After arguing that people should trust the scientists about nuclear power, Andrew Bolt is back with a post advancing the claim that

anyone exposed to excess radiation from the nuclear power plants is now probably much less likely to get cancer.

Said claim comes not from a scientist but from Ann Coulter, a creationist.

PZ Myers, who is an actual scientist, writes:

I only know about hormesis from my dabbling in teratology; a pharmacologist or toxicologist would be a far better source. But I know enough about hormesis to tell you that she’s wrong. She has taken a tiny grain of truth and mangled it to make an entirely fallacious argument.

Read on for the details. Bolt might like to ask himself why, if low doses of radiation can greatly reduce your risk of cancer, can’t you buy Radium elixirs at the chemist? If the evidence was good the TGA would have to approve it, right?

Also, check out this awesome chart from xkcd comparing various radiation dosages.

Comments

  1. #1 John S. Wilkins
    March 20, 2011

    It’s spelled “Miers”.

    I think that Ann Coulter thinks Yellow Cake is a yummy snack, and that is the source of her confusion.

  2. #2 zoot
    March 20, 2011

    Over there, on the right, it’s spelt Myers.

    And I am Spartacus.

    *[OK OK, fixed. Tim]*

  3. #3 zoot
    March 20, 2011

    While I’m here: anybody got a tiny amount of plutonium Andrew can wear in his jocks?

  4. #4 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlLwD2cP-PuLFKNJs77xvJ98PhimYdE5kM
    March 20, 2011

    Barry Brook of Brave New Climate has been promoting aged nuclear energy scientist Ted Rockwell, who worked with Rickover.

    Rockwell is involved with this group which promotes the hormesis nonsense:

    http://www.radscihealth.org/RSH/index.html

    “Government agencies suppress data, including radiation hormesis, and foster radiation fear. They support extreme, costly, radiation protection policies; and preclude using low-dose radiation for health and medical benefits that apply hormesis, in favor of using (more profitable) drug therapies.”

  5. #5 EoR
    March 20, 2011

    In my nightmares Blot sits in a sealed container full of natural, good, harmless, life-giving CO2, being constantly bombarded with radiation, and hence made immortal! Bwahahaha!

  6. #6 KiwiInOz
    March 20, 2011

    No, Wilkins. It’s spelt Meyers.

  7. #7 brett coster
    March 20, 2011

    Grumpy Gorilla strikes. Is it the P or the Zed that’s spelt Miers?

  8. #8 David Horton
    March 20, 2011

    The abstract says “11 galaxies”. Is there an indication on the photo above of the division between the original galaxies masses? Eleven colliding seems extraordinary. Why so many at this location, do we know?

  9. #9 Ken Fabos
    March 20, 2011

    Surely much of the longer term cancer risk is related to which particular radioactive elements have been absorbed or else iodine tablets – intended to prevent absorption of radioactive iodine – would not work to minimise risks of thyroid cancer. Any simple radiation exposure vs risk equation can’t tell the full story.

    Bolt gives support for an absence of regulation and restrictions on business irrespective of the environmental or other side effects or externalized costs of it’s activities; he certainly isn’t supporting nuclear power to deal with climate change. Like Cardinal Pell, he appears to have thoroughly bought the ‘green religion’ line that appears to have it’s origins in the Right wing think tanks and PR machines; since most ‘greens’ oppose nuclear energy I suspect Bolt would support nuclear simply on that basis.

  10. #10 jakerman
    March 20, 2011

    The dose charts need some clarification, notice that the dose for Fukushima is Sv per day and for Chernobyl is Sv per hour.

    This is not readily comparable to yearly exposure limits, for the same reason that your yearly does of UV radiation, if received in one hour or one day would incinerate you.

    As I [said at Eli’s](http://www.blogger.com/profile/07940170017973039705):

    >for a given total increased radiation exposure level, the increased [risks are higher for acute exposure than for prolonged exposure](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9952308?dopt=Abstract). That is, 20 bananas per day for 365 days is a lower cancer risk than 40 banana per day for 6 months. Which is lower risk than extracting all the radioactive potassium from 7,300 bananas and consuming it in one week.

  11. #11 jakerman
    March 20, 2011

    Also relevent to the discussion of exposure limits is the different response of children and infants (compared to adults) for radiation exposure.

    >children are affected more by low level radiation [that are adults]; and our accepted exposure limits (determined via study of mainly adult exposure) are not sufficient to determine the response to neither child [nor in utero exposure]((http://www.pnas.org/content/100/24/13761.full).

    >*“A detailed analysis of the many studies of childhood cancer risks from diagnostic in utero exposures concluded that a 10-mSv dose to the embryo and fetus does cause a significant and quantifiable increase in the risk of childhood cancer (3); Mole (16) has argued that the most reliable risk estimate from these studies comes from prenatal examinations in Britain during the period 1958–1961, for which the estimated mean fetal dose is 6 mSv and the odds ratio for childhood cancer deaths is 1.23 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.04–1.48].*

  12. #12 rog
    March 20, 2011

    I’ve got $10 for Andrew’s plane ticket to Fukushima, anybody else?

    Should it be a return ticket?

  13. #13 Fran Barlow
    March 20, 2011

    Speaking as someone who is utterly unqualified to evaluate the scientific integrity of hormesis …

    I’m just going to assume that if Blot thinks it sound, I should assume it’s bogus, until impressive data to the contrary arises. At that point, if it occurs, I can reflect on why Blot was so careless as to accidentally utter something accurate and germane.

  14. #14 Trevor Williams
    March 20, 2011

    The risks associated with repeated low doses of radiation are generaly dermatological, and broadly the same as repeated exposure to UV radiation from sunlight: dermatitis, sclerosis, and malignancy. Low doses of radiation are unlikely to impinge upon internal organs, and of course, there are no particulate radionuclides being ingested.
    If Bolt or Coulter had any sort of decent scientific education to speak of, they would know the history of the discovery of x-rays: the rapid realisation, in about 1906-1909, that this exciting new phenomenon had a sting in its tail, in the rapid incidence of squamous-cell skin cancers among the early experimenters.
    http://radiology.rsna.org/content/233/2/313.full

  15. #15 David Horton
    March 20, 2011

    Sorry about the above mis-posting intended for another blog – don’t know how that happened.

    This latest piece of idiocy from the Coulter-Bolt misinformation factory is a continuation of the fight against banning DDT. That is these ideologues have to challenge any and all pieces of environmental regulation no matter how obvious the benefits. They are trying to take us back 100 years or more to a time of no regulation for environmental reasons. And they apparently don’t care about the consequences.

  16. #16 ianash
    March 20, 2011

    Bolt is such a peanut.

  17. #17 Stephen Gloor
    March 20, 2011

    When Bolt is quoting you as a reference I think that you have jumped the shark.

    http://peakenergy.blogspot.com/2011/03/experts-protecting-nuclear-interests.html

    “Andrew Bolt at the Herald Sun has been urging people to read the “marvellously sane and cool explanation” from “our friend Professor Barry Brook”. Both Bolt and Brook claim that no more than 50 people died from the Chernobyl catastrophe.”

    Mind you I wrote that Brook Jumped the shark years ago. I marvel that doublespeak that Bolt demonstrates. He is quite capable of quoting Brook as a reference on nuclear power but conveniently forget that he is a climate scientist.

  18. #18 John
    March 20, 2011

    Bolt be trolling for a reaction, y’all.

  19. #19 MichaelJ
    March 20, 2011

    #9 – too true. I thing that has surprised me over the last couple of years is the deep hatred that the right in Australia has for Greens. While they will dislike anything Labor does, I hear the greens being discussed as “scum” and worse.

  20. #20 Mike
    March 20, 2011

    Andrew Bolt just gets sillier and sillier with the passage of time.

    It is wonderfully mind-boggling to imagine what concepts he’ll be blogging about 5 or 10 years from now.

  21. #21 MikeH
    March 20, 2011

    Last year Coulter a supporter of racial profiling [attacked](http://www.realestateradiousa.com/2010/11/18/ann-coulter-battles-with-peter-johnson-on-the-use-of-body-scanners-video/) the TSA full body scanners in use at USA airports in part because of the potential harmful effects of radiation. A case of bigotry trumping crank science.

    I predicted 2 days ago on an [earlier thread](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/andrew_bolt_on_whether_you_sho.php#comment-3487389) that Bolt would pick up this up from Coulter.

    She is his kind of blogger – conservative, bigoted and a total science crank.

  22. #22 Bernard J.
    March 20, 2011

    And for bonus silly points Bolt is still imagining, [with a little help from Richard A. Muller](http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/just_why_climategate_was_such_a_scandal/), that the stolen CRU emails reveal a conspiracy of scientific fraud.

    The guy couldn’t get a clue if Santa brought a bagful for him for Christmas.

  23. #23 Jonathan Gilligan
    March 20, 2011

    US National Research Council’s “BEIR VII: Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation” (2005) provides a very good review of the literature and rejects the hormesis hypothesis, concluding that the cancer risk follows a linear no-threshold dose-response curve with a lifetime cancer incidence grows by roughly 1 percent for every 100 millisievert exposure over background (the background lifetime incidence of cancer is about 42% in the US, so 100 mSv raises this from 42% to 43%, although this varies with sex and age at which exposure is received; the report gives detailed models that account for these factors):

    The committee concludes that the assumption that any stimulatory hormetic effects from low doses of ionizing radiation will have a significant health benefit to humans that exceeds potential detrimental effects from the radiation exposure is unwarranted at this time.

    and

    assuming a sex and age distribution similar to that of the entire U.S. population, the BEIR VII lifetime risk model predicts that approximately 1 person in 100 would be expected to develop cancer (solid cancer or leukemia) from a dose of 0.1 Sv above background, while approximately 42 of the 100 individuals would be expected to develop solid cancer or leukemia from other causes. Lower doses would produce proportionally lower risks. For example, the committee predicts that approximately one individual per thousand would develop cancer from an exposure to 0.01 Sv.

  24. #24 chek
    March 20, 2011

    On the plus side, while their politics have always been a matter of opinion, that they have outed themselves as loopy cranks is a recorded and positive gain for the side of reason and the reasonable.

  25. #25 DavidCOG
    March 20, 2011

    > Also, check out this awesome chart from xkcd comparing various radiation dosages.

    I’d say it’s dangerously misleading. It says nothing about the different types of radiation and how they are delivered.

    * A speck of plutonium on your skin which is quickly washed off: not so bad.
    * A speck of plutonium inhaled and stuck in your lungs: not so good.

    It also says nothing about the very real psychological impacts of radiation.

    * give someone an x-ray: no drama
    * tell someone the local nuke is spewing radiation out: stress, depression, sickness

    The nuke fan boys have been in overdrive, looking for stats and angles to minimise damage from the Japan disaster.

  26. #26 Johnno
    March 20, 2011

    I suspect hormesis may be valid but the dosage must be gradual not sudden. For example residents of granite based Colorado are generally healthier than those of swampy Florida, though I guess skiers have fewer health problems than retirees. FWIW for several years I’ve owned a vial of yellowcake (roughly U3O8) and my health is good.

  27. #27 DavidCOG
    March 20, 2011

    Stephen Gloor:

    > Mind you I wrote that Brook Jumped the shark years ago.

    Ironically, Brook is to energy as Watts is to climate science.

  28. #28 Jathanon
    March 20, 2011

    Ah, well, over at wtfuwt the good doctor Peter Heller says “As a physicist I have neither fear of an atomic power plant nor of radioactivity. Ultimately I know that it is a natural phenomenon that is always around us, one we can never escape – and one that we never need to escape.”

  29. #29 dhogaza
    March 20, 2011

    Jathanon – that sounds a lot like a Poe, if so, it’s clever, if not … unbelievably ignorant.

    DavidCOG – “I’d say it’s dangerously misleading. It says nothing about the different types of radiation and how they are delivered.”

    The chart’s specifically about the effect of environmental radiation, not of the breathing in of a radioactive particle of plutonium which then becomes lodged in the lung or the like.

  30. #30 Grendel
    March 20, 2011

    Johnno,

    “granite based Colorado are generally healthier than those of swampy Florida”

    Quite possibly true – but is it the radiation or the lack or swamps? Or any of a myriad of other differences of which radioactivity may well be a factor. I know I’d like Colorado better because I like cool dry air over fetid swamp air…

  31. #31 Ezzthetic
    March 20, 2011

    I was going to say that with that post, Bolt has finally achieved Peak Wingnut, but, sadly, he fell short by not referring to her as Dr Ann Coulter.

