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Judi Lynn

(161,314 posts)
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 04:56 AM Jul 2016

Ghostbusters, GMOs and the Feigned Expertise of Nobel Laureates

July 5, 2016
Ghostbusters, GMOs and the Feigned Expertise of Nobel Laureates

by Devon G. Peña

Last week a controversy erupted just as the Roberts-Stabinow Digital Divide GMO labeling law was being discussed in the Senate. It involves a letter signed by 100+ Nobel laureates attacking Greenpeace for being “anti-scientific” in its stance against the proliferation and continued use of genetically engineered organisms.

The letter is a defense of “Golden Rice”, a GMO said to address vitamin deficiencies associated with blindness in the Global South and perhaps one of the worst of the frequent scientific frauds perpetrated by biotechnology interests. The Nobel Prize recipients fell for a zombie rice story that refuses to die and persists as a central legitimizing narrative in the pseudo-humanitarian rhetoric that regularly spews from the pro-GMO propaganda machine. I have written about this in the past to show how Monsanto and the other Gene Giants are spending hundreds of millions on a deceptive campaign to misinform the public about the fake scientific consensus they spin based on inadequately designed industry-led studies of risk, toxicology, and food safety (see the post of May 2, 2014).

It should be further noted that scientists and activists in the food and seed sovereignty movements, including Vandana Shiva, have shown two things about this so-called miracle rice crop: (1) Advances in eliminating blindness among children in the Global South, where they have been possible, worked by addressing access to healthy and culturally appropriate foods and diets; getting rid of hunger and poverty greatly reduces the prevalence of nutritionally triggered blindness, and many other maladies for that matter. (2) The scientific claims about Golden Rice are fabricated exaggerations. Researchers with Vandana Shiva’s Seed Freedom project explain the gist of the problem:


Since the daily average requirement of vitamin A is 750 micrograms of vitamin A and 1 serving contains 30g of rice according to dry weight basis, ‘Vitamin A rice’ would only provide 9.9 micrograms which is 1.32% of the required allowance. Even taking the 100g figure of daily consumption of rice used in the technology transfer paper would only provide 4.4% of the RDA. In order to meet the full needs of 750 micrograms of vitamin A from rice, an adult would have to consume 2 kg (272g) of rice per day. This implies that one family member would consume the entire family ration of 10kg. (See the research on this question at Seed Freedom, here).

Moreover, it has been noted by numerous scientific experts and other observers that none of the signers of the letter have any substantive research experience in the fields of environmental risk science, toxicology, or food safety. The group of Nobel Laureates includes: 1 peace prize, 8 economists, 24 physicists, 33 chemists, 41 doctors. One critic of the letter, Claire Robinson of GM Watch, adds the observation, quoting Phillip Stark, Associate Dean, Division of Mathematical snd Physical Sciences and Professor of Statistics at University of California-Berkeley, that science is “about evidence not authority. What do they know of agriculture? Have they done relevant research? Science is supposed to be ‘show me’ not ‘trust me’…Nobel Prize or not.”

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/05/ghostbusters-gmos-and-the-feigned-expertise-of-nobel-laureates/
30 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Ghostbusters, GMOs and the Feigned Expertise of Nobel Laureates (Original Post) Judi Lynn Jul 2016 OP
Oh, how the Left loves science ... MicaelS Jul 2016 #1
Trump is "the left"? bemildred Jul 2016 #2
The article in the OP was published by a left leaning website. progressoid Jul 2016 #4
It's not a right-left issue, why muddy the water with an attack on "the left". bemildred Jul 2016 #5
I can't speak for MicaelS progressoid Jul 2016 #6
We do not push this idea. bemildred Jul 2016 #7
Thankfully, we collectively don't. progressoid Jul 2016 #8
We don't shut people up here unless they get disruptive. bemildred Jul 2016 #9
Okey Dokey. progressoid Jul 2016 #14
Please do. nt bemildred Jul 2016 #15
Philosophy of Physics kristopher Jul 2016 #10
+1. nt bemildred Jul 2016 #11
Guilty as charged. Wait, what's this... progressoid Jul 2016 #12
Another sad example of your non-ability to engage with reason. kristopher Jul 2016 #13
I agree. I engaged in character assassination. progressoid Jul 2016 #16
You are incapable of rational discussion kristopher Jul 2016 #17
Perhaps you should take this up with the authors of the Wiki entries and Vandana Shiva herself. progressoid Jul 2016 #19
No, the problem lies with your falsehoods and misrepresentations, kristopher Jul 2016 #20
Well that's ironic. progressoid Jul 2016 #21
Poor progressoid... kristopher Jul 2016 #22
Uh oh. Resorting to ad hominem attacks? progressoid Jul 2016 #23
That is clearly the domain you prefer... kristopher Jul 2016 #24
So are you going to post your curriculum vitae? progressoid Jul 2016 #25
Hidden variable theory bemildred Jul 2016 #18
The OP is by a long-time anti-GMO propagandist. It's ludicrous. HuckleB Jul 2016 #29
Vandana Shiva. Crackpot, opportunist, fraud and luddite. progressoid Jul 2016 #3
Corporate GMO & Chem Trolls are destroying the credibility of science Scientific Jul 2016 #26
IS anti-GMO the new anti-vax? HassleCat Jul 2016 #27
Yeah. progressoid Jul 2016 #28
Exactly. HuckleB Jul 2016 #30

MicaelS

(8,747 posts)
1. Oh, how the Left loves science ...
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 09:22 AM
Jul 2016

And scientists, except when the scientists gore a sacred cow of the Left. After all what do doctors know?

progressoid

(50,163 posts)
4. The article in the OP was published by a left leaning website.
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 09:55 AM
Jul 2016

Re-posted here on a left leaning website. And will receive rec's from left leaning members of this site, independent of Donald Trump's lunacy.

bemildred

(90,061 posts)
5. It's not a right-left issue, why muddy the water with an attack on "the left".
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 09:57 AM
Jul 2016

Do you hope to persuade someone here with insults?

progressoid

(50,163 posts)
6. I can't speak for MicaelS
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 11:00 AM
Jul 2016

Agreed, it is not a left-right issue. However, as I stated before, this is a left leaning website pushing this idea so they receive the criticism. When repeated attempts to discuss this in a reasonable manner don't work, sometimes you just get frustrated and vent. Ironically, if it were Donald or Sarah Palin pushing it, DUers would be mocking them with unfettered glee.

Also, people on the left can be wrong. (whaaaat?) Yes, it's true. I don't take advice from Gwyneth Paltrow that a coffee enema is going to cleanse my toxins. Nor will I take advice from Vandana Shiva whose greatest achievement is getting people to pay her ridiculous amounts of money to speak about a subject she's no more qualified to speak about than Gwyneth Paltrow.

bemildred

(90,061 posts)
9. We don't shut people up here unless they get disruptive.
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 11:52 AM
Jul 2016

I think that's a good progressive policy. Let everybody talk.

kristopher

(29,798 posts)
10. Philosophy of Physics
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 12:15 PM
Jul 2016

You're engaged far more in deception and character assassination than you are "science".

"Shiva studied physics at Panjab University in Chandigarh, graduating as a bachelor of science in 1972 and
a master of science in 1974.[8]

After that she worked, briefly, at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre before moving to Canada to pursue an M.A. in the philosophy of science at the University of Guelph (Ontario) in 1977, with a thesis entitled "Changes in the concept of periodicity of light".[8][9]

In 1978, she completed and received her PhD in philosophy at the University of Western Ontario,[10] focusing on philosophy of physics. Her dissertation was titled "Hidden variables and locality in quantum theory," in which she discussed the mathematical and philosophical implications of hidden variable theories that fall outside of the purview of Bell's theorem.[11]

She later went on to interdisciplinary research in science, technology, and environmental policy at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore.[7]"


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandana_Shiva


The philosophy of science



There is an overlap between philosophy and science

In this website, we use a practical checklist to get a basic picture of what science is and a flexible flowchart to depict how science works. For most everyday purposes, this gives us a fairly complete picture of what science is and is not. However, there is an entire field of rigorous academic study that deals specifically with what science is, how it works, and the logic through which we build scientific knowledge. This branch of philosophy is handily called the philosophy of science. Many of the ideas that we present in this website are a rough synthesis of some new and some old ideas from the philosophy of science.

Despite its straightforward name, the field is complex and remains an area of current inquiry. Philosophers of science actively study such questions as:

What is a law of nature? Are there any in non-physical sciences like biology and psychology?

What kind of data can be used to distinguish between real causes and accidental regularities?

How much evidence and what kinds of evidence do we need before we accept hypotheses?

Why do scientists continue to rely on models and theories which they know are at least partially inaccurate (like Newton's physics)?


Though they might seem elementary, these questions are actually quite difficult to answer satisfactorily. Opinions on such issues vary widely within the field (and occasionally part ways with the views of scientists themselves — who mainly spend their time doing science, not analyzing it abstractly). Despite this diversity of opinion, philosophers of science can largely agree on one thing: there is no single, simple way to define science!

Science vs. 'non-science'
Though the field is highly specialized, a few touchstone ideas have made their way into the mainstream. Here's a quick explanation of just a few concepts associated with the philosophy of science, which you might (or might not) have encountered.

Epistemology — branch of philosophy that deals with what knowledge is, how we come to accept some things as true, and how we justify that acceptance.

Empiricism — set of philosophical approaches to building knowledge that emphasizes the importance of observable evidence from the natural world.

Induction — method of reasoning in which a generalization is argued to be true based on individual examples that seem to fit with that generalization. For example, after observing that trees, bacteria, sea anemones, fruit flies, and humans have cells, one might inductively infer that all organisms have cells.

Deduction — method of reasoning in which a conclusion is logically reached from premises. For example, if we know the current relative positions of the moon, sun, and Earth, as well as exactly how these move with respect to one another, we can deduce the date and location of the next solar eclipse.

Parsimony/Occam's razor — idea that, all other things being equal, we should prefer a simpler explanation over a more complex one.

Demarcation problem — the problem of reliably distinguishing science from non-science. Modern philosophers of science largely agree that there is no single, simple criterion that can be used to demarcate the boundaries of science.

Falsification — the view, associated with philosopher Karl Popper, that evidence can only be used to rule out ideas, not to support them. Popper proposed that scientific ideas can only be tested through falsification, never through a search for supporting evidence.


Paradigm shifts and scientific revolutions — a view of science, associated with philosopher Thomas Kuhn, which suggests that the history of science can be divided up into times of normal science (when scientists add to, elaborate on, and work with a central, accepted scientific theory) and briefer periods of revolutionary science. Kuhn asserted that during times of revolutionary science, anomalies refuting the accepted theory have built up to such a point that the old theory is broken down and a new one is built to take its place in a so-called "paradigm shift."
http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/philosophy

progressoid

(50,163 posts)
12. Guilty as charged. Wait, what's this...
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 12:25 PM
Jul 2016
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandana_Shiva

The neutrality of this article is disputed. (November 2014)
This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. (March 2015)
This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards.


Dang.

progressoid

(50,163 posts)
16. I agree. I engaged in character assassination.
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 12:53 PM
Jul 2016

I'm getting kind of tired of the idea that she deserves respect just because she says so. Ms. Shiva is deliberately vague and even deceptive about her own education.

How's this for engaging in reason:

According to the University of Western Ontario, where she received her PhD, her doctorate is not in the discipline of physics, as she claims, but in philosophy. It focused on the highly technical and often politicized debate over a central notion in physics known as Bells’ Theorem, which has been called the “most profound” theory in science.

Perhaps foreshadowing her current contentious views about modern agriculture, Shiva concluded that quantum mechanics in physics was philosophically invalid and factually doubtful. The main thesis of quantum mechanics that she challenged has since been confirmed by experimental physics, meaning that her thesis stands at odds with factual reality. Independent of the quality of her philosophical research, it is a substantive leap to go from earning a PhD in the Philosophy of Science to self-identifying as a “scientist,” “nuclear physicist” or “quantum physicist”—the various ways she refers to herself.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2014/01/29/vandana-shiva-anti-gmo-celebrity-eco-goddess-or-dangerous-fabulist/#513efb991dcf





kristopher

(29,798 posts)
17. You are incapable of rational discussion
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 01:00 PM
Jul 2016

Let's compare and contrast:
Wiki bio

"Shiva studied physics at Panjab University in Chandigarh, graduating as a bachelor of science in 1972 and
a master of science in 1974.

After that she worked, briefly, at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre before moving to Canada to pursue an M.A. in the philosophy of science at the University of Guelph (Ontario) in 1977, with a thesis entitled "Changes in the concept of periodicity of light".

