Monday, May 26, 2014

Thank Goodness? How to Smear a Scientist

Here's a story that starts with a simple comment on a website.  It ends with insults, anger, and delusional defiance.

A graduate student funded by NSF (the same folks that have funded my work over the years) libeled me in a harsh way.  Complete lies and nonsense.  I got nowhere with her kindly through private correspondence, and therefore just want to make the conversation public. I didn't want it to come to this.

There is a level of professionalism that is lost and an unacceptable breech of ethics for an academic.  She overstepped many lines, refuses to correct her falsehoods, and I feel it necessary to tell my story to protect myself from libelous accusations that are simply not true.  I never wanted her to experience any harm or negative effects from her indiscretions.  She refuses to correct her libelous statements, she stands by them, so I'm happy to post my interactions with Valerie Goodness here for all to enjoy.

I also contacted her Dean.  His response was limp at best, turning me over the the Office of Equity, Diversification and Inclusion, which found they have no jurisdiction of her actions.  Duh.  I feel that the university does have jurisdiction over the quality of scholars they produce, and if this is acceptable behavior for someone in the their program, it leaves a lot to be desired.

A Quick Note on Mother Jones 

About a month ago COSMOS aired the story of a public scientist that blew the whistle on a corporate influence scam.  Of course, Mother Jones didn't see it that way.  They portrayed it as corporate influence buying off scientists, playing into the far-out-liberal and far-out-conservative concept that academic scientists are just paid stooges for whatever corporations want to say.

I was the first to post, and posted a thoughtful retort that simply stated that it was about an independent academic scientist bravely standing up to corporate influence.

Then the poopstorm rained upon me in the comments section. I"m only posting a few gems in this blog.  The whole thing can be viewed here. Within the hour a vicious thread assembled, telling me about the bought-off scientists and fake results.  Of course, being a non-bought-off scientist that only publishes highly reproducible results (like the rest of the scientists I know) I had to respond, and did so throughout the thread.


Nativegrl59 claims I'm a "paid subversive who receives his funding for his doublespeak... and pro-corporate science"


One commentor was particularly awful.  It was not just her bankrupt opinions.  Those I can deal with.  It was what she was saying about me.  Awful, mean, personal stuff. I didn't know her.  It was just a chance to smear me by making up false associations.

She went by the handle Nativegrl59.  Even in the sample above you can see that she's really blown a gasket.  She then goes on...

She's really going after me with no evidence.  Pretty mean.

I do take this rather personally because she claims that I have harmed the careers of "ethical scientists, fellows, and grad students".  That breaks my heart.  I have been recognized with highly competitive awards for my undergraduate teaching and my outreach.  I also received a wonderful award for postdoctoral mentoring and serve on a university-wide committee to enrich their experiences. 

Moreover, all of my former students contact me, send me baby pictures, and just about all of them found great careers.  A few of them give me big cred for helping them get to where they are today. 

She claims I have "Monsanto bedfellows" when I don't have any associations with them other than knowing people that work there.  And they moved there after I knew them from academic science.

She claims my funding comes from places-- well, that just are not true.  My record is all public.  I have no money from Jon Entine or Searle or Monsanto, or whoever she says.  It is her way of trying to hurt my reputation as an independent academic scientist, all which is public record.

It continues...

"I know Folta's work, I know the cyber bullies he hangs out with, I get threats from them on a daily basis, so do my children"

She's has crossed a line.  At the time I had no idea who she was, I certainly never threatened her or her children.   This is a horrible thing to put on the internet, no matter how much you disagree with someone- why try to harm him/her personally?   

Here in Gainesville I teach special science classes for children at the Alachua Public Schools.  I teach there, voluntarily, a few times a year (used to be more when I didn't have administrative work).  I judge science fairs, run programs for kids and coordinate grad student efforts in teaching at the schools.  At night I teach karate classes- don't get paid to do it- but do it because it helps kids and the organization. 

In today's world background checks are commonplace, and as a potential teacher you are guilty until proven innocent.  Having this information on the internet is truly harmful, and I can lose opportunities to help others. 

Again, more false smear.  No words can describe how this makes me feel- a complete blend of anger, disappointment and empathy for this deluded soul.  I'm disappointed that an NSF-sponsored fellow would do this.



