4 episodes

From CRISPR gene-edited embryos to GMO crops, biotechnology is revolutionizing medicine and farming. Scientists are increasingly able to make targeted genetic tweaks to humans, plants and animals to combat our most urgent global challenges—including hunger, disease, aging and climate change. Sadly, scientific misinformation spreads like cancer through social media and partisan blogs. Where can you turn for trustworthy analysis of groundbreaking biotechnology innovations independent of ideological bias? Who can you trust? Join the Genetic Literacy Project and our world-renowned experts as we explore the brave new world of human genetics, biomedicine, farming and food.

Science Facts & Fallacies Cameron English

    • Science
    • 4.6 • 9 Ratings

From CRISPR gene-edited embryos to GMO crops, biotechnology is revolutionizing medicine and farming. Scientists are increasingly able to make targeted genetic tweaks to humans, plants and animals to combat our most urgent global challenges—including hunger, disease, aging and climate change. Sadly, scientific misinformation spreads like cancer through social media and partisan blogs. Where can you turn for trustworthy analysis of groundbreaking biotechnology innovations independent of ideological bias? Who can you trust? Join the Genetic Literacy Project and our world-renowned experts as we explore the brave new world of human genetics, biomedicine, farming and food.

    GLP Podcast: Abortion muddies COVID vaccine debate; Coffee is heart healthy again; Genetics of homosexuality

    GLP Podcast: Abortion muddies COVID vaccine debate; Coffee is heart healthy again; Genetics of homosexuality

    If women have a right to abortion, does everyone else have a right to refuse a COVID shot? The "my body, my choice" rhetoric has raised some awkward questions in the wake of the federal government's proposed vaccine mandate. A large study suggests that drinking coffee reduces your risk of heart disease. After hundreds of similar papers, how seriously should we take these results? Evolution favors traits that encourage reproduction, so why does homosexuality persist? A new study may have an answer.







    Join geneticist Kevin Folta and GLP contributor Cameron English on this episode of Science Facts and Fallacies as they break down these latest news stories:



    * Wide disagreement among religious groups about vaccine mandates



    Abortion is now a dividing line in the debate over the ethics of vaccine mandates. If you're pro-life, say abortion advocates, you have an obligation to get a COVID-19 shot, because immunization protects your community from severe infection and death. Nonsense, retorts the other side. Why does bodily autonomy only apply when a woman wants to terminate her pregnancy, they ask? The dispute raises awkward questions about individual liberty and public health and, perhaps, distracts us from the key issue—ending the pandemic as soon as possible.



    * Coffee and heart disease: Yet another study funds multiple cups a day reduces death risks



    Coffee is good for you. No, coffee is bad for you. Actually, coffee is good for you. The research on the health effects of America's favorite morning beverage continues to yield confusing and contradictory results. Can we make sense of all these data? Should we even bother?



    * If evolution encourages reproduction, why do people have same-sex preferences?



    Evidence uncovered in recent years has clearly shown that genetics exerts significant influence on our sexual preferences. But since evolution encourages reproduction, why does homosexuality, which offers no reproductive benefit, persist today? A new study of genetic data from more than 350,000 people in the UK has put forth an intriguing hypothesis that may help explain this "Darwinian paradox."



    Recommended Twitter follow: @ComicDaveSmith. Check out the hashtag #ScienceHug



    Kevin M. Folta is a professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. Follow Professor Folta on Twitter @kevinfolta



    Cameron J. English is the director of bio-sciences at the American Council on Science and Health. Visit his website and follow ACSH on Twitter @ACSHorg

    • 27 min
    GLP Podcast: End climate ‘alarmism’; FDA vs kratom; Is ‘GMO’ ice cream dangerous? Nope

    GLP Podcast: End climate ‘alarmism’; FDA vs kratom; Is ‘GMO’ ice cream dangerous? Nope

    Human-caused climate is occurring, but the science community may be amplifying the public's skepticism with failed "alarmist" predictions. Is kratom a safe, pain-relieving supplement or a potentially harmful drug in need of FDA regulation? Organic-food activists say ice cream made with lab-grown dairy proteins is a dangerous "GMO" that could put lives at risk. Fortunately for ice cream lovers, there's no evidence behind that assertion.







    Join geneticist Kevin Folta and GLP contributor Cameron English on this episode of Science Facts and Fallacies as they break down these latest news stories:



    * Viewpoint: ‘Alarmism undermines public support to fight climate change and alienates young people’



    While there's no denying the reality of climate change, predictions about the rapid rate of warming the world will experience have grown a little too alarming. As Science reported in July:





    Many of the world's leading [climate] models are now projecting warming rates that most scientists, including the modelmakers themselves, believe are implausibly fast. In advance of the [2021] U.N. report, scientists have scrambled to understand what went wrong and how to turn the models, which in other respects are more powerful and trustworthy than their predecessors, into useful guidance for policymakers.





