Dr. Oz.

Rockstar of Science.

Major, massive, epic moron.

Homeboy invites our Dr. Pam Ronald on his show to talk about GMOs. Great public science outreach opportunity. I was excited for her and for the field and for the public.

But you know ‘crank magnetism’? Its never surprising when an anti-vaxer turns out to be a Holocaust Denier or (and) a 9/11 Truther, etc etc etc? I guess I shouldnt have been surprised at all that all the cranks get their moves from the same play-book.

See, Oz invited Pam on his show to talk about GMOs. But he didnt ‘really’ want to talk to her (or anyone) about GMOs… other than a random hobo he found on the street Jeffery Smith. Whos Jeffery Smith? Who the fuck knows. Hes just some guy who REALLY DOESNT LIKE GMOS DEY BE KILLIN MAH BABBYS I NUT KRAZY! Here is his totally not crazy website. Kinda reminds me of Lenny Horowitzs totally not crazy website. I mean, totally not crazy, rite??

And the articles Jeffy writes reflects his lack of education. And crazy. Like this one.

USDA’S GM PLUMS MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH

To a working virologist and geneticist, that article is mind blowingly stupid. I mean, hes gone right passed Not-Even-Wrong-Country and has driven off the Cliff-of-WHA? I might tear it apart later, but I kinda teared apart an almost same rant a while back.

So Rockstar of Science Oz, someone Chris Mooney thinks we should be cuddling up to (or needs rockstar help? who the hell knows what that campaign was supposed to do), has a top-tier scientist/author/beautiful lady put up ‘against’ random crazy hobo Jeffy. Seems like a mean trick on Jeffy right? RONG! Rockstar Oz used the exact same tricks Creationists and HIV Deniers have used on scientists, since the beginning of time–

1– Put up a real scientist against your random crazy hobo. Instant credibility for your hobo!!!!
2– Editing!Ask a real question, get a real answer, and then edit out everything you dont want people to see. I suppose its just ‘framing’ though, rite?

Stupid Pam for even trying to educate the public without Aerosmith standing next to her.

She should have left an appearance like this to communication experts like Mooney, what with his extensive history of educating the public about science, especially the science of GMOs.

Or at least consulted him as to whether she would be ‘hurting the cause’ by agreeing to interact with one of *his* rockstars.

Oz is a joke. He was given a priceless platform to educate the public, scientists are excited to help him use that platform to educate the public, and he wastes it all. This also had a side-effect of being evidence that the Rockstar Campaign actually, literally, ‘hurt the cause’ of science education. Its on tape. Not that Oz didnt ‘hurt the cause’ before, but now we actually have unquestionable proof that he was presented with excellent science to educate the public, and actively chose to hide and distort that science.

Im assuming Mooney and GQ will be withdrawing Ozs 2010 ‘Rockstar’ selection in light of this damning evidence.

Comments

  1. #1 Jolo5309
    December 17, 2010

    Im assuming Mooney and GQ will be withdrawing Ozs 2010 ‘Rockstar’ selection in light of this damning evidence.

    Are you kidding? Oz is a great communicator, Mooney loves those guys. Obviously it is Dr Ronalds fault that she could not communicate well enough to overcome Jeffrey Smith…

    Oz is a rockstar of pseudoscience…

  2. #2 Sigmund
    December 17, 2010

    “Im assuming Mooney and GQ will be withdrawing Ozs 2010 ‘Rockstar’ selection in light of this damning evidence.”
    Mooney and evidence?
    His only previous attempt at producing evidence resulted in his notorious ‘Exhibit A’ blog post – the Piltdown Man of accomodationism.

  3. #3 nichole
    December 17, 2010

    shorter mooney: communicating = more important than being right. i bet mooney <3s crazy jeffy.

  4. #4 nichole
    December 17, 2010

    html ownd. i bet mooney (hearts) crazy jeffy.

  5. #5 Tezcatlipoca
    December 17, 2010

    Have you contacted Phil? Maybe he could ask Oz not to be a dick and get Moonboy booked on the show to clear up this misunderstanding.

  6. #6 kelp
    December 17, 2010

    Abbie,

    Dr. Oz is wrong on GM food for seeking an opinion from cranks. You are wrong on GM food for ignoring the opinions of scientists such as yourself. The recent fiasco over the introduction of Bt eggplant in India is a case in point. Let’s ignore for a moment the irony of mass cultivating a single tasteless variety of eggplant in a land that has 100s of native varieties. There simply isn’t enough long term evidence on the effects of the consumption of Bt eggplant as well as its effect on the environment. I am less worried about the former than the latter. George Monbiot has been writing about the GM food swindle for over 10 years and he is anything but a crank.

    Similarly in the case of HFCS both yourself and Steve Novella have ignored the evidence.

  7. #7 Alan Kellogg
    December 17, 2010

    Jerry Coyne over on WEIT has a post on this matter. In it he has Dr. Oz’s take, and Dr. Oz is rather put out with his producers and their insistence on woo and similar crap.

  8. #8 stogoe
    December 17, 2010

    I listen to the local LITE! radio station during December (because I love the ridiculous saccharine schmaltz of christmas music, Christmas Shoes notwithstanding), and I have to turn the station when Dr. Oz comes on each morning for his daily woo-vomit. He’s AMERCIA’S DOCTOR, DR OZ!!! “Hi, Amercia, I’m Dr Oz, and today I’m going to tell you to replace your prescribed medications with a suburbanized version of trancendental meditation!”

  9. #9 Sili
    December 17, 2010

    I’m sure the hobo is a man of faith. They usually are.

    That makes everything alright.

    Or so M**ney tells me.

  10. #10 TylerD
    December 17, 2010

    Jeff Smith seems to be affiliated with the Natural Law Party, the political arm of transcendental meditation cult. The fact that Oz would invite such a transparent wooer onto his show says a lot about his credibility.

  11. #11 Alan
    December 18, 2010

    Self praise is worthless, calling oneself a rockstar doesn’t make it so.

  12. #12 John Marley
    December 18, 2010

    @ kelp

    You are wrong on GM food for ignoring the opinions of scientists such as yourself. The recent fiasco over the introduction of Bt eggplant in India is a case in point.

    What scientists would those be? The closest person I could find to a scientist protesting bt eggplant is Jairam Ramesh (India’s Environment Minister). He has a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Management. Everyone else seems to be ERV’s “crazy hobos” or uneducated farmers who’ve fallen for their scare tactics.

    Let’s ignore for a moment the irony of mass cultivating a single tasteless variety of eggplant in a land that has 100s of native varieties.

    How do you know bt eggplant is tasteless? I doubt you’ve actually tried it.
    Also this:

    Then, TNAU researchers crossed popular local varieties of eggplant with the parent Bt plants from MAHYCO. They then “back-crossed” the offspring — taking the most resistant and productive progeny of those crosses and crossing them again with local varieties. After three such “back-crosses,” they created plants that have the Bt gene and contain 99 percent of the local varieties’ genetic material.

    from the Cornell University Chronicle Online

    I think your irony meter needs recalibration.

    George Monbiot has been writing about the GM food swindle for over 10 years and he is anything but a crank.

    I agree, he is not a crank. However, his “writing about the GM food swindle” has little or nothing to do with the science. Rather, he questions the motives behind the corporations. That is nothing like the unsupported fear-mongering Dr Oz, Mr. Smith and you (“There simply isn’t enough long term evidence on the effects of the consumption of Bt eggplant as well as its effect on the environment.”) are doing.

  13. #13 Mary
    December 18, 2010

    So, what a coincidence. I was reading that plums article last week because it quoted Jonathan Latham. He and a co-author created a genetics furor lately by pretty much denying that DNA causes or influences any disease besides those monogenic ones. I have done a post on that and collected various reactions to it in the updates.

    DNA Deniers. Coincidence? I think not. It’s part of a campaign to lobby for the environment as cause of all woes.

    I found it particularly amusing that they were arguing that teeny snippets of anti-sense would wreak all sorts of environmental harm. Yet at the same time human genes have no impact on human disease. Wha??

    Watch out. DNA deniers are inbound.

  14. #14 Miranda Celeste Hale
    December 19, 2010

    Alan- you’ve misread Jerry’s post. He quotes Dr. Ronald, not Dr. Oz.

  15. #15 kelp
    December 19, 2010

    John Marley,

    I wouldn’t mind your smoking if you had Bob’s music! Jairam Ramesh is India’s Union Minister of Environment and Forests. His ministry scuppered the introduction of Bt Brinjal following an outcry from scientists. A shoddy report that was published by the Indian scientific academies and being pushed by the Ministry of Agriculture was also taken apart, by other scientists.

    For a start check out Rahul Siddharthan blog with his article here,
    http://horadecubitus.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/the-academies-report-on-gm-crops/

    Check out Rahul’s homepage at the Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, here, http://www.imsc.res.in/~rsidd/

    Rahul works on to quote him,

    Current interests: mainly, computational biology. Specifically:
    Regulatory genomics
    Sequence alignment
    Evolutionary biology

    John all mass cultivated vegetables we get here in the US are tasteless, even the organic variety. In India you pay a premium for local variety produce – it doesn’t look shiny or evenly shaped, but it tastes fabulous, whatever the produce.

  16. #16 Prometheus
    December 20, 2010

    Kelp@#15

    “His ministry scuppered the introduction of Bt Brinjal following an outcry from scientists.”

    True….but misleading. They are scientists(out crying), like your pal Rahul Siddharthan who is trained as a geophysicist and works as a statistician. They aren’t Ag scientists or plant geneticists.

    Look, I suppose their hearts are in the right place but it’s dolphin steering. Activists are used by Syngenta in regional markets to attack Monsanto, where they have a leg up and vice versa.

    “John all mass cultivated vegetables we get here in the US are tasteless, even the organic variety.”

    When fruits and vegetables are shipped they have to be harvested ten days before they hit the top of the Brix scale through vine ripening.

    The only difference between a giant bright rack machine harvested frankenpeach and a gnarled little wasp stung heirloom peach grown by a former follower of the Grateful Dead is the sugar content.

    All the rest is slow food/armchair activist flapdoodle. We all like sweet fresh fruit and veg but can we stop pretending that the farmer’s market has some magic virtue spells of deliciousness they are casting any more than we can taste the oppression in United Fruit products.

  17. #17 kelp
    December 20, 2010

    They are scientists(out crying), like your pal Rahul Siddharthan who is trained as a geophysicist and works as a statistician. They aren’t Ag scientists or plant geneticists.

    Thanks Prometheus for displaying your ignorance. From Rahul Siddharthan’s bio,
    [[Title of thesis: "Ground states, excitations, thermodynamics and exact results in various lattice systems."]]

    “Ground” here has nothing to do with geophysics.
    Rahul worked with Siggia at Rockefeller University, and as Siggia says, “My interests are currently in the area of modeling biological networks. Though I have done some conventional bioinformatics in the past, the results were less than comprehensive and did not yield any novel qualitative insights.”

    Rahul’s current research spans,

    -Computational regulatory genomics
    -Multiple sequence alignment
    -Developmental biology, mesoderm development in Drosophila
    -Evolution of centromeres in yeast on centromeres in Candida

    Even then it should not matter, what a person’s academic background is as long as the person approaches questions scientifically. Rahul Sid’s done that in spades. Check his publications page http://www.imsc.res.in/~rsidd/writings.html

    It is a fact that agribusiness giants are pushing GMO and aren’t willing to share their data or have their claims be examined by scientists. It is only natural given the murky history of agribusiness in the US and its shady history in the UK (well documented by George Monbiot) that scientists in India would go over agribusiness claims with a fine toothed comb.

    And sorry to disappoint you. Produce in the US, even the “organic variety” is borderline insipid. Walnuts and almonds taste like plastic and bananas like sugared wax. Monbiot has written about how indiscriminate monculture cultivation of apples in the UK has driven several native varieties to extinction.

    And BTW, Rahul Sid works at the Inst. for Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, where belief and faith runs a broad spectrum from Steve Novella to Dennett to PZ Myers!

  18. #18 Prometheus
    December 20, 2010

    My bad he is a crystallographic physicist doing computational statistics on biological models proposed by other people.

    That certainly makes him an authority on agricultural genomics in the same way you are an authority on the flavor of the metric tons of monoculture non-heirloom dessert bananas grown here in the United States.

    “Monbiot has written about how indiscriminate monculture cultivation of apples in the UK has driven several native varieties to extinction.”

    Apples have varieties “native” to the United Kingdom like teacup poodles are native to Palm Beach, Florida.

  19. #19 pam ronald
    December 21, 2010

    Jerry Coyne over said that Dr. Oz is rather put out with his producers and their insistence on woo and similar crazy things? That is strange, the producers told me that they realized that it was bad to have wackos on the show but that Dr. Oz insisted. Lots of car salesmanship going on over there,

  20. #20 kelp
    December 21, 2010

    Prometheus,

    That certainly makes him an authority on agricultural genomics in the same way you are an authority on the flavor of the metric tons of monoculture non-heirloom dessert bananas grown here in the United States.

    It makes Rahul an authority just as a professor of mechanical engineer who studies thermal science is an expert on IC engines, in a way Moe the Mechanic isn’t.

    Just as your understanding of science and the way it works is pxxx poor so is your knowledge of what happens in England.

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2004/10/30/fallen-fruit/

    Then you see it. It’s the names. The names of the fallen. Foxwhelp, Sheep’s Snout, Hogshead, Duck’s Bill, Black Wilding, Brown Cockle, Ramping Taurus, Monstrous Pippin, Burr Knot, Broadtail, Carrion, Hagloe Crab, Eggleton Styre, Norfolk Beefing, Cornish Aromatic, Skyrme’s Kernel, Peasgood’s Nonesuch, Tom Putt, Bitter-scale, Slack-my-girdle, Bastard Rough Coat, Bloody Turk. The list runs into thousands. It is a history of rural England, a poem in pomology, rough and bitter and sad.

    It are as reliable on anything as Michael Egnor is on science. I correct that. Egnor knows more about evolution than you know to use the internet.

    But not bad, you have just learned “ground-states” doesn’t have to do with geology!

    You should travel a little – you would know the junk passes off for produce in this country.

    In the meanwhile you can cry yourself a river. Bt-Brinjal ain’t going anywhere but your backyard or your refrigerator!

  21. #21 Prometheus
    December 21, 2010

    Kelp,

    huh?

    Calm down.

    When you type angry, you drop adjectives and your writing turns into dialogue from a Charlie Chan film.

    Do you not see something odd about third hand nostalgia for extinct apple varieties neither you, Monbiot, nor anyone since Churchill’s Boer War saber charge, ever tasted?
    Villier’s Pretty Pink Bottom…or whatever….variety apples were spliced grafted pruned hybridized tortured and exactingly selected by Jacobean pruning hooks for those genetic expressions that most resembled James I’s favorite feature of his favorite boyfriend.They ran on inertia and were eaten with ardor until the ‘new’ apples priced or palate preferenced them out of existence.

    So what.

    Then you object to splicing a trait onto the Big Bartha Aubergine (I do grow them, very tasty BTW) so that a kid in Uttar Pradesh gets to eat them instead of an army of sprout boring beetles. You object on the on the grounds that…. they might….. but probably won’t ……compete with the six other varieties now doused in insecticides so they can make it to market.

    “Just as your understanding of science and the way it works is pxxx poor so is your knowledge of what happens in England. “

    “You should travel a little – you would know the junk passes off for produce in this country.”

    I was at Queen’s Oxford for my masters when Monbiot was blowing his trust fund at Brasenose and trying to develop whatever philosophy would piss of his rich conservative party daddy the most…..does that count as travel and knowledge of what happens in England?

    The only apples Monbiot ever ate in his misty water colored childhood, nowhere near rural England, were six-in-a-bag Bramleys from the Henley Tesco.

    My family farms over 25,000 contiguous acres and I play dominoes with members of the Monsanto,Bayer CropScience and Pioneer/DuPont boards. I’m betting I have a better idea what passes for produce in this country than you do.

  22. #22 Mary
    December 21, 2010
  23. #23 Prometheus
    December 21, 2010

    Mary,

    I saw that and although I am indefatigably bitchy I had only one criticism of Ed’s article.

    Although farmers had no clue as to the mechanism, they were well aware that the scion expressions were being transmitted to stock through bud grafting (cleft grafting not so much, don’t know why).

    The best examples are when scion rose grafts die and the stock rose takes over, but produces blooms that aren’t what the stock is supposed to produce.

    I learned about this from my patent rose growing neighbor when I was…. apparently….. not living in Little Hampton, England and not eating my own weight in Ashmead’s Kernel apples. ;p.

  24. #24 Miranda Celeste Hale
    December 22, 2010

    Pam- no, as I mentioned in comment 14, Alan (in comment 12) misread Jerry’s post. In it, he quotes you, not Dr. Oz.

  25. #25 windy
    December 22, 2010

    Apples have varieties “native” to the United Kingdom like teacup poodles are native to Palm Beach, Florida.

    There’s pure, unadulterated crab apples…

    Monbiot seems to really have it in for supermarkets, as if the need for cheap, consistent, not easily bruised apples has nothing to do with consumer demand. Does he only choose the most bruised, insect-chewed, soggy fruit when he goes shopping?

  26. #26 windy
    December 22, 2010

    …and the Egremont Russet. It’s one of those prized old native varieties but apparently they’re not cool anymore since they sold out, man.

  27. #27 Prometheus
    December 22, 2010

    Windy@#25

    “Monbiot seems to really have it in for supermarkets….”

    He has it in for corporations.

    Every 40 something in England who got their ashes hauled in undergraduate by bitching about Margaret Thatcher is now an anti-corporatist NGO poverty fetishist.

    I regret living long enough to see a generation so spoiled and stupid that they regard third world scrabble farming as an charming ethnic tradition and lifestyle choice.

    Crop failure,infant mortality and goiters =cultural tradition.

    Sigh.

    Fun Fact: Crab apples are from Asia Minor.

    I had one in the back yard (a crab apple, not an asian minor :P) and used to imagine its ancestor traveling in the belly of a two humped camel on the old silk road.

  28. #28 windy
    December 22, 2010

    Crab apples are from Asia Minor.

    There are several kinds, Malus sylvestris is native to Europe. As you alluded to, domesticated apples arose from wild ancestors somewhere along the silk road, but the European species played at best a minor role (except possibly by hybridisation later on).

  29. #29 Prometheus
    December 24, 2010

    “Crab apples are from Asia Minor.”

    “”There are several kinds, Malus sylvestris is native to Europe””

    Oooopsie we find ourselves, dear windy, at the epicenter of a complex malus genomic controversy that has been playing itself out for eleven years.

    I will be watching with my personal favorite…

    Cream cheese and roasted walnut stuffed wine saps…hubba hubba.

    I’ve got four green/red baby Chinas, I’m thinking hand thrown Waldorf salad?

    Feliz whatever and whatever bless us.. everywhat.

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