How “they” view “us” revisited: Mike Adams goes off the deep end


This post might look familiar to some of you who know me from what I like to call my not-so-secret other blog (NSSSOB). However, what happened last week was important enough that I wanted to make sure that it was covered on SBM, just as Steve Novella covered it on his own blog on Friday. (Fear not, there will be fresh material tomorrow, as always.) Another reason that I wanted to recycle and update this for SBM is because I believe the incident involving über-quack Mike Adams provides to me a “teachable moment” related to my talk at TAM two weeks ago, which was entitled “How ‘They’ View ‘Us’” and based on a post of mine here on SBM entitled, appropriately enough, How “they” view “us”.

A lot of you probably already know what I’m talking about, because this stuff developed over the last week, starting with a post by the One Crank To Rule Them All, Mike Adams. (You’ll see the appropriateness of The Lord of the Rings reference later in this post.) On Monday, there appeared on that font of all things quack and wingnut,, a spittle-flecked article by Mike Adams entitled “Biotech genocide, Monsanto collaborators and the Nazi legacy of ‘science’ as justification for murder“. To those of us who’ve followed Adams for a long time, it was a bit over-the-top, even for him, given that he has in essence blamed the Nazi genocide on science (labeling sciences as evil) and has a penchant to likening his enemies to Nazis. Not long after, David Ropelik and Keith Kloor expressed extreme alarm at Adams’s screed, particularly this passage, which was the key passage quoted in virtually every discussion of Adams’ rant:

Interestingly, just yesterday German President Joachim Gauck celebrated the lives of those brave Nazi officers who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944. (1) Their attempted Wolf’s Lair bombing failed, but it was an honorable attempt to rid the world of tremendous evil by killing one of the people responsible for it.

This official ceremony sends a message to the world, and that official message from the nation of Germany to the rest of the world is that “it is the moral right — and even the obligation — of human beings everywhere to actively plan and carry out the killing of those engaged in heinous crimes against humanity.

This fundamental philosophical truth is now enshrined in history by the highest office of the nation of Germany herself, the very nation where mass government propaganda spearheaded by a highly-charismatic political leader drove the population to commit genocide in the name of “peace.”

Not surprisingly, a lot of people were alarmed by Adams’ words, which seemed like a direct call to kill scientists involved in genetically modified organisms. In the context of the rest of Mike’s screed, which ranted against “Monsanto Collaborators,” likening them to, of course, “Nazi Collaborators,” it was indeed alarming:

“Nazi collaborators” were individuals and corporations that promoted the power and reach of the Nazi party, publishing pro-Nazi propaganda and attacking anyone who criticized Adolf Hitler or the Nazi regime. Collaborators included many scientists, academics, publishers and of course politicians, all of whom played key roles in furthering the genocide that saw over six million Jews heartlessly slaughtered by the Nazi regime.

Today, a number of once-independent media sites are selling out to corporate interests and quickly becoming Monsanto collaborators. This is readily apparent by noticing which media sites attack Dr. Mercola, the Food Babe, Jeffrey Smith, the Health Ranger or anyone else fighting against the scourge of GMO genocide against humanity. These attacks all have one thing in common: they are orchestrated by paid biotech muckrakers — people I call “Monsanto collaborators.”

Of course, Adams also likens glyphosate weed killer to—what else?—Zyklon B, pellets that released the cyanide used for the mass murder of Jews. In other words, it was standard Adams rhetoric, which is why my initial reaction tended more towards amusement than horror. Then I remembered. Adams himself is unlikely to get violent, but one can’t necessarily say the same thing about his followers. In any case, as I described before, I’ve seen that movie, too. This is not the first time he’s used Nazi analogies about his perceived enemies, gleefully mixing metaphors of Allied firebombing of German cities during World War II and Nazis running trains full of Jews to death camps:

What the United States Air Force did to Dresden in World War II via high-elevation bombing runs, the global chemical and food conglomerates are now doing to the world populations via the drive-thru window. But there are no bombs dropping out of the sky and there are no firestorms lighting up the cityscape at night. Instead, the silent, ignorant masses are simply marched to their deaths, one meal at a time, almost like a cargo train full of “useless eaters” clicking and clacking its way to Auschwitz.

On the way to their own deaths, of course, they pay the mandatory tolls to the pharmaceutical giants, hospitals, cancer clinics, doctors and health insurance mandates. Much like victims of Nazi genocide had their gold fillings pulled out of their mouths before they were gassed to death, today’s mainstream consumers are emptied of their bank accounts, assets and insurance policies before finally being discarded by the system.

I used an link because the original link now just goes to Adams’ “science encyclopedia.” In any case, as it was put at the time, because food additives are exactly like the Dresden fire bombing and the Holocaust. And Auschwitz. Especially Auschwitz. I’m really surprised that Adams exercised a little restraint and didn’t list a number of other atrocities. He didn’t in this newest screed. He pulled out all the stops, “hoping someone will create a website listing all the publishers, scientists and journalists who are now Monsanto propaganda collaborators. I have no doubt such a website would be wildly popular and receive a huge influx of visitors, and it would help preserve the historical record of exactly which people contributed to the mass starvation and death which will inevitably be unleashed by GMO agriculture (which is already causing mass suicides in India and crop failures worldwide).”

This, of course, after quoting a postwar German leader about how just it is to assassinate evil leaders like Hitler. The implication seemed clear.

And, lo and behold! A couple of days later, there did appear a website called Monsanto Collaborators, complete with images of the train tracks heading to Auschwitz, swastikas, a Nazi rally, and piles of Holocaust victims. My first reaction was that I was disappointed that Steve Novella made the list of “journalist collaborators” and I didn’t. I mean, come on! Didn’t my epic criticism of the Seralini study and deconstruction mocking another study beloved of anti-GMO activists earn me any love? Well, a day later my name did pop up on the website, and I was satisfied.

Naturally, everyone thought at first that Adams was responsible for the Monsanto Collaborators website. A quick WHOIS search showed that the domain was registered under a proxy for privacy, no surprise there. However, since then, Adams has been implicated as the creator of the website. The evidence presented is circumstantial and not airtight, but it’s very suggestive. So, for the last few days, there have been a lot of posts about how Adams had “gone too far.” Initially, I wasn’t particularly worried. My reaction was more, “Meh.” Indeed, I tried assiduously for several days to ignore the whole thing. When the Monsanto Collaborators site went online and caused such an uproar, however, I couldn’t anymore, because several readers e-mailed me with concern when they saw my name on the site, as I assume they also e-mailed Steve Novella, something I truly appreciate. In retrospect, I wonder if I was too blasé
about Adams’ antics these days. Initially I didn’t think so. On the other hand, Adams is obviously full of bovine excrement when it comes to his threats with disclaimers designed to provide him with cover, plausible deniability, but he has a wide readership, many of whom might take his rants seriously.

In any case, Adams is a performance artist. He ramped up the hyperbole in his original post, and, right on schedule, namely when he was linked to what appears to be a hit list, started ratcheting it back and denying he ever meant to threaten anyone. He’s since added a long disclaimer to his original post, lamenting:

I have always stated in this story, as you can see below: “For the record, in no way do I condone vigilante violence against anyone, and I believe every condemned criminal deserves a fair trial and a punishment that fits the crime. Do not misinterpret this article as any sort of call for violence, as I wholly disavow any such actions. I am a person who demands due process under the law for all those accused of crimes.”

No, in context, Adams’ words were plenty bad, man. Typical of Adams and his conspiracy-mongering ways, he has now even gone so far as to disavow the Monsanto Collaborators site as a at least their favored woo) and that they are engaged in a war against evil. Indeed, just in time to reinforce this point, right as the criticism of Adams’ rant was approaching its zenith, there appeared a post at the antivaccine crank blog, Age of Autism by Kent Heckenlively entitled PLAGUE – An Alliance of the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth. It’s basically the same belief system as Mike Adams, but using The Lord of the Rings as an analogy. In this case, Heckenlively views himself as Aragorn, one of the heroes of the story, the fulfillment of ancient prophecy, the King who returns to save Gondor and the free peoples of Middle Earth from the Dark Lord Sauron:

You should probably know I worship at the altar of The Lord of the Rings. As a cinematic evocation of loyalty, friendship, and courage I believe it has no equal. I tell my son that if someday in the distant future I am not around and he wants to explain to his children or grandchildren what his father hoped to be, he should pop in the DVD and let them view the trilogy.

When I watch I imagine myself as Aragorn, taking the Dimholt Road under the mountain, clutching the sword, Anduril, Flame of the West, offering a deal to the souls of the dishonored dead if they would join me in battle. I picture myself as Aragon, astride my horse in front of the Black Gate, telling my troops, I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight! Then I jump off my horse, and with the setting sun behind me, a reckless, almost manic glint in my eye and a crooked grin, I am first to charge into the enemy army.

This is, of course, one of my favorite scenes from both the books and the movies. In it, Aragorn had brought his forces to the Black Gate of Mordor to challenge Sauron to battle, not with any hope of victory, but as a diversion to distract the Eye of Sauron long enough to allow the hobbits Frodo and Sam to cross Mordor and reach Mount Doom, there to destroy the One Ring, the source of Sauron’s evil power. Aragorn, Gandalf, and his companions fully expected to die in the effort, and it looked as though they would do just that after hordes of orcs issued forth from the Black Gate and the battle was joined. They were saved because Sam and Frodo did reach Mount Doom and the ring was destroyed, thus destroying Sauron’s power and causing his armies to flee, before the hordes of Sauron’s orc’s could destroy Aragorn and his vastly outnumbered force.

The point, of course, is that Heckenlively, like Adams, views himself (or fantasizes himself) as a heroic figure from the world of epic fantasy like Aragorn. Walter Mitty-like, Heckenlively fantasizes that it’s him leading a doomed mission to the very Black Gate of Mordor, knowing he’s unlikely to come out of it alive, in order to give others the chance to defeat the great evil against which he strives. He fantasizes that it’s him at the Council of Elrond helping to unite the fractious and squabbling races of Middle Earth to join in a heroic quest to defeat great evil. More importantly, he views the scientists, bloggers, and doctors who support vaccination as Sauron, who, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s world, was the nearly all-powerful embodiment of all that is evil, bent on subjugating all of Middle Earth and destroying any who stand in his way. Similarly, Adams takes a historical example, likening anyone who criticizes anti-GMO pseudoscience to the Nazis who systematically slaughtered millions for their ideology. Against such evil, almost any act is justified.

This is the worldview those of us defending science must face and must resist buying into. I used the example of my early activism against Holocaust denial, showing this photo to illustrate how I viewed myself at the time:

CaptainAmericapunching Hitler

It was easy at the time, because, as I’ve said before, scratch a Holocaust “revisionist,” and you’ll always find a Nazi sympathizer or an anti-Semite. Always. So, in a way, combatting Holocaust denial was combatting bigotry and fascism. But, as I asked, what about when the “enemy” is not so obviously evil?

I have no idea how sincere Adams’ beliefs are, given his long history of dubious activities, going all the way back to Y2K scams. Regardless of whether they are sincere or not, Adams, whether you consider him evil or not, is an enemy who needs to be countered, because his promotion of pseudoscience and quackery is dangerous and cynical, much of it designed to fuel his business interests. He is not a victim.

Unfortunately, as skeptics we must contend with this sort of black/white thinking not just in Mike Adams, but in the victims of men like Mike Adams. It is critical for skeptics to remember that we are just as prone to this sort of Manichean world view, in which light battles dark and, oh, by the way, guess which side we’re on? It’s easy to dismiss cranks like Adams, because they’ve gone beyond the pale and might not even be sincere. However, many antivaccinationists, like Heckenlively, have severely disabled children for whom they have to care and have mistakenly blamed their children’s disabilities and autism on vaccines. Is it so surprising that they view our efforts as active attempts to impede their search for treatments to “recover” their autistic children? Similarly, many Burzynski supporters have family members who are dying and have mistakenly concluded that Burzynski can save them. If you truly believed that a single doctor was the only one who might be able to save your wife, your husband, your child, your brother, your sister, or any loved one from dying from a horrible cancer that conventional medicine tells you is incurable, wouldn’t you react violently to skeptics who tell you it’s not so and government regulatory bodies that try to shut him down?

It is people like Stanislaw Burzynski and Andrew Wakefield, who mislead people like this into pseudoscience and quackery, who are the enemy. Their victims are not. While it is necessary to counter their views, we should never forget the human shortcomings that we all possess that led them to their pseudoscience and quackery. We must be able to distinguish victims who, through these human shortcomings and cognitive biases, end up choosing to side with the perpetrators, from the perpetrators themselves, who are really the enemy.

Posted in: Critical Thinking, Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Science and the Media

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105 thoughts on “How “they” view “us” revisited: Mike Adams goes off the deep end

  1. Anselm says:

    For the record, the »quote« Adams ascribes to German Federal President Gauck is completely made up and was not part of his speech commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Hitler assassination attempt. Mr Gauck used to be a Protestant minister in the GDR and is generally a very peaceful sort of guy. In addition, unlike the US President, the German Federal President does not get to set policy; he is the head of state but not the head of the government.

  2. ravvy says:

    Dunno, maybe this dude needs the police called on him. Telling other people, even if only in an indirect way, to murder others should not be something anybody is allowed to write on the internet.
    Probably wouldn’t take 30 Minutes before he’d replace it with a “Monsato forced me to take if offline” post.

  3. Windriven says:

    Am I alone in feeling embarrassed for Adams and Heckenlively? This is not the behavior of normal adults. Heckenlively especially with his childish and over-dramatic likening of himself to a fantasy character, in front of his children no less … like walking into the living room and finding daddy naked save a ball-gag and a leather codpiece. Good grief.

    1. Calli Arcale says:


      I have just pictured Adams and Heckinlively like that.

      You owe me a new bottle of brain-bleach; mine’s all used up now.

  4. goodnightirene says:

    I read this over at the NSSSOB and commented under my NSSSON(ame) was glad to go through it again. I tend to dismiss Adams as a worthless bag of sh…, er, homeopathic remedies, but he does have those multitudes of readers–which only leaves me shocked that so many people could find him the least bit sane.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      I looked Adams up on that “Truth Wiki” they linked to on that insane site. Yeah, he totally had nothing to do with the lengthy bio filled with loving details about him. Some highlights:

      “Mike Adams is widely recognized as having a strong technical aptitude that has allowed his websites to achieve very high degrees of success on the internet.”

      “In college entrance exams and graduate school entrance exams, Adams scored in the 99.9th percentile across all U.S. students. He aced the English, Mathematics and Science sections of college entrance exams, scoring 100% on 3 out of 4 sections earning numerous offers of scholarships from various universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (which he chose not to attend).”

      “Mike Adams lived in Taiwan for two years and is nearly fluent in spoken Mandarin.”

      “Adams has no criminal record and has never been arrested.”

      “Adams is not known to appear on the social scene and usually spends time in nature rather than socializing.”

      “Adams is well trained in hand-to-hand combat, firearms and self defense.”

      “Adams began to attend college before graduating from high school.”

      “He now follows Austrian economics and is an avid reader of and”

      “Adams composed music for several university theatrical productions and was offered a job by a large university as the head of sound design for the theater department.”

      “His articles demonstrate a diverse range of knowledge on many subjects, including psychology, anthropology, cosmology, U.S. history, philosophy, economics, money and finance, nutrition, politics, civil rights, plant biology, intellectual property law, chemistry, physics, quantum phenomena, agriculture, linguistics, microbiology, neurolinguistics and more.”

      “Mike Adams has conducted over 1,000 interviews and is known for being able to delve into details on almost any conversational topic.”

      “Adams was the youngest person he knew who owned a personal computer.”

      “In the seventh grade, Adams was accused by one of his teachers of “practicing witchcraft” for bringing a computer to school and demonstrating how a floppy disk worked.”

      “Adams disavows all “black hat” techniques and has never spent any money advertising Natural News.”

      “It is used as a reference research website by journalists, bloggers and researchers.”

      “To date, he has not deployed such a technology and has not announced any plans to do so.”

      “Adams has authored a patent application in 1995 for a Google Glass-like device but says he did not have the funds to afford the patent application process.”

      “Today, Adams has conceptualized a breakthrough camouflage technology that would allow battlefield soldiers to be “virtually invisible” on the battlefield.”

      “Adams describes his personal life mission as “protecting the diversity of life” in the universe.”

      I’m not even halfway through the page! Every second sentence is absurdist comedy gold. Andy Kaufman working with Larry David could not produce such an awkward document filled with such dead-eyed hilariously crazy sincerity.

      It’s like watching someone tweet a biography of Kim Jong Un made up of madlibs using only the “gross exaggeration” part of the thesaurus. Either that, or a computer file that mixed the resumes of Lyndon LaRouche and a fifteen-year-old applying for their first job.

      The number of times he has apparently discovered or developed something and went on to not make money from it is astonishing…one could even use the adjective “unbelievable”. In fact, one should.

      1. Derek Freyberg says:

        But he didn’t invent the Internet! or did he, and was so modest that he didn’t claim it?

      2. Missmolly says:

        Omg! Adams is CHUCK NORRIS!

        1. Eldric IV says:

          Kim Jong Il has a humbler biography.

  5. Wolpertinger says:

    It should be noted the the German Basic Law (basically our equivalent of a constitution) does indeed contain a clause for “basically killing Hitler”
    Article 20 states that “(4) All Germans shall have the right to resist any person seeking to abolish this constitutional order, if no other remedy is available.”
    This does however, of course, not mean “somebody who disagrees with me” but pertains to to the previous section of “(1) The Federal Republic of Germany is a democratic and social federal state. (2) All state authority is derived from the people. It shall be exercised by the people through elections and other votes and through specific legislative, executive and judicial bodies. (3) The legislature shall be bound by the constitutional order, the executive and the judiciary by law and justice.”

  6. stanmrak says:

    Thanks to the author all the other bloggers who have drawn people’s attention to the problem of GMOs by writing about this story.

    In the words of (very successful) boxing promoter Don King, of whom rarely a single nice thing was ever said, “It doesn’t matter what they say about you, as long as they use your name.”

    1. Sawyer says:

      Huh? I can’t tell who you are thanking. Are you crazy enough to go on record defending Adams?

      1. stanmrak says:

        I am thanking bloggers for calling attention to the problems with GMOs. Mike Adams email subscription list just grew by a mile from all the attention. Whatever you might think of his opinions, he does know more about GMOs than anyone here who just buys Monsanto’s ‘science’ as legit.

        1. David Gorski says:

          Uh, no. We’re calling attention to the lies about GMOs and how Mike Adams apparently thinks it’s perfectly fine to construct what appears to be a hit list consisting of pro-science bloggers and journalists and GMO scientists.

        2. R Miller says:

          “Mike Adams email subscription list just grew by a mile from all the attention.”

          That’s fine. People who say “Oh, this guy advocating for the murder of people he disagrees with definitely has good ideas, I should jump on board” probably are lost causes anyway. I doubt the SBM authors are pretending they can change the opinions of every individual, and understand a certain set of the population are immune to reason. The goal is to be a resource for those who are making an honest effort to find all the evidence.

          “he does know more about GMOs than anyone here”

          Sure – in the same way that my niece knows more about unicorns than I ever will.

        3. tryptophan says:

          It’s not “Monsanto’s” science. The scientific community, academic, regulatory, and yes, industrial, have all contributed to the mass of information regarding the safety of GMO plant science and biotechnology.

          Your “any publicity is good publicity” plea for Mike Adams is just a way to reassure your world view.

          Adams is being called out as a loon. Anyone reading this article thinking “Yeah Adam’s a revolutionary”, has already drunk the kool-aid. Tell me Stanmrak, was it strawberry kool-aid?

        4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Mike Adams email subscription list just grew by a mile from all the attention.

          Of course, the same could be said of people who look at Adams’ lunacy and seek out alternative explanations and discussions that don’t read like something produced from a North Korean propaganda mill.

        5. Lison Wells says:

          Uh also no, unfortunately I meet a lot of public novices in nutrition and health that are drawn in by this cherry picking, uninformed, conspiricy type of rubbish, soon as I correct any actual story they ask me about with proof, such as natural news claiming EFSA tested a certain additive because studies have shown to prove cancer, but then you find the actual info on the EFSA site in 2 minutes and they say the complete opposite, they realise the rubbish he spews.

          This will give me lots of ammo people seeing how much of a crack pot he is. Already have a lot of people viewing this border line losing his sanity, I can will also have a nice article on my page with the 1000′s of contacts to see all his mad ramblings, lord or the rings ramblings, jews, nazis and so forth,

          Thanks for ruining your own reputation that even non informed individuals will even find insane.

          1. simba says:

            Sometimes people can find a story like this easier to understand than science, since a lot of people still adhere to the ‘you can prove anything with studies’ idea.

            But the fact that someone is talking about ‘nazi collaborators’ or themselves as Aragorn with a ‘manic glint in their eye’, that’s instantly comprehensible.

    2. EBMOD says:

      And by ‘problem of GMO’s’ I assume that you are referencing the fact that if they are wiped out it will remove one of the best methods for reducing famine and hunger worldwide? Right? SURELY, that is what you mean…

    3. EBMOD says:

      Oh, and I just want to point out I see that your completely fabricated claim that astaxanthin can treat glaucoma is up on your website. What a completely irresponsible claim. I hope that no one has deferred proven medications for their glaucoma based on that article. How does it feel knowing you may be responsible for contributing to the blindness of others?

  7. stanmrak says:

    Fortunately, readers can do their own research – and make up their own minds, and not blindly believe the first thing they come across. Anyone who thinks that GMOs are the answer to global food problems hasn’t done much investigation, and that includes most of the readers here.

    In the real world, GMO crops are quickly failing. The typical pattern is to see a 1-2 year increase in crop production (loudly promoted in monsanto propaganda) followed by a sharp drop after that (never mentioned). Then the superweeds take hold and the farmer is forced to spray with many different chemical herbicides instead of just one (also never mentioned – but they promise LESS chemical use). Crop production falls, soil health plummets and future yields are compromised, and farmers lose their farms. In India, the farmers just commit suicide out of despair. This is the pattern with many GM crops, and this doesn’t even take into account the long-term health effects from excessive chemical exposure on humans who grow and harvest the crops.

    1. Chris says:

      Or be like you and just make up stuff out of thin air. You do tend to blindly follow whatever is not part of reality on a regular basis.

    2. EBMOD says:

      So you fail to see the great irony here, apparently. You rip on those who promote GMO’s for putting profit ahead of people’s health . . . yet YOU are doing the EXACT same thing with regards to your claim that astaxanthin can treat glaucoma. I posted a comment on your website a few months back on your article for anti-oxidants and glaucoma warning people not to fall for your ruse, but that comment has magically disappeared.

      Please, explain to me the methods that were used to research that claim. Were you dilating and examing optic nerve heads yourself? Did you pay a eye doc to do this? More importantly, did you then perform a controlled study to compare your product against prostaglandins and the other proven methods over 10-20 years so you could accurately measure progression? If you did not, you have ZERO basis for your claim and are actively hurting anyone who takes your advice.

      If not, you are at best no better than those you attack for GMO’s and likely worse because I highly doubt you did any study at all. You just assumed glaucoma is a disease linked to oxidative damage (it isn’t) and that your magic cure all must be better…

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Anyone who thinks that GMOs are the answer to global food problems hasn’t done much investigation, and that includes most of the readers here.

      Absolutely true – currently GMOs are not the answer to food problems, because the only players that can afford the massive entry barriers and patent navigation are big companies like Monsanto and Bayer. They love people like you shrieking about GMOs, regulations and whatnot – it means fewer competitors (in particular, fewer competitors from public universities, who might use the technology to produce superior crops that require less of Monsanto’s other products like glyphosate).

      Keep it up kiddo, with every “GMOs are evil” you just drive up the cost of entering the market and Hugh Grant’s stock options edge just a little higher in value.

      The rest of your comments are factually inaccurate in several ways – yes, herbicide tolerance is a problem (nowhere near as bad as you claim), but existing GMO crops reduce tillage, which reduces soil erosion, reduce pesticide use, reduce water consumption, and allow generally superior yields of certain crops (generally cash crops in the first world). GMOs are nowhere close to their potential, particularly for the third world where their benefit would be greatest because of things like drought tolerance, superior growth in poor soils, increased vitamin or protein content, and in particular for crops that are already adapted for the culture and climate in places like sub-Saharan Africa. Robert Paarlberg’s excellent Starved for Science goes into more detail about how ignorant, rich first-worlders like you are preventing African farmers from benefiting from the increases in crop yields that would allow them to avoid starvation and perhaps even earn a living.


    4. Sawyer says:

      You are a liar. I live in a farming community. I know people that make their living by understanding what they are planting in the ground and the science behind it. While they do not claim GM crops are the panacea to world hunger (nice strawman), they certainly do not agree with your description of how terrible they are.

      Stan, some of use are honestly wondering if YOU are a Monsanto shill that’s purposely making terrible arguments against their products.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        The biggest problem with GMO is that it’s mostly been used and developed in the first world; it won’t solve third-world hunger because it’s geared towards capture pricing of corporate products, not solving common problems encountered in Ghana and Nigeria. There are third-world success stories, and make no mistake, they are successes, and they include golden rice (if only farmers could plant it) and the papaya ringspot virus autoinnoculation. But since development occurs primarily in rich first-world countries, aimed to maximize first-world profits (which GMOs do quite well), the third world hasn’t benefited strongly. Paarlberg discusses what would be needed for third-world economies and citizens to benefit, and unfortunately it’s the very things that have been systematically cut – funding for local research centers geared towards improving crop yields of local produce using the latest technologies.

        Good book.

  8. stanmrak says:

    did someone ask for citations?

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Those aren’t citations, those are press articles. Citations are to the scientific press, which aims to truthfully and honestly describe reality using evidence.

      Press articles aim to tell a story with a good guy and a bad guy, where each side is given the same weight, and narrative is more important than facts.

      The press is where climate change is treated as a debate with two sides rather than 99.9% of the world’s climate scientists agreeing it is occurring, and one Koch-funded talking head shows up and lies. The press is where evolutionary biology is put on the same footing as the Bible. The press is where there was much attention paid to the ongoing raping of children by satanic cults, completely disregarding the illogical nature of the claims, complete lack of evidence and blatant insanity of the whole thing.

