Posts Tagged ‘Advocacy and science’

Science and advocacy do not mix (the “Greenpeace syndrome”?)

December 4, 2012

It is not the first time that “activists” have turned to dubious and manipulated science to further their cause. And it will not be the last. The peer-review process which is supposed to catch this kind of politically motivated pseudoscience is often not capable of doing so – and certainly not when the purported science is presented in a stage manged  PR exercise. Anything published by an advocacy group may – sometimes – contain some science but – and it should be axiomatic – no advocacy report is ever science.

In this case a “scientist” – Gilles-Eric Seralini – who is also a well-known activist campaigning against GM crops managed to get the reputed Elsevier Food and Chemical Toxicology journal to publish some highly dubious results that genetically modified corn caused tumors in rats. Seralini is also known for making up honors or paying for them to be awarded to himself! Perhaps this should be called the “Greenpeace syndrome”. Greenpeace is not averse either to making up science to further their political goals. (In fact Greenpeace just today published another apparently independent study in favour of wind power but which they had themselves commissioned!)

Reuters reports today that

(Reuters) – The publisher of a much-criticized study suggesting genetically modified corn caused tumors in rats has come under heavy pressure from scientists to retract the paper and explain why it was ever printed.

(more…)


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