Pesticides and Value Questions
Unexamined, rapid conclusions about anything can be serious errors of judgment, and actions based on them may lead to unanticipated, perhaps undesirable consequences. Pesticide technology has not lacked challenges to conclusions about its role and value. These have often been met by pleas for scientific objectivity and dismissal of challenges as emotionally laden and lacking in understanding of the necessity of high agricultural production, pesticide’s role in maintaining production, and the extensive safety evaluation mandated before a pesticide ever reaches the US market. While not without foundation, these pleas do not allow careful consideration of other arguments and points of view and their logical conclusions. I first encountered the problem of reasoning with opposing points of view in the late 1960s and early 1970s during the 2,4,5-T controversy. My thoughts were clarified as I struggled with the inevitable value questions (Zimdahl 1972). They are reproduced in a slightly modified form below.