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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Radiation Protection Superstitions

Thanks to Atomic Taradiddles for pointing out this video.  It's a talk given to the ultra right wing Doctors for Disaster Preparedness.  Any science that may result in more regulations is seen as a hoax by them.

Let's dig in!

I'll first state, though I shouldn't have to, that it's unethical for anyone with a science degree to attack the scientific consensus.  Those people KNOW that science is about strength of evidence, not verbal attacks.  It's particularly unethical for someone to do this if he is attacking a science that is outside of his own expertise.  But then, here we are.

Imagine if I tried to convince the public that the Earth is 5,000 years old and the geological scientific consensus that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old is a hoax!  Shame on me, should I do that.  But, of course, I wouldn't.  I understand the philosophy of science and scientific ethics.

Anyway -

Hey Norbert....Ann Coulter claims radiation is good for you.  Ironic you should mention her at about 3:00.

Shortly thereafter....Stephen Hawking (no "S" at the end) was referring to traveling to stars outside our solar system.  Mars is in our solar system.  That's fallacious, Rempe.  But you know that.

HA! HA! Everything around us is radioactive.  Of course.  There's also a lot of water around us.  That doesn't mean we can't drown.  Radiation leads to evolution of species and cancers within individuals.

About 9:00, we have Ramsar, Iran with high background levels of radioactivity.

Hey geology guy....there are many causes of cancer and many things which reduce the cancer rate.  The high background radiation levels aren't all that high and people come and go from the area.  There may be less air pollution there, maybe less meat is consumed, etc.  It would be surprising to find any excess cancers there, because if we did....we would expect a much higher cancer rate in low background areas.  And we don't see them.  And stop committing the ecological fallacy - individuals may or may not get the same dose as external background levels (people do reside in homes, travel from place to place, etc.) Some populations are more prone to cancer than others.  To the extent Ramsar's population is isolated, they may be less prone to cancer than another population. Lookup the fallacy of cherry picking.

At around 12:00...thanks for the "shoulders of Merchants of Doubt" photos.  I'll paste that on my dart board.  Again, look up the fallacy of cherry picking (ignoring the scientific consensus and simply picking others who agree with your conclusion).  Three are dead, three to go!  Of course, someone will fill the vacuum either for money or attention.  And giants?  Have any won a Nobel Prize? Of course not.  Their "work" has been discredited.  Look up "sycophant" too.

At about 15:00...he refers to the radiation symbol and below regulatory concern, implying that the symbol is applied to any level of radioactivity and so is meaningless.  See 10CFR20.1902 & .1903.  He is wrong.

At 20:00 he claims the DoE and NRC are dishonest because they adhere to the scientific method which includes the scientific consensus.  Dishonesty is publicly attacking the scientific method because a person can't produce evidence to refute it.  Especially when it's a field of science outside of one's expertise.  Honest people would simply say, "go ask a specialist, not my field".  Appearing on YouTube isn't how science is done.  At least he admits he's allergic to science.  That's obvious.

At around 21:00, he refers to the suspension of Yucca Mountain licensing.  That wasn't a decision based on science so it has nothing to do with scientific integrity.  It was a political decision, which is why the DoE said what it did.

At around 29:00 minutes, the right winger really speaks with forked tongue.  "DPM' is not intellectually dishonest.   It is how contamination was quantified in the early days of health physics and continues today.  The "Bq" is an SI unit.  It is more modern.  It's like saying your speedometer is dishonest because its units are "mph" rather than "kmph".  Today, most speedometers provide both units.

The DoE realizes the public isn't rational regarding radioactivity.  So they go to extensive measures to prevent public outcry.  That leads to what seems to be irrational risk assessments, when the issue isn't just safety risk, but risk of public outcry.

At around 36:00 he shows some air sample results in "Bq/sample" and implies that is the standard unit.  But it isn't.  Air sample results are historically in "uCi/ml".  "Bq/ml" would be fine. It would tell you how much radioactivity was in a volume of air.

He also says the isotope is an alpha emitter so you wouldn't want to inhale it.  Well according to his giants upon whose shoulders he claims he is standing, that stuff would be good for you!  Make up your mind, Norbert.

At about 39:00 he asks why the EPA uses 15 mrem/yr as a cleanup standard.  It's funny that he doesn't recognize that "mrem" is an old term, and that "mSv" would be the SI unit.  Not that it really matters.

To answer the geologist, the 15 mrem/yr equated to a lifetime risk of cancer incidence of about 3E-4. The EPA is consistent with all carcinogens in that they start regulating when the risk is about 1E-6, and try to avoid any risks above about 1E-4.  There is no "radiation conspiracy".

Norbert's scientific allergy must really kick in around 44:00.  He states that LNT was "just a theory, something theoretical".  Apparently he doesn't understand that a scientific theory represents our highest level of understanding natural phenomena.  Scientific theories are NOT mere speculation!

At least he's not as dumb as the SARI members, who refer to it as a hypothesis (of course, they do it to denigrate the theory).

And then he says LNT is a fraud!  Is it a theory or a fraud, hello?

And of course, Cato Institute "expert" Calabrese is there. His fellow "experts" fabricate propaganda that global warming is a hoax.

And next is the SORRY SARI bunch and their petition.

Science isn't done by petition.  Someone should get these morons a high school science education.

At around 50:00, he points out that surface radioactivity levels are higher than within WIPP.  That's irrelevant.  The point is, a bunch of folks engineered a waste disposal site.  The engineering did not include container failures and spread of contamination so early in the site's life cycle.  That's a problem that needs resolution.

He appears to be familiar with the DoE's Low Dose Radiation Research Program, but fails to acknowledge that they spent $200 million trying to disprove LNT, which was bound to be a waste of money.  Yet, that goes right over his head!

Shortly after that he fabricates his own scientific study!  He states that no one was hurt or died early deaths or got cancer from the radiation released in the 1960's.  How does he know that?  He just made it up!

Norbert actually has the gall to compare around 1600's witchcraft hunting, with modern public health science!

OMG!  He blames the radiation protection "establishment" for radio phobia, because otherwise they wouldn't have employment.

It's typically molecular biologists and epidemiologists who draw scientific conclusions on radiation biology issues.  They treat radiation just like they treat any other agent they are studying.  The radiation protection community just implements their findings.  But then, I wouldn't expect him to understand any of this.  He's a narcissistic, inept, right wing geologist.

Towards the end, he makes up his own study again, stating that no one will die from Fukushima.  He doesn't know that.  Another mountain of BS.

And of course he fabricates that everyone benefits from exaggerating radiation's a grand conspiracy!

Anyway, just look up other DDP videos on YouTube, and you'll experience how whacked out these nut cases are.  There were many older DDP, LNT-denying videos posted by someone going by LibertyInOurTime, but he's taken them all down.  Here someone captured a snippet of one of them.  Look familiar?


  1. Bob, I am exhausted with your claims. You have never, never, never given a defense for why regulations should be driven below background levels. You simply claim that everyone who challenges the need to spend billions of dollars "cleaning up" radiation is a right winger science denier. You like to avoid the real issue of relative risk and cost vs benefit.

  2. HA! Well, you are wrong. Background levels are background levels. No regulation says one should take actions against natural background levels. Background radiation poses a risk. Manmade radiation poses a risk in addition to the background risk. I've already described the basis for the EPA's cleanup criteria, which they apply to all industries. So it's applied fairly. If it costs one industry more than another, than the less costly industry has a competitive advantage in that one regard. You can't give an industry a "pass" because it is more costly for it to comply with universal safety standards.

  3. I feel David is completely right, you dodge the real issue and you are stuck in sneering, and what remains is you strange conviction that 1 milliSievert of man made radiation is much more reason for action than dozens of times more radiation from a natural source. Since you constantly point to the importance of wings, must I see this as left wing logic?

  4. You mustn't do anything other than die, which you will do one day.

    I don't belong to any left wing organizations. DDP is a ultra right wing organization.

    I don't distribute videos on Youtube with the intention of manufacturing doubt about scientific issues in order to confuse the general public. This includes not just radiation, but global warming, species extinction and many more topics.

    Wings are not important, unethical conduct is.