Green Parties aren’t so Green

By @TakeThatGMOs

Image result for jill steinIn this publishing, I will focus on Green parties and environmentalism, and how green parties get environmental protection wrong.

What are Green parties?

Wikipedia defines Green parties as a”Formally organized political party based on the principles of green politics, such as social justice, environmentalism and nonviolence.”

Green parties are found all over the world. Here’s a list of green parties from around the world. The world’s first Green parties began appearing in the early 70s in Germany and Australia. The German Green party was the first Green party to achieve national prominence in their respective country. One of their key pillars was their opposition to nuclear energy.

Green parties and environmental protection

Green parties are primarily concerned in theory with protecting the environment and environmental conservation. That in its own regard is a good cause. The issue lies with how Green parties go about trying to protect the environment.

Green parties are anti-science on nuclear energy

The UK Green Party wants to phase out fossil-fuel based energy generation and nuclear power. Jill stein, the US Green Party’s candidate for president wants to phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies. Moreover, Stein has compared nuclear power plants with weapons of mass destruction on more than one occasion.

In this instance, the UK & US Green Parties are wrong on nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is safereliable and clean.

The evidence over six decades shows that nuclear power is a safe means of generating electricity. The risk of accidents in nuclear power plants is low and declining. The consequences of an accident or terrorist attack are minimal compared with other commonly accepted risks. Radiological effects on people of any radioactive releases can be avoided.

Not only that, but nuclear power is the most reliable source of energy in use today and produces the least carbon emissions, even less than solar power.

Capacity Factor by Generating Source
Source: Nuclear Energy Institute

Life Cycle Carbon Emissions
Source: Nuclear Energy Institute
Arguably, the only legitimate concern with nuclear energy is the radioactive waste. Even then, the amounts of nuclear waste produced is negligible, safe to store and can even be used as a resource.

65% of scientists support building more nuclear power plants as opposed to 35% who aren’t sure or don’t support the building of more nuclear power plants.

Green Parties go against the established scientific evidence, and oppose nuclear energy, which is the most reliable way forward for green energy.

Green Parties and GMOs 

GMOs have been established as a safe and very promising technology. Fears about GMOs are completely unwarranted, and go against the established scientific consensus. GMOs may provide the solution to nutrient deficiencies as well as food supply problems in poorer countries. They can be engineered to grow in unfavorable climates as well as be engineered to contain more nutrients, such as beta carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A in golden rice. Moreover, GMOs can be engineered to produce biofuels, which can be a great way to combat carbon emissions produced by cars, the second largest producer of carbon emissions.

The UK Green Party opposes GMOs, and supports placing a moratorium on them, as well as restrict research on GMOs. Here’s Jill Stein’s take:

Not only is her information on GMOs completely wrong, but she also uses biased sources such as Organic Consumers Union and Union of Concerned Scientists as sources, both of which are incredibly dishonest and have their own agendas to push. The Organic Consumers Union for instance wants to spread the sale of organic food, and so have an obvious benefit in scaring people from buying GMOs.

The Canadian Green Party wants to ban GMOs and stop ANY research done on them. This is the very first paragraph from the CGP’s page on GE organisms:

Genetically engineered (GE) organisms may pose a potentially serious threat to human health and the health of natural ecosystems. Many Canadians want to follow the example of the European Union and ban GE crops. At a minimum, GE products must be labeled, giving consumers the right to know and to say no to GE foods.

Paranoia and fear of GMOs and opposition to them won’t be of any use. GMOs are tested very thoroughly and have huge potential in reducing carbon emissions. Yet again, the stances held by Green parties are not so green.

Alternative Medicine

The GPUS supports alternative medicine:

Greens support a wide range of health care services, not just traditional medicine, which too often emphasizes “a medical arms race” that relies upon high-tech intervention, surgical techniques and costly pharmaceuticals. Chronic conditions are often best cured by alternative medicine. We support the teaching, funding and practice of holistic health approaches and, as appropriate, the use of complementary and alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and other healing approaches.

Other Woo:

Stein’s infamous rambling about how WiFi can damage children’s minds as well as people having “questions about vaccines” and her claims that the agencies that work on insuring vaccines are safe and reliable are “influenced by pharmaceutical companies”  is the final straw in her scientific credibility.