My website states no such thing, and I never got anything from Jon Entine.


Who is Nativegrl59? 

The threads went on forever, others came on to discuss and defend my position.  Awful things were said about me and I do take it way too personally.  I didn't even consider to figure out who Nativegrl59 was.  Didn't care. Clearly someone that had it in for me.  But others did care, and in the middle of the night  I got an email from one internet sleuth that in a google search connected the dots. 

She's Valerie Goodness, a graduate student at SUNY- Buffalo.  Public information says that she's an NSF-IGERT fellow, so essentially the same people that fund my outreach activities, also fund her to trash me so I can't do outreach activities.

There's no question about it. I"m not publishing the screenshots that make the connection, but it is clear. Even her facebook page has the same "Non-GMO" icon. 


Corrective Actions? 

Now that I knew who she was, could I get her to kindly correct the content, especially about daily threats to her children?   I sent her a professional letter by email asking for correction and compliance. 





The letter was pretty soft and asked for her cooperation.  The overarching spirit was to simply make it go away, lesson learned, false information corrected.  But she had a different interpretation.  My simple request for an apology was taken as a threat.  This is the email I received from her. 


 I was kind of hoping for, "I'm really sorry and will fix it"


There was no action, no news for several days.  I prepared another letter, again, soft, kind, and just asking her to remove the horrible falsehoods she put into a public forum with great authority. 


My 4/28/2014 letter.


Maybe progress?  She seems to be getting reasonable, and backs away from the "threatening". 


Then, ****crickets**** crickets ***** crickets *****


Last Correspondence

It was something like three weeks since she decided to put vicious lies about me into a public forum and she clearly was not going to make any attempts to remedy them.  At this point I'm assuming she's standing by them as factual content.   I try one more time with a simple email...


One more try.  Can I appeal to her sensibilities?  Please?  


Apparently not.  Again, the blistering accusations of "threats" which appears to be a front-and-center claim in her arsenal.  Her response:



She's obsessed with being the victim of threats. I've continually said that I have no intention to be difficult and please just fix it.  That's a threat ?


Where it Stands

First off, it was simple to figure out who she was and I thank those that took the time to do it.  However, I request that nobody harass or even contact Valerie Goodness.  In a situation where unethical behavior is the central criticism, we must not adopt those behaviors.

I have been advised to go after her legally and have even been put in touch with attorneys that say that this is actionable-- slam dunk.  I just don't see how spending the time and money to go after a grad-school mother makes sense.  I don't want her to have personal hardship, I just want her to fix the website and apologize.  Hell, I'll even take fix the website.

This has had damages. How do you quantify cost to my career and reputation, especially over time?  In a way, it is nothing.  Most know me and what I do, who I am.  But that information could cost me opportunities, both professionally and personally.   

The easy solution is for her to fix it.  She won't do that.  I acted 100% in good faith and wished to keep this private.  I wanted her to realize her mistake and fix it.  Unfortunately that false information remains in the public domain from Valerie Goodness' doing, and this is my only realistic recourse. Valerie Goodness clearly stands by her statements that I'm at least associated with people that daily threaten her children and get my funding from big business.  She stands by her statements of my collusion with companies and journalists.  She even claimed that I show proof of this sponsorship on my website- which is false. This is not about affecting Valerie Goodness, it is about correcting her false statements about me.  I want the truth to be out there, as that is how I operate.  She could learn a lot by spending a semester in my lab, and I'd be glad to mentor her in professionalism and ethics.

Note her twisting my request for truth- into being a victim of threats.  Note that she has broadcast horrible falsehoods about a public scientist that works hard in independent scholarly research, community outreach, student/postdoc mentoring, and many other aspects of academic interactions.

In Closing

Science is not just about data and hypotheses.  It is a pursuit for the Truth. It is about trusting students and postdocs, trusting other scientists to live by tight ethical standards. If someone can say outright false information about a public academic scientist, then that person may not be trustworthy.  I would absolutely question any results, claims, or conclusions in any manuscript, grant proposal or professional interactions coming from someone that could manufacture false information, and then dig in their heels when asked for validation.

This is not allowed in academia.  When someone is willing to fabricate information to meet their needs, or harm others' careers if they stand in the way of ideology-- that's is unacceptable.

I really wish that my simple comment to add to a public discussion did not have to come to this.  However, gentle interaction and discussion failed, and it was a last resort to get the real information into the public domain. As always, I'm happy to answer any questions,   kevinfolta@gmail.com.


Special thank you to everyone who has given me such kind thoughts in light of her comments,

Kevin







Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Six Months Later- Still No Evidence

Back on November 12, 2013 I patiently sat through a talk by Dr. Don Huber.  Huber is a former professor at Purdue with a really good record.  He was recognized by many as an expert in plant mineral nutrition and disease.

Now he travels from audience to audience extolling the perils of glyphosate and GMO crops.  He states, in no unclear way, that even just the process of adding the gene makes the plants dangerous.  (I actually recorded his whole talk, will post it someday).  You can find it anywhere on YouTube.

During his presentation he talked about this new virus-fungus, an unknown life form that invades GMO crops.  The organism causes abortions in cattle and infects humans, causing a suite of diseases from autism to cancer.  When he talks about it he shows graphic images of dead calves.  Audiences are visibly shaken and viscerally moved by his presentation.


The list of diseases caused by GMOs and glyphosate from Don Huber. 
The same list caused by chemtrails, vaccines and fluoride! 


I've heard this tired scam for eight years and never believed this for a second.  First, there's no evidence presented.  Next, the claims are all based on top secret work by unnamed figures in other countries, and his home institution, Purdue University, and the Centers for Disease Control know nothing about this deadly threat to all humans.



After his talk I asked him if he'd share his cultures.  I told him I could have it sequenced and understood by Jan 1, 2014.   We'd have the sequence for this deadly pathogen for five months now.

But Huber declined.  In a rambling cloud of no direction, Huber spent 10 minutes telling the audience why it could not be done.  Eventually he got defensive when the crowd turned on him and asked him to share so we could solve the "emergency".  Read the whole story here. 

Huber responds!  Afterwords he sent a libelous letter to my boss, saying that I was "disrespectful and disparaging" and that I "need to seek professional anger management counseling".  He said I interrupted the whole talk.  He didn't know I recorded it, and upon playback we see that he's lying to discredit me and conceal his fake pathogen.  I'll post this all someday when I have time.  Plus I've been advised to keep it in my pocket.

But shame.  For a credentialed scientist to get in front of a public audience and lie to them without evidence, THEN to try to harm the career of another scientist for requesting evidence.  That gets no lower. 

Some things have changed.

1.  He's distancing himself from the organism, recently claiming that he didn't discover it and that he does not have much to do with it.

2.  It is all in the hands of "the Chinese"

3.  He does not answer questions after the talk, maybe answers a few safe ones.

4.  I heard that at his last talk he didn't even talk about the deadly GMO organism.


So Dr. Huber, how about an update?  Where is the deadly organism now?  Is it being published?  Where is the sequence, protein or DNA?

The offer stands, I can tell you what it is in a few weeks if you share your cultures, the cultures you claim obey Koch's postulates and are easy to grow.

I'll do the work, you get the Nobel Prize.   I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

At the Master Gardener Spring Festival

For those of you that attended, thanks.  Please see the links below for some more information on points discussed!

It was a beautiful Saturday to drive to Ocala and see the Marion County Master Gardener's garden show.  It was even sweeter because I was on the schedule to talk about GMO Technology:  Coming to a Garden Near You, a provocative title for sure.

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The Spring Festival was great, the audience was fun. Thanks for coming out. 


You may have already read some of the grief the organizers received for having me come give a science talk. Chatter on their Facebook page concerned the organizers that there would be trouble brewing, such as violent protests and angry throngs.  They emailed me and let me know that there would be police present and they'd be checking the room.

Of course, I sent a note back that it was completely unnecessary, that there's no problem and that such things didn't concern me.  They don't.  It does give you a sense of what happens when we even dare to discuss science.  What would Galileo do?

The audience was small and everyone was attentive and interested.  There were a few people that clearly disagreed with the technology and we shared a reasonable dialog.  The major points were right from the GMO Bingo card, with some new ones, including allegations of nefarious use of aluminum tolerance genes so that plants could survive spraying with chemtrails.

The saddest part is that some members of the audience knew every cent that Monsanto and the tree company ArborGen contributed to researchers or programs at the University of Florida.  Of course, none of this gets to me or just about any specific researchers. They go to a scientist to answer a question. We're experts in what we do. Companies want to pay for that expertise.

Overall, it was a good time.  One woman there told me that the last time I spoke there it changed her mind 100%.  That makes it worth it.


Information and links from the talk:

1.  It was suggested that Japan does not accept Hawaiian papayas.  I indicated that the policy had changed that the point was disputed by an audience member. 

-- After a quick check, it turns out that Japan does accept Hawaiian GM papayas as of December 1, 2011.  Link

2.  The Indian suicide issue.  Here are some resources regarding that allegation.

-- Here are great posts on the myth  click here  and here!
-- Here is a link to an entry-level dissection of the issue by Dr. Ronald Herring of Cornell, the political science expert that has studied the dynamics of cotton farming and its impacts. 
-- And GM cotton makes farming profitable. A link from PNAS, one of our most prestigious journals, points to "large and sustainable benefits, which contribute to positive economic and social development in India."

3.  A vague point was made about GM bacteria leading to the "deaths of 37 Americans" and many others made ill... that was all I had to go with, but assumed it was the trypophan issue.  Years ago a Japanese supplement company made tryptophan as a dietary supplement and didn't purify it correctly, many people developed a disease known as EMS.  Anti-GM folks point to this as a fault of GM, when it was a fault of manufacturing.  A full discussion is here. 

4.  As always, I'm accused of having no professional integrity and judgement because of the claim that scientists are all bought and paid for stooges for Monsanto.  The claim came up again today, and I can direct you to my feelings on the subject here and here. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Roundup In Air and Rain? What the Report Really Says

This week websites across the whackosphere exploded with the the news.




Wow, that seems pretty remarkable.  I wanted to get a copy of the actual research paper right away! 


I wanted to learn more, but I could not access the paper at Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.  So how did all of these websites and their scholarly journalists get the manuscript?

I contacted one of the paper's authors, Dr. Paul Capel, and asked for a copy and he kindly sent one.  Apparently I was the first.  Seems like those coming to the conclusions of the websites above were acting true to form-- skimming an abstract and drawing a conclusion that best fits their desires.

So I actually read the paper!   Want to know what it says?  

In short-- the conclusions from the websites above are cherry-picked nonsense.  

First, the paper's authors do this work because ag chemicals volatilize.  I never realized to what extent, but wind, rain and other factors stir up otherwise latent chemicals and it is important to understand what is present.  The authors did such a survey.   They performed a survey in 1995 and 2007, at two separate sites in northwestern Mississippi that support 80% of the state's agricultural harvest, mostly supporting corn and cotton.

The authors note that the region had similar area farmed between the two dates, but the management was quite different, the biggest differences being the introduction of GM crops and the discontinued use of several insecticides. They sampled air and rain in this agricultural region over a growing season to understand environmental flux of ag chemicals. The areas had similar rain patterns.  Samples were analyzed by GC/MS, so we're talking sensitive detection.

Conclusions?   CONCLUSION 1- GC/MS is SENSITIVE! 

The authors are obviously quite skilled at analytical chemistry, as they reliably detect glyphosate, atrazine, and a dozen other chemicals in air samples in 2007.  Glyphosate is detected in 75% of samples, atrazine about the same.  The authors even found Molinate, a compound that had not been used in four years-- this is sensitive technology!   

THIS is what the articles above discovered, that chemicals were detected in these samples. Detected?  That means it is there, but it does not say how much is there. More on this later.

CONCLUSIONS 2.  Herbicides.

Figure 4 shows the difference in herbicides between 1995 and 2007. Peak applications are in May, as expected.  What you see is that glyphosate becomes the main herbicide detected.  What the activist literature does not bother to tell you is that the increase in glyphosate substitutes for "other herbicides". Atrazine levels decreased 36%. Trifluralin was present in almost every sample but its levels were 20 times lower than 1995. Essentially, glyphosate removed the need for other herbicides with higher environmental impact, a fact well documented (e.g. Duke et al., 2012).

CONCENTRATIONS. Oh, and don't forget to look at the y-axis units.  We're dealing with nanograms per cubic meter.  Considering these compounds are biologically relevant at the conservative level of milligrams per kilogram, we're talking about levels millions to billions of times below any biological relevance.


What the data really show is that tiny amounts of ag chemicals can be detected (ng /m3), and that between 1995 and 2007 glyphosate substituted for herbicides with more potential impact. 



CONCLUSION 3 -- Insecticides.

Here's another set of data that the scummy green media seemed to forget to report, but more likely they didn't read it because it was not in the abstract.  The trend from 1995 to 2007 shows a decrease in insecticide use.  In 1995 methyl parathion was heavily used in Mississippi on cotton (160,000 kg!). By 2007 its levels dropped twenty fold.  In 1995 there was high reliance on Chlorphyifos and malathion, and by 2007 the levels were down substantially, the authors citing "no local use". All "other insecticide" levels were lower as well.

Why?  Why the decrease between 1995 and 2007?

The introduction of transgenic (GMO) Bt cotton and Bt corn, the two principle crops of the region.  Of course, the crazy green media forgot to take the blinders off to see that.


Insecticides detected in 2007 compared to 1995.  You clearly see what may be attributable to the effect of Bt corn and cotton, that the GMO products work as claimed to decrease insecticide requirement.  The authors do not explain the 4 Sept peak in methyl parathion. 


Basically, the paper says that when you get into an ag area you can find ag chemicals, if you have sophisticated equipment and plenty of know-how.  The authors discuss that they sample two different sites with different crops growing, so that could affect data and account for some of the weirdness and spikes observed..  It does not change the take-home message that agricultural chemicals volatilize and persist in the environment, so it is best to minimize their use, use chemicals with less environmental impact, and choose seeds that require less chemical.

That is exactly what GM crops do, and exactly what the data show. 



Some additional points to note:

1.  The use of "Monsanto's Roundup" in the titles.  Glyphosate was detected.  While AMPA was also detected and is a breakdown product of glyphosate, the test did not find "Roundup" and the authors do not say "Roundup" once.

2.  The headlines above come from places where nobody actually read the paper.

3.  The same information outlets neglected to mention that glyphosate increases offset the use of other herbicides with more impact, that insecticide use was down, and that the levels were nanograms per cubic meter.

These are all important to note because is reveals how misinformed, ignorant and willing to deceive the anti-GMO media really is.  They are not out for science or truth, it is about an agenda.












 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Proudly Proclaiming Scientific Ignorance

When I saw this advertisement for a t-shirt to wear in May's March Against Monsanto, I could not believe my eyes.  Here was a shirt being sold to those opposed to transgenic (GMO) technologies that basically says that the wearer has no idea about what they are so upset about.  In a way, sad, but in a way pure rhetorical gold.  I can't make this stuff up.  


Proudly proclaim that you know nothing about technology you are rallying against!  A t-shirt that brazenly screams that the wearer is ignorant about biotechnology.


So what's wrong with this picture?  Let's start at the bottom and work our way up!

1.  Tomato.  There are no commercial GMO tomatoes. Oops.
2.  Syringe.  That's not how trangenics are made, and it is simply an iconic scare tactic of the anti-GM movement.  Again, proudly shows complete ignorance of the process. 
3.  Nobody is a science experiment from GM, any more than they are from eating anything else.  Again, a bold statement that anti-GM is in the business of manufacturing non-existent risk.

I only wish that I had designed the shirts and was making a few shekels off of them (oooh... and entrepreneur is born!).

Along that line, I'm not one to claim a conspiracy here, but I'm going to bet, hands down, that Monsanto actually printed these shirts.  Not only are they making money off of the scientifically illiterate, they make the protesters wearing them look like dolts, and they get a little eff-ewe to laugh about in the break room at work.

A little look at the back of the shirt confirms my suspicions.


Nothing like buying a garment to wear that says you have absolutely no clue. 

Anyone participating in Millions Against Monsanto, or for that matter climate change hoaxers and anti-vaxers, might consider consulting a scientist before buying a shirt that actually shows they know nothing about the science they are rallying against.  Even though I disagree with their message, I'm honest enough to not want them look like complete morons while giving it.

