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« Important paper alert | Main | Salby reminder »
Tuesday
Mar102015

Dazed and confused in the AAAS 

Three former presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science have written a piece in the Guardian decrying attempts by greens to obtain email correspondence of state-funded scientists using freedom of information requests. In it, they make this inapt comparison:

[The greens'] attack is reminiscent of ‘Climategate’, where the release of private emails did immense, unwarranted damage to the reputations of climate scientists. Now the vocal anti-GM lobby appears to be taking a page out of the Climategate playbook.

This is not even close to being true of course. For a start Climategate came about as the result of a leak or perhaps a hack rather than an FOI request, so to talk of "taking pages" is a bit silly. And the idea that the damage to the CRU guys' reputations was unwarranted is similarly foolish. The Russell inquiry into Climategate found that the hide the decline data excision was "misleading", noting in passing that the IPCC had done the same thing. Are these three pillars of the scientific establishment really saying that it is OK to mislead policymakers? I cannot believe it is so. But perhaps one could not criticise their confusion, since the Russell panel also said that they had found nothing that affected their subjects' reputations as scientists. Given Russell's findings about hiding the decline one assumes that he doesn't think misleading policymakers is something blameworthy in a scientist.

The authors say loftily that

"we also know how important it is for scientists to be able to speak freely in conducting their work, both publicly and privately."

...but then I wonder what they were doing when the CRU crew were trying to nobble Climate Research, or when the Remote Sensing affair broke, where they were when Lennart Bengtsson was being hung out to dry, or where they were a couple of weeks ago when the witchhunt of Willie Soon began? Is it not important that these people be free to speak freely too?

My guess is that the authors would like nothing better than for Soon or Bengtsson to be silenced: the AAAS has always been at the forefront of efforts to turn the climate debate into a climate war. This article is, I fancy, mere posturing - protecting their friends - rather than a principled stand for academic freedom.

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Reader Comments (41)

Yep...like the numbskull's who have run UK. Just want the people as cannon fodder and treat with contempt in between conflict, or just very often!

Mar 10, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

"Light blue touch paper, and retire" used to be the standard instruction on fireworks.

Unfortunately for Grijalva, many of his supporters are not at retirement age.

They should have predicted the consequences of their actions earlier. Maybe they did, but their predictions were wrong, and so were their consequences.

That's Climate Science for you.

Mar 10, 2015 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Perhaps it's about time they remembered the simple fact that science is judge by whether the theory works.

And no amount of raking over people's emails will change the fact that their theory has failed.

Mar 10, 2015 at 2:52 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Jonathan Jones, has also said that the "blameless" scientists at the CRU tried to get him fired when he asked see their data. I believe that might have been post-climategate.

Mar 10, 2015 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

MikeHaselar: I don't believe that Grijalva, or any of his cronies are interested in getting at the truth, they're trying to silence those that don't agree with them. Like Michael Mann they'll put them through the process without a denouement, "pour encourage les actress."

Little bit of franglais explains it I believe.

Mar 10, 2015 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

I have always been fairly relaxed about the science of GM food.

A Grauniad article saying there is a consensus of scientific support for GM food, has got me worried though.

Did the Grauniad check this article with Greenpeace? The first few comments indicate some dissent. The Grauniad censors are suffering from Dictation errors.

Mar 10, 2015 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Can anyone explain how having one's emails revealed damages one's reputation?

If your private thoughts show integrity and your actions are honest then where's the problem?

Mar 10, 2015 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

You too can be a proud member of the AAAS, no doctoral thesis required, nope, just bring your checkbook,

https://pubs.aaas.org/org_membership/new_member_setup.asp

Mar 10, 2015 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

Well, personally, I've always found that hydrochloric acid does a good job of breaking down the long-chain deoxyribonucleic acid in my food. So there's that.

Mar 10, 2015 at 5:49 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

MCourtney

Maybe voicing concerns about your science, possible weaknesses in the theories or conventional wisdom, consensus thinking even, should be promoted and praised, as being indicative of good scientific practise.

Active involvement in conspiring against your opponents, who may have conflicting and better ideas, might be considered aggressive salesmanship if you are selling soap powder. Climate science however, does not come out whiter than white. And it doesn't smell of roses either.

Climate science eagerly anticipated the dirt that would be rinsed out of sceptics dirty washing. And found nothing significant. You would have thought that climate science would happily demonstrate the cleanliness of its washing. What a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate whiter than whiteness.

