I usually just reblog from Anthony’s site, but this one seemed to need a bit more. So, for my friends with concerns regarding GMO and all things modern with respect to food, here is an article where a poor study was published, then retracted, by a science journal.
Each of Anthony’s articles is read by thousands (or more) and each garners lots of comments, some from quite knowledgeable people. Sadly, it is not possible, nor polite, to weed through and keep only the good comments. Zeke’s comments are among the best on this topic.
WUWT posts the story pointing out how good science self-corrects. The point of the post is to contrast to climate science articles that get discredited thoroughly, yet they stay published, without retraction. Food and medicine research tend to self correct more than much of science, but there seems to be lots of latitude and variability along the way. Mistakes in food and medicine show up so fast that it cannot help but self-correct. There is also plenty of expertise in these fields, and high-profile. Sadly, these fields are still prone to politicization. It is sad when a disease or an advance in food science becomes politicized because of the delays for good and the protection of the bad. Lots of harm. Politics and science should try hard to stay far apart.
So, my summary of the situation with the GMO food, the peer review process raised lots of questions, but the authors answered. The journal published. (That is how they make their money, after all.) Then there were lots of questions and accusations from the readership. The journal got directly involved, reviewed hard themselves, and realized the reviewers shouldn’t have given up. While the authors still hold to their findings and conclusions, even they admit the results are shaky. Overall, it would appear the study really shows no cause for concern.
An obvious side effect of the publication of results that are at best questionable and inconclusive is that the fear-mongers latched on to it and publicized and raised the alarm bells, heedless of any rather obvious problems in the study.
For me, the subject of GMO is moot and meaningless. Humans have genetically modified everything they could figure out how to, in every way they could figure, for as far back in history as we can discern. For bible scholars, I’ll ask, what do you think Jacob was managing with the cattle betwixt himself and Laban?
We first figured out how to select the varieties that suited us best and promote procreation among those. Our skills improved over the generations. We eventually figured out the science behind it. Then we figured out the genome. At each step we have figured out better, or at least faster, ways to genetically modify organisms, especially those we eat.
It is easy to fear. It is best to simply keep your eyes open and stay alert to new dangers. Making up fears and dangers before they exist is a sure way to live a miserable, low-productivity life.