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Raw Milk to Evolution: Americans Disregard Science

Opinion

Certain staunch American conservatives and liberals have found something they can agree on. Raw milk. They believe unpasteurized milk is perfectly safe and healthy to drink, and they dismiss any science and scientists who say it is not.

Passionate advocates from both ends of the political spectrum object to state and federal laws regulating the sale of unpasteurized milk. They believe pasteurization deprives cows’ milk of important nutrients that bolster the human immune system and ward off illness.  And they say government has no business telling citizens they can’t sell it or buy it.

Whatever their politics, these raw milk devotees are at odds with the overwhelming weight of scientific and medical authorities, who declare unpasteurized milk is no healthier than processed, and the lack of pasteurization greatly increases the risks of being sickened by E. coli, Campylobacter or other harmful microbes.

This, of course, is only one issue on which significant numbers of Americans are in conflict with science.  While most scientists are convinced that burning oil and coal causes global warming, many conservatives insist that, if climate change is occurring at all, it is part of a natural cycle. Science says homosexuality is largely an inherited trait; critics say it’s a choice. Most scientific research indicates that genetically modified foods are safe for consumption and for the environment, but millions of Americans believe otherwise.

And, of course, nearly 50 percent of Americans, and especially conservative Christians, dismiss evolution theory, a fundamental concept accepted by virtually every scientist on earth.

And so forth.  Americans seem to be fiercely resistant to scientific authority – at least in certain areas that affect their lives.

For this, liberals blame conservative Republicans, who are far more likely than liberals to question climate change or Darwinist evolution. Science writer Chris Mooney has written three books on the subject, including “The Republican War on Science.” As partisanship has deepened in America, Mooney argues, conservatives have increasingly challenged scientific ideas. “Science denial today is considerably more prominent on the political right,” he writes, especially on  ”climate and related environmental issues, anti-evolutionism, attacks on reproductive health science by the Christian right and biomedical issues.”

There are a number of reasons for this. The Republican alliance with fundamentalist Christians has lured support in the South and the heartland, but this has required the party to take nonscientific stances on evolution and other divisive issues.

But if Republicans feel no affection for the scientists, then the feeling appears to be mutual.  A 2009 study by the Pew Research Center found that only six percent of U.S. scientists identify themselves as Republicans, compared with 55 percent who see themselves as Democrats and 39 percent who say they are independent. Similarly, 9 percent of scientists said they were “conservative,” while two thirds said they were “liberal” or “very liberal.”

That partisanship, in turn, could be attributed to the fact that most scientists work for government, where Republicans are forever trying to cut their budgets. Perhaps scientists are merely expressing their self interest.

Conservatives, however, hold no monopoly on hostility toward science.  Liberal Democrats who subscribe to the scientific views of evolution and climate change are liable to part ways on such issues as genetically modified foods and the alleged link between childhood vaccines and autism.  Liberal voices ranging from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to the Huffington Post have challenged the science establishment on the autism theory.

“The assertion that childhood vaccines are driving autism rates has been undermined by multiple epidemiological studies,” writes Mooney.

Some of this skepticism toward science may be built into our national character.  Some 175 years ago, the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville argued that those odd Americans had no use for scientific theory. “They mistrust systems,” he explained. “Scientific precedents have little weight with them… Hardly anyone in the United States devotes himself to the essentially theoretical and abstract portion of human knowledge.”

This is especially true when people are confronted with practical decisions such as raw milk, says Dr. John Kobayashi, a University of Washington professor and widely respected authority on foodborne illness.  ”While a mistrust of science exists, much of the problem is the difficulty in making rational risk-benefit decisions,” he says.

There’s simply too much information out there, bouncing around the Internet, readily available, making it difficult for people to do the homework necessary to make thoughtful decisions.

And with all that information, one can always Google up a scientific source that reinforces what we already believe.

Take evolution, for example.  While the vast majority of scientists support Darwin’s theory, there are a few seemingly credible voices who don’t.  And that small minority of voices is enough to provide political and intellectual cover for evolution critics such as Seattle’s Discovery Institute.

