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A short while ago, despite two hurricanes and a shooting in Las Vegas, advocacy journalists in North Carolina were spending time attempting to Gerrymander the word "conservationist" in order to make sure an expert in favor of natural gas could be excluded from a committee. Mostly because he lacked their key criterion, a donation to Sierra Club.

Yet they didn't come right out and say that. Their stated concerns were that Jim Womack, a member of our Board of Scientific Advisors, was filling a slot reserved for a "nongovernmental conservation interest" on the state's Oil and Gas Commission. This passes for controversy in political environmentalism. Womack, a West Point graduate, retired after a long career as an Army Officer, where he had served in the Pentagon and testified before...

It's often helpful for journalists who do not have specialized knowledge of complex scientific topics to write about them anyway, because if they can understand them and figure out how to communicate them, they can perform a tremendous public service. However, if journalists don't take the time to understand complex topics and get the very basics wrong, they do the public a massive disservice and end up looking like buffoons.

Which brings us to veteran New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who studied law and fancies himself an expert in chemistry and toxicology. Chemists and toxicologists disagree.

His latest diatribe -- which was easily and thoroughly debunked by my...

1. None of you are naive, so it won't surprise you to learn that in Manhattan, there is a definitive political skew, which bleeds over into what science they accept. And in academia there is a skew so overt it can only be discrimination. And in journalism there is a political skew so overt it's both of the aforementioned.

So it won't surprised you to learn that Dan Fagin (email dan.fagin@nyu.edu), Charles Seife (email charles.seife@nyu.edu), and other "professors" in the NYU Journalism group, are defending the vaccine and agriculture deniers at Organic Consumers Association and their puppet sites. It also won't surprise you to learn that the...

A new paper which claims that cows fed "organic" grass provide nutritionally superior milk is sure to set off cheers among the organic customer base who have long wanted to believe that buying organic was not just a process choice, but a health one. There is just one problem. The research was funded by industry, the Organic Valley brand, the very thing organic consumers say is wrong with Industrial Farming. Multiple co-authors disclosed their financial conflicts of interest due to being affiliated with the company, and one co-author, Dr. Chuck Benbrook, is an agricultural economist who was unceremoniously kicked out of the school where he was a glorified adjunct once his organic industry funding...

Every decent science writer has, at some point in his or her career, been called a "corporate shill." It's a rite of passage.

If a science writer defends GMOs as safe and effective, he's called a Monsanto shill. If he says that vaccines are also safe and effective, he's a shill for Big Pharma. Defending America's conventional farmers results in being labeled a shill for Big Ag or Big Dairy. Stating the objective truth that our food supply is relatively safe results in being called a shill for Big Food. There's no way around it. If a science writer defends good science, he's called a shill.

The cretins making such accusations are the usual suspects: Anti-vaxxers, anti-GMO(rons),...

This article was originally published at Leaps Mag. It is reprinted with permission.

It turns out that, despite the destruction and heartbreak caused by the COVID pandemic, there is a silver lining: Scientists from academia, government, and industry worked together and, using the tools of biotechnology, created multiple vaccines that surely will put an end to the worst of the pandemic sometime in 2021. In short, they proved that science works, particularly that which comes from industry. Though politicians and the public love to hate Big Ag and Big Pharma, everybody comes begging for help when the going gets tough.

The change in public attitude is tangible. A ...

If you were living in Austria, Russia, and Sweden in August of 1805, declaring war on France, led by the legendary tactician Napoleon Bonaparte, must have felt like a suicide mission. It basically was. He stomped through Europe and it was only seven years later, longer than all of World War II, when he finally made a mistake and tried to tough out a Moscow winter in the open.

Napoleon of 1805 is what fighting against the Grande Armee of Organic Food sometimes seems like. Nothing ever seems to go wrong for them. Numerous foodborne illness outbreaks are shrugged off - somehow people even continue to frequent Chipotle stores - and high prices are no deterrent. We've debunked their ridiculous claims about having no pesticides and being more nutritious and being able to feed the...

The anti-science army in the war on common pesticides like glyphosate (and adjacently GMOs, those groups don't know enough science to know they are different) is having a Gettysburg moment.(1) They are out of options so they are making a desperate charge but they are in an open field a long way off and opposing them on the other side is every legitimate science and regulatory body.

Yet supporting their war on evidence-based decision-making are journals like JAMA, which now seem to do editorial review of "Letters" rather than peer review, and journalists at partisan publications like the New York Times. Rather than names like Early and Heth and...