Jan 20 2017

Questions on GMOs

gmo-cartoons-good-fat-100Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) remain the one issue on which there is the greatest disparity of opinions between scientists and the general public. Even among self-identified skeptics, people who make a genuine effort to align their opinions with the scientific evidence, there remains great distrust of GMOs and the companies who produce them (such as Monsanto).

This disparity is partly due to the decades-long campaign by Greenpeace and the organic lobby to demonize GMOs. It is much easier to fearmonger than to reassure. I think we have started to crawl back toward reality on this issue, but we have a long way to go. We started with the low-hanging fruit, correcting the outright lies.

It is much more difficult to dispel the vague sense that there is something menacing about GMOs. We have a deep emotional connection to food that we perhaps don’t even recognize. It is easy to trigger our emotion of disgust, and we have apparently evolved to err on the side of avoiding anything that may be tainted. The image of unnatural “frankenfood” still clings to our culture and is hard to dispel.

I recently received the following question from an SGU listener, which I think represents such lingering unease:

My question is, given our current scientific research capabilities, are there any definitive studies out there than can reasonably predict the long term effects of GMOs in terms of our personal health and in terms of the potential environmental impact (ie. genetic biodiversity)? What are the techniques that we can use, given the potential long-term slow nature of a true impact on both of these aspects (wellbeing and environment)?

Do GMOs also introduce new risks to the world, in that modifications might start to be made in the name of profit/geopolitical purposes rather than social welfare? Perhaps a hopeless uncreative sci-fi inspired rogue GMO, that inadvertantly wipes out food supplies of another nation (an adaptation of the non-breedable mosquitoes concept to reduce the spread of malaria)?

I think that reasonable questions such as this go a long way to explaining the disconnect between scientists and the public. Even a reasonably scientifically literate skeptic could simply not understand the science of GMOs sufficiently to feel confident that they are safe.

First we need to distinguish the process from the end result. Produce being GMO only describes the process by which the cultivar was made. It says nothing inherently about the end result. Genetic modification, which is a bit vague as a category, usually refers to techniques that directly alter the genetics of a plant, rather than using breeding techniques. There are still some techniques that I think are in the gray zone, such as mutation farming, where chemicals or radiation are used to increase the rate of mutations and produce more variety to select and cultivate.

Direct genetic alteration can include silencing or altering a gene already present in the plant or inserting a new gene, which can come either from a closely related species or from a species from a different kingdom of life. It is this latter category that gets the most attention from critics, because it seems the most “unnatural.”

This brings up an important point. Biologists understand that all known life on earth share the same genetic code. A gene is a gene. Humans already share about 60% of our genes with plants. The “fishmato” perfectly represents this misunderstanding. One GMO program intended to insert a gene from a cold-tolerant fish into a tomato plant resulting in cold-tolerant tomatoes. This could extend the growing season for tomatoes, and increase productivity. This product was developed but never approved or marketed. The “fishmato”, usually depicted as a scary tomato with scales and fins, became a common anti-GMO meme.

Here’s the thing, however – tomatoes already share 60% or so of their genes with fish. Also, people eat fish, which I understand have lots of fish genes. The source of the gene is irrelevant. The tomato plant doesn’t know where the gene came from. All that matters is the protein that the gene codes for and what it does.  Meanwhile, in a Canadian survey, 22% of respondents thought that tomatoes modified with a fish gene would taste fishy.

As an aside, to be pedantically accurate, different kingdoms of life do use different promoters in their genetics, so when genes are taken from distant species sometimes the scientists do need to insert a promoter that will work in the recipient. This has no affect on the final product, though.

That same Canadian survey also found that:

” a significant percentage of the population believes that genetic modification also involves radiation and/or the injection of antibiotics, steroids and hormones into food and food products.”

Again – a vague sense that something unnatural is going on. People also think that GMOs are unnaturally large, and that they are mutants, like the X-Men, but plants. They might therefore be superpredators, or do things that no “normal” plant can do, which could wipe out our ecosystem. This is a fantasy.

All living things are mutants. There is no natural state for any gene. They are mutating all the time. Some genes are highly “conserved” which means their function is so critical and stable that they do not tolerate mutations, which are selected against when they occur. We share the same histones with peas, for example. But for most genes and proteins, which are mildly conserved, most genes are no more mutated than any other gene.

When biologists speak of mutations they are usually making a relative statement, about the amount of difference between genes. A mutation is a change, but the end result is not inherently biologically different than the source. It does not grant super powers, or make produce preternaturally large, or make them “unnatural.”

In other words, there is no such thing as a “mutant” really, only relative differences among species, breeds, and cultivars.

So are there any inherent or unknown risks to GMOs because they are “mutants?” No. The very question misunderstands biology and genetics.

This is often why scientists will point out that everything has evolved over time, and humans have artificially evolved almost all the food we eat with various methods. All of our foods are mutated from what occurred in nature prior to human intervention. GMOs are no more “mutants” than cultivars developed through breeding or hybridization.

The only real question is this – do any of the processes used in developing GMOs involve any specific or unique risks? The answer to that is no. This has been studied for decades now. Yes, GM techniques mess with the genome. That is kinda the point. But the full process involves back-breeding plants with an inserted gene to the parent cultivar until a stable new cultivar is developed. This is done until you have a new plant that is only different in that it contains the new desired gene.

We still study new GMOs carefully to make sure that any new proteins expressed are safe, and this is reasonable. We study them to make sure they are essentially equivalent to their parent cultivar, that no unexpected changes occurred.

The environment is particularly safe from GMOs. We are not creating invasive weeds. Scientists are creating crops. Crops by their very nature are not robust. They depend upon humans to provide optimal growing conditions for them, and to protect them from pests. We also made them more edible by reducing a lot of their natural defenses. Plants ordinary make a host of pesticides to protect themselves, but these can be bitter or harmful so we bred them out. In the wild, without humans to care for them, crops would mostly be frail. So don’t worry about them taking over.

Fear of GMOs is one area that might be particularly susceptible to education, because the more someone understands about the biology of plants and GMOs the less worried and more accepting they are of GMO technology.

 

 

229 responses so far

229 Responses to “Questions on GMOs”

  1. Billzbubon 20 Jan 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Someone should make an info graphic that contrasts the amount of change from one cultivar to another when done by genetic modification with the amount of change from one cultivar to another when done by every other method. Anyone know the guy from XKCD?

  2. hardnoseon 20 Jan 2017 at 10:45 pm

    It is very hard to know who is telling the truth about GMO safety. How do we know the motivations of the critics of Seralini’s study? Or Seralini’s motivations for that matter. You can find wildly different opinions.

    Has anyone done a long term experimental study like Seralini’s? Supposedly he did the same thing as Monsanto, except he extended their 90 study to 2 years. Of course Monsanto would stop at 90 days, since harmful effects would probably show up later. That’s what Seralini suspected, and what he supposedly found. He was criticized and attacked. But he was also defended.

    GMO advocates always say Americans have been eating GMOs for decades, and look how healthy they all are. What?? Chronic and degenerative diseases are more common than ever. Oh wait, that’s only because Americans are so healthy thanks to Big Drug, and are living longer and therefore getting more age-related diseases. Yes, that sure makes a lot of sense.

    The fact is we don’t seem to have good reliable evidence either way.

    If you believe nature is stupid and evolved by accident, then you would think modifying DNA could only make it better. If, on the other hand, you believe nature is intelligent and much more complex than we realize, then messing with DNA could be dangerous.

    I don’t think SN is paid by Monsanto, I think he sincerely believes scientists can improve on nature without creating disastrous surprises. But Monsanto really should pay him, for all the work he is doing to promote their business.

  3. Bill Openthalton 21 Jan 2017 at 4:59 am

    Folks, in my opinion hardnose has overstepped the mark. If Steve doesn’t kick him of, at least let’s agree not to respond. Thanks for cooperating.

  4. SteveAon 21 Jan 2017 at 6:43 am

    Bill

    I think boredom is doing your work for you. Can you imagine getting cornered by HN at a party? I’d throw myself out of a window rather than listen to his monotony…

  5. arnieon 21 Jan 2017 at 11:37 am

    No surprise to anyone that I second Bill O’s comment. Also, ME’s “liars” comments on Steve N’s “Warmest Year” post further indicates his set-in-stone ideologically motivated comments are seldom worth a response.

  6. BBBlueon 21 Jan 2017 at 1:42 pm

    This disparity is partly due to the decades-long campaign by Greenpeace and the organic lobby to demonize GMOs.

    And another small part due to movies like Godzilla, Them, The Birds, and the less well known but always satisfying The Horror of Party Beach. The idea that one will pay a price for messing with Mother Nature or losing control of technology has been established by popular literature and movies on a subliminal level for at least three for four generations.

  7. BBBlueon 21 Jan 2017 at 2:55 pm

    As for what the future holds in terms of those organizing opposition to GE tech, I found this perspective interesting:

    The irony is that the large NGOs had planned to farm out campaigning into networks of networks to create a perception that there is widespread popular agreement of their dogmatic theology. I am sure they had not anticipated that these sects would have evolved into independent and unpredictable cults. https://risk-monger.com/2017/01/13/disrupting-the-disruptors-restructuring-in-the-activist-world/

  8. hardnoseon 21 Jan 2017 at 5:27 pm

    The Seralini study was retracted because of small sample sizes, and because of the type of rat used.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637

    “Unequivocally, the Editor-in-Chief found no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data. However, there is a legitimate cause for concern regarding both the number of animals in each study group and the particular strain selected.”

    “Ultimately, the results presented (while not incorrect) are inconclusive, and therefore do not reach the threshold of publication for Food and Chemical Toxicology.”

    When a positive result is found, small sample size is not much of a concern. That would only be true when null is accepted, as in the similar Monsanto study.

    The strain of rats used are likely to get cancer. However, other results were found besides cancer. And, of course, there were control groups.

    Seralini supposedly used the same procedures as an earlier Monsanto study, except he extended it for 2 years (Monsanto’s only lasted 90 days).

    I think most of the outrage over Seralini’s results was from researchers interested in GM technology. And, unfortunately, we cannot rule out the possibility that Monsanto exerted some influence. Why wouldn’t they?

  9. hardnoseon 21 Jan 2017 at 5:28 pm

    But all we heard via the mainstream press was “Not to worry!! GMOs are safe!!”

  10. hardnoseon 21 Jan 2017 at 5:29 pm

    And I would like to find out if Seralini, or someone else, followed up this research and what they may have found.

  11. chikoppion 21 Jan 2017 at 8:45 pm

    It’s worth noting that the global organic food industry is worth about $70B, whereas the GMO seed industry is about $20B (recalling numbers from about a year ago). Organic is big corporate business too.

    The Debate About GMO Safety Is Over, Thanks To A New Trillion-Meal Study
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2014/09/17/the-debate-about-gmo-safety-is-over-thanks-to-a-new-trillion-meal-study

    A Survey of Long Term GMO Studies (2012)
    http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2012/10/24/a-survey-of-long-term-gm-food-studies/

  12. Haggardon 22 Jan 2017 at 12:16 am

    From the evidence, I too have the view that GM technology as applied today is generally safe and there are not many viable reasons to believe that we’re going to create something devastating by making GM crops. For now…. Like all technology, it’s virtually impossible to see where creative humans will lead us. But that is another topic. And likely a source of fear for some people opposed to GM technology.

    However, I think that it is important to look at how this technology impacts our environment when it is applied on a large scale and I think that scientists, in general, are not very good at looking at the big picture. Especially as they become ever more specialized and isolated in their research.

    As a scientist, you can have an extremely narrow point of reference, which I think is a trend as we become extremely more complex in our research. Which is not necessarily a bad thing for the sake of research on a particular topic, but without something to balance that (of which I don’t know what or I would be given a prize), it can become quite dangerous to be so narrowly focused.

    It is certainly possible and historically true that while what you are doing in your narrow spectrum of research may be technically safe as you intend or imagine it to be applied, it is probable that when your work is used in different contexts, very unexpected results arise which can be incredibly dangerous. I know nobody likes to hear it very often, but this is a major component of the precautionary principle. Unfortunately, the precautionary principle is highly politicized and almost useless now.

    This is not to say I think research should stop. What I am saying is that I think this debate of GM technology is very complex and that people don’t necessarily focus on the scientific evidence of whether or not GM crops are safe in a narrow context. They can have a lot of baggage to carry to the discussion. Most of it illegitimate, but some is highly relevant. When asked pointed questions, people will tend to give an answer that aligns with a broader view, but it seems likely that there is also much more impacting on their favour is disfavour of GM technology.

    Yes, you can point out that the technology is very technically safe in a highly controlled setting. I myself have worked in research plots for GM corn and know the extent of a research plot and how well controlled they are. At the same time, you can also point out the impacts on the monarch butterfly from modern agricultural practices (Pleasants, 2012). While the decline of milkweed is related to pesticide or herbicide use, which is quite a different topic in some regards, it is also the use of GM crops that enable the magnification of the problem. They are intrinsically linked and it is likely that this is an unintended (sort of) consequence of adopting GM crops that allow for better control of milkweed. It’s highly likely, in my opinion, that we will see many other related impacts. Is the solution to ban GM crops and suck up the fact that we’ll just have to deal with milkweed and reduced yields for the greater good of life on earth? I think it’s a question worth giving honest consideration. Not the outright ban of GM… but perhaps some kind of control to lessen impacts. Who knows? This is complex territory, being the earth and all.

    This sort of thing can and should inform people on whether or not they support the widespread cultivation of GM crops. It is important. It should not be used to say that GM crops are bad for human health, of course, because that is not the point. The point is that some of our technologies can and do have impacts that we need to carefully consider. If that means somehow throttling the technology to achieve an equilibrium, perhaps this is justified. But, I doubt there are very many geneticists or even crop scientists that are open to this particular line of thinking. Perhaps I am wrong.

    While I do not have a peer reviewed study to back it up, it is my experience that scientists tend to have an anthropocentric world view more often than not. To be fair, it is also my experience that the majority of non-scientists also share this view.

    As new technologies are invented and utilized, it is the effect on humans which is most often highlighted and focused on. For example, in the “greatest disparity” of opinion article that is linked to, the questions focus on things like whether or not GM crops are safe to eat. In fact, I didn’t see one question that was for the sake of the natural environment or one that was removing the human context. It is not surprising, I suppose, when things like GM crops are so driven by human centric things such as economy.

    This anthropocentric thinking, in my opinion, is not a wise interpretation of our world, of which we are just a part that is heavily reliant on many other parts of the global system functioning in a healthy, or somewhat balanced manner. Ok, maybe there is no real “balance”, but us humans certainly have our finger on the scale, which is producing obvious and rapid effects. In the race to develop new technologies, GM being one of them, our shortsighted nature that tends to be heavily biased toward human impacts above all else is a severe handicap. I think we are already being slapped around by this line of thought and that it will only get worse if it continues.

    In my opinion, there is quite a lot of opposition to GM technology because of the potential, and largely unknown secondary impacts it can have on the environment. And I’m not talking about genes here. I’m talking about how this technology is utilized and what that impact is. While it is all well and good to promote science, I think it is incredibly important to step back and look at the impacts our technology can have on the incredibly complex, and often times fragile earth system. In my opinion, many scientists do a poor job of this. In the “greatest disparity” link, it simply says “scientists.” Yes, fine, but which scientists? There is a massively important difference between a crop scientist and an environmental scientist that studies biodiversity, for example, to name just one of what is a very lengthy list. How useful is that study unless we know which scientists are involved?

    I’m not aiming to bash GM technology, nor am I attempting to move a goal post. I think these things should be placed firmly between the posts from the beginning. Or at least added to them or removed as our knowledge grows… I guess what I am trying to convey is that while this may be getting outside of the scope of this post, I think that it is forever linked in the minds of people who consider this issue from a broader perspective. As it should be. The person who sent in the original question specifically asked about the long term effects of GMOs on the environment. While you might be able to say that scientifically (from a genetic scientists’ point of view) it is safe, there are certainly impacts that we or other species will have to reckon with when the impacts from their application in a large scale environment are tallied. In the admittedly little of your thoughts on this topic that I have read, I don’t recall much discourse on the topic I’m hopelessly trying to outline. The original question from your listener left some of these doors open, but you instead focused on the more narrow aspect of the specific safety of GM technology as it relates to genes and left out how our application of it could have unintended impacts. I know you must focus on something, but I think some people may read into the types of omissions that you might make.

    I’m supposing that you give this sort of thing some thought, so I am curious to know what you think about it. I hold the view that GM technology can be technically safe (and I am not afraid to eat it), in general terms, while recognizing that through our utilization of this technology, we can create very dangerous consequences. And it doesn’t necessarily have to impact humans alone for me to get worried. But, perhaps that can come down in a large part to my world view and where we are placed in it.

    John M. Pleasants, KAREN S. OBERHAUSER, 2012. Milkweed loss in agricultural fields because of herbicide use: effect on the monarch butterfly population. Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN, USA

  13. BillyJoe7on 22 Jan 2017 at 1:04 am

    When I first came across “climate change” my immediate reaction was “sounds like BS to me”. But the topic kept coming up and I decided to see what all this BS was about. I was dragged inevitably to the conclusion that it was not BS, just complicated, counterintuitive science. What really helped was reading all the actual BS put out by the climate denying bloggers and the odd climate scientist who felt his view was oh so more important than the consensus of the majority. The other was seeing how the deniers neverever correct their even obvious mistakes. They just ignore the refutations and present the same mistakes – now classifiable as lies – again and again. And of course the favourite strategy of all: ignoring what the total evidence says in favour of cherry picking data to suit their agenda (see the previous thread)

    Same with GMOs. My immediate reaction was “you’ve got to be kidding messing with DNA”. It actually took me a lot longer to get the correct scientific angle on this topic but, again, the idiocy of the GMO deniers helped a lot. Their demand for absolute 100% assurance of safety – you have to wonder how they ever get out of bed in the morning to deal with the less than 100% guarantee that they will not be injured or killed on their way to work. And “frankenfood”. Really? I’m not really sure why it took me so long, because I have more than the average layman’s knowledge of genetics and, really, the discussion regarding the genetics of GMO, like the one given above by SN, is a “lay down misere” for GMOs. I also have a decent knowledge of clinical trial design and “the Seralini study”? – you’ve got to be kidding, it’s total rubbish from start to finish.

    Anyway, I’m sick to death of the crowd of science deniers. They waste everyone’s time, including that of the actual experts who have to take time out to defend themselves against the scurrilous attacks of know nothing bloggers and the odd precious scientist who has himself on a pedestal deluded in thinking that he, and he alone, knows more than all the other experts put together. Somehow they all missed something and only he knows the truth. Galileos? No, wankers all. We do need scepticism for the checks and balances, but the deniers are a waste of space.

  14. BillyJoe7on 22 Jan 2017 at 2:05 am

    Haggard,

    Thanks for the measured tone of your comment, however…

    I think your opinion of many scientists having a narrow focus is itself narrowly focussed. Sure, many scientists are narrowly focussed, but that is as it should be for maximal return. But there are many scientists in every field with an interest in the ‘broader view’. In particular, in relation to GMOs, the environmental impacts are part of the safety checks on GMOs. Having said that, it is also true that the environmental effects are much more complex. The link below is to a series of articles many of which discuss this topic (warning: there are about 30 articles!)

    http://grist.org/series/panic-free-gmos/

    I also note your concern regarding GMOs and the monarch butterfly.
    The following link is a fairly balanced review of this topic:

    https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/12/10/how-anti-gmo-activists-use-monarch-butterflies-as-ideological-pawn/

    Finally, SN has written numerous articles on GMO. If you print “GMO” in the search box above you will get over 100 hits! Unfortunately, printing “Environmental effects of GMO” pretty well brings up the same number, so I think the search engine is homing in on “GMO”.

  15. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 9:18 am

    [“the Seralini study”? – you’ve got to be kidding, it’s total rubbish from start to finish.]

    It was first published after careful peer review. No, it is not perfect. Initially, it caused a lot of concern about GMOs. Very soon, pro-GMO scientists, some of them connected with Monsanto, got involved. They nit-picked every little thing they could find that wasn’t perfect about the study.

    The journal editors specifically said it was retracted because, on second thought, they decided it was inconclusive. Well, it was not meant to be conclusive, and someone should have followed up on it.

    90 days is not enough time to ensure that a new kind of food is safe.

    Obviously the Seralini study was not “total rubbish.” That is what the GMO advocates want you to believe.

  16. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 9:19 am

    If you are so sure the Seralini study was “total rubbish” why not link to similar studies that did not find any similar harmful effects. I have not been able to find any.

  17. BBBlueon 22 Jan 2017 at 12:53 pm

    “Data gathered in the course of an additional 1-year feeding trial are in accordance with the conclusions made in the 90-day trials, i.e. that the feeding of maize MON810 to rats did not lead to adverse effects. Consequently, the 1-year study conducted in GRACE did not provide relevant additional information when compared to the 90-day studies.” http://www.grace-fp7.eu/en/content/final-results-and-recommendations-eu-research-project-grace

    “The results obtained show that the MON810 maize at a level of up to 33 % in the diet did not induce adverse effects in male and female Wistar Han RCC rats after a chronic exposure.” http://www.grace-fp7.eu/en/content/grace-published-its-1-year-feeding-trial-gm-maize-mon810-variety

    Assessment of the health impact of GM plant diets in long-term and multigenerational animal feeding trials: A literature review http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691511006399

    A three generation study with genetically modified Bt corn in rats: Biochemical and histopathological investigation http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691507005443

    Effects of long-term feeding of genetically modified corn (event MON810) on the performance of lactating dairy cows http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1111/j.1439-0396.2010.01003.x/abstract

    Organic and Genetically Modified Soybean Diets: Consequences in Growth and in Hematological Indicators of Aged Rats http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11130-008-0101-0

    Histochemical and morpho-metrical study of mouse intestine epithelium after a long term diet containing genetically modified soybean https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3167318/

  18. Haggardon 22 Jan 2017 at 1:09 pm

    BillyJoe7- I find these discussions to be very interesting. Thanks for the articles. In case you don’t have access, the article I linked to was mainly focused on the eradication of milkweed with a recognition that the adoption of GM crops has coincided with the decline because GM crops make it easier to control for milkweed. I think it’s an important distinction. There may very well be a fallacy somewhere in there, but as this issue is genuinely complex, it’s the best I can do. It’s just one piece of peer reviewed research. More is needed, if it doesn’t already exist (I do have to limit the time I spend chatting online and looking for articles relevant to those talks).

    Of course, a topic like this can turn out to be a lot like climate change. For similar reasons, it can be difficult to see effects for some time or to understand how things are linked. It’s just the way it is. Our environment is complex. So, it can be easy (and even tempting) to cherry pick data in a similar way that people have done with climate change. It seems to happen all the time.

    I read the article about monarchs that you linked to. It reads like an opinion piece in a newspaper and it also very much highlights the anthropocentric reasoning that I was earlier talking about. And it’s that type of reasoning that closes us off to recognizing impacts and it gets us into heaps of trouble. I don’t find the article very objective, to be honest.

    She introduced milkweed as a nuisance to humans in a way that seemed personal, for some reason, and then appeared to attack advocacy groups for not doing their share. I’m not sure that’s very fair, nor relevant to the issue. Her “myth exploder” is not necessarily what the literature says either. It’s my understanding that an issue for GM crops as they relate to milkweed is that they have helped make it easier to eradicate the milkweed. Yes, they were on the decline for obvious reasons of effective control, but then it was the introduction of GM crops that allowed for the final push. We may never really know and I’m certain people can pick data from just about anywhere to bolster their argument one way or another, as we see in climate change discussions.

    It’s important to understand that this is in the area of unintended consequences, which I think is a big issue with GM technology that is not very well studied. And probably for good reason. It’s difficult to study. Although, I think it was very much intended to get rid of milkweed. We just maybe didn’t understand that by doing so, we could be putting enormous strain on something like the monarch butterfly. Or many other species, potentially.

    Unfortunately, like climate change, it can sometimes take a long time to witness these interconnected impacts. While it is true that GM crops have been around for decades, their widespread use and the potential impacts from things like suddenly making it much easier to control for weeds that some species may depend on are new, at least in the time scale of environmental impacts. I don’t doubt that there are more impacts to be discovered. I will be extremely surprised if nothing turns up.

    Personally, I am not entirely confident (as some other scientists are) that what we are able to do with GM crops is a net positive. It will be fantastic if it is, but I think it allows for some even greater impacts than we already create, at a time when we should be doing all we can to lessen human impacts on our systems. I don’t really understand the passion from either side of this conversation. It seems like you’ve got to be all in for one or the other. And that is something I find troubling, because of the obvious blind spot that it can create.

    Listen, I don’t go to anti GM rallies and I don’t scrutinize my food for non-gmo products. That being said, I do think there are legitimate concerns with this technology, but unfortunately, people seem to be getting polarized on the issues and feel like they must defend one or the other without accepting or seriously considering perfectly valid points. From either side. I guess it’s our way…

  19. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 4:49 pm

    It is strange that the Seralini paper did not show statistical analyses. However, just looking at the data it seems significant. And anyone can do their own analysis. The journal editors did NOT accuse Seralini of fraud, therefore we can be pretty sure these data were not faked. The control group is MUCH less likely to have the pathologies that were measured. The rat strain used is likely to get cancer, but cancer was only one of the adverse outcomes.

    Organs and associated pathologies
    Controls
    GMO 11%
    GMO 22%
    GMO 33%
    R (A)
    R (B)
    R (C)
    GMO 11% + R
    GMO 22% + R
    GMO 33% + R
    Males

     Kidneys, CPN
    3 (3)
    4 (4)
    5 (5)
    7 (7)
    6 (6)
    5 (5)
    3 (3)
    5 (5)
    4 (4)
    4 (4)
     Liver
    2 (2)
    5 (4)
    11 (7)
    8 (6)
    11 (5)
    9 (7)
    6 (5)
    5 (4)
    7 (4)
    6 (5)
     Hepatodigestive tract
    6 (5)
    10 (6)
    13 (7)
    9 (6)
    23 (9)
    16 (8)
    9 (5)
    9 (6)
    13 (6)
    11 (7)
    Females

     Pituitary
    9 (6)
    23 (9)
    20 (8)
    8 (5)
    22 (8)
    16 (7)
    13 (7)
    19 (9)
    9 (4)
    19 (7)
     Mammary glands
    10 (5)
    22 (8)
    10 (7)
    16 (8)
    26(10)
    20(10)
    18 (9)
    17 (8)
    16 (8)
    15 (9)
     Mammary tumors
    8 (5)
    15 (7)
    10 (7)
    15 (8)
    20 (9)
    16(10)
    12 (9)
    10 (6)
    11 (7)
    13 (9)

  20. bachfiendon 22 Jan 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Seralini has a record of suing people for libel, so perhaps the journal editors decided the paper was fraudulent and needed to be retracted but decided to use the excuse that it wasn’t conclusive to avoid being sued (even winning in a court can be very expensive)?

    Seralini sued someone in 2010 for libel as a result of being accused of accepting funding from Greenpeace (why that should be libellous I don’t know – I donate monthly to Greenpeace), and was awarded the enormous damages of 1 Euro, which must have made him very happy and tempted him to retire in luxury on the proceeds.

  21. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 6:35 pm

    Nice try backfiend, but I think if there were any evidence of fraud, it would have been mentioned.

    I have started looking at the data, and did not find anything ambiguous so far. The treatment groups were far more likely to have each of the pathological outcomes than the controls. You don’t need statistics, it’s so obvious.

    One of the main criticisms of the experiment was unethical treatment of the rats, keeping them alive even with advanced cancer. Well, ok, but that doesn’t change the fact that he showed a certain GMO, and also glyphosate, are very bad for rats. I guess he went too far, because he wanted people to notice and be scared.

  22. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 7:00 pm

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/weed-whacking-herbicide-p/

    Scientific American article about glyphosate, and other ingredients of Monsanto’s Roundup.

    “Researchers who have studied Roundup formulations have drawn conclusions similar to the Seralini group’s.”

  23. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 7:18 pm

    http://www.reuters.com/article/roundup-health-study-idUSL2N0DC22F20130425

    “Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body,” the study says.

    http://www.fwi.co.uk/arable/study-sparks-fresh-row-glyphosate-safety.htm

    “The results demonstrated that the consumption of small quantities of Roundup, well below the permissible concentration levels of regulators worldwide, were associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in rats.”

    What a coincidence! There is an epidemic of NAFLD in Americans.

    New research, published in Nature!
    http://www.nature.com/articles/srep39328

    “Multiomics reveal non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in rats following chronic exposure to an ultra-low dose of Roundup herbicide”

  24. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 7:19 pm

    So maybe Seralini’s data was not faked? And if he was right about Roundup, could he have been right about GM corn?

    I wonder …

  25. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 7:21 pm

    “A number of toxicity studies have shown that glyphosate and its commercial formulations have non-target effects on mammalian metabolism and provoke toxic effects, especially with respect to liver and kidney structure and function8,9. Potential adverse hepatic effects of glyphosate were first observed in the 1980s”

    But Monsanto, and wikipedia, still say it’s safe. Who should we believe??

  26. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 7:25 pm

    ” … although no differences were observed during the first year of the experiment, the rats administered with Roundup started progressively to accumulate serum triglycerides as they aged.”

    That is why Seralini’s study lasted 2 years!

    Do you still think Seralini is an idiot?

  27. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 7:28 pm

    “We report here the first in vivo multiomic analysis combining the proteome and metabolome profiles of the livers from rats following long-term (2-year) exposure to a GBH (Roundup) at an environmentally relevant dose (50 ng/L glyphosate equivalent concentration; 4 ng/kg bw/day). Our integrated analysis of these molecular profiles is clearly reflective of features of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its progression to non-alcoholic steatohepatosis (NASH).”

    This was published this year, in Nature, you “scientific skeptics.”

    Are you sure Seralini’s study was complete rubbish?

  28. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 7:31 pm

    “We detected metabolic alterations well below the glyphosate ADI (0.3 mg/kg bw/day) set within the European Union, and is within the range admitted in drinking water (0.1 ppb) and foodstuffs”

    Oh, but you say it’s only rats, it means nothing. There is no similarity between rats and humans. Therefore, forget it, Roundup can’t possibly be harmful.

  29. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 7:32 pm

    “Glyphosate has been suggested to act as an estrogen agonist based on assays in cultures of human breast cancer cells at comparable concentrations to the native hormone37,38. Other studies, albeit at much higher doses, have also shown that glyphosate can uncouple liver mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation10. Glyphosate is also a patented antibiotic (Patent No.: US 7771736) and can inhibit the growth of susceptible bacteria by inhibition of the shikimate pathway and could cause dysbiosis in the gastrointestinal tract”

  30. chikoppion 22 Jan 2017 at 7:33 pm

    You understand that roundup is an entirely separate issue from gm seeds, right?

    It’s like saying aluminum cans should be banned because sugary soft drinks can lead to diabetes.

  31. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 7:34 pm

    “We emphasize that although the amplitude of the changes of certain metabolites was low, it is known that small changes over a long period of time can have major health consequences.”

    So maybe 90 days is not a long enough study, Monsanto?

  32. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 7:36 pm

    “An important consideration is that Roundup is not a single compound, but a mixture of an active ingredient (glyphosate) combined with various adjuvants”

    Uh oh … “adjuvant composition is proprietary and not fully disclosed.”

  33. DrNickon 22 Jan 2017 at 7:51 pm

    I think I finally understand what HN’s “alternative scientists” have been doing all this time – they’re busy working behind the scenes coming up with “alternative facts” for the White House press secretary to roll out in his briefings.

  34. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Yeah, Nature, that wacky alternative science journal, can’t believe anything they say.

    But don’t worry I am finding tons of information about Roundup toxicity. Even the FDA is thinking about testing it!

  35. chikoppion 22 Jan 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Long term studies (2012):
    http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2012/10/24/a-survey-of-long-term-gm-food-studies/

    GENetic Engineering Risk Atlas
    http://genera.biofortified.org/wp/
    This is the home of the GENetic Engineering Risk Atlas, or GENERA, which is a searchable database of peer-reviewed research on the relative risks of genetically engineered crops that includes important details at-a-glance. GENERA is a project of Biology Fortified, Inc., which is an independent tax-exempt nonprofit organization devoted to providing factual information and fostering discussion about issues in biology, with a particular emphasis on plant genetics and genetic engineering in agriculture.

  36. daedalus2uon 22 Jan 2017 at 7:58 pm

    There has already been multi-generational “research” showing no adverse effects of GMOs.

    Here is one of the largest studies ever done, and which shows no adverse results. It looks at the entire US population of farm animals, which have been eating mostly GMOs for the past number of years. It covers over 100,000,000,000 animals (100 billion).

    https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/jas/articles/92/10/4255?highlight&search-result=1

    By every measure the animals appear to be healthier over time, as GMO content of their diet increases. I am not claiming that GMOs in the diet are responsible for the improved health, but there is no hint that GMOs are producing any ill effects.

    Genetic modification is a technique. Its use in food only remains controversial for those who do not understand the science.

  37. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Monsanto still insists that Roundup is safe. Kinda reminds me of the tobacco companies.

    And I bet Steve Novella will NEVER write a blog post about how Monsanto has been deceiving us and poisoning us.

  38. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:03 pm

    The articles I just posted are about glyphosate, and Roundup (not GMOs). A recent article in Nature found it is toxic, even in small amounts, over long periods.

    Don’t believe me? Read it yourself!

  39. bachfiendon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Hardnose,

    I don’t know whether Roundup is safe or not. The local council uses it to spray weeds in local parks and bushland, and posts signs advising residents to avoid the area for at least 12 hours, which I’m happy to do – it stinks to high heaven. Just its smell makes me feel sick.

    But anyway. Seralini’s data if inconclusive isn’t an adequate reason for the paper to have been retracted, which is the reason why I wondered if the journal editors had decided that it was fraudulent and decided the data needed to be expunged from the record (but wanted to avoid being sued).

    Papers being inconclusive or even wrong isn’t an adequate reason for them being retracted – if it were it would result in it happening to a considerable minority of papers.

    If Seralini’s data was correct, but inconclusive, it could possibly have been added to data from other researchers (if their methodology is similar enough) to give more significant results. Perhaps. Although there’s the problem that researchers tend to publish positive and nearly positive results, filing negative studies in the bottom drawer.

  40. Steven Novellaon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Seralini also did a study showing how homeopathy can detox you from glyphosate. Any researcher who finds that homeopathy works is incompetent by definition:
    https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2016/12/21/can-water-protect-glyphosate-poisoning-gilles-eric-seralinis-homeopathy-detox-hoax/

    The original Seralini study was utter crap: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/seralini-gmo-study-retracted/

    There are many ways to produce crap data other than fraud. I detail many of them here on this blog. Seralini is an outlier who publishes crap studies with dubious methods, which also show that homeopathy works.

    Really, not a tough call at all.

  41. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:04 pm

    http://www.nature.com/articles/srep39328

  42. bachfiendon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Hardnose is very much a waste of space. The thread was on the safety of GM food, which he has completely derailed (as is his want) into a diatribe against Roundup.

    What a loser he is.

  43. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:12 pm

    http://www.nature.com/articles/srep39328

    READ THE NATURE ARTICLE.
    READ THE NATURE ARTICLE.
    READ THE NATURE ARTICLE.
    READ THE NATURE ARTICLE.
    READ THE NATURE ARTICLE.
    READ THE NATURE ARTICLE.

    Then decide if Seralini’s research is all crap.

  44. DrNickon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:13 pm

    “Yeah, Nature, that wacky alternative science journal, can’t believe anything they say.”

    I never said that! How could you possibly have gotten that from anything I wrote! Can you really prove that you’re not Kellyanne Conway? Here’s a link to a completely irrelevant study that doesn’t support my point in any way:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v414/n6860/full/414165a0.html

  45. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:14 pm

    GMO safety is another question. While looking into that, I found MAINSTREAM research showing Roundup is POISON. And Monsanto will deny it forever, however much evidence is found.

    Seralini tested Roundup in addition to a GMO. If Seralini’s study was total crap, then why were his results confirmed?

  46. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:14 pm

    His Roundup results, I meant. And I would not be at all surprised if his GMO results were valid also.

  47. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:16 pm

    And in case you never heard of NAFLD, it is a deadly disease and it’s epidemic in this country, probably the world. And recent research shows that ingredients in Roundup (glyphosate, and other non-active ingredients) cause NAFLD in rats.

  48. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:17 pm

    At low doses, over long periods. Sort of like what we are getting!

  49. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:18 pm

    “Seralini also did a study showing how homeopathy can detox you from glyphosate. Any researcher who finds that homeopathy works is incompetent by definition”

    Oh … I see … any researcher who finds something you don’t believe in is incompetent. A little catch 22?

  50. bachfiendon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Hardnose,

    I’m a retired anatomical pathologist, and I’ve certainly heard of NAFLD (I know it better as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis – NASH).

    It’s been recognised for decades, and has many causes, most commonly obesity and diabetes, which are also of epidemic proportions in western countries such as America and Australia (I remember the wife of a cardiolist colleague telling him in 1983 that she wasn’t surprised his liver was fatty because the rest of him was fatty too).

    It’s not impossible that Roundup could cause NASH in humans, but extrapolating from a study in highly inbred experimental rats is fraught with problems. It can’t be assumed that the sensivity of poisons and potential poisons is the same across different species, or even subspecies.

  51. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:49 pm

    “It can’t be assumed that the sensivity of poisons and potential poisons is the same across different species, or even subspecies.”

    No one is assuming that. When testing substances for toxicity, animals are usually tested first. If it causes disease in animals, then the substance cannot be assumed to be safe.

    The safety of Roundup needs to be questioned and further testing is needed.

    Most importantly, it makes no sense to believe Monsanto. They will lose billions if Roundup is discontinued.

  52. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Yes, NAFLD is epidemic partly because of obesity. That does NOT mean it isn’t also caused by Roundup. We are getting more and more glyphosate, and other toxic ingredients. Roundup is also sprayed on non-GM crops, routinely.

  53. bachfiendon 22 Jan 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Hardnose,

    You have considerable reading comprehension (or perhaps reasoning) difficulties.

    I wrote that NASH is most commonly caused by obesity and diabetes (not just partly by obesity). I didn’t deny that Roundup couldn’t possibly cause it (the list of known and potential causes is very long).

    I’m no fan of Monsanto. Companies often bring unsafe products onto the market if there’s an adequate profit to be made to justify the risk of being caught (and I’m a strong believer of strong government regulation and supervision of companies).

    But still. To show that Roundup causes NASH in humans a better and biologically closer model than Seralini’s favourite highly inbred rat is needed. And it’s got nothing to do with the safety or not of GM foods.

  54. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 9:20 pm

    “To show that Roundup causes NASH in humans a better and biologically closer model than Seralini’s favourite highly inbred rat is needed.”

    Yes, but meanwhile, we might be getting poisoned. How long do we have to wait for a better study?

    And you can bet Monsanto do everything it can to resist. Roundup is a major source of its enormous profits.

    What is most important right now is focusing attention on the urgent need for more research. And genuine skepticism about Monsanto is critical.

  55. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 9:22 pm

    I looked at Seralini’s 2012 data. There is nothing inconclusive about it. Monsanto exerted influence to get it retracted.

  56. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Ok, fine, use different rats, use primates, experiment on humans, whatever it takes. We need more research!

  57. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 9:24 pm

    But really, if you are at all skeptical, you really should wonder about Monsanto and its influence on our FDA and EPA, on all aspects of our so-called government.

  58. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 9:25 pm

    And if it turns out that Seralini’s Roundup data is not fake after all, then we have to consider maybe his GMO data is not fake either.

  59. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 9:27 pm

    How many people you know are dying from cancer? Or have NAFLD, etc.? Are you absolutely sure it’s only because people are living longer healthier lives thanks to Big Drug?

    Be skeptical goddammit!

  60. CKavaon 22 Jan 2017 at 9:30 pm

    If you read the Seralini rat/tumour study and found it compelling and well designed then you have incredibly low standards and a very poor grasp of statistics. That isn’t at all surprising at this stage but it is another illustration of just how serious your pronouncements should be taken.

  61. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Look at the recent study. Peer reviewed in a mainstream journal. If you have any curiosity whatsoever.

  62. hardnoseon 22 Jan 2017 at 9:34 pm

    You can look at the 2012 data without statistics, and see that there is an obvious effect.

    And no one ever said the 2012 study was the last word. And the 2017 study isn’t the last word either.

    But it would be utterly stupid to ignore this!

  63. CKavaon 22 Jan 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Hey hardnose,

    Given how sincerely interested you are in the new Nature paper you might be interested in these critiques. Lots of technical discussion to dig into (or dismiss out of hand):

    http://biobeef.faculty.ucdavis.edu/2017/01/03/i_would_appreciate_your_comments/
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2016/12/31/gm-corn-really-different-non-gm-corn/

    It is also worthwhile reading the comments under the article. But that’s assuming you actually care about the quality of the evidence and given your ‘review’ of Seralini’s rat paper I don’t think quality matters to you, just whether the conclusion fits your ideological preferences.

  64. bachfiendon 22 Jan 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Hardnose’s obsession with Roundup proves that he’s not Michael Egnor writing under an alias, as some commentators have suggested. Michael Egnor loves DDT (as a means of attacking ‘greenies’) , so I’d assume he would love Roundup (for the same reason).

    Michael Egnor also believes that scientists routinely publish fraudulent research in order to get research grants (think ‘AGW’), so if there was anything in Seralini’s Roundup studies, wouldn’t ‘dishonest corrupt scientists’ be jumping on the bandwagon in order to obtain lucrative research funding to confirm what hardnose already knows for a fact?

    It really is amusing to see hardnose frothing at the mouth and publishing his numerous comments, one after the other, as if he’s got an attention disorder and is incapable of retaining more than a single thought in his mind at a time, and has to get rid of each one separately before he forgets it.

  65. BillyJoe7on 23 Jan 2017 at 5:02 am

    Sign of a troll.

    9 posts in 18 minutes – 7:18, 7:19, 7:21, 7:25, 7:28, 7:31, 7:32, 7:34, 7:36
    5 posts in 4 minutes – 8:14. 8:14, 8:16, 8:17. 8:18 –
    6 posts in 7 minutes – 9:20, 9:22, 9:23, 9:24, 9:25, 9:27

    Verbal diarrhoea in spurts.

  66. Steven Novellaon 23 Jan 2017 at 6:42 am

    The quality of Seralini’s studies are terrible. That last one in nature was obvious shotgunning – he is just looking for any anomalies, and of course finding them. Then he speculates wildly about how this translates to humans. Such speculations are, especially from animal studies, are very unreliable.

