Deconstructing Don Huber – A Tale of Two Talks

posted in: Talks & Interviews | 62
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Don Huber, via Vimeo

This is a story of two talks, both of which are almost identical. It’s also the story of two people, both of whom are also the same person. What separates both are a couple of years, perspective gained, and perspective lost.

I first heard Dr. Don M. Huber, Emeritus Professor of Plant Pathology at Purdue University, speak in Eastern Ontario in February of 2011. The next talk was his presentation at the AcresUSA Conference in Springfield, IL in December of 2013. Apart from the addition of a few slides depicting select events of the past few years, the content was much the same. The people in this story are both me: the person I was, and the person I am now.

Then and Now

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. I don’t intend to go into a detailed analysis of Huber’s claims here, though I will provide links – I want to talk about how he tells his story, and the impact it has.

The Scientific

Many of the studies (including a number of his own) that he cites on nutrient-disease and herbicide-nutrient-disease interactions have been published in peer-reviewed journals and have some merit. (For more detailed discussion see here and here.) However, these studies don’t tell the whole story, and they aren’t put into context – there are many other studies with conflicting results, and Huber gives no indication of whether or not herbicides other than glyphosate have similar effects, and to what extent. I’ll never be a fan of herbicides (my support for organic agriculture has never waned), but it would be nice to have more context before condemning one particular product over all others.

The Unscientific

Worse yet, Huber intersperses, correlates, and extrapolates this valid data with information that has very little, if any, scientific value. He begins by noting that correlation does not equal causation, but then he’s off to the races with a blinding series of correlations, peppered with references to the results of a few real studies, to the point where most listeners lose track of the initial caveat. For instance, he’ll show the results of a study, then, as a supposed illustration, he’ll display aerial photos taken of neighboring cornfields during the 2012 drought. Claiming that one field is non-GMO and other is GMO, he’ll point to the superior appearance of the first, ignoring the fact any number of other factors could account for the difference between two fields on two separate farms, despite their geographic proximity.

Huber also isn’t above using discredited science and non-science to bolster his claims and incite fear. The Seralini rat experiments and Carman/Vlieger pig study figure prominently in his presentation. So, too, does the “shocking corn comparison” that supposedly demonstrated high levels of formaldehyde and practically non-existent levels of nutrients in GMO corn. During his Acres presentation, he presented these results and stated “there is zero tolerance for formaldehyde in food products.” A minute later he referred to the high formaldehyde levels and commented, “and people are eating these corn flakes.” Amid gasps from the audience, my hand shot up and I asked, “if there’s zero tolerance, how is it getting into our food?” “Well, I don’t know that it is,” he admitted, before trailing off with a “but….” My next question was if the study had ever been replicated, and if so, had the results ever been published. “No” he stated, “it’s only been a year, and you people [referring to the anti-GMO audience] are the only ones who want to know.” It didn’t seem right to me at the time, but it wasn’t until recently that I learned just how wrong he was.

The Non-Science

The highlight of Huber’s presentations is his description of a new menace that is supposedly having devastating effects on plant, animal, and human health, causing, among other things, reproductive failure. But even after a number of years, he can’t describe whether it’s a virus, a fungus, or a prion; if it has DNA or not – he’s now taken to calling it an “entity.” Needless to say, there’s a great deal of skepticism in the scientific community. The claims he makes for this “entity” are simply not supported by our current understanding of the way the world works. And although I’m usually the first to point out that science and our comprehension of the world is constantly evolving, I’m forced to admit that in this case the explanation is vastly more likely to be a number of mundane causes, rather than one “smoking gun” that will turn the world upside-down.

To make matters worse, Huber has refused to share his data, the organism, or his methods for culturing the organism with the broader scientific community. He has published nothing about it that could be subject to peer review, and he’s not allowing other scientists access to the information they need to prove or disprove his hypothesis. If this pathogen is responsible for all the terrible things he’s linking it to, why wouldn’t he want as many scientists as possible working to understand it? Having already read about the situation, I approached Huber following his talk to ask him this question. At first, Huber replied that he had been unable to interest anyone in the US on working on it – “they were prohibited” or “they turned us down.” Then he shifted tactics and said that he had been betrayed by a collaborator who went on to say that it was “all a hoax”, so he had moved all the research overseas. There were a “number of people working on it, all over the world, ” he said, “they just can’t be visible.” When I asked if others might be help (knowing that they had offered), he replied “that situation turned on us” referring to a story of how the USDA had offered to sequence it, then allowed the sample to languish in their labs until it was too old. There was zero acknowledgement of the offer made by Kevin Folta only weeks earlier.

The Fear-Mongering

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.

Editor’s Note: Originally published at The Fanning Mill.

  • Eric Bjerregaard

    Very strange degeneration. I was not familar at all with Huber until I heard about the antigmo/new critter stuff. Difficult to understand.

  • Rob, I like your analysis of this. I have seen similar things happen to other scientists, often soil microbiologists, who suddenly seem to veer off the slow, relatively anonymous, deliberate path of science and onto the fast and loose Freeway of Fame. Last November, I heard a prominent soil scientist, at a major scientific conference, suggest, in all seriousness, that we need to begin farming the moon (has it come to that?).

    Perhaps it has to do with the Rock Star status these usually unknown scientists achieve with audiences that are all too eager to hear their message. In our celebrity culture, they get their 15 minutes of fame, not often available to researchers, especially in agriculture. Their turn away from science is often accompanied by an embrace of conspiracy theories, such as “all University research is controlled by large organizations,” and, as with your example, extraordinary claims with little scientific backing.

    It all point to this: Don’t pursue an agricultural research career to become famous, or rich, but be content with solid science leading to incremental change.

    • anonymous

      This is very similar to Tyrone Hayes who claims that atrazine is turning male frogs into females. Noone has been able to reproduce his research. He was so concerned about his frog buddies that like Huber, he went on a tour rather than conduct more research to prove his point.

      • Gregor

        “anonymous” – There has not benn any researcher trying to reproduce Tyrone Hayes research! Who wants to persecuted and have no future in science? Syngenta did what Monsanto did to Pusztai, Seralini and so on. There is at lot if money in chemicals (and GMO).

        • Yes, actually several researchers have repeated his experiments and got different results. Hayes has refused to share his raw data, just like Seralini refuses to release all of his. That should tell you something – but it is not the conclusion you are looking for, unfortunately.

          • Mlema

            “As evidence of irreproducibility, he pointed to the dozen or so studies sponsored by Syngenta in addition to Hayes’s study. An independent panel of experts convened by the EPA had already expressed exasperation over the conflicting results and mistakes they found in the design and implementation of those studies…
            David Michaels, a professor of occupational and environmental health at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, said even a good study will appear “not reproducible” if enough bad studies are thrown into the mix…
            ‘I call this ‘manufacturing uncertainty,’ and there is a whole industry to do this,” said Michaels, who was the Energy Department’s assistant secretary for environment, safety and health under Clinton. “They reanalyze the data to make [previously firm] conclusions disappear — poof. Then they say one study says yes and the other says no, so we’re nowhere.'”

            The quote above is from an interesting article about the ‘Data Quality’ Law.
            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A3733-2004Aug15_4.html
            the ‘Data Quality’ Law allows corporations to essentially “veto” the regulatory process by drawing the science into question, regardless of its validity.
            The article also says that Hayes “conclusions have been echoed by at least four other independent research teams in three countries.”

            Were the irreproducible studies you’re referring to the from EcoRisk? That’s the group which was paid by Syngenta and of which Hayes was originally a member.

            Atrazine is banned in Europe as an endocrine disruptor. Its effects are still being documented
            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166445X10001335

            And I get it free in my drinking water! Thanks Syngenta!

            Just like with climate science, the industry will do what it can to prevent loss of profits.
            http://blog.ucsusa.org/interference-in-the-science-of-atrazine-again-160

      • Fred Helpe

        The estrogenic effects of atrazine and many other chemicals is widely and clearly documented. You have no clue what you’re talking about. Either that, or you willingly misinform.
        Sounds like you are too concerned with your Monsanto and Syngenta “buddies.”

    • Fred Helpe

      Rob’s analysis is awful…disregarding an exemplary 60 year science research career because of one point that does not meet his satisfaction, due to his allegiance to the bio-tech industry. And to think….he calls himself an “organic farmer!”
      The whole point you are making, but don’t have the courage of your own convictions to openly state, is you want everyone who doesn’t support your bias, and that’s all it is, even though they have all the scientific evidence in the world backing them up, to just keep silent.
      You’re the perfect illustration of what tolerance, an open market place of ideas, and scientific objectivity and transparency, are not. Maybe you should take your own implied advice…and keep silent.

  • Joe Kamalay

    I’m pleased (and a little astonished actually) that an organic acolyte saw some of the same flaws in Dr. Huber’s presentation as I did. Mr. Wallbridge concludes that Dr. Huber should stop trying to scare people: I disagree. A simple “now Donnie, be nice” is not sufficient. He should be roundly condemned for the lies he is propagating. At the time I heard his glyphosate – hysteria seminar I had never seen any of his peer reviewed manuscripts (he did not publish in my academic area) and left asking myself how it was possible that this gentleman ever had a successful Ag Sciences career at Purdue University. After finding (and dissecting) a handful of his earlier publications, found via Google scholar, it was clear that at some point Dr. Huber was a disciplined professional working to find facts and solve problems. He has abandoned his roots – most of his current presentation cannot be seen as rational, let alone scientific.

    • Fred Helpe

      Because one refuses to give all details does not make it a lie. It means he’s keeping information withheld. Why? So shills like you can’t take incomplete information and do your spin doctor job on it. He’s being wise. Until it can be 100% verified and documented, don’t release it. I’m sure you’d like nothing better, though, than to get your hands on some juicy, incomplete info so you can spew it all over the web and throw more names at him. You are transparent, shameless, and vile. Dr. Huber is working to protect people, not continue poisoning everyone for the sake of insatiable greed and corporate profits.
      I just love the way you sit in judgment over Dr. Huber, whose career, knowledge, pedigree and accomplishments eclipse your own as the sun does the moon. So easy to play the part of the sideline internet pop-shooter, isn’t it? You believe only what you want to believe, not what decades of independent research shows. Open your eyes.

  • j. michael carney

    There are no facts but things look stranger than strange . Geese seem to walk around GMO corn without eating it … Rats seem to avoid GMOs …. In our wisdom , we also seem to be avoiding GMO foods .. The Chinese turned away grain shipments ALL GMO . Most countries have GMO labeling and avoid it like the plague . We the USA are pushing this crap on the world and the world seems to be pushing it right back . I have taken notice that something is killing all our bats , butterflies and bees … We might want to look at a retired soil scientist but what about all the other scientists that are ringing alarm bells … Farmers are no scientists but just stopping the GMO feed their animals became well and calm again .. I might not be a Doctor of Biology but I see some very obvious things and so did over 80 micro biologist -there all dead …. the odds of this happening are in the billions … Keep an open mind , something is afoot . I guess it could be in our imaginations

    • Don’t forget the Zombie epidemic. This is the first time I’ve heard about 80 microbiologists who found problems with GMOs and are now dead as a result?? Maybe we need more facts and fewer disconnected anecdotes.

    • Ewan R

      Geese seem to walk around GMO corn

      Wait, are they doing some sort of magic trick? They seem to walk around GMO corn? Do they actually walk through it?

      Rats seem to avoid GMOs

      Any farmers with grain bins want to comment on the sudden disappearance of all rats from their operations in the past 16 years?

      In our wisdom , we also seem to be avoiding GMO foods

      Yes, those 90%+ adoption rates and ubiquity in the food system smack of avoidance.

      Most countries have GMO labeling and avoid it like the plague

      It may be true that many countries have GMO labelling, but that hardly means they avoid it like the plague. But hey, in many countries homosexuality is illegal, also in many countries military dictatorship is quite in vogue… so yeah, what many countries do is clearly the way forwards.

      The Chinese turned away grain shipments ALL GMO

      You mean the chinese who are all over GM technology desperate to surpass what agribusiness has done in the US etc? The same China that works in research partnership with big-agribusiness on GMOs? Yeah, they hate that stuff. Coulnd’t remotely be posturing over international trade disputes and stuff.

      … We might want to look at a retired soil scientist but what about all the other scientists that are ringing alarm bells

      if only they were out there publishing science instead of ringing bells! Well someone silence the bells and let these people get back to work!

      I might not be a Doctor of Biology but I see some very obvious things and so did over 80 micro biologist -there all dead

      Of exhaustion, no doubt, from the ringing of bells. Good thing you don’t have a doctorate I guess, it’s probably the only thing keeping you on this mortal coil.

      the odds of this happening are in the billions

      *disclaimer, odds are roughly a billion to a billion of this happening.

      Keep an open mind

      Or if that is too much at least a Tamagochi.

      something is afoot

      12 inches. Although by your logic probably 6 inches and a herring.

      I guess it could be in our imaginations

      Yours perhaps, most of the above drivel occurs neither in my reality nor my imagination.

      • Fred Helpe

        Another classy post, Ewan. What high school did you say you attended again?

  • Richard Hopkins

    As an epidemiologist and former public health official, I have to say that if Dr. Donald Huber is right in his claims about the adverse health effects of GMO foods and/or glyphosphate, then he is part of the problem. What he describes would, if true, be an extreme public health and agricultural emergency. Not sharing materials with independent scientists or with public health and agricultural officials, and not publishing detailed methods and results so others can try to replicate them, while people are getting sick and dying, would approach criminal negligence. I have to conclude that he does not actually believe this information is true, because if he did believe it was true he would want it acted on, even if it was at some personal cost, and the way to get it acted on is to engage in the scientific process.

    • Fred Helpe

      Richard, He is playing his cards close to his vest. He’s obviously passionate about what he’s found, but in light of the current hostile political environment against any who speak out against he bio-tech industry, he is very wise not to only released half baked or half-confirmed findings. What if he got it wrong? Etc. He would be crucified by all in the world like you. I don’t blame him for being cautionary…I’m sure his age and wisdom helped him not to reveal too much. I can see how it is frustrating…I wish he would spill his beans too, but to throw the whole man and his illustrious and excellent 60 research career in the toilet because of this one point? A little over the top, don’t you think?
      But in your descriptions of being part of the problem, you describe very well the drug and chemical, including bio-tec industries, to a T. They are very guilty of withholding much information and materials that could save and improve many lives. But some just like to believe everyone running these industries at the top are all perfect saints and altruistic and would never hurt a fly, so saying this will always fall on some deaf ears. As the saying goes; none are so deaf as those who refuse to listen. Words for the wise, or otherwise.

  • “Huber’s description of studies showing the deleterious effects of glyphosate on plant health confirmed my suspicions about RoundUp and herbicides in general.”

    Suspicions about herbicides in general? That herbicides can have deleterious effects on health of some plants? Aha! The big secret is finally exposed!

    Hmm. Deleterious effects on plant health are sort of what you might expect from application of a broadspectrum herbicide.

    What’s the alternative? HappyGreen certified organic, homeopathic, biodynamic herbicide absolutely guaranteed to never have any deleterious effect on health of any plant?

  • David Alvis

    Another example of an academic has been, struggling to come to terms with the fact that the world didn’t stop turning when he stopped doing proper research.

    Pandering to the lunatic fringe has become an increasingly lucrative second career for too many retired academics. Whilst the loss of credibility amongst one’s peers might be a price worth paying to augment a modest academic pension, the wider negative impacts of such conceit extend far beyond the world of academia.

    Which is why academic institutions should be rather more circumspect with regard to the granting of Emeritus Professorships unless entirely satisfied that the recipients can be trusted to apply the same discipline and rigour to the output of their dotage as they would have in their pomp.

    • Fred Helpe

      Or perhaps, David, with age comes wisdom, and that, coupled with a lack of worries of being canned and losing a promising career while still in the middle of it for speaking out against the bio-tech industry, these men stretch to their full stature once the shackles are removed and make it their business to go out and tell the people the truth. You said it yourself…many are doing it. It never occurred to you maybe there’s a reason so many are coming forth?….
      Lunatic fringe. lol. That’s rich.

  • Coolbreeze

    I sincerely appreciate you shedding light upon the claims of Don Huber. I was hungry for follow-up when minor media outlets reported his findings in 2011. With such compelling announcements, one would expect there to be a flood of scientists on the path to investigate further, but the updates were strangely absent. Enlightening dialogue about the issue was impossible for me, because colleagues had not even heard the story. I actually heard nothing further on the issue, until a brief mention of it in an interview with Jeff Smith this year. But that mention shed no new light on whether Huber’s findings had been backed up or not. Thank you for investigating and relaying information!

  • zeamike

    Recently performing a Google search on microsporidia as a possible plant pathogen and pulled up various references to Don Huber. I assume that Dr. Huber’s “unnamed” microbe ends up being a microsporidia?
    After hearing/reading about wild/domesticated animals avoiding GMO food sources, I decided to conduct a wild squirrel Corn feeding study, using GMO corn, nonGMOhybrid corn, and open pollinated corn. The results of my 6 site study are available on my cloud site as a pdf. Link: http://www.perdidobeach.org/mh/01/130123reportfinal.pdf

    • Thanks for sharing that, Mike. I wonder if a nutritional analysis would show similarities between the “warm up” cobs and the most preferred cobs – my initial suspicion is that the squirrels would first eat the most familiar-tasting food. Regardless, your experiment contradicts a lot of the other anecdotal reports I’ve heard.
      As for Huber’s “mystery organism”, it is still a mystery to the best of my knowledge. It’s been almost a year since I last heard Huber speak, but as luck would have it, I’m heading to the 2014 edition of the same conference later this week, and Huber is on the agenda once again. Hopefully he’ll have some more detailed information to share…or a few apologies to make!

  • [email protected]

    Mr. Wallbridge; I suggest you do your own study on your own animals and see what happens. I am appalled at the GMO alfalfa that is encroaching on my area- and as I have made the mistake of feeding it, I get tumors in my goats and infertility in my rabbits. When I get back a known organic hay farmer, these things go away. Nothing teaches me faster than losing money.

    • How did you know you were feeding GMO alfalfa to your goats and rabbits? It is not grown in very many locations due to the deregulation-reregulation-deregulation history of the crop.

      An anecdote about maladies in animals is not a study. It would be an incredible finding that one small genetic change in alfalfa would cause two very different problems in different mammal species. That kind of suggestion requires good evidence.

      • Fred Helpe

        Karl, it’s not one small genetic change. Please, you are showcasing a vast ignorance of the topic here. The genome of even the simplest cell is vastly complex, and they continue to learn more about genetics all the time. Gene splicing is as crude as can be, and huge, largely unknown, and unpredictable genetic collateral damage occurs up and down the DNA strand via this process. The genome is like it’s own vastly complex and self-contained eco-system, which shifts and adapts to its environment and epigenetic pressures. You invariably get hundreds, sometimes thousands of genetic ripples and consequences when you shove, unnaturally, genes from another kingdom into any organism. Moreover, once these flawed creations are released into the environment there is no return. Many times we’ve seen feral GM wheat, canola, etc., growing where it’s not supposed to. It continues to grow worse, and we cannot reverse it.
        It’s a fool’s game. Utter foolishness. IN fact, the whole genesis of GM technology is based on flawed science…there is no such thing as a direct correlation between one gene=one trait. The entire transgenic enterprise was flawed from inception, and they knew it, but it was such a cash cow they just kept right on their course. The new RNA interference, second generation of GM crops promises to be even much, much more dangerous to everyone involved.

