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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Simon Holmes à Court would support fast, cheap, safe, small, flexible nuclear

This post is motivated by a Tweet by Simon who very much thinks he has an open mind about nuclear energy all antinuclearists, but like all antinuclearists, he really doesn't. He's like the creationist who would love to believe the theory of evolution ...if the data would only support it. Classic case of self-delusion combined with a little cognitive dissonance.

His Twitter homepage intro:
interesting theory — data me up! 'likes' are bookmarks not endorsements. ATTN: loopy left & RWNJs: if you think i'm one, you're almost certainly the other.
Bottom line, I would not have had to "data him up"  if he really had an open mind because he would have already sought out the data. Below, he gives an attaboy to a supporting tweeted chart critiquing nuclear. I gave him a few other charts to think about, but no love for me (link):

His supporter then posted a strawman argument coupled with another graph and got another attaboy. Those graphs shown below are actually a positive sign showing how the combination of low carbon sources has joined forces but this guy somehow sees this as evidence that nuclear should not be part of the mix:

Still believing he has an open mind, Simon says:

Above, I handed him charts that debunked four-fifths of his reasons for not supporting nuclear. Again, no love for me (link). Next up:

Above I gave him a few more charts to put the magnitude of the problem into perspective, but still no love (link). And finally, the thread winds down:

Above he parrots two common antinuclear defenses; question the veracity of the data, insinuate that nuclear subsidies/unit energy are either higher or in this case, that they used to be higher (neither of which is true).

Two lessons from this exchange. Note how he never did respond to me, not because my arguments and data were weak, but because a direct response might legitimize whoever I am. An example of  the "end justifying the means" mentality (using surreptitious means to achieve what is thought to be a good end) that so often paves roads to hell. Secondly, note how he simply circles back to cost after a while even after being shown that, globally, most nuclear plants being built today are very cost effective (etc, etc).

We're all vulnerable to self-deception and bias, so there's nothing about his behavior that isn't utterly, boringly, unexceptional.

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