I choose this Dueling Document from my American Civ class for the Chemistry class because it shows the differing view points of science. We talked a little bit about the Silent Spring in Chemistry class and I found it fascinating, so I’ll be using this document for my ePortfolio.
Two Views of Science and Nature (pg. 856)
The dueling document I decided to read was the one between the critic Louis McLean
and Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring. I thought this dueling document was pretty
interesting because it reminded me of the Jungle and how quickly Roosevelt created the FDA
because of it. I don’t know if anything was created because of Silent Spring, but it was still
interesting to read. So for the who’s in these dueling documents it is Rachel Carson giving her
point of view on how we treat nature and how if we do not do something fast we will completely
destroy and unbalance ‘the fabric of nature’, the other point of view comes from a critic named
Louis McLean who was opposed to the publication of Silent Spring and said that there’s a dual
purpose as to why she is doing this: 1) to create the false impression that all businesses are
grasping and immoral, and 2) to reduce the use of agricultural chemicals in this country in
western Europe, that that our supply of food will be reduced to east-curtain parity.
So in the dueling document number 1, Rachel states that “the chemical barrage has been
hurled against the fabric of life-a fabric on the one hand delicate and destructible, on the other
miraculously thought and resilient, capable of striking back in unexpected ways.” And she also
says, and I completely agree with her, “The ‘control of nature’ is a phrase conceived in
arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that
nature exists for the convenience of man.” From what I understand she’s saying that we need to
reign in these thoughts that we can just use these harmful things on insects, that nothing bad or of
bad consequence will happen back, that we are at the top of the food chain and we control what
happens. If we continue to think like this, we will eventually destroy everything on this planet.
And so I agree with her that we need to control the poisons and watch what we are doing to our
As for the dueling document number 2, the critic Louis completely disagrees that Silent
Springs should be published. He said that she was only doing it for her benefit and that nothing
good will come from publishing this book. He also disagrees that the pesticides that they are
using are dangerous to the populace and basically says that she’s only attacking the chemical
industry for two reasons and two reasons only, as mentioned in the first paragraph. During this
time, and if I remember correctly, President Nixon wanted nothing to do with the Environmental
movement, he tried to distance himself from it, but eventually we got Earth Day in the 1970s.
But I do agree with Rachel that even though this is modern day for us, we still need to watch
what chemicals we use and make sure we try and balance everything out.