To conclude:

Green parties and green politics support very noble causes in trying to counteract climate change and work towards protection and conservation. However, Green parties simply don’t follow the science when doing this.

Green parties are just simply not so green.

 

 

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What’s the Next Battle Against Pseudoscience on GMOs? 

By @TakeThatGMOs

  The ‘War on Science’ as it is called, is an endless ‘war’ that will last with us humans however ling we live. The main objectives, should they exist, can never be fully fulfilled. As Steven Novella puts it – and as some wars go – when it comes to the War on Science, the only focus should be on the next battle, and not the whole war, as this is one of the most unpredictable and unstable wars. When it comes to GMOs, what should that next battle be?

First up: politics

The current political battleground hangs mostly on labelling GMOs in the USA and the current delays in the EU. Things in either side are going very slowly. The anti-GMO movement certainly  hasn’t persuaded everyone to join in and label, and it appears that quite the opposite is happening, with celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel and many others using their fame, in a way, to help push for the pro-GMO side. The public is getting to hear more of the pro-GMO side and the pro-GMO side is louder than ever, as it showed during the March Against Myths (counter protesters against the March Against Monsanto) campaign. 

Another side here is the Republicans, who tend to be more pro-corporate and so may support GMOs more. This however may be shaken up with Bernie Sanders, who gets the case about labelling wrong. As I’ve discussed in a previous article, labelling GMOs is the wrong side to take here, and won’t be the most helpful choice. It is also important to remember that labelling is only the first step, and making labelling a federal mandate will only open up the doors for more action against GMOs. If GMOs do get down that very unlikely path, the end for biotech would be near. 

Which gets me to my point. Many, many scientific organisations, biotech companies (including drug manufacturers) and millions of people would stand against such a law. Monsanto would probably take it to the SCOTUS and scientific organisations would stand against such a thing in either way. Since GMOs are under no real threat right now, considering Obama’s very scientific agenda, we can try avoiding all of this by furthering science to the public. 

Most common myths

GMOs are practically enshrined in myths. So much information and, therefore, misinformation exists about GMOs. It is arguably the biggest pseudoscience topic, as I’ve argued before.

The existence of so many fronts to battle on and the lack of a public consensus as well as the education system being littered with such misinformation and the general image of ‘natural is better’ makes this a very tough battle. To summarise previous statements from this article, the consensus on vaccines and evolution is far, far bigger in the scientific community, and those denying evolution are the minority of the US population. Likewise, a big scientific consensus exists on vaccines and most of the population is vaccinated or is pro-vaccines. It is true that GMOs have a big scientific consensus, beating climate change and standing at 88%, however this is no good as the public has the worst scientific record on GMOs, with the pro-science side only being a major minority. 

  I always use this picture to demonstrate my points. I’m tired of doing that. 

To obviously win the battle on the public front (a very strategic front as it affects legislation as well) we need to go in one bit by another. We don’t have the huge majority of scientists that quickly come through and debunk creationism. We have a lot of scientists worrying about the GMOs, yet it’s just as much of a pseudoscience as creationism. To be fair the most concerns aren’t about safety but wrong information is wrong information. This is bad (obviously). To make problems worse, the GMOs campaign also (similarly to the vaccines and climate change campaigns) opens up to economics and ethics. Those things don’t make the issue here any easier. Evolution v creationism only focuses on science. That’s it. But the extent of the aspects affecting GMOs here is one of the reasons the pseudoscience on GMOs hasn’t been stopped. The above things mentioned makes this THE worst issue to deal with. 

To slowly and gradually win over public support, what’s the next battle that should be fought over GMOs? The scientific bit. That may, unhelpfully, sound a bit vague. Currently the debated health impacts and environmental impacts are what inspire people to join. These are the false ideas that make people passionate and want to spread their messege. Thankfully as well, more and more of the public knows not to fall for this and instead picks on Monsanto, ethics and economics (upcoming article). Getting people in the ‘pro-GMO; anti-Monsanto’ area is a great success on our part and can get us to be able to drive home the labelling question and solve the larger problem on the small, meaningless details. 

Here’s the thing, the issue over safety is not only the backbone of the anti-GMO movement but also it’s heart. Taking out that heart will kill the rest of the body. 

