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The "Scientization" of Yucca Mountain

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the I-block-for-science dept.

Science 226

Harperdog writes "This is a nice piece by Dawn Stover on how science has had little to do with the choice, and blockage of Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository. This article doesn't go where you think it will; it isn't too long but is a thorough exploration of the process. Here's a quote: 'Government officials are often guilty of politicizing science. Egged on by business or religious interests, they cast doubt on the scientific evidence for a connection between tobacco and lung cancer, or between fossil fuels and climate change, or even between humans and our primate ancestors. Some scientific findings are suppressed, while others are manipulated or distorted beyond recognition. But in the case of Yucca Mountain, the reverse happened: Government officials "scientized" politics. They made decisions that were largely political but cloaked them in the garb of science.'"

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Wha? (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695338)

How is that not exactly the same thing? In either case, you're manipulating or misrepresenting scientific data in order to achieve political goals.

Re:Wha? (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695428)

Yep, you are exactly correct. Making up fake science, or using it selectively is politicization in true form. Scientization would be taking a politically contentious topic and limiting its policy to what is determined to be most effective by the scientific method. Luckily we already have that to some extent in the field of medicine, but we could do with more.

Re:Wha? (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695506)

It's almost completely disappointing that someone thought this was a novel or fascinating enough point to base a paper on. Even (mature) creationists claim to be "on the side of" the scientific method, they simply reject particular theories by claiming them to be unscientific, and then invoke the same old appeal to authority.

I mourn the day when the average scientist was someone with a clear grasp of the world outside of the tangibles and theoreticals of their chosen specialization. This "scientization" rubbish, proferred as noteworthy, would not have survived the barest scrap of journalistic scrutiny had it been submitted to a publication with non-scientist editorial staff; instead we would have a nice, straight-forward piece about politics mucking up science, as with everything else.

Re:Wha? (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695524)

Luckily we already have that to some extent in the field of medicine, but we could do with more.

Do you mean like a full study of the effectiveness of specific medical treatments and the probabilities of success and such, so that each member of society will have only the most likely to succeed and best rate-of-return procedures paid for?

Or like as soon as a scientific study shows that something is bad for people (like eating too much ice cream) it is made illegal?

Politics and government shouldn't be about enforcing scientific results, it needs to take into account people and their odd quirks, like a desire to be able to make their own choices about things and exhibit some level of freedom.

Re:Wha? (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695688)

You don't have to enforce scientific results; they have a tendency to do that by themselves.

Did you realise that scientific studies have shown that eating ice-cream (and other "bad" foods) can have the positive effect of reducing stress levels and (in moderation) actually be beneficial to your health?

Dragging myself back on topic, how do you think the FDA and friends decide which drugs to make legal for over-the-counter sales, which should require a prescription, and which should be outright banned? If you answered "with science" you'd be partially correct!

In summary, don't worry, science is looking out for you, there's no boogy-man coming for your ice-cream.

Re:Wha? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695926)

Did you realise that scientific studies have shown that eating ice-cream (and other "bad" foods) can have the positive effect of reducing stress levels and (in moderation) actually be beneficial to your health?

Aside from poisonous things, there are no "bad foods". There are a lot of foods you shouldn't eat too much of, but that's the point, innit -- "don't each too much of" does not mean "do not eat (period)". Every food you can possibly name is beneficial to your health as long as you don't eat too much of it.

Re:Wha? (4, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696344)

You don't have to enforce scientific results; they have a tendency to do that by themselves.

No, they don't.

You have to keep testing them and showing the results. Because the people on the other side will keep repeating the same lie over and over, and inventing new lies, and putting them out in every new medium, making them look like the current state of human knowledge, while the facts you thought were enforcing themselves are gathering dust in a journal on the back shelf of a library nobody visits any more.

Science isn't animate. People have to sell the truth at least as hard as other people sell the lies.

Re:Wha? (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696520)

You don't have to enforce scientific results; they have a tendency to do that by themselves.

No, they don't. There is nothing coming out of a scientific study of the effects of, say, tobacco, that prevents anyone from smoking. If that were true, nobody would be smoking today. They'd all have been prevented from doing so by the scientific studies that tell them it is bad for them.

To get the enforcement, you need laws and someone who comes arrest you if you break them. Laws come from politicians.

It would be a BAD thing if scientific studies resulted in laws without any concern for anything else, like this "emotional" economy or freedom or rights or any of the other human considerations. Not only when the scientific studies are wrong, but when they are right, too.

For Yucca, let's suppose that every study says "this is a safe place to bury wastes". Should you ignore every other concern and forge blithely ahead building a nuclear waste dump there? Suppose there was a study that said that your back yard was a safe place to bury nuclear wastes, and a backhoe will be around tomorrow at 8AM to start digging. Would you be happy?

Did you realise that scientific studies have shown that eating ice-cream...

Did you realize that that was only one small example of the bigger picture, and that by poking holes in ice cream you've not actually dealt with the bigger issues involved?

Re:Wha? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696398)

Or like as soon as a scientific study shows that something is bad for people (like eating too much ice cream) it is made illegal?

That's either pure politics again or it's politics creating bad science. Science may tell us that something is bad for us. An enlightened policy will make sure people know of the result and how well proven (or not) it is and urge us to do the right thing.

I understand your skepticism though, when it comes to nutrition and health there's a lot of bad science and weak results being quacked about all over the place. Much of it is the natural result of political PHB types trying to look smart while they boss people around "for their own good". Most of that leaves people worse off than ever like when trans-fat laden margarine was the "healthy" choice and people put up with it rather than enjoying real butter.

Re:Wha? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696660)

That's either pure politics again or it's politics creating bad science.

What? A scientific study that tells us that ice cream is bad for these specific reasons is POLITICS? No, it's a scientific study. I didn't say it was a biased or faulty scientific study.

Science may tell us that something is bad for us.

That's what I just said.

An enlightened policy will make sure people know of the result and how well proven (or not) it is and urge us to do the right thing.

And that "enlightened policy" is exactly what I'm talking about being necessary instead of just "science". The "enlightened policy" looks at more than just the scientific study, it looks at all the other issues involved.

I understand your skepticism though,

No, clearly you do not, because I am not talking about taking a skeptical view of science, I'm talking about considering more than science when it comes to dealing with social and societal issues. I don't care if the science is unimpeachable and proven beyond any reasonable doubt, there are other things to consider when making laws.

