Volatility

April 14, 2015

Would You Call This Science or a Cult?

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From here, good job by Rachel Parent.
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The first question I had for the Health Canada officials was if they did any of their own safety studies on GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Dr. Yan confirmed they did not, and went on to say, “We review the data that is given to us by the company. It’s up to them to demonstrate the safety.”

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The entire debate about whether GMO regulation has anything to do with science comes to an end right there. According to their own words, they accept the information given them by companies who are proven liars with regard to this exact kind of situation where billions in profits are at stake. So the regulatory process has zero grounding in science or rationality as such, but is based on the cult faith that a confirmed liar is now telling the truth.
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Perhaps the real question is whether, to the extent that these regulators aren’t straight-up corrupted liars, they’re expressing some kind of cult faith in corporate rule as such. And we can ask the same of people in general who want to believe the corporations directly, or at least believe them where the faith is mediated through the government regulators.
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The Health Canada cadre gives us another clue:
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I wanted to know if the studies given to Health Canada for safety assessments were peer-reviewed. No surprise, the answer was no. Dr. Yan advised that “Some of the data is actually proprietary data. They invest millions of dollars to develop their crop, so they’re not going to divulge it to anyone else to test the product.”

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As I’ve said, according to the self-image of Science itself there can be no such thing as secret science. By definition all data, to count as scientific, must be public so it can be assessed by the scientific fraternity. (According to democracy it must also be accessible and assessable by the people, and in addition various branches of the humanities would also claim a right to assess it.) Where practicing scientists are willing to recognize a secrecy regime we’re dealing with either a totally new paradigm of scientific practice which directly contradicts even the extant propaganda of science, or else with corruption and cowardice to such an extreme that we can only conclude that science as such has completely abdicated and been replaced by purely instrumental mercenary engineering.
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Either way, when a regulator can claim that not only are the people as well as scientists in general not to be allowed to see the evidence, but that he himself will perform his duties and give a judgement based on this secrecy, in camera like some hooded judge, and then expects the people to accept this judgement as authoritative and scientific, again we’re clearly dealing with a proclamation of cult faith and a demand that the people bow down and submit to such faith.
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(The TTIP and TPP intend to further enshrine such faith, by explicitly declaring, as a matter of public policy, that where it comes to corporate propaganda sheets derived from secret science or any other alleged secret evidence, “the tribunal shall assume to be true the claimant’s [i.e. the corporation’s] factual allegations in support of any claim in the notice of arbitration”. As we’ve seen, this is already in effect how government regulators act.)
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Indeed, as we see with the ongoing cults of the two corporate “political” parties here in the US, and things aren’t much different in Canada, there’s still a widespread appetite for such cultist “authority”. That’s why the Canadian regulators feel so confident about telling direct lies about the nature of the problem and the scope of their policy authority.
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After my meeting with the Health Minister in November, 2014, I was under the impression that labelling GMOs was up to the scientists at Health Canada, but unfortunately when I asked them about it, I was told that it’s not a health and safety issue; therefore it is not within their mandate.

So I asked, if it’s not up to Health Canada, and it’s not up to the Health Minister, then whose responsibility is it? Dr. Yan said “Non health and safety labelling is really under the jurisdiction of the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency).”….

This is the statement that [Health Minister] Ambrose made during an interview with Global News last year: “If we had the evidence that this was unhealthy, Health Canada would act and impose mandatory labels. That’s our job, to keep Canadians safe and healthy. But right now there is no scientific evidence that conclusively says that in any way genetically modified foods are unhealthy for Canadians.”