    Of course glyphosate is a poison. Everything is a poison. It all depends on dose and mode of exposure. That is why his studies are dubious and you have to be careful how you interpret toxicity studies.

    There are plenty of studies of glyphosate showing it is relatively safe: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/glyphosate-the-new-bogeyman/

    And, homeopathy is not just something I do not believe in. It is a prescientific fantasy that the overwhelming majority of the scientific community has concluded is pseudoscience, cannot possibly work, and doesn’t work. If you do research showing it does work, then your research is wrong.

  67. SteveAon 23 Jan 2017 at 7:07 am

    CKava: “Hey hardnose,

    Given how sincerely interested you are in the new Nature paper you might be interested in these critiques. Lots of technical discussion to dig into (or dismiss out of hand):

    http://biobeef.faculty.ucdavis.edu/2017/01/03/i_would_appreciate_your_comments/

    Yay!

    I learnt two great new words from that link: ‘putrescine’ and ‘cadaverine’.

    Now to work them into an everyday conversation…

  68. hardnoseon 23 Jan 2017 at 10:32 am

    “The quality of Seralini’s studies are terrible. That last one in nature was obvious shotgunning – he is just looking for any anomalies, and of course finding them. Then he speculates wildly about how this translates to humans. Such speculations are, especially from animal studies, are very unreliable.”

    Maybe initial toxicity studies should use human babies as subjects?

    And if this study is so obviously terrible, how did it get published?

    “Of course glyphosate is a poison. Everything is a poison. It all depends on dose and mode of exposure.”

    The whole point of this study was that it showed toxicity at very low doses, over long periods of time.

    “That is why his studies are dubious and you have to be careful how you interpret toxicity studies.
    There are plenty of studies of glyphosate showing it is relatively safe”

    It’s easy to show that a substance is “safe.” Just make sure your experiment is under-powered.

  69. hardnoseon 23 Jan 2017 at 10:33 am

    “homeopathy is not just something I do not believe in. It is a prescientific fantasy that the overwhelming majority of the scientific community has concluded is pseudoscience, cannot possibly work, and doesn’t work. If you do research showing it does work, then your research is wrong.”

    Homeopathy has nothing to do with the subject of this post. But just because you don’t understand how water can store electrical information, does not mean it’s “prescientific fantasy.”

  70. cozyingon 23 Jan 2017 at 12:08 pm

    CKava + others,

    Perhaps it would be instructive to point out to that just because a study appears in a prestigious journal, doesn’t mean it’s valid. The biggest journals in the world are in the business of publishing controversial studies, not necessarily just good ones. There are many notable examples of flawed studies getting attention and then starting movements like antivaxx. Maybe hardnose has an indirect point, the problem is with scientific publishing.

  71. daedalus2uon 23 Jan 2017 at 12:21 pm

    The table showing changes of blood lipids over time has substantial overlap between the two groups.

    How many different parameters were looked at? A great many. It is not a surprise that a few would show differences at p < 0.05. We would expect about 1 in 20 parameters to show that.

  72. Steve Crosson 23 Jan 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Homeopathy has nothing to do with the subject of this post. But just because you don’t understand how water can store electrical information, does not mean it’s “prescientific fantasy.”

    Umm … since homeopathy was dreamed up well before our current scientific practices were established, it is indeed “prescientific” — by definition.

    Unless you DO “understand how water can store electrical information”, especially since it conflicts with pretty much everything we know now (thanks to science), it is not a reasonable belief system.

  73. hardnoseon 23 Jan 2017 at 1:00 pm

    “The biggest journals in the world are in the business of publishing controversial studies, not necessarily just good ones.”

    Oh I see. Reviewers don’t care if a study has a poor design or invalid results, as long as it’s controversial. That’s a great way for a journal to maintain its reputation for quality.

  74. cozyingon 23 Jan 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Steve Cross,

    Umm … since homeopathy was dreamed up well before our current scientific practices were established, it is indeed “prescientific” — by definition.

    You have to be careful with sloppy simplistic arguments like this. Atoms, stars, the earth going around the sun, cells, extraterrestrial life etc. Were all “dreamed up well before our current scientific practices were established,” and are also “prescientific” by your own definition.

    This is why I say this behaviour is “cheerleading” you are just ganging up and attacking the troll. Once again, you don’t actually have a good argument to provide. You think you are helping, but you are actually further pushing the discussion away from what the original author intended. From a strong point to much weaker footing. “Prescientific fantasy” wasn’t the crux of SN’s argument. It was added at the end as a flourish. You’ve been here for years but you haven’t noticed that hardnose is fond of these biased value judgements and picks subjective points to fight about.

  75. cozyingon 23 Jan 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Hardnose,

    Oh I see. Reviewers don’t care if a study has a poor design or invalid results, as long as it’s controversial. That’s a great way for a journal to maintain its reputation for quality.

    Yes fellow troll, who I am accused of being, I agree it’s messed up. Now there are differences between journals. For example, fellow commenter Ckava, (was a lab tech, didn’t ‘write’ the paper) ‘authored’ some papers in some of the worst academic journals in the world (literally 99th percentile of unpopularity). Journals like that, have basically no review process, and it’s humanities pseudo intellectualism anyways. These journals publish nonsense all the time, it doesn’t get read by anyone, but the authors call themselves scientists even when they are religion majors and anthropologists. They use this apparent ‘cred’ to pick up chicks and brag on the Internet. But don’t ever challenge them or look them up, they will run away from you.

    On the other end of the spectrum, the most popular journals in the world also have problems. They publish weak studies all the time that show really controversial results. They need to sell copies and keep their status as number one. This is a problem that skeptics have mentioned many times. The media jumps on these stories and people remember the controversial study not the in depth rebuttal.

  76. hardnoseon 23 Jan 2017 at 1:58 pm

    The major mainstream journals do not “publish weak studies all the time.” That would quickly destroy their reputations.

    The sometimes publish controversial results, but only after the normal peer review process.

    For an atheist/materialist, any research involving things like vitalism, ESP, etc., is automatically considered nonsense, and the quality of the research is ignored. That is probably the basis of your complaint about the major journals. You confuse an ideological/philosophical perspective with science.

  77. hardnoseon 23 Jan 2017 at 1:59 pm

    “How many different parameters were looked at? A great many. It is not a surprise that a few would show differences at p < 0.05. We would expect about 1 in 20 parameters to show that."

    The editors and reviewers are very aware of that. They would not publish research if the results were obviously nothing but chance.

  78. cozyingon 23 Jan 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Hardnose,

    I did literally mean that they do this all the time. There is another issue closely connected with this, many published studies turn out to be false.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182327/?tool=pubmed

    Hardnose you are defending the legitimacy of big scientific journals because this specific journal, Nature, has an article that you like and that supports your arguments. But unfortunately famous studies in big journals turn out to be fictional all the time. Yes. All time time, frequently and consistently. This doesn’t mean modern science is illegitimate. We can still make wonderful discoveries. It just means that yes there are some problems. But unfortunately, it also means that you putting some journals on a pedestal isn’t correct or justified.

  79. hardnoseon 23 Jan 2017 at 2:17 pm

    http://www.nature.com/news/widely-used-herbicide-linked-to-cancer-1.17181

  80. hardnoseon 23 Jan 2017 at 2:20 pm

    http://www.cancerpreventionsociety.org/2016/02/efsa-iarc-and-the-glyphosate-controversy-the-significance-of-the-secret-studies/

  81. Steven Novellaon 23 Jan 2017 at 3:10 pm

    HN ” For an atheist/materialist, any research involving things like vitalism, ESP, etc., is automatically considered nonsense, and the quality of the research is ignored.”

    This is the opposite of the truth. We actually do detailed analysis of the quality and make very specific criticisms, with the same standard as applied to all research. Such detailed analysis is documented here numerous times.

  82. BillyJoe7on 23 Jan 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Steven, you just ruined it. I just got my popcorn out to watch the two trolls troll each other.

  83. BillyJoe7on 23 Jan 2017 at 3:40 pm

    cozy,

    “sweatheart”
    “little girl”
    “pick up chicks”

    I’m just wondering – are there any freudian undertones to your posting here?
    I mean, no big deal, just wondering.

    🙂
    ^smiling emoticon

  84. bachfiendon 23 Jan 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Hardnose,

    The toxicity of a poison depends on its dose. Glycophosphate is classified as a probable carcinogen 2A not a definite carcinogen. Probable carcinogens 2A include eating high temperature fried food and also apparently being a hairdresser (which I can’t quite work out).

    Processed meat products are also probable human carcinogens, but at a lower level. There are natural toxins in all the food we eat, including solanine in potatoes and tomatoes. It’s sensible to eat a balanced diet including a wide variety of food sources instead of banning certain foods, such as bacon or potatoes, in order to minimise exposure to individual toxins, both known and unknown.

    i certainly wouldn’t want to eat food recently sprayed with Roundup (how recently is a question I’ll leave up to the regulatory authorities – I definitely want there to be strong government regulatory oversight of the food I am offered). And if the local council recently sprays the local park with Roundup I’ll certainly take notice of the warning signs and avoid the area for at least the 12 hours recommended.

    The argument about Seralini’s research is not that it’s of low quality and therefore Roundup is safe. It’s that it’s of low quality and he should have done higher quality research, and we’d have more confidence in its findings.

  85. cozyingon 23 Jan 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Poke the trolls much?

  86. hardnoseon 23 Jan 2017 at 4:04 pm

    “It’s that it’s of low quality and he should have done higher quality research, and we’d have more confidence in its findings.”

    What is preventing anyone from following up this research and giving us better evidence?

    Roundup, including its active and inactive ingredients, is a suspected carcinogen. It is used increasingly, and carelessly, and unnecessarily. All because we have these assurances from Monsanto.

    Government agencies trust Monsanto. Why? Could it possibly be because Monsanto has enough money to make friends in powerful places?

    Yes I know Monsanto is often demonized, and some people will disbelieve anything they say. I know there is a profitable organic industry that competes with them for our trust.

    Nevertheless — anyone who blindly trusts Monsanto and companies like that is just plain stupid.

  87. CKavaon 23 Jan 2017 at 4:04 pm

    They use this apparent ‘cred’ to pick up chicks and brag on the Internet.

    LOL! Got bored already?

    Thanks for setting everyone all straight cozy and pointing out all the best arguments that no-one on here has ever thought of or discussed with hardnose before, you really are the truest skeptic! Such logical rigour and with nary a personal insult!

    But wait…

    Excuse me, I just noticed something very important.

    @BillyJoe7: You just said you got popcorn out, but that seems completely unbelievable. There is no way that you would have a theatre based snack available to you at such a convenient time. So that statement is clearly a lie. Which is typical of you, and I notice this isn’t the first time you’ve used such a dishonest tactic. Furthermore, a genuine skeptic would not just eat popcorn when they recognise a debate is occurring with illogical participants, they would challenge the inaccuracies and logical errors without having to resort to childish theatre based metaphors (which I suppose you will try and claim is what you actually meant!). Steve agrees with me that popcorn shouldn’t be used as a weapon (try and find anywhere he has disagreed with that!), he’s made it clear on the podcast. From all the things you’ve said to me (see posts on Oct 7th 2016 and Oct 22nd 2009) I knew you are anti-Irish and a racist… but it’s a new low that you would need to resort to using corn that has ‘popped’ as a means of launching personal attacks. Popcorn is a snack famous for it’s use in theatres where people use it to enjoy movies, but I guess you already knew that, right? Don’t try and weasel your way out of it, you’ve been caught lying. Sorry. Game Over. I’m better at this than you and I can do it literally ALL day. Get rekt!

  88. RCon 23 Jan 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Hardnose, the two articles you posted basically state that there is a disagreement on the toxicity of RoundUp between the IARC, and pretty much every single other scientific council in the world.

    It does not support your argument.

    For the record, the IARC has classified 998 agents as to their toxicity – and found only 1 agent to be “Probably not carcinogenic”. This should give you some idea of the how they classify things.

    The only agent they have classified that way is caprolactam, a precursor to Nylon. Caprolactam is highly toxic as a vapour, and was listed as hazardous in the Clean Air Act. Doesn’t cause cancer apparently, but really messes up your lungs.

    RoundUp is class 2A – Probably cancerous. It shares this classification with things like ‘Being a hairdresser’, ‘owning art glass’, ‘hot beverages’, ‘working at night’ and ‘red meat’

    It is considerably less toxic, according to the IARC, than things like ‘processed meat’, ‘alchoholic drinks’, ‘outdoor air’, ‘being a painter’, ‘salted fish’, ‘2nd hand smoke’, ‘mustard’, and ‘the sun’

  89. cozyingon 23 Jan 2017 at 4:17 pm

    CKava,

    Everyone please note that this is CKava’s third time responding to me after clearly writing that he would no longer interact with me. Three times he said he would never talk to me again. Can’t get enough huh?

    What can I ever say that your childish: “I’ll never talk to you again, nah-nah-nah,” doesn’t say all on its own?

  90. Steve Crosson 23 Jan 2017 at 4:18 pm

    While I’m not big fan of popcorn, it is interesting to compare subject1 and subject2, and I was looking forward to more interaction between the two.

    Subject2 has, on several occasions, been very willing to apply the Principle of Charity to subject1’s statements but rarely extends the same courtesy to anyone else. It seems odd, but perhaps it is just a coincidence that subject1 is one of the few participants who has never publicly challenged subject2.

    It will be interesting to watch subject2’s future behavior now that subject1 has publicly challenged subject2.

    In any event, subject2 is clearly more entertaining. Especially when it voices self parody such as unironically accusing subject1 of being fond of biased value judgements and picking subjective points to fight about.

    Even more hysterical, when subject2 complains about ” further pushing the discussion away from what the original author intended. From a strong point to much weaker footing. “Prescientific fantasy” what the founding fathers believed wasn’t the crux of SN’s argument. It was added at the end as a flourish”

  91. CKavaon 23 Jan 2017 at 4:40 pm

    @cozy

    Oh sorry, I guess I should have been clearer. I’m done responding to you substantively but I’m not going to act like you don’t exist. You are all too real, so I fully anticipate seeing you pop up in many unrelated comment threads making snide remarks and trying to draw me and others you perceive as enemies to engage with you. At least until the time when you flounce off denouncing the site, the skeptic community, and probably SN too. Toodles!

  92. cozyingon 23 Jan 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Steve Cross,

    I find this abstraction very entertaining. Please carry on.

    So do you no longer hold your previous stance that subject1 and subject2 are the same person?

    Do you admit to your error, fallacious arguments and abusive speech?

    “Prescientific fantasy” was definitely not the crux of this new SN quote.

    The interpretation of “Public” meaning “common people” was actually defended by SN himself.

    He gave quotes to support that interpretation, in his responses. He never said that he meant “public” to mean what you maintained it could only possibly mean: a small subset of the population.

    I’m sure no one cares about this anymore. But you brought it up. You must think if you just repeat something enough times and rewrite history enough, people will just take your word for it.

    But you are 100% wrong on both those claims. You did make SN’s argument weaker by using sloppy logic, and you did say that SN definitely meant a small subset by his use of “public.” It’s all there in the record for anyone to see. Still waiting on that objective third party.

  93. Bob.Newmanon 23 Jan 2017 at 5:01 pm

    cozying,
    I disagree with you and your interpretations the large majority of the time. There are a few times were I think your larger points may be worth discussing but they are typically lost in your use of straw men, ad hominems, and extreme verbosity.

  94. cozyingon 23 Jan 2017 at 5:01 pm

    CKava,

    Oh sorry, I guess I should have been clearer. I’m done responding to you substantively but I’m not going to act like you don’t exist.

    See there I go again, I’m such a silly little girl. I always misinterpret you and need your wonderful clarifications. I must have foolishly assumed all of those things, and come to those false conclusions by:
    -you claiming multiple times that you were never talking to me again, -you saying bye and other formal farewells,
    -calling me mentally unstable,
    -saying I won,
    -that you were afraid of me and therefore done interacting with me.

    Silly, silly me. I guess you are a true skeptic that can’t put the effort into making “substantive” responses to trolls like me. I’m not worthy of logical arguments and basic respect.

    But wait a second Mister, if you are only coming to these realizations about my worthlessness now, why are all your previous posts filled with critical errors, personal attacks, self contradictions and fallacious arguments?

    Why did you claim to be an atheist but use “god bless you” and other god-positive language in your pedantic responses? Exaggerate your publications and expertise? Your an anthropology phd who can’t answer a simple troll’s argument like “but the afterlife can’t be disproven.”

    Kinda weird for someone as smart as you to write things like that? But what do I know, I’m just a worthless silly little girl.

  95. cozyingon 23 Jan 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Bob.Newman,

    Okay well please give me some examples of these points.

  96. cozyingon 23 Jan 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Bob.Newman,

    It’s easy to accuse someone of those things. It’s hard to provide evidence and form a good argument.

    For example you and others might think I use “ad hominems” against people like Ckava. But I don’t, I’m not exactly nice and perfectly respectful, I’m being rude now. But an ad hominem is a specific logical fallacy. It’s when you attack the person not what the say. I’ve attacked the things CKava has said many times, I’ve showed him contradicting himself, straight up lying, like about what his paper is about and how it doesn’t relate to the argument hardnose made. Lots of things of that nature I’ve done. And yes I did follow through and call him on his bluff. He did say this is my name go look me up on google scholar. He provided that info, as evidence for his supposed expertise. That makes it fair game. It matters that he’s published in the worst journals. That he was just a lab tech in someone else’s lab, he didn’t write the analysis or participate in writing the paper that he proudly bragged about. These are not ad homiems. If you fuming and think I’m 100% wrong, do yourself a favor and google it before responding to me. If you do not, I will provide definitions and links in my response.

  97. bachfiendon 23 Jan 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Hardnose,

    Seralini’s study, low quality though it is, cost 3.5 million Euros. Doing a higher quality study obviously would cost much more, not available freely to other researchers – not to mention the time concerns with no journal article resulting from a probable negative result.

    You’re a real conspiracy theorist. Governments and government authorities are in the pockets of chemical companies (and pharmaceutical companies according to you) and are concealing the hazards of Roundup. And vaccines.

    No one wants regulation and oversight of chemical and pharmaceutical companies removed (except perhaps small government conservatives).

    At least it further proves you’re not Michael Egnor writing under an alias – who believes that DDT (and possibly Roundup too) is perfectly safe (in order to attack ‘greenies’ such as Greenpeace). And that scientists are corrupt, interested in only getting research grants (think AGW), abetted by governments favouring certain industries such as renewables over much larger fossil fuel companies.

    If scientists are as corrupt as you seem to believe, then why aren’t they expressing your concern, loudly and publically, about Roundup in order to get the large research grants necessary to prove the link you’re convinced exists?

  98. RCon 23 Jan 2017 at 5:47 pm

    “See there I go again, I’m such a silly little girl. I always misinterpret you and need your wonderful clarifications. I must have foolishly assumed all of those things, and come to those false conclusions by:”

    Nobody called you a silly little girl, so that’s an example of a strawman. It’s also an example of playing the victim, and a handful of other things that exist for no reason other to misdirect conversation.

    You’ll have a lot less trouble interacting with people if you stop doing this, and DISCUSS THE TOPIC AT HAND.

  99. cozyingon 23 Jan 2017 at 6:05 pm

    RC,

    Nobody called you a silly little girl, so that’s an example of a strawman. It’s also an example of playing the victim, and a handful of other things that exist for no reason other to misdirect conversation.

    100% incorrect. Pay attention now. Actually a strawman is when you attack a made-up, usually easier to tackle, version of your opponents position. I never, ever, not a single time, said that someone labeled me a little girl and then attacked them for saying it. In this context that you specified, that’s what the strawman version would be.

    Steve Cross and others have used casual sexist remarks against me, but not CKava.

    This is what you quoted: “See there I go again, I’m such a silly little girl.” Maybe you read it differently? It doesn’t say: “there you go again…” I was clearly talking about myself being silly, in like a sarcastic childish voice.

    You can argue that I’m playing the victim sure, it’s flimsy at best. That’s not exactly an accurate thing to say, especially not with the example you quoted. I clearly was being sarcastic and highlighting how CKava is always complaining about being misinterpreted and always giving clarification like I’m 5. It’s pretty clear that he said he was done responding to me at least 3 separate times, but to prevent himself from looking like a self contradicting fool, he clarified it to mean that I’m no longer worth of substantive responses. It’s such a joke at this point.

  100. hardnoseon 23 Jan 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Seralini’s was the first to consider the possibility that long-term exposure to a GMO and/or Roundup might damage health. These substances put into use all over the world BEFORE ANYONE TESTED their long-term effects.

    That fact alone should make you wonder if Big Food’s products really are safe. No one knows, most do not care.

    It’s not a conspiracy, it’s just normal business, and our wonderful government not giving a crap about protecting us from toxic substances in our food and water.

  101. hardnoseon 23 Jan 2017 at 6:11 pm

    And, by the way, I don’t like Big Government either. But the government does have very specific tasks and they include protecting us from crime and negligence.

  102. RCon 23 Jan 2017 at 6:25 pm

    “These substances put into use all over the world BEFORE ANYONE TESTED their long-term effects.”

    Glyphosate, like GMOs, has undergone extensive testing. Over decades. Millions of subjects.

    You just don’t care, because it doesn’t agree with your agenda.

  103. cozyingon 23 Jan 2017 at 6:35 pm

    RC,

    Glyphosate, like GMOs, has undergone extensive testing. Over decades. Millions of subjects.

    Incorrect. From the wikipage:

    It was discovered to be an herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970. Monsanto brought it to market in 1974 under the trade name Roundup.

