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A Thought Experiment…

 
SaulOhio
 
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SaulOhio
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13 June 2007 06:31
 

Waltercat doubts what I said about Rachel Carson and her book “Silent Spring”.

From JunkScience.com

Rachel Carson sounded the initial alarm against DDT, but represented the science of DDT erroneously in her 1962 book Silent Spring. Carson wrote “Dr. DeWitt’s now classic experiments [on quail and pheasants] have now established the fact that exposure to DDT, even when doing no observable harm to the birds, may seriously affect reproduction. Quail into whose diet DDT was introduced throughout the breeding season survived and even produced normal numbers of fertile eggs. But few of the eggs hatched.” DeWitt’s 1956 article (in Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry) actually yielded a very different conclusion. Quail were fed 200 parts per million of DDT in all of their food throughout the breeding season. DeWitt reports that 80% of their eggs hatched, compared with the “control”” birds which hatched 83.9% of their eggs. Carson also omitted mention of DeWitt’s report that “control” pheasants hatched only 57 percent of their eggs, while those that were fed high levels of DDT in all of their food for an entire year hatched more than 80% of their eggs.

From Reason.com

To bolster her case for the dangers of DDT, Carson improperly cited cases of acute exposures to the chemical as proof of its cancer-causing ability. For example, she told the story of a woman who sprayed DDT for spiders in her basement and died a month later of leukemia. In another case, a man sprayed his office for cockroaches and a few days later was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. Today cancer specialists would dismiss out of hand the implied claims that these patients’ cancers could be traced to such specific pesticide exposures. The plain fact is that DDT has never been shown to be a human carcinogen even after four decades of intense scientific scrutiny.

Carson was also an effective popularizer of the idea that children were especially vulnerable to the carcinogenic effects of synthetic chemicals. “The situation with respect to children is even more deeply disturbing,” she wrote. “A quarter century ago, cancer in children was considered a medical rarity. Today, more American school children die of cancer than from any other disease [her emphasis].” In support of this claim, Carson reported that “twelve per cent of all deaths in children between the ages of one and fourteen are caused by cancer.”

Although it sounds alarming, Carson’s statistic is essentially meaningless unless it’s given some context, which she failed to supply. It turns out that the percentage of children dying of cancer was rising because other causes of death, such as infectious diseases, were drastically declining.

In fact, cancer rates in children have not increased, as they would have if Carson had been right that children were especially susceptible to the alleged health effects of modern chemicals. Just one rough comparison illustrates this point: In 1938 cancer killed 939 children under 14 years old out of a U.S. population of 130 million. In 1998, according to the National Cancer Institute, about 1,700 children died of cancer, out of a population of more than 280 million. In 1999 the NCI noted that “over the past 20 years, there has been relatively little change in the incidence of children diagnosed with all forms of cancer; from 13 cases per 100,000 children in 1974 to 13.2 per 100,000 children in 1995.”

http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=1796

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/edcut?pid=200380

This article is more charitable to Carson, calling her book a “mistake”, but still crediting it with killing millions: ‘Silent Spring’ killed millions health A misguided ban on ddt

And there are also still environmentalist groups opposing the use of DDT:
Silent Spring
Jason Riley | 11 May 2007
Wall Street Journal Political Diary

 
 
waltercat
 
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waltercat
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13 June 2007 06:42
 

From The Nation Articled you offered, Saul:

Elizabeth Kolbert describes the magnitude of Carson’s impact in The New Yorker, “As much as any book can, ‘Silent Spring’ changed the world by describing it. An immediate best-seller, the book launched the modern environmental movement, which, in turn, led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the passage of the Clean Air, the Clean Water, and the Endangered Species Acts, and the banning of a long list of pesticides, including dieldrin.”

But in a released statement Coburn insisted, “[Silent Spring] was the catalyst in the deadly worldwide stigmatization against insecticides, especially DDT” which is used to fight malaria. Spokesman John Hart claims that the treatment of malaria was hindered by Carson’s work: “…millions of people in the developing world died because the environmental movement, inspired by Rachel Carson, created a climate of fear and hysteria about DDT.”

