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Silent Spring at 50: The False Crises of Rachel Carson Hardcover – September 16, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
The authors, almost none of whom are scientists, pick and chose which subjects to investigate and they use methods that would be laughed from the real scientific community. Let's take Carson's words on cancer. She predicted that cancer cases would increase with the increasing use of synthetic chemicals. The authors, for some reason, chose to examine cancer deaths rather than cancer cases, which is like comparing apples and bananas. Treatment of numerous cancers has improved markedly since the book was written. Just because the death rates haven't increased, or have decreased, does not mean the number of cases hasn't. In addition, the death rates from the cancers most likely to be caused by chemical exposure are beginning to increase considerably and in the people (age wise) who would have been the most exposed. These include liver, pancreatic and lymphoma cancers.
Ironically, the authors took her to task for not pointing out the link between cigarettes and cancer. However, that really was not the point of the book…it was to warn about synthetic chemical use in the environment so why would Carson have addressed cigarettes. If we follow that logic, she also failed to link asbestos to cancer and the link was known then too. In addition, it was way outside her field of expertise.Read more ›
The authors say, "Despite her reputation as a careful writer widely praised for building her arguments on science and facts, Carson’s best-seller contained significant errors and sins of omission."
A "sin of omission" is by definition an omission that someone is aware of. Obviously if there was an omission, Carson wasn't aware of it: that wasn't her style. So there were no "sins" committed in writing her book.
They accuse her of "deliberate ignorance." Anyone who knows anything at all about Rachel Carson would bite their tongue before accusing her of unethical behavior of any kind, much less "deliberate ignorance." It's a simple insult leveled by simple people.
They continue: " Much of what was presented as certainty then was slanted, and today we know much of it is simply wrong."
"Slanted" is certainly an opinion. Many held that opinion. Many others did not. But an investigation to uncover the fact that things that were known 50 years before are "simply wrong" today is not a very productive use of these gentlemen's time. Much of what ANY scientist knew 50 years ago is known to be wrong today. Not, in other words, a heart-stopping statement. (And anyway, "much" is quite an exaggeration).Read more ›
I've even read where one company plans on injecting pesticides inside the plant/fruit so that it won't hurt the environment------what about the people eating the food?
PS it does NOT compare apples & oranges - which will be a sore point for anyone who likes their opinions unhampered by facts.
The premise of this book is off, as it disputes Rachel Carson's precautionary warnings to more rigorously test the health and environmental impacts of synthetic chemicals before they are widely distributed into the environment. The fact is, only a handful (five) of 80,000 synthetic industrial chemicals in use have been banned, and not very many of them have been rigorously tested, as the ex-administrator of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, stated. Recent studies have shown that new babies may already have up to 300 synthetic chemicals in their bodies at birth.
As Naomi Oreskes states in her excellent book "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming," Rachel Carson is an "American hero" for her work in alerting the public to the harms of indiscriminate chemical dumping. Oreskes also points out that there has been a concerted effort by corporate libertarians to confuse the science around issues that may lead to regulation. Oreskes writes, "In the demonizing of Rachel Carson, free marketeers realized that if you could convince people that an example of successful government regulation wasn't, in fact, successful--that is was actually a mistake--you could strengthen the argument against regulation in general.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wish I could give it zero stars. If the Cato Institute and the likes of the Kochs had any role in this publication you can rest assured it lacks scientific credibility. Read morePublished 26 days ago by JFC
I attended the Rudolf Steiner School and in fourth grade this book was treated like a biblical text, plus Ms Carson was looked up to like a [false] god! Read morePublished 28 days ago by Tony Meyer
The authors' association with the Cato Institute should alert readers to a pre-existing orientation against all regulation of corporate activity, against independent study of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by P
Read Silent Spring in 60's. As usual making the news is more important than REPORTING THE NEWS!Published 11 months ago by Dr. James L. Griffin, Ph.D.
I expected more of a review on the science behind Silent Spring. Most of the reviews looked at the social aspect of the book. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Emily