[ RadSafe ] Agreeing with Franz on "dogma"

Wed Aug 19 13:41:16 CDT 2015

I don't think that the word "dogma" is at all derisive in and of itself. In biochem we learned the "central dogma of molecular biology" (which you can find in any number of textbooks in precisely that phrasing), which was DNA-RNA-protein. In Sunday school (Catholic) we learned a number of dogmas of the Catholic Church. Used properly, the word is descriptive, not loaded.

In the case of LNT, the use of the word dogma is certainly appropriate in a number of cases.

-As Franz pointed out, it is NOT appropriate for the scientific debate, which continues to be lively.
-In the regulatory realm (and in the area of ALARA), LNT certainly has become dogma in the sense that it is the central belief behind the way that regulations are written and ALARA is practiced - and if LNT were to be shown to be false then we might well have to re-think the way that we practice ALARA as well as the way we regulate.
-And among the anti-nuclear and anti-radiation activists LNT is most certainly dogma in that it is virtually the only argument they use to demand that all reactors be shut down and all use of radiation that can expose the public be banned - if LNT is shown to be false then their central argument crumbles to the ground.

The word itself is neither positive nor negative - it is simply descriptive. But, like the word "evolution," it has come to mean more to some than ought to be the case.


-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Peter Crane
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2015 2:02 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Agreeing with Franz on "dogma"

It's a pleasure to be able to agree with Franz for once. This use of loaded words such as "dogma" and "cult" to denigrate the LNT (and, on the other side, the hormesis theory) adds nothing to the debate. The propagandistic purpose is too obvious. Maybe that's OK if you are just preaching to the choir, since you are not out to change any minds, but trying to convert opponents by calling them cultists following a dogma? It doesn't work.

I'd love to know more about infighting in the Austrian bureaucracy, Franz. I thought the watchword there was Schlamperei, of taking things easy and not too seriously, but I suppose I'm forgetting my Kafka, plus the golden rule of organizations -- governmental, academic, etc. -- that the smaller the stakes, the more vicious the internal battles can be. By the way, if you know Bad Ischl, Villa Rothstein, my great-grand-uncle's summer home, was where my grandmother played as a child, back around 1901-1903. Das gibt's nur einmal, das kommt nicht wieder....

-- Peter Crane, Seattle
NRC Counsel for Special Projects (retired) _______________________________________________
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