There is a subsection of the science community that loves Rachel Maddow; she is literate and she has the right politics. But most of science is doing a facepalm because her slippery slope reasoning about 'fracking', if applied to any field of science, would call a halt to research all over the country.
Why? Because the needs of society can never, ever triumph over safety issues if there is any chance at all anything may go wrong. Media pundits like Rachel Maddow are why we have global warming, not energy companies. In the 1980s, nuclear power was run out of the country by progressive anti-science kooks. In that 30 years since, American science and technology could have progressed nuclear power a lot, but instead it was dead in the water and countries like France took the lead. When it came time for Kyoto efforts to curb global warming, France happily agreed to a 1990 date; it was before they had brought more nuclear plants online and the USA had to add coal plants in all that time. France got to save the environment and crippled an economic competitor.
Fracking hysteria, promoted by left-wing stereotypes about how scientists are either too stupid or too uncaring to know what is really happening, is that same sort of thing. Natural gas was adored by activists until it actually came into use; now they claim it causes cancer. Well, they claim everything causes cancer so that doesn't mean much. We would all have cancer if everything activists claim causes cancer actually caused cancer.
Maddow, predictably, shows that tired footage of a guy setting his tap water on fire. The inference was that it was caused by fracking and no methane ever got into a well any other way. It was a little silly, actual science debunked it, but that's the way public relations works, and Maddow is clearly doing some anti-science PR for the audience most inclined to want to believe it.
If getting cancer or flaming water was not enough to convince anyone, she invoked earthquakes. There are plenty of earthquakes in California. How long before she contends those are caused by natural gas in Texas? If you really want earthquakes, try geothermal power. Yet today that is adored by anti-science activists and will remain so - until it gets used.
Fans call her scientifically minded. Only if it matches her politics (and theirs).
Alex Berezow at RealClearScience has the takedown and her video.
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