GM foods cause delusions

Here at denialism blog, we’ve written a bit about so-called Morgellons syndrome. Every once in a while, when I tire of sanity, I scan the news for more Morgellons madness, and when it comes to madness, Mike Adams never disappoints.

In his latest foray into paranoid idiocy, he tries to link this non-existent illness to genetically modified (GM) foods. And what abuses of logic does he use to create this connection?

He starts with the classic “begging the question“. The entire first section of his article simply assumes that Morgellons exists as some sort of unique pathology. On what does he base his assumption? On two things: anecdotal reports, and the fact that it is being studied by the CDC (at the urging of “interest groups”). The CDC study has not been completed, and there is still no reason to think that Morgellons is anything other than delusions of parasitosis in a shiny new polyester suit. That doesn’t stop him from creating broad, unsupported connections.

He quotes a noted fake expert, Randy Wymore, who has spent a great deal of time studying Morgellons—at least, he says he has. He hasn’t really published anything to support his claims. Then he quotes many un-notable people who have supposedly analyzed Morgellons “fibers”—-this has never been done systematically and published. All that exists is anecdotal reports of individual “researchers”. According to some of these folks, they have found Agrobacterium DNA in these fibers.

And then he stops.

Because I’m not a paranoid conspiracy theorist, I had to look this up. Apparently, Agrobacterium is a favorite bugaboo of the wackier wing of the anti-GM food movement.

This is a pretty classic piece. In trying to link two somewhat wacky ideas, a crank uses smoke and mirrors to distract from the fact that he has no logical argument. But the reason to look for logical fallacies in an argument is not to immediately invalidate an idea—it is to evaluate whether or not a particular argument is prima facie invalid. Might there be a link between this new form of delusional parasitosis and GM foods? Sure, I suppose it’s not beyond the realm of the possible. The point is that his reasoning does not support his assertion.

When reading about assertions that seem a little strange, it pays to parse the argument for logical fallacies and denialist tactics.

That is, if you are interested in the truth.

Comments

  1. #1 Ticktock
    April 24, 2008

    Randy Wymore specifically went after “debunking” sites in his Oklahoma State University position paper on morgellons. I’ve never seen such an unprofessional document written by an expert. Check out my blog post on the subject by clicking my name to see some of his poor arguments against “debunkers”.

    My blog is at http://www.altparenting.com.

  2. #2 David Amulet
    April 25, 2008

    The problem is that those who DO care about the truth are those who already agree with us. Reaching those who set asides inconvenient truths for the sake of their pet beliefs is a tougher task indeed!

  3. #3 Sean Denny
    April 25, 2008

    I hope you contact this, you chicken shit mother fucker.Then I hope all your kids get it also.And you better hope you are never within fucking distance of me.I’ll give you a suppository dose of this shit,and I’ll have you squeel like a pig. I’ll make you feel totaly helpless,like we feel.

  4. #4 RMH
    April 25, 2008

    WOW Sean! Skip your meds today??

  5. #5 PalMD
    April 25, 2008

    Sean, some of your sentiments are perhaps not unwarranted, but this…

    you chicken shit mother fucker

    …is simply untrue.

    If and when you calm down, i’d direct you to this post.

    Oh, and if you wish to prove the case that those who hold to conspiracy theories are not mentally ill, you may wish to tone it down a bit.

    Just sayin’.

  6. #6 katie
    April 25, 2008

    You know what really gets me about some of these conspiracy-minded people? The whole sense they seem to exude of being really really smart. Not only do they mimic (poorly) the whole scientific investigation thing, they seem to think they’re extra-smart by doing so. It’s enough to fool perhaps those with no training at all, but really, it reminds me of a family member I had that developed schizophrenia. He went from a guy that sometimes doubted his judgement to a super-confident individual who went around with a smug smile on his face. It wasn’t until he had a huge psychotic break that we realized what was going on..

  7. #7 Denice Walter
    April 25, 2008

    Recently, on his noon-time woo-fest, Gary Null has started addressing Morgellons and GM food( two wacky ideas plus Null :Trifecta!)Over the past two months or so, the Great Nullifier, like a true Renaissance man, began to discuss the economy, politics,”philosophy” climatology, and religion in even greater detail ,neglecting his true calling. I was starting to worry. Did his lawyers get to him? Is he growing afraid of those he calls “quack busters”? But the call to woo is powerful.Expect a “hard-hitting documentary”.

  8. #8 PalMD
    April 25, 2008

    That reminds me…i have to repost a little thing on Null…I used to beat up on him quite a bit…i might have to bring it back…

  9. #9 Brendan S
    April 25, 2008

    I think this is proof that we need to stop vaccinating people.

    No wait, hear me out on this.

    I think the reason that we have instances of this is that our standard of health these days is so high, that we have people wandering around worrying about smaller and smaller health problems. We expect to feel 100% all the time.

    If we (say) allowed everything in the MMR vaccine to reintroduce itself into the population at large, people whould have real diseases to worry about.

  10. #10 JMW
    April 28, 2008

    Expect a “hard-hitting documentary”.

    Ben “Currently Being Whipped By Film Critics And Rational Thinkers Alike At The Box Office” Stein will be happy to get behind that project if it means he can kickstart his career doing something else.

    Especially considering that his science career is already over before it even started…

  11. #11 Mwana Mwega
    April 28, 2008

    This is the kind of nonsense that those who are afraid of truth engage in. They demonize corporations like Monsanto and Dupont. They disregard every evidence that indicates that genetically modified foods pose no threat to human beings and the environment. We need to tell these people and organizations that the world is tired of propaganda. Let’s discuss issues, especially those that have to do with science in an objective manner. I have just been reading a blog by this guy called James. The blog is called GMO Africa. He upholds the importance of sticking to science when debating the issue of GMOs.

  12. #12 Fred
    June 25, 2009

    I believe in looking at the scientific facts, but from a source that doesn’t have a conflict of interest. I have no way of verifying the “scientific studies” done on lab rats that were fed Monsanto’s GMO Soy. According to several YouTube videos of European News broadcasts several “scientific studies” came up with rats who were fed Monsanto’s GM soy developed tumors and other issues at a significantly higher rate than the control rats. Also, farmers themselves are going through the worst time because of the dastardly acts of this company – required to pay patent fees for the crops, getting sued for patent infringement if a single crop on their field was found to be pollinated by a Monsanto GM crop. Small farmers are scraping to get by and then they get sued by Monsanto. Can you stop a plant from getting pollinated by your neighbor’s plants? NO, you can’t. It’s in the air and travels everywhere. But this is an example of the deeds carried out by this company. Yea, I hate conspiracy theories too but do your homework on especially Monsanto before you “debunk” this so-called “conspiracy theory.” The fact of the matter is that there ARE actually a few people and corporations who will manipulate, lie, cheat, kill to get money and power if they can get away with it. There are murderers and fraudsters everywhere in this world, don’t be so naive to believe that this is impossible. Our Congressmen (US) is bombarded by lobbyists from all industries.

    Ok enough, just watch the YouTube video news broadcasts about Monsanto before you dismiss this with an off-hand. I agree that 95% or 99% of all conspiracies are false. But this one in particular deserves some follow-up. I suffer from many unexplainable food allergies, more especially to soy and wheat products.

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