The Dangers Of Junk Science

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Brutus1964, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

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    Curiously, Brutus doesn't reply.

    He does delete the link to his blog, however. Wouldn't want any truth or facts to contaminate your own thing there, eh?
     
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  3. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    Do you have his website? May I take a look?

    It's obvious that the pharmaceutical industry only profits from people's problems. Brutus seem to have completely forgotten about royalties...

    One thing I'm curious about...
    I thought CFCs were too heavy to reach the ozone layer. Or at least that is what some people have argued. How true is that, I wonder?
     
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  5. Brutus1964 We are not alone! Registered Senior Member

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    Skinwaker

    Here is the response you have been anxiously waiting for. You talk about corporate profits, but at least with Freon it was corporate greed that got it banned in the first place. Freon got to be very cheap and DuPont was no longer making money from it. They came up with a substitute for Freon but it was much more expensive so no one would buy it. So what is a company to do? They wanted to dump Freon because there was no longer any money in it, but how can you make people willing to pay for a more expensive inferior product? You guest it! Float phony studies out to the press that Freon damages the Ozone Layer. The press will eat it up and not ask any questions. Environmentalists will make it the next cause celeb, and presto the UN steps in and does your dirty work via the Montreal protocols. Now DuPont and others are raking in millions pushing an inferior product for a lot more money when there was nothing wrong with Freon in the first place.

    By the way. There are more comments in my blog. It seems you started quite the debate in there. http://brutus1964.blogspot.com
     
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  7. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

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    So you're saying that the chemical reactions I posted above are wrong? That the peer-reviewed studies that I cited are incorrect (without pointing out their errors)?

    Dupont warned of collapse of "entire industries" and the CEO of Pennwalt warned of "economic collapse" (Glas, 1989; Cogan, 1988). None of that doom and gloom came true. The truth of the matter is that the CFC phase out has a net economic advantage, primarily because of the reduction of UV and the avoidance of problems associated with it (i.e. cancer) (Environment Canada, 1997).

    The corporations manufacturing CFCs most definately did not want to "dump" CFCs. Which studies specifically are phoney? Molina and Rowland received the Nobel Prize for their work in chemistry that demonstrated the damage that CFCs do to ozone. Their work is publically available and reviewed thouroughly by their peers. It has not been refuted. Are you refuting it? If so, feel free to show your work.

    But if you are referring to the "phoney studies" floated by the CFC industry, then you may be right. There are several industry "studies" and reports that are completely fictitious and spurious, and have been published primarily in the popular press - not in scientific literature.

    If you continue to suggest that Molina and Rowland are wrong, you'll either have to put your money where your mouth is and show your work... or retract your statements. I predict you'll do neither.

    References:

    Cogan, D.G., "Stones in a Glass House", Investor Responsibility Research Center, Washington D.C., 1988.

    Glas, J.P., "Protecting the ozone layer: a perspective from industry", In Technology and Environment (ed. by Ausubel, J.H. and H.E. Sladovich), Washington D.C., 1989.
     
  8. Brutus1964 We are not alone! Registered Senior Member

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    Skinwalker

    I am not saying the chemical reactions you are describing are wrong. What I am saying is that there is no evidence that the amount of Freon we were using for air conditioners and for the Space Shuttle foam had any measurable effect at all on the ozone layer. The fact that we banned it with only theories to go by was irresponsible and unnecessary. It is all about what is called the "precautionary principle" that states if something cannot be proven to be absolutely safe then it must be banned or kept off the market.

    There is nothing wrong with being cautious and making sure products are safe, but the level in which we have gone is ridiculous. If we had of used the "PP" during the industrial revolution we would still be riding in horse and buggies. But, hey plenty of people died riding in them, so I guess those are out too.
     
  9. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

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    So never mind the direct correlation of the use of CFCs and the observable effects of the ozone concentrations at high-altitude over the Antarctic, right? Interestingly enough, the concentrations drop and rise in direct correlation to the amounts of chlorine measured in the stratosphere. The chlorine rises in drops in direct correlation to the introduction then disuse of CFCs after their banning.

    You don't find that at all convincing? You didn't actually read the citations that demonstrated the levels of chlorine, which is released in the reactions above, were increased during the years that CFCs also increased? Or the citations that note the decline in chlorine present with the subsequent decline in use of CFCs?

    The pseudoscience is that which the politicians and CEOs are dressing up and presenting to the unwitting such as yourself.

    Moreover, you have yet to cite any source that concludes that the current foam is of inferior quality than that of the previous used with the Space Shuttle. It that can be demonstrated, then I, too, would agree that the old method should be utilized. An exception should be granted and steps should be taken to minimize the pollution of chloroflourocarbons. But lets see the evidence first rather than make ignorant and foolhardy statements like, "this caused the Columbia accident." That is bad science, my friend.
     
  10. Brutus1964 We are not alone! Registered Senior Member

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    SkinWalker

    Correlation does not prove causation. Just because you can take a period of time that there may have been thinning in ozone, and an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere does not mean that the C02 caused the thinning, or that Freon from our air conditioners caused the increase in C02. You could just as easily make the case that there is a high correlation between people eating carrots and getting in car accidents, or because a lot of Chinese ate rice on a day it rained does not mean that Chinese eating rice caused it to rain. One does not cause the other no matter how high the correlation.
     
  11. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

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    5,874
    The studies I read and cited mentioned chlorine increases, consistent with the expected reactions of chloroflourocarbons with UV and O<sub>2</sub>, no C0<sub>2</sub>.

    It is the fact that the predicted results of chemical reactions are consistent with the correlations that provides more likelihood than not that CFCs are directly responsible for ozone depletion.

    What is most fascinating, however, is the continued refusal to acknowlege actual data in favor of psuedo-data which appears to fit the beliefs you wish to subscribe to. The status quo among your political ideology resembles a powerful form of magical thinking, very similar to that of young-earth creationists, proponents of ESP, and ETI-UFO believers.
     
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    If the correlation is 1, then one might as well have caused the other, since you can be sure that if one happens, so does the other.
     
  13. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

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    5,874
    Here are the facts about ozone depletion:
    • The presence of chlorine in the Ozone 'hole' is 400-500 times greater than it is outside the 'hole.'
    • Chlorine atoms in the stratosphere are catalytic, meaning the same chlorine atom can react with tens of thousands of ozone molecules
    • Chlorine atoms can remain in the stratosphere for long periods of time, perhaps a hundred years or more
    • For each 1% decrease in ozone, penetration of UV to the earth's surface increases 2%
    • The National Academy of Scientists concluded that for every 1% decrease in concentration of atmospheric ozone, there will be a 2-5% increase in cases of basal cell carcinomas and a 4-10% increase in squamous cell carcinomas (Maugh, 1982)
    • By 1987, the value of goods and services connected to CFC use or application was $28 billion annually in the United States alone, employing 715,000 workers
    • Mt. Pinatubo's eruption had a negligible effect on ozone depletion, contrary to the claims of pseudoscience proponents. By it's eruption in 1991, the United States had lost 3% of its ozone protection. (Mankin et al, 1991) The eruption of El Chichon, likewise, produced only a few percent of the global chlorine atoms present in the atmosphere (Mankin and Coffey, 1983). Both eruptions were subjected to direct measurements of chlorine content.
    • There was no ozone 'hole' prior to 1976. The instruments that discovered the 'hole' were in place since 1956 and data goes back this far (Farman, et al, Jones & Shanklin).
    • Ozone depletion is the result of CFC and this is concluded "beyond a reasonable doubt" by Russel, et al (1996), who used satellite measurements of chlorine and chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere to obtain their data
    • Opponents like to say that the "science behind the CFC ban is debateable." Yet they never debate it in a peer-reviewed manner and will stick only to the popular media where they can appeal to the working class and the consumer.

    Here are the facts about this thread:
    • Brutus hasn't refuted the data presented or presented any data that is contrary
    • Brutus hasn't validated his haphazard and ignorant statement that the last shuttle accident was caused by the failure to use freon in the foam insulation manufacturing process
    • Brutus hasn't demonstrated the validity of the assertion that NASA's new foam is inferior to it's previous (and that this is because of the lack of freon in the manufacturing process).
    • Brutus keeps making claims of "junk science" from the pseudoscientific perspective and bias of capitalistic conservatism -which is a fine ideology for making and keeping money, but has no place in science. This is a "political" position and not one concerned with science, but one that likes to direct the adjective "junk" at scientific results that threaten it.
    One has to wonder, "what are the conservatives conserving (Sagan, 1997)?"

    References:

    Farman, et al., "Large Losses of Total Ozone in Antarctica Reveal Seasonal ClOx/NOx Interaction", Nature, May 16, 1985, pp 207-210.

    Mankin, W., and M. Coffey, "Increased stratospheric hydrogen chloride in the El Chichon cloud", Science, 226, 170, 1983.

    Mankin, W., M. Coffey, and A. Goldman, "Airborne observations of SO2, HCl, and O3 in the stratospheric plume of the Pinatubo volcano in July 1991", Geophysical Research Letters, 19, 179, 1992.

    Maugh, Thomas H. (1982). "New link between ozone and cancer." Science 216

    Roan, Sharon L. (1989) Ozone Crisis: The 15-year Evolution of a Sudden Global Emergency. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc..

    Russell, et al (1996). "Satellite Confirmation of the Dominance of Chlorofluorocarbons in the Global Stratospheric Chlorine Budget" Nature, February 8, 1996, pp 526-529.

    Sagan, Carl (1997). Billions and Billions. New York: Ballantine
     
  14. Brutus1964 We are not alone! Registered Senior Member

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    Skinwalker

    My argument is really not with the science, but what leftists do with the science. They will take a true scientific principle and bastardize it in a way that it becomes junk science. Take global warming for instance. Even if the earth was warming because of human behavior it doesn't mean that we must give up all of our technological advances and become good socialists to stop it from happening. If liberals fight tooth and nail all technological advances they are really fighting the very thing that could solve the problem. I would be completely willing to stop politicizing science if the left would too.
     
  15. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    So, science is OK, as long as it doesn't influence anything? Shouldn't we use the lessons learned from science? What if something basic about how humans are living now really is bad for the health of the planet? Most environmentalists I know are stupid enough to suggest that technology is the solution to environmental problems.
     
  16. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    Errmmm, Brutus, theres quite a few lefty environmentalists saying we need more nuclear power in order to save on CO2. Theres plenty more saying we need new technology breakthroughs in renewable power, recycling etc. As a lefty green liberal kind of bloke, who also happens to work in the insulation industry, I am all for more better technology to solve problems, as long as it doesnt cause new ones.
     
  17. Brutus1964 We are not alone! Registered Senior Member

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    Guthrie

    I have no quarrel with true environmentalists that want clean water, clean air, natural spaces preserved and everything. It is the activists that use the environment to push their leftist agenda.
     
  18. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Leftist agenda is environmentalist agenda. Leftists want corporations regulated, righties want de-regulation so they can pollute. Leftists want protection for natural spaces, righties want drilling in such areas and opening of roadless areas up to logging. Lefties want governments to promote alternatives to oil, righties didn't even acknowledge officially until recently that use of oil leads to global warming.
     
  19. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    spidergoat is quite right on that...
    I'm a lefty like guthrie. I believe in better energy sources and a lot of things that benefit both the environment AND the economy...
     
  20. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

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    Therein lies your problem and why the ideologies you subscribe to and support are, in fact, pseudoscientific. I could really give a shit less about the various political agendas in Washington with regard to either side of the environmental issue. Power-mongers seeking to play to whatever demographics they think will most likely win them votes has no place with regard to science.

    My opinions go with what the hard, scientific conclusions are. Show me scientific evidence that shows logging can't be a renewable resource and a benefit to the American economy, and I'll side with it. Show me the scientific evidence that demonstrates arsenic can have acceptable levels within our drinking water and I'll support it. Show me the scientific evidence that concludes CFCs are harmless and demonstrates how previous researchers got it wrong, and I'll revise my position.

    I'm for nuclear power over coal; hybrid cars over hydrogen (for now); logging in the U.S. over importing lumber; and many other things that you might not expect from someone that considers himself more liberal than conservative. In reality, I'm a progressive. I see the value in conservative as well as liberal ideals, but progress depends on science and the willingness to revise as new information is shown.

    The "junk science" you keep referring to in this thread appears to be nothing more than radical-conservative rhetoric and not "science" at all.

    So, are we in agreement with regard to CFCs? Do you accept the science? Are you at least willing to give it a real critical look and make an individualistic opinion based on the evidence as opposed to "toeing the party line?"
     
  21. Brutus1964 We are not alone! Registered Senior Member

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    Skinwalker

    Of course I accept the science. It is what is done with the science that I have trouble with. It is good to hear that you do approve of nuclear power and other energy sources. You don't seem to be on the loony left that jumps on every scientific fad that comes out in hopes they can use it to further their leftist agenda. I blame the media the most because they don't ever question anything the scientific community comes out with. It also bothers me that more scientists are not more skeptical because whenever science becomes a dogma it ceases to be science.

    I accept that CFC's probably doeffect the Ozone layer, but it's not going to destroy it or severely effect climate. I just don't see how using Freon for making the foam for the space shuttle was enough to do any damage at all. It was not worth losing the Columbia, and now endangering the Discovery.
     
  22. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    This is the danger of junk politics, when people exploit the inherently uncertain nature of science to further their political goals.
     
  23. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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