Friday, November 30, 2012

“In effect, then, this effort to eliminate DDT pays Ethiopia about $10 for each dead Ethiopian.”

Commentor anonymous disagrees with me on many things, and calls me a "pathological liar".


Moi, your humble blogger, a compulsive perfidious scamp? How so?

Egnor asserted that there was a worldwide DDT ban. There wasn't. Egnor asserted that U.S. relief agencies wouldn't provide aid to countries that used DDT, that was a lie. Egnor's lies concerning science and policy are so common that it is harder to find the true statements than the lies.

Now of course DDT isn't banned by statute in every country on earth. Yet an effective ban for much of the developing world need not be statuatory. DDT is legally banned in much of the developed West, of course. Note that environmentalists only banned DDT in their own countries after malaria eradication.

There is intense Western pressure on Third World nations suffering from endemic malaria to ban DDT use, in some cases involving statutory bans enacted via environmentalist lobbying, in some cases imposed by funding agencies, in some cases involving heavy political and ideological pressure, and in some cases involving-- well-- blackmail ('You're still using DDT? That's a nice children's anti-hunger program ya' got there. Shame if something happened to it').

The DDT ban in some nations is de jure and in some nations is de facto. The ban has been remarkably effective, as the sharp rise in malaria mortality worldwide since 1970 will attest.

Malaria death rates worldwide in the 20th century. The top line includes sub-Saharan Africa. The bottom line excludes it.  Note that the sub-Saharan death rate alone is even higher than the top (worldwide) graph. DDT was first widely used in the 1940's. The highly successful campaign to ban DDT worldwide began in 1970.

Discover the Networks helps clear up any misunderstanding:

This is a story of triumph and tragedy. The triumph occurred in the middle part of the 20th century, when the larger part of mankind finally succeeded in overcoming the ravages of malaria, the deadly infectious disease that had afflicted the human race since the dawn of time (and which, by one estimate, had killed approximately half the people who had ever lived on earth). But within three decades, the triumph would give way to tragedy when leftist ideologues, professing concern for the integrity of the natural environment, collaborated to ban the use of the pesticide best known by the acronym DDT—the very substance that had made it possible to vanquish malaria from vast portions of the globe. By means of that ban, environmentalists effectively ensured that, over the course of the ensuing 30+ years, more than 50 million people would die needlessly of a disease that was entirely preventable...

Wherever DDT was used in significant quantities, the incidence of malaria declined precipitously. In South America, for example, malaria cases fell by 33 percent between 1942 and 1946. In 1948, there was not a single malaria-related death in all of Italy. After DDT was sprayed widely in India’s Kanara district (where some 50,000 people had typically contracted malaria in any given year during the pre-DDT era), the number of newly diagnosed malaria cases dwindled to about 1,500 per year by the late 1940s—a 97 percent decrease. Throughout the entire Indian nation, the number of malaria cases fell from about 75 million in 1951 to 50,000 in 1961. In Sri Lanka, DDT spraying was initiated in 1946, at which time approximately 3 million new cases of malaria were being diagnosed each year. By 1956, that figure had fallen to 7,300; eight years after that, in 1964, a mere 29 Sri Lankans contracted malaria.
Encouraged by DDT’s unmatched success in killing the carriers of infectious disease, in May 1955 the World Health Organization, at its Eighth World Health Assembly, initiated a Global Malaria Eradication Campaign (GMEC). Funded mostly by the U.S. government, the GMEC focused heavily on the use of DDT as a means of combating malaria in North America, southern Europe, the Caribbean, and much of eastern and southern Asia. By 1961, malaria had been nearly eliminated from each of those regions. In South Africa, malaria rates plummeted by 80 percent in just 18 months as a result of spraying small amounts of DDT on the walls and eaves of traditional mud and thatch huts twice a year. Similarly, the incidence of malaria declined by 60 percent in Ecuador and by 90 percent in Madagascar.
DDT use reached its zenith in 1962, when a total of 80 million kilograms of the pesticide were used around the world. The National Academy of Sciences summarized the efficacy of DDT as follows: 
“To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It is estimated that, in little more than two decades DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths, due to malaria, that would otherwise have been inevitable.”...
Tragically, however, this confidence would be derailed by a series of events that were triggered initially by the September 1962 publication of biologist/zoologist Rachel Carson’s bestselling book, Silent Spring, which warned of the dangers that DDT allegedly posed to all manner of plant, animal, and human life. These threats were so great, said Carson, that on balance they more than negated whatever benefits were to be gained from using the pesticide to prevent malaria...
Also echoing Carson’s nightmarish prognostications was the biologist Paul Ehrlich, who wrote:
“The Department of Health, Education and Welfare announced studies which showed unequivocally that increasing death rates from hypertension, cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, and a series of other diseases has resulted from the chlorinated hydrocarbon load. They estimated that Americans born since 1946 [when DDT usage was becoming widespread] now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and predicted that if current patterns continued, this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out.”...

Notwithstanding... DDT’s unparalleled effectiveness in combating malaria, the Green lobby—led by such stalwarts as the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Physicians for Social Responsibility—waged a tireless campaign aimed at banning the pesticide not only in the U.S. but everywhere on earth, all in the professed interest of protecting the natural environment.

The World Wildlife Fund, for instance, identified DDT as part of a “cocktail of highly toxic chemicals” by which animals and people could become “contaminated.” Greenpeace warned that “measurable quantities” of DDT and its metabolite DDE “are present” in human fatty tissue, blood and breast milk, and that “[r]esearchers think DDE could be inhibiting lactation because of its estrogen-like effects and may therefore be contributing to lactation failure throughout the world”. Physicians for Social Responsibility, urging “holistic” alternatives to DDT, announced that studies “suggest that DDE and possibly other organochlorines can weaken the immune systems of children, increasing their risk of developing asthma and certain infections.
Insisting that DDT could be replaced by alternative pesticides and by procedures such as “integrated vector management” (treating, with “environmentally sensitive” pesticides, the water sources where mosquitoes breed), environmentalists pressured countries around the globe to discontinue their use of DDT and to cut off government funding for DDT projects.
The environmentalists were joined in this effort by such entities as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the European Union, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Environment Program, and UNICEF. These aid bureaucrats warned impoverished countries whose populations were at high risk of contracting malaria, that if they continued to use DDT as the lynchpin of their anti-malaria programs, grants to their governments would be withheld.
Additional support for the environmentalist crusade against DDT came from a coterie of powerful and immensely wealthy leftist foundations, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Turner Foundation, and the Heinz family philanthropies. Like the aid bureaucrats listed in the preceding paragraph, these foundations threatened to withdraw their grants to impoverished nations if their governments were unwilling to forego the use of DDT.
Only a few nations—among them Ecuador, Mexico, and South Africa—possessed the financial resources necessary to fund their own DDT programs without the help of the aforementioned foundations and organizations. And for as long as they continued to use DDT, they remained malaria-free.
Eventually, however, a number of these nations bowed to pressures from the environmental lobby. In the 1990s, for instance, the Clinton Administration stipulated that the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement would be contingent upon Mexico’s willingness to stop its production of DDT. When Mexico ultimately agreed to abandon its DDT programs, its malaria rates increased exponentially.
South Africa, like Mexico, was able to resist the mounting pressures of the environmental lobby until 1996, at which time its Department of Health (DOH) finally relented; this DOH decision to comply with environmentalist demands was greatly influenced by the United Nations, which was threatening to cut off funding for the country’s public-health programs.
Shortly after South Africa had discontinued its use of DDT and replaced it with synthetic pyrethroid insecticides, a highly efficient malaria vector, Anopheles funestus (which had been completely eradicated from the country in the 1970s), reappeared. Within just a few years, the incidence of malaria nationwide increased more than tenfold (from 6,000 cases in 1995, to 62,000 cases in 2000). Desperate to scale back this re-emerging crisis, the South African government resumed its use of DDT in 2001 (disregarding UN warnings against such a course of action), and within months the malaria rate dropped by four-fifths.
In other nations, too, mosquitoes that previously had been vanquished by DDT quickly developed resistance to alternative pesticides; vector-management efforts failed dismally wherever they were tried. When Bolivia, for instance, yielded to international pressure and banned the use of DDT in favor of bed nets and other measures, its infection rate soared by 80 percent between 1993 and 2005. Zanzibar, Sri Lanka and other countries had similar experiences. 
Notwithstanding the mountains of evidence demonstrating that there were no effective alternatives to DDT for controlling the spread of malaria, the environmental lobby continued to call for the pesticide to be outlawed everywhere in the world. UNICEF and USAID, for instance, made their loans to Eritrea—where malaria was responsible for 50 percent of all deaths—contingent upon that nation's pledge to use the money not for DDT projects but rather for insecticide-treated bed nets, “environmental assessments,” and other “effective alternative[s]” to DDT that “could be used safely” under strict World Health Organization protocols.
Supporting this approach, the World Bank likewise demanded that Eritrea discontinue its use of DDT entirely, in favor of “chemicals or techniques that are safer for the environment and human health.” As a result of these restrictions, malaria retained its status as Eritrea's leading cause of death.
Similarly, the Canadian government gave Ethiopia (where nearly 150,000 people were dying of malaria each year) $1.5 million to fund a “national implementation plan” compliant with the International Stockholm Convention resolution to eliminate “persistent organic pollutants” such as DDT. But this plan proved to be entirely ineffective, and Ethiopians continued to die of malaria in enormous numbers. As journalist Paul Driessen aptly put it: “In effect, then, this effort to eliminate DDT pays Ethiopia about $10 for each dead Ethiopian.”
In February 2005 the European Union (EU) warned Uganda (where up to 100,000 people were dying of malaria each year) that EU member nations would stop importing Ugandan fish, flowers and cereals if that African country were to implement a DDT program to combat the disease.
Citing environmental concerns, USAID announced that it would only promote DDT as a “measure of last resort”—a position that, according to Roger Bate (co-founder of Africa Fighting Malaria), gave the agency “carte blanche never to support” the pesticide, since it could “always claim that other methods of malaria control [had] not yet been tried.” Bate elaborated:
“While some misplaced concern for the environment and human health may be part of USAID’s reasons for refusal to fund IRS, the more significant reason is likely to be the vested interests that influence its spending plans. In 2004, USAID’s budget for malaria control stood at around ... $80 million. However, the agency provides no documentation that it spends a single cent buying either insecticides or effective artemsinin drugs for malaria control. The vast majority of the agency’s budget is directed towards US-based consultants who ‘advise’ malaria control programs and conduct nebulous projects that have no clear deliverables. USAID, like most other donor agencies, is far more comfortable directing its funding to its own consultants, rather than the departments of health in the countries they are supposed to be assisting.”

The history of the fanatical environmentalist campaign to ban DDT reads like a criminal indictment.

