Terry Barnes: Simon Chapman defends disruptive new technology

In Wednesday’s Australian Financial Review, public health academic and media commentator Simon Chapman came out in strong support of a new, disruptive technology.

Talking to AFR journalist Jill Margo, Chapman was eager to debunk theories about this technology and claims that it leads to a ‘syndrome’, and condemned those who stood against it.

‘In a career in public health of some 40 years, I have rarely encountered the virulence and sheer nastiness that I have experienced since becoming involved in this issue,’ Chapman told Margo.

Margo’s piece goes on to say: ‘Just as health fears related to train travel and electric light faded with time, so will the fear… Chapman believes the process is already underway.’

Those with an interest in evidence-based public health commentary will be delighted with Simon Chapman’s enlightened attitude, and his keenness to embrace innovative new technologies that will improve people’s lives.  His message is this particular disruption is not only necessary, but vital.

Chapman is talking about wind turbines and wind farms.  He certainly wasn’t talking about his best-known field of tobacco control, and potential benefits that may come from the disruptive new technology of vaping.

Adopting Chapman’s words, when it comes to vaping, in my career in politics and public policy of some 30 years, I have never encountered the virulence and sheer nastiness that I have experienced since becoming involved in this issue.

It exceeds even the ugly furore over the GP co-payment, in which I was at the centre of sustained attacks from the Medicare establishment and their politician disciples like the Greens’ Richard di Natale.

And just as health fears related to train travel and electric light diminished with time, and daylight saving doesn’t fade the curtains, the growing weight of peer-reviewed research evidence indicates that, eventually, so will the fear of vaping.

Indeed, overnight the powerful British Medical Association released a position statement that shifts its policy to being cautiously positive about vaping as a smoking cessation aid and a way of smokers accessing nicotine more safely than through deadly cigarettes.

If the public health establishment is prepared to be as open-minded and objective in considering changes in tobacco control and harm reduction thinking to reduce people’s grave health risks in smoking to get their nicotine fix, in the same way as Simon Chapman advocates and defends, reasonably, wind power generation, it would be a big step forward in an important but much-maligned, public health and policy debate.

Terry Barnes is a fellow of UK free market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs. This op-ed first appeared in The Spectator (subscribe here).

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22 Responses to Terry Barnes: Simon Chapman defends disruptive new technology

  1. rickw

    In Wednesday’s Australian Financial Review, public health academic and media commentator Simon Chapman came out in strong support of a new, disruptive technology.

    How doesn’t Simon Chapman realise that firearms were the disruptive technology that brought ordinary man closer to parity of power with lords and government than anything before or since?

  2. Bruce of Newcastle

    ‘Just as health fears related to train travel and electric light faded with time, so will the fear…

    Unless you are a bird. Then the lights will go out a bit quicker as the 200 kph turbine blade turns you into mush and feathers.

  3. NuThink

    in the same way as Simon Chapman advocates and defends, reasonably, wind power generation,

    Part time power from very expensive tax payer subsidized eagle mincers that cannot reasonably support baseload power for both heavy and light industries which rely on stable and consistent power.
    The inner city is too far from reality. I was working in a third world country and someone complained that it was raining. So I asked what they would do for water if it did not rain. They pointed to the tap. Must have been a greeny.

    Or have I misread the the quote from the academic and media commentator?

  4. Aethelred

    “If it was real we would see it in Germany, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, but we tend not to.”
    “I’ve checked with colleagues in Europe and they have never heard of it. They agree people have aesthetic objections but none object on health grounds.”

    Maybe he should’ve checked with more colleagues, lots of complaints:

    https://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/energie/article137970641/Macht-der-Infraschall-von-Windkraftanlagen-krank.html

  5. The thing is, windmills and windfarms are not disruptive technology, other than disrupting reliable electricity production and supply.

  6. Mater

    From the Final Report of the Senate Select Committee on Wind Farms:

    2.21 The committee highlights the fact that Professor Chapman is not a qualified, registered nor experienced medical practitioner, psychiatrist, psychologist, acoustician, audiologist, physicist or engineer. Accordingly:

    – he has not medically assessed a single person suffering adverse health impacts from wind turbines;

    – his research work has been mainly—and perhaps solely—from an academic perspective without field studies;

    – his views have been heavily criticised by several independent medical and acoustic experts in the international community; and

    – many of his assertions do not withstand fact check analyses.

    https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Wind_Turbines/Wind_Turbines/~/media/Committees/wind_ctte/Final_Report/c02.pdf

  7. Charlie

    Disruptive technology will be finding a replacement for oil so we can stop bending over for the towelheads

  8. BoyfromTottenham

    I have no dog in this hunt, but here are a few verifiable facts – Fact: Wind turbines generate high levels of infrasound (sound or pressure waves at a frequency below the generally agreed lower frequency limit of human hearing of about 20 Hz (or cycles per second)). Fact: The various EPAs require the use of a sound level meter set in ‘A weighting’ mode for measuring the sound level emitted by wind turbines. Fact: The ‘A weighting’ mode on these meters is specifically designed to model the human ear’s response to audible sound, and therefore has a lower frequency cutoff at 20 Hz, below which it (and the human ear) cannot detect sound or pressure waves at all. Therefore the very sound level measuring device mandated by the EPA’s rules is technically incapable of detecting and measuring infrasound and will always fail to indicate that infrasound is emitted by wind turbines. Instruments that can measure infrasound accurately exist, but the EPA’s rules exclude their use. Fact: Whilst the human ear cannot ‘hear’ infrasound, the inner ear is known to be disturbed by it. Fact: The use of infrasound as a non-lethal weapon was extensively researched, and experiments carried out by the military, in several countries before, during and after WW2, because it was known to affect the inner ear and cause sea-sickness-like symptoms such as dizziness, loss of balance, disorientation and vomiting. I am no medical expert, but it would seem to follow from the above that at least some people living or working near an operating wind turbine known to be generating large amounts of infrasound would be highly likely to suffer disturbances of the inner ear, leading to the widely reported sea-sickness – like symptoms. All these facts can easily be verified by searching the Internet. One might then ask why the various EPAs have almost universally mandated that wind turbine noise must be measured by an instrument specifically adjusted to NOT measure infrasound.

  9. Bruce of Newcastle

    Disruptive technology will be finding a replacement for oil so we can stop bending over for the towelheads

    It’s called fracking, which most state governments have banned. So we now get to bend over for the Greens and the MENA men.

  10. RobK

    Wind turbines turn into monsters around the time they are in wind speeds near or exceeding their shutdown speed. A turbine in shutdown procedure is like a Formula 1 driver who has hit a baracade; there is an intense sense that the next moment will be unlike the previous. Any expert who has not stood in close proximity to a wind turbine in a storm should refrain from comment.

  11. RobK

    Disruptive technology will be finding a replacement for oil so we can stop bending over for the towelheads

    Nuclear power.

  12. Boambee John

    BoyfromTottenham at 1828

    One might then ask why the various EPAs have almost universally mandated that wind turbine noise must be measured by an instrument specifically adjusted to NOT measure infrasound.

    The equivalent would be health authorities specifically banning measurement of emphysema or lung cancer when considering the health effects of smoking.

  13. Bruce of Newcastle

    Oh well, I should be at least a bit on thread. Here are a bunch of stories on wind farm health impacts I have in my collection of bookmarks:

    + Bishop Hill blog – Windfarm noise state of play (2013)
    + 010617 New Study Sees New Health Risk To Humans From Wind Turbines “Micro-Seismicity”
    + 011014 Living close to wind farms could cause hearing damage – Telegraph
    + 031115 Greens In Denial Health Impacts From Wind Turbines Are Real – And Not “In People’s Heads”
    + 040316 German Expert Wind Turbine Infrasound Travels 25 KM…Warns Of Health Hazards…Advises Minimum 5000 Meter Distance!
    + 050316 German Medical Doctors Warn Hazards Of Wind Turbine Infrasound Are Very Real, Worse Than First Thought!
    + 120216 “Acoustic Torture” …Austrian Chamber Of Physicians Warns Of Health Hazards From Large-Size Wind Turbines
    + 190915 French farmer sues energy giant after wind turbines ‘make cows sick’ – Telegraph
    + 270415 Beleaguered Industry Wind Parks Coming Under Fire Due To Health Impacts From Infrasound…Danish Permitting Halts!
    + 311016 Wind Farms Can Cause Stress And Sleep Loss, DECC Study Finds NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
    + BMA Accused of Ignoring Health Effects of Wind Turbines (2014)
    + Irish Health Official Warns of ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’ (2014)
    + Scots to Investigate Link Between Wind Farms & Insomnia, Dizziness, & Raised Blood Pressure Following Complaints (2014)
    + Wind Turbines ‘Caused 1600 Miscarriages’ on Fur Farm (2014)

    Too many to individually link, but if anyone wants them I can do 3 per comment.

  14. Mater

    Senator John Madigan told parliament in June last year that Professor Chapman “obtained his PhD from the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, a self-proclaimed expert in marketing and public manipulation via media sources”.

    “He is a person who is not lawfully permitted to conduct any form of medical research or study in relation to human health,” ­Senator Madigan said.

