JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Two days to go to The Cinematic Tea Party

Not Evil Just Wrong, Documentary
Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer have made a desperately needed and polished documentary. Once again, as resistance to the one-sided coverage of the greenhouse crisis grows we can marvel at the determination of people to find a new way to spread the word that there is another side to the story. Once again, grass-roots citizens rise up to fight the witchdoctors who promise to save us from their own exaggerated threats. The indomitable human spirit shines, but sadly so does the destructive power of ideology without rational debate.

Phelim McAleer summed it up on Neil Cavuto’s “Your World“:

Environmental journalists unfortunately tend to be environmentalists rather than journalists. They have never found an environmental organization that’s ever exaggerated, that’s ever told a lie.”

A week or two ago, Phelim finally got to ask Al Gore whether he was planning to issue corrections to his documentary. (That in itself is worthy of a news conference. For four years Gore hasn’t allowed questions.) Not surprisingly Gore evaded, turns the question back on Phelim, and the episode rapidly degenerates into a farce as the Society for Environmental Journalists cuts off Phelims microphone to protect the ex-politician who is making vast sums of money off his version of the story, and who is clearly not answering the question. Accuracy, it seems, is not one of the things that Environmental Journalists admire. [See it here].

One of the best synopses of this event and the context of the movie is from the Washington Independent.[Here]

This Sunday, October 18 is the release data for this record breaking event. Click on the banner here to order your copy.

Bob Carter has written an indepth review at Quadrant.

In one of the most astonishing sequences in the film, two American women are shown berating a Ugandan mother for her wish that DDT be re-employed, in the process claiming that malaria had never occurred in the US, and therefore DDT could not have been used there either. Not Evil cuts to historical pictures during the late 1940s-1950s of vehicles spraying fog-dense clouds of DDT insecticide through American urban streets. Next, reassuringly, a US Professor of Public Health, Don Roberts, relates that these treatments stopped the transmission of malaria in the US, and produced no known later environmental consequences.

This snippet is from Bob Weeks review

An important episode in the film isn’t directly related to the global warming debate, but it serves to illustrate the ways we’ve been wrong before, and it gives us insight into one of the most visible personalities driving global warming extremism.

“Who here has played in the fog behind DDT trucks,” McElhinney asked the audience in Wichita. The widespread use of DDT led to the eradication of malaria in America and large parts of the world. But then a book — Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring — made a connection between DDT and danger to animal and human life. A worldwide ban on DDT followed, and malaria returned, especially to parts of Africa. Millions have died of malaria since then. In Uganda alone, 370 children per day die from malaria. She asked: if this was happening in Kansas, wouldn’t we do anything to stop it?

There are telling juxtapositions of comfortable wealthy Gore admiring Rachel Carsons work, interspersed with shots of toddlers stricken with malaria. You can hear what alarmist Steven Schneider said that was potent enough to invoke a legal ban from Stanford. (They banned the images, so the documentary makers used an actor to re-enact the interview.)

And Jennifer Marohasy has reviewed it too.

In the weeks and months to come as people see it, and it spreads far and wide, the fact that people outside the major news stations and production houses have gone to so much trouble to collate, edit and distribute this documentary is a telling phenomenon in itself.


There are screenings across Australia, though no official ones in Western Australia. I can’t host one on the night. I’ve met literally hundreds of sceptics in the last week (I spoke for 200 at a CNI function), I’m sure we can organize something. Email me joanne At joannenova dot com dot au if you want to hold one, or even just want to meet other sceptics in Perth.

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Two days to go to The Cinematic Tea Party, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/2crwh9s

43 comments to Two days to go to The Cinematic Tea Party

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    bigtroutz

    There has been too much misinformation concerning the history of DDT use and Rachel Carson. These fabrications are EASILY disproved with the most cursory investigation.

    1) Rachel Carson NEVER suggested that DDT NOT be used for control of insect disease vectors or banned for such useage; quite the opposite. She specifically recommended the discontinuing of DDT usage as a broacast insecticide on CROPS like cotton and forest pests, so that its continued use as a vector control agent for diseases like malaria would be effective.

    2) there is some evidence that DDT can be a carcinogin in humans, but it use was restricted in the US (to a vector control agent as needed) due to its demonstrated damaging effects on piscivorous birds like eagles and opsreys. DDT and all of its analogue organochlorine compounds do bio-accumate and to this day still persist in the environment with largely UNKNOWN effects.

    However the list of the known deleterious effects continue to INCREASE even though its use was strongly curtailed in the US.

    3) DDT is still to this day permitted to be used in the USA for vector control.

    4) total WORLD DDT usage INCREASED in the decades folowing its usage restriction in the US

    5) the USE of DDT as a vector control worldwide became increasingly INeffective due to its misuse to control crop and forestry pests, however, it is STILL used in both these functions to this day. Insects ALWAYS develop resistance to pesticides even when they are used most carefully, which was NOT the case with DDT.


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    Geo Joe

    Tis very disappointing there are no public showings in Western Australia, or at least none planned at this stage. Perhaps we could persuade the ABC to show it! (Anyone care to give me odds on that?) In the unlikely eventuality that the ABC do show it, one can only wonder how fairly Tony Jones would introduce it and the balance of the following discussion panel.


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    Denny

    Geo Joe, I agree with you on no public showings “BUT” I came across this article and posted it at GWH.com It’s free! Showing at 8pm Eastern Stardard time U.S.. Here’s the article to guide you!

    http://www.globalwarminghoax.com/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?1103.last

    I’ve signed up…I hope what they say is true…if not I will buy the DVD later..


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    kuhnkat

    bigtroutz,

    did you watch the streamed video?? They had a good chunk on DDT and other junk science!!


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    Kendra

    Does anyone know if it’s accessible after the fact (other than ordering)? I missed streaming, would have been 3 or 4 in the morning and I had no computer access anyway. Now back in civilization.


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    Anne-Kit Littler

    Hi Kendra,

    You will have to buy it from the site. It’s only US$19.95 plus postage. I bought several and have loaned it to others who couldn’t make it. I had my own small private screening but there is nothing to stop you from organising screenings at clubs, schools, community halls, movie theatres etc.

    We need to get the word out there and the film is an excellent way to do just that. It is a real eye opener for people who are unsure or just don’t know enough to have an opinion, or perhaps lean towards the prevailing alarmism because …. that’s all they hear in the mainstream media.

    It doesn’t take much to start people on their own quest for knowledge: We were at a dinner party a couple of months ago and the talk turned to climate change. The host said something like: “But isn’t it terrible about the polar bears?” When I asked if he knew that the polar bear population overall is increasing and that the main threat to polar bears is being hunted or culled – he had no idea, and you could see the relief and interest in his eyes.

    We don’t have to be “climate bores” or to know everything and be able to answer all their questions, just encourage people to look for themselves (look beyond the headlines).

    And the film is a brilliant place to start.


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    Girma

    CO2 and mean global temperature anomaly have parted company since 2005. They are moving in opposite direction. No relationship at all!

    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/compress:12/detrend:0.707/normalise/plot/esrl-co2/normalise

    AGW advocates, be quick with the tax before it is too late!


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    Steve Schapel

    Bigtroutz(#2),

    As somebody passionate about needing to fight the falsehoods and the dangers of the AGW scare, I share your concern. The simplistic, incorrect statements about DDT that I have seen and heard lately, for example from Lord Monckton, and somehow drawing parallels (or whatever they are trying to do) with AGW, does not do the skeptics’ credibility any favours.


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    Anne-Kit Littler

    bigtroutz (#2)

    You make quite a few claims about Rachel Carson and DDT in our post.

    Are you able to substantiate any of them with links/references?

    I am genuinely interested to find out, because I have heard otherwise, not just from “Not Evil Just Wrong”, btw.


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    bigtroutz

    Here you go !
    general:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT

    Rachel Carson and DDT:
    “Many critics repeatedly asserted that she was calling for the elimination of all pesticides. Yet Carson had made it clear she was not advocating the banning or complete withdrawal of helpful pesticides, but was instead encouraging responsible and carefully managed use with an awareness of the chemicals’ impact on the entire ecosystem.[51] In fact, she concludes her section on DDT in Silent Spring not by urging a total ban, but with advice for spraying as little as possible to limit the development of resistance.”[52]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Carson#Criticisms_of_environmentalism_and_DDT_restrictions

    Stockholm convention (2004)
    “Co-signatories agree to outlaw nine of the dirty dozen chemicals, limit the use of DDT to malaria control,…”
    http://www.ciel.org/Chemicals/Stockholm_DDT.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_Convention_on_Persistent_Organic_Pollutants

    DDT is still manufactured today in fairly large quantities in India, China, and other countries non-signatory to the Stockholm Convention.

    The Stockholm convention has very little to do with the non-use of DDT for Malaria control since it specifically allows such use. Look instead into the usual litany of human foibles and conditions, greed, stupidity, sloth, pride, poverty, etc.

    There is absolutely hordes of documentation on the web. Feel free to look.


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    bigtroutz

    Links for the REAL story about DDT and Malaria:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124303288779048569.html
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/16/world/africa/16malaria.html
    http://membracid.wordpress.com/2007/06/07/ddt-junk-science-malaria-and-the-attack-on-rachel-carson/
    http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/000000005591.htm
    http://www.malaria.org/DDTpage.html

    Just so you understand – i don’t like environmental extremists and those who behave as if environmentalism was a religion. And it is true, imo, that these same people act the SAME way about AGW. However, you do no service to the cause of science by promoting junk science and fabricated history concerning DDT and Rachel Carson.

    Using such tripe in the cause of anthropogenic global warming scepticism is a big mistake. AGW will eventually die from it’s own data fabrications, lies, deceit, and just plain bad science all by itself or stand on its own merits (rofl – imo its BS)


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    Anne-Kit Littler

    I’ve had a quick look at your references. I must say I don’t rate Wikipedia very highly as an unbiased reference source, and the two links you provide confirm my concern – they are highly biased in Carson’s favour.

    You say that Carson never actually advocated a total ban on DDT. This may well be true (I haven’t read her book) but – and this is a direct quote from Silent Spring, presumably in Carson’s own words (from the references in the Wiki article in your 2nd link):

    “No responsible person contends that insect-borne disease should be ignored. The question that has now urgently presented itself is whether it is either wise or responsible to attack the problem by methods that are rapidly making it worse. The world has heard much of the triumphant war against disease through the control of insect vectors of infection, but it has heard little of the other side of the story—the defeats, the short-lived triumphs that now strongly support the alarming view that the insect enemy has been made actually stronger by our efforts. Even worse, we may have destroyed our very means of fighting. (p. 266)”

    I don’t think this rates very highly as advocacy of using DDT to control malaria.

