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Another New Anti-Tech Scare

Oh brother, here we go again: wikipedia entry, at least, there appears to be an actual phenomenon at work here. I’m willing to entertain the idea that bees might be disoriented by cell towers, but how does the theory explain this bit of data presented in the same article:

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive’s inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives. [emphasis added]

If it’s true that wildlife – presumably including bears and other mammals – won’t go near the dead hives, that suggests that something other than cell phone radiation interfering with bee navigation systems is at work. While the Koblenz-Landau study apparently managed to keep bees from returning to their hive by placing a mobile phone “nearby”, how often would such a situation actually occur? And how does the theory explain the occurrence of the same phenomenon (or one with strikingly similar characteristics) occurring prior to the advent of cell phones, possibly even as early as 1896?

As with assertions that one particularly hot summer or destructive hurricane season is “proof” of “man-made global warming” which will soon melt the ice caps, raise the seas, desertify the continents and kill off all life on Earth if we don’t abandon technological civilization, we ought to be careful not to succumb to the hysteria which will certainly be spawned by a single study prompted by a two year spike in a puzzling but recurring phenomenon — a phenomenon which has actually not yet been explained.

And we most certainly shouldn’t be spooked into giving up a useful technology without knowing whether it is harmful — and that’s the real point here. The anti-technology crowd failed to spook people out of using cell phones with the unproven assertions that they cause brain cancer, now they’ll use a single study purportedly suggesting that the signals cause the collapse of bee colonies. And if this doesn’t work, they’ll come up with something else — but if it does work, they’ll put a notch in their belts and move on to banning the next technology they despise.

ADDENDUM: Looks like Instapundit is all over this, including a rare quote from Steven den Beste. Great(er) minds (than mine) think alike!

3 comments to Another New Anti-Tech Scare

  • Aaron_J

    Before you know it they’ll be going after the internal combustion engine!

  • Andy

    Nice false dichotomy there: either global warming, or abandon technological civilization. Try not to fan the very hysteria you suggest we should not succumb to. If you’d been paying attention, you might notice that tech is proposed as the solution, not cited as the cause of, climate change (note to the possibly-clueless-but-hopefully-just-sarcastic: tech and industrial overindulgence are not the same thing).

  • Harry Nelson


    There might be something to this phenomenon. I too have experienced disorientation when using a cell phone. But, strangely, it is usually in conjunction with alcohol consumption. Did the study look into bee binge drinking?

    Good website,