ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network


spin-doctoring from the pro-GM lobby


These quotes have been judged 'Best Bull!' 
by Professor Bullsh*t and his closest associates: 
Dr Halftruth and Professor Wilspin

If you would like to submit other contenders for the Professor Bullsh*t 'Best Bull' awards please send them to Professor B


'Best Bull!' award winners
Prof Jonathan Jones, John Innes Centre scientist and reportedly an adviser to No. 10, on GM:

"The future benefits (for consumers and the environment) will be enormous and the best is yet to come. In the meantime, let's have more information and less rhetoric." 

Professor Wilspin comments: "Brilliant spinning here from JJ the boy wonder! Notice how he demands a different standard of discourse from his opponents (no grandstanding, stick to the facts etc.) to the one which he himself employs! Note too the particularly priceless juxtaposition of the deployment of a rhetorical device with his demand that the critics cut out the rhetoric and stick to the science! Undoubtedly, Bull of the highest order and a worthy winner of a Best Bull award."

Dr Roger Turner, head of SCIMAC who the Government have left to "police" the introduction of GM technology into UK agriculture, on GM:

"No reservations at all. It's great.. public getting fantasies, not facts."


Doctor Halftruth comments: "This is well up to the required standard. Roger Turner lets people assume that the fantasies they are getting are from the other side while serving up fantasy himself (ie nothing to worry about whatsoever!) The public are indeed getting fantasies, Dr Turner, and you richly deserve this Best Bull award."

3 of America's leading scientists, Vernon Cardwell (ASA President), Ronald Phillips (CSSA President), Donald Sparks (SSSA President) have circulated among US scientists the following statement:

"Many biotechnology detractors gain public support for their cause through the use of misinformation and emotional appeals...  In short, biotechnology, this incredibly powerful and valuable tool with seemingly limitless potential to resolve health problems, increase crop yields, and treat diseases, is at risk of serious setbacks."


Professor Wilspin comments: "Best Bull US-style. Demands an end to emotional appeals, tells 'em to stick to the facts, then hits 'em with the "seemingly limitless potential" of biotech to solve all known problems, particularly the emotive ones!  Absolutely first rate spinning - a perfect celebration of unadmitted self-contradiction!" 

J Ralph Blanchfield, head of external affairs at the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST), on GM:

"IFST is neither root-and-branch pro-GM or anti-GM, indeed as an independent objective scientific professional body it cannot be "root-and-branch" about anything... The development of GM technology holds out such valuable, indeed indispensable, prospects for the future of humanity that any other approach would be indefensible."

Doctor Halftruth comments: "A classic of its kind and a model one can confidently recommend for training purposes. Start by making it absolutely clear that as a wholly independent objective scientist you are very far from being unequivocal about this technology. Having emphasised your avoidance of any overcommitment, you are then at liberty to sell biotech for all it's worth, saying any other approach isn't even worthy of consideration! A useful variant on this popular strategy is to say you wish to escape from an unnecessarily polarised debate. You can then happily give over the rest of your time to the usual GM promotional, confident that your remarks will be reported as a plea for greater balance in the GM debate!" 


These quotes have been judged 'Worst Bull!' 
by Professor Bullsh*t and his closest associates: 
Dr Halftruth and Professor Wilspin

If you would like to submit other contenders for the Professor Bullsh*t 'Worst Bull' awards, please send them to Professor B

Professor Bullsh*t comments:In the interests of scientific rectitude, these folk must be hounded from their jobs, shunned by their peers, and prevented at all costs from further sullying the free flow of academic debate -- at least until such time as they have the sense to retract these outrageous calumnies.”

'Worst Bull!' award winners 

Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet:

“There is a great deal of potential research investment in the UK that could come from food technology industries, and any concerns about the safety of these foods could jeopardise this huge investment. So I can understand why scientists would be very anxious about jeopardising that investment.”  (Channel 4 News, Friday 15 October 1999)

For how the biotech brigade have dealt with Dr Horton read: Pro-GM scientist "threatened editor"

Former Texas AW University entomologist John Benedict is quoted as saying:

“The universities are cheering us on, telling us to get closer to industry, encouraging us to consult with big business. The bottom line is to improve the corporate bottom line. It's the way we move up, get strokes.... We can't help but be influenced from time to time by our desire to see certain results happen in the lab.”

Private industry contributed 10 percent of Texas A&M's annual agricultural research budget: 

“All of these companies have a piece of me. I'm getting checks waved at me from Monsanto and American Cyanamid and Dow, and it's hard to balance the public interest with the private interest. It's a very difficult juggling act, and sometimes I don't know how to juggle it all.”

for more on this see Professor B's [dubious!] links
on the industrial alignment of independent science and public service

University-of-Guelph-based agronomist E. Ann Clark:

“History has shown that meaningful assessment of cost as well as benefit issues is unlikely when technology assessment is provided by proponents who have a clear vested interest in the adoption of the technology.”

for more on this see Professor B's [dubious!] links
on the industrial alignment of independent science and public service

"All policymakers must be vigilant to the possibility of research data being manipulated by corporate bodies and of scientific colleagues being seduced by the material charms of industry. Trust is no defence against an aggressively deceptive corporate sector."

THE LANCET, April 2000

"...the 'sound science' movement is not an indigenous effort from within the profession to improve the quality of scientific discourse, but reflects sophisticated public relations campaigns controlled by industry executives and lawyers whose aim is to manipulate the standards of scientific proof to serve the corporate interests of their clients." 

Doctors Elisa Ong and Stanton A. Glantz writing in the
America Journal of Public Health, November 2001

"These competing interests are very important. It has quite a profound influence on the conclusions and we deceive ourselves if we think science is wholly impartial."

Dr Richard Smith, Editor of the British Medical Journal
report in Daily Telegraph, Monday 14 February 2000 on the impact of sponsorship on impartiality

Patentable and profitable!

"...with modern biotechnology the world has discovered a vast new field which is full of potential for creative activity and, for the scientific community at least, patentable and profitable innovations."

Donald J. Johnston of the OECD

‘Well I think there is a very real problem from the point of view of university research in the way that private companies have entered the university, both with direct companies in the universities and with contracts to university researchers. So that in fact the whole climate of what might be open and independent scientific research has disappeared, the old idea that universities were a place of independence has gone. Instead of which one's got secrecy, one's got patents, one's got contracts and one's got shareholders.’

Professor Steven Rose of the Open University Biology Dept

Professor B: index