Anti-GMO movement are liars and a disgrace to progressive activism

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.

email1If 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

Cranks who use the gambit to claim persecution by “big science” often fail to see the irony in the comparison — it was the Catholic Church that censored Galileo, not the “scientific establishment.”

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.

34 thoughts on “Anti-GMO movement are liars and a disgrace to progressive activism”

  1. And sometimes people wonder why scientists don’t get out on hot issues more. Not everyone is so stout a yeoman as Folta is, or can afford to be for various professional or personal reasons.

    Testify, Bernie.

  2. The left IS teetering out on a brittle limb on this one – hanging on for dear life. I too am a progressive and found the truth so it can be done. Ironically, there is also a right contingency that is anti-GMO – the Christian “natural” foodie types, the types who say “don’t mess with what God made because it is perfect the way it is”, that sort of thing. The two groups make strange bedfellows but they are both as wrong and foolish as the other.

  3. There is something missing in this blog, and that is the bit where the Philippinos say why they destroyed the Golden Rice crop. So I think I should provide this statement here:

    “GM crops are no solution to malnutrition! Groups in Asia support Filipino farmers’ uprooting of Golden Rice”

    “This courageous action undertaken by the Peasant Movement of Bicol and the Sikwal-GMO alliance was necessary to prevent the contamination of Asia’s most important food crop by GMOs.”

    “The risks posed by field trials of Golden Rice may not mean much to IRRI, but they are enormous for farmers and consumers in the Philippines and throughout Asia. There is no way to ensure that a GMO field trial does not contaminate neighbouring fields. The recent case of an unapproved GM wheat found growing in a farmer’s field in the US or the detection of unapproved GM traits in rice from China show how field trials lead to contamination and serious consequences for farmers, consumer and markets.”

    The people living around the crop didn’t want it to contaminate their own fields.

    I am just a mother at home with a Bachelor of Science who reads published science, patents and biotech data, while the children are at school and late at night, yet my property has been invaded, vandalised and my neighbours threatened by GM supporters, simply for the sake of wanting to know what is in my food, and wanting our government to represent the known wishes of the Australian population.

    Maybe it would’ve been better if the author had studied some science.

    1. You’re right. He should have included that too. All of those statements were lies as well. What is worse is that hundreds of thousands of children will die per year until that research can be completed.

      It is good to try and be informed but reading stuff on the Internet written by people who have little understanding is no substitute for people with PhDs conducting real research. Maybe the poster of the precious comment shouldn’t pretend that the mommy gambit holds any rational value in the real scientific community.

  4. Kudos for making it all the way to the end of your third paragraph before invoking Godwin’s Law. As gambits go, your OpEd could carry more authority if you refrain from the tired tactics and name calling you want to deride in your opposition.

  5. I think the author might have missed the logical subtleties of Robinson’s use of Gallileo…

    A simple collection of minds that are prepared to agree to a statement (assuming such an agreement actually took place) does not by the simple consequence of gathering and agreement implies neither that the statement is correct nor relevant. Robinson was saying that one must always look to the data, lest one fall, as this author appears to have done, to the fallacious appeal to authority. Even so, most statements on the subject by scientific groups contain a number of qualifying statements, though these are not generally offered by GM proponents.

    It has been remarked that more than 95% of scientists working in the GM crop field work in developing products, generally for companies. Even in public development they are required to use patented techniques under licensing agreements and conditions. Very few scientists receive grants to investigate precautionary aspects of GM crops and food, nor to critique assumptions behind claims of GM crop safety. There is a shortage of truly independent science.

    1. Once again Madeleine swings and misses: “Robinson was saying that one must always look to the data, lest one fall, as this author appears to have done, to the fallacious appeal to authority.”

      Actually it’s the anti-gmo crowd that engages in this fallacy. The appeal to authority is not what you think it is. It is used when the purported “authority” is in fact not an authority in a subject but claims to be, like Jeffrey Smith or the authority has a well known bias, ala Seralini.

  6. “It has been remarked that more than 95% of scientists working in the GM crop field work in developing products, generally for companies. Even in public development they are required to use patented techniques under licensing agreements and conditions. Very few scientists receive grants to investigate precautionary aspects of GM crops and food, nor to critique assumptions behind claims of GM crop safety. There is a shortage of truly independent science.”

    Ms. Love, would you kindly provide sources for these statements? “It has been remarked” is not evidence. Nor is what you stated here been verified by anyone I’ve spoken to in the industry or working on GM organisms at university.

  7. Madeline Love, do you have evidence of your property being invaded and vandalized? The sounds like a tactic that an anti-GMO activist would use, not a GMO supporter.

    The spin put on that Philippine attack was that it was done by local farmers, which is another anti-GMO lie. It was done by activists. The same activists who complain about not enough research being done.

    The financial trail involving the anti-GMO movement traces back to “marketing” funds from the $60+ Billion dollar Organic industry. This industry sells food for an average of three times the price, with no additional nutritional value. They see modern agricultural methods as a threat to their little empire, and have provided funding for the laughable Seralini and Carman experiments.

    Back to your invaded, vandalized property, the fact is that GMO supporters are happy to allow you to continue to overpay for your organic food, because you’re not harming anyone but your pocketbook. That is what leads me to doubt your story.

    However, an outright ban on GMO technology will cost millions of lives in the third world today, and will have a greater impact in the first world in the future.

  8. From Claire’s article,
    ‘Even what appear to be libelous and abusive comments are allowed to stand, in contradiction to Grist’s own code of conduct.’
    “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
    Ms. Robinson basically represents a cabal of anti-GM types who can’t stand to be on these boards without calling people like me a shill. That’s basically code for liar and she routinely conflates WORKING knowledge in this area with bias. So she should quit whining.

    ‘The author and public health lawyer Michele Simon responded that since he (Johnson) had set himself up as the arbiter of whether GM food was good or bad, he had a duty to read with care.’ Gee Madeleine, didn’t those brave activists (evidence indicates that these were not farmers) do exactly this when they decided to vandalize a field that did not belong to them? And doesn’t Claire do it every day? The difference between Nathnael and Claire is that BOTH are journalsts by trade (I believe Claire has a Master’s in English), but at least Nathanael admits when he’s wrong. If you pull that with Claire she might just accuse you of libel or slander (as is the European way).

    ‘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.’ While citing the data of Seralini and Malatesta (who works in Seralini’s lab…no axe to grind there, huh?) as the ‘one scientist or hundreds’ who genrate new data, Ms Robinson fails to even mentions the criticisms that come from non-industrial scientists as to the quality of that work (Arjo, et al.) One or two contradictory studies do not show a massive conspiracy among the rest of the studies.

  9. “…does not by the simple consequence of gathering and agreement imply either that the statement is correct or relevant.”

  10. I agree with Bernie. The Appeal to Authority Fallacy charge is continually misused and abused.

    There are experts, and there are “authorities.” An appeal to the consensus of experts is not the same as the Appeal to Authority.

    Citing the scientific consensus of groups like the AMA, the AAAS, etc. is legitimate.

    Citing the likes Jenny McCarthy, Deepak Chopra, and Jeffrey Smith is not.

  11. Mike, As someone who does not know how to lie I find your question disgraceful and offensive. Maybe you lie, and expect others to do likewise.
    Nonetheless I have made an assumption, because the vandalism and threat related to a GM Free Zone signed that I had placed well inside my front yard. No-one could have taken it without walking into the property and deliberately removing it. It was variously removed and thrown at my house (and I assume ‘thrown’ because of its landing position), into my neighbour’s yard, and at the final, more careful placed directly in my neighbour’s driveway so they could not miss it. I leave you to world of spotting liars.

  12. I meant the ‘appeal to authority’ exactly as you described it.

    Previous post -> ‘careful’ should read ‘carefully’
    ‘you to world’ should be ‘your to your world’

  13. Oh, Madeleine–stop deceiving even yourself: “As someone who does not know how to lie…” You are in way too deep now.

    On the Slate piece where you flat-out lied about Golden Rice being like a pharma supplement?? Shut up.

    Madeleine said: “One pharma-like spike of beta-carotene in a GM rice will not cure problems of general malnutrition.”

    I’ve been watching you dissemble and carry water for known liars and frauds, but I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. That you were just really so clueless as to not understand what you are doing. Like a poorly educated yet desperate drug mule, swallowing condoms full of stupidity and lies–only for less money.

    But that was just 100% ridiculous and totally false. And even you have to know it was false. Get a grip on reality. You have terrible judgment for sources–which could be excusable if you really had no education–but is just a huge denial of facts which probably just needs years of therapy to fix. I have no expectation that you’ll wake up with any amount of intervention. I have no idea why you do this–but when your grandchildren look back and say, “Oh, yes–Grandma lied to try to keep children from getting nutrition” it’s gonna be really embarrassing for you. And here’s a pro-tip: Claire and Jonathan really just aren’t worth it.

  14. Mary, I don’t lie. I don’t know what else to say about that, but it’s a really important quality in people who do or report on science. Many real discoveries are made as a result of the inability to self-deceive, and thus accept something unexpected against pre-conceived expectations.

    See the carotenoid profile in Tang 2009 for yourself Figure 3. Although I do wonder what the unlabelled spike before ‘6’ is – I previously assumed it was a recording artefact (since unlabelled) but maybe not.

  15. Oh, Madeleine–your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Please run right to the regulators with that. And when they stop rolling laughing, I’m sure they’ll file your concerns appropriately.

  16. Mary, I don’t have a ‘newsletter’ yet, but I think it is a good idea. I’m not sure what you think I should send to my regulators.