    I’m still not convinced.


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    Anne-Kit Littler

    Thanks, bigtroutz,just saw your other list of references. Will take a look at them later.


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    bigtroutz

    after poking around a bit more on the web i discovered that I am not the first nor original critic of this junk science film:

    “Not Evil, Just Wrong” is slated for release on October 18. This is the film that tried to intrude on the Rachel Carson film earlier this year, but managed to to get booked only at an elementary school in Seattle, Washington — Rachel Carson Elementary, a green school where the kids showed more sense than the film makers by voting to name the school after the famous scientist-author.

    The film is both evil and wrong.

    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/new-junk-science-movie-not-evil-just-wrong/

    “The movie’s producers get so many basic things so very wrong that it seems that they do not know the difference between truth and falsehood or don’t care.”
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/08/war_on_rachel_carson_enters_47.php#more

    whahahhhaaha — you can do better, JoNova – dump this trash.


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    bigtroutz

    Anne-Kit Littler:

    you misunderstand – i have no axe to grind on DDT use for malaria control.

    If it works, fine, use it. If it doesn’t work, fine, don’t use it.

    However, as an PhD entomologist, and Ecologist, I observe that for every action there is a reaction. Insects can develop resistance to pesticides in as little as approximately 25 generations. How long 25 generations is varies from less than a year to 25 years, depending on how long the generational life cycle of that insect is. However, insects ALWAYS develop resistance to pesticides period – ALWAYS. DDT is now at the point where it often does NOT kill the malaria vectors AT ALL but instead acts as an irritant (mosquito land, is ‘annoyed’ and takes off again)

    Furthermore, broadcast use of DDT kills insects/arthropods; insects/arthropods are bird food; dead insects feed no birds; ergo broadcast use of ddt decreases carrying capacity//bird populations even without toxic effects – this is NOT rocket science.

    You don’t like wikipedia – fine, go to the sources wikipedia uses instead – wikipedia is NOT a research outfit, merely an aggregator and I trust that biased input will generate controversy and revision in it, especially in a topic as controversial as this one.

    One of the best surveys of DDT and the hachet job on Rachel Carson I have seen today is here:
    http://membracid.wordpress.com/2007/06/29/ddt-and-attacks-on-rachel-carson-the-cliffsnote-version/

    Plenty of links to follow up on.


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    AS usual Deltoid makes no single argument or point. Is there some reason for a link to his unoriginal repetition? Deltoid can’t put a logical argument together. This time there’s nothing there even to debunk.

    And timpangos elevates himself to a similar height of rabid commentary.

    “They want to raise our taxes.” No, that’s pure, uncomposted bovine excrement.

    Righto. So we’re going to change the world’s energy source and do it for free? Why do we need to legislate that? Just tell the world… “Stop paying extra for oil and electricity! Get your cheaper energy from ….” my perpetual motion machine.

    His use of a fancy dressed version of “manure” for an argument says it all. And Deltoid thinks this is worth repeating?


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    bigtroutz

    Joanne,

    I merely posted the links as a “public service” and an alternate existing viewpoint on the film. I know nothing about Deltoid or his merry band and you apparently have encountered his blather before. I have not. I will take your word for his medacity and agree his criticism is short on specifics.

    However, anybody who has been taken in by the Rachel-Carson-caused-millions-to-die-from-Malaria bullcrap is extremely suspect since this is clearly a fabrication and most easily disproved. Simply read her book; simply observe that thousands of tons of DDT is still used each year to this day.

    Rachel Carson was a pivotal figure in raising the alarm against indescriminate and unwise use of megatons of pesticides without the slightest understanding of what the longterm effects might be. And for that she should be appreciated and cherished. Instead, she paid the price that any whistle blower pays and apparently is condemed to suffer this price for an eternity, to our shame.


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    bigtroutz

    Anne-Kit Littler:

    I just HAD to get out my copy of Silent Spring from some dusty box in the basement to do some fact checking.

    A succinct quote summarizes Rachel Carson’s viewpoint:
    “It is not my contention that chemical insecticides must never be used. I do contend that we have put poisonous and biologically potent chemicals indiscriminately into the hands of persons largely or wholly ignorant of their potentials for harm. We have subjected enormous numbers of people to contact with these poisons, without their consent and often without their knowledge….. I contend, furthermore, that we have allowed these chemicals to be used with little or no advance investigation of their effects….The public must decide whether it wishes to continue on the present road and it can do so only when in full possession of the facts.” [Page 12 - 13]

    The quote you pasted is indeed on page 266 of my 1962 edition. The quote comes from a section of the book where Ms. Carson is discussing the development of insect resistance to DDT and other pesticides due to their widespread use.

    The reference I cited in [52] (Page 275)above is at the end of her discussion of the development of insect resistance to pesticides as follows:
    “advice given in Holland by Dr. Briejer in his capacity as director of the Plant Protective Service `Practical advice should be ‘Spray as little as you possibly can ‘ rather than ‘Spray to the limit of your capacity’…Pressure on the pest population should always be as slight as possible.”
    Unfortunately, such vision has not prevailed in the corresponding agricultural services of the United States. The Department of Agriculture’s Yearbook for 1952, devoted entirely to insects, recognizes the fact that insects become resistant but says ‘More applications or greater quantities of the insecticides are needed then for adequate control.’

    Of course, Silent Spring has errors in it and cites some studies in which results were equivocal. Considering the state of science in the 1950′s, her general thesis holds up remarkably well. Her vision of how humans deal with insects is now called the science of “Integrated Pest Control” which follows everyone of her suggested precepts, and is in almost universal use.


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    Bigtroutz, yes, if resistance develops that is fast and widespread obviously the effectiveness of DDT will be reduced. Have you got any idea of numbers? Perhaps it would only have saved what (?) 1 – 10 million, and not 30.

    That’s still a big price to pay. The precautionary principle is not a “principle” but a one-sided form of fake reasoning. Back when people were considering stopping DDT use, they could also have asked, “how many people are we willing to kill”. Isn’t it “precautionary” when lives are at stake, to carefully monitor costs and benefits, and change policies as fast as possible instead of waiting 30 years?

    I followed a few links to links on the Carson DDT story. Here are someone thoughts at the time in detail from notes he kept. I don’t claim she is responsible for deaths. The policy makers who made the decisions are the ones responsible. It would seem that Carson could have been a lot more careful in her research and writing.

    http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/summ02/Carson.html

    Page 17. Carson says arsenic is a carcinogen (identified from chimney soot) and mentions a great many horrible ways in which it is violently poisonous to vertebrates. She then says (page 18): “Modern insecticides are still more deadly,” and she makes a special mention of DDT as an example.

    This implication that DDT is horribly deadly is completely false. Human volunteers have ingested as much as 35 milligrams of it a day for nearly two years and suffered no adverse affects. Millions of people have lived with DDT intimately during the mosquito spray programs and nobody even got sick as a result. The National Academy of Sciences concluded in 1965 that “in a little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million [human] deaths that would otherwise have been inevitable.” The World Health Organization stated that DDT had “killed more insects and saved more people than any other substance.”


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    Brian G Valentine

    My wife pointed out, correctly, that “environmentalists” would change their ideas about DDT preety quickly if malaria became a direct threat to them and their families.

    All their idealism would vanish right away – as already have regarding the vacuos statements compared with the behaviour of persona such as Mr Gore (etc)


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    Brian G Valentine

    Thank you by the way Joanne, for correcting the record of the actual statements of the unmitigated menace, Rachel Carson.

    Carson played upon the fears of an uneducated and superstitious public who saw “conspiracy” in the production of every man-made substance.

    Carson herself had no qualifications to assess the toxicity of anything on humans or any animals; yet she pawned her psychoses to a witting public that was apparently hungry to identify a physical basis of their existential angst.

    The so-called “Earth Day” is connected somehow with Carson. I noramlly ignore this; lately I have been given to wearing black on that day in mouring for the countless deaths her posthumous paranoid psychoses have been responsible for


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    Tel

    The reference I cited in [52] (Page 275)above is at the end of her discussion of the development of insect resistance to pesticides as follows:
    “advice given in Holland by Dr. Briejer in his capacity as director of the Plant Protective Service `Practical advice should be ‘Spray as little as you possibly can ‘ rather than ‘Spray to the limit of your capacity’…Pressure on the pest population should always be as slight as possible.”

    Presuming a belief in evolution, this is precisely the wrong approach. Spraying as little as possible ensures there will be regular survivors and their resistance will rapidly propagate into the larger gene pool. If you intend to use a direct attack such as pesticides (or antibiotics for that matter) then the best strategy is to hit a local area as hard as possible, ensuring there are no survivors (and where possible, cleanly quarantine the area you are spraying from nearby areas so there is no half/half region).

    This is the reason you are told to always finish a course of antibiotics, not because it makes you any healthier to do that, but in an attempt to mop up traces of resistance. Sadly, most antibiotic users don’t bother with following instructions and low-level antibiotics are used as feed enhancers in the livestock industry for animals that show no symptom of disease. That’s another argument for another blog I guess.

    Also, rotation of pesticide is the most common recommendation (check WHO and elsewhere). The broader range of workable alternatives you have, the better you can rotate. Thus, availability of DDT as an option in the rotation cycle improves the effectiveness of all the pesticides used in that cycle. Thus, by implication, making DDT difficult to obtain actually weakens the overall effectiveness of whatever else you have.


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    Tel

    Following from the links posted above, this link:

    http://membracid.wordpress.com/2007/06/27/this-is-why-you-need-to-keep-up-on-your-journal-reading/

    does indeed point out that many of the pesticides that Carson lobbied against got banned in the USA, including DDT. Although banned in the USA does not imply a worldwide ban, it would be naive in the extreme to pretend that this does not substantially effect worldwide availability. The entire pool of available anti-malaria options contracted as an indirect result of Carson’s work.

    It is not fair to slap the entire blame on Carson, other researchers were coming up with results such as thinning eggshells, and DDT is still to this day blamed (wrongly) for the near extinction of the eagles. Many people were involved, Carson merely became the most visible target. The real question we must ask is whether our decision making processes are sufficiently evidence based or whether we need a slower but more carefully scientific methodology. This is an issue where none of us can completely avoid taking blame because all of us are part of the process.


