Thursday, May 23, 2013

You Asked for Independent Replication... Stunning Corn, Again

A mantra of the anti-GMO movement is that they want independent research, from neutral sources devoid of  special interest.

That is, until it is their special interest.

The Moms Across America "stunning corn" is old news here. In short, anti-GMO websites everywhere showed that GM corn was full of formaldehyde and had no nutrients. The data presented were so fake that anyone with half a brain could see right through it.  They were soil data, and likely faked soil data. 'Moms' promoted, and rabidly defended, fake results as authentic. Still do.

When I questioned them on their websites I was banned, blocked and then criticized.

Last week on Mae-Wan Ho's website I offered to personally pay for a replicate of the experiment.  I was greeted by a kind email from Dr. Ho, and clear indication that Howard Vlieger and Dr. Don Huber (the goofy one, not Don J. Huber) were on board for the new test.

I was excited to say the least.  They clearly were ready to move forward, or they thought they were calling my bluff.  I'm a scientist, not an activist, so I don't have time for bluffing.  Forward we go!

Now I've opened the conversation and I'm surprised they are playing along.  Dr. Maewan Ho has been always accommodating and pleasant.  Could we actually do a real test?  I'm actually starting to think that we'll get somewhere!  No contact from Vlieger on the specifics we need to replicate the test.

YES!  Here we go!  I'm actually really pleased that there's some movement in a common direction.  Maybe they really did get those data and there was a mixup at the lab-- they were being honest.  Maybe those were real data and corn is poison...  I can't fathom that, but it is in the spectrum of possibilities I guess.  The re-test will tell.  This is great!

Let's now put everyone on the hook...  we're all accountable!

This is really coming together!  Ebony and Ivory!  Water and oil!  Union and Confederates!  Kum-by-effin-ya!

I asked Zen Honeycutt and Kathleen Hallal from 'Moms Across America" to please contribute.  I asked them to feel free to shape the next experiments, and offered them authorship on the work.  I wish I could access the old Facebook posts, but they are beyond my history's reach.  Hallal said that nobody ever claimed the results to be real, and that is just bullshit. I did have a note I sent to Honeycutt, so far unanswered.  Of course, she'll never offer to be part of the work.  Her flimsy organization has too much to lose.

Of course, not reply from Zen or Kathleen.  The light of science, the independent verification they want, causes the science-less cockroach fear promoters to scurry for shelter.

Of course, they are on the spot now.  It is time to do the independent, multiple location, replicated, statistically correct test-- they say scientists never do.  Let's do it!

And then, the black helicopters hover......

This is where they have to back out, because they know that independent tests will expose their fraud, or at least their support of a mistake or data someone else faked.  I do not believe it is a mistake, because if they were real data, they would be eager to replicate with independent scientists. 

In the meantime Anastasia Bodnar sources some maize analytical labs we we're getting loads of input on this website about numbers of replicates and experimental design. Unfortunately, none of this comes from those supporting the data.  From Moms Across America's Kathleen Halall, she tells me that they are willing to do the experiment, but I can't be part of it because it has to be an independent scientist... of course, I'm as independent as they come.  Plus, all of this is transparent! 

But you guessed it, they are retreating.  

So they don't want independent replications, they want to do their own replications, where they can control how much formaldehyde the soak the corn in, where they can manipulate the numbers.

I demanded transparency, independent replicates, multiple sites and labs!  Now they are backing out! 

I'm a little disappointed because I thought we were getting somewhere.  My reply:

And one last time to salvage that Kum-by-ya...

I know, I"m such a monster. 


And this is where it stands.  I was never contacted by Vlieger of Huber, and marching moms were just pointy, mean and nonconstructive, true to form. 

If you are someone that understands and accepts the evidence that biotechnology is a safe and useful tool, again the critics have been silenced.

If you are someone that is anti-GMO, if you feel this is dangerous, most of all if you are afraid of those corn data-- then you need to seriously think about who is representing you.  You need to see how they operate, how they are fakes and will not stand by the data they promote!

If you hate GMOs, hate Monsanto, hate biotechnology-- STAND WITH ME and DEMAND that MOMS AGAINST AMERICA, Dr. MAEWAN HO, and others that promote this fake corn data either REPEAT THE TEST INDEPENDENTLY with GREAT RIGOR or TAKE DOWN THEIR BOGUS WEBSITES AND ADMIT THE DATA ARE FALSE.

They'll never do it. They are not big enough people to admit it and their house of anti-science cards depends on it perpetually scaring people, even if it means promoting data that don't match biology, and they don't want replicated.

I've done my part to promote science and reason.  This shows what cowardly stewards of misinformation they are.  I'm maintaining my offer and stand by to do this test. 


Mary M said...

Run away! Run away! Kevin the Killer Bunny:

This was pretty much what I expected, that they would weasel out when really pressed. But I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

Obviously they don't really mean what they say about quality and independent science. Again, not a surprise, but it's possibly handy to have this data about them.

