When will we become sane, to the nucleus?

The New York Times had a rare article today on the benefits of nuclear power. A readers comment:

Evolution equipped humans with a brain capable of almost unbelievable achievements, but it didn’t at the same time liberate the species from a penchant for delusions and irrational feelings. That gives us the nuclear dilemma.

Energy from burning carbonic fuels demands millions of lives every year, yet we are easily obsessed by on average a few deaths per year from nuclear power. Burning carbonic fuels bears an obvious risk of extinction for the entire human species within a century, yet we are easily obsessed by an imaginary risk of nuclear waste a hundred thousand years from now.

This is superstition on a breathtaking scale, putting into question if the human species is worthy of the marvelous brain it has been endowed with. And where are the enlightened and responsible forces to guide the deluded public? They are certainly not in media, who generally are among the worst in propping up fear of nuclear power (today’s article is a rare exception). And they are not among politicians, who mostly follow the easy way of succumbing to voter’s superstition, so far as they aren’t deluded themselves, which is the normal case.

What this article will come to show (and many of the comments illustrate) is that information will not suffice to dissolve the delusions. Intelligence and enlightened reason are handicapped when trying to influence the lizard brain that decides so much of our imaginations and actions.

Where will it end? We may have to ask the real lizards on how to survive.

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