How Bad Science and Emotional Appeals Spread Disinformation.
In today’s world, there is more false and misleading “information” than there is good science that is based on facts and not emotions and mythical or wishful beliefs. Much of what you see is either false or overblown. How can you know what to believe? It’s easy for me to say “Do your own research,” but that is often asking too much of most people who do not have analytical minds which have a habit of using critical thinking, much less have training in interpretation of scientific testing and results. Today’s sensational and social media agenda are often driven by emotions, ideologies, politics, commercial aims or just plain stinking thinking. The image above can help you understand factors that are important to discern fact from fiction, speculation and mythology.
Anecdotal stories do not constitute facts. Correlation does not mean causation. The flawed reasoning goes something like this: John ate a lot of apples. John got heart disease or cancer. Therefore, apples (or some chemical on them) caused John to develop heart disease or cancer. More examples of people who ate apples and got heart disease or cancer do not constitute proof that they cause disease. Correlation does not mean causation. Maybe it is just two unrelated facts that are paired for sensational effect or to intentionally mislead you.
In humans, there are a lot of lifestyle and workplace differences between people, so one factor (apple) cannot be said to be a cause of anything without taking into consideration what else could contribute or cause the effect. Other factors such as obesity, alcohol, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, sleep habits, age, heredity, other risky behavior, etc. have to be ruled out in closely controlled studies. Small numbers of examples that seem to support the premise do not constitute “clinical trials” or proof. To be statistically significant, very large numbers must be included along with control groups that do not use the suspected substance, preferably in a double blind study. (double blind means neither the subject or the person giving the substance know which are real and which are placebo so their attitude cannot affect the result.) I’m sorry, but Reader’s Digest and Facebook “statistics” are often flawed and any conclusions must be questioned and examined closely, even if it seems to come from a reliable source or even your grandmother.
It is wise to consider the source. There are powerful advocacy groups pushing agendas having nothing to do with real science or caring for your safety, which they claim. These include anti-vaxx, organic anti-modern agriculture, anti-pesticide, anti-fossil fuel, in general anti-human progress groups that influence national and international agencies to act out of a preponderance of caution. The precautionary principle, used in the European Union, stops all progress in its tracks. If a substance with no presently known safety issues may possibly, conceivably cause some unforeseen harm in the future it cannot be used. It is also unscientific because it demands proving a negative.
Word to the wise: Be cautious and suspicious of any health claim you read or hear about. There is often an agenda driven ideology or money-making scheme behind it.
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. —H. L. Menchen
If you’ve missed Calabrese’s work so far… catch up on the LNT controversy with his latest paper: “The LNT single-hit dose-response model for cancer risk assessment was conceived, formulated, and applied in a manner which is now known to have been scientifically invalid.”
by Dr. Roger Roots, Lysander Spooner University A decade ago, folks in northern states such as Minnesota, South and North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho were watching large swaths of their pine forests die off due to invasive pine beetles. The pine beetles bored beneath the bark of pine trees and introduced a fungus and…
Pundits have predicted that the next major war will be sparked over water. In Ontario just such a battle is (pardon the pun) well underway.
A couple of weeks back STT reported on the destruction of underground water supplies in Chatham-Kent: Ontario: Water, Water Everywhere – But Thanks to Wind Turbines – Not A Drop to Drink
While that story has clocked up almost 4,000 hits, it seems we only just scratched the surface.
Locals are furious, not just at the fact that once pristine water supplies have been turned to toxic sludge, they are wild at the way wind power outfits and their pet consultants are lying about the cause.
The first story goes right to the heart of that piece of wind industry spin.
Debate Continues on Water Wells and Contamination
20 February 2018
Geological engineer Maurice Dusseault wasn’t surprised to hear that Chatham-Kent water…
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How we are beating hunger in 5 graphs
It can be hard to remember that even in wealthy countries, food has not always been abundant, and in many parts of the world hunger remains a problem. Fortunately, we are making great headway towards solving it. Here are five charts summarizing the incredible progress that humanity has made against hunger.
1. According to data from the United Nations, as recently as 1992, over a quarter of the world’s population was undernourished. Since then, a dramatic decline in hunger has occurred, particularly in places like China where economic liberalization has led to rapid development. In 2015, the share of the world population suffering from undernourishment had fallen to about 18 percent, while in China it had fallen even further, to less than 10 percent.2. Not only do fewer people go hungry as a share of the population, but the total number of people suffering from hunger has also declined. Despite population growth, the number of undernourished persons has fallen from over 950 million in 1992 to about 685 million in 2015. That’s almost 270 million fewer undernourished people or a 28 percent reduction. China saw a more dramatic reduction of 51 percent. In 2015, 150 million fewer Chinese were undernourished than in 1992.3. And even those who are malnourished are less severely malnourished. The average caloric shortfall among food-deprived persons (i.e., the number of calories by which they come up short of their daily requirement) has been shrinking. In 1992, a malnourished person typically consumed around 170 fewer calories per day than they needed. In China, the malnourished consumed 190 calories less than needed, on average. By 2015, the shortfall had decreased to about 100 calories worldwide and only 85 calories in China.4. How has all of this progress been possible? In order to decrease hunger and feed a growing population, humanity has stepped up to the challenge by producing more food. The amount of food produced per person worldwide is now 20 percent greaterthan what it was back in 2005. And back in 2005 it was almost double of what it was back in 1961. Thanks to the Green Revolution and subsequent innovations, crop yields (i.e., the amount of food produced per unit of land) have also risen. By producing more food per hectare, we are able to spare more land for other uses and better preserve the environment. Consider cereal yields:5. Importantly, as the food supply has risen, the cost of food has also fallen, on average. The price index shown below has been adjusted for inflation and represents a composite of eighteen crop and livestock prices weighted by their share of global agricultural trade. Despite an uptick in food prices since 2001, the long-term trend is clearly one of decline. Today, the cost of food is less than half of what it was back in 1900.
This article first appeared in CapX.
Over 80% of infectious diseases are caused by insects and other arthropods. DDT is desperately needed in impoverished countries where insect borne diseases kill and sicken millions every year, cutting lifespans and productivity. Africa, India and South-Central Americas are most affected. This unpardonable crime amounts to continuing genocide of brown races by western powers.
Without these insect borne diseases, populations may increase at first, but better health will facilitate the building of infrastructure, agriculture and industry that can raise millions out of poverty, ignorance and hopelessness. These changes will benefit the environment, because healthy people raised above dire poverty will be able to care for their environment. Recent claims of mosquito resistance to DDT are grossly overblown and used as an excuse to prevent resumption for insect control. WHO has required proof of NO resistance for its use in an area, but that requires proving a negative, which is impossible. The aim is not to kill every mosquito, but to reduce or eliminate the transmission of malaria and other diseases between insect vectors and humans. Mosquitos emerge clean and must acquire malaria from infected people. That’s why it did not return to countries where it was eliminated. Break the cycle to end the misery.
“How much labor and waste of time these wicked insects do cause, but a ray of hope, in the use of DDT, is now held out to us.” — Out of My Life and Thought: An Autobiography, Dr. Albert Schweitzer (translated from Ma Vie et Ma Pensee)
DDT worked so well that malaria and similar diseases were eradicated in most developed countries and were near eradication in poorer countries before DDT was banned in 1972 by EPA in spite of failure to find any harm to humans or the environment by an overwhelming body of research.
“To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It has contributed to the great increase in agricultural productivity, while sparing countless humanity from a host of diseases, most notably, perhaps, scrub typhus and malaria. Indeed, it is estimated that, in little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable. Abandonment of this valuable insecticide should be undertaken only at such time and in such places as it is evident that the prospective gain to humanity exceeds the consequent losses. At this writing, all available substitutes for DDT are both more expensive per crop-year and decidedly more hazardous.”
— National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Research in the Life Sciences of the Committee on Science and Public Policy, The Life Sciences: Recent Progress and Application to Human Affairs, The World of Biological Research, Requirements for the Future (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1970), 432. (Emphasis added)
Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, was filled with lies, half-truths, misinterpretation of research results and wild speculations. Rather than being an attempt to protect humans and the environment as stated, it was really part of an effort to stop population increases in Africa, India and other impoverished countries.
“My own doubts came when DDT was introduced for civilian use. In Guyana, within two years it had almost eliminated malaria, but at the same time the birth rate had doubled. So my chief quarrel with DDT in hindsight is that it has greatly added to the population problem.”
—Alexander King, cofounder of the Club of Rome, 1990
Population Bomb by Paul Erilich (1968) was a another book based on Malthusian, (overpopulation), eugenicist, racist lies, aka propaganda.
“The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate…” — Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb, 1968
Population control groups such as the Club of Rome, supported by charitable foundations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, continue to spread the myth of overpopulation. Many rural areas have too few healthy people to build roads, other infrastructure and industry.
In 1972 DDT was banned by US EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence presented at hearings that refuted claims of harm by activist groups such as Environmental Defense Fund and Audubon Society.
