Bad Science, Politics and Magical Thinking

from website Compoundchem.com archive, April, 2014

How Bad Science and Emotional Appeals Spread Disinformation.

In today’s world, there is more false and misleading “information” than there is good science that is based on facts and not emotions and mythical or wishful beliefs. Much of what you see is either false or overblown. How can you know what to believe? It’s easy for me to say “Do your own research,” but that is often asking too much of most people who do not have analytical minds which have a habit of using critical thinking, much less have training in interpretation of scientific testing and results.  Today’s sensational and social media agenda are often driven by emotions, ideologies, politics, commercial aims or just plain stinking thinking.  The image above can help you understand factors that are important to discern fact from fiction, speculation and mythology.

Anecdotal stories do not constitute facts. Correlation does not mean causation. The flawed reasoning goes something like this: John ate a lot of apples. John got heart disease or cancer. Therefore, apples (or some chemical on them) caused John to develop heart disease or cancer. More examples of people who ate apples and got heart disease or cancer do not constitute proof that they cause disease.  Correlation does not mean causation. Maybe it is just two unrelated facts that are paired for sensational effect or to intentionally mislead you.

In humans, there are a lot of lifestyle and workplace differences between people, so one factor (apple) cannot be said to be a cause of anything without taking into consideration what else could contribute or cause the effect. Other factors such as obesity, alcohol, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, sleep habits, age, heredity, other risky behavior, etc. have to be ruled out in closely controlled studies. Small numbers of examples that seem to support the premise do not constitute “clinical trials” or proof.  To be statistically significant, very large numbers must be included along with control groups that do not use the suspected substance, preferably in a double blind study.  (double blind means neither the subject or the person giving the substance know which are real and which are placebo so their attitude cannot affect the result.)  I’m sorry, but Reader’s Digest and Facebook “statistics” are often flawed and any conclusions must be questioned and examined closely, even if it seems to come from a reliable source or even your grandmother.

It is wise to consider the source. There are powerful advocacy groups pushing agendas having nothing to do with real science or caring for your safety, which they claim.  These include anti-vaxx, organic anti-modern agriculture, anti-pesticide, anti-fossil fuel, in general anti-human progress groups that influence national and international agencies to act out of a preponderance of caution. The precautionary principle, used in the European Union, stops all progress in its tracks. If a substance with no presently known safety issues may possibly, conceivably cause some unforeseen harm in the future it cannot be used. It is also unscientific because it demands proving a negative.

Word to the wise: Be cautious and suspicious of any health claim you read or hear about.  There is often an agenda driven ideology or money-making scheme behind it.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.                             —H. L. Menchen

 

 

 

 

Séralini pseudoscience syndicate: Lessons learned from decade-long assault on biotechnology orchestrated by French geneticist — Genetic Literacy Project

A MUST READ to sort fact from emotionally driven fiction.

via Séralini pseudoscience syndicate: Lessons learned from decade-long assault on biotechnology orchestrated by French geneticist — Genetic Literacy Project

Scientists react to republished Séralini GMO maize rat study — Genetic Literacy Project

The GLP posts a collection of the responses from scientists worldwide to the republication of a controversial animal study on GM corn and herbicide that had been retracted.

via Scientists react to republished Séralini GMO maize rat study — Genetic Literacy Project

Victorian Vengeance: Neighbours Launch $Multi-Million Noise Nuisance Law Suit Against Wind Farm Operator & Local Council

STOP THESE THINGS

Don Jelbart: launches million dollar claim against his tormentors.

Tormented by wind turbine noise for years, a group of Victorian farmers have launched Supreme Court action seeking $millions in damages.

The community surrounding the Bald Hills wind farm, built by a Japanese developer, Mitsui and Co, have been tortured by incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound since May 2015, when its 52, 2 MW Senvion MM92 turbines spun into action.

Neighbours started complaining to the developer about noise, straightaway.

But, as is their wont, the developer and its goons simply rejected the mounting complaints and carried on regardless. As we explain below, that callousness will soon come back to bite them.

Locals, however, were not perturbed.

Instead, they lawyered up. Engaging the feisty and tenacious Dominica Tannock.

Starting in April 2016, Dominica went after the South Gippsland Shire Council which, under the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008…

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Water Wars: Wind Turbine Construction Destroying Underground Water Supplies in Ontario

STOP THESE THINGS

Pundits have predicted that the next major war will be sparked over water. In Ontario just such a battle is (pardon the pun) well underway.

A couple of weeks back STT reported on the destruction of underground water supplies in Chatham-Kent: Ontario: Water, Water Everywhere – But Thanks to Wind Turbines – Not A Drop to Drink

While that story has clocked up almost 4,000 hits, it seems we only just scratched the surface.

Locals are furious, not just at the fact that once pristine water supplies have been turned to toxic sludge, they are wild at the way wind power outfits and their pet consultants are lying about the cause.

