J. Gordon Edwards (entomologist and mountaineer)

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J. Gordon Edwards (1919–2004) was an entomologist, mountain climber, author, and park ranger. Edwards was professor, and later emeritus professor of Biology, San Jose State University.

DDT and environmental issues[edit]

Edwards was prominent as a supporter of the use of DDT and critic of Rachel Carson. He was active as a member of, or consultant for, a wide range of lobby groups opposed to environmental regulation, including the American Council on Science and Health.[citation needed] According to Edwards, he was also active as a member of several environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club (which published one of his books,) and the Audubon Society.[1] Edwards was a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. He published his ideas in 21st Century Science and Technology, a publication of the Lyndon LaRouche Movement.[2] He was co-author, with Steven Milloy of 100 things you should know about DDT.[3] Edwards last work, titled DDT: A Case Study in Scientific Fraud[4] was published in 2004 after his death in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, in which he makes the impassioned plea "The ban on DDT, founded on erroneous or fraudulent reports and imposed by one powerful bureaucrat, has caused millions of deaths, while sapping the strength and productivity of countless human beings in underdeveloped countries. It is time for an honest appraisal and for immediate deployment of the best currently available means to control insect-borne diseases. This means DDT."

Edwards insisted that "no human beings have ever been harmed by DDT." According to 21st Century Science and Technology, a photograph appeared in the September 1971 issue of Esquire magazine showing Edwards eating a teaspoon full of DDT, which he claimed to do on a weekly basis to demonstrate the lack of toxicity of DDT for humans and vertebrate animals. Because of its role in preventing the spread of insect-borne diseases, Edwards asserted that "DDT has saved more millions of lives than any other man-made chemical."[5]


Edwards was a park ranger in Glacier National Park for nine years beginning in 1947,[6] and returned often in the years following. He spent much of his free time exploring the rugged terrain of the park, and pioneered many different routes up a variety of its spectacular mountains. In the foreword to his mountaineering classic, A Climber's Guide to Glacier National Park, Rolf Larson gave him the unofficial title of "patron saint of climbing" in the park.[7] The guide book was first published by the Sierra Club in 1961, with the most recently updated edition published in 1995. Ansel Adams personally gave Edwards permission to use his iconic photographs in the book. Edwards was also a founding member of the Glacier Mountaineering Society, a group that publishes an annual climbing journal and continues to be active in organizing hikes and climbs throughout the park.[8]

He died on July 19, 2004, of a heart attack while hiking up Divide Mountain on the eastern edge of Glacier National Park (U.S.) with his wife, Alice. He was 84.


  • Coleoptera or Beetles East of the Great Plains (1949) Edwards Bros.


  1. ^ The Lies of Rachel Carson
  2. ^ 21st Century sample articles
  3. ^ "100 things you should know about DDT". Archived from the original on January 3, 2007. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  4. ^ DDT: A Case Study in Scientific Fraud
  5. ^ Mosquitoes, DDT, and Human Health
  6. ^ E. Newhouse (2004-07-21). "Glacier's 'patron saint' of hiking dies". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  7. ^ Edwards, J. Gordon (1995). A Climber's Guide to Glacier National Park. Falcon Press Publishing Co. ISBN 0-87842-177-7. 
  8. ^ "Glacier Mountaineering Society". Archived from the original on April 15, 2007. Retrieved 2009-11-11.