Penn & Teller claims organic food is "bullshit", fails to mention that their expert is paid by Monsanto

Penn Jillette and Teller, from the Penn & Teller: Bullshit! TV show, calls in the latest episode organic food for "bullshit" (see video below). Penn and Teller's main point why organic food is "bullshit" is simply because it "might mean you're getting your food from giant corporations or China."

But what Penn and Teller fail to mention is that the so called â"Food Policy Analyst Expert", Alex Avery, is paid by the Hudson Institute. The Hudson Institute is an American conservative, religious and free market think tank. Simply put, they are corporate lobbyists. And the prestigious-sounding Hudson Institute is funded by giant corporations such as Monsanto, the leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) food.

You also shouldn't forget that Penn and Teller are members of the Cato Institute, which is another libertarian corporate think tank funded by such fine corporations as ExxonMobil. The Cato Institute is known for spreading and funding anti-scientific climate denialism and misinformation.

But this is not the first time Penn and Teller's "Bullshit!" show receives criticism, and especially not when they cover environmental topics. In season one, aired 2003, Penn and Teller claims that the global warming crisis was created by â"hysterical hippies and environmentalists". Their biased and misinformed global warming episode has since then been criticized and debunked. Logical Science has listed and debunked the claims Penn and Teller made in the episode:

"In Episode 13, season 1 of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! they try to prove the global warming crisis, among other things, was created by the out of control imagination of hysterical hippies and environmentalists. This is why the episode is titled "Environmental Hysteria". We would just like to point out that Penn Jillette is a research fellow of the ExxonMobil and Industry funded CATO institute which has strong minarchist leanings. This gives Penn Jillete a conflict of interest when it comes to any topic that might require government regulation. During the show he puts Tobacco and Oil funded lobbyists against hippie college protesters. Â If a fair match was their intent they should have those lawyers up against any of the scientists on this massive list. Granted the show was officially about "hysteria" and not science itself but that doesn't excuse them for grossly misrepresenting a very strong scientific consensus and providing facts thats are demonstrably false. The following is a quoted, sourced, and time stamped point by point analysis of their show. It will focus on the facts presented by Penn & Teller's "experts""

Another debunked claim by Penn and Teller is that recycling paper would pollute more than making new paper. This is a false claim:

"Recycling also helps prevent pollution. For example, recycling paper instead of making it from new material generates 74 percent less air pollution and uses 50 percent less water."

Simply put: Don't trust a magician!


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Simon Leufstedt
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Guest kyle from canada

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Penn and Teller's main point is that if we all switched to organic food 3 BILLION PEOPLE will die because they won't have any food to eat. no one on your site has contradicted this. i live in Canada and we produce 20% of the worlds wheat and we consume 2%. if it wasn't an industrialized industry how many people would die of starvation?

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check what I posted earlier on Norman Borlaug. Although I am not sure about this wheat statistic I am certain that we can't make enough food without the use of GE crops.

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Guest mjl1621

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He also doesn't address the fact that there are scientists that argue there's a stronger correlation between the sun and the earths temperature than CO2 production and the earths temperature. Also he doesn't mention the fact that around 97% of greenhouses gases come naturally from the earth; e.g. volcanic eruptions.

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Guest jesusluvr

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You are spot on jschultz. I don't think the author of this article even watched the episode. I just caught the rerun of it tonight on Showtime. Penn & Teller disclose just about everything.

Me thinks Simon needs to go back and revisit this episode. P&T just kicked off their new season too recently. Check out their fast food episode. They have a message to those who feel they might be paid off by big corporations. It's a pretty strong message and I believe them!

Pah-raise Jayzus!!

(or don't)

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Guest Jesse McClure

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Just checked this out and I couldn't get through two lines of this article: This article is bullshit, and here's why:

>>Penn and Teller’s main point why organic food is “bullshit†is simply because it “might mean you’re getting your food from giant corporations or China.â€<<

I hadn't even remembered that point until this article brought it up. It was mentioned in the show, but it was a minor point and/or closing thought. It certainly wasn't the main point.

>>But what Penn and Teller fail to mention is that the so called “Food Policy Analyst Expertâ€, Alex Avery, is paid by the Hudson Institute.<<

Failed to mention it? Did you watch the show?! The first 1 second clip of the guy was standing in front of a huge "Hudson Institute" sign. When he was introduced to the show he was introduced as being from the Hudson Institute while he was standing in front of the same huge fucking sign. They could not have been clearer about his affiliation if they tattooed it on his forehead!

Perhaps you can argue that being from the Hudson Institute he is biased - I would like to learn about that. But to say that the show "failed to mention" it is just a fucking lie.

>>

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Guest Jesse McClure

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It seems JShultz made a similar comment - I had not read all the others when I posted.

In any case I second his thoughts in questioning whether the author of this article even watched the show.

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Guest Scott Taylor Bingle

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As old as this is, I just simply have to address the fact that DavidCOG is a jackass.

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Guest Scott Taylor Bingle

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With the exception of increased food production.*

Your excessive bleeding-heart 'blame-the-corporation' schtick is humorous.

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Guest DavidCOG

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Hi Scott,

Thanks for your valuable contribution to this thread.

Did you read all of my earlier comments? In case you didn't, this one could've been written just for you:

> The other non-scientific indicator that organic = good and GMO = bad is the type of people on either side of the argument. The pro-GMO are very often ranting and abusive with no substantive arguments. They simply hate people who are against a product that might improve their country's GDP or take away their 49 cents burgers.

I see you're still at school. I suggest you spend a little more time reading and learning, and a little less time posting juvenile abuse on the internet. Good luck.

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Guest DavidCOG

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Scott,

You need to try and separate GMO propaganda from reality. Here are a couple of starters for you:

- Genetically engineered corn and soybeans in the United States for more than a decade has had little impact on crop yields despite claims that they could ease looming food shortages. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g53DoblG25y7O5t4KPsuzYyxMd6Q

- Failure to yield. The promise of higher yields from GM crops has proven to be empty. http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/science/failure-to-yield.html

Your wide-eyed, ignorant gullibility is pitiable.

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Guest Hsiuy Powiu

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i know your comment was more then a year ago however. you know why the organic farmers are making more money in not even half the time as conventional farmers ? because ORGANIC farming is more sutainable and can feed the world.

conventional farming is starvation and people saying organic cant feed the world is just not true. i dont really know that very much about it tho but it would make total sense actually just by meanagreens ''Whole Foods has just started...you'll see them grow to 10 billion a quarter in no time at all... '' comment. hes probably a conventional farmer but it would beg the question as to why conventional farmers wouldnt want to start fresh and go organic because they would make twice the money. (but that is just my take on it)

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Guest Hsiuy Powiu

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and if people believe fast food is good for them when fast food is not good for them who profits the poeple or the people behind the fast food industries..i cried a little bit inside when penn and teller did the fast food episode the food industry totally used penn and teller to lead to seperate people from the reality of fast food

and i thought to myself that is a dangerous misconception but then again some people care 'just' enough to render them self persuaded by the biggest magic trick of all 'deception' an di am not accusing penn an dteller' of the willful intellectual slanderization of their viewers

but i feel the show as unintentional as it may be it has become about thinking outside the box but then being put inside another newer box with the same old go with the flow mentality dont think for you we'll think for you but if you stop and realize the show is after all called 'bullshit' lately i try my best to not sell into the show with that belief like a christian would have watching '100 huntley street' . as stupid as i might sound i still value my stupid mind and i'll continue to try and not have what little of it that there is left to salvage of my mind to be high jacked by some 'show' but every one has their perceptual blind spots.

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Guest stranger

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He only mentioned it was the Hudson Institute. They made no mention of what the Hudson Institute is about and where their funding comes from. That's what the show failed to mention and that's why it's "bullshit".

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Just so you know, I'm a scientist and a libertarian, so how's that for you being stereotypical. I definitely wouldn't discount science, and while I personally hate the Environmental Protection Act, I am a believer of global warming. Maybe you should think before you include everyone of a certain type of political affiliation as being exactly the same. Also, just to point out what the blogger didn't mention, is that if we went to all organic food, we would only be able to feed 4 billion people, or less than 2/3 of the world's population. Genetic food is not bad for health, the environment, etc. It's necessary, it's beneficial, and anyone trying to stop food advances is self-centered, and needs to be stopped.

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Guest Max Kelly

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Too bad you didnt rebuttal a single on of their points during the episode. Idiot.

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Guest Max Kelly

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Too bad you didnt make a rebuttal for a single one of their points during the episode. All of their points were factual statements! Idiot. Organic food saves millions of lives every year in third-world countries because of its amazing ability to grow in arid conditions. They also taste better and are waaayy cheaper. So keep mindlessly buying organic foods, hipster!

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Guest bopy UT

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So to summon up, farmers are stupid for using more expensive GE seeds that give same ammount of food which is of lesser quality and cheaper than organic food. Seems like they are driving themselves out of the market. Stupid farmers. What are you worried about then, its the power of the free market. LOL

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I would do a bit more research on Genetic food not being bad for your health.   And skip past the misinformation that is supplied by Monsanto and companies that spend millions of dollars trying to convince you otherwise.

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Guest Augustus Pavy

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To Penn and Teller (if you ever read this) Haters gonna hate. Shine on.

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Excellent job. Subvert the mountains of hard, scientific evidence refuting the lies and propaganda of the organic zealots with a few well-placed (and untrue) circumstantial ad hominems, all the while intentionally avoiding to mention that you yourself are getting your misinformation from multi-billion dollar agencies out for gain like the OCA.

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" Nice try, but Exxon admitted they'd funded deniers and said they would stop. " Got a source for this anecdotal evidence?

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"I'll listen to the massively overwhelming scientific consensus and peer reviewed science before paying attention to a libertarian propaganda organisation." For an Ivory tower Dweller who likes to dole out an absolutist and wholly anti-scientific edict on what does and doesn't qualify as scientific research, you're piss-poor at actually providing any sources or doing much of anything to back up your claims. Y'know, apart from "THIS POLITICAL IDEOLOGY IS DIFFERENT FROM THE DOGMA I WAS INDOCTRINATED WITH, ERGO IT'S WRONG!" "I'll listen to the massively overwhelming scientific consensus and peer reviewed science before paying attention to a libertarian propaganda organisation."

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