A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Watching 'GM Watch'.....

Unlike the witty lads at The Guardian (see Blog below), they do write some ad personam drivel at GM Watch (formerly NGIN), an organisation about which I have already had cause to blog ('Lowering the tone of the GM debate' January 9).

Here is part of their bizarre take on yours truly: "Although he presents himself as an expert debunker of environmental myths, Stott does not appear to have had a single paper published in a scientific journal in the fields in which he most frequently applies this 'expertise', eg climate change or tropical ecology."

Well, that would come as a big surprise to my former students who (and I sympathise with them) had to wade through pages of Stott in scientific journals and books on savannas, on tropical fire ecology, on rain forests, on tropical constructions of environmental knowledge, and on environmental change! I know libraries are a mirage to many good souls, but really.....! I have worked on, and supervised PhDs on, the tropics - especially on savannas - for a mere thirty years (trivial, I know) - but perhaps GM Watch doesn't recognise that savannas are a tropical and sub-tropical formation? (And, before anyone squeals, 'savanna' [not 'savannah'] is the preferred scientific spelling, and has been for 50 years).

This is just one of GM Watch's misleading sneers. I shall not, however, waste my time countering the rest, a large percentage of which seem to be trying to smear by association. But a final riposte: I am passionately anti-tobacco - please write and complain on my behalf if you see anyone, anywhere, hinting otherwise, even by remote association. I refuse to be traduced on that issue. Thanks.

Moreover, the last thing I claim to be is 'an expert' in anything - and GM Watch likewise seems far from 'expert' about those whom they attack so gratuitously. They really do represent the depressing face of the GM debate. It is just too pathetic. C'est la vie. Resort to ad personam abuse is always a last resort, I fear.

And the wit of The Guardian lads is much cleverer too.

Philip, now for some delicious gunpowder tea. That should 'blow' the bad taste away.....!

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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