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Dom0803

Perspective and logic on fear

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Dom0803

Lately, I've been reading a fantastic book called Risk, the science and politics of fear by Dan Gardener which talks about the perceived fear in people over certain subjects and how these opinions if even completely illogical are still thought by many as being the truth and fact.

 

I haven't finished reading all of it but to give you a quick overview as to what he talks about;

 

Nuclear power

 

Dan talks of how people are strongly opposed to the utilisation of nuclear power despite the fact that it's the cleanest and one of the safest ways to generate huge amounts of power with little input.

 

The point he tries to get across is how the human brain works in respect to perceived fear, factual probability and the actual risk involved and its consequences and how, even when the chances of something bad happening are extremely slim, the human brain will automatically reject something due to a certain 'hard wired' response to easily recallable memories of something bad happening in a "similar" scenario.

 

Take for example Chernobyl. When people think of 'nuclear power', they think 'Chernobyl'. It's a word associated to nuclear power for all the wrong reasons, and because it's recalled quickly when nuclear power is thought about, the human brain automatically rejects 'nuclear power' as being 'Chernobyl'.

 

It's for this reason that people will be extremely anti-nuclear power in their area or country. They think that if a nuclear reactor is erected that an explosion is imminent.

 

And even when they cannot justify their thoughts with logic or evidence, they will make up scenarios which may be possible and become dogmatic in the sense that they wholly believe these made-up scenarios to be a ticking timebomb.

 

EG. An anti-NP person argues to the pro-NP person, "What happens if someone flies a plane into the reactor?" and the pro-NP person responds "Well it would be catastrophic, however, the chances of it happening are extremely slim.

 

It is here that the anti-NP will argue;

"But it is possible?"

"Yes, but the chances are one in millions"

"But it is possible - so how can you prove it will never happen"

 

And the Pro-NP will be completely defeated at this point. He's already admitted that the risk is there but the chances are low and the benefits outweigh the cons.

 

Here, the Pro-NP will be a victim to the risk-consequence argument where the low-risk-high-consequence seems more apt than the low-consequence-high-risk, which is obviously more illogical in the long run.

 

IE; Burning of coal and gas will ensure we run out of resources; will destroy our planet; is bad for our health; costs a lot of money, versus nuclear power which costs very little, has virtually no emission, will not destroy our planet and while used in a power plant, is completely safe for our health.

 

Despite its obvious logic, the fact that Chernboyl was easily recallable and associated to nuclear power means the human brain will reject its idea.

 

Drugs

 

A very interesting topic covered by Dan is the perceived risk of drugs and their actual risk.

 

Statistically, cannabis has never, on its own, killed anybody. Horse riding kills more people each year than ecstasy and cocaine is proven that if used un-regularly and sparingly, it is completely non-addictive and safe to consume with no long-term consequences.

Despite this, tobacco and alcohol are perfectly legal to consume, despite the fact that alcohol alone kills more people than all the illegal drugs, combined.

 

So why is this? A very controversial question to ask and one which has many theories, but what Dan talked about wasn't these theories, but the origin of all these theories and why people became so dogmatic against drugs despite their logical choice over the legal drugs.

 

One of his examples are how when people gather in a group they will increase eachothers opinions. For example, if one person attends an anti-drugs discussion with a strong opinion, but then encouters someone with a stronger opinion and different facts, then the first person will feel inferior by not having the same level of information and as a result will increase their opinion so as not to seem the "most stupid in the subject", even if this means creating scenarios as described earlier or 'sticking their heels in' further, despite having absolutely no evidence whatsoever to form their basis.

 

The book has made me think a lot about how humans think and has definitely increased my logic-skill. I never realised how illogical humans are and even myself and have since made changes to how I do some things.

 

I highly recommend a read.

 

So I ask you this;

 

Think of scenarios to which you object. Maybe they are drugs? Legalisation of cannabis? or maybe it is nuclear power; are you anti it? If so, why? Where did you get your facts and evidence? And have you ever had an arguement over something with someone, only to find yourself creating scenarios to make your case seem stronger?

