Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thoughts from a "Shill for Monsanto"

As an academic research scientist active at the public interface, I enjoy communicating about complex science topics. With regard to trasngenic (GMO) crops, if you read my blogs, comments left online, or listen to audiences in public discussions, you'll see that they ultimately reach a common point.


Someone always indicates that Monsanto is my employer. Like clockwork.


I'm still waiting for the check. Actually, I never worked for them, consulted for them, or received a dime from them. As a university scientist my funding is all public record, so this may be verified.


 Here is why the throw-away "you work for Monsanto" or "shill for Monsanto" comment harms the anti-GMO movement: 


1. It immediately says that you are willing to make up information in the absence of evidence.


2. It says that you are finished with the conversation, that nothing I communicate is valid in your opinion.


3. It shows that you are willing to try to influence other like-minded people with disinformation.


4. It shows disdain for the peer-review process and scientific method.  


5. (least importantly) It disrespects a scientist's real position as a public liaison, volunteering time to explain science. We're used to that from dealing with climate change deniers and Creationists, no big deal.


If I wanted to work for Big Ag I could easily find a position there. I'd triple my salary, work about the same hours, and never write a grant proposal again. In the days of state and federal budget issues with science, it is an increasingly attractive alternative.


But my passion is exploration in science, working with students, postdocs, visiting scientists, farmers and the industry. I want to make tools and techniques that come from the public sector, not that are locked in a proprietary corporate structure. Such endeavors would be severely limited with a position in a big ag company.


In the late 1980's I interned with Cargill Hybrid Seeds and really disliked the pace of corporate science. Even with a job offer and big bucks for the time, I elected to stay in academic science (and nine years of graduate education!).


So don't tell me who I work for. I'm really proud to work for YOU, and such assertions just destroy the communication and learning process, both ways.

50 comments:

Jennifer @noteasy2begreen said...

I see this a lot in interactions on Twitter and the blogosphere. I've even been accused for being a corporate shill because I often question the green litany that simplifies and distorts complex issues. I think it's essentially a defensive response to being challenged -- not just an idea, but a whole worldview. Once you accept that people who know a lot about a subject have legitimate reasons for disagreeing with you, you have to start thinking in less binary terms, and many people don't want to go there.

Ewan R said...

It's a stupid arguement even when someone does work for Monsanto, even without the added layers of stupidity added when making erroneous assumptions on the matter.

Should one be critical of claims made by someone with a conflict of interest in the discussion? Absolutely. Are they automatically wrong, or should they automatically be rejected? Absolutely not.

You take the claims and you assess them - just as folk do with people like Bill Freese or Seralini - neither of these people are wrong because they are funded by anti-GM interests, they're wrong because what they spout is at diametric odds with reality and they are shown to misrepresent the data in painfully obvious ways.

Kevin M. Folta said...

Well put Ewan. I think that malleable minds fail to realize that some of us appreciate facts for discussion and will stand by them-- no matter who signs the paycheck.

Jennifer @noteasy2begreen said...

The public doesn't really know how to assess claims, especially ones that are science oriented. If you want people to engage critically, they need the tools to be critical readers and thinkers. It's not something we're necessarily taught how to do in high school or college. My bio prof asked us to summarize and critically analyze that article on The Daily Mail about GMO babies, and only two people out of over a hundred bothered to fact check.

Kevin M. Folta said...

Jennifer, this is the sad part. It took me a long time of practice to be able to critically read science papers. Most importantly, how do you decide what is suggestive vs. definitive? I can do that now.

None of those that need to know real answers trust my analysis. This is why most scientists just say "ah screw 'em".

Mike said...

I am absolutely loving this site.

Me, just a lay person, critical thinker, former "organic" gardener.

I'll stayed tuned.

Ewan R said...

Added layers added....

One can see why I am not a science communicator. (being an ass to people aside!)

Kevin M. Folta said...

Ewan, I couldn't find that error even after you pointed me to it!

Ewan R said...

"even without the added layers of stupidity added when making erroneous assumptions on the matter."

I paraphrased myself somewhat, terribly ugly writing though! (errors that are unfindable are a bit of a habit of mine, much to my own chagrin when I'm elbow deep in JavaScript)

Dr. Ena said...

I was sympathetic to you Kevin, until I read Ewan mention Seralini. There are two sides to that debate: Seralini on one side and Monsanto on the other. So Ewan, what sort of public scientist takes the side of an "institution of science" which demands Court Orders for release of data?

You might not work for Monsanto, or Dow and Syngenta, but that handful of firms control 90% plus of today's biotech research.... and you do work in an institution affiliated with Monsanto. Whether Monsanto funds you directly or not, it has inserted its tentacles of financial leverage into UF.
Sorry to have to tell you this...
http://www.uff.ufl.edu/FacultyEndowments/ProfessorshipInfo.asp?ProfessorshipFund=007489http://www.thefineprintuf.org/2012/01/26/monsantos-in-town-just-for-you/



On most of the blogs I see, it isn't the people who question that get called a Monsanto shill. It is people who spout corporate propaganda and play games blatantly obvious to all- but them; adopting a paternalistic and patronizing attitude that their knowledge/ expertise in one narrow field of science somehow trumps other knowledge/ wisdom such as ethics, medical science, histochemistry, toxicology, sociology and other ologies; but most importantly democracy of the people on the street. http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2011/0223/Control-over-your-food-Why-Monsanto-s-GM-seeds-are-undemocratic



Here is one of the blogs I subscribe to as a medical pracatitioner. It highlights one of the problems with today's Peer Review in Pharma. No reason to believe that it does not apply to Biotech, in my opinion. I am sorry to have to say, " I don't think peer review is the holy grail on which scientific excellence can be judged today". Since public support of institutions of higher learning was withdrawn, and corporate partners and patents became the norm, science itself has become sadly bastardized.

http://ethicalnag.org/2012/07/24/a-philosophers-take-on-big-pharma-marketing/

Kevin M. Folta said...

Dear Dr. Ena. Your last post puts me somewhere both mad and sad. I should probably give it a cool down before answering, but I won't. Please pardon me if I'm pointy.

In response to your first paragraph. It is not Seralini on one side, Monsanto no the other. Seralini keeps a spotlight by performing work with severe limitations or outright poor experimental design. People like you that hate biotech worship every result as holy gospel. You believe the science that you find acceptable. Somehow nobody else repeats their results and their ancient work drifts into scientific obscurity, held current only by those like you that accept his low-impact/low-meaning research. The statistical re-jigging of MON's data is a typical massage of numbers in unconventional ways to attempt to generate significance. It has been so completely debunked by statisticans and others that I won't go into it here. "Court orders for data"-- you bet. When you offer the information some guy with a calculator can massage those numbers to get a result that a handful of the unsophisticated will use against you forever. That's why it takes a court order.

Your second paragraph shows your absolute ignorance. It is a common refuge for those grasping for straws to play six-degrees-of-Monsanto-separation using Google. You try to find some link so that you can tell me that everything I do is crap. Nice job.

This makes me so incredibly mad. I almost don't want to dignify this with a comment. Yes, Monsanto put up funds to establish an endowed professorship. In fact, I know the guy hired into that quite well. Now you show me how a company providing money to a private institution has influenced my work, or the work of my 2500+ colleagues at UF. Show me.

