Yikes! David Remnick breaks down Vandana Shiva’s criticism of Michael Spector’s New Yorker article @GeneticLiteracy

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CauseScience previously posted the terrific New Yorker article by Michael Specter profiling anti-GMO activist Vandana Shiva, and her science denialism. The Genetic Literacy Project has continued to follow this story, and the scathing response from Shiva and her followers, and have now posted an amazing rebuttal to Shiva’s response from New Yorker editor David Remnick. If you enjoy a logical, well-reasoned point-by-point rebuttal, check it out! 

Just a sample of Remnick’s response:

One hardly needs to hold a Ph.D. in physics to become an effective environmental activist, as you have demonstrated. Yet, when a prominent figure, such as yourself, is described for decades—in interviews, on web sites, in award citations, and on many of your own book jackets, as having been “one of India’s leading physicists” it seems fair to ask whether or not you ever worked as one.

It is fine to express anti-GMO viewpoints, but when misleading statements, false science, and conspiracy theories are your evidence, expect them to be called out. Thanks to the Genetic Literacy Project for watching this and posting about it!

 

Michael Specter explains the altered reality of anti-science GMO opponents #science #VandanaShiva

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Michael Specter has written an amazingly well researched (trips to rural India) piece for The New Yorker about anti-GMO and anti-science crusader Vandana Shiva. While Specter focuses on Shiva, his article looks broadly at GMO foods and the anti-science movement that opposes them. While I am certainly not a supporter of Monsanto and their legal tactics, this article truly demonstrates the bizarre anti-science and science denial propaganda utilized by opponents of GMOs. It is a bit of a long read, but more than worth the time. Below is one of my favorite passages from the article,

Monsanto is certainly rich, but it is simply not that powerful. Exxon Mobil is worth seven times as much as Monsanto, yet it has never been able to alter the scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels is the principal cause of climate change. Tobacco companies spend more money lobbying in Washington each year than Monsanto does, but it’s hard to find scientists who endorse smoking. The gulf between the truth about G.M.O.s and what people say about them keeps growing wider. The Internet brims with videos that purport to expose the lies about genetically modified products. Mike Adams, who runs a popular Web site called Natural News, recently compared journalists who are critical of anti-G.M.O. activists such as Shiva to Nazi collaborators.

Great Ted Video featuring Michael Specter! The danger of #science denial

I saw this posted on ‘2012 and all that’ blog, check them out!

Fantastic Ted Talk video on science denial. It applies equally to all denial and anti-science movements: climate denial, food conspiracy, Big Alterna and Big Organic, creationism, anti-vaccine cranks and many others. Please watch the video because not only does he do yet another necessary takedown, he also shows the intimidating actions used by some anti-science groups.

http://www.ted.com Vaccine-autism claims, “Frankenfood” bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public’s growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress.

GMO crop pictures… worth more than a thousand words! #science

Crop depot

Ever wonder why there is all the fuss about GMOs? Check out this article on Food For Thought blog with pictures of GMO crops. Then go check out the GMO Crop Photo Depot provided on the website of Dr. Wayne Parrott, Professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at the University of Georgia.

Science Quotable: Neil deGrasse Tyson, GMO response #educator

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Furthermore, I never said GMOs were safer or more dangerous. I implied that if you think GMO-laboratory is **inherently** more dangerous to human life than GMO-agriculture you are simply wrong. They both can be bad for the environment. They both can be less healthy. They both can disrupt the local flora and fauna. But both methods wield an awesome power to improve food in every way that matters to humans: yields, appearance, vitamin content, sweetness, resistance to insects, resistance to weather extremes, and so forth.

Imagine if today, scientists showed you the Aurochs Wild Ox, and said — “Give us time. In just a few years, we will genetically modify this wild animal, turning it into a different sub species whose sole purpose is to provide vast quantities of milk for humans to drink. They will produce 10x as much milk as did the original animal. But they will require vast grasslands to sustain. And some of you will get sick because you won’t be able to digest the lactose. But no need to label this fact. People will just figure this out on their own. The rest of you will be fine. We’ll call the result a Holstein Milk Cow.”

Finally, I found it odd that people presumed I was taking sides. As an educator, my priority is to make sure people are informed — accurately and honestly. For the purposes of general enlightenment, but especially before drawing policy or legislation that could affect us all.