Oh well, that's climate science for you.

They might even find some sneak previews of Pachauri's next yarn about ripping the body out of climate science.

Mar 10, 2015 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie


...The facts are clear: the scientific consensus on the safety of foods derived from GM plants is equivalent to that on global climate change driven by human activities....

Whatever this is, it is NOT Science. The job of a scientist is to do the research and provide the data. It is then an issue of politics to decide whether the risks of GM food outweigh the benefits.


And, of course, Science can, and does, change its mind about things as new data comes in and discoveries are made which were not known before. Presenting this situation as a 'done deal' is a huge disservice to science, and a source of huge bias. Supposing a junior researcher makes a new finding which suggests that GM foods can be much more risky than was previously thought? How is he going to present it if the three past presidents of his professional association have all said that this finding cannot be true?

This statement is not scientifically based, but ideological. How can anyone believe anything the AAAS says from now on? Any independent research must be hopelessly biased by this statement.

Mar 10, 2015 at 6:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterdodgy geezer

Mojo, will hydrochloric acid breakdown the lysergic acid diethylamide that some members of the Green Blob seem to consume before writing?

Mar 10, 2015 at 6:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Bish:

What am I missing here? You say that 'three former presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science have written a piece in the Guardian decrying attempts by greens to obtain e-mail correspondence of state funded scientists using freedom of information requests'.

You can't really mean 'greens', can you? 'Anti-greens', possibly. 'Deniers' even. But 'greens' – in the sense of environmentalists, eco-loons, warmists, even Ed Davey and his pals, or any other term you care to use for those supporting the notion of AGW – are hardly likely to be attacking their own side. Have I got this back to front?

Mar 10, 2015 at 6:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

@geronimo,

The lovely people at CRU did indeed conspire to try and get me fired: we know about this because some of their discussions are in the climategate emails.

Whether they actually tried to implement their hapless plans is not known; certainly I never felt any effects from their conspiracy, but whether that's because they didn't try or because Oxford gave them the brush off is unclear. I've never asked locally (that would be rude) and attempts to ask CRU people have resulted in a stony silence.

Mar 10, 2015 at 7:34 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

You fancy correctly. The "greens" need to worry about their friends. They have reason. Their influence is wanning and they might just be left out as soon as the next US presidential election.

Mar 10, 2015 at 8:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

... the Russell panel also said that they had found nothing that affected their subjects' reputations as scientists.

Quite so. Climategate merely reinforced their reputations.

Mar 10, 2015 at 8:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

Agouts:

These "Greens" are not AGWers attacking their own side; they are anti-GMO activists trying to (pick your verb) [harass / intimidate / gather information on / learn the inside story about] workers in the genetic modification sphere.

Mar 10, 2015 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterdcardno

A house built on sand....

Mar 10, 2015 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

BBC Horizon Tonight featured a bunch of cosmologists/astrophysicists looking for gravity waves. Largely unmoderated and left to the researchers to tell their own tale. After over a decade of arduous research thought they had succeeded but another research group came up with some better data which showed it was most unlikely . Both parties then pooled all their data and studied it together before concluding that 75% of original data was spurious and there could be anything between 0 and 100% chance that the rest was too!

Real science -if the data did not support the hypothesis it was The hypothesis that was dropped- nothing like this " climate science" rubbish. Worth watching!

Mar 10, 2015 at 11:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterGlebekinvara

But perhaps one could not criticise their confusion, since the Russell panel also said that they had found nothing that affected their subjects' reputations as scientists. Given Russell's findings about hiding the decline one assumes that he doesn't think misleading policymakers is something blameworthy in a scientist.

Yeah, by then everyone was pretty much jaded. There was no shock or surprise but irritation for some, that it was in print and available for all to see. The team of conspirators did not have their reputations altered.

Mar 11, 2015 at 3:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul in Sweden

Number 38 of Schopenhauer’s ways to win an argument: throw suspicion on your opponent’s position by putting it in odious company.
And that’s the Guardian’s little game here I think.
The article tries to link anti-GM activists with so-called ‘climate deniers’: “The facts are clear: the scientific consensus on the safety of foods derived from GM plants is equivalent to that on global climate change driven by human activities …”.
On the contrary, human-caused climate change like human-caused plant change (which has been going on for thousands of years) is not only harmless but, on balance, beneficial.
It’s the climate worriers who are the equivalent of the anti-GM crowd.
The sentence: “[the] assertion that we can feed the world organically and without modern technology is nothing short of delusional …” could be applied equally to supplying the world with abundant, reliable and affordable base load energy from windmills and solar panels.