Probably. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

GMOs and Leukemia, Debunkulated

Over the last several months there have been many people claiming this link between transgenic crops and Leukemia.  Let's think about this conclusion and the research it is based on.  The conclusion that Bt is related to leukemia, or any human disorder, is just not shown in those data. 


What do you think would happen if a 200lb human being was force fed, with a tube down the throat into the stomach, pure bacterial spores equivalent to half a roll of nickels, and then tested for effects 24h later?   My guess is that you’d see a screaming immune response, massive response from gut flora, and probably some effects on physiology that would be reflected in the blood.  Agreed?

If you agree, then the results of this hypothetical “experiment” are the same as those performed on mice in the Mezzomo study.

In short, the work by Mezzomo et al., (J. Hematology and Thromboembolic Disease) takes Bt spore crystals (dried downBacillis thruengenesis bacteria) containing the different Bt protein (or Cry proteins) and delivers them by oral gavage into the stomachs of mice.  The authors show that mice exhibit minor changes in the blood 24, 72 and 196 hours after the treatment. The authors claim that these findings indicate that “further studies are needed to clarify the mechanism involved in hemotoxicity…to establish risk in non-target organisms.”

Upon analysis I completely disagree with the authors.  The study does not show this at all.

Here are a few of the study’s significant limitations.   

  1. No experimental control was used (well, just water).  There were no bacterial Cry minus strains tested, so it is impossible to know if the effects come from the bacteria or the cry proteins.  The cry protein is what is used in transgenic (GMO) plants.
  2. The bacterial strains used with the Cry gene (an Bt protein) were originally characterized by Santos et al (2009, Bio Controls) to test for larvacidal activity against various cotton pests.  Larvae were fed the spore crystals, just as they would consume when about 50-60% of organic growers apply Bt to plants.  They do not test transgenic plant materials, yet make clear statements implying that these results are relevant to transgenic contexts.  This statement completely oversteps the data. 
  3. The levels of Bt were at least one million times what humans consume when eating transgenic corn.
  4. The study has a problem that is seen in most GMO studies.  There is no real dose-response relationship.  In other words, if something has an effect you see it more when more when a greater amount of the causal agent is applied.  Here Table 1 shows a number of instances were lower doses produce significantly lower effects.  This is always a red flag to critical scientific reviewers and usually means the sample size is too small and the differences reflect natural variation.

Synthesis.

When you force feed massive numbers of bacterial spores to mice, they will have responses that may be detected in the blood.  The responses can be detected, but likely are not even biologically relevant.   Even seven days after being infused with bacteria the changes are small, just a few percent at best.   So when the websites say “GMOs are linked to leukemia and anemia,” the real answer is that mice fed quite a bit of Bt-containing bacterial spores (like the ones used in organic production) the mice have tiny changes in certain blood biomarkers.

Other notes

  1. This was the inaugural issue of JHTD.  I could not access its current list of contents (it gave a jpg of the journal¹s cover) but it does claim to be “one of the best open access journals of scholarly publishing.”  Quite a statement for a journal which launched this year and has no impact rating.  In the SCImago Journal Ranking system (scimagojr.com), among 89 journals in “Hematology” JHTD ranks… well…it did not even make the list, and the 89th place journal has not published a paper in the last three years.
  2. The Omics publishing group is widely criticized as a “predatory publisher.” This means that they get paid every time that something is published and actively seek articles to publish (http://www.academia.edu/1151857/Bealls_List_of_Predatory_Open-Access_Publishers) . They are known in scholarly circles for not publishing high-quality work, and few, if any, of their journals are indexed on PubMed, which means they have not met their quality metrics http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/pub/pubinfo/ . 
  3. Biofortified.com author Dr. Anastasia Bodnar notes that the work was originally published in the respected journal Food Chemistry and Toxicology Nov 9, 2012, but was “withdrawn at the request of the author(s) and/or editor.”   As stated in Elsevier¹s withdrawal guidelines, an article may be withdrawn if it contains errors or if it was submitted twice.  If the paper had errors or was submitted twice, those problems could be remedied for resubmission.  The other reason stated in the policy is when “the articles may represent infringements of professional ethical codes, such as multiple submission, bogus claims of authorship, plagiarism, fraudulent use of data or the like.”