But those who have studied Carson’s work know that it is Coburn who is reacting with unfounded hysteria. In a 1964 tribute/obituary in The New Yorker, E.B. White wrote that Carson “was not a fanatic or a cultist. She was not against chemicals per se. She was against the indiscriminate use of strong, enduring poisons capable of subtle, long-term damage to plants, animals, and man….”

Linda Lear, a professor at George Washington University and a biographer of Carson, said Carson never called for a complete ban on DDT. “Carson was never against the use of DDT,” Lear said. “She was against the misuse of DDT.”

And Neal Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the Audubon Naturalist Society in Maryland where Carson was a longtime board member, concurs with Lear. “Carson was not opposed to pesticide use – she was opposed to pesticide abuse,” Fitzpatrick says. “And Coburn obviously never read Silent Spring. It’s filled with examples of broad spraying of chemical poisons and the destructive impact on natural resources. Carson’s focus on the wonder of nature is a value not shared by Coburn.”

In these times, when the Bush administration muzzles scientists and caters its policies to the desires of corporate lobbyists, Rachel Carson’s commitment to truth-telling and hard work in order to care for our planet needs to be fully appreciated – and revisited.

Carson was never against the use of DDT!!!  Hmmmmmmmm…

I thought you were suggesting that she is responsible for the deaths of MILLIONS?

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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SaulOhio
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13 June 2007 06:53
 

[quote author=“waltercat”]
Carson was never against the use of DDT!!!  Hmmmmmmmm…

I thought you were suggesting that she is responsible for the deaths of MILLIONS?

She didn’t have to come out and SAY she wanted a ban on DDT. Her book was full of “evidence” that it was harmfull. Much, if not all of it, fraudulent. Or if I am willing to be charitable, mistaken. How about the information on bird eggshells? In the study she cited, the birds that were fed DDT actually ended up HATCHING MORE EGGS than the control group! 80% of the eggs of birds fed DDT hatched, and the control group hatched 57%!!!!

There’s more: Science, pesticides, and environmentalist politics
Executive Intelligence Review December 10, 1999, pp. 20-31
Dr. J. Gordon Edwards

A common misconception for many years was that DDT caused birds to produce thin-shelled or softer-shelled eggs. With so many studies proving that this charge was not true, it is amazing to see it still being repeated! ({No} confirming data are ever provided, but the naked statement is simply made, in the press, on radio, on television, and in environmental magazines!) The poultry and egg industries should have been the first place to seek the truth, but the environmentalists knew that that would destroy their eggshell propaganda. Likewise, environmental propagandists avoided the great 1949 book on the subject, by Romanoff and Romanoff, titled {The Avian Egg,} which contained all of the information needed to explain the ``thin eggshell’’ problems. A 1967 book by the same authors was {The Avian Embryo,} which provided details regarding the amount of calcium drawn from the eggshell by the developing embryo. The propagandists never cited that book, either; however, they usually collected and measured eggs {after} the embryo had removed calcium from the eggshell, for bone development.

And more from the same source:

EPA admits false allegations
  In the early 1970s, EPA released false reports to Congress about the amounts of DDT in human diets, and we wrote to object. Laurence O’Neill responded, writing: ``You are correct in stating that EPA’s DDT report erred. The correct figure should have been 15 {micrograms} per day instead of 15 {milligrams.}’’ (The average human intake at that time was about 13 milligrams {per year.}) O’Neill also stated that the human intake had dropped rapidly to 1.8 {micrograms} instead of 1.8 {milligrams} after the ban. (In other words, the daily intake had dropped from 0.015 milligrams to 0.0018 milligrams). ``We will make every effort to rectify the erroneous figures with the news media,’’ he promised. (But they did not.)
    I was making many speeches at the time, and before speaking I usually swallowed a tablespoon of DDT to get the audience’s attention. I felt safe doing that, because volunteers for Federal studies had ingested 35 mg of DDT daily for 20 months, without experiencing any adverse effects. Also, 35 workers at the Montrose DDT plant in Torrance, California had been taking in about 400 times more DDT daily than the average man, for 19 years, and not a single case of cancer developed.
    The EPA also falsely claimed, in a radio broadcast (May 15, 1975), that ``hundreds of thousands of American farm-workers are injured every year by pesticides, and hundreds of them die annually as a result.’’ When challenged by actual data, EPA meekly apologized, saying: ``We used those statements in good faith, thinking they were accurate, and they turned out not to be accurate…. They cannot possibly be substantiated’’ (UPI, May 24, 1975).

 
 
waltercat
 
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waltercat
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13 June 2007 07:10
 

From a government website (state department):

Carson article

As it turns out, the causative links between DDT and cancer asserted by Carson have proved difficult to confirm, but cancers for which a causative factor has been definitively documented, such as lung cancer and smoking, remain the exception. As for ecosystem effects, epidemiological and animal studies have confirmed links between DDT exposure and reproductive disorders, although DDT is hardly alone in this attribute; new, more sophisticated analyses have revealed that many synthetic compounds and naturally occurring compounds disrupt human endocrine function.

Insect resistance to DDT, a major problem pointed out by Carson, and often forgotten in reexaminations of her central thesis, remains a problem a half-century later, even where DDT has not been used in years. This resistance can render DDT use ineffectual, as it already did in Carson’s era for many different insect species. But then again, insects have evolved similar resistance against just about every other form of pest control, including crop rotation. And some new findings about DDT have even softened its image as the ultimate environmental pollutant; it degrades much more rapidly than expected, for example, in the warm, moist tropical environments where its use to combat malaria is most needed.

Studies have CONFIRMED links between DDT exposure and reproductive disorders.

 
 
waltercat
 
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waltercat
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13 June 2007 07:13
 

And, more importantly, concerning her message.

From the same State Department site:

Oddly enough, many people on both sides of the debate still don’t quite understand the central message of Silent Spring. Carson was no lover of mosquitoes, or of insects in general, and in fact never advocated abandoning chemical control methods. On page 12 of Silent Spring she unambiguously writes, “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 potential for harm.”

Indeed, in the context of malaria control, she argued that DDT users should “spray as little as you possibly can” rather than “spray to the limit of your capacity.”

Silent Spring was no extremist tract arguing for a chemical-free natural paradise; it was a compelling plea for “sparing, selective and intelligent use of chemicals,” as she wrote less famously in a 1963 article in Audubon magazine.

This “informed use” approach today underlies “integrated pest management” (IPM), the prevailing approach for controlling pests of all descriptions. IPM, as the name suggests, integrates a number of useful strategies — chemical, cultural, and biological — into an ecologically sound, socially acceptable, and economically viable program.

Carson’s message was one of moderation. It was hardly radical — indeed its origins date back to ancient Greece — but it should resonate today in any discussion of environmental technology. For that matter, it applies equally well to ongoing and still controversial discussions of calories and weight control.

“It is not my contention that chemical insecticides must never be used.”

How about some skepticism of your preferred sources, Paul?

 
 
eucaryote
 
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eucaryote
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13 June 2007 08:02
 

[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“eucaryote”]All creatures share this unchosen obligation to preserve and promote life with each other and as we result share an unchosen obligation toward each other…. We are all necessarily a part of the same experiment by evolution. ... The raw reasoning behind the idea of stewardship is to involve the intellect of humans with natural events in such a way as to stabilize an ecological equilibrium in which humans, as a function of intellect, are natural stabilizing component. Otherwise, it appears that our “minds” will kill us.

Human beings have an unfortunate tendency to receive too much of the data of the world through this filter of purposefulness.

Of course. But I think that you are cynically mistaking what I am saying.
Nobody is on a mission here.

I think that you are confusing purpose with utility and function. The unchosen obligations to which I refer are also non-volitional.

All creatures provide niches for other creatures either directly, or by modifying the environment in such a way as to create niches for other creatures. An example is how coral reefs and green plants pulled carbon out of the atmosphere and fixed, thereby stabilizing the oxygen content of the atomosphere along with stabilizing global temperatures. We would have already died in our own waste were it not for the organisms that process our waste. We have an unspoken obliation to the bacteria and fungi that break down our miserable bodies or we would have to grind them up and turn them into soylent green. (Of course the white man pumps his dead body full of so many “preservatives” including the embalming fluid so that no sensible bacterium would get near it.)

Our entire organism of course are ecosystem’s unto themselves. Every cell has an unchosen obligation, (if it must be put this way) to the organism as a whole. If those obligations are not met, the organism ceases to function. It is often pointed out that our mitochondria carry a sufficient complement of genetic material to code for their own replication and originally became a component of eucaryotes by forming an commensal relationship with other cells. Of course we could not live without mitochondria, though at one time, they lived without us.

In economic terms, we call these things ecosystem services. They are the services that we cannot do without and which until now we have simply exploited, just as Saul likes it. This is a dead end road.

No individual creature evolved alone. That’s what Saul thinks. That’s the world view of the cancer cell and other such maladaptive organisms.

[quote author=“Salt Creek”]Practicing scientists tend to try to minimize the amount of stuff like this that goes into an analysis (and especially into proposal writing) because the effort that goes into research is too arduous to risk not getting it published (or funded) simply because one failed to resist giving vent to one’s emotions. It’s just an occupational hazard scientists look out for.

Again, of course. I don’t think that you have to be a practicing scientist to be on the lookout for non rational interpretations of any information that you have produced.
Engineers, like myself, have it much worse, as poor interpretations of information lead to failure. Function and the obviation of failure is the whole point to engineering. We often laugh at architects who are often found “feeling” that the beam is sufficient and feeling the that heating plant will be sufficient because it fits the space they have allotted to it, etc. While engineeering involves a great deal of experienced judgement, we try not to get too attached to our ideas and don’t want to get too touchy-feely.


[quote author=“eucaryote”]All creatures share this unchosen obligation to preserve and promote life with each other and as we result share an unchosen obligation toward each other….

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all

Give me break Salty! You are going out of your way to distort my point. I didn’t bring god into it, nor did I spin anything to be “wise and wonderful”. Evolution made us all and as I pointed out above, no creature evolved alone. What we are calling an unchosen obligation is really just an unavoidable function that we provide in evolved event that is much larger than we are but on which our own life is entirely dependent.

Does your mother have any unchosen obligations to you or you to your children.
Weren’t you born with an unchosen obligation to live and not die? Don’t you now do every thing you can to preserve your own life. Don’t you do it without thinking? Do you intellectually choose to live? Don’t we rightfully see suicide as an illness?

As far as “wise and wonderful” goes, I think that what we can take from our existence here in this evolutionary experiment is that the direction of progress is to be found in anything that furthers the experiment and increases the stability and duration of the experiment. This is why creatures do create the adaptation that allows them to survive. This direction to the arrow of evolutionary progress is similar in my thoughts to the direction that the 2nd law of thermodynamics lends to the arrow of time.

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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SaulOhio
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13 June 2007 08:10
 

Does it matter what Carson intended? The facts remain that DDT is still more effective than other insecticides, and safer. Insects do eventually develop resistance to ANY insecticide. That is no reason to ban one in particular.

And so what if Carson SAID a ban was not her intention. It also remains a fact that you have not provided any evidence to dispute, that many of the things she said in her book were dead wrong. What about what I posted about the eggshell study she cited? What about what I posted about cancer rates? You are evading the evidence.

The fact remains that beforew the ban on DDT, malaria rates dropped to the single digits per year in many countries. Since the ban, malaria has returned with a vengeance.

Which is worse, certain death by malaria for millions of people, or some small risk of fertility effects on some people. Remember that entire neighborhoods in America used to be dusted with DDT, but that hasn’t appeared to have had an effect on the health of Americans. People used to be exposed to DDT on a very regular basis, for hours a day. It probably takes some very sensitive studies to find “some link” to any health problems. How strong IS that link? Those problems seem pretty small compared to malaria. Lets get our priorities straight here.

In 1948, before DDT was used, 2.3 million people in Sri Lanka were infected and 7,300 died of malaria. By 1963, after the nationwide proliferation of DDT, only seven cases of malaria were reported—and not a single death. After intensive lobbying by environmentalist groups and international organizations, Sri Lanka stopped using DDT. In 1968, it saw 2.5 million malaria cases. The numbers have fallen only slightly since, and this year (2005) is likely to see a significant spike in deaths from the disease.

Which is worse, using a pesticide that has “confirmed links” to reproductive disorders, or letting thousands of people die each year?

It may be the Carson did not intend a ban on DDT, but she could have fooled me. She made such a strong case against DDT that it WAS banned, and as I have shown, you you have not refuted, the information she presented was WRONG.