  32. #32 Daniel J. Andrews
    March 20, 2011

    Referencing Coulter is like doing a Godwin–you automatically lose the argument and are laughed out of the room.

    Incidentally, if anyone hasn’t read it, I recommend The Coulter Hoax, a bit of brilliant satire.

    richarddawkins.net/articles/851

  33. #33 MikeH
    March 20, 2011

    Here is an [online shopping portal](http://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/quackcures/quackcures.htm) for any Bolt/Coulter followers wanting to try out the curative effects of radiation.

    They have a special on [Radithor](http://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/quackcures/radith.htm)


    Fine print: May cause teeth to fall out, holes in skull, cancer of the jaw and premature death.

  34. #34 Daniel J. Andrews
    March 20, 2011

    Incidentally, Coulter is just recycling the meme, “X is good for you” where at one time X = tobacco smoke, ozone, acid rain, and CO2 and no doubt others–e.g. DDT, leaded gasoline??

  35. #35 MikeH
    March 20, 2011

    I forgot to mention the special on [Vita Radium Suppositories,](http://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/quackcures/radsup.htm) the real man’s viagra.

  36. #36 DavidCOG
    March 20, 2011

    dhogaza:

    > The chart’s specifically about the effect of environmental radiation, not of the breathing in of a radioactive particle of plutonium which then becomes lodged in the lung or the like.

    The “effect of environmental radiation” is that it is sometimes breathed in or eaten. The chart therefore gives a misleading impression because it’s simply a representation of holding a Geiger counter next to each item.

    Also, it starts off with the ‘banana dose’. This nonsense is all over the tubes right now – people claiming that because bananas are radioactive that the radiation appearing in Japanese food and water is no big deal. This is bullshit. If you don’t know why, [read this](http://boingboing.net/2010/08/27/bananas-are-radioact.html).

    In the context of what is happening at the moment in Japan, that chart is going to do nothing but mislead people in to thinking it’s no big deal. It is dangerously misleading.

  37. #37 Steve
    March 21, 2011

    The IAEA reported that at one point in time, radiation of 400 milliSievert / hour was measured between units 3 and 4. A shame that this fact wasn’t listed in the chart next to the brown 400mSv boxes.

    http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html

  38. #38 Wow
    March 21, 2011

    DavidCOG, the problem being that you’d need a 10-dimensional piece of paper or VDU to display the orders of problems with radiation doses.

    The system is just talking about sitting in a radiation bath. Not eating anything, breathing anything.

    It is KNOWN that eating stuff that’s bad for you or breathing it in is, well, bad for you. Even if it’s not radioactive.

    Poop pie, anyone?

    But it’s also dangerous sitting in a pool of it, to a lesser extent.

    The graph shows that even if you’re as careful as it is possible to be, you’re going to be in X danger. The radioactive smoke is just going to make it that much more dangerous.

    If someone wants to make the case that Japan’s problem is less, ask them if they think that breathing in radioactive smoke is going to be healthy.

  39. #39 DavidCOG
    March 21, 2011

    Wow:

    > …the problem being that you’d need a 10-dimensional piece of paper or VDU to display the orders of problems with radiation doses.

    No, it would not need that in order to provide an informative graphic. The reason XKCD produced that chart now is obvious and it’s obvious how people will interpret it. In fact, go take a look at e.g. reddit – the mob are mocking and sneering at anyone concerned about radiation. No doubt a good percentage of that will be astroturfing sockpuppets, but plenty of real people will be fooled as well.

    * [All Levels of Radiation Confirmed to Cause Cancer. The National Academies of Science … reconfirmed the previous knowledge that there is no safe level of exposure to radiation — that even very low doses can cause cancer.](http://www.nirs.org/press/06-30-2005/1)

    * [There is no firm basis for setting a “safe” level of exposure above background for stochastic effects.](http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/understand/health_effects.html)

    The level of denial and wilful ignorance surrounding radiation is astounding – all to protect their dream of a nuclear utopia.