These conflicts are nothing new, says Dan Kahan, a Yale Law professor who has studied American attitudes toward risk and science. “There’s so many voices – Fox News and CNN and ABC and MSNBC… Twitter and Facebook. And fifteen books on either side of any issue.  Is anybody actually reading those books?  Who’s actually paying attention?”

In fact, Kahan says, most Americans agree on most scientific issues. The areas of disagreement, whether it is evolution or climate change or raw milk, are actually the exceptions to the rule, he says.

And on those issues, people are merely seeking out information that supports what they already believe, he adds.  It’s fundamental human nature.

“People may look like they are ignoring the evidence. But you inquire more closely, and you find out they actually believe their positions are consistent with science.”

So you have pro-evolution people and anti-evolution people, pro raw milk and anti raw milk people, all scouring the information universe, looking for science to support their opinions … and finding it.

© Food Safety News
  • Doc Mudd

    Scientific illiteracy.
    A nation of diehard Oprah fans and poets of the liberal arts is ill-equipped to regard science as anything but another of life’s mysteries. So, they wing it — and they get sucked in by the faddish pseudoscience of hucksters.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/30/science/30profile.html
    http://www.ukskeptics.com/article.php?article=pseudoscience.php&dir=articles
    http://consumerist.com/2011/05/functional-foods-snake-oil-in-the-grocery-aisle.html
    http://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/unscientific_america_meets_den.php
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/29/books/29book.html

  • aed939

    The scientific method is a legitimate method if inquiry to acquire knowledge about how nature works. The limitations of the scientific enterprise is that they are funded by governments who are lobbied by corporations. So what gets studied is controlled by the industry, and the desired results of those studies are predetermined. For example, in climate change, the objective is to set up a worldwide wealth redistribution scheme. The goal is to commission research that shows that there is a crisis; thus justifying the wealth redistribution scheme. In the case of the milk industry, the plant operators want the government to crack down on producer-to-consumer direct sales of milk so that they can keep their input prices suppressed. So they get government to require an expensive and quality-lowering processing step. Because of this known objective, the FDA is no longer trusted as an objective source of what is safe or healthy. I think my milk source is reasonably safe–lower risk than many other foods that I buy from the supermarket. In terms of finding the truth on the internet, prediction markets such as intrade.com are a good way of quantifying the mob wisdom. They beat all of the polls in the political election markets. They could be expanded to include policy issues such as whether the FDA should end its 24-year ban on interstate raw milk sales.

  • bachcole

    You are disregarding science. Science shows clearly and distinctly that raw and clean and disease-free milk heals. You can’t pay attention just to the science that supports your position and ignore the science that does not support your position. And scientists are not so god-like that they are aware of every nutrient. The history of nutritional science is a history of discovering new and important nutrients, and the curve is not likely to plateau out any time soon. Most of you mainstream nutritional scientists are ignoring the importance of enzymes.

  • Danae in Maryland

    It is quite apparent that the author of this article sought out sources and statistics to support his own opinions presented here…..and he actually believes his own positions are consistent with science.

  • foodninja

    Well, I for one support the theory of natural selection.

  • http://www.askwhy.co.uk/index.php Mike Magee

    From the 1930s to the 1960s Lysenko persuaded Stalin that Darwin and Mendel were all wrong and Lamarck was right all along. Of course, every experiment he conducted could not prove his point, so he falsified the results and imposed his new doctrine, neo-Lamarckism through Stalin’s dictatorial authority. Soviet biology became a laughing stock. The same will happen in the USA, indeed is already happening, as a consequence of the Republican opportunists sucking up to their scientifically illiterate constituents in the south and midwest. The world just cannot believe that the leading scientific and technological nation on earth looks like electing an anti-science party into office. It is just another symptom of the rapid slide of the USA into doctrinaire religious ignorance.
    The issue of GM is not so simple, however. GM is being pushed by a few very large and powerful corporations, whose scientists cannot be trusted. Scientists are indeed human beings with wives and children to feed and will hesitate to give up rich prizes from their corporate bosses to do what Lysenko attempted–fiddle the results. Corporations have a track record of doing it, so people have a precedent for being cautious. The point is really that the effects of eating GM food, might take a long time to manifest themselves, so we have a reason to demand caution anyway. The environmental effects seem just as dangerous, and again might take years to become apparent. So, the left are not being antiscience in urging caution in the case of GM food. Quite the opposite, it is demanding that proper care should be taken, and the odds against a mistaken judgement reduced to negligible before we risk letting peculiar genes loose on the environment and within our bodies. No one wants triffids immune to pesticides loose in our fields now, do we?

