You must have not done any research into the American Council on Science and Health before you wrote this piece. I am all for debunking pseudoscience, but I am not all for turning to industry propaganda to do that. The American Council on Science is and always has been backed by corporate hacks.

It’s founder, Elizabeth Whelan, wrote a piece for the New York Post arguing against New York’s recent law to require some restaurants to post calorie counts for all the items on its menu. She said it was “nothing but a spiteful attack on fast-food restaurants.” You can find the article here.

There are three things to take away from this. First, she elected to publish in the New York Post, which is a prime example of propagandist pondscum. Second, she is arguing against giving people information. Anytime people are arguing against giving consumers information, that should be a red flag. Whether or not the information means anything or is important is irrelevant if the consumers want the information. Finally, she is using hyperbolic language and unfounded statements, claiming to know the motives behind the law, and that they are “nothing but a spiteful attack.” She does not know it is spiteful or an attack. She is just blustering.

The funding of the ACSH is dubious, at best, and severely problematic, at worst. They are funded by the likes of ExxonMobil, and the two earliest funder groups, the Scaife Foundations and the John M. Olin Foundation, are wrapped up in all sorts of odious activities, including some with overtly racist motives. Seriously, man, do you want me to turn to an industry advocacy group for information telling me all of the attacks on industry practices are “junk science?” Should I get my information about chemical safety from pesticide makers, or global warming from ExxonMobil? How is that likely to work out?

Let’s look at the Monsanto glyphosate claims you brought up. First of all, it’s erroneous to equate glyphosate to Roundup (which you did). Roundup is known for having glyphosate in it, yes, but Roundup is not 100% glyphosate. There are other chemicals present. Secondly, the jury is literally still out on glyphosate. Monsanto has been accused of manipulating research to hide the dangers of Roundup. This is being decided in court, right now. To suggest that glyphosate is “settled science” is propaganda, not an exercise in shedding light on junk science. This is especially the case if the science was settled based on manipulated data. Keep in mind, Monsanto used these same tactics of propaganda and rhetoric about Agent Orange. Why would you trust them now?

You are correct that people have a hard time separating junk science from legitimate science. But, it’s also true that people have a hard time separating propaganda from legitimate information. The best way to learn about junk science isn’t from industry propaganda; it’s by effectively teaching children about the scientific method at an early age and reinforcing it year after year as their education continues.

Just the facts: Writer. Gamer. Feminist. Educated in Astrophysics. Professional Gambler. Student of Language. Satanist. Anarchist.

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