OMG. I was thinking I had time to polish up my DDT/Malaria debunking post that I’ve been whittling at for a week now, and I see that this piece of shit has moved to #3 on the most popular list for the New York Times. Sheesh. This article was written by a guy who, in his own words, says “John Tierney always wanted to be a scientist but went into journalism because its peer-review process was a great deal easier to sneak through.”
Clearly we see the evidence for his peer review disdain in this article.

My only consolation comes from the fact that some of the comments pick up on what I immediately saw–not only did it rely on false arguments about DDT, but the author relied heavily on data from 1962. Seriously.

This comment on the article says it best:

“As a historian of science and an educator who assigns “Silent Spring” and its contemporary critics, I find this blog entry and the longer “Findings” column fascinating. It’s one thing to ask how well specific claims in Carson’s synthesis of the relevant research has held up over the last 40-odd years. It’s quite another to assert by omission that no research in all that time has supported Carson’s actual thesis: that broadly biocidal chemicals should not be carelessly introduced into the ecosystem by people (farmers and homeowners, for instance) who cannot possibly be expected to understand the risks and consequences…..Priscilla Coit Murphy’s “What a Book Can Do” is an excellent account of the writing of “Silent Spring.” It shows, through excerpts of Carson’s correspondence with her publishers and agent, at what pains she was to belabor the point that she was not calling for a ban on DDT or any other substance, but merely something less than the absolutely unregulated and indiscriminate use of pesticides as encouraged by financially interested parties. I recommend it to Mr. Tierney as soon as he finishes reading the original book.” — Matthew Lavine

Oh, and one of the “further reading” articles on the NYT website is the junkscience Larouche site with the bogus death counter.

*beats head on desk*

Once again, Deltoid beats me to the punch with an EXCELLENT detailed analysis of what’s wrong with Tierny’s article. Thank you math man!

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. Omigawd! BugGirl, you REALLY need to post a Coffee-Spew warning at the beginnings of some of these — please, Save the Macs!

  2. Mel Visser, you have now posted the same comment 3 times at this site. In one case, it was clearly cut and paste.
    It looks more like trolling for your site than actual contribution to the discussion. Therefore, I’m removing this content.
    However, you are most welcome to post NEW material in comments.

  3. sorry, that was me posting for my father, Mel. He is speaking at the IJC and i tried to copy the response he sent me in the email. My bad. Didn’t realize it was posted in another location.

    P. Visser

  4. John Tierney always wanted to be a scientist but went into journalism because its peer-review process was a great deal easier to sneak through.

    A remark that speaks volumes about why the current state of journalism is so poor. It’s no surprise to me that the NYT would link to a bogus science web site given that sort of attitude. Besides, we have to present both sides of every issue. It’s not our fault that we give equal time to something supported by 99.9% of the people actually doing research in the field and something proposed by a retired UPS delivery guy.

  5. There are proof to show that the LaRouche organization is right on that, you’re just not intellectually honest to admit it.

    Have you ever searched for William Ruckelshaus?

  6. Full page article in today’s NYT from a ‘Malaria’ coalition of big pharma, tobacco, and petroleum companies. Yes, it’s a full court press, Tierney was just an early distraction to tire out the scientists who comment on BS, before the corporations come out under their own names with their “look, over THERE, that’s the problem, not us ….” advertising.

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