When “Scientific Proof” is Bullshit

The issue under discussion is whether the E.U. is justified in banning neonicotoids in an attempt to alleviate colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon that has over the past five years, doubled death rates of bee colonies in the U.S. to 33%.

In response of Bayer CropScience to the E.U. decision was that:

As a science-based company, Bayer CropScience is disappointed that clear scientific evidence has taken a backseat in the decision making process. This disproportionate decision is a missed opportunity to reach a solution that takes into consideration all of the existing product-stewardship measures and broad stakeholder concerns.

This is the wrong way to go about asking for scientific proof. Although proof of non-deleterious effect should be required when intervening in a system, there should be no proof required for removing an intervention in an attempt to restore a balance.
Besides. Pesticides kill insects. Bees are insects. What effect do you expect pesticides to have on bees?
This reminds me of other examples in food and medicine of scientific proof being asked for the wrong things. Think about hydrogenated oils, for example. Vegetable oils that are liquid at room temperature can be made into solids by a process called hydrogenation, making into fake butter, or margarine. These were considered healthy because they were vegetable-derived, and there was no scientific proof that they weren’t as healthy as non-hydrogenated oils. Now, the evidence shows that they are worse than animal fat for causing heart disease. The burden of proof should always be on the artificial, rather than the natural. The burden of proof should have been on margarine to show that it was healthier than butter, not for it to be assumed safe until proven harmful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s