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The Left Must Find Its Way Back to Science

The sweet potato is a naturally occurring GMO (so are you)

And I would add, in the UK, unreasoning rejection of fracking (even by those who support off-shore oil production) to the list here of environmentally damaging Left presuppositions that urgently need replacement by rational discussion.

Random Rationality

With President Trump committing himself to reversing most, if not all, of Obama’s progressive environmental policies and having pulled out of the Paris Accords, I think it is imperative that the Left take a fresh, evidence-based look at their boogeymen. The Right may have their climate change and evolution denial, but the Left holds onto their fears of GMOs, conventional agriculture, and nuclear power as if they were afraid to lose them. The civilizational knife-edge we find ourselves atop of, as well the pushing and shoving Trump is adding, demands that the Left right their wrongs. Apparently, the Left is the party of science, and while that has always been a stretch, there’s no better time to make it so.

With the departure of the world’s second largest emitter from the first worldwide accord that attempted to limit climate change to within 2 degrees Celsius above baseline, that means that the rest…

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Friends of the Earth’s anti-fracking campaign; mendacious, lucrative, and legally protected

Re-blogged from Michael Roberts’s How fiendish is Friends of the Earth?

Fracking fluids contain sand. Sand contains silica. Silica can cause silicosis and even cancer. Therefore fracking is bad. Send us money.

But it’s notFriends of the Earth, who are saying this, because Friends of the Earth is answerable to the Charities Commission. It’s Friends of the Earth Limited, a profit-making subsidiary outside the Commission’s terms of reference. Much as the Global Warming Policy Foundation, whose purpose is to deny global warming, issues its materials through a separate legal entity, the Global Warming Policy Forum.

We need rational discussion aboutfracking  and its place in overall energy policy. And what are Friends of the Earth contributing towards this discussion? Crusading zeal in place of rational reflection, demonisation where we most need discourse.

Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin

For a time I was an active member of Friends of the Earth and supported all they did.  I then moved house and job and my membership lapsed. That is something I regretted as I felt I should be do more for the environment and that Friends of the Earth was one of the best organisations doing that.

That remained the case until March 2014 when I went to a meeting organised by RAFF (Residents against Fracking; Fylde) at Inskip (10 miles from Preston). I was unimpressed with the low level of accuracy in the presentation. i challenged some of this and to my surprise the local FoE activist supported the speaker in the inaccuracies. In two minutes my respect for FoE evaporated. RAFF also handed out a leaflet Shale Gas; the Facts  which they withdrew after a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/complaint-to-asa-against-raff-residents-action-on-fracking-fylde-for-gross-errors/

Over the next 15 months…

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Be it fracking, or GMOs, or anything else, supporting science isn’t the same as supporting big business

Royalphil.JPGReposting from The Logic of Science because we need evidence-based policies, whatever they may turn out to be, not doctrinaire decisions. And all too relevant to Scottish Government’s arbitrary and unwarranted bans on GMOs and fracking; for the latter, my Scottish friends will be interested in Prof Zoe Shipton‘s talk in Glasgow Wednesday week at the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow, open to all: http://royalphil.org/

Of course major companies have a special interest in these matters, and of course there are and should be regulatory concerns, but this is true of any large-scale productive activity whatsoever. And of course we can label polices left-wing or right-wing, and then use direction finders instead of brains, but that way disaster lies.

The gravest problems facing us now are global warming and food security. Now more than ever, we need rational debate, and evidence-based policy-making, regarding fracking, GMOs, and nuclear. Instead we have foreclosure of discussion by arbitrary blanket bans. No wonder the Scottish Government can’t find candidates for the vacant job of top scientific adviser.

The Logic of Science

Hardly a day goes by without someone accusing me of being a “shill.” You see, I have the audacity to say that we should be getting scientific information from reputable scientific sources (i.e., the peer-reviewed literature), rather than trusting blogs, conspiracy theorist websites, etc. In the minds of science deniers, however, that can only mean one thing: I have sold my soul to Monsatan/Big Pharma and am now a hired gun who roams the internet spreading propaganda. Even those who don’t go quite to that extreme often claim that I am “in love with Monsanto” or am a big supporter of pharmaceutical companies, but nothing could be further from the truth. I have never received any money from a corporation, nor do I particularly like big business. In fact, I dislike large corporations and detest many giants, such as Walmart.

So if I don’t like big business, why would…

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A fracking lie. No more no less

By my geologist friend Michael Roberts.

I don’t like it when creationists tell lies and I don’t like it when anti-frackers tell lies, either.

My own view, for what it’s worth, is that the Royal Society probably know what they’re talking about when recommending that the UK proceed, but with tighter regulation than that currently at force in the US; that if more methane means less coal that’s a good thing (coal has twice the carbon footprint per unit of energy, as well as a whole shopping list of other disadvantages); that knee-jerk rejection of fracking is the very opposite of evidence-based decision making; and that quantified evidence-based decision making is crucial if we are to keep the lights on while keeping the climate change already in process within tolerable bounds.

https://royalsociety.org/policy/projects/shale-gas-extraction/report/ June 2012

https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/01-07-15-rs-response-environmental-audit-committee-environmental-risks-fracking.pdf Jan 2015 and references therein

Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin

Here’s the latest picture doing the rounds to show earthquake damage done by fracking

Yellowstone1959

Or more clearly ;

yellowquakeq1959

Now this looks very scary  and will make people concerned that will cause quakes in their area. However twitter sleuth aka sadbutmadlad took on the roll of Sherlock Holmes and soon found that this terrible shot had nothing to do with fracking and was in fact caused by a 7.5 quake near Yellowstone in 1959 which is somewhat before modern fracking started

You can read it all about it here ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1959_Hebgen_Lake_earthquake

Oh deary me, pants on fire

Featured Image -- 1005

It does seem to me that fractivists wear very Hot Pants and possibly the fire is fuelled by CH4.

If this was a one-off it would be forgiveable, but porkies like this are the staple fare of so much anti-fracking literature put out whether in print or in the aether.

It seems that this…

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