The DDT ban--- de jure and de facto-- is the holy grail of the environmental movement. Yet when environmentalists who have been legislating, bullying, bribing, coercing, deceiving, threatening and blackmailing any poor country that dares use DDT to protect its citizens from insect-borne diseases are called out on their remarkably successful half-century crusade to ban DDT-- a ban they feverishly continue to pursue...

(Reuters) - The United Nations announced a plan Wednesday to rid the world by around 2020 of DDT, an outlawed toxic crop pesticide still used to spray homes to fight malaria-spreading mosquitoes.

 ... environmentalists scream 'Ban? What ban? You're a pathological liar!'

Decide for yourself who is the liar.


  1. You are a liar. Instead of parroting exclusively propaganda from right-wing extremists like Horowitz, an honest person (which you aren't) would also look into the merits of opposing viewpoints. Such as this.

    1. So every fact in this essay is a lie?

    2. That's an interesting retort. So you will only repudiate something if it is a 100% lie? And if it is only a 90% lie, or even 50%, it is OK?

      Some twisted logic, Egnor.


    3. Hoo, maybe you should start by demonstrating one lie. Then we might be able to find 1% falsehood. We aren't even to that point yet.

      Hoo, are you in any way related to Boo?


    4. You are a very astute observer, Joey.

      No, no relation.


    5. Was that your demonstration, Dr Science?

    6. No, just a casual remark, Mr. Administrator Emeritus.

      Excellent question, though.


    7. Indeed it was. My pleasure.

      And by the way... it's not emeritus, it's an endowed chair.

    8. I stand in awe.


  2. Michael,

    As usual, you're wrong. The facts don't back you up. The graph you've included shows a sustained and impressive decrease in malaria deaths in most of the world (outside of subsaharan Africa), with no rebound at any time corresponding to your supposed 'banning' of DDT.

    Subsaharan Africa was never included in the '60s malaria eradication program (it was thought too difficult, owing to the poor infrastructure). Malaria deaths can't increase due to discontinuation of a DDT based malaria control program if the DDT based malaria control program hadn't been instituted in the first place.

    The increase in malaria deaths in subsaharan Africa after 1970 was probably due to independence and the consequent upheaval due to civil wars.

    DDT has been banned in widespread spraying in agriculture. The property that makes it so valuable in malaria control (its long term persistence on the internal surfaces of human habitation -discouraging mosquitoes from entering houses, though not killing them) makes it problematic with the much larger amounts used in agriculture.

    Rachel Carson got things wrong. She thought DDT was carcinogenic, and the cause of lung cancer and childhood malignancies. She ignored the toxicity of pesticides DDT was replacing, which were often arsenic based. She had the idea that there was no safe level of exposure, even a single molecule of DDT could be dangerous.

    But she did exclude the role of DDT in infection control in her call for a ban (albeit in passing and too briefly). DDT in agriculture should continue to be banned. But in a targeted infection control program, such as with malaria, in the much smaller amounts sprayed, it's ideal.

    1. Why did malaria deaths repeatedly increase in countries in which it was banned, and decrease when DDT was resumed? Why do environmentalists continue to impose malaria eradication when they know it markedly increases deaths? Why do they threaten poor countries who use it?

    2. Michael,

      The graph you've included disproves your claim. If you want to provide further evidence, then do so.

      And anyway, the malaria control program of the '60s was based on the idea that if all human cases of malaria could be found and aggressively treated and transmission of malaria by mosquitoes could be stopped with spraying with DDT for a period of 4 years, then malaria would be largely eradicated and the subsequent rare case of malaria could be easily managed by the healthcare system of the concerned country.

      So the American Congress generously funded the program in 1958, for a period of 4 years. And funding ran out, as planned, in 1963. Why it wasn't renewed is perhaps a mystery. Perhaps it was thought a total success, and malaria had been eradicated. Or perhaps Congress had other concerns in 1963 and forgot to renew it.

      Your second last sentence is mangled 'Why do environmentalists continue to impose malaria eradication when they know it markedly increases deaths?' What did you mean to write? And anyway, it should be 'some environmentalists'. It never happens that you'll get all environmentalists agreeing on anything.

    3. It was a typo.
      Should read:

      Why did malaria deaths repeatedly increase in countries in which it was banned, and decrease when DDT was resumed? Why do environmentalists continue to impose DDT eradication when they know it markedly increases deaths? Why do they threaten poor countries who use it?

    4. Michael,

      And the first sentence of your comment is wrong. DDT wasn't banned in malaria prone countries. It continued to be used in large amounts in agriculture. It's just that the malaria control programs were discontinued prematurely. Because they were thought to be a success. And they were very expensive to run. DDT is cheap. Having people get access to all the houses in remote inaccessible areas and finding and treating carriers of malaria is very expensive. Particularly when poor countries are able to afford just cents per day per person for all healthcare.

    5. Michael,

      Your amendment makes sense, sort of, not in fact but in sense. 'DDT eradication' is a funny way of expressing 'DDT banning'.

      But anyway, you haven't addressed my comments. A typical Egnor tactic.

    6. So, Egnor's attempt to refute the assertion that he lies is to . . . post a collection of more lies.

      Good job Egnor. You keep finding a lower place to go when everyone else would have hit bottom.

  3. "Commentor anonymous disagrees with me on many things, and calls me a "pathological liar"."

    Of course, when "liberals" and other leftists call a conservative person a "pathological liar", all they really mean is "Waaa! No fair spreading truths about leftism that we want to shove down the memory-hole."

    1. llion,

      Actually, the problem with conservatives is that they tend to score low on openness to new ideas. They tend to see the world in black and white, without nuances.

