GMO Statistics Part 11: To find a harm you have to measure harm

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Gilles- Eric Seralini has won a court case in Paris over the issue of whether his funding by Greenpeace may have influenced his scientific judgement.

Richard Hudson of ABC radio in Western Australia interviewed Seralini on this matter[link to ABC webpage], and also asked David Tribe to comment about the merits of Seralini’s scientific arguments (strongly criticised elsewhere on GMO Pundit website, for instance in  Sad Seralini Statistical Saga and GMO statistics Part 5. FSANZ say non-validated statistical dredging doesn’t mean much).

Seralini has also been strongly criticised by expert statisticians for the mistakes he has made in analysing of experiments done with rats to see how they react to genetically modified corn feed.

In this interview  with David Tribe  we hear about the difference between statistical significance (mentioned by Seralini) and biological significance (not properly evaluated by Seralini).

Statistics by itself  has very little to say about whether effects that can qualify as being “statistically significant” are biologically or practically meaningful. Tiny differences that are practically not of any importance to all, or which have no medical or nutritional significance, can still be statistically significant.

Many scientists have read the European Food Safety Authority’s demonstration that Seralini’s main conclusions are baseless, but we have yet to hear from Seralini about the comprehensive refutation of his statistical methods made by the European Food Safety Authority.

Listen to David Tribe’s comments about this and other matters in the links below to a  recording of the  interview:

Have a listen to the extended interviews below.
In this report: Professor Professor Gille – Eric Seralini- Molecular biologist who has advised the French Government and European Union on GMO’s 
David Tribe- Senior lecturer in Food Science and Safety at the University of Melbourne 

ABC Radio website:
Western Australia Country Hour
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Listen to the Country Hour 09/03/11
Are GM crops safe to eat?
Report: Richard Hudson

A European molecular biologist had a win in court recently that’s been described as the first of its kind against big companies involved in genetically modified crops.
The court ruled in favour of Professor Seralini, but does this mean GM foods are not safe?
Professor Professor Gille – Eric Seralini has dedicated his life to research specialising in the affect GMO’s and pesticides have on animals and embryonic human cells.
Professor Seralini is happy with his win in the Paris courts; a defamation case against a fellow molecular biologist.
[SNIP]David Tribe thinks Professor Seralini is only focusing on the evidence that suits him.
“The problem is he is picking on a tiny little bit of variation thinking that means there’s evidence of harm when there’s a huge amount of variation that’s much greater than that that’s obviously not causing any harm.”
[SNIP]

Follow David Tribe:

David Tribe is an applied geneticist, teaching graduate/undergrad courses in food science, food safety, biotechnology and microbiology at the University of Melbourne.