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Blog entries by the cast of Radio Freethinker

Whats the Harm…

Posted by thinedgedev on March 12, 2016

This is a response to a listener who wanted my opinion on this store I shared on Facebook

Alberta toddler died from meningitis because he was taken to a naturopath instead of a doctor

There are several issues at hand here…first, our current government allows people to claim to be medical practitioners with out actually employing any medicine. And that is the first crime here…when the family FINALLY took their child to a doctor…they chose a not-doctor.

Now, some are going to say the naturopathy is healthcare…it is not! Okay…most of it is not…because if a collection of bs and mumbo-jumbo, a very small part may actually serve some good…the personal interactions help enhance the placebo effect…offering supplements on top of regular medical care, might be waste of money but likely again enhance the placebo effect.

I could spend hours about naturopaths, but when the child was take to this not-doctor and that person did not immediately call for an ambulance…remember according to the report even a nurse could see the real problem…and just gave the child more snake oil…well, that person acted criminally.

Okay…lets assume you agree with me on that…and yes, a big ask of some of you sadly…but that still leaves the other problem about should the parents be charged? In and of itself, probably not…especially because of the outcome…justice if deserved or not was reeked upon these two.

However, there are some special circumstance that want me to see these people charged and found guilty. We live in a world were people this miracle cures exist…the story related to Truehope…shows that in many ways, there were, in unrelated areas, a willful intent to mislead…these parents were not unfamiliar with the scientifically questionable nature of naturopathic products.

Secondly, people often say…”well, even it does really work, what is the harm”…well this is that harm. The prosecution of these parents will hopefully be a wake up call to everyone that ignoring reliable heath care has consequence…if this sways the mind of some other parent or any ill individual to so see a real doctor it WILL save lives. I can also guarantee that if it dissuades any number of people for see a naturopath…well, nothing will be lost.  And most ethical naturopaths, will say in a defensive manner that you can do both…so long as the naturopath does not actively thwart the doctor’s treatment.

So, to recap…the naturopath they visited is at best guilty of malpractice and at worst accessory to the child’s death. The companies that market this snake oil should be shut down…and last the parents in this particular case should be convicted of negligence…especially considering this child was very sick for weeks.

But there is a greyer area…when should you go to a doctor for care. I can agree that it is uncomfortable to charge a parent because they confused a flu with something worse…if you don’t go in 24hr, is that a crime…what about a week?

And parents are people too…they don’t have medical degrees…what might seem like something mild or just something kids go thru…was actually life threating…

On this matter I don’t have a simple answer…and each case should be decided on by their merits…with the benefit of the doubt going to the parents. Sadly in this case, they acted in such a way that I think criminal.

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Prairie Correspondent – Good neighbours

Posted by Don McLenaghen on June 27, 2014

Good neighbours, we all want to be good neighbours and we want to have good neighbours. Mostly our neighbours are the people next door, either down hallway or down a street. Neighbours are usually close enough to know each other if not intimately then sight wise. If the walls are thin or the windows are open sometimes they now each other more than is comfortable. We know the comings and goings, the different vehicles, the new siding. When the plumber comes a calling we may not know the why but we can figure it out. The guy who parks his truck on the lawn and the one that is down on his hands and knees pulling the dandelions out by hand. A neighbourhood is full of all types of people.

Neighbourhoods can be welcoming places and some can be anything but. Like the barbeque that the Smiths had and invited everyone on the south side of the street but Hanna family. Everyone else got along as did Hanna’s and the Smiths, until one weekend when the RV arrived, something happened nobody was sure what. All that were invited went, they noticed the Hanna’s weren’t there, they talked among themselves yet no one said anything to the Smiths. After all it wasn’t their party or their yard or for that matter their food, what right did they have to say who the Smiths could invite and who not. This slight didn’t go unnoticed by the Hanna’s either. It was a small block and they had noticed the people passing their yard on the way to the Smith’s. Well the Hanna’s didn’t care because they liked the Smith’s just about a little as the Smith’s liked them. Well truth be known after the puffing of feathers and the bravado, they cared a great deal.

You see the two neighbours used to be friends, heck they borrowed each other’s tools and returned them, now that’s a good neighbour.  It all started one day when the Smith’s brought home a spanking new RV. 39 feet long with fold out sides a magnificent RV to the Smiths but a monster to the Hanna’s. The fallout wasn’t over jealousy the Hanna’s were glad the Smith’s had the RV they had four small boys so they too could imagine the fun ahead for the family. What the Hanna’s objected to was the RV had been parked in the driveway as far back as possible and RV’s large window lined up perfectly with the Hanna’s sundeck, patio doors and all the back yard for that matter. Now as much as one might like the people next door there are limits. The same reason people build fences, plant trees and build pergolas, was the same reason the Hanna’s found a problem with the RV. They liked their privacy

When Mrs Hanna awoke the next morning and rounded the table in the kitchen she was staring straight into the window of the RV, it was parked 6 inches from the dividing fence. Usually Mr Hanna was a more forgiving sort but he too stared at it eyes bulging. There was room in the driveway to pull ahead and therefore solve the problem so what the he double l is going on, the nerve. So out they go after cramming down their breakfast fit to be tied. They erected a makeshift blind with wood and an old sheet blocking the RV’s view of the property. Looked crappy but they wanted to make a point and after all what were the Smiths thinking! It escalated from there.

And so this leads to the night of the barbecue. The Smith’s and Hanna’s never talked and the other neighbours looked the other way. Was it the perhaps the Hannas fault if they had of voiced their problem with the way the RV was parked in the driveway explained the discomfort it caused, or was it perhaps the Smiths fault if they had taken the Hanna’s right to privacy into account. They could have hashed it out and came to an agreement that worked for both of them .It may be …a simple conversation could have alleviated the situation that developed.

And isn’t that the way of the world, we’re all neighbours some of us are closer than others, and our block is the planet. The Planet Earth is our neighbourhood. Perhaps we should make the effort to listen and talk to our neighbours. Good neighbours, we all want to be good neighbours and we want to have good neighbours, don’t we.

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RFT Ep 256 – What Good is the News Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on June 17, 2014

Download the episode here! 

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Truth about Canada

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Mel Hurtig is probably not a name most of us know and yet we should. Mel made good money in the 80 by selling some books. He took that windfall and was the driving force behind the Canadian Encyclopedia…the only encyclopedia made by Canadians.

Mel is a fervent nationalist and has talked for years about the erosion of both Canadian identity as well as Canadian sovereignty.

In 2008 he wrote the book “The Truth About Canada”, which is about how Canada has changed, very much for the worse, in the last twenty years. As a result of these profound (often hidden) changes, we are no longer the people we think we are.

