Organic farmer deconstructs ‘the scientist’ vs. ‘the activist’ in Don Huber’s talks

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Organic farmer Rob Wallbridge posted a recent blog entry about controversial anti-GMO figure Don Huber, Emeritus Professor of Plant Pathology at Purdue University who is now touring Canada and the US lobbying against genetic modification:

In early 2011 I was a big proponent of organic agriculture, a staunch opponent of GMOs, and Monsanto was enemy #1. Huber’s description of studies showing the deleterious effects of glyphosate on plant health confirmed my suspicions about RoundUp and herbicides in general. His speculation about a “new pathogen” and its devastating effects on plant and animal health, although frustratingly vague on specifics, fit right into my paradigm concerning the evils of GMOs. I couldn’t wait to see the details of “work on a variety of aspects” that he promised would be published “in about a month.”

I followed the story for another couple of months, still waiting for more data to be published, then he pretty much dropped off my radar. Leading up to his Acres presentation, I heard that he was still on the lecture circuit, and still saying pretty much the same things he had been saying in 2011. In the meantime, however, I had discovered a community of independent scientists on Twitter who had taught me a lot about the process of scientific research and who had very patiently and logically dispelled many of my misconceptions regarding GMOs.  I walked into his presentation in December with a skeptical attitude, prepared to look deeper, and ready to ask questions.

What I saw and heard shocked me. … What bothered me most of all was the audience’s reaction. By the end of his talk, describing his fears for the health of the next generation, Huber had choked up and was almost crying. Many in the audience reacted the same way – scared silly, weeping in fear for the future. Huber is soft-spoken, grandfatherly – he exudes humility and engenders respect. He’s undoubtedly done some good, valuable work in his career. But don’t be mistaken – whatever has lead him here, his current path is deceptive, misleading, and irresponsible. Unless and until he can stick to the science and offer solid evidence for his extreme claims, he must be called to account for the way he is scaring people, and his tour of terror must end.

Read the full, original post: Deconstructing Don Huber – A Tale of Two Talks

Related article:  'Internet democracy' results in calls for unscientific glyphosate ban

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