Neil deGrasse Tyson in response to reactions to this video of comments on GMOs. (bolding is from CauseScience)

 

Keith Kloor examines vaccine and GMO science denial for Collide-a-Scape #science

Keith Kloor has written another great post on Collide-a-Scape blog. This time Kloor examines denial of science surrounding vaccines and GMOs.

For let’s be clear: the science on GMOs is as solid and authoritative as it is on vaccines. So why are liberal outlets like the Huffington Post accepting of the scientific consensus on vaccines, but not GMOs?

Check out a previous post on CauseScience about the non-partisan nature of science denialism.

Layla Katiraee explains the flawed #science of 10 studies showing GMO toxicity @GeneticLiteracy

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Check out this awesome post on the Genetic Literacy Project site examining the studies that are most often cited for evidence of GMO toxicity. Katiraee looks at the validity of the studies, explains flaws, and/or what the studies actually show. She answers: Are these concerns credible? What do the studies cited actually claim? My favorite takedowns of the 10 addressed in the article are below, Check out the article!

1) Multiple Toxins From GMOs Detected In Maternal and Fetal Blood.

2) DNA From Genetically Modified Crops Can Be Transferred Into Humans Who Eat Them

3) New Study Links GMOs To Gluten Disorders That Affect 18 Million Americans

7) Study Links Glyphosate To Autism, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

8) Chronically Ill Humans Have Higher Glyphosate Levels Than Healthy Humans

10) GMO risk assessment is based on very little scientific evidence in the sense that the testing methods recommended are not adequate to ensure safety.

Are GMO scientists Nazi’s? Do anti-GMO terrorists exist? #science #antiscience

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are certainly a controversial topic these days, especially because when most people think of GMO’s they think of seeds and the corporate greed associated with Monsanto. However, there are many different types of GMO’s that have been designed and used for medical research, drug production, and also food production. Scientifically, GMO’s are an extremely useful tool, and hold promise for helping society deal with all sorts of issues (example: Plants that are resistant to the ill effects of increasing levels of carbon dioxide). Misinformation and misconceptions about GMO’s are everywhere, and just last week a congressional panel decided that most Americans are too stupid to correctly interpret GMO labeling on food products. See previous posts about GMO’s from CauseScience for more information.

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This brings me to the title of this post. Apparently, some anti-GMO activists (namely Mike Adams of Natural News, see his crazy post here) have claimed that pro-GMO scientists and journalists are Nazi’s, or something along those lines (it’s sometimes hard to interpret crazy babble). The article then goes on to claim that these scientists, publishers, and journalists are committing crimes against humanity, and closes with this memorable quote from Nazi’s:

it is the moral right — and even the obligation — of human beings everywhere to actively plan and carry out the killing of those engaged in heinous crimes against humanity.

C-R-A-Z-Y! While not exactly a threat, it certainly seems to be suggesting violence based on non-existent and false accusations. And is compounded by the fact that an update to the post includes a link to a website that lists names and info of journalists, publishers, and scientists that are labelled as ‘Monsanto Collaborators.’ Scary stuff.

C-a-S

I became aware of all of this from a news article by Keith Kloor on the Genetic Literacy Project website (check them out!). Keith Kloor also wrote an article about the Mike Adams post for Discover Magazine blog Collide-a-Scape, and both do a great job summarizing and interpreting the article. No matter your feelings on GMO’s, Monsanto, and/or ‘crimes against humanity’, I think we can all agree that this type of rhetoric is ridiculous. Worst of all, this type of anti-GMO press is anti-science and will only continue the trend of Americans being too stupid or uninformed to make decisions about GMO products (Natural News is in general very anti-science, anti-vaccine etc.). While we should all question GMO’s and the companies that are selling them, just like with other food and drugs, we should also be open to the huge benefits to be gained by current and future GMO’s.

Congressional panel says Americans are too stupid for GMO food labeling, and are probably right. Anti-GMO is #antiscience

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Are Americans too stupid to properly interpret GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) labeling? Yes, according to a congressional panel of representatives and experts, and in many cases, I would have to agree. See CauseScience’s past posts about GMO’s, including how the politics of GMO alarmists prove that not only Republicans are anti-science (more here). Michael McAuliff summarizes the findings of the congressional panel and gives background on GMO labeling laws for Huffington Post. Check it out!

People who oppose GMOs or want them labeled so that consumers can know what they’re eating are alarmists who thrive on fear and ignorance, the panel agreed. Labeling GMO foods would only stoke those fears, and harm a beneficial thing, so it should not be allowed, the lawmakers and witnesses agreed.