Scientifically Illiterate Hall of Shame



NOTE: Inclusion in the Hall of Shame does not mean we disagree with the person on all issues.  Inclusion is solely based on their relying on bad science, anti-science or activist groups to support a position, in our case, the science of genetic modification of plants. In fact, the name of the Hall should be the Willfully Scientifically Illiterate  Hall of Shame. These inductees have no excuse for being such dumbasses on this issue.

October 2013

Paul Koretz and Mitch O’Farrell: Los Angeles city councilmen,for co-sponsoring a bill that would prohibit the “growing or selling of genetically-modified seeds or plants within the City…”  What makes them scientifically illiterate? As O’Farrell told the Huffington Post “We don’t want to consume mystery food… “Since there’s currently no requirement, anyone could unwittingly purchase a genetically modified product and not know it. I think that’s irresponsible.” O’Farrell said he thinks the worldwide decline of honeybees is the “canary in the coal mine” for GMOs.

Linda Rosenthal, New York Assembly person: For a show trial she held as a public hearing back in August. One of the issues she kept raising was the idea that gmos create “new allergens” which is a bold-faced lie. She and other antis brought up the Brazil nut example which if anything, actually proved their claim wasn’t true. The story is this: The company Pioneer tried to insert a Brazil nut gene into soybeans. They selected a protein that wasn’t allergenic. To be on the safe side, they asked allergists to test it just to make sure. It was found that the allergen transferred over. So, they abandoned the project. 

Jared Huffman, U.S. Congressman:  While a member of the California legislature he sponsored a bill to require labeling of all genetically engineered salmon sold in the state. He gets included because he didn’t like the FDA’s decision that it is safe and the language in the bill which relies on anti-gmo activist groups like Food and Water for his information. The bill raises the issue of allergens as a potential problem with GE salmon failing to note  people who are allergic to salmon will also be allergic to GE salmon.

Mike Gabbard, Hawaii State Senator: In an email exchange with a Contrarian reader, he wrote “I do the homework” and then linked to evidence of the dangers of gmos. It was a link to the widely discredited Seralini study.

November 2013

Lisa Whittemore,  New Hampshire State Representative:  “When they pick up a tomato that has been genetically altered so that the genes, the actual structure of that organism has been mutated by, for example, goat genes . . . there is no way that a parent with a child who has allergies, or an individual who’s having health problems, is able to fix that.”

Connecticut State Representatives, John Hampton  and Phil Miller  for holding a public gmo forum on 11/14/13 which includes Holistic Health Counselor Elaine Titus and Beth Beisel, from GMO Free CT, and a registered dietician and no scientists. “People deserve the opportunity to make purchase decisions based on basic information about their food’s origins.” Said Hampton. “This forum will answer questions and provide access to information for concerned consumers.”

The Connecticut Legislature. This one comes late as they passed a mandatory labeling law last year after a hearing where Jeffrey Smith testified and no scientists.  I wrote Rep. Elaine O’Brien suggesting she add some scientists go the list. She didn’t.  Her response to me “my intention is to gather as much information as possible. I understand that this is not a simple subject and I do not believe we should be rushing to label before we understand the issue”. Yet, she didn’t call any scientists to testify.

December 2013

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy just signed the GMO labeling law into effect making Connecticut the first state to be inducted into the Scientific Hall of Shame

The State of Connecticut added 12/11/13.

March 2014

California State Senator Noreen Evans. Evans introduced a GMO labeling law in California and this is her reasoning according to the Press Democrat website

The Santa Rosa Democrat says genetically modified organisms have been linked to health problems ranging from allergies to cancer, and that babies, in particular, are at risk of getting sick, in part because their immune systems are not fully developed.

April 2014

Vermont legislature for their overwhelming vote for GMO labeling.

Vermont gets the first Golden Scientific Dumbass Award for the two sponsors of the law. The first award is shared and it goes to… State Senator David Zuckerman and State Representative Carolyn Partridge.

Why? Because they are in league with our favorite yogic flyer, Jeffrey Smith. I was alerted to a video by a friend on Twitter where Smith interviews, via Skype, his two buddies.

Scientifically Illiterate Hall of Shame

Trying to convince the anti-gmo crowd the method of genetically engineering food is safe, or as safe as anything can be, is a daunting task. In fact, it’s like to trying to explain something to monkeys. Wait, let me retract that statement. Monkeys will eventually get it.

But, the anti-gmo troops on the ground are one thing.  When our elected officials are not only listening to these knuckleheads, but buying into it wholesale without any independent investigation of the issue, then it’s time to be concerned. They are supposed to well versed on issues. (yeah, yeah, I know)

Various city councils and state governments have toyed with the idea of not only labeling foods made with gmos, but want to ban them outright. Some have succeeded.  And then there has been noise on the federal level.

Therefore, I think it’s time to create a Hall of Shame for those scientifically illiterate elected officials who peddle gmo nonsense.  I will create a separate page for the list.

And I need your help.  If you read about some elected official saying something really stupid or scientifically incorrect about the genetic modification, forward it here to the Progressive Contrarian. Include a short paragraph explaining why they are a dumbass.  I can credit you or you can remain anonymous. It doesn’t matter if you agree with them 99% on other issues. People I respect like Bernie Sanders have bought into it.  We can only try to shame them into looking at the science and not the nonsense peddled by activists.

To get the ball rolling, the first people to be inducted are Los Angeles city councilmen, Paul Koretz and Mitch O’Farrell for co-sponsoring a bill that would prohibit the “growing or selling of genetically-modified seeds or plants within the City…”  What makes them scientifically illiterate? As O’Farrell told the Huffington Post

“We don’t want to consume mystery food… “Since there’s currently no requirement, anyone could unwittingly purchase a genetically modified product and not know it. I think that’s irresponsible.”

O’Farrell said he thinks the worldwide decline of honeybees is the “canary in the coal mine” for GMOs.

Oh, as a final thought, I guess we can include spokespeople for various anti-gmo activist groups. They aren’t elected officials, but they do hold sway over the nitwit faithful.

Jeffrey Smith to broadcast live anti-GMO freakshow on the internet.

Mark you calendars now. The Yogic flying dancer teacher and self styled gmo expert brings his sideshow act to the internet. October 25-27 .   All your favorite anti-gmo cartoon characters will be  there. Click to play video


Anti-GMO movement: “There’s a sucker born every minute”

That famous quote is widely credited to P.T.Barnum. However, some sources claim that the quote originated with a guy named David Hannum.

The story goes that Hannum was exhibiting something called the Cardiff Giant which was a hoax. At the same time Barnum decided to exhibit a Cardiff Giant he claimed was the original. Hannum sued him and lost. When the hoax was revealed, people still lined up and paid to see Barnum’s giant.

Say hello to the anti-gmo movement.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way. Let’s look at the anti-gmo movement or what is called  the long con. A long con is one that takes a while to play out. You gain the mark’s trust over time by playing the guy who’s on their side. Then you take them for their dough.

In the anti-gmo version of the long con, the endgame is not to get the mark’s money. It’s to stop short.  The mark never knows they’ve they’ve been roped in and are being conned. That’s the payoff.