Newton's laws of motion are pretty well defined and accepted. Momentum increases as the square of the velocity. You'd have to be really outside the norm to think otherwise. So, applying that science to automotive policy, speed limits should be as low as possible. Five MPH at most. Double that limit to ten and you've multiplied the momentum by 4 and the amount of damage by the same. Maybe even 5MPH is too much!

But wait -- people need to get from point A to point B in a reasonable time. Rules can be put into place to lessen the likelyhood of colissions. People will naturally go at a speed they feel is safe, all else being equal, so putting a 5MPH limit on major roads is not going to be effective anyway. These are things that fall outside Newton's laws that still need to be considered.

It's all because those salty bags of water don't feel compelled to limit themselves to what is "safer" or "safest" according to science. It's only a wonderful side-effect that some of the science that tells us what is "safer" isn't really very good science, or is simply wrong, that makes not blindly obeying the scientists an even better thing.

For the commenter that asked me how I think the FDA determines drug laws, well, they already do that. I was responding specifically to a comment that said "more is better" when it comes to having science determine laws. But even there, too, drugs are approved that have known side effects. The benefits of the drug to people's lives is still a consideration, over and above the science. That's a good thing.

Re:Wha? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695560)

Luckily we already have that to some extent in the field of medicine

You need to specify your country. USA, people will laugh at you or think you're trolling. Canada, eh, ya maybe so, maybe so.

Re:Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695634)

Canada, eh...

I see what you did there...

Re:Wha? (3, Insightful)

demonbug (309515) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695914)

Yep, you are exactly correct. Making up fake science, or using it selectively is politicization in true form. Scientization would be taking a politically contentious topic and limiting its policy to what is determined to be most effective by the scientific method. Luckily we already have that to some extent in the field of medicine, but we could do with more.

The problem with science is that it rarely gives black and white answers to complicated questions, so your results often depend a lot more on what you ask than the actual science behind the answer. Yucca Mountain has been extensively studied, and there is ample scientific evidence to argue both for and against a nuclear waste repository there - the answer depends entirely on how much risk you are willing to accept. Choosing an acceptable risk level is almost purely political in nature, and can change with the political tide. Looking at the acceptable risk when the project started, the scientific investigations conducted since then suggest that Yucca is probably an appropriate place to store waste. Looking at the acceptable risk now, with a more politically powerful Nevada that fought to decrease the acceptable risk level, the scientific evidence suggests that Yucca is not feasible. The science hasn't changed (well, actually it has quite a bit since the beginning of the project, but that isn't really relevant here), it isn't being used selectively, the thing that has changed is the politically-determined acceptable risk. It is quite valid to say that the science doesn't support building a waste repository at Yucca - the science doesn't support it (at a given acceptable risk level).

The thing that is problematic about this is that the politicians increasingly use this to hide the political decision. They focus on saying that the science doesn't (or does) support X or Y, when really they should be saying that the science doesn't support it at our chosen risk criteria. They do their best to avoid discussion of the risk criteria, which is what the political discussion should be about.

Re:Wha? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696108)

" scientific evidence to argue both for and against a nuclear waste repository there "
false. The evidence shows it's reasonably safe. The opposition keeps making up strawmen to make it seem like the data was gather incorrectly.

Re:Wha? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696244)

" scientific evidence to argue both for and against a nuclear waste repository there "
false. The evidence shows it's reasonably safe. The opposition keeps making up strawmen to make it seem like the data was gather incorrectly.

You just agreed with demonbug. "Reasonable" is a word that can be used to push both sides of the argument. Reasonably safe also means reasonably unsafe - it depends on your acceptance of risk.

The exact arguments can be made for most medical procedures, especially screening tests, like the current controversy surrounding prostate and breast cancer screening. In fact, if you took demonbug's paragraph, substituted PSA, prostate cancer and urologists in the appropriate places, you would have a pretty good explanation of the current controversy.

Re:Wha? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696622)

I disagree. Dismissing contrary research (I don't know whether that has happened in this case or not) is beyond merely changing your risk criteria. It introduces bias. That means that the decision can become completely unhinged from the actual risk, even if the decider superficially is doing so solely on the basis of a (biased) risk evaluation.

Re:Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695454)

The decisions are politically-motivated in either case. The difference is that in one case, politics leads to rejecting the science, which in the other case, politics leads to pretending to accept the science.

Both are stupid and wrong, but there is a difference.

Yes, exactly. (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695462)

The author is simply an idiot. It might be true the DoE should've considered multiple sites though.

Re:Wha? (2)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695570)

I suppose it's a matter of perspective.

I think the idea is that in politization you bring up arguments like "but what about the economy?", trying to distract people from reality with emotional arguments.

In "scientization" you do the contrary: you bring up scientific sounding arguments, trying to distract people from the real political motivations.

In the end it comes down to the same thing, it's just that the angle is different. In one you emphasize politics, in the other you attempt to present a facade of rigor and impartiality.

Re:Wha? (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695620)

It is different because in one case they are saying that "Science is wrong/doesn't exist - therefore we should...." and here where there is nothing that can be labelled as a Religion Vs Science issue (meaning they can't throw the creationist/denialist line) they simply jibber jabber, lie and cover up actual science to further their own agenda.

While it isn't totally different, I agree, it actually shows them as being much more hypocritical.

If a politician was truly a creationist, in some way (though I would disagree with them) I would somewhat accept if they were acting out political decisions based on that, but if they then suddenly turned around and said that they "Voted for .... due to the strong scientific evidence for evolution." then as far as I am concerned, they have lost all credibility and integrity.

Re:Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695628)

This sounds more like he just wanted to rant on 'business or religious interests'. But then found out the real reason those excuses are used. To further a political agenda. It is messing with him as it breaks his worldview so it seems 'odd'. This is someone who thinks the gov will eventually do the right thing. Most gov programs are manipulated by someone to get some sort of advantage (ideological, political, or money). The excuses to achieve that goal are usually not really relevant (though they seem so at the time but who cares as long as the law is passed). Just so long as they are enriched somehow. In this particular case "science" was used to further someones agenda (probably gov kickbacks/taxbreaks/contracts). If you think I am full of it think about this. What do most gov programs do? Do they actually produce anything? Or do they write checks to organizations and contractors in the form of tax breaks and real checks? Most of the time it is the latter these days. If people were serious about the 'top 1%' they would do well to start with the free money party that the gov has and the laws that enable them to act that way.

It really is just raw blatant greed usually. Sorry Harperdog (the original submitter), most people suck. There are many out there where this would seem foreign and reprehensible to even contemplate. However, there would be those who snap their own grandmas back in two if it meant they got say... a billion dollars and not only that they would find a justification for it (dont want to seem like a evil guy after all).

Re:Wha? (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695752)

My thoughts exactly.

Re:Wha? (2)

spads (1095039) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695772)

Yes. This is not scientization of anything. This is just lying about the scientific findings, saying the science said no, when the science said yes. If anything, the descientization.

I guess the (journalistic method) more remarkable the revelation, the less closely you are supposed to examine it.

Discovery: "My goodness, we've discovered birds flying upside down under water!"
Appropriate response: "Hmmm, remarkable!"

Re:Wha? (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696086)

I think the difference is between whether science is the target or the tool. In most cases, political goals trump scientific reality: science is the target, politics the tool. In this case, a political goal was furthered by using science as a positive beacon of trusted authority: science is the tool, politics the target. Its a fairly remarkable (though not by any means new) thing, given the increasingly hostile-to-science political landscape in the US.

Re:Wha? (2)

mcguiver (898268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696160)

One of the problems with Yucca Mountain is that the government is doing so much research that you are bound to find scientists who disagree with the majority of the findings and are always raising concerns. The public gets wind of these concerns and refuses to allow Yucca Mountain to progress until the concerns are addressed. Said scientists gets another grant, does more research, finds another "problem", and the cycle continues. There is research done regarding Yucca Mountain the flies in the face of our understanding of the oxidizing behavior of Uranium. Yet it is done by a scientist and opponents grab onto it and use it. Though Yucca Mountain is a great place to store the waste, it will never open thanks to the current regulations surrounding it.

Earthquake stability... (1)

Forbman (794277) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695342)

well, I knew someone who was doing research on table rocks in the area, to guesstimate how long those rocks had been teetering on their pedestals, with the hypothesis that a significant earthquake would have knocked them off...

As I recall, their research indicated that of the ones they'd checked, they'd probably been on their pedestals for a few thousand years, at least...

this is new? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695396)

> Government officials "scientized" politics. They made decisions that were largely political but cloaked them in the garb of science.'"

One could argue that this has happened often, in many fields. What's new here?

Re:this is new? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695448)

It isn't really confined to science, or even as new (relatively) as science is.

Whenever you make a political decision, it is helpful to have reasons that don't make you look quite as crass and calculating. Certain reasons are as old as the hills(defending Us vs. Them, preventing the decline of Morality, etc.) others change according to the prevailing epistemology of the time. In theistic societies, your political decision is couched as being the one that makes god happy. In technological ones(it's hard to say that the US, or the contemporary west is "scientific", given that magical thinking and sheer nonsense continue to flourish; but nobody denies that knowing the world is among the most powerful ways of changing it), your decision has sound, reasonable, scientific backing. Heck, RAND has probably done a cost-benefit analysis justifying it!

Re:this is new? (1, Flamebait)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695486)

> Government officials "scientized" politics. They made decisions that were largely political but cloaked them in the garb of science.'"

One could argue that this has happened often, in many fields. What's new here?

Wait till she discovers the psuedoscience of economics... if yucca mountain got her wound up into writing an article, Keynesian economics might literally make her head explode.

Another good one is climate science.

Re:this is new? (1, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695700)

Obama's looking worse and worse with every day that passes.

Re:this is new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695856)

The problem is that all of the Republican candidates are even worse.

Re:this is new? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696280)

Obama's looking worse and worse with every day that passes.

What would Romney do?

Really, while I am profoundly disappointed in Obama's tenure, I doubt a Republican president would have done anything different. Even Ron Paul would do the same.

Re:this is new? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696390)

http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2011/09/so-that-ignorance-wont-be-reason-why.html [thepeoplesview.net]

"Obama hasn't done anything right" is a canard. Stop falling for right-wing propaganda.

Re:this is new? (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696648)

Looking at that page...

I doubt many people would question he's increased spending a shitton.

Re:this is new? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696678)

> What would Romney do?

> Really, while I am profoundly disappointed in Obama's tenure, I doubt a Republican president would have done anything different. Even Ron Paul would do the same.

To a major extent I can agree with that. As a fiscal conservative, I am profoundly glad that McCain didn't win, because he'd have done the same things as Obama, only with Republican support. I think the damage Obama has done has been minimized in part because of party opposition. (Ideologically, I don't belong to either party, but am currently registered Democrat.)

Ron Paul would have done something different, I believe, but I'm not sure whether that would be a good thing. Some of his views genuinely frighten me.

Cain is interesting. I don't know yet where he is socially, (I tend to be socially liberal) but he may be exactly what we need fiscally, at least for now. We may have to put up with a social conservative in order to have a fiscal conservative in place for a few years until we get the economy back on track.

This is all way off topic, of course.

Reprocessing (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695422)

The vast majority of that waste is still capable of producing useful energy. If it was reprocessed there'd be a lot less that needs to be stored.

Re:Reprocessing (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695538)

The vast majority of that waste is still capable of producing useful energy. If it was reprocessed there'd be a lot less that needs to be stored.

Correct engineering, wrong politics.

The problem is the folks who would be hired to reprocess are so incredibly crooked and such political backstabbers that we would literally have less pollution if we just tossed it all off the end of a pier into the ocean, or heck, if we just ground it up and sprinkled it on our breakfast cereal. For "national security" we can't have anyone reporting on stuff being dumped out on the ground, not can we?

I don't think the French or Japanese are as corrupt as the Americans, or at least they're as corrupt overall yet corrupt in ways that make it safer for them to reprocess than for us to reprocess. We should simply sell/give the stuff to them.

Re:Reprocessing (2)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695542)

The vast majority of the waste is not capable of producing energy. The majority of the volume of waste is stuff like office furnishings from nuclear plants and other things that had long-term exposure and registers above background levels. Yes, the spend fuel can be reprocessed, but the majority of the volume would be just fine in a landfill (so long as they didn't build a school on top of the landfill - don't laugh, I've seen it happen multiple times). Much of it isn't even "radioactive" from a lay-person's perspective. It's less radioactive than a fair bit of Fiesta Ware, which people ate off years after reports about it.

not true (2)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696288)

There's a lot of myths surrounding nuclear recycling.
Firstly, only the plutonium can be recycled, which accounts for less than 1% of the spent fuel rod. Most of the waste is uranium and contaminated with gamma emiting isotopes uranium 232 and uranium 234 and too dangerous to handle.
Secondly, recycling fuel doesn't make the waste "disappear". MOX fuel is converted to mostly to isotopes of plutonium after been burnt in the reactor and can't be recycled again.
Thirdly, producing MOX fuel is an expensive and dirty process. Sellafield and La Hague have to pump out low-level waste into the sea as part of the fabrication process.