  • Doc Mudd

    Just to save you amateur science-sleuth types some time…
    http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2009/01/raw-milk-debate-helping-parents-wade.html
    .
    Uh, the conspiracy theory thing is a whole ‘nother irrational issue. That would fall under the science of…what…psychiatrics?

  • Paul

    Pasteurized milk is safer ONLY in terms of the pathogens INTRODUCED THROUGH NEGLIGENCE (before or following pasteurization).
    The author doesn’t mention that science allows for that fact that it does not have all the answers; in this case, it does not understand everything about foods and human health——no scientist would claim otherwise. To simply dismiss the notion that pasteurization might well render a food less health—or unhealthy—is equally unscientific.

  • Mark

    Bill,
    Shame on you for allowing this kind of nonsense on your site. The silver lining is that Ross Anderson is wrong on every point, so it’s easy to hit this one out of the park:
    1. Evolution
    U.C. Berkeley – center of the left wing universe – comes right out and says it is a misconception to believe that evolutionary theory explains the origins of life. Read it and weep.
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/misconceptions_faq.php#a1
    The left has politicized the issue and refuses to acknowledge the true science.
    2. Homosexuality
    The American Psychological Association historically held that homosexuality was a disorder until homosexual activists politicized the science.
    There is very little good research supporting Ross Andersons claims, and within the scientific community it is actually a minority view.
    Again, left wing politics trumps science.
    3. Climate Change
    The right wing criticism against climate change is that the supposed “science” is centered on computer programs that have been backtested and massaged to fit past history. It is an undisputed fact that they have done a poor job of predicting future change, and after 20 years these models are still not mature. Undisputed.
    The science has become so badly politicized that contrary views are now censored, and the left wing bullies say there is “consensus” and the “science is settled” in their attempt to shut down their opponents. That isn’t science.
    Three big strikes and your out.
    As for milk, it’s the same as meat. The product is safe, but if it isn’t cooked it can harbor dangerous microbes. Does the government have the authority to force people to buy only cooked meat? Why not? Why should it be any different for milk?
    It’s time for you lefties to stop getting “sucked in by the faddish pseudoscience of hucksters.”

  • Paul

    Well said, Mike!

  • Morghan

    You’re leaving out the most important point in the raw milk debate. What gives the government the right to tell people what they can eat or drink? Why do we have raids on stores that sell food to people who know the risks of consuming it?
    Why, on the other hand, are GMOs so prevalent? Why are they not labeled? And don’t give me the “they’re the same” argument because I developed a corn allergy and had to stop eating it, not an easy task when it’s in nearly everything, and didn’t hear about GMOs until years later.
    As I had never heard of GM foods when I started getting sick the argument that it’s in my head doesn’t hold up, and after I did learn about them I conducted experiments that proved I had no reaction o organic corn. While it is possible that the problem is pesticide related I don’t know of any that are used solely on corn, and no other conventional crop affects me like that.

  • D.

