It took me a while, but I finally came around on the GMO controversy. I was on the wrong side for a long time, but now it’s clear: We have to keep science out of the grocery store.
And, while we’re at it, the schools.
After last year’s snow storm that disproved Global Warming, I’ve been re-examining everything I ever thought about science, and I decided I’m against it. Modern medicine, climate change, vaccines: I don’t trust any of it. You hear about the kid who developed autism after getting vaccinated? He died recently, when he mixed Mentos with soda.
Initially it made sense to be on the side of the scientists – you know, because they were educated – but eventually it started to feel like high school again. The cool kids wouldn’t talk to me after I insulted their Facebook memes (the one that warned against “Franken-foods” made me laugh so hard, I spit out my government-control-chlorinated tap water), and then I was ostracized for hanging out with the nerds.
Not “fun” nerds – like the ones who faked the Moon landing – boring nerds.
So you can see why I joined the cool crowd. You don’t hear scientists (well, good ones) threatening that GMO food will give us cancer, or diabetes, or allergies, or autism. Because it won’t.
That is, if you believe the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. National Research Council, the National Institute of Health, the British Society of Biology, and the European Commission Joint Research Centre.
After 15 years of cultivation and 2 billion acres planted, hundreds of peer reviewed reports on multiple continents have confirmed that there are no adverse health effects from GMO crops. In fact, Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) crops are safer than using chemical insecticides as an alternative.
But that’s science talk. And even a little Latin. We can’t listen to that.
I take direction from California’s “Right to Know” group, an anti-GMO organization that pushed CA’s failed Prop 37. Their website lists their opponents: Monsanto, Coca-Cola, Nestle; and their supporters: the Sierra Club, the American Holistic Medical Association, and the California Council of Churches. And if there’s one organization you can trust on issues of science, it’s the church.
I actually expected the church to side with the scientists on this one. Drought-resistant crops developed from GMO-seeds could prevent millions of people from dying unnecessarily in the third world. They reduce production costs and resist pests, and they make farming easier and cheaper in developing nations. India, which has 61 million undernourished children, could see food production increase if they have access to GMO food that can grow in harsh conditions. A variety of ‘golden rice’ with increased Vitamin A may prevent the death of 8 million children a year from vitamin deficiency.
Those things are good, right? I mean, from a church’s perspective, those seem like worthy goals.
The Sierra Club shocked me, too. I’d think that a breed of plant that required less fertilizer and insecticide would be better for the environment – especially as it has led to increased biodiversity in fields where GMO cotton and corn have grown. Interestingly (if you’re dull), the lack of insecticide keeps alive the natural predators of pests – in other words, spiders survive thanks to Bt crops, then they eat bugs that would harm crops, which in turn helps the crops even more, while maintaining the natural food chain.
Complicated, right? It’s probably easier to just avoid all of it.
Avoid any foods that are hybrid, engineered, or altered in any way by “science.” We’ll have to stop eating strawberries, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, since strawberries were crossbred in France in the 1750s, and the others were derived from cabbage a few centuries before that. We can’t eat corn, tomatoes, or most varieties of fish, cow, and chicken – and come to think of it, I should start making my German shepherd sleep outside at night.
In case she becomes a Frankenstein.
So it’ll be rough, but it’s still a no-brainer. When it comes to science, and a vocal group of anti-science paranoids, whose side do you really want to be on?
I wonder when the bad effects of the 250-year old strawberry are going to start taking effect.