Andrew Bolt accepts the results of a study published in The Lancet that used random sampling to estimate deaths and came up with a figure of 200,000 per year, about ten times the number you get from a direct count. Actually, there are two studies that fit my description, one on deaths from malaria in India, and another on war-related deaths in Iraq and Bolt only accepts the one that suits his beliefs — deaths from malaria, so he can falsely accuse Rachel Carson of causing them.
Now, the studies differed in several ways, so it’s possible that someone could have good reasons to reject one and not the other (see here for arguments against the malaria one), but if you look at the reasons Bolt gave for rejecting the Iraq one, he should also have rejected the malaria one. It’s clear that to Bolt, the question of whether a study is acceptable or not has nothing to do with the methodology and everything to do with whether he finds the conclusions congenial.
Bolt is also wrong in his attempt to smear Rachel Carson by blaming her for malaria deaths in India. India has been using DDT against malaria continuously since the 1940′s. It has lost much effectiveness due to overuse, just as Carson warned. The New Scientist article that Bolt quotes from even states:
Bob Snow, a malaria epidemiologist with the University of Oxford’s research programme in Kenya, says the results suggest that some of the methods being used to fight malaria in Africa might work in India too. “Some states are not enormously different to what we see in highly malarial areas in Africa, suggesting universal coverage with insecticide-treated bed nets and access to prompt treatment will be cost-effective.”
Yes, Bolt’s source suggested that India perhaps should reduce its reliance on DDT spraying and use the more cost-effective insecticide-treated bed nets.