October 5, 2013

Science vs. “Science”, the TED Example

Filed under: Corporatism, Food and Farms, Mainstream Media, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: , , — Russ @ 5:23 am


Another example of the increasingly pervasive corporatist Gleichschaltung. In spite of some good stuff like Ron Finley’s talk about urban agriculture, TED was always primarily a corporatist forum, with lots of breathless techno-porn, scientism, and corporate-retreat-speaker type stuff. They’ve now made it official. The hilarious thing about the moronic letter the TED Leadership sent out is that every word of it describes pro-GMO hacks better than anyone. But we see how, for corporate propaganda forums, science and anti-science are turned upside down.
(Don’t be thrown by the TED communique’s new preface. The pro-corporate bias of the letter itself remains intact.)


If you read the comment thread under the post I linked, you’ll see examples of a new propaganda gambit which has lately cropped up among the hacks. This is the brazen assertion that real scientific testing of food should be held to a much higher standard than corporate tests which are used to get things approved by regulators.
This is Monsanto’s lame attempt to counter an ongoing PR disaster. The ill-fated attempt of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and other bureaucracies to slander the 2012 Seralini study was just the most prominent example of how these “regulators” rubber-stamp fraudulent, shoddy corporate studies but try to subject actual independent scientific studies to the most idiotic and fraudulent level of pseudo-rigor. The Seralini flap displayed openly, for all the world to see, what corrupt flunkeys the regulatory agencies are.
The GMO flacks, losing this battle badly, are desperately trying to repair the damage by directly claiming that this double standard for real science and corporate junk “science” is appropriate. It’s so lame because there’s no conceivable argument one could make for this, just the brazen assertion. As always, they have nothing.
The double standard itself is nothing new, just its explicit assertion. Many years ago as an environmentalist I noticed how any kind of rational claim, or anything which would try to actually help people and the environment, was supposed to be subject to the highest bar of nitpicking scrutiny, while the more obviously insane or mercenary something was, the less it was expected to meet any standard of scientific, rational, or moral rigor.




  1. C’mon, Russ. You’re going off the deep end now and starting to alienate me (and others, no doubt). I didn’t find the TEDx letter at all “moronic” and the first link – to Underground Health (“how to clean your arteries with one simple fruit” – really??) – smacks of the very kind of thing that TEDx wants their organizers to be wary of. I’m not a huge fan of TEDx, either, by the way. I’m on your side regarding capitalism and corporatism, but if you keep on with these over-the-top rants, I’m going to unsubscribe and go elsewhere. It’s your blog and you are entitled to do whatever you want, but I don’t think you aren’t doing the movement any favors with these wild-eyed rants.

    Comment by Paul — October 5, 2013 @ 8:43 am

    • Everyone’s got their pet thing, criticism of which ruffles their feathers, don’t they? Meanwhile your comments would alienate most “progressives”, and the average progressive might alienate mainstream liberals, and so on. There’s no end to it once one compromises on the core principles. One of the purposes of this blog is to clearly depict the propaganda battle lines.

      You’d better read the letter again. I explained what’s wrong with it, and how it parrots the Monsanto propaganda line. It runs: Now that science is finally getting its turn at bat where it comes to GMOs, it should be regarded with suspicion. Meanwhile GMOs and their ideology were never subject to even the slightest scientific rigor, no GMO was ever safety tested by independent authorities, all were commercialized and set free in our food and environment on the corporate say-so, and they should continue to get a free pass on all these things, where it comes to scientific and rational scrutiny.

      That’s what TED implied in their letter. It’s the same exact verbiage I’ve seen from every pro-GM trade group, media outlet, front NGO, government regulator, and freelance propagandist. It’s straight anti-science propaganda which turns the truth upside down.

      How else do you interpret this:

      Among the alleged “marks of bad science”:

      Has failed to convince many mainstream scientists of its truth
      Speaks dismissively of mainstream science


      Well, we’ll certainly be able to question and overturn wrong-headed dogmas that way, won’t we!

      Of course, one of my points is that “mainstream” cadres, most of whom don’t know and don’t want to know the evidence about any particular controversial topic, are:

      1. Inertial, and tend to go with whatever their counterparts, fellow credentialed cadres, usually corporatized, who are the system-expected “experts” in that discipline say.

      2. Share the anti-democratic, technocratic mindset, and tend to want to close ranks with beleaguered colleagues in a kind of “thin blue line” or Code of Omerta.

      We’ve seen this everywhere where it comes to GMOs. For every mainstream technical type who expresses doubt about GMOs, or even simply wants to see them tested, there’s ten more who arrogantly bluster in favor of them, their attitude a compound of ignorance and contempt for the people.

      That’s the essence of technocracy and scientism, which in turn comprise the basic ideology of corporatized “mainstream science”.

      “Red Flags”

      GMO food and anti-GMO foodists (EDIT 10/3/13: “Foodist” was the wrong word here and we recognize it was offensive to many.)


      Not many people are likely to be taken in by the phony “apology”. The original line makes the agenda clear, and indeed anyone familiar with the GMO war knows that this provision “red flagging” any kind of anti-GMO presentation was probably the #1 purpose of the letter. Why else would it be mentioned at all?

      This, of course, is flat out dogmatic censorship:

      “If you hear anything that sounds remotely like, “Vaccines are related to autism,” — RUN AWAY.”

      The controversy over this issue is, to say the least, unresolved.

      The fact is that the entire thing has a heavy pro-corporate bias. It does mention a few things which are also characteristic of hacks – “scientists” moonlighting outside their formal field of training, the demand to present “both sides of an issue”. But overall the thing is a piece of corporate fenceline patrolling dressed up in “reasonable”-sounding verbiage. Only if you note the specific examples given – all of them anti-corporate, none of them pro-corporate – does the basic bias become clear.

      Indeed, the letter takes its place among the work of the professional “skeptics” and “debunkers” who somehow always kick down in their attacks, and never take on even the most brazen and destructive lies of power.

      That’s the kind of thing I’m here to teach. If you don’t like it and need to unsubscribe, go ahead.

      Comment by Russ — October 5, 2013 @ 10:33 am

      • I love your steadfast attitude, Russ! The letter was the kind of writing which might have fooled me several years ago, but 2 points stood out boldly: 1) Beware of those with anti-GMO presentations, and 2) “RUN AWAY” from any discussion of the possible links between autism and vaccines, including the fallacy that we poor misguided parents have been misled by that evil Andrew Wakefield so we didn’t vax our kids against…how did they discribe that again? “Potentially deadly diseases” was it? Measles, mumps, chicken pox, and a bunch of diseases they won’t even guarantee the child complete immunity from. I hate to shock those types of elitists, but I know I gave the matter serious thought and did research on it. I didn’t watch any TEDx talk about the link; rather I used my brain. And claiming that the speaker can find another venue for their talk is kind of like telling an African-American in the segregated places of the past that he can always eat somewhere else instead of at your Whites Only restaurant. I’m happy to see you’ve gained more subscribers recently. I remember when I was your 99th 🙂

        Comment by DualPersonality — October 5, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

      • Thanks DP. I know some people consider TED “cool” or something, but all I did here was subject it to the same criticism I’d give to any other media group which did the same thing.

        Comment by Russ — October 6, 2013 @ 5:13 am

    • Speaking of typical pro-corporate propaganda, other than the simple fact of my criticizing your sacred cow, in exactly what way was this post a “wild-eyed rant”?

      Comment by Russ — October 5, 2013 @ 10:38 am

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