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Judi Lynn

(160,981 posts)
Tue Jul 5, 2016, 04:56 AM Jul 2016

Ghostbusters, GMOs and the Feigned Expertise of Nobel Laureates [View all]

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.”

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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
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