C'est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons, pour nos frères, La haine à nos trousses, et la faim qui nous pousse, la misère. Il y a des pays où les gens aux creux des lits font des rêves, Ici, nous, vois-tu, nous on marche et nous on tue nous on crève.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Backpedalling of the Beclowned

Last week, Beck was all, like, the science on DDT is 'not a sturdy cornerstone of scientific truth but rather an elaborate tissue of exaggerations and lies.'

This week, Beck is all 'Where did I say that DDT is harmless?'. He's also muttering something about bald eagles, and denies having been shown any links to scientific research, despite being directed to links on this blog, to those at Lambert and Darrell, and to those of his friends at Pure Poison. As Tobias Ziegler noted on the latter blog, all of this could have been ascertained with about 5 minutes googling. Beck must have been too busy googling the latest on Jeremy Sear's grooming habits.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Beclowning Continues

My recent post looking briefly at J. F. Beck's article on DDT and Carson seems to have gotten Beck a little upset.

To recap, Beck claimed that 'In making her case against DDT Carson constructs not a sturdy cornerstone of scientific truth but rather an elaborate tissue of exaggerations and lies.'

Unfortunately for Beck, he attempts to make his case by citing two passages from Carson that don't actually have anything to do with DDT. He then goes to claim that 'no amount of DDT can cause leukemia or any other form of cancer to develop in a matter of months, if ever', and that if DDT is toxic, it is not 'acutely' so. He calls to his aid one researcher named Ames, who apparently says that 'a single cup of coffee contains more potential natural carcinogens than a human will consume of potentially carcinogenic synthetic pesticide residues in a year'.

Beck was called on this stupidity, and began backpedalling and qualifying his inane comments. He also accuses me of stupidity and relies on ad hom arguments to make his clumsy points.

Beck's obfuscation notwithstanding, the facts are clear. Beck has repeatedly lied in order to misrepresent Carson, in order for he followers to be able to demonise an environmentalist.

DDT has been linked, repeatedly, with a range of medical conditions, including forms of cancer. Evidence for this can be found in the links and comments for the previous post, all of which have been duly ignored by Beck. Over time, governments around the world have decided that the costs of DDT outweigh the benefits. (It may comfort Beck to know that its use is allowed in North Korea). The benefits are themselves over-rated, given that insects can be become resistant to the pesticide. Furthermore, concerns about DDT arose long before Carson ever wrote her book, as can be seen from this article from 1945. The article on Marxist-controlled Wikipedia has plenty of detail on the dangers and problems associated with DDT. Like his US-based namesake on Fox, Beck will no doubt prefer conspiracy theorists and smear tactics to anything like evidence.

The Ames Test, whilst legitimate, has been implicated in secret testing by tobacco companies, and is not the 'bullshit' that Beck claims. (Quiggin has links regarding other connections between DDT and Big Tobacco).

Beck tries a bait-and-switch with some irrelevant trivia about Bendiocrab. He then claims that 'No chemical insecticide is without risk – it's a matter of weighing the risks against the benefits'. It's nice for Beck to say this, but nowhere does he explain that DDT has been repeatedly shown to pose many risks. Instead, he lies and dissembles, like many of his fellow 'conservatives' on this issue, in order to smear Carson and environmentalists more generally. As I indicated earlier, it's evident that these people couldn't care less how many people in developed countries develop medical conditions through massive exposure of DDT. All that matters is scoring a cheap political point.

Finally, and bizarrely, Beck invoked one Tim Blair in his little tirade. I can't imagine why, unless, perhaps, like his comrade, Beck has been so intellectually out-gunned that he's feeling immeasurably hurt.


It turns out that Bendi... was misspelt. Beck, true to form, has been big on smear and name-calling in his responses to my posting, but very light on when it comes to actual argument. He doesn't seem to realise the extent of his backpedalling.

Beck in Quadrant:

[A] single cup of coffee contains more potential natural carcinogens than a human will consume of potentially carcinogenic synthetic pesticide residues in a year.

Beck now:

I didn't say "that a splash of ddt is safer than a morning coffee", and neither did Bruce Ames. Ames' point is that the danger to human health from pesticide residues in food is overstated.

Pathetic. Stay tuned.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Beck Beclowned

J. F. Beck, a keen stalker observer of the left, with a penchant for attacking minor publications, gets himself printed in a minor publication. (Well, not actually printed, as Quadrant probably couldn't spare the ink).

In any case, it seems that early environmentalist Rachel Carson was, like all her Green comrades, responsible for malaria deaths, and exhibited a Luddite fear of chemicals. (According to Beck, coffee is worse for you than pesticide).

Or maybe not.