Friday, May 30, 2008


Australian economist John Quiggin delivers one of the funniest lines of the year (so far):
If [the gullible right-wingers] had taken a moment to think, they would have realised that picking a fight with Tim Lambert over a question of fact is a very silly thing to do...
Arguing matters of fact with Tim Lambert is pretty silly; even though Lambert's often wrong, he steadfastly refuses to admit it. Let's take a look at just a few Lambert errors.

Lambert says Eritrea's anti-malaria program produced dramatic results by switching away from DDT. In reality, Eritrea produced dramatic results while greatly increasing DDT use.

Lambert says malathion was the ideal choice for mosquito control in Sri Lanka following the 2004 tsunami. In fact, malathion is considered inappropriate for such use because Sri Lanka's mosquitoes are malathion resistant.

Lambert says Miranda Devine fabricated a Rachel Carson quote. She didn't.

Lambert says Europeans have not threatened sanctions against countries using DDT for indoor spraying. They did.

Lambert says Paul Ehrlich did not advocate the forced sterilisation of Indian men and even offered a quote to prove his point. Lambert's selective quoting was exposed leaving him no choice but to admit he was wrong – the very rare admission hidden 1,506 words into a post.

Lambert says the reintroduction of DDT didn't play a big role in reducing malaria in South Africa. It did.

Lambert says the World Health Organization has always supported DDT use and provides this quote from a DDT FAQ brochure to prove it: "WHO recommends indoor residual spraying of DDT for malaria vector control." In the context of the brochure the quote simply indicates that DDT is to be used, if it is used, solely for indoor residual spraying. Anyway, Lambert removed the note from the end of the quote – he removed it because it leads to WHO documents showing that the organization was, at the time, anti-DDT. So here we have Lambert quote doctoring, again.

Lambert says this Roll Back Malaria document proves that the WHO has always supported DDT use. The document doesn't mention DDT.

Lambert says fellow academic Sinclair Davidson is guilty of quote-doctoring misconduct. In reality Davidson did nothing wrong.

Lambert says Tim Flannery never said that melting ice could raise sea level by 80 meters and provides a quote to prove it. It's another doctored quote from Lambert; Flannery did indeed say seas could rise by 80 meters.

Lambert says this book erroneously proclaims that DDT is banned. The book says no such thing.

Lambert says Indymedia amateur entomologist Brent Herbert is a debunker of DDT myths. Herbert is a nut-case.

Lambert says USAID funds DDT use. At the time he wrote that it didn't.

Lambert insists that the word "toady" is abusive in order to justify removing a comment from his blog. Toady is another word for sycophant and is not abusive.

Lambert says DDT was the WHO's insecticide of choice up until 1994. The document he links to says 1984, not 1994. Is this a typo or did Lambert intentionally alter the date?

Lambert says Fred Pearce's DDT article in New Scientist is "the usual Rachel Carson killed millions crap". Lambert lies; here's what Pearce actually says:
It seems millions of lives have been lost because health experts threw away their best weapon. Are environmentalists to blame? There is no doubt that DDT was misused as an agricultural pesticide and seriously damaged wildlife. In that sense Carson was right. But regulators did not recognise that spraying indoors was different. And an environmental outcry against DDT helped to ensure that the early fears about its effect on human health became entrenched dogma long after they had been proved unfounded.
Lambert says Ed Darrell and Bug Girl are reliable sources of DDT information. Bug Girl is an entomologist but is no DDT expert. Lambert wanna be Ed Darrell is, well, nuts.

Lambert says Rachel Carson didn't suggest DDT was developed as part of sinister World War II chemical weapons development programs. Yes, she did.

Lambert accuses Bjorn Lomborg of spreading the erroneous notion that DDT is banned. Lomborg said no such thing.

Lambert says the "Washington Post buried the story of 650,000 excess deaths in Iraq on page A12". The story was not "buried". An above the fold front page photo showed a grieving Iraqi mother with this lead in to the story:
Study Cites Significantly Higher Death Rate

A new study says 655,000 more Iraqis have died violently since the invasion than otherwise would have been killed. A12
Lambert says Tuvaluans are fleeing to New Zealand to escape rising seas. Nope.

Lambert justifies his hate for Africa Fighting Malaria by claiming they aim to prevent bed nets being used in the fight against malaria. Wrong.

Okay, that's enough for now. Quiggin and Lambert, what a team.

Update: Lambert says Labor's 2007 election win was a landslide. It wasn't. The guy's waging a one man war on reality.

Lambert says, "Beck isn't interested in discussion on DDT -- he just wants attention". On the other hand there's reality:
"Hit-obsessed Australian blogger Tim “Lancet” Lambert—he actually sends emails to his targets in the hope of attracting links; odd behaviour for someone who accuses others of attention seeking."
I'm not interested in discussing DDT? Lambert's so scared of me all I have to do is enter a discussion and he flees.

Note: The links directly above do not take you to the relevant comments. If you want to read the comments, the first link is to Lambert's fifth comment in the series (scroll down about 2/3 of the page). For the second linked comment scroll down to the last in the thread (after Lambert fled).

Update II: My hearty thanks to Tim Blair, Andrew Bolt and Glenn Reynolds for linking to my humble hobby-blog.

Update III: Blogger gets a bit temperamental when posts get really long so the latest is here.

Update IV: Tim Lambert's lame rebuttal is addressed here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's like the academic version of abbot and Costello with these two muffin heads. It's an academic comedy routine.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Byron in Wahroonga said...

Blimey. You know him better than I, JF. Is Lambert a fool, a pathological liar- or both?

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love compendia like this, great job. But you should omit the "toady" thing. Yes, it is a stronger way of saying "sycophant." So? Both "sycophant" and "toady" are definitely insults, and therefore could be called terms of abuse. Throw out this weak link, and the rest of your page is even stronger.

11:29 PM  
Anonymous the_real_jeffs said...

Nice job, JF. Too bad Quiggin and Lambert are impervious to logic and reason.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous aaron said...

Mastering self-deception prevents them from having to actually lie.

1:11 AM  
Anonymous J F Beck said...

Convict of what, making a mistake?

6:59 PM  

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