    That’s 4 years. Not the minimum 20, for ‘decades.’

    This is a constant theme in these comments. I know you think you are fighting the good fight and beating the trolls like me but you just weaken the position of skeptics with sloppy arguments that are literally one google search away from being disproven.

  104. CKavaon 23 Jan 2017 at 7:10 pm

    @cozy

    “It’s such a joke at this point.”

    Agreed, so no dice on your most recent thread derailing questions. I’ve no interest in dealing with your obsessive misrepresentations or constant martyrdom seeking.

    To quote the truest skeptic on this board:

    [A troll] is winning, because [they] trigger you to attack [them]. You take time of your life that you could be playing with your kids and use it instead to argue on the Internet. If [their] goal is to deceive, manipulate, and trick you into wasting your time, then I guess we all lost.”

    (brackets indicate minor changes in wording to avoid attacking any specific person)

    God, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, all the angels and saints, and the Buddha bless you! 🙂

  105. RCon 23 Jan 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Cozying, are you claiming that there has been no testing since 1974?

    If that’s not your claim, then you are fighting a strawman.

  106. Steve Crosson 23 Jan 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Subject2 continues to amuse and delight. It is so adorable, I hope it never grows up.

    I’m sure no one cares about this anymore. But you brought it up. You must think if you just repeat something enough times and rewrite history enough, people will just take your word for it.

    It is just delightfully absurd that subject2 dares to level this charge after literally creating the issue and hijacking a thread about climate change to litigate it. And then proceeds to follow up by claiming:

    You [experimenterSC] did make SN’s argument weaker by using sloppy logic, and you did say that SN definitely meant a small subset by his use of “public.”

    In actual fact, experimenterSC made a number of comments, but NEVER presumed to speak for Dr. Novella. Dr. Novella’s statement was “Since the beginning of our experiment in democracy it has been recognized that a functional democracy depends upon an educated public.” This was made in the penultimate paragraph, and was clearly, to use subject2’s own definition, a “flourish” and certainly not the crux of the argument. However, subject2 certainly seemed to think it was of vital importance.

    ExperimenterSC actually said:

    Any reasonable and FAIR observer would conclude that the “Public”, in the context it was being used, refered only to the group of people actually eligible to vote.

    And:

    Nowhere in that entire quote (or anything else I’ve ever heard Steve say) is there any suggestion that Dr. Novella thinks that everyone could vote, or even that they were educated or particularly good at voting.
    It simply says that, even at that time, many people recognized that a functional democracy could only survive if the electorate made good choices. WHY do you think they restricted the vote to rich white men in the first place? At that time in history, they were the only people likely to be well educated and capable of making good choices — or at least that was the assumption/prejudice.

    And:

    Your “point” about the word “public” is absurdly pedantic in this context. The subject under discussion is (actually was, because it was another thread) is whether increased public education would lead to better choices. The only conceivable, logical interpretation of Steve’s comment is that the “public” he referred to was, in fact, the people making the choices.
    You, yourself have argued that words mean different things in different contexts. In this case, the context was clear and unambiguous. And, in any event, as I already mentioned, the point is so insignificant as to be irrelevant to the main discussion.

    As already stated, the context was clear. The context, i.e. the point of the entire article, was the belief that the world needs more and better critical thinking skills. The comment, or “flourish” to use subject2’s preferred terminology was clearly meant to support that established context. As such, it doesn’t even matter what the intent was anyway. Either interpretation supports the premise of the article that educated decision makers are more likely to make good decisions.

    On top of everything else, the original statement is of such a general nature, that it is literally impossible for it to be false as long as even one person believed it to be true for either the general public or even just the voting subset. Its existence as a belief is even independent of whether or not it was implemented as that person recommended.

    In spite of all that, subject2 (the cute little rascal) is “Still waiting on that objective third party.” Of course, every third party that has expressed an opinion has been of the opinion that subject2 is objectively wrong. The boundless optimism of youth.

  107. hardnoseon 23 Jan 2017 at 7:39 pm

    http://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-016-0117-0

  108. Steve Crosson 23 Jan 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Subject2 levels a change of “casual sexism” against experimenterSC without any proof or objective measure of experimenterSC’s actual intent.

    In point of fact, SC accused subject2 of “allowing emotion to cloud its judgement” long before SC because aware of the subject’s gender. ExperimenterSC would like to point out that both genders are subject to emotional bias and neither is known to think particularly clearly when under its influence.

  109. hardnoseon 23 Jan 2017 at 7:47 pm

    In addition to being possibly carcinogenic, especially at the constantly increasing doses we are exposed to, remember that glyphosate kills plants, and bacteria are plants. Therefore, glyphosate can kill the intestinal bacteria that are critical for health.

    Also — there are other potentially toxic ingredients in Roundup besides glyphosate. Fortunately for Monsanto, those ingredients do not have to be revealed. But that is why Seralini studied Roundup, not just glyphosate.

    When Monsanto claims that glyphosate is safe, they are assuming that a substance that kills plants cannot be harmful to animals. Not true.

    Roundup is being used more and more because it makes certain things easier for farmers. They even spray it just before harvest to kill fungus, etc. So you know it has not all worn off by the time you buy it.

    All the assurances from Monsanto and their friend our government have caused increasing recklessness in its use.

    At least, there should be more studies! And not just by biotech companies and biotech advocates.

  110. hardnoseon 23 Jan 2017 at 7:56 pm

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/widely-used-herbicide-linked-to-cancer/

  111. RCon 23 Jan 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Bacteria are not plants.

  112. cozyingon 23 Jan 2017 at 8:28 pm

    RC,

    Cozying, are you claiming that there has been no testing since 1974? If that’s not your claim, then you are fighting a strawman.

    Slippery and deeply flawed argumentation, that contradicts what you said before.

    Hardnose clearly stated: “These substances put into use all over the world BEFORE ANYONE TESTED their long-term effects.”

    (I did not add caps that, it’s in the original)

    It’s especially embarrassing, or straight-up intellectually dishonest, because you quoted his exact words and then wrote this nonsense:

    Glyphosate, like GMOs, has undergone extensive testing. Over decades. Millions of subjects.

    So that’s wrong. It was released to the public in 4 years after it’s use as a herbicide was discovered by Monsanto.

    Now you are trying to weasel out of your own words and reframing the argument as there was testing since 1974. But that’s not what hardnose said, and that’s not how you originally replied to his own words, which you quoted.

    Once again you are playing to the theme of the true skeptics attacking the trolls like me. You use sloppy arguments to argue your position. You must assume that just because you are “obviously” on the right side of this argument that you can say whatever you want.

  113. Pete Aon 23 Jan 2017 at 8:44 pm

    “bacteria are plants”

    eats shoots and leaves

  114. hardnoseon 23 Jan 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Bacteria are vulnerable to glyphosate, whether technically plants or not.

  115. Pete Aon 23 Jan 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Animal poop is a floral arrangement — it doesn’t stink, the correct word is “bouquet”.

  116. bachfiendon 24 Jan 2017 at 12:21 am

    Hardnose,

    The small amount of glyphosphate intestinal bacteria are exposed to in the food people eat is not a problem.

    Like the rest of the universe, bacteria are very intelligent, and as a result of the process of non-random directed mutations, rapidly develop resistance to glyphosphate. You might be interested in the work of James Shapiro who has described natural genetic engineering (everyone else – please ignore this; it’s a parody).

    If farmers are applying Roundup to their crops shortly before harvesting, then that’s an argument for Big Government. Regulation and oversight of the food we eat should be rigorous.

  117. SteveAon 24 Jan 2017 at 5:14 am

    HN

    Why do you think bacteria are plants?

    This isn’t a dig, I am (gods help me) genuinely interested in finding out how you arrived at this conclusion.

  118. Pete Aon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:32 am

    reckoning [noun]:

    1. The action or process of calculating or estimating something:
    ‘the sixth, or by another reckoning eleventh, Earl of Mar’

    1.1 A person’s opinion or judgement:
    ‘by ancient reckoning, bacteria are plants’

    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/reckoning

  119. SteveAon 24 Jan 2017 at 7:04 am

    Ahh.

    Ancient wisdom.

    Does sound the sort of thing that would appeal to HN.

  120. Pete Aon 24 Jan 2017 at 7:35 am

    SteveA,

    The problem with teaching evolution in school biology lessons, instead of creation science, is that the pupils fail to learn that bacteria are plants: living things that were created before animals, therefore, they cannot be animals. But, it’s more complicated than this, e.g., pathogenic bacteria (and other microorganisms) arose later — caused by the Fall of Man.

    PS: I wish I didn’t know this 🙁

  121. SteveAon 24 Jan 2017 at 8:37 am

    And I’m sorry you had to learn it.

    I’m guessing the same applies to large, multi-cellular parasites such as tapeworms.

  122. Pete Aon 24 Jan 2017 at 9:00 am

    I was taught to avoid asking questions about yucky things, such as tapeworms, because doing so would disgrace my family, friends, and myself.

    As you might imagine, I’ve become a highly-vocal advocate of incorporating critical thinking skills into the frameworks of primary and secondary eduction systems. Much to the annoyance of my indoctrinators!

  123. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 9:15 am

    @cozying.

    I would strongly urge you to reread my original post, and pay particular attention to the tenses used. The specific tenses were chosen carefully.

    You are fighting a strawman.

    Your continual inability to read what was actually written, and your continual insistence on inserting your own story in other people’s words is a perfect example of why you are incapable of having civilized discussion here.

  124. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 11:01 am

    RC,

    You are fighting a strawman.
    Your continual inability to read what was actually written, and your continual insistence on inserting your own story in other people’s words is a perfect example of why you are incapable of having civilized discussion here.

    There’s a little thing you are forgetting called context. This is what you said:

    “These substances put into use all over the world BEFORE ANYONE TESTED their long-term effects.”
    Glyphosate, like GMOs, has undergone extensive testing. Over decades. Millions of subjects.
    You just don’t care, because it doesn’t agree with your agenda.

    Notice how you quoted hardnose saying “…before anyone tested…” in all caps no less?

    That by definition constrains your reply. Your reply is clearly meant to address what you quoted hardnose saying. So there are only two possibilities now, either you made an appropriate reply, or a mistake.

    If you said without quoting someone, thereby not clearly implying a reply to what they said, that: glysophate has been tested for decades, then you could defend it as meaning “since its introduction to the public in 1974.”

    That’s not what happened. You quoted hardnose’s concerns about untested chemicals being introduced to the public, and widely used all over the world. Then replied that actually they have been tested for “decades” and with millions of subjects. In the context, which you yourself specified, that is incorrect since it was sold within 4 years of its discovery by Monsanto. That makes it a point for hardnose, not for you. Your argument did not address any of his claims it only made them stronger.

    This is the difference between real critical thinking, and using these tools to harass strangers online without actually knowing what you are talking about.

  125. daedalus2uon 24 Jan 2017 at 11:56 am

    What is the current year? I am pretty sure that it is 2017 and not 1974.

    What ever the state of glyphosate research in 1974, what is relevant today is the state of glyphosate research today.

  126. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Let me ask it this way instead. Suppose this is a question on a critical reasoning test:

    Margo is concerned about public health and safety, she thinks that substances like glyphosate are put into use all over the world before anyone has tested their long term effects. Please provide an analysis of this concern and frame a convincing counter argument.

    Would this be a correct response?:

    “Glyphosate, like GMOs, has undergone extensive testing. Over decades. Millions of subjects.
    You just don’t care, because it doesn’t agree with your agenda.”

    Considering that glyphosate was put into widespread use 4 years after its development, exactly Margo’s concern, I would give you a 0 if I was grading that test. If you tried to follow up that fallacious response with: but it’s 2017, it has been decades, it’s been tested since then; I would give that follow up a 0 as well. Not only did you not address the original question but you stood behind and defended a garbage answer.

    Since RC directly quoted HN it fits this contextual model much more closely than you may have initially thought.

    It’s not about the decades between 1974 and now. It’s about the products being put into use before being tested.

  127. Pete Aon 24 Jan 2017 at 12:38 pm

    I am a genetic product that was put into use before being properly tested.

  128. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Context does not change the meaning of words.

    This is very simple. You need to start reading what people actually write, and stop imposing your own constraints.

    I phrased things the way I did intentionally, because I figured you would do exactly what you’ve done in every post in this thread – intentionally misinterpret a very simple, very clearly worded statement, because your version of the statement is easier to combat.

    This is exactly about what has happened between 1970 and now. Hardnose’s concerns about what happened in the 70s are irrelevant, as they have absolutely nothing to do with the current understanding of the safety of glyphosate.

  129. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 1:10 pm

    If you really think it doesn’t matter that substances are put into widespread use before being adequately tested, then you just don’t know the relevant factual details. Maybe learn about the history of asbestos to start, since it’s not controversial.

    I’m a member of an immigrant minority group. The safety regulations that apply in the USA don’t apply in the rest of the world. Now this never happened to me personally, all I remember is big white clouds being sprayed from planes, but my parents and other family members have shared stories about being sprayed with DDT. They would go through military checkpoints and be forced to strip down and be sprayed with this stuff. Older people in my family said it was just a part of life, and they remembered being very young in school and having to go through this procedure as well. They didn’t even really understand, or have any negative feelings towards it, it didn’t hurt or anything. My grandfather said that him and other children would laugh and play around with the powder, it was fun.

    You might be right that glyphosate is safe and has been extensively tested since 1974. On the other topic, I personally believe that GMOs are safe.

    But HN clearly said that he was concerned that untested substances are put into use well before their longterm effects are known. This is a historically accurate, and very legitimate concern.

    Being a skeptic is more than just championing glyphosate and GMOs. You need to appreciate what people are actually saying, and respond to that.

    In this case RC absolutely walked into exactly what HN was saying, while apparently writing something that was supposed to be an argument against it. Just like earlier when Steve Cross gave a extremely sloppy argument for SN’s flourish: “prescientific fantasy.” Instead of realizing that it wasn’t the crux of SN argument, and that HN picked it to gripe about instead of the actual point.

  130. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 1:19 pm

    RC,

    Context does not change the meaning of words.

    Completely incorrect.

    Context is exactly what gives words their meaning. Don’t believe me? Please open a dictionary, look up the meaning of literally any word with multiple definitions, since most of them do. Please tell me what you see. Multiple definitions (meanings) for the same word? How is that possible?! Which definition applies to any word in the sentence which it appears?

    If only we had a handy little concept to help us solve this problem.

    If you agree with RC please come and write an argument against me, I would love to hear from you.

  131. Pete Aon 24 Jan 2017 at 1:48 pm

    If you agree with RC please come and write an argument against me, I would love to hear from you.

    Indubitably!

  132. Bob.Newmanon 24 Jan 2017 at 2:03 pm

    cozying,

    This exchange, in my opinion, is why, you are deserving of many of the pejoratives levied against you. Instead of strengthening the discussion you decry, challenge, and claim superiority. This behavior vastly overrides any valid criticism or potential additions you may bring to the discussion.

    Rather than calling people incorrect you should directly address the shortcomings in the “sloppy arguments” that you feel “weaken the positions of skeptics”. For example you could add clarification that RC was referencing the testing that has happened since Roundup has been brought to market (or ask for clarification if you were unsure what RC meant). Furthermore, if you believe that this doesn’t address hn’s core argument you should directly address it or appropriately request more information.

    Acting in the manner as you have is not merely counterproductive but destructive.

  133. Steve Crosson 24 Jan 2017 at 2:14 pm

    cozying,

    If you feel so strongly about context, then why are you ignoring this comment:

    “Steve Cross on 23 Jan 2017 at 7:37 pm”

    It is ALL about context and how your uncharitable interpretation of SN’s comment completely ignored the context of the topic under discussion.

    Oh yeah, and also how you personally chose to focus on a minor “flourish” instead of the crux of the argument.

  134. Steve Crosson 24 Jan 2017 at 2:23 pm

    cozying,

    This NOT meant as a pejorative, but since you mentioned that you are a member of a minority immigrant group, is English your second language?

    If so, that might explain why your interpretation of comments is so dramatically different from the way that virtually everyone else interprets them.

    Trying to throw you a life raft here, so please don’t get all bent out of shape.

  135. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Bob.Newman,

    No one is ever “deserving” of sexist and abuse language, or being called illiterate when they can obviously read. Or having their intelligence constantly questioned and multiple suggestions that they are not mentally stable. You saying that is just further in line with the opinions of other weak skeptics like yourself: Steve Cross, SteveA, ckava and others. Yes I realize there is a mounting consensus of people who think I’m deplorable, it doesn’t bother me, they are all wrong, justifying abusive behavior is shameful and has no place in a community of critical thinkers. Especially when you can find zero examples of me using the abusive language they regularly use.

    This is a science and critical thinking blog. Authority, knowledge and a good education are by their very nature “destructive.”

    You accuse me of this as if it’s a negative thing, but look at the above exchange. RC is wrong. Sorry, but it’s a fact, he didn’t answer the concerns he quoted, his numerous defenses and justifications for his behaviour are more and more ridiculous. He just said context doesn’t change the meaning of words. Yes it does. It’s exactly what gives words meaning.

    So in short, you are saying that I’m destructive and worthy of ridicule for demanding a higher standard of discussion…. Shame on you?

    You claim I don’t strengthen the discussion. I would say that’s exactly the opposite of what’s happening. RC and Steve Cross both strengthened HN’s argument for him. If you don’t understand how, then go over the facts in detail.

    RC quoted something, gave a response to it. I don’t need clarification. That’s self-explanatory. It’s not a mistake on my part to assume that someone expects their response in a situation like that to be in the same context.

    You are just another person advocating for group cohesion and bashing trolls with illogical arguments. You don’t see that a weak skeptical argument for a position we all hold is a bad thing. You think this a popularity contest. It’s not.

    Still waiting for that great defense of RCs words on context.

  136. Bob.Newmanon 24 Jan 2017 at 2:35 pm

    cozying,

    You just called me a “weak skeptic” with no basis. This is why your behaviour is assumed destructive. Peace my friend.

  137. Pete Aon 24 Jan 2017 at 2:38 pm

    “Trying to throw you a life raft here, so please don’t get all bent out of shape.”

    I think that your kindness [subservience?] has seriously “bent out of shape” the correct intent of, and far exceeded the required limitations of, the principle of charity. Please read:
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Straw_man

  138. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Bob.Newman,

    With no basis? Is that a joke? Look at the context of what I wrote. The words before and after the sentence you have problems with.

    I clearly explained that justifying abusive behavior is not a very skeptical thing to do and that it has no place in a community of critical thinkers. Based on that, yes you are a very weak skeptic. Skeptic-light let’s say. You are here for ideological reasons that have nothing to do with the skeptical movement.

  139. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 2:50 pm

    @Cozying,

    “If you really think it doesn’t matter that substances are put into widespread use before being adequately tested, then you just don’t know the relevant factual details”

    Could you point out exactly where I said this?

    You continue to construct strawmen.

  140. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Steve Cross,

    This NOT meant as a pejorative, but since you mentioned that you are a member of a minority immigrant group, is English your second language?
    If so, that might explain why your interpretation of comments is so dramatically different from the way that virtually everyone else interprets them.

    This is offensive, and I have addressed some of these issues many times. There are many countries around the world, that have English as an official language. Assuming, like you have previously, that I’m illiterate or have other problems just because I’m from another country is offensive. Especially since you aren’t citing the typical errors ESL learners have or anything of that nature, but claims that are much more subjective like “interpretation.” Yeah it’s offensive.

    I totally agree that my interpretation of some of the comments is drastically different from some of the people who frequently comment. Such as yourself. If you think RC’s defense that I willfully misinterpret him is true, and that context doesn’t change the meaning of words, then I don’t know what to tell you. He’s flat out wrong.

    It’s possible that you and other weak skeptics who love to justify abusive behavior, are all wrong. It’s possible that using abusive language and insulting comments to push your illogical arguments is completely against the goals of this blog. It’s possible that true skeptics don’t need to publicly infer that their their opponents have mental, educational, developmental problems.

    RC,

    Keep ignoring the numerous critical errors in your arguments to blow smoke. How about this: I’ll answer your new questions when you defend your absolutely hilarious statements on ‘context’ and misinterpretation.

  141. Bob.Newmanon 24 Jan 2017 at 3:08 pm

    cozying,

    You have defied the qualification necessary to be defined a weak skeptic as justifying abusive behavior. I have not justified abusive behavior. Therefore you have called me a weak skeptic without basis. Peace my skeptical sister.

  142. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Bob.Newman,

    I have not justified abusive behavior.

    ….Um? Previously you said:

    This exchange, in my opinion, is why, you are deserving of many of the pejoratives levied against you.

    Saying someone is “deserving” of “pejoratives” is justifying abusive behavior. Look up the relevant meanings of the words “pejoratives” and “justify.” It’s literally true by definition.

  143. BBBlueon 24 Jan 2017 at 3:20 pm

    EPA will review each registered pesticide at least every 15 years to determine whether it continues to meet the FIFRA standard for registration. Pesticides registered before 1984 have been reevaluated initially under the reregistration program. These pesticides also are subject to registration review. https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-reevaluation/registration-review-process

    Glyphosate registration reviews:
    2016 EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0385 266,194 comments
    2009 EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0361-0001 30 comments
    1993 EPA-738-F-93-011 Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED)
    1986 NTIS PB87-103214 EPA-issued registration standard
    1974 Glyphosate registered and introduced to agriculture and consumer market

    Science and regulatory agencies have come a long way since radium, tetraethyl lead, and asbestos. Yes, science has been wrong before, but what is reasonable in terms of determining when a new technology or product can be released to the public and the environment? How many reviews are enough? How much weight should we give to advocacy research and those who claim there is no such thing as a safe pesticide residue? It’s not possible to distinguish between good research and bad? Shall we allow activists, ideologues, Internet cranks and tolls to serve as gatekeepers for new technologies?

