Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ad hominem

I recently read part of "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson, for book club.  Written back in the early 1960s, her  book began an environmental awareness movement.  People began to care more about chemicals used to kill bugs, and those used in farming.  I don't want to argue her point, because it is worth reading for yourself. 

Here is a link to a pbs program about the book and her journey. 

What shocked me, personally, were the attacks on her person about the book.  She was called a "tree hugger", which was an insult at the time. 

And finally, someone said that she couldn't understand what it meant to be caring and nurturing because she wasn't a mother. This insult still makes me see red just thinking about it.

And usually, when someone attacks the person instead of the argument (ad hominem) it's because they can't refute the argument.  They are arguing from a position of weakness.  The chemical companies couldn't prove that DDT was actually helping birds and their eggs.  So they criticized Rachel Carson because she wasn't a mother, and therefore not capable of making scientific observations about the world we live in, or questioning the prevailing wisdom.

On this mother's day, I would like to point out that there are many ways for everyone to be conscious of their lives and their impact.  There are many ways to help the next generations, to be caring and responsive. 


laura said...


Freckle Face Girl said...

Happy Mother's Day to you too! My daughter insisted on buying a present for my sister, who is 22 years old and not a mother or wife. She gave her the present and said that she seems like a mom and should feel special. My sister started crying.

Like they say - It takes a village.