Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Google’s Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson Google doodle

I see the Google doodle this morning celebrating what would have been Rachel Carson’s 107th birthday this week, drawing this response from Iowahawk:


And this from Lyndsey Field:


Who was Rachel Carson?

She wrote the book that started the modern environmental movement.

Here’s some of what was written about here when her book, Silent Spring, turned 50 back in 2012.

  • “In Silent Spring, Carson crafted a passionate denunciation of modern technology that drives environmentalist ideology today. At its heart is this belief: Nature is beneficent, stable, and even a source of moral good; humanity is arrogant, heedless, and often the source of moral evil. Rachel Carson, more than any other person, is responsible for the politicized science that afflicts our public policy debates today.”
    Silent Spring's 50-Year History of Selective Data – Ronald Bailey, REASON
  • “It’s not polite to talk about brown and black people dying because rich white people in America feel better about themselves when the brown and black people don’t get to use DDT," says the University of Alabama's Andrew Morriss, co-editor of the new book Silent Spring at 50: The False Crises of Rachel Carson“The legacy of Carson's best-known book - widely considered the starting point of the modern environmentalist movement and the international ban on the malaria-fighting pesticide DDT  - has caused many more problems than it has solved.”
    Rachel Carson's Silent Spring at 50 Years – Joshua Swain, REASON
  • “Did cancer doom ever arrive? No. In Silent Spring Carson cites data showing that American farmers were then applying about 637 million pounds of pesticides to their crops. The most recent EPA estimate is that farmers used 1.1 billion pounds in 2007...What happened to cancer incidence rates? According CDC, age-adjusted incidence rates have been dropping for nearly two decades.”
    Silent Spring's 50-Year History Of Selective Data – CLIMATE DEPOT
  • “I don't want to talk about the particular topics she was hyping: they don't deserve it.
    Instead, I want to say that she was a pioneer of an ideologically driven pseudoscience pretending to be science. When she talked about the life of birds and their interactions with the environment, it sounded like a science – ecology. When she talked about pesticides, it sounded like a science, too – some kind of biochemistry. So by the choice of words, she could have pretended she was speaking as a scientist. A problem is that the claims she was making were actually never scientifically justified, at least not with good enough standards. They were ideological slogans. And she was one of the first people in the West who intensely insisted that the compatibility of a proposition with her ideology may replace the scientific rigor that was normally needed to establish scientific claims…
    “While pesticides are pretty important to feed the whole mankind today, they're not really an essential and omnipresent part of the civilization… What the newest fearmongering wants to ban – carbon dioxide emissions – is much more universal and crucial for the civilization…”
    Fifty years after Silent Spring – Lubos Motl, REFERENCE FRAME
  • How about praising a real hero.
    When it Comes to Human Flourishing, Forget Rachel Carson & Remember Bruce Ames – REASON
  • Disaster sells. But do the facts matter when we're scaring ourselves to death, or is it okay to lie in order to "wake people up" to calamity?
    Selling disaster: The four horsemen of modern apocalypse – NOT PC, 2006
    When politics masquerades as science – NOT PC, 2006


  1. I am a fan of Google technology. But I hate their greeny socialist undertones. As I work a lot with their geospacial technology, I run into their global warming, and other calamity hype all the time.

    Sometimes so annoying that I consider dropping Google but, truth is , I make money thanks to them and they make money thanks to me. So we keep going.

  2. The people at google obviously realise that the malaria deaths smear has been thoroughly debunked by scientists who point out that governments stopped using DDT due to mosquitos developing resistance to it, not because of any environmentalist. Unbelievable that right wingers choose to ignore this due to their politics.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated. Links to bogus news sites (and worse) will be deleted.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say it, it's important enough to put a name to it.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.