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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13 June 2007 08:13
 

More numbers on Malaria:

Death statistics for Malaria: The following are statistics from various sources about deaths and Malaria:
Malaria death statistics by worldwide region:
About 1,136,000 deaths from malaria in Africa 2002 (The World Health Report, WHO, 2004)
About 1,000 deaths from malaria in The Americas 2002 (The World Health Report, WHO, 2004)
About 65,000 deaths from malaria in South East Asia 2002 (The World Health Report, WHO, 2004)
About 2,000 deaths from malaria in Europe 2002 (The World Health Report, WHO, 2004)
About 57,000 deaths from malaria in Eastern Mediterranean 2002 (The World Health Report, WHO, 2004)
About 11,000 deaths from malaria in Western Pacific 2002 (The World Health Report, WHO, 2004)

Aren’t you a little disturbed by all these deaths? Especially when they could have been prevented?

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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13 June 2007 10:49
 

[quote author=“waltercat”][quote author=“SaulOhio”]
I know of no “wisdom of those who came before” that can refute this.

And here we have the logic of the True Believer in a nutshell:  “I’m right, you’re wrong.  That’s Final.”

No. I have presented evidence for my beliefs, in particular for the Objectivist theory of value, and you have failed to present any evidence for your belief in the intrinsic value of nature, though I have invited you to.

You really believe that Rand was the smartest person to have ever lived.

No. She WAS very smart. I have no opinion on wether she was the smartest. In fact, it is said she got angry when it was implied that she was smarter than Aristotle. She credited much of her philosophy to him. Everyone on this forum keeps misrepresenting both me and Ayn Rand. Constantly.

That there is no one who can demonstrate the poverty of her ideas.

I know of nobody who has even tried. Correct my ignorance if I am wrong.

  She is very unconvincing about value.  Most philosophers throughout history have disagreed with her.

Then, in my opinion, most philosophers are wrong. Its up to them to prove themselves right. As far as I know, they have failed.

If you don’t have an open mind (as you appear not to) you will be unable to think critically about positions that differ from Rand.

You have not offered me any other position to think critically about. The one attempt you gave to defend intrinsic value, I had already refuted before you presented it (The argument from the beauty of nature. See my post from Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:13 pm)

  She was not as bright as you want to believe.  Many more capable people had views radically opposed to hers.

That they are more capable is your opinion. Their number is irrelevant. What are their arguments? Who are they. Please tell me so I can look them up.

You need to critically confront those who disagree with Randianism.  If you don’t you are nothing but an uninformed dogmatist.

I have read a number of critiques of Rand’s ideas, many of them on this forum, and many by academic philosophers. Few of them actually argue against Rand’s actual ideas. They set up strawman arguments, misrepresent her ideas, present irrelevant arguments and evidence that don’t actually have anything to do with what Rand said. Even more common than strawman arguments are ad hominem attacks.

There are a FEW criticisms of Ayn Rand that are based on fact. I have read the accounts of both the Brandens, Barbara and Nathaniel. Both of them remain Objectivists. It is true that Ayn Rand had some serious problems, especially in her later years, but Barbara Branden in particular says that it was in the name of the very principles she learned from Rand that moved her to part company.

From Barbara Branden’s In Answer To Ayn Rand When I read The Fountainhead at the age of fifteen, I would not have believed that the day could come when I would be forced to choose between Howard Roark and Ayn Rand — to choose between loyalty to the values of justice, of self-esteem, of speaking and acting according to one’s honest judgment, which the character of Howard Roark represented to me, and the woman who taught me the importance of those concepts and whom, for most of my life, I have loved, admired and honored more than any other human being.

But I did have to face that choice, and I have chosen. My loyalty to the values I learned from Ayn Rand led me to the actions I haven taken during the past few months, and to the most painful act of my life: the writing of this paper.

So, far from being dogmatic followers of a cult leader, people like Barbara Branden and me are loyal to the ideas we have come to accept as true (in essence that is being true to ourselves), not to the person of Ayn Rand, though we do acknowledge a great debt to her.

So if you want to argue with me about Objectivism, argue the ideas, and the evidence for or against them. Stop with these childish personal attacks and other cheap, sleazy tricks.

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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SaulOhio
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13 June 2007 12:08
 

Here’s some more: http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=8379

The DDT ban was responsible for the needless deaths of tens of millions of people worldwide who died after use of the pesticide for malaria control was prohibited. Indeed, DDT had been largely responsible for reducing malaria deaths worldwide from 1,740 per million in 1930 to 480 per million in 1950 — a 70 percent decrease.

In addition to the human suffering, malaria has perpetuated poverty in Third World countries. The World Health Organization estimates that the DDT ban and the subsequent malaria epidemics have resulted in an annual loss of $12 billion among poor nations due to the loss of labor productivity and foreign investment.

In South Africa, for example, the DDT ban caused malaria cases to skyrocket from 5,000 in 1996 to 60,000 in 2001. Deaths from the disease rose from 50 to 425 during the same period. When South Africa reinstated use of DDT, malaria cases dropped 96 percent.

A measure of reason took hold within the WHO last year when the agency reversed its ban on the pesticide and began actively promoting its use to control malaria. The U.S. Agency for International Development has earmarked $1.2 billion for malaria control over the next five years.

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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13 June 2007 12:19
 

This is from the original source that I learned about the malaria epidemics caused or allowed by the DDT ban:
ECO-IMPERIALISM: Green Power - Black Death

No other chemical comes close to DDT as an affordable, effective way to repel mosquitoes from homes, exterminate any that land on walls, and disorient any that are not killed or repelled, largely eliminating their urge to bite in homes that are treated once or twice a year with tiny amounts of this miracle insecticide. For impoverished countries, many of which are struggling to rebuild economies wracked by decades of disease and civil war, cost and effectiveness are critical considerations.
Substitute pesticides are rarely appropriate. While carbamates work well, they are four to six times more expensive than DDT and must be sprayed much more often. Organophosphates are dangerous and thus not appropriate in homes. And mosquitoes have built up a huge resistance
to synthetic pyrethroids, because they are used so extensively in agriculture. For poor African, Asian and Latin American countries, cost alone can be determinative. Not only do they need their limited funds for other public health priorities, like safe drinking water, but they have minimal health and medical infrastructures. Every dollar spent trying to
control malaria is a dollar that’s unavailable for other public health needs. “DDT is long-acting; the alternatives are not,” says Professor Roberts. “DDT is cheap; the alternatives are not. End of story.”
DDT is not a panacea, nor a “super weapon” that can replace all others. Nor is it suitable in all situations. However, it is a vital weapon – often the “best available technology” – in a war that must be fought against a number of mosquito species (vectors) and constantly changing malaria parasites, in different terrains and cultures, and under a wide variety of housing and other conditions. Like any army, healthcare workers need to have access to every available weapon. To saddle them with one-size-fits-all solutions (tanks and pistols, bed nets and drug therapies) is unconscionable.

and

These are real deaths and real impacts – not just theoretical deaths, based on extrapolations from rodent studies (as in the case of Alar, the growth-regulating chemical that was the subject of a vitriolic attack and fund-raising campaign by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Fenton Communications in 1989), or hypothetical catastrophes (like flood and drought scenarios generated by certain climate change computer models). They are due in large part to near-global restrictions on the production, export and use of DDT. Originally imposed in the United States by EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus in 1972, the DDT prohibitions have been expanded and enforced by NGO pressure, coercive treaties, and threats of economic sanctions by foundations, nations and international aid agencies.
Where DDT is used, malaria deaths plummet. Where it is not used, they skyrocket. For example, in South Africa, the most developed nation on the continent, the incidence of malaria had been kept very low (below 10,000 cases annually) by the careful use of DDT. But in 1996environmentalist pressure convinced program directors to cease using DDT. One of the worst epidemics in the country’s history ensued, with almost 62,000 cases in 2000. Shortly after this peak, South Africa reintroduced DDT. In one year, malaria cases plummeted by 80 percent; in two years they were almost back to the 10,000 cases per annum level. Next door, in Mozambique, which doesn’t use DDT, malaria rates remain stratospheric.
Similar experiences have been recorded in Zambia, other African countries, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and elsewhere.

