stuck with it. One career environmentalist admitted that he hadn’t known about natural background radiation from the ground, from space, and even from bananas. Natural potassium, of which bananas are a good source, is 0.012% potassium-40 (a radioactive isotope), and humans are more radioactive because of potassium than because of carbon-14.

Comparison with Christianity

Dr. Hellen Caldicott, the strident anti-nuclear activist, has a lot in common with Christian leaders. (Obviously, her opinion of religion isn’t the issue. I’m simply paralleling her actions with those of Christian leaders.)

  • Dogmatic. Caldicott is a charismatic speaker, and she has a ready audience eager to hear her message. She’s “the world’s foremost anti-nuclear campaigner” for a reason. She says that nuclear power is wicked just like a televangelist might say that same-sex marriage in America is wicked. She says that nuclear power of any type is bad, just a preacher might say abortion of any type is bad.
  • Confident and unchanging. Caldicott is well aware of this controversy and the fact that her figures are orders of magnitude greater than the most widely accepted data. Her position is at least grossly out of touch with reality and could even be called hysterical. But she uses this notoriety to her advantage, and I imagine her façade is as confident as ever.
  • Reputation. This is her livelihood and her identity, and she’s not likely to change. Like Harold Camping or John Hagee in the Christian domain, she can’t admit a big mistake. Some career environmentalists do change, though, as the film documents, and the soul-searching crisis that individual environmentalists endure parallels that of ex-Christians like Dan Barker, Bart Ehrman, or Matt Dillahunty. Leaving one’s identity in either domain means reinventing or even re-finding oneself, and former allies may ridicule or shun.
  • Embrace of science. Caldicott is like William Lane Craig and other apologists in that neither feels bound by science. They use science as it suits them. Caldicott is outraged that climate change deniers dismiss environmental dangers by ignoring or selecting their science, but then she does it herself. In the same way, William Lane Craig quotes cosmologists to defend the Big Bang (because he likes a beginning to the universe), but he ignores quantum physics when it says that events needn’t have causes (he’s desperate to find a cause for the universe).

I’m starting to worry that reason is an acquired taste.
— Sam Harris

Photo credit: Idaho National Laboratory

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  • wright1

    Definite parallels, agreed. And as another liberal who used to be dogmatically anti-nuclear, I remember my own ignorance on what I was objecting to all too well.

    But when I actually started looking at the evidence, it didn’t show what I was expecting. The most disturbing part was when I shared that with people whose opinions I valued and respected, and they *didn’t* change their minds. They just reiterated their dogma and went on as before.

    • MNb

      Happens at the other side as well. Concerns regarding ecological damage caused by uraniums are handwaved (“but coal mines”) and so are concerns regarding radioactive waste (“just keep it in the plants”; never mind that they don’t last longer than 100 years at the max and there still will be waste). To quote you: dogmas are reiterated over and over again (I have heard variations for 40 years now) and the fans go on as before.
      Ah well, the race is run anyway, as we Dutch say.

      http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-A-F/France/

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-level_radioactive_waste_management#France

      Future French generations will have the fun, no matter the protests nor the handwaving. The only remaining question is what is more annoying – the ignorance of the environmentalists or the deliberate neglect and downplay by the fans of nuclear energy? You tell me, I don’t know.

      Another little question, a political one. What about Pakistan and India? Are you fans going to trust these countries on their beautiful eyes that they won’t use plutonium for some nice nuclear bombs? That’s a bit naive. Or are they permitted to continue burning fossils? Then nuclear energy sounds a lot less like a miracle cure. Or perhaps these countries should be robbed from all energy sources, ‘cuz white western privilege or something? Just asking, because the fans tend to dogmatically stick their heads in the sand on this issue as well – for at least 40 years now, which is as long as I remember the discussion.

      • Yes, I would say what you did: that there is far more space taken up by open-pit coal and tar sands mines than uranium. Are you saying that a single uranium mine is worse somehow?

        As I mentioned above, the 4th generation designs should produce little or no waste. When fuel rods are removed for reprocessing from a light water reactor (the popular design), 99% of the nuclear energy is still there. Far better from all sides to relabel “waste” as “fuel” and keep it in the reactor.

        I’m not sure your point about France. They’re reaping the benefits right now of cleaner air, and they’re producing less CO2. As for waste, the movie said that the amount of nuclear fuel waste, if collected, would cover a football field 3 meters tall. That’s it.

        As for Pakistan and India, here again you’re complaining about the status quo. You’re certain there’s no technical solution? The problem of nuclear proliferation is reduced with newer designs–fuel rods don’t leave the facility (less likely to be stolen), and there are thorium designs that can’t be made into bombs.

        Or perhaps these countries should be robbed from all energy sources, ‘cuz white western privilege or something?

        Lots of anger here–get some sleep. One of the points I appreciated about the film was the observation that conservation (part of the mix that the Greens typically suggest in addition to solar and wind) shortchanges the developing world. Small, cheap, safe nuclear reactors would provide cheap electricity and open up lots of possibilities for those countries.

        • MNb

          “Are you saying that a single uranium mine is worse somehow?”
          I’m saying that it’s nothing but propaganda because in the history of nuclear energy no single exploitable coal mine ever has been closed thanks to any uranium mine. Plus there is no single reason to assume that that will ever happen, given the capitalist fixation on economical growth. Hence uranium will not increase environmental damage, only add to it. Your propaganda is based on an assumption you very well know to be false: that economical growth will be exactly zero.

          “I’m not sure your point about France.”
          Two points.
          1. The fight against nuclear energy is lost.
          2. France is still dumping nuclear waste underground, which makes your propaganda for 4th generation nuclear plants totally empty. The evidence – which you claim to follow, but tend to neglect when it’s inconvenient – shows that dumping nuclear waste underground just continues. So if your propaganda would be serious you would start or join a campaign to address this problem in France iso complaining about the antiscientific attitude of environmentalists (and evidence for that consists of only three words: Greenpeace Brent Spar – I have a long memory). That makes you sound like progressive christians who whine about atheists getting them wrong (and often are right about it) but rather neglect the elephant in their own room: Ol’ Hambo and his crew.
          Stop France, the leading nation regarding nuclear energy, dumping nuclear waste underground. Then you have a point, not before.

          “You’re certain there’s no technical solution?”
          Thanks for demonstrating that you have a few things in common with Caldicott. You are making the claim, but I have to provide certainty? You are often the first to point out to apologists that it doesn’t work that way. You propagate nuclear energy, so you have to demonstrate a technical solution. You claim to always follow the evidence and the evidence is

          a) Plutonium resulting from nuclear plants has been used by both Pakistan and India to make bombs. This guy

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_Qadeer_Khan

          stole technology from URENCO, Almelo, The Netherlands (yup, I have a long memory).
          b) Neither country will accept supervision from outsiders, so they will likely not accept a “technological solution” (you still have to provide) anyway;
          c) Pakistan and India have gone to war three times and have an ongoing conflict in Kashmir, that can escalate every single day.

          You as a member of the nuclear energy lobby are asked the question:
          Do you advocate nuclear energy in Pakistan and India? Are you willing to accept the risk those countries will start another nuclear arms race, which is likelier to escalate than the cold war? Do you want those countries (combined almost 1,5 billion people) to continue burning fossils, hence making your argument “nuclear energy can decrease environmental damage” emptier still? Or are you OK with keeping them down on their poverty level, denying them both nuclear and fossil energy?

          That you refuse to answer this question is something else you have in common with Caldicott. Of course “I don’t know” is also an answer (it’s mine), but that is bad for your propaganda. So how honest are you?

          “here again you’re complaining about the status quo.”
          Yeah. I don’t know about you, but the prospect of nuclear bombs starting to rain doesn’t exactly thrill me. And thus far you have suggested exactly zero measures to prevent this; instead you advocate increasing the risk that that will happen. Your solution is turning your head and looking away. Sorry, but that won’t convince anyone, as I already told you before.
          Last remark – this is getting too long already: the scientific attitude demands that if you have taken a position that you have to look actively for facts that undermine that position. You fail in this respect. You come with empty propaganda like “but coal mines are worse” as if that automatically implies less ecological damage. You try to shift the burden on me with “are you sure we can’t prevent India and Pakistan from starting a nuclear war with technological means”, while you are the one who has to be sure, not me.
          I used to be in the anti camp; actually you made me realise I am not anymore. It’s because I actually look for evidence that undermines my views indeed, no matter how inconvenient.

          1. Like I already wrote I have been aware of the antiscientific attitude of environmentals for a long time. I have never trusted Greenpeace and after Brent Spar I was done definitely with this lobby. It doesn’t automatically follow thought that the other side does not have antiscientific tendencies.
          2. The safety of nuclear plants used to be an important issue, but ironically the aftermath of Tchernobyl has convinced me that that’s no worry anymore. Safety regulations have been enormously improved. Caldicott and co hammering on that one highly annoys me.
          3. I used to advocate renewable sources, but a) they are not as innocent as usually suggested and b) I have seen convincing calculations that even with the most optimistic scenarios they won’t provide enough energy even for the status quo.
          4. I don’t like to fight lost fights and France shows Caldicott fights one.

          But before I will join the nuclear energy lobby you (or somebody else) will have to address my concerns. You do a terrible job in this respect – not any better than WLC arguing for god, exactly because you look away from inconvenient facts just like he does.
          That leaves me in a highly uncomfortable position: I simply don’t have an answer. My only comfort is that I probably won’t live long enough to suffer from the consequences of the policy you advocate or the policy Caldicott and co advocate.
          Basically I think mankind is screwed anyway due to its consumption of energy (and also water), which will only increase.

        • I’m saying that it’s nothing but propaganda because in the history of nuclear energy no single exploitable coal mine ever has been closed thanks to any uranium mine.

          I thought your point was that uranium mines cause environmental damage. They do, of course, but very little compared to fossil fuels.

          I’m not sure what the propaganda is. Yes, I bet you’re right that no coal mine was ever closed because it wasn’t needed thanks to nuclear power. If the West had a nuclear policy like France, maybe that would change.

          Your propaganda is based on an assumption you very well know to be false: that economical growth will be exactly zero.

          Again, I’m missing the propaganda. Am I so brainwashed by the nuclear industry that I don’t see that I’m their puppet?

          The point I made last time was that with easy access to nuclear-powered electricity, this could help fuel economic growth. So yes, let’s both accept and hope that economic growth will continue to grow.

          1. The fight against nuclear energy is lost.

          The U.S. isn’t France. The image of nuclear power here may be on the mend, but we haven’t had a new plant in 40 years, if I remember correctly.

          2. France is still dumping nuclear waste underground, which makes your propaganda for 4th generation nuclear plants totally empty.

          France, has no 4th generation plants. Yeah, I get it—they’re not getting any advantages of processing of nuclear “waste” in situ … because they have no 4th generation plants. Sounds like a tautology.

          The evidence – which you claim to follow, but tend to neglect when it’s inconvenient …

          ??

          … shows that dumping nuclear waste underground just continues.

          I know! Let’s develop practical 4th generation plants to solve this problem. Technology doesn’t always solve the problems that it creates, but it may do so in this case.

          So if your propaganda would be serious you would start or join a campaign to address this problem in France iso complaining about the antiscientific attitude of environmentalists

          Huh? I’m not involved in encouraging France to adopt 4th generation power plants, and so therefore … what?

          (and evidence for that consists of only three words: Greenpeace Brent Spar – I have a long memory).

          What’s the lesson from the Brent Spar?

          That makes you sound like progressive christians who whine about atheists getting them wrong (and often are right about it) but rather neglect the elephant in their own room: Ol’ Hambo and his crew.

          You need to more clearly identify the players. Progressive Christians are to Ken Ham as … ?

          Stop France, the leading nation regarding nuclear energy, dumping nuclear waste underground. Then you have a point, not before.

          I can’t imagine what point I care to make that has this as a prerequisite.

          France makes the most of its electricity from nuclear, but the U.S. makes twice as much electricity from nuclear as France.

          “You’re certain there’s no technical solution?”

          Thanks for demonstrating that you have a few things in common with Caldicott. You are making the claim, but I have to provide certainty?

          Nope. You did read the article, right? There already is a technical solution. The article discusses it. And, if we weren’t so nuclear averse, the West might find even better solutions.

          You propagate nuclear energy, so you have to demonstrate a technical solution.

          Done. The Integral Fast Reactor was mothballed more than 20 years ago.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_fast_reactor

          Another intriguing design (paper only):

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveling_wave_reactor

          a) Plutonium resulting from nuclear plants have been used by both Pakistan and India to make bombs.

          (1) Sure, that’s a problem. Are the problems with fission worse than the status quo? The status quo sucks, so I’m not sure that’s the case. This is like the apologist who says, “But the likelihood of your naturalistic explanation is so low!” without considering how likely his God claim is. (You can’t compare two quantities when you only have one and refuse to consider the other.)

          (2) There are proposals (for the Traveling Wave Reactor, I believe) for building small nuclear plants that would be self-contained. They’d do their thing, like a battery, for 40 years, say, and then they’d be replaced. Having the insides inaccessible would reduce the chance of proliferation.

          (3) Half of the fuel in U.S. reactors comes from reprocessed Soviet warheads.

          b) Neither country will accept supervision from outsiders, so we they will likely not accept your “technological solution” (you still have to provide) anyway;

          If your point is that the genie is out of the bottle, with scientists there able to make their own indigenous nuclear bomb industry, OK. I’m not sure where we go from there.

          Do you advocate nuclear energy in Pakistan and India?

          Why ask? They already have it.

          Are you asking if we should try to undo that?

          Do you want those countries (combined almost 1,5 billion people) to continue burning fossils, hence making your argument “nuclear energy can decrease environmental damage” emptier still?

          I can’t imagine how my argument has morphed in your head. Yeah, if they continue to use fossil fuels, the deforestation and pollution will continue. Is that your point?

          One option is the closed reactor design mentioned above.

          Or are you OK with keeping the down on their poverty level, denying them both nuclear and fossil energy?

          Gee, I’ve suddenly turned into Scrooge plus Snidely Whiplash. Yep—you caught me. I am trying to finagle a way that we have environmental degradation due to both fossil fuels and nuclear. (And World War 3 would be a nice bonus, if we can find a way to slip that in, too.)

          That you refuse to answer this question is something else you have in common with Caldicott.

          The question of the technological solution? Already answered in the post.

          Of course “I don’t know” is also an answer (it’s mine), but that is bad for your propaganda. So how honest are you?

          Well, I thought I was pretty honest. But now it’s clear that I should go kill myself.

          “here again you’re complaining about the status quo.”

          Yeah. I don’t know about you, but the prospect of nuclear bombs starting to rain doesn’t exactly thrill me.

          That’s not the status quo. The status quo is 3M people dying worldwide per year because of fossil fuel plant emissions.

          And thus far you have suggested exactly zero measures to prevent this; instead you advocate increasing the risk that that will happen.

          Nope. By advocating 4th generation nuclear power, which both keeps “waste” on site and turns that waste back into fuel, I’m suggesting that we reduce the proliferation problem we have today.

          You come with empty propaganda like “but coal mines are worse” as if that automatically implies less ecological damage.

          Coal mines cover far more area and so are indeed worse than uranium mines. Let’s throw in the Canadian tar sands and fracking.

          The status quo kinda sucks when you consider it.

          You try to shift the burden on me with “are you sure we can’t prevent India and Pakistan from starting a nuclear war with technological means”, while you are the one who has to be sure, not me.

          No, I’m not sure, but that seemed a gentler way to say it than, “Did you read the post? Did you follow up by reading on the Integral Fast Reactor? And why do you not acknowledge the problem with the status quo, frequently?”

          3. I used to advocate renewable sources, but a) they are not as innocent as usually suggested and b) I have seen convincing calculations that even with the most optimistic scenarios they won’t provide enough energy even with the status quo.

          Agreed. One problem is their intermittent nature, though there are projects to provide large in-place batteries to smooth that out. (That doesn’t solve the big problem that you raise.)

          http://sadoway.mit.edu/research/liquid-metal-batteries

          You do a terrible job in this respect – not any better than WLC arguing for god, exactly because you look away from inconvenient facts just like he does.

          Weird. After reading your entire mail, I didn’t notice a single inconvenient fact I didn’t acknowledge.

      • wright1

        I for one don’t see nuclear energy as a cure-all. I agree with you that there are still problems to be addressed. But neither is it an end-all. It’s another tool we can use to improve the human condition, if we so choose.

        • Fusion power would be nice.

        • MNb

          Very nice. I have known that for 40 years too.

        • There are a couple of Big Science projects to achieve fusion. I wish there were more political will to make it a big deal. Wouldn’t an Apollo program for fusion make sense?

        • Paul B. Lot
        • Cool. I saw a report about this stellarator design and read only enough to see that it’s confusing. I guess the point is that the flux twists compared to a tokomak.

        • curtcameron

          The Apollo program made sense because we could see the destination from there. For fusion, I don’t think we’re to that point yet.

        • Well … we could see the moon (really far away) just like we can see fusion happening in the sun. I’m not sure that either one gives one a lot of confidence. In 1957, that we’d be on the moon in 12 years was hardly obvious.

          And, of course, there is no focused, well-funded program to make fusion happen. There is ITER in France, the National Ignition Facility in the U.S., and university programs, but there is no Apollo program (which cost $170 billion in 2005 dollars).

        • I thought it was still an open question whether it’s possible to scale down a fusion reaction to a manageable/controllable size on earth. Or that it’s a closed question, and the answer is no.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “is it possible to scale down a fusion reaction to a manageable/controllable size on earth?” Unknown.

          vs.

          “is it possible to scale down a fusion reaction to a manageable/controllable size on earth, yet?” No.

        • I took Bob’s statement that “we could see the moon (really far away) just like we can see fusion happening in the sun” to mean that in both cases we should proceed forward at potentially great expense, since what we can “see” gives us confidence of success / return on investment (ROI).

          “is it possible to scale down a fusion reaction to a manageable/controllable size on earth?” Unknown.

          That was exactly my point from my first sentence, which is that I don’t think the confidence in the ROI is justified. I would be happy to be proven wrong!

          Regardless, I’m not saying we shouldn’t work on it. I’m just saying we should be honest and realistic about where we’re at, and make informed decisions.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I thought it was still an open question whether it’s possible … Or that it’s a closed question, and the answer is no.

          vs.

          Unknown.

          That was exactly my point from my first sentence.

          If your point was that we don’t know whether or not fusion will be viable (I see no reason to doubt that it will, personally), great! We agree!

          It seemed, at the time I wrote my comment, that you were advancing the idea that we might know the answer is “no” already.

          If I read something from your words which you did not intend; I stand corrected. And yet, it seems to me your words lend themselves to my reading quite easily.

        • I’m pretty sure we don’t know that fusion power is unattainable. Inertial confinement fusion is a project at the National Ignition Facility. There’s also ITER, a tokamak.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Sure, and they’re about to try a new design this week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-fbBRAxJNk

          Are you reading me as stating that [fusion is unattainable], let alone that [we “know” it is unattainable]?

          Because both are position I’m countering.

        • I’m saying is that fusion power is a live option. We agree.

          Thanks for the video–I’d see a reference, but this visual helps explain how it differs from a tokamak.

        • Greg G.

          Fusion power is possible. I drive one.

        • Yes, OK, we agree then.

          The part I quoted seemed to me like you were intending to correct me, but saying the same thing. The part I didn’t quote I took as correction.

          It seemed, at the time I wrote my comment, that you were advancing the idea that we might know the answer is “no” already.

          I thought that might’ve been the case. You’re saying it’s not. OK, I suspect you know better than I, and thanks for that info.

        • Paul B. Lot

          If you do a google or Youtube search for “tokamak”, “stellarator”, or “fusion research” you’ll find interesting and exciting information.

          As we speak (type) I’m watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhKB-VxJWpg

        • MNb

          Given some nasty side effects and the human tendency to abuse them “we can use” is not good enough for me. The problem is that precisely in Pakistan and India politicians might decide not to choose so.

      • Paul B. Lot

        Thorium LFTR designs seem to possess some potential to deal with some of the problems you outline here.

    • Having that in your background will make you much more open minded for the rest of your life, I’m guessing.

      • wright1

        That would be the ideal, yes. Having found out I was wrong about a couple of significant issues (the existence of god and nuclear energy), I try not to be too set in my ways as I move on through middle age.

  • Thought2Much

    You see a lot of the same selective use of science when it comes to people who are against GMOs. They even have a version of “Satan” in Monsanto.

    • MNb

      I’m not particularly against GMOs, but rather don’t trust Monsanto indeed.

      • Fair enough. What I want to hear from those who hate GMOs is, “OK, I appreciate that much of what they’re going for with GMOs–less water needed, less pesticide needed, etc.–is fantastic. However …”

        But the conversation never begins like that.

        • MNb

          That’s indeed why I’m not particularly against GMOs. I used to have concerns about undesirable side effects, but they seem largely ghost stories.

        • L.Long

          So why not trust Monsanto? Who do you work for? Say you work for a big company and so it is basically dishonest and does not care about people? Business are made of people who don’t care about people. You work for a company so you obviously don’t care about people! That is what you are saying.
          I work for a big company, and our efforts to do what is right and safe is very extreme, so I am the only person who cares? And so If I see my company doing something wrong I will not say anything?
          Then show me the evidence that Monsanto is filled with people who don’t care and say nothing? Show the reports that show Monsanto DID NOT do the safety tests? ALL my products are tested by outside labs for safety, and so is Monsanto’s.

        • MNb

          “So why not trust Monsanto?”
          Where have you spend last several years? On the bottom of a pond?
          Know what, Monsanto is a commercial enterprise. Their goal is not immediately the welfare of humanity. Their goal is to make profit and commercial enterprises tend not to give one fuck if the welfare of humanity stand in its way. That’s a good reason not to trust any commercial enterprise regarding the welfare of humanity.
          And nothing here is an argument against GMOs.

          “Who do you work for?”
          Surinamese department of education. And you? The propaganda department of Monsanto?
          After this silly question I didn’t read any further – it only can get worse.

        • L.Long

          ALL businesses are commercial enterprises, that does not make them criminal people killers. All the stories I followed about Monsanto’s criminal killing spree have all shown to be false or gross exaggerations.

        • I tend to be pretty pro-business myself. Sure, let’s do our best to encourage/force business to be on the right side of things, but let’s not forget that the new medicines and useful inventions mostly come from business.

          To MNb’s point, however, it just takes a few instances of events like Union Carbide in Bhopal to create a valid skepticism.

        • MNb

          It’s principled skepticism. If you want capitalist competition to function optimally (and even then it’s far from perfect, but let’s ignore that for the moment) you need rules and an arbiter. That’s an important task of the European Union, as this right wing politician has taught some big businesses:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neelie_Kroes

        • InDogITrust

          It’s not that I don’t trust science: I don’t trust that all the science has been made available to the public.