In 1978, she completed and received her PhD in philosophy at the University of Western Ontario, focusing on philosophy of physics. Her dissertation was titled "Hidden variables and locality in quantum theory," in which she discussed the mathematical and philosophical implications of hidden variable theories that fall outside of the purview of Bell's theorem.

She later went on to interdisciplinary research in science, technology, and environmental policy at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore."


Pro corporate smear piece in Forbes:
According to the University of Western Ontario, where she received her PhD, her doctorate is not in the discipline of physics, as she claims, but in philosophy. It focused on the highly technical and often politicized debate over a central notion in physics known as Bells’ Theorem, which has been called the “most profound” theory in science.

Perhaps foreshadowing her current contentious views about modern agriculture, Shiva concluded that quantum mechanics in physics was philosophically invalid and factually doubtful. The main thesis of quantum mechanics that she challenged has since been confirmed by experimental physics, meaning that her thesis stands at odds with factual reality. Independent of the quality of her philosophical research, it is a substantive leap to go from earning a PhD in the Philosophy of Science to self-identifying as a “scientist,” “nuclear physicist” or “quantum physicist”—the various ways she refers to herself.


kristopher

(29,798 posts)
20. No, the problem lies with your falsehoods and misrepresentations,
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 01:27 PM
Jul 2016

...along with your arguments by innuendo and your focus on character assassination versus meaningful criticisms of content.

Your actions carry you as far from the positive ethos of science as it is possible to be.

progressoid

(50,163 posts)
21. Well that's ironic.
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 02:05 PM
Jul 2016

Seems pretty obvious that she's engaging in falsehoods and misrepresentations. She wants people to think she's a physicist. But the facts (as shown by both your links and mine) show that she's a philosopher.



I wonder if she's still getting $40,000.00 a pop to speak out for those poor farmers?




kristopher

(29,798 posts)
22. Poor progressoid...
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 02:14 PM
Jul 2016

All you are capable of is trying to smear someone. What is your degree in, marketing?

progressoid

(50,163 posts)
23. Uh oh. Resorting to ad hominem attacks?
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 02:37 PM
Jul 2016

C'mon, stay on topic. We're talking about Shiva remember?

But since you seem to want to make this all about me. I actually started in the sciences (physics) but switched to fine art. My father and one of my brothers were high school science teachers though (physics, chemistry, geology). Oooh, and my Dad also has a degree in vocational agriculture. And his father was a farmer!
So, with those familial associations to sciencey and farmy related things, I think I should qualify for at least a 20K speaking fee.

But I'll fly coach. I'm OK with that.

kristopher

(29,798 posts)
24. That is clearly the domain you prefer...
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 03:01 PM
Jul 2016

And, as I thought, you are by neither training nor experience, versed ethics, science or public policy analysis.

progressoid

(50,163 posts)
25. So are you going to post your curriculum vitae?
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 03:50 PM
Jul 2016

Full disclosure. Over the holiday weekend. I also had lunch with a couple farmers that I went to high school with in Iowa. One grows both GMO and non-GMO. The other didn't say ( or maybe he's on Monsanto's evil payroll so he can't say ).

For the record they both hate seed companies. But they also hate the implement companies. And they hate that land costs 12K an acre. And that the spring was too wet. And the price of corn is too low. And insurance is too high. Etc.

Hope that helps.






bemildred

(90,061 posts)
18. Hidden variable theory
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 01:12 PM
Jul 2016

Historically, in physics, hidden variable theories were espoused by some physicists who argued that the state of a physical system, as formulated by quantum mechanics, does not give a complete description for the system; i.e., that quantum mechanics is ultimately incomplete, and that a complete theory would provide descriptive categories to account for all observable behavior and thus avoid any indeterminism. The existence of indeterminacy for some measurements is a characteristic of prevalent interpretations of quantum mechanics; moreover, bounds for indeterminacy can be expressed in a quantitative form by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

Albert Einstein, the most famous proponent of hidden variables, objected to the fundamentally probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics,[1] and famously declared "I am convinced God does not play dice".[2] Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen argued that "elements of reality" (hidden variables) must be added to quantum mechanics to explain entanglement without action at a distance.[3][4] Later, Bell's theorem would suggest that local hidden variables of certain types are impossible, or that they evolve non-locally. A famous non-local theory is De Broglie–Bohm theory.