    Science is mostly for sale. WHile I do agree people use the internet to find supporting evidence for their own leanings, I think that can only be said without any sort of authority in reality, especially about the raw milk issue. If you wish to drink raw milk, get to know your producer. Go out and inspect the place not just once, but whenever you feel like it because if they have nothing to hide, you’ll be welcomed there. Most raw milk is as safe to drink as anything else these days. I wouldn’t touch bottled water with a 10 foot ridge pole, but I see people buying it by the case and thinking they’re doing themselves such a good deed. How long was it on the shelf? How long was it on the truck before it got to the shelf? How long was it in the warehouse before it got to the truck? See, the chain must be followed. This is so with foods, just as it is with water or milk. And don’t depend solely on science. Do yourself a favor and don’t consume much of anything unless you know its origin. No boxes, no cans, no pre-made junk. There’s your sign. . .

  • jimmann

    Thanks Mike. From a scientist.

  • http://www.thecompletepatient.com dgumpert

    Remember, many of the same scientists (or their colleagues) who say raw milk is no different than pasteurized milk were telling us for a long time that margarine is better for us than butter, that eating eggs will cause heart disease, that ulcers are caused by stress, that autistic kids were the product of “regrigerator moms,” that Celebrex was a safe drug…and some years before that, telling us that blacks were closer to chimpanzees than to whites…and some years before that telling us that the earth was flat. People have learned the perverse lesson that if the FDA says it’s bad for you, it must be good for you.

  • ecofoodologist

    Dear Mr. Anderson,
    You make a great point about people looking for “science” to support their politics. I applaud your bringing this to the discussion. But I think that you are out on a limb to say that most scientists work for the government. If we define scientist as one whose literature is cited to support one side of the raw milk argument, you will find the vast majority of that research funded from the private sector. This is true even when the paycheck of the researchers comes from the US Treasury.
    I find your point valuable and I hope you will follow it wherever it leads… deductively. Let’s acknowledge that private dollars support research projects serving their best interests and (perhaps the exception) sometimes quash scientific evidence that hurts their corporate bottom line.
    You discussed examples of political demographics that confuse their own issues, but you did not close the circle on the argument that most unpasturized milk, intended to be sold as raw, is unhealthy to drink. You can’t.
    Your most compelling evidence is that most milk tanks contain human pathogens. No one argues with that. It is also true that most milk tanks are in confinement facilities that nurture antibiotic resistant pathogens (ARP) and most cows alive today are somehow exposed to these ARPs.
    The operators of this web site acknowledge differences between milk intended for pasteurization and milk for raw consumption. Peer reviewed research on this topic requires that samples be collected from each type of farm. Scientists would isolate truck tires, sampling equipment etc. from each farm (or at least each type) to ensure that the common pathogens of the pasteurization dairies are not spread to the raw dairies. Each calf from the raw dairy must be born in a place that is not already infected by ARP microbes. Is there such a facility? I suspect that the government would not be allowed by their funders to host such a facility.
    Raw milk farmers are under siege by their governments. Why would they participate. Is FDA or USDA doing that type of research? It seems not but that is difficult to verify. I have read articles on the raw/pasturized topic, but none remove the bias of influence that you describe in your article. Yet the bias is by and in favor of some heat treated milk.
    Writing anonymously, I am unable to claim credentials except that of literate America eater, but I have an opinion too. Your important point in your article above is most effectively turned toward the corporate milk producers who lobby well, advertise for excessive consumption of cattle product, affect the funding of science that keeps access to milk a “processors oligopoly,” and sometimes operate under various names to participate in “organic” agriculture.
    I’ll also enjoy answering the point that I propose a paranoid conspiracy theory. To preempt that point, I remind readers that giving profit maximizing corps a near person-hood status in the milk debate ensures that the corporate voice is the loudest. In a world with so many daily decisions, convenience dictates most consumer action, and convenient dairy products promoted by loud corp. voices are purchased and thereby funded to argue their point tomorrow. Is this the scientific method?
    I hope readers will follow the solid logic that I apply to your opinion piece on misguided arguments. ef

  • Doc Mudd

    Mr. Anderson you are either a very brave or a very foolish hombre, concentrating so many emotional hot-button issues in one blast zone.
    I mean, wild-eyed faux-science evangelists are comical as hell and, sure, they are mostly Oprah fans who fight like girls but there are so many of them and you know how worked up they can get and how they come from all over to swarm you like killer bees (they must emit attack pheromones, or sumpthin’) and how they mindlessly defend each others kooky beliefs to the death.
    Did you give any forethought to mob containment, any plan or strategy at all to managing this mess? ‘Cause this little brawl could spiral out of control and burst into a flaming fog of toxic stupidity (it’s leakin’ some already). Man, once you’ve released that from the bottle there’s no corkin’ it back up again.
    Now, you know Doc Mudd’s a scrapper and I love to see the red snot fly, but listen — I’m findin’ my hat, fightin’ my way to the door and hoofin’ it to the truck, pardner. Hey, I love ya’, man, but you’re on your own with this one, Ross. Good luck, buddy!

  • randerson

    So, Doc, Who the hell are you? And, more to the point, when can I buy you an unpasteurized, global cooled, farm-raised, long-haired, raw microbrew?

  • Doc Mudd

    Aw, hell, next time the first couple rounds are on me. Glad there are no hard feelings, Ross.

  • Jim Mann

    Thanks Mike. From a scientist.

  • http://www.thecompletepatient.com David Gumpert

    Remember, many of the same scientists (or their colleagues) who say raw milk is no different than pasteurized milk were telling us for a long time that margarine is better for us than butter, that eating eggs will cause heart disease, that ulcers are caused by stress, that autistic kids were the product of “regrigerator moms,” that Celebrex was a safe drug…and some years before that, telling us that blacks were closer to chimpanzees than to whites…and some years before that telling us that the earth was flat. People have learned the perverse lesson that if the FDA says it’s bad for you, it must be good for you.

  • Charles

    You folks all seem to be confused and missing the point. In terms of milk safety, there is no scientific controversy that I’m aware of. Everybody agrees that the microorganisms are a problem. The only disagreement is how much risk is acceptable (and who gets to decide that).
    If folks don’t want to pasteurize milk there are other ways to do it. As I understand it, the dangerous pathogens are all external to the cow and are inoculated during/after milking – a sanitation problem.
    I sell food processing equipment so I know a little bit about sanitation. It really shouldn’t be that difficult to develop an aseptic or quasi-aseptic process to milk the cows.
    There was never any reason for the dairy guys to do it, however, because they began to pasteurize a long time before aseptic processes were invented.
    Now the technology is there to do this reliably. I can think of a couple of simple ways to do it (in fact, I’m going to take it to my vendors). In this day and age, contamination of the process equipment is unnecessary and inexcusable – whether you pasteurize or not.
    As I see it, this debate should really be about the same old problem – getting processors to do it right. I’ve been in a lot of facilities and seen how processors operate. After comparing what can be done for sanitation and what is actually being done, I see a huge gap that needs to be closed.
    That’s not to say processors are doing a bad job. I see them trying to do it right, but sometimes they don’t even know how they could do it better. Process engineering is not a simple game and sanitation isn’t easy.
    Therefore, I think it’s pointless to fight over whether raw milk is different than pastuerized. I think the debate should be about developing adequate processes that don’t rely on pasteurization.
    This is true for meat, poultry and produce as well. Even this recent European outbreak caused by the Egyptian seeds could have been easily prevented. Likewise the Cargill outbreak. Again, the challenge is to get the processors to use the right processes and the right technologies.
    I am confident that it can be done with sufficient reliability to deliver food products with a greatly diminished frequency of these crazy outbreaks we keep hearing about.

  • Ross Anderson

    So, Doc, Who the hell are you? And, more to the point, when can I buy you an unpasteurized, global cooled, farm-raised, long-haired, raw microbrew?

  • Charles

    Right on cue – this just out on the AP wire:
    http://www.newser.com/article/d9pi7k3o0/at-time-when-small-farms-are-popular-wisconsin-study-finds-milk-from-big-dairies-is-cleaner.html
    Bigger dairies produce cleaner milk.
    “Bigger farms also keep bacterial counts down by investing in better sanitation and refrigeration equipment…”
    Raw milk producers are generally smaller and sometimes less sophisticated. There’s your risk.
    So, to drive the point home – it’s not about science, it’s about sanitation.

  • Jarvis

    The ridiculousness of this article underscores the fact that the author is neither a scientist nor a good rhetorician. In other words, he is not cultured in the methods of obtaining reasonably certain knowledge about the natural world, nor is he well trained at persuading intelligent readers to accept his arguments.
    From a scientific perspective, his article contains no references to studies whatsoever. This is ironic considering that he is attacking people for being unscientific.
    He indirectly but implicitly makes a number of claims that are easily falsifiable. For example, he says “…medical authorities…declare unpasteurized milk is no healthier than processed.” Even the lowliest editors of what is perhaps the most villified publishing forum in history (Wikipedia) would never let such a comment pass without tagging it for what it contains–”weasel words.”
    Who, sir, made this claim? I hear it all the time, but it is direct contradiction with basic scientific knowledge. Water soluble vitamins are destroyed by heat. Pasteurization of a sample of milk reduces its water soluble vitamin content. This has been known for over 70 years and is not a subject of serious controversy among scientists. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/4/2/211.full.pdf
    A finer point, predictably missing from the piece, is that raw milk sold for human consumption is most commonly from breeds such as the Guernesey and Jersey. Commercially sold, pasteurized milk, by contrast, is produced mostly from Holstein cows. The nutritional profiles between these two groups could not be more different. Channel Isle breeds produce more solids by mass per unit of volume–particularly more fat and protein, which are necessary for life–than Holsteins. Holstein cows produce more water by mass per unit of volume than Channel Isle breeds. The sugar (a dietary component unnecessary for life) content by mass per unit of volume is about the same between the two. Thus, the milk of Channel Isle breeds is more nutritious.
    This difference, of which the author is apparently ignorant, highlights the fact that there are economic & political factors at play that also lead to differences in the nutrition content between milk we can easily buy in the store and milk we can obtain from a farm. He is remiss in not elaborating upon these factors.
    Which leads me to my second point: that the author has feeble skills of persuasion. In his opening comment he has already begun to alienate intelligent readers by introducing vague, amorphous actors as the central subject of his article: “certain staunch American conservatives and liberals…” Throughout the article, these scape-goats remain anonymous, undefined and as generalized as possible.
    His article is full of stylistic blunders that render the article painful to read, e.g. “This, of course, is only one issue on which significant numbers of Americans are in conflict with science.” Why is this a matter of course? If it were a matter of course, this article would not be necessary, because all the readers would already know this fact before reading the article. If however it is not a matter of course, it needs to be sufficiently explained to the reader why it is true (perhaps even warranting an article to do so!). What is not possible, is that this is a matter of course that needs explaining to the reader. Why is it a matter of course?–because it is the theme of the article; but the only reason it is the theme of the article is because the author woke up one day and decided to write upon this theme.
    In line with his poor skills in logic, exhibited by the above, the author grasps at a number of other supposed examples of Americans’ stupidity. By doing so he is only exposing his own. All of his examples are specious. Whether his opinions on these subjects are correct or not (they are not) is completely irrelevant to the subject of raw milk safety, nutrition, and law. In short, half of his article is a non-sequitur. There is no connection between homosexuality and raw milk, much less in one’s beliefs about them!
    The only fact I can deduce from this article is that the author knows very little about any of the subjects he is trying to discuss.

  • Marco Hoffman

    Brilliant parody, Jarvis. You capture the bloviated excess of anti-science delusions perfectly with your intentionally bad writing — love that comical discussion of cow breeds – and prove Ross Anderson’s point more cleverly than he did. Bravo!

  • Margaret

    Mr. Andersen, you made good points here. As a firm believer in science and in evolution, I am almost embarassed for my country when I visit Europe. Educated Europeans can’t believe how such a dynamic, advanced country has around 50% of its population who doesn’t believe in evolution. They laugh at us in this regard and wonder about our education system. Makes me wonder too. With attitudes like this about science, we will fall behind as a country.

  • Leon

    Margaret and Marco made comments that show exactly what is wrong with this debate.
    Mark pointed out that scientists at UC Berkeley say that it is a misconception to believe that evolution accounts for the origins of life. Margaret has been disinformed, so like Ross she confuses evolution and abiogenesis. That is forgivable, but being a “believer” and failing to investigate the truth when notified is not.
    Marco’s response – the “horse laugh” – is a logical fallacy that everyone should have learned in their college logic class. Jarvis includes a link that gives scientific support for his argument, but Marco probably didn’t even bother to go read it. And of course Jarvis is right – it is a fact that pasteurization denatures proteins and otherwise alters its target. That actually is the purpose of the exercise.
    Is the pattern here becoming clear?
    Truth, fact and science don’t seem to register with some people. Their politically-driven “beliefs” sure do look like a surrogate for religion. How ironic. There is no place for that sort of religion in a public policy debate.
    I don’t drink raw milk so I don’t have a dog in this fight. It is puzzling to see people single out raw milk as a safety issue. The reason for the unequal treatment is not apparent. If you’re on the mailing list you know that all sorts of things are making people sick. Perhaps someone should explain why they feel milk should be treated differently instead of giving us the horse laugh, the ad hominem and the straw man argument.
    Because it’s easy to do, you say? A bunch of walnuts were just recalled. They could have easily been blanched. What about them? What about cooking ground meat before sale? It’s going to get cooked anyway – and it’s more dangerous.
    Bill may have good reasons, but I think most other people are sheep and haven’t thought this one through. That’s frightening.

  • janelane

    i don’t think it’s that simple. i think people don’t trust the big dairy industry so they believe that perhaps this evil group is behind the ban on raw milk because it directly competes with their product.

  • Gene

    Margaret, by all means, do not be embarrassed by the country you are from. By plane, train, or automobile, please change it, by all means.
    You are positively too smart for us dumb Americans. I myself would rather be sitting next to someone who stands up for God and appreciates respects his neighbor regardless of their personal beliefs, than someone who goes around the world feeling “embarrassed” for his fellow citizens beliefs.

  • Tedd

    People would be more apt to pay attention to scientific conclusions if government wasn’t choosing which research to fund and which to ignore. When government funds science the result is a mix of politics and science, so the outcome is justifiably viewed with skepticism. For example, when the selection of locations for temperature measurement change, are the changes due to an attempt at more accurate data? Or are they designed to show warmer temperatures, in order to more easily gain future government grants? A very real question: if science proved that global warming was caused by something other than man, would government funding increase or decrease?

  • Paul

    Todd, the day has not yet arrived when science has more clout in politics than industry, so your idea that government rigs science to elicit anti-industry results is simply wrong.

  • MM

    Disregarding Darwin does NOT mean disregarding science!!! People need to get that straight. Creation scientists are every bit as scientific as old earth scientists. The sole difference is in how the scientific evidence is interpreted, period. People need to do their research and find the truth before spouting a bunch of lies like this.

  • Dave

    Sorry to get in the way of your rhetoric with actual data, but how does this fit with the European Union’s position on raw milk products which seems much more accepting than that of the United States?
    Here’s the CDC’s page on raw milk. Do the risks sound much worse than you’d find attached to sushi, ceviche, or perhaps steak tartare (or even a rare steak)?

