Thursday, August 29, 2013

Interpretive science. Facts are always subject to interpretation, depending on who pays your salary.

I have this on-going discussion with my eldest brother about religion.  I personally feel that religion is an interpretive study, depending on your faith.  My brother believes that the bible is the inerrant word of his god.  And of course, that the gods of other beliefs don't exist.  That is an interpretive belief.  Blah blah blah, and religion is not science, and I shouldn't go outside in lightening storms to avoid the inevitable retribution from above for my beliefs.
In school we were taught that the sciences were immutable, that the facts we learned were indeed the totality of the universe, and that the world existed within a small and narrow set of parameters governed by laws of physics, mathematics and that those laws could not ever be altered.  As life goes on, we learn that those same laws governing the universe are in fact, sort of guesses; and that scientists are altering and changing the "approved" view of the world all the time.  And so it is, not just with the theoretical scientists, but also with the practical ones as well.  As physicists look at computer screens of what they believe to be collisions of sub sub sub atomic particles and postulate theories as to what they believe might possibly be happening; so do practical applied scientists.  Their laboratory has a lot more flexibility to it.  Or as they like to claim, interpretation.

When a scientist gets a grant from someone to look for something specific, research to find something, or prove a certain concept is valid or not; they generally have an idea what the result will be.  They just want to have a scientist, interpret specific data from research or testing to validate their reasons.  And it all goes down to interpretation.  A guy in France takes a hundred rats and divides them into four groups, feeds them Genetically Modified grain in various percentages, and when after two years 24 of the 25 rats in each of the three groups eating the GM food had cancers, the conclusion that can be made is that GM foods cause cancer.  But I'm not a scientist, and my paycheck doesn't come from a company that makes GM seeds, agrochemicals and whose livelihood depends on the general public not ever knowing that conclusion.  So, when asked, Monsanto paid scientists will review the raw data from the two year long feeding study and "interpret" different conclusions.  Ones that don't blame money making GM crops for the cancers.  And that's what they do.

Seralini has been denounced for poor methodology in producing the results that show GM crops give cancer to rats.  The Monsanto belief is that one rat in each group did not get cancer, and in the control group, three rats did.  Therefore all conclusions that GM crops causing cancer are false.  Let's look at Syngenta, who has a whole bunch of scientists getting a paycheck from them, and as the world has come to believe, certain highly toxic insecticides have been showing up in the dead bodies of the huge numbers of dead bee colonies.  The standard interpretation is that the really highly toxic pesticides that have only been in general use since just before the bees started dying off is the culprit.  Syngenta scientists interpret the data differently, they state that their HIGHLY toxic and effective insecticide that is designed to kill all insects that touch or consume miniscule amounts; doesn't kill bees. 

For quite a few years now the consensus of scientific belief was that the toxin made by Bacteria, BT toxin, was harmless to humans.  Well some other independent researchers went ahead and checked, and found that the stuff really does do damage to human cells.  Specifically neurotransmitters, cells lining the intestinal walls as well as the liver and kidneys.  That which is lacking in our world today, common sense, would have directed Monsanto and other Gene Tech companies to check this first before introducing this toxin into our food supply.  Except, it cost money to verify.  And it is a lot easier to make money, and down the road deny any research that shows such simple concepts to be detrimental to human anatomy.  So the University of Colorado researchers, who coincidentally receive most all of the agricultural department funding from Monsanto, interpreted the data a little differently.  Those Colorado scientists now tell us that those independent scientists didn't quite have the right stuff and looked at things incorrectly and that fear not, the BT toxin in most all GM crops is in fact harmless.

I don't know, there are tons of examples, from Hull approving the toxin Aspartame using a report that didn't show how dangerous it really is and completely ignoring the 90 reports that interpreted the opposite, Hull approved Aspartame and immediately went to work for the public relations firm of the company making that same Aspartame.  All the way to today's world where the FDA approves GM crops with no testing at all and using reports that interpret data from the manufacturer that are written by the same manufacturers.  It happens every day.  Science is not an exact science, it is open to interpretation.  Well arithmetic is pretty set, but once you introduce imaginary numbers and go into other theoretical forms of advanced math, it is interpretive.  And in theoretical math right along with all the other hokum sciences, I think that whoever signs the paychecks gets to decide what the interpretations are going to be.  

I started to write this because I read some stuff about good old Dr Weil, one of several "Doctors" that make buckets of money selling their own brands of supplements and health tonics and new ways of life.  You know, Mercola is another.  Anyway, these guys have a pretty big racket going, they have these huge websites and huge email lists and they basically send out info to people in an attempt to scare them into living a healthy life, that includes lots and lots of supplements, purchased from them.  But the big things that bug me about both of those guys is how they interpret science to suit their needs to sell their products.  My problem is their interpretation of what a healthy life means.  It is an interpretation of science to claim that all grains are bad for humans, that you should eat all of your eggs and meats raw and avoid all legumes, grains and milk.  That's one interpretation.  And a pretty weird one at that.  Of course if you ate a diet like that you would absolutely NEED a ton of supplements and health tonics, at high prices from the docs of interpretive sciences, Weil and Mercola.  Anyway, I don't know everything, but I do read, look, and think for myself.  I eat bread I bake from wheat I grind into flour, and don't eat meat.

Who's the millionaire, and who's the pauper.  Maybe I'm wrong after all. But then, I don't get paid to write conclusions that mean something that isn't true.

No comments:

Post a Comment