      Sometimes it's an advantage. Sometimes it's a disadvantage. Chamberlain was a sort of liberal, trying to see Hitler's viewpoint. Churchill was the classic conservative, realizing that Hitler was evil incarnate. And he was right.

      Michael is conservative in asserting that DDT in all its use was safe and a boon. A liberal might say that DDT in agriculture is bad, but very good in malaria control.

    2. Just the opposite, Bachfiend. Liberals cringe at the thought of DDT. Conservatives understand that it serves a useful purpose, for malaria control. It is conservatives, not liberals, who possess the nuanced understanding required to see that DDT is not an unmitigated evil.

      --Francisca S.

    3. Francesca, you are a hilarious nutter. I do not, repeat, not consider DDT "an unmitigated evil." And I am a liberal. There goes your theory. LOL

      I also cringe at the thought of grocery shopping. It does not mean, however, that I do not do grocery shopping. So I can do nuance, you see.

      Welcome to a morning of astonishing discoveries, my girl!


    4. "Liberals" do not have a nuanced enough worldview to distinguish between disapproving of homosexuality and hating gay people. They are two very different things and yet the ideology of the Left blinds them to the distinction. They can't see the difference between disapproval and hate on the one hand, and a behavior and its practitioner on the other.

      This "nuanced worldview" that you "liberals" possess exists mostly in your own mind. It's one more reason for you to give yourselves a pat on the back.


    5. Tell me, TRISH, do I do nuance on the DDT or is it just "in my own mind?"


    6. Francisca,

      I'm a liberal too, sort of going on libertarian. DDT in agriculture bad. DDT in disease control good. Nuanced enough for you?

    7. Trish,

      So if I hate Christianity but like Christians, that's not nuanced for you?

    8. I don't understand, "Do I do nuance."

      If we're all in agreement that DDT is a valuable tool in the fight against malaria, why then is its use being curtailed? Where is the controversy, if nuanced "liberals" and non-nuanced conservatives agree on this point?

      I was responding to Bachfiend's broad assertions of what distinguishes a supposed liberal from a conservative. He's mentioned this before, citing some psychological test. It's science, you see! It's been proven. It's as if it never occurred to him that his psychological test might be tainted by cultural biases.


    9. @Bachfiend: If you DISAPPROVE of Christianity but don't hate Christians, I can see the difference.

      But you don't merely disapprove, you hate.

      Disapprove all you want, just don't trample on my rights or expect that you can live in some God-free zone.

      I disapprove of divorce, except under a few very stringent conditions. I do not "hate" divorced people. I disapprove of premarital sex, I do no "hate" people who engage in it. I disapprove of stealing, I do not "hate" thieves. I disapprove of drunkenness, I do not "hate" drinkers. These are all very simple concepts that so-called liberals seem to understand until it comes to people sleep with other people of the same sex. And then they think that two men sodomizing each other is comparable to...RACE?!!! Yes, as stupid as it sounds, they do. Disapproving of homosexuality is, in their very unnuanced minds, the same thing as hating black people.


    10. You're a libertarian, Bachfiend? So you're against the federal government's contraception mandate? You oppose governmental control of health care? You support the right to bear arms? You think people should be bale to keep more of what they earn?


    11. I'm open to new ideas. When a new idea comes along, I consider it, evaluate it on its merits, and then accept or reject it.

      Liberals come up with some pretty stupid ones, and because I reject them, after considering them, they think that I didn't actually consider it in the first place. That's their problem for not understanding, not mine.

      Yo, TRISH: I agree, there is a huge difference between disapproval of a behavior and hating those who participate in it. People who can't see this difference need some nuance in their lives. A few years ago, my best friend from growing up told me that he'd had a party at his house and ending up sleeping with a woman who was married. He knew she was married and thought it was kind of thrilling. He was my best friend before, he's my best friend now, and yet I can't condone that. It's wrong. I don't "hate" him for his actions, I merely disapprove.


    12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    13. oleg,

      Welcome back!

    14. There’s a big difference between disapproving of gay marriage, and disapproving of gay marriage and taking steps to limit the liberty of gay people. You may disapprove of divorse, premarital sex, and drinking, but there’s no big push to make any of those practices illegal. Nobody fighting against gay marriage “merely disapproves”, they are taking political action that causes harm to people intentionally and unnecessarily. I can see why some people would think that is hateful.


    15. That's a very different question you're answering, KW. No one, by the way, is taking steps to limit the liberty of homosexuals.

      But my point remains. Disapproval is not hate, and the a behavior is not the same as the practitioner of the behavior. A person with a nuanced worldview should be able to discern these key distinctions. They aren't difficult.

      "Nobody fighting against gay marriage “merely disapproves”, they are taking political action that causes harm to people intentionally and unnecessarily."

      No, they are not. No one is being harmed.

      "I can see why some people would think that is hateful."

      Because you lack the nuanced worldview to see the two key distinctions. Now, will you please admit that disapproving homosexuality is not the same thing as hating gay people? If it is, then I guess disapproving of stealing is the same as hating thieves. And since there is a push to keep that behavior illegal, that must be hate.


    16. KW hates polygamists. He doesn't merely disapprove of their practices, he wants to make keep them illegal.

      Nobody fighting against [polygamy] “merely disapproves”, they are taking political action that causes harm to people intentionally and unnecessarily. I can see why some people would think that is hateful.