For you to let a company's effort to help education and research suggest that somehow EVERYTHING coming out of that university is questionable at best and at worst lies to support the company... that is attacking the integrity of scientists that are dedicated to work in a public, land-grant institution and it is WAY off base.

By the way, UF also licenses Gatorade to Pepsi and so I've been accused of having to have all of my research "approved" by Pepsico before it is published.

So get in line with the kooks that try to invalidate research accomplishments because of affiliations with a company or concept. Just like the anti-global warming people do.

And if you would, please provide ONE PIECE of evidence that anything I do is influenced by MON-UF ties. You can't. You cannot compete in this debate using science, so you reach to some far-out tenuous means to try to invalidate the scientist. Really f-ing low.

Read that next paragraph and look in the mirror. Christ, your training is not in this area and you try to convince me that the crappy reports you hold so dear and excellent research? Give me a break. I showed you explicitly why that last work you cited was junk. NO, wild and cultivated soy can't be compared and the authors will not return an email with clarification. They don't want to give me something I can post showing the experiment was improperly designed.

And sorry, after 25 years of studying biotech, my knowledge does trump that of most people, especially in critical evaluation of manuscripts or published work. That's why I'm asked to edit, review and write scholarly work.

Democratic? Sure, a few companies control most seed. Why? Because the technology works and farmers want it. They sign agreements to not propagate it, just like they do for any plant, GM or not.

Your last point is without evidence. Clearly the peer-review system is imperfect. If it was perfect Seralini, Arias and Leblanc and other anti-GMO standards would never see print. So look in the philosophical mirror when you make such indictments. That means the science you accept (which is crap) also is just as invalid.



***CONTINUED BELOW ****

Kevin M. Folta said...

*** CONTINUED FROM ABOVE ***


While peer review has flaws, science itself sorts it out. Good science grows, and that is what is happening with biotech. More and more companies are starting into this area, more trials being done (even in the EU) and more evidence of great societal benefit is being published (nice cotton paper in PNAS this month, shows great benefits to farmers over years).

On the other hand, Seralini's dead cells in a dish or others' big nuclei in rat livers never show up again, expanded to show mechanisms (or done with proper controls). It is because it is junk. The only people that accept it are those that lack the sophistication to see its irrelevance.


I'm just angry because I'm proud to do what I do and no company, university or person will influence me to research, publish or defend any scientific question or position. You should be happy about that.

Instead you too call me out as a shill because some company graciously provides money to fund a position in my university. Of course, no evidence that MON or Pepsi or anyone else ever affected my research decisions is presented, because it does not exist.

Sorry Ena, but it is uncool to impugn the integrity of public scientists (or private ones for that matter). We're working to discover the truth and improve the human condition. It is unfortunate for you that that truth conflicts with your fantasies.

Mike said...

Bravo, just f-ing bravo, KMF!

Dr. Ena said...

Dear Kevin. I find it incredibly sad that my post touched a raw nerve. But, hey-- I respect You nevertheless. I will put on my grown up hat and answer your points...as unemotionally as I can.

Seralini dissected Monsanto's work and found it to be utter statistical crap. My take on it is that Monsanto has much to hide. Read through the following discussions.
http://www.euractiv.com/innovation-enterprise/commission-science-supremo-endor-news-514072#comment-5462
>>>People like you that hate biotech worship every result as holy gospel. <<<
I don't hate bio-tech. In fact I earned a BS in bio-chem and worked in the field both in a health institution as well as a commercial firm, before deciding whether to become one of you ( go for a PhD in the field) or to be on the medical side of this issue, and I chose the latter. Animals make great sentinels for people in medicine, did you know that Kevin?
>>>It has been so completely debunked by statisticians and others that I won't go into it here.<<<
Actually I would appreciate if you did—because clearly he debunking is utterly unconvincing, either substantively or because of the blatant bias of the “debunkers”. Your excuses and defense of corporately controlled experimental data is so very disheartening--here I was, thinking you were so much better than that. Science must be shared in an absolutely transparent fashion—otherwise it can't be called science at all. It is a bastard child of science, and defending it is beneath you.

>>>You try to find some link so that you can tell me that everything I do is crap. Nice job.<<< your words, not mine. I like you, dear Kevin-- remember?
>>>Now you show me how a company providing money to a private institution has influenced my work, or the work of my 2500+ colleagues at UF. Show me.<<< You know I can't do that for UF and you specifically, but the gist of how it happens can be found here : HTTP://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/scientific_integrity/how-corporations-corrupt-science.pdf


>>>So get in line with the kooks that try to invalidate research accomplishments because of affiliations with a company or concept. Just like the anti-global warming people do. <<< seriously flawed logic. Please review
HTTP://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/
Being Jewish and having lost a few members of the family to the holocaust, I've memorized all the logical fallacies, and propaganda techniques.
You are committing several, which seriously hurts your credibility.

>>>I showed you explicitly why that last work you cited was junk. NO, wild and cultivated soy can't be compared and the authors will not return an email with clarification.<<< You haven't debunked the science itself, you've highlighted several problems with Monsanto, however. They do not release their seeds for analysis, suppress and harass independent scientists and do Not Replicate studies in which independent researchers demonstrate that their product causes medical harm.
What are they afraid of? ….being sued????

>>>My knowledge does trump that of most people, especially in critical evaluation of manuscripts or published work. That's why I'm asked to edit, review and write scholarly work.<<< How does your knowledge of bio tech make you an expert in medicine, again?

>>>Democratic? Sure, a few companies control most seed. Why? Because the technology works and farmers want it.<<< In a democratic society with a free market, I suspect Monsanto would have gone bankrupt. Seems few besides Big Ag that the product has merit. If it wasn't for arm twisting of the highest political caliber --No One would Ever eat the stuff. Ever.

Cheers,
Ena Valikov BS (Biochemistry), DVM UC Davis –the place where the FLAVr Savr Tomato, Calgene and Bush's Secretary of Agriculture came from.

Kevin M. Folta said...

Yes, you hit a raw nerve. I don’t think you understand why, so let me start with that. When you continue to post that public-private partnerships bias results, when you suggest that what I say is tainted by some association between a company and me, that really hurts. It digs at everything I do. I don’t like that you trivialize it with your “grown up cap” and making it unemotional. It is emotional. It crosses a line.
I have been a tireless advocate for expanding the role of young women in science and minority representation as best I can. I work hard to assist the peer-review process and today spent all day Saturday reviewing papers and helping a 3rd year undergraduate student make a poster for her national meeting. This is what I do, do well, and am recognized for doing well. If someone suggested that I was against women or minorities in science you’d get the same anger. Your assertions are just not true. When you make assertions that UF, Monsanto, the Pope or anyone else might steer the way I work, or the decisions I make, it really hurts. Because it is absolute bullshit.
Your link that implies that corporate influence changes the results of our science is truly offensive. I work with a stellar group of people at UF, 99.9% have no connection with BigAg, or little Ag. They are excellent scientists, some of the best in the world. For you to even imply that some corporate-sponsored professorship now requires everyone to sell out and pull the corporate line is insane.
The best part is that they guy in the Vasil-Monsanto Endowed Professorship does great work in maize. However, it is all basic research—understanding how genes affect traits. Not one of his findings has ever affected MON’s bottom line or operation. They simply funded the position for the right reason—to further science. Plus, he looks at what I do here and probably thinks it is a waste of time.
So when you go after what someone is truly dedicated to, don’t be surprised if there’s a response.
Save the logical fallacy thing. The abject denial of hard science and indictment of scientists that support a scientific line by AGW deniers is exactly what GMO folks do. Like anti-GMO folks, they rely on old, small studies that support their point. It is not a fallacy… it is a clear parallel.

