That abysmal Seralini study of rats fed on GMO grain is at last being withdrawn by its publisher. Junk science like this should never have been published in the first place, but better late than never (marginally). The reason given for the withdrawal is that the study does not show rats get cancer from being fed GMO food. Something most of us knew over a year ago.
The publishers have been careful to say that they found no evidence of deliberate fraud. I find that claim rather hard to believe though. What else do you call it when the study design was for 200 rats, but only 20 in the control group and no blinding? A study where 81% of the rats used get tumors anyway for this length of study. It’s hard to view this study as an honest attempt to see if GMO corn causes cancer.
How have anti-GMO groups responded? Guess. It’s not that hard. Yes, they think they have found a connection to Monsanto (scroll down in that link to “The Goodman Factor”). It is truly depressing to consider that there are large numbers of people in the anti-GMO world (all of them?) who genuinely think that once they have found a connection to Monsanto they have rebutted their opponents’ arguments. There is a new informal fallacy, Argumentum ad Monsantium, to describe this derangement. It’s really just a basic ad Hominem though – attacking your opponent rather than their arguments. One of the first things the critical thinker learns to avoid doing.
The most interesting comment on this withdrawal, in my opinion, was from Kevin Folta. A scientist himself, Folta asks what he would do if he’d received the the sort of criticisms of his work that Seralini had of his study. Folta replies that a real scientist would have the experiment performed again independently. A real scientist would also gear up to repeat the experiment himself without the flaws that drew the criticisms – perhaps a larger study, or one to test a putative mechanism. A real scientist would have started this work a year ago and so would be in a position now to update his critics on when the next sets of results would be available. It’s hardly necessity to mention that Seralini hasn’t done any of that.
The anti-GMO crowd are reacting in exactly the same way anti-vaccine crowd reacted to criticisms of Andrew Wakefield. Rather than reconsidering their previously held positions, they are supporting Seralini even more strongly. As I wrote about Wakefield’s supporters four years ago, nothing would ever convince these people that their previously determined conclusion could ever be wrong. Nothing. As I keep saying, large numbers of GMO opponents are not interested in facts.