Science and Technology
Has Anything Ever Been So Misunderstood
A chemical that has gotten a really bad name over the years is DDT. Excoriated in a book called Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, DDT was blamed for everything from cancer to dead birds, it was eventually banned in virtually every country in the world. That might have been the end of the story except for one thing, incidents of malaria exploded in the malarial areas of Africa and South America causing the deaths of millions of people. It turns out that although the careless use of DDT did cause environmental damage, a targeted and moderate application of DDT can save millions of lives without harming the environment.
What the DDT story does show is that when science is led around by a political agenda, bad things can happen. We see the same thing happening today in claims about ozone depletion and global warming. Political agendas can make for bad science.