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Friday, June 22, 2012

Polluting the science communication environment with toxic partisan meanings.

In favour of spreading good vibes but actually polluting the science communication environment 
with toxic partisan meanings?
In the comments at Collide-a-scape dmk38 Says: June 21st, 2012 at 12:16 pm
[The comment below is from Dan Kahan.]

...Well, when people are talking abouit science of GMO risks they are also conveying information about meaning. This can happen, e.g., b/c of who the speakers are: if groups I see as holding my worldview are all saying “danger danger danger!!,” the issue starts to aquire that meaning for me. At the same time, in that circumstance, members of the cultural community *different* from mine are getting the same information about meaning, at least if they don’t see anybody like them seconding the weird, alien cultural group represenative’s concern. They figure out that they should be skeptical about the danger claim. (Does this sound at all like the history of climate change?)

The meanings can also come from other cues — like idioms that connect some putative risk source to a cultural icon that is already potent in meaning.

In those circumstances, people can *quickly* polarize on a novel issue. My research group has done studies that show that effect in action on things like nanotechnology & the HPV vaccine.

So I think Keith is 100% right to be worried about the scientific misinformation campaigns. Not necessarily b/c they are confusing people on the science but because the identity of the speakers and the framing of the communications are amplifying meanings that have the potential to polarize.
If Keith is right (I’m learning from him by reading his posts on this issue), then the groups raising the alarm call are polluting the science communication environment with toxic partisan meanings. They are creating really strong emotional and psychological reasons for people (ordinary, nonpartisan people, too) to dig in.

In *that* polarized atmosphere, accurate scientific information won’t matter, or won’t nearly as much as it should.


Collide-a-scape » Blog Archive » Collide-a-scape >> Look Beyond the Scientific Veneer of a GMO Report:

The Pundit's thoughts.''

Ain't that the truth

See previous post:
Vedic marketing networks

and

Caught in Headlights Of the Biotech Debate; A Gene-Testing Lab and Its Critics
By DAVID BARBOZA
Published: October 11, 2000
Correction Appended

In September, Dr. Fagan's company, Genetic ID, found that a batch of grocery store taco shells sold by Kraft Foods, a unit of Philip Morris, were made with a genetically engineered corn that had not been approved for human consumption. The findings forced Kraft to recall millions of taco shells and reignited a long-standing debate over the safety and labeling of genetically altered foods.
The discovery also led to renewed allegations from the biotechnology industry that Genetic ID, one of the nation's largest testing labs, was working closely with opponents of that technology.
Genetic ID executives acknowledged Dr. Fagan's activism, but said the company itself was neutral about genetically altered crops, and relied on a widely accepted DNA testing technique, known as polymerase chain reaction, or P.C.R. And, they note, the taco shell results were independently confirmed by Kraft and the Food and Drug Administration.
The biotechnology industry, which has invested billions of dollars to create genetically altered crops, says Genetic ID has secretly waged war on the industry under the cloak of doing impartial testing for food companies, many of which support biotechnology. Genetic ID, many in the industry say, is trying to create a biotech scare to increase demand for testing.
''They claim to be impartial but their principal scientist for the past several years has made a name going around and raising questions about the safety of biotechnology without any supporting scientific data,'' said Val Giddings, a top official at the Biotechnology Industry Organization.



September 26, 2000 Subject: Check the Source (AgBioWorld Newsletter)
Check the Source -- New charges of GE food improprieties are made by the same people who profit from GE food scares. 
http://www.guestchoice.com/091800_bio.htm
John Fagan is head of the for-profit GMO testing and organic certification lab Genetic-ID and ID Consulting. He is also a professor and department chairman at the Maharishi Institute (MIU). Genetic ID and MIU are both based in Fairfield, IA. 

Fagan's Genetic-ID and other testing companies profit from convincing people they need to test for genetically modified organisms and promoting certified organic foods in part by spreading fears about biotech and conventional agriculture. 

Fagan's business partner, Bill Witherspoon, has registered an international arm "CERTIFICATION CONSULTING INTERNATIONAL, INC." to get retail and government contracts in the UK and elsewhere to do genetic testing. Fagan's group was chosen last June by the UK retail consortium to
do their genetic testing. Fagan's group is also partnered with International Certification Services (ICS), the operator of long-standing organic industry pioneer Farm Verified Organic.

The Maharishi Institute is a transcendental meditation, ayurvedic (vedic) health cult base with some very peculiar quasi-religious beliefs about food and health, all oriented around extreme "organic" ("biodynamic")
production methods.

Fagan and his business partners are promoting multiple financial interests, the Natural Law Party political agenda and the quasi-religious vedic health/TM practices of the Maharishi cult when they attack and
disparage biotechnology. The Natural Law Party (NLP) is also based in Fairfield, IA and it's leadership is comprised of individuals associated with the Maharishi Institute. The NLP also uses Maharishi related reports as the foundation for their political platforms. John Fagan is chairman of the biochemistry department at Maharishi University in Fairfield, Iowa.
According to a Maharishi Institute statement citing Fagan as published in the Hindu, "Vedic scientists from Maharishi International University insist that the transgenetic foods are lacking in prana or lifeforce, and
recommend avoiding them." On January 12, 2000, the cult leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi announced his plan to eliminate poverty in the Third World using a system to develop unused land for growing organic food and eliminating the threat of genetically engineered crops. Maharishi is the world's foremost proponent of Vedic science which includes the ancient system of Vedic agriculture (organic agriculture). 

Fagan's Genetic-ID has only two registered board members in addition to Fagan: Jay Marcus and Bill Witherspoon. These business partners have a long list of other business and political interests, all linked to the Maharishi cult and Natural Law Party. Jay Marcus has been a frequent Natural Law party candidate (e.g. IA US congress 1996, IA State Atty General 1994) and has numerous financial links to organic and natural products companies which profit from biotech food scares, testing and segregation. Marcus's political platforms include using transcendental meditation as a way to reduce crime rates and promoting organic
agriculture.

Marcus is a director of Demeter Inc, the principal Biodynamic Organic Certification company in the U.S. Marcus is also a director of several other organic and natural products companies (noted below). 

Fagan's other Genetic-ID partner, Bill Witherspoon runs an organic food supply company "Westbridge Agricultural Products", Loren Nancarrow Organic Harvest company, and an organic certifying company. Witherspoon also has an interesting record involving arrest for defacing public lands by carving large Hindu meditation symbols in the earth (The Associated Press, September 20, 1990, Thursday, AM cycle, Iowa Artist Accused of Defacing Oregon Desert).

Here is a partial list of businesses run by Fagan, Marcus and Witherspoon which benefit from attacking the safety of conventional and biotechnology products:

Jay Marcus business interests (board member or registered agent, * indicates business also with Witherspoon and Fagan) highlights:

* GENETIC ID, INC. 500 NO 3RD ST STE 208 FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

* ID, INC. (genetic and organic identity preservation) 1760 OBSERVATORY DR
FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

MAHARISHI AYURVEDA CORPORATION OF AMERICA PO BOX 282 FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

AYURVEDA PRODUCTS AND MARKETING, INC. 107 SOUTH MAIN STREET FAIRFIELD, IA
52556

AYURVEDA DISTRIBUTION CORP. 107 S MAIN FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

* CERTIFICATION CONSULTING INTERNATIONAL, INC. (genetic and organic
certifying) 500 NO 3RD ST STE 208 FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

DEMETER CORPORATION (Biodynamic-organic certifying) 107 SOUTH MAIN STREET
FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

HERBS FOR ANIMALS, INC 604 N COURT ST FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

IOWA FAMILY FARMS, INC. (organic farming interest group) 504 N 4TH ST STE
105 FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

COSMIC SOFTWARE INC 1976 LIBERTYVILLE RD FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

DEVA CORPORATION RURAL ROUTE 2;BOX 146 FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

DHARMA MANAGEMENT CORPORATION 107 SOUTH MAIN STREET FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

DIVINE DELIGHTS, INC. 1408 WONDER WAY FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

KARI, INC. 504 NORTH FOURTH STREET;SUITE 104 FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

LOGAN 480 DAIRY FARM (organic dairy) SANTA MONICA, CA 90405

MAHARISHI HEAVEN ON EARTH CORPORATION 51 WEST WASHINGTON STREET FAIRFIELD,
IA 52556

SENTIENT GLOBAL MARKETING, INC. (organic and natural products) 500 N 3RD
#208 FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

AMERICAN CORPORATE CONSULTANTS, INC. 107 SOUTH MAIN STREET FAIRFIELD, IA
52556

ANCIENT WISDOM ENTERPRISES, INC. 302 E BROADWAY FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

ARCHITECHNOLOGY CORPORATION 107 SOUTH MAIN STREET FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

AROSA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, INC. 410 HEATHERWOOD CIRCLE FAIRFIELD, IA
52556

ASIEN ARTS, INC. 107 SOUTH MAIN STREET FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

