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Activist Reasons To Ban Pesticides Are Eerily Like Anti-Vax Claims

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Hank CampbellRSS Feed of this column.

I founded Science 2.0® in 2006 and since then it has become the world's largest independent science communications site, with over 300,000,000 direct readers and reach approaching one billion. Read More »

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Not a lot is truly known about the cultural world of early mankind but one thing is settled; when food insecurity dropped and it became more affordable, in terms of time or money, culture flourished and expansion began.

Domestication of animals and farming took humans out of foraging and secured our place as the dominant species. Becoming a farmer meant reliable food, then domestication of the ox made it possible for a farmer to feed dozens, and the heavy plow and then later science boosted those to a point where in the developed world, we now only need 2 people to feed 98.
Before COVID-19, it was a large number of Democrats and a tiny number of Republicans who distrusted vaccines, believing something like that they caused autism, or that FDA was in cahoots with Big Pharma, or some weird supplement was just as good as medicine.(1)

While on surveys they all claimed to believe in natural medicine and that communicable diseases were no big deal(2), when the pandemic hit, not only did they buy up all of the Clorox and Purell, celebrities and other wealthy coastal elites who denied vaccines for their kids were paying their way to the front of the line to get this one - and ironically demanding it for their children.
In 2021, it is vital that the public trusts epidemiologists when it comes to disease transmission. The cultural obstacle is that epidemiology is such a large field, much of it populated by woo. Osteopaths hurt their own reputations by not demanding that hucksters like Joe Mercola have his license revoked, while epidemiologists who want to be trusted guides now need to recognize they have to overcome suspect claims about some new fad food linked to increasing longevity, trace chemicals linked to changes in hormones, and that particulate matter so small it takes an electron microscope to see it is linked to early deaths.
Just a few weeks ago, Sri Lanka underwent a meltdown. The price of food had skyrocketed and it was all because instead of believing scientists they believed Russia or Pesticide Action Network or whoever claims the organic process "is ready" to feed everyone and switched. 

After a whole lot of people who have never farmed made the decision, its collapse was sudden. They switched to organic in May and by August exports were down because yields plummeted. People hoarded food because they knew what was happening and then the government had to create police units to raid homes and steal it so it would not be sold on the black markets that exploded in volume.
In the midst of wildfires that occur with more severity because environmentalists block responsible logging and tree management in California, environmentalists who have blocked water infrastructure now say we don't need the infrastructure voters passed into law...or it would already have been built.
It has become common for political activists to demand that social media engage in bans and content warnings, because the other side is too stupid to know false facts from the real kind. In reality, everyone who takes their politics too seriously is inclined to believe the worst when it comes to others, and calling for bans is more of a patronizing way to pretend they care about discourse when they most just want to control it.

This has led to companies like Facebook and Twitter either outright censoring some content or putting nonsensical fact checking warning labels on it. Here is a case in point from our own Facebook page:



Here is what it was ridiculing: