"We're also concerned about people sometimes producing work which is damaging" - Patrick Bateson of the Royal Society
The references in the piece below to Pusztai's research and the BMA are complete nonsense. But that's not surprising given that the source of this BBC piece is the UK's Royal Society (RS) and the conduit appears to be the BBC's science correspondent, Pallab Ghosh - the RS & co's patsy of choice when wanting to dump horsesh*t in the media.
Patrick Bateson of the RS - quoted below - has been caught out lying about the Pusztai case before. He told readers of the British Association's journal Science and Public Affairs that The Lancet had only published Pusztai's research "in the face of objections by its statistically-competent referees'. In fact, Pusztai's Lancet paper successfully came through a peer review process that was far more stringent than that applying to most published papers!
For the RS's whole sorry history of lies on GM and its attempts to stifle the reporting of awkward research findings - see: http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=113
Caution urged over science errors
BBC News, 11 May 2006
Mistakes in science research have distorted the public perception of such scientific issues as the MMR vaccine and GM crops, senior UK scientists say.
The Royal Society called for scientists to consider the public interest when deciding whether to talk about their research results.
The society said errors were not confined to misreporting by the media.
It said experts should consider public interest, not just whether the research would be interesting to the public.
Professor Sir Patrick Bateson, from the society, said scientists sometimes did not consider the impact of their words.
"We are very concerned that scientists should learn to produce good lay summaries of what they're doing.
"We're also concerned about people sometimes producing work which is damaging," he told BBC Five Live.
"There's a famous case of the triple vaccine - the MMR - where it led to a report in the press which then led to lots of people not having their children vaccinated."
In the case of the MMR vaccine, a study published in the respected medical journal the Lancet led to widespread concern among parents.
The fuss over GM crops in Britain began after a professor at a respected institute said his experiments showed that biotech potatoes had stunted the growth of lab rats.
It was exacerbated when the British Medical Association said that it too was concerned, but this was retracted after it discovered that famine-struck nations were turning away much needed food donations from the US because of its advice.
Late last year, there were front page stories suggesting that the Gulf Stream might be weakening - possibly taking northern Europe into extremely cold winters.
The source of this was a paper published in the highly respected journal Nature.
The interpretation was questioned by other scientists working in the field.
The study was properly carried out, but the drop in strength was based on just two measurements taken since 1992 and was at odds with other available evidence.
Nature published the article precisely because the research was anomalous and so of interest to the scientific community.
The Lancet published the MMR study for the same reason.
However, the Royal Society's call for more care has raised the concern that it might lead to a form of self-censorship and ultimately stifle scientific debate, BBC science correspondent Pallab Ghosh said.