Sense About Science USA

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Sense About Science USA is a nonprofit affiliated with the now defunct Statistical Assessment Service and a GMO promoting group run by Jon Entine called the Genetic Literacy Project.[1] Sense About Science USA is led by Trevor Butterworth and Rebecca Goldin.[2]

In a 2016 expose of Sense About Science, The Intercept reported that Trevor Butterworth's defense of the chemical industry has "reverberated across an echo chamber of free-market organizations, including Philip Morris’s product defense law firm, Koch-funded think tanks, chemical and food-packaging industry trade groups in Europe and the U.S., and an ostensibly neutral environmental health research foundation run by a chemical industry PR firm."[3] The story also reported that Sense About Science does not always disclose when the scientists it cites on controversial matters have ties to industries, and that the group takes positions that buck scientific consensus or dismiss emerging evidence of harm. "When journalists rightly ask who sponsors research into the risks of, say, asbestos, or synthetic chemicals, they’d be well advised to question the evidence Sense About Science presents in these debates as well."[4]

Ties to Statistical Assessment Service and Genetic Literacy Project

Before starting Sense About Science USA, both Trevor Butterworth and Rebecca Goldin were affiliated the Statistical Assessment Service. In a four month investigation of the chemical industry's attempts to delay regulation of BPA, reporter Meg Kissinger and Susanne Rust wrote that Trevor Butterworth and the Statistical Assessment Service were part of a "stealth public relations campaign" to defend the chemical industry. In one instance, they uncovered a 2006 article in Chemical Week magazine where Butterworth explained his thinking: "Companies need to develop a public information policy that is proactive in educating the public and tackling the claims of activist groups in real time," Butterworth said. "Most of the companies are like a deer in the headlights, and traditional PR is useless in dealing with these problems."[5] Kissinger and Rust won a George Polk Award for this reporting on BPA.[6]

At an archived page of the Genetic Literacy Project[7] and on several pages where she contributed, Goldin is cited as the Research Director for the Genetic Literacy Project and Director of Research for the Statistical Assessment Service.[8][9]

The Genetic Literacy Project is operated by Jon Entine to promote GMOs. Bloomberg and The Progressive have reported that lawyers suing Monsanto state in court documents that companies funnel money to the Genetic Literacy Project in order to "shame scientists and highlight information helpful to Monsanto and other chemical producers.” [10][11]

External Links and Sources

Desmog Blog, page on Statistical Assessment Service[12]

Trevor Butterworth and Sense About Science Spin Science for Industry[13]

Article at STAT, linking Trevor Butterworth with the Genetic Literacy Project[14]

Analysis of Trevor Butterworth by authors of "Our Stolen Future"[15]

Related SourceWatch Articles


  1. Paul D. Thacker, STAT, January 30, 2018
  2. Sense About Science USA website, accessed February 2018,
  3. Liza Gross, SEEDING DOUBT How Self-Appointed Guardians of “Sound Science” Tip the Scales Toward Industry, The Intercept, November 15, 2016
  4. Liza Gross, SEEDING DOUBT How Self-Appointed Guardians of “Sound Science” Tip the Scales Toward Industry, The Intercept, November 15, 2016
  5. Meg Kissinger and Susanne Rust, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 22, 2009
  6. Robert D. McFadden, The New York Times, FEB. 16, 2009 For Their Risk-Taking, Journalists Garner Polk Awards
  7. Genetic Literacy Project, Team and Advisors, accessed through Wayback Machine
  8. Rebecca Goldin, Genetic Literacy Project, Bacterial genetics helps defeat antibiotic-resistant "super-bugs" February 4, 2013
  9. Rebecca Goldin, Genetic Literacy Project, Privacy and our genes: Is deCode’s DNA project ‘Big Brother’ or the gateway to a healthier future?, June 24, 2013
  10. Peter Waldman, Bloomberg Businessweek, Does the World’s Top Weed Killer Cause Cancer? Trump’s EPA Will Decide, July 13, 2017
  11. Paul Thacker, The Progressive, July 21, 2017
  12. Desmog Blog, Statistical Assessment Service (STATS), Accessed March 2018
  13. US Right to Know, Page on Trevor Butterworth, Accessed March 2018
  14. Paul D. Thacker, The pharmaceutical industry is no stranger to fake news, STAT, JANUARY 30, 2018
  15. Our Stolen Future, Uncovering a BPA poseur: Accessed March 2018