Category Archives: organic food

“Evil” GE foods and “eco-friendly” organics

Far too often Green Groups – no names of course –  oppose GMOs as dangerous and organic is the best. Yet as we found with Friends of the Earth the claims are simply false. This blog deals with the issues and should shame those who misguidedly support them as the answer for food, whether for the affluent west or the poorer countries.

I do hate their virtue signalling

GMO EU action

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Evil GE foods and eco-friendly organics, Misrepresentations by radical greens promote myths of GE dangers and organic benefits, eradicate food poverty, genetically modified foods

Source: “Evil” GE foods and “eco-friendly” organics

 

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The Precautionary Principle gone to excess

A warning against the precautionary principle gone wrong and used by extreme environmentalists like FoE and GP to stop any possible advance.

Too many have fallen for their pseudoscience

The Risk-Monger

What follows is the base text for a presentation made at the BAFSAM general assembly in London on 17 May 2018. As the presentation was delivered without notes, the actual content may differ slightly.

Happy 50th Birthday!

50 years may only be one monarch in the UK, it might only be a blink of the eye since The Risk-Monger had entered grade school, but it is two full generations and a world of change for farming. What has happened to the feed additive industry over the last 50 years? What has your half-century of technology advances done for the world? How have you helped advance farming and food security since your parents’ time? … since your grandparents pioneered the advances in food and feed technology?

Our Grandparents’ World

The world of farming and food production of our grandparents was quite different from what we see today. Increasing food production following…

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How to Deal with Stupid, Part 4/10: The Activist Playbook: How Stupid Keeps Winning

This aplies to many hot issues, especially environmental ones whether GMO. pesticides . fracking and other issues like vaccines

Well worth a read for all concerned people

The Risk-Monger

This blog was originally published on 18/12/15 and its reprint is part of the new site update. See the French translation. It is interesting to see that, over the last year, this blog has become the basis of so many one-day training sessions with different groups who have realised the need for developing a bespoke Industry Playbook. It has been a wonderful experience to meet so many motivated people fed up with seeing a profession and industry they love get continually beaten up by Stupid.

This series on How to Deal with Stupid has so far defined stupid as a self-suspended idea system built around an erroneous paradigm, well communicated on social media within a silo that easily confirms bias that can impassion its followers with a religious fervour that, in the case of environmentalism, adds meaningfulness and allows a belief-system to propagate. If that were all, it would…

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GMO critic Vandana Shiva’s anti-modernity crusade threatens world’s poor

A vital green shibboleth is GMO food , which is seen as dangerous both physically and mentally. Thus eco-activists tend to be anti-GMO as well as anti-vaxxer, anti-petroleum and so on.

This article raises questions about the anti-GMO darling Vandana Shiva whose views are widely accepted including Green Christian circles. It shows the follow of too many Greens, who , in fact, undermine their own cause

She has fanned the opposition to Golden Rice and GMO cotton as this article shows.

Genetic Literacy Project

Viewpoint: GMO critic Vandana Shiva’s anti-modernity crusade threatens world’s poor

Henry Miller, Drew Kershen | Genetic Literacy Project | April 12, 2018
Vandana Shiva GMO 4248987

https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2018/04/12/viewpoint-gmo-critic-vandana-shivas-anti-modernity-crusade-threatens-worlds-poor/
The recently-published “Social Justice Warrior Handbook,” which satirizes people who promote liberal, multicultural, anti-capitalist, anti-globalization, politically correct views, could have had Indian activist and mountebank Vandana Shiva on the cover. She opposes the tools and practices of modern agriculture and science–and well, modernity in general—and advocates retrogressive policies that will cause widespread malnourishment, deprivation and death to the very people she claims to champion. And she’s no friend of the environment, either.

 

Vandana Shiva GMO 4248987

Illustrating the quest for “Back to Nature” and anti-globalization fervor that has infected many U.S. universities, Shiva has been a popular guest lecturer at American universities. In recent years, she has been invited to a number of U.S. campuses, including Beloit College, the College of New Jersey, Arizona State, the University of Utah and Wake Forest and Georgia Southern Universities, among others. Although she gets good press from left-wing and environmental publications, and naïve undergraduates dote on her, Shiva is widely considered by the scientific community to be abjectly unbalanced (in both senses of the word) for advocating unsound policies and promulgating disproven theories about agriculture.

As science writer Jon Entine and Monsanto science communicator Dr. Cami Ryan discussed in a Forbes article, many of Shiva’s hobby horses have proven to be exceedingly lame. Some prominent examples:

The “Green Revolution.” The new varieties and practices of the Green Revolution provided greater food security to hundreds of millions of people in developing countries on much of the planet; it made available high-yielding varieties of wheat and also new agronomic and management practices that transformed the ability of Mexico, India, Pakistan, China, and parts of South America to feed their populations. From 1950 to 1992, the world’s grain output rose from 692 million tons produced on 1.70 billion acres of cropland to 1.9 billion tons on 1.73 billion acres of cropland—an extraordinary increase in yield per acre of more than 150 percent. India is an excellent case in point. In 1963, wheat grew there in sparse, irregular strands, was harvested by hand, and was susceptible to rust disease. The maximum yield was 800 lb per acre. By 1968, the wheat grew densely packed, was resistant to rust, and the maximum yield had risen to 6000 lb per acre. Without high-yield agriculture, either millions would have starved or increases in food output would have been realized only through drastic expansion of land under cultivation—with losses of pristine wilderness far greater than all the losses to urban, suburban and commercial expansion.
rice 2 13 18 2And yet, from her perch in a parallel universe, Shiva contends that the Green Revolution actually caused hunger. Here, as elsewhere, she employs the propaganda technique known as the Big Lie, a phrase coined by Adolf Hitler in his 1925 book Mein Kampf. Shiva promulgates lies so “colossal” (as Hitler put it) that it seems inconceivable that someone could “have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” Read on.

rice 2 13 18 2

Golden Rice, genetically engineered varieties that are biofortified, or enriched, by genes that produce beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A. These could be a monumental public health breakthrough, because vitamin A deficiency is epidemic among poor people whose diet is composed largely of rice, which contains no beta-carotene or vitamin A. In developing countries, 200 million-300 million children of preschool age are at risk of vitamin A deficiency, which increases their susceptibility to illnesses including measles and diarrheal diseases. Every year, about half a million children become blind as a result of vitamin A deficiency and 70% of those die within a year. But Shiva is opposed to it: “By focusing on only one crop, rice, which by itself does not provide all the nutrients, including higher quantities of Vitamin A than Golden Rice, the Golden Rice pushers are in fact worsening the crisis of hunger and malnutrition.” “Promoters of Golden Rice are blind to diversity, and hence are promoters of blindness, both metaphorically and nutritionally,” she adds. Shiva has dismissed Golden Rice as a hoax and a myth–which are the vilest sort of lies, not unlike those of the pernicious charlatans who condemn childhood vaccination for the prevention of infectious diseases.
As Entine and Ryan wrote: “Shiva’s alternate proposed solution for promoting a ‘diversity of diet’ has not worked for the very poor who cannot afford to buy vegetables or fruits, or cannot devote the land on their subsistence farm to grow more of them.” The hoax is Shiva’s unworkable alternative, not the proven capabilities of genetic engineering.

cotton 2 13 18

Genetically engineered, pest-resistant cotton (Bt-cotton, so-called because it contains a protein from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis that kills certain insects). Shiva claims that the cultivation of these seeds is not only ineffective but actually causes hundreds of thousands of farmer suicides in India. But Shiva’s statistics are cherry-picked, largely irrelevant and often simply wrong, and her argument relies on a fallacy of logic known as post hoc, ergo propter hoc–after the fact, therefore because of the fact. In other words, she confuses correlation with causation, the kind of “logic” that leads one to believe that autism is caused by organic food because of graphs like this one.
In a 2013 article in the journal Nature, agricultural socio-economist Dominic Glover observed, “It is nonsense to attribute farmer suicides solely to Bt cotton,” and moreover, “Although financial hardship is a driving factor in suicide among Indian farmers, there has been essentially no change in the suicide rate for farmers since the introduction of Bt cotton.”

Reinforcing Glover’s observations, a definitive, comprehensive study of Bt-cotton in India published in 2011 concluded: “Bt cotton is accused of being responsible for an increase of farmer suicides in India. . . Available data show no evidence of a ‘resurgence’ of farmer suicides. Moreover, Bt cotton technology has been very effective overall in India. Nevertheless, in specific districts and years, Bt cotton may have indirectly contributed to farmer indebtedness, leading to suicides, but its failure was mainly the result of the context or environment in which it was planted.” A 2006 study of four of India’s major cotton-producing states found that Bt-cotton gave rise to yield gains of approximately 31% and a 39% decrease in number of insecticide sprays, which led to an 88% increase in profitability, equivalent to about $250 per hectare.

cotton 2 13 18Eminent UC Berkeley agricultural economist David Zilberman echoes those findings and sums up India’s experience with genetic engineering this way: “India gained from adopting [genetic engineering applied to] cotton but has lost from not adopting it with other crops. The US, Brazil and Argentina adopted [genetic engineering] in corn and soybean, which led to increases in output and gains from exporting these extra crops. India and the rest of the world have also indirectly enjoyed benefits from the increased global supply of corn because of [genetic engineering].

In a 2014 article, “Seeds of Doubt,” in The New Yorker, investigative journalist Michael Specter called into question a number of Shiva’s claims regarding genetic engineering, as well as her ethics and judgment:

At times, Shiva’s absolutism about [genetic engineering] can lead her in strange directions. 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. She also wrote to the international relief agency Oxfam to say that she hoped it wasn’t planning to send genetically modified foods to feed the starving survivors. When neither the U.S. nor Oxfam altered its plans, she condemned the Indian government for accepting the provisions.

We endorse shopping in the marketplace of ideas, but not when toxic goods there pollute it. Recall Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s observation that everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts. Shiva is a seemingly endless font of bogus, made-up facts–that is to say, lies–and bizarre reasoning.

Even the way Shiva represents herself to the public at large and to potential speaking venues–variously as a “scientist,” “nuclear physicist,” or “quantum physicist–is untrue. However, she earned her doctorate not in physics, but in philosophy.

Ironically, Shiva’s connection with physics illustrates not her expertise in the discipline, but her wrong-headedness. Her dissertation in the philosophy of science at the University of Western Ontario focused on the debate over a central notion in physics known as Bell’s Theorem, which is concerned with “testing whether or not particles connected through quantum entanglement communicate information faster than the speed of light,” and which has been called the “most profound theory in science.” The abstract of Shiva’s dissertation states, in part: “It has been taken for granted that Bell’s [theorem] is based on a locality condition which is physically motivated, and thus his proof therefore falls into a class by itself. We show that both the above claims are mistaken”(emphasis added).

But contrary to Shiva’s conclusion, Bell’s theorem has been proven scientifically correct. As Entine and Ryan wrote, “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.” But reality testing has never been Shiva’s forte.

The New Yorker’s Michael Specter wrote that Shiva has been called the “Gandhi of grain” and been “compared to Mother Teresa.” We think a more apt comparison would be to Trofim Denisovich Lysenko, the charlatan and ideologue who single-handedly laid waste to Soviet agriculture during the Stalin era and for years thereafter.

While this upper-caste Indian gets little right about science, she is adept at extracting money from sponsors on the lecture circuit. According to her speakers’ agency, the Evil Twin Booking Agency (we did not make up that name), Shiva’s usual fee for an American university appearance is $40,000 plus a business class round-trip ticket from New Delhi. We can infer, then, that American universities probably pay Shiva around $50,000 for each appearance, at which she exposes their students to her mendacious, baseless attacks on modern agriculture and science.

