A scientist speaks out

Dr. Barney Gordon, soil scientist at Kansas State, isn’t willing to let his work be misrepresented by the media. In a letter to Seed Today, he explained exactly what his work is and isn’t.
As I described in my post Exposed, Indeed about the original article Exposed: The Great GM Crops Myth, I’m so fed up with the media twisting science. I’m very glad that Dr. Gordon took the time to set the record straight, although I wish more blogs and news sites had picked it up.
Thanks to GMO Pundit for posting this in Man Bites Dog.

Anastasia Bodnar

Written by Anastasia Bodnar

Anastasia Bodnar serves as the Policy Director of Biology Fortified, Inc. She is a science communicator and multidisciplinary risk analyst with a career in federal service. She has a PhD in plant genetics and sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University.

4 comments

  1. I can understand and empathise with your and Dr Gordon’s exasperation at the media’s misrepresentation. Perhaps if you started w/the propaganda and misleading tactics used by the AgBiotech industry and we all tried police our side of the compound we’d be better off, eh?

  2. Every group is going to put some amount of positive spin on the materials they release. The Egg Board wants to emphasize the health benefits of their product while they deemphasize cholesterol. Of course organic farmers and organic groups are happy to claim that their product is the best while conventional farmers, groups, and companies do the same.

    I have seen exaggerations by proponents of conventional farming, such as the idea that organic can’t yield as much as conventional. We all know that simply isn’t true. The studies have shown that environment is a huge factor, and making these comparisons is extremely difficult anyway, due to the huge diversity of both organic and conventional methods. Sometimes organic is more appropriate and sometimes it is not.

    We should look at farming through the lens of Integrated Pest Management – try everything else before using chemicals. Of course, the producers of the chemicals won’t say that. However, at least they use up to date research when they make their claims.

    The problem is that I’ve seen a lot of falsehoods spread by anti-GE groups. They refer to studies that have long since been discredited and ignore research that goes against their agenda. Just look around on the web and count the citations by various groups. The same refuted studies are used again and again.

    I agree with Karl about mythology taking hold of public opinion. Just look at the story of Percy Schmeizer, the golden example of a ‘small’ farmer triumphant against big bad ag. No one bothers to mention the ruling made by the judge in favor of Monsanto. They hear what they want to hear, or what the propagandists tell them. For a well balanced discussion of the suit, please see ISU bioethicist Clark Wolfe’s thoughts.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that no organization is 100% innocent, providing 100% unbiased fact to consumers. However, some organizations are more guilty than others, in my opinion.

  3. Oh come on, that’s the silliest excuse I’ve heard. What propaganda are you talking about?

    This situation is a classic example of how a mythology has taken root in public opinion. It doesn’t require any ill consequences to be reported, merely something that can be falsely tweaked to support a conclusion that must be true. It exists independent of the evidence.

    This isn’t a “well they wronged us so we’ll wrong them situation.”

  4. I always thought that the Percy Schmeiser case was interesting. Particularly because after Schmeiser couldn’t convince the court that it was an accidental growth of RR canola and that he didn’t want it, he then tried to claim that Monsanto didn’t have the right to patent a living organism and take it away from him, meaning that he didn’t want to give it up. He also claimed he was a breeder, but he had no equipment for breeding canola – it requires special tools to do that and he had no such breeding program going.

    I agree about the issue of spin. Biotech companies, like all corporations, are trying to sell a product, and they want it to sound as good as possible to the buyer, or the public. But as for propaganda and misleading tactics, a good example should be given by nosmokes to support their claim. This isn’t the first thread…

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