 

We're all guilty of this. So think about a subject you have a solid opinion on and weigh up the facts and ask yourself; is my opinion the logical one?

 

Discuss

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Katalix

On the nuclear power, it -can- destroy the world. Radiation will be widespread if a bomb went off, or if a powerplant melted.

 

 

"But it is possible?"

"Yes, but the chances are one in millions"

"But it is possible - so how can you prove it will never happen"

 

That 'one in a million' happened to be Cherynobyl.

People say 'Oh, there is a slim chance of that happening.' All the time, but it happens.

 

 

user posted image

 

This is a map of the radiation spread, just one month after the nuclear meltdown

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Dom0803
On the nuclear power, it -can- destroy the world. Radiation will be widespread if a bomb went off, or if a powerplant melted.

 

 

"But it is possible?"

"Yes, but the chances are one in millions"

"But it is possible - so how can you prove it will never happen"

 

That 'one in a million' happened to be Cherynobyl.

People say 'Oh, there is a slim chance of that happening.' All the time, but it happens.

 

 

user posted image

 

This is a map of the radiation spread, just one month after the nuclear meltdown

The reason Chernobyl happened was due to a lack of supervision on the evening and a test was run without the necessary officials on site, not to mention the fact that they tested it to levels which were uncapable for the reactor.

 

It was complete human error which was easily avoidable. It was not a terrorist attack or some freak, unforeseen chance such as a plane flying into the reactor.

 

As of 1994 there were 432 nuclear power plants worldwide. (1)

 

As you said, it -can- happen and chernobyl was that one in a million - but in case you haven't realised, nuclear power has been around for quite a while now, and well, there's only been one catastrophe?

 

Versus; sucking the planet of its already drained resources and spilling carbon gasses into the atmosphere that will destroy our ozone and leave our grandchildren scavenging for some source of fuel?

 

It is logical to use nuclear power in every way -- but because of the rule I discussed before (Known as the example-rule FYI) people refuse to acknowledge the obvious benefits of nuclear power in complete blind thought.

 

Weigh up the pros and cons - the only con you can find is "destruction on a mass scale" which is very high consequence - but extremely low risk; versus; burning fossil fuels which is high risk high consequence and sucking the planet dry of oil and coal which is extremely high consequence and extremely high risk, not to mention inhalation of fossil fuels which is again, very high consequence and very high risk.

 

Logic?

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Katalix
On the nuclear power, it -can- destroy the world. Radiation will be widespread if a bomb went off, or if a powerplant melted.

 

 

"But it is possible?"

"Yes, but the chances are one in millions"

"But it is possible - so how can you prove it will never happen"

 

That 'one in a million' happened to be Cherynobyl.

People say 'Oh, there is a slim chance of that happening.' All the time, but it happens.

 

 

user posted image

 

This is a map of the radiation spread, just one month after the nuclear meltdown

The reason Chernobyl happened was due to a lack of supervision on the evening and a test was run without the necessary officials on site, not to mention the fact that they tested it to levels which were uncapable for the reactor.

 

It was complete human error which was easily avoidable. It was not a terrorist attack or some freak, unforeseen chance such as a plane flying into the reactor.

 

As of 1994 there were 432 nuclear power plants worldwide. (1)

 

As you said, it -can- happen and chernobyl was that one in a million - but in case you haven't realised, nuclear power has been around for quite a while now, and well, there's only been one catastrophe?

 

Versus; sucking the planet of its already drained resources and spilling carbon gasses into the atmosphere that will destroy our ozone and leave our grandchildren scavenging for some source of fuel?

 

It is logical to use nuclear power in every way -- but because of the rule I discussed before (Known as the example-rule FYI) people refuse to acknowledge the obvious benefits of nuclear power in complete blind thought.

