September 1963

The Noise of Silent Spring

Arch Intern Med. 1963;112(3):308-311. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03860030062002

I have on my desk several reviews written in criticism, in analysis, in rebuttal, or in praise of Silent Spring. As far as I can make out, if spring comes it will be anything but silent. The shudders of anguish, the enthusiasm of applause, and the violent reactions on all hands indicate that Rachel Carson has got hold of a tooth which, while it may not be too firmly anchored to its moorings, has a live and wonderfully sensitive root. Is the tooth viable? Anybody who reads Silent Spring as a scientific document simply does not understand the difference between testimony and evidence. Furthermore, a person who cannot tell a tract from a testament must be impervious to the history of Western man and science over the last 500 years. Since the printing press has been in a position to disseminate all manner of information, misinformation, propaganda, and scientific material

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