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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Greenies to embrace nuclear power?

Following on from Adolf's pro-nuclear declaration, a former student of Paul Ehrlich predicts environmental activists will soon reverse their opinions on population growth, urbani­zation, genetically engineered organisms, and nuclear power.

UPDATE @ 12:34PM:

I'd just like to comment on the authors characterization of scientists. Often the 'public' regard scientists as ultra-objective types who use mathematics to remove all human fallibility from the scientific process. That is not the case at all. 'Scientists' is a rather all-embracing term used to describe people who in principle agree to use objectively-researched and documented facts to support their theories, often describeable by a mathematical relationship (when you get down to it).

Unfortunately scientists can be as, or even more, dogmatic than the untrained person. You see this in action whenever a science conference is held and some old guy gets up and basically talks a load of drivel. Such scientists are easy to spot because they use old diagrams, old language and basically give away their game with many small signs. But a younger nutto scientist can easily avoid sending such signals, so the only way of knowing if he or she is spouting drivel is by understanding their field of science. Which is obviously not easy for untrained people.

Saying that, the peer review mechanism of the MSc/PhD thesis and scientific journal submission process removes alot of the garbage. But scientists aren't entirely objective, and they certainly aren't perfect. They're just a better bet than the layperson for understanding the physical world. Engineers on the other hand work within the reality constructed by science, so I guess you could consider them more objective within their field of speciality.

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 4/14/2005 12:02:00 pm

2 Comments:

Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Well yes. When the engineer gets it wrong, you die when his building falls down. When the scientist gets it wrong nobody really notices and he trots off to get another gummint grant to help support his family while he gets the next thing wrong.

4/14/2005 03:32:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Indeed. The problem is 'blue skies' scientific research which has little quick economic return can as easily be the next Big Thing as the next Big Money Black Hole (from the funders point of view that is).

4/14/2005 07:33:00 pm  

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