The first story goes right to the heart of that piece of wind industry spin.

Debate Continues on Water Wells and Contamination
Ontario Farmer
Jeffrey Carter
20 February 2018

Geological engineer Maurice Dusseault wasn’t surprised to hear that Chatham-Kent water…

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Fact Factory: Smashing Big Wind Starts & Ends With Data & Detail

Very useful data and facts from stopthesethings.com blog about harm to birds, bats, etc. and the real cost and imaginary benefits of offshore wind turbines.

STOP THESE THINGS

What the wind industry hates most are facts; facts about rocketing power prices, massive subsidies, chaotic intermittency, incessant noise and consequent harm to neighbour’s health, the destruction of birds and bats, the destruction of underground water supplies, turbines spontaneously combusting, disintegrating or throwing their blades to the four winds. We could go on.

On this occasion, however, we’ll hand over to our American cousins from the North American Platform Against Windpower, who deal with all of the above and more in a cracking and compendious letter to the Ohio Power Siting Board (and others) about plans to spear a clutch of massive Vestas 3.45 MW whirling wonders into the shores of Lake Erie, in Cleveland, Ohio.

In the Matter of the Application of Icebreaker Windpower, Inc., for a Certificate to Construct a Wind-Powered Electric Generation Facility in Cuyahoga County, Ohio
Case No. 16-1871-EL-BGN
Sherri Lange, Al…

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Solar and Wind are not reliable answers to clean energy

Are solar and wind power the answers to future clean energy needs? If not, why not.

  • Solar and wind power are NOT the answers to clean energy for the future.
  • If environmentalists were serious about clean power, they would support hydroelectric, geothermal and nuclear power. All of which are clean, reliable and use well developed technologies.
  • If CO2 is not causing warming, (see previous post Why CO2 is not the cause of climate change ) hydrocarbons can provide clean energy with proper scrubbers to eliminate pollutants from smoke.
  • Solar and wind power, by their very nature, are intermittent and unpredictable. The sun is not always visible and the wind is not always blowing at ideal speeds.
    • You can’t run a hospital or a manufacturing plant on unpredictable intermittent and fluctuating power.
    • Fluctuating power can damage computers and electric motors in appliances like refrigerators, heat pumps, etc.
  • As primary power sources, solar and wind power require back up power from other more consistent sources. Their unpredictable nature makes it difficult to supply consistent power as needed through back up sources like fossil fuel and hydroelectric power plants, which cannot change their output quickly, and must run at less than peak efficiency to be ready when needed.
  • More realistically, wind and solar can only provide a small amount of supplementary power to other more reliable sources like fossil fuel or hydroelectric plants.
  • Solar and wind require covering large areas with turbines or solar arrays to supply power, which necessarily disrupts ecosystems.
  • Solar panels and wind generators require exotic “rare earth” minerals, whose extraction is very polluting due to the naturally dispersed nature of rare earths (thus the name).
  • Solar panels are very inefficient and short lived, e.g. typically less than 30% efficiency for 15 to 20 years with declining efficiency over time. Efficiency varies with the time of day/angle of the sun, latitude, prevalence of clouds and dust accumulation. Disposal of wastes are also problematic.
  • Solar plants using mirrors aimed at a steam generator are low tech but their high heat kills birds.
  • Wind turbines kill birds and bats and produce infra-sound that may be harmful to animals and humans.
Raptors sucked into wind turbine blades

10. Why do environmentalists hate hydroelectric power, which is the cleanest and most reliable power source

  • Environmentalists oppose hydroelectric power for two reasons.
    • The first and real reason is that their socialistic goal is to cripple economies and reduce populations that these sources would support.
      • (“Giving society cheap abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” – Paul Ehrlich or paraphrased: “Like giving a loaded gun to a child”)
      • They dream of a return to idealized more primitive times, which were, in reality, brutal and polluting.
      • In reality, the best way to protect the environment and stabilize family sizes is to raise poor people in developing countries out of their disease ridden squalor. They’re not lazy, just sick. Poverty, not population size, is the cause of environmental damage.
      • Africa, for example, has largely untapped hydroelectric capacity beyond their energy needs for the foreseeable future, but that would support a larger population, which the environmentalists fight against.
    • The second “reason,” aka excuse, is disruption of the environment.
      • They don’t seem to mind the environmental disruption by wind and solar farms.
    • Hydroelectric power using large to small waterfalls provides reliable power with minimal impact.
    • Hydroelectric dams require reservoirs that fill slowly to cover formerly dry land, (so the downstream river is not starved in the process), which temporarily disrupts ecosystems that historically have quickly adapted.
      • They prevent periodic downstream flooding that causes misery and death.
      • They provide water for homes, industry and agriculture, and jobs from fishing and tourism.
        • If there is a shortage of fresh water in the world, as claimed by environmentalists, it is because reservoirs are needed.
        • Environmental groups have prevented the construction of over 200 hydroelectric dams in Africa alone.