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    Tel

    Lionell,
    I’ve been reading up a whole range of Michael Crichton’s speeches and essays. He comes across as rather aggressive and pushy, but he did make a good effort to research his points and he presents some very solid logic.

    I think he was a bit cruel to the SETI project with his outright dismissal of alien life. We know that evolution is a remarkably general principle not tied to any particular environment and we know that the universe is very, very large (see Hubble deep field, clusters of galaxies, etc). It would require an extraordinary leap of self-centered faith to presume that intelligent life on Earth is a universally unique event. By application of Occam’s Razor, the simplest possible explanation is that the Earth is not particularly unique and that any alien life would come up against the same basic limitations that we have found — speed of light, thermodynamics, etc.

    Crichton seemed to get wound up over people speculating. I don’t believe that the existence of alien life is speculation, it is merely the most logical and simplest way to be consistent with what we already know. This is not to say I’m sure it is true, but it is a plausible result given limited information and more plausible than the alternatives.

    Crichton’s attitude toward having limited information is to ignore the matter completely. My approach would be to seek ways to collect more information and narrow down the possibilities. For example, Crichton said that SETI had not found anything for 40 years so thus it must be complete crap. My view on that is that 40 years on the cosmological timescale is essentially nothing, and after 40 years searching for something when they didn’t know what they were searching for or where to look, finding nothing was the expected outcome. But to not look, and to presume that nothing was there is wilful ignorance.

    Naturally prioritisation is important when it comes to resource allocation. Searching very hard for a low probability event is foolish if it means ignoring high probability events. That’s the advantage of a pluralist society where people can follow up the science that interests them and as a group we scan a much broader field than any individual could do (this also requires people to publish openly and not hide their data).

    Putting risk management strategies into perspective requires a two-sided analysis — what to you reasonably expect to gain out of this? vs, what is it costing to implement?

    Low probability outcomes (like the chance of finding alien life in a 40 year search, or the chance of catastrophic runaway warming being triggered by CO2) need to be allocated some resources for investigative purposes, but only proportional to the realistic benefit that will be returned from that.


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    bigtroutz

    Bigtroutz, yes, if resistance develops that is fast and widespread obviously the effectiveness of DDT will be reduced. Have you got any idea of numbers? Perhaps it would only have saved what (?) 1 – 10 million, and not 30.

    ALL insects develop resistance to pesticides to some degree since pesticides are in universal use. The higher the intensity of insecticide use, the higher the degree of pesticde resistance and the quicker it develops in populations. This is simply a result of greater selective pressure on a population. Mosquito resistance to pesticides in the tropics or in human adapted insects (eg lice) typically takes less than several years (remember the 25 generation statistic) to propagate thru an insect population. This is well known, supported by thousands of published studies and universal. more info here http://www.cdc.gov/Malaria/pdf/Brogdon_EID_1998.pdf

    Your speculation about how many people would have been saved by the use of DDT is not applicable. DDT WAS AVAILABLE AND LEGAL FOR USE in MOST of the examples cited by those who fabricate the DDT//Rachel Carson meme. I will say this again 1) DDT was and is STILL LEGAL for use against insect disease vectors in the USA and most of the REST of the WORLD. http://www.epa.gov/history/topics/ddt/02.htm DDT was and IS legal and available for use in Ceylon. DDT was and IS legal and available for use in sub-saharan africa. Rachel Carson had zero, zilch, nada to do with any supposed TOTAL BAN of DDT for use in Vector control since DDT is STILL legal for vector control in the US and most of the rest of the world. Rachel Carson NEVER suggested that a ban on DDT for vector control was needed period.

    THERE WAS AND IS NO WORLDWIDE BAN ON DDT as a vector control agent. PHEW ! Those are the FACTS.

    DDT was NOT used in many places because 1) vector insects had become resistant to DDT and it’s use was INEFFECTIVE due to vector resistance (or) 2) alternate pesticides were deemed more effective (or) 3) some government bureaucrat decided to arbitrarily be PC and disallow it’s use with funding strings 4) there was no infrastructure/funding available to allow its use or allow its effective use due to graft/greed/corruption/stupidity etc (or) a combination of 2 or more of these factors.

    I don’t follow your reasoning on the precautionary principle since it DOESN’T APPLY. DDT was used until well after Malaria was eradicated from the USA and most of the developed world. DDT was NEVER BANNED for use in vector control in the USA period. I can not comment on its banning in other developed countries but I assume either malaria is not a problem or that a similar vector control exception is likely allowed. Similarly, the UN specifically ALLOWS the use of DDT for vector control. In any case, Rachel Carson never recommended ANY pesticide be BANNED for use in vector control PERIOD.

    It would seem that Carson could have been a lot more careful in her research and writing.

    Sure, everybody can be better, however, we are all human. However, Rachel Carson never claimed to provide the research she drew upon. She was not a pesticide chemist, an entomologist, a population geneticist, an ecologist, an epidemiologist, a toxologist etc. In fact, she provided NONE of the data or studies she drew her arguments or data from. She merely popularized that information as a qualified naturalist and story teller. She drew her data, opinions, and conclusions from the scientific literature of the day just as we all do. Her accuracy or lack thereof was totally dependent on the accuracy of the scientific literature she drew from. Some was good science, some mediocre, and some incorrect, as is usual. (Rachel Carson was a marine biologist, master’s degree in zoology in June 1932 )

    She then says (page 18): “Modern insecticides are still more deadly,” and she makes a special mention of DDT as an example.