From the book…To take one example, the Canadian media usually leaves us with the impression that Canadians are really heavily taxed. Yes, compared to the U.S.A., the usual point of comparison. No, compared to other countries with our standard of living, other OECD countries, for example; there we come in 23rd on the high-tax scale.

How do we rank in the world in voter turnout? Try 109th. Number of physicians per 100,000 population? Try 54th. Our rank in reducing pollution? 126th out of 146 countries.

Mel states that he wrote the book because we can’t do anything to fix the direction we’re drifting in unless we recognize it — and recognize The Truth About Canada.

Now this book was published in 2008 as I said but I came across an interview he did on TVO and he makes some predictions about Canada…now, 8 years on, it is surprising how these predictions fared.

Further Reading:

What Good is the News

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I have a question for you…does the News Do Us Any Good? Alain de Botton

Given the current events in Ukraine, the way that news is reported (on all sides, sometimes opposing and sometimes oversimplified) is both interesting and unsettling.

Well Alain De Botton takes a philosopher’s approach to the general issue of the consumerisation of the news – making a plea for the media to treat us all more as grownups, and for us as consumers to be more objective and challenging.

Great advice – but is it ever possible?

Alain de Botton asks: “What is it that we’re really looking for when we watch or read the news – and is it doing us any good?”

Over the last decade the amount of information available to us has exploded. Stories, reports, updates and media of all sorts come at us from every angle, every day.

And yet we still have a significant relationship with “The News” – seeking it out, and investing it with an importance and authority in our lives, despite the fact that it often leaves us feeling confused and powerless.

Listen as de Botton turns his philosophical lens on The News, to examines the peculiar position it holds in our lives – and offers counsel on the precautions we should take before venturing anywhere near it and the “noise” it generates.

Further Reading:

I bet you’re a mutant

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How many of you have gone out and spent too much money to watch X-Men: days of future past?
I bet a number of you wish you were mutants with special powers…well it may surprise you that many of you ARE mutants and that power may have help your kind rule the world.

Further Reading:

 

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RFT Ep 252 – The GMO and You Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on May 10, 2014

Download the episode here! 

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Prairie report – The price of dignity?

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A special report from the Prairies on poverty – How kicking out a homeless man from a grocery store reflects on the deficiencies of our society.

Further Reading:

Non-English signs

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Recent debate about a Chinese only sign in Richmond leads to thought about what multiculturalism ultimately means.

Further Reading:

Temporary foreign workers

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A 40yr old program gone off the rails under Harper’s watch…how did it happen?

Further Reading:

Chernobyl at 28

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28yrs later, life has not only survived at Chernobyl but is flourishing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK99dvJO5PY

Further Reading:

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After tens of thousands of years of modifying organisms, what does GMO mean now? And the most counter-intuitive argument for GMO labeling.

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RFT Ep 249 – Killing the CBC Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on April 18, 2014

Download the episode here! 

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Whine of the Week  : Killing the CBC

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As ye sow, so shall ye reap…can also be stated, as ye fast, so shall ye whither, and whither the CBC has. Facing an $100 million budget short fall…thanks to Harper, losing hockey and other factors…the CBC is cutting staff by over 650.

Polling shows the CBC is the most trusted media source in the country, more three-quarters think the government should fund the CBC at a sufficient level…most of those think funding needs to increased.

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The Harper government has regularly and consistently slashed the CBC grant budget after budget while spending  the entire CBC budget on a single F-35 jet…or overpriced frigates. What money they are giving, they think would be better spent by just giving it to private media companies…here’s how that would turn out…

Friday, April 11, 2014

Why are we not moving to a BBC style of funding…create a strong, stable and independent broadcaster, whose sole interest to provide the best of Canada.

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Seriously the Unfair Elections Act is Important

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How did Poilievre become Minister for Democratic Reform, how was the act craft and again…how it can destroy democracy in Canada – The Harper fix is in!

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Find out more:

 

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report

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Climate Change…even more certainty and dire warnings, again – The IPCC released it latest report on the state of the worlds climate and we’re serious screwed!

Conclusions of the WG1 report (The Physical Science Basis) are summarized below:

  • “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia”.
  • “Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years”.
  • Human influence on the climate system is clear. It is extremely likely (95-100% probability) that human influence was the dominant cause of global warming between 1951-2010.
  • “Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further [global] warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions”.
  • “Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped”

Conclusions of the WG3 report (Mitigation of Climate Change) are summarized below:

  • The global surface temperature increase by the end of the 21st century is likely to exceed 1.5 °C relative to the 1850 to 1900 period for most scenarios, and is likely to exceed 2.0 °C for many scenarios. With the possibility of an increase as much as 4.5°C
  • The global water cycle will change, with increases in disparity between wet and dry regions, as well as wet and dry seasons, with some regional exceptions.
  • The oceans will continue to warm, with heat extending to the deep ocean, affecting circulation patterns.
  • Decreases are very likely in Arctic sea ice cover, Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover, and global glacier volume
  • Global mean sea level will continue to rise at a rate very likely to exceed the rate of the past four decades
  • Changes in climate will cause an increase in the rate of CO2 production.
  • Increased uptake by the oceans will increase the acidification of the oceans.
  • Future surface temperatures will be largely determined by cumulative CO2, which means climate change will continue even if CO2 emissions are stopped.

Find out more:

Society Is Doomed

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NASA funded study shows the not only do civilizations collapse, it happens regularly and is inevitable…but there is an upside.

Find out more:

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Moral Dilemma – Brain dead pregnant mother

Posted by Don McLenaghen on January 22, 2014

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I heard a sad but ethically and philosophically interesting story the other day. It seems that a mother to be, a Marlise Muñoz suffered a major stroke that has left her brain-dead. The hospital has refused to turn off life support, even after the urging of the woman’s spouse and parents who stated that she explicitly stated she did not want to remain on prolonged life support if she was ever to be found in the state she was now in…i.e. brain dead with no hope of recovery.

The reason the hospital gives for not turning off life support is a Texas law that prevents them from doing so if the person in question is pregnant.

At the time of her stroke, Marlise was 14 weeks pregnant. She is now 19 weeks. It is legal, if almost impossible to get an abortion in Texas prior to the 24th week. But is this an abortion?

The now single parent of a 15 month old, seems to see it that way. I will not try and get into the mind of the bereaved spouse, but because he is pursuing legal actions, his conviction that his life would be better and that honouring what he sees as his departed wife’s wishes to be primary…well, I trust he is doing what he sees as right.

I am a strong supporter of women’s choice…thanks to global overpopulation, I would even say I am pro-abortion. That said, I would think it wrong for anyone other than the woman to make that choice. It seems obvious that Marlise is incapable of giving consent, so calling this an abortion somehow seems wrong.