Re:Reprocessing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37696424)

The 'waste' you refer to, at least that which doesn't escape into the environment, goes on producing radiation (energy). I doesn't stop just because it's no longer used as part of the core. That's why it's isolated and kept underwater in cooling tanks, like the ones that failed at Fukushima. It's still

According to Helen Caldicott's book; Nuclear Power is Not the Answer, there are over 200 nuclides which naturally occur in during fission of Uranium. They build up in the reactor fuel rods as the Uranium breaks down. The processing of spent fuel rods entails separation of the useful elements and is hazardous for the same reasons that any handling of radioactive materials can be lethal. You can receive a lethal dose of radiation from close contact with these rods in less than a minute.

'Reprocessing' requires containment, secure transportation and results in radioactive byproducts (waste). It's not like the 'spent fuel' is 100% recyclable, and then you have a new and different system to deal with. The effort may seen advisable, but without proper elaboration, inspection and analysis, how would we know this to be true?

Caldicott did a fairly comprehensive job of raising many questions about the nature nuclear power from the energetics that describe the entire system to the health and environmental concerns which, to this day, go under-reported in our media because no one really wants to deal with the fact that this entire system is a lethal byproduct of the cold war which we are all better off without, in the long run.

For heaven's sake, we're boiling water with a system that creates enough plutonium 'waste,' each and every year, at each and every commercial electricity plant, to build 50 nuclear warheads with multi-megaton yield! There's no other use for plutonium because of the security concerns, and we're encouraged to believe that this is a public utility that should be further commercialized!!

Nuclear energy would be a great idea, if we understood how to use it efficiently and the benefits outweighed the costs of the health hazards. But we still don't have a place or the means by which to store nuclear waste, and any of its forms. And in the mean time, we're busy contaminating the biosphere. Its released in the cooling water outflow and the vapor that has to be vented from the ironically named containment vessels. And currently we're stockpiling an every increasing amount of spent fuel rods at each commercial site with no end to this practice in sight. Additionally, we incinerate radioactive clothing and other equipment under some ridiculous rubric that assumes we can contaminate the atmosphere at will and without consequence.

The people responsible for this should be required to live downstream from the incinerators and only in areas with the highest probability of the greatest contamination in the event of core meltdown and atmospheric realease.

The only problem with Yucca MTn (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695440)

is that people have no clue what nuclear waste is, what it looks like, or how it's stored. Yucca Mtn. is a fine place for nuclear waste. Nuclear waste that should be used in modern nuclear plants as fuel, BTW,

The science community does the same thing. (3, Funny)

swan5566 (1771176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695442)

Never mention the words "intelligent design" if you ever plan on getting tenure at a public university. I'm not talking about supporting it, I'm talking about even seriously investigating it at all. Then there's all the politics involved for each discipline for publishing in journals. Hardly scientific.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (4, Insightful)

Oh Gawwd Peak Oil (1000227) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695472)

Exactly. Just like if you mention you are "seriously investigating" the possiblity that 2 + 2 = 5, you probably won't get tenure either. They will think you are a crackpot. And justifiably so. Intelligent Design is similar.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695554)

Scientists "seriously investigate" extremely obvious phenomena all the time. Scientists just have an anti-religion bent. Just ask Georges Lemaître or J Harlen Bretz, who produced correct theories that were discounted for religious reasons.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (2)

Oh Gawwd Peak Oil (1000227) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695670)

I don't think scientists have an anti-religion bent. Many scientists are religious themselves. But they do have an anti-dishonesty bent, or an anti-politicising things that should have nothing at all to do with politics bent.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695916)

For those who don't get it, Bretz was a (the?) prototypical catastrophism dude who fought a horrible battle against the uniformitarianists and the U basically won and suppressed him for some decades. The C have a vaguely biblical outlook, because noahs floods and fire and brimstone with in with the C outlook. HOWEVER Bretz was from early-mid last century, biblical C guys other than crazy radio preachers had long since died out. The Venn diagram of serious C geologists and crazy fire and brimstone preachers has an overlap, but its mighty small indeed. The appeal of the U position was frankly physics envy, the laws of nature are always the same and always will be, relativity and the constant speed of light everywhere and stuff. You can kind of forgive the U guys for not understanding the thermodynamics of the earth in a non-nuclear world. For what little they knew back then, its surprising they didn't get more confused than they did.

The "modern" point of view is there is no conflict between U and C outlooks. The laws of physics and thermodynamics have applied for some billions of years, and that in no way conflicts with the existence of volcanoes and glaciers and giant river floods and comets and stuff. If I recall Bretz's C thing was a totally out of control river flowing thru what is now a desert, or something like that.

I don't remember what Lemaitre's thing was, too lazy to look it up on wikipedia, and it also probably has nothing to do with the trolling anyway.

Its like divining the religious views of astronomers by looking at nova astrophysics papers and assuming that has something to do with the "star of bethlehem", when really all the astronomer wanted to do was integrate an equation and run some physics.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696370)

I don't remember what Lemaitre's thing was, too lazy to look it up on wikipedia, and it also probably has nothing to do with the trolling anyway.

His theory was the Big Bang. Appropriately enough, he was a priest.

wiki link for the truly lazy [wikipedia.org]

Re:The science community does the same thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37696352)

Try again. Lemaitre was taken seriously by the leading physicists of his time, even when they disagreed with him. And he was receiving international honors within the decade. Bretz's most controversial paper kicked off decades of debate. Neither situation had anything to do with religion. Moreover in both cases science worked as it is supposed to. Research comes up with new evidence. Scientists debate about the best way to explain all of the evidence. New theories are suggested. Those theories are used to make predictions. More research is done to check the predictions.

Thanks for bringing up Lemaître and Bretz, they are two brilliant examples of how science works.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695582)

But...in large values of 2, 2+2 does = 5....

Re:The science community does the same thing. (4, Insightful)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695500)

You can't seriously investigate intelligent design, it's not science. Any sane university should run anyone who thinks it is out on a rail.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695682)

You can't seriously investigate intelligent design, it's not science. Any sane university should run anyone who thinks it is out on a rail.

Sociological madness of crowds study, pathological delusional psychology, computer assisted statistical historical analysis ... Which brings out the haters that the soft sciences are not really science, blah blah blah whatever.

Domesticated livestock and food crops have been intelligently designed by farmers over the past few centuries. Are there measurable numerical long term genetic effects of intelligent design actions, which I'm predicting would show up in modern Holsteins but not modern Humans?

Re:The science community does the same thing. (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696046)

Domesticated livestock and food crops have been intelligently designed by farmers over the past few centuries. Are there measurable numerical long term genetic effects of intelligent design actions, which I'm predicting would show up in modern Holsteins but not modern Humans?

That's actually a reasonable question, and speaking as someone who's worked on both cow and human genetics, I'll say: no, probably not. A comparitive analysis of the genomes of various breeds of domestic cattle certainly shows selective pressure toward certain phenotypes (milk production in some breeds, meat production in others, etc.) but the only way to say that selection has beeen "intelligent" is to know the history -- which, in the case of cattle, of course we do. We see similar pressures in comparitive genomic analysis of human populations WRT disease resistance; sometimes we know the history, sometimes we don't. IOW, genetic variation in cattle looks remarkably like genetic variation in human beings, and the distinction between design and natural selection is based on knowledge that can't be obtained by looking at the genome alone.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (1)

Forbman (794277) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696718)

I'd say that dog breeding is probably a better area than livestock. At least with livestock, we generally eat or get rid of the bad ones, and not too many lines with otherwise powerfully expressed, good traits have some really negative traits that come along in their offspring (wikipedia mentions a couple of holstein bull lines that have one, quarterhorses have a couple of lines with a very bad inherited skin disorder, etc).

With dogs, however, there are negative traits in some popular breeds that have come to be (hip dysplasia, cocker spaniels, etc), that are only now trying to be bred out of the breed, and it's an uphill battle.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696196)

You're misrepresenting intelligent design, I suspect delibrately and knowingly

What you're describing is actually evolution. It's called selective breeding, and while it's true that there's an intelligence behind the selection, there's still an evolutionary pressure at work. Dogs don't really develop into adults... they stay puppy-like their whole life because people like that.

But that's not what intelligent design is about at all. Intelligent design suggests that things like eyes or other complex features are far too complex to have come about due to "mere" selective pressures, and thus somebody must have created it from whole cloth.

You're talking about a well-understood consequence of evolution and selective pressure, and trying to label it as ID.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695508)

Never mention the words "intelligent design" if you ever plan on getting tenure at a public university

Funny, people get all sorts of grants to hit amino acids with lightning and to make artificial life forms.

Oh wait, that's not what you were talking about, huh?

Re:The science community does the same thing. (5, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695572)

From an academic's perspective, UFO investigation is more reputable than ID masturbation. There has never even been a single argument for ID that wasn't circular. "Irreducibly complex" is a red herring invented by ID to mean "we don't understand it, which is proof we can never understand it" which is provably false, as our understanding continually expands.

ID *should* be a kiss of death to university tenure because it is inherently anti-academic.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696454)

There has never even been a single argument for ID that wasn't circular. "Irreducibly complex" is a red herring invented by ID to mean "we don't understand it, which is proof we can never understand it" which is provably false, as our understanding continually expands.

Well, I would generally agree. You could maybe test if you could 'reduce' protein-protein interaction networks (or gene networks) by graph edit operations. There was a talk about that today at work, and it seems like you can replace subgraphs in a network with smaller subgraphs and still have the same logical result. If you can generate a series of functional networks that increase in complexity through time, then that's proof against ID

Then again, this kind of research is simply called "genetics" or bioinformatics...

Re:The science community does the same thing. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696772)

If you can generate a series of functional networks that increase in complexity through time, then that's proof against ID

There is no "proof against ID. The best you can do is prove all their current claims false. After that, they'll come up with new claims. Remember ID is the opposite of science. They took an answer they believed to be an irrefutable truth, and are attempting to find supporting evidence (ignoring all other facts). Science is taking observations and trying to describe the truth that leads to those facts (through experiments). Irreducible complexity has already been proven wrong. But it's still an ID argument because the general person on the street will not know what irreducible complexity is, let alone that it has been disproved as a supporting argument for ID. It isn't about finding the truth. They already know that. It's about convincing others. It's a social networking attack against science. The theory is that if you get 51% of the people to agree the world is flat, then the world is flat. And coverage of the two sides must be "fair and balanced" even if we *know* the world is not flat.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695602)

Please state a testable hypothesis given by intelligent design.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695672)

Please state a testable hypothesis given by intelligent design.

"People who believe ID is a scientific hypothesis on average have a poor or selectively blind understanding of science and what it means to be testable."

Or does that not count? I guess it's more a hypothesis about Intelligent Design.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37696264)

There are islands with wide gaps of non-viability in the genetic fitness landscape.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696542)

There are islands with wide gaps of non-viability in the genetic fitness landscape.

So the hypothesis would be : "organisms cannot traverse these gaps"?

Re:The science community does the same thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37696684)

So the hypothesis would be : "organisms cannot traverse these gaps"?

"Cannot" doesn't sound scientific. Replace with "highly unlikely to".

Re:The science community does the same thing. (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695640)

How could one possibly study intelligent design? ID is an untestable hypothesis. You can't know God unless he wants you to know him. ID and creationism aren't science, and unless something earth-shaking happens, never can be.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (1)

swan5566 (1771176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695780)

ID is a potential premise that helps to make sense of the model. Not assuming ID is just as much of a premise. You can not scientifically prove ID, but to say that science disproves ID is itself unscientific. Just because something cannot be proven (indeed, no axiom can by definition) doesn't mean it should never be mentioned in academia.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696158)

NO ID was the thinking, then it was shown to be inconsistent with the evidence, and then we got evolution. SO YES SCIENCE HAS SHOWN IT TO BE WRONG.

and Philosophy is the acadamia you want. Not Science.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695860)

You can study intelligent design scientifically. It's exactly what archaeologists do when they try to determine which stone tools were made by early man and which are just oddly chipped rocks, or what they do when determining that a charred spot is a fire pit and not a lightning strike. And you can't say this just applies to nonbiological items: biologists in the future will probably spend a fair amount of time screening various organisms for signs that they were genetically engineered at some point. Which is possible, you can look for out-of-place genes, organisms with no clear line of descent, etc.