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In other words, in circular fashion they’ll refuse to seek and find the evidence on health and safety, then base the dogma “it’s not a health and safety issue” upon this refusal. “We found no evidence. Of course we never looked, which is the best way to find nothing!” We’re Through the Looking Glass indeed. And then, since there’s no evidence, which proves there’s no problem, there’s then no mandate to require labeling.
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Again, none of this can be explained or justified according to any recognizable scientific or rational standard. This is either a fundamentalist religion of faith in corporate rule, or else straight criminality. Or a combination.
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This is constantly being expressed in many propaganda and policy formulations which are self-evidently absurd to anyone outside the cult, such as:
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*A crop which produces its own insecticidal poison in every cell is “substantially equivalent” to one which does not.
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*A crop which through its intended use has its tissues suffused with herbicidal poison is substantially equivalent to one which hasn’t been suffused with poison.
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*None of these poisons are “food additives” which need to be studied, tested, and regulated as such.
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*A chemical which is lethally poisonous to one kind of organism is unlikely to be poisonous to other organisms. This is the bedrock proposition of the Poisoner ideology. To anyone who has even elementary reasoning capacities or simple common sense, this is self-evidently stupid and insane, and at the very least would need to be rigorously proven before policy based upon it could rationally be deployed. Yet as unproven dogma this is one of the bedrock principles of today’s scientific establishment, which can also be called corporate science. Most STEM credential-holders at least claim to believe this dogma and to agree that it has to be accepted on faith, to the point that they regard any demand for proof as some kind of lese majeste, an affront to their god-given legitimacy. (I’ll be writing more about how the proxxer mob scene is an applied example of this authoritarian cultism.)
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Once again we can see how we’re dealing with something straddling the line of a dogmatic authoritarian ideology and a veritably religious cult. In either case it has zero to do with science or reason, and indeed aggressively abrogates all the alleged principles of both.
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Unfortunately, the record of labeling initiatives in the US proves that so far there’s a significant number of people who ratify the secrecy regime, who evidently don’t want to know any information at all. This implicit ratification of “secret science” on the part of people who, unlike the revolving door regulators, can’t possibly benefit from it, and can only be hurt, seems to demand a religious/ideological analysis. Obviously many people still have faith in corporate rule, either directly in the corporations or indirectly through the government. One question is why anyone who’s not being paid to believe any of this would want to do so. Another question, the primary question of our time, is how to counteract this malign cult by demolishing its legitimacy and authority and destroying its faith.

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10 Comments

  1. Thank you Russ. Please note consultation: http://europa.eu/expo2015/node/286
    “The European Commission launched an online consultation on the role of research in global food and nutrition security. The aim of the consultation is to gather the views of stakeholders, citizens and the scientific community on the role that research has to play in tackling the challenges associated with ensuring food and nutrition security. We want an open and forward-looking debate with stakeholders to encourage dynamic and evidence-based policy making to tackle the many pressing challenges associated with food and nutrition security.

    The questions are based on the discussion paper with the same title prepared by the Steering Committee. The paper analyses research and innovation challenges, looks at areas of research where the EU can add most value and discusses the necessary changes in the structures within which research has traditionally been conducted. It identifies areas of research where the EU can add most value.

    The consultation will remain open for contributions until the 1st September 2015.”

    Corporate/Establishment “Reductionist Science” must be challenged and the alternatives debated.

    Please also see here: Behavioural Insights Team and Behavioural Economists?
    https://theconversation.com/how-do-we-solve-sciences-credibility-problem-39664

    Comment by Theresa — April 14, 2015 @ 8:32 am

    • Thanks for the links Theresa. For those who are so earnestly worried about science’s credibility problem, it might help if they stopped calling science a “source of truth” somehow qualitatively different from and superior to other disciplines, as well as regurgitating such patently absurd lies as “the UK, whose government prides itself on science-driven policy making.” As for “the importance of its role in shaping modern society”, for increasing numbers of people precisely that is part of science’s problem.

      This piece is actually one of the better I’ve seen among the increasingly common genre, “Whatever are we to do about science’s credibility problem!” (Perhaps that’s not unconnected with the fact that an economist rather than a “scientist” wrote it.) These are amusingly similar to all the “what’s wrong with the Democrat Party’s message” pieces circa 2004-05. As always, the problem isn’t intrinsic to your malign principles and wicked actions, but is only a matter of incompetent PR.

      Comment by Russ — April 14, 2015 @ 9:35 am

  2. Thank you Russ.
    My first link – The EU Consultation is an important one to respond to.

    I also picked up on the phrase “source of truth” in the Conversation article and squirmed.
    The author is at Southampton University UK which also was the “home” of one Professor Poppy.
    http://powerbase.info/index.php/Guy_Poppy
    https://www.gov.uk/government/people/guy-poppy
    FSA Chief Scientific Adviser (UK)
    The Chief Scientific Adviser is responsible for:
    1. the integrity of the processes used to source scientific evidence and ensure expert scientific advice is available to the agency
    2. representing the agency in the community of departmental Chief Scientific Advisers and the wider scientific community
    3. championing science within the agency through developing its scientists’ expertise.
    The CSA has overall responsibility for all of the analytical disciplines from which the agency draws advice: natural and physical sciences, social science, economics, operational research and statistics.
    Squirm.

    We need to remember that there are economists and economists.
    The author behind this Civitas Report criticises the UK Agritech Strategy for not having a plan to deal with anti GM campaigns.
    http://www.civitas.org.uk/economy/WhatStrategy
    “Glyn Gaskarth has worked for the Local Government Information Unit and the TaxPayers’ Alliance. Prior to this he worked for Accenture.
    He also served as a Special Advisor to then Shadow Home Secretary David Davis MP and as a parliamentary researcher for Oliver Letwin MP. He has a BSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics.”
    There is also an economic model called GTAP: George Philippidis
    http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130402151656/http://archive.defra.gov.uk/environment/quality/gm/crops/documents/foodmatters-gtap-modelling-1308.pdf
    Here again is George: 2010
    http://www.researchgate.net/publication/228631696_EU_import_restrictions_on_genetically_modified_feeds_impacts_on_Spanish_EU_European_Union_and_global_livestock_sectors

    The Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
    It was also a London centrally based “thinknet” of economists who came up with figures for EU Trade Deal justifications: CEPR.
    Squirm.
    European Commission:
    http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2013/september/tradoc_151787.pdf
    http://www.cepr.org/content/independent-study-outlines-benefits-eu-us-trade-agreement
    “How accurate is the CEPR study?
    The CEPR study is uses a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model to simulate the impact of TTIP.
    These are standard tools for trade economists that create a computerised simulation of the world economy and model what happens when changes are introduced. The CGE model used by CEPR is state-of-the-art. It needs to make assumptions about the economy in order to work but these are as reasonable as possible to make it as close to the real world as possible. For instance, it is able to account for the effects of economies of scale, different skill-levels of employees, imperfect competition between companies and many other features of the real world economy”
    More squirming.
    Here is a list of supporters of CEPR:
    http://www.cepr.org/content/supporters-cepr
    Squirm.

    Economists…….maybe there is some hope: http://www.isipe.net/open-letter/

    I also think we have to remember that some scientists probably have no clue about what is going on in Agriculture (depending on their field) and have not realised what is going on with regard to GMOs and scientific integrity. AMAZING as it would seem! This is what I picked up from some of the comments on the Conversation article. The Conversation article was also published on another science blog.I will find the link because the comments make interesting reading. Could there be more scientists out there than we think who actually realise what is going on?

    Here is an other interesting link:
    http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2826759/ttip_europes_food_farms_and_animals_at_risk_from_europarl_backroom_deal.html
    “A Con-Lab Euro-stitch-up in the making”

    Comment by Theresa — April 14, 2015 @ 12:21 pm

    • Certainly mainstream economics is perhaps the most idiotic and wrongheaded cult of all. As I develop the arguments I’m going to describe in detail how fake, mystical metrics like stock prices, GDP, trade balances, deficits, and most of all “profit” are just the propaganda of power.

      Unfortunately an absolute ignorance of agriculture and farming is the standard mental state of pro-GM activists, and the STEM-credentialed ones most of all. Being such a complete ignoramus actually helps one believe in genetic engineering ideology, since there’s then zero chance of nagging doubts about germplasm quality and diversity, the genetics of produce quality, how weeds and insects react to poisons, not to mention the place of agriculture amid ecosystems and the sustainability of industrial monoculture as such. (As far as the socioeconomics, they probably mostly understand that the goal of GMOs is to drive hundreds of millions of people off the land, and they consider this to be a good thing.)

      We know the extent of the “scientific integrity” of today’s scientific establishment. It has none. How else could it have been possible for the STEM fraternity as a whole, as participants or rank and file followers, to agree:

      1. That GMOs would never be safety tested but instead dogmatically declared to be “equivalent” and “safe”.

      2. That this fundamentalist dogma was then to be anointed as one of the leading themes of the publicity presentation of “Science” as such.

      Clearly we have a fraternity-wide agreement to submit completely to corporate dictate and to use all the diminishing authority with the public they still have to regurgitate corporate lies, calling these “science”. That’s part of why their “authority” is eroding at an increasing rate.

      (A measure of their lack of confidence is how rapidly they’re losing confidence in the very term “science” and adopting the propaganda term “sound science”, which was coined by Big Tobacco lobbyists as part of their campaign to deny that smoking causes cancer. It’s no surprise, since today’s scientific liars on behalf of GMOs and Roundup are the exact same type who previously lied on behalf of cigarettes, asbestos, DDT, PCBs, dioxin, and the feeding practices that led to Mad Cow Disease. And today they also want to help eradicate antibiotics as an effective medical treatment with their lies on behalf of factory farms, the abuse of antibiotics in genetic engineering, and, again, Roundup.)

      Comment by Russ — April 14, 2015 @ 6:07 pm

    • BTW when I said that piece was better than average and perhaps because it wasn’t written by a “scientist”, I was talking about how it at least admits some of the problems endemic to system science and even hints at the corruption. More common is to take on faith that there’s nothing wrong with the scientists themselves or their endeavor, just with the stupid masses who are unable to understand it properly. (I saw one cretin today bewailing the public’s “ingratitude”.) So at most the scientists accuse themselves of not communicating well enough.

      Comment by Russ — April 14, 2015 @ 6:22 pm

      • Thanks Russ. Great newsletter!

        Comment by Theressa — April 14, 2015 @ 6:24 pm

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