      What does the scientific literature say? And not isolated studies like Seralini. What does the preponderance of literature and scientific societies say? What does the AAAS say? What does the AMA say? What does the WHO say? What do the National Academies of Science say? What does the European Union say, despite their absurd, illogical and antiscientific labeling practices?

      What evidence base do they cite for their consensus statements? What empirical research supports their decisions and documents?

      Now tell me again about your sources.

      1. stanmrak says:

        Those sources you mentioned are all corrupted by political factions. They aren’t being truthful with you. You prefer to practice willful ignorance and deny that anything as ‘scientific’ as GMOs could be harmful. The truth is that NO long-term studies have ever been done on humans – NONE, only short-term studies on animals, not really any proof of safety. So all the studies they cite aren’t proof of anything.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Those sources you mentioned are all corrupted by political factions.

          All you’ve said with this statement is “I am going to ignore any sources that don’t already agree with my point of view.” You’re happy to cherry pick science you don’t understand if it doesn’t challenge your preconceptions, or if you haven’t read it and someone else told you it justifies your pre-existing conditions.

          You prefer to practice willful ignorance and deny that anything as ‘scientific’ as GMOs could be harmful.

          Bullshit. I merely recognize that something like GMO can’t be categorically harmful because that’s not how biology works. Genetic modification only introduces or deletes genes. The genes can only code for a novel protein, or up/downregulate an existing protein expression. They can’t be universally harmful anymore than “thermodynamics” or “potential energy” or “the color green” or “solid matter” can be harmful. Yes, you could genetically engineer something harmful or poisonous into the plant (which makes me ask – why would anyone do that?) but that’s not what has happened. Genetic modification has been used to code for glyphosate resistance (which is useful over the short term, but is far from the best use of technology), or increased provitamin A production, or water resistance in rice – the latter of which consisted of taking a gene from another strain of rice and inserting it into a true-breeding, high-yeild strain. Where is the danger in this?

          You prefer to practice willful ignorance and deny that anything as ‘scientific’ as GMOs could be harmful.

          Quite the opposite – I was prepared to be negative about genetic modification, one of my standing jokes for years was how funny it would be if we bred seeds that produced sterile offspring that destroyed all of our crops (it was a dark time). Then I read about what GMO actually is, how it works, and what it was used for – written by actual genetecists, not internet lunatics, and it turns out it’s hard to do and has quite limited applications – but the principles are both easy to understand and to anyone with a modicum of understanding of the principles can see why it’s not necessarily contributing any risks that aren’t already present in conventional breeding (including blasting seeds with mutagenics to induce novel and hopefully useful mutations).

          But hey, I actually understand what “scientific” means – you don’t appear to. You seem to think that “science” is somehow personal, somehow designed just to affront your beliefs about the world. I hate to burst your egotistical, narcissistic little bubble, but science doesn’t give a crap about you stan. It merely contradicts your ignorance because you have chosen to follow ignorant gurus.

          The truth is that NO long-term studies have ever been done on humans – NONE, only short-term studies on animals, not really any proof of safety. So all the studies they cite aren’t proof of anything.

          There are many independent, long-term feeding studies of animals, so that contradicts your “short term” argument. The rest of your claim, that animal studies hold no importance for humans, is amusing.

          1) If this is true, why do you promote and cite and rely on the Seralini study? Or are you willing to state here, publicly, that the Seralini’s work is irrelevant to humans as well? You can’t have it both ways – you can’t say “Seralini proves GMOs are dangerous” and “animal studies are irrelevant to humans”.

          2) Your objection contains the seeds of an idea – that humans are somehow so biologically different from other animals and mammals that we are uniquely susceptible to the illusory harm caused by genetic modification (which, let’s not forget, is a class of technology, and therefore no more likely to cause harm than “levers” or “the germ theory of disease”).

          3) Humans have been eating GMO crops for something like three decades now. Where are the harms? The only harms I can see are the increased lifespan of first world adults leading to more cancers as they age, and the massive increase in obesity caused by having such cheap food. Nothing specific to GMOs, and no reason to suspect such a connection.

          Why on earth would the introduction of proteins we already eat, or the deletion of proteins we’ve eaten for thousands of years, suddenly present health risks? Can you explain this to me? Could you even explain how genetic modification works?

          1. KayMarie says:

            Yes, you could genetically engineer something harmful or poisonous into the plant (which makes me ask – why would anyone do that?)

            For a non-conspiracy example, but a less technical way of modifying an organism.

            One of my botany professors was asked to test if the confession of a neighbor of a guy who dropped dead in his garden could even happen.

            See some members of the deadly nightshade family are genetically programmed to send the toxin that makes deadly nightshade deadly from the roots to the seeds/fruits of the plant. Other members of the family (like tomatoes) have a different set of genes that send any toxins to leaves or other structures, but not the fruits and seed.

            Most members of the family are quite easy to graft onto one another (why you can buy plants that have potatoes underground and tomatoes above ground).

            With some creative grafting he used the genes from one plant to put the poison in the tomatoes he wanted his neighbor to eat and die. Apparently he didn’t really think it would work an by the time the guy ate the tomato in the garden and dropped dead he wasn’t quite as angry and was remorseful enough to confess.

            So in theory you could do the same thing with GMO that you can with creative mix and match of plant parts, but grafting is something most people can do in their backyard without a lot of specialized equipment.

            Anyway professor did the test; plants graft together quite nicely. As soon as the fruit set for a sample he burned the plants as a bit “don’t eat these tomatoes, they are poisonous sign” doesn’t tend to make people not eat the tomatoes in your greenhouse.

            1. KayMarie says:

              big, not bit

            2. n brownlee says:

              I don’t know… the graft would work just fine- but it’s not really sending in the genes, is it? The graft would just produce the nightshade leaves and fruit, which don’t really look like tomatoes, much, being marble-sized and black. We have a common little weed in the southwest, called trompetillo, looks just like a nasty little yellow tomato- nobody ever eats it. Solanin bearing weeds are ferociously bitter; it’s been selected out in tomatoes. Also it’s really hard to kill somebody with solanin. I mean, it takes an absolutely whopping dose; even the professional poisoners the Medicis used had to distil the juice. Belladonna is still in medical use, at least in quite small doses- and you can still buy (prescription) eyedrops in France and Italy that dilate your pupils and make your eyes sparkle. You do have be careful about walking into walls, though.

              1. KayMarie says:

                You aren’t adding new genes to the tomato plant, but you are using the genes in the rootstock to effect the tomato plant.

                In theory you should be able to do the same thing with GMO, but instead of doing one graft you’d probably have to do a lot of gene insertions until you got a few cells with it in the right place to regulate things the way the root stock does for you.

                If you do grafts to kill a person you could do it with GMO.

                The way you do this graft the roots are from one plant and the stems, leaves and fruits from another. So it looks just like a tomato plant, it just has new functions.

              2. n brownlee says:

                Yes, I got what you meant about theoretical harmful genes from GMO- it’s possible. What I meant was, I don’t buy your teacher’s story about grafting belladonna onto a tomato plant making the tomatoes poisonous. It wouldn’t.

                We’ve been grafting food plants, primarily fruit trees, for a long time- the Chinese have been doing it for a thousand years or more, and I’ve personally done hundreds of individual grafts. Virtually every piece of apple, peach, pear, etc that you eat came from a grafted plant- but in no case does the rootstock affect the edible or desirable qualities of the fruit. You graft a crabapple rootstock with a Granny Smith slip- it does not make the resultant Granny Smith apples somehow absorb the crabapple characteristics and produce crabby fruit. Those novelty plants with potato rootstock and tomato tops produce inferior potatoes and tomatoes- but it’s because the two plants aren’t very compatible for grafting. They never live long.

                Even if a tomato/belladonna graft was effective, I don’t think the rootstock would somehow send enough solanin or atropine into the fruit for a lethal effect. Plant toxins are generally manufactured in the leaves and fruit- tomato and potato plants both have quite poisonous leaves, no help required, but the poison isn’t pumped into the leaves from the roots.

                I think the teacher’s story was a ‘frighten the freshmen’ entertainment .

              3. n brownlee says:

                Genes, from either the host or graft plant, do not move into the other graft or host plant. Genes stay put in their original plant material. The plant materials each retain their original function. Grafts are dine because- for example- crabapple rootstock is hardier and more resistant to certain root diseases and conditions, so when grafted with the GS slips you get better, faster growing Granny Smith trees.

              4. KayMarie says:

                Could be, but there are several reports of poisonings or deaths from jimson weed/tomato grafted plants.

                You could do it with GMO, but grafting would get you there faster.

       has the reference to one of the cases of this.

                In any case, I’m not going to try it in my garden.

              5. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                n brownlee, it could work if the toxins are produced in a different part of the plant, and the genes that have been knocked out or modified in nonpoisonous plants have something to do with transport rather than production. Most plants eventually want their fruits to be eaten, so the seeds are deposited in a nice pile of fertilizer far from the parent. So theoretically having a root that produces the toxin (normally attached to a trunk that doesn’t move it around) and a trunk/leaf/fruit graft that normally moves it around but doesn’t produce it, could work.

                Of course, that’s pure speculation; nature often works in surprising ways because it’s always McGyvering solutions from the genetic equivalent of paperclips and duct tape.

              6. KayMarie says:

                I never implied the genes move, but using the genetic machinery of the root stock does cause effects in the plant above ground. I mean that is why they do plant grafting after all.

                You could most likely be able with a lot of work to find the exact right genes in the root stock and then inject them into the plant and hope you get them in the right place where they are expressed the right way.

                Anyway, the point was people do occasionally manipulate plants in the old fashioned ways we have done for centuries in ways that cause harm to others. But those will be individual cases (or as in the one link I posted unintended consequences when you wanted some other part of the genetic machinery’s effects).

                If they do them in other ways, surely someone could want someone dead/injured enough to do it the GMO way. But that is individual on individual violence. Usually a company wouldn’t do that as eventually the cost of the lawsuits is going to wipe out any profit you made before they found out.

              7. Kathy says:

                WLU – “it’s always McGyvering solutions from the genetic equivalent of paperclips and duct tape.”


            3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Most members of the family are quite easy to graft onto one another (why you can buy plants that have potatoes underground and tomatoes above ground).



              That’s more amazing to me than being able to put a fish gene into a tomato.

              Do they call this magical creature the gnocchi marinara plant? Probably not given their toxicity, but wow!

              1. n brownlee says:

                It’s just a novelty plant- you used to see the ads in gardening magazines, right alongside the “hundreds of tomatoes from one plant!” ads. The novelty grafted plants didn’t produce very good tomatoes OR good potatoes – small, greenish, knobbly potatoes and small, seedy, thick-skinned tomatoes- because the varieties used for the grafts weren’t any good in the first place, then they slowly strangled to death from lack of adequate water and nutrient transfer. But both potatoes and tomatoes, peppers, eggplant- all are solanaceous and could probably be grafted- temporarily, anyway. And ALL their leaves are quite poisonous. So don’t eat ‘em.

              2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                No worries about eating them, and I can completely understand why people would pay money for such a plant. As far as I’m concerned, it’s magic :)

          2. Mark O'Leary says:

            “3) Humans have been eating GMO crops for something like three decades now. ”

            Actually, we’ve been eating GMOs for thousands of years. French fries would be about an inch long and purple if we were making them from ‘natural’ native Andean potatoes – but centuries of genetic manipulation have turned potato tubers into big white floury things that we prefer the taste of. But of course the special pleading is that changes to a species genome that are done slowly with inefficient techniques (selective breeding) are somehow different to changes made to genome slowly with targeted techniques (recombinants).

            Every pet dog, every food crop is a GMO, exhibiting forms and beahviours arising from human intervention in its genome. If you want to go back to nature, live off stringy, low-yield, partially posionous wild ‘crops’ and share your yurt with a wild wolf.

            1. Mark O'Leary says:

              Umm, correction to the above. The second “slowly” should read “quickly”.

              Oh, and I should own up to having a dog in this fight: degree in moleular biology and a master in agricultural biotechnology. But I dont work in the industry, and somehow I never got sent the Grand GMO Conspiracy decoder ring that would apparently let me make money out of posting responses against anti-GMO quacks.

              1. n brownlee says:

                Oh, all admiration here, me and my lowly undergraduate ag/hort degrees. What a splendid field. I wish I weren’t too damned old to start over.

            2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              I totally acknowledge that we’ve been eating GMO in the broad sense of the term for thousands of years, but I also can appreciate the sense that what we are doing is novel – despite using a pre-existing, natural bacterium to insert the genes we want in many cases.

              I can see why consumers might think that it’s different in a test tube versus a pollinating brush.

        2. AJB says:

          I hear that the truth is that aliens take joyrides of hundreds or thousands of light years just to secretly create artistic patterns in farmer’s fields on Earth, just for the hell of it.

      2. Andrés says:

        William said:

        The press is where climate change is treated as a debate with two sides rather than 99.9% of the world’s climate scientists agreeing it is occurring, and one Koch-funded talking head shows up and lies.

        I wasn’t aware of anyone believing in an static climate.

        Dr. Pavlov said:

        It is about as resoundingly clear that climate change is real and a direct cause of human activities as we can possibly hope to have.

        I know Dr. Pavlov’s argument was not addressed to me but to the fence-sitters. I will add the poll gambit to the side of the consensus gambit as soon as I discover another instance of it though.

        So any one of you please tell me: should we poll theologists to settle the existence of God? Sorry if I am too dumb to be moved by a poll instead of any climate mathematical model giving rise to some convincing prediction. I am only able to find failing ones. Stupid and pedantic me.

        1. Andrey Pavlov says:

          I know Dr. Pavlov’s argument was not addressed to me but to the fence-sitters. I will add the poll gambit to the side of the consensus gambit as soon as I discover another instance of it though… Sorry if I am too dumb to be moved by a poll instead of any climate mathematical model giving rise to some convincing prediction. I am only able to find failing ones. Stupid and pedantic me.

          Well, you said it Andres. Yes, you are too dumb to realize that we aren’t talking about a poll – we are talking about a consensus of experts. When every physicist at CERN agrees that the HIggs boson exists, you’d be pretty dumb to try and argue it doesn’t. And when over 97% of all climate scientists – you know, those guys that are the experts in the field and actually doing the work on climate science using actual real world data – agree that climate change is happening and is being driven by man, then you’d be pretty dumb to try and argue it isn’t happening.

          Of course, you are indeed the king of cherry picking whatever it is that suits your preconceived beliefs so you can – and do – go and find any flimsy piece of crap that agrees with you and call it evidence, then sit smugly and say that you are proud not to be “moved by a poll.”

          I must say Andres, you really are rather irritating with your incredibly poor attempts at trying partake in scientific discussions. You started out rather reasonably which is why I and a few others took some time and effort to try and educate you on topics you yourself professed an interest in learning more about. But you have made it clear that you have no genuine interest in learning more about things, you just wish to create your own little echo chamber where you can repeat the same tried troped over and over again because that makes it seem more real to you, all while doing nothing more substantive than JAQing off.

          You can’t say that I didn’t work hard to demonstrate many, many times why your approach, thoughts, and conclusions are untenable. But now you have relegated yourself to nothing more than mockery for being a caricature of yourself and laughter for being a pot looking in a mirror and calling the other pot you see black while having delusions of being a nice shiny pot.

          1. Andrey Pavlov says:

            Dangit, in my rush I screwed up my finish:

            …for being a pot looking in a mirror and calling the other pot you see black while having delusions of being a nice shiny kettle.

          2. Andrey Pavlov says:


            As it so happens, Senator Whitehouse schooled Senator Inhofe about climate change. His speech could apply quite well to your own unscientific thoughts on the matter.

        2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          I wasn’t aware of anyone believing in an static climate.

          Andres, you’re a douche, and yes, you’re pedantic – that’s part of why you are a douche. Not necessarily stupid, but you do seem to have convinced yourself that you’re smart enough to figure out nearly any field far better than the actual experts involved. Which doesn’t make you smart, stupid or a douche – it merely makes you human.

          Active misrepresentation of obvious intent is what makes you a douche.

          1. Sawyer says:

            WLU I think you deserve an ice cream cone for getting Andres to weigh in on this subject. I thought he was just a run-of-the mill vitamin enthusiast, but now he’s managed to show us his complete media illiteracy. Steve Goddard’s website is a freaking joke. Seriously, spend 30 seconds looking at the conversations happening there. It’s not quite at the Mike Adams level of crazy, but there’s no shortage of paranoia and ignorance.

            1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              I like to make my own ice cream, but I’m always happy to accept cash. For some reason the filthy lucre of Pharmabucks keep getting forwarded to someone else’s address. I mean, I keep promoting drugs, drugs and more drugs, because that’s what I’m supposed to do, but it’d be nice if some of the millions of dollars I was supposed to get paid for doing so were to actually reach me. Presumably it’s being diverted to some sort of pit fighting ring for disabled puppies or something, so, y’know, still a good cause.

        3. Andrés says:

          Dr. Pavlov said:

          Well, you said it Andres. Yes, you are too dumb to realize that we aren’t talking about a poll – we are talking about a consensus of experts.

          And when over 97% of all climate scientists – you know, those guys that are the experts in the field and actually doing the work on climate science using actual real world data – agree that climate change is happening and is being driven by man, then you’d be pretty dumb to try and argue it isn’t happening.

          So let’s see the consensus definition:

          1. unanimous judgment or belief that a group comes to after discussion
          2. general agreement; concord; harmony

          I tend to think it is the first meaning when anyone refers to “consensus of experts”. I am not impressed even then. Since neither it has been unanimous nor after a discussion I must suppose that it should be the second. Since there are 3% or so of experts that don’t think the same that the other 97% I wouldn’t call that harmony. Perhaps you would call that 3% of them dumb. Me I still call that a poll. Moreover. Since climatology is not yet an experimental science experts can have the opinion they chose. Let me see any model predicting something and I will retract my lack of faith in experts in this case. Either that or they are confusing correlation with causality. It shouldn’t be so hard if they are so convinced by their own opinion. You brought up the subject not me. I just did a very quick, shallow search for climate predictions.

