Many farmers would have a less flattering term for the anti-pesticide, anti-commercial agriculture propaganda spewed out almost daily by environmental activist groups, but someone has come up with a more polite term for it.

Pathological Science is a term coined by chemistry Nobel laureate Irving Langmuir for the “science of things that aren’t so,” according to Phillip Hayes, partner in North Bridge Communications, and a speaker at the 2016 Sorghum General Session at Commodity Classic.

“Pathological science is the generation of headlines meant to scare and intimidate people and change people’s purchasing habits,” says Hayes. “We see it a lot in agriculture with headlines like ‘This crop can cause cancer’ or ‘This crop may hurt your family in this way.’ It’s usually a bunch of baloney with very little science behind it.”

What science may be behind such claims is not peer-reviewed and thus is suspect, says Hayes, whose clients include the American Sugar Alliance in Washington. He spoke about Consumer Connections at the National Sorghum Producers and Sorghum Checkoff meeting in New Orleans.

“It is one of the biggest challenges we have in agriculture right now,” he said, referring to the task of connecting with consumers in an interview following his presentation,.

Hayes also talked about the Environmental Working Group, the activist organization that has put the farm program payment information for thousands of U.S. row crop farmers on their website, www.ewg.org.