sábado, 28 de junho de 2014

Scientists supporting the republication of Séralini´s paper on transgenic maize and tumor in rats expose the weakness of their position and jeopardize the scientific community

Sustainable Pulse published the opinions of two scientists, welcoming the republication of Seralini´s  zombie paper.  The analysis of their opinions sheds some light on the strategy used by those opposing biotechnology. As you will see from the examples below, the scientific content of the paper is not really mentioned, but rather the circumstances involved in its retraction and rebirth in a new journal. The strategy is to disguise the truth. Moreover, their opinions are heavily laden with a historical prejudice against the science main trend, cleverly disguised in a “neutral” analysis. My comments are in red italics.

Comments from scientists
Dr. Michael Antoniou, a molecular geneticist based in London, commented on the criticisms evoked after the first publication of the paper:, “Few studies would survive such intensive scrutiny by fellow scientists. It did not survive! The scientific community killed it, as well as the editor. The republication of the study after three expert reviews is a testament to its rigour, as well as to the integrity of the researchers . Not at all! The reviewers did not check for scientific quality, but just if the “new” contents were similar to those previously present in the retracted paper (see Nature news http://www.nature.com/news/paper-claiming-gm-link-with-tumours-republished-1.15463?WT.mc_id=FBK_NatureNews)Besides, in what way a republication would confirm a supposed “integrity of the researchers”?

“If anyone still doubts the quality of this study, they should simply read the republished paper. The science speaks for itself. Absolutely! Sience speaks for itself. Therefore, the reader must read the paper and will consequently  see again why it was retracted: it is just a hoax.

“If even then they refuse to accept the results, they should launch their own research study on these two toxic products that have now been in the human food and animal feed chain for many years.” These studies exist, hundreds of them, and they don’t follow Seralini´s methodology. Why? Because his methodology is fully inadequate and this is the main cause of the paper retraction.

Dr Jack A Heinemann, Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Canterbury New Zealand, called the republication “an important demonstration of the resilience of the scientific community”. Not at all: the scientific community was against Séralini´s methods and conclusions, as demonstrated by the many statements from scientific societies and academies, risk assessment agencies and prominent researchers, as well as by the  journal editor himself. Dr Heinemann continued, “The first publication of these results revealed some of the viciousness that can be unleashed on researchers presenting uncomfortable findings.  He is referring to the supposed influence of Monsanto on the editor´s decision to retract the paper and to the immediate and large opposition from the most diverse scientific sectors to the publication. The opposition, as well as the retraction, was a response to the publication of one of the most unethical, biased and clearly fraudulent paper ever. I applaud Environmental Sciences Europe for submitting the work to yet another round of rigorous blind peer review (as I said before, there was absolutely no peer review from Environmental Sciences Europe) and then bravely standing by the process and the recommendations of its reviewers, especially after witnessing the events surrounding the first publication. No recommendations at all, since no peer review was done; Seralini did an extensive make up of the paper trying to reduce the weak points of its publication, but the results were still far from acceptable.

“This study has arguably prevailed through the most comprehensive and independent review process to which any scientific study on GMOs has ever been subjected. Completely false, as commented before: the first – and only – reviewing process was weak and missed to point the flaws that were later subject to severe criticism. These flaws ultimately led to the retraction of the paper.

“The work provides important new knowledge that must be taken into account by the community that evaluates and reports upon the risks of genetically modified organisms (the results do not allow a comprehensive conclusion and therefore do not even shed some doubts on previous risk assessments of the transgenic maize used in Seralini´s experiments), indeed upon all sources of pesticide in our food and feed chains. In time these findings must be verified by repetition (not at all! What is the use to repeat a flawed experiment?! Moreover, there is a large set of data showing the opposite of those produced by Séralini) or challenged by superior experimentation (any experiment will be superior to the trash produced by Séralini). In my view, nothing constructive for risk assessment or promotion of GM biotechnology has been achieved by attempting to expunge these data from the public record.” On the contrary: the paper should have been rejected from the very beginning and it was a major mistake of the former FCT editor to be lured by the reviewers and to have accepted the faked paper.


What is the main strategy disclosed  here? 
The use of catchphrases and general ethical concerns to misconduct the discussion and to fill the text with lies (in this case, a non-existent peer review). Beware of those who use this strategy.

For a lot of new information and comments from scientists, see http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/06/24/scientists-react-to-republished-seralini-maize-rat-study/ 

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