Skip to main content

Retraction and Apology. Do the Right Thing.

I'm furious about the false and defamatory statements made by Paul Thacker and Charles Seife in this August 13, 2015 article on PLoS Blogs. There are several key take-home points:

1.  While they have since tacked on a clarification in a footnote, it was not complete. Thacker and Seife's allegation implication that I was a paid advsor to the Monsanto Company to defeat California Proposition 37 still stands, and has been cited elsewhere. The anemic correction leaves false statements available for maximum damage. Mission Accomplished.

2.  USRTK claimed that the FOIA request was to test relationships for why I, and other authors, answered questions for individuals on GMOAnswers.com. The article by Thacker and Seife shows that this is not the real intention. The email released has nothing to do with GMOAnswers.com.  Plus, why would a hostile activist-funded organization release that resource to authors unless it was to advance reputation damage to those communicating science?

These are two important questions that clearly demonstrate the intent and the strategy.

What should have happened?  The authors and PLoS should have made it right. 

1.  PLoS should have immediately demanded the article be changed to reflect factual information, or else pulled down the article.

2.  PLoS should have offered me equal space to clarify the real situation.

3.  Thacker and Siefe should have provided a public apology. However, Thacker has dug in, and on Twitter now accuses my actions of being orchestrated by a PR firm. 

Over the years I've made some mistakes in my blogs.  Even when I criticized Vani Hari, I heard that she left my university in a limo, and reported that. When facts came out otherwise, I was petrified. 

I felt so bad that I misreported information based on what a credible source told me, and the minute I had internet access I made the correction, and apologized. 

This is what should have happened here too.

Instead, the authors are defensive and digging in.  PLoS stands by their decision to publish harmful, false claims.

It is a bad time to be in a controversial area as a scientist.  The career that took you a lifetime to build, can be destroyed overnight by activists, and with the help of your friends in scientific publishing,

Popular posts from this blog

Scientific American Destroys Public Trust in Science

This is a sad epitaph, parting words to an old friend that is now gone, leaving in a puff of bitter betrayal. 
When I was a kid it was common for my mom to buy me a magazine if I was sick and home from school.  I didn't want MAD Magazine or comic books.  I preferred Scientific American
The once stalwart publication held a unique spot at the science-public interface, bringing us interesting and diverse stories of scientific interest, long before the internet made such content instantly accessible.  It was our trusted pipeline to the new edges of scientific discovery, from the mantle of the earth to the reaches of space, and every critter in between.
But like so much of our trusted traditional science media, Scientific American has traded its credibility for the glitz of post-truth non-scientific beliefs and the profits of clickbait.The problem is that when a trusted source publishes false information (or worse, when it hijacked by activists) it destroys trust in science, trust in s…

Chipotle's Ag-vertising to Fix their Anti-Ag Image

After years of anti-farmer rhetoric, disgusting anti-agriculture videos, and trashing farmer seed choice, Chipotle now seems to have found a love for the American farmer that is as warm and inviting as the gooey core of a steak burrito.  Their new "Cultivate the Future of Farming" campaign raises awareness of the hardship being experienced in agriculture, and then offers their thoughts and some seed grants in order to reverse it. 

But are they solving a problem that they were instrumental in creating? 

The crisis in agriculture is real, with farmers suffering from low prices, astronomical costs, and strangling regulation.  Farmer suicides are a barometer of the crisis.  Farms, from commodity crops to dairies, are going out of business daily. It is good to see a company raising awareness. 


From Chipotle's website- The "challenge is real" and "It's a hard living"-- and companies like Chipotle were central in creating those problems. 

However, Chipotle&#…

Mangling Reality and Targeting Scientists

Welcome to 2019, and one thing that remains constant is that scientists engaging the public will continue to be targeted for harassment and attempted reputation harm.  

The good news is that it is not working as well as it used to.  People are disgusted by their tactics, and only a handful of true-believers acknowledge their sites as credible. 

But for those on the fence I thought it might be nice to post how a website like SourceWatch uses a Wikipedia-mimic interface to spread false and/or misleading information about public scientists. 

Don't get me wrong, this is not crying victim.  I'm actually is screaming empowerment.  I spent the time to correct the record, something anyone can check.  Please look into their allegations and mine, and see who has it right. 

This is published by the Center for Media and Democracy.  Sadly, such pages actually threaten democracy by providing a forum for false information that makes evidence-based decisions in policy issues more challenging.  It…