    17. I said I was against drunkenness not drinking. I drink on occasion too.


    18. Trish, The difference between gay marriage and polygamy is that nobody is harmed by gay marriage. You live in Massachusetts, so you know as well as I do that Gay marriage has zero effect on people who are not gay married or easily riled bigots. Polygamy in contrast has negative consequences that are easy to see and that we can all pretty much agree on. (Don’t waste your breath making the argument that I can’t logically support gay marriage and deny polygamy. They’re apples and oranges.)

      So do tell. What is the compelling reason for not allowing gay people to marry? As far as I’m concerned the increased liberty to for gay people pursue happiness far outweighs any of the negative arguments I’ve heard. Denying people the right to marry because your god says so isn’t a valid reason to deny rights to people who don’t share your religious views.

      I’m not saying you personally hate gays, but you are undeniably on the side of people who hate gays when it comes to attempts to denying gay rights. I’m sorry you feel lumped-in with the bigots, but for supporters of gay marriage, your actions don’t differentiate you from them. Hateful is what hateful does.


  4. Discover the Networks is a highly partisan organization and I would take anything it writes with a grain of salt.

    Here is a much more level perspective on the historic use of DDT and the current programs, directly from MDs working in public health. Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) for Indoor Residual Spraying in Africa: How Can It Be Used for Malaria Control? S. Sadasivaiah, Y. Tozan, and J. G. Breman, Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 77 (6 Suppl.) 249 (2007). PMID 18165500.

    An excerpt:

    In 1955, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the Global Malaria Eradication Campaign based on the periodic use of IRS with DDT for 3–5 years to interrupt malaria transmission. This time-limited attack phase would have been followed by active case detection and surveillance to prevent disease propagation. Weak healthcare systems, insufficient administrative, operational, and technical capacity, and public reaction to spraying were the major factors contributing to the demise of national eradication programs. However, it was the development of Anopheline resistance to DDT that was primarily responsible for the dwindling political and financial support for the global campaign. The eradication period ended in 1969, and the eradication strategy was replaced by a longer-term disease control strategy as part of the growing primary healthcare movement of the 1970s.


    1. Hoo:

      The primary benefit from DDT is its extremely effective residual irritant property when sprayed in dwellings. It doesn't kill the mosquitoes-- it's a weak toxicant--it keeps them out of people's houses.

      Toxicant resistance does not translate to residual irritant resistance, so the resistance argument is bullshit.

      DDT remains extraordinarily effective in protecting people from malaria. And you scum are trying like hell to ban it.

    2. Me? Ban it? Evidence, or GTFO.


    3. Your cronies have been feverishly trying to ban it for 50 years.

      I haven't heard a word from you in protest.

      Just like eugenicists. When the shit came down, everybody denied ever being a eugenicist. "Who, us".

      Turn on the light, and you leftie cockroaches scamper.

    4. I denounce Day's views on vaccines, as I understand them. Although vaccine hysteria is predominately a leftist gig, it can afflict the right. I do believe that we must use caution with vaccinations, but I am unaware of great risks or conspiracies, and there is enormous good done.

      Now you can denounce the environmentalists.

      And I do find it funny that you get huffy because I called you names. You accept policies that kill millions of innocents in the Third World, but you get upset with being called names.

    5. I denounce overzealous environmentalists who dont know what they are talking about. Like Greenpeace. Or people who harras medical researchers working with animals.

      So, we're even. Fuck off one more time.


    6. You denounced overzealous environmentalists, who killed 50 million innocent people. Good. Now try doing it without my asking.

      Builds integrity, a little bit at a time.

    7. Can't. You've asked me. You'll have to unask me first.

      In fact, I already did above and beyond what you asked of me.

      Now go ahead and denounce more stupid right-wingers.



    8. DDT remains extraordinarily effective in protecting people from malaria.

      When used in vector control interior spraying. And that has never been banned, or even suggested as something that should be banned.

      Here's a questionf ro you: if using DDT would have prevented all those malaria deaths that you claim it would have prevented, why did malaria cases in India rise sharply when they were increasing the volume of DDT they used?

  5. Meanwhile, the nutter known as Vox Day rails against vaccinations, alleging some wild government conspiracies along the way. Does anyone think Egnor would find that deplorable? I don't.


  6. Its funny, the thread starts off about DDT usage, and ends up right where just about every other thread on this blog does: 'The 'Leftists' all do this, the conservatives all do that.'

    And Egnor didnt let me down with another reference to Eugenics

    1. Mulder:

      Any reply to the substance of my post?

      Do you support the campaign to ban DDT, which has been a holy grail of the left for 50 years?

      Has the left made any mistakes here?

    2. Who the hell is "the left"? They sound like the imaginary enemies of Egnor paranoid fantasies. Do they have black helicopters?

    3. Anon,
      "Do they have black helicopters?"
      I have no idea.
      But, we do :)

    4. Is there no such thing as the Left?

      Not only does the Left exist but one of their most cherished tactics is to dismiss all others as paranoid tin foil hat loonies.

      If you don't believe that any such thing as the Left exists, let me help you with some links:

      I have included links for: the political Left, left-wing nationalism, the Christian Left, the Jewish Left, the Socialist Left (Australia), The Left "Die Linke" (Germany), the Green Left, the American Left, and the British Left.

      Now do you believe that there's such thing as the Left? There's also such thing as the Right.


    5. The political left obviously exists. I was talking about the entity Michael calls "the Left", which sounds like an evil worldwide conspiracy.

  7. Bach,
    You feel you're moving towards libertarian?
    Interesting. Good!
    That is where I sit politically, myself. So do most of my colleagues.
    No wonder we never agree :P
    I would consider myself socially conservative to a degree, but politically I am definitely off the chart all together. I refuse to compartmentalize myself with one brand or another.