Kevin M. Folta said...

Continued...


I’ll hit the Seralini/statistics thing later. I have work to do and it’s Saturday night. I suppose since I’m on the take from Monsanto and just make shit up as they suggest, I shouldn’t waste my time working on a weekend. It is all whatever they tell me to write/think, right?
I’ve got credibility in buckets. Not to you, but I don’t worry about that. I never will until I denounce science and accept Seralini’s results as outstanding science. Ain’t gonna happen.
On the liver nuclei paper. The entire thing is based on a flawed design. All results downstream are therefore not comparable. Period. I don’t need a degree in medicine or anything to do with histology. They compare apples to elephants and that’s not valid. Period. I don’t understand why you can’t accept that one. They compare two DIFFERENT SPECIES, not a GMO to its isogenic line. No other comparison is valid.

On MON not releasing materials. I can get anything you want from them. Anyone can. You buy seeds. Thousands of farmers do it every month. You also can have transgenic lines made for $600 each (UC Davis, U Nebraska, U. Missouri do it). If someone wants to pay the bill I’ll have them made and release them to research. You know why nobody will ever take me up on this? Because then they lose the argument that they can’t get the seeds they need to prove the danger.
Plus, it is hilarious that opponents of biotech can find cases where secret Monsanto black ops can sneak seeds to catch thousands of farmers with a few grains of contaminated seed from coast to coast, but somehow the anti-GMO folks can’t put down the hackeysack long enough to go pick an ear of corn. It could be done. But if it was done, they lose the scapegoat angle of “Can’t get the seeds”. It is a crap argument. Anyone can get seeds—if they really want to.
My knowledge in plant physiology, molecular biology and agriculture DO NOT make me an expert in medicine. I never said that and never would.
To your last point about “democratic”… then explain why Okanagan Specialty Crops, a small company, not Monsanto, is getting nothing but grief for its product that suppresses a gene driving apple browning? No democracy there. Angry mobs that don’t want to accept science. That’s all.
Ena, I appreciate your opinions, but don’t be surprised when they generate a response. When you imply that my work is controlled or influenced by others, then that should be a conversation ender right there.
And animals are great sentinels. I have one here that is 13 and winding down hard. Not an easy time.
It is not just you. Every time I stick a scientific perspective out there I am slammed personally within a few posts. Do I care? Yes. I want people to trust science and scientists. It breaks my heart to be continually framed as a dupe of some asshole company that I never worked for.
When they can’t discredit me by arguing science, they tell me I work for MON or do what you do- imply that my work is tainted because of some six-degrees-of-separation.
In the end, they will win and the public loses, because willing liaisons like me just will tune out. I think everyone loses. Peace to you always.

Dr. Ena said...

Kevin:
1. I never accused You of being a shill. You started the post, not I.
But--Are You seriously denying the bias and conflict of interest that corporate ties mean in science, Kevin?

How Well Do Meta-Analyses Disclose Conflicts of Interests in Underlying Research Studies
posted on: 2011-06-06 19:18
Tags: Consumer Network

A recent study published in JAMA reviewed 29 meta-analyses from high impact journals and found that conflicts of interests in the studies underlying the meta-analyses were rarely disclosed. The 29 meta-analyses included 11 from general medicine journals; 15 from specialty medicine journals, and 3 from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. The 29 meta-analyses reviewed an aggregate of 509 randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Of these, 318 RCTs reported funding sources with 219 (69%) industry funded. One hundred ans thirty-two of the 509 RCTs reported author conflict of interest disclosures, with 91 studies (69%) disclosing industry financial ties with one or more authors.

However, very rarely was this information reflected in the meta-analyses. Only two (7%) reported RCT funding sources and none reported RCT author-industry ties. The authors conclude “without acknowledgment of COI due to industry funding or author industry financial ties from RCTs included in meta-analyses, readers’ understanding and appraisal of the evidence from the meta-analysis may be compromised.”

The authors noted that most assessment tools for meta-analysis do not include a domain for study funding source and state: “Currently, The Cochrane Collaboration’s Risk of Bias tool includes an optional 'other sources of bias' domain, which meta-analysts could use to include information on COIs. We recommend that The Cochrane Collaboration consider formalizing the requirement to assess potential bias from COIs.”

Roseman M, Milette K, Bero LA, Coyne JC, Lexchin J, Turner EH, et al. Reporting of Conflicts of Interest in Meta-analyses of Trials of Pharmacological Treatments. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. 2011 March 9, 2011;305(10):1008-17.

Lorraine Johnson, JD, MBA
CCNET member
johnson.lorraineb@gmail.comhttp://www.cochrane.org/news/blog/how-well-do-meta-analyses-disclose-conflicts-interests-underlying-research-studies

Dr. Ena said...

I appreciate you helping women and minorities and the work you do to promote science.
As for anyone being able to get Monsanto's seeds, that statement is complete bovine excrement, Kevin.

>>>We don't have the complete picture. That's no accident. Multibillion-dollar agricultural corporations, including Monsanto and Syngenta, have restricted independent research on their genetically engineered crops. They have often refused to provide independent scientists with seeds, or they've set restrictive conditions that severely limit research options<<<
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/feb/13/opinion/la-oe-guriansherman-seeds-20110213

Pleasedon't insult my intelligence any more, Kevin. Info today is a few short key strokes away thanks to Google.
Have a fantastic weekend!
Peace back at you.

Dr. Ena said...

Ooops, almost forgote-->To your last point about “democratic”… then explain why Okanagan Specialty Crops, a small company, not Monsanto, is getting nothing but grief for its product that suppresses a gene driving apple browning? No democracy there. Angry mobs that don’t want to accept science. That’s all.

It has nothing to do with science. The answer is right in front of your and is simple. No one gives a crap about a non-browning apple, especially when genetic engineering and patents are involved.
It is an unwanted product.
Leave apples alone- biotechnologists have done enough harm turning people into experimental subject without consent force feeding corn, soy, alfalfa, sugar beets and canola.
Free market at work---let it be.

Regards,
Ena

Kevin M. Folta said...

Ena, How do farmers get them?

Kevin M. Folta said...

Ena,

What is your point about COIs on meta-analyses? I've never published one, most people don't too often. It says that 60-some percent are privately funded.

Very little work in my department is privately funded. Most is federal, state, maybe some broad industry funds.

Oh, and some of Seralini's work was funded by Greenpeace-- I think that massage of MON data if I'm not mistaken. Is that a COI?

Apples. Let me assure you, there is plenty of market for the product. OSF and a few other companies have identified niches of high-value traits in non-agronomic crops. You'll see quite a few of these in the next few years. No monsanto, just plant genes in plants too. Stuff identical to what breeding does only faster.

My seed comment was about where do farmers get seeds, if they are so impossible to get? I can get them anytime I want them or I can get the plants custom made.

If anyone wants them, I'll go get them. BUT if experiments are done, all data must be published. The guy that says he can't get them is from Union of Concerned Scientists, and they are experts at spin that don't work in, or publish in this area from what I can tell. They are an activist group.

Kevin M. Folta said...

I spent a few minutes looking at discussions of the Greenpeace-sponsored Seralini massaging of MON data. Here is the best synthesis.

http://academicsreview.org/reviewed-content/genetic-roulette/section-1/1-3-bt-corn-is-safe/

To me, the best argument against the conclusions drawn is the lack of dose-response associations. They did the same thing with testicular cells too in response to roundup.

http://kfolta.blogspot.com/2012/03/misrepresenting-science-for-fun-and.html

Figure 8 shows that one of six concentrations showed a statistically meaningful effect- and it was the lowest one.

Any of the undergrads in my lab would not regard this seriously, as in any pharmacological experiment you have to see linear dose-response relationships and demonstrate threshold, linear response range and saturation.

Neither this paper or the Greenpeace-funded Seralini paper do this. Again, not good science. Again,again, that is why it is in low impact journals.

Of course, Jeffery Smith, you, and many others see this evidence as sterling proof of GMO harm.

The statistical methods are unconventional, designed to augment small, natural variation as causal statistical significance. There is a lot of information on this and much independent refutation from agencies in the EU and New Zealand.

Here is a European Food Safety Association report that summarizes two published works that examined the original data and Seralini's Greenpeace-funded methods.

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/fr/efsajournal/doc/753.pdf

I only keep pointing out that Seralini's work is greenpeace funded, because of your assertion that my work is tainted because MON gave money to my university back in 2000. If THAT'S a COI, then how in the hypocritical universe do you stand by the Seralini re-jigging of data?

I do hope you are having a lovely Sunday. Off to lab.

Ewan R said...

part the first..

>>>I was sympathetic to you Kevin, until I read Ewan mention Seralini.<<<

Isn't that a rather odd approach? Why do you lose sympathy for Kevin because I say something? (Maybe you lsot the sympathy when Kevin failed to stomp on me, but y'know, be precise or such (this will no doubt cause hours of hilarity later when I say something so muddled as to make zero sense))

>>>There are two sides to that debate: Seralini on one side and Monsanto on the other.<<<

Seralini and a bunch of crazies, but sure, I'll go with your simplistic definition of the debate.

>>>So Ewan, what sort of public scientist takes the side of an "institution of science" which demands Court Orders for release of data?<<<

What sort of scientist takes the side of a “scientist” who publishes such clearly flawed work and fails to disclose his conflict of interest?

>>>You might not work for Monsanto, or Dow and Syngenta,<<<

I work for Monsanto, I guess I didn’t make that clear above (which would earn me a slap on the wrist from our PR people, if they weren’t afraid I’d unleash the Triffids on them anyway) – everything I express on the intertubes however is entirely of my own devising and not the position of my magnanimous steel booted corporate overlords. (that above piece appears aimed at Kevin now I think about it, but I may as well be clear and open here)

>>>Whether Monsanto funds you directly or not, it has inserted its tentacles of financial leverage into UF.<<<

Because hundreds of scientists are quite happy to totally sell out for a couple thousand dollars (given to a colleague who works in a totally unrelated area)

Take your supposed link between Monsanto and UF which apparently sways Kevin and is an evil taint on the world:-

http://www.hos.ufl.edu/faculty/amsettles

List of publications is predominantly around transposons, and mapping mutations in Maize – it’s almost as if this guy, rather than being in pay of Monsanto to stomp on research and publish pro-Monsanto propaganda, receives money from a major breeding company to make advances in breeding (likely to benefit the company through some sort of licensing/rights agreement – I dunno the particulars). Your conspiracy theory, while interesting, is still insane. (I imagine his work actually does have the potential to impact Monsanto’s bottom line, which is not in line with Kevin’s thinking – keep in mind Kevin that Monsanto’s breeding program is foundational to success these days – sure we’re famed for GM traits etc, but that’s because they’re controversial and scary – 50% (ish) of our research funding goes to breeding – it is important stuff)

>>>On most of the blogs I see, it isn't the people who question that get called a Monsanto shill.<<<

On most of the blogs I see anyone who even remotely suggests that GMOs may not be the devil generally gets accused of this, I see Kevin’s name pretty frequently in the comments, and generally he gets accused of this. I guess the blogs you read and the blogs we read don’t intersect very much (well actually I guess you’re either making this up or simply ignore the claims in order to downplay Kevin’s experience, but I’m not a very nice person)

Ewan R said...

Part the Second

>>>I will put on my grown up hat and answer your points...as unemotionally as I can.<<<

Yeah, it’s tremendously grown up to infantilize the person you are having a discussion with while at the same time pretending to be mature about it.

Seralini dissected Monsanto's work and found it to be utter statistical crap.

Well, Seralini’s paper says that the work isn’t sufficient to make conclusions on, but then he goes on, using the same data, to make conclusions. So either he’s a liar in the first instance or a fraud in the second (or frankly both)

>>>Actually I would appreciate if you did—because clearly he debunking is utterly unconvincing, either substantively or because of the blatant bias of the “debunkers”.”<<<

See here you fall into exactly the fallacious approach Kevin bemoans in his original post – I don’t trust what you say because… Monsanto. Read the damn paper yourself, I fail to see how anyone but the most statistically incompetent wouldn’t see that it’s bafflegab.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691507003249


>>>Science must be shared in an absolutely transparent fashion—otherwise it can't be called science at all.<<<

You mean the way Seralini failed to disclose his financial ties to Greenpeace? So long as you’re applying your scorn equally I guess.

>>>Being Jewish and having lost a few members of the family to the holocaust, I've memorized all the logical fallacies, and propaganda techniques.”<<<

Yet you skate close to Godwin as you dare. I’d also suggest looking up (although you won’t need to, because you have them memorized) Circumstantial Ad Hominem. Pot, meet Kettle – no name calling now.

>>>They do not release their seeds for analysis, suppress and harass independent scientists and do Not Replicate studies in which independent researchers demonstrate that their product causes medical harm.
What are they afraid of? ….being sued????<<<<

The not releasing seeds bit is essentially false, the old license agreement was prohibitive but this changed (I believe in 2010) to be far more inclusive, the meme however continues because, y’know, Monsanto.

Nobody has demonstrated that the products cause medical harm however. There is no onus on anyone to replicate or disprove bad science.

Ewan R said...

Part the last (really Kevin? Character limits? What is this Twitter? Is this blog hosted in 1996?)

>>In a democratic society with a free market, I suspect Monsanto would have gone bankrupt.<< Why would you believe that? Even if transgenics didn’t work Monsanto has the best germplasm out there for soy, cotton and corn – they may lose a bunch of trait related money but would remain a top seed seller.

>>>Seems few besides Big Ag that the product has merit.<<<

Well, farmers... but what the hell have they got to do with things? Science ignorant MDs should be making policy here.

>>>Pleasedon't insult my intelligence any more, Kevin.<<<

This is an hilarious request after you’ve gone off on a giant rant about bias and then link to an opinion piece by Doug Gurian-Sherman. You have been deducted one whole internet for this misstep.

>>>No one gives a crap about a non-browning apple, especially when genetic engineering and patents are involved.<<<

Clearly a lie – if “No-one” gave a crap, then why was it made in the first place, why are people actually genuinely excited.

>>>Leave apples alone- biotechnologists have done enough harm turning people into experimental subject without consent force feeding corn, soy, alfalfa, sugar beets and canola.<<<

What harm? Oh right, zero. Force feeding? I don’t think that means what you think it means. (Am I a bad person because I picture the “leave britney alone!!!” vid alongside the above statement?)