It is also the most useful battle as we’re already winning it. I see many people, for example in SciShow’s recent video about GMOs, accepting the facts over safety but jumping on the patents and contamination issues. In this way, the issue starts to move over from public VS GMOs and labelling to the public VS Monsanto, which has less to do with legislation and laws and science and GMOs and more to do with corporations and ethics. GMOs that are helpful would be widely accepted.

Maybe the end is in sight for the anti-GMO movement. 

Wait, what’s that ringing sound. Oh, Dr Mercola just published his latest article and people are already retweeting. Crap. 

The best of homeopathy on the web – at either end of the spectrum

Folks, Amedeo here. Now, being a ghost, I am not one for big words. I therefore present you here the best and the rest from my link collection – enjoy!

Top Ten

  1. How does Homeopathy work?– basically, you need look no further. But if you care to, here are the folks behind it:
  2. http://www.1023.org.uk/
  3. Should you feel a need to go deeper, why not head over to the recent, large scale evidence review done by the Aussies.
  4. Or revisit last month’s US FDA hearing on homeopathy – webcast recordings now available. Transcripts should be out some time in the future.
  5. Now this, folks, is how it should NOT be done.
  6. And certainly, this is some of the most important things that should NOT be done (similar folks are all over the place – Haiti and most recently, Nepal):
  7. Whatstheharm (they’re on twitter, too: @WhatsTheHarm) do a great job presenting exactly how fraudulent quacks are dangerous.
  8. Now to lighten things up a bit, I leave you with: “Towards a Quantum Mechanical Interpretation of Homeopathy
  9. A bit of poesy
  10. and… a game: Homeopathic Battleship! Yay!

 Bottom Ten

  1. Let’s start with the man himself, old Sam H, and his bible: The Organon of Medicine.
  2. Now how do our diluted friends go about evidence gathering? While they stubbornly keep at RCTs, here’s how they’re all wrong: why RCTs are not at tool for assessing efficacy (has maths!)
  3. But wait, beyond Evidence THAT it works, can they also figure out HOW it works? Well, this is what’s being taught to BHMS students in India – and they do one hell of a job absorbing the gospel.  I present to you – “Nanotech in Homoeopathy” – by Ms. Haripriya, 2nd Year BHMS student.
  4. And if you haven’t seen enough yet, the memory of water is certainly one of the most beloved ideas to woosters.
  5. So the gold standard for evidence gathering is not the RCT, but the “proving”, as laid out by Sam H.: here’s an exposé by Clever homeopathy – they now call it the homeopathic pathogenic trial. Very sciency.
  6. But can homeopathistas actually agree on how to go about it?
  7. There’s really an amazing breadth of remedies, and you can look into the respective provings here: an extensive database of the whackery (literally) being done.
  8. But my absolute HEROES are these guys.
  9. Now sadly, there are parallel universes on Twitter in which homeopathistas lock themselves into echo chambers – blocking left, right and preventatively. So, I won’t even name names but here’s one of the Twisted Sisters.
  10. and if that was not enough, here’s the absolute, rock bottom, last link I present to you – the Placebo song.

When it Comes to GMOs and Food, the Misconceptions are at Their Highest

By @TakeThatGMOs 

Many misconceptions exist about GMOs. Misinformation and even disinformation cloud the scene. Do a quick Google search of GMOs, and what do you get?

You get this:

The very fact that the Institute of Responsible Technology (which by the way sells non-GM food products, see any conflicts here?), NaturalNews, Dr Mercola, Non-GMO Project and Kids Right to Know are all on the front page of the search is seriously worrying. Not only does this clearly show how misinformed the public is (Google ranks most visited websites first), it should also be ringing bells about how far the truth is from the public.

The issue when it comes to GMOs is that there’s no clear line. There’s no “clear” pro-GMOs side other than the people claimed to be “shills” and the boogeyman that is Monsanto. When it comes to evolution, for example, that line is clear. The creationist movement’s arguments and evidence are so weak they can be easily dismissed as bunk and dubious anyway. Otherwise 98% of biologists wouldn’t have accepted evolution, would they? (Ken Ham makes up the last 2%, by the way). When it comes to being against vaccines, arguably the most threatening pseudoscience, there’s a clear line of doctors and health professionals and even the public who can easily counter the dubious claims. But no such group of people clearly exist. They’re all assumed to be under the guidance of Monsanto. People don’t understand how someone supports GMOs. It’s like supporting genocide, or believing in geocentrism. People can’t understand that not everybody shares their opinions and not everyone opposing them is on a payroll. 

