Thursday, February 20, 2014


We like to think of ourselves as intelligent, rational people, who—except where religion is concerned—make decisions based upon the best information available. I could comment on the irrationality of that position it itself—Why should we rely solely on belief where religion is concerned?—but this piece isn’t about religion: It’s about the corporate approach to the truth.

Here, I have to ask why we bring up our children to honor and tell the truth—and yet have created a culture which tolerates corporations saying pretty much what they like in pursuit of their financial interests? Such an attitude guarantees that we’ll be bombarded with propaganda—all of it self-serving, much of it deceptive, and the core of it being a downright distortion of the evidence.

Our acceptance of this situation ensures that we’ll be manipulated and deluded—and journey through life surrounded by a fog of lies—and yet we cling to the notion that we are rational. That strikes me as not just being inconsistent—but being dangerous. How can we enhance the human condition under such circumstances? And why do we hold the truth in such low esteem?

An area of particular concern is the scientific one which is supposedly based upon evidence. Where pure academic research is involved, it may well be—but it certainly isn’t where corporations are involved. A case in point is the medical world where we are led to believe that all treatment is evidence-based in accordance with the best scientific principles, but which even a modicum of research shows is more driven by hunch, opinion and the profit motive than science. In fact, that’s exactly why there is an evidence-based movement in medicine. It’s a praiseworthy attempt to reclaim the medical high ground. It is a tragedy indeed that it has been found necessary to talk about “evidence-based medicine” as opposed to “medicine.” They should be one and the same.

The piece which prompted these observations is from In it Dr Mercola comments as follows:

There are plenty of indications suggesting that the evidence-based paradigm across sciences is built on quicksand, having been largely bought and paid for by many major multinational corporations.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the chemical industry, where pesticide companies posing as “biotechnology” firms specializing in genetics have peddled their wares based on seriously flawed science from the very beginning.

Increasing numbers of scientists are now speaking out in objection to the rampant scientific misconduct muddling the field. Public mistrust in scientists and the corporations that pay them is also on the rise—and rightfully so. Conflicts of interest have become the norm within virtually all fields of science, which creates a completely unworkable situation in the long run.

Our society is largely built on the idea that science can help us make good, solid decisions. But now we’re facing a world so rife with problems caused by the very sciences that were supposed to keep us healthy, safe, and productive, it’s quite clear that we’re heading toward more than one proverbial brick wall.

In a sense, the fundamental role of science itself has been hijacked for selfish gain. Looking back, you can now see that the preferred business model of an industry was created first, followed by “scientific evidence” that supports the established business model.

The injection of industry employees into every conceivable branch of government has led to insanely detrimental health and environmental policies, and the generally accepted idea that scientific integrity is somehow an unassailable fact has allowed the scam to continue for as long as it has. Good old fashioned gangster tactics have also kept the spiel going.

Dr. Mercola then focuses on the specific matter of GMOs and the withdrawal of the French report that expressed such concern about them.

If 24 months of a rat’s life equates to about 80 years of your child’s, the 13-month mark would be somewhere in your child’s early to mid-40s... GMOs have only been on the market in mass quantities for about a decade. If the effects are as dramatic and as dire as Séralini’s research suggests, then we still have about three decades to go before the jig is up and the effects become apparent, en masse, more or less all at once, in the general population.

GMOs are a long-range gamble, and the pesticide industry is gambling that they won’t have to deal with the fallout once it occurs. Since the publication of Séralini’s 2012 paper, mounting research suggests that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, may be to blame for many of the health problems associated with GE foods, although in the Séralini study, the adverse effects were equally dramatic in rats fed GE maize grown without Roundup.

Study Retracted for No Other Reason Than They Don’t Want It to Be True?

In November 2013, the publisher (Elsevier) retracted the Séralini study saying it “did not meet scientific standards.” However, despite having been reviewed by twice the typical number of referees prior to publication, and having undergone what the publisher called “an intense year-long review” after publication, it wasn’t retracted due to errors, fraud, or even the slightest misrepresentation of data. It was retracted because the publisher deemed the findings inconclusive.

The thing is, inconclusiveness of findings is not a valid ground for retraction.3According to the guidelines for scientific retractions set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the only grounds for a retraction are either clear evidence that the findings are unreliable due to misconduct (data fabrication) or honest error, plagiarism or redundant publication, and/or unethical research.

The reason for the retraction is so ludicrously flimsy, it’s virtually impossible to conclude that Séralini’s paper was retracted for any other reason than the fact that it seriously disrupted the status quo, which is that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) foods are safe and nutritionally equivalent to its non-GMO counterparts.

I have not followed the GMO issue as closely as Dr. Mercola, so I’ll leave you to do your own research on that. Nonetheless, I have no doubt at all that his wider point is valid:

The current “evidence-based” paradigm across sciences has been largely bought and paid for by corporations

Corporations are extraordinarily useful legal entities—and we need them—but I hold to the view that corporate power has got entirely out of hand and needs to be reined in. In addition, it would profit us all if integrity could become innate to the corporate culture.

IM-POSSIBLE! you will cry. Yet here is the thing: There are already some corporation of integrity out there—just not enough of them.

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