 

Weigh up the pros and cons - the only con you can find is "destruction on a mass scale" which is very high consequence - but extremely low risk; versus; burning fossil fuels which is high risk high consequence and sucking the planet dry of oil and coal which is extremely high consequence and extremely high risk, not to mention inhalation of fossil fuels which is again, very high consequence and very high risk.

 

Logic?

I don't think people would exactly feel safe having nuclear energy reactors/factories around them now, due to Cherynobyl. I understand where you are coming from.

 

The damage caused if the reactor was to have a meltdown would be much greater than the burning of fossil fuels.

 

 

 

 

Cherynobyl, with a population of 336,000, is now a ghosttown. Life will never be able grow there. It is simply uninhabitable.

 

Now, imagine if a nuclear reactor was to have a meltdown in New York City. NYC has a population of over 5 million.

 

 

I am weighing the pro's and con's, I do agree that it is a good source of energy, but the con's are catastrophic.

 

I would say we should use up the worlds fossil fuel, then use nuclear power. Why not let us use wind power, or solar power. Heck, now they have cars that use water instead of gasoline that emmit no exhaust fumes.

 

Now the world is becoming more eco-friendly. I admit, nuclear power would be a good idea.

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The Unvirginiser

Thanks for the book recommendation, I'll have to look out for that.

 

Over the last few years I've been unbelievably arrogant on the topic of middle eastern religions. It took me months to do research myself and realise that Allah is the same God as the Christian one and that Jesus is mentioned more times in the Koran than Abraham. But as you said, it goes down to people voicing their own opinion and influencing others.

 

Now I'm more educated and blame it on my own ignorance and the racism that goes around schools these days, especially after 9/11.

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1066ant

 

Take for example Chernobyl. When people think of 'nuclear power', they think 'Chernobyl'. It's a word associated to nuclear power for all the wrong reasons, and because it's recalled quickly when nuclear power is thought about, the human brain automatically rejects 'nuclear power' as being 'Chernobyl'.

Not quite, I think a main concern (for me at least) is Nuclear waste, which is very toxic and hard to dispose of, a disaster is another though, a large reactor exploding in the UK could make half the country dangerous to live in.

We already have contaminated beaches and areas due to our own Nuclear power efforts, towns and villages that are now worthless due to the dangers of living in them, and diseases common around those areas.

 

As for drugs, I don't worry so much about death of the user, but making them legal or more widespread would cause another problem, simillar to binge drinking. People driving while stoned is going to result in accidents etc etc.

And there will alwasys be stupid people who do these things and endanger others, the same as people who drive while drunk.

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Mike Tequeli

 

Take for example Chernobyl. When people think of 'nuclear power', they think 'Chernobyl'. It's a word associated to nuclear power for all the wrong reasons, and because it's recalled quickly when nuclear power is thought about, the human brain automatically rejects 'nuclear power' as being 'Chernobyl'.

Not quite, I think a main concern (for me at least) is Nuclear waste, which is very toxic and hard to dispose of, a disaster is another though, a large reactor exploding in the UK could make half the country dangerous to live in.

We already have contaminated beaches and areas due to our own Nuclear power efforts, towns and villages that are now worthless due to the dangers of living in them, and diseases common around those areas.

 

As for drugs, I don't worry so much about death of the user, but making them legal or more widespread would cause another problem, simillar to binge drinking. People driving while stoned is going to result in accidents etc etc.

And there will alwasys be stupid people who do these things and endanger others, the same as people who drive while drunk.

Nuclear waste is easily disposable, there has never been huge concern as to where it would go. There have been a variety of top notch storage facilities to facilitate nuclear waste. Not to mention most nuclear waste isn't that dangerous in the first place, just not something you'd want in your living room. Coal power is more radioactive then nuclear power, I'm not bullsh*tting you, you can test this one yourself with a Geiger counter. As for beaches and towns being poisoned by nuclear power, that just isn't true. I welcome you to throw some evidence behind that claim because otherwise its not even worth discussing.