Mar 11, 2015 at 7:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterChristopher Hanley

It seems that there is no such thing as "climate science" at this time. We have gone down some dark and blind alley of superstition and there appears to be no way out of the wrong path at this time.

The true-believers are in positions of power at government funded organizations that should be bastions of scientific integrity but they have sullied these institutions with their anti-science blind faith in cAGW via the magic molecule CO2. It is all very shameful. And the press helps sell alarmism to the general public every hour of the day.

Mar 11, 2015 at 8:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Stoval

'the release of private emails did immense, unwarranted damage to the reputations of climate scientists'

H'mm.


It was not the release of the e-mails that did the damage. It was their contents.

The Climateers own writings were what sunk their reputations.

Mar 11, 2015 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Christopher Hanley on Mar 11, 2015 at 7:09 AM
"It’s the climate worriers who are the equivalent of the anti-GM crowd."

Even though Climate Science has plenty of 'misconducts', it still has plenty of unknowns, and these cannot be equated with unknowns in another research area, apart from the fact that they are unknown.

Just as introducing alien creatures into a habitat, that are common and part of the natural habitat elsewhere, can be detrimental to another, so introducing alien genetic fragments, which is in a completely different league to selective breeding, can be detrimental to an otherwise well functioning system, though that is not guaranteed. :)

stewgreen in Unthreaded on Mar 11, 2015 at 1:22 AM
Trying to clear the alien poosum from New Zealand
http://www.itv.com/news/2015-03-10/eco-terrorists-threaten-to-poison-baby-formula-in-protest-against-pesticide/

What is known is that skimping on food production and distribution, including the human effort involved, produces poor quality food. The question is, what is best, in the long term. The Norfolk four-course crop rotation was a major advance.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Agricultural_Revolution

So is understanding the needs of plants and adapting to their needs.

But fining farmers, whose crops have been 'infected' by GMOs blown from adjacent fields, guilty of theft, with the fines putting them out of business; hybrid seed, that cannot be used as seed for the following year's crop, putting farms at the mercy of global business; unquestioning use of fertilizers and the problems of monoculture farms are existing problems that cannot be ignored if we want better food production and distribution.

Globalised industries, such as electronics, building design and large scale assembly have improved our lives, but we are in a time that shows the 'too big to fail' consensus to be false, with much of the problem being too much power in too few hands, that are disconnected from those affected. We can't just invent new antibiotics to fix infection anymore at the rate we want, we need to be smarter. Many solutions can be implemented world wide, but managed locally, like having crop rotation, with decisions made locally, where it is needed.

It doesn't necessarily mean that the problems listed, or others, will prohibit GMOs, just that they must be addressed, just as the Hockey Stick Graph should have given pause for thought.

Mar 11, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Christopher Hanley said: "On the contrary, human-caused climate change like human-caused plant change (which has been going on for thousands of years) is not only harmless but, on balance, beneficial."

No, GM is a step change from breeding (which uses the existing gene pool) because man specifically incorporates genetic information from other plants and animals where breeding is not possible. One GM may turn out to be beneficial, where another may be harmful. But we may not find out which is which for a generation or more: look at the government advice (from scientists) that we should avoid saturated fats, recently overturned.

The CAGW theory and GM are both likely to be, on balance, harmful because of human (scientific) arrogance.

Mar 11, 2015 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

Hoisted by their own petards.

Mar 11, 2015 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

hunter, I've always liked 'Hoist by their own retard' and commenting so once provoked a hilarious subthread at climateaudit when all those sharp eyed cookies misread it for petard.

Presently, 'Foisted on by retards', is apt. I denounce myself for the use of the "R" word, and regret that I am not more advanced.
================

Mar 11, 2015 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Climate Superstitionists is an apt term for sciency climate activists whose certainty goesv way beyond validated science ..nice analogy @Mark Stoval

Similarly
"Real World or Greenie World ?" ask of new statements

Mar 11, 2015 at 3:35 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Budgie, what is your line on heavier-than-air flying machines? Are those, too, ultimately bound to prove a disaster because of human arrogance?

Mar 11, 2015 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterosseo

Climategate did not do "immense, unwarranted damage to the reputations of climate scientists".

It did immense, totally warranted damage.

Mar 12, 2015 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterTuppence

"Climate Superstitionists is an apt term for sciency climate activists whose certainty goesv way beyond validated science ..nice analogy @Mark Stoval"

I saw a good one at WUWT the other day: "The Clime Syndicate"

Mar 12, 2015 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"a hack rather than an FOI request"

I believe this belief may lie in the idea, floated by some, that the files were being collated by the various parties as a response to an FOI request, but had not yet been "severed", i.e., censored.

Mar 12, 2015 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaligulaJones

"The Clime Syndicate". I like that!

Mar 12, 2015 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

Osseo said: "Budgie, what is your line on heavier-than-air flying machines? Are those, too, ultimately bound to prove a disaster because of human arrogance?"

Wouldn't it have been better to call me a flat-earther like the Warmists do, and have done with it? Not considering risk is foolish: the evidence for CAGW is dwindling so the risk is small, just as it is for flying on "heavier-than-air flying machines" (excepting aircraft pollution both internally and externally).

But we already know that sterile GM crops lock poor third world farmers into a spiral of debt leading to suicide. There are also dangers from monoculture. Allowing large corporations to patent life forms is also dangerous, for example their propensity to bring prosecutions for theft when their seeds drift further than they claim they do (another danger in itself). I clearly said that some GM would be useful, but some others may not be, and we may not know which is which for some considerable time. The point is that contending (all) GM is good (or bad) is simplistic - GM is not one thing, it is many things.

Mar 13, 2015 at 12:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

and why are some GM seeds sterile @Budgie ?
Protester 1 : Those capitalist Biotech corps are evil, GM is dangerous the genes could escape into the wild
Biotech corp : We made them sterile
Protester 2 : Those capitalist Biotech corps are evil, they are depriving the right of farmers to propagate from their own seeds.

Stew : farmers can still use their own non GM seeds if they want to, there is no law against it.

Big Campaign against Clarkson is led by activists ....Anti-fracas campaigners
(Guidos petition is now marked Freedom to Fracas !)

Mar 13, 2015 at 4:49 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Budgie,

Three aren't any sterile GM seeds commercialised anywhere. Stewgreen is correct in saying they were mooted in response to activist pressure, but they have not been introduced. This, of course, does not stop people claiming that they are causing mayhem by spreading their sterility everywhere by seeds somehow drifting around. Please think this through. Extremist eco-loon Vandana Shiva doesn't bother, because big lies work however implausible when the followers are sufficiently gullible. The mass suicides in India as a result of GMOs is another of her fabrications.

Http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/files/2014/01/GMOsuicidemyth.pdf

Companies seeking to get returns on their investments have breeders' rights (effectively copyright) on conventional seeds. Presumably you think this is wrong and they should invest millions to give stuff away?

Mar 13, 2015 at 7:32 AM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

Stewgreen said: "and why are some GM seeds sterile @Budgie?" and
SayNTF said: "[There] aren't any sterile GM seeds commercialised anywhere."

Please make up your minds, gentlemen.

One vital point that I made to clarify what we were talking about was that GM is not "breeding". This mistake is frequently made by the MSM, eg the Telegraph, and many others. By default you appear to accept that. Thank you.

SayNTF said: "Presumably you think this is wrong and they should invest millions to give stuff away?" Why presume? That is straw man stuff. Seed companies selling non-GM "make money" without having a "terminator gene".

DEFRA said: "We’ll only agree to the planting of GM crops, the release of other types of GM organism, or the marketing of GM food or feed products, if a robust risk assessment indicates that it is safe for people and the environment." I agree with this because some GM will be beneficial, but some won't be. As I already said.

Andrew Malone of the Mail actually visited agricultural areas of India to investigate farmer suicides (3 November 2008): "But GM salesmen and government officials had promised farmers that these were 'magic seeds' - with better crops that would be free from parasites and insects. Indeed, in a bid to promote the uptake of GM seeds, traditional varieties were banned from many government seed banks." Etc.

