Anti-GMO activists have finally showed themselves for the dolts they are. I just came across this post on the Red, Green and Blue website. (via the activist site GM Watch) The post, Yes, scientists are attacking the latest Monsanto study – but not because of the science seeks to discredit the scientists quoted in the Science Media Centre’s (SMC) press release attacking the Seralini corn study. And, oh yeah, it’s spreading to all the anti-GMO websites.
What do they have to say?
1. They put the word experts in quotes as if there is some question as to their expertise in the biotechnology field.
2. Then they criticize the experts because they actually work in the biotechnology field and are experts.
3. They actually make money doing what they do in the private sector.
Apparently, the above things disqualify these experts from giving an informed unbiased opinion. I guess it should come as no surprise, since science is not the strong suit of the anti-GMO crowd. They prefer to get their facts from non-scientists; yogic flying dance teachers, and snake oil salesmen. By their logic, we shouldn’t go to organic farmers to get opinions on organic farming, since they make money in their, ahem, field of expertise.
This latest salvo is just another lame attempt to deflect their totally bankrupt stance by questioning the motives of the opposition. They don’t have the science, so all they have is to accuse people who actually work in the field of science as having a corporate bias. It’s really pathetic. These activists didn’t respond to the veracity of the quotes, they simply cried corporate bias.
But wait, there’s more. They even question the objectivity of the Science Media Centre who issued the release.
It’s also telling when scientists put out a press release denouncing a study the same day that the study comes out. This presents the appearance of a PR response, rather than a considered objective analysis.
Case in point: The Science Media Centre of London (which bills itself as “an independent venture working to promote voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when science is in the headlines”), put out a harsh press release the same day as the study – fast work, considering that it quotes eight top scientists!
Not only did they quote scientists, most of those scientists gave specific reasons why the study was flawed. That’s how bad the study was. They could find problems right off the bat. While conflicts of interest should be taken into consideration, more emphasis should be given to what the person is actually saying.
But who is the SMC? The article seems to question the idea of their independence. Here is what the SMC says about itself:
The Science Media Centre is funded principally by donations from trusts and foundations, science bodies and other organisations, companies, charities, and government and related agencies. Since 2002 it has received support from over 100 organisations and individuals, reflecting the number and diversity that recognise the benefits of the improved science media landscape the centre enables. The Centre maintains its independence by capping the donations it receives, the vast majority of which are equivalent to less than 5% of its running costs. This is with the exception of the Wellcome Trust, Drayson Foundation, and the Science and Technology Facilities Council which funds the position of events officer at the Centre.
Their entire donor list is available on their site.
Number one on their hit list was the corporate devil Professor Maurice Moloney, Chief Executive of Rothamsted Research. Not only does he drive a Porsche with license plate, GMO, he developed a seed that is now owned by Monsanto and…gasp!…he launched his own GMO company. This what they have to say. “Prof Moloney’s career and business activities have long been centered around GM.” (my emphasis) What a shock.
In May of this year, Moloney took part in a Q&A on the commercialization of GM research for the website senseaboutscience.org. He said something I have been saying here at Contrary for a while:
In fact, much of the opposition to GM has played into the hands of the corporations who would like extended monopolies. The activists have forced the science into a corner that only large corporations can manage financially. Public institutions are the best places to move forward such ideas.
The article failed to mention all the science journalists and scientists who weren’t quoted in the press release who have weighed in on the study. Curiously, or not, the anti-GMO campaign has failed to come up with one scientist to defend the study. How about that?
In addition to the flawed science, journalists took issue with the pre-publication embargo where the researchers forced reporters to sign a non-disclosure agreement which forbid them from seeking comment from outside sources. Journalists who were considered, friendlys allegedly didn’t have to sign any agreement
In an article in the San Jose Mercury News, Prop. 37 flack Stacy Malkin defends the newest discredited study by saying they used the same methods as the biotech companies. How would she know that? Prop 37 supporters claim Monsanto won’t release their information for independent study. So, how does she know that the biotech companies use the same methods? The fact that she has the brass to continue to defend a study that has been discredited by the scientific community says all you need to know about the credibility of the campaign.
The Prop. 37 folks really screwed the credibility pooch on this one. While Red, Green and Blue and GM Watch questioned the idea of scientists responding the day the study was released, they didn’t seem to have a problem with the Prop. 37 folks calling a press conference right after the study was released. When the shit hit the fan they scrambled to come up with a way to save face.
If they were honest they would have said, “Oops. We blew it on this one.” Instead, they dug in their heels.
Here are few articles that take issue with the Seralini study:
Anti-biotech study and corn ban is a mockery This is a short podcast interview with Bruce Chassy, Ph.D., professor emeritus, University of Illinois Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition