Never in the history of progressive movements have so few lied to so many. That pretty much sums up the anti-gmo movement. It is the most dishonest, wretched and immoral movement to ever come out of the left. They traffic in lies, obfuscation, threats and violence.
It used to be progressives, liberals and the left based their arguments on evidence and facts. They may have been coming from different perspectives but the debate was honest. The anti-gmo movement has jettisoned that honesty and intellectual rigor. They have not only allowed fringe crazies into the house, they have allied with them.
The anti-gmo movement can’t deal with facts and evidence. They dismiss every challenge to their fabrications and distortions with allegations of industry propaganda. One of the biggest offenders in this area is GMWatch, an anti-gmo group that would make make Goebbels proud. (Yup, I went there)
Whenever a progressive writer decides to do some research into this issue and they come to realize the activists are full of shit, the discrediting machine goes into full gear. Nobody does this better than GMWatch.
When environmentalist Mark Lynas did his mea culpa on gmos, the GMWatch propaganda machine went into overdrive. They questioned his bona fides as a “founding member” of the anti-gmo movement.
Now, whether he was or not, is beside the point. What GMWatch did was not refute his evidence and facts but embarked on a smear campaign to discredit him and thereby his facts.
The latest victim of GMWatch is Nathanael Johnson of GRIST who did a multi-part series on gmos to separate the non-gmo wheat from the chaff. What was his crime? He dared to believe actual experts in the biotech field.
GMWatch, or rather Claire Robinson, Minister of Propaganda at GMWatch wrote:
Being wrong on GM as often as he is, ignoring or twisting corrections to support his preconceived views, and in the process misleading the readers of a till now respected publication like Grist, doesn’t make him exciting, creative, or cool. It just makes him an unreliable source.
Wow, what brass ones she has. If there is anyone who engages in that behavior its GMWatch.
It seems that if you work in biotech for a living, that excludes you from being a reliable source in the minds of the antis. It would be like dismissing the expertise of a heart surgeon because he does that for a living.
Slowly, as mainstream and progressive journalists come to see through their lies and bullshit, the antis like GMW are going nuts. They have turned to attacking those who see through their lies. Since they don’t have the science on their side they claim those who have changed their minds as falling for industry propaganda. They’re also big on cherry picking and taking things out context
GMWatch is proficient at this technique. What’s even more lame is that they link to their sources and when you actually read the source, it doesn’t say what they claim.
One of their latest bits of nonsense is in response to Golden Rice. They quote the World Health Organization as saying “Vitamin A supplementation has already “averted an estimated 1.25 million deaths since 1998 in 40 countries.” This is true. What they left out was the next part “…supplementation capsules lasts only 4-6 months, they are only initial steps towards ensuring better overall nutrition and not long-term solutions” and “Food fortification takes over where supplementation leaves off. “
And then you get the physical destruction of gmo field trials. The very same activists who claim there haven’t been enough studies, destroy field trials that are designed to do just that. The latest travesty was the destruction of a Golden Rice trial field in the Philippines. Greenpeace and others applauded.
Side note: Greenpeace tweeted that the Russians were “illegally” boarding their ship in the Arctic. That’s rich. A group that engages in destruction of property whining about illegality.
But wait…there’s more. Not only do the antis promote lies and destruction of property, scientists report having received death threats. One of those scientists is Kevin Folta who has been in the forefront of trying to dispel the lies peddled by the anti-gmo Philistines.
Folta, a stout yeoman for science if there ever was one, has written on his blog, Illumination that he’s received more than few death threats over the past few years. The latest salvo of veiled threats came after he flew to Hawaii to try to get a dialogue going regarding the science of biotech. Hawaii has become the latest gmo battleground.
If death threats aren’t enough, Folta reports that activists are now creating fake websites purporting to be the original biotech sites and impersonating biotech scientists.
Critics of biotechnology are now stealing the identities of reliable information sources, creating bogus inflammatory websites, and then promoting them as the real thing. Why? They realize that these sources of legitimate, unbiased science communication have appeal to those in the middle seeking quality information.
I highly recommend Folta’s blog. I have never met the man, but I have had extensive digital communications with him. He’s as honest as they come and due to that, he is one of the top targets of the anti-gmo activists like GMWatch.
And speaking of GMWatch which we were, here is their notion of what science is
Even if such a “consensus” of GMO safety did exist, it wouldn’t be worth the paper it was written on. Science does not advance in the manner of a flock of sheep, by “consensus”, but through the generation of new data. The new data in turn lead to new conclusions that build a new paradigm. It doesn’t matter if just one scientist or hundreds generate the new data. (my emphasis)
What our good Claire fails to understand is the consensus she derides is arrived at, not because of one scientist, but studies that have been replicated enough times there is no doubt. Then it becomes a consensus. Robinson and GMWatch borrow from the climate denial camp when they assign more weight to fringe scientists whose flawed work has never been reproduced and has been discredited by the overall scientific community.
Robinson then goes on to play the Galileo gambit.
Galileo didn’t have “consensus” support for his observation that the earth went round the sun. But because the data supported him, people eventually came round to admitting he was right.
RationalWiki describes this gambit
The Galileo gambit, or Galileo fallacy, is the notion that if you are vilified for your ideas, you must be right. It refers to Galileo Galilei’s famous persecution at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church for his defence of heliocentrism in the face of the orthodox Biblical literalism of the day. People use this argument repeatedly in response to serious criticisms that more often than not they just don’t understand.
They go on to say
An additional irony arises when we consider that if the maverick idea does manage to amass enough evidence to win over the majority, it will become the new consensus — at which point, by the fallacy’s own reasoning, the idea must become wrong!
The bottom line is the anti-gmo groups are a disgrace to honest progressive activism.
It makes me question the motives of the groups like GMWatch. It makes me angry that groups like GMWatch are liars and frauds. The fact that a non-scientist of average intelligence like me can easily debunk their lies and cherry picking should be an alert to the average person who is looking for honest information.