Here at denialism blog, we’ve written a bit about so-called Morgellons syndrome. Every once in a while, when I tire of sanity, I scan the news for more Morgellons madness, and when it comes to madness, Mike Adams never disappoints.
In his latest foray into paranoid idiocy, he tries to link this non-existent illness to genetically modified (GM) foods. And what abuses of logic does he use to create this connection?
He starts with the classic “begging the question“. The entire first section of his article simply assumes that Morgellons exists as some sort of unique pathology. On what does he base his assumption? On two things: anecdotal reports, and the fact that it is being studied by the CDC (at the urging of “interest groups”). The CDC study has not been completed, and there is still no reason to think that Morgellons is anything other than delusions of parasitosis in a shiny new polyester suit. That doesn’t stop him from creating broad, unsupported connections.
He quotes a noted fake expert, Randy Wymore, who has spent a great deal of time studying Morgellons—at least, he says he has. He hasn’t really published anything to support his claims. Then he quotes many un-notable people who have supposedly analyzed Morgellons “fibers”—-this has never been done systematically and published. All that exists is anecdotal reports of individual “researchers”. According to some of these folks, they have found Agrobacterium DNA in these fibers.
And then he stops.
Because I’m not a paranoid conspiracy theorist, I had to look this up. Apparently, Agrobacterium is a favorite bugaboo of the wackier wing of the anti-GM food movement.
This is a pretty classic piece. In trying to link two somewhat wacky ideas, a crank uses smoke and mirrors to distract from the fact that he has no logical argument. But the reason to look for logical fallacies in an argument is not to immediately invalidate an idea—it is to evaluate whether or not a particular argument is prima facie invalid. Might there be a link between this new form of delusional parasitosis and GM foods? Sure, I suppose it’s not beyond the realm of the possible. The point is that his reasoning does not support his assertion.
When reading about assertions that seem a little strange, it pays to parse the argument for logical fallacies and denialist tactics.
That is, if you are interested in the truth.