Rule Five GMO Nutballery Friday


OK, now that this is out of the way, let’s spend what some nut thinks is our last day on earth talking about 9 stupid arguments against genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.  Excerpt:

When discussing and writing about GMOs, many arguments are put forth on why they are “bad” and should be avoided. However, many of these are not about GMOs, but rather, are issues that we’re facing in modern agriculture and in our economy. In this post, I examine nine common reasons I’ve encountered for opposing GMOs that are much broader in scope.

Transgenesis, or the method used to make most GMOs, is a tool and it makes no sense to oppose a method with broad applications. It’s like opposing electronics as a category because you don’t like Microsoft or because Apple dominates the portable music electronics business. In fact in the comments section of an article just written in the NY Times about GMOs, you’ll see the reasons below being listed time and time again.

Here are a couple of my particular favorites, with my comments:

5) GMOs are being made by Big Ag to line their pockets. Unless your problem is with making money in general, then this doesn’t make much sense. Of course agribusinesses want to make money. Why would any corporate enterprise embark on a project where they think they’d lose money?

The proper response to this is “duh.”  Of course corporations exist to return profits to their shareholders; every corporation, everywhere, since the 16th century has existed to do that.  But it’s a fundamental law of the universe that whenever someone starts of an argument with a catch-phrase like “Big Ag,” or “Big Oil,” or “Big Anything,” that you can safely disregard anything else that they say.

2) GMOs promote a monopoly. Every time I see this, I think that someone over at Dow Agro is cackling. I work in a field in biotech where a single company has between 70-80 percent  of the market. Google web searches are used almost 70 percent of the time. Android has 80 percent of the market in operating systems for smartphones. But strangely enough, I’ve never seen a “March against Google”.

Anti-GMO’ers using this argument, as the author points out, almost seem to revel in their own hypocrisy.  It’s as deliciously stupid as the would-be “anarchists,” none of whom would survive ten minutes in a real anarchy, railing about “corporations” and “capitalism” via social media posts on their iPhones and sipping a latte from Starbucks, all the products of the world’s most successful capitalist culture.

Here’s the troublesome fact: Every modern crop planted and raised for human use has been genetically modified.  Corn was bred from a Central American grass called teosinte.  Potatoes were first raised up from a humble tuber in Peru.  Every human crop has been genetically modified – by selective breeding, by hybridization, and more recently, by direct genetic modification.

So why should we cease agricultural innovation now, in response to the bleatings of the ignorant?

GMOs have the potential to feed the world.  Drought- and pest-resistant crops, crops with enhanced yields per acre, crops that can grow in poor soils – the Third World clamors for such advances.

It’s ridiculous that science-illiterates in the developed world would deny them those advances due to idiotic arguments like the ones presented in this article.

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  • allen

    I have a friend who goes into the “monsanto is DEH EBIL and is trying to poison us all with GMO’s” almost out of reflex.

    I usually respond with “poisoning your customer base is kind of bad for business. that makes no sense. the best way to prove this theory of yours is one simple question. “do the board of directors and other officers of the company feed these vegetables to their own families?”

    if they don’t, maybe you have a leg to stand on.
    if they do, obviously they’re not going to poison their own families and themselves, so STFU.

  • WolfNippleChips

    But…but…but… Impeach Trump.

    • Well, they only have one day left to do it.

    • Matthew Stuchlak

      Impeaching Trump’s a nice thought-certainly he’s earned it- but it also leaves us with President Pence, which is a mixed bag at best. He’s far less likely to get us into a war with North Korea or somehow, Canada, but he’s also far better equipped to abolish the vote or turn the US into the Canaan of the Handmaid’s Tale.
      Of course it’s not going to happen anyway, because it requires that Paul Ryan grow a conscience and a spine, and if the useless Randroid was capable of either he would have by now.

      • WolfNippleChips

        You take all the fun out of sarcasm.

        • Matthew Stuchlak

          What, you don’t see what’s funny about nuclear war or the US becoming a brutal theocracy? C’mon, man, that shit’s hilarious.