Ugh. He’s back. In a way, it’s actually quite a flattering indication that I must be having an effect with my little campaign to point out the (many) inaccuracies in the “DDT is safe, Rachel Carson is the AntiChrist” campaign. I’ve been singled out for not one, but TWO posts on how wrong I am. Exciting, since the other person so honored is Deltoid at Not bad company!

It is annoying, though, to have someone quote-mine you, and accuse you of lying and all sorts of other silly things. (Especially when your Real Life is going crazy. Don’t Even Ask about the software launch. It went even worse than I’d feared.)

The part that is most amusing about this, though, is that Mr. Beck has a link to this on his website: World Swim Against Malaria. And the money generated by this event? It goes to buy BED NETS. Not insecticide sprayers, or DDT. Bed nets, that are treated with insecticides, and that work really well, if you can get them to enough of the population. And, if you don’t use DDT and cause the mosquitoes that you’re fighting with the bednets to become cross-resistant.
Recently published example:

“Unfortunately, the knock-down resistance (kdr) gene conferring cross resistance to pyrethroids and DDT has become widespread in anopheline mosquitoes in Africa [2-5]. This resistance may represent a threat to the future success of malaria vector control programmes, based on insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS). “

I encourage you to support the swim charity, or one of the many other groups fighting Malaria with proven science, not rhetorical nit-picking and nasty personal attacks on a dead woman. (Or a living one, for that matter!)

(BTW, World Swim is registered with Guidestar, and I Looked over their US tax forms–curiously lacking details, so I can’t verify much, but certainly the officers weren’t paid. World Swim isn’t ranked on Charity Navigator, which gave AMREF top marks.)

Posted by Gwen Pearson

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


  1. Fascinating, even IF DDT were safe, its not like anyone would ever in their right mind sit outside in a flowery meadow and down a spoonful of the stuff right?

    Seriously, I had always thought this debate was over years ago aside from a few industry insiders accusing scientists of the usual fear-mongering. Damn you data!!

  2. It’s amazing to me that it’s so widespread. And that so much of it is directed at Carson, and so very nasty!

    I guess it’s part of the narrative that there has to be a villain.

  3. I remember some years ago reading some propaganda from the little known Lyndon Larouche presidential campaign, from other students on campus at UC-Davis (via his “Youth Movement”, sound familiar?). He sounded pretty great but had pretty f’ed up views of things when you probed deeper.

    He founded and prints the magazine 21st Century Science & Technology. I found an issue once at a Borders in CA and bought it because it had some interesting history of science articles. But I should have looked further in the magazine because it was really just propaganda for smart and perfect Larouche was. Anyways this article was printed in it. The cartoons of a little girl dancing in a field with a mosquito is timeless… as are the links at the bottom Carson’s lies.

    I was an ecology major at UC-Davis, so was familiar with Carson beforehand and can’t believe how they can victimize a single person like that, even if she was the public figurehead for synthesizing all the science that clearly pointed to the harmful effects of poisoning our environment!

  4. […] makers and concerned citizens will notice that in these releases are direct refutations of claims made by pseudo-science […]

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