          Granted, business R&D is the source of much progress, and I do not begrudge anyone making a profit, but I’ve seen too many documents where a big business has calculated profit against the risk of getting caught, to assume a company will put human well-being over profit.

          Of course, this was all in lawsuits resulting from companies’ hiding or ignoring problems that hurt consumers, so it is not to say that every company does that. But my default is that a big company cares only about my money.

          You don’t need to go back to Bhopal: Volkswagen didn’t kill anyone, but it’s a classic example of profit above all.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I don’t trust that all the science has been made available to the public.

          that it isn’t is pretty much guaranteed by the darkest and/or grayest corners of human behavior.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I have heard from my uncle (not a very reliable source, mind you) that monsanto has charged farmers out the ass in petty shake-down lawsuits for their own corn getting into neighboring fields that don’t buy Monsanto’s seed. Also, he has told me that a major shareholder in Monsanto is also using his influence in the Department of Agriculture to make stories like the above all the less defensible for farmers of other seed. Is there anything to any of that?

        • Here’s an article from NPR that lists that as one of 5 myths about GMOs:

          Myth 1: Seeds from GMOs are sterile.
          Myth 2: Monsanto will sue you for growing their
          patented GMOs if traces of those GMOs entered your fields through wind-blown
          pollen.
          Myth 3: Any contamination with GMOs makes organic
          food non-organic.
          Myth 4: Before Monsanto got in the way, farmers
          typically saved their seeds and re-used them.
          Myth 5: Most seeds these days are genetically
          modified.

        • MNb

          “that does not make them criminal people killers.”
          Do you enjoy your strawman? Or does your dictionary say that “don’t trust X” means the same as “X has gone on a criminal killing spree”?
          Or are you simply stupid?

        • Clover and Boxer

          In general, businesses make their profits by pleasing consumers.

        • MNb

          Yeah, and if they can please consumers by deceiving them they won’t hesitate a second – especially if those consumers would have decided otherwise if they had complete information. Remember tobacco industry? I just don’t see why I should make an exception for Monsanto.

        • tsig

          What does Monsanto gain by killing off it’s customers?

        • Greg G.

          The gain is the same for any business venture: A certain amount of the customer’s money until they die. Playing a role in the customers’ deaths is a niche market but cigarette manufacturers, breweries, and drug dealers have shown it is viable.

        • MNb

          The answer is the same as to the question “what do you gain by robbing your jobless wife?”

        • TheNuszAbides

          hadn’t heard that one before.

        • InDogITrust

          Somewhere an executive is laughing.

        • Kodie

          Or preying on them. Or giving them no other options.

      • Thought2Much

        That’s fair. I don’t particularly trust many large corporations, either. People who are the most adamantly against GMOs seem to have a strange fixation with Monsanto in particular, though.

  • When Copernicus proposed that the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of the Solar System you know who reportedly fought him tooth and nail – the scientists who formed the scientific community of his time – they were so underhanded and desperate and disingenuous that they tried to align themselves with the religious beliefs of the time and tried to enlist respected religious figures to support their opposition – Funny thing, there are writings of the Pope of that era who said the Church has no problem with Copernicus’ findings, who, Copernicus, was by the way devoutly religious –

    • Dys

      Funny thing, there are writings of the Pope of that era who said the
      Church has not problem with Copernicus, who was by the way devoutly
      religious

      Yes, but that was because it was presented as a better model, not as a literal truth. Galileo discovered what happened when you tried to do that.

    • Useless. Get back to me with an example from the age of modern science–say 1800 and beyond.

      • InDogITrust

        Thank you! I hate that argument.

  • “In the same way, William Lane Craig quotes cosmologists to defend the Big Bang (because he likes a beginning to the universe), but he ignores quantum physics when it says that events needn’t have causes (he’s desperate to find a cause for the universe).”
    Please, BobS, quantum physics has offered a lot of new and controversial ideas, that many respected scientists have labelled – “spooky”. the idea that events do not need causes has not been proven and most physicists, including Albert Einstein, opposed many quantum mechanic notions that were against the very nature of the “real world”. He and other scientists argued in the 1930’s when quantum mechanics was an emerging field that their knowledge of quantum mechanics was incomplete and there could be “hidden variables” that were not yet understood –
    In the meantime, I doubt many people are placing Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion in the circular filing cabinet.

    • OK. I’m missing your point.

      • curtcameron

        I think he’s saying that hidden variables could exist, that the idea hadn’t been disproven 50 years ago.

        • MNb

          I think he has read something about the (causal) Bohm/De Broglie interpretation without understanding it. That never has stopped our house catholic from trying to make a point, hoping he once may succeed; in vain of course.
          The Bohm/De Broglie interpretation assumes “hidden variables” which cannot be tracked down by definition. That’s why it falls under Ockham’s Razor. Plus it becomes a probabilistic theory when expanded to cover Quantum Electro Dynamics. He certainly doesn’t know that one, because apologist prefer to neglect that inconvenient point.

      • Dys

        I don’t think it’s any more complicated than “scientists don’t know everything, therefore there’s an outside chance Craig could be right”.

        • And God wins again!? It’s almost like the hypothesis is unfalsifiable.

        • TheNuszAbides

          unfalsifiable like a foxhengeyokai!

    • MNb

      “the idea that events do not need causes has not been proven”
      Lovely, your ignorance. I couldn’t provide anything better against your brand of christianity.
      Quantum Mechanics is a theory based on probability and hence does not need causes by definition. To be more precise: causality is an extreme form of probability with correlation 0 or 1. That’s one reason QM accounts for everything correctly described by causal Classical Physics plus a lot more.
      Plus of course QM, like every single scientific theory, is not about proof anyway. It’s about empirical evidence. Here is some:

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/everyday-quantum-physics/

      “Without quantum mechanics there would be no transistor, and hence no personal computer”
      Yup – everytime you turn on your pc you are confirming probability and contradicting causality a la Craig.