  8. Oleg,
    Good to see your tag. Hope all is well.

  9. Michael,

    When are you going to admit you are wrong regarding DDT?. And that your sole evidence that the 'banning' of DDT (it wasn't banned) caused increased deaths, the graph of malaria deaths over time, actually disproves your case.

    The graph clearly shows malaria deaths steadily and progressively decreasing to negligible levels in non-subsaharan countries, without any spikes due to possible 'banning' of DDT.

    It's only when subsaharan Africa is added that malaria deaths appear to increase after 1970.

    And subsaharan Africa was never included in the malaria control programs of the '60s. It was considered too difficult. The infrastructure was inadequate to get access to affected areas.

    An increase in malaria deaths can't be blamed on the discontinuation of a DDT based malaria control program when the DDT based malaria control program wasn't instituted there in the first place.

    Simple logic.

    1. (Sounds of crickets chirping...)

      Since you haven't responded, I take it that this means that you at least concede that you're mistaken about DDT, even if not admitting that you're a liar?

  10. No, I'm on call for the weekend and I'm busy.

    My post made scores of factual claims that if true indict the anti-DDT movement in a very serious way.

    Your response is some bullshit about malaria in sub-Saharan Africa that is gibberish. In my modest post there is discussion of South Africa's quite successful DDT program in the late 1950's, and of Madagascar's program. Both were sub-Saharan Africa when I last looked.

    You have a bizarre tic of ignoring the mass of evidence I present in a post, and focusing on some quirky small point.

    What do you think about all of the people who died in all of those countries when DDT use was discontinued, and the death rate plummeted when DDT use resumed?

    Do you care?

    1. Michael,

      I do care. But your argument was that 'banning' DDT (it wasn't banned) caused the deaths of 50 million people.

      And as your proof you provided a graph showing worldwide deaths over the past century, with the caption claiming that the campaign to ban DDT started in 1970.

      If you ignore subsaharan Africa, malaria control is a success. The mortality rate has plummeted. It's only when you add subsaharan Africa does the death rate due to malaria increase after 1970.

      And my comment stands; increased deaths can't be due to cessation of a DDT based malaria control program when the DDT based malaria control program wasn't instituted there in the first place.

      Ok; when countries stop a malaria control program, cases of malaria and deaths will go up. And when they restart it, cases of malaria and deaths will go down. If malaria is still there in the community, or able to be reintroduced.

      But that definitely doesn't mean that DDT was banned (your claim). Malaria control is an expensive business for poor countries, which they often neglect with all their other seemingly more pressing problems.

      Subsaharan Africa generally means equatorial Africa - countries like Zaire. There are reasons why the malaria deaths are increasing there. You're putting your explanation on one; DDT has been banned for malaria control. Which it hasn't.

      Other possibilities. Perhaps malaria cases and deaths weren't being diagnosed and recorded back in the '60s, and since then the statistics have become progressively better (an apparent increase only). Or the demographics have changed. The world's population has doubled since 1960. If the same has happened in subsaharan Africa, then perhaps people are being forced to move closer to swamps and other mosquito infested areas. Or perhaps there are a higher proportion of young children, more susceptible to dying from malaria, because other diseases such as measles are controlled.

      Poor people get malaria and malaria makes people poor. Perhaps, there's increasing malnutrition in groups of subsaharan Africa making them more susceptible to dying? Or the civil wars since the '60s has disrupted the healthcare systems of the affected countries? Or the increasing resistance of falciparum to chloroquine has made treatment less likely to succeed?

      One unique factor in subsaharan Africa is the epidemic of HIV. Malaria with HIV is lethal.

    2. (continued)

      I expect that DDT will continue to be banned in agriculture. The property that makes it so valuable in malaria control, its persistence, makes it a no-no in widespread use.

      I also expect that when international bodies, such as WHO, reconsider DDT, its use in internal spraying of houses in malarial areas will continue to be allowed. Because there are no alternatives as good as DDT and there are unlikely to ever be. Because chemical companies are only interested in researching pesticides usable in agriculture, which is where the profits lie.

      Again. DDT hasn't been banned in malaria control. All your arguments are just reinforcing this very point.

    3. There has been extraordinary coercion used to force nations to stop using DDT. It has killed tens of millions of people, and enviros like you keep doing it.

      Conclusion: you don't give a shit, and care more about your ideological junk science (DDT is no where near as dangerous as you have made it out to be) than you do about the lives of vulnerable people.

      Given your views on global warming, population control, and abortion, it's no surprise.

    4. Michael,

      OK, global warming is happening. We don't know what the results will be. A larger population does create problems. If we are lucky, the global population will stabilize at 9 billion in 2050, which means we will need 30% more energy, food and fresh water, at least, just to maintain the current situation with 1 billion undernourished and 1.5 billion having no access to electricity. Abortion should be of last resort, voluntary and by choice, within limits. It should be rare.

      DDT is safe and effective in the limited amounts it is used in in internal spaying of houses for malaria control. Are there safer and more effective methods? You're a medical practitioner. Therapeutic trials aim at finding better treatments, often to replace accepted therapies. And often the new therapies are worse, and as a result cause more morbidity and mortality. Increased deaths.

      It's a very difficult ethical problem. At least in medicine, we have the illusion of 'informed consent'. How do you, ethically, get the consent of whole populations to trying other malaria control methods? I don't have an answer. I don't think anyone does.

      You put the graph into your 'essay' thinking that it supports your argument. So did the authors of the source from which it came. It doesn't, and actually disproves the argument. Your ability to distinguish reliable sources and interpret the information contained is extremely suspect.