 

Dom was right though, you are pretty much a textbook case of irrational fear instead of logic being used in arguments. What leads you to think that legalizing drugs will lead to increased driving while high? That would still be illegal and legalization has not been shown to dramatically increase use in general. Drunk driving remains much more dangerous then high driving, contrary to what MADD would probably have you believe, but it remains irrelevant. It is the most common argument against legalization these days, which shows the anti-legalization people's arguments are getting thin.

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1066ant

 

Nuclear waste is easily disposable, there has never been huge concern as to where it would go. There have been a variety of top notch storage facilities to facilitate nuclear waste. Not to mention most nuclear waste isn't that dangerous in the first place, just not something you'd want in your living room. Coal power is more radioactive then nuclear power, I'm not bullsh*tting you, you can test this one yourself with a Geiger counter. As for beaches and towns being poisoned by nuclear power, that just isn't true. I welcome you to throw some evidence behind that claim because otherwise its not even worth discussing.

 

It is true that a coal fired plant is in general a more radioative structure, however, if a coal fired power station fails for whatever reaons the chances of a large impact are slim. In perfect working use a Nuclear power station is cleaner than many, many other forms of power generation, but Nuclear sites don't have a great reputation for saftey.

The Sellafield site in Cumbria springs to mind, there have been many worries about this site, including the leakage of Nuclear waste, most recently accidental and in the 70s deliberately and a serious fire in the 1950s.

These incident included the closing of local beaches and the surrounding area, there is also a noted increase in lukemia in the area surrounding the plant, although it has not been confirmed whethere the plant is a direct contributor to this.

 

The UK in generaly does not have a good history with nuclear power, its been a turbulent time for it and most plants are now either closed or due to be shut down within 20-30 years, Scotland has already declared it won't use Nuclear power in the future.

 

As for waste disposal it is very problematic, especialy regarding highly radioactive waste, it can be burried under ground in chambers etc etc but there still remains the problem of transporting a volotile substance to the storage facilities which I belive would generaly use roads or rail to get there. This presents a problem of localised leaks if there is an accident en-route.

 

What leads you to think that legalizing drugs will lead to increased driving while high? That would still be illegal and legalization has not been shown to dramatically increase use in general. Drunk driving remains much more dangerous then high driving, contrary to what MADD would probably have you believe, but it remains irrelevant

Think about it, the majority of young people, especialy here in the UK like drinking, and alot also drive while pissed out of their heads. Last year a guy I knew crashed his car while drunk killing all the occupents, its very common to have drunk drivers around my area too and crashes caused by alcohol mis-use are often on the local news.

Now, this is a legal substance that can be bought by anyone over 18, apply the same rules to drugs and you will have a simillar situation running parallel to the one existing.

I know many people who only take drugs sparingly because they are hard to get hold of, make them legal and it will quickly because another problem.

 

I personaly have no problem with most drugs, hell they are safer than cigarettes. However they affect the mind and perspective of things, which will affect people decisions and actions in the same way alcohol can.

There will always be people who abuse this and cause problems for normal people who don't.

 

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nlitement

Chernobyl was a retarded experiment by retarded Ukrainians doing retarded things like turning off all emergency systems and seeing if they could restart cooling from the remaining inertia of the turbine. They deserved it, but the Belarussians who took all the fallout sure as hell didn't deserve any of it and some of my relatives there were affected too (thankfully not by radiation, but they had to leave their homes right away, with only their documents and any clothes they had on).

 

And you've got to be silly to think you can even do something like that in a modern nuclear plant. It's designed in a way that it won't work at all if you try to tamper with its emergency systems. The energy vs. pollution ratio that it has is massive, better than any other energy source out there today.

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spaceeinstein

I think people fear stuff that can't be controlled by themselves and can't run away from. I can't control nuclear power and when an accident happens, where can I go? I can control the way I drive and if I know an accident is about to happen, I can attempt to avoid it. Car accidents are common and people still drive because people have this idea that it's safe if they know what's going on. I support next-gen nuclear power but too many people worry about unavoidable catastrophes.

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vinnygorgeous
Chernobyl was a retarded experiment by retarded Ukrainians doing retarded things like turning off all emergency systems and seeing if they could restart cooling from the remaining inertia of the turbine. They deserved it, but the Belarussians who took all the fallout sure as hell didn't deserve any of it and some of my relatives there were affected too (thankfully not by radiation, but they had to leave their homes right away, with only their documents and any clothes they had on).

 

And you've got to be silly to think you can even do something like that in a modern nuclear plant. It's designed in a way that it won't work at all if you try to tamper with its emergency systems. The energy vs. pollution ratio that it has is massive, better than any other energy source out there today.

retarded Ukrainians?#! wtf guy!

 

I have one, red fever in 50s America, it was completely illogical, a catching hysteria that spread through out all areas of society to such a degree that many young people on this very site still hold similar views, truly scary that people are unable to think for themselves half a century later.

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Dom0803

Sorry for the neglect of the topic...

 

The biggest worry about nuclear power is obvious. The pros of nuclear power are equally as obvious. We could have cheap, clean power at the cost of health if something should go wrong.

 

But the point I'm trying to make in my topic is not that nuclear power is perfectly safe; it isn't. It's that despite the mathematical certainty of nuclear power's benefits, people are still convinced that a nuclear reactor is a ticking time bomb, when it's not.

 

As 1066ant brought up, the Sellafield site. I hadn't heard of the increase of leukaemia around Sellafield but now that you've brought it up, it reminded me of another passage in the book I mentioned.

 

The author, Dan, talked about health concerns with electricity pylons. I'm sure you've all heard the rumours that people living beside pylons are more susceptable to cancers and ailments due to the radiation given off by them.

 

I can't remember the chapter word for word, but basically the opinion that pylons cause health problems is nothing more than media drivel. Complete and utter bullsh*t made up because "a few people got sick that lived beside pylons, who couldn't think of any reason why they got sick - all they know is that their neighbours a mile away who don't live beside pylons, didn't get sick"

 

The only difference between the sick people and the not sick people is that the not sick people, don't live beside pylons.

 

It's fair to say that buses cause more environmental damage than pylons that do nothing but hold up wires.

 

With that said, I could blame any health problems I have/had/will get, on the bus stop at the fence at the end of my garden; Due to the influx of traffic caused by the bus stop, the fumes which the buses emit cause me breathing problems.

 

Now I'm sure you, the reader of this post, is thinking that what I've just said is a load of bullsh*t and I'm making it all up to try and pursaude you to my way of thinking.

 

Well, I'd like you to prove to me that the bus stop causes me no damage.

 

Can you do it?

 

No.

 

Effectively, I've just done what the pylon people did, too. Ok, so I don't have any breathing problems at all. Though, my Mum and sister who I live with both have asthma. And I think it was the bus stops.

 

Or maybe it was just genetics.

 

In regards to the pylons, scientists got their surveying hats on and went for a walk around some neighbourhoods. What did they find? They found that there is no correlation between pylons and ill health. The people who suffered health ailments that lived beside pylons? Funnily enough, they had a family history of health problems. The fact that those people, with family histories of health problems lived by the pylons? Pure chance.

 

Absolutely 100% pure chance.

 

People, naturally, make these wacky assumptions that something is the cause for something and can't disprove it.

 

Nobody ever stops to think "well, maybe it was just pure chance". (which it was)

 

And I think the same can be said for Sellafield.

 

Everybody is susceptible to cancer. Those who can afford better healthcare are less likely to be sick and funnily enough, neighbourhoods around nuclear powerplants aren't exactly affluent. It's well documented that the working class have much poorer health than the middle and upper classes.

 

Sellafield causing leukaemia? Unless Joe Bloggs was drinking the coolant, I don't think so.

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