Many of you have questioned my opposition to Prop 37.
There is a great book “Unscientific America” . . . it is not about the global warming deniers nor about the “intelligent design” fanatics (although it does cover them) . . . no, at it’s heart, it is about my friends and colleagues, people who are presumably educated and cultured; people with Master Degrees and PhD’s . . .
Can we start with the fact that GMO began with the very first farm? That “GMO” has been around longer than Jesus Christ (or if you prefer, Plato)?
Can we acknowledge that farmers randomly grafting one plant to another with no clue whatsoever as to what the result might be, in uncontrolled and unobserved open fields might actually be more unsafe than targeted molecular mutations that start in a computer, proceed to a lab, are tested in a greenhouse and only then planted outdoors, miles from any other crop?
Of course not; for most of you some random folk-tale or “Ancient Chinese” something or another is far more reliable than a peer-reviewed, double blind, two year clinical study that has been replicated 14 times . . .
These people who refuse to vaccinate their children — even though non-vaccinated children are nearly ten thousand more times likely to contract a preventable disease than to have a negative reaction to the shot –
These people who throw away their money on Homeopathic “medicine” – when it is quite literally, scientifically, and by all measures and studies . . . municipal tap water —
These people . . . who call themselves science based liberals . . . have bought into the Tea Party mentality, hook, line and sinker —
Anyone out there ever heard of “CAM”?
Of course you have. If you are a friend or collogue of mine you are no-doubt card-carrying members of the “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” cult.
Back when Bill Clinton was President he tried to get FDA oversight of what was then called the “herbal supplement market.” Turns out something like 70% of these “supplements” are manufactured in Utah and our dear Senator Orrin Hatch has been receiving campaign donations from them for decades. It was dear Orrin who blocked FDA oversight, created the “CAM” legal description, wrote the disclaimer that you now see on every one of these non-cure ‘cures’ and gave this multi-billion dollar INDUSTRY carte blanch to make any claim, sell any concoction, without any testing, without any proof that it is effective or even any proof that it is safe. It is “buyer-beware” – they have an immunity that “Big-Pharma” could only dream of. And time and time and time again when tested, these “ancient remedies” have proven to be either ineffective or dangerous or both.
Still swallowing Echinacea? Dozens of studies have proven beyond doubt that they are as effective as M&M’s. I could go on, and on, and on . . . (See Snake Oil Science: The Truth About Complementary and Alternative Medicine)
So why this digression? What does this have to do with GMO?
First, before mindlessly jumping on the “Frankenfood” bandwagon ask yourself if it is not simply your anti-corporate bias clouding your vision. (See Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future)
Second, understand that the CAM, organic and whole food movements are ALSO multi-billion dollar industries, just like Big-Pharma, controlled primarily by a handful of multi-national corporations, who employ their own lobbyists and marketing guru’s (See The Omnivore’s Dilemma).
Third . . . take a trip to Africa and ask those who are starving what they think of GMO, because virtually all of the LIBERAL third world development NGO’s FAVOR GMO. So as you eat your organic, locally harvested, seven dollar salad tonight stop and think, just for a moment, of the millions of third world children who actually have affordable rice in their tummies, thanks to GMO products that resist drought, pestilence and poor soil (See NPR All Things Considered).
We certainly do need be wary of the folks who brought us the A-Bomb, Agent Orange and Asbestos; but we need be equally wary of the faith healers and the snake-oil salesmen and the folks who claim that wearing a magnet on your wrist can ward off disease.
You and I, we have been eating GMO products for several decades now. And you know what? More people have gotten sick or died from eating seafood — because of the toxic runoff that fish consume — than any GMO product; more people have died consuming “natural, herbal” remedies than any GMO product.
Indeed, the death toll to date for GMO: ZERO.
So please, do not be a cliché “knee-jerk” liberal. Think. Then vote No on 37.
Here is a link to an NPR report on the subject: