Letter to the Editor

Circus, not debate

Los OsosMarch 21, 2014 

On March 12, I attended “Pandora’s Promise” at Cal Poly — a “documentary” with panel discussion and Q&A after. I would describe the experience as more of attending a circus than a scholarly debate. This “documentary” was a thinly disguised advertisement for the nuclear power industry.

Panelist and the film’s star Michael Shellenberger was more interested in hearing himself expound his pro-nuke beliefs than in answering audience questions. The moderator (and Cal Poly engineering dean) seemed most interested in limiting audience questions and “getting us out by 10.”

Panelist Gordon Thompson’s responses were lackluster and uninspiring. One wonders why he agreed to be part of this event at all? My question about the future development of new fuels to replace problem fuels (oil, gas, nukes) and help reverse global warming went unanswered, like many other questions.

Were our questions not worthy of thoughtful responses? As an audience with a nuclear power plant in our backyards, we deserved more. Maybe my real question should have been: “Who paid to make ‘Pandora’s Promise’?” or “Why did Cal Poly Arts sponsor this event?”

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