Nuclear Power: Why it’s great

Greetings skeptics, and fellow internet users.

Here in Australia there has been a lot of discussion about nuclear power, both political, and scientific, so I am going to add my voice to the talk with some points in both science and politics.
It’s a relevent discussion for a few important reasons.  One is the fact that the earth is warming and caused by man, and something had to be done about it. We are also eventually going to run out of oil, and we need something to replace it.

The first point I am going to make is that nuclear power is extremely environmentally friendly. There are no carbon dioxides emitted in the process. The only greenhouse gases emmited when creating nuclear power is what is used when the big machinery hauls the uranium out of the ground. This should sent the environmental nuts crazy, but apparently not. The only way to make them happy is to live in caves, liking lichen of the walls for food.

Apparently, if one blows up, then it will cause a huge amount of damage to the environment around it. Come on, in Australia, about 95% of the population lives on about 5% of our land mass, and the other 95% doesn’t have much other life on it either. If we plonk our nuclear power plants out in the middle of the Australian desert, then nothing will be harmed except sand and rocks.

Come on, surely we can find SOMEWHERE to put a nuclear power plant!

The next question raised by greenies (to use the conservative, outback term) is, “Where do we put all the waste from the plant?” I think this is another simply answered question. All of the places where we mine our Uranium is in the middle of no-where, if we put the power plant next to the uranium mine, then its a short trip, it goes from the hole in the ground to the power plant, it goes through the power plant, and then it goes back in the hole. It can’t really be that hard. Again, we have a huge amount of land that we don’t use for anything, this is a prime candidate for the dumping of our nuclear waste.

The last topic I will discuss here is the idea that nuclear power is dangerous, “look at what happened in Japan” They say. Well, they are all forgetting the point that this event happened on an Island about the size 1 twentieth the size of Australia, You could throw a stone from one side to the other. Even if one did blow up, it would endanger the lives of the workers there, and that’s it. These workers could be easily evacuated and the whole problem would be over with.

That’s all for today, I have a feeling I will be blogging about this sometime in the near future as the election comes up and this discussion looms, I will leave you with a quote from Ronald Reagan, “All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk.” Ronald Reagan, a politician of some note.

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Ad Hominem Logical Fallacy

Yesterday I blogged about the logical fallacy known as post hoc ergo propter hoc, or post hoc, and how it is used, and why it is an illogical argument. Today I will be continuing the logical fallacy blitz with the fallacy known as an Ad Hominem attack. This is a common argument used by a lot of different groups, even including skeptics sometimes, so it is important to understand this fallacy to make sure you don’t use it someday when arguing with a conspiracy theorist or a UFOligist. It is also used in politics a lot, especially at the moment in Queensland where there is a political election coming up in a few days.

The most recent use of this argument is by the Labor party in the campaign for the up-coming election. Due to the fact that the Labor Party is fighting an extremely up-hill battle (the latest poll shows that they could win as little as 12 of 89 seats in parliament), they are resorting to attacking the politicians themselves rather than just putting forward good policies or proposed plans. The most common one is the ‘Campbell’s web’ advertisement, which attacks Campbell Newman (the leader of the LNP) and his personal finances not the policies he is proposing or the political view-point he argues for.It is a prime example of an ad hominem attack, because they are attacking the arguer, and not the arguments.

I also mentioned that skeptics fall into this trap often. This is one reason why it is important to know about logical fallacies. The first is that you can call your opponent bluff when he uses one, the second is that you can also question your own arguments with them, to make sure your logic is valid, os that you can correct them, and not the person you are arguing with.

Skeptics often use this logical fallacy when they are arguing with people such as UFOligists, conspiracy theorists and homeopaths. They often fall into saying things like “This is just stupid, how could you honestly believe that what you are saying is true, it is ridiculous!”, or something of the like. This is a logical fallacy. You cannot just simply disregard an argument because it is silly, it is a logical fallacy. However, it is not a logical fallacy to say “The notion of homeopathy is just outrageous, and here is why.” That is not a logical fallacy. If you explain your ad hominem attack with logically sound arguments, then it is not a logical fallacy, it is just good use of the arguing technique of ‘making the other person look like an idiot.’

Ad Hominem attacks are usually last gasp attempts to salvage some victories in the dieing moments of a debate when the fallacious arguer realizes that he is losing by a large margin.

That’s all for me today, I will leave you with a quote from Thomas H. Huxley, “Science is simply common sense at its best; that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.” Thomas H. Huxley, most often known of as Darwin’s bulldog and refiner of agnosticism.