Volatility

June 4, 2014

The Seralini Study is a Good Study and is Good Enough for Action

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Gilles-Eric Seralini and his CRIIGEN team are withdrawing from participation in a French government study which was allegedly supposed to follow up the findings of the team’s 2012 study of Monsanto’s GM maize variety NK603 and its affiliated poison, Roundup. I’ve written before about how the 2012 Seralini study forced the French government and the EU to announce that they would conduct the very first government safety tests of a GMO ever. If these tests were scientifically conceived and were conducted by independent scientists, they’d be the first such government-ordered tests ever.
 
Now the French regulator ANSES has announced a bogus “subchronic” toxicity test design, little better than the discredited 90-day test it was allegedly going to improve upon. Seralini has set the standard, that any valid study must be a full-length two year study. Anything less is self-evidently bogus. ANSES also invited Monsanto to participate in the study design. Seralini judged that for he and his team, who carried out their vastly superior study in 2012, to participate in this retrograde step would be to endorse it. It would be a betrayal of their own work. Seralini has set the standard – nothing less than a two year study by independent scientists is acceptable. No one who cares about the health effects of glyphosate and GMOs, or about science itself, can ever again accept less.
 
That’s one down and one to go. As for the EU’s projected 2-year carcinogenicity study, no details have been made public yet, but it’s already rumored that a cartel-affiliated group will get the contract. So much for scientific independence, and that will be the end of that as far as a study which has any legitimacy.
 
Seralini’s team also recently published a new paper in FCT (FCT is said to have been forced to publish this rebuttal by its parent company Elsevier, which is evidently embarrassed by the scandal) detailing the anti-scientific double standards involved in the decision of Food and Chemical Toxicology to retract their 2012 study for being “inconclusive”, which was an unprecedented rationale and one that is inadmissible according to Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE) guidelines. FCT is a member of the COPE. Seralini’s study, a full length two-year toxicology study, the only one which has ever been performed, was suppressed, declared an unstudy which doesn’t need to be cited in subsequent literature, and slandered in the corporate media. At the same time, fraudulent pro-GMO “studies” published in FCT by Monsanto prior to 2012 (Seralini’s study was an avowed replication of Monsanto’s studies, as per proper scientific procedure) and subsequent to FCT’s suppression of the Seralini study remain on the books in good stead. This is in spite of the fact that these were all studies of intentionally inadequate duration (90 days; “subchronic” studies in the parlance), using fraudulent tricks like “historical reference groups” to try to drown out any signal of toxicity, designed not as toxicological studies but simply to test industry-important parameters like weight gain, and which in spite of all these hurdles still found evidence of toxicity.
 
The Seralini study sought to replicate Monsanto’s own study, and did so changing only the duration (2 years vs. 90 days) and what it was measuring (toxicity vs. weight gain and feed conversion). Otherwise it kept things the same, including using the exact same rat variety and the same sample sizes, albeit improving the methodology. This refutes the two most common canned lies about the Seralini study. The only other tack the enemy’s had has been to fraudulently attack this excellent toxicity study as a “bad” cancer study. This is meant to misdirect attention from the fact that it was a toxicity study and thus to suppress the data on the toxic effects.
 
The 2012 study was the culmination of many years of work. The initially pro-GMO Seralini first participated on a scientific review board where he questioned the flimsy basis of EFSA’s approval of MON863 maize. In 2007 he published a review of the shoddy procedures and evidence of health risk revealed by Monsanto’s own trials of MON863. In 2009 the CRIIGEN team published a review of how Monsanto’s own trials of MON863, MON810, and NK603 found evidence of liver and kidney toxicity. That same year Seralini refuted the validity of 90-day subchronic tests and called for a full two-year study. In 2011 the team published another review, this time of 19 studies including industry tests which consistently found evidence of liver and kidney toxicity. That’s the history which led up to the 2012 publication. 
 
This is how science is supposed to work, and Seralini’s study is a fine example of good scientific study by any measure, as well as the best to date on a GMO. It’s the one and only full toxicity study. That the EU and French governments felt forced to announce their own studies is a testament to the legitimacy of this one.
 
What was the system response to science at its best? The 2012 study was subject first to a preemptive UK media counterattack, and then to a relentless smear campaign in the UK and Europe. (The US corporate media largely ignored it.) All this was based on prefabricated lies. The lies were fabricated by Monsanto publicists, propagated by corporate fronts like the UK Science Media Centre and by the EFSA, whose honor was directly at stake since the study results condemned EFSA’s rubberstamping of Monsanto’s own bogus “safety tests”. The lies were eventually taken up and became dogma at mainstream media like the NYT. Seldom if ever has a piece of scientific work been so persecuted and smeared in the Western media machine. Finally the study was suppressed and censored.
 
That FCT suppressed it under intense pressure from Monsanto and the US and UK governments, and at the dictates of a Monsanto cadre who had a new editorial position at FCT created especially for him, is obviously nothing more or less than ideologically motivated censorship. Vastly inferior “studies” which find for GMOs and Roundup, on the other hand, are waved through. The whole affair has been an extreme example of the increasingly typical corruption and corporatization of “peer review”, which renders the whole concept of the people’s reliance upon the findings of establishment scientific procedure more and more dubious.
 
The whole scandal has provided a case study in scientistic authoritarianism. No honest, rational person could or would dispute the basic legitimacy of the Seralini study. Although like any other study it would benefit from repetition and further tweaking, the objections to its legitimacy as such are pathetically transparent and spurious. But corporatist ideologues, including regulators and corporate media personnel, are not rational or honest. To varying extents these ideologues irrationally believe that what corporations want to do should be considered automatically the normative baseline. Anyone who dissents, disputes, or presents evidence contrary to corporate assertions should be considered abnormal, even as a kind of aggressor, and should be held to a higher standard of proof.
 
In the Seralini era, GMO propaganda has begun openly to assert that independent science should be held to a higher standard of proof than corporate claims, however unevidenced. This anti-scientific dogma started out as a corollary to the Big Lie about a nonexistent “scientific consensus” in favor of GMOs. But as it’s become impossible to maintain this self-evidently absurd lie, the hacks have become more brazen about proclaiming a double standard for evidence. Thus they can try to revive their demolished “consensus” claim by segregating evidence-based science into a kind of ghetto and dismissing it as not the real science, while maintaining their conformist, nihilist consensus of anti-evidence, pro-dogma scienticians as the body of “sound science”, to use one of their favorite propaganda terms, recycled from old pro-cigarette campaigns.
 
(That the term “sound science” has evolved from its invention by Big Tobacco lobbyists to become today the official language of the US Trade Representative and other US government bodies where it comes to GMOs, fracking, and similar corporate assaults is a perfect symbol of the extreme communion between the US government and the most vicious, predatory assaults of corporations. It’s also proof of the elemental hostility and cynicism toward science and reason on the part of the government and corporate media. Similarly, the evolution of the Republican Frank Luntz code word “patchwork” to become a recent favorite of Democrats and the “liberal media” is a good crystallization of the identity of liberals and conservatives today. Examples like these epitomize how today the only meaningful distinction and divide is corporatism against humanity, and how this has redefined every other distinction and issue.)
 
Now Seralini and his CRIIGEN team have withdrawn from the French study. This incident rebuts a common theme among GMO skeptics and dissenters that we need more study. Perhaps these people are even dismayed at Seralini’s withdrawal, as progressives are prone to regard the “seat at the table” as more important than any actual result, and in this case may regard any study, however bogus and retrograde and likely to be rigged to produce a pro-Monsanto result, as better than nothing.
 
What’s bizarre about this is that we already have such a good study as the Seralini study, and we see how the system reacted to it. The evidence record is that no study which finds results adverse to the GMO cartel propaganda will ever be acceptable to the establishment, and that we shouldn’t be focusing on being acceptable to the establishment and its media. Indeed, the call for more study often sounds like an attempt to prop up faith in Good Government, and the faith that the people can somehow get regulators to act like the good government textbook depiction of regulators in the public interest.
 
It’s good that people want to reform GMO approval systems to make them more rigorous. But we must put GMOs in their socioeconomic and political context. When we do, and we realize how critical the GMO project is to the corporate system, we can see how unlikely it is that such “petitioning” type reformism can ever work.
 
If we’re to reform anything, we’ll do it only through massive bottom-up pressure which forces elites to change in order to save their own skin. In that case, the right focus for activist appeals isn’t to the system itself, but directly to the people.
 
Similarly, when we truly comprehend the socioeconomic and political evils of the GMO regime, its existential threat to agricultural biodiversity, and the way agricultural poison use threatens a cataclysm which shall destroy human and animal health, environmental health, and the soil itself, we can see that nothing short of the total abolition of GMOs and poison-based agriculture shall suffice. For this purpose as well, we must speak directly to the people.
 
But although we’ll welcome and use all new evidence as it continues to pile up, we don’t need to wait for more of any particular kind of evidence. On every front, we have far more than all the evidence we need. That includes the evidence of the health hazards of glyphosate (abundantly proven) and GMOs as such.
 
The Seralini study is among the best of these compilations of evidence, and along with the rest of the health evidence is enough to move forward with action. According to The Peter Principle one of the symptoms of having no idea what to do, or just not wanting to take any action, is to keep calling for more data even though you already have far more than enough. Let’s not exemplify such a mournful example by implicitly echoing the system’s lies about the alleged inadequacy of the evidence we have.
 
We the people don’t lack evidence, so far we simply lack action.

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7 Comments

  1. Thank you.

    Comment by Pete — June 6, 2014 @ 6:57 pm

    • You’re welcome Pete.

      Comment by Russ — June 7, 2014 @ 2:06 am

    • The “Peter Principle”. Ha

      Comment by Minnesota Steph — June 10, 2014 @ 10:44 pm

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