1. Make no mistake, this is the modern version of Lysenkoism. It is a farce that is so ridiculous, you have to read it for yourself to believe it. For example:

    2.2. “Scientific Protocols”

    According to the Chernobyl Forum (2006), a common objection to taking into account the enormous body of data on the public health consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus is that they were collected without observing the “scientific protocols” that are the norms for Western science. Usually this means that there was no statistical processing of the received data. Thus, valid distinctions among compared parameters, as for groups from heavily contaminated versus those from less contaminated territories or for groups from areas with different levels of radiation, have not demonstrated statistical significance. In the last decade — a sufficient time span for effects to become manifest — as information has accumulated, a range of values has been found to be within the limits of true “statistical significance.”

    “True statistical significance” being something different than what is used in that “Western science” with it’s silly “scientific protocols.”

    Protocols? We don’t need no stink’n protocols!

    They go on to rail about such “scientific protocols” as t-tests, standard errors, confidence intervals, and having a proper control group — you know, the bread-and-butter of biostatisticians and epidemiologists everywhere. One author even complains bitterly that a paper of his was criticized for citing a work of fiction!

    I’m not making this up, it’s all right there on pages 36 and 37.

    The report contains other jewels as well, such as when they cite, as a credible source, an HTML page hosted on website for an antique tool museum. The report is filled with such hard-hitting science as that.

    1. Make no mistake, this is the modern version of Lysenkoism.

      Lysenkoism happened in a totalitarian dictatorship where alternative points of view were ruthlessly suppressed. How the hell did something similar happen to science in the Free World?

        1. Yes, I have been on an American university campus quite recently. I do not understand your implication – are you saying that the vast majority of professors and students are not there to think and learn?

      1. Rod – It’s not called the “ivory tower” for nothing.

        My comment was intended to be very tongue-in-cheek, but you must admit that a lot of nuttiness comes out of academia these days. Just look at any of the work of Mark Jacobson. He’s a sloppy scholar. I’ve found dozens of mistakes and faulty reasoning in his papers, but he keeps on getting published. He promotes “politically correct” energy technologies, however, so he’s the director of Stanford University’s Atmosphere/Energy Program.

        You can get far if you play for the right team.

        Jacobson is what Amory Lovins could have been, if he had managed to score a PhD.

        1. @Brian – I agree that Jacobson is a fine example of why no one should pay attention to letters after a person’s name without understanding a bit more about them. In his case, that PhD was awarded in civil engineering, a discipline whose course work has little to nothing to do with designing and operating an electrical power grid. It is almost as valuable as the PhD in Sociology earned by writing a paper about Egypt during the period of Nasser that has allowed the Vermont Law School (no relation to the University of Vermont or any other university) to set up Dr. Mark Cooper as an expert on the economic comparison between solar electricity and nuclear electricity.

          I do not know the specifics of why Stanford chose Jacobson for his current position, but I do understand why it is politically acceptable to favor an “anything but nuclear” energy strategy. I know you disagree with my analysis, but I remain firm in my diagnosis that The Establishment loves our current energy mix and knows that nuclear fission is the only real threat to their wealth and power. People with money have an extraordinary influence on political acceptability these days – most politicians and media sources seem to be for sale or rent to the highest bidder.

          Even many universities are subject to being led by the same kind of people who make decisions at the top of many organizations – the kind whose only score card is denominated in dollars and cents.

      2. Rod – Actually, Jacobson’s PhD was awarded in “Atmospheric Sciences” from UCLA. FWIW, UCLA has historically had a very good atmospheric sciences program with some very impressive names in its faculty — e.g., Akio Arakawa, who back in the 1960’s laid out much of the numerical foundation that many weather and climate models still rely on today.

        Yeah … and they say that nuclear technology is “old.”

        1. @Brian – thank you for the correction. I need to go back and figure out why I thought it was a civil engineering degree.

          Just out of curiosity, is there any significance to your use of quotes for Atmospheric Sciences?

      3. Rod – You probably thought that he had a civil engineering degree because he is a professor in Stanford’s “Civil and Environmental Engineering” department. It’s a natural mistake.

        By the way, there was nothing unusual or ironic about my use of quotes. I had intended the quotes to indicate that I was trying to state as precisely as I could what his degree most likely says on the piece of paper (just as the quotes above mean that I’m repeating verbatim what the department calls itself).

        Usually, atmospheric sciences is a subdiscipline of either meteorology or (more generally) environmental sciences. Thus, there are many people who have a similar degree (in terms of coursework and research) as Jacobson, but their degrees would read “Meteorology” or “Environmental Science” (BTW, I know people like this), because of the choice of nomenclature used by their respective schools. Apparently, UCLA awards a degree in the specific field.

  2. My guess is that some members of the NYAS are taking the position of two wrongs make a right:
    The two “wrongs”
    1) The lack of use of scientific protocols in the publication
    2) Allowing anti-nuke organizations to use the NYAS status to reinforce their position
    The “right” in their mind is the elimination of the threat to humans posed by the expansion of nuclear power. Some of the members may have actual fears of radiation, some may believe that more nuclear energy will lead the world to an inevitable nuclear weapon exchange, while others may just believe that humans shouldn’t have near limitless sources of energy and should learn to live with less. Whatever the reason(s), I’m sure there’s an agenda driving the slow pace of action on the part of those who should be reviewing the document.

    1. I’m sure there’s an agenda driving the slow pace of action on the part of those who should be reviewing the document.

      Ya think?

      This document should be an embarrassment for the NYAS. However, it serves to demonstrate how deeply “green thinking” (i.e., Greenpeace propaganda) has infiltrated the bureaucracy of the various “scientific” organizations out there.

      Sadly, the NYAS is only the tip of the iceberg.

    2. some may believe that more nuclear energy will lead the world to an inevitable nuclear weapon exchange

      Surely intentional nuclear war is only really likely in a world facing imminent Malthusian catastrophe — and would therefore be more likely if we are denied increased use of nuclear energy?

      Or are you thinking of accidental nuclear war?

      1. The “inevitable nuclear weapon exchange” is a reference to the Scientific American article “A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables,” M. Z. Jacobson et al. (2009). In the article he inflated the CO2 contribution of nuclear energy by adding in CO2 emissions from some future nuclear exchange and resulting firestorms. Nuclear power looked so good compared to his renewables that he had to handicap it with some fictitious war emission. Yet another fine example of “bad” science being used to attack nuclear energy.

  3. I just want to say “Thanks” to Ted Rockwell for continuing to pursue this. I’ve been seeing references (or, even worse, unattributed “statistics” from that study, stated as facts) to that study in discussion after discussion online for the past 6 months.

    Seems like every time nuclear power comes up in an online discussion lately, someone is talking about a million deaths from Chernobyl.

    See, for example, http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2100414&threshold=0&commentsort=1&mode=thread&cid=35923050

    I don’t know for sure that poster is getting his huge figures from that NYAS report, but I can’t figure any other source he could be getting it from.

    How soon till Greenpeace launches a series of “teach the controversy” lawsuits in the U.S. to force schools to teach that Chernobyl resulted in a million deaths? After all, the NYAS *published* the report, so there must be legitimate scientific controversy about this issue (at least until such time as NYAS repudiates this report).

    At least, that’s what the plaintiffs will argue.

  4. Hi Jeff,

    Yes, let’s teach the controversy. It would expose students to a much vaster level of knowledge about nuclear power than they now receive.

  5. There was no way they were going to let the 25th birthday of their poster child pass with only fifty “candles” on it. They needed a roaring conflagration, appropriate for the biggest nuclear disaster of all time.

    They have obviously been planning this party for a long time, and Fukushima was just the icing on the cake.

  6. If NYAS would allow its name to be associated with antinuclear junk science and fear mongering, then the name of NYAS simply means nothing.

  7. Rod and George,

    Thank you for a spectacularly well written critique of the NYAS report.


    We need your message published in the general press. I doubt NYTimes will touch it, though they did print 4 anti-Caldicott letters today. Can you write it as an op-ed and submit it to the Washington Post and/or Wall Street Journal?

  8. One of the authors of this report is being addressed by individuals such as Ralph Nader no less as “Academician Yablokov” and is said to be a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. I have found it impossible to confirm whether or not he is in fact a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Could somebody do this please?

Comments are closed.

Recent Comments from our Readers

  1. Avatar
  2. Avatar
  3. Avatar

    Renewables people are masters in marketing. Unreliable intermittent generators whose output is all over the place, and usually badly correlated…

  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar

Similar Posts