Praying to DDT for a miracle that DDT cannot work

November 11, 2007

Evolution denier Ray Bohlin is in Liberia telling the Liberians their salvation lies with DDT, at least in fighting malaria. Wholly apart from the theological problems of elevating a chlorinated hydrocarbon killer to the level of idolic deity, DDT can’t solve the many problems that conspire to keep Liberia in the grip of DDT as a killer of children and pregnant women.

What an odd conflict of faith and science. Bohlin is a Christian. His strong faith in DDT is a double puzzle.

[And, what is it with all this denial? Creationist/IDist/evolution deniers tend heavily to be HIV deniers as well, and global warming deniers — now DDT deniers? Have they all had close encounters of the third kind, too? Is it a virus? Is it a cult?]

Fighting malaria in Africa requires a concentrated, integrated plan that provides appropriate medical care to cure any human who contracts malaria, thus breaking a key link in the malaria cycle. Malaria kills children under 5 and pregnant women in larger percentages than other people. Bohlin correctly notes that malaria kills, and that the disease disrupts the nation’s economy. But his recommendation that Liberians increase DDT use, in the absence of an integrated pest management plan, is a prescription for dashed hopes at best, and disaster at worst.

Bohlin seems to urge junk science. DDT offers significant dangers, which Bohlin seems blithely to ignore.

Why won’t DDT help much in the fight against malaria?

Wholly apart from the inherent problems of DDT — mosquitoes develop immunity, or already are immune; DDT kills beneficial insect and arachnid predators of malaria vectors, so the mosquitoes come back in geometrically increased numbers; DDT kills the food fish of people who live on fish; DDT kills reptile, mammal and bird predators of mosquitoes, so the mosquito population roars back with increased killing efficiency — DDT cannot solve the other problems that play a greater role in frustrating the fight against malaria. DDT doesn’t treat the disease once humans catch it; DDT is just one, small tool to prevent infection, and perhaps not the most effective. Read the rest of this entry »

Climate hoax|hoax author speaks

November 11, 2007

He did it to expose the climate change skeptics.

Nature‘s blog has the interview, here.

Why did you decide to construct the fake website? Was it purely a joke or did you set out to make people taking your paper at face value look foolish?

Its purpose was to expose the credulity and scientific illiteracy of many of the people who call themselves climate sceptics. While dismissive of the work of the great majority of climate scientists, they will believe almost anything if it lends support to their position. Their approach to climate science is the opposite of scepticism.

Are you surprised at the pick up your coverage has generated?

Not really. Equally ridiculous claims – like those in the paper attached to the “Oregon Petition” or David Bellamy’s dodgy glacier figures – have been widely circulated and taken up by the ‘sceptic’ community. But you can explain this until you are blue in the face. To get people to sit up and listen, you have to demonstrate it. This is what I set out to do.

Still waiting for someone to back up junk science purveyor Steve Milloy’s claim that the hoax was exposed by the skeptics it was aimed at. The hoaxer doesn’t think so.

[Yeah, I know — Nature is a British publication, and they use the British spelling for “skeptic.”]

Misplaced comments on vouchers

November 11, 2007

Crooks and Liars highlighted the sore-loser comments of the pro-voucher bunch in Utah — and a bunch of people commented there. I’m sure they were planning to leave comments here, or at UtahAmicus, or Utah Teacher, or one of the other blogs that covered the issue like a blanket, but somehow they got sidetracked to Crooks and Liars. The comments are sometimes enlightening.

Eh. We probably ought to be reading C&L more anyway.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Notes from Evil Bender.

Fly your flag today: Veterans Day

November 11, 2007

Fly your U.S. flag today, to honor veterans of military service. November 11 was originally celebrated as Armistice Day after World War I’s armistice.

Veterans Administration poster for 2007 Veterans Day

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