  144. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 3:21 pm

    “Keep ignoring the numerous critical errors in your arguments to blow smoke. How about this: I’ll answer your new questions when you defend your absolutely hilarious statements on ‘context’ and misinterpretation.”

    Could you please be specific on what you think my argument is?

    Please respond with exactly what you think my argument is – do not couch it in comments about people’s behavior, or how you’re being persecuted. If you can do that, and only that, I will answer on whether or not that is actually the argument that I’m making, or correct you, so that we can have a discussion where we’re actually talking about the same thing.

    It is a waste of time to have a discussion when we can’t agree on what we’re actually discussing.

  145. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 3:34 pm

    RC,

    Yep sure. Please defend the following statement you made:

    Context does not change the meaning of words.

    That line appeared isolated. It’s not part of another paragraph or a greater sentence. You literally wrote it alone at the top your comment, that was apparently addressing my thoughts on context.

    It’s completely incorrect and contrary to how language actually works. When you quote someone and then reply, you specify the context. You didn’t answer HN’s concern, a very common and historically accurate concern, you played it off and cited that glyphosate was tested for decades and on millions of subjects. But that was not the case before its release, which was HN point. This also might help to address any problems that might come up with what BBBlue added, I never said glyphosate or gmos were unsafe. I just critiqued your weak out of context argument.

  146. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Alright. You’ve made it perfectly clear that you have no interest in discussing the actual subject at hand.

    Which, by definition, makes you a troll.

  147. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 4:12 pm

    RC,

    Well. You did reply to me, attack me and insult me numerous times now. You just called me a troll for going off topic? But you went off topic earlier when you wrote this hillarious nonsense in this thread:

    Context does not change the meaning of words.

    So are you going to run away like another self-contradicting weak skeptic? Or are you going to hash out this fight that you previously engaged in?

    Maybe it’s because you know you are wrong, that you made a mistake. Maybe you realized that what you said about context was foolish and indefensible.

  148. Steve Crosson 24 Jan 2017 at 4:27 pm

    cozying,

    You have made it abundantly clear that context is important to you, but you feel free to ignore context when it suits your purposes. Which is exactly what you did when you created the issue about SN’s quote about educating the public.

    Why are you ignoring my challenge? Made yesterday, repeated above and now made for a third time?

    If you feel so strongly about context, then why are you ignoring this comment:
    “Steve Cross on 23 Jan 2017 at 7:37 pm”
    It is ALL about context and how your uncharitable interpretation of SN’s comment completely ignored the context of the topic under discussion.
    Oh yeah, and also how you personally chose to focus on a minor “flourish” instead of the crux of the argument.

  149. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 4:37 pm

    @Cozying,

    I have no interest in hashing out your inability to have a conversation like an adult.

    I have been very patient with you, and I have made a point of reiterating my argument where you made mistakes. For instance, when you first misinterpreted my comment by ignoring the tense of the words I used, and assuming unintended context, I asked you to clarify:

    “Cozying, are you claiming that there has been no testing since 1974? If that’s not your claim, then you are fighting a strawman”

    You continued to refuse to answer that question and mischaracterize my argument.

    I have made no claim other than this:
    “Glyphosate, like GMOs, has undergone extensive testing. Over decades. Millions of subjects.”

    If you have an argument contradictory to that, I am interested in hearing it. If your argument is not contradictory to that, you are arguing against a strawman, as I have repeated to you several times, that this is my only claim.

    Any other claims you are arguing against, are not claims I have made. Any arguing otherwise is proof that you are not arguing in good faith.

  150. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Steve Cross,

    All you do is try to provoke me. You’ve said so many things that we offensive and incorrect. Every time you just keep coming back with more and more nonsense. You never learn from your past failures. You repeat the same exact mistakes over and over. At this point I just reply so that the comments aren’t filled with your unchecked nonsense.

    Your challenge is a joke right? I critiqued what you said about HNs response. That was clearly the context of my reply to you.

    What you said about HNs response was a hilariously flawed argument. It is true that HN ignored the crux of SNs point. You could have easily just ignored that and replied to HN saying that actually that was just a flourish and not the crux.

    But you chose to say: actually dude it’s a prescientific fantasy by definition because it was dreamt up before modern science. That’s a really bad argument, with a horrible use of definitions, because it set’s up: well then I guess stars, atoms, species etc are all prescientific fantasies too because they were all dreamt up before modern science.

    How far does that argument get from reality? How far is that from what SN meant?

    My point and my context, was to show that you further weakened what SN was saying by going with what HN got from it, instead of referring to the original. There is no crucial rule preventing me from doing this. I don’t have to go back and explain what SN really meant and how it was a flourish not a crux. That was not my stated goal or intention. My stated and accomplished goal was to show that a god of skepticism like you bleeds troll blood. You love to attack the stupid people you hate, like me and HN, but you also make the biggest possible mistakes.

    RC,

    You seriously changed your tune, and are now obsessively focused on things that are out of chronological order. I made my position very clear. You even misquoted yourself in this recent response, your words did not occur in isolation. You clearly meant them as a response to what HN said. But that’s no where to be seen in your revision of history.

    I know you think I’m a troll and I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I’ve said many times now that your comments on context are hilariously incorrect, you just flat out ignore this, but keep responding. I can only conclude from this avoidant behavior that you know your thoughts on context were wrong.

    If you understood why context matters, (which it seems like you still don’t based on your recent self quote), then you would understand how: glyphosate has undergone “decades” of testing over “millions” of subjects; is not a response to: these products are released to the public before their long term effects are known.

    It doesn’t matter how it’s now known that glyphosate and other substances are safe, that is not relevant to what HN actually said. He made a point that’s historically accurate and expressed a common concern felt by many people, which you minimized and didn’t address.

    This matters because stuff like this comes up all the time in the news and in daily life. As skeptics we should probably have some decent arguments not a bunch of out of context facts to spew at people with legitimate concerns.

  151. Steve Crosson 24 Jan 2017 at 5:12 pm

    This would all be a lot more fun and useful if we could all (including me) dial down the rhetoric a little bit.

    And, cozying, I’m mostly talking about you. Let’s just say you could use some diplomacy skills. It took me a long time to realize it, but you are correct about RC’s original comment — at least insofar as stating that it did not directly address the issue that hardnose raised.

    The reason it took me so long (and probably RC as well) is because you tend to phrase almost everything in the most arrogant and condescending manner. A lot of this is due to your past commenting history. Now, even if your words are fairly neutral, it is difficult NOT to mentally “hear” them as being spoken by your oftentimes rather snide persona. Not saying it is necessarily fair — just highly probable.

    To illustrate:

    RC,
    “Glyphosate, like GMOs, has undergone extensive testing. Over decades. Millions of subjects.”

    Incorrect. From the wikipage:
    It was discovered to be an herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970. Monsanto brought it to market in 1974 under the trade name Roundup.
    That’s 4 years. Not the minimum 20, for ‘decades.’
    This is a constant theme in these comments. I know you think you are fighting the good fight and beating the trolls like me but you just weaken the position of skeptics with sloppy arguments that are literally one google search away from being disproven.

    cozy, you clearly used the word “incorrect” immediately after a statement that was in fact true.

    It would have been so much more diplomatic, productive and USEFUL, if you had simply bothered to point out that while RC’s comment may have been technically true, it simply did not address the question asked.

    And it would very likely have removed the need for quite a few additional comments where you made essentially the same point repeatedly. And it would have much better served your professed goal of making us all better and more effective skeptics.

  152. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Wow Steve Cross this is just embarrassing for you now.

    The full context is:

    Hardnose: “These substances put into use all over the world BEFORE ANYONE TESTED their long-term effects.”

    RC clearly quotes that in his reply:

    “These substances put into use all over the world BEFORE ANYONE TESTED their long-term effects.”

    Glyphosate, like GMOs, has undergone extensive testing. Over decades. Millions of subjects.
    You just don’t care, because it doesn’t agree with your agenda.

    That’s RCs full reply. Note how he clearly quoted what he was replying too.

    Then me:

    “Glyphosate, like GMOs, has undergone extensive testing. Over decades. Millions of subjects.

    Incorrect. From the wikipage:
    “It was discovered to be an herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970. Monsanto brought it to market in 1974 under the trade name Roundup.

    That’s 4 years. Not the minimum 20, for ‘decades.’
    —-

    If RC did not directly quote HN saying “before anyone tested” then yes you would all be right and I would be wrong.

    However that’s not what happened. His response is out of context and incorrect. Stop telling me how safe it is now. It doesn’t matter how true is that glyphosate has been tested since it’s release. That was not the case when it was released. It was released and in widespread use well before its effects were known. And that’s what HN was talking about.

  153. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 5:32 pm

    “You seriously changed your tune, and are now obsessively focused on things that are out of chronological order.”

    I have not changed my tune at all.

    My initial claim was this:
    “Glyphosate, like GMOs, has undergone extensive testing. Over decades. Millions of subjects.”

    I have made no additional claims.

    Do you have a counter to this claim? Or are you going to continue operating on the idea that I am trying to make a claim that I have now spent dozens of posts telling you directly that I am not making?

    Let me make this clear to you: I am not, nor have I ever, argued(ing?) that RoundUp was tested for decades on millions of subjects between 1970 and 1974.

    Now, on the subject of CONTEXT, I would think that it would be pretty clear that, in the context of there only being 4 years between 1970 and 1974, I was not arguing about that time period.

  154. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Steve Cross,

    It would have been so much more diplomatic, productive and USEFUL, if you had simply bothered to point out that while RC’s comment may have been technically true, it simply did not address the question asked.

    I did point out numerous times that the technical trueness of the thing didn’t matter.

    I said many times that he didn’t answer the very common concerns that HN expressed.

    I also said that an out of context answer is an incorrect answer.

    If I ask you the mass of the sun, and you answer: some apples are red. Your “statement” is correct, but your “answer” is incorrect. Same this with a “response” to a quote. The factual details in your response can be totally true and accurate but your response is incorrect because it doesn’t address the thing you specifically quoted.

    He literally said that context didn’t matter that it doesn’t change the meaning of words. I don’t mean to be an ass, I wouldn’t make such a big deal about this, but it’s literally in almost every comment thread. People not understanding context. Or how to from an appropriate reply. Even some phd candidates think it’s okay to quote half a sentence and then write a lengthy pedantic response that has nothing to do with what the original author was talking about. When they get called on it, I’m the one that misinterpreted them, it’s such a joke.

    But look. I’m not offended or saddened. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.

  155. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 5:44 pm

    @cozying
    “I did point out numerous times that the technical trueness of the thing didn’t matter.”

    This is abject nonsense.

  156. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 5:46 pm

    I will repeat this again, cozying.

    I was not addressing Hardnose’s concerns. I was dismissing them, as they are irrelevant given current regulations, and the current state of scientific research on Glyphosate. I have made that perfectly clear to you.

  157. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 5:51 pm

    “He literally said that context didn’t matter that it doesn’t change the meaning of words.”

    Hold on, you’re complaining about people being unclear in their arguments, and misunderstanding context, and you literally post that I literally said something that I literally didn’t say?

    If you’re going to be a pedant, you have to hold yourself to the same standards you are trying to hold others to – and you’re not even coming close to that. You’re expecting everyone else to be generous in their interpretation of your posts, while continuing to refuse to do the same for them.

    This is what Steve keeps posting about – you lack vision, and are unable to see that you’re the worst offender.

  158. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 5:53 pm

    “What is the mass of the sun?”

    “Some apples are red.”

    “That is incorrect.”

    “No it’s not you idiotic troll.”

    “But you didn’t answer the question.”

    “I don’t have to answer your questions, I was simply stating a fact, and dismissing your ridiculous concerns about the mass of the sun because they are irrelevant. Furthermore the fact that my original answer directly proceeded and may have in fact referenced your question was pure coincidence fool.”

  159. Pete Aon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:06 pm

    http://skepdic.com/nastyeffect.html

  160. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:08 pm

    RC,

    “He literally said that context didn’t matter that it doesn’t change the meaning of words.

    What you actually said:

    “Context does not change the meaning of words.

    I’m sorry who’s the pedant? Did I really misrepresent your flawed understanding of context? Btw when are you gonna stop talking circles around it and defend it? Bring it on.

    P.S.
    Literally:
    informal use:

    used for emphasis or to express strong feeling while not being literally true.”I have received literally thousands of letters”

  161. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:12 pm

    HN:“These substances put into use all over the world BEFORE ANYONE TESTED their long-term effects.”

    ME:Glyphosate, like GMOs, has undergone extensive testing. Over decades. Millions of subjects.

    Notice above that the actual words I used are “has undergone” – did you assume that I made a grammatical mistake in choosing those words, and actually meant “had undergone?”

    This is an example of what Steve is talking about by calling you uncharitable. I made it very clear that I chose my words carefully when I composed that statement – the statement is not ambiguous – but your instinct is to assume that I made a mistake, and that I’m saying something that I did not say.

    If you have an alternate explanation for why I posted what I did, please explain exactly why I used the words “Has undergone” and not “Had undergone”.

  162. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:16 pm

    @cozying

    My god, you are the shittiest pedant who ever lived.

    These two are not the same sentence:
    “context didn’t matter that it doesn’t change the meaning of words.”
    vs.
    “Context does not change the meaning of words.”

    Hence, the word literally does not apply here.

    As to context, that statement was in the context of the word, “Has”, and its tense, and its usage in my statement. Context, which you clearly ignored, while chiding me about context. Pot, kettle, etc.

  163. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Let me just point out that in an argument about context, meaning of words, and clarity of statements, you are using the informal form of a word that means exactly the opposite of the formal meaning, and complaining that others are unclear.

  164. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Lol. This is funny. Right? Anyone else seeing this?

  165. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Stop deflecting and answer the questions that have been asked of you.

  166. hardnoseon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:30 pm

    @bachfiend: “If farmers are applying Roundup to their crops shortly before harvesting, then that’s an argument for Big Government. Regulation and oversight of the food we eat should be rigorous.”

    No that is not an argument for Big Government. That is an argument for sensible laws and strict enforcement.

    And yes, they are spraying Roundup routinely just before harvest.

    By the way, Shapiro does not say bacteria are all-knowing and all-powerful. He says they are intelligent.

  167. Steve Crosson 24 Jan 2017 at 6:31 pm

    cozy,

    Jesus Christ, do you really have to be so arrogant and condescending when I’m AGREEING with you.

    I QUOTED exactly the same damn thing you did. Immediately after a true statement, you said “Incorrect”.

    Do you see the possibility for confusion here? It was possible RC made an honest mistake. As I said, if you had pointed out the actual problem first, instead of essentially labeling him an idiot, do you seriously think it might not have been a more useful discussion?

    And while all this is technically true:

    I did point out numerous times that the technical trueness of the thing didn’t matter.
    I said many times that he didn’t answer the very common concerns that HN expressed.
    I also said that an out of context answer is an incorrect answer.

    It was AFTER it might have done some good — if you actually wanted to carry on a productive conversation.

    Whether you believe it or not, most of the time I’m NOT trying to provoke you — or at least I don’t start out that way. Mostly because I’m not stupid enough to think that anything productive will come of it. I’m pretty sure that most people don’t start out that way either. Yet you seem to resort to arrogance and condescension immediately when you are trying to make a point, and especially whenever anyone challenges you about anything. I guess you feel that if you can “push people’s buttons” they won’t notice when you are wrong.

  168. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:31 pm

    RC Cola,

    “Has undergone” vs “had undergone” is a straw man of your own creation. I would never use such a weak argument, I never said anything like this. Not once did I critique the grammatical nature of what you said. Just the contextual relevance.

    I know this is lost on you, but to me what you said is really funny, because it shows you still don’t understand the basic point I made in so many different ways. It’s moments like this where I question the future of humanity.

    I refer you to the dialogue about the mass of the sun.

    It doesn’t matter if you wrote “had” or “has,” either way what you wrote is not an appropriate “response” to what HN said. You quoted a very specific thing about the testing of products before their release. It doesn’t matter how true it is that glyphosate is now known to be safe, or that it has now undergone decades of testing. That’s irrelevant to the concern in the thing you quoted. In this case you specified the context. You chose that to attack, out of all the things he said, you quoted it and made a response that was kinda related. But not really.

    Hey um so I’m the troll right? But I never used swear words and offensive labels that you keep using. Interesting right? How you, the logical and smart one, keep using stuff like that?

  169. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Steve Cross,

    Hey look my bad. I get used to seeing so much casual sexism, knocks on my confidence, motivations, intelligence, language abilities etc. all from one person: you.

    So yeah I missed the part where you agreed with me. My bad. Thank you. *curtsey*

  170. BBBlueon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:34 pm

    When originally registered, glyphosate was subject to the regulatory and scientific standards of it’s time. After 42 years, subsequent research and reviews have shown that there are no long-term health effects of concern based on reasonable standards of evidence.

    One can certainly take the position that we will never know if exposure to a pesticide at any concentration will ever be safe because no long-term study will ever be long enough or better methods of risk analysis will always supercede current methods, but the consequence of such an extreme application of the precautionary principle would be that no new pesticide will ever pass muster.

    I understand that many will disagree with the claim that there are no long-term health effects of concern associated with glyphosate, but rather than flood this thread with even more citations you think prove that proposition false, I would like those who disagree with me to describe what you think an acceptable standard would look like for the release of a new synthetic pesticide.

  171. Pete Aon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:35 pm

    “Lol. This is funny. Right? Anyone else seeing this?”

    Apparently, it is not funny to anyone other than yourself.

  172. hardnoseon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Can we all at least agree on one thing — Monsanto is evil ?

    I will never understand why the organized “Skeptics” so often take the side of the most obviously deceptive companies. They probably agreed with the tobacco companies in the 1970s.

  173. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:39 pm

    @cozying
    “Has undergone” vs “had undergone” is a straw man of your own creation. I would never use such a weak argument, I never said anything like this. Not once did I critique the grammatical nature of what you said. Just the contextual relevance.

    I’m not even sure how to approach this. Could you please define what you mean by “Straw man”, as this is not the formal usage.

  174. Pete Aon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:41 pm

    “Monsanto is evil”

    Category error.

  175. RCon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:44 pm

    @cozing
    AH, I see what happened. I asked you a question on how you interpreted a statement, and you assumed I was attacking you.

  176. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:46 pm

    BBBlue,

    So I’m not sure what you mean by people disagreeing with you. I never said, not a single time, that I thought glyphosate was unsafe. HN did, a long time ago, and has not repeated those claims in some time.

    The state of the glyphosate research today, has nothing to do with what me Cross and RC are talking about. See the dialogue about the mass of the sun. RC gave an out of context response to HN then went on to say pearls like: context doesn’t change the meaning of words. That’s what I’m talking about.

  177. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:53 pm

    RC koala,

    “AH, I see what happened. I asked you a question on how you interpreted a statement, and you assumed I was attacking you.”

    Um no the part where you I was an “{expletive} pedant,” or said I was a troll for going off topic (which by your own definition makes you a troll).

    That’s you attacking me.

    Your failure to either admit defeat or see the error in: context doesn’t change the meaning of words; and your synopsis of the events are alternative facts.

  178. Pete Aon 24 Jan 2017 at 6:59 pm

    “That’s what I’m talking[1] about.”

    [1] prattling, babbling, blathering, wittering, running off at the mouth.

  179. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 7:18 pm

    See this guy gets me.

  180. Steve Crosson 24 Jan 2017 at 7:24 pm

    cozy,

    As long as you assume that everyone is out to get you, you’re going to make it a self fulfilling prophecy. No matter what the topic or who initiates it (even if they’ve never interacted with you before) you come out with all guns blazing.

    And even when people try to dial it down a notch, you seem to want to keep escalating. What should have been a minor misunderstanding between you and RC has turned into thermonuclear war.

    You’re unable to recognize it, but ever since santagate, I’ve tried to at least start out every interaction calm and reasonable, if only because I recognize that I don’t think clearly when upset. It doesn’t seem to help you think clearly either. And that is NOT a sexist comment (pretty sure I’ve never directed one your way because I try not to towards anyone). I happen to think that ALL genders can be equally emotional and illogical.

    Whether you believe it or not, the following is intended as sincere advice. If you ever want to attain the status of a “normal” commenter, you should try to start each new interaction with the benefit of doubt — especially with people you’ve never talked to before. And definitely when you jump into someone else’s conversation (e.g. RC and hardnose) to express your opinion. A little humility and the principle of charity wouldn’t hurt either.

  181. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 7:27 pm

    Steve Cross,

    You expressed some interesting thoughts on approaches and technique.

    Let me ask you, how would you approach someone who frequently uses illogical arguments, abusive speech and personal attacks to get their point across in these comments?

    What argumentation techniques would you use to get your point across to them in a respectful way?

    Yes this hypothetical person is you. I still want an answer though.

  182. bachfiendon 24 Jan 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Hardnose,

    ‘Can we all at least agree on one thing – Monsanto is evil?

    I will never understand why the organised ‘Skeptics’ so often take the side of the most obviously deceptive companies. They probably agreed with the tobacco companies in the 1970s’.

    You’ve never said a truer word in ‘I will never understand’. Everything after that is pure bullshit.

    Where do you get the idea that sceptics support Monsanto? Who wants Monsanto to escape regulation and the use of Roundup controlled? If anything, that’s the sort of policy Donald Trump’s administration is likely to bring in.

    I suppose I’m making the ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy in noting that although there were so-called sceptics in the ’70s who were making the claim that there’s no link between smoking and lung cancer and other diseases (they also deny AGW is happening to this day as part of their ‘scepticism’ – think Richard Lindzen), true scepticism involves examining the evidence and coming to conclusions.

    Farmers do use Roundup. To dry the grain in wetter regions to make harvesting easier. It’s an argument for testing the grain and rejecting shipments (and not paying the farms) containing residues of Roundup. It would soon solve the problem.

    I doubt seriously that James Shapiro ever claimed that bacteria are intelligent. Perhaps he means that his ‘natural genetic engineering’ is intelligent. You’re trying to read your worldview into a doubtful scientific hypothesis.

    You can’t have it both ways. You can’t claim that resistance to therapeutic doses of antibiotics in bacteria is non-random, directed and to the benefit of the bacteria, and resistance to low amounts of glyphosate – having deleterious effects in the bacteria – doesn’t occur in intestinal bacteria.

  183. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 9:01 pm

    bach,

    “Where do you get the idea that sceptics support Monsanto? Who wants Monsanto to escape regulation and the use of Roundup controlled? If anything, that’s the sort of policy Donald Trump’s administration is likely to bring in.”

    Not to burst your bubble or anything. But hardnose does have a point. Especially in the context of this website. Steven Novella has given a detailed defense of Monsanto and debunked a lot of the conspiracies surrounding it.

    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/the-gmo-controversy/

    I’m not saying he’s a shill or anything. Just that he has on record said that many of the ideas about Monsanto being evil are incorrect.

    I happen to agree. I don’t think Monsanto is more or less evil than any major corporation and it’s interesting that these myths were on the Colbert report a few years ago.

  184. bachfiendon 24 Jan 2017 at 9:20 pm

    cozying,

    And what point are you making? I read the previous thread you linked to, and SN noted that Monsanto behaves in much the same way as other corporations, which is a long way from stating that it’s evil. Or even supporting it.

    He’s done what a sceptic should do. Look at the evidence and come to a conclusion.

  185. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 9:28 pm

    I made my point. It’s understandable that hardnose has this perception of our movement as supporting Monsanto and other corporations. Based on the available evidence I’m sure that many people come to that same conclusion about skeptics. Therefore it should be addressed.

    The mainstream rhetoric on GMOs and Monsanto is very negative. People like hardnose conclude that there must be something to it and that GMOs must be bad. People who defend and support the safety of GMOs must therefore be shills or ignorant of the overwhelming evidence against GMO.

    It would proababy help if we clarified this perception and explained ourselves.

  186. Steve Crosson 24 Jan 2017 at 9:56 pm

    cozy,

    Let me ask you, how would you approach someone who frequently uses illogical arguments, abusive speech and personal attacks to get their point across in these comments?

    Well, the record is clear to see. Everyone can see exactly how I’ve approached your comments for the last few months. You see, every one of those faults is readily observable in your own behavior. You’re just as guilty as the rest of us for all of these shortcomings. Oh, you can probably make a case that you haven’t used some of the cruder language, but you’ve more than held your own in dishing out abuse, personal attacks, and illogical arguments.

    I can’t say I’m proud of it, but all too often I’ve allowed myself to respond to your condescension and taunting, thus escalating the rhetoric. I freely admit that personal attacks and abuse is not good technique, which is exactly the point I try to make in my calmer moments. You have to admit that it hasn’t been working out well for you either. You don’t have a lot of people agreeing with you or jumping to your defense, although many people have noticed and complained about your own use of these tactics.

    I do draw the line at “illogical” though. Just because you disagree, doesn’t mean that something is illogical or that you have proved your case. I’ll note that many people seem to agree more with my logic than they do with your own. However, if you can point to specific examples and agree to a substantive debate (rather than your usual hand-waving), I’m willing to be persuaded on a case by case basis.

    In summary, if you truly do wish to participate meaningfully in the community, I suggest you accept the olive branch. Or else you can continue to be arrogant and condescending as you continually try to tell us how “we’re doing everything wrong”. So far, that approach hasn’t worked very well for you.

  187. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Steve Cross,

    Well you have outlined a pretty clear line in sand here.

    I disagree that I did exactly what you did. That’s also a tu quoque fallacy even if it was true, but in this case it isn’t.

    I’m allowed to provoke you. I don’t have any control of how my words influence you. You can see a provocation in whatever you want.

    You yourself admit that I do not use the language you use. That’s a really important distinction. Thanks for acknowledging it. I also never accused you of being a longtime troll and launched a days long campaign of trying to convince people that you were secretly someone else with very sinister intentions.

    Any time I point out that someone said something that was illogical I’m going to be seen as condescending. Like the previous exchange with RC, you admitted that you saw it like I did. He didn’t. No one else did. He defended some of the most ridiculous arguments I’ve ever heard in my life. “Context doesn’t change the meaning of words.”

    People have a huge stake in defending their own words. It’s ironic to me on a skeptic blog that people would rather go to such a extreme lengths, than just admitting to the smallest errors. And when they defend themselves they use more personal attacks and insults.

    The mildest thing I say in a comment is often taken as this huge provocation and is seen as reason to attack me. For example when I pointed out that science wasn’t actually materialism that it’s closer to model dependent realism. A fact modern philosophy of science, given the numerous problems with materialism. I got labeled as anti science, a theist, philosophy got bashed as a joke etc.

    Please explain how that’s a provocation worthy of such backlash? And there are many such examples of such behavior.

    About this olive branch, with all due respect I actually don’t care. You aren’t a leader in this community, you don’t speak on behalf of anyone, I don’t care if you like me or not.

  188. Steve Crosson 24 Jan 2017 at 10:23 pm

    cozy,

    Never claimed to be a leader. The olive branch is from me. Just tired of wasting my time fighting.

    We’re never going to agree on who is more at fault. That is human nature.

    I’m just saying that you seem to rub a LOT of people the wrong way with what I believe is an arrogant and condescending attitude. I do exactly the same thing so I know of what I speak.

    You might try some serious self reflection. I think you’ll be a lot more successful here and in life with a dose of humility.

  189. bachfiendon 24 Jan 2017 at 10:25 pm

    cozying,

    Where is ‘the overwhelming evidence against GMO’.

  190. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 10:32 pm

    Bach,

    Really? Did you read what I wrote? That’s what you took from it? I’m not an advocate for antiGMO stuff. I was simply referring to how it’s a very mainstream belief that they are bad. There is a very negative vibe to the whole GMO thing. That’s what I was referring to. Mainstream media, The New York Times even, run stories on GMOs that have a very negative slant to them. So it’s understandable that people like hardnose think there must be something to the hubbub, and see skeptics who defend GMOs as shills or defenders of the evil monstrosity that is the vilified Monsanto.

    Even in our movement there is a disagreement between the safety of GMOs this has been covered on the SGU, at the amazing meeting and other conferences.

  191. cozyingon 24 Jan 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Steve Cross,

    Okay. I accept your olive branch. I will try my best to be charitable with my interpretations of the things you and others write. I will however ask that you meet me half way and stop with knocks on my confidence, intelligence, literacy. I’m by trying to mean, and rehash stuff. I only say it because today you literally gave an argument for me not knowing English because I’m foreign.

  192. BBBlueon 24 Jan 2017 at 11:30 pm

    cozying- My question was not directed to any one person, it was directed towards anyone who wants to reply. I was just wondering if there were are anti-glyphosate folks willing to discuss a realistic way forward and if so, what that looked like to them.

  193. bachfiendon 25 Jan 2017 at 6:48 am

    Cozying,

    Mainstream rhetoric being negative on GM food and Monsanto isn’t the same as overwhelming evidence against GM food. And GM food includes more than including pesticides from other species to protect crops (as many of our crops already include natural pesticides such as solanine in potatoes and tomatoes). Or making crops resistant to glyphosate so that they can be sprayed with Roundup to eliminate weeds.

    If there was overwhelming evidence, then this discussion wouldn’t be happening. GM food would have been banned already. Negative comment isn’t the same as overwhelming evidence.

  194. Steve Crosson 25 Jan 2017 at 9:26 am

    cozying,

    I genuinely did not mean the “english as a second language” comment as a knock. I was just trying to understand why your interpretation of situations so often seems to be the outlier opinion.

    Look, I’m well aware that I have a short temper, and that I often allow emotion to turn me into an arrogant jerk. Which is exactly why I try so hard to eventually calm down and try to examine my own actions as critically and unemotionally as possible.

    You should try to use the logical analysis you use on everything else, and apply it to your own situation. I’ve never seen anyone generate as much acrimony as you seem to inspire. Word for word, not even hardnose gets people as upset — and he is not even a real skeptic, and he is rarely logical.

    New commenters on this blog come and go all the time, yet no one manages to antagonize people as quickly as you can. Ask yourself why that might be.

    And I’m not saying that you are “at fault”, but you seem to be the common denominator. Human nature is the real cause. We all want to be right and have fragile egos.

    I believe you genuinely mean well, but whether you realize it or not, when you insert yourself into someone else’s conversation (e.g. RC vs. hardnose) to complain that “you’re doing it wrong”, you tend to rub people the wrong way. It can easily come across as condescending, especially from “the new kid on the block”.

    Again, not trying to say everything is your fault, but when you are the initiator, it is fair to say that you might be the cause. Even fairly innocuous comments can get escalated by emotion when going back and forth.

    I’m not trying to pick on you. I’m just trying to cut down on some of the thread derailments that always seem to happen when we get sidetracked on trivial things.

    You may feel it is unfair, and perhaps it is, but life is unfair. When you interrupt the conversation to give your opinion/advice (no matter how well intentioned), you inevitably set the tone of the following interaction.

    I know I’m going on and on, and beating a dead horse, but I really hope you take this to heart. Please don’t try to convince yourself that it is not as bad as I’m making out. It really is. You can go back in the commenting history of this blog for years, and you won’t find any other examples of new commenters (at least the genuine skeptics) that manage to piss off as many people as you seem to.

  195. cozyingon 25 Jan 2017 at 11:27 am

    Bach,

    Negative comment isn’t the same as overwhelming evidence.

    I agree and didn’t say otherwise. I was definitely referring to popular opinion and the perception of GMO and Monsanto. It’s still definitely negative. I made my personal thoughts clear.

    All I can say to you is that it’s a brave new world. Trump got to where he is using tactics of exploiting the narrative, the reality of the situation didn’t stop him from spewing nonsense. Same thing with Brexit.

    Until we have some rational political backlash against this post-truth movement, we are going to have to acknowledge and take these things very seriously. It’s not enough to sing the praises of the scientific evidence (what you and others keep doing). People don’t understand how we just straight up ignore, minimize, and don’t acknowledge their concerns. Even if a concern is completely foolish it is still felt.

    Steve Cross,

    Thank you for that. Genuinely. Let’s just hope that them trolls don’t read it and learn from it. Haha actually in order to do what I did you’d have to know a lot about critical thinking, if they could do it, we would be winning, they would be much closer to being skeptics.

    About the abrasiveness, I disagree and agree at the same time. I think being annoying is fine as long as you have a point and are consistent. My point was that this theme of “true skeptics” vs “trolls like me” is ridiculous.

    It’s not okay to abuse people you disagree with. You and others have justified abusive behavior, if you look at what’s happening in these comments from the perspective of the trolls, they see the exact same thing. They see people using abusive language and personal attacks to fight their “good” arguments. Then I come in and just point at what’s happening, and things go nuclear.

    Turns out these critical thinkers aren’t so critical, they just happen to share the same ideological beliefs about science and these various positions. Most of the time they can’t formulate a logical argument. That’s pretty damning and problematic.

    I think if you look in detail at the conversations you can seem some pretty consistent patterns. Accusing me of derailment only comes after a devastating loss and failed attempts to challenge me. If people seriously cared about derailment they wouldn’t respond to me and spew personal attacks. Look at the exchange between me and SteveA in the recent global warming thread. He got his ass handed to him. Without question. Makes fun of me, and escape hatches his way out.

    Ckava’s and me, originally he shows up, as an apparent objective third party, to self-contradict, quote what you and others said as fact, meanwhile it wasn’t what close to representing what I said. Then he gets challenged, spews exaggerated claims of his expertise and accomplishments.

    Upon closer examination we discover he’s an anthro phd candidate(which is fine, it’s just not relevant to, and didn’t help him answer such a basic argument: the afterlife is unfalsifiable).

    He just has his name on these papers he brags about despite not participating in the actual analysis or the writing of this paper(lab tech, grad student, which again is fine but useful to note he isn’t an authority).

    He’s such a casual and inconsistent thinker/atheist that he thinks it’s acceptable to ‘write’ “god bless you” on lengthy pedantic comments. Defends it as just casual parlance, I’ve literally never seen an atheist write that on the internet in a god-positive way.

    Tells me I have a “neurosis” definitely a specific, infrequently used, clinical term. I tell him hey that’s inappropriate, and as someone who is publicly identified he should probably be careful with language like that on the internet, because of libel laws. He accuses me of literal Mafioso-style death death threats. But he was just making a “humorous” aside, so it’s okay to accuse a fellow skeptic of Mafia behavior?

    And we can’t forget his constant childish: I’m never ever gonna talk to you again, and you can’t come to my birthday party. A promise that is continuously broken and reformed.

    Sorry for the verbosity but it’s important to note the actual events when you consider the conclusion. At the end of this ass-kicking he tells me I’m not worthy of his responses and accuses me of derailment.

    Hey so if I keep derailing threads, why are people, who care so much about the purity of the comments, spending weeks responding to me?

    It’s because it’s just another illogical argument. Just like the “you misrepresent/misunderstood what I said” has become a constant refrain here. Meanwhile it’s literally one of the most common knee jerk responses to criticism in the world.

    It doesn’t matter how evidenced the derailment actually is, to only accuse your opponent of it and use it as an escape hatch argument, is cowardly and illogical.

  196. Steve Crosson 25 Jan 2017 at 12:02 pm

    cozying,

    Not to burst your bubble or anything. But hardnose does have a point. Especially in the context of this website. Steven Novella has given a detailed defense of Monsanto and debunked a lot of the conspiracies surrounding it.

    This is exactly my point. You tend to start out unnecessarily adversarial (i.e. condescendingly), especially if anyone is familiar with your established persona. It is all too easy to take your words the wrong way.

    I happen to think your point is basically right, but you did a bad job of making it. For starters, hardnose does NOT have a point, or at least not a correct one. And while everything bachfiend said is literally true, he perhaps could have done a better job of illustrating exactly why hn’s perception was wrong — instead of simply reiterating that it was wrong.

    I believe your point is that we need to understand (and neutralize) the bad reasons that people have for believing incorrect things. I completely agree. Otherwise, we just have dueling narratives in the post-truth era.

    Grammar quibble: In these statements “People like hardnose conclude that there must be something to it and that GMOs must be bad. People who defend and support the safety of GMOs must therefore be shills or ignorant of the overwhelming evidence against GMO.” While I think the context indicates that both statements refer to the overall state of mind of “people like hardnose”, it really isn’t very clear.

    Especially given your past history of contrarianism (whether you feel it is deserved or not), it is easy to understand how someone could jump to the wrong conclusion.

    Like it or not, fair or not, you’re going to have to try extra hard to overcome past history.

  197. Steve Crosson 25 Jan 2017 at 12:10 pm

    cozying,

    I wrote my last comment before I saw your last comment, but I think everything still stands. For whatever reason, you’ve gotten off on the wrong foot, and every comment you make will be judged perhaps more harshly than it should be. Even when you are clearly right, it is going to be harder for people to realize that.

  198. Steve Crosson 25 Jan 2017 at 12:49 pm

    cozying,

    Regarding the whole abuse thing, you’re right. It is never appropriate. Nevertheless, it is going to happen, especially when emotions run high. We should all try to avoid it, but failing that, we at least need to get past it.

    If for no other reason than it makes it difficult to recognize genuinely good points — which you seem to be the victim of at the moment.

    But, with all due respect, you need avoid that trap as well. Lots of people, including me, have made comments that seemed (and were) rude and insulting, but nevertheless may have had a kernel of truth. You may not like it but even people like CKava (and me 😉 )have occasionally made some good points, but you are unable to see them.

    Finally, you may feel that you are the person who has been treated the MOST unfairly. Even if there was some way to objectively measure that, it wouldn’t matter. Everyone feels that they’ve gotten the wrong end of the stick.

    You seem to devote a significant portion of every comment insisting that your every action is justified, while insisting that almost everyone else is at fault. Even if it were true, it still doesn’t win you any points. Playing the victim card never works, especially when everyone else thinks they are just as much a victim as you are.

  199. cozyingon 25 Jan 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Steve Cross,

    Okay well this is another line in the sand. I firmly believe that historically ckava, SteveA, RC, and you (excluding the last couple days) have made almost no good points.

    For example, ckava talking about how religious belief is natural across different cultures, while interesting (obvious, and noted by literally hundreds of writers for decades now).

    Is an out of context, irrelevant and therefore incorrect response to HN’s: science = materialism and science can’t disprove the afterlife. You can’t say anything to me about anything involving my response to that. He messed up. Plain and simple. He then spewed credentials and shamelessly plugged publications. He muddied the waters even further. Appealed to popular opinion and at times contradicted himself in the same pedantic comment.

    You and others may have had wonderful kernels of truth to share but they got lost. Also, it’s axiomatically important to note errors and fallacies like that. If your response to someone starts with errors then it’s flawed, no matter how awesome the rest of the content. If you start by saying: you are clearly insecure and a troll. That logically can be seen as a base of your argument and response to someone. If you don’t see this then I suggest looking over your comment about my language abilities. You started by saying it was okay to ask and wonder if I was ESL because I was an immigrant. Which is fallacious, if you want to challenge someone’s language abilities then find examples to support that, don’t insinuate that their foreignness must mean they are ESL. Many countries have English as an official language. This flawed argument was then built upon to attack my problems with “misrepresenting” people.

    The second part of your argument can’t possibly be on solid ground if its foundation is on shaky footing.

    This is the same thing with other people like ckava. He originally specifically came in, claiming to be an objective long time reader, said I can’t admit errors, I have a history of being a troll etc. and then used those subjective personal attacks to build an argument for my behavior in responding to hardnose. Something as simple as a contradiction in that first part of his argument, puts the rest of what he said on shaky ground. And there were numerous problems other than that.

  200. Steve Crosson 25 Jan 2017 at 3:29 pm

    cozying,

    Umm … mini straw man alert !!

    I said SOME good points, not all.

    And FYI, you are literally using subjective personal attacks to try to discredit everything CKava has ever said. Whether you realize this or not, you do this a lot.

    I don’t want to rehash everything for the zillionth time, but some people have made some good points which you are unable to recognize. We’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

    You are at least as bad as anyone else about bringing up past grievances and trying to re-prove your case. And yes, I know I do that a lot also, but it is way past time where anyone is likely to change their mind.

    BTW, remember when I mentioned arrogance? I’m not a big football fan, but I know enough to understand why there is a penalty for excessive celebration in the end zone.

    When you brag about “handing someone their ass”, it is unbelievably obnoxious, especially when (as is often the case) you are pretty much the only person who believes you scored a touchdown.

    There are still a lot of things that the majority of observers believe you are wrong on. It is certainly possible that you are wrong on some of them. In fact, when everyone disagrees with you, there is a pretty good possibility that you might be wrong, at least some of the time. Occam’s razor and all that.

    You have no plausible reason to claim otherwise. You’ve tried to claim that we are ganging up on the new person for challenging the orthodoxy. But you have provided absolutely no evidence to support that claim, and I don’t think you can.

    You’re right that we do tend to “pile on” on top of hardnose and other recalcitrant deniers and ideologues. And I agree that we really shouldn’t. But I’m pretty sure that you’ve never seen that kind of behavior exhibited towards someone who wants to play for the “home team”.

    Like I said, when pretty much everyone but you thinks that you are wrong, then you should at least seriously consider that possibility. At a minimum, lose the attitude and stop arbitrarily declaring that you are right and everyone else is wrong. Even if you are right, arrogance is not a persuasive argument.

  201. cozyingon 25 Jan 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Steve Cross,

    I disagree with everything you just said basically. I don’t need people to acknowledge that SteveA got his ass handed to him. That’s definitely my subjective opinion. But I feel like if an objective third party goes to the end of the comments on global warming, and reads what he said about the Russian hacking, then my response, that they will see some humor in it.

    Unlike you, I actually don’t need a consensus of opinion. You even go so far as to manufacture a fake consensus and reword everything I say into incorrect rhetorical questions or positions of that are not mine. Like the “SN doesn’t agree with you” meanwhile if you see what I said I was clearly talking about the use of ad hominems by ppl like you. It’s not just me that’s noticed you doing this btw. You think everyone is on your side but they are not. You continue to exaggerate who you are and your standing in this community, but I’m the arrogant one?

    You missed my second point in what I wrote. Axiomatically it really matters what you say. It’s true that if you start a response with critical errors, insults and logical fallacies then what comes after is on shaky ground. If you want to argue well you need to realize these things. Your opponent is always going to take any chance to show that you make mistakes and don’t fight logically. You clearly win a lot of arguments with stupid people using your strategy of bullying and intimidation.

    Why do you think that any formal argument, article by SN, pieces by philosophers, don’t start with personal attacks? Do think that critical thinkers don’t hate other people, have emotions, want to punch someone out of frustration at times?