    The source for the comment above is suspect. After examining pages 17-31 in my copy of Silent Spring, I find that Rachel Carson said no such thing about DDT being still more deadly. In fact, she mentions that DDT was commonly thought to be harmless since people suffered no immediate ill-effects from exposure to DDT. Instead she discusses how DDT is taken up by fatty tissues of the human body and discusses biological amplification, all of which are factual. Her point is that DDT is a poison and that it is persistent in the human body and that “No one yet knows what the ultimate consequences may be.” [page 23] In that section she discusses the general toxicity of chlorinated hydrocarbon and organophosphate pesticides and some of these are extremely toxic to humans, eg Dieldrin, Endrin and others.

    Whenever one discusses pesticide toxicity, one must CAREFULLY discriminate about which species or groups of animals and plants the pesticide toxicity is acting upon. An insecticide like DDT may be EXTREMELY toxic on insects, other arthropods, fish, only slightly toxic, only have long-term teratogenic, mutagenic, etc effects. The term LD 50 or median lethal dose applies ONLY to the species tested and thru inference, related taxa. The DDT LD50 in non-resistant insects typically has ZERO mortality effects on mammals (well known back in 1962), however, many studies have SINCE demonstrated long term effects in humans and other mammals, which was the DDT warning issued by Rachel Carson.

    So Rachel Carson NEVER claimed that DDT posessed ANY short term lethal toxicity in humans PERIOD. Quite the opposite, she explained that DDT and its breakdown products bioaccumulate in human tissues and that LONG TERM EFFECTS were largely unknown. Rachel Carson pointed the finger at ALL synthetic pesticides commonly in use at that time, not just DDT, and demonstrated how we were poisoning not only the insect targets, ourselves but also the whole world around us.

    To recap:

    1) DDT has NEVER been banned worldwide for use in vector control (malaria)

    2) Rachel Carson specifically recommended pesticides like DDT be allowed for use in vector control.

    3) Rachel Carson PREDICTED long-term subtle toxic effects for those pesticides NOT especially toxic to humans.

    4) Rachel Carson recommended the INTELLIGENT use of pesticides to control insects as part of a systems approach to the problem.

    5) Rachel Carson sounded the alarm over general and indiscriminant broadcasting of synthetic pesticides into the envirnoment.


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    bigtroutz

    Presuming a belief in evolution, this is precisely the wrong approach. Spraying as little as possible ensures there will be regular survivors and their resistance will rapidly propagate into the larger gene pool. If you intend to use a direct attack such as pesticides (or antibiotics for that matter) then the best strategy is to hit a local area as hard as possible, ensuring there are no survivors (and where possible, cleanly quarantine the area you are spraying from nearby areas so there is no half/half region).

    Tel, this is a common fallacy and an extemely simplistic approach. ALL pesticide use MUST be considered in the light of your objective. You also misunderstand the quote, which admittedly is too abbreviated. What was meant was you use the least amount of pesticide to accomplish the desired aim.

    If your objective is to exterminate a finite known population, eg eradication of a NEW foreign insect introduction like oriental fruit fly, then YES, a heavier pesticide application could be recommended. However, that is RARELY the aim of a pest control program and in any case is IMPOSSIBLE to achieve in almost ALL but the most ideal instances. I can think of absolutely NO malaria vector control program in history that has these aims. In fact, while the disease malaria has been eradicated from the United States, potential malaria vectors are still here in the USA and doing fine, thankyouverymuch.

    In insect vector control programs, the aim is the CONTROL of disease transmission and there are ALWAYS vector populations beyond the reach of pesticide application. In other words, some of the mosquito population will not be exposed to any effect, the full effect, or will naturally be immune to the pesticide. In any cases, resistance or immunity to the pesticide WILL as you indicate, propagate through the population and THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT, since you can NOT eliminate all of the vector population.

    Secondly, there are ALWAYS cost considerations. The more area and more pesticide you use, the higher the cost. NOBODY is likely to spend mega-billions to eliminate the .000000001 percentile of a insect vector borne disease when eliminating 95% only costs millions.

    In the case of insect control on crops, the same considerations apply. No sane farmer will spray pesticdes over the entire range of an insect pest to eradicate it, since its too expensive and not feasible in any case. Instead, the farmer will ‘Spray as little as he possibly can‘ to achieve his desired aim, which is to make a profit from his crop.

    I take issue with your generalized thesis that DDT was more “difficult to get” in any generalized way. That’s just bullcrap. DDT was banned for general crop use in the USA. However, its manufacturers were specifically allowed to export DDT outside of the USA for MANY years. DDT was also manufactured in Mexico, India, China, Taiwan, and a host of other countries and many of these continue to produce and use DDT to this day.


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    Brian G Valentine

    1) DDT has NEVER been banned worldwide for use in vector control (malaria)

    Cut out the jokes, will ya?

    2) Rachel Carson specifically recommended pesticides like DDT be allowed for use in vector control.

    BWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    3) Rachel Carson PREDICTED long-term subtle toxic effects for those pesticides NOT especially toxic to humans.

    Yeah – namely death to everything

    4) Rachel Carson recommended the INTELLIGENT use of pesticides to control insects as part of a systems approach to the problem.

    It’s surprising to hear that, because Carson didn’t have an intelligent thing to say

    5) Rachel Carson sounded the alarm over general and indiscriminant broadcasting of synthetic pesticides into the envirnoment.

    She sounded an alarm all right, about how the World was coming to an end because of man-made pesticides etc.


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    Bruce

    DDT is quite a unique chemical. I did an undergraduate project on DDT while at university.

    The three dimensional shape of the molecule is related to its effectiveness as a pesticide. It has two benzene rings which form two corners of an approximate tetrahedral shape. Chemical analogues to DDT have almost no effect as a pesticide. This led to the theory that the DDT molecule acts by becoming lodged in some sort of “receptor site” in the insect. If the shape of the molecule is changed even slightly there is almost no effect as a pesticide.

    This work was done by a CSIRO scientist called George Holan in the early seventies, so would not have been known when Silent Spring was written.


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    Brian G Valentine

    Lots of derivatives of (1,1) diphenyl ethane are insecticides, such as TDE (1,1 bis (p-chloro diphenyl) 2,2 dichloro ethane), and methoxychlor (1,1 bis (p-methoxyphenyl)2,2,2 trichloroethane).

    DDT was 1st prepared in 1874, but not recognized as an insecticide until 1942.

    The first use of DDT was as a de-lousing powder to prevent the spread of typhus.

    [To hell with malaria - DDT was the greatest invention there ever was to eliminate typhoid. People in the post-modern era, with a general malaise about any chemical whatsoever, seem to forget how we got to a condition of eliminating endemic plagues.

    Or they never knew, and haven't the capacity to understand a thing.]


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    1) DDT has NEVER been banned worldwide for use in vector control (malaria)

    Whether a ban was technically worldwide or not is not that relevant. If it was stopped due to lack of foreign aid, concern about a “green image”, or pressure from NGO’s, it was still reduced or cut back or discouraged somehow. Wider DDT use is coming back see “Lifting the ban” in some parts of Africa.

    2) Rachel Carson …
    3) Rachel Carson …
    4) Rachel Carson …
    5) Rachel Carson …

    I don’t have a Rachel Carson position. She wrote a book.

    Interesting quotes here though from Steven Milloy and Dr Roger Bates.


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    Brian G Valentine

    Note that NGOs function to:

    - Collect money, from private donations and Government browbeating so they can

    - Distribute literature and lobby so they can

    - Shut down industries and collect more money as a “reward” for their efforts

    Note also that if NGOs succeed in demolishing ecomomies – then no more money for donations to NGOs and they go away!

    So in one sense I loke NGO effort, but that is really a bit too drastic method of eliminating them


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    bigtroutz

    Brian G Valentine are you the same “engineering physicist” who gave us the reviews of Piston Ring Compressor Pliers at Amazon? I thought the review of the Kastar Hand Tools 5344 3-Pc. was also well done !!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A2CWGKYB4G388/ref=cm_pdp_rev_all/188-9741963-8874111?ie=UTF8&sort_by=MostRecentReview

    and a “professor at U of Maryland” ?
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Brian_Valentine

    with scientific publications ?
    http://www.scirus.com/srsapp/search?q=%22Brian+G+Valentine%22&t=all&drill=yes&sort=0&p=0

    All I have to say to you is “read the book”. You use WAHAHAHHAHAHAHA as an argument? well done my main man !! That will convince everybody fersure. It certainly made ME change my mind and ignore the actual content in Silent Spring.

    As far as death to everything, nah! “Organophosphorus pesticides are the most important cause of severe toxicity and death from acute poisoning worldwide, with more than 200,000 deaths each year in developing countries.1″
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/334/7594/629 They certainly kills insects too (big secret for you)

    Why — that’s more than shark and bear maulings and lightning strikes combined !!!! lol

    ——————————————————————————————————-

    Joanne

    If it was stopped due to lack of foreign aid, concern about a “green image”, or pressure from NGO’s, it was still reduced or cut back or discouraged somehow.

    I am unconvinced that DDT vector control use actually ever did decline until recently. The evidence for such DDT use restrictions, at BEST, date from the ratification of the Stockholm convention in 2004. Certainly after this date, the EUROzone eco-religionists warned countries that DDT contaminated exports to the Eurozone would not be tolerated. From 1972 thru 1986, DDT was manufactured in the USA by several companies for export, as well as in many other countries. So DDT was in plentiful supply and used for vector control from 1972 through 2004 without any legal restriction in the much of the developing world. It was ONLY the use of DDT for crops in which DDT was gradually legally restricted.

    The increased use of DDT in recent years is ALSO likely a MYTH. I would have to spend some time in the library checking DDT production figures from India, and China (where exports of DDT come from these days). But i suspect this is more hype than fact.

