You can’t trust science these days

The actions of the IPCC, the various studies which have been shown to have been fabricated or skewed [see Watts Up posts passim] or selectively presented have harmed science more than any other single aspect of late and have rendered shaky that oft-used expression: “It’s been scientifically proven.”

That also comes out in the Knight Science article on anti-GM people.   Problem is, as an anti-GM person myself, I was not reading this as a devotee but as a potential detractor and man, there was so much bias in the article.   In fact, in quoting one guy, the author even inserted the word [good] to bias the reader towards the quotee.

That is not good journalism and it’s even worse science.

The substance of the anti-anti-GM rant was sound though.   The antiGM people have used shoddy science to establish the tumour making capacity of GM foods.   I’m not saying it won’t cause tumours but this science, sadly, does not establish it.

In fact, it establishes that we can’t trust either science or scientists anymore.   I’ve always been down on capital S Science as a political tool of Them [the Royal Society] in undermining Christianity and the orderly maintenance of society, whilst supporting small s science as a sound way to look at natural [physical] phenomena.

Now that’s not so certain.   Successive exposes by both sides on issues such as this only serve to weaken how much be can take scientific conclusions as reliable these days.   You know the quote I often put in about this:

We believe a scientist because he can substantiate his remarks, not because he is eloquent and forcible in his enunciation.  In fact, we distrust him when he seems to be influencing us by his manner.  [IA Richards: Science and Poetry, 1926]

Well, it seems it’s not just a persuasive manner at issue here but sheer dishonesty.

As in politics.

6 Responses to “You can’t trust science these days”

  1. Don QuiScottie October 21, 2012 at 18:07 Permalink

    You say… “it establishes that we can’t trust either science or scientists anymore”

    Be careful. I suggest that you can and always will be able to trust The Scientific Method, which is what I understand by the word “Science”. But you should never uncritically trust those frail and sometimes fraudulent humans who try (or in some cases just pretend) to apply the scientific method, which is probably what you mean by “scientists”. And if by “science” you mean what scientist do, then ok, but there is often a big difference between what many scientist do and what real “science” actually is.

  2. ivan October 21, 2012 at 18:12 Permalink

    James, all the crops we eat are technically GM, it is what farmers have been doing since farming began.

    The big problem is the copyrighting of some varieties, not the improvements in the stock. After all, given time and money any farmer would like to improve the yield of what he grows.

  3. Robin Hood October 22, 2012 at 02:48 Permalink

    James your worry about science is misplaced. The Seralini study was motivated by a review he did of the feeding study done by Monsanto. He found that there were signs of toxicity after 90 days but there was no follow up with a longer trial before approval by EU institutions was given. Therefore it is a very scientific reason to use the same rat strain that Monsanto used in a 2 year study I would submit.
    This specially bred rat strain produces tumors naturally but there were many more tumors in the rats fed on GM and Roundup than the controls that is the point.
    If you look behind the scenes the critics in the main have benefited in various ways from an association with Monsanto or other biotech companies but that has not stopped the rushed criticism from gaining press coverage by exploiting general ignorance of the experimental conditions.

    Ivan please take the time to find out how GMOs are produced. Certainly we all benefit from plant breeding programs but only GM inserts foreign DNA components randomly into the plant. In unbiased field trials natural breeding, which is after all scientific in principle, outperforms GM strains for the simple reason that it takes energy to produce the toxins. One day people will understand that GM is no more “scientific” than the alchemists were. It is just a standard industry ploy to claim GM is science and anyone opposed is anti-science.
    For more information please just take GMwatch daily newsletter for a month then you will understand how big a fight we have on our hands across the world.

  4. Robin Hood October 22, 2012 at 03:29 Permalink

    One more thing there is a lot of misdirection going on here. The study is actually about toxicity. It just happens tumors on rats is much more photogenic than diseased livers or kidneys.

    The French Academy hastily got a bunch of scientists together and they duly condemned the study however the one person they should have asked Paul Deheuvels, the only statistician, was not asked and he is mad about it and he can find nothing obviously wrong with the statistical methods used.

    He cannot say of course if the study is correct or not because he has not seen the data. A fuss is being made about this but as Professor Seralini points out, Monsanto have never released the data for their studies claiming commercial confidentiality.
    When they do he will he says.

  5. James Higham October 22, 2012 at 07:26 Permalink

    I take on board all of this – of course the method is fine, just as the theory of Christianity is fine. The issue is the practice.

    The other aspects in comments were interesting too.

  6. Robin Hood October 24, 2012 at 10:16 Permalink

    Organ damage from GM is not new but the French have not shut down Professor Serelani as well or as quickly as the UK shut down inconvenient results from scientific research in Scotland.

    “Arpad Pusztai, who is considered to be one of the world’s most respected and well-learned biochemists, had for three years led a team of researchers from Scotland’s prestigious Rowett Research Institute (RRI) in studying the health effects of a novel GM potato with built-in Bt toxin. Much to the surprise of many, the team discovered that, contrary to industry rhetoric, Bt potato was responsible for causing severe health damage in test rats, a fact that was quickly relayed to the media out of concern for public health.”
    Read what happened to Arpad and his team at

    Now research in Egypt is backing up these findings – GMOs cause severe, long-term health damage.

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