I want to point out that radiation, like everything, is not good or bad without a particular dosage attached. As my awesome commenters pointed out, people would be a lot less afraid of radiation if the dosages made more sense – instead of Rads, or Curies, or Sieverts – I promote the use of Banana, or the Banana Equivalent Dose.

Each day, your average radiation intake is 100 bananas. The maximum permitted leakage at a nuclear power plant is 2500 bananas. A chest CT scan supplied a boatload of 70,000 bananas. To put it all in perspective, a lethal dose is 35 MILLION bananas – but someone living ten miles away from Three Mile Island received only 700 bananas. Here is an excellent chart by XKCD.

The whole point is to realize that we aren’t experts at EVERYTHING, and THAT’S OKAY! Occasionally we should respect the scientific experts in that field, or devote the requisite years in undergraduate, graduate, field, and post-graduate work in order to refute them.

Case in point: in the great evolution debate, creationists like Ken Ham often point out a handful of scientists who support the creation myth. But if you read any of those lists closely, you will notice how few of them are evolutionary biologists, some of the creationist lists accept anyone who has graduated from college (a low bar for any scientist).

To point out how ridiculous these lists are, the National Center for Science Education put out a similiar call only for PhD scientists that support evolution, and who are also named Steve. Even though “Steves” only make up 1% of scientists, their list is vastly more impressive than any of the others. Science isn’t a popularity contest, but even if it were – pseudoscientists would lose anyway.

↓ Transcript
ROB
Are you still angry about our argument?
KATE
I'm reading one of your old articles about how to spot bad science. -Especially how speaking outside one's expertise is a red flag. Sound familiar? Tell me then, -how does a radioisotope thermoelectric generator work?
ROB
I know what isotope means.

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+2Share on TumblrPin on Pinterest0