    > Poop pie, anyone?

    Looks like you might be afflicted.

  40. #40 Wow
    March 21, 2011

    > No, it would not need that in order to provide an informative graphic.

    Indeed, as you surmised I did not do the calculation but expressed the problem hyperbolically to accentuate the idiocy of your demand.

    What if you inhale but it sticks in the mucus in your nasal passages?

    What if it goes in, sits there for a bit and then gets sneezed out?

    What if it is a gamma source? What if it decays from a beta source to a gamma source? What if it decays from beta to gamma to beta again? What if it turns from a gamma emitter to a gamma emitter if it’s irradiated itself?

    So, the XKCD graph isn’t a medical journal.

    So what?

    Seems you would eat poop pie, David, if you thought you could score points by it.

  41. #41 winnebago
    March 21, 2011

    Paging Art Robinson…

  42. #42 DavidCOG
    March 21, 2011

    Wow:

    > …the idiocy of your demand.

    And here we go. The nuke fan boy gets his anger on.

    * [There is no firm basis for setting a “safe” level of exposure above background for stochastic effects.](http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/understand/health_effects.html)

    * [“Radiation is *always* harmful — it breaks DNA, for instance, and can produce free radicals that damage cells.”](http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/03/will_radiation_hormesis_protec.php)

    * [All Levels of Radiation Confirmed to Cause Cancer. The National Academies of Science … reconfirmed the previous knowledge that there is no safe level of exposure to radiation — that even very low doses can cause cancer.](http://www.nirs.org/press/06-30-2005/1)

    > So, the XKCD graph isn’t a medical journal. So what?

    So it’s exactly what I’ve already explained to you: it is dangerously misleading. Do try and keep up.

    > Seems you would eat poop pie, David, if you thought you could score points by it.

    Pull your shorts back on and calm down.

  43. #43 DavidCOG
    March 21, 2011

    winnebago

    > Paging Art Robinson…

    Heh. One way to judge the strength of the nuke fan club’s position is to see who they’ve got on their team: a full collection of cranks and knuckleheads.

  44. #44 Jeremy C
    March 21, 2011

    Regarding Anne, there is apparently a game that people play in the US. It consists of taking one of her books and opening it to any page at random. Then any ‘fact’ on the page is picked out and given to the contestants who google it and the winner is the first person who shows it is misrepresented, taken out of contest or downright wrong.I understand each game last around 30 seconds.

    Now wouldn’t this game be much more useful to play on Insiders on a Sunday morning than the usual bunch of journalists including Bolt pontificating on.

  45. #45 Jeremy C
    March 21, 2011

    By Ane I mean Anne Coulter.

  46. #46 spyder
    March 21, 2011

    Just a little fact to consider: Every FedEx employee who works on flights: loading, packing, flying, etc., wears a radiation detector that is turned in each month. I am sure they are merely checking that each employee gets his or her healthy dose of the stuff.

  47. #47 Eli Rabett
    March 21, 2011

    David, Eli suggests you go think about the difference between washing off a speck of plutonium and ingesting it. Hint, one is with you longer than the other and so the dose is larger.

    The Bunny also suggests that silly boys like you are one of the reasons people in the US are stocking iodine pills to protect against the problems in Japan.

  48. #48 Jeremy C
    March 21, 2011

    If I correctly understand where he is coming from, Barry Brook believes that solving the problem of climate change is urgent and transforming the supply of energy to nuclear is the best way of solving this problem and that renewables are just a distraction. This is useful because prominent AGW deniers in Australia such as Bolt approve of nuclear (for their own reasons – but that doesn’t matter right now) and approve of Barry’s nuclear stance so there remains a slim chance that he can get through to the deniers on AGW (note, I said a slim chance, a very slim chance so don’t jump on me).

    Another thing, if I have not misunderstood him, is that Barry Brook assumes that eternal growth is only good and an ever increasing source of energy delivers this (and I may be misrepresenting his views) and nuclear is the only low carbon enabler for this. The problem I see for Barry is that as a scientist he has never and never will be in the position of undertaking a complex project such as a nuclear power station so will never be involved in designing, building and then operating something of this complexity. This problem is compounded on his blog where he is surrounded by nuclear boosters (the mirror twins of renewable boosters) so it can be hard to sort through any propaganda that comes his way.

