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HuckleB

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 29,287

Journal Archives

AAAS Scientists: Consensus on GMO Safety Firmer Than For Human-Induced Climate Change

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-entine/post_8915_b_6572130.html

Also see:

Infographic: Climate change vs. GMOs: Comparing the independent global scientific consensus
http://geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/07/08/climate-change-vs-gmos-comparing-the-independent-global-scientific-consensus/

AAAS Scientists: Consensus on GMO Safety Firmer Than For Human-Induced Climate Change

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-entine/post_8915_b_6572130.html

Also see:

Infographic: Climate change vs. GMOs: Comparing the independent global scientific consensus
http://geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/07/08/climate-change-vs-gmos-comparing-the-independent-global-scientific-consensus/

Autism 'caused by genetics', study suggests

Source: The Independent

Autism is almost entirely genetic in origin, new research has suggested, with between 74 and 98 per cent of cases down to biological make-up.

A study conducted by the Medical Research Council looked at 516 twins, and found that rates of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) were higher in identical twins who share the same DNA.

This means that the condition is far more heritable than previously thought.

The study, which appears in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, also found that genes were responsible for autistic traits and behaviours in the general population.

Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/autism-caused-by-genetics-study-suggests-10086939.html



FYI.

The Vaccine Debate: Why We Fight About Science

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/health/2015/03/03/vaccine-debate-fight-science/24313999/

"...

Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said most lay people are not equipped to distinguish between sound and weak scientific articles. He said about 4,000 are published every day, and most are mediocre. Some are awful. A Google search of scientific articles does not make you a scientific expert.

For instance, a parent might "research" the chicken pox vaccine then choose not to immunize his or her child against chicken pox.


"What do they mean by research?" Offit said. "They Googled 'chicken pox' and read people's opinions on it. If you want to research, you should read the 300 studies done on chicken pox and the chicken pox vaccine."

To fully understand the studies on the reproduction of the wild chicken pox virus compared to the vaccine virus in the body, or the data on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, one would need expertise on microbiology, immunology and statistics, Offit said. Most parents don't have that, so they rely on the advice of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Advice, he says, that has "dramatically decreased the incidence of disease in this country."

..."



-------------------------------------------------


Granted, the piece could have been much more in depth, but there are a couple of important points that are often lost when discussing science online.

I'd Put Warning Labels On Mutagenic Plants Before GMOs

" ...

Once science discovered that new versions of plants could be created much faster than the old way of grafting, by controlling radiation instead of letting nature just create chaos and danger, they began to do it. In 1936, the world was introduced to mutagenesis, a controlled way to bombard a plant with ionizing radiation and get something new. It was wildly successful, over 2,200 varieties of crops in use right now were created using genetic modification - but since it was genetic modification due to mutagenesis it is considered a "conventional breeding technique" and completely allowed in Europe. Enjoy organic food? You are eating a GMO.

What does that tell weird lack of distinction tell us? It tells us that the anti-GMO craze in Europe is a legal issue, not a science one. They picked a completely arbitrary definition in order to include 1990s genetic modification without wiping out almost 100% of the genetically modified crops then in use. It might as well be called an anti-Monsanto law, since companies like BASF and DuPont have rushed to satisfy the market that Monsanto is not allowed to serve by simply going back to less precise genetic modification - mutagenesis.

At Genetic Literacy Project, I discuss the problem with that stance. It's good for DuPont and BASF, of course, Europe has basically used government fiat to ban a competitor, but bad for common sense and public understanding of science on The Continent. GMOs were created because they could be more precise than older techniques while, as a report by the National Academy of Sciences noted, mutagenesis gets a free pass “despite the expectation that mutant varieties may possess and generate more unexpected outcomes … because of the unpredictable and uncontrollable nature of non-targeted mutations.”

..."



Link to short piece: http://www.science20.com/science_20/blog/id_put_warning_labels_on_mutagenic_plants_before_gmos-127348

Link to longer piece: http://geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/10/20/mutagenesis-one-way-europeans-wish-it-was-1936-again/


_______________________________



Very interesting take on the matter, IMO.

Why don't organic food companies label foods as being derived from mutation breeding?



http://www.science20.com/kevin_folta/atomic_gardening_ultimate_frankenfoods-91836



More links on mutagenesis:

http://www.science20.com/science_20/blog/id_put_warning_labels_on_mutagenic_plants_before_gmos-127348

"... Once science discovered that new versions of plants could be created much faster than the old way of grafting, by controlling radiation instead of letting nature just create chaos and danger, they began to do it. In 1936, the world was introduced to mutagenesis, a controlled way to bombard a plant with ionizing radiation and get something new. It was wildly successful, over 2,200 varieties of crops in use right now were created using genetic modification - but since it was genetic modification due to mutagenesis it is considered a "conventional breeding technique" and completely allowed in Europe. Enjoy organic food? You are eating a GMO.

