Saturday, April 20, 2013

Scientific Terrorism- Forcing You to Change with Fear

Is the anti-GMO movement scientific terrorism? Terrorism is defined as acts committed which are intended to create fear (terror), perpetrated for a religious, political or, ideological goal.  Here I will show evidence from only one recent source that supports the assertion that the anti-GMO movement is scientific terrorism.

Last week we saw Zen Honeycutt and Moms Across America deploy explosive nonsense, outright falsehoods, in an attempt to cause as much intellectual collateral damage as possible- to build fear, create terror -- when no scientific reason exists.

This week let's look at an on-line petition from ForceChange.org.  Note, this is not "inspire change" or "scientifically influence change".  it is FORCE CHANGE.  Change is demanded and they will use any means possible to achieve it, even if it is not scientifically warranted. 

Their stated goal is to force change because their beliefs and ideological goals dictate that they do-- they have marching orders to carry out, even if it creates harm beyond their mission.  Let the anti-intellectual terror campaign begin!




When you can't inspire change with logic, reason and evidence, you "Force Change". It is parallel to the frightening rhetoric of "Take America Back" in the last election. If you can't get your desired outcomes by evidence-based means, use lies and distortion to force it, to take it back.


Let's examine the recent on-line petition on the page above.  The petition states many blatant falsehoods.  Whether the author is lying, stupid or both is unknown, but it does not stop them from driving a fear-mongering campaign that is inconsistent with science.  Here is the petition broken down into digestible bites, followed by evidence-based commentary.


"Monsanto Corporation has a multinational monopoly over genetically modified foods. This means that farmers are having a difficult time using other seeds." 
Farmers are free to use whatever seeds they want to use. There are plenty of non-GMO seed sources. Farmers choose this technology for its performance and/or cost savings.
"Monsanto necessitates that farmers don’t save and replant next-generation seeds, so that they’ll have to keep buying Monsanto’s seeds every year."
Farmers are free to not sign the agreement and use alternative seeds.  Plant materials, GMO and non-GMO are protected by patents to ensure continued variety improvement by providing some funds back to breeding programs
"When a farmer used a variety of unmarked seeds from a grain elevator, some were found to be Monsanto’s and the corporation sued him for $84,000."
The farmer acquired seeds from an elevator and then used glyphosate (roundup) to select for those containing the beneficial gene. That’s stealing technology. Try making a million copies of software, music or art. You can’t take other people’s inventions or creative work and sell it/use it as your own, and this was the basis of the court's decision. 
"Genetically modified foods are also dangerous. The genetic material added to make crops more resistant to disease often carries RNA that can lead to other diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes." 
The authors present no evidence of this.  In the accompanying plea, they state 
"A Chinese study found that people who ate genetically modified rice had RNA in their bodies that binds to human liver cells and absorbs cholesterol from the blood. RNA is also known to lead to cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes."
What they fail to tell you is that the "Chinese study" was not done with GMO rice. Oops.  Standard old white rice.  PLUS!! "RNA IS ALSO KNOW TO LEAD TO CANCER, ALZHEIMER'S, AND DIABETES!! Holy crap!  I'm loaded with RNA!
"Here in the United States, the Monsanto corporation owns 90% of genetically modified crops, and 88% of corn and 93% of soybeans are genetically modified. In Europe, Monsanto owns 36% of tomato, 32% of sweet pepper, and 49% of cauliflower varieties."
Oh, and the tomato, pepper and cauliflower varieties are not GMO. They may even be growing on your organic farm...
"The European Patent Council can vote to outlaw patents on food, which will end Monsanto’s stronghold in Europe. Hopefully, if you do this, it will encourage the United States and other countries to follow suit, leading to better economic futures for farmers and better health for people."
Better economic futures?  By driving corn, soybean, canola, sugar beet and cotton production overseas?  Better for plant breeders that rely on plant patents to protect their interests and maintain their programs?  

*****

Once again the anti-scientific rhetoric of the anti-GMO movement soars to a new low.  Not only do they provide absolutely false information, it is presented to generate fear in an attempt to force change. That's using terrorism to drive an agenda, to force you to change your ways or your thinking because of fear. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

When Terror Fails: Courage and Outrage Ignite

The tragedy at the Boston Marathon was a rookie job.  Sadly it ended in death and injury, so to those it touched it is quite serious and just as horrendous as a jet plane into a skyscraper.  The unexpected instantly changed many lives, and those killed and those surviving feel tragedy forever.

The goal of the perpetrator was to generate fear and terror. Fail. In their place is only anger and courage, and an understanding that we will not tolerate this bullshit and we'll fix it if it happens again.  We will care for those affected.

(Predictions and thoughts ahead)

If the goal of this person, and it was one person, was to generate terror and fear, then it is a major fail. This 34-year-old white male targeted the Boston Marathon.  He wanted to raise fear and terror. Instead he raised anger, resolve and dedication to a bigger ideal.  He picked the wrong event.

The marathon is the ultimate display of human resolve and character, an ability to play through pain, move when you can't move anymore, and do it with remarkable levels of performance.  The athletes lived this, and the crowds knew this.  It is an activity of perseverance.

It is the wrong crowd for a cowardly attack.

I always said that Timothy McVey didn't realize what he could do, or did.  He was a hack, a nut in his patriot cave angry at the world and seeking justice from his own beliefs.   The person that did the Boston bombings is cut from the same cloth, only he didn't have the balls and/or brains to take it further than a couple of low-rent pipe bombs left in a crowded area.

There's no terror here.  No fear.  Sadness, yes, but that only raises anger and action. It won't change us. We'll never go to the finish line of a race through a metal detector and we certainly won't take off our shoes for a marathon.  People are not scared, they're pissed.

They will catch the guy that did this and when they pull him from his loner, suburban Boston apartment he'll be identified as another loser, mad at the world, stoked by fears of the media outlets that tell him of government intrusion and  threats to his crappy "victimized" way of life. If he doesn't go down in a hail of bullets he'll go down with a needle in his arm in 6 years after proudly admitting his indiscretions.

I'm calling the Boston Marathon Bombings a major fail for one dumbass 'patriot'.

Let's watch as my prediction unfolds.

The response will be tempered and measured.  We will not live in fear from this one and there will be no action to adjust the way we do things to accommodate the sickening.  Terrorism fail.




Saturday, April 13, 2013

Moms (well) Mobs Across America- Follow the Money

The recent discussion of the data appearing on the Moms Across America have gone viral.  They have shown up across the interwebs.  Just google "stunning corn comparison" and you can see how the non-discriminating science palate of activist websites have bought the story as the highest scientific evidence of transgenic plant harm.  Even Natural News calls this made up data on a flyer a "paper" insinuating that it is some peer-reviewed work.

The readers of this blog have been wonderful in searching out reality.  Several have posted the original links to a pdf from a fertilizer company in Canada that subscribes to anti-transgenic crop nonsense.

Today I was directed to the Moms Across America again by blog reader Alun Salt.  It was the 'Moms' site that started the whole flap about how transgenic corn has no nutritional value but is loaded with glyphosate and formaldehyde.  The corn is rich in zinc an copper but has no calcium or carbon-- numbers that just don't fit with what we know about plant ion relations and metabolomics.

Now get this:

  • DeDell's Seed sells non-trangenic corn seeds.
  • DeDell's made at least one donation to Moms Across America.
  • The donation was made shortly before the "data" showing that GMO corn was poison with no nutritional value was posted. 



If you'd like your products and agenda spotlighted by an angry mob of non-critical thinkers, make a donation to Mobs Across America and send them some unvetted data to promote.  Make sure they are consistent with their agenda and not from scientists!


Can somebody say "conflict of interest" here?   The company that donates money gets their implausible, misrepresented (or possibly manufactured) data represented as actual science, when the company sells a product that competes with the product being criticized.  In other words, bash the competitor with bad information and pay a disinformation clearinghouse to promote the junk science. 

Bingo.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Gullible "Moms Across America"- A Post Mortem

A friend sent me a link to an alleged scientific report.  The "report", found here, claims to show the "stunning" nutrient content in GMO corn vs. non-GMO corn.  Mom's Across America, a website dedicated to fear mongering and cleansing of scientific input, posted this information and decorated it with a healthy sprinkling of non-critical thinking and logical fallacy. 

Unfortunately for them, the "report" has no source cited, no methods, no anything.  Definitions in the footnotes are wrong.  It appears to be a table of soil data (there is more zinc and copper than carbon present, etc) or is a complete fabrication. 

When corrected by scientists in the comments section, we were ripped apart by aggressive robot-like dogma that discredited us, slandered us and distorted our work. 

When we replied, many of the replies were censored from the website, allowing only the insane comments of bitter non-scientists to be presented.  As usual, if you can't discuss the facts, cleanse the facts so that the lies run unopposed. 

The best part is, Zen Honeycutt, the website administrator and attack dog, is one of the least scientific thinkers I ever have seen.  When you read her comments on her blog you'll see disdain and condescension for science and scientists. These folks are bitter and mean. 

Here is a sample of one of her (his) comments to justify her assault on science and scientists, and her rationale for silencing scientific discussion. You should look here to see all of it

Zen and her ilk stand by these data as legitimate.  She repeatedly bolsters their scientific validity as representing data from corn. Here's a little sample of the kookiness. (her comments in italic, my responses follow)
  
ZH: (GMO nurition) explains a lot…why animals will NOTeat GMO corn even in the dead of winter. 

KF: Cute anecdote.  Again, good at believing anti-scientific junk, not much of a science filter.

ZH:  (this is) Why human allergies have increased 400% since GMOs were introduced…why health issues have skyrocketed. 

KF: Again, someone that has no understanding of correlation vs. causation. 

ZH: Irregardless of this report, I have scores of Moms who have answered our health survey who repeatedly share that going off GMOs reduced, improved or dissappeared their children’s and their own health issues.

KF:  Aside from the use of "irregardless", this is frightening.  First, of course readers of her non-scientific website will fill out a poll saying that there are problems.  Second, her family members have health problems and she blames safe food. It is a lovely anecdote, not scientific, and when 70% of the food in this country contains transgenic ingredients and does not cause health effects, she clearly is barking up the wrong tree. Worse, her family members may have serious underlying medical problems that go untreated because a scapegoat product. 

ZH: Not eating something that has this many toxins in it would for sure be a factor in an improvement in health. 

KF:  Sure, if it had toxins in it.

ZH:  I have also been told that this report looks like a soil report because, yes, this usually is the kind of test done on soil. The people who took it ran this panel of tests because they wanted to test for mineral and toxins usually on found in soil, NOT on food, so that was the closest test to run. 

KF: Somehow she knows the people that did the work, but does not post that information.  That's a red flag to me.  Perhaps someone manufactured the information and used her website as a conduit.

ZH: Chris (a commenter on the website), just because it looks like a soil report, does not mean it is, if it says corn report, at some point, unless you have another agenda, the public needs to take things at face value…juts like I am sure your field would appreciate any study that you do and title it as you see fit, to read it and take it as you say.

KF: Chris posted that it was a soil report.  Again, Zen deflects scientific inquiry to an underlying conspiracy and agenda.  She says, "The public needs to take things at face value".   I have a UFO in Rosewell to sell her.

ZH:  I respectfully ask you Chris to use your intellect to create something useful and please stop posting on this website. We have heard your point, get your stand for honesty, and thank you for please moving on. Thank you.

KF: And then Chris is asked to move along and not comment again

That truth, reason and critical thinking are not allowed on Moms Across America!  If you dare to discuss science, you are asked to not comment.  If you continue to do so (or even if you're not) your comments are expunged.

This whole situation should be extremely meaningful to the anti-GMO movement.  Here a report, with no source in the real literature is distributed as gospel and defended rabidly. Scientists are trashed and science ignored.  It could be fake data from an anti-anti-GMO interest too, and that would be really interesting to see...  