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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SaulOhio
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13 June 2007 13:03
 

And here’s an essay from my favorite Objectivist commentator on the environmental movement, on the intrinsic value of nature:
Death by Environmentalism

Here is Rauch’s own explanation for the greens’ otherwise unfathomable opposition to an “earth-friendly” technology:

“For reasons having more to do with politics than with logic, the modern environmental movement was to a large extent founded on suspicion of markets and artificial substances. Markets exploit the earth; chemicals poison it. Biotechnology touches both hot buttons. It is being pushed forward by greedy corporations, and it seems to be the very epitome of the unnatural.”

So, because of their fundamental hostility to self-interested human activity, environmentalists would much rather that we face the prospect of mass starvation than allow anyone to profit by preventing it, or use “unnatural” means to do so.

But this should not come as a shock. Starting, as they do, from the premise of nature’s intrinsic value—a value independent of any valuer or purpose—environmentalists are driven by that premise’s inescapable logic to consistently oppose every human effort to use the planet. To use the planet means to change it; and if untouched wilderness and undisturbed “ecosystems” are ends in themselves, then Man can have no moral right to feed, clothe, or house himself.

Was it eukaryote or Salt Creek that said the Objectivist theory of value assumes Man is not part of nature? Sounds like its the other way around, to me.

So far, only the most outspoken fanatics of the movement are willing to state this view so explicitly, though every day their numbers increase and their voices get louder. But the inner logic of environmentalist premises drives even the most naïve and benign among them to oppose, ever more consistently, every activity that sustains human life on the planet.

Some visitors to my ecoNOT.com Web site have expressed reservations at the harshness of my criticisms of the environmental movement. But in this article I have surveyed the actual toll in human lives from this movement’s activities. And my brief survey does not begin to measure the full magnitude of destruction and misery caused by people who should know better—and who often do.

Of course, this is only the conclusion and summary of the article. I urge people to read the whole thing, a catalogue of the death tolls of different environmentalist policies.

There is also Bidinotto’s essay “ Environmentalism or Individualism

“It is cosmically unlikely that the developed world will choose to end its orgy of fossil-energy consumption, and the Third World its suicidal consumption of landscape. Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.”—David Graber, biologist, National Park Service

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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13 June 2007 13:43
 
 
 
SaulOhio
 
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SaulOhio
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13 June 2007 14:08
 

And just in case someone thinks that, in arguing against the intrinsic theory of value, I am fighting a strawman, here is George Reisman quoting a prominent environmentalist, “David M. Graber, a research biologist with the National Park Service, in his prominently featured Los Angeles Times book review of Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature:”

“This [man’s “remaking the earth by degrees”] makes what is happening no less tragic for those of us who value wildness for its own sake, not for what value it confers upon mankind. I, for one, cannot wish upon either my children or the rest of Earth’s biota a tame planet, be it monstrous or—however unlikely—benign. McKibben is a biocentrist, and so am I. We are not interested in the utility of a particular species or free-flowing river, or ecosystem, to mankind. They have intrinsic value, more value—to me—than another human body, or a billion of them.

“Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn’t true. Somewhere along the line—at about a billion years ago, maybe half that—we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth.

“It is cosmically unlikely that the developed world will choose to end its orgy of fossil-energy consumption, and the Third World its suicidal consumption of landscape. Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.”

While Mr. Graber openly wishes for the death of a billion people, Mr. McKibben, the author he reviewed, quotes with approval John Muir’s benediction to alligators, describing it as a “good epigram” for his own, “humble approach”: “`Honorable representatives of the great saurians of older creation, may you long enjoy your lilies and rushes, and be blessed now and then with a mouthful of terror-stricken man by way of a dainty!’”

 
 
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eucaryote
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13 June 2007 17:19
 

General Westmoreland, (air force), remarking on the significantly high number of civilian casualties (B52 carpet bombing) during the Vietnam War,

“The oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as does a westerner. Life is plentiful. Life is cheap in the orient.”

The pigs after sucessfully rebelling against the farmer,

“All animals are equal except that some animals are more equal than others”

George Orwell


This is your philosophy Saul. All you and Rand were doing is justifying your selfishness, greed and need for bon bons. We don’t see any need to redefine selfishness or intrinsic value.

It is undeniable that human beings did not evolve alone. Your way is the way of the cancer cell. Pure and simple. Successful only for a few in the short term, maladaptive and fatal for the entire organism in the long term.

 
 
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