    It seems possible the MAIN reason vector control DDT use was discontinued in certain instances from 1962 onward is that it DID NOT KILL mosquitos anymore because of the development of Anopheles spp. resistance [due to the broadcast use of DDT on crops, as Rachel Carson warned]. Pesticide resistance is thing that ALL THESE DDT//Rachel Carson junk science memes refuse to talk about. This was certainly the case in Ceylon. http://info-pollution.com/ddtban.htm


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    Brian G Valentine

    That’s me, one and the same, Bigdoofus, anonymous bigmouthbass blogger


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    Brian G Valentine

    [rephrase... request for people to use real names...]


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    Tel

    I fully accept that cost is one valid reason to limit spray quantity.

    I would ask what makes DDT expensive? There are no remaining active patents on DDT because it has been known for such a long time. It is a simple molecule and easy to manufacture. It can be stored easily and is convenient to transport.

    However, when it comes to regulation, there are permits, inspectors, forms to fill, fees to pay (no doubt some go over the counter, some go under, Magic Happens, wink wink) warning notices, safety checks, double checks, inspectors for the checks and warnings, regulations for the inspectors, and so it goes.

    The more tightly regulated the substance, the more it costs and the less available it becomes. To some extent it translates into corruption too.

    We have a parallel situation in Australia with winter backburning in the bushland. The Green lobby are highly offended if you suggest for one moment that they have outlawed hazard reduction burning. For them to actually outlaw something would imply taking an overt action and thus taking responsibility for something. Instead, we have a claim that hazard reduction is perfectly legal — you just need a permit. Private landowners are (obviously enough) never allowed to get a permit to remove trees that they might consider a fire hazard. The local Rural Fire Service are able to get permits for backburning but they find it very difficult. A burn may only commence when an alignment occurs between a whole row of government departments, from local right up to state level, any office may veto the process and then it starts again.

    You can see where this is going — difficult means expensive. The Rural Fire Service are volunteer. Suppose they get all their gear together for a day (schedule time off work, buy fuel, make lots of phonecalls, etc) then at the last minute they can’t get the go ahead and have to call it all off. This is money and time out of those people’s private pockets. Then a real bushfire comes through in the middle of summer and people die, rather than admit blame, they point the finger at Global Warming and nod sagely.

    http://membracid.wordpress.com/2007/06/27/this-is-why-you-need-to-keep-up-on-your-journal-reading/

    Follow that link (your own choice of reference material), I’ll quote from it:

    Click on the links of some of those compounds that are now banned in the US. Note how many of them we now know are deadly. Carson was ahead of her time, not an alarmist. 92% right is pretty darn good.

    That is in response to: “Silent Spring makes frequent reference to 12 pesticides then commonly used. Since then, 8 of these have been banned for use in the United States” and the “Bug Girl’s Blog” writer clearly agrees that these chemicals were banned, and also makes it clear that she believes they correctly should be banned. Maybe you should write a note on her page explaining why she is wrong.

    Thus, although each person’s interpretation of what exactly could be called a “ban” is different, we would have to at least agree that availability of many pesticides has been diminished and the difficulty (and thus cost) of making use of these tools has increased.


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    Tel

    Don’t worry, Bigmouthz, nobody’s going to bother to look up your criminal record if you use your real name on weblogs.

    Nobody cares.

    I dunno, I’ve been reading about what happened to David Bellamy when he spoke out, and the evidence suggests that people do search these message boards and construct blacklists. The Chinese government is making quite a crackdown on internet message boards so for some reason they do care. Where Chinese officials act with heavy hand, other governments are no doubt maintaining a softer touch but with equal attention. Powerful people love hanging onto power, that goes without exception.

    There is some excellent reading in the history of the English postal service and Queen Elizabeth I who was busy opening all the mail to keep track of communications between her underlings.


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    Brian G Valentine

    To maintain my credibility and my self-respect, I wouldn’t even think of writing something without appending my name to it. First and foremost, I have to live with myself – and take pride in what I say, and the consequences if any with it.

    So far, the only consequences of my authorship on this or any other weblog have been Bigmouthz’ rhetorical questioning if I am adjunct professor of engineering at U Maryland, USA (I am); and whether I wrote reviews of some automotive tools on Amazon’s web site (I did).

    These consequences are quite minimal

    (Do ya fix yer own car, Bigmouthz? If so, you get a big plus in my book, if that means anything to ya)


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    Brian, Ahhhahhhhahh as a sole argument is not one of your most erudite posts. I have edited. C’mon Brian. There are better answers.


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    Brian G Valentine

    Joanne haspolitely asked me to rephrase my statements regarding anonymity.

    Joanne Nova and her husband, append their names to everything they write and publish, in doing so stake their good reputation for standing up for the truth and all that follows from it.

    If critics of Joanne’s publications wish to have credibility amongst other readers of her publications, I would suggest that appending their correct names to their statements regarding Joanne’s work would be a good (or possibly necessary) start to approach credibility.

    Joanne began her career as educator of youth; and few people in that profession have since supported a contrarian scientific position.

    This has brought the highest regard from many academics here in the States, and critics of her work need equally strong integrity to approach credibility of their criticism


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    Steve Meikle

    It’s the wrong title.

    Some errors are plain evil, and if Gore has evaded questions and criticism he has been dishonest therefore evil.

    Ideology without rational debate is evil.

    “Not evil just wrong”?

    or

    “Dangerously wrong therefore evil”


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    Steve Meikle

    Any word about screenings of this in NZ? I will make a point of seeing it, even though i have minor reservations about the accuracy of the title


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