Recently a number of academics and activists sworn against biotech crops published an opinion that was accepted as fact. A now-long-defunct journal, Environmental Sciences Europe, published an opinion piece. No data presented, no surveys, statistics. It claimed boldly, “No Consensus of GMO Safety”.
The soft yellow journalism of the internet paraded this report as scientific fact, as a reflection of a “no consensus”. Consensus is the agreement within a field of inquiry, and certainly there is scientific consensus on the safety of transgenic crops. Every major professional scientific organization stated it, and there was no controversy in scientific conferences or in the literature.
Of course, mainstream science rolled its eyes and pushed on with reality. There were problems to solve.
But the manufactured science was picked up by sources that fed the credulous, peddlers of misinformation and propaganda common in that day.
The article did a lot to remind us about the frailty of the scholarly literature and how it was being manipulated for political gains.
The article helped heighten awareness of how scientists need to be involved in allowing academic freedom, but having a tight grip on the rigor that is required for scientific publication. Opinions are not data yet they have the potential to shape public opinion by brandishing the patina of legitimate research.
The scholarly literature is being used as a propaganda tool. We now have tabloid science.
Read full, original article: Peer-Reviewed Opinion Does Not Equal Data