    However, Barry has publicly admitted he misjusdged how serious the problems were at the nuclear plants in Japan which is many, many light years away from the Bolt’s position.

    Nuclear boosters and renewables boosters facing off against each other always remind me of the Colliseum scene in Monty Python and the Life of Brian…….”SPLITTERS!!”.

  49. #49 Ol' Sancty
    March 21, 2011

    You’re a liar, Tim. The source of the information is not Ann Coulter but the sources mentioned in her article. Bolt on his blog is merely passing on the information. Is the 2001 NYT report a false one? Are the findings of Johns Hopkins false? Perhaps, I wouldn’t know. But your sneering “creationist” type bulldust does your argument no favours. Unless, of course, you’re merely stirring to get Bolt to direct more traffic your way.

    I’m not sure you’ve had anything like the traffic since I came here last year and pointed out that your posted video said nothing like what you said that it said. A few contrarians are good for the stats I guess.

  50. #50 DavidCOG
    March 21, 2011

    Eli, David thinks you’ve failed to address any of the arguments or credible science cited – and simply repeated what David said that there’s a world of difference between plutonium on the skin as opposed to plutonium ingested. It’s almost as if you’ve not understood anything that has been written.

    David also suggests that your accusation that people citing credible science being the cause of irrational or unnecessary actions by people in America now – or at any time – demonstrates the IQ of a rabbit.

    P.S. Don’t you ever get tired of your tedious, pompous affectation of talking in the third person?

  51. #51 Vince whirlwind
    March 21, 2011

    Ol’ Sancty must be a bit thick.

    Bolt’s article starts with the line:

    Ann Coulter says…

    That makes Ann Coulter his source for his article.

    As a Creationist, it is correct to sneer at her and at anybody who uses her as a source for almost anything.

  52. #52 TerjeP
    March 21, 2011

    In unrelated news George Monbiot decides he supports nuclear power.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/21/pro-nuclear-japan-fukushima

  53. #53 Mike
    March 21, 2011

    You’re a liar, Tim. The source of the information is not Ann Coulter but the sources mentioned in her article.

    You’re dyslexic, Ol’ Sancty.

    Straight from Bolt:
    “Ann Coulter says the low levels of radiation emitted by the Fukushima reactor may even be good for the Japanese”

    Then he goes on to cut & paste it. Yes that’s right Ol’Sancty, Ann Coulter actually said it might be good for the Japanese. The study findings she refers to but fails to understand properly, reflect the curious phenomenon of “hormesis”. None of the study findings say that the radioactivity released by the crippled nuclear plant in Japan will be good for the Japanese.

    It is Ann Coulter’s two functioning neurons which have apparently randomly misfired across a synapse somewhere, and have led to the theory that the radiation leaks will bring great health to the Japanese.

  54. #54 jakerman
    March 22, 2011

    I cringed at Monbiot’s conflation of acute radiation exposure with safer cumulative long term acquired dose. This is similar to ignoring the difference in biological response to receiving your annual UV does in [a year as distinct to a lump sum in one day](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/andrew_bolt_says_that_radiatio.php#comment-3492844).

    Monbiot’s second gaff was to say that:
    >*[50 mSv] is half of the lowest one-year dose clearly linked to an increased cancer risk*

    This is [5 times higher]( http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11340&page=6) than the level of utero exposure clearly linked to an increased risk of childhood cancer.

    >*In the case of in utero exposure (exposure of the fetus during pregnancy), excess cancers can be detected at doses as low as 10 mSv. For the radiation doses at which excess cancers occur in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki studies, solid cancers show an increasing rate with increasing dose that is consistent with a linear association. In other words, as the level of exposure to radiation increased, so did the occurrence of solid cancers.*

  55. #55 Wow
    March 22, 2011

    > This is useful because prominent AGW deniers in Australia such as Bolt approve of nuclear … and approve of Barry’s nuclear stance so there remains a slim chance that he can get through to the deniers on AGW ….

