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FDA & ivermectim + The "Mother Tree" fad + Dismissal of gene importance

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The FDA just handed quacks a massive propaganda victory on ivermectin

EXCERPT: So what is really going on here? Because I am not a lawyer, I was happy to see that Dorit Reiss posted an article on why the antivax messaging regarding this settlement is profoundly misleading. The FDA has not “lost the war on ivermectin.” However, as I will discuss, through its decision to settle, the FDA does appear to have lost a major battle against misinformation and handed quacks a propaganda victory that will likely resonate for years, if not decades. It was an unforced error, and, although I can understand why the FDA might have wanted this lawsuit just to go away, I predict that the price in messaging for making this suit disappear will soon reveal itself to be just too high... (MORE - details)

The ‘Mother Tree’ idea is everywhere — but how much of it is real?

EXCERPTS: It was a call from a reporter that first made ecologist Jason Hoeksema think things had gone too far. The journalist was asking questions about the wood wide web — the idea that trees communicate with each other through an underground fungal network — that seemed to go well beyond what Hoeksema considered to be the facts.

[...] Their concerns lay predominantly with a depiction of the forest put forward by Suzanne Simard, a forest ecologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, in her popular work. Her book Finding the Mother Tree, for example, was published in 2021 and swiftly became a bestseller.

[...] The idea has enchanted the public, appearing in bestselling books, films and television series. It has inspired environmental campaigners, ecology students and researchers in fields including philosophy, urban planning and electronic music. Simard’s ideas have also led to recommendations on forest management in North America.

But in the ecology community there is a groundswell of unease with the way in which the ideas are being presented in popular forums... (MORE - details)

In an abysmal article, Nautilus dismisses the importance of genes

EXCERPT (Jerry Coyne): This is one of the worst papers on genetics I’ve seen in the last 15 years, and although it’s from 2019, this same kind of palaver keeps coming around again and again, and in exactly the same form. [...] The author, Ken Richardson, seems to have derived most of his genetics from fringe figures like Denis Noble and James Shapiro, with the result that the casual, non-geneticist reader will buy what these people are selling: genes are of only minor significance in both development and evolution.

Richardson is listed in the article as “formerly Senior Lecturer in Human Development at the Open University (U.K.). He is the author of Genes, Brains and Human Potential: The Science and Ideology of Intelligence.”

Read it by clicking below, or find the article archived here.

I was torn between ignoring this paper—for the author deserves no attention—or taking it apart. I decided on a compromise: to show some of the statements it makes that are either flat wrong or deeply misguided. Richardson’s quotes are indented, and my take is flush left. Here’s how he starts... (MORE - details

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