One could make an analogy to the mentally challenged who may have an abortion forced upon them by a guardian…but from what I can find out, a guardian may prevent an abortion but not authorize one. So, again it seems unclear at best, if the spouse can make the hospital abort his brain-dead wife.

That said, I have often argued that until a certain magical point, a fetus is just a tumor…not a person at all and thus, the woman’s rights take precedence. But in this case…well, she is for all intents and purposes dead. Dead people have no rights…so does this mean that, tumour or not, it’s living and thus now takes ethical precedence?

Well, maybe. Now comes the cost-benefit argument. Yes, life is theoretically priceless, but for those, especially in the USA, who cannot afford that medication, operation or treatment and are left to die…well, could the resource be better used?

That said, this leads to the opposite problem. What if the hospital wanted to turn off life support?

How much money should the hospital spend…money that could be used to save other patients…how many resources should be expended to quote, ‘save this one possible life’? What if the father insisted ….

The reality of the situation is that the likelihood that this potential life will be born healthy…or born at all, is pretty slim. At the end of the day, there is greater probability of a still birth or a child with severe birth defects.

From the research I did, and this is based on cases where the mother was within a month or so of viability.

What is viability you may ask? Most physician hold that at least 24 week is the earliest a fetus can be deemed a baby…i.e. can be removed from the mother and kept alive. The cases I checked out used a 25 week marker.

So, it’s not that simple. There is a parallel case in England where a brain-dead woman, 15 weeks pregnant, gave birth to a health child at 27 weeks. That said, another women in 2005 was kept viable…it seems wrong to say alive when all that was alive was a uterus…anyway, that child died 5 weeks later.

It’s an ethically tough question. Less obvious as a regular abortion case or even euthanasia plea. Ultimately, in my humble opinion, the three things should be given weight…

1)      What is the likelihood of delivering a healthy child…if the odds are greater than, oh I don’t know 60%…seems like that takes precedence?

2)      Will the resource used to keep the mother alive, likely cause the death of another? If keeping one person alive (mother or fetus) results in the death of 2 or more others…well, then pulling the plug seems prudent

3)      How much anguish will it cause the survivors? If the other questions seem unanswerable or a tossup, one should take into consideration that the surviving spouse may not have the resources to take care of the potential child…especially if it may likely be a special needs child…or that the idea, to them, that their loved one is being tortured by remaining on life support…then pull the plug.
Conversely, if the survivor sees this a one last way to keep a part of their spouse alive…to turn tragedy into a future, then keeping her alive seems valid.

What are your thought? Share them in our comments section.

Find out more:

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RFT Rant – Ep 239 – Book Burning and Harper’s war on science

Posted by Don McLenaghen on January 20, 2014

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This week my rant is about yet another front on Harper’s war on science. 7 of 9 of our world-famous Department of Fisheries and Oceans [DFO] libraries were closed in the autumn of 2013. This was ostensibly to reduce cost. The government pledged to digitize the contents of these libraries to ensure no intellectual property was lost.

In the modern information age, buildings holding books with information does seem a tad out dated. Digitalizing information not only makes it easier to store, allows more to be stored but also makes it more accessible. In theory.

If this were where the story ended, you my loyal readers may ask what’s the rant?

Well, it is coming to light that only a fraction of the contents of these libraries have been electronically copied. It seems that only 1 in 20 books were converted. Some have been transferred to other libraries, most were given away for free to anyone who walked in and took them from the shelves and a large number are or were burnt or sent to landfills. I have yet to confirm the book burning but it does add a touch of historical resonance.

The government claimed the libraries were not used but based this conclusion on the number of people who asked for help. Let us remember these are largely academic resources used by people who know their way around a library…not likely to need much help. I suspect is was the only measure they could find that seemed low enough to support their political agenda.

Okay…that was a little partisan and I want to make a clarification. Much of this rant is centered on a report from the Tyee…a center-left publication and based on interviews with scientist working for or with the DFO. I have collaborated the central themes, closure and dispersal of books, but I have yet to be able to confirm it in its entirety. That said, Harper’s government has a history of this kind of stuff, so I am willing to give the report the benefit of the doubt.

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The report stated that a number of the scientist interviewed could not understand why the libraries were being closed at all. The cost savings would only be in the order of $400,000 a year in a budget of almost $2 billion. And that, to quote “Most saw in the actions a political agenda by the Harper government to reduce the role of government in Canadian society, as well as the use of scientific evidence in making policy.”

One interviewee explained how the system works. The library itself is not actually run by DFO but by Information Management and Technology Services (IMTS). This takeover occurred in 2009.

IMTS operates under a corporate business model. Under this model, one sector of government sells its services to another sector of government with the objective of providing the least amount of service for the largest possible service fee. This would seem to be a very bad business model for running a government department that has the prime objective of long-term public good — giving the public the best return possible on their tax dollar across all sectors of government through working co-operatively.

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Getting back to the Harper agenda, in isolation this would be conjecture and perhaps conspiracy thinking, but couple that with the fact that the government has shut down a number of research groups related to this content, most infamously the Experimental Lakes Area, the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission and the DFO’s entire contaminates research program. There has also be much reduced funding for the Freshwater Institute and the Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research.

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To bring it home, the last one, also known as COOGER, is the group that would do research into things like offshore oil spills and environmental impact of oil shipping…you know, that thing that they are planning to do in Northern BC to ship Alberta oil to the Asia…Northern Gateway…the one where they promise a ‘quote’ world class response to any oil spill. Hard to have any kind of response when you cut the funding to one of the main research entities focused on that oil-spill issue.

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And those works that are transferred to other libraries, access becomes much more difficult. Scientist or the public will no longer be able to walk into a local DFO library, scan the shelves for a pertinent book and grab it. No, now they will have to know what they want ahead of time, make an inter-library loan…time and effort many will not likely go to thus making scientific research that much more difficult.

To quote acclaimed Dalhousie University biologist Jeff Hutchings…”It is always unnerving from a research and scientist perspective to watch a government undermine basic research. There are many materials online but just as many books and materials that are not. The idea that you can send an email to Ottawa and get a book somewhere down the road is a myth. The idea that all requests will be honored also won’t happen.”

He goes on to say “From a science and research perspective these closures will have no positive impact on the quality of research but they will have a negative impact. Losing libraries is not a neutral act.”

Hutchings saw the library closures fitting a larger pattern of “fear and insecurity” within the Harper government, “about how to deal with science and knowledge.”

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He sees a pattern, the closing of research groups, cutting of funding for environmental research, the muzzling of scientists which we have talked about many times before here on Radio Free Thinker. The near abandonment of climate change research and although Harper is not as bad as Australia’s new Prime Minister who in a 2010 rally stated “The climate change argument is absolute crap, however the politics are tough for us because 80 per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger”.