  17. Let us not forget that GreenPeace are also anti-GMO so it must be right. It goes without thinking that anyone who is pro GMO is also pro whaling and therefore a ‘bad person’! 😉

  18. Rbravery, What I’ve found is that people can be for and against all sorts of things, even amongst people that might support one aspect of Greenpeace work – there are few categories where people unite. This happens in all matters of politics. Something where people do unite though is in recognising the right of people to know if they are eating GM food.

  19. Yes, SAS, Shill Accusation Syndrome, is rampant at GMWatch.

    SAS, It strikes those who just can’t believe others can independently come to different conclusions and opinions than themselves. It has been correlated to a lack of GMO’s in one’s diet. 🙂

  20. Yes, First Officer. And the title ‘Minister of Propaganda’ for Ms. Robinson conjures up images of Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter.

  21. “Citing the likes Jenny McCarthy, Deepak Chopra, and Jeffrey Smith is not.”

    There once was a McCarthy named Jenny.
    When nude, earned quite a pretty penny.
    She thought it would be green
    to say vaccines are mean.
    Never mind the lives saved are many!

  22. Jeff Smith cries we are in straits that are dire.
    “GMO’s will kill us all, pauper and sire !”
    When he’s put on the spot,
    Jeff demurs, “A scientist i am not.”
    “But I am a yogic flyer, for hire !”

  23. First Officer, are you here all week?;) But seriously, did you see the latest reports about Mr. Smith ‘buying’ GMO friendly URLs? Just when you thought he couldn’t stoop any lower.

  24. This is an unbelievable load of crap. The amount of lies and propaganda this article comes up with is just astonishing. Full of sweeping statements with zero scientific evidence and anyone who disagrees or even asks for GMO safety and accountability is labelled a crank or a quack. Shows what cowards you really are.

    1. Lies and propaganda? By all means, feel free to point out my lies. But if you wish to buy into the nonsense, by all means have at it. As to scientific evidence, it’s out there and it’s not what’s being peddled by activists groups. I’ll rely on the science and scientists and not on yogic flying ballroom dancers.

  25. Claire Brennan uses the classic anti-GM campaigners technique of lying through her teeth and hoping no one will notice. What lies, Claire? Go on, point them out to us. And which scientific studies are you referring to?

  26. “It used to be progressives, liberals and the left based their arguments on evidence and facts.”

    When? Seriously; I have paid attention to politics since roughly the Watergate hysteria (No, I’m not saying nothing wrong happened, but it was a hysteria). In all that time I have been able to count on Progressives, Liberals, Radicals, and Western Intellectuals to be dishonest any time their interests are engaged. Hell, they are STILL maintaining (when they think they can get away with it) that there was no Soviet spying apparat in North America in the 1940’s, ’50’s, and ’60’s. Which is ridiculous, since we have had the Soviet records of just that for decades.

    I’m not saying that any particular opposing view is noticeably more honest, mind. But Progressives have been liars my whole life.

  27. More repeated biotech PR. Can you say “Substantial Equivalence” or “GMO contamination?”

    If this means nothing to you, do your homework.
    The obfuscation is apparent when one considers how much biotech spent fighting GMO labelling in CA and WA states.

    one study showed that 3 out 7 people HAD ROUNDUP READY gene DNA transfer with their gut bacteria–before they ate the test food.

    “Three of seven ileostomists showed evidence of low-frequency gene transfer from GM soya to the microflora of the small bowel before their involvement in these experiments. As this low level of epsps in the intestinal microflora did not increase after consumption of the meal containing GM soya, we conclude that gene transfer did not occur during the feeding experiment.”

    Before the biotech crew jumps down my throat, no amount of obfuscation can take this away: “low-frequency gene transfer from GM soya to the microflora of the small bowel”

    There are many independent tests that indicate GM foods are unsafe. Of course biotech challenges them. They label any scientists that come out in opposition to biotech’s pseudo science as a disgrace to the scientific community.

    So people, don’t let the tobacco lobby, er… biotech lobby fool you. This is the biggest experiment ever conducted.

    Look at Dr. Nancy Swanson’s charts that track GMO introduction/glyphosate use and many illness that have skyrocketed seemingly with GMO proliferation. Since there no mandatory independent clinical feeding studies, this report paints a picture that perhaps the biotech claim that no one gotten ill from GMO’s is incorrect.

    Check out this website to learn more about GMO’s (see links section by hovering over Multimedia) also there is a lot of info about the latest in sustainable and productive cultivation systems.

    1. I only approved your comment so I could respond by saying, you’re a dumbass. When I hear the anti-gmo freaks say “do your homework” I realize is the mark of a a cult dumbass. You don’t understand the science of biotech and…well, you are a dumbass. Actually, let me rephrase. You are not a dumbass. You are an imbecile.

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