Cargo cults in global warming, and Arthur Robinson

March 14, 2009

Cargo cult science has deep roots among those who deny global warming or who allow that warming is occurring, but claim we can do nothing about it.  So, it’s no surprise that, at the voodoo science 2nd International Conference on Climate Change, somebody would trot out the old falsehoods about DDT.

According to Traditional Catholic Reflections (you can tell its traditional Catholic because it brooks no comments — you can’t correct an error there):

Speaking at the conference hosted by the Heartland Institute in New York City,[Dr. Arthur Robinson, Director of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine] said, “There is a current example of genocide by the removal of technology, and that is the ban on DDT, and that has resulted in the deaths of 30 to 40 million people and has left half a billion infected with malaria.”

It’s malaria that kills people, not a lack of DDT.  The removal of DDT from spraying cotton crops  in Texas and California did absolutely nothing to promote malaria in Africa.  Dr. Robinson needs a basic geography course.  Mosquitoes do not migrate from the U.S. to Africa or Asia.

Stopping the spraying of DDT in the U.S. in 1972 wasn’t a factor in the cessation of usage of DDT in Africa seven years earlier, either.  Dr. Robinson could use some basic math sequencing and calendar reading remediation, too.

Dr. Robinson could use some history and public policy instruction, too.  DDT was never banned in Africa, nor was it banned in India or China which together now produce almost all the DDT used in the world, which is a lot.  There’s no ban on DDT in Uganda, where Dr. Robinson’s friends in the business world are suing to stop the spraying of DDT in huts in affected regions — because they are afraid it will harm their tobacco business.

It’s a heckuva lot easier to throw darts at health care workers and disease fighters than it is to talk about real solutions with these guys.

If Robinson is dead wrong on a one-liner about DDT, how wrong do you think he is in the rest of his presentation on climate change?

Is there any crackpot “scientist” who was not at the Heartland Institute’s wing-ding?


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