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Harper said last year that “Canada applauds the decision by Prime Minister Abbott to introduce legislation to repeal Australia’s carbon tax,”

Australian business are also lobbying the government to loosen or at least not tighten greenhouse gas regulations to ensure maximum fossil fuel extraction…they have dirty coal, we have tar sands. In this they both state that nothing major needs to be done. Harper is just ensuring there is NOT the science to contradict his policies.

Infamously Harper abandoned the Kyoto Protocols which called for a 6% reduction of CO2 based on 1990 numbers and pulled out of his arse a 17% reduction based on 2005. That translates into a level over 20% higher…assuming my math is correct…higher than 1990 levels.

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All these things indicate that the Harper government strongly regards environmental science as a threat to unfettered resource exploitation.

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A recent Sunday editorial in the New York Times said “This is more than an attack on academic freedom. It is an attempt to guarantee public ignorance,”

“It is also designed to make sure that nothing gets in the way of the northern resource rush — the feverish effort to mine the earth and the ocean with little regard for environmental consequences.”

One last note, a number of interviewed scientists spoke anonymously because they feared that their funding or other government support could be hurt if their names were connected with the concerns they were eager to share.

Remember our reporting on loyalty oaths to the government and not to the nation? Here you see it come home to roost.

Thanks to our electoral system we cannot stop Harper’s dismantling of the government…of sciences, but we sure as hell can raise a stink about it…make sure everyone knows what he is doing.

The sadist part of my research into this is the absence of coverage by the mainstream media. Even the CBC barely covered the story of the closures let alone the impacts and follow up on trashing government funded research.

As Harper’s arrogance grows, his disrespect for Canada and Canadians…beyond the business class and moneyed elites… has become blatant and stark. But cracks are showing and if and when criminal charges are laid regarding the Duffy Scandal, mayhaps the mighty Harper maybe kicked out by his own party.

Regardless, never forget…2015!

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A Pope in sheep’s clothing…

Posted by Don McLenaghen on January 18, 2014

Pope Francis or maybe I should say Pope Atheist the first.

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Well, maybe he is only an agnostic, but some the things being said by Pope Francis…well, he sure as hell isn’t Catholic, if you forgive the word choice.

As an evangelical atheist, I must also declare this Pope the most dangerous person to atheism. Perhaps for too many years the atheist community as relied too much on the religious leaders to also be villain types such as Pope Benedict, or if they were charismatic they were also crazy and hate filled.

What we must now face in Pope Francis, a likeable religious figure who speaks to the people…and worst of all, on many of the most important issues facing humanity…well, he has abandoned doctrine in favor of reasonable good solutions.

Francis was Time’s ‘Person of the Year’…one of only three popes who have received such distinction. The others where Pope John 23, who received for his efforts to mediate the Cuban Missile crisis just before his death, and John Paul the second for his wish was “to place his Church at the heart of a new religious alliance that would bring together Jews, Muslims and Christians in a great [religious] armada”…after 15 plus years as Pope. Francis got the title just 9 months into the gig.

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As a side note, only one person was named Person of the Year 3 times, FRD, and a lot have been there twice, about 13, notably Stalin 1939 and 1942. For reference, there have been 101 persons of the year, 12 groups and 3 things.

A number of atheist, secular, LGBT groups…I should note that the gay magazine icon The Advocate also selected the Pope as man of the year…as well as these progressive, socialist and even communist groups…poverty advocates and many others have praised Pope Francis for his conciliatory words. The open hand that he is presenting to groups and causes that were seen as taboo in previous papacies.

In September I think, he came out and in commenting on Jesus said that some in the church say “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good”. He then commented that the church “were a little intolerant”. Then capped it with “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ, all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! Even the atheists. Everyone!” exclamation point.

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He then followed that up with “if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge” and just a few weeks ago he said “The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently…the church cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods”.

He also announced at the end of the Third Vatican Council that, and I quote here…“modern and reasonable religion, which has undergone evolutionary changes. The time has come to abandon all intolerance. We must recognize that religious truth evolves and changes. Truth is not absolute or set in stone. Even atheists acknowledge the divine. Through acts of love and charity the atheist acknowledges God as well, and redeems his own soul, becoming an active participant in the redemption of humanity.”

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“Through…prayerful contemplation we have gained a new understanding of certain dogmas. The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity. God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace. Like the fable of Adam and Eve, we see hell as a literary device. Hell is merely a metaphor for the isolated soul, which like all souls ultimately will be united in love with God”

Okay…there is a lot there but is it me or is he trying to redefine Catholicism?

As a philosophy, I cannot help but see that what he is doing is saying God…the concept…has evolved…that it’s not necessarily a white wrathful guy in the sky but a concept that evolves over time.

To embrace god is not to worship but to not be alone…so god is the community?

Also note how he solves the problem of evil

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This reminds me of many a conversation I have had with friends religious and not. When asked “how can you be an atheist, when you cannot state with absolute certainty that there is no God”. I respond that first, the Abrahamic concept of god is logically contradictory…so, although spiritual ideas like “god is love” are possible but meaningless, the god of the bible IS impossible by its own definition.

What Francis is seeming to say, whether this is rhetoric or not, is that god is love…and it is no longer the god of the bible…that the bible itself is metaphor…and by doing so, to the unenlightened he makes god far more palatable is no less implausible.

The Pope claimed “Whether we worship at a church, a synagogue, a mosque or a mandir, it does not matter. Whether we call God, Jesus, Adonai, Allah or Krishna, we all worship the same God of love. This truth is self-evident to all who have love and humility in their hearts!”… All religions are true because they are true in the hearts of all those who believe in them. What other kind of truth is there? In the past, the church has been harsh on those it deemed morally wrong or sinful. Today, we no longer judge. Like a loving father, we never condemn our children. Our church is big enough for heterosexuals and homosexuals, for the pro-life and the pro-choice! For conservatives and liberals, even communists are welcome and have joined us. We all love and worship the same God.”

Small note, the NAMES of god, are actually all Judeo-Christian names of god…not sure if that is an oversight or a weasel sentence…I think weasel.

“God is changing and evolving as we are, For God lives in us and in our hearts. When we spread love and kindness in the world, we touch our own divinity and recognize it. The Bible is a beautiful holy book, but like all great and ancient works, some passages are outdated. The time has come to see these verses as later interpolations, contrary to the message of love and truth, which otherwise radiates through scripture. In accordance with our new understanding, we will begin to ordain women as cardinals, bishops and priests. In the future, it is my hope that we will have a woman pope one day. Let no door be closed to women that is open to men!”

Well, that’s a lot. Let’s take it apart and see what he says and what it might mean.

The first comments were about opening the doors to the church. Let everyone in…even the gays. He says the church should not judge them, but then again he did not say that it was okay to be gay or an atheist…just don’t turn them away. And this is the rhetoric that is garnering him the headlines. But is it all talk?

Why would he want sinners…and he still thinks they are sinners. In a recent report the Pope expressed that same-sex marriage and I quote here “anthropological regression” and that in 2010 he said that same-sex marriage is a weakening of the institution of marriage, an institution that has existed for thousands of years and is “forged according to nature and anthropology.” The Pope was “shocked” by the Civil Unions Bill, “which will allow gay couples to adopt children” and encouraged the local bishop to denounce the law.

Now his stance on women is not a rosy as the one line “my hope that we will have a woman pope one day”…He stated in an interview that…

“It is necessary to broaden the opportunities for a stronger presence of women in the church. I am wary of a solution that can be reduced to a kind of ‘female machismo,’ because a woman has a different make-up than a man. But what I hear about the role of women is often inspired by an ideology of machismo.”

So, women who wish to be treated equal are being machismo…in this context I think he is referring to overly aggressive…i.e. women acting like men…implicitly he is saying women are not equal to men…they are a different species, or something. He followed that up with…

“Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed. The woman is essential for the church. Mary, a woman, is more important than the bishops. I say this because we must not confuse the function with the dignity.”

So, he is saying women deserve respect…but that has nothing to do with their role or function in the church…there they can be treated…if I may quote civil rights jargon…separate but equal, they get equal dignity but not equal roles. So, a woman cannot be pope…a contradiction. So, much for papal infallibility.

He goes on…“We must therefore investigate further the role of women in the church. We have to work harder to develop a profound theology of the woman. Only by making this step will it be possible to better reflect on their function within the church. The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions. The challenge today is this: to think about the specific place of women also in those places where the authority of the church is exercised for various areas of the church.”

So, he does acknowledge the church must be more inclusive of women, but that in the eyes of God, they are not religiously equal to men…interesting.

He even makes an attempt to quote ‘reach immigrants’…this is a major issue not so much in the USA, where the only good illegal immigrant is a dead one, but in Europe the issue is more complex if not any less deadly.

He said on the topic…“Racism today is the ultimate evil in the world. When Italians, Spanish or French turn back the boats of African migrants seeking a better life, are they not like the inn keeper who told Mary and Joseph that there was no room for them and the infant Christ? These migrants are children of God and we are commanded to love them! Those who would dare to turn immigrants away, be they legal or undocumented, turn their backs on Christ himself! A racist is not a true Christian. He is the embodiment and personification of evil, a Satan!”

Pope Francis stated “because Muslims, Hindus and African Animists are also made in the very likeness and image of God, to hate them is to hate God! To reject them to is to reject God.”

And if that was not plain enough, he doubled down with the big excommunication, saying…“those who seek to deny a home to the migrant risk their membership in the church. We will consider excommunication for those whose souls willingly dwell in the darkness and evil of intolerance and racism. Satan himself is a metaphor or a personification, for the collective evils of mankind. Today, these evils manifest foremost as racism, intolerance, religious persecution and bigotries of all kinds.”

Soo, it looks like the entire Tea Party Caucus et al in the US and like many in Harper’s cabinet are at risk of damnation of their imaginary souls.

It’s funny in a not ‘really funny’ way, that there is push back on the Popes stated stance from some prominent…self-loathing maybe…Cardinals.

Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria asked, “What do we stand for if we declare that truth is relative? On the contrary, truth exists independently of our personal feelings. All of this talk of love and tolerance is hollow if we have no identity of our own, if we stand for nothing. I charge that Francis has become a heretic, and that he is not a valid Pope. Indeed, Francis is no longer even a Catholic. The seat of Saint Peter is vacant. The Vatican has embraced moral relativism on abortion and homosexuality. At the same time it is embracing moral absolutism in favour of illegal immigration and cultural genocide against Europe.”

Cardinal Arinze said “Francis is a fool if he thinks that his liberal immigration policy will end well. He has betrayed western civilization. Vatican City will one day become a giant mosque if things continue in Europe along their present course. Those in the West who ignore this truth, do so at their own peril.”

Now, on this issue, I will give him props. Moving on.

That said, Pope Francis has emphasized in his charm offensive, not acceptance of non-believers…sinners…women…but a quote ‘inclusiveness’.

He stated many times that the church needs to be less exclusive and more inclusive. He stated that “Jesus didn’t tell the apostles or us to form an exclusive group, a group of the elite” The pope says he said “Go and make disciples of all nations… welcoming others as true brothers and sisters…”

Now, it is when he starts to preach against exclusiveness that he starts to sound like a communist…well a strong socialist at least.

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Here he states that…“Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills….As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems”

He really offended American conservatives when he stated that…“The succession of economic crises should lead to a timely rethinking of our models of economic development and to a change in lifestyles,”

Reiteration words you have heard here on Radio Free Thinker, the Pope said…. Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralised workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”

He condemned “Rampant individualism, egocentrism and materialistic consumerism, weaken social bonds, fuelling that ‘throw away’ mentality which leads to a contempt for, and the abandonment of, the weakest,” he said.

So, the pope is not a free market capitalist, or one could get that impression. However, what does he propose to do about it…

“Effective policies are needed to promote the principle of fraternity, securing for people… access to capital, services, educational resources, healthcare and technology,” and that the Governments have a “duty of solidarity” towards poorer nations and a “duty of social justice” towards their citizens, while individuals should also practice fraternity by “sharing their wealth”, he said.

Well that’s nice, but not too different than previous popes saying we need to help the poor and starving. Francis says that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favors human beings.

Sounds like he wants the rich to help not by making a more socialistic economy and even creating a more egalitarian workplace but by charity.

Pope Benedict XVI certainly sang a different tune, denouncing Marxism as one of the great scourges of the modern age. But wait, so did Francis, he said “the ideology of Marxism is wrong.”. He softened his comments by adding “But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people”.

There is a theme emerging. Francis is not so much changing church doctrine, again everything he has DONE has reinforced it, but he is soft peddling the rhetoric with the obvious aim of getting people into the church, once there, believe or not, the clergy has the opportunity to convert. You cannot convert an empty pew.

Pope Francis’s home region of Latin America. This is insightful because it is where the modern version of Liberation Theology arose. Liberation Theology, a Catholic phenomenon centered on actively fighting economic and social oppression, is the fascinating place where Karl Marx and the Catholic Church meet.

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Though Marx was certainly an atheist, Catholics who support liberation theology understand that his attitude toward religion was nuanced. He saw it as a coin with two sides: a conservative force that could block positive changes as well as a reservoir of energy that could resist and challenge injustice.

Now, for those who are not aware, Liberation Theology can, in some ways, lay its origin to Jesus who, beyond the slavish worship of a deity, he also promote social equality…in economic equality and the value of people. The modern version of Liberation theology arose principally as a moral reaction to the poverty caused by social injustice in the American ‘banana republics’ created in Central America. The Catholic Church was one of the only institutions that could stand in opposition to the various dictatorships that plagued Central and South America.

Among the ethical clergy, the socio-economic inequality and the horrors that followed suit were intolerable and to local priests something they decided to use their position of privilege to resist. The most famous was Bishop Óscar Romero who was assassinated for his support of the poor and opposition to El Salvatore dictatorship.

Liberation Theology never truly condemned liberal capitalism, this push for socio-economic equality was in places where the distance between elite and the poor were extreme…this was the case where ethical good people who happened to be priests, used what tools they had to help the most destitute…the most repressed. That is why Liberation Theology never really took off anywhere else.

Liberation Theology is the Roman Catholic theology which interprets the teachings of Jesus Christ in relation to a liberation from unjust economic, political, or social conditions. Now this was condemned by traditional Catholics such as Pope Benedict and others. It was always a sect of Catholicism that was tolerated but never accepted in the Vatican…that is until Pope Francis. Or so it seems.

He also stated that “the process of secularization tends to reduce the faith and the Church to the sphere of the private and personal.” And here we may see the true message of Pope Francis and why the atheist movement should be afraid…very afraid of Pope Frankie.

If you wonder why I am using the more pejorative name Frankie over Francis…well it’s to emphases the duplicity of the pope. He has created this progressive, inclusive, modern image called Pope Francis…man of the year, while really his policies and actions are little changed from the offensive repressive policies of the past…the real pope a crude Frankie.

When we look at the doctrinal stance of the pope, we see no movement, the only change is how the church appears to the masses.

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In a time that has seen increasing loss of practitioners from Catholic churches across the globe…Francis may be trying to open the doors to people who were overtly excluded by paying lip service to openness while still maintaining the moral condemnation of these people.

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How can you convert a sinner if they are not willing to cross your threshold? Frankie has, perhaps cynically or from real conviction, proposed that you get them in the church…sinner, abomination or other…once in the church you can convert them…that is the danger to atheism.

He is using the makeup of populist rhetoric to hide the ugly truth that homosexuality is still a sin, abortion is still a sin, that contraception, condoms to prevent aids is frowned upon, the women are not the equal of men…he welcomes the body…to him perhaps the soul, but with the aim not to embrace but convert the person.

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Even on poverty, there is much talk but as the head of the richest institution in the world…the Vatican controls billions worldwide…how little he has done.

It’s great theater to wash the feet of a poor woman, to kiss a deformed man but to the millions starving in Africa…what does that matter.

Pope Francis has made the Catholic Church sexy again…more acceptable, and in doing so he has created the opportunity for the clergy to infect the mind of the vulnerable. In the same way that Christian soup kitchens…the Salvation Army… provide a valuable social good but with the implicate advertisement that if you partake in our charity, you should join our church.

Atheist should be afraid because our job has become harder. We perhaps had become lazy or complacent. The previous popes’ rhetoric emphases much of the social divide, especially on topics that society has been more accepting such as homosexuality, abortion, women’s equality, AIDS and a number of other issues.

The past popes were resisting the trend not only in actions but in words, the new pope seems to have taken a lesson from his new former Fox news reporter now Vatican PR head. FOX news is infamous for saying one thing “fair and balance” while actually doing the opposite.

It seems the new atheist movement has elevated the battle for the hearts and minds of the world…and now the church is launching a counter offensive.

This could be a very interesting and rough year for atheism around the globe. I hope that actions speak louder than words…if so, the church will ultimately be weaker next year than this.

Well, i could go on and on…and i will likely do so in the New Year.

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RFT Rant – Ep 240 – Why did it so cold?

Posted by Don McLenaghen on January 17, 2014

COLD 0

Now as many of our readers have noticed, climate change is a hoax…if you stepped outside at all last week you experienced temperatures that rival those found on frozen Mars.

No…but wait you say, it was not bad here in Vancouver…what are you talking about?

Well, that’s true, HERE it was okay but if you lived anywhere east of Alberta you experienced the same temperatures found on Mars…what..

<Again, wait you may ask, am I saying that Mars in winter is only -40?

No, no. But it’s cool if you think about it, that Mars during its summers are roughly the same temperature as our winters. In fact it can get up to 70 degree Fahrenheit or 20 Celsius, not bad for a summer day in Vancouver really. Actually, the average temperature on Mars is -50 Celsius…which is very cold for my birth city Brandon, but factoring wind-chill, not unheard of…that although it is millions of miles farther from the sun and a completely different planet, there is still overlap.

So, getting back on track, this cold weather must prove climate change is wrong.

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Yet again, you might interrupt and say something like “but climate is…well, climate and is described in long term trends. This cold snap was just that a snap…it’s what the technically minded call weather.”

So it seems that events such as these may actually support climate change…but not a single event. Weather is random but the frequency and average severity of climate events are predicted to increase as more energy is pumped into the atmosphere…i.e. global warming.

So, what caused this cold snap?

vortex-graphic

Well, to understand that we must first understand the jet stream…well, the polar jet stream. This is a band of fast moving air…or maybe river of air is a better analogy, which races around the planet between the northern temperate zone and the polar zone.

The zones are relatively stable air masses compared to the stream. As fall becomes winter and winter get cold, the air at in the polar zones get colder and colder…nothing new there.

However, the polar jet stream, like a river, will meander up and down. Think of a winding river viewed from a plane…now with a river the windiness is determined by the power of the river, this does have an analogy in the jet stream but a greater influence in what climatologist call the temperature gradient.

Cold polar air is denser and heavier that warmer air. This means that the amount of waviness of the jet stream is limited to the resistance it experiences to this difference in temperature between the zones.

However, as global warming raises relative temperatures in the artic and increased energy into the stream itself, the loops formed become more pronounced. That is the cold loops would, usually, only sweep south a little and warm loops north a little. As climate change becomes more pronounced, the loops exaggerate to the point where a loop will cut itself off in the Deep South.

polar-vortex-cartoon-polar-bear-598x535

By cut itself off, think of an eddy in a river. It’s now a circular rotating ball of super cold. Because, as earlier mentioned, cold air is heavier than warm, it smashes its way deeper and deeper south into the northern zone.

Thus you get New Orleans issuing wind-chill warnings, people in Atlanta freezing to death and well, fecking cold weather. It should be noted that although the east coast was blasted with cold, Alaska experienced a heat wave…well, for the middle of winter.

Some of the more interesting things that has rode the internet…there have been a lot of people who have been admitted to emergency departments because they saw a YouTube type video about boiling water turning into snow at these temperatures …it seems temperature is not the only factor in making snow… unfortunately when some of the viewers decided to test the theory they ended up with scalding burns to their skin, I can only imagine how they managed to boil their skin and not make snow.

Adding hype to the temperature claims, much ado has been made by the fact that the Chicago Zoo has kept its Polar Bear indoors…because its sooo cold, even polar creatures would freeze. Well, not really. It seems that as a polar bear living quote WAY south, well that this polar bear…seems there is only one, has very little insulative fat. Something not needed for a southern polar bear but something a polar bear in the wild would have…so it’s not that it is too cold even for polar bears…wild polar bears are fat and warm.

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That said, I am not being a hypocrite. This was a weather event…they happen randomly. So, this no more proves climate change than the denialist say it disproves it. That said, after the fourth one this year…then I may get on my high horse.

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Nuclear Power or Fossil Fuel – which is deadlier?

Posted by Don McLenaghen on January 16, 2014

oiltankers

A little over 1000 days ago, the world suddenly and alarmingly became aware of a minor power plant located in Fukushima, Japan. In the wake of a double natural punch by a magnitude 9 earthquake followed by a greater than 40 foot tidal wave, the power at this plant was knocked out…being a nuclear power plant, this was a big deal.

The world watched in shocked silence as the next few days saw emergency crews pour millions of gallons of ocean water on the nuclear cores in 4 reactors in an attempt to prevent a meltdown. As we now know the efforts may have minimized the disaster but a disaster it was.

To refresh people’s memories there were several separate events that made this a disaster.

The first was, as the cores boiled away the insulative and cooling water, much of that water was degraded into oxygen and hydrogen via thermolysis. At a certain point, three of the buildings had sufficient build-up of hydrogen that explosions were triggered damaging the building.

Japan Nuclear Water

There are the explosion vids you see at YouTube et al. Now, these were not the cores exploding…at this point the containment vessels for the nuclear reactors were intact, but some were suspected to have been damaged, like the building, by these explosions. Relatively speaking, little radiation was emitted from this and this was short lived.

The next event, as the cores are heating up and attempts to repair and cool the reactors are failing, there were what are called “spontaneous nuclear fission”. I admit when I first read this my first thought was Hiroshima. But from what I have read, these events, although technically fission, do not go boom. They do however, and why it is suspected that three of the reactors had for a short period experienced spontaneous criticality, produce increased and specific nuclear radiation. That said, we cannot be sure any of the reactors actually achieved spontaneous criticality…that may take decades to know for sure.

The next event, what was famous in the 80’s (thanks to a movie released 12 days before the 3 Mile Island event) as the China Syndrome, was the partial core meltdown. That is when the temperature of the core is sufficient to melt the nuclear fuel. Now when this happens, it is possible…wait!

I should explain how, in simple terms as these are the only terms I understand…in simple terms how a nuclear reactor is constructed.

First there are the fuel rods…the nuclear part of the plant. Then there are control rods that go between the fuel rods to speed up or slow down the fission. These are housed along with the frontline coolant in the RPV or Reactor Pressure Vessel…usually made out of a steel alloy. Then there is a quote ‘dry wall,’ a steel walled container holding the RPV. This is itself within a containment vessel…usually reinforced concrete.

GE_BWR_Containment_Diagram

So, in the cases of meltdown, it is believed that the molten fuel breached the RPV and maybe even the drywall, but at its worst, only 70 cm of a 7.5 meter concrete floor was quote ‘dissolved’ in the worst meltdown event.

So, even in the worst case scenario, none of the reactor fuel escaped the building…that said the last of the disaster was water.

In their efforts to cool the reactors, TEPCO, the private corporation who owned the reactors and was given sole responsibility to contain it, resorted to pouring millions of gallons of water both into the reactors and onto the storage fuel cells to keep temperatures under control.

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Unfortunately most if not all of this water, now laden with radioactive Iodine, Caesium, Strontium and other radioactive bi-products, was washed into the ocean. Of all the health risks that Fukushima created this is the most credible.

But let’s keep things in focus. The half-life or the time it takes for half of a quantity of a radioactive material to essentially be not radioactive…the half-life of Iodine 131 is 8 days… Caesium-137 is 30 years… Strontium 90 30 years…and Tellurium-129m is only 33 days.

For those who live around Fukushima, these numbers are important. Because the long lasting ones are heavy…they are unlikely to travel far from the power plants. The others are not likely to be radioactive by the time they show up on our shores.

Now, the main focus of this segment is to show how alarmist and fear mongers have exaggerated the real risks of the Fukushima event. BUT I must point out, for those who live around the plant…for those brave souls who work at the plant, this was a disaster…there are real and present risks to working there.

I also want to make it clear that I think the way the private corporation with government acquiesce, completely botched the cleanup effort. By putting profit ahead of public safety, locals are much more likely to suffer lingering effects. If only the government lived up to its duty to protect society and took charge from day one…much of the valid criticism would not exist.

That said, if you live around Fukushima…get mad and get active, as for the rest of us…get real.

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Now this is an attempt to be a double knockout. First, that the fear mongering over the quote atomic apocalypse done by Fukushima is bunk at best and exaggerated at worst. And secondly that relative to Coal power plants, Nuclear is a dream…it’s like comparing car deaths (coal) to airline crashes (nuclear). If you had your choice, you would take a plane to work if you could.

So, lately there has been some press about a report by some scientists that claim that there has been a dramatic increase in child mortality that correlates…important word correlate…with the Fukushima accident. The report claims an increase of 35% in infant deaths following the disaster. It is implied that these death are the result of increased radioactive fallout on the west coast.

RUN FOR THE HILLS

However, if you check out the source of the data, the CDC or Center for Disease Control…some curious facts come to light. First, they only looked at 8 cities…Seattle, Portland, Boise…the one in Idaho…long way from the coast…San Francisco, Sacramento, Berkley, San Jose and Santa Cruz. Now, these are large Cities but why include Boise? Why not equally large Tacoma or Spokane, much closer to the coast and thus more likely to experience the effects of radiation poisoning?

We have our first hint of cherry picking the data to conform to a pre-concluded result.

Next, if you look at the period of study…four weeks prior and 10 weeks post-accident…as they did, you do see these dramatic results, however if you pull out 10 weeks prior and 10 weeks after, you see no significant trend at all.

Another report coming out lately is a law suit by a number of sailors on the Aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan that helped with emergency help right after the natural disaster. 70 plus are claiming fallout has caused their health issues.

One example used to show it MUST be Fukushima is 20 claims of testicular cancer, out of a crew of 5 and half thousand. National rates of this cancer is 1 in 20,000. It does seem high. But correlation and causation are not the same. And if radiation is the cause, one might point out the Ronald Reagan is a NUCLEAR powered vessel.

Also, what are the number suffering from Leukemia? That is the most likely form of cancer to balloon if there was serious contamination. When the subject of why has there not been a similar explosion of cases on the mainland, the fear mongers say there is a conspiracy of silence…really?

Last I could find, this case has been thrown out of court.

Well, there is no doubt that this was a major accident with only one comparable precedent – Chernobyl. So, let’s compare

Both were the highest level on the International Nuclear Event Scale…leading to recent talk that this scale may need to be refined.

Each plant was constructed around the same time…Chernobyl in 1977 and Fukushima in1971. Fukushima produced about 20% more power than Chernobyl’s 4 gigawatts.

Fukushima was a larger plant, 6 reactors to Chernobyl’s 4 and a bigger accident as in only one reactor in Chernobyl was involved in the accident, whereas Fukushima had four plus cooling ponds. Fukushima even had 10 times more fuel in their reactors.

So, you might think Fukushima deserves the hype. That’s true until you realize these were very different kinds of accidents. In Chernobyl, you had the reactor explode…not only the reactor but the containment building itself was destroyed and you had parts on the innards strew outside the plant. That is what we would now call a dirty bomb.

Fukushima on the other hand had contained meltdown. None of the core escaped the building. In fact, relative to the globe, the only source of radiation was carried away by the water used to cool the reactors.

Don’t get me wrong, this aquatic waste, is an ongoing issue and has great potential risks for locals…but let’s look at the actual damage done by each.

The peak radiation…direct radiation from the reactors…is a little 72 thousand millisiverts compared to 300,000 millisieverts for Chernobyl. The amount released into the atmosphere has Fukushima at 900  petabecquerel compared to 5200 for Chernobyl. That said, there is still the risk of minor leaks that could elevate that number. Total radiation released for Fukushima was 370,000 terabecquerel compared to 5.2 million for Chernobyl. And it should be noted, that the total amount leaked into the Pacific since the original event is about 7.2 terabecquerels…which sound like a lot, but compared to the volume of the ocean, latterly a drop in the bucket.

Deaths…We, as to date there have been no links to radiation deaths and Fukushima…now, cancers do take a long time to sometimes manifest so the story is open on this one, but the WHO states that those at highest risk, female infants to thyroid cancer have only had increased risk of 0.5%. For leukemia, an increase of 0.35%.

The total of direct deaths from Chernobyl are about 31 that is those who died with months of the incident. The UN puts the total dead from radiation as of 2008 at 64. Some groups claim a much higher number anywhere from a couple of hundred workers to a few thousand. These have not been substantiated. In fact, in my research, the greatest by orders of magnitude, health effect was not cancers, be they caused by Chernobyl or not, the psychological fear that they may get a cancer. Rates of depression, suicide and alcoholism skyrocket in the region.

So far, there has one kinda death from Fukushima…I say kinda because that death, from cancer did occur until 2 years later, compared to the 29 who died a month after Chernobyl. That said, he was one of the 50 volunteers who stayed at the plant when all others were evacuated. None of the other 50 have signs of over exposure.

Now, I don’t want to sound like I am underplaying the damage done. It is likely that others…tens or more, will die from cancer and it cannot be ruled out Fukushima did not play a role in that.

That said, Fukushima, although bad, was not an apocalypse. There were few if any lived lost, the area contaminated was lightly contaminated at least on land…I think the jury may still be out on the water ways close to the plant. And that is an issue only because a private corporation was put in charge of the cleanup effort and time seems to have shown that to be a bad idea. What might have been a dirty but quick clean up, like Chernobyl, has become a festering sour of low level sporadic leakage.

Because of the hype and the press about this incident, Japan, Germany and other nations have shut down their nuclear power plants. They are now reliant on fossil fuels because the quote risk to life from an event like Fukushima is too great.

REALLY?

I have already stated that the loss of live, worst case scientifically based scenario is many a couple hundred…maybe, if we have things VERY wrong, a couple of thousands. Not chump change I agree…and let’s make the anti-nuke argument stronger.

A number of fear mongers, like the article I started this segment about, people like that have claimed that Chernobyl is responsible for 100,000 deaths. Let’s increase that by an order or magnitude and double it…to include Fukushima. So, over the past 30 years, it’s POSSIBLE that 2 million people died premature thanks to nuclear power.

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That’s a feck of a lot of people…but a lot compared to what?

Japan and Germany have, at least in the short term, switched from nuclear to coal and oil power generation. This means there are more air pollutants, ground water contamination and general pollution…and unlike nuclear it’s not the locals involved but the entire planet or at least large regions effected by the pollution.

Studies show that anywhere from 50 to 100,000 thousand people a year die due to air pollution associated with coal burning plants. An even stronger claim is made that almost 2 million air-pollution-related deaths were prevented globally over the past 40 years because of the use of nuclear power over air polluting fossil fuels.

Even if we ignore the secondary effects, it is estimated that 2 and half thousand workers in the oil and gas industry alone and only in the USA have died on the job…and this is not including secondary deaths…ie from chronic poisoning from chemical exposure at work.

In fact, when broken down to deaths per terawatt hour, the most safe form of power is nuclear at 0.04, compare that to Hydro at 1.4, Natural gas at 4, bio mass at 12, oil at 36, and coming out as the most dangerous source of energy on the plant, excluding asteroidal impact, is coal at a whopping 161.

So, nuclear power may be controversial but it’s largely sound and fury and not substance. Personally, I would remove the subsidies we give the fossil fuel industry, supress NIMBYism visa vie nuclear power, tax carbon like we do tobacco and plow as much as we can into green environmentally friendly, yes I’m looking at you bio-fuels…evil…friendly energy sources. But until green has matured, invest in gen 4 and gen 5 nuclear reactors…into thorium based reactors, a long term solution to much of our energy needs especially with regards to space exploration where earth bound power source, like wind and solar are not viable.

One last note, science will always find a way. It has been rumoured that there are plans to purposefully allow a nuclear meltdown to study what actually happens when such events occur. Of course this is to be done in a lab and only one fuel rod it to be used, but the events of Fukushima Daiichi has inspired us to strive to know more. When science is shown to be lacking, it attempts to self-correct by understanding where it when wrong and correct itself to be more accurate in the future.

GO team science!

Godzilla Japan Nuclear Earthquake Fukushima www.RadioactiveChat.blogspot.com

Okay, I just added this because I LOVE GODZILLA!!!!

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