        • Hi Fred,
          I work as a scientist for companies that develop machines and assays to sequence DNA. I’ve been in this industry for 7 years. It’s true that cells are vast and complex, and that we continue to learn about genetics. But thanks to advances in analysis and detection, we can identify and understand single base-pair changes that take place. So your claim that “unpredictable genetic collateral damage occurs up and down the DNA strand” is false. Scientists can now detect exactly what change was made and where. Then, the RNA can also be analyzed, be it via microarray analysis or sequenced by RNA-Seq. In fact, if you read about why Billy Nye “changed his mind” about GMOs, “…He explained that what changed his mind was a fateful visit to the lab where scientists do the actual gene modification. There, he watched them scan the entire genetic sequence of the crops they wanted to modify. The process, he saw, was startingly precise — far more so than it had been 20 years ago”
          http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-nye-explains-his-stance-on-gmos-2015-7

        • Ewan_R

          While off site effects of transformation most certainly do occur (the entire transformation process is highly disruptive and unusual for a plant given that it is regenerated from callus under tissue culture conditions etc) there is no reason to suppose that this would result in “genetic ripples” (a most lovely piece of bafflegab) in the plant that could be considered the final product.

          Once a transformation has taken place the resulting plant will be tested for efficacy. Once efficacy of the transgene is established one has to then move the transgene, by regular breeding, from the transformed germplasm into commercially viable germplasm. Once you’re done you are left with, essentially, none of the original genetics of the transformant, just the transgene (and a minimal amount of surrounding DNA) – thus even if every single gene in the originally transformed plant had been mutated in some manner or another this would have no impact at all on the end product.

          • Fred Helpe

            Your explanation does not comfort. Who does the testing for efficacy? Monsanto. They do so in house, and they reveal only what they deign to. Time and again, they have neglected to voluntarily release news of any deleterious effects. Damages that do not impact the bottom line are ignored.

            • Ewan_R

              I don’t think you are using the word efficacy in the way I am. I’m merely talking about testing to show that the transgene does what you want it to do. So in the case of roundup resistance it, y’know, actually resists roundup. In the case of insect restistance it, y’know, kills the right insects. Once one has a gene that is efficacious then one has to introgress it into commercially viable lines. Failure to do so would absolutely impact the bottom line as farmers aren;t interested in buying shitty hybrids. If Monsanto released only transformed lines then RR and Bt would work only in a very limited set of geographies, and in a germplasm that is so old and crappy compared to modern elite hybrids that the benefits farmers see would simply not be worth the switch at all.

  • plantgeek

    It’s incredible that a well respected scientist like Dr. Huber has had his entire career dragged through the muck on the web in part because of blogs like this one whose sole purpose seems to exist to target anyone who dares to speak out against Round Up. And years later keeps popping up as number one on google searches for Round Up. Incredible! Dr. H is not a perfect scientist and does use anecdotes along with his science. That does not not mean he does not use scientific methodology! It was anecdotal evidence that showed DDT, the miracle pesticide that killed mosquitos and brought malaria relief to millions was in fact deadly to the environment. Several of the first critics of DDT were scientists that were ridiculed and whose methods were questioned. Thank God for the people that ask the questions – scientist or citizen. It is clear that large profit making companies like Monsanto are not in the business of caring about people and to say that we need to rely on their studies alone is an outright lie. So many lies! Like the lie that bio solids (sewage sludge) is safe as a fertilizer. Like the lie that synthetic chemicals are safe as fertilizer for our farms. In the meantime this linear thinking avoids looking at the bigger picture. The oceans are dying, farmlands are becoming toxic, and fungi and the very biology of the soil is being changed in ways we do not yet understand. How do we begin to understand without questioning? We desperately need independent studies on Round Up that are in no way or shape linked to Monsanto because for sure there is a ton of anecdotal evidence which needs to be backed up by science. Let’s spend time supporting this effort instead of nit-picking and running down those who are trying. I am so sick of this lack of passion and action in the face of a true crisis in our environment – it’s a crime to waste time like this.

    @ Mr von Hogel Wrong. Farmers and lay people do not have to do the scientific studies to satisfy your need for hard evidence. This is exactly the type of anecdotal evidence which can be clustered into real research that science should be looking into. To blast this poster with inane pseudo- scientific questions is useless. If you are really interested then instead of criticizing people who have obviously seen a relationship between Round Up and animal health – of find out if it’s real or not. In fact it’s the farmers who have rejected Monsanto which are some of the most outspoken critics of Round Up – we should be listening to them all.

    The fact that Mr. W is an organic farmer and yet this post is being used as a Monsanto ad is unfortunate. His diatribe here debunking the European studies is evidence of his lack of understanding and predisposition to disbelieve just because others have disbelieved. None of the hundreds of studies done on Round Up are mentioned here which indeed point to the troubling aspect of the herbicides’s effect on soil fungi. As an organic gardener and landscape professional as well as a native plant expert in my region – my own experience with Round Up has been enough to change my mind. I routinely see it’s affects on peoples pets, it’s affects on Armillaria ridden gardens, it’s ability to bind to fusarium fungi and kill plants months later, it’s bad effects on native michorrizzal fungi temperate plants utilize – all these things I saw and understood long before I heard anything bad about Round Up. But go ahead, just because I have 30 years of experience in my field – that is meaningless – but coupled with hundreds and hundreds of other anecdotal experiences which are EXACTLY the same across the world? That is valuable anecdotal evidence worth studying.

    • Hi Plantgeek, thanks for stopping by. You made a number of outlandish claims, some of which contradicted each other. I will address some and educate you about the facts, but I must remind you about our comment policy. We strive for civil discussion here.

      It’s incredible that a well respected scientist like Dr. Huber has had his entire career dragged through the muck on the web in part because of blogs like this one whose sole purpose seems to exist to target anyone who dares to speak out against Round Up.

      That is not in any way the purpose – primary or ancillary – of this blog. We educate and discuss. Next, by merely questioning Don Huber, he has gone after the jobs and reputations of other scientists – most notably Kevin Folta, who shares the falsehood-ridden letter that Dr. Huber sent to Dr. Folta’s university bosses. Why? Because Kevin offered to sequence the DNA of Huber’s mystery pathogen that he said was incredibly dangerous but was unable to sequence. Dr. Huber’s refusal demonstrated that he was hiding something, and it embarrassed him. The fact that he is not acting like a scientist about this should concern you.

      We desperately need independent studies on Round Up that are in no way or shape linked to Monsanto because for sure there is a ton of anecdotal evidence which needs to be backed up by science.

      Absolutely, we need more independent science – always – but this is contradicted by your next statement…

      @ Mr von Hogel Wrong. Farmers and lay people do not have to do the scientific studies to satisfy your need for hard evidence. This is exactly the type of anecdotal evidence which can be clustered into real research that science should be looking into.

      Anecdotes cannot be “clustered” together to make a study. The plural of anecdote is still anecdote. Here you say that we need more science, and then you also say that we don’t need more – because we can just cluster them together and call it a study? I have indeed looked into the claims being made, and they lack evidence. I talked to Dr. Huber on the phone for almost 2 hours trying to find out where the evidence was that supported his claims and came back with nothing more than we already know.