  • jarvis

    Leon, thank you for your insightful assessments. You are right on every count. Your observation that science has simply replaced religion in the minds of many modern men is perhaps the most telling. Mr. Anderson’s article reeks of the attitude of a religious man, who assumes his interpretation of a complex subject is the only correct one, when in fact many competing interpretations are at the heart of science.
    Evolution is a theory attempting to describe exactly that, the evolution of life, not its origin. Evolution is obvious to the observer. Theories on the origin of life must be considered entirely separately.
    I resent Mr. Hoffman’s disdainful dismissal of my argument, and will provide some more recent scientific findings (reported here in a news article) to back up my claim that pasteurization of course changes the nutritional profile of raw milk.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/13/us-kids-raw-milk-idUSTRE78C75O20110913
    But do we really need such fancy studies to prove the obvious? Probiotic bacteria are technically a kind of nutrient and the pasteurization process kills these along with possible pathogenic bacteria. Moreover, these bacteria produce vitamins themselves. What is never commented upon by opponents of raw milk, but which is easily observable to anyone who drinks the high quality stuff, is that there are probiotic bacteria naturally found in milk, because such bacteria live on grass and thus reside in the teat canal of the pastured cow. They innoculate the milk and in sufficient numbers will out-compete any pathogenic bacteria that may have also been introduced; given time, their lactic acid (which also has a caloric value!) clabbers the milk proteins. Please explain to me, Mr. Anderson, how it is possible that my milk clabbers when left out, while your milk putrefies; and that despite this they somehow have the same nutritional profile? It is ridiculous! It is like claiming black is white!
    And the fact that someone could characterize my comparison of the profile of the milk of various cow breeds as comical, is in itself comical. What is funny about getting a quart of cream out of a gallon of milk? It sounds, Mr. Hoffman, as if you have never been to a farm, seen a cow, or drank anything fit to be called milk. Let me ask you, do you buy all your steaks from the store well-done, and all your eggs boiled?
    The point is that this is a polical and economic debate, not a scientific one. Milk is not necessarily more dangerous than any other animal product we buy raw, and cooking it should be left up to the consumer. Contamination is introduced through poor sanitation, and pasteurization can and is being used as a cloak to cover up continuing conditions of poor sanitation. This doesn’t mean that all raw milk sold is safe to drink as it is–and more important, this doesn’t mean that all raw milk proponents are claiming that all raw milk is safe. If you investigate, you will find it is quite the oppposite.

  • ynot

    Jarvis. Fantastic response. A great disection of this article. Versed in the ways of
    English grammar are you. I too found Mr. Anderson a bit all over the place…and actually no
    where. I gathered nothing constructive from this article. I garnered more from the comments than the article. But in the end, that’s how it works. The feedback, from what I’ve seen is always, most usually more of an interesting read. So as I read this funky ‘enlightening’ article I knew it was just a talking head article, continued reading it for sheer joy of how this piece would get razed, and rightly so. Hah hah. And my expectations, did not disapoint. I a staunch pro science, anti theology individual. Science carries the burden if proof more
    beautifully than theology ever could. Before a court of law. Evidence from science would lay waist to any faith held perspective lacking of a may I say ‘ god given’ inherehent gift we humans have, common sense. The only pole we have in the universe to guide us by.

  • http://www.foodrightsnetwork.org/ Rebekah Wilce

    Science can be found to support both sides of these issues because science is as political as anything else, and has to be funded by some source. But with all due respect, to compare raw milk, on which relatively few studies have been published (making the claim that there is an “overwhelming weight” of science declaring that “unpasteurized milk is no healthier than processed” questionable at best), to climate change, on which very many studies have been published (most coming to the same reasonable conclusion that “burning oil and coal causes global warming”) is frankly ridiculous. There’s a reason why there have been so few studies on the former and so many on the latter.
    An individual eater who is willing to drink raw milk from a small local farm that pastures a small herd of dairy cattle, taking a risk similar to that of eating a rare steak from a similar small local farm that pastures beef cattle, can quite reasonably put out a call asking for more scientific studies to be done into the actual risks and benefits of raw milk, quoting a few currently available studies in order to show that this would be worthwhile. The same could be said for an individual eater who worries about the safety and long-term effects of GMOs, since the studies that have been done are funded by those who have the most to gain by expansion of their use.
    To say that this is the same as a climate change denier quoting “a small minority of voices” to challenge accepted climate science is to say that a parent who questions whether or not to feed a child peanuts is the same as a nation questioning whether or not to drop an experimental nuclear weapon.