    In light of this information, some commentators argue that it's time to put climate predictions on hold, because failed forecasts have provided ample fodder for skeptics seeking to undermine the public's trust in otherwise well-established science. Is there a middle ground between predicting disaster and communicating the reality of climate change?



    * Should we aim for harm reduction or absolute safety? Herbal supplement Kratom puts FDA risk calibration to the test



    The herbal extract Kratom is used for everything from mood enhancement to pain relief. While many swear by its therapeutic efficacy, drug regulators like the FDA are suspicious of the supplement's opioid-like effects, and may begin restricting its use the way they do with similar substances. What does the evidence tell us about Kratom's safety profile? Is the FDA acting in the interest of public health, or just being overzealous?























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    • 28 min
    GLP Podcast: Climate change enhances farming? Lawyers target paraquat; NYT vs anti-GMO groups

    GLP Podcast: Climate change enhances farming? Lawyers target paraquat; NYT vs anti-GMO groups

    Climate change could boost crop yields in the coming decades, but pests enabled by the warmer temperatures may offset whatever gains we see. There's no evidence that the herbicide paraquat causes Parkinson's Disease. How will this dearth of evidence impact hundreds of pending lawsuits against two of the pesticide's manufacturers? The New York Times has drawn the ire of several anti-GMO groups. What was the paper's crime? Publishing a balanced article about crop biotechnology.







    Join geneticist Kevin Folta and GLP contributor Cameron English on this episode of Science Facts and Fallacies as they break down these latest news stories:



    * Climate warming could increase land available to grow crops — but also boost the spread of plant diseases



    As the globe warms up, the amount of land suitable for farming will increase, leading to speculation that climate change could boost crop yields in the coming decades. But warmer temperatures may also prove to be more hospitable to insects and microbes that destroy plants. Is there any way to know how serious of a threat this could be by the end of the century?

























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    * Does paraquat cause Parkinson’s disease? An academic review of reviews says ‘no’



    A growing number of lawsuits allege that the weedkiller paraquat causes Parkinson's Disease. There's one problem, though. A massive review of the relevant research found no evidence linking the two. If the facts don't support a causal link between the herbicide and the disease, on what grounds will this litigation move forward? More importantly, will juries find the plaintiffs' arguments compelling absent solid science?



    * Viewpoint: Anti-GMO groups peddle anti-biotech propaganda i...

    • 36 min
    GLP Podcast: ‘Big Fears, Little Risks’ — Documentary featuring GLP experts tackles GMO, vaccine skepticism

    GLP Podcast: ‘Big Fears, Little Risks’ — Documentary featuring GLP experts tackles GMO, vaccine skepticism

    The evidence is in: genetic engineering promotes sustainable farming; vaccines save lives; and nuclear energy is our best hope of powering society in a changing climate. But the question remains, how do you convince a generally skittish public to embrace the science behind these technologies? Throwing facts and figures at people doesn't work, neither do pious lectures that threaten their deeply held belief. So, what are advocates of evidence-based policy to do? One answer: make a movie.



    Thirty years ago, the legendary Walter Cronkite and world-renowned experts at the American Council on Science and Health took on the overblown fears of the day in Big Fears, Little Risks. In the wake of a pandemic that’s claimed millions of lives, the documentary has been relaunched as a series tackling the fear-mongering surrounding GMOs, pesticides, vaccines and nuclear power.



    Matty Cardarople (Stranger Things) hosts some of the world's leading scientists as they give viewers a crash course on these wrongly vilified technologies. The film features well-known figures including Dr. Bruce Ames and Dr. Paul Offit, alongside respected experts and GLP advisors Dr. Nina Fedoroff and Dr. Geoffrey Kabat. The take-home message: technological innovation offers us the best chance of ending a global health crisis, feeding the world and reversing climate change.



    https://twitter.com/i/status/1428051918748856328



    On this episode of Science Facts and Fallacies, GLP contributor Cameron English chats with director Azel James and host Matty Cardarople about the film's message, production and September 8 premiere in Hollywood.





    Matty Cardarople is an actor best known for Stranger Things and the host of Big Fears, Little Risks. Follow Matty on Instagram @MattyCardarople

    Azel James is a filmmaker, CEO of Highlyte, and director and producer of Big Fears, Little Risks. Follow Azel on Instagram @Azeljames & Twitter @AzelJ...

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

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Truth Seeker

Kevin and Cameron lay out the facts and discuss disinformation on this podcast. Myth busting through evidence, not emotion. Current episodes run a breezy thirty minutes. They’re fair and kind—if the uninformed and misinformed can sit for half an hour, progress can be made.

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