      (Also, if you are going to use formal terms when addressing people in your comment, to be consistent you should check who has a Ph.D. before calling them “Mr.” You could also spell their names right.)

      The fact that Mr. W is an organic farmer and yet this post is being used as a Monsanto ad is unfortunate.

      Just because you disagree with it does not make it a Monsanto ad.

      But go ahead, just because I have 30 years of experience in my field – that is meaningless – but coupled with hundreds and hundreds of other anecdotal experiences which are EXACTLY the same across the world? That is valuable anecdotal evidence worth studying.

      So study it! Do a controlled experiment, or work with faculty who can. If you truly believe what you have learned from your own experience, you owe it to yourself to make sure the science happens to support those beliefs – not by angrily commenting on blogs, but by using those anecdotes to form a hypothesis that can be tested using multiple methods and then publishing it in a peer-reviewed journal for the scientific community to build their knowledge on.

      • Fred Helpe

        Karl, it has been studied! Not from a lack of Monsanto trying to prevent such study, however, with their technology agreements, and patent rights and attempting to forbid all such study on their “intellectual property.” Did you know glyphosate was first designed as an industrial descalant, to clean out all the metals that scale on the inside of boiler pipes?
        Well, it does the same to all metal minerals in the soil too, in plants, and animals: everything, even GM plants. If this doesn’t outright kill larger animals it causes serious effects and nutritional deficiencies in all, plant and animal. Unlike natural Chelators that work within a regulated biological system, like hemoglobin, it does not shut off, nor does nature know how to shut it off. Only real cure is bacterial remediation, and that is still a new field, relatively speaking, and slow to accomplish. Good old nature fixing what we continue to screw up.
        Glyphosate has been patented as a biocide even. It is deadly for all soil biology as well as plants, and shikimate pathway or not in mammals, since it chelates so many metal minerals, shuts down and kills so many cellular and metabolic pathways in all living organisms, how in the world can you folks continue to pretend it’s as safe as water???? Your position is so ridiculous on the face of things it’s stunning you continue to hold your course.

    • Fred Helpe

      Baam! Couldn’t have said it better! Thanks for posting!

  • Auriel,

    The description of that interview is pretty breathless and unpromising; if Dr. Huber has evidence of all those things, then why doesn’t he publish something about them through normal channels? If he did, and it passed muster, he’d be FAMOUS and would never lack for funding! Oh, but I see a request for money there; I’m not interested: what if it goes to fund non-scientific catastrophist rabble-rousing?

    plantgeek,

    you said “His diatribe here debunking the European studies is evidence of his lack of understanding and predisposition to disbelieve.” Do you mean to say that people who don’t agree with you are automatically relegated to the “lack of understanding and predisposition to disbelieve” heretic class?

  • Ray Kinney

    Focusing on Huber is a red herring, one of many. Out there in the real world, what we cause to enter our foods can bring recognized (and unrecognized) effects, often at chronic low dose accumulative effects. The active ingredient is only one of the toxicologic agents that a formulation application brings to the food stream. If glyphosate, dicamba, and 2,4,D are going to be the new wave of the future for the next phase of the industrial food production paradigm, then the toxicology generated is very much the point of the label question. With by far the most GMO production being pesticide resistant, what are the ultimate public health implications (recognized, and as yet unrecognized) for the world public? What does a non-GMO label get you???? A hope of just possibly avoiding a hell of a lot of very important data gap risks, because the technology is more profit-driven than science-driven precisely because funding for the science to continue after development of a pesticide product is far more restricted by bias to keep more knowledge from finding possible adverse effects from then being discovered.
    ..

    • Ewan R

      Focusing on Huber is a red herring, one of many”

      A Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue.

      Erm, Huber isn’t brought up to distract, Huber is brought up because he is/was being used as an argument against GMO crops. If the anti-GMO side of the debate is using Huber as a major supporting argument then I might suggest (possibly wrongly) that suggesting Huber is a red herring is, in fact, a red herring. As now we are distracted into waffling on about colored fish.

      then the toxicology generated is very much the point of the label question.

      Well, no, not really. The “toxicology generated” (whatever that means, you appear to be suffering from mild Deepakitis) would be the purvey of toxicologists. What if (and doubtless you won’t accept this, but so be it) the “toxicology generated” by utilization of glyphosate, dicamba, 2,4D etc is actually lower than the toxicology generated by herbicide treatments used on non-GM plants – what does a GM label do for you then? Nothing. If we accept your premise that we don’t know *everything* about the toxicological consequences of this particular mix of herbicides then I posit that we must also profess equal ignorance around any other practices used to control weeds, from other chemical control mechanisms to hand weeding.

      Hand waving and vague conspiratorial mutterings about the profit motive do not a sound argument make. If we don’t know the effects then arguably they could swing either way – you are thus arguing to restrict the use of something that has actual evidence of being beneficial (there is ample evidence that for those things we can measure both glyphosate and Bt are toxicologically and environmentally better than the practices they replace) on the bizarre grounds that there may be something so subtle, so non-visible after 2+ decades, so undetectable, and yet at the same time somehow, magically I suppose, of more harm than it is benefit.

      The mind literally boggles.

      because funding for the science to continue after development of a pesticide product is far more restricted by bias to keep more knowledge from finding possible adverse effects from then being discovered

      citation most certainly needed.

      Looking at the literature if one looks at 1990-2000 you return (in google scholar) 7,220 hits for the phrase “glyphosate toxicity”

      Between 2000 and 2010 you return 15,000+

      (1970-1980 = 411, 1980-1990 = 1,800)

      This hardly appears to be a restriction on generating more knowledge, glyphosate, I would argue, by its sheer success, has had a target a mile wide painted on its back, there is much scientific glory to be had in toppling a behemoth, a very brief perusal of the literature would suggest that this is not a task the scientific community have been held back from even slightly.

      • Ewan R

        (2010-2015 is already at 15,000+ hits)

        It’s almost like, from a far off view at least, there is an exponential growth in publication around glyphosate, rather than some conspiratorial shift away from an investigation.

        Assuming that even 10% of those numbers (conservatively) represent actual research (rather than commentary on actual research) I am made increasingly sad by a monumental waste of resources. How many minds wasted tilting at windmills? How much harm caused by science left undone?

      • Fred Helpe

        I’m tempted to ask how much does Monsanto pays you?

        Dr. Donald Huber has such an excellent, prestigious career, it does not surprise that people go after him when he has shown so clearly how dangerous some of these inputs are, particularly glyphosate. Why would you go after Him, because of one point? With the way the chemical and bio-tech industries go on their smear campaigns against truth-telling scientists, Dr. Huber is playing it very smart not revealing details before they can be verified 100%. I can only imagine the invectives you and others like you, calling yourselves “organic farmers,” no less, would throw at him if he released something before it’s time, or if it could be proven wrong still. He’s being wise. Learn from him.