Granted, applying intelligent design ideas to gods, and particularly to the Judeo-Christian God, just doesn't work. You might be able to manage it with one of the small gods. If Zeus was sitting up on mount Olympus in Greece tossing thunderbolts you could compare them to other lightning and electrical discharges. But God either made the whole universe or none of it, which means you can't compare "intelligently designed" to "not intelligently designed" and look for differences between the two, like you can in archaeology. Every hydrogen atom and rock is just as intelligently designed as an eyeball, if the universe is created, so it doesn't work.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695750)

That's not any different from mentioning "phlogiston" as if it was a valid model while you are applying for a chemistry job. It's also like stepping into a math department and seriously asserting that 2+2=5, or stepping into a geography department and seriously suggesting that the Earth is best modeled as flat. Is it pure "politics" that leads to a reaction like that from other people? No. The human reactions to such silliness may be social and/or political, but they aren't primarily or solely determined by social and political factors, they are determined by the fact that someone is asserting something that is demonstrably ridiculous or unfounded.

Humans are affected by politics, and science is no different. Of *course* politics affect science. It's inevitable. But I'd say that politics affect science far less than many other human activities because most people in science are dedicated to and are strongly influenced by the evidence from reality, whereas politicians aren't particularly constrained. Politicians will twist reality as far as they can get away with if it benefits their interests. If that means twisting the science, it's fine with them as long as most people don't notice. If only a bunch of "ivory tower egg head scientists" are going to call them out on it, so what?

As long as it sounds good to most people and conveniently fits their preconceptions and wishes the politician has it made. Ask most people in Nevada if they want a nuclear waste disposal site within their state and the obvious answer is "No", not for any scientific reason, but because they don't want it in their backyard. The politician will match this view and the science is completely irrelevant. It doesn't matter if it is a good site or not.

Re:The science community does the same thing. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696140)

and never mention search for bigfoot, or green men from mars. It's isn't science, it's nonsense.

Lets see some proof.. hmmm? no proof? no predictions? no way to falsify?

yeah, not science. OTOH, if you can show it as scientifically plausible, you would be given lots of offers, and tenure would be assured.
But you can't because it's wrong.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695450)

Politicians only use science when it's convenient to them? Say it isn't so!

NO!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695456)

scientific evidence for a connection between . . . humans and our primate ancestors

YOU LIE!!!!!111!!!

What about Natives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695520)

Yucca mountain is a sacred site to the Shoshone people. Also, every nuclear dump site in history, has sprung a leak. Are we supposed to tell native people "Oops sorry about that your sacred site is now garbage".

Think about it, Native people are still here, respect that.

Makes no sense (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695534)

According to the article, the site was chose for political reasons
The Energy Department initially identified nine potential repository sites and conducted environmental assessments for each. The department then nominated five of these sites for further study and, in 1986, recommended the three highest-ranking sites for detailed characterization: Yucca Mountain, Deaf Smith County in Texas, and the Hanford Site in Washington state. Hanford and Deaf Smith County were represented, respectively, by House Majority Leader Tom Foley and Speaker of the House Jim Wright. They joined forces and flexed their political muscle to remove their states from the short list, leaving only Nevada -- a state whose representatives, including then-freshman Senator Harry Reid, had little clout. In 1987 Congress amended the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to focus solely on Yucca Mountain.

Later the science said it probably be a good site, but everyone knew there were potential issues, 20 years later, with better science and stronger political opposition, it was decided that there was enough political opposition and science to reconsider the effort.

Here is the political and financial reality. No one really wants a permanent nuclear dump site. Firms who are storing the nuclear material are raking in huge amounts of free and unbounded taxpayer dollars. It is likely that if no permanent solution is found, they are guaranteed a profit far into the future. While any area that accepts the nuclear material is going to become very rich, it is also going to cause a great deal of damage. Think mountain top coal mining. It is very profitable, except to the towns that are destroyed with arsenic poisoning, and loss of tourism. Politically, whoever allows their state to become the worlds dumping ground is going to have tough time being reelected, no matter how much money it brings in.

Really there is no good place to dump the material. In Texas there is groundwater issue. Yucca could be the best place to dump the material, but given that the process has taken so long, due to politics, it is reasonable to take a look at the situation again. The politics are often different. We are getting to a point where reprocessing is an option, which means that we might be dealing with larger quantities of less toxic waste. Also, nuclear power is apparently not financially feasible as all plants in the US are going to require huge quantities of taxpayer money to build, so we may have a finite quantity of material rather than the ever growing quantities that were projected in the 80's.

I am not going to say that this guy used fake science to attack someone he did not like, but the article certainly seemed like abusing science to achieve a foregone result.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

mcguiver (898268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696114)

Who are the firms that are storing the nuclear material that are "raking in huge amounts of free and unbounded taxpayer dollars"? Most of the spent fuel (the stuff the Yucca Mountain is designed to handle) is being stored on-site at commercial reactors. The utilities are paying to store the waste, plus they are paying a tax so the government can dispose of the waste. The utilities are more the willing to have a permanent solution.

Your political and financial reality has a large dose of fantasy in it. Any area that accepts the waste repository is not necessarily going to become very rich. Jobs will be created in the area, but a desert won't suddenly become a metropolis. Just look at the area around Yucca Mountain, closing the project hasn't turned Nevada into a ghost-state. A few people have lost their jobs but the communities around there are still thriving. Your comparison between a nuclear waste dump and mountain top coal mining is fantasy at best. I am not sure how nuclear waste will destroy surrounding towns and I the proposed waste sites are well out of the way of any tourism.

Agreeing to host a waste repository isn't exactly political suicide either (and it isn't like you are agreeing to become the world's dumping ground like you seem to suggest). Accepting a repository will bring some jobs and moneys into your state. It is a lot safer than having chemical plants being built in your state. Accidents in chemical plants have claimed many more lives and contaminated more area than nuclear waste accidents have.

Forgive me if I seem snarky, nuclear waste is my area of specialty and I get tired of the same old arguments.

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37696136)

You didnt read the report FTA did you? The WIPP facility is cited as a sucessful example of how you establish a waste repository and it doesnt involve forcing it on the site selected. Also from the report, one of the reasons Nevada was against Yucca is because they were the ONLY site chosen without cause out of a possible three. The BRC report states multiple repositorIES are necessary for a successful isolation policy (with interim storage until the repositorIES are completed).

another fact-choosing luny (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695636)

"It is still not completely clear whether Yucca Mountain would be a good place to bury radioactive waste"

It was decided 30 years ago that YMP was the best of 5 candidate sites. Prior to that, there were potential sites considered all across the US. But Yucca Mountain was chosen because it fit the criteria for a site best:

-low to no population near by
-low to no yearly rainfall
-low to no geologic activity

It also sits in the Nevada Test Site. The NTS is a HUGE tract of the (uninhabitable) Nevadan desert reserved for the government. It's a no fly zone, it's a no-go zone, and it's generally one of the most secure pieces of land in the world. If you don't believe me, I suggest you try to drive there. (No, really, don't - you're likely to be shot.)

This guy wants to say that the billions of dollars of research done into the YMP is "of no use". I suggest he's just another fear monger looking to stir up support for his policies via taking on something the ignorant masses are inherently fearful of. Sure, his analysis sounds level handed, but then the devil's in the details.

Things that YMP could be if the idiots could just get over themselves:

-a 'clean up' of some of the more drug infested parts of Nevada

There's plenty of drug related crime in the closest part of Nevada to the NTS. There's also little to no work up there. Bring the jobs, and the crime will decrease. I'm *sure* of it.

-a use of otherwise unusable land

Look, the NTS isn't going anywhere. If it's not storing nuclear waste, the feds are just going to be using it for whatever they use it for. They're not going to sell that land to developers, there's no private use that's ever going to be made of the NTS. Did I mention the NTS is some of the most inhospitable land in the world? There's no chance at society ever desiring a population center near enough to the YMP to be in danger.

-a huge local stimulus for the Nevada economy.

Currently, Nevada has gambling tourism as it's sole economy. Any other industry is supportive of tourism. The local "chamber of commerce" (don't get me started on those biased and misleadingly named fools) even sees Nevada's lack of a broad economy as a problem. The YMP would be a long term project requiring the hiring and long term employment of thousands of scientists, engineers, and 'support staff'. We're talking about BILLIONS a year in waste management.

Or we could let fear mongers tell us that the YMP is a bad idea and leave Nevada to rot.

PS We have contractual and national security reasons to establish a nuclear waste repository. As part of international agreements the US made to stem nuclear proliferation, the US loaned out nuclear fuel to nations across the world with the understanding that spent nuclear fuel would be shipped back to the US at a later date. That was some time ago and we are now over due on our waste pickup. They can sue the US for BILLIONS in international courts while that dangerous nuclear waste sits in unsecured waste pools around the world.

Re:another fact-choosing luny (1)

arkenian (1560563) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696014)

I have to admit I always found it amusing that while Nevada as a whole doesn't want Yucca Mountain in most polls, most polls DID indicate that those areas closest to the facility DID support it (if only for the economic benefits)

Re:another fact-choosing luny (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37696696)

We have contractual and national security reasons to establish a nuclear waste repository. As part of international agreements the US made to stem nuclear proliferation, the US loaned out nuclear fuel to nations across the world with the understanding that spent nuclear fuel would be shipped back to the US at a later date. That was some time ago and we are now over due on our waste pickup. They can sue the US for BILLIONS in international courts while that dangerous nuclear waste sits in unsecured waste pools around the world.

Correct on all counts, but since I don't have mod points, I'll just add a note of thanks... and a punchline: The punchline of the joke is that the very same people who opppose Yucca because it was somehow "unsafe", are the very same ones whining about how unsafe nuclear power is, because of what happened to the spent fuel rods cooling off in the four reactor buildings at Fukushima.

The only time we've ever thought too long-term (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695650)

Yucca mountain would clearly have held our nuclear waste just fine for hundreds of years (which is a lot more than you can say for the places it is currently kept). Any yet they wanted it certified to hold on to the stuff for tens of thousands of years. This is foolish. There's no conceivable scenario wherein humanity would have to worry about the radiation on that time scale. Either we will have come up with a way to make use of it (probably just wised up and used it as fuel) or civilization will have collapsed and we'll have bigger problems (and probably be dealing with far more fallout from nuclear weapons). As strange as it is to say it, our government needs to think more short-term!

Re:The only time we've ever thought too long-term (1)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696088)

There's no conceivable scenario wherein humanity would have to worry about the radiation on that time scale.

If you think there is "no conceivable scenario", you really need to work on improving your imagination. I can think of dozens of scenarios. You really think the only possible outcomes are that someone digs up all that radioactive waste to use as fuel, or that civilization collapses? You can't conceive of a future in which neither of those happens? Come on, that's just silly.

Re:The only time we've ever thought too long-term (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696276)

I don't think we have any problems in situations where someone could stop by every 100 years or so and replace the signs that say "Keep out! Radiation danger!" with new ones in the new modern language. If they have a Geiger counter, then they could even move the signs in or out relative to the danger.

Because even if Yucca Mountain leaks in a few hundred years, it probably wouldn't be any worse than Chernobyl or Fukushima are right now.

Re:The only time we've ever thought too long-term (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37696260)

Well regardless, that is how it is assessed. Take a look at a recent Hanford Site EIS. The risk levels are calculated out for about 10,000 years [hanford.gov] for each alternative scenario!

Conflate (1)

Beeftopia (1846720) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695658)

they cast doubt on the scientific evidence for a connection between tobacco and lung cancer, or between fossil fuels and climate change, or even between humans and our primate ancestors.

Conflate. [reference.com]

Reminds me of the Nazis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37695690)

They came up with "science" to justify their views as well.

Re:Reminds me of the Nazis (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695728)

They came up with "science" to justify their views as well.

And the Commies.

Fortunately governments today have no incentive to create fake 'scientific' results in order to justify massive increases in power or taxation (or both).

Wait...what? (1)

stephencrane (771345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695832)

That makes zero sense. This attempt to define 'scientization' is exactly the same as the definition of 'politicizing' science. The scientization of politics would mean limiting political language and maneuvering within the confines of the implied logic of scientific findings.

"Scientization" (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695872)

What is the study of the process of "Scientization"? Would that be Scientology?

Re:"Scientization" (1)

ThePeices (635180) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696584)

No. There is no Science in Scientology.

Politicians Lie? (1)

Rik Rohl (1399705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695882)

No, never!
I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you...

... NOT!

The simple truth is that ALL politicians are lying scumbags, and they are quite comfortable with that if it means more money and power coming their way.

science isn't immune (1)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 2 years ago | (#37695940)

'Government officials are often guilty of politicizing science. Egged on by business or religious interests, they [...]

Something I try to always keep in mind is that whenever anyone, including myself, says words implying "everyone else is bad" (or wrong), it's probably naive or arrogant. "Some _______ ________ are suppressed, while others are manipulated or distorted beyond recognition."

The main problem is common to any doctrine: people. Particularly people with some kind of vested interest, whether it be financial, political, ideological, power...

I get what she (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37696052)

If you read the draft report by the BRC here [brc.gov] (which was even submitted to slashdot as a story [slashdot.org] ...) you get a similar suggestion. Nobody is disputing the science of Yucca Mountain, just the political feasibility of it as the ONLY option as a repository. Since the BRC report states you must have repositorIES (with an interim storage solution in the meantime) and this has been the case for decades now. The only reason Yucca was taken off the table is because Nevada DIDNT WANT IT (at least to shoulder the burden by themself...). The BRC report points to the success of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) which is a very similar situation which has been active for about a decade.

Science is not in question here, only politics.

Pyramids (1)

kf6auf (719514) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696068)

I don't understand why we don't just build pyramids, but with radioactive waste instead of dead pharaohs. They've proven that they can last for 4500 years and counting. You can build them almost wherever you want (subject to only to fault lines, nearby human populations, and proximity to radioactive waste generation).

Also, by this point, I'm not sure Yucca Mountain would be able to hold all of our high-level radioactive waste anyway.

Re:Pyramids (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696186)

You mean the high level radioactive waste that would fill a foot ball field about a meter in depth? yeah, it would be fine.

Another clueless person making remarks about Nuclear power. Please STFU, you're kind of people have done us enough harm.

Re:Pyramids (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696636)

I don't understand why we don't just build pyramids, but with radioactive waste instead of dead pharaohs. They've proven that they can last for 4500 years and counting. You can build them almost wherever you want (subject to only to fault lines, nearby human populations, and proximity to radioactive waste generation).

That's not a bad idea. Lots of jobs. Above ground so we can see it. Use part of the high level waste to make an RTG [wikimedia.org] , use the electricity to power giant billboards and use the billboard rental fee to pay off the whole thing.

Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

This is a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37696090)

Scientization? This is a good thing. Our government is a representative democracy, and not ruled by a philosopher king (nor a scientist, for that matter.) Science is one of the inputs to making policies on nuclear waste disposal. But it is not the only legitimate factor. Essentially, people take the scientific facts that support their position and make the argument that they are correct. The other side takes the scientific facts that support their position and use that as a justification for why they are correct. This is exactly what they should be doing. Now, in the end, the decision is a political one. So, more than likely, they end up voting based on factors other than the science, which is also OK. For example, if you build a nuclear waste site next to my house, even if it is perfectly safe, the property value of my house will go down. There might be no additional risk of nuclear contamination. But, still, it is legitimate for me to oppose it because it harms me by decreasing my property value. Likewise, if the general public hates nuclear power enough to vote you out of office if you build a nuclear waste dump in their backyard, then it is a wise decision to not do that.

             

There is such a simple solution for waste (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696204)

Create small IFRs for putting on-site. Seriously, once a power plant is taken down, then a new one should be put up, and it should be an IFR. All that it should do is burn up the 'waste'. This approach would allow us to use what we have.

Re:There is such a simple solution for waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37696620)

I seem to recall that one of the Fukashima reactors was "down" as it was being used as a high radiation waste dump.

No the science doesn't unequivocably support Yucca (1)

forgoodmeasure (885419) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696350)

It is by no means clear that Yucca Mountain is the proper site for radioactive waste disposal. From the article:

"It is still not completely clear whether Yucca Mountain would be a good place to bury radioactive waste. Despite the Energy Secretary's 2002 seal of approval, there are legitimate scientific concerns about the suitability of the site. An independent US Nuclear Technical Waste Review Board said PDF it had "limited confidence" in the Energy Department's performance estimates for Yucca Mountain because of "gaps in data and basic understanding." As Gary Taubes observed in Technology Review in 2002, "By choosing Yucca Mountain as the only option for a nuclear-waste facility, Congress put the DOE in an untenable position. In effect, it sent the department out to prove that Yucca Mountain would work as a repository, rather than to do a dispassionate analysis of whether it could work or was the best possible site." "

Yucca Mountain, IRRC, is rather close to Vegas and the site actually has some history of water migration, even over the past 50 years. Admittedly I'm working off of a memory of a report I read a decade ago. Here's the link FWIW: http://www.environmentalreview.org/archives/vol07/ewing_abstract.html [environmentalreview.org]

"climate change" (0)

dukw_butter (805576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37696638)

there is no science behind "climate change", obviously. It's a pseudo-scientific scare tactic. The temperature of the earth has not risen. There is no global warming. And changing to "climate change" midstream is just hedging your bets, like "boxing" the "exacta" or the "frifecta". We're not sure if it will get warmer. Or colder. But we are sure that the weather, which is always changing, will continue to change. In an unpredictable manner. And...uh...so we've got to quit burning fossil fuels. Hahahahahaha. Science? Please. Please. Please. The religion that is "climate change" doesn't even come close to being backed up by an true "science". I don't know a ton about Yucca Mountain, but I seriously doubt that you want to try to improve your argument by holding up "climate change" as a serious scientific endeavor. That would be a ghastly mistake.

Sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37696700)

This entire situation with YMC is a very good reason why we shouldnt be using nuke power.

We're not even wise enough to deal with the politics of where we put this stuff. Let alone wise enough to deal safely with the worst case scenarios of nuclear power.

We COULD do it. We have the technology for all this crap right now. We ARE capable of it.
But due to politics and money. We're never going to be able to do it correctly or safely. (at least in my lifetime given how humanity is.)

Nothing stopping us from having clean safe effective nuclear power and having a system in place to deal with our waste... but our own bullheaded arrogance and stupidity. Which we have alot of.

It's fucking SAD!

Makes me wanna slap the hell out of all our politicans. Not that it would help any...

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