One should know that the amount of people misguided about GMOs far, far outweighs antivaxxers (sorry, @TakeThatSalk), and can even outweigh and crush the amount of creationists seeing as how the issue with GMOs does not correlate in that regard. You can have a person arguing for evolution and vaccines and yet be against GMOs. The issue is that bad. And when it comes to consensus, the consensus for GMOs is BIGGER than that for climate change. Yup.

The mainstream public has been “brainwashed” by misinformation after misinformation, things like the naturalistic fallacy, one of the the stupidest ideas out there, seeing as practically nothing you eat is natural; the idea that some chemicals like aspartame are horrible for your body; the idea that organic is better for you (organic is practically the same in every way as conventional); the idea that organic uses no pesticides, and so on and so forth.

These ideas appear practically everywhere, from mainstream YouTube shows, to qualified doctors on TV (ahem, Dr Oz, ahem) to even your biology teacher. You could be walking with your friends when misinformation about how scary McDonald’s is pops up. It is therefore important to counter any misinformation and disinformation about our food.

This brings us back to the original issue. Google announced that they wanted to put more reliable sites first, like the WHO and the FDA over the “Health Ranger”. This would make a significant difference in science communication. This is very good news abd shows that Google cares about the problem.  I have also noticed that people more knowledgeable about GMOs and food are beginning to pop up in many places, in forums, on Facebook, and on those damn YouTube comments. Maybe we’re headed for improvement, after all.

The issue with GMOs has the worst mix of all. Misconceptions about food are far more dangerous than creationism, and the amount of people holding these misconceptions is severely high. GMOs can help poor farmers and poor people and can feed an ever-hundry world. This blend makes the issue here a huge and a crucial issue to deal with, so increasing understanding and preventing misinformation from passing to others is likewise crucial.

And for God’s sake Google, fix this:

Take That, General Ignorance

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By @TehFoodBae

Here at Teh Food Bae Labs, we have one simple guideline for deciding what is good and what is bad for you: “Don’t ingest what you can’t pronounce.” Unluckily for us, in a world that’s getting stupider because of fluoride in our water, chemtrails in our skies, and GMOs in our foods, it’s often difficult to know where to start , so some things are getting harder to pronounce.

THE DANGER: DYHYDROGEN MONOXIDE IS EVERYWHERE

That’s right! There are many chemicals in foods, including many that you will find in your household, including that ever-present bugbear dihydrogen monoxide. My tests have shown conclusively that MOST of the food we eat, and EVERYTHING we drink contains this chemical. Want to know more about this insidious chemical? The website dhmo.org has this to say about it:

“Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. Its basis is the highly reactive hydroxyl radical, a species shown to mutate DNA, denature proteins, disrupt cell membranes, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters. The atomic components of DHMO are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol.”

As alarming as this is, DHMO has been responsible for countless deaths WORLDWIDE. according to the World Health Organisation, DHMO poisoning is the “ 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths” accounting for “an estimated 372,000 annual … deaths worldwide.”

The fact is, that DHMO can cause these side effects:

Worse than this, DHMO is all around us! In fact, DHMO is present in YOUR BODY in quantities up to 70%, depending on your body weight and size, and how much activity you undertake. DHMO can even leach out of your pores in times of physical and emotional distress, causing your body to lose heat through evaporation. DHMO is also prevalent in our environment; It’s in the air we breathe, in

DHMO IS EVIL!

THE RUB:

Only, it’s not. All of these overblown claims above are actually true, and DHMO is also known as water. Yep, it’s water, the lifeblood of our planet. What I’m pointing out here is that there are many out there who make a living from creating a false hype around our safety, and they do this by using large and unfamiliar words for common household items. That water can also be called “hydric acid” is often enough for ignorant people to get scared and try to remove these evil chemicals from their lives. But everything is chemicals, in fact, chemicals make up everything.

This is what I like to call “misrepresenting what is easily mispronounced”.

So be wary every time you hear either a positive or negative health claim from someone who stands to make money from whether or not you choose to believe their words. It may be genuine concern caused by ignorance, or it may be that the person selling you their miracle cure actually stands to gain from your ignorance.