Humble Response to the “No Evidence that Fracking Fluid is Harmful” Crowd

Posted on September 6, 2014

Consider the following:  a man complains that his drinking water smells like oil and the fumes coming from his faucet can literally be lit on fire.  As soon as it is reported, the disapprovers come out of the woodwork with several fallacious and immaterial statements.  Has common sense really taken a sabbatical in the United States?  Okay, I am not going to argue the science, because people who live their lives “inside the bubble” aren’t impressed with science.  Instead, let’s boil it down to nothing more than good ole fashioned common sense.

Crazy Statement No. 1:

“Plenty of articles have been written which disprove that fracking fluid is bad.  In fact, just watch the movie ‘Frack Nation’ which explains it all.”

Common Sense Response:

Not surprisingly, when you have the billions of dollars that the oil magnate Koch brothers have, hiring a film crew to preach your own version of the gospel isn’t that hard.  But even more to the point is this little factoid:  Movies do not always equal reality.  Giving credence to a position merely because you saw it on Netflix is silly—nay, asinine.  Now, excuse me while I go prepare for the arrival of ET.  And, for what it’s worth, have you seen the movie Gasland?  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Crazy Statement No. 2:

“The guy just wants money and will file a frivolous lawsuit.”

Common Sense Response:

I don’t know if he will sue or not, but he is a fool if he doesn’t.  Go find a private corner someplace where no one from FOX News can hear you and honestly ask yourself if you wouldn’t also sue if your kids were bathing in petroleum laced water, which has also significantly de-valued the homestead that has been in your family for centuries.  Yes, you would—and you should!  Claiming otherwise is disingenuous.  Oh, and for the record—such a lawsuit would be incredibly merit based—not frivolous.

Crazy Statement No. 3:

“There is no evidence that ground-injected fracking fluid actually leaks into our drinking water.”

Common Sense Response:

No evidence?  How about the guy’s flaming water faucet!  Get real—choosing to ignore the evidence is not the same thing as evidence not existing.

Crazy Statement No. 4:

“Even if fracking fluid did leak into our drinking water, there is no evidence that it is harmful to humans.”

Common Sense Response:

Really?  This is almost laughable, but since it has actually been uttered, we will tackle it with common sense.  The time tested adage goes like this: Absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence.  Now, let’s apply it.

For many years it was claimed that Japan had sent mini submarines toward Pearl Harbor to sink American ships on that fateful day.  Yet, for decades no submarine remains had been found.  Those who were light on common sense (think, “I can see Russia from my kitchen window”) stupidly proclaimed that since we hadn’t found any mini sub remains, it is clear that it never happened.  Then, of course, the subs were found.  These naysayers looked silly because they didn’t follow the old adage—absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence.  The religious surely know this.  Lacking tangible evidence of God’s existence notwithstanding, the devout are quick to say that this proves nothing—and they are right.  Not that God exists (necessarily), but that the lack evidence proves absolutely nothing.

But I feel compelled to make this argument even simpler.  Strictly from a common sense approach, should we allow an encroachment into our property and bodies merely because there is no evidence of harm?  Consider this:  You are at a restaurant and the waiter pours your 4-year old daughter a glass of bottled water.  Just before she takes a sip, the waiter leans over and squirts a foul smelling solution into the glass, explaining that it is only fracking fluid.  Do you stop her from drinking it?  Heck yes!  Is your mind changed when the waiter says “but there is NO EVIDENCE that it causes harm.”  Who cares!  You aren’t going to take the risk and I don’t blame you.  Err on the side of safety, not stupidity.  The only way you are allowed to make the statement “even if fracking fluid did leak into our drinking water, there is no evidence that it is harmful to humans,” is if you would let your daughter drink that glass of tainted water.  After all, being wrong about mini submarines is one thing, but risking your daughter’s safety is something altogether different.  What possible motivation do you have for letting your daughter drink it—or for that matter—for siding with big oil against your neighbor who finds himself with contaminated water?  Hmmm.  I can only think of a couple of reasons.  Can you tell what I am thinking?

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