        And while you’re at it, if you take such offence to this supposed instance of withholding the truth, or disseminating partial truths, you damn well better start a lifelong crusade against the chemical and bio-tech industries, who have a decades long, sordid history of the same. No one listens to a hypocrite.

        Here is Dr. Huber’s biography. http://www.nvlv.nl/downloads/Dr_Huber_bio.pdf
        Be sure you don’t turn your sword against the wrong person.

        • Ewan_R

          Why would I disclose how much Monsanto pays me? How much does your employer pay you?

          I can disclose that they pay me to do data management and visualization for corn breeding and previously paid me to do much the same in biotech (for yield & stress traits), facts I have been utterly open about on biofortified since I started posting here. I’m not sure what exactly that has to do with anything.

          ” Dr. Huber is playing it very smart not revealing details before they can be verified 100%”

          That’d be the case *if* he hadn’t made such a fanfare about his findings. Once one makes the fanfare you should back it up or face the music. This fanfare was made in 2011. There is still no movement at all. Other than the resurrection of a zombie thread.

          • Fred Helpe

            The question was rhetorical….but you revealed a lot with the answer. I’m glad to see I’m talking to an honest man working for an honest company. Or at least, that is what you would say, am I right? Your employer is detestable, and that is something I have been utterly open about everywhere I talk. One’s employer and financial interests have an awful lot to do with this whole politicized and polarized topic…a fact people who are on the take from the bio-tech industry are keen to downplay. The history of Monsanto as a company is abominable, as is their mafia style of operating, which has been observed and documented for decades, but it’s amazing how money in the pocket makes so many people look the other way. I’m very glad to know the general population is beginning to wake up to this, but it sounds like here people don’t want to hear so much about it? I suppose you would argue it’s an honourable company making an honourable wage?

            You talk about facing the music, but you have such a skewed and limited perspective. Monsanto has done so much harm to the environment and people’s health over the decades, and lately with their transgenic “patent” agriculture and the companion toxins that go with it, but they never face the music. They just sue, threaten, or buy out most of their enemies. They’re a big steamroller. But I don’t hear you calling them out. Maybe you deny their products do any harm at all! Or perhaps…”the good outweighs the bad!” That would match the universal pattern of denialism in this industry and it’s gov’t business allies. Maybe it’s all “progress” in your mind.

            But here is a conscientious scientist almost without peer, who has done worlds of good for the last 60 years, documenting how to improve soil and cropping, fight soil pathology, the correlation between environmental toxins with nutrient deficiency and poor crop and animal health, and you would throw it all down the drain over one point. ONE point. That tells me you are all grasping to shut him down because of the damage he rightfully does to the bio-tech industry, and this is the only thing you can dredge up on him to try to discredit him. And it’s not even that he’s wrong…he’s just playing his cards close to the chest. Blatant, in-your-face hypocrisy. If you hate what Dr. Huber is doing so much, you should absolutely detest your employer, and embark on a lifelong crusade against them…but on that point I hear………silence. Or worse: denial.

            Below is a link to a page on what the lovely synthetic chemical glyphosate does to the environment, farmers fields, and our health, and at the bottom are four very excellent videos, some from Dr. Huber, but others by other experts in the field as well, including Dr. Thierry Vrain, who for many years was the head of the bio-tech department and a lead scientist at Agriculture Canada. Here is what I suggest. Ratchet down the denialism and hyperbole several notches. Open your mind, and realize most in your industry are blind & buried up to their ears in a belief system that has no foundation in science, and then learn. The proverbs talk of the dangers of being unteachable. Learn from these videos, which are only the tip of the iceburg. It will do you good. http://jawsoil.com/glyphosate

        • Rickinreallife

          “Dr. Donald Huber has such an excellent, prestigious career, . . . ”

          Precisely! No one disputes that Dr. Huber has undoubtedly earned respect in his field and has been successful in his career because of his adherence to principles of science, to base understandings and findings on sound methodology and solid, reproducible evidence. When people first learned of Dr. Huber’s letter to the USDA warning of an impending agricultural disaster due to a new life form he claims to have discovered associated with ge traits and use of glyphosate, people took notice and anticipated what would be a groundbreaking discovery PRECISELY BECAUSE IT WAS DR. HUBER making the claim. But, even Dr. Huber is not exempt from the standards of evidence that persons of his stature and competence are held to. I can understand why ge skeptics like you are willing not to hold him to such standards but I am puzzled why he has not held himself to such standards in this instance.

          My impressions from what I have learned of him without the privilege of having met him personally is that he is a pleasant, intelligent person of integrity. I do not question that he sincerely believes what he is telling audiences, and I even believe there is an element of truth to concerns he talks about with chelating qualities of glyphosate. I don’t have to accuse Dr. Huber of deliberate deception or incompetence to have a growing skepticism about the more alarming claims he is making.

          “Here is Dr. Huber’s biography.”

          The managers of this site and those who frequent this site are more than familiar with Dr. Huber’s accomplishments and credentials and have been long before he began making the claims that have gained him celebrity status on anti GMO circles. So his biography is not a revelation to anyone here, you are the Johnny-come-lately. His accomplished bio is all the more reason why folks here expect him to be able to produce the evidence.

          (edited to insert paragraph breaks)

          • Fred Helpe

            Fair enough. Thank you for your post.

      • Fred Helpe

        Ah, invoking “hand waving” and vague “conspiratorial mutterings” against Ray Kinney now too? This seems to be a standard play for you. I wonder if there’s a moderator around…
        We all note how you wave your own hand in a not so clever attempt to dismiss the documented effects of synergistic and multiplied toxicity when toxins are stacked. No one, not even the companies who develop them, know all the consequences. Oh, they like to assure us it’s perfectly safe. These types of companies have done so ever since the days lead arsenate was first sold as an insecticide, and onwards, but since they’ve been proven wrong on every count for every single synthesized chemical agricultural toxin produced over the last century, it’s not even a guess if they are wrong again today with the new generation of stacked, even more potent toxins.
        Same thing applies with drugs too…first they get cancer, then radiation and chemo, then they get violently sick from that and get immune system depressants to reduce side effects (which only makes things worse inside), then they give more drugs to help with this ache, and another to deal with the swollen ankles that come from that drug, etc. Before you know it you are suffering a multitude of deleterious consequences from taking all the drugs, all in the name of the medical system “curing” you. Hundreds of thousands each year die in America from “side effects” of stacking synthesized drugs. This sounds strangely familiar here…
        This should be of particular interest to you, since so many around the world are now openly acknowledging how glyphosate causes cancer. As an employer of Monsanto often in the field, aren’t you routinely exposed to glyphosate?
        The EPA knew about the carcinogenicity of glyphosate from Monsanto’s own in house long-term safety studies back in the 70’s already…but take a wild guess what they did with that information. That’s right! Thankfully a freedom of information act invocation has released that info to us quite recently, and then there was the WHO’s own recent determination of the carcinogenic effects of glyphosate. Another behemoth being toppled as we speak! Once again…we see the true colours of Monsanto, and how its gov’t regulators are in fact the regulated.

    • Fred Helpe

      Precisely. A page discussing the dangers of glyphosate is found here: http://jawsoil.com/glyphosate
      At the bottom of the page are excellent videos by Dr. Huber, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, and Dr. Thierry Vrain, who used to be the head of the biotech department and a lead researcher at Agriculture Canada for many years, who has now come around and talks about how dangerous they are. Dr. Huber is a walking encyclopedia, and it’s pretty telling when people go out of their way trying to slam him with this one topic of the “unidentified entity” when he has an excellent, excellent career and accomplishments behind him.

  • Ray Kinney

    Ewan, I’m basing my comments on this recent report:
    Ray Kinney
    April 1, 2015 at 10:29 am · Reply
    Mlema, Yes, glyphosate appears to be consumed readily: See Institute for Applied Ecology 4/1/’15, reported
    recent alcohol imbibing trend: “Roundup Ready Cocktails: Mixed Drinks with Mixed Effects. For discussion of the work see:
    http://eco.appliedeco.org/roundup-ready-cocktails-mixed-drinks-with-mixed-effects/

    Obviously, affecting public mental health adversely…. just another reason.
    ..

  • Ray Kinney

    Thanks Ewan, perhaps a new drink recipe: “Roundup Red Herring” martini with just a splash of vermouth and a splash of Roundup.

  • James

    I am unimpressed by this adolescent – type banter.
    Less arguing, more cooperation and constructive information exchange required here.

  • Seralini study was re-published in another peer reviewed journal after 3 scrupulous peer reviews.
    http://www.gmoseralini.org/republication-seralini-study-science-speaks/
    http://www.enveurope.com/content/26/1/14

    • Yes, it was published, however it was not peer-reviewed for its content, except to check that they didn’t change anything.
      http://genera.biofortified.org/view/Seralini2012

      The reports from the GMO Seralini fansite are completely wrong.

      • Fred Helpe

        It went through multiple rounds of peer review. So off the top, you are the one completely wrong. “The goodman affair” published at independent science news will put you right.
        http://www.independentsciencenews.org/science-media/the-goodman-affair-monsanto-targets-the-heart-of-science/

        Secondly, the “peer reviewed process” is largely overrated, as the gate-keepers are largely bought and owned these days. The Seralini study and subsequent fiasco is such a useful lesson to demonstrate this very point. It went through rigorous peer review the first time, but when Monsanto didn’t like the bad PR, they got it removed.

        Stunning that people like you continue to raise your heel against the people working to publish truth, and protect the public. Instead, you defend the corporations that have documented histories, decades of sordid history, of lying, bribing, buying out, lobbying, poisoning, killing and destroying people, livelihoods, truth, and the environment.

        • Hi Fred,
          The “Independent Science News” article is mud-slinging, purer and simple. Your accusations that everyone is bought off demonstrate that you are unable to respond to the facts in this situation.
          I always strive for truth, which you haven’t really brought to this discussion.

          • Fred Helpe

            Hello Karl.

            “The “Independent Science News” article is mud-slinging, pure and simple.”

            Oh contraire, mon fraire. That article points out, fulsomely, how entrenched conflicts of interests pervade the bio-tech industry, and how a meticulously constructed long-term feeding safety study went through all it’s paces, was brought through the peer-review process like any other, was accepted, printed, but then…oops! Too much heat for Monsanto, so all of a sudden, even contrary to it’s own standards of conduct at Elzevier, it gets pulled….one way or another. Why? Good question. Seems they afterwards said “it did not meet scientific standards.” Well, that’s a bit of a conundrum for the good folks over at Food and Chemical Toxicology, which is, to borrow the nomenclature, a “prestigious” journal, under the “prestigious” Elzevier umbrella. If it was so bad in the first place, the retraction is an admission to their own idiocy. But no, it was approved and published, and only afterwards were all the damage control mechanisms thrown on.

            Do you know how much junk science gets published today and never gets pulled? Did you know there are even computer programs that have been written that can generate false but convincing sounding studies, and when these are sent to the journals to see how careful they are, they get published? It’s utterly laughable, if it were not so sad. Even more sad is they rarely get retracted. Rarely do contributing scientist note their conflicts of interest, and rarely do journals publically inform of errors…it looks bad on them, afterall. There are ongoing studies being done, that corroborate each other, that show how unreliable “peer reviewed” science has become.

            Also sad is your failure, refusal perhaps, to see what is as obvious as the sun in the sky: big money and big power ruthlessly corrupts. It has been this way since the beginning of recorded human history. You do not have to dig deep to see how Monsanto and ilk spend tens of millions to barely defeat GM labelling initiatives, or see the tactics they use in the process. Or to see how much money senators and legislators receive from the bio-tech industry to put up bull-s#&t federal legislation, such as the very imminent vote on the pending “DARK Act” that threatens to completely stifle all democratic and scientific process by forcing GMO’s, and those unlabelled and unknown, completely kept secret, onto America, and by using their long bully arm, onto the rest of the world via strong-armed trade agreements. Want to know what’s really funny? Mike Pompeo dubed this legislation as: “The safe and accurate food labelling act!” Ha ha! They obviously took Hitler’s advise to heart: if you’re going to lie, lie big, and people will believe it.

            Come on, Karl! Are you truly so naïve to think money isn’t what makes the world go round? You are either naive, or willingly ignorant. I’m going to go with the first because it’s the lesser of two evils. Either way, it openly calls into question your own credibility and anyone else who denies the reality here. Corporate sell-outism thrives everywhere these days, including among the media (which receives Billions, with a capital “B” from bio-tech, chemical and drug companies), so most people who let the broadcasts and their corporate masters (read–Monsanto) do their thinking for them will never know the whole story. I can give you facts all day long, but most people only believe what they *want* to believe. Reality is often disturbing to people’s comfort. I suspect no matter what I say, or how many ledgers I show of people of influence being showered with gifts by lobbyists to subtly “influence” their positions, you will just deny it, and the sources, because they don’t come from Big bio-tech and their own voluntary, in house, cooked data, short-term, rubber-stamped safety studies. You always strive for the truth, eh? Not so sure I see that. It appears I’ve brought more truth here than you can handle. But I would like to be proven wrong on this one. You want truth…then dig deeper and you’ll find it. Then be prepared for the storm of opposition when you start stepping on toes.

