When an anti-science mob has its way

The new EU commission head, Jean-Claude Juncker, apparently bowed to pressure from “environmentalist” NGOs and axed the chief scientific advisor office.

The move was sadly not entirely unexpected as politicians in general have a history of buying in the narrative of anti-science NGOs, be they climate science deniers in the U.S. or anti-GMOs “greens” over here. But this decision doesn’t bode well with the EU commission claim that European economy should rest on knowledge. How to achieve this without someone able to hold an informed opinion on science. Not just scientific results, but the scientific process itself — the production of knowledge?

Full story (and opinion) can be read here.

This is ironic that the announcement happened the day of philæ landing. An achievement of European science if any. But is it surprising? Not really. A sham paper1, since retracted2, was enough for the French minister of agriculture to call for a ban on GM culture in Europe, the then (and still) French minister for agriculture claiming that the Séralini study was comforting its government position3. This year, the French government even rushed to pass a law forbidding farmers to plant GM corn in France, in the face of what these farmers wanted4 (a fact that alone should question the trope that GM plants are a heavier burden on farmers than non-GM ones), which in itself isn’t a problem (regulation is a prerogative of governments) but also in the face of the scientific knowledge concerning GM safety…

Ironically, according to Mark Lynas, the axing of this office pleases not only anti-GM organisations — which petitioned for that — but also climate change denialists.

This anti-science campaign looks a bit like a witch hunt, and more specifically, that one:

  1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637?via=ihub

  2. http://www.elsevier.com/about/press-releases/research-and-journals/elsevier-announces-article-retraction-from-journal-food-and-chemical-toxicology

  3. http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2012/09/19/ogm-le-foll-veut-durcir-les-autorisations-au-niveau-europeen_1762290_3244.html

  4. http://www.lefigaro.fr/sciences/2014/03/15/01008-20140315ARTFIG00080-le-mais-ogm-de-monsanto-de-nouveau-interdit-en-france.php


About ravingscientist01

Trained as a molecular geneticist, I did a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology. I am interested in science, its communication, the impact it can have on policies as well as the impact of various policies related to science may have on the latter.
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2 Responses to When an anti-science mob has its way

  1. editor says:

    Jeffrey is not dare enough to add publishers like hindawi, Elseiver etc on his list. He is not even brave enough to look at them simply because they are subscribed and seemingly he can not pay for each paper to read and find out what the problem is, let alone to write a post about them and add them on his list. In case if he does, he may not see the next sunrise. Or he may even forget his own name in less than 24 hours. He is indeed a timid Mafia who approaches only publishers and journals which are running from the third world countries or runned by people from those countries. In many of his posts,authors, publishers, and editors from developing countries have been offended drastically and their talent and capabilities, and confidence have been killed and belittled by Jeffery beall. In contrast, people who only put values and try to spread out his list are from those counties. They think that Jeffery is the descended in America and he is a holy prophet whose mission is to guide and tell people what they need to know and what they don’t. Poor them and we are sorry for those who obey him blindly. Whoever he is, people in the US, UK, Europe, Asia, middle east believe that Jeffery is not connected to scholarly work, but ruins the scholarly world. His harsh posts and illogical comments are like an online virus that aims to affect every academician. if you are an author, you could judge if a journal is valid and is worthwhile to publish or not. Don’t let people like Jeffery to influence your decision and change your mind because whatever he does is biased and in fact they are his “personal opinions” [disclaimer tab]. It is a fact that the publishers and journals are not evaluated by an expert team. How an earth do you expect people to take your blog serious, jeffery? who are you? Who has given that power to you? Are you linked to any authority or any well established organization? Although he has developed a criteria to assess journals and publisher, but we believe his criteria is predatory and vanity as he has robbed the constructs from here and there. Hence, it is strongly suggested to avoid taking beall’s comment. list, etc serious.
    Note: our discussion and argumentation does not target Misleading metrics companies and Hijacked journals.
    More info can be found in this link https://library.ryerson.ca/services/faculty/scholarly-communication/evaluating-open-access-journals/

    • First of all, sorry for the late approval. I’ve been meaning to approve it and reply to it for some time now. Anyway, I’m really surprised by this comment: if, really, it would come from an editor, I’d expect the English to be somewhat better. Admittedly, it might have been written on a smartphone. Nevertheless, there is another thing that incite me to refer to Jeffrey Bealls: he states his opinions in an open way. Everybody knows who he is. By contrast, this comment as “editor”, is anonymous. As for the accusation of, basically, a kind of western imperialism on science —to which Jeffrey Beall would contribute with his site—, well, maybe. I don’t know. But I don’t think it is relevant here: this post deals with a discredited scientist and his attempts to publish science that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny and to go to any length to do that. Not “for science”, but because Séralini is deeply biased and because he misuses science as a propaganda tool.

      By the way, I’m under the impression that your comment, editor, has been posted under the wrong post.

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