Thanksgiving Science 2015

In the mood for some science on Thanksgiving? Me too, science is the one thing that has not...

Poll Averaging Was No More Accurate In 2012 Than It Is Now

In 2012, the enthusiasm for poll averaging reached a fever pitch. Very few people were critical...

Fossil Fuel Divestment: An Intellectual Placebo For The Wealthy College Near You

“Here’s my bet: the kids are going to win and when they do, it’s going to matter,” prophesized...

Would Shoppers Be Happy If They Know Organic Trade Groups Use Member Fees For Hate Speech?

Organic food has managed to wrap itself in both a health and ethical halo and a lot of the credit...

User picture.
picture for Josh Bloompicture for Norm Bensonpicture for Georg von Hippelpicture for Robert H Olleypicture for Ignatius Bradypicture for Tommaso Dorigo
Hank CampbellRSS Feed of this column.

I'm the founder of Science 2.0® in 2006 and, since July of 2015, the President of the American Council on Science and Health.

Revolutionizing... Read More »

Dr. Chuck Benbrook is an economist who may be an adjunct at Washington State University but calls himself a research professor and tells the public he is an expert in biology. Why so many organic food proponents believe a guy about something as complex as genetic modification when he can't even get his own title correct is a mystery we can't solve today but we know his credibility sure won't be bolstered up by an op-ed he just published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  
A decade ago, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) cared little about science. They were run by a staffer from the Democratic party who was put in the place to mobilize soft-money donations from friendly foundations and political committees. Republicans were in power - times were good for them.

Academic scientists barely noticed their partisan skew because Republicans Were Anti-Science. They accepted evolution by 9 percentage points less than Democrats, President Bush funded human embryonic stem cell research for the first time in the NIH but limited it to existing lines as a compromise, so UCS claimed he banned it. And there was that global warming thing.
Methane has 23X the short term warming impact of CO2 but, it was noted by environmentalists when they used to advocate for natural gas, methane is very short-lived and the amount released due to natural gas usage is negligible.

Yet now the Environmental Protection Agency is looking for ways to punish the booming natural gas industry and they are citing methane as a problem.
It used to be that clean energy was something that environmental lobbyists pretended to care about, at least when it came to raising money.  Greenpeace, NRDC, you name it, they all put clean energy in their tool chest of ways to get their hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank.

Of course, they never actually built anything to help us get clean energy, just like they don't do any science and instead prefer to criticize those who know what they're talking about. They just embrace whatever isn't shown to be viable and abandon efforts that succeed, as they did with ethanol and natural gas after they got the uptake they insisted was needed.
US Right to Know of Oakland, California, is using Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to suppress and harass scientists and imply they have unethical links to the agricultural biotechnology industry - in short, the group insists scientists are being bought off.

What was wrong when opposition groups did it to climate scientists, according to supporters of anti-science agendas like Union of Concerned Scientists and Natural Resources Defense Council, is suddenly just fine when it is being used against every other evidence-based position, but especially when it comes to helping their wealthy donors in the $100 billion Big Organic industry.

A group of academics have channeled their inner Bernie Sanders and written a wonderfully naïve op-ed about how to lower drug prices: Destroy the industry that made America the world leader in biotechnology.

It's simple. Let government control drug prices and then corporations will just do what they always do, but it will be a lot cheaper. It is so simplistic it could have been written by Paul Krugman in the New York Times. It is also in defiance of how science, creativity and medical advancement works, and would lead to a mass exodus of science jobs from America.