It is reasonable to assume that no-one can guarantee that each particular GM is safe, benign and useful both in the past and in the future, including when eaten, or having gene flowed, or having got into the food chain. Not even yourselves. Me neither, which is what I already said. There is evidence already (as I already said) that some effects are not benign (especially see Monsanto's own report) as shown in some examples below:

From Wiki: "In 2000, Aventis StarLink GM corn was found in US markets and restaurants. It became the subject of a recall that started when Taco Bell-branded taco shells sold in supermarkets were found to contain it.

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Agriculture fined Scotts Miracle-Gro $500,000 when modified DNA from GM creeping bentgrass, was found within relatives of the same genus (Agrostis)[273] as well as in native grasses up to 21 km (13 mi) from the test sites, released when freshly cut, wind-blown grass.[274]

In 2009 Mexico created a regulatory pathway for GM maize,[275] but because Mexico is maize's center of diversity, concerns were raised about GM maize's effects on local strains.[276][277] A 2001 report found Bt maize cross-breeding with conventional maize in Mexico.

A 2010 study showed that about 83 percent of wild or weedy canola tested contained genetically modified herbicide resistance genes.

Benbrook concluded that the spread of glyphosate-resistant [Roundup resistant] weeds had increased herbicide use.

In November 2009, Monsanto scientists found that the pink bollworm had become resistant to first generation Bt cotton in parts of Gujarat, India—that generation expresses one Bt gene, Cry1Ac. This was the first instance of Bt resistance confirmed by Monsanto."

And so on.

Mar 13, 2015 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

The straw man drivel is entirely yours. Seed companies make money through having their copyright protected by law. Nobody is selling GM 'terminator' gene seed and nobody ever has sold GM 'terminator' gene seeds.

The rest of your rant is just that - a rant - what are you trying to tell us? It looks like a slime trail of of feeble innuendo to me - I note that you've dropped from the farmer suicide myth. A little bit of research works wonders, as does not taking rabid propagandists' output as gospel. You've also dropped the other key issues you raised, so I'll remind you.

You were telling us that cotton seeds drift about in the environment - if you've ever seen a cotton seed you'd never have made such an uneducated comment - cotton seeds are large, and 'drift about' in exactly the same way that bricks don't (with apologies to Douglas Adams).

Now, as Stewgreen was telling you, if anti-GM fearmongers don't want GM genes in the environment, the technology is available to prevent that, but as you so vehemently complain above, *that's not fair* - so the alternative approach was adopted, and *that's not fair* either.

But your trails of innuendous slime continues and you complain about a spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds - well this may be news to you, but glyphosate has been marketed as a herbicide for over four decades. During all this time, its use has exerted selection pressure on weed populations everywhere. That's how it is when you're dealing with biology - and whenever populations are challenged they adapt, in this case by developing resistance in the shikimic acid pathway that glyphosate manipulates - so we need ongoing research into new products to ensure we can continue to feed ourselves. This has nothing whatever to do with any GM issue - glyphosate was in use 20 years before the first glyphosate-resistant GMOs were ever marketed. Also highly relevant is that glyphosate has been off-patent for over 20 years, which means that ANYBODY can make it and it can be made very cheaply, and because it's so safe to humans it has been the herbicide of choice for a huge number of applications since its inception. So no self-interest from Monsanto there - they could have used a patented, very expensive herbicide resistance gene, but didn't. But why not damn them anyway - bashing Monsanto has a momentum all of its own, after all. Hippie kryptonite and all that.

Maybe you're implying that GM is in some way *dangerous*? Got some evidence of that? I'd suggest the fact that over 10 trillion meals containing GM food have been consumed to date without a single health issue attributed to it, and a vast proportion of these in the most litigious society in the world.

Go figure, as they frequently say.

Mar 13, 2015 at 7:38 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

SayNTF, I really don't understand why you said: "The straw man drivel is entirely yours." Could you actually point out where I have used a straw man argument against you?

No, non-GM seed companies do not have any copyright on the seeds they sell, as you claim. You can go to your local garden centre and buy normal non-GM tomato seeds, or you can save some seeds from your own last year's crop, without fear of prosecution. The (non-GM) seed companies still manage to make money. Maybe you are thinking of hybrid seeds which lose their "vigour" and so have to be bought afresh from the seed companies every year?

Furthermore, you are clearly criticising without reading what I said. I cited a D Mail article from 2008 and quoted from it about how GM seeds have contributed to the suicides of farmers in India. So no, again, I have not dropped the farmer suicides. Another quote from the article: "He was strangled by these magic seeds. They sell us the seeds, saying they will not need expensive pesticides but they do. We have to buy the same seeds from the same company every year. It is killing us. Please tell the world what is happening here.'"

You said: "You were telling us that cotton seeds drift about in the environment". No, I did not specify cotton. I said: "... large corporations ... bring prosecutions for theft when their seeds drift further than they claim they do (another danger in itself)." Drifting may be by wind, birds, insects, other animals and water (storms and floods), and may be genetic material as well as seeds. Monsanto has brought a number of prosecutions and threatens more.

I have no idea why you have wandered into a long piece about Roundup. As you say yourself: "This has nothing whatever to do with any GM issue". My point was about Roundup resistant weeds which is very much a GM issue.

You stated: "Maybe you're implying that GM is in some way *dangerous*? Got some evidence of that?" Have you got evidence it isn't, in every case? Moreover, I am not "implying" (even by a "slime trail of of feeble innuendo" as you inelegantly put it) anything, I am stating quite clearly, as I have from the beginning, that some GM will prove beneficial, and some will not. It is you who are apparently taking the extreme position that all and every GM is and will be good. That attitude seems to epitomise the tendency to arrogance I ascribed to all us humans: as a species, at any given time, we always tend to think we know it all; and we always think things are simpler than they really are. Interestingly CAGW is an example of this in action.

Mar 14, 2015 at 12:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_breeders'_rights

You wallow in your own ignorance and tell others that they are wrong. And then tell others that 'we always think things are simpler than they are'.

And no, I wasn't thinking of hybrid seeds.

You raised the issue of glyphosate. I didn't - glyphosate RESISTANT weeds can occur as a result of using glyphosate.

Lots more here:

https://www.pioneer.com/home/site/us/agronomy/library/template.CONTENT/guid.8C8F040A-9804-97F3-C650-1EA99776A1B3

Meanwhile, can you tell us what the impact of glyphosate resistant weeds might be to European cereal or oilseed rape agronomy?

Thought not.

And for an example of strawmannery try your last comments about 'all GM being good' - since you can use the technology to make a plant express a *Soil Association Approved* insecticide such as Bacillus thuringiensis then you'd also have a strong likelihood of making a plant express a toxin from other, not-so-nice relatives from the Bacillus genus.

You missed the elephant in the room, didn't you - anti-GMO fascists take the opposite view - i.e All GMO = evil, on the grounds that they say so.

Mar 14, 2015 at 10:36 AM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

SayNTF, No, I did not miss "the elephant in the room", I have already clearly stated: "The point is that contending (all) GM is good (or bad) is simplistic - GM is not one thing, it is many things." In other words each instance of GM must be considered separately on its merits, as government agencies currently do. I believe some GM will prove beneficial, and some will prove harmful, as I have said all along.

It is you who are contending that GM is universally good, without exception. Well at least that is what you appear to be saying, and you have said nothing to the contrary. And therefore your statement "... an example of strawmannery try your last comments about 'all GM being good' ..." is not actually an example of a straw man argument, since it really is the argument you are actually making.

In response to your apparent approval of the terminator gene (for commercial reasons), I pointed out that: "Seed companies selling non-GM make money without having a terminator gene". Although Plant Breeders Rights apply to new non-GM varieties they do not apply to traditional seed varieties, even for farmers, or for non-commercial (private) use at all, and they don't use terminators. Yet companies such as Syngenta have continued to develop terminators (or GURTs) despite world-wide protests. Some terminators have been field trialed, and that to me means both commercial and out in the environment. One of the reasons that the GM companies have cut their propaganda down a bit is that they now realise, having made an issue about ownership (that is what the terminators were for), that they now also own any bad side effects too.

Again, I must emphasise that I did not bring up the issue of Roundup itself, I quoted from Wiki a piece about Roundup resistant weeds because GM Roundup resistant crops lead to over use of Roundup.

You stated: "You wallow in your own ignorance and tell others that they are wrong. And then tell others ..." Again, no, I do not only tell others, I used "we" throughout and wrote about it as a human condition (and therefore as applicable to me as to you), that we think we know it all, and think things are simpler than they really are. We, us, "as a species". CAGW is a clear example of this - its proponents think they know it all ("the science is settled"), and thought things were simpler than they really are (it is increasingly apparent that the models are so over simplified they cannot give useful answers).

Mar 14, 2015 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

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