THE ARANYANI INSTITUTE (Non-profit/political) 107 S MAIN ST FAIRFIELD, IA
52556

CENTER FOR SCIENCE AND CRIME (Non-profit/political) 504 NO 4TH ST STE 105
FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

ONE WORLD FOUNDATION LTD. (Non-profit, pro-organic/anti-biotech group) 225
WHISPERING HILLS RD - STE 400 BOONE, NC 28607

Bill Witherspoon (in addition to the Genetic ID groups):

CERTIFICATION CONSULTING INTERNATIONAL, INC. (genetic consulting group
linked to UK) 500 NO 3RD ST STE 208 FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

GENETICALLY NATURAL INC 500 NO 3RD ST STE 208 FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

WESTBRIDGE AGROSYSTEMS LIMITED (organic and natural products, Loren
Nancarrow Organic Harvest) 9920 SCRIPPS LAKE DR #103 SAN DIEGO, CA 92131

******************************************

IOWA SECRETARY OF STATE, CORPORATE RECORD Name: ID, INC. Business Address:
1760 OBSERVATORY DR FAIRFIELD, IA 52556 Type: CORPORATION (PROFIT) Status:
ACTIVE Filing Date: 10/19/1999 Duration: PERPETUAL State of Incorporation:
IOWA Date of Incorporation: 10/19/1999 Registered Agent: BILL WITHERSPOON
Registered Office: 1760 OBSERVATORY DR FAIRFIELD, IA 52556 Number: 233255
Annual Report: Report Filed: 3/27/2000 Stock: Type of Stock: COMMON
Authorized Quantity: 100000 Convert Common Stock: NO
Officers/Directors/Partners/Members:

FAGAN, JOHN DIRECTOR 1702 KOSOLA AVE FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

JAY B MARCUS INCORPORATOR 504 N 4TH ST STE 105 FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

WITHERSPOON, BILL PRESIDENT/DIRECTOR 508 E KIRKWOOD FAIRFIELD, IA 52556
History: DATE TYPE COMMENT 3/27/2000 MISCELLANEOUS BIENNIAL REPORT FILED
10/19/1999 MISCELLANEOUS ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

IOWA SECRETARY OF STATE, CORPORATE RECORD Name: ID CONSULTING, INC.
Business Address: 1760 OBSSERVATORY DR FAIRFIELD, IA 52556 Type:
CORPORATION (PROFIT) Status: ACTIVE Filing Date: 10/19/1999 Duration:
PERPETUAL State of Incorporation: IOWA Date of Incorporation: 10/19/1999
Registered Agent: BILL WITHERSPOON Registered Office: 1760 OBSERVATORY DR
FAIRFIELD, IA 52556 Number: 233256 Annual Report: Report Filed: 3/24/2000
Stock: Type of Stock: COMMON Authorized Quantity: 100000 Convert Common
Stock: NO Officers/Directors/Partners/Members:

FAGAN, JOHN DIRECTOR 1702 KOSOLA AVE FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

JAY B MARCUS INCORPORATOR 504 N 4TH ST STE 105 FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

WITHERSPOON, BILL PRESIDENT/DIRECTOR 508 E KIRKWOOD FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

History: DATE TYPE COMMENT 3/24/2000 MISCELLANEOUS BIENNIAL REPORT FILED
10/19/1999 MISCELLANEOUS ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

IOWA SECRETARY OF STATE, CORPORATE RECORD Name: CERTIFICATION CONSULTING
INTERNATIONAL, INC. Mailing Address: 500 NO 3RD ST STE 208 FAIRFIELD, IA
52556 Type: CORPORATION (PROFIT) Status: ACTIVE Filing Date: 10/1/1998
Duration: PERPETUAL State of Incorporation: IOWA Date of Incorporation:
10/1/1998 Registered Agent: BILL WITHERSPOON Registered Office: 500 NO 3RD
ST STE 208 FAIRFIELD, IA 52556 Number: 221504 Stock: Type of Stock: COMMON
Authorized Quantity: 1000000 Convert Common Stock: NO
Officers/Directors/Partners/Members:

JAY B MARCUS INCORPORATOR MARCUS & THOMPSON PC;504 N 4TH ST STE 105
FAIRFIELD, IA 52556

History: DATE TYPE COMMENT 10/19/1999 MISCELLANEOUS AMENDED ARTICLES OF
INCORPORATION; CHANGING CORP NAME 11/16/1998 MISCELLANEOUS ARTICLES OF
CORRECTION FILED 10/1/1998 MISCELLANEOUS ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION