Monday, April 08, 2013

Readers are Catching on to Helen Caldicott's Alarmist Rhetoric About Nuclear Energy

Dr. Helen Caldicott
For a number of years now, we've been sure to follow the public pronouncements of anti-nuclear activist Dr. Helen Caldicott and how the public is beginning to push back against her radical agenda.

The latest example comes from the Sydney Morning Herald, where Caldicott's latest op-ed was greeted frostily in the comments section following the article.

Here's a sampler:
As someone who worked as a medical physicist, whose job it was to be on to of these sorts of issues. I must say this is alarmist, unbalanced and inaccurate and should be treated with a healthy degree of suspicion.,

Long on rhetoric, short on actual data.


I'm very surprised such a vague article could be published in the SMH. "Growing body of scientific evidence", "unprecedented increase" and "huge continuing" are the words used here to back up the basic premise. No numbers, emotive language and non-specifics - these are the hallmarks of spin, propaganda and a hidden agenda.


When someone writes an article without data it's always worth looking a little more. And indeed, this author should be presented as 'Helen Caldicott is a physician, author and anti-nuclear activist'. Once you know that, and consider that no facts are presented you know to take what she says with a pinch of salt.
When it comes to monitoring the potential health effects from the accident at Fukushima, I always come back to the following passage that Mike Moyer of Scientific American wrote in response to the publication of research by anti-nuclear activist Joseph Mangano:
This is not to say that the radiation from Fukushima is not dangerous (it is), nor that we shouldn’t closely monitor its potential to spread (we should). But picking only the data that suits your analysis isn’t science—it’s politics. Beware those who would confuse the latter with the former.
For a more sober assessment on Fukushima, read this piece from Dr. Robert Peter Gale that appeared in the Los Angeles Times. As for Dr. Caldicott, you might want to consult a post from our archives by David Bradish from 2005 that puts her positions on commercial nuclear energy in the proper perspective.


Anonymous said...

I went to one of Dr. Caldicott's lectures several years ago and was not impressed. It wasn't the fact that she is radically anti-nuclear that was disheartening, it was the fact that she had very limited knowledge of how a nuclear plant even worked. I am unsure how someone can be considered an "expert" in nuclear power and radiation and barely understand more than the general public.

Like everything in life nuclear power is not perfect and I can respect people who argue against nuclear based on facts and logical thinking. What I cannot respect is someone who argues against it based on irrational fear and a total misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the facts.

jmdesp said...

It's also interesting to read how Monbiot investigated all the claims Caldicott was making in front of him, and not one was left standing :

Ben Heard said...

Her recent visits back home to Australia seem to have been largely speaking to the seriously converted. Echo chamber events organised by left of centre coalitions. This may be premature, but I think she is largely a spent force. So many of her statements captured on film are absurd beyond parody, and I believe there is some pretty choice examples in Pandora's Promise

Anonymous said...

I attended her speech last night in santa barbara at the lobero theater. I was very excited and quickly unimpressed. What bothered me so much was her personal attacks on prominent figures from Regan(100 iq at best based on her opinion) Clinton the worst president ever, Bush well need we say more John Kerry the would be pacifist turned war monger is her personal friend so he is a great guy. The final straw was her comment to a Jewish gentleman who asked her about Israel. She told him as she cackled away that The Prime Minister is a NUT! Nothing but a NUT! Clearly anti jew is alive and well in this windbag. She could not muster the decency or grace to stick to the issues other than her graphic image of a little boy at hiroshima nuked high. Her phony hand wringing and brown wiping just came off as entirely insincere and she presents no actual facts. She told us Poor Putin, Poor Russia all the worlds problems are caused by the USA. I would happily tell her to shove off back to Australia but she never lets anyone get a word in edgewise. This man tried three times to have this question answered what will Israel do if Iran attacks them and all she could do was slam the prime minister. Sad. She is a shriveled up old woman who was a medical doctor, who thinks she is a rocket scientist or better yet a nuclear phy. she is not. F- =fail. Her message may be important but henny penny lost all my respect when she gracelessly bashed America and everyone in power unless it was mother russia.