Kevin M. Folta said...

Mary, I was surprised at first too. I really thought we were going forward constructively. I thought that maybe there was an error in the analytical lab... an honest error.

But the refusal to want to go one deeper, and even running from the original data says that they know the data are bogus and not repeatable.

I do welcome a change of heart. We can do this fairly and objectively.

Matt Snyder said...

Hello Kevin,

Have you considered using Kickstarter or similar fund raising tools to carry out independent research? Just a thought, as it might be useful create independent research like you're describing to inform people about this topic.

-Matt Snyder

Kevin M. Folta said...

Matt, it is a viable idea and we did talk about this. However, this test needs to be clean. I don't want someone to contribute that had a baseball coach who's daughter that once worked for Monsanto give me five bucks.

That's collusion in their eyes.

Plus, it shows my conviction. This would not be cheap, probably thousands of dollars. I'm that certain that the results could never replicate-- but we need to do the test, correctly.

Offer stands. I'm not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

Interesting project. I hope that you guys come to an agreement and get the data repeated.

Towards the analytical chemistry, asking labs doing corn or feed analysis might be the wrong place to start as all the parameters listed in the table are usually not tested in corn (because they absolutely don't make any sense). Your best bet might be to approach a soil testing lab and discuss with them how to prepare the samples so they can be run through their routine.

It was somewhere speculated, that it might have been an accident and a technician just ran the kernels through the same routine as a soil sample. I doubt that. Commercial analytical labs are very standardized. They usually follow strict protocols (SOPs) and the first step of an analytical procedure is sample preparation. I assume, the technician would notice immediately that he is dealing with a bag of corn and not soil, and can't simple run his routine. What did he do with that bag of corn? Grind it down to a fine powder? Do some liquid extraction?

Julie Kay said...

My two cents worth: I think science can be very threatening to people. Try showing fundamentalist Christians the evidence for evolution. They won't even look at it.

I also think that perhaps at some level these people (Honeycut, Vlieger, Huber et al) suspect that the "stunning" corn table won't be replicated, indeed can't be replicated, and they'll be eating crow. They've seen this blog and others like it and they know scientists think they're idiots.

No one wants to be tarred and feathered in their own wrongness. To avoid public humiliation, its much easier to cut and run.

In any case, I for one, really wanted this study to be done so that we could put this issue to rest once and for all.

Can you all still do the test... even without Marching Moms and their pals? I know THEY won't believe it but it's better than nothing.

just me said...

Hi, Kevin, what a great story. I thought perhaps this was the one time GM would actually stand up and let their work be "transparent". Haha like others that use that word "transparent" they have no intention at ALL in being such.
I too am mostly anti GM, but would love to help donate to this research to see what your results would be.
I admire you for sticking with it. They were players from the start.

cosmicaug said...

«Hallal said that nobody ever claimed the results to be real»

Now that's stunning! I would expect such a statement on your part to be made up (it seems that outrageous to me) but, indeed, in their comment section it is explicitly stated that they do not even care if it is even true (because Monsanto is evil seems to be the justification for not caring). Amazing! I can hardly conceive of this! said...

Just came across this, and it's very interesting indeed. At the Acres USA Conference a month ago, Huber cited this "data" during his talk. I raised my hand and asked why if the study had ever been replicated and if further results had ever been published. Huber replied that "it had only been a year" and that "no one but you people [the predominantly anti-GMO crowd] wants to know." Guess he had "forgotten" about your offer!

Lone Ranger said...

You could always find websites & individuals that are not able to back up their assertions, but it's not representative to use them as the scapegoats, as there are well credentialed scientists that oppose GMO's. You should find more formidable opponents rather than pick on the "little guys".

The onus is on the big businesses manufacturing GMOs to provide the evidence, rather than the layman without resources, to provide proof.
The legislation & standards in place, favor the industry.

Anonymous said...

To the lone ranger, you seem to be implying that there is absolutely no reason for anyone to be upset about websites -- very, very popular websites that wield tremendous influence over the hearts and minds of others, hardly "Little People" -- spreading fear and lies for attention and profit. You seem to be implying that it would be better to just let them carry on with nary a peep from those who know better.

Care to elaborate on your position here? I'd be curious to hear more.

Also, please, fill us in. Who are these well-credentialed outspoken anti-GMO scientists we should be dealing with instead?

Anonymous said...

One more question for the lone ranger... How much 'evidence' do you require to change your mind about GMOs. What would it take, exactly?

Anonymous said...

The corporations creating GMO's have no right to contaminate my food with their experiments. It is now virtually impossible to get corn or soy that does not have GMO contamination. As these corporations continue to produce more varieties of GMO's the food supply will continue to become more contaminated. Go ahead and eat all you want, but do not force it on every one else. Grow your GMO's in controlled environments where the pollen can be confined.