As for the actual substance of Shiva’s presentations at universities, we can only imagine… After all, she is the author of “In Praise of Cowdung” – a paean to peasant agriculture and an attack on improved seeds and modern fertilizers in Indian agriculture. That essay in particular reminds us of an old “Peanuts” cartoon in which the character Lucy van Pelt is about to embark on a writing assignment. “Write about something you know well,” the teacher instructs. Lucy begins typing, “The air hung heavy with stupidity…”

Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is the Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a former trustee of the American Council on Science and Health. He was the founding director of the Office of Biotechnology at the FDA. Follow him on Twitter @henryimiller

Drew L. Kershen is the Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law (Emeritus), University of Oklahoma College of Law, in Norman, Okla.

This article was originally published at the American Council on Science and Health as “‘Social Justice Warrior’ Vandana Shiva Is A Poor Advocate For The Poor” and has been republished here with pe

 

 

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Diagnosing “Natural Nathalie”: A Case Study in Naturopathosis and Dogmatic Zealot Complex

A parody on the weird ideas of some ecowarriors with their litany of horrors on GMOs etc . And demonising Monsanto – even when they are not involved.

It could be re-written for anti-vaxxers , anti-frackers and several other groups of ecowarriors – who are all related.

Note the supposed Green- , sorry gurus, they cite

Some won’t like it, but others will find another name for Nathalie or recast her as a bit of a thug

The Risk-Monger

The following are my notes for a presentation I intended to make yesterday at the World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research Conference in the European Parliament on 12 April 2018. The time was much more limited than expected so I had only delivered a part on the precautionary priniciple (my point being only a sociopath would accept the precautionary illogic). Here is how I had developed that point. Some would call this dark humour … I see too much reality in this “fictional” case study.

I am a senior pathologist at the Social Media Reality Recovery Unit in the St Thomas Centre for Internet Cult Addiction and Re-Rationalization located in Waterloo.

I am here today to present my research on a challenging case study, a patient of mine known as “Natural Nathalie”, female aged 26, who was confined to our institution at the beginning of February after a series…

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Evolutions in Trust, Part 2: Blockchain (Citizen) Science

The serious problem of citizen science, when so often measurements are made by thosue who haven’t a clue

The Risk-Monger

In Part 1 of this blockchain series, the idea of “blockchain trust” was introduced. We no longer trust our experts, institutions and authorities but will happily get into a car with a stranger or rent out our sofa-bed to people we have never met based on widely shared reviews, believed to be transparent and objective. This is the world of blockchain trust – where everyone is watching and reviewing everyone else forming an anonymous, decentralised consensus (chain) of affirmation. Authority is determined by all parts of the chain who participate (and are allowed) on the chain.

The Risk-Monger has long ago been voted off the island.

As most scientists have also been voted off (or given merely one voice among the chain), we need to focus on how this blockchain trust tool functions for environmental health policy decisions that should be evidence-driven. This is the purpose of Part…

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Mark Lynas – On why GMOs are vital to food security in our world

 

This is an excellent address by Mark Lynas on the value of GMOs

One of the annoying things about the environmental movement today are those who apply heresy tests to anyone claiming to be green.

GMO EU action

and so;

If you don’t regard GMO as frankenstein food you hate the environment

 

If you don’t only eat Organic food you are doomed to a green hell

If you don’t hate Glyphosphate then you are poisoning the earth and our food

If you support nuclear energy, you deserve the green version of being nuked.

If you don’t support divestment from fossil fuels, you are a shill for the coal industry

If you support fracking you don’t give a damn about climate change and are a shill for Big Oil.

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Sadly, I have only taken a little poetic licence there, but sadly these attitudes are only too common. They are essentially the views of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, who possibly do more damage to the environment and humanity than anyone else

 

Anyway ignore my rant and read Mark Lynas

 

Source: Mark Lynas – Speech to the Oxford Farming Conference 2018