Friday, August 04, 2006


The gods must be crazy if they call this intelligence

Robyn William's heart sank this week when he listened to people from Toowoomba on the radio blithely rejecting the latest scientific evidence on the quality of recycled water in favour of the myths.

It was as if science was just another choice of product on a supermarket shelf they could ignore at will, says the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) science broadcaster. 'People simply say, 'I don't want to know that. It's inconvenient'.'

The prevalence of this attitude has been playing on Williams's mind as he ponders the way the intelligent design movement - creationism's 'belligerent teenage cousin' - has sprung up 'like a boil on a bum'. One of its hallmarks, he says, is the arrogant dismissal of carefully weighed scientific evidence.

Until recently Williams had thought it unwise to give any more publicity to intelligent design - the notion that life is too complex to have evolved without some assistance from an intelligent designer, whom many adherents believe to be God.

But its well-resourced backing in the US, from the President, George Bush, down, and its spread here - it is taught in science classes in about 100 schools, he estimates - has finally forced him into print.

He pulls no punches. Intelligent design is a politically sinister movement, a form of terrorism focused on public education, he argues in a new book, Unintelligent Design - Why God Isn't as Smart as She Thinks She Is. 'The means are devious, the arguments deceitful and the consequences profound.'"

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The problem with the recycled sewage plant proposed for Toowoomba is that it just would not work.

It is not possible to produce 11,000 ML of recycled water from 8,000 ML of sewage. Toowoomba City Council also had nowhere for the RO waste stream to go. Acland Coal did not want it. Singapore pumps its RO waste stream into the sea.

The plant could never have been built for $68 million - closer to $150-200 million would be more accurate when you take into account the hundreds of acres of evaporation ponds required which were not included in the budget.

Regardless of your view on recycled water use, the no vote in Toowoomba was correct because the proposal was a dud.
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