Friday, December 08, 2006


The Weblog Awards, billed as "the world's largest blog competition," includes Tim Lambert's Deltoid as a finalist in the Best Science Blog category. Deltoid's inclusion makes the competition a joke.

Lambert doesn't blog his area of expertise (computers) or science in general, he blogs politics. This alone makes his nomination as a "science blog" questionable.

Lancet Iraq, DDT and global warming feature prominently in recent Deltoid posts. Lambert's Lancet posts, with commenters interminably arguing points of statistical minutiae, are of interest only to lefties wanting to confirm preexisting assumptions -- the Lancet Iraq surveys are nothing more than elaborate estimates not worth arguing about.

Lambert's global warming posts are simply news blogging (analysis is superficial at best). In them he is inclined to misrepresent things in an attempt to score political points -- examples here and here. This is not only questionable, it's not science.

It's Lambert DDT posts, however, that make his nomination ludicrous: nearly everything he writes on the subject (and it's a lot) is either wrong or misleading. Here, for example, is a recent example of the DDT rubbish he consistently cranks out. Despite being caught out numerous times, he steadfastly refuses to correct his misrepresentations.

Lambert has repeatedly insisted DDT was never banned (de facto or otherwise) and that the European Union never threatened trade sanctions against user countries (Lambert continues to bounce my links to his old blog: copy and paste ). In fact, the World Health Organization's general hostility to DDT use for indoor residual spraying (IRS) amounted to a de facto ban. And, the European Union did preemptively threaten repercussions against countries contemplating using DDT for IRS:
If Uganda is to use DDT for malaria control, it is advisable to do so under strictly controlled circumstances. The country would also have to set up a parallel system to monitor foodstuffs for the presence of DDT. This would ensure that any contamination of foodstuffs is detected and corrective measures taken. However, these measures may not be sufficient to allay the fears of individual consumers of Uganda’s food products in the EU.

The EU would therefore urge Government to consider the wider implications of the use of DDT before a decision is taken.
These supposedly nonexistent threats are so widely known the EU has seen fit to restate its position:
The issue of EU controls on DDT residues in products exported to the EU and its implications for the use of DDT to fight malaria in Africa has arisen a number of times. It is a sensitive issue where the EU has been strongly criticised for putting selfish food safety concerns in relation to DDT ahead of the huge human costs of malaria in Africa. A number of NGOs have been active in this respect. These allegations are unfounded. DDT is not a problem in relation to food exports from Uganda or other African countries to the EU. Moreover, the EU is confident that the appropriate controls can be put in place to ensure that DDT is used to combat malaria without risk to food safety.
Scientist Lambert is too busy scoring political points to inform his readers of any of this. Black Africans can, however, see the situation as it is:
THE European Union (EU) has given Uganda the green light to use DDT in the fight against malaria.

Critics believe the [new] stance follows pressure from rights groups, NGOs and the US after heated debates in which the issue boiled down to a matter of ‘european wealth vs African health’.
Deltoid does deserve to win a blog award: category: questionable science.


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