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Let’s Talk About GMOs

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For whatever reason this seems to be the day of "doing things I really don't want to do." It's not 10AM yet, so things can only get better. Today, I'm taking a detour and writing about something different than money.

More than three years ago, I wrote an article about Youngevity, a company that sells outrageously priced vitamins through MLM that appears to be similar to The $100 Pen Pyramid Scheme.

I've learned that logic is not the strong suit of the people who have been scammed by such schemes. For some reason, they ignore the extensive scientific proof that vitamins are a waste of money for most people. That's enough of a debate on it's own which is why I wrote: Should You Be Buying Supplements?.

However, what really is nonsensical is that the discussion has turned to genetically modified organisms (GMOs). I think these people realize they are fighting a losing battle and are attempting to pick a new one. I try to explain that it doesn't help them defend Youngevity, but it's tossing pearls before swine.

In any case, I'd like to have somewhere to direct these knuckleheads. I don't mind discussing GMOs, but I don't want it to come at the expense of discussing pyramid schemes... and explaining why vitamins won't cure cancer. In the immortal words of Captain Malcolm Reynolds, this is my port of harbor (when it comes to GMOs).

I'm not going to defend GMOs as if they are 100% guaranteed to be fine. I'm simply going to present the evidence that I consider significant.

First there is this from Pew Research. Specifically it seems that 57% of US adults consider GMOs to be unsafe and 37% consider them to be safe. However, if you consult scientists (the people who are most qualified to opine), the same research says that 88% consider them safe and 11% consider them unsafe.

In short the qualified/smart people overwhelmingly believe that GMOs are safe... but the public (perhaps uninformed) seem to disagree. There's more detail on that here

Some might ask how that happens. It seems that there's an easy explanation: "The war against genetically modified organisms is full of fearmongering, errors, and fraud."

The stakes are high: As Newsweek writes, Scientists Could Save the World From Hunger, If We Let Them. Imagine solving world hunger. What a huge accomplishment it would be!

These articles that I cite are long and exhaustive in their research.

What if "fearmongering, errors, and fraud" prevents scientists from achieving such a noble goal of ending world hunger? I think you'd have be ten thousand percent sure that GMOs are greatly harmful and be able to quantify that harm before the bad outweighs the good.


Posted on October 8, 2015.

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5 Responses to “Let’s Talk About GMOs”

  1. As with all things scientific, I take my lead from Bill Nye the Science Guy. He was anti-GMO at first, but then took a deep look into the science and changed his mind. (As smart people are wont to do when presented with compelling evidence.) It was his fantastic two-part question-and-answer session on the subject on StarTalkRadio that convinced me of the safety of GMOs:
    Part 1: http://www.startalkradio.net/show/cosmic-queries-gmos-with-bill-nye-part-1/
    Part 2: http://www.startalkradio.net/show/cosmic-queries-gmos-with-bill-nye-part-2/

  2. Evan says:

    In my opinion, the scientific/nutrition community is quick to provide an answer on some topics because they are literally afraid to say, “We don’t know.”

    To me, and I don’t find myself to be an illogical person, your %s and current studies just don’t mean a lot to me. I bet you’d find similar percentages in terms of scientists who agree that saturated fat was the devil and we should all load up on carbs. Hell, that was the prominent thinking for 50 F’n years! It is only now that people are starting to say maybe the average american doesn’t need 400 grams of carbs a day.

    What about the LIES perpetrated on the world regarding transfats? Artificial sweeteners? Smoking? etc. Sometimes they just get it dead fucking wrong regardless of how many of them believe it.

    I am not saying GMOs are evil, all I am saying, is that just because there are some scientists that believe it just doesn’t make it true when it comes to nutrition.

    In my personal opinion, in 25 years, my son will be 30 and I’ll be 59 and he’ll turn to me and say, “Of course fucking with the genes of a fruit was a bad idea.” Just like you and I look at our grandparents (or did) and say, “of course taking in toxic fumes will give you cancer” (btw my son will also one day to me that I was an asshole for putting a device that emits even low level of radiation next to my balls for 8 hours was a bad idea too).

    • Lazy Man says:

      I wonder about the methodology of the study, because they were given an option of “I don’t know.” If it was anonymous where people could give that answer without it reflecting negatively on their professional ability, they might have been willing to say that.

      It’s not just the percentages in the study, but the difference between the scientists and general public. It was a study on a lot of different things and the GMO difference was a huge outlier.

      It’s not that scientists can’t be wrong, it’s that they seemingly very sure about it AND the general public feels the opposite. Then you combine that with the other articles pointing out the errors and fraud and it sounds a little like the world being shown to be round, but some agenda by mapmakers to convince the public that it is flat.

      Maybe it could be compared to dietary cholesterol or saturated fat, but both scientists and the public thought that they were bad.

      I’m not saying that all the food needs us to “f” with the genes, just like not all food has to be sprayed with pesticides. However, if you had no food, maybe you’d say, “I’ll take my chances with the genetically modified stuff.”

      Stephonee, I lost a lot of faith in Bill Nye with this. I think he let his allegiance to the Seahawks and the opportunity to be on the news get to him. (Side note, I think I was the only one who watched Mr. Wizard instead.)

  3. Frank J says:

    For every article/study you find that say GMO’s are safe, I’ll find one supporting the opposite. I eat organically AOAP, take vitamins, & filter and alkalize my water. I do not get sick & enjoy perfect health.
    GMO’s will not solve the hunger crisis created by the incredible income inequality in the world. What evolved over thousands of years in nature should not be tampered with for the sake of money and profits for corporations like Monsanto, which have no concern for our environment and future.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I’m sure there are articles going both ways. Do the articles arguing the opposite cite credible scientific research that has a scientific consensus or are they part of the fearmongering that was referenced in the article I showed.

      I generally agree that tampering for profit alone is bad. However, when there’s a solution that appears to solve world hunger and nutrition problems… well, I think that’s important for the future.

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