What does that tell weird lack of distinction tell us? It tells us that the anti-GMO craze in Europe is a legal issue, not a science one. They picked a completely arbitrary definition in order to include 1990s genetic modification without wiping out almost 100% of the genetically modified crops then in use. It might as well be called an anti-Monsanto law, since companies like BASF and DuPont have rushed to satisfy the market that Monsanto is not allowed to serve by simply going back to less precise genetic modification - mutagenesis.

At Genetic Literacy Project, I discuss the problem with that stance. It's good for DuPont and BASF, of course, Europe has basically used government fiat to ban a competitor, but bad for common sense and public understanding of science on The Continent. GMOs were created because they could be more precise than older techniques while, as a report by the National Academy of Sciences noted, mutagenesis gets a free pass “despite the expectation that mutant varieties may possess and generate more unexpected outcomes … because of the unpredictable and uncontrollable nature of non-targeted mutations.”

..."


and...

http://geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/10/20/mutagenesis-one-way-europeans-wish-it-was-1936-again/

Mike Adams attacks Jimmy Kimmel for “hate speech”

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/03/03/mike-adams-attacks-jimmy-kimmel-for-hate-speech/

"...

Did you watch the video? I did. Kimmel didn’t make fun of any children, “vaccine-injured,” autistic, or neurotypical, or otherwise. Not at all. Rather, he made fun of “antivaxers,” basically mocking their sense of entitlement and, above all, their apparent belief that their Google University knowledge trumps the actual knowledge of doctors, using a rather hilarious fake public service announcement with doctors complaining about this and using slightly profanity-laced exhortations to parents to get their kids vaccinated. It was an excellent deconstruction of the Dunning-Kruger effect that makes antivaccinationists antivaccinationists.

Kimmel’s five minute comedy bit is not “hate speech,” although complaining about “hate speech” or “bullying” has become the go-to whine from antivaccinationists facing criticism for their choices, a whine that’s become even more intense in light of the Disneyland measles outbreak since Christmas. Criticism of pseudoscience and quackery is not “hate speech.” It’s just not. For one thing, hate speech usually involves attacking groups who are the way they are through no choice of their own. Think attacking Jews or African-Americans on the basis of their religion or race. Think attacking homosexuals because of their sexual orientation. Yes, those are the examples Adams used, but how is one of these things (antivaccinationists) not like the others (blacks or homosexuals)? That’s right. Antivaccinationists choose to be antivaccinationists. Also, blacks and gays do no harm to society by being black or gay. Antivaccinationists, through their choices not to vaccinate, are largely responsible for the resurgence of diseases once thought vanquished—like measles.

...

Oh, please. Pot. Kettle. Black. This is from a man who routinely refers to scientists as being the equivalent of “Nazis” (no, actually, he likened Monsanto and pro-GMO advocates explicitly to Nazis and strongly implied that it would be right to kill them for their “heinous crimes,” starting up and later shutting down a site called “Monsanto Collaborators”) and castigates science itself as evil, while ranting against big pharma. Hypocrisy, thy name is Mike Adams (among others). By Adams’ own definition, he engages in hate speech himself far beyond any accusation he can come up with against Jimmy Kimmel in his fevered imagination. It’s just another example of what a joke Mike Adams is. Unfortunately, he’s an influential joke.

Over the last few years, antivaccinationists have tried to liken themselves to traditionally oppressed or discriminated against groups, such as blacks, gays, or others in a transparent ploy to deflect criticism and paint it as “oppression.” Adams’ little screed takes that technique and hilariously puts it on steroids and cranks it up to 11. (Yes, when it comes to Adams, I like to shamelessly mix metaphors.) It’s over-the-top, even by Mike Adams’ standards.

..."


------------------------------------------------


In case anyone thought the anti-vaccine crowd might be choosing to come to its senses.


Alas...

Anti-vaccine conspiracy sites #1: National Vaccine Information Center

This is Barbara Loe Fisher's scam page, and it has fooled many a person with its high falutin' name, which sounds so reasonable. Ah, but reasonable it is not. And yet it is sometime used by posters at DU to support anti-vaccine viewpoints.

Here are couple of good links about the NVIC and Barbara Loe Fisher:

Barbara Loe Fisher
http://skepdic.com/fisherbl.html

NVIC: Know The Omissions
http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com/2013/03/nvic-know-omissions.html

And there are multiple posts about the NVIC and its unethical acts here:
http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/tag/national-vaccine-information-center/


------------------------------------------

Bottom line:

Friends don't let friends post NVIC nonsense.

The biggest myth about vaccine deniers: That they’re all a bunch of hippie liberals

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/01/26/the-biggest-myth-about-vaccine-deniers-that-theyre-all-a-bunch-of-hippie-liberals/

I've been here for just as long.

I wish I felt the same way. My impression is that DU has become very insular over time. Discussion is scuttled and evidence does not matter like it did when it first began. The vehement who do not care about evidence scare away those who do care about evidence, and far too many DUers stand on the sidelines allowing the anti-evidence crowd to take over, because they don't want to deal with conflict, and with ugly attacks.

It's nice to pretend that things are different than they are, but they're not.

I wish things were different. This place had a lot of promise, but the promise has dissolved.
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