        • Ewan_R

          Can you explain Fred, how it is that Monsanto, a company which pulls in $14Bn revenue per year can exert such huge influence over the sciences, when Exxon-Mobil, a company with a revenue stream an order of magnitude higher, cannot do similar in the annals of climate change literature? This fact seems very hard to reconcile with a scientific consensus which can be so cheaply bought and manipulated.

          • Fred Helpe

            There’s a point to this, I presume? But I will humor you.

            Monsanto is very clever at marketing, and many people, including so many good and well-intentioned farmers, are not scientifically trained and fall easily to said slick marketing. (It was only a century ago when all the farmers called the travelling nitrogen salesmen quacks…see what a century of money-soaked slick advertising can accomplish?) They are very pro-active in trying to rebrand themselves as a “life-sciences” company (snicker) that will “feed the world” (mind the renal failure that comes with glyphosate exposure though), when in fact they are a toxic chemical company and always have been. Exxon Valdez also happened, which is what helped “turn the ship” in a fickle public’s mind, although Monsanto’s day is coming, as glyphosate promises to be their own “Valdez.” Moreover, everyone still needs oil at this point. Not everyone needs toxic agriculture….people have to be brainwashed to believe that, when regenerative, sustainable agriculture produces healthier food more abundantly, as more and more around the world are rediscovering after being shamed by the bio-tech industry.
            The entire tobacco industry, with it’s “tobacco science” (identical to the “Monsanto science” currently thrown around today) was once very much in vogue and touted as the be-all and end-all in scientific consensus. I have posters of doctors in their white lab coats advertising: “I smoke Camel!” But now that whole industry has been exposed for the mass of quackery it really is. It takes time for people to get educated enough to see through the mounds of mis-information big industry pumps out to confuse and delay the inevitable.

            And now you want to drag *climate change* into this? This wouldn’t be another deflectionary or obfuscating tactic, would it Ewan?

            Here’s a thought for you to chew on, no matter what the current political “consensus” is about “climate change” (which was first called global warming, but now they have fallen back to the current tautological term that can never be proven wrong, as climate is *always* changing), which consensus also thought only back in the 70’s we were entering into the next ice age (snicker), though they never remind us of that. It is chemicalized, industiralized, and now “patent” agriculture, which your master champions, which is most responsible for global warming, climate change, or whatever word they invent next, via spraying all the soil biology and mycorrhizal fungi virtually into oblivion with fungicides, the biocide glyphosate, etc., destroying all cover crops with mono-cropping perenials, the great depletion of root and other organic matter in the soil, all of which leads to biological dysbiosis and wholesale evacuation of most life diversity from the field eco-system. Where am I going with this? The loss of so much life in and above the soil (except the GM crop they’re growing) directly correlates to massively increased levels of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as all the carbon which was once locked away in these life forms and organic matter in millions of acres of farmland has escaped into the air.
            Oops! I’ll bet Monsanto never explained that chain of events to you in first day orientation.
            You keep grasping as you try to defend your employer, but your position working at Monsanto makes you about the least credible person here when talking about them. If you have any integrity you would instantly recognize the conflict of interest and recuse yourself from this discussion as a whole.

  • Fred Helpe

    Rob Wallbridge, I can’t begin to explain my disappointment with you and you attacks against Dr. Huber. His credentials so far exceed yours, they are comparable to the sun eclipsing the moon. And you call yourself an “organic farmer?” You’re about as close to a “traitor” as I can imagine, and you’re dirty like one too, engaging in your ad-hominem attacks. You attack Dr. Huber because of one point that does not satisfy you? So Monsanto, once again, sics its dogs on truth-telling scientists like Dr. Huber, in order to smear their name.

    Donald Huber is very wise not to foreclose details before their time, before they can be 100% verified, or who knows what damage and vitriol would be thrown at him. His biography is here: http://www.nvlv.nl/downloads/Dr_Huber_bio.pdf

    Stop turning your sword against the wrong people, Rob.

    • Fred, you are coming here and leaving a string of ad-hominem attacks yourself. I advise that you read our comment policy before commenting further. Calling Rob a “traitor” is really not acceptable here.

    • Ewan_R

      The idea that Rob Wallbridge is some sort of Monsanto attack dog is possibly one of the funniest things I have read in a while. Might I suggest you familiarize yourself with the body of Rob’s comments/posts here on Biofortified, and his work elsewhere before you paint such a massively inaccurate picture?

      I mean, I guess Rob could be some sort of deep undercover agent who for years railed against conventional agriculture and pushed the ideals of organic so that one day, just maybe, some little sideshow of a story might pop up and boom… 3 years after the fact Rob swoops in and writes a vaguely negative review of a talk made by the perpetrator. Commando style.

      • Fred Helpe

        You’re following the industry script to a T here…I must be conspiracy theorist, goes the insinuation. And oh, that’s right, it’s not like Monsanto and ilk never use their vast billions to set-up or buy out some in the “organic” crowd to suddenly use their extra “credibility” to cast aspersions on the likes of Dr. Huber.

        For any to call himself an organic farmer, and then go after Dr. Huber because of *one* point not to your satisfaction, while ignoring his previous 60 years of excellent work, is all it takes for us to gain the measure of such a person. That goes for you as well, for that matter.

        • Playing the “shill” card is a fast track to leaving this community. Please read our comment policy before commenting any further.

          • Fred Helpe

            The word “Shill” has no more left my keyboard than “conspiracy theorist” that of people like, say Ewan. The sword of open dialogue cuts both ways, but bias only one. I’m hoping as an objective moderator, you will acknowledge that and not bow to the party spirit of this site, whatever that may be. If banishment is my fate, it should be the fate of others as well. All will see if such a standard is held here.

        • Ewan_R

          Ones prior work has no bearing when it comes to making the sort of ludicrous claims huber was making though. Nobel laureates have been known to go down completely bafflingly wrongheaded paths, it isn’t incorrect to call bullshit simply because someone has done good work in the past.

          If Hubers claims stood up to scrutiny he’d be lauded most highly for a spectacular discovery – a fungal organism smaller than a ribosome, that’s a once in a generation kind of discovery, the stuff of dreams for any researcher anywhere.

          My insinuation was not that you were a conspiracy theorist, I was merely outlining the kind of ridiculousness that would have to ensue for Rob to be some sort of Monsanto stooge in such a trifling issue multiple years after it broke and died and went away. My assumption was simply that you haven’t the first clue about Rob, and for some reason think that the Huber story was anything but a footnote by the time this piece was published. I was, in fact, mildly amused by your immediate unveiling of the fact that you are, I fact, a conspiracy theorist mere moments after scoffing at the idea that such an allegation be raised,