Shane Morris has responded very badly to the information we circulated from the book 'Secret Ingredients' by Canadian journalist, Stuart Laidlaw. As usual when elements of Morris's past are exposed that he'd rather see suppressed, he's claming it's all down to "Spin, FAKE information and Lies!!!"
But what part of Laidlaw's testimony and photographic evidence is he saying is untrue? Morris, who has responded on his blog, hasn't identified a single item in the catalogue of experimenter bias that Laidlaw revealed that is open to question. His only defence is that, like one of the three wise monkeys, he saw no evil!
The research, it may be remembered, was on consumer preference when purchasing GM and non-GM sweetcorn.
Laidlaw documented how:
*the lead researcher (Doug Powell ) deliberately set out to influence a customer's views and purchasing decisions
*emotive wording was used on the signs above the sweetcorn bins ('wormy' for non-GM sweetcorn, 'quality' for GM)
*pro-GM fact sheets from industry lobby groups were made available to customers without any balancing literature.
None of these elements of extreme bias that Laidlaw exposed gets a mention in the paper on the research that Morris co-authored.
But Morris has what he considers a "get out of jail" card. On his blog he writes, "C'mon GM Watch at least get something right.....I wasn't even in the Country for your alledged [sic] "sign" fraud!!"
Let's be clear. The evidence about the signs and other instances of experimenter bias comes from a leading Canadian journalist. What we drew attention to was the absence of any of this critically important information from Morris's paper.
Morris seeks to finesse that by saying the equivalent of, "I saw nothing guv. I wasn't even there!", or to be precise, "I wasn't even in the Country..."
Morris supports this by claiming the "spin raised by GM Watch was regarding signs in 'Summer 2000'". Morris then says he only arrived in the Fall of that year - mid-September to be precise - so he couldn't possibly have seen any signs.
This simply isn't true, and Morris must know that it isn't because it's his own paper that proves it! The signs would only have gone up when the sweetcorn was available for sale, ie after the sweetcorn had begun to be harvested. According to Morris's paper, none of the sweetcorn grown in Summer 2000 was harvested until almost the beginning of September (August 30th to be exact). Morris's paper says that both types of sweetcorn were sold through to 6th October with some of the Bt sweetcorn being sold for a further two weeks after that.
So Morris's own paper proves that Morris was in the country while the sale of the sweetcorn was going on. Morris's cv also confirms he was working with his co-researchers in September 2000 [see work experience ].
Added to that, Laidlaw's photograph shows that the signage in question was large enough to have been very hard to miss!
But maybe Morris is myopic and hard of hearing and missed the large labels and the biotech propaganda and what his boss was saying to customers; or perhaps, despite the fact that he was working for Doug Powell at the time, he wasn't interested enough to go anywhere near Wilson's farm store to see the research that he later wrote up with Powell.
In a sense, it's irrelevant whether Morris saw the various instances of bias which Laidlaw has documented. What is clear is that Morris, if he is to be believed, had so little insight into his fellow researchers' characters, methods and biases - and Doug Powell is notorious in Canada as a biotech apologist - that he happily put his name to a report on research that he now claims to have had no direct knowledge of beyond whatever information he was given!!
Yet this is the same Shane Morris who co-authored with Doug Powell a controversial press attack on the Royal Society of Canada's expert panel on genetically modified foods in which he dismissed their report as vitiated by "pre-existing bias"!
(GM food panel serves up a half-baked report) http://www.thecampaign.org/newsupdates/feb01f.htm
And now that the evidence is out about what Morris's co-authors apparently got up to behind his back, why does someone who claims to be so concerned about "sticking to the facts" show no interest in investigating the matter further?
C'mon Shane - to adopt your own phraseology - which is it?
Are you a liar or a dupe?
More Spin, FAKE information and Lies!!!
Quick post today [actually a longer re-edit of an earlier post ]:
The GM Watch folks are really desperate as my letter in the Irish Examiner seems to have upset them [what letter in the Irish Examiner???]. Their attempts to discredit are desperate and clearly have no basis in fact. Lets stick to the facts folks and not the spin [by "spin" shane presumably doesn't mean a table full of biotech propaganda or labels like 'wormy' or 'quality' ].... Hence the need for this blog!!
In the interest of transparency I'm including the following webpage so everyone can
Go to a Print friendly Page
Email this Article to a Friend
Back to the Archive