The Dewayne Johnson versus Monsanto case did not simply provide precedent for pursuit of Monsanto over claims regarding harm caused by its products. As well, it established a court litmus regarding actions in the name of science, which are generated from malice and as well seek oppression upon a target populace or group of citizens.
Watch out fake skeptics – your targeting of citizens may well fit the court’s definition of malice, and your advocacy actions those of oppression – especially under a context of negligence and when posed falsely in the name of science.
If you are a frequent reader of The Ethical Skeptic, you may have witnessed me employ the terms ‘malice’ and ‘malevolence’ in terms of certain forms of scientific or political chicanery. Indeed, the first principles of ethical skepticism focus on the ability to discern a condition wherein one is broaching malice in the name of science – the two key questions of ethical skepticism:
- If I was wrong, would I even know it?
- If I was wrong, would I be contributing to harm?
These are the questions which a promoter of a technology must constantly ask, during and after the deployment of a risk bearing mechanism. When a company starts to run from these two questions, and further then employs science as a shield to proffer immunity from accountability, a whole new set of motivation conditions comes into play.
The litmus elements of malice and oppression, when exhibited by a ‘science’ promoting party exist now inside the following precedent established by the Court in the case of Dewayne Johnson vs. Monsanto : Superior Court of the State of California, for the County of San Francisco: Case No. CGC-16-550128, Dewayne Johnson, Plaintiff, v. Monsanto Company, Defendant. (see Honorable Suzanne R. Bolanos; Verdict Form; web, https://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/pdf/monsanto-documents/johnson-trial/Johnson-vs-Monsanto-Verdict-Form.pdf below). Below I have digested from the Court Proceedings, the critical questions which led to a verdict of both negligence, as well as malice and oppression, performed in the name of science, on the part of Monsanto Company.
It should be noted that Dewayne Johnson v. Monsanto Company is not a stand alone case in the least. The case establishes precedent in terms of those actions which are punishable in a legal context, on the part of corporations or agencies who promote risk bearing technologies in the name of science – and more importantly in that process, target at-risk stakeholders who object, dissenting scientists and activists in the opposition. So let us be clear here, inside a context of negligence, the following constitutes malice and oppression:
1. The appointing of inchoate agents, who’s purpose is to publicly demean opponents and intimidate scientific dissent, by means of a variety of public forum accusations, including that of being ‘anti-science’.
/philosophy : pseudoscience : malice and oppression/ : a set of activity or a permissive argument which is enacted or proffered by a celebrity or power wielding sskeptic, which prepares, implies, excuses or incites their sycophancy to commit acts of harm against those who have been identified as the enemy, anti-science, credulous or ‘deniers’. Usually crafted is such a fashion as to provide a deniability of linkage to the celebrity or inchoate activating entity.
This includes skeptics, and groups appointed, commissioned or inchoate encouraged by the promoter, even if not paid for such activity.
2. The publishing of scientific study, merely to promote or defend a negligent product or idea, or solely for the purpose of countermanding science disfavored by the promoter of a negligent product or idea.
All that has to be established is a context of negligence on the part of the promoter. This includes any form of failure to followup study a deployed technology inside which a mechanism of risk could possibly exist. So, let’s take a look at the structure of precedent in terms of negligence, malice and oppression established by the Court in this matter. The questions inside the verdict, from which this structure was derived, are listed thereafter, in generic form.
Malice and Oppression in the Name of Science
/philosophy : the law : high crimes : oppression/ : malice which results in the oppression of a targeted segment of a population is measured inside three litmus elements. First, is the population at risk able to understand and make decisions with regard to the science, technology or any entailed mechanism of its risk? Second, has an interest group or groups crafted the process of science or science review and communication in an unethical fashion so as to steer its results and/or interpretation in a desired direction? Third, has a group sought to attack, unduly influence, intimidate or demean various members of society, media, government or the targeted group, as a means to enforce their science conclusions by other than appropriate scientific method and peer review.
I. Have a group or groups targeted or placed a population at other than normal risk inside a scientific or technical matter
a. who bears a legitimate stakehold inside that matter
b. who can reasonably understand and make self-determinations inside the matter
c. whom the group(s) have contended to be illegitimate stakeholders, or as not meriting basic human rights or constitutionality with regard to the matter?
II. Have these group or groups contracted for or conducted science methods, not as an incremental critical path means of investigation, rather only as means to
a. promote a novel technology, product, service, condition or practice which it favors, and
b. negate an opposing study or body of research
c. exonerate the group from reasonable liability to warn or protect the stakeholders at risk
d. exonerate the group from the burden of precaution, skepticism or followup scientific study
e. cover for past scientific mistakes or disadvantageous results
f. damage the reputation of dissenting researchers
g. influence political and legislative decisions by timing or extrapolation of results
h. pose a charade of benefits or detriment in promotion/disparagement of a market play, product or service
i. establish a monopoly/monopsony or to put competition out of business?
III. Have these group(s) enlisted officers, directors, or managing agents, outside astroturf, undue influence, layperson, enthusiast, professional organization or media entities to attack, intimidate and/or disparage
a. stakeholders who are placed at risk by the element in question
b. wayward legislative, executive or judicial members of government
c. dissenting scientists
d. stakeholders they have targeted or feel bear the greatest threat
e. neutral to challenging media outlets
f. the online and social media public?
The Ruling Precedent (Verdict)
The sequence of questions posed by the Court, to the Jury, in the trail of Dewayne Johnson vs. Monsanto (applied generically as litmus/precedent):
I. Is the product or service set of a nature about which an ordinary consumer can form reasonable minimum safety expectations?
II. Did the products or services in question fail to ensure the safety an ordinary consumer would have expected when used or misused in an intended or reasonably foreseeable way?
III. Was the product design, formulation or deployment a contributor or principal contributing factor in causing harm?
IV. Did the products or services bear potential risks that were known, or were knowable, in light of the scientific knowledge that was generally accepted in the scientific community at the time of their manufacture, distribution or sale?
V. Did the products or services present a substantial danger to persons using or misusing them in an intended or reasonably foreseeable way?
VI. Would ordinary citizen stakeholder users have recognized these potential risks?
VII. Did the promoting agency or company fail to adequately warn either government or citizen stakeholders of the potential risks, or did they under represent the level of risk entailed?
VIII. Was this lack of sufficient warnings a substantial factor in causing harm?
IX. Did the promoter know or should it reasonably have known that its products or services were dangerous or were likely to be dangerous when used or misused in a reasonably foreseeable manner?
X. Did the promoter know or should it reasonably have known that users would not realize the danger?
XI. Did the promoter fail to adequately warn of the danger or instruct on the safe use of products or services?
XII. Could and would a reasonable manufacturer, distributor, or seller under the same or similar circumstances have warned of the danger or instructed on the safe use of the products or services?
XIII. Was the promoter’s failure to warn a substantial factor in causing harm?
Malice and Oppression
XIV. Did the promoter of the products or services act with malice or oppression towards at-risk stakeholders or critical scientists or opponents regarding this negligence or the risks themselves?
XV. Was the conduct constituting malice or oppression committed, ratified, or authorized by one or more officers, directors, or managing agents of the promoter, acting on behalf of promoter?
The Ethical Skeptic, “Malice and Oppression in the Name of Skepticism and Science” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 28 Aug 2018; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-85F