      “and most physicists, including Albert Einstein, opposed many quantum mechanic notions that were against the very nature of the “real world”.”
      BWAHAHAHAHA!
      Einstein was instrumental in developing QM. He received a frigging Nobel Price for it.

      http://www.sparknotes.com/biography/einstein/section9.rhtml

      Only when in the 1930’s became clear what the philosophical consequences were he started to raise objections, but no way he ever opposed notions. Plus he was shown wrong. QM rapidly became the consensus after WW-2, including its probability. The two bombs your compatriots dropped on Japan were evidence enough, but apparently not for you.

      “that many respected scientists have labelled – “spooky”
      BWAHAHAHAHA!
      Quantum entanglement is labeled spooky, not QM itself. And Quantum entanglement has definitely been shown recently at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands.
      You have no idea what you’re babbling about.

      “In the meantime, I doubt many people are placing Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion in the circular filing cabinet.”
      BWAHAHAHAHA!
      These Laws totally can be derived from Quantum Mechanics. I have done the calculation myself. It’s called the

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correspondence_principle

      Problem is not that those laws must be placed in that cabinet – problem is that they are not universal. They only work in special circumstances, notably at sufficiently large scales (well above the size of atoms; we’re talking a factor 100-1000 here) and at low speeds (well below 90% of the speed of light). In these circumstances the Laws of Newton, like all formulas from Classical Physics, are simplifications of QM and/or Relativity.

      “there could be “hidden variables” that were not yet understood.”
      Good luck tracking them down. If you think nobody has tried you’re just wrong as always. And when you have succeeded I’ll call for William Ockham and his razor – because those “hidden variables” (btw I’m pretty sure you don’t even understand what that means) are totally unnecessary.

      Please, Greg, continue to unload your nonsense. The only thing you demonstrate is how your religion damages your cognitive skills.

      • here’s a hidden variable for you, MNb, so Professor Higgs discovers the amazing Higgs Bosson phenomenon that they confirmed many years after his hypotheis does exist in the billion dollar “Collider” and he wins the Peace Prize in Physics – He is a self-proclaimed atheist – yet his discovery was dubbed the “God Particle” and his discovery will forever be known by the nickname the “God Particle” – See how God works?
        question – how do you know you’re not my kitty chewy toy?

        • Dys

          yet his discovery was dubbed the “God Particle” and his discovery will forever be known by the nickname the “God Particle” – See how God works?

          Only because his publisher wouldn’t let him call it the goddamn particle. In other words, it was a joke name, and a blasphemous one at that. So the only real thing that can be pulled from this is that God works to superficially impress rubes like yourself so you can impersonate a barking seal, clapping about a name.

          Once again, you’re too easily impressed and much too eager to attribute things to your preferred magic spirit.

        • “In other words, it was a joke name, and a blasphemous one at that”

          I admit I had to smile. I also liked Greg G’s Christian Moving Men reference – that one made me laugh at loud, oh, sorry, lol.

          “Now, if you’re saying that God is a joke, then we might have a point of agreement there.”

          Well, no, I do not believe God is a joke, but I am glad BobS and others are able to enjoy some humor once in a while in these debates. I know Jesus cried in the Bible, not sure if it is ever reported he laughed – we are told he was like us in every way but sin – ergo – he had a sense of humor.

          “Once again, you’re too easily impressed and much too eager to attribute things to your preferred magic spirit.”
          I have an open and curious mind – hey, I’ve been called worse. 🙂

        • Dys

          we are told he was like us in every way but sin

          Not sinning isn’t difficult when there’s no gods to offend. None of us have sinned – it’s an imaginary offense to an imaginary being.

        • you mean I didn’t need to go to confession every Saturday for the last 35 some years? heck, well at least I got to talk to an understanding person who thought they were doing God’s work.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “you mean I didn’t need to go to confession every Saturday for the last 35 some years?”

          Look, it’s your business how much of your weekends you like to spend *whispering* with men who wear dresses inside a tiny, curtained closet.

          I wouldn’t call that time “wasted”, if that’s what you felt like you wanted to do.

          I know I’ve spent my share of time in confessionals.

          *Edit for verb*

        • Best 10 minutes of my week, unless it’s Easter or Christmas, then that place is packed! I usually skip those weekends.

        • Dys

          you mean I didn’t need to go to confession every Saturday for the last 35 some years?

          Nope, you really didn’t need to. More free time to watch cartoons. Much more entertaining.

          heck, well at least I got to talk to an understanding person who thought they were doing God’s work.

          Sharing one’s problems can be therapeutic. No god needed.

        • but then you have to pay for it.

        • Dys

          Your friends make you pay them? That’s mean. Time for some new friends Greg. You need a better support system.

        • who do you think you all are?

        • Dys

          Huh…I just figured you were a masochist.

        • yeah, the jab about cartoons really hurt.

        • Dys

          That wasn’t a jab…that was a recommendation.

        • you may be right, I’ll learn more from them than the political debates I’ve been watching.

        • Kodie

          You think we’re your friends??? UGH!!!

        • you don’t always have to be friends to debate theological questions

        • Kodie

          But you do need to be less moronic than you are.

        • I’ll try.

        • Kodie

          You can’t even try. We’ve seen it already.

        • Ol’ Hippy

          Or actually reading about the quantum world which actually explains or helps to, the UNiverse.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Sharing one’s problems can be therapeutic.

          i’m rapidly becoming entirely certain that this should be one of the first things children learn. (certainly before its effectiveness gets attributed to imaginary personalities, if the latter cannot be prevented.)

        • RichardSRussell

          Nobody needs to go to confession ever!

        • Bless me father, for I have sinned…I’m starting to listen to the atheists.

        • tsig

          Say four Hail Maries and five Our Fathers.

          Ego te absalvo.

        • Mick

          Did you pay your tithe every week? You’ll go to hell if you didn’t.

