Saturday, January 13, 2007

Divine Blunder

In my last post, I countered Paul Kurtz's supposition that science has an agenda! Science is a method of inquiry. Scientists may have agendas, science itself does not.

On this note, I thought I would look at a stupidity called Divine Strake. In this program the Defense Threat Reduction Agency will detonate 700 tons of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil (equivalent to 593 tons of TNT) in the Nevada Test Range. The purpose of the test is to gather data for computer models on bunker busting technology. This will be a big test to gather data for computer models. I suspect that the experiment will gather some interesting data on the propagation of seismic waves through the earth that could be used for fundamental research.

Opponents to Divine Strake contend that this experiment will kick up all sorts of radioactive and toxic dust left from the nuclear tests of yesteryear. This dust will fall on downwinder locations like Saint George, Utah and Moab.

So, we have a scientific agency that wants to do a big test to gather fundamental data, and a group of downwinders who've been irradiated in the past and found that they did not care for the experience. Add this a political structure divided between secular progressives and right wing kooks.

What does Paul Kurtz's mythical scientific agenda tell us? Should we proceded with the test or nix it?

I reject the idea that science has an agenda. Scientists can show us the risk and rewards of proceding with the experiment. Whether or not we proceed with the experiment is a political one.

Personally, I think DTRA has created for itself a public relations nightmare. Whoever named this thing Divine Strake should be canned. I think the data gleened from this experiment is probably not worth the risk and the political divisions being caused by the experiment.

1 comment:

The Deseret Spectacle said...

I completely agree. They just need to let it go.