In conclusion.

The article is consistent with the low-quality, low-impact, no control, no dose-response, limited biological relevance, poorly designed studies that are held in sterling regard by the anti-GMO community.   It is again a testament to how bad research and claimed effects will forever be integrated into the fabric of a movement and will be used to scare the credulous and even effect public policy. 

The bottom line is that the Bt protein is just that - a protein.  It is digested by humans just like any other protein.  There is no evidence of bioaccumulation. The compound has been well studied for decades and has been a great benefit to organic growers, as well as in a transgenic context. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Common Disease Spectrum of Crazy


In order to wage an effective war against science and reason, it is important to convince as many people as possible that science and reason are killing them.  This task is difficult because most people realize that science and reason have greatly enhanced life quality and expectancy.  The trick is to misdirect the credulous from the daily examples where science works, and then manufacture risk, connecting an activist target to a familiar disease du jour

Whether you are trying to sell a book on GMOs, get more invites for your anti-glyphosate rants, sell a t-shirt on your chemtrails site, be the president of your hackey-sack club, or convince local moms to stop protecting their children with immunization, there has to be a looming threat of a physical illness connected to your deadly agent of interest. 

Below are cut-n-pastes from various websites or documentaries.  They note the rise in diseases associated with ____________ .  Note that they all are relatively similar lists in terms of specific disease issues. 

The disorders share a few commonalities. First, they are all difficult medical nuts to crack.  These are modern diseases with multiple etiologies and unfound cures.  These are the visible diseases in our society, increasing in frequency since we are not dropping dead from polio, tuberculosis and the flu.  Next, they include highly-visible issues like autism, obesity and cancer, along with long-term dramatic degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. They also include lots of recently visible issues (gluten intolerance) and amorphous disorders (fibromyalgia). 

As time rolls on and we sort out cancers and long-term degenerative disease, the number one cause of death will be accidents.  I suppose they'll have to blame those on GM/vaccination/etc too.

What is the common theme?  To compel the reader to freak out about the issue at hand by claiming physical manifestations-- of course, without ever presenting supporting evidence. 

From Genetic Roulette, by Jeffrey Smith.  This list is fun because it includes cirrhosis and pneumonia. GMO pneumonia?  Huffing corn starch? 



 Don Huber's glyphosate and GMO list is a little more comprehensive. Of course, we'd expect that from an emeritus professor, digging in a little deeper to find more diseases tied to his plant-animal-livestock pathogen.  His list is a lot like Smith's, but it also includes Morgellan's and miscarriage.  Of course, he never has produced any evidence of the pathogen, but he knows exactly what diseases it causes.  Stephanie Seneff also claims a similar suite of disorders from glyphosate. 



Chemtrails!  Chemtrails are blamed for a similar spectrum of diseases to Huber and Smith's list, with the added fun of tinnitis (ear ringing) and high cholesterol.  The "aluminium build up in the pineal gland" might be residues soaking in from the foil hat. 



Oh Joy.  This baby has more syringes sticking in it than a Monsanto tomato. "Up to 60% of the immune system destroyed."  The list here is similar to GMO and chemtrails, but also includes "death", which is quite a symptom. 



Fluoride causes many of the same problems, but I'll give them credit for forging out and finding some new disorders to give them an air of credibility over simply just naming the disease du jour.  I particularly like "Brain Damage in the Unborn Fetus", which must rectify in the born fetus, because just about anyone reading this in the USA was a fetus in the presence of fluoride.  I also like how fluoride "Makes you docile and obeisant", which I think means fat and willing to carry out orders. 

If you go on the internets and root around you can find similar lists for aspartame, radio waves, cell phone towers, and if you live in Kauai-- "smart meters", the internet-reporting electrical meters. 

Why attach a gnarly disease to your controversy?  Because it can be used to frighten people, especially when concerning their unborn fetus, and their born fetus.  When you look at the lists they never actually cite evidence of linkage to the disease, not evidence of true cause and effect.  It is a common tactic of someone trying to scare you with a bowl of Cheerios or an electric meter- manufacture the perception of risk.  

Don't fall for it.  Those chemtrails just may be condensation and not the reason you can't get out of bed in the morning.