      You've started out with your conclusion and just gone looking for sources confirming your beliefs. Why don't you comment on the sources provided by your detractors?

    5. [OK, global warming is happening. We don't know what the results will be]

      No. Global warming isn't happening. The MET Office released data showing no warming for the past 15 years, despite an increase in CO2. You guys need to coordinate better on your lies.

      [If we are lucky, the global population will stabilize at 9 billion in 2050, which means we will need 30% more energy, food and fresh water, at least, just to maintain the current situation with 1 billion undernourished and 1.5 billion having no access to electricity.]

      The greatest increase in human well-being in history occurred during the past 50 years, which saw an enormous population increase. You really need to give up the Malthus crap.

      [DDT is safe and effective in the limited amounts...] DDT is safe in all amounts. It is only dangerous if a barrel of it falls on you. Your war against it is a crime against humanity.

      [Why don't you comment on the sources provided by your detractors?] The same reason that Holocaust historians don't comment on sources provided by Holocaust deniers. There is no actual debate about the basic facts: DDT is the cornerstone of prevention of insect-born diseases, and environmental fanatics have employed junk science to fight a war against DDT for 50 years. Tens of millions of people have died because of this, and the culprits have not an ounce of shame.

    6. Michael,

      Global warming is happening. You're confusing 'noise' with 'signal'.

      The population growth of the past 50 years has resulted in the present situation. 1 billion undernourished and 1.5 billion without electricity. So with another 2 billion?

      Another approach to DDT - its half life in the environment is about 11 years. That's what persistent means. It takes about 6 half lives to reach its plateau level in the environment if used in constant amounts. If used in agriculture at a constant rate of 30 tonnes per year starting in 1950, we'd reach plateau levels in 2020 and know the results.

      As an internal spray, it also disperses to the environment. So if you started spraying internal walls worldwide at a constant rate in 1980, the plateau would be reached in 2050, but at a much lower concentration, because much lower amounts are used.

      I think that will be safe. Some environmentalists don't. I think they're wrong. Ideally, we would want an insecticide which isn't so persistent - perhaps one with a half life of a year.

      Internal walls need to be resprayed 6 monthly because the DDT disperses. Just because we think that DDT has no effect on us, doesn't mean it isn't dangerous to other species. Remember Diclofenac - an anti inflammatory which was used in India in cattle. Entirely safe for cattle and humans. But absolutely toxic to vultures feasting on cow carcasses if the animals had been given it shortly before death, causing a collapse in the vulture population. Well, who cares about vultures? It caused a plague of semiwild feral dogs which transmitted rabies to humans.

      Unintended and unpredictable consequences. Do we actually know the eventual results of DDT? I'm not so certain.

    7. And you're wrong. Holocaust historians do address the arguments of Holocaust deniers. I've got a number of books doing just that.

    8. I accept your analogy. I'll get to work on addressing the DDT-ban holocaust deniers' arguments.

    9. [Unintended and unpredictable consequences. Do we actually know the eventual results of DDT? I'm not so certain.]

      DDT was used by the millions of tons during the mid-20th century. No harm to any human was ever documented, and the "harm" to anything other than disease-carrying insects is dubious at best.

      We don't know the "eventual results" of countless natural and synthetic things. We do know the eventual harm of malaria that is not eradicated by pesticides-- 50 million dead innocents, and counting.

      Not that you would count that as "harm".

    10. Michael,

      You're incredible! And I don't mean that in a nice way. You're the 'teleological evolutionist' who believes everything evolves to fill a purpose and that God maintains the existence of everything in the Universe from moment to moment.

      So God evolved Plasmodium sp to kill humans and mosquitoes to spread it, for unknown reasons. Or to allow Christians to work at their theodicy.

      I'm a materialist. I think everything evolves to fill a niche, and when the niche disappears or changes, the species goes extinct or evolves.

      No harm to other than disease carrying insects? What about bees?

      And again, we don't know the long term effects of man made chemicals. DDT is of worry because it is persistent, with a half life of around 11 years. It will take around 6 half lives or around 70 years for it to disappear. Ideally we want pesticides with a much shorter half life, so that if they do turn out to be causing harm, it's only of short duration.

      I agree; if 50 million people died because of avoidance of DDT, then that's not just 'harm', it's a tragedy. But I don't see the evidence supporting that assertion. The graph you published showed malaria mortality almost disappearing in all countries, subsaharan Africa excluded. And there are many reasons why malaria control in subsaharan Africa has failed. Mainly because there's no endpoint with malaria control ie eradication, unlike smallpox, which was eradicated, at great risk to the medical workers who showed great courage in vaccinating people in civil war afflicted regions.

      I won't call you a pathological liar. As a pathologist, I think pathology is useful. But you are a liar, and a misinformed one too. You're just improving your egnorance, sorry - ignorance- in the sources you read.

    11. Christians struggle with understanding evil in God's creation. Atheists have no ground to ask the question-- from an evolutionary standpoint, malaria that kills your competitors is a big win for you. If atheism and Darwinism were true, you would be celebrating your evolutionary victory every time some unrelated innocent dies.

      Regarding DDT and malaria, your only rhetorical hope is to quibble over minutiae. The real issue is obvious-- we were almost there on the eradication of malaria worldwide in the 1960's, when you enviro loons declared war on the main factor in that eradication-- DDT. You have continued that war relentlessly, and death rates rose to a million or two per year, occurring precisely when you began the war.

      The appropriate response from a greenie should be "Oh my goodness. We did something really horrible and got carried away with our ideology and killed millions of people. Please forgive us and let us help make up for this atrocity".

      We'll never hear that.

    12. "Christians struggle with understanding evil in God's creation ..."

      People, whether Christian or not, "struggle with understanding evil in God's creation" because they refuse to:
      1) reason, period;
      2) reason as adults.

      People "struggle with understanding" -- which is to say, refuse to understand -- the fact of "evil in God's creation" for emotional "reasons", rather than for rational reasons.

    13. Michael,

      No. We weren't on the verge of malaria eradication in the '60s, because subsaharan Africa was not included in the malaria eradication program, because it was considered too difficult, owing to the poor infrastructure and the difficult access.

      The '50s was a time of considerable human hubris. We were going to eradicate smallpox. And polio. And malaria.

      Smallpox was easy. It affects only humans. There are no human carriers. If you catch it, you either rapidly die or recover, immune for life. The diagnosis is obvious. There's a very effective vaccine. It can be eradicated by quarantining outbreaks and mass vaccinating the surrounding population. And it was eradicated, albeit with difficulty, thanks to the courage of many medical workers risking their lives in civil war torn regions.

      Polio was easy too. Affects only humans. Diagnosis not obvious, but still possible. No carriers. Effective vaccine (two in fact). But not eradicated, because it's still endemic in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Finishing eradication would cost only a billion dollars, and save the world 20 billion dollars a year.

      Malaria is different. 4 diseases, with a 5th, Plasmodium knowlesi, in the process of jumping into humans. Healthy carriers exist. No vaccine. Due to a complex organism with the ability to develop resistance to treatment. Not an easy diagnosis to make, requiring sophisticated microscopic examination of thick blood films.

      Eradication was predicated on stopping all transmission of malaria for 4 years and finding and treating all carriers aggressively. Simple in theory, but impossible in practice considering the extremely poor infrastructure existing in much of the malarial areas.

      And eradication has to be complete or it will fail, and malaria will return. With a vengeance. And doesn't exclude the possibility of new malarias, such as Plasmodium knowlesi (a severe infection, similar to falciparum) as humans encroach further into jungles for food, timber and minerals.

      Malaria control is our only option and I agree internal spraying of huts with DDT is the most effective method, currently.

    14. (continued). Atheists don't have any problem with the existence of 'evil' in the world. You reckon we think that 'shit happens', don't you?

      I'm a materialist. Humans evolved as bipedal apes on the African savanna, and since then, in the past 70,000 years, we have moved out of our original niche to fill virtually all niches available to us, ranging from the Arctic, high mountains, deserts.

      And our survival depends on us being social animals, concerned with the survival of other members of our species. And I feel deep sympathy for the less well off and unnecessary and avoidable deaths of humans in other countries, whether due to malnutrition, malaria, war or whatever. It's a tragedy.

      And I also want the poor in third world countries to enjoy a reasonable standard of living. Which means allowing them to have access to energy. And sufficient food. And clean fresh water.

      Very difficult things to arrange, when we in the West insist on using much more than our fair share of fossil fuels, boosting their price on the global markets - which the poor also have to pay- and obstinately, pigheadedly, ignoring the threat of global warming.

    15. Michael,

      And atheism and Darwinism are true, not 'if'. Humans are evolved social great apes. Why should I feel joy at the death of an unrelated human? It's one less human to help me if I need assistance in the future. And humans in remote areas aren't competitors.

    16. Michael,

      Still on call or no rational answers?

    17. I was on call the entire weekend.

      Rational answers presuppose rational questions.

      Try asking me a rational question.

    18. Michael,

      OK, how could we possibly have been on the verge of malaria eradication in the '60s when subsaharan Africa wasn't included in the malaria eradication program?

      Eradication has to be complete, otherwise it's a failure. There are human settlements in Africa that are extremely difficult to access even today, let alone back in the '60s.

      Eradicating smallpox and polio were easy. Vaccinate once and forget. Smallpox was eradicated. Polio could have been eradicated, but wasn't. Malaria eradication required prolonged access to all human populations within malarial areas and aggressive detection and treatment of all carriers, which was found to be impossible in remote and isolated areas.

      Another question. What would have been your plan for eradicating malaria?

      I concede that malaria control is possible, and that currently internal spraying of huts with DDT is the best method.

    19. The first step in malaria eradication is to remove all environmentalists from positions in which they could have any influence on malaria eradication. Human rights prosecutions in the Hague would be a good place to start.

      DDT and other pesticides and repellants should be used with abandon, throughout all endemic areas of the world, fully funded by the West. Malaria treatment programs should be massively funded as well.

      We should defer to the opinions of responsible malaria experts on other methods. A sine qua non of "responsible malaria expert" is a malaria expert with no ties whatsoever to the environmentalist movement.

      Other methods, including research on vaccines and treatment, should be pursued vigorously as well.

      Environmentalists must have nothing to do with malaria eradication programs, just as Nazis must have nothing to do with programs to help Holocaust survivors.

    20. Michael,

      You're crazy. Why don't you start a thread proposing your plan for eradicating malaria? It would not work and also would cause inestimable damage to people in malarial areas due to the destruction of useful insects, such as bees.

      You're crazy, a pathological liar and profoundly ignorant.

    21. DDT and other pesticides and repellants should be used with abandon

      Based upon the actual experience of India during the 1970s, increased use of DDT also results in increased incidence of malaria. Congratulations. Your "anti-malaria" program just caused millions of new malaria cases. Good job.