---

Recent developments

In August 2011, Roger Colbeck and Renato Renner published a proof that any extension of quantum mechanical theory, whether using hidden variables or otherwise, cannot provide a more accurate prediction of outcomes, assuming that observers can freely choose the measurement settings.[26] Colbeck and Renner write: "In the present work, we have ... excluded the possibility that any extension of quantum theory (not necessarily in the form of local hidden variables) can help predict the outcomes of any measurement on any quantum state. In this sense, we show the following: under the assumption that measurement settings can be chosen freely, quantum theory really is complete".

In January 2013, GianCarlo Ghirardi and Raffaele Romano described a model which, "under a different free choice assumption [...] violates [the statement by Colbeck and Renner] for almost all states of a bipartite two-level system, in a possibly experimentally testable way".[27]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidden_variable_theory

HuckleB

(35,773 posts)
29. The OP is by a long-time anti-GMO propagandist. It's ludicrous.
Wed Jul 6, 2016, 12:11 AM
Jul 2016

Last edited Wed Jul 6, 2016, 11:44 AM - Edit history (2)

None of them seem to realize that they are working to harm the planet.
http://www.foodinsight.org/purdue-study-economics-no-gmo-biotech

Why do some work so hard to believe in fictions that are harming the planet?

progressoid

(50,163 posts)
3. Vandana Shiva. Crackpot, opportunist, fraud and luddite.
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 09:45 AM
Jul 2016
In 1999, ten thousand people were killed and millions were left homeless when a cyclone hit India’s eastern coastal state of Orissa. When the U.S. government dispatched grain and soy to help feed the desperate victims, Shiva held a news conference in New Delhi and said that the donation was proof that “the United States has been using the Orissa victims as guinea pigs” for genetically engineered products....

..... “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that in two years the figure of autism has jumped from one in eighty-eight to one in sixty-eight,” she said, referring to an article in USA Today. “Then they go on to say obviously this is a trend showing that something’s wrong, and that whether something in the environment could be causing the uptick remains the million-dollar question.

“That question’s been answered,” Shiva continued. She mentioned glyphosate, the Monsanto herbicide that is commonly used with modified crops. “If you look at the graph of the growth of G.M.O.s, the growth of application of glyphosate and autism, it’s literally a one-to-one correspondence. And you could make that graph for kidney failure, you could make that graph for diabetes, you could make that graph even for Alzheimer’s.”

Hundreds of millions of people, in twenty-eight countries, eat transgenic products every day, and if any of Shiva’s assertions were true the implications would be catastrophic. But no relationship between glyphosate and the diseases that Shiva mentioned has been discovered. Her claims were based on a single research paper, released last year, in a journal called Entropy, which charges scientists to publish their findings. The paper contains no new research. Shiva had committed a common, but dangerous, fallacy: confusing a correlation with causation. (It turns out, for example, that the growth in sales of organic produce in the past decade matches the rise of autism, almost exactly. For that matter, so does the rise in sales of high-definition televisions, as well as the number of Americans who commute to work every day by bicycle.)

Shiva refers to her scientific credentials in almost every appearance, yet she often dispenses with the conventions of scientific inquiry. She is usually described in interviews and on television as a nuclear physicist, a quantum physicist, or a world-renowned physicist. Most of her book jackets include the following biographical note: “Before becoming an activist, Vandana Shiva was one of India’s leading physicists.” When I asked if she had ever worked as a physicist, she suggested that I search for the answer on Google. I found nothing, and she doesn’t list any such position in her biography.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/08/25/seeds-of-doubt

Scientific

(314 posts)
26. Corporate GMO & Chem Trolls are destroying the credibility of science
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 03:56 PM
Jul 2016

Fascinating article - showing how the reputation of science as something you could trust is being destroyed by the GMO & chemical corporations and their perversions of the truth.

It is criminal what GMO & chemical corps have done to the disciplines of science, and to public trust.

 

HassleCat

(6,409 posts)
27. IS anti-GMO the new anti-vax?
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 04:03 PM
Jul 2016

The initial rhetoric and "scientific studies" certainly seem to suggest it is? It's interesting this article attacks 33 chemists and 41 doctors as not being qualified to comment on the issue.

progressoid

(50,163 posts)
28. Yeah.
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 04:21 PM
Jul 2016

IMHO, there is a knee-jerk reaction against them because of peoples' fears (not entirely unfounded) of corporate malfeasance.

And maybe too much X-Files.

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