The “Sound Science” of Deception

Food is big business, everyone eats. Global food production is about profit.

March 12, 2014 | Source: Green Shadow Cabinet | by Jim Goodman

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Food is big business, everyone eats. Global food production is about profit.

In the North, store shelves are always full. It’s cheap, we’re told it’s safe, healthy and suddenly it’s sustainable, because sustainable sells.

Sustainable agriculture used to be defined by peasant farmers, by organic farmers; farmers who avoided using pesticides on their crops, farmers who avoided using antibiotics and hormones on their livestock, farmers who relied on integrated farming practices to make their farms regenerative – sustainable.

Now, Monsanto bills itself as a leader and innovator in sustainable agriculture. Elanco tells us technology yields sustainability and Elanco president Jeff Simmons tells us that “access to safe, proven, efficiency-enhancing technologies ensures: the three rights”, Food as a basic human right, Choice as a consumer right, and Sustainability as an environmental right.

What? Biotechnology giants are standing up for the rights of people and the environment? The same corporations who for decades have ridiculed consumer protests and environmental concerns because their technology, their GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms), their crop protection chemicals, their seed patents were all based on “sound science”?

But, “sound science” has no scientific definition. It does not mean peer reviewed, or well documented research. “Sound science” is only a term, an ideological term, used to support a particular point of view, policy statement or a technology. “Sound science” is little more than the opinions of so called “experts” representing corporate interests. “Sound science” has actually become a marker for special interest public relations campaigns that are themselves inherently in conflict with science.

For example, if the public has concerns about the environment, our health or the safety of our food after having been forced to accept scientific advancements like agricultural biotechnology, highly toxic pesticides, or “fracking”, our concerns are blown off because they are not based on “sound science”.

In fact the term “sound science” has a flagrantly unscientific, shameful history that should raise serious doubts about the credibility of any campaign employing the term. A tobacco industry public relations campaign established term in 1994 in organizing a “sound science” front group to influence politicians and disseminate its own pseudoscience about the health effects of tobacco products. At the same time it took great pains to hide its involvement in assembling the “Sound Science Project”.

Without doubt, the industrial agriculture technologies said to be proven by “sound science” are, inherently unsafe and in the case of GMO’s, and ineffective as well. In the end, they are of benefit only to the industries that own the technology. And because our society is so afraid of doing anything that might anger industry, or give industry a reason to outsource more jobs, science that does not support industry is not “sound science”.