• Blog Stats

    • 76,905 hits
  • Archives

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 157 other followers

  • Copyright notice

    This blog entry and all other text on this blog is copyrighted, you are free to read it, discuss it with friends, co-workers and anyone else who will pay attention.

    If you want to cite this blog article or quote from it in a not for profit website or blog then please feel free to do so as long as you provide a link back to this blog article.

    If as a school teacher or university teacher you wish to use content from my blog for the education of students then you may do so as long as the teaching materials produced from my blogged writings are not distributed for profit to others. Also at University level I ask that you provide a link to my blog to the students.

    If you want to quote from this blog in an academic paper published in an academic journal then please contact me before you submit your paper to enable us to discuss the matter.

    If you wish to reuse my text in a way where you will be making a profit (however small) please contact me before you do so, and we can discuss the licensing of the content.

    If you want to contact me then please do so by e-mailing me at Chalmers University of Technology, I am quite easy to find there as I am the only person with the surname “foreman” working at Chalmers. An alternative method of contacting me is to leave a comment on a blog article. If you do not know which one to comment on then just pick one at random, please include your email in the comment so I can contact you.

Bashing an element

As a man with a PhD in phosphorus chemistry I have seen how some people associate phosphorus with death and war. Their reasoning is that because a few iconic toxins (VX, tabun, sarin and soman) contain phosphorus that all phosphorus chemistry is linked to these dealers of death.

I hold the view that this reasoning is rather silly, and is a good example of poor inductive reasoning.

How about 

1. The Hound of the Baskervilles is a dog

2. The Hound of the Baskervilles is dangerous and will chase you over the moors and kill you

……So all dogs are nasty monsters who chase you over the moors.

I am sure that you can all see that this is a very silly idea. Sadly some equally bad logic has been used by some people to demonize chemistry, chlorine and phosphorus. I would like to point out that while some phosphorus compounds are nasty, most of them are not evil monster nightmare compounds. For example DNA has phosphorus in it.

Before you say I do not like DNA as it is in GM plants I would like to point out that without DNA none of us would be alive. DNA is required for almost all life forms, the only life forms which I can think of which do not have DNA are a few viruses (such as HIV). I doubt if many of you would view HIV as your favourite life form.

But back to sarin, I would say that if sarin is used as a reason for demonizing phosphorus then it is a better reason to demonize carbon. A sarin molecule contains one phosphorus atom but it contains four carbons. So as a result it has a higher carbon content based either on mass or number of atoms. Now are “they” going to call for a ban on carbon compounds ?

Oh lets think, if they ban carbon compounds

1. No more food, all food contains carbon compounds

2. No more clothing, we will all have to become naturists that is unless you want to wear roof tiles held together with bits of chain.

3. No more computers and no more internet. All electronic equipment contains carbon compounds (plastics) so those of you who want to ban carbon compounds please stop reading now and switch off you PC/Mac.

NB It is debatable if a virus is alive or not when it is not in a host cell.

Advertisements

Go on, Have your say !

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: