Cornell students want to "debate" GMOs tomorrow, and while finding anti-science activists is easy - Michael Hanson of Consumers Union will go anywhere to undermine food, that is why The Dr. Oz Show loves him, and they also got someone named Jonathan Latham of Independent Science News - what they couldn't find was a scientist.

To an anonymous writer at Corporate Crime Reporter, a legal print newsletter, that was cause for concern, so they put out an article full of conspiracy tales designed to look like journalism - but was instead one long diatribe, likely by Latham. In the article, which was essentially an introduction and then nothing but Latham talking, Latham alleges Mark Lynas pulled out of the 'debate' after he heard Latham was going to be there, and the phrasing makes it sound like Lynas was worried because he would lose this "debate." I have given dozens of talks on agriculture and I wouldn't have gone either, not because I am worried about some guy I have never heard of, but because me showing up would legitimize him and bring me down. If Bill Nye wants to debate GMOs, sure, that is worthwhile, and I'd happily make Hanson look stupid, as long as we could film it so an edited Dr. Oz-style version crafted to make him look rational wasn't the only evidence. But an agriculture denier from something called Independent Science News? No,

And I am in the communications field. For scientists it is even less likely. Given the credibility of the anti-science side, you will have a hard time finding scientists to debate GMOs for the same reason it's difficult to find one who will bother to debate gravity and evolution. The consensus on GMOs is actually far stronger than on global warming, not to mention experimentally validated for 20 years, so a biologist knows that any group wanting a "debate" is using "teach the controversy" rationalization. It's a waste of time, the only people showing up are kooks who think GMOs cause autism, or whatever nonsense Jill Stein voters are spouting at this time of year.

I am not the legal newsletter target market, but if you are, I would tell you that reading Corporate Crime Reporter is a waste of time. 

A credible reporting site would ask, 'Who is funding this debate?' or 'Why is the organizer claiming there is no money to fly anyone in to talk, and then saying they have funding at the last minute?' To real speakers, that sounds like a scam and you'll be stuck for your plane ticket. Since Corporate Crime Reporter was just publishing one giant quote from a science denier, it certainly looks strange. It looks like a plant.

Anti-science groups recently put on a Monsanto Tribunal, the kind of sham event you expect from people who hate science, but we usually associate that stuff with weird Europeans. This is in America. Cornell is regarded as far on the left, even for academia, and that obviously corresponds to anti-science beliefs in America, but this is weird even for them.

And it's weird that any reporting group in existence for 30 years was publishing an article from this guy without anything resembling critical thinking - you know, journalism. But science is hard, maybe too hard for legal newsletter publishers to publish. That's fine, but they shouldn't default to being an anti-science mouthpiece just because 'your food is scary' is an easy narrative.