Friday, November 09, 2012

Greens support lunatic fringe on food irradiation so why believe them on climate change?

The Green Party says it believes in science and evidence, and to present itself as the face of reason.

Yet the latest press release from Green MP Steffan Browning demonstrates how quickly the Green Party is beholden to the lunatic fringe of the radical environmental movement.

He says:

"Irradiation is not safe. It is the treating a food with ionizing radiation to kill bugs."

This assertion is backed up with nothing whatsoever.  It is the sort of simpleton view seen in this leaflet which claims without citation that "Numerous scientific studies have exposed the harmful effects of food irradiation".

No, they haven't.

The Health department of Queensland produces a leaflet that is more sober, as does the IAEA.

Browning makes not one claim about why irradiation is not safe. Nothing.

So let's speculate on what he thinks, or rather, fears.

- Irradiating food means it is radioactive:  Hilarious.  It is like saying that if you are exposed to light, you start to glow. 

- Irradiating food "changes its structure" so that it "degrades vitamins and nutrition":  Well yes, it can if it is used for preservation.  Much like drying does, and cooking does.  Cooking changes the molecular structure of food, and the chemistry of food and can destroy vitamins.  The obvious examples would be to boil vegetables to death or cooking food till it is blackened and charred.  However, do the Greens want to stop people having that food or cooking their food incorrectly?

It's bullshit to say irradiated food is not safe.  It's scaremongering, hysterical, anti-scientific and irresponsible for the Green Party to embrace such a stance.

Indeed, let me quote the summary of a World Health Organisation report on the topic (High-dose irradiation: wholesomeness of food irradiated with doses above 10 KGy, a joint FAO/IAEA/WHO study group. Geneva, Switzerland, 15-20 September 1997), given the Greens regularly cite UN organisations to hit governments over the head:

On the basis of the extensive scientific evidence reviewed, the report concludes that food irradiated to any dose appropriate to achieve the intended technological objective is both safe to consume and nutritionally adequate. The experts further conclude that no upper dose limit need be imposed, and that irradiated foods are deemed wholesome throughout the technologically useful dose range from below 10 kGy to envisioned doses above 10 kGy.


Given how willingly the Greens are to make unsubstantiated claims that are essentially the baggage of scaremongering hysterical anti-technology, anti-scientific luddites, why the hell should anyone listen to them when they talk about climate change?

Why should the Greens be any more credible when preaching about science on that topic than they are on food irradiation?

Oh, and we've been here before.  Remember Russel Norman's rant two years ago about mobile phone towers that, when challenged (because Russel doesn't seem to mind TV and radio masts for broadcasting) descends into ad-hominem attacks against me?  

Yes - that's the Greens on science.  On the one hand, claim science is right behind you on climate change and that people who challenge that are unscientific, unreasonable and lunatic fringe.

On the other hand, make non-evidence based scaremongering claims based on little more than the ranting fears of fringe groups that don't even have an elementary understanding of science.

In other words - the Greens are not serious about science.


Kiwiwit said...

Yes, the idea that radiation is transmitted from one element to another like some sort of infection is one of the most misunderstood properties of nuclear physics. If this were the case, we would have to avoid contact with people who have had X-rays.

You have to laugh when you see the protestors against cellphone towers chatting to their mates on their iPhones.

Arana said...

Yes, indeed. They have some MPs who either can't think logically, or can, but choose to scaremonger, instead.

Not good, is it. It certainly isn't science.