        • tsig

          ” to go to confession every Saturday for the last 35 some years?”

          You know your needs better than we do.

        • TheNuszAbides

          person who thought they were doing God’s work.

          as far as you know:

          http://clergyproject.org/

        • adam

          ” heck, well at least I got to talk to an understanding person who thought they were doing God’s work.”

          God does work in mysterious ways:

        • Kodie

          You don’t have a sense of humor.

        • Ol’ Hippy

          This shit is priceless, I should be reading but I can’t help myself. BTW I’m slowly reading about the quantum world and it’s difficult but extremely relevant to explaining our amazing Universe.

        • MNb
        • TheNuszAbides

          well, certainly not a healthy one.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t think Jesus is reported to have laughed but he mentioned it:

          Luke 6:21
          Blessed are you who hunger now,
            for you will be filled.
          Blessed are you who weep now,
            for you will laugh.

        • A joke requires a twist, a denial of expectation. Not possible for an omniscient being who’s thought of all possibilities before the joke teller opens his mouth.

          Jesus can’t enjoy a joke just like he can’t be surprised.

        • Kodie

          Jesus strikes me as humorless entirely, unlike Greg who must laugh at his own terrible jokes despite his terrible timing. Jesus seems to me to be more likely to react to jokes with a glaring look, as if to say, “we don’t have time for that shit.” I mean, you get someone to take himself entirely too seriously, which you kind of have to in order to decide to piss off the Romans and get yourself executed on time for the story to fall into place, and they won’t have time for humor.

        • Philmonomer

          And, to my mind, this is one of the great criticisms of the Jesus in the Bible.
          There is no indication that he laughed.
          (Although maybe there isn’t a lot of humor inside an apocalyptic doomsday cult.)

        • Jesus cursed a fig tree for not having figs out of season. That guy does indeed seem to be humorless.

        • Kodie

          My idea was that he was constipated at the time, and really needed a fig like nobody’s business, but the tree was off. Too bad he didn’t live in the 21st century when figs would be imported all year ’round, and also they sell ex-lax at the store. Being god and performing miracles, one wonders why he didn’t make instant figs grow on that tree instead, if he wanted them.

        • There was a plum tree down the street, but Jesus didn’t have time to wait for the fruit to turn into prunes.

          (But, yeah–magic would’ve done the trick.)

        • MNb

          “I have an open and curious mind”
          Now only if you started to show it instead of repeating your stupidities over and over again …..

        • Kodie

          Yeah, god nicknamed the Higgs Boson after himself to remind us all he’s a particle.

        • And to think, I almost picked on MNb for being too hard on you.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          The amazing higgs boson is not a hidden variable at all, stupid ignorant. My, are you stupid to try to lecture on my own subject. It’s an elementary particle.

          http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/56663/what-are-hidden-variables-exactly
          http://www.phys.tue.nl/ktn/Wim/qm4.htm

          Hidden variables are quantities that cannot be measured, not even indirectly. Funny, isn’t it, that you object to things that only can be observed indirectly, but are totally OK with things that cannot be observed at all?

          “yet his discovery was dubbed the “God Particle”
          Of course you don’t know the background story of this either, because you simply don’t know anything even remotely useful.

          http://io9.com/5923170/stop-calling-it-the-god-particle

          The appropriate name was rather “the goddamn particle”, but many scientists are foolishly concerned about religious long toes, hence it became the god-particle. Almost all physicists loath it.

          “See how God works?”
          Yeah, your god is as big an idiot and piece of shit as you. Call me unsurprised.

      • Dys

        I’ve noticed the tendency of theists to try and use weak semantic logic to get state “quantum spookiness, therefore supernatural.”

    • RichardSRussell

      Of course Newton’s Laws of Motion are invaluable in the mesoworld we inhabit, for the same reason that you’d readily use a tape measure instead of a micrometer or an odometer to determine the size of the space you want to install some cabinet in. But no modern physicist would ever contend that they’re even remotely useful at the quantum level, or in the vicinity of a black hole. You’re assuming that everything you’re familiar with in the day-to-day world that surrounds you is typical of the entire Universe. You’re wrong.

      • “..or in the vicinity of a black hole”
        RSR, Admittedly, I am not a physicist, but I’m like a sponge when PBS or 60 Minutes airs a program about space, quantum mechanics, etc – I notice that the phenomenon of the “black hole” is more or less a theory – never been observed in any way directly, never been proved to exist except indirectly by the way gravity reacts in certain areas in space. I find this fascinating that the scientific community should whole heartedly embrace the concept of the black hole, yet some scientists and atheists, who embrace the scientist, do not see the contradictions that exist when they embrace the fairy tale of the black hole and reject the Biblically based concept of God

        • Kodie
        • Greg G.

          I was going to point that out but your link does it better.

        • Dys

          do not see the contradictions that exist when they embrace the fairy tale of the black hole and reject the Biblically based concept of God

          That’s because you don’t have anything approaching a good grasp of science Greg. There isn’t a contradiction at all – there’s empirical evidence supporting the existence of black holes. Not so much with bible god.

        • I will stand down as corrected if you can say to me that the empirical evidence you have is “direct” evidence. I just saw a show where the three physicists were sitting on chairs looking sheepish as they admitted they only have “indirect” evidence of the existence of the black hole in that they observe the action of gravity in some corners of the galaxy that “act as it” there is something there –
          hey, I’m convinced, but you? And if you are convinced with indirect proof proving this concept, what, the indirect proof for God is wanting? I’ve got a boat load if you need it.

        • Dys

          they admitted they only have “indirect” evidence of the existence of the black hole in that they observe the action of gravity in some corners of the galaxy that “act as it” there is something there

          You really don’t have much of a clue as to how science actually works, do you? We’ve discovered planets based on the same indirect methods.

          And if you are convinced with indirect proof proving this concept, what, the indirect proof for God is wanting?

