How things work

A great letter in today’s Cape Times from John Walmsley of the Nuclear Institute rebuffing the concerns of opponents to nuclear power in the wake of the troubles at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan.

I’m trying to get hold of the full text, but there was one thing which I found particularly pertinent, especially while the fracking debate continues on this post.

This quote from the letter:

The anti-nuclear lobby will make alarming public pronouncements that will be quietly trashed by professional health organisations in the technical literature.

Brilliant. Because isn’t this the problem? It was the problem with MMR, where the experts repeatedly stated that there was no link to autism, but the anti-vax groups preyed on the public’s fear and exacerbated the effect of Andrew Wakefield’s lies.

And it still exists with the anti-fracking parties spreading fear through emotionally-laden misinformation to advance their cause.
It closes minds and it means that the real information – the important, factual information – is hidden from the general public. Which, of course, is the aim of these people.

In some ways, analogies can be drawn to the issue that troubles me around the media and their inaccuracies: namely that they can shout about a subject  on the front page – however inaccurate their claims may be – often igniting a bitter, yet worthless debate based on nonsense, but then get away with publishing a tiny correction at the bottom of page 19 two weeks later.

7 thoughts on “How things work

  1. The only minds that are closed are the ones who believe anything the oil and nuclear industry tell them. A history of repeated lying and cover-ups doesn’t seem dispelled the misplaced trust you have in these industries. Corporate apologists like yourself always amaze me with your short-sightedness, you are advocating policies which are in direct oppposition to your own self-interests. Unfortunately you can’t see that yet – as has been said before, we are the most delusional of the animal species, some more than others unfortunately.

  2. Grant > Hi. I’m not sure what you have read on this site aside from this post, but I am certainly no “corporate apologist”.
    Hell, I rarely even apologise for the stuff that I do wrong, let alone other people’s mistakes.

    No. The only policy I am advocating is clarity and honesty from both sides in these debates. (see here)

    I fail to see how that is in direct opposition to my own self-interests. It does seem, however, to be in direct opposition to the self-interests of both the corporate world and their detractors, since said policy would mean that they would actually have to be truthful in the claims, counter-claims and counter-counter-claims.
    This would surely be a step forward for mankind in general, although it will obviously never happen.

    Jeremy > You are right. I did.
    Why are people so blind to the sources of what we are given to read? Question EVERYTHING, people.

  3. Grant: “The only minds that are closed are the ones who believe anything the oil and nuclear industry tell them.”

    Yes, correct, and on the other side of the spectrum:

    The only minds that are closed are the ones who believe NOTHING the oil and nuclear industry tell them.

    Grant, if we want this civilization to continue, then we need to make certain (read: many) adjustments towards the very people who are supplying us with food, water, electricity and fuel.

    You cant claim, in general, that BP, Shell, Caltex, Monsanto etc are all 100% wrong.

    Do you have any idea what HUGE efforts will be required to keep perhaps more than 10 billion people alive and well by 2050?

    We are already making sacrifices — and many more to come …

  4. carlbotha > You’re right – and it’s what I have been saying all along. Don’t simply choose to be brainwashed by one side or the other. Don’t close your mind to the alternative viewpoint. Listen, THINK and then choose.

  5. @Grant – it’s your perception, nobody is delusional, it’s simply how it is. Take this in the context of the Karoo being fracked – in the 90’s mining the St Lucia dunes for Titanium was stopped dead in it’s tracks because of huge public opposition based on the economics of tourism beating out the economics of mining. Subsequently the site now carries World Heritage / RAMSAR status yet the 1996 decision to halt mining may soon be overturned because of governments inability to alleviate poverty in the region. Lewis Pugh’s words may well chase Shell away from the Karoo but to paraphrase him – the seeds of profit have been planted and the promise of energy will be reaped 🙂

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