TIM BLAIR SCREWS UP
Blair jumped the gun in awarding Damian Lataan the title "stupidest person on the internet". I've never announced it publicly but for a while now I've regarded Ed Darrell as the stupidest of the stupid for claiming water is carcinogenic. Amazingly, THR has out-stupided Darrell:
Well, it seems the primary source for Beck's claim that a splash of ddt is safer than a morning coffee is one Bruce Ames, whose work (the ''Ames test') has been to prove that tobacco causes no harm.Truth be known, I don't think anyone with the brain power to blog, albeit limited, could believe that, so the guy must be acting dumb. Anyway, here goes.
Obviously, this product isn't safe for use in developed countries, but Beck is quite happy for the children of poor nations to die if it helps to discredit an environmentalist somewhere, anywhere.
I didn't say "that a splash of ddt is safer than a morning coffee", and neither did Bruce Ames. Ames' point is that the danger to human health from pesticide residues in food is overstated.
According to Wikipedia:
The Ames test is a biological assay to assess the mutagenic potential of chemical compounds. A positive test indicates that the chemical might act as a carcinogen...Bruce Ames has not used the Ames test in attempting to "prove that tobacco causes no harm". Here's Ames' view (bold in original):
The three main causes of cancer are smoking, dietary imbalances (excess fat and calories; inadequate intake of fruits, vegetables, fiber, and calcium), and chronic infections leading to chronic inflammation (hepatitis B and C viruses, Helicobacter pylori infection, schistosomiasis, etc.). Chronic inflammation is a major cause of cancer in the world because it releases powerful oxidants which both stimulate cell division and are mutagens.Trying to link DDT with being pro-tobacco is straight out of the Quiggin/Lambert playbook. It's bullshit.
Past occupational exposures might cause about 2% of current human cancer, a major part being asbestos exposure in smokers, and industrial or synthetic chemical pollution causes less than 0.1 %, in my view. The age-adjusted cancer death rate in the U.S. for all cancers combined (excluding those attributable to smoking) has been remaining steady since 1950, while life expectancy increases every year.
We are the healthiest we have ever been in human history.
The Beck-is-happy-to-see-kids-killed-by-DDT is also bullshit. No chemical insecticide is without risk – it's a matter of weighing the risks against the benefits. Manufacturers voluntarily took Bendiocarb off the US market primarily because of the risk to children. Bendiocarb is still on the list of WHO recommended indoor insecticides for developing country use, however. Thus by THR's insane logic the WHO is actively trying to kill the children of poor nations.
Update: The earlier stupidity from THR was just a warmup – check out this comedy gold. Loewenstein, Lataan and Darrell are geniuses by comparison. Can it get any stupider? Stay tuned.
Editing note: Bendiocarb was misspelled, twice. Corrected.