          You have empirical indirect proof for God? Or do you just have the same tired and flawed logical arguments coupled with anecdotal stories?

          You’re going to keep having the same problem whenever you try to compare posited objects in the material world with magical spirits.

        • “You have empirical indirect proof for God?”
          I’m on the case…have a good evening.

        • MNb

          Define “direct” evidence. Does it mean you want to experience it with your own senses? Then I have news for you. There is no “direct” evidence for gravity and electricity either. What you “directly” experience is things falling down and lamps switching on and off, not gravity and electricity. My second graders learn that: you can only “directly” observer the consequences of gravity and electricity.

          Of course Black Holes were predicted by Hawking and Penrose before they were discovered. They derived the prediction from General Relativity, so if you call Black Holes a fairy tale you dismiss the result of Einstein’s work (who you claim to admire so much) as a fairy tale as well. Good job mocking one of your own heroes.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penrose–Hawking_singularity_theorems

          “with indirect proof proving this concept, what, the indirect proof for God is wanting”
          There is no indirect proof for the concept of Black Holes. There is only empirical evidence. And empirical evidence (direct or indirect) for your god is impossible by definition, because empirical evidence only can be found in our natural reality and your god is defined as an immaterial entity.
          Thanks for demonstrating the difference between lawyer and scientist thinking. In science ambiguous usage of terms is what you would call a cardinal sin; for you lawyers it’s daily food.

        • You’re confusing “indirect evidence” but “bullshit evidence” in the case of God, and you’re mistaking it for “crappy evidence” in the case of black holes.

          Who was sheepish? What’s there to be sheepish about? We have compelling evidence for black holes, QED.

        • tsig

          The boat is a garbage barge.

        • RichardSRussell

          Nobody has direct evidence of atoms, either. Do you doubt their existence as well?

          OTOH, rejecting something that’s Biblically based seems to me like the default position. Why on Earth should a source so obviously riddled with errors and special pleading be treated with anything other than the deepest suspicion when it weighs in on anything?

        • MNb

          “I notice that the phenomenon of the “black hole” is more or less a theory – never been observed in any way directly.”
          Since when is that a problem for you? Nobody has observed your god directly either.

          “the contradictions that exist when they embrace the fairy tale of the black hole and reject the Biblically based concept of God.”
          Ah, no matter how often I explain it to you, you simply refuse to get it. You’re not a sponge at all. You repel everything that doesn’t suit you.
          That “fairy tale” (how telling – you’re a creacrapper) of the Black Hole is well supported by evidence. Evidence for the Biblically based concept of god is impossible by definition, because it’s supernatural and hence there can’t be evidence for it.

        • Because believing in God is based on no evidence. See the difference?

          As for your being sponge-like, I have noticed traits like a sponge in you, but they’re not what you’re mentioning here.

          One wonders why you lap up some parts of science but then decide that the evolution stuff is bullshit. Maybe you’re a lot smarter than you’re letting on.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Maybe you’re a lot smarter than you’re letting on.

          yep, still distantly hoping for that Columbo moment, but no longer holding my breath.

        • Greg is like Herbie, holding back until the last moment. But just like apocalyptic Jesus who couldn’t figure out when The End was, Greg must be having a hard time finding that last moment when he’s going to become his real self instead of a doofus.

        • tsig

          Have you ever seen god creating anything? Have you ever seen god?

  • Clover and Boxer

    Do one about GMOs, Bob!!!

    • XCellKen

      Not until the check from Monsanto ™ clears LOLOLOL

  • RichardSRussell

    “I do remember one formative influence in my undergraduate life. There was an elderly professor in my department who had been passionately keen on a particular theory for, oh, a number of years, and one day an American visiting researcher came and he completely and utterly disproved our old man’s hypothesis. The old man strode to the front, shook his hand and said, ‘My dear fellow, I wish to thank you, I have been wrong these 15 years’. And we all clapped our hands raw. That was the scientific ideal, of somebody who had a lot invested, a lifetime almost, invested in a theory, and he was rejoicing that he had been shown wrong and that scientific truth had been advanced.”

    —Richard Dawkins PhD, The God Delusion, Part 1

  • Ol’ Hippy

    I always thought the nuclear program could help solve the energy crisis. However the “no nukes” crowd kept the pressure up, especially after 3 mile island. So aftr scraping the development of new technology we are very behind what could have been. However, it’s not too late as pointed out in the film and pressure needs to be given all the time. The energy crisis is real and a lot of people will suffer if nothing is done very soon. In China today you could barely see your hand, and yet they continue to burn coal at an alarming rate. I hope the politicians will take charge and do something, anything at all is better than nothing.

  • RichardSRussell

    I noticed a couple of years back that there were no safe havens for rationality in the political world. Politics tends to attract ideologs, and for them — as for religiots — dogma trumps reality. (By the same token, I’ve discovered that many of the people I admire in sports tend to be fascist disciplinarians, and a lot of the people I admire in the arts tend to be woo-woo flakes.) To dramatize the equal-opportunity nature of irrationality, I put together A Christmas Tree of Craziness.

    • That’s a great illustration.

    • TheNuszAbides

      no safe havens for rationality in the political world.

      are you at all on the same page as, let’s say, Chris Hedges? at first i found his writing merely depressing, but above is the sort of message i’m (perhaps finally picking up. one would think that the most successful authoritarians and/or psychopaths might work to avoid having too many sharp minds too close to them.

    • TheNuszAbides

      wait, there are people who think homeopathy is the only real medicine? i guess i shouldn’t be surprised, ‘cos things like Christian Scientists seem to exist–but it just seems like such a mundane branch of woo.

  • TheNuszAbides

    just like a televangelist might say that same-sex marriage in America is wicked

    i would almost pay to hear a charismatic televangelist anywhere claim that same-sex marriage anywhere else isn’t a problem. 😉