          Is the prudent thing to do to limit CO2 emissions just in case they are right? I would say it is the prudent thing to do even if they are wrong as I have already said. I am completely pro nuclear energy. Whenever I have doubts between two political parties and one of them is pro nuclear (none that I am aware of here in Spain though) I will vote for that one.

          Dr. Pavlov said (corrected):

          But now you have relegated yourself to nothing more than mockery for being a caricature of yourself and laughter for being a pot looking in a mirror and calling the other pot you see black while having delusions of being a nice shiny kettle.

          So be it. I would like to say that I like pot… but perhaps it is ambiguous. I don’t smoke nowadays.

          1. MadisonMD says:

            To this observer, it seems pedantic to require unanimous agreement to establish ‘scientific consensus,’ regardless of the definition*. Even today you can find some self-identified ‘experts’ who deny germ theory, or promote cold fusion. By your definition, Andres, there is no scientific consensus in anything. Would you prefer ‘agreement’ to ‘consensus’?

            This seems to be little more than rationalization to disagree with the vast majority of experts, when you choose to do so.

            *The second definition of ‘general agreement’ would IMO be satisfied by 97% of experts.

          2. Andrey Pavlov says:

            Yeah, Madison is spot on.

            You are a complete douche Andres. Your response doesn’t even warrant the time or effort to say anything beyond stating the fact that you are an arrogant douche and if you actually knew and understood science at 10% the level you think you do, you’d actually be pretty darned good at it.

            I could go on about how there are predictions that have modeled climate change but of course you’d just handwave it. Because in your completely warped brain anything less than 100% unanimous consensus is somehow disharmonious and allows you room to disagree with experts in a field you know less than nothing about.

            Meh. I think I may have finally run my course with you. You may get a well deserved jab from me from time to time as comic relief when I have the time and compunction. Otherwise, enjoy living in your own pseudoscientific world.

            1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              It’s the fallacy of the golden mean – the idea that if there are two sides, the correct answer must be in the middle.

              Of course, there’s not really two sides, there’s science on one side and Koch lobbyists on the other.

              Man, I see why stan uses that argument, it is really satisfying and requires almost no effort!

          3. Andrés says:

            @MadisonMD: Thank you for not resorting to name calling.

            MadisonMD said:

            By your definition, Andres, there is no scientific consensus in anything.

            First of all I don’t appreciate scientific consensus at all as I have already stated. I side with it pertaining mainly to politics and think that science advance through rational (not delusional) dissent. Of course I see the purpose of consensus of experts when selecting interventions for care of sick people though. Certainly not on preventative care for healthy people on the shallowest of non publicly accessible evidence as happens in the high cholesterol case.

            Second. In order to it being “scientific” Science is needed. The bare minimum in order to some hypothesis generating activity to be considered Science is to it producing predictions doing its hypothesis falsifiable à la Popper. I am not interested in the least in climatology (it has no weight on the prudent course of action in my eyes as I have already explained*) but in order to have a minimum confidence in its hypothesis as scientific they must produce predictions. Nothing less. Producing the references to them should be a must before name calling anyone anything. Certainly the consensus/poll gambit does not suffice.

            I can’t find a not offensive meaning of “douche”. My fault I suppose.

            @Dr. Pavlov: It may seem otherwise but I highly respect the work of your profession when caring for the sick. I am sure arrogance is a must in order to keep sanity under such a stressful job so I have explicitly set myself a long time ago to not take offense of any either explicit or implicit insult you proffer. Feel free to have a laugh at me whenever you please. This being said I must point out that a YouTube video is not a mathematical model explained in a scientific paper (I will take a look at it later though). You brought up the subject so the burden of proof is on your shoulders. I simply brought up what surfaced at a simple search of climate models.

            @William: I can’t think of an excuse for you. Congratulations, I will proceed to completely ignore you from now on.

            @Dr. Pavlov: If you prefer me to completely ignore you too just let me know.

            *Just yesterday a doctoral thesis about modelling of acidifying oceans was deposited for previous inspection before its defense at my University. Perhaps I will try to take a look at it.

            1. MadisonMD says:

              The requirement of predictions can set a neigh impossible bar in fields that evolve over long periods of time such as geology, evolution or climate change. However known mechanisms coupled with observations consistent with the changes with historic observations can nevertheless provide strong evidence. I appreciate that at least you think it prudent to reduce carbon emissions.

              Of course I see the purpose of consensus of experts when selecting interventions for care of sick people though. Certainly not on preventative care for healthy people on the shallowest of non publicly accessible evidence as happens in the high cholesterol case.

              Prevention is a crucial part of medical care. It is one area where experience is particularly unreliable and large bodies of evidence should be synthesized by experts. I understand you do not like the idea of statins for primary prevention because of high NNT… And NNT or number needed to screen are often high in primary prevention and screening. However cardiovascular disease remains a preeminent cause of death. Perhaps you would just move the bar Io include a smaller high risk population to reduce NNT.

              I understand you may disagree with evidence on statins you think shallow. I find the literature so vast that I doubt you have a full grasp. I find it paradoxical you would say this given the vitamin C literature you have cited here which has far less depth or mechanism and yet you have confidence of its effectiveness for prevention. Perhaps the only excuse I can find for you is that the risk of vit c is slightly lower than statin.

            2. Andrey Pavlov says:

              The bare minimum in order to some hypothesis generating activity to be considered Science is to it producing predictions doing its hypothesis falsifiable à la Popper

              Well, then you could just google it Andres:





              And when you say:

              but in order to have a minimum confidence in its hypothesis as scientific they must produce predictions. Nothing less. Producing the references to them should be a must before name calling anyone anything. Certainly the consensus/poll gambit does not suffice.

              you are showing yet again that you don’t know science. Why is it that a scientific fact must have predictions? Yes, ideally we want it to, but are you really trying to say that if we discover something when it it too complex for us to model and yet we document it through myriad empirical experiments and measurements it simply doesn’t exist?

              If I discover a new form of cancer and have no idea what cell line it came from and can’t analyze it’s genome, I can’t predict what course it will take, and I can’t predict how it will react to any sort of pharmaceutical, environmental, or physiological change, that means that the fact the cancer exists is not scientific?

              You are betraying yet another complete blind spot in your understanding and approach to science Andres. We can say that climate change has happened, that it was caused by man, and that it is getting worse without every having a single predictive model in existence. It is simply moronic to try and argue that if we don’t have a predictive model that we can’t have a descriptive understanding of what is happening. That is still science, just not fully mature.

              I can’t find a not offensive meaning of “douche”. My fault I suppose.

              No, it is indeed offensive. And an apt descriptor of your behavior and argumentation style.

              his being said I must point out that a YouTube video is not a mathematical model explained in a scientific paper (I will take a look at it later though).

              LOL. Besides the fact that it could be a lecture describing the mathematical model of a scientific paper, that wasn’t the point of the video. It was not to try and give you a mathematical model that is unnecessary to substantiate my claim that the consensus of experts are correct that global warming is happening. It happens to be a speech slamming one of our (many) idiot senators who has the same approach to science as you do and denying the fact of climate change because he thinks he knows better than the consensus of experts.

              I simply brought up what surfaced at a simple search of climate models.

              Hmm… rather telling that you would know nothing about a topic, do a quick google search, settle on some denialist material, and decide that – against the 97% consensus – they must be correct and now the burden of proof is on us to prove the denialists wrong.

              You keep showing off your amazing skill at butchering the process of scientific inquiry to the point of being unrecognizable hot dog meat.

              If you prefer me to completely ignore you too just let me know.

              My real preference would be for you to actually learn something through this long process of interacting with the people here (not just myself). I find it immensely curious that you would come here and spend so much time to do… what exactly? Continue to be convinced in your conclusions? You can save everyone, most notably yourself, a lot of time by just not posting here and continuing to hold your beliefs. You can’t actually effect any of the changes and “scientific” demands you have by posting here, all you can do is gain the opportunity to expose yourself to a large group of skeptics, scientists, physicians, and others with a wide variety of skillsets and expertise. The problem is that pretty much every single one of us is uniformly saying you are wrong, you are approaching things wrong, and explaining why. Yet, you persevere in your wrongness. What’s the point Andres? What are you getting out of this? How many times must you run into the wall here before either realizing you are wrong and amending your beliefs or just giving up (content in the belief that it is we who are hopelessly lost)?

              Seriously, what is your end game? What do you get out of posting here and managing to basically bat 1000 and be wrong (in our judgment) every single time? And repeating the same things over and over again? What are you looking to achieve here? If you think we will somehow magically ditch everything we know about science and suddenly agree with you, you are mistaken.

              1. MadisonMD says:

                It seems that Andres would only accept an impossible experiment to accept anthropomorphic global warming. You would need two identical earths alike in every way one with and one without humans. Then you would measure mean temperature across decades-centuries across each. In this way you could prove, in a controlled experiment.

                But, again, I’ll cut Andres some slack on this one. He’s not really some gun-totin’, anti-Obamacare, vaccine-hating racist republican. (well, maybe a little bit of the vaccine part, heh). He actually admitted that decreasing use of fossil fuels is prudent; even if anthropomorphic global warming is not proven to this impossible extent, it is still of major potential concern. Thus, I don’t think he deserves the type of invective that DH Koch does.

                Andres just sets an impossibly high bar for evidence for AGW and primary cardiovascular prevention, while paradoxically accepting an extraordinarily low bar of evidence for Vit C. He does not accept the evaluation of experts but fails to recognize the ability of one individual to become an expert on everything. I kind of understand this sentiment as I tend to be skeptical of experts (Didn’t Feynman describe this a what science is?).. but over the years I’ve looked into enough examples to find that the experts had good reason for their statements, and I had not stumbled into something minor that they had overlooked.

              2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                He actually admitted that decreasing use of fossil fuels is prudent; even if anthropomorphic global warming is not proven to this impossible extent, it is still of major potential concern.What I don’t get when it comes down to it, is how climate change deniers who admit that fossil fuels are a precious and nonrenewable resource, are so unstrategic as to waste time and effort arguing about it when ultimately the response is the same – fuel efficient cars, alternatives to gasoline, replacing coal-fired plants, etc. But rather than advocating for such infrastructure changes, they seem content to merely criticize an area they are not experts in, as if that somehow helped with the design and implementation of solar cells (or wind, or hydro, or whatever) as power sources.

  9. EBMOD says:

    I asked for citations regarding your dubious claim that your astaxanthin product can treat glaucoma and you respond with a wall of text regarding GMO’s. Avoiding the question I see. The cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy run deep with you, apparently.

    1. Calli Arcale says:

      That does appear to be his normal approach to direct questions. The equivalent of saying “hey, look over there!” and then running away.

    2. MadisonMD says:

      That dude slithers away when tough questions are asked. It’s the modus operandi.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        His other favorite tactic, never, ever acknolwedging that he was grossly, categorically wrong about something he claims expertise in. Like, comically misunderstanding the material and then pretending he knows more than actual scientists about the topic, then completely pretending the takedown never existed. That’s why I try to post a link to it in at least every second reply to any of his comments.

  10. Crider says:

    Re: Séralini and the corruption of corporate science

    Monsanto and their ilk did everything they could to rid themselves of an inconvenient peer-reviewed 2012 study headed by French scientist, Gilles-Eric Séralini, that showed that GMOs and the herbicide Roundup caused severe liver and kidney damage and hormonal disturbances in lab rats.

    1. The Séralini study was published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.

    2. In 2013, Monsanto placed one of their former employees as associate editor at the journal FCT and VOILA!, Séralini’s study was retracted.

    3. Study gone forever — Monsanto very happy!

    Or so they thought. This year, after 3 rounds of rigorous peer review, the study has been republished by Environmental Sciences Europe. Poor Monsanto, all that time and money spent greasing palms and still failing, just like their GMOs.

    1. JD says:

      Huge congratulations to this group for getting something published in an open access journal with such rigorous standards! That just negates all of the prior criticisms and validates all GMO skepticism. Done deal.

      You should give the following website a stroll and check out the whopping impact factor. Oh wait, it doesn’t have one. Hmm.

      At least republishing a controversial article should garner a good amount of attention. Maybe they’ll get on the board next year, just maybe.

    2. JD says:

      ESEU aims to enable rational discussions dealing with the article from G.-E. Séralini et al. (Food Chem. Toxicol. 2012, 50:4221–4231) by re-publishing it. By doing so, any kind of appraisal of the paper’s content should not be connoted. The only aim is to enable scientific transparency and, based on this, a discussion which does not hide but aims to focus methodological controversies. -Winfried Schröder, Editor of the Thematic Series “Implications for GMO-cultivation and monitoring” in Environmental Sciences Europe.

      Looks like it was published to allow further discussion. I still don’t understand how re-publishing bad science can be a good idea.

      Here’s the commentary from the authors.

      This means pretty much nothing. Just more nonsensical griping about censorship.

    3. MadisonMD says:

      This year, after 3 rounds of rigorous peer review, the study has been republished by Environmental Sciences Europe

      Well, I consider Nature News a more credible source than someone named “Crider” posting here.

      Here’s what Nature Newssays after actually interviewing the Hollert, editor-in-chief of said journal:

      [Hollert says] “We were Springer Publishing’s first open access journal on the environment, and are a platform for discussion on science and regulation at a European and regional level.” ESEU conducted no scientific peer review, he adds, “because this had already been conducted by Food and Chemical Toxicology, and had concluded there had been no fraud nor misrepresentation.” The role of the three reviewers hired* by ESEU was to check that there had been no change in the scientific content of the paper, Hollert adds.

      [Asterisk added]

      So basically, Crider just burned his credibility.

      *BTW, for non-scientists and those who missed it, peer reviewers are not “hired.”

    4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Crider, what do you think about the lack of dose-response relationship regarding the consumption of GMO feed versus tumors? The lack of histology on the tumors? The way the rats were permitted to grow to the point that the tumors were massive and debilitating? The fact that Sprague-Dewley rats were used (and why that fact is important)? Do you think the sample size was adequate, particularly in a cell-by-cell comparison? What do you think about the statistics used to determine differences?

      Inquiring minds want to know.

      1. rork says:

        Complaints about sample size and rat strain are about statistical power in hypothesis tests I think – and many critics of Seralini have been guilty of so complaining (Novella too). Complain about power only when you think there really is (or might be) a difference, but power was so low that a convincing demonstration was not possible. If you think there probably is no difference in a comparison, there’s no cause to complain that the folk’s designs were underpowered. Low sample size, crappy measuring instrument, noisy system (rat strain), are all great methods to FAIL to reject null hypotheses.
        (Exception: when it’s really a discrimination problem rather than hypothesis testing for differences in means or such. There we may need tiny false positive or negative rates or both.)
        Do complain when you can’t even follow what happened in an experiment, and you suspect it is very important to authors that it is impossible to follow.

        1. JD says:

          Complaints about sample size and rat strain are about statistical power in hypothesis tests I think

          Hmm. My complaints (and maybe others as well) are not related to power. Instead, I take issue with the fact that they had such a small sample size, hinged a solid portion of their argument on the number/size of tumors as well as mortality, and reported somewhat odd tests that may or may not be appropriate. I am a few years out of basic science work, but is it common for authors to not list the tests used until the discussion (with no methods section)? This is where the authors state the following (very awkwardly if I might add):

          For instance, comparing the 11% GMO-treated female group to the controls, the assumption that the tumors are equally distributed is rejected with a level of significance of 0.54% with the Westlake exceedance test [67]. The classical tests of Kolmogorov-Smirnov (one-sided) and Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney reach α values of significance, which are respectively of 1.40% and 2.62%.

          There may not be anything wrong with the tests they show, and it is actually a good thing that they ran multiple non-parametrics. But, I can’t tell if these were specified beforehand or if they simply chose the tests that achieved significance. This is relevant as, for the KS and Wilcoxon tests, these can be misleading in some cases. For example, the KS can be sensitive to distribution shape, as opposed to simply assessing whether the number of tumors was actually greater. Although we often think of these as conservative, this is not always the case, and understanding what you actually want to test is vastly important in the non-parametric world. So, I would say that this is how low sample size, a crappy measurement, and noisy system could actually lead to significance that doesn’t mean what we think it means.

          What concerns me most, though, is that in this paragraph, I have no idea what test goes where. Overall, as you have said, the methodology is very difficult to follow and this makes me question it further.

      2. rork says:

        I’ll try to explain what I think is happening in people’s minds when they wrongly complain about sample size or noise. Option one is they aren’t thinking. Option 2 is that they are using their intuition, and it is bad. Example: T-test two groups, where the means are in fact identical. I do the experiment with exquisitely good assays on lots of samples. Joe does it with crappy assays on less samples. I think some people’s intuition is telling them that Joe has a better chance of getting p<.01 ("by chance") than I do, cause of some fuzzy feeling about it being more chaotic. It's not true. We both have a 1 in 100 chance.

        1. Jopari says:

          The problem is that the equipement itself means that innaccuracies are likely, besides that read what JD has said.

          So in reality, the action has the same chance of happening, but the likelihood of the TEST coming out with the wrong statistics is higher, random even, so it could very well screw up the conclusion grandly.

    5. Sawyer says:

      Since our good friend stan was helpful enough to provide some links, I would advise you to check out the Scientific American article he mis-cited. Make sure to read the comments. It’s from several years before the 2012 study, but an evil Monsanto executive that shows up to discuss some of the problems with Seralini’s shoddy research approach. Who is the one responsible for promoting bogus science?

  11. Derek Freyberg says:

    It’s hard to know what to make of this.
    I see Heckenlively as merely mildly delusional – I mean I like “Lord of the Rings” too, and most people identify with heroes (especially if you know they will win in the end!) rather than villains; but I see Adams now as actively evil – even ignoring his profit motive.
    It’s one thing to be loony (after all, Adams is #1 in the Encyclopedia of American Loons,; but calling on the faithful to create a list of those to be brought before the tribunal – or summarily disposed of – when the Health Danger New World Order takes over is much more dangerous. Let me draw an analogy with the environmental movement: there are those who sit in trees to stop them being cut down, and there are those who drive spikes into them so that the loggers risk injuries or death from shrapnel when they cut them down. Heckenlively may fall in the first category, Adams is definitely in the second.
    Count me among those proud to be targeted by the Health Danger and his followers.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Mike Adams seems sufficiently uneven in his responses throughout the internet and predatory in his approach to business opportunities that I suspect he is quite sane and quite greedy. I wonder if he’s actually a pious fraud along the lines of a more successful Kevin Trudeau, pretending to be this crazy and extreme while actually caring only about his ability to make tons of money off of a poorly-regulated market.

      Unlike Gary Null, he hasn’t been poisoned with his own products, which makes me wonder if he even consumes them. Obviously Null’s situation was a one-off but still.

  12. Bruce says:

    Not to put too much of a dampner on any Aragorn wannabes, but it is my understanding that the true heros of the Lord of the Rings were Frodo and Samwise (in fact Samwise is most likely the true hero… but that is a different debate).

    Saying you worship LOTR and then reference the movies (and not books) and consider yourself to be the great hero Aragorn is surely missing the point? I mean, it is one thing being a crank… it is another thing entirely being a fairweather LOTR fan!

    1. simba says:

      It is hilarious. Most of my memories (admittedly I haven’t read the books in ages) of Aragorn were of him playing with the ‘shining hero’ trope: ‘all that is gold does not glitter’, ‘look foul and feel fair’ and Eowyn and all that.

      Really, though, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins was the real hero of that story.

    2. n brownlee says:

      LOTR was always Sam’s story- the triumph of the ordinary, working class (Englishman!) hobbit over evil- almost overwhelming evil. And as valiant, strong and pure as the highborn Aragorn and the elves were, they couldn’t have done it without Samwise Gamgee (Tommy Atkins)- and even the bumbling Pippin and Merry.

      1. simba says:

        It says a lot that the scouring of the shire was done by the hobbits themselves.

        Not (my interpretation) because the Big Folk couldn’t have done it, or didn’t want to- Gandalf was shown as being keenly interested in the Shire and its doings- but because they didn’t need to. The hobbits could do it without help, and an outside raid would have fitted less with the themes of the story and with the way the hobbits, and their culture, were portrayed.

      2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        There’s even a nice analogy to science – the real work is done through a series of careful steps by a small number of experts, not through rousing speeches and dramatic last stands.

      3. Kathy says:

        I believe the last of the films (Battle of the Five Armies) is out soon and trailers are already available.

    3. David Gorski says:

      Samwise Gamgee was always one of my favorite characters in LotR for exactly those reasons. He was the humble gardener with little education who refused to let Frodo slip away to try to go to Mordor alone after the breaking of the fellowship and, when push came to shove, made sure that Frodo got to the Cracks of Doom, fighting off Shelob and Gollum (after Gollum’s treachery), rescuing Frodo after he he had been captured by orcs, and even carrying Frodo on his back for the last stretch up Mount Doom.

      In many ways Sam was the most heroic character of all in LotR, and by Tolkien’s intent. Aragorn was a mythical king, above it all not quite real even when he went by the name of Strider. Sam came across as more like everyone else.

      1. simba says:

        And I always, weirdly, got the impression that the only person in the story who actually knew this was Aragorn. Hence why he liked hanging out with the hobbits.

      2. Kathy says:

        Agreed. And Frodo sits rather uneasily between the two worlds, partly mythical hero and partly a simple hobbit living in a hole. Tolkien resolves this by making him sail away with the elves at the end, but imho this is not a very satisfactory way to dispose of him. Though it’s better than the way many authors get their heroes sorted out, which is either to kill them (Shakespeare) or marry them off (Jane Austen). What DOES one do with a hero? In real life, I mean.

        1. David Gorski says:

          Actually, I thought that going to the Grey Havens made the most sense for Frodo. Tolkien made it clear that he had been too wounded and changed by having possessed the ring for so long that he could no longer live a “normal” life. The obvious analogy is a soldier who’s been to war and can’t adjust to peacetime living. No doubt Tolkien understood that problem, having himself served in World War I and witnessed the horrors of the war and the death of friends; that is, until he contracted trench fever and spent months in a military hospital and 1917-1918 posted at home:

          Indeed, Tolkiens descriptions of Mordor and the Dead Marshes were clearly inspired by his experience in the trenches in the Great War.

          Tolkien also made the point that the evil of the ring was so great that no person who had possessed it could ever truly be normal again. Sam came the closest to managing to beat this “curse” because his time possessing the ring was so short and, of course, because of his basic simple goodness. He managed to live a basically normal life, raising a large family and even serving as mayor of Hobbiton for many years, but after his wife died he couldn’t do it anymore and passed over the sea to the undying lands, as Frodo had many years before, leaving the Red Book to his daughter Elanor.

          In any case, Tolkien himself later wrote a letter in which he agreed with the view that Sam was the “true hero” of LotR, referring to him as the “chief hero” of the novel:

          1. Kathy says:

            Yeah, I don’t disagree with Sam being the true hero. He surely is. Or with Tolkein’s experiences of the trenches, and those who survived them, being the basis for Mordor and also of Frodo’s difficulty readjusting to “ordinary” life. Just that I’ve noticed (and it’s hardly earth-shattering, lots of people have noticed it, LOL!) that heroes are tough to dispose of when the book ends. They don’t seem to fit in well with everyday life, especially the men. I mean, what does a war hero do afterwards? Sell insurance? Run a grocery store? Join the Foreign Legion? I’m just intrigued with how an author resolves this (not allowed to say problem) challenge.

            1. simba says:

              In the Pratchett novels they run a tourist bar and re-enact their great fights for the masses. There’s a nightly brawl, carefully choreographed of course (but still very violent).

              1. n brownlee says:

                And, like all Pratchett’s social commentary, completely true to life.

          2. Bruce says:

            It seems there is no debate about Sam being the hero then! I was not aware that Tolkien had stated it so explicitly.

            Thank you for that.

  13. John Miller says:

    Wow. My take on this whole topic is that I need to reread LOTR.

    1. simba says:

      Mine too. I hunted up my copy, and remembered that someone lost the second book (of my set of 7). FML.

    2. Chris says:

      Nah. I spent my college years reading LOTR. It will just bring back memories of sitting in the computer center waiting for the printer to spit out my program after I had loaded it in the card reader. Yes, I am old enough that I carried my program around in boxes.

  14. Earthman says:

    Glyphosate is a herbicide, not a pesticide.

  15. Earthman says:

    “What the United States Air Force did to Dresden in World War II ”

    actually there were more planes involved from the British RAF than the USAF. This may have been more a British holocaust than an American one, though the weight of bombs dropped may have been more or less equal.

  16. Earthman says:

    “…every condemned criminal deserves a fair trial …”

    You cannot make this up!

    1. simba says:

      A show trial, of course, in which they admit their crimes to the people. “May this trial be the last severe lesson, and may the great might of the Organic Movement become clear to all”

  17. Frederick says:

    This is not totally related but, A Friend of mine sent me this link. ( I used donotlink because this is cherry picking anti-gmo site). It is a Star wars parody rifle with “organic food” propaganda, I have nothing against Organic farming, ( I received Local organic vegetable every 2 week, I do it for the Local more than the organic, and it is a really good veggies and fruit) , what I don’t like is them using short cuts in the truth and hide commercial lobbying into a “fight for justice”

    Anti-gmo, pro organic, seems to forget a lot of stuff like that they also have a lot of money on this, as if organic farmer and big company like whole food were “giving away” stuff. No they are not. They also forget to say that They can spray all the Pesticide they want, but just the toxic, inefficient «natural» ones. and all those are untested for.

    And, as a Science geek and HUGE star wars fan, this is kind of a little insulting, and it is not really funny, they have couple of funny jokes in there ( like their version of chewbacca), but they try to hard and they also push their propaganda too much.

    You could reverse the whole thing and the rebel, who fight for justice, would be the Skeptics fighting against the evil dark forces of the lying Woo and Greenpeace ( 250-270 millions dollars budget, they are a big lobby don’t be fooled!). Anyway, That was my rant for today. I like my friend a lot, she’s a great person. Her and her boy friend are super good people, but she is a true believers in all sort stuff. But I try not to say anything most of the time, because we fight if i do.

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