Sunday, July 21, 2013

Justice Begins with Seeds- A Postmordem

Last month I submitted a proposal to present a workshop at Justice Begins with Seeds, an anti-GMO conference to be held in Seattle Washington.  The conference asked for proposals, I submitted an "Ask a Scientist" Q&A forum, and Anastasia Bodnar, Jon Entine and I were prepared to fly out and attend the conference, potentially at great expense.  The proposal was purely educational.

Last week I posted that I had heard nothing from the organizers.  I sent them a note and received a timely reply from Miguel Robles, the person I originally contacted at the organization.  Miguel has always been kind and supportive.

He told me that the reason we were not invited to present a workshop was not about GMO per se, but that the "conference is focusing particularly on the global social-economic-political repercussions of genetic engineering."  He then went on to the talking points, mostly about how this is all about money, destruction of small farms, etc.  He made a claim that breeding is superior to GM technology. Of course I responded curiously if he was a breeder or if he knew anyone that bred trees.

He then baited me with discussion of "stacked" traits and wanted to know if I found the technology helpful.  Of course, all technology has strengths and limitations.  While it is not great to need more herbicides, the stacked traits will strongly suppress evolved resistance.

He started to wind up with, "Anyhow, as you can see, we are not scientific experts and are not here to debate the scientific potential of GMOS. We are here to talk about the global social/economic/political repercussions of genetic engineering" and I'm not sure exactly what that means.  

He concluded with, "I like that you would like to share your perspective with the non-GMO crowd and it would be great if the biotech crowd would also include opposing opinions into their conferences."  

Of course, I reminded him of the CATO Institute invitation where Jeffrey Smith and GE Seralini accepted, then withdrew.  Frankly, I'm not interested in opposing opinions, but I'd love to see opposing evidence. 

It is clearly a gathering of the converted, an enclave of true believers united to cry together in a haze of anti-scientific doom and gloom.  Smith and Shiva will cash their paychecks and ironically scientists will be called paid shills.

At least we tried to reach across the chasm here.  It is important to discuss the science of the issue, but it is clear that there is no interest in doing this at Justice Begins with Seeds.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

TH121 Infomercial- Anti-Aging and Weight Loss!

Today I'm listening to the hardcore right-wing radio station in town, the SKY WSKY 97.3 in Gainesville Florida. As I've posted before, although they want the 10 commandments in every classroom and courthouse in the USA, they spend the weekend as the vectors of bearing false witness. They run a series of fake medical radio shows that actually are infomercials for bogus health items.

Today I heard the claims of TH121, on a commercial posing as a radio show called "Ask The Doctor" hosted by Charlie Robbins. If by "ask" they mean staged phone calls and if "doctor" they mean the company selling a vitamin and making claims about it, then they are 100% honest.

These a-holes really make me mad. They had caller after caller phone in, without ever offering a dial up number. Each caller lost weight, and fast, without dieting and exercise! One caller claimed 9 pounds in three weeks! Then they say that there are no side effects, that is is "safe" and "FDA Approved".

Check Google- there's no Charlie Robbins and the only thing you can find about "Charlie Robbins Ask the Doctor" is a complaint that the free trial of this product are not free when you call in. You have to pay for two months and then get one free. Apparently they say it is a mistake in the commercial. I'll check that later.

A bit of research shows that TH121 is just some acai berry extract, an antioxidant to be sure, but the medical claims are not supported by the scholarly medical literature (just by Oprah).

Give them a call. 800-966-9368. Ask them when you can call into the Charlie Robbins show and maybe if you can have the free product. It will never happen.

Seattle Workshop? Our Proposal's Fate.

You may remember that I submitted a proposal to give an "ask a scientist" workshop at the Seeds of Justice get together in Seattle, Aug 1-2.  The event has all of the usual suspects that will throw the usual crazy kerosene on the imaginary biotechnology fire.

My hope was to get all of the angry anti's in one place and just answer their questions honestly. Anastasia Bodnar, Jon Entine and I were excited to participate, even in a likely hostile forum. Certainly they'd be whipped into a frenzy by Smith, Shiva and the laundry list of non-scientists pontificating as experts.  What a great time to talk to them about science, how we do it, and what it says.

So what was their response?

Crickets.

Crickets.

Crickets.

No response.

Seeing as though we would need to plan, buy tickets, arrange lodging etc, it is not something we could do overnight.  It would be a significant expense for us to participate, but we were willing to take this on if given a forum to do some public education.

I actually gave them more credit than I should have.  I honestly thought they'd have us out for a discussion.

"Lo, come to Me, oh smelly waves of the credulous! I will teach you to fear, teach you that scientists are evil, and that you are all being poisoned. And buy my book on the way out"


On second thought, the survival of their club relies on suppression of evidence, turning a blind eye on science, and feeding a strategic system of misinformation driven by angry activists, profiteering authors and misaligned natural foodies.

And yes, sour frickin' grapes.  I love to engage an audience that disagrees with me.

And say what you want about CATO and their forum.  At least they had the balls to host one.

At the "SoJ" meeting they will spew their insanity to willing listeners.  Unchallenged and non-critical, they can gaze glassy eyed into the god-like presence of luminaries like Smith, Shiva and Kimbrell and hang on every word they say. Sniff the rag, sniff the rag...

At least we tried.  Teaching and education will squelch the fear of transgenic technology.  That's why the profiteers driving the anti-industries need to make sure that there is no science, teaching or education in their forums.