    He said Professor Chapman’s undergraduate qualifications were in sociology and his PhD looked into the relationship between cigarette smoke and advertising.

    Professor Chapman told the ­recent Senate inquiry he had “a PhD in medicine and I am a fellow of the Academy of the Social ­Sciences in Australia”.

    Wiki indicates a PhD in Social Medicine.
    When discussing the physical affects on a person, perhaps we could bring in an expert in Gender Studies, too!
    As they say, when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  15. Eyrie

    Wind turbines are an old technology not used by anyone with access to a perennial stream and a water wheel. The only thing disruptive about them is the disruption to the electricity grid.

  16. Gengis

    Just thinking, It is a very hot day in Southern Australia with a strong wind blowing where Wind Turbines are at their most vulnerable. Melt down, monster fire, strong wind change. Cost $billions plus loss of life. Who pays? Progressive Greens – we didn’t know – well you do know now and that argument is not a defence in law.

  17. Leo G

    If the public health establishment is prepared to be as open-minded and objective in considering changes in tobacco control and harm reduction thinking to reduce people’s grave health risks in smoking to get their nicotine fix, in the same way as Simon Chapman advocates and defends, reasonably, wind power generation, it would be a big step forward in an important but much-maligned, public health and policy debate.

    In other words: If Simon Chapman was prepared to be as open-minded and objective in considering changes in tobacco control and harm reduction thinking to reduce people’s grave health risks in smoking to get their nicotine fix, in the same way as he advocates and defends, reasonably, wind power generation, it would be a big step forward in an important but much-maligned, public health and policy debate.
    .

  18. Howard Hill

    The thing is, windmills and windfarms are not disruptive technology

    LOL. I don’t know how you can say that with a straight face?

    Anyway. In the Soviet States of Venezstralia, Simon says!

    Oh and you can get Nicotine laden juice in many places. Works great. I haven’t given them a single RED cent of tobacco tax for a year now. If only we could somehow get everyone to do it, we’d fix those bastards in a vape :~)

  19. Nerblnob

    Disruptive technology will be finding a replacement for oil so we can stop bending over for the towelheads

    It’s called fracking, which most state governments have banned. So we now get to bend over for the Greens and the MENA men.

    USA is now numbawan oil producer thanks to shale exploitation.

    Wind turbines are an old technology not used by anyone with access to a perennial stream and a water wheel. The only thing disruptive about them is the disruption to the electricity grid.

    And the most renewable thing is their bearings.
    They have not succeeded in disrupting anything in a positive way in over forty years of public subsidy.

    If you really want disruptive technology, then stop distorting the market and stifling innovation by fixing penalties and subsidies to favour the state-chosen two, wind and solar.

  20. old bloke

    Charlie
    #2571376, posted on November 30, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Disruptive technology will be finding a replacement for oil so we can stop bending over for the towelheads

    Australia has huge quantities of oil, possibly on par with Saudi Arabia, sufficient to make us an oil exporting nation. Unfortunately it’s in South Australia.

  21. truth

    Like all on the Left, Simon Chapman has always had a problem with analogy… or pretends to have… in order to advantage himself and his dodgy campaigns.

    Those who were fearful could …back then…have avoided electric light for at least part of their day [ and saved on electricity spend ]…and train travel completely or almost.

    But a family that finds a massive wind turbine relentlessly whipping the air within hearing distance of their own home has …if affected ….and many of us know the impact is absolutely REAL…has no choice but to abandon its OWN home .

    THAT is the most hideous assault on Australian lives in order to funnel billions from the poor and middle-income earners of Australia straight into the coffers of the world’s uber-rich carpetbaggers…including the Chinese Communist dictatorship that owns a great deal of Australia’s NEM.

    It’s the heist of the millennium and the person to blame is Malcolm Turnbull who politically assassinated the democratically elected PM …surrounded himself with Greens in his PMO …hired a LW RE zealot whose policy was Labor’s EXACTLY…to head AEMO and rushed to ratify the Paris Scam …ALL in order to DO THIS…..when he must have been aware of former AEMO boss Matt Zema’s view expressed shortly before his death a few months earlier…that with the billions that were going in government subsidies to RE….hugely stepped up by Turnbull… the only possible outcome for Australia’s NEM was ‘system collapse’.
    So with that horrendous prospect…Turnbull has deliberately endangered Australia’s present and future for his own massive pulsating ego and his Global Socialism /CAGW fetish.

    I’d bet if someone asked Turnbull a question that would test his KNOWLEDGE of details of the CAGW he’s using to destroy Australia.…waffle and prolix and pompous palaver would ensue…and nothing else.

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