“DDT is not a carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic hazard to man. The uses under regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on fresh water fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife…and…there is a present need for essential uses of DDT.” — EPA Administrative Law Judge Edmund Sweeney, after months of hearings, “In the Matter of Stevens Industries, Inc., et al., L.F. & R. Docket Nos. 63, et al.). Hearing Examiner’s Recommended Findings, Conclusions, and Orders, April 1972.” (40 CFR 164.32). (Consolidated DDT Hearings) As summarized in Barrons, May 1, 1972
Note that this case was brought on behalf of the Environmental Defense Fund, an advocacy group that opposed any use of modern fertilizers and pesticides as harmful to the environment, regardless of evidence to the contrary.
Beginning in the 1970’s, US AID, UN WHO, UNESCO and the World Bank have pressured leaders of poor countries to discontinue DDT as a prerequisite to receiving essential aid. This continues to the present with exception of WHO recently allowing limited spraying of interior walls in selected areas.
Although DDT is the most studied pesticide on the planet, it is still listed as an environmental toxin and possible carcinogen because the EPA listing has not been changed, in spite of all of the studies that failed to find harmful effects on humans or the environment. It is much safer and more economical than any of the proposed replacements.
Verifying the Claims of Silent Spring
None of Rachel Carson’s “facts” about environmental and human harm were true. Most of the facts below, except where noted, are from “DDT: A Study in Scientific Fraud,” by J. Gordon Edwards, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 9 Number 3 Fall 2004. (See link below)
Dr. Edwards examined each of Silent Spring’s claims and found them wrong and possibly fraudulent.
Not one person has been harmed or died from DDT.
- The only death associated with DDT was a 3 yr. old child that drank a solution of DDT in kerosene, which is a hydrocarbon known to be toxic.
- J. Gordon Edwards was a Ph.D. entomologist who sometimes ate a spoonful of DDT powder at his lectures as a demonstration of its safety. He suffered no significant ill effects and died of a heart attack at age 84 while hiking in the Rockies.
DDT is not carcinogenic, mutagenic or teratogenic
- “Workers in the Montrose Chemical Company had 1,300 man-years of exposure, and there was never any case of cancer during 19 years of continuous exposure to about 17mg/man/day.”
- “Concerns were sometimes raised about possible carcinogenic effects of DDT, but instead its metabolites were often found to be anti-carcinogenic, significantly reducing tumors in rats.”
- Expected rise in leukemia in children and breast cancer years later in girls exposed during puberty never happened.
Bird deaths, thin egg shells and buildup in the environment have proven to be false.
- Bird deaths at the University of Michigan, cited by Carson, were not from DDT, but were probably from soil fungicide containing mercury. In later tests, mercury was found in the soil and earthworms there. Other areas did not experience bird deaths from spraying of DDT. Carson’s Source was: Bird Mortality in the Dutch elm disease program in Michigan, Bulletin 41, Cranebrook Institute of Science by George John Wallace; Walter P Nickell; Richard F Bernard
- According to Audubon Society Annual Christmas Bird Counts, bird populations actually increased during the thirty years of DDT use. Numbers rose from 90 birds seen per observer in 1941 to 971 birds seen per observer in 1960.
- The eggshell thinning studies cited by Carson could not be replicated and had actually reduced dietary calcium, needed to build egg shells, of experimental birds to get that result.
- Museum specimens compared to wild population eggs may have led to false claims of thinning because the museums used the best specimens available; natural variability in the wild may have been interpreted as thinning. “the whole idea that pesticides are concentrated as one moves up the food chain, which is crucial to Carson’s arguments about distant and delayed effects, has become increasingly dubious in the years that followed” (Fleming, New Conservation Movement, 31). Source: Reading Rachel Carson by Charles T. Rubin
- DDT is not metabolized by birds and is rapidly excreted in their droppings.
- “The counts of raptorial birds migrating over Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, indicated that there were many more hawks there during the “DDT years” than previously. The numbers counted there increased from 9,291 in 1946 (before much DDT was used) to 13,616 in 1963 and 29,765 in 1968, after 15 years of heavy DDT use.”
Aquatic life has not been harmed by DDT; it is practically insoluble in water, with only 1.2 parts per billion at saturation.
- A study cited by Carson claimed 500 ppb DDT in seawater inhibited photosynthesis and killed algae. The problem with this study is that alcohol was added to the tank to dissolve the DDT in the water. Alcohol alone would do that.
- The assumption of persistence of DDT in seawater for decades was also challenged. Tests showed DDT and its metabolites disappeared in as few as 38 days.
See “DDT: A Study in Scientific Fraud,” by J. Gordon Edwards, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 9 Number 3 Fall 2004. On the web at:
See also “The Truth about DDT and Silent Spring” by Robert Zubrin, adapted from Robert Zubrin’s Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism, published in 2012, in New Atlantis Books series. On the web at: