Not too long ago, when the media became excited about a study saying genetically modified corn causes tumor growth in rats, ScienceBloggers were quick to point out that the study featured some of the worst science ever. Now the paper has been officially retracted by its publisher, but to what end? On Pharyngula, PZ Myers speculates that the study authors avoided statistical analysis of their small, cancer-prone rat packs precisely because there was no statistically significant effect of being force-fed GMO corn. PZ also says “journalists who got the paper in advance had to sign confidentiality agreements that prohibited them from consulting with experts,” leading to uncritical promulgation of a story well-suited to stoke fear and anti-GMO politics. Even the rats in the study were treated unethically, forced to live out their tumor-ridden days for the sake of sensational photographs. On Respectful Insolence, Orac wonders if the paper’s retraction will only fuel the convictions of activists pre-disposed to conspiratorial thinking. And on ERV, Abbie Smith offers a book of actual science on GMOs compiled by actual scientists and farmers, for free.
Posted to the homepage on December 2, 2013.