>>>Free market at work---let it be.<<<

I’m pretty sure you don’t understand what it is you just said. You want the market to be free and yet you are making demands on what people introduce to the market. Where is the market freedom there?

Ena Valikov said...

Logical fallacy gallore. My Gosh!
I don't have the time to play on the intertubes with you fine fellas today. Got patients to see.... you know the kind that have illnesses, many of which are food related.
Suffice it to say, I am familiar with Monsanto's science going back to their contention that rGBH does not increase IGF-1 in milk, or that it is digested....the work was so flawed it was outright LAUGHABLE.
Kevin...back to Malatesta. Yes, one can buy GMO corn...where would Malatesta get the isogenic line, but from Monsanto?
And...speaking of Serallini--can I see the court ordered Monsanto data posted here, please Ewan?
A link would be great!
I don't make a habit of forming judgements on merits of work without actually reading the work itself.....Especially Corporate Science type work. And your academic review leaves much to be desired on the unbiased front. There aint nothing much academic about it, Kevin. You should know me better than that by now.

>>>Because hundreds of scientists are quite happy to totally sell out for a couple thousand dollars <<<
Upton Sinclair said it best :
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

I shall be back to peruse the link to Monsanto's study.





Thank you very much.

Ena Valikov said...

Kevin:
>>>Here is a European Food Safety Association report that summarizes two published works that examined the original data and Seralini's Greenpeace-funded methods.<<<
EU Commission (temporarily) stops approvals for cultivation of genetically engineered crops



EFSA requested to publish new opinions
18. July 2012

Munich/Brussels

Recent investigations reveal that new approvals for the cultivation of genetically engineered crops in Europe in 2012 are unlikely. The Commission returned the dossiers for three maize lines to the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA). MON810, Bt11 and maize 1507 have all been considered safe by EFSA numerous times. In a letter to the EU Commission, EFSA announces a new opinion on maize MON810 till December.

“In our view, this is a first sign that the Commission acknowledges that the present risk assessment for genetically engineered crops must be improved considerably. If EFSA was honest they would admit that there isn't even any precise knowledge about the content of insecticidal Bt toxin in the plants“, says Christoph Then for Testbiotech „During the last ten years, there have been manifest problems with the independence of EFSA's GMO experts. Now, opinions that were already finished with are being put to test again. However, there is a reasonable assumption that EFSA's safety checks will in fact be more critical than in the past.“

In June, the GMO Panel was partly re-established but according to an assessment of Testbiotech, the majority of experts still can be seen as proponents of genetically engineered plants in agriculture.
Contact:
Dr. Christoph Then, Testbiotech, info@testbiotech.org, Tel 0049-015154638040
http://www.testbiotech.de/en/node/685

Ena Valikov said...

>>>Well, farmers... but what the hell have they got to do with things? Science ignorant MDs should be making policy here.<<<

Ewan. When your prostate starts acting up, as I know it will....be sure to consult about it with a ConAgra farmer. OK, darling? He'll fix you right up. Same, if/when you need a quadruple bypass. All that hubris can't be all that great for the heart :-)

Ewan R said...

>>Ewan. When your prostate starts acting up, as I know it will....be sure to consult about it with a ConAgra farmer<<

I'll contact a doctor. I will not contact a scientist who works in the field of diseases related to the prostate (It appears rather unscientific to state that you know my prostate will start acting up - there's certainly a very good chance (50% by 60 aight?) or linking hubris with heart problems (perhaps you have an MD in alliterative medicine, which at least would be a step up from alternative medicine right?). You're showing yourself as science ignorant (in this area) and there is little evidence that MDs are qualified in anything much beyond memorizing books of facts elucidated by, y'know, actual scientists (A venn of scientists and MDs would, no doubt, have some overlap, but there'd be significant overhang on both sides - lets not forget that Dr Oz went through med school and still gets to call himself a surgeon (and indeed that Andrew Wakefield once called himself doctor (although I assume as a British surgeon he'd have dropped that, although now he operates as a quack in the US perhaps he took it back, likely much to the chagrin of the surgical profession (my Grandfather would give a stern look to anyone who'd dare suggest he was anything as lowly as a Dr - which is odd for a glorified plumber!), so y'know, being an MD is not even the remotest guarantee that one has the capacity to be scientifically minded, more that one can remember a whole bunch of stuff and worked really hard in school.

>> am familiar with Monsanto's science going back to their contention that rGBH does not increase IGF-1 in milk, or that it is digested....the work was so flawed it was outright LAUGHABLE.<<

Which is amusing because the peer reviewed literature to this day makes it absolutely clear that any increases in IGF-1 in milk of rBST treated cattle are absolutely meaningless biologically (when they can be found, which aint always)

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0739724008000064

"And...speaking of Serallini--can I see the court ordered Monsanto data posted here, please Ewan?
"

You can see the actual scientific article published

http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0278691505001985/1-s2.0-S0278691505001985-main.pdf?_tid=f4c973242ea0c7f883bdc53901cb7b6d&acdnat=1343828486_977d8e7ee602e63b02447cb1324b93e2

(hopefully the URL there isn't institution specific - the paper name is :-

Results of a 90-day safety assurance study with rats fed grain from corn rootworm-protected corn Food Chem. Toxicol., 44 (2006), pp. 147–160 Hammond et al.

>>I don't make a habit of forming judgements on merits of work without actually reading the work itself.....<<

It appears however that you stormed in to save the good name of Seralini without ever having read his work however (assuming you aren't lying about being scientifically illiterate), so this statement doesn't really hold water.

>>Blah blah Testbiotech blah<<

Do you not see the massive hypocrisy in your utilization of sources here? Testbiotech is a massively biased source, Seralini was funded by Greenpeace (this doesn't make his conclusions wrong, but by your own statements on the need to avoid bias this should be enough for you to drop him - apparently though you only commit logical fallacies when it supports your worldview)

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

Just because you have a quote about it doesn't make it any less of a logical fallacy. I thought you had those memorized? (I normally wouldn't go that route, but much as a grammar nazi needs to be stomped on mercilessly so does a logician who fails to abide by their own demands (particularly one who claims encyclopaedic knowledge thereof, I generally at least have to go look them up)

Thought +Food said...

@Kevin, thank you for this post!! The first time i got called a "shill for Monsanto" I was indignant, now I just repeat the "against stupidity, the Gods themselves..." line to calm down. I am a blogger, writing on my own time so this is as inaccurate as it can get.
The sad state of science education in our schools today means most people cannot see past the scare factor in much of the anti-GMO media stories. And finally , in reply to the EU study posted by the other commenter, here is the link (http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/pdf/a_decade_of_eu-funded_gmo_research.pdf) to the 10 year study published by the EU on the basis of varied research projects by scientists which debunks the GMO is not safe myth, but then what do scientists know? :)

Ena Valikov said...

