Friday, 25 September 2009

It's the DUP vs. Science again. Wells bangs on about Wifi.

Given that my preferred outcome for the DUP is that it should go away, its mindset forever consigned to Northern Ireland’s dark and ignorant past, I’m aware that it is rather presumptuous to add to Fair Deal’s list of communications ‘does and don’ts’. Still, I offer just one amendment, for the good of society, rather than the party political benefit of the Democratic Unionists.

Do gather the best scientific advice available and, as a rule of thumb, use it to develop public policy, unless there are very compelling overriding factors.

Don’t react to the scientific community as if they pedal some manner of dangerous voodoo and treat with innate suspicion every aspect of modernity, whilst backing up your contentions with, at best, the most threadbare evidence.

For the latest instance of a DUP representative, blinking with confusion in the modern world, attempting to crawl back into his cave and drag the rest of us with him, step forward Jim Wells.

This cretin has been campaigning, since at least 2007, against wireless internet!

Not that the MLA has the least proof that Wifi poses any risk to anyone. He is opposed to the ‘wireless smog’ on a ‘precautionary basis’.

Wells appeared on Radio Ulster this morning. A relatively enlightened decision on his part. One wonders that he’s prepared to encourage a ‘smog’ of invidious radio waves penetrating our brains.

His purpose was to spread the idea amongst the parents of primary school age children that wireless internet in the classroom carries (unspecified) health risks.

Although, the World Health Organisation advises that there is ‘no evidence’ that Wifi does any harm whatsoever.

This trifling fact he pooh poohed with the rejoinder ‘people have concerns’. Oh yes. That’ll be you Jim and a small cadre of neurotic parents who will no doubt take succour from your encouragement of ignorance.

Scientists aren’t worried (you know, the people who study such things) and nor are the school principals who view wireless technology as an indispensable part of a modern education.

Scratching away the surface of Wells’ campaign we can uncover the following underlying principle - every new thing is suspect and dangerous unless it is proven to me otherwise.

Thank god, for the progress of humanity, few people follow this precept. Regrettably a high proportion of them seem to live in Northern Ireland. Hence the DUP’s status as our largest political party.

I'll confess an interest here. I love wifi. Don't let the DUP stop society becoming wireless!


rutherford said...

You're dangerously close to becoming a geek activist. But seriously, that this kind of stuff is being pedalled is unreal.

Tinfoil hat time folks

Timothy Belmont said...

I think Jim Wells is a decent soul; not a bad egg at all. He used to be the marketing manager for the National Trust in NI, based at Rowallane. I think he took a break from Politics to do this for a number of years before resuming his political career.

I don't think I have ever met him.

I wouldn't share his view about the wireless Internet, though, because I'm all for it. I'n still waiting patiently for the price of dongles to drop!


Chekov said...

You're dangerously close to becoming a geek activist

Make MP3 manufacturers declare the number of songs a device holds with default, and not low quality ripping.

Coming soon! ;-)

Darren said...

The DUP on technology is like the Chinese on human rights. Deep down they know what they say and do is totally wrong, but they will never admit, change or deal with it in any way.

It’s their way or its wrong and this has been the school of thought for many years.

"Geek activist" power to the Nerds!

Belfast Gonzo said...

I meant to blog about this very subject after reading this:

That's two NI schools that have banned wifi.