Item of Interest: Glyphosate and Behavioral Economics


Ponder this, “[T]he chemicals that the anti-glyphosate lobby wants farmers to use instead are about 100 times as toxic.” So why are people – primarily activists – so opposed to glyphosate? Or as GFN member Motlatsi Musi from South Africa recently wrote, “Do they really want to force us back into the Stone Age?

Doesn’t make a lot of sense. But neither does much of the current whirlwind of news around glyphosate – something that the vast majority of people know little about – but if they do ‘know’ something there’s a pretty good chance they have a negative view of it. This is something Brian Dunning at Skeptoid tackled at his website that’s well-worth taking a few minutes of reading time to help understand how this happens.

Glyphosate and Behavioral Economics

How misinformation spread over one of the safest herbicides becoming known as one of the most harmful.

By Brian Dunning – Skeptoid Podcast #676 – May 21, 2019

It’s hardly possible to turn on the news, to talk to a farmer, or to visit a nursery without hearing something about glyphosate, the active ingredient in many of the world’s most popular and effective herbicides like Roundup, Pronto, Eraser, and 750 other products. If you’ve ever heard of these products, you’ve probably already heard a thousand times that the science shows no risk associated with glyphosate, despite a single committee from the World Health Organization listing it as a probable carcinogen, and despite prominent court cases awarding billions of dollars to cancer victims with the finding that the cancer was caused by glyphosate. So we’re not going to rehash that same “science vs. pop culture” argument again. Instead we’re going to look at the science behind how this misinformation spread, to the point that a huge proportion of people in the world believe a harmless product is harmful. The result is very likely to be that we will see more bans of glyphosate, requiring farmers to revert to the older, less effective, and actually-dangerous herbicides. The story of glyphosate misinformation is the perfect example of what I like to call the Endarkenment: the modern rejection of science and facts in favor of misinformation.

Read the complete article or listen to the podcast here:

Also, another related piece of interest can be seen here at Genetic Literacy Project:

Glyphosate can cure cancer? Yes, some research shows that, but what does it mean? And what does it say about Roundup doomsday claims?

By Cameron English – May 21, 2019

…To illustrate how easy it is to defend an unsubstantiated hypothesis, and why we should be skeptical of sensational claims about chemical harm or safety, let’s ‘demonstrate’ that glyphosate might be a ‘cure’ for cancer by highlighting only the research that helps make the case.”

Read more here:

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