    Yes they try to be respectful and courteous. But other really good reasons, esp for people like me online, is that it’s ineffective and it weakens your position.

    You can tell me all day about the glorious things you, SteveA, RC and CKava have to say. But all of those people filled their responses to me with nonsense and horrible arguments. You love to release this fictional narrative about how I’m just as bad, but there is no proof. Months now you’ve been challenged. Ckava incorrectly accused me of mafioso death threats. Please show me where I did anything like that? Please show where without evidence I attempted to connect anyone here with a long time troll in an effort to bias the community against them? Please show me where I openly justified the abusive language and illogical behavior of others against anyone?

    Show me where I started off a response with: you are obviously illiterate, willfully ignorant, a troll, etc.

    You keep insisting I’m just as bad. You need to drop it. It’s wrong and you know it. The only way you can come to turns with being a critical thinker and saying the horrible things you said, and justified others saying, is by claiming oh well you were provoked. Provoked by what? Someone not swearing, not using abusive sleep, not using self contradictions, implications and personal attacks? Nice defense. Good luck with that.

    “She misrepresented what I said, corrected my technical errors and wrote in what I perceived to be a condescending tone. I’m gonna use casual sexism, insinuate she has mental problems, falsely accuse her of threatening my life and challenge her literacy skills. Then I’ll use those fallacious arguments to make a minor point about how she wasn’t using the principle of charity, because she’s too stupid, rude, arrogant. If I get called on this behavior I’ll say: it’s okay don’t take it personally, you missed the kernel of truth.”

  202. Steve Crosson 25 Jan 2017 at 7:58 pm

    cozying,

    I’m not trying to whitewash the past. And I’m certainly not claiming that no mistakes have been made. I’ve already acknowledged my own and I’m trying to learn from them. I wish you would try to do the same. You’re STILL just trying to restate your case on why you are completely right and everyone else is completely wrong.

    Please remember the original topic of discussion that started this latest contretemps. As a species, we are all subject to cognitive biases and making suboptimal decisions because we let our emotions cloud our judgement.

    You’re just as human as anyone else, and just as prone to fooling yourself. Remember the Feynman quote. Personally, I think that is, by far, the most important principle of skepticism.

    You’re not perfect, and you do make mistakes. But you have a huge problem accepting criticism and using it to try to improve yourself. You have a pattern of immediately going on very aggressive offense every time you get challenged about anything at all.

    Offense is one thing. Offensive is something else entirely, but it is literally your default starting position. You usually start a conversation very smugly, jump to arrogant condescension, and then move quickly to ridicule. And then it just keeps escalating. Both sides feed off each other, but way more often than not, you seem to be the person who got in the first hit.

    You pride yourself on logical analysis. How can it possibly be a coincidence that virtually every conversation you start turns acrimonious in short order. Unless YOU are doing something to bring out the worst traits of everyone. You are the only common factor.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with who has been right or wrong about any particular issue. It is all about your attitude. I have never denied that you have been subjected to a huge amount of abuse. But it is your attitude that instigates that abuse in the first place. It seems to be impossible for you to start a conversation in a way that doesn’t piss people off. You need to realize that and admit it to yourself, and perhaps try to change what it is that people find so offensive — at least if you ever want to have a pleasant, productive conversation.

    In addition, certainly not all, but at least some of the comments which you characterize as abuse, are simply people calling you out on your own bad behavior. Which you refuse to recognize. You really are incredibly defensive and unable to admit any error when challenged. And I know that you claim to have “proven” that you admit errors, but you almost always seem to try to do it by saying something along the lines of “well, if you define it ‘that way’, but really, I was right all along if you look at what I really meant”. In other words, by trying to prove that we were wrong to accuse you of being wrong.

    I imagine that I’m back on your shit list, but other than brutal honesty, I don’t know how else to get you to recognize what is so obvious to so many people. Your pain is mostly self-inflicted, and the abuse you receive is the direct result of your own actions. To clarify, I’m NOT saying that abuse is ever justified — in fact, I agree it is ALWAYS a bad idea and counterproductive. But human nature being what it is, it seems to be inevitable that when people get their feelings hurt, they try to hit back. You do it, we do it, repeat, and the situation escalates out of control.

    You probably won’t believe it, but I’m still trying to be honest and genuinely helpful. I know criticism is tough to take, especially when you’re young. But try to use it as a learning experience.

    A few more thoughts on the CKava situation. I challenge you to try an experiment. Find some friends who don’t know your ‘cozying’ nym. Ask them to read the thread, ideally all of it, but at least from where CKava joined and through the thermonuclear part. Ask them who was the aggressor, and whether that aggression was justified.

    I’m 99.9% sure that in a blinded experiment, you’re going to be unpleasantly surprised. I tried it with my wife and another friend. With no prompting on my part, they each felt that your reaction was “over the top” and CKava was just trying to defend himself.

    P.S. Try not to automatically assume that everything is meant with bad intentions. In hindsight I realize that the ESL thing was a stupid question. You have too good an understanding of idioms. But at the time, I was genuinely trying to figure out how a smart person could consistently manage to interpret so many things so wildly different from virtually everyone else. Actually, I’m still trying to figure that out.

  203. BillyJoe7on 25 Jan 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Actually, I can’t remember cozy saying that she is young, just that she is a girl and little. I took “little” to mean that she is small in size rather than young in age, but I guess I could be wrong. Then again “young” is a relative term, so I guess you can only be wrong if she’s older than you are. Oh the perils of the assumptions we make, and the people who make us pay for them!

    It’s a pity cozy’s posting here has devolved the way it has, because we do not have many females posting here. In fact, for the moment, I can’t think of a single other female poster here besides cozy. She is obviously very clever – well, I know when I’m outclassed at least – but oh so annoying and irritating. I think she could make some really interesting contributions here but…oh well, the world’s imperfect, what can you do.

    But why she continually sticks up for the troll I don’t understand. The troll says he has a PhD and is a retired scientist, yet he appears to not have a clue about how science is done. He’s been around here for years robotically spurting out the same garbage and making either obvious points (like they are revelations!), irrelevant points, or pointless points. And he’s never learned anything in all his time here. Just as ignorant as when he arrived. Garbage and a waste of space.

  204. cozyingon 25 Jan 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Steve Cross,

    I’ve told you before that you have this obsession with the ad populum. You always try to get other people to agree with you. Ironically, in this case I agree with you 100%. It’s not up for debate, I’m a controversial commenter who is verbose, takes everything way too seriously and hits very hard indeed.

    It doesn’t matter how many people think I’m way out of line. My stated goal and intention was to show the irony of the skeptics vs the trolls. Not to be a typical commenter. Did you show your wife the parts where you told me I was letting my emotions cloud my judgement? I’m sure she would like that 🙂

    You can say I’m over the top as much as you want. I don’t mind. You have to be a little over the top to stand out. You can water down the definitions of “abuse” and “offensive” into abstraction all you want, you still cannot show that what I do is equal to what the opposition does. And I will stand by that till the end. Because it’s an important distinction. I can be a skeptical critical thinker and be really hard to get along with. However, you can’t be a critical thinker and use abusive language to win arguments though. Gotcha! 🙂

    Take something that looks really simple on its surface, like “condescension,” it’s actually much more complex and subjective than you might think. Any time anyone who you see as smarter (or more likely: thinking they are smarter) corrects the smallest technical error that you made, you will see them as talking down to you. You can always see a provocation in that. It gets worse the nicer they try to be, the more words they use to explain your mistake, the calmer the speak, the more it looks like they are talking to you, like you are a child.

    I know, because this happens literally every argument I have over the internet, see the RC example, I quickly tried pointing out his mistake initially. He didn’t understand, so I had to explain slower and in more detail. He spewed more and more nonsense to defend himself right up until a nice escape hatch at the end. Trust me. It almost always gets worse the longer you talk to someone.

    This is especially the case over the internet, where you can’t really hear my intended tone. I find it’s super useful to note here that ckava and I were born in two very different countries, traveled to different places for school, come from vastly different cultures. Like maybe it is totally normal for Irish atheists to say “god bless you” and write it on pedantic comments on the internet. I actually don’t know, I have my doubts tho. I do know that we have different accents, idioms and such. I feel like that might really widen the divide between us. He’s also a humanities grad student working on the intersection of religion / anthropology / cognitive psych. I’m more in pure sciences. We have different standards of argumentation, approaches and jargon. That’s not an attack on the humanities, just saying. Things like evidence, specificity, and context are very different as was shown in the discussion. He thought he had relevant expertise and publications but he didn’t. I don’t know many physicists the confuse themselves with biologists. But I know at least one anthropology phd candidate who thinks the naturalness of religion is related to the falsifiability of the afterlife. Anthro is not metaphysics / epistemology/ philosophy of science.

    I choose to come in here and make some noise for various reasons. Some of the people here will play by the rules of intellectual discussion. There’s also people here who are smarter than me, better critical thinkers, more patient and analytical. I learn a lot from chikoppi for example, also useful to note that he doesn’t use fallacious arguments and personal attacks when dealing with me. So this experience serves as a foil, an antagonistic learning relationship, where we can fight on more or less equal terms. I have a list of standards that I try to uphold. I try to be consistent no matter how seriously I’m attacked or provoked. At first it was really hard to take all the pejorative comments, but now it’s just like background noise.

  205. cozyingon 25 Jan 2017 at 11:10 pm

    BillyJoe7

    Thank you for your wonderful comment. I’m genuinely sorry that you feel outclassed. I had to look that up. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by it. From the context I’m guessing it’s probably just like an educational background and approach thing. I don’t believe I’m smarter than you or anything. Genuinely I don’t. I use different tactics than you, and try to drive home different points.

    On the defense of the troll, it’s not really about him. Though I do think he gets extremely vilified. I actually only have like a few weeks of samples of his behavior to reference. Maybe he could really be a psychopathic evil person who just wants to provoke, harass and hurt people. I honestly don’t know. Based on what I’ve seen he’s very respectful compared to the people who respond to him.

    It’s really not about him at all though. It’s about the people responding to him. He is allowed to say stuff like that on a blog like this, especially if he is civil. It’s interesting that the responses he gets are so far from the idealized intellectual standard that is modern “Skepticism.” That’s literally my whole point. I think sometimes SN responses to him just so that there is an example of a good respectful argument.

    Billy when you label me as always defending a troll it kinda doesn’t really describe my intentions or stated goals. It doesn’t even describe by responses to him, where I clearly challenge him. When you do this kind of thing you are also advocating for group cohesion and mob mentality. Like I’m a skeptic so I should support you guys and attack trolls. But what if my fellow skeptics are behaving in a way that isn’t very nice or intellectually rigorous? Should I just join them and bash trolls? What are you afraid of? If the trolls don’t get bashed enough and if we don’t show a unified front, the war is lost? It will be okay. You are on home turf. The group will always bash the trolls.

  206. hardnoseon 26 Jan 2017 at 12:31 am

    “HN’s: science = materialism and science can’t disprove the afterlife.”

    WHERE did THAT come from? I have been saying, for YEARS here, that science DOES NOT equal materialism.

    And I NEVER said science can’t disprove the afterlife. It hasn’t, of course.

  207. BillyJoe7on 26 Jan 2017 at 12:33 am

    cozy,

    “I’m genuinely sorry that you feel outclassed”

    Well thanks, but your emotion is misplaced.
    I see it merely as a fact of life that there are those better equiped than I am.

    I have no science qualifications apart from a BS (an unfortunate abbreviation for “Bachelor of Science” as I like to say) and that was a long time ago and largely irrelevant to pretty well everything that is discussed here. I believe that I came out of those three years not really appreciating what science is all about – a comment on the course as well as my own aptitude. Blogs like this one have taught me a great deal about science and scepticism over the years, but I have never studied these subjects systematically from the base up and, therefore, I continue to learn from those who have. There was a time when I was pretty well alone on this blog (apart from SN of course) defending climate change, evolution, and physics against the woomeisters, deniers and contrarian loons, and I felt myself only partially adequate to the task. Over the years, many who are actually working in science related fields have become commenters here. I am happy to have deepened my knowledge of these subjects from them.

    In your case, I was sort of referring to your ability to argue pedantically, in detail, and at length. 🙂

  208. BillyJoe7on 26 Jan 2017 at 12:38 am

    The troll true version of scepticism:

    Science never disproves anything.
    If it hasn’t been disproven, I can believe it if I want.
    Therefore, I can believe any BS I want.

  209. BillyJoe7on 26 Jan 2017 at 12:49 am

    cozy,

    “Based on what I’ve seen he’s very respectful compared to the people who respond to him”

    Well, to me, his civility is just an annoying strategy.
    You’ve heard of “passive aggressive behaviour” right?
    That’s my impression of the troll.

    But he does fall down on occasion and he has with SN on several occasions, even in your time here.

  210. CKavaon 26 Jan 2017 at 1:29 am

    @Steve Cross

    I think it’s decent of you to attempt a reset in dealing with cozy, but I think her recent responses are indicative of why that effort is unlikely to succeed.

    Cozy is incapable of letting things go; she’s still bringing up minor points from threads she commented in months ago, constantly referring to her past grudges, and portraying almost everyone who has ever disagreed with her as a villain, a ‘weak’ skeptic, and a member of a nefarious online bullying clique. On top of this she constantly conflates her interpretation of all her past debates as being THE authoritative version, repeating her subjective assessment as fact, ad nauseam. Look how many times above and in other unrelated threads she rehashes her grievances with me, providing a potted history of how she has discredited me, kicked my ass/”rekt” me and forced me to run away. That’s a false and immature representation of our interactions but even if it was true, look how often cozy feels the need to restate her narrative to other people who are talking about entirely different things. It’s a Trumpian move and it’s exhausting to deal with because to address her misrepresentations requires rehashing all of her pet grievances and getting back into the same never-ending pedantic discussions.

    The reality is that I find engaging with cozy to be entirely unproductive and at times to be quite creepy e.g. since indicating that I’ve no interest in engaging with her any further, cozy has mentioned me almost constantly in her replies. This includes her normal personal attacks/misrepresentations but also bizarre claims like I use my publications/academic status to “try and pick up chicks” (?) or that I accused her of making death threats. I have no idea what the “pick up chicks” business is about (nor do I think I want to) and I never suggested cozy was making death threats. I mentioned that she used language akin to a bad mafia film to make veiled libel threats and even labelled that comment with ‘(humorous observation)’ to try and prevent her from taking it literally but unsurprisingly that failed.

    Cozy definitely does raise valid points but they are usually embedded within layers of condescension/insults, self-aggrandizing, hypocrisy, and attention seeking. She also ceaselessly criticises others while failing to apply her standards to herself. To give a pertinent illustration, she recently lectured someone for asking about hardnose’ religious views, chastising them for assuming that “smart atheists never disagree with [them]”. This is a reasonable point, albeit one expressed condescendingly, however, just a day or so before, following my casual use of a common expression that referenced God she stated:

    I have to wonder, are you a theist/agnostic? Nothing wrong with that if you are, it just might explain some of this conflict, since I’ve said multiple times that I’m an atheist. I’m not trying to use some theist prejudice to attack you, it’s just interesting and might contextualize our disagreement. In the argument that I was having with hardnose and others attacking hardnose, you showed up right after a bunch of my comments where I clearly said I was an atheist and expressed atheistic concepts.

    That’s cozying’s double standards at play: when she implies her opponent might be disagreeing with her due to their religious views it is not ‘theist prejudice’ or arrogance that “smart atheists never disagree with [her]”, just a genuine attempt to ‘contextualise the disagreement’. Yet when someone else pursues the same line of questioning with hardnose, it is an unwarranted personal attack, off topic, and an illustration of weak skepticism.

    I know I’m giving cozy what she wanted by letting her goad me into writing this but I was being completely genuine when I expressed no interest in engaging with her further. My stance on that hasn’t changed. It’s a waste of time and if she sticks around I think we are just going to see an endless derailing of discussion and recycling of her grievances and grudges. And in re: BillyJoe’s point above the fact that she is a women seems completely irrelevant to me. It would be better to have greater diversity in the skeptical community but I actually have no idea about the gender of most people on here and bad arguments are genderless.

    @cozy

    This is especially the case over the internet, where you can’t really hear my intended tone. I find it’s super useful to note here that ckava and I were born in two very different countries, traveled to different places for school, come from vastly different cultures. Like maybe it is totally normal for Irish atheists to say “god bless you” and write it on pedantic comments on the internet. I actually don’t know, I have my doubts tho. I do know that we have different accents, idioms and such. I feel like that might really widen the divide between us. He’s also a humanities grad student working on the intersection of religion / anthropology / cognitive psych. I’m more in pure sciences. We have different standards of argumentation, approaches and jargon. That’s not an attack on the humanities, just saying. Things like evidence, specificity, and context are very different as was shown in the discussion. He thought he had relevant expertise and publications but he didn’t. I don’t know many physicists the confuse themselves with biologists. But I know at least one anthropology phd candidate who thinks the naturalness of religion is related to the falsifiability of the afterlife. Anthro is not metaphysics / epistemology/ philosophy of science.

    Cozy, the differences between us might relate to our different backgrounds- I don’t know yours but I guess it’s far divorced from Northern Irish. However, I sincerely don’t think our disagreement is because, as you self-servingly suggest, you are used to a more rigorous science-based standard and I’m a fluffy humanities graduate. I have a BA in Study of Religions and an MA in Social Anthropology, but I also have a MSc and a DPhil in Cognitive Anthropology and a long term interest in skepticism and science. I have no qualifications in hard/pure science but my research would be better categorised as social science than ‘arts’. I’ve also never encountered similar difficulties in dealing with other ‘pure’ science folks, so I’m inclined to think that our disagreement is based on what it appears to be, our differences in opinion/personality rather than academic background. I’m also not a ‘phd candidate’ or a ‘student’, that’s you just reading old profiles, and ignoring that I’ve mentioned to you directly that I am a post-doctoral researcher. And yes, I know you will spin this as me shamelessly self-promoting but it is actually just me correcting your near constant misrepresentation. The one who is constantly talking about my background, my qualifications, and publications across multiple unrelated threads is YOU and then when I attempt to clarify inaccuracies, like now, you recast it as me bragging.

    I’ve no interest in continuing to discuss things with you. I’ve heard and understood your objections and characterisation of me, and from our interactions it seems obvious that we are not going to agree and that nothing productive will come out of further debate. I’m happy to leave it at that and to leave you to debate with others till your heart’s content but you can’t seem to go more than 2 posts without bringing me up. You seem to think that I’ve talked down to you and it is true that I think your posts are at times immature, pedantic and thin-skinned, but I never intended to respond to you ‘like you are a 5 yr old’ (or however you put it). Actually, I think that’s a case of you projecting, because in your replies to me you’ve called me ‘pathetic’, a ‘casual and inconsistent thinker’, repeatedly said my arguments are ‘cute’, told me to ‘run along’, ‘get rekt’, and so on on and so on, while constantly referring to yourself as just a ‘silly little girl’ and other such things I’ve never said. So to be clear: I am in no doubt that you are intelligent person but I don’t think that makes your arguments or debating tactics anymore valid.

    And yes, in writing this I am doing what I said I wouldn’t e.g. responding to you, and that is likely a mistake, and in direct contradiction to my last post but there you go. I’m human and being constantly misrepresented becomes increasingly hard to ignore. I’ll try to do better.

  211. Steve Crosson 26 Jan 2017 at 8:14 am

    cozying,

    As always, you don’t seem to be interested in actually reading and trying to understand the actual point. You just seem to skim through looking for nits you can pick at, while failing to address the main points. Not to mention endlessly dwelling on past grievances which have already been acknowledged.

    Your stated goals may be admirable, but guess what, it’s not working. Can you honestly say you’ve been successful in spreading your message? A truly logical person would at least be trying to figure what they could improve upon to further their own goals. To that end, would you please answer this question which has been asked several times. Or at least try to honestly think about the ramifications. I really believe it is the crux of the issue.

    Why are you literally the only person EVER that seems to inspire this level of antipathy as well as being the subject of dozens of very similar complaints about your behavior? It would be an incredibly huge coincidence for this to happen on its own — unless your presence and actions or behavior had something to do with it.

    Even hardnose doesn’t get people as upset as you seem to. Yet he is clearly wrong most of the time, as well as extremely tedious and repetitive. But you, who actually have made some good points and could create potentially interesting conversations, you regularly manage to piss off pretty much every one you talk to. So why is that?

    I’ve given you my theory, and judging by how many people have said similar things, it seems to fit the facts pretty well. What is your explanation?

    Your conspiracy theory; well actually, all conspiracy theories in general are pretty bogus. How could this many people keep a secret? Why is there no evidence of any collusion. Why have we never, ever, similarly ganged up on newbie skeptics before?

    If you can’t answer those questions, do you have an alternative theory? Any reason at all to explain why everyone would pick on only you and no one else? Any evidence of any kind?

    I’m going to assume you don’t, or else you would have presented it by now.

    So I’m going to repeat what I said earlier. I’m NOT saying abuse of any kind is ever justified. It is ALWAYS wrong and counterproductive — even when YOU do it. But you are just as abusive as anyone else — perhaps not in crude language, but often extremely nasty and cruel. Your arrogance has initiated the hurt feelings and chain of events which have transpired. You are the common denominator.

    No one is innocent, including me, and none of us should have allowed things to escalate. But it has. Human nature, hurt feelings, etc.

    I’ve given several specific examples when your framing and choice of words clearly started the conversation on the wrong foot. In both instances, your underlying point was correct and valuable — but you never got it across. I imagine you’ve heard Einstein’s definition of Insanity. Why would you continue to do something which clearly isn’t working?

    We can either do the bygones thing, and agree to start over with more humility, principle of charity, etc. Or we can continue to have pointless arguments forever.

    Your call.

  212. arnieon 26 Jan 2017 at 10:58 am

    Steve Cross and CKava, IMO you both made potentially very valuable contributions to this ‘cozying thread’ but think it’s highly unlikely that there can be a reset. She will almost certainly feel uncontrollably compelled To continue to do what she’s been doing which, among other things, is being extremely aggressive in an overly cool and rational manner using obsessive pedantry to maintain her own innocent self-image while while bloodying that of others except, perhaps, another who also feels constantly misunderstood and victimized by “the community”. This almost certainly won’t get better no matter how hard anyone tries to ‘get through’.

  213. arnieon 26 Jan 2017 at 10:59 am

    Change “overly” to “overtly”.

  214. arnieon 26 Jan 2017 at 11:24 am

    If I were to add one more sentence to my 10:58am comment above it would be something most of you have heard from me before in similar situations: Better to ignore such commentors after a while rather than to repeatedly take the bait in hopes that something meaningful or productive will come out of further responses, especially as it relates to the topics of Steve Novella’s original posts.

  215. cozyingon 26 Jan 2017 at 12:10 pm

    Ckava,

    {to Steve Cross} The reality is that I find engaging with cozy to be entirely unproductive and at times to be quite creepy e.g. since indicating that I’ve no interest in engaging with her any further…

    …but I was being completely genuine when I expressed no interest in engaging with her further. My stance on that hasn’t changed. It’s a waste of time…

    {to me} I’ve no interest in continuing to discuss things with you.

    Hmm despite all this evidence to the contrary? This is what, the fifth, sixth, seventh, dismissal and farewell I have received from you? Why do you keep walking into my characterization of you as “I’m never talking to you again, and you can’t come to my birthday party,” do you not see how sad this is?

    This is just a promise you keep making only to break it again, if you are done then leave, you’ve had your say, if you want to stay and fight then you are welcome to do that. What you don’t realize is the illogical nature of this type of argument, you used it as an escape hatch multiple times when you were challenged.

    You previously described me as not worthy of a “substantive” response but here you go again writing a lengthy quite substantive response. So not only are you inconsistent, you also contradict yourself quite frequently. This also makes you untrustworthy and fundamentally deceptive in your approach. You’ve said many things implying that I’m not to be reasoned with, incapable of learning, malicious, possessions “neurosis,” in what I can only assume, are attempts bias people against me and prevent them from taking me seriously. Is that logical? Should you be addressing what I said, or what’s in my heart?

    You want to spew nonsense and personal attacks unchecked, if someone challenges you, you run away and tell mommy that you are never talking to them again and that they can’t come to your birthday party.

    I mentioned that she used language akin to a bad mafia film to make veiled libel threats and even labelled that comment with ‘(humorous observation)’ to try and prevent her from taking it literally but unsurprisingly that failed.

    This is not an acceptable thing to do, but here you are justifying it again. I cannot say in an formal argument: haha this is kinda funny, but what you wrote reminds me of something Hitler would say. It’s all in what you write and in what you choose to leave out. You chose to put in a comparison between me and a mafioso, instead of a logical argument. That matters. Just like how you write “god bless you” and expect us to think you are a not a casual atheist. You chose to write on a skepticism blog, filled with atheists, a lengthy pedantic comment with “god bless you” in it.

    …she recently lectured someone for asking about hardnose’ religious views…That’s cozying’s double standards at play…

    I don’t feel like quoting the giant thing and going and showing in detail the straight up abusive stuff Willy said. If people want to go see the actual exchange, which you did not quote, it’s in the autism article comments. This is a perfect example of you cherry picking details and using quotes that don’t support your argument.

    If you note, in my words you quoted, I express numerous times that I don’t mean offense and that it is fine to be a theist. I was clearly addressing that for someone who claims to be an atheist you seem to have have a really casual understanding of it and an inconsistent way of writing.

    Unlike hardnose vs Willy, your claimed beliefs were not secret. You claim to be an atheist, and unlike Willy, I didn’t insult you, ask you your views and suggest that you must believe certain things to justify your actions. Not at all, you claim to be an atheist but you write god-positive things, that’s the interesting tid bit. Because it’s a self contradiction, it’s a problem with the internal logic of your own writing. The fact that you think these two exchanges are equal but opposite, and thus indicative of a double standard, is either just a mistake or deliberate intellectual dishonesty.

    Steve Cross,

    Why are you literally the only person EVER that seems to inspire this level of antipathy as well as being the subject of dozens of very similar complaints about your behavior? It would be an incredibly huge coincidence for this to happen on its own — unless your presence and actions or behavior had something to do with it.

    I’ve actually addressed this point and other similar points you have been making for months now. I’ve explained that it’s just an ad populum. It doesn’t matter how many people here think I’m this deplorable troll who is out to hurt people and provoke them into spewing hate speech with my polite words. The average rhetoric isn’t great, go read some Facebook comments.

    Let’s say for the sake of the argument, that you had a poll of the readers of these comments. (Which I’m pretty sure number less than 20. By this deep into the comment threads, maybe less than 10 ppl actually read this stuff. People like you and I, who have read basically the entire exchange, number less than 5 I’m guessing. You let me know if you think that’s unreasonable.)

    This poll asks the readers: do you think cozying is a troll? Does she offend you? Do you feel provoked into using expletives against her? Let’s assume 500 people reply, and that the results show that an overwhelming majority of people agree with you and find me as someone who inspires hatred and provokes people.

    What would that data show? (Note this is data that you actually don’t posses but continue to act like you do. You act like you speak for everyone but the only data you have is from comments not the actual opinion of all possible readers.)

    This data would show that people clearly don’t like me. But would it help us figure out why? For example, maybe those people are a lot like you Mr Cross. Maybe they think it’s okay to demean and insult people they don’t like on the internet. Maybe they think it’s okay to do the things you did. In that case the data would be completely irrelevant to the question of who is right and who is wrong.

    Maybe they are people like ckava who try to shamelessly plug their publications and accomplishments on the internet. And think it’s okay to continually misquote others and contradict their own arguments.

    Maybe they are people like hardnose who are clearly just here playing the role of an outsider to show us skeptics that we might be wrong because other people believe the opposite things and there is a mountain of evidence in the mainstream media against us.

    I think that all those types of people would come to the conclusion that I’m a deplorable troll based on different types of reasoning. You need to show I’m anomalous and therefore deserving of abuse. Ckava needs to defend himself and protect his fragile ego, after all it’s totally normal for someone with all those degrees and accomplishments to argue with a complete stranger over the internet, for weeks. Especially, one as obviously stupid and undeserving of his wisdom as I am. Hardnose just has to contradict everything anyone says, so he will just disagree.

    What all of you have in common is that you don’t argue like me. I’ve covered your problems mr Cross in detail. But look at ckava’s recent post. He spends quite a bit of time in the earlier portions of his reply explaining why I can’t be reasoned with, how I’m a waste of time, and other subjective emotional arguments. That weakens everything that comes after.

    I don’t set out to bias people against other people, I don’t start an argument explaining in detail that the other person is obviously a troll, mentally challenged, neurotic or illiterate. You and ckava do tho.

    How about we ask a different set of questions? Why don’t we ask, who is more respectful? More logical? Writes in a more intellectually rigorous tone? Expresses themselves in a way that is more in line with the core values of this movement?

    And then conversely: why is it that the majority of these self-described critical thinkers speak in explicitly abusive tones? Use illogical personal attacks? Who is it that advocates for group cohesion and polarization? Who is it that justifies abusive and illogical behavior that is inconsistent with the values of skepticism?

  216. Steve Crosson 26 Jan 2017 at 12:17 pm

    cozying,

    I wrote my last comment BEFORE you had even replied. Just kept it in the queue, and waited for the inevitable before I hit enter. As always, just a Gish Gallop of justification for your every action and a denial of responsibility and a refusal to accept any criticism. And complete avoidance of the actual point or real issue.

    Well, I’ve had my coffee now, so let’s just dissect your latest effort.

    I’ve told you before that you have this obsession with the ad populum. You always try to get other people to agree with you.

    Nope, not even close. You can’t produce one example where I’ve asked or encouraged anyone to agree with me. I’ve merely pointed out an already existing consensus which is clear to all. In science, the consensus is not always right, but you’re going to need pretty good evidence to overturn it. Where’s yours?

    Did you show your wife the parts where you told me I was letting my emotions cloud my judgement? I’m sure she would like that

    LOL, you’re something else cozy. This entire thing is ALL about emotions — on BOTH sides, but your’s most of all. NO ONE would devote the sheer number of words and the majority of practically every comment trying to justify their own position unless they were pretty damn upset.

    And no, my wife wasn’t the least bit offended or surprised when I suggested that you were letting emotion cloud your judgement. It is extremely obvious. You can almost smell the smoke coming off your keyboard. Emotion, on both sides, is the entire reason that things keep getting escalated out of control.

    And will you PLEASE get off this sexism kick? I’ve NEVER (and I don’t think anyone else has either) directed a comment towards you that has anything at all to do with gender. Both sexes have emotions and both are influenced by them.

    You’re imagining insults where none were intended, or at least not gender based. I understand that, as a women, you are indeed subjected to a lot of sexism. Especially as a member of an immigrant minority. Some of the cultures I’ve encountered treat women with utter disdain, certainly worse than the USA, which is plenty bad enough.

    But, as a skeptic you should know better. It is completely fallacious to stereotype an entire group based on the actions of some subset. Even though our emotions often make that difficult.

    Take something that looks really simple on its surface, like “condescension,” it’s actually much more complex and subjective than you might think.

    Again, LOL. This is literally no different than trying to justify abuse. As you said, it’s wrong and it’s always wrong. Condescension is annoying, it’s always annoying, and it is always counterproductive.

    see the RC example, I quickly tried pointing out his mistake initially. He didn’t understand, so I had to explain slower and in more detail.

    AFTER you had set an adversarial tone and made further communication much more difficult. I already went over this (Steve Cross on 24 Jan 2017 at 5:12 pm), but in a nutshell, BEFORE you even considered the possibility of a misspeak or asked for clarification, in your very first statement, you declared a factually true statement to be incorrect. And yet, you can’t understand why RC might get pissed off??

    I know, because this happens literally every argument I have over the internet

    But this doesn’t raise any red flags, or provide a hint that there just might be a better way to get your point across?

    Some of the people here will play by the rules of intellectual discussion.

    This is literally All We Are Asking

  217. cozyingon 26 Jan 2017 at 12:25 pm

    arnie,

    There is nothing special in predicting that someone who uses pedantry in a cool way, will continue to do so. There is literally 50 examples of my behavior in the last few threads. Ckava did this a few times now. As a type of gotcha argument. His is worse tho, he writes these pointless predictions, then escape hatches his way out, claiming I can’t be reasoned with and saying he won’t reply. Congrats you guys win, you predicted that I would respond.

    Interestingly you aren’t present in much of these discussion and have shown up kinda late. I refer you to the mountain of arguments written against me, accusing me of stepping into other people’s conversations without asking for permission. And all those other arguments about derailment and not belonging. Please address those and get back to me 🙂

  218. Steve Crosson 26 Jan 2017 at 12:48 pm

    cozying,

    WOW, just WOW.

    Before I even had a chance to post my last response, you write yet another tangled mess of rationalization, confirmation bias, and motivated reasoning, but you still haven’t answered the question.

    [Steve Cross] Why are you literally the only person EVER that seems to inspire this level of antipathy as well as being the subject of dozens of very similar complaints about your behavior? It would be an incredibly huge coincidence for this to happen on its own — unless your presence and actions or behavior had something to do with it.
    [cozying] I’ve actually addressed this point and other similar points you have been making for months now. I’ve explained that it’s just an ad populum. It doesn’t matter how many people here think I’m this deplorable troll who is out to hurt people and provoke them into spewing hate speech with my polite words. The average rhetoric isn’t great, go read some Facebook comments.

    Nope, you didn’t even come close to answering the question. And it is not an Ad Populum. The question is WHY so many people have such a hard trying trying to converse with you and not with anyone else. It would only be an Ad Pop if I was explicitly making the case that you were, say a Martian, simply because a lot of people say so.

    This is exhausting. I had genuinely hoped that you were smart enough to learn. But it appears that you are too immature and insecure to even try to examine your own actions with an open mind. I feel sorry for you.

    In your own words, “I know, because this happens literally every argument I have over the internet”, every single person you seem to talk to has a problem with your attitude. This will never change until you are willing to admit that to yourself and take corrective action.

    Or else, just continue as you are, but you will never be as successful in making your point as you hope to be, and you surely won’t get the respect you crave.

  219. cozyingon 26 Jan 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Steve Cross,

    Welcome back, I see that the old offensive and illogical Mr Cross has returned.

    I wrote my last comment BEFORE you had even replied. Just kept it in the queue, and waited for the inevitable before I hit enter.

    You know, for someone who describes others: as obsessive trolls, who don’t read what you write before replying, that’s pretty damn ironic. Some might even describe that behavior as a blatant self contradiction, and unusual.

    You can’t produce one example where I’ve asked or encouraged anyone to agree with me.

    I refer you to the majority of your early posts to me / about me. You desperately tried promoting your conspiracy theory that I was hardnose and egnor. That’s just one example you happened to repeat. There are literally 30 or more posts that include appeals to other commenters to ignore me or see everything I said as instead coming from a troll, illiterate person, ESL learner, theist, anti scientist etc.

    LOL, you’re something else cozy. This entire thing is ALL about emotions — on BOTH sides, but your’s most of all. NO ONE would devote the sheer number of words and the majority of practically every comment trying to justify their own position unless they were pretty damn upset.

    Ironic. Lacking self awareness and internal logical consistency. I refer you to your lengthy comments where you desperately try to equate my civil behavior with your emotional abusive and illogical arguments. Who is trying to explain their emotions? Who’s upset?

    You’re imagining insults where none were intended, or at least not gender based. I understand that, as a women, you are indeed subjected to a lot of sexism. Especially as a member of an immigrant minority. Some of the cultures I’ve encountered treat women with utter disdain, certainly worse than the USA, which is plenty bad enough.

    Wait a second, did you just imply that I need to ignore your casual sexism because you know of cultures that allow for the abuse women? That’s a fallacious argument. Wait did you also imply that because I’m an immigrant I should know what real sexism and abuse is and how you are different?

    You are casually sexist towards me. You referenced my gender many times in responses to me, even going so far as to claiming you are being nicer because I’m a woman. The most sexist things are describing me as clearly insecure, sensitive, and emotional and using those arguments to say therefore I’m wrong or motivated by my emotional mind not my critical thinking rationality. Which is so funny, since it’s you and others frequently use emotional and abusive speech not me. 🙂 winning.

  220. Pete Aon 26 Jan 2017 at 12:55 pm

    “My stated and accomplished goal was to show that a god of skepticism like you [Steve Cross] bleeds troll blood.”

    Words fail me.

  221. Steve Crosson 26 Jan 2017 at 1:32 pm

    cozy,

    Sorry, I guess I am guilty of at least a reverse sexism because I do think we should have more representation from all gender identities, cultures and ethnic groups.

    But I’ve never implied that gender made you somehow inferior or more prone to emotional bias. And the comment about ethnicity was only meant to show that I could understand how you might be inclined to see sexism where none was intended. Even when I’m trying to be generous, you assume the worst. But regardless of your background, it is still fallacious reasoning to stereotype an entire group of people.

    I think I’ve finally realized the main problem here. You imagine/assume way, way more insult than anyone ever intended. No wonder you feel like you’re the victim of more abuse than you dish out. At least part of it is imaginary. Not all obviously, but apparently enough to stoke the vicious cycle of hurt feelings and mutual aggression.

    You have a huge chip on your shoulder, and as a result much of your misery is self-inflicted. No one is picking on you just for the hell of it. You start out aggressively (and often rudely) and people tend to respond in kind.

  222. Pete Aon 26 Jan 2017 at 1:51 pm

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egocentrism

  223. cozyingon 26 Jan 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Steve Cross,

    Yes I do see things in various possible ways, simultaneously. I think we all do. It’s all in what you say how you choose to say it, what you decide to include in a response and what you decide to leave out speaks volumes. It means a lot when people choose to make humorous observations that insinuate mafioso death threats, instead of actually challenging what their opponent said. That says a lot about you, what you believe, how you express yourself and your goals and intention.

    It’s also much easier to write a personal attack or humorous aside, then to actually make a good argument.

    I choose to take what you say in a way to highlight the problems in it. Yes I could ignore the mountain of offensive stuff to focus on the kernels of truth. You are totally right. But is that what I want to do? Is that what you do? Only recently have you given me any sort of ground and agreed with some of the points I make. You (have spent) spend the majority of your time inferring what’s going on in my head and saying not so nice things instead of attacking what I actually say. I mean the last few days have been much better. But still you’ve focused on how I’m being perceived not so much on what I’m actually saying.

  224. Pete Aon 26 Jan 2017 at 2:14 pm

    “It’s also much easier to write a personal attack or humorous aside, then to actually make a good argument.”

    And very much easier than remaining on-topic to the article on which you are derailing.

  225. cozyingon 26 Jan 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Pete A,

    Hey I sure do hear a lot from you cheerleaders about derailment. When was last time you mentioned the article in these comments? Or in the other comments? Cuz I see a lot of one liners and irrelevant links. Wait don’t tell me, are you also a hypocrite?

  226. Steve Crosson 26 Jan 2017 at 3:36 pm

    cozying,

    A few things. Yes, words can be unclear on the internet. But when you ALWAYS choose to interpret them in the worst, most insulting way, don’t you see how that can exacerbate the communication problem? Couldn’t you wait a little bit to see if your interpretation was correct, or at least ask for clarification?

    I’ve been sincerely trying to be polite and respectful for quite a while now, but you still choose to interpret everything I say in the worst possible light. Yes, perhaps a little (very little, at least for me) snark has crept in. Specifically, my comment about writing before I even saw your reply was unnecessary.

    But it was born from my utter frustration when trying to have a bidirectional conversation with you. Your comments ARE predictable and frustrating. They consist mostly of you rehashing past grievances and inevitably, the least charitable interpretation of anything anyone has ever said. But rarely, do they ever contain a direct response to a direct question. Instead, you have bad habit of simply declaring that “I’ve already answered that” in spite of the fact that no one else has ever acknowledged that your previous “answer” was either sufficient or satisfactory.

    In your own words, “Some of the people here will play by the rules of intellectual discussion”. Well, you need to play by those same rules if you expect everyone else to.

    So let me try one more time. Can’t you see that there is a problem if literally everyone you try to converse with on the internet becomes adversarial? These are your own words. Can’t you see that you are the only common denominator? That your actions might be suboptimal? Lots of people actually can manage to carry on respectful conversations, so it is possible. In fact, the majority of commenters here are quite able to disagree respectfully.

    There has never been a comparable situation in the many years I’ve been reading Neurologica where one, and only one person, couldn’t seem get along with anyone else. That should be a huge red flag. And whether you like it or not, you brought this on yourself.

    I’ve already admitted that, yes, many people here (perhaps especially me) are just as much to blame, but we can’t stop it all by ourselves. In almost every instance you are the person who has set the tone for the rest of the conversation. And in the future, any time you choose to interject, it will still be you who sets the course based on the tone of your comment.

    In other words, if you try to not do anything to piss people off, they probably won’t get pissed off. And life will be more pleasant and productive for everyone.

    I’ve already given several clear examples where the tone of your original comment was unnecessarily confrontational — but you refuse to acknowledge that you might even have been partially responsible, or at least to promise that you would try harder in the future.

    Look, I know that there has been a huge shit storm of abuse flowing both ways. At this stage, I don’t even care if you ever acknowledge that you gave as good as you got. We’re all human. No one ever thinks that they are the bad guy, and it is always the other person’s fault.

    But you have got to let this go. It’s past history and can’t be changed. And it would never have happened if you hadn’t chosen to use your particular commenting “style”. Even if you refuse to take any responsibility, at least realize that you are the catalyst.

    You can defend your right to be “aggressive” all day long, but you will be more successful if you can learn how to be aggressive without also being rude and condescending.

    One final note. It is utterly pointless to continually bring up past grievances. None of it will EVER do anything to enhance the strength of your current position about whatever the current topic happens to be. Ad Hominems are always a logical fallacy. They will never weaken the recipients position because they are completely independent of and irrelevant to the actual topic of debate. For exactly the same reasons, anyone that claims to be a victim of Ad Hominem attacks doesn’t get any extra points. Insults are always irrelevant and best ignored.

    So please stop bringing them up. They actually make you look weaker because it appears that you don’t have any real evidence to back your claim.

  227. Pete Aon 26 Jan 2017 at 4:07 pm

    “When was last time you mentioned the article in these comments?”

    When was last time you mentioned the article in these comments?

  228. cozyingon 26 Jan 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Pete A,

    If I said numerous times, like you and others have, that we need to mention the article and we can’t get derailed. Then yes you could make that point and call me a hypocrite. But I haven’t. I’ve never said anything ever about how we need to stay in topic.

  229. Pete Aon 26 Jan 2017 at 4:36 pm

    “I’ve never said anything ever about how we need to stay in topic.”

    cozying meet hardnose. hardnose meet cozying. Shake hands and join forces because you share so very much in common.

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