[Ctrl-P] Orac: Bad science about GMOs: It reminds me of the antivaccine movement (revisited)

3 monkeysIk krijg er niet genoeg van, van slechte wetenschap. Zonder zou deze blog niet bestaan. En net daarom hou ik zo veel van al die anti-vaxers, liefhebbers van magisch water a.k.a homeopaten, creationisten en recentelijk ook van die aandoenlijke anti-ggo-activisten. Ja, oké, “houden van” is misschien een entwat verkeerde en misleidende woordkeuze: ik blijf het namelijk onverantwoord gevaarlijke zotten vinden. Fascineren, da’s het woord waarnaar ik zocht.

De enige groep die mijn inziens nog een (heel) klein beetje getuigt van gezond verstand, of beter, die toch minstens een zweempje zelfreflectie aan de dag legt, is de verzameling creationisten van Answers in Genesis. Zij hebben tenminste een lijst van argumenten die ze hun volgelingen afraden om te gebruiken: Arguments that should never be used. Lijkt mij trouwens een zéér bruikbaar idee voor die andere nutters.

Nu, in zekere zin bestaan zulke lijsten, zo is er de Homeopathie Bullshit Bingo. Maar het zou iets meer waarde hebben, moest de kritische reflectie ontstaan in de eigen kringen zelf, toch?

Maar zolang zulke (zelf)kritische reflex ontbreekt, doen wij het. Of beter, laten we het iemand anders doen. Deze [Ctrl-P] is een langer blogartikel van Ueberskeptic Orac, die een parallel ziet tussen de anti-vaccinatie- en de anti-ggo-beweging. Een (ongestaafde) bewering, gok zo u wil, ten persoonlijke titel: ik vermoed dat de overlapping tussen beide anti-groeperingen angstaanjagend groot is. Maar soit.

*  *  *

Orac: Bad science about GMOs: It reminds me of the antivaccine movement (revisited)

I was, not too long ago, fairly agnostic on the issue of GMOs and their safety, although, truth be told, because I have PhD in a biomedical science and because my lab work has involved molecular biology and genetics since I was a graduate student in the early 1990s. I found the claims of horrific harm attributable to GMOs not particularly convincing, but hadn’t bothered to take that deep a look into them. It was not unlike my attitudes towards the the claims that cell phones cause cancer a few years ago, before I started finding dubious studies and looking into them and noted despite the utter lack of a remotely plausible mechanism and uniformly negative studies except for a group in Sweden with a definite ax to grind on the issue. None of this stops activists from likening cell phone companies to tobacco companies, the way antivaccine loons liken vaccine manufacturers to tobacco companies. Back then, I realized that there wasn’t really a plausible mechanism by which radio waves from cell phones could cause cancer in that the classic mechanisms by which ionizing radiation can break DNA molecular bonds and cause mutations don’t apply, but I didn’t rule out a tiny possibility that there might be an as yet unappreciated mechanism by which long term exposure to radio waves might contribute to cancer.

As was the case for the nonexistent cell phone-cancer link, there has now been a steady drip-drip-drip of bad studies touted by anti-GMO activists as “evidence” that GMOs are the work of Satan that will corrupt or kill us all (and make us fat, to boot). Not too long ago, I came across one such study, a truly execrable excuse for science by Gilles-Eric Séralini at the University of Caen purporting to claim that Roundup-resistant genetically modified maize can cause horrific tumors in mice. I looked at the methods and conclusions and what I found was some of the worst science I had ever seen, every bit as bad as the quack “science” used by the antivaccine movement, as anti-GMO activists worry about GMOs sapping and impurifying their precious bodily fluids. Then, not too long ago, I discovered a truly quacktastic bit of fear mongering by Jack Heinemann about GMOs in which, or so it is claimed, GMOs produce silencing RNAs that not only survive transit through the gut, get into the bloodstream and thence into cells to inhibit the expression of specific genes, and even get passed down to the next generation to kill your children.

Lees hier verder.