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Thursday, August 21, 2014

To James Hollow And His Audience

(This is in response to a Youtube video comment section)


I hope what you are about to read will anger you, because you have been intentionally misled.  You have been used by Allison as an accomplice to spread his misinformation around.  If you have a pro-nuclear power bias, you are particularly susceptible to this mis-information due to what is called "confirmation bias" and "motivated reasoning".

Let's get into some detailed facts:

There are two international scientific consensus bodies on radiation health effects.  They are the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).

Both of these consensus bodies have concluded that LNT is the best explanation of radiation health effects. You can find this in ICRP Report 103 (which you have to buy) and in UNSCEAR 2010 (which you can read online).

In the U.S., we also have the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' BEIR VII (I've already provided a link) and the National Commission on Radiological Protection & Measurement (NCRP).  The NCRP Report 136 (which you have to buy) details their conclusions.

All four consensus bodies are in agreement, that LNT is the best theory of radiation carcinogenesis.  And that is one of the remarkable facts about science....we can't have consensus bodies in disagreement!  Any areas of disagreement are worked out!  And more broadly, we can't have a theory in biology contradict a theory in physics....or a theory in health physics contradict a theory in cosmology!

Science works well because of the filtering methodology of peer reviewed publication, meta-analysis, and scientific consensus bodies.  The vast majority of scientists appreciate and respect this process.  The vast majority of scientists are careful to stick to their own area of expertise and to educate the general public on what the scientific consensus is within their own area of expertise.

Sadly, there is a small minority of people with science degrees (I don't refer to them as scientists because they have abandoned the scientific method) who don't like the conclusions of scientific consensus bodies, and manufacture propaganda to confuse the general public.  One of those people is Wade Allison.

Note in your video (just before 3:00) he states he came to his own conclusions.  That should be a warning bell to everyone!  No one should care what his own conclusions are.  You should only care what the conclusions are of an appropriate scientific consensus body.  Note that prior to making that statement he describes his credentials...he is inducing his audience to fall for the fallacy of argument from authority.

From there he proceeds to misinform (we can get into technical details, but I'm avoiding doing that for the moment).

ASIDE -  At 1:58 in this video, Allison says he's not an expert. If he's not an expert, shouldn't he be paying attention to the experts?  I'm reminded of the creationist dentist who doesn't like the scientific consensus of evolution within biology. (Someone has to stand up to the experts! HA!)

So, to be crystal clear, the scientific consensus has been and continues to be LNT and Allison is intentionally misinforming the public. The reason you think LNT is based on the precautionary principle is because you have been led to believe it.  It is possible that LNT overestimates the risk of radiation, but it is also possible LNT underestimates the risk of radiation.  As of today, the evidence suggests that LNT is the best model.

 Allison is engaged in the same behavior that evolution deniers, climate change deniers, tobacco deniers, etc. engage in.  It is narcissistic, intellectually cowardly and unethical.  If a medical doctor decided to pray to cure a disease rather than provide the consensus medicine, that doctor would be banned from practice.  If an attorney, advised his client to ignore a court ruling because he didn't agree with it, he would be banned from practice.  Sadly, we don't have a similar mechanism within the physical sciences.

Now Allison is not the only unethical science person.  You have given us another one, Jane Orient.  She is the President of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness.  As you can see if you read that webpage, they engage not only in LNT denial, but also in climate change denial.  They are a bunch of Libertarian (don't like government regulations) medical doctors who are associated with the Libertarian Marshall Institute (mostly physical scientists).  The Marshall Institute was the subject of the book, "Merchants of Doubt".

These organizations take donations from corporations and other Libertarians, and pay people with credentials to manufacture arguments against the scientific consensus.  They do this to delay, minimize, or overturn regulations which may be a consequence of the scientific conclusions.  Very unethical.

So, if you look at the references in her paper, you find the same cherry-picked group of people who have attacked health physics over the decades.  One example is T.D. Luckey.  Here is a paper by him, in which he promotes hormesis (that radiation is good for you) by comparing it with the pseudo-science of homeopathy!  That's like comparing it to astrology in order to promote it!

Here is Luckey at a 2000, Doctors for Disaster Preparedness meeting giving a talk called "How Health Physics Lost the 20th Century".  Well, health physics didn't lose the 20th century nor the 21st.  However, Luckey passed away this year.

Creationists repeat the same, tired old arguments attacking evolutionary biology.  They'll claim evolution is just a hypothesis, it's an atheistic conspiracy, it's about to be overturned, etc.

You will find the same dozen or so people using their credentials to attack health physics (I call them DeNiArs).  You will also find a different group, consisting of another dozen or so people with credentials, exaggerating radiation risks.  Both groups are engaged in unethical conduct.

Stick with the scientific consensus bodies' conclusions on any issue....don't seek out individuals with science degrees who are telling you what you want to hear.

Otherwise they'll play you like a fiddle.

I hope you are very angry.

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