Results of a 90-day safety assurance study with rats fed grain
from corn rootworm-protected corn
B. Hammond a,*, J. Lemen a, R. Dudek a, D. Ward a, C. Jiang a, M. Nemeth a, J. Burns b
a Monsanto Company, 800 North Lindbergh Blvd., St Louis, MO 63167, United States
b Covance Laboratories, Inc., 9200 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22182-1699, United States


1.>>>The deduced amino acid sequence of the B.t. Cry protein
(653 amino acids) produced in MON 863 is >98.9%
identical to that of the Cry3Bb1 protein contained in the
foliar-applied commercial B.t. microbial product.
...
The United States Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) recently established an exemption from the
requirement of a tolerance specifically for Cry3Bb1 protein
in corn commodities (EPA, 2004). The conclusion
of reasonable certainty of no harm and the resultant tolerance
exemptions for this protein in food or feed is
based on the lack of adverse effects in mammals in
numerous toxicological studies. EPA has granted tolerance
exemptions for many B.t. Cry proteins based on
the results of extensive toxicity testing which show no
adverse effects and a history of safe use in agriculture
for over 45 years….<<<

Cry3Bb1 in MON 653 is obviously Not identical to Cry3Bb1 exempted by the EPA, as the study itself points out. The extensive testing was performed on Bt. sprayed topically on crops; which is like apples to elephants different when it is synthesized and ingested with the crop through transgenic technology. Moreover, the amino acid sequence is not even identical. Thus its three dimensional structure and allergenicity might be different.
Safety record of b.t. sprayed on foliage in its natural form does not mean there is a safety record of it in a recombinant corn crop.
2. >>>the NPTII protein
was assigned to group 1, antibiotic markers that pose
the least risk for spread of antibiotic resistance genes
in the environment.
Theauthors acknowledged a 13 year history of safe use of
the NPTII marker in agricultural food crops<<<
a. E.coli can be a dangerous bug. Given the use of millions of pounds of antibiotics in livestock feed in factory farms for growth promotion & additive effects of livestock ingesting corn in feed capable of horizontal transfer of kanamycin resistance—I don’t agree that NPTII is of no health concern to livestock or people.
b. E.coli hemolytic uremic syndrome is potentially a life-threatening disease, not to mention that Ecoli is a common cause of life-threatening sepsis in people and animals. Bacteria can and do develop multiple drug resistance and no new antibiotic classes have been developed by Big Pharma since the advent of quinolones.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19205460.
.
c>>>.The authors can’t acknowledge 13yrs of safe use <<>>A 90-day feeding study
was carried out in rats that provided confirmatory evidence
of the safety of MON 863 for human consumption.<<<
A 90 day feeding trial in rats is statistically irrelevant when people are expected to eat the stuff for 70year plus over many generations--even If studies in rats translated to studies in people, cats, dogs, cattle etc, which is often not the case. A double blinded crossover controlled feeding trial in people, cats, dogs, cattle etc. does.
Can you cite one of those Ewan-- A controlled double blinded crossover feeding trial in people?...cats….dogs….
If it isn’t obvious yet, I just started section 1 and clearly already find the study flawed, Ewan
Haven’t gotten to the meat of the study or the statistics yet and am beginning to feel bad I threw away $35.
I am trying to figure out how many rats Does it take to derive statistically applicable results to infer safety in billions of people, Millions of cats, millions of dogs, millions of cattle, billions of heads of poultry etc..

Ten pages to go Kevin.
I’ll have to come back in a few days…. Have patients and surgeries to do tomorrow and the next day.
See you soon.
Peace,
Ena

Ena Valikov said...

sorry... in rereading the post,I realized I didn't finish the thought on kanamycin resistance.
c>>>.The authors can’t acknowledge 13yrs of safe use <<-<without culturing and monitoring livestock, farm effluent, meat in supermarkets, veterinary and human hospitals for kanamycin resistance and multi drug resistance tagging along with kanamycin resistance in E.coli / performing a meta analysis on kanamycin resistance in Ecoli in those species and hospitals.

What was the prevalence of kanamycin resistance 14yrs before the study came out compared to the day it was published?
There is Nothing on the subject in the citations. Therefore
the statement is False.
Clearly, unlike the pro GMO –stacked EFSA http://www.gmo-safety.eu/basic-info/289.restricted.html , as a medical practitioner, I don’t appreciate the safety of NPTII carrying kanamycin resistance.

See you in a few.

Ewan R said...

"Cry3Bb1 in MON 653 is obviously Not identical to Cry3Bb1 exempted by the EPA, as the study itself points out."

Pretty sure that almost anyone who works closely with proteins would be entirely amused that you think this, digging into the EPA documentation(y'know checking the references, which is y'know, the scientific thing to do) it appears they have Human safety data, and have more on allergenicity than the Hammond paper points to (here you're assuming that because one paper doesn't have some evidence it is therefore non-existant - which clearly isn't the case (for all variants of the Cry protein under discussion 8mer searches uncovered zero allergenic regions in the proteins for instance, which combined with the digestion data etc rather makes your allergenicity fears unfounded (you can still hold them, but not with any pretence at being remotely scientific))

"I don’t agree that NPTII is of no health concern to livestock or people.
"

Then you're at odds with the scientific literature

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691504000407

http://www.springerlink.com/content/200111475p873105/fulltext.pdf

(etc ad infinitum)

there is a background of kanamycin resistance out there which makes this a non-issue, and the potential for HGT is so miniscule as to be meaningless.

" 90 day feeding trial in rats is statistically irrelevant when people are expected to eat the stuff for 70year "

Statistically irrelevant? Care to share your working there? Formulas etc? (your terminology here is wrong)

You are, once again, completely at odds with the scientific literature and position of regulatory agencies globally for the past 30 years - studies like this on model animals which show zero biologically significant effects are precisely what is relevant and proper - your demands are tantamount to completely banning the product through sheer force of red tape (demand an impossible study, and always have the fallback that "NOT ENOUGH GENERATIONS!!" have been used, or subjects, or whatever.

" am trying to figure out how many rats Does it take to derive statistically applicable results to infer safety in billions of people, Millions of cats, millions of dogs, millions of cattle, billions of heads of poultry etc..
"

It takes as many as were used, and frankly on the weight of the evidence going in this was an unnecessary waste of life pushed by precisely the insane concerns you are bringing to the table - I'm all for animal testing where it is necessary to protect against an actual harm, I'm increasingly of the opinion however that animals tested to ensure safety of GMOs by and large are being pointlessly led to the slaughter to assure bed-wetters that the boogyman indeed does not hide under the bed, nor under the closet.

Ena Valikov said...

Ewan-- you are a black sheep in the scientific community. Do you understand that?

No No No No No!

Your arguments and this entire article is an ABSOLUTE INSULT TO SCIENCE.

Is this study double blinded?

Justify the experimental design. Ie Table 1, page 150
.... 200 experimental animals out of which only 40 were fed GMOs.


Can I see the statistical work which shows clearly how findings (Even if they were accurate, which there is no reason to believe they are) in 40/200 rats imply safety in Billions of People, millions of cats, dogs, cattle, and Poultry.

SHOW ME THE WORK!

This So called "SCIENCE" is exactly as I said long ago-- A BASTARD CHILD OF GENUINE SCIENCE.


I don't give a crap if Moses, Solomon, the President of the country, the entire Parliament of the EU, THE POPE AND ALL THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE UNIVERSE SAY OTHERWISE.

In the absence of double blinded cross over feeding trial ...this entire experimental design means absolutely NOTHING.

Anyone who understands real science understands that you can manufacture ANY RESULT YOU WANT with this experimental design.

Ena Valikov said...

Dear Kevin.

Do You REALLY hang out with this dude?

He is an absolute FRAUD!

Ena Valikov said...

