> Regarding the J. of Pesticide Reform, it should be noted that the
> article in question by Cox is not heresay, but crammed with
> scientific, peer-reviewed articles in well known journals. Is it
> possible to have a "slant" or bias when reviewing peer-reviewed
> articles? Sure it is, but this is equally true for any position. It
> always amazes me how readily some claim foul/fault in someone ELSE's
> position, approach, or conclusions, when they themselves are subject
> to the same foibles (I believe the current parlance is "junk
Thanks, Dr. Clark for confirming the quality of the review of the
literature done by Cox.
> The problem is "objectivity", which some scientists believe so
> fervently (one might be tempted to say religiously) to be part and
> parcel of the practice of science. The problem is that the
> definition of objectivity is, itself, subjective - and most
> especially in science. As commonly applied, one is seen to
> be objective if one's values and beliefs conform to those of the
> perceiver; if not, then you are being subjective. I regret to say
> that too many of us are simply unable to see how our own values, and
> beliefs, are shaping, coloring, and indeed - dare I say it - biasing
> a) the questions we choose to ask, b) the treatments and
> measurements we choose to make, and c) ultimately, the very
> outcome of the research itself.
> I say "we" because this is a universal affliction - the problem is not
> the affliction but the adamant refusal to acknowledge it in the first
> place, which leads some to maintain an excess of confidence (oops, I
> almost said faith) in the honesty, integrity, and "rightness" of
> refereed journal science. Ann
As I understand the organic principle, it is based not only on humus but
upon humility regarding human ability to correctly assess the fate and
long-term consequences of using 'synthetic novel chemicals' on a large
Presently there are many unknown micro-organisms and we don't know
everything about *any* micro-organism, nor any organism of any size,
Following that principle, I should reduce my exposure to all such
materials, including Roundup, and perhaps also plastics, such as those
in my computer keyboard and Tupperware...
But not wanting to blindly follow a principle, I seek out specific
scientific research; now at the beginning of DDT use, the literature was
heavily pro, and even today the World Health Organization accepts the
use of 35,000 metric tonnes of DDT per annum as an acceptable practice
in light of the lives that are saved from malaria as a result...BTI
would no doubt be more expensive to apply...
Similarly, there seems to be emerging scientific evidence that Roundup
is less safe than was previously thought. Part of what's annoying about
science--->policy processing is that today's science is inevitably more
precise than yesterday's as a general rule, and is able to put
'substance X' under closer scrutiny.
That said, I think the fact that research monies are largely disbursed
from corporate purses must obviously have some distorting effect on the
process; this doesn't necessarily mean that many people are
deliberately lying (although some no doubt are).
We should remember Eisenhower's warning about the military-industrial
complex and the history lesson in Robert Van Der Bosch's The Pesticide
Conspiracy as examples of how wealthy private sector interests can
distort scientific inquiry and public policy.
Ultimately, while today we may speak of 'good science' and 'bad science'
(Junk science, Whore science, and maybe even where socio-economic
deformation becomes epidemic, Brothel Science), no science is
Omni-Science; so the use of any novel chemical is something of a gamble,
the hope being that it will be a sustainable gamble.
Whether 500 years from now we'll know for sure is an uncertainty; but
any map of reality must have room in it for uncertainty, however
uncomfortable it makes us.
Personally I don't use Roundup, and even the soap-based herbicides move
me out of my comfort zone; I don't expect ever to use Roundup, as I have
too many friendly feelings for frogs, tadpoles, and known and unknown
Moving from the private to the public sector I think based on what I've
read that a case exists to limit Roundup and other pesticides and novel
chemicals. Meaning the collective discursively open tyranny of the
majority could be applied to reduce gambling with novel chemicals...
I'd be curious to know from those who depend on Roundup (or similar
chemicals) what you would do if they all were banned...sort of 'what if'
> Dr. E. Ann Clark
> Associate Professor
> Crop Science
> University of Guelph
> Guelph, ON N1G 2W1
> Phone: 519-824-4120 Ext. 2508
> FAX: 519 763-8933
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