    So in order to get an extremely vocal small minority to buy in, we should spend inordinate amounts of cash on projects that will take several decades to result in any benefit, increase the difficulties of nuclear proliferation, store up a humongous debt of problems to future generations (again) and then replace the entire system when fissiles run out.

    I don’t buy it.

    PS it seems like deniers have a big hate-on for the future generations. It may be a Randian thing because they hate education for the future generations.

    Maybe they’re bitter that they’ll be dying soon and want to piss in the pool before they leave.

  56. #56 Wow
    March 22, 2011

    DavidCOG, please stop showing your insanity, it’s unsightly.

    When you stop being nuts, I’ll answer your questions.

    Deal?

  57. #57 MikeH
    March 22, 2011

    JeremyC @ 48

    nuclear boosters (the mirror twins of renewable boosters)

    Rather cynical. What is the problem with people advocating renewable energy?

    This is the argument that we need to move on to rather than having to continually deal with the recycled crap from the deniers.

    Groups like [Beyond Zero Emissions](http://www.beyondzeroemissions.org) have put up a plan – I would be interested in hearing your objections to it.

  58. #58 heystoopid
    March 22, 2011

    The crazy output of pseudo denial of reality science by Andrew Bolt, is best summed up by a quote from Upton Sinclair:-

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it …” .

  59. #59 Shinsko
    March 22, 2011

    Today’s Boltverse™ [post](http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/what_faster_warming_jonathan/)…

    Bolt just reads the headline of his link which says,

    >GLOBAL temperatures are on the increase, with a new study showing a rise of about half a degree celsius over the past 160 years.

    But that should have read per century as the body of the article explains,

    >”There is sufficient evidence in the long run of temperature records to support the existence of a warming trend,” Prof Breusch said today. “From the 1850s to today it’s somewhere over half a degree (celsius) a century.

    So what does Bolt tell his readers?

    >The IPCC said four years ago: The total temperature increase from 1850–1899 to 2001–2005 is 0.76°C […]

    >So the temperature rise over the past 160 years is .25 degrees lower than the IPCC thought

  60. #60 Jeremy C
    March 22, 2011

    Wow,

    You misread me.

    MikeH,

    As someone who has post grad qualifications centring on aspects of renewables and who has gone head-to-head with the nuclear boosters on Barry’s blog I don’t think I have any problems with renewables. My problem is when people make unjustifiable claims about something be it nuclear, renewables or my great aunt’s cooking. As an engineer my experience of unjustifiable claims is that my fellow engineers and I have to clean up the resulting mess. I also think there is a lot of energy wasted by both sides in dissing each other hence my reference to Life of Brian.

    The great thing about being pro nuclear is that it can really mess with the heads of deniers as they have such a warped view of people who deal with science……or as I put in my post, it may, very slim chance, could in the future, just might cause the Bolts of this world to rethink their position (but i doubt it).

  61. #61 Marion Delgado
    March 22, 2011

    It’s safe to say nuclear power is a divisive topic, even for, or especially for, people concerned with the deteriorating environment.

    That said, the people going “all in” for Brave New Climate should pause and not let their egos trump their common sense. We’ve seen a radiation crank AND someone essentially posing as a scientist featured as the prominent face of Brave New Climate just lately – it’s a source that’s discrediting ITSELF. In a way that other sources simply aren’t.

    When I did real-world science journalism, e.g. a very in-depth story on the HAARP, and others, I definitely would NOT have cited a place like Brave New Climate, anymore than I would have cited, e.g., “Dr.” (of Naturopathic Healing) Nick Begich. Claims by such sources, yes. But not as authorities.

    The UNCRITICAL re-spamming of Brave New Climate – objectively – bullshit by science bloggers has been really disappointing.

    It doesn’t, by itself, make all the claims against nuclear power and its potential (such as a Harvey Wasserman or Helen Caldicott might make) correct.

    It DOES make the current push against journalists as being the problem with science communication so hypocritical as to make people into (temporary, I hope) laughing-stocks.

  62. #62 Wow
    March 22, 2011

    In the short term, nuclear isn’t an option. Takes too long and we haven’t had any experience with the newer models, but plenty of experience that each model in the past has been “teh savest evah!” until the next accident.

    Procrastination has led to no time left. 20 years ago, we could now have solid evidence of a design that is safe and efficient by now and start using that design.

    Too late.

    When we’ve solved the short-term problem of energy generation (which *requires* renewables), maybe some of the newer designs will prove themselves safe enough to deploy widely.

    No problem with it.

    But it’s far far too late now to go gung ho for nuclear as an alternative to coal.

  63. #63 Sortition
    March 22, 2011

    DavidCOG,

    Thanks for commenting here – I think you are making your point very convincingly. You clearly out-argued your opponents and they are resorting to silly rhetorical maneuvers.

  64. #64 Wow
    March 22, 2011

    Not really, DavidCog is being an obtuse buffoon and so he’s being responded with all due respect.

    Heck, with your POV, Lord Monkfish is winning all the time..!

  65. #65 DavidCOG
    March 22, 2011

    Wow:

    > DavidCOG, please stop showing your insanity, it’s unsightly.

    > When you stop being nuts, I’ll answer your questions.

    The perfect demonstration of the nuke fantasist’s dummy-spitting hysteria when presented with science and facts he has no response to.

    Any time you want to respond to the *science* as referenced in [my earlier comment](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/andrew_bolt_says_that_radiatio.php#comment-3498041), step up and have a go.

    ~~~

    Sortition:

    > Thanks for commenting here – I think you are making your point very convincingly. You clearly out-argued your opponents and they are resorting to silly rhetorical maneuvers.

    Thanks very much. Appreciated.

    There’s a bizarre mass psychosis / denial floating around the tubes at the moment. Despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary, some want to believe that radiation is harmless. Sadly, some of them (Eli Rabett, I’m looking at you) are otherwise rational and intelligent.

  66. #66 Marion Delgado
    March 22, 2011

    I don’t see substantive disagreements on facts here at all, just disagreements of emphasis. I also always bear in mind that James Hansen, who’s been on top of AGW forever, and who has infinitely more credibility with me than a broken record hippie-puncher and nuke shill like James Lovelock, has been making roughly the same arguments (for some nuclear power) that are made in these blog posts and comments.

    I also note that the principle that political and economic considerations, personalities, and history don’t affect scientific facts is one everyone here can agree on. It’s the basis of the AGW case and it’s the meta-case without which you can’t possibly argue for science-based or at least science-friendly policy.

  67. #67 Mike
    March 22, 2011

    In news just to hand, Bolt has outdone himself.

    Yes, forever setting himself lofty new standards, [on talkback radio](http://www.mtr1377.com.au/index2.php?option=com_newsmanager&task=view&id=8229) (you need to fast forward towards the end), Bolt wanted to crush the views presented on the ABCs Four Corners program the other night on the possible ramifications of the Fukushima problems.

    The Four Corners program probably was somewhat alarmist (IMHO only – others may disagree), but it seemed to concentrate more on the possibility of a “Chernobyl” style accident.

    So our illustrious friend Bolt goes off to seek the best expert he can get, and finds Professor Aiden Byrne. He lauds Professor Byrne (quite correctly) as a highly credible expert and physicist, and Professor Byrne goes onto downplay the probably of an explosion like Chernobyl, which seems reasonable.

    So I wonder if Bolt realises that his lauded expert, Aiden Byrne, [strongly supports the science underpinning global warming](http://science.anu.edu.au/Alumni/Alumni_ScienceCriticalClimate.pdf)?

    One also wonders if Bolt will be lauding him as a distinguished expert this week, and demonising him as a scientific fraud next week, depending upon which of Professor Byrne’s opinions he is talking about?

    Bolt’s duplicity knows absolutely no bounds…….

  68. #68 Wow
    March 23, 2011

    > The Four Corners program probably was somewhat alarmist (IMHO only – others may disagree)

    Well they need to balance the nuts like Bolt who think the accident will make us stronger.

    Else the undecided will decide that maybe nuclear accidents aren’t as bad as is made out and may be somewhat beneficial.

    After all, the truth is ALWAYS somewhere in the middle…

  69. #69 Jimmy Nightingale
    March 28, 2011
  70. #70 Dave Andrews
    April 10, 2011

    PZ Myers is obviously unaware of the considerable literature about radiation hormesis. He only has to google it to find out, as do you Tim.

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