>>>Monsanto Accused of Attempt to Bribe Health Canada for rBGH (Posilac) Approval
The Ottawa Citizen |October 23, 1998; Page A1
By James Baxter
Scientists `pressured' to approve cattle drug: Health Canada researchers accuse firm of bribery in bid to OK `questionable' product
Veterinary scientists from Health Canada's Human Safety Division testified yesterday that they are being pressured to approve a controversial hormone intended to boost milk production in dairy cattle. ``We have been pressured and coerced to pass drugs of questionable safety, including rBST,'' Dr. Shiv Chopra told the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.
The senators sat dumbfounded as Dr. Margaret Haydon told of being in a meeting when officials from Monsanto Inc., the drug's manufacturer, made an offer of between $1 million and $2 million to the scientists from Health Canada -- an offer that she told the senators could only have been interpreted as a bribe.<<<

Do I have permission to call him a Monsanto Shill, yet, Kevin?

Ewan R said...

"Ewan-- you are a black sheep in the scientific community. Do you understand that?"

My standing in the scientific community is not even that of a Black sheep, I belong only to the scientific community in so far as I can read a scientific paper a lot more effectively than you can apparently.

"Your arguments and this entire article is an ABSOLUTE INSULT TO SCIENCE."

Random resorting to all caps noted.

"Is this study double blinded?"

Can one double blind a study on animals? I think not.

"I don't give a crap if Moses, Solomon, the President of the country, the entire Parliament of the EU, THE POPE AND ALL THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE UNIVERSE SAY OTHERWISE."

The scientific consensus will do for me, you clearly also don't care about that if it conflicts with your own personal pre-conceived ideas.

"This So called "SCIENCE" is exactly as I said long ago-- A BASTARD CHILD OF GENUINE SCIENCE."

Let us, for a moment, assume this is your stance and that it is correct.

Seralini then is still a fraudulent fool who cannot be called a scientist in this case - because if the experimental design is such that no conclusions can be drawn what on earth is any scientist doing drawing conclusions? (recall they use exactly the same experimental data - Seralini just does the wrong statistics on it, as evidenced by the peer reveiwed response to his abomination of a paper (the scientific response to the Hammond paper, if the methodology was wrong, would be a tearing apart of the design and statistics employed (alas however the design is held as just fine by folk who actually know about these things in detail (which is neither you, nor me, nor I would expect Kevin) who actually did take the time to go the proper route to rebutt Seralini's insane ramblings)

"In the absence of double blinded cross over feeding trial ...this entire experimental design means absolutely NOTHING."

That's not how feeding trials are done. That's how drug trials are done. Were this a drug trial you'd have a point. It isn't. You don't.

"Anyone who understands real science understands that you can manufacture ANY RESULT YOU WANT with this experimental design."

Which must be why trials of precisely this design are de rigueur in feeding studies. Or you could be utterly wrong.

"Do You REALLY hang out with this dude?"

We are occasionally read the same blogs. That is all.

"Do I have permission to call him a Monsanto Shill, yet, Kevin?"

Why would the above make the remotest difference to that? (By the definition of what a shill is you'd be massively misclassifying me if you were to call me that (at least by the standard definition which requires non-disclosure of personal interest - I'm absolutely open about who my employer is) - but apparently being completely and utterly wrong is pretty much your forte, so you have my blessing in calling me a shill. You may call me a stalagmite also if you wish, as that classification is also in the same ballpark in terms of accuracy)

Ena Valikov said...

Can one double blind a study on animals? I think not.

Abso.fxxxing..lutely.

All you have to do is to see to it that the researcher has no idea which experimental group is getting which intervention. In this case GMO vs nonGMO food.

Cross over ....same idea. Switch the groups and cross over the "intervention"... in this case GMO vs nonGMO food.
Simple!

Can I see the statistical work now Ewan....which demonstrates scientifically how findings in 40 rats, biased and flawed as they are....mean squat in terms of safety to Billions of experimental subjects?

Forget Seralini. If he was here...he'd cream your ass. Its just little old me you've got to convince,for now.

I'll be in surgery for the rest of the day.
Looking forward to seeing the statistical work and reading your response tomorrow.

Have a fabulous day!

Ewan R said...

A quick look (which I shoulda done earlier) shows me that I was utterly wrong about the capacity to double blind an animal trial, so mea culpa in that respect (there was some confusion in my mind about whether one can blind the animals as to treatment (as they don't even know there is an experiment))

"Can I see the statistical work now Ewan....which demonstrates scientifically how findings in 40 rats, biased and flawed as they are....mean squat in terms of safety to Billions of experimental subjects?"

The 90 day study in rats is based on OECD guidelines which are the norm in the scientific literature for safety assessments. As you are the one making extraordinary claims here I would suggest that the onus is on you to demonstrate that this is insufficient. Let it also be perfectly clear that it is not just the 90 day study which is a safety assurance but also all that is known about the properties of the protein in question etc (30 years of safe use of a 98% identical protein may mean nothing to you, but that means diddly squat in terms of what it means scientifically)

"Forget Seralini. If he was here...he'd cream your ass"

A compelling arguement; Argumentum ad lactis?

However I note your massive shifting of the goalposts here. The initial issue you had was that I besmirched the good name of Seralini, it appears now you no longer wish to defend this cause and instead have gone off on another tangent. Shame you didn't memorize a bunch of other horrible debating tactics on top of the list of logical fallacies which you have memorized but conveniently forget when it is your turn to say anything.

"Its just little old me you've got to convince,for now."

For the record I have no hope in this respect, however as is generally the case in arguing with kooks - changing your mind isn't remotely my goal, I'd rather it is clear to folk where and why you are incorrect, the fence sitter is my target audience (for the factual stuff) the pro-folk also (for the humor and digs).

"I'll be in surgery for the rest of the day."

Save this for dear diary, I realize that you've got this inflated opinion of yourself for being a glorified plumber, but your consistent sideways attempts to build an argument from authority are pretty nauseating. We get it, you're a doctor, have a cookie.

Ena Valikov said...

Ewan.

Explain this:

Table 1
Experimental design
Group
Animals/sex State corn
grown
Dietary level
(% w/w)
1. Control 20 Hawaii 11
2. Control 20 Hawaii 33
3. MON 863 20 Hawaii 11
4. MON 863 20 Hawaii 33
5. Reference A 20 Illinois 33
6. Reference B 20 Illinois 33
7. Reference C 20 Hawaiib 33
8. Reference D 20 Hawaiib 33
9. Reference E 20 Hawaiib 33
10. Reference F 20 Illinois 33
a Control and reference grain are from conventional varieties that
are not biotechnology-derived.
b Grown in the same geographical location, but different from the
locality where MON 863 and its control were grown.

Explain having researchers aware of which animals are getting which food does not bias the researchers allowing them to get whatever result they wish to manufacture?

2. Justify the statistics, Ewan.

How do results on 40 rats fed for 90 days have any statistical relevance to Billions of people and billions of animals eating the food for Hundreds of Years?

3. Why 40 experimental rats and 160 control rats, Ewan?

Ena Valikov said...

3.2.3. Urine chemistry
There were no statistically significant differences in
urinalysis parameters between the male and female
33% MON 863 group and the 33% control group (data
not shown)
. Low dose MON 863 male urine specific
gravity was slightly lower than low dose control male
values, but this was not dose-related as there were no
differences at the high dose. Urine sodium excretion
for 33% MON 863 males was slightly lower than the reference
population mean, but was not different from the
33% control group. These slight differences were not
considered to be test article related.

Without a urinalysis you can't conclude Anything about kidney function.

Where are the urinalysis results, on GMO-fed rats Ewan?

Ena Valikov said...

Kidney Focal chronic inflammation 7 11 7 6
Focal tubular regeneration 8 14 2 3
Tubular mineralization 0 0 9 2*

>>>In response to questions from one regulatory reviewer
in Europe, kidney tissues were subjected to an
independent pathology peer review. Two independent
board certified pathology experts carried out a blinded,
pathology peer review
of MON 863 and control kidney
slides (both males and females) and reviewed relevant
clinical pathology data and kidney weights. They concluded
that the microscopic kidney changes observed
in test and control animals represented classic chronic
progressive nephropathy (CPN), a very common finding
in rats, particularly males (Hard and Khan, 2004). The
severity of CPN was generally minimal for MON 863
and control groups and the incidences were similar,
18/20 and 14/20 for MON 863 and control males, and
4/20 and 9/20 for MON 863 and control females, respectively.<<<

Clearly you know that Blinded analysis Can be done and is done, cause the paper claims to have "blinded" the pathologists.

>>>They concluded that there was no evidence of
treatment related microscopic changes in the kidney.
The slight decrease in male kidney weights was considered
to be within normal limits, and the relevant clinical
data reflected the absence of any treatment related kidney
changes. Therefore, it was concluded that the
kidneys of rats fed diets containing MON 863 were
normal and comparable in appearance and function to
kidneys from animals fed diets containing control grain.<<<

There is no way to make that conclusion, nor do I believe for a second that the pathologists were truly "blinded" to who was paying them for their analysis.

Where are the names of the "blinded" pathologists in the report, Ewan?

Ena Valikov said...

Liver Vacuolization 17 20 18 20
Congestion 1 1 3 3
Foci of chronic inflammation 17 17 19 18
Bile duct, inflammation, chronic 6 10 5 6
Bile duct hyperplasia 6 5 2 2
Hemorrhage

What were the bile acid values on the rats?

Other Information
Bile acids are an important test for monitoring normal liver function. Bile acid is metabolized in the liver and is present in increased concentrations with abnormal liver function. This assay can be used to measure bile acid concentrations in mice in a wide variety of applications including mouse serum, liver, bile, feces, and intestine.
http://www.crystalchem.com/mouse-total-bile-acids-assay-kit.html

Ena Valikov said...

We ask for an official counter-analysis, in particular of the male kidneys in these studies, that concentrate more than 43% of all disrupted parameters in a meta-analysis of all published data on commercialized GMOs 10.

We already know that during the MON 863 study, Monsanto highlighted anatomic signs of “chronic progressive nephropathy” on GM-fed male rats' kidneys. However, Monsanto did not see these signs as being noteworthy due to the fact that, according to them, they were well known to occur in old Sprague-Dawley rats. This explanation was then publicly repeated by the president of the CGB, the French evaluation committee for the GMO in question. But these rats were only 5 months old, and still quite young at the end of the experiment. Oddly enough, these anatomo-pathological signs on kidneys were not noticed during the studies on MON 810 and NK603 maize. Yet the rats were the same age and from the same strain.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2952409/?tool=pubmed

The Emperor is not wearing any clothes, says a garden variety veterinarain. I'll pass the data past my plumber.

Kevin M. Folta said...

EEk! I went away to a conference and had a freaky health event, so I was unable to check this much. Can't wait to catch up!

Ewan R said...

"Explain having researchers aware of which animals are getting which food does not bias the researchers allowing them to get whatever result they wish to manufacture?"

This is standard procedure for the assessment of any pesticide. I'll go with the peer reviewed SOP being sufficient.

"Justify the statistics, Ewan."

Demonstrate why they are not sufficient. This is the standard operating procedure for assessing pesticides, I'll go with peer reviewed SOP.

"Clearly you know that Blinded analysis Can be done and is done"

My initial confusion was between a blinded and double blinded trial, not blinding per-se. I'm fully congnisant that blinding would have been far better in terms of making for a more easily trusted study. However that isn't what the SOP requires.

"How do results on 40 rats fed for 90 days have any statistical relevance to Billions of people and billions of animals eating the food for Hundreds of Years?"

By themselves they do not. With all the other evidence this is sufficient.


3. Why 40 experimental rats and 160 control rats, Ewan?

Because that is what the SOP says to do. Why not 40 experimental rats? (the other groups of 40 are there to provide reference data as to what are the normal bounds for various corn diets)

"nor do I believe for a second that the pathologists were truly "blinded" to who was paying them for their analysis.
"

Therefore it literally doesn't matter what the data say, it is wrong because of who provided it. Ad hominem.

"Where are the names of the "blinded" pathologists in the report, Ewan?"

They aren't reported... are they important? Really?

"What were the bile acid values on the rats?"

They aren't reported, one presumes because they weren't done, one presumes because the OECD SOP doesn't ask for them, again one presumes because they don't add anything to the analysis (I don't doubt that there are thousands of tests that could be done and weren't, but this doesn't subtract anything from Seralini's abject dishonesty in his evaluation of the data (y'know all the data he got via court order, which if it included everything you are asking about and if it had issues would doubtless have been rehashed by Seralini)

"But these rats were only 5 months old, and still quite young at the end of the experiment."

The point being what exactly? The cited paper states:-
"Although usually regarded as a disease of the aging rat,
incipient lesions of CPN are detectable in hematoxylin and
eosin (H&E)-stained sections of male rat kidney at least as
early as 2 months of age."

5 months > 2 months, so why mention this other than to be utterly misleading?

"garden variety veterinarain"

I'll stick with the actual toxicologists and whatnot to tell me what toxicological results mean.

Did you wish to address your massive shifting of the goalposts at all, or is that not of any importance?

Karl Haro von Mogel said...

Good post. Even better is the discussion that follows. Ena Valikov is clearly unhinged and uninformed, and trots out one logical fallacy after another in a quest to justify a belief that is held not on the basis of evidence.
Ewan, you are right - your audience is also the people in favor of GE crops who would enjoy the digs, and I did enjoy them! I love a good logical fisking in a common, yet pointed manner. You had me at "Argumentum ad lactis!"

Ena's outbursts are not limited to this blog post - an attempt to leave some vile commentary on Biofortified turned into a steaming pool of bile heaped into our contact email inbox. Each more belittling and condescending than the last, and each contradicting each other. She went from accusing me of being paid by big bad Monsanto to everyone else being under my control as my minions! How's that for moving the goalposts? I know one veterinarian's office that I would never trust my cat's health to if I lived in San Diego...
Won't anyone think of the kittens?!

Quasmoexports said...

You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.



Biological Microscopes

Anonymous said...

Well, that was a fun way to spend Friday night. I'm glad I got past Kevin's typo in the first paragraph to read the whole darn mess. Sure wish you all could discuss things without insulting each other's intelligence, sincerity and blind spots, on both side of the issue. I realize patience runs thin and tempters flare, but the name-calling and belittling really loses votes for your cause, whichever side it's on. I remain firmly on the fence, in part, because of the manner in which the information is condescendingly presented. 'Nuff said.

TotalD said...

Kevin M. Folta

Syngenta Green State TV