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Lies and manipulation in the nuclear discussion

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#393
25/06/1993
Article

(June 25, 1993) A new report concerned with the opinions and discussion-methods of nuclear energy experts in the Netherlands shows that a purely scientific discussion about facts is not possible with this issue.

(393.3834) WISE Amsterdam - The report, "Het kernenergie conflict: een wetenschappelijk onoplosbaar probleem?" (The nuclear energy conflict: a scientifically unsolvable problem?) by F. Arts of the Rijks University in Utrecht, investigated the discussion techniques and the use of 'scientific facts' by experts. Although the advocates of nuclear energy play an important role in the discussion and claim that the facts speak for themselves, they are using those 'facts' subjectively, to put it mildly. Arts even noted that some of the pro-nuclear experts told plain lies and manipulated the facts. One of the experts interviewed told him, "You could actually say that they are paid liars; those people bend themselves to help the powerful by not telling what they know: the truth about the facts...I never met a scientific pro-nuclear expert who ever said that he wasn't sure about something."

For the report, Arts questioned 87 experts (two-thirds of them showed to be pro-nuclear: 80% of the Dutch population is opposing nuclear energy) and interviewed 17 of them personally. He found, among other things, that the average pro-nuclear expert is religious, votes on the Christian Democrats (CDA) or Liberals (VVD), is usually born before 1948, mostly firstborn and had a quiet career. Being religious plays a very important role.
Arts concludes that a purely scientific discussion can not solve the nuclear energy discussion.

Source: Het Parool (NL), 3 June '93.