----------------
Post-Mortem

So what is this report?  It comes from a PDF from a company called Profit Pro (ironically, as transgenic technology opponents claim that transgenics are only about profit) and their newsletter. Some good sleuthing by readers of this blog shows that Profit Pro's December 2012 and January 2013  newsletter present this table. They don't even know what Brix is. 

They have a product they want to sell, they show a bogus comparison, and scare the pants off non-critical readers.  

A quick look at the website's "articles" shows a credulous subscription to nonsense, faux scientific articles that fool readers. Same old crap.  

PLUS!!  Natural News has picked up on this garbage, calling it a "breakthrough report" and a "paper".  The best part is that the title starts with "Biotech Lies".


Please think for a minute.  Who is really misrepresenting science here?  If all of this does not demonstrate the clear agenda and lack of scientific thinking in the anti-GMO movement, what does? 




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Blocked from Commenting- for Exposing Facts

Last week I pointed out that some data pitched as the dangers of GM corn were actually not from corn, but from soil itself. I found the root of the problem on Moms Across America a website desiring to stoke fear of biotechnology-- even if it means lying to readers and silencing critics that dare to talk science.

Moms Across America- Keeping Children Safe from Critical Thinking Since (at least) 2013

To recap, they posted a table of data allegedly comparing GM to non-GM corn.  The whole story is here. The conclusion from their side is that GM corn contains more zinc and copper than carbon and is loaded with glyphosate and formaldehyde.  My conclusion was that they were fooled with soil data, which is obviously the case.

When I called out the bogus information the followers of the site immediately jumped to diffuse-and-attack mode.  The comments below show this beautifully.  Not only do they try to link me to Big Corporate Ag (predictably), they also move the goalpost--   since they have been caught red handed either lying or spreading bad information unknowingly... the focus changes from the food, to the soil.  Typical.

I'm even reminded hat I'm not a soil scientist.  It is all about tearing me down, not supporting their information and providing a source or additional evidence about this magic GMO high-zinc corn.

In the same passage  I was criticized by others on that site, again connected to  Monsanto (this time because I did a video for Biofortified.org and they were apparently noted by Monsanto as a good source of biotech information (talk about six degrees of Monsanto separation!)).  You can read it all in the comments section of the website, or in a nugget like this one:



Gemma tells me of my close affiliation with Monsanto.  Wow!  I'm almost president of the company! 


Then my comments were removed, censored, because science does not mesh with their delusion.

Unfortunately I didn't get screen caps of my comments, but they all have been removed.  You can tell where they were by reading the comments section.


You can see here in Gemma Starr's comments that she really respects scientists. She was responding to my gentle and kind educational comments meant to guide and teach.  Glad she can "LOL" at the people that speak from science-based evidence.


Censored.  Nice job Moms Across America.  You are absolutely the crappiest moms I can imagine-- insulate people, including children, from the truth you find inconvenient to your cause.  Shame on you.  Teach your children to think critically and understand reality from fantasy.  That's the best gift you can give them.

THE BEST PART is that the woman at Moms Across America was happy to put a lame and rambling (borderline insane) comment on this Illumination blog.  Talk about internet balls!  Distills facts from her website that I present, but then wants her insanity represented on a scientific site!

I'm happy to leave her comments on my site.  She makes my point impeccably.


Here's what you get from Moms Across America: 

--Publication of a bogus report, or at least misrepresentation of real data

-- Discrediting scientific credentials of a helpful scientist

-- Development of tenuous links to try to show conflict of interest, again to discredit good scientific evidence

-- A desire to be heard on a reciprocal platform.  Good Ol' Zen Honeycutt wants to be heard here on Illumination, but my comments are no allowed on Moms Across America!   They want to give the illusion of a debate on my site, but a "no room for other thoughts" approach on theirs.


-- ULTIMATELY, they censor a scientist providing helpful guidance because it does not support their inconvenient interpretations and threatens their religion of "science/scientists=liars"  

To those on the fence on this issue, this behavior should be extremely telling.

The insanity continues.  Soil data are shown as corn nutritional data and the credulous keep on believing it, defending it, and teaching it to a new generation of suckers.  Just more work for me and the world's thousands of independent, academic scientists to clean up later.