GOP war on science victim: Rachel Carson

May 14, 2007

Some people do things that are so stupid that one wonders how they manage to shave or put make-up on the next morning, having to look at their own face.

Mugshot of Utah Rep. Rob Bishop

Mugshot of Utah Rep. Rob Bishop

53 Republican representatives voted against naming the post office in Springdale, Pennsylvania, after Rachel Carson, the scientist who wrote Silent Spring, generally considered one of the most important or most influential scientists of the 20th century. No kidding. Springdale is Carson’s hometown.

2007 is the centennial of Carson’s birth — her birthday was May 27. (The bill, H.R. 1434, passed, 334-53.)

Why did the Wacky 53 vote against the honor for Carson, who got the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980? In an earnest ritual of voodoo science, they claim that bans on DDT kill millions, and that DDT is harmless. No, I’m not making this uphere’s the story from the Salt Lake Tribune, which covers territory represented by Rep. Rob Bishop and Rep. Chris Cannon, both R-Utah:

They contend that Carson’s actions – which led to a ban on the chemical DDT used to kill pests – actually has caused more deaths because of malaria and other diseases spread by insects. DDT, Carson wrote, was detrimental to the environment and to humans. Some scientists say DDT led to the California condor’s near-extinction.

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