7 Things I learned from being involved in the GMO “debate”

The controversy over Genetically Modified Organisms is perhaps one of the most polarizing issues of the decade.  People from all walks of life have gathered on social media, the interwebs, and at rallies around the world to raise awareness for this Super Ultra Mega Uber Important issue that everyone needs to WAKE UP and EDUCATE THEMSELVES about!  Soccer moms and fitness enthusiasts everywhere have magically turned into nutrition experts qualified to give diet and health advice (and shame you for your incorrect choices of food, you ignorant fool!).  People who have never farmed a day in their lives (but have a garden!) have suddenly determined that they know the best way to feed the world (organic, duh!!!).  Entire communities and industries have been built upon this controversy, complete with punditry, news” organizations, politicians, “concerned citizens,” mommy bloggers, and of course the all-important celebrity endorsements.

Dietitian and Microbiology Researcher Bill Maher, PhD., Plant Genetics, Google University.

Dietitian and Microbiology Researcher Bill Maher, PhD., Plant Genetics, Google University.

I’ve been actively involved in this debate for well over a year now, and here are some of the things that I learned, starting with…

THIS IS NOT A SCIENTIFIC DEBATE

Did you know that there is an international scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs backed up by every major scientific organization on the planet? [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]  You know, those same organizations that you probably trust but never questioned (or better yet, ARGUED WITH) when it comes to the scientific consensus on Anthropogenic Climate Change?  This includes the World Health Organization, The Royal Society (the oldest learned society in the world), and the European Commission, plus organizations from “other” countries like Africa.

Pictured: The United States of Africa. Source: Sarah Palin

Pictured: The United States of Africa. Source: Sarah Palin

But enough of that “international” crap, let’s focus on what really matters, and that’s ‘MERICA!  For that, we have the American Association for the Advancement of Science (the largest scientific organization in the world), the American Medical Association, The US National Academy of Sciences, and a bunch of other “sciencey” organizations you’ve probably never heard of nor cared to learn about prior to being EDUCATED about the IMPORTANCE OF GMO AWARENESS!  [15][16][17][18][19]

On top of all those weird sounding “learned societies” and “scientific organizations,” GMOs are also highly regulated by every government where they exist.  But for those who have never left the REAL WORLD (The USA!), we have the FDA, USDA, and EPA.  Not to worry though, because anti-GMO activists have discovered a secret conspiracy after a TOTALLY thorough and unbiased investigation of all the relevant facts (which is something they are absolutely known for).

Real science is all about magnifying glasses!

It ain’t science if you ain’t got a magnifying glass

Together, the 19 scientific organizations and learned societies that I just referenced, plus the dozens of regulatory bodies throughout the world, represent the collective opinions of hundreds of thousands of scientists.  Apparently, most (or all?) of them are believed by some to be part of some international conspiracy between CORPORATIONS and BIG GOVERNMENT to POISON YOU and KEEP YOU IN THE DARK!

No word on whether whether they are shilling for The Gap, but early evidence indicates many scientists were wearing clothes purchased from this LARGE CORPORATION

No word on whether they are  also paid shills for The Gap, but early evidence indicates many scientists were wearing clothes purchased from this LARGE CORPORATION

Of course, “real scientists” are being “silenced” for speaking out against the powers that be.  There’s no REAL consensus on GMOs, (just like there is no REAL consensus on Climate Change) because I quickly Googled “GMO consensus” and came across an anti-GMO political organization’s website that says there is no consensus.  Nope, instead it’s a grand conspiracy among FAKE INDUSTRY SCIENTISTS (“industry scientists” is defined here as anyone who supports the consensus) vs REAL SCIENTISTS who put PEOPLE before CORPORATIONS AND GREED!

 

MOST ANTI-GMO ACTIVISTS DEMONSTRATE A PROFOUND IGNORANCE OF BASIC CONCEPTS IN SCIENCE

GMOs use DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE!!! THE SAME INGREDIENT USED IN ROUNDUP!!

GMOs use DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE!!! THE SAME INGREDIENT USED IN ROUNDUP!!

Like any group that contains millions of people, anti-GMO activists occupy a wide spectrum of beliefs and intelligence levels.  While most anti-GMO activists come from the environmental and progressive left, I have met conservative anti-GMO activists who base their beliefs on the bible, libertarians and anarchists of the Alex Jones variety, old people, children, doctors, teachers, and even scientists with PhD’s.

And some who think every day is Halloween

And some who think every day is Halloween

And then there is the majority.  The average.  The idiots.  The people who make you wonder whether they even graduated high school biology or chemistry, or whether those subjects are even taught in public schools.  These people make up the bulk of the anti-GMO movement, and you can see for yourself by simply attending any anti-GMO rally or protest.  Here’s an interview I did at the “March Against Monsanto” just prior to the election in Hawaii.

At that same event, I met activists who told me that GMOs are created by injecting the AIDS virus into corn DNA, that GMOs cause autism and cancer, vaccines cause autism, Monsanto is intentionally poisoning people as part of some elaborate conspiracy theory to depopulate the planet, that scientists are uninformed on the issue (but anti-GMO activists know THE TRUTH!), Monsanto and the government are poisoning us with chemtrails, and last but not least, the secret volcano lair that the government is operating in collusion with Monsanto.  Oh, and self-replicating nanotubes.

I can’t tell you how many anti-GMO activists who have told me that organic “does not contain chemicals” (water is a chemical), or that GMOs are created by sticking syringes into tomatoes.  Listen to this activist explain the dangers of GMOs:

There is no such thing as GMO wheat on the market, and this person has never eaten “genetically modified wheat” in his entire lifetime, ever.  All of these “symptoms” of consuming “GMO wheat” exist entirely in his imagination (this is known as somatoform disorder).  Many anti-GMO activists complain of imaginary symptoms caused by “GMOs” that don’t even exist, and how they were magically “cured” of their illnesses by “switching to an organic diet.”

Whenever pressed on the evidence to support their beliefs, anti-GMO activists invariably resort to scripted talking points and slogans that they heard a thousand times before from other activists, social media, and the internet.  Not a single ounce of critical thought is ever put into the issue, and no actual research was ever done on their part.  They are simply repeating very simple and easy to remember slogans like “Just Label It” or “No to Monsanto” or “Patenting Life” or “Indian Farmers” or “Unnatural” or “poisons/toxins.”

Even the “intelligent” and “informed” anti-GMO activists who pride themselves on being “educated on the issue” are completely irrational when it comes to the subject, even if they are otherwise incredibly intelligent and rational in every other area of life.  These people couldn’t remain logically consistent if their lives depended on it, and intellectual honesty is non-existent  Even the possibility that they could be wrong, or that a corporation could be right about this one particular issue, is totally out of the question.  Here is me interviewing the greatest intellectual mind of the anti-GMO movement in Hawaii, Dr. Lorrin Pang, and this is only a few months after I myself de-converted from the anti-GMO cult.  Having no previous experience or expertise in the subject, this is the best that they could muster; some random comedian with a camera and microphone running circles around a doctor who has worked for the WHO for 20 years.

And some victims of anti-GMO propaganda don’t even know what a GMO is…

 

ANTI-GMO ORGANIZATIONS RELY ON FEAR AND IGNORANCE TO PROMOTE THEIR AGENDA

Have you ever seen those ridiculous “Frankenfood” memes pop up in your news feed and wonder who exactly is producing all of this crazy shit?  You know, the tomatoes with the syringes sticking out of them like they are shooting up heroin, the zombies eating corn, the rats with tumors, the “organic corn” and the “GMO corn” eaten by squirrels where the apparently health-conscious squirrels only eat the organic corn, the mutated chickens, the Frankenstein microwave dinner, and my favorite, the apple with teeth that bites the kid in the face.

Now available at Wal Mart!

Now available at Wal Mart!

Who has time to make this stuff up, and where do these internet rumors come from?  Well, one notorious bullshit meme factory comes from a group called “GMOINSIDE.”  Other bullshit memes come from groups like “Millions Against Monsanto” and “GMO FREE USA.”  Their stated goals are to “educate the public” about the “concerns and dangers of genetically modified organisms.  And by “educate” they mean “scare the shit out of people.”

Uninformed people often get their information from Facebook Memes such as this one

Uninformed people often get their information from Facebook Memes such as this one

Even intelligent people are susceptible to this kind of fear mongering and propaganda — its actually a form of marketing.   I can’t tell you how many intelligent and rational people that I’ve met who avoided GMOs for the simple fact that they saw one of these memes on their Facebook feeds (even I was one of them, though I’m neither rational nor intelligent, just good looking :D).  Now, the reason I know that they are both rational and intelligent is that when confronted with contradictory information they don’t have a problem changing their position to reflect the new evidence (which makes them different from activists, who are generally irrational but often just stupid as well).

Celebrities are the best case study of this phenomenon, with dozens jumping on the anti-GMO fear bandwagon.

Roseanne knows the TRUTH! GMO Scientists CREATED the Ring Spot Virus!

Roseanne knows the TRUTH! GMO Scientists CREATED the Ring Spot Virus!

It should be noted that most people, including hardcore anti-GMO activist, are simply victims of this scaremongering.  They truly believe in most of the bullshit that is being promoted by these organizations and individuals who create this crap.  I’m even convinced that many of the meme creators themselves somehow believe it, even though that seems counter-intuitive because on some level they must realize that they are intentionally scaring or at least misleading people.

 

BIG ORGANIC IS A BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY, AND ANTI-GMO ORGANIZATIONS HAVE SPENT MILLIONS ON THEIR PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGNS

 

Family Farms like Pepsi Corp and Kellog

Family Farms like Pepsi Corp and Kellog

We’re not talking chump change here, anti-GMO organizations spend  millions of dollars to promote “GMO awareness” and various political/”community organizing” efforts designed to either “label GMOs” or outright ban them in certain jurisdictions.  While no evidence is ever presented to support the claims of danger, the money is instead spent on hilariously unqualified “experts” and other “grassroots” organizations and individuals as a substitute for actual scientific research.

The Organic Consumers Association, Ceres Trust, and the Center for Food Safety, are among the groups who raise millions of dollars to create these “organic grassroots movements” in various communities, often paying for totally unqualified celebrity speakers to talk to people about the “dangers of GMOs.”  Here is the Hawaii Center for Food Safety’s Director refusing to say how much she spent to bring Vandana Shiva (a non-scientist) to Hawaii for the second time on an inter-island tour to discuss the dangers of GMOs (her usual fee is $40,000 per speech plus business class travel from New Delhi).

There is also Jefferey Smith from the one-man “Institute for Responsible Technology” who came to Hawaii to give his “expert advice” on the dangers of GMOs.  He is best known for making two very entertaining documentaries on GMOs that are either funny if you understand the science of GE or extremely scary and disturbing if you don’t.  His qualifications?  He is a ballroom dance instructor and believes that he can fly using yoga.

One of his many talents that make him qualified to speak on the highly specialized field of biotechnology

One of his many talents that make him qualified to speak on the highly specialized field of biotechnology

In fact, the list of anti-GMO “experts” is a who’s who of crackpots and thoroughly discredited scientists.  These are the kinds of people that anti-GMO organizations rely on to give credit to their fear and scare mongering propaganda campaign, and they don’t come cheap either.

When we talk about Monsanto being a “large multinational corporation,” keep in mind that Whole Foods did about 12 billion in sales last year vs Monsanto’s 14 billion, and that’s just one grocery chain.  Big Organic is probably the greatest marketing gimmick in history in terms of sales.  The idea that “organic” means “pesticide free” or “small family farms” is about as accurate as Snoop Dogg being a feminist icon.

DON'T HATE BITCHES!

DON’T HATE, BITCHES!

The truth is that it is a multi-billion dollar industry that is capitalizing off of the public’s ignorance of science and agriculture.

 

 

ANTI-GMO ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVISTS WILL PERSONALLY ATTACK ANYONE WHO GETS IN THEIR WAY

You might have heard about the recent “controversy” over University of Florida Professor Kevin Folta and his emails with biotechnology representatives.  What you might not of heard was that no evidence of wrongdoing or impropriety was ever presented.   Anti-GMO organizations immediately seized this opportunity to vindicate the smear campaign that they had begun long before they “discovered” these “smoking gun emails.”  So what did the emails say?  Basically that the University of Florida received money from Monsanto to continue Dr. Folta’s science communication and outreach efforts that began long before any donation from Monsanto.  His message never changed, and the anti-GMO organizations never bothered to demonstrate how this affected his message in any way (his message is that science says GMOs are not scary).  Instead, activists leveled threats of violence against him and his family.

A surprisingly accurate representation of the anti-GMO activist understanding of human biology

A surprisingly accurate representation of the anti-GMO activist understanding of human biology

Kevin Folta is only the latest scientist to be crucified by the anti-GMO movement for teaching heretical and blasphemous concepts like “science” and educating the public on the scientific consensus of GMOs.  I’ve had friends like the Hawaii Farmer’s Daughter who was the target of a smear campaign for operating a blog critical of the anti-GMO movement.  The leader of one anti-GMO organization, Babes Against Biotech,” bought a web domain in her name and proceeded to publish all kinds of nasty and libelous accusations against her.  Right before the election, businesses and public buildings were vandalized and anti-GMO activists proudly proclaimed their intent to destroy any pro-GMO yard signs or the campaign posters of politicians who they claimed were “bought out by Monsanto.”

This business committed the crime of selling foods that contained GMOs, and suffered the wrath of the anti-GMO inquisition

This business committed the crime of selling foods that contained GMOs, and suffered the wrath of the anti-GMO inquisition

There are entire communities dedicated to people who have been attacked or banned by anti-GMO organizations and individuals like “Banned by Food Babe” or “Banned by GMO Free USA” or “GMOLOL.”  People have shared countless stories of their interactions with anti-GMO activists who have threatened to burn down their farms, vandalize cars and homes, and even MURDER employees of biotech corporations, farmers, journalists, and scientists.  One activist here in Hawaii even threatened to bring ISIS to the islands if the State didn’t pass a “pesticide disclosure” bill.

I myself was given the nickname “Bronsanto” (which I absolutely ran with) because the anti-GMO activists were convinced that I was some kind of covert agent sent in by Monsanto to “infiltrate” and “spread dissension within the ranks.”  They came up with all kinds of theories of why I was doing this and how much I was being paid by “Monsanto” or “the government” to “harass and intimidate peaceful protesters.”  The put together a well organized campaign to discredit me by contacting my church (a Hawaiian church which contains only close family members and relatives), harassed me on the internet, contacted colleagues, friends, and universities that I had attended in the past (and even one I was planning to attend in the future), and newspapers that I had previously written articles for, all under the guise of being “concerned citizens” who felt “offended” by my words and actions.

This is the mostly concise, accurate account of the anti-GMO mindset that I've ever read, and reflects my thoughts and experiences entirely.

This is the most concise, accurate account of the anti-GMO mindset that I’ve ever read, and reflects my thoughts and experiences entirely.

 

 

ARGUING WITH IDIOTS CAN TURN YOU INTO A BAD PERSON

I started this journey over a year ago having anti-GMO views.  Upon discovering that there was widespread agreement within the scientific community on the subject, I immediately changed my position (this is known as intellectual honesty, apparently a rare occurrence in politics).  To the anti-GMO activists, this was seen as an obvious sign of “being bought out by Monsanto.”

NEVER GIVE UP HOPE!

NEVER GIVE UP HOPE!

I began by making Youtube videos documenting the lies of anti-GMO activists and debunking some of the more outrageous claims.  In time I began to find entire communities of like-minded skeptics and so I made it a point to confront the activists at their own events and rallies to share my experiences with others.  Though I was always willing to educate anyone who wanted to learn more about the subject, I didn’t find very many people at these events who were open to a rational dialogue, as they were all more or less driven purely by emotion.

That’s back when it was fun for me.  I honestly enjoyed making these videos to expose how batshit crazy some of the activists were and how terrible their arguments sounded.  Never once did I become angry or irritated by the hardcore activists, they were always a source of amusement for me.  The crazier they were, the better the material for my videos.

But soon the anti-GMO organizations put out a general prohibition on talking to me, and nobody wanted to do interviews anymore.  I had to find stragglers who didn’t get the word yet but eventually I was banned from every single anti-GMO group in Hawaii.  I was kicked out of more than one event and refused entry at others.  Activists started to attack me personally because they couldn’t refute my arguments, and they were absolutely convinced I was a “Monsanto troll.”  Some threatened me with violence and posted my address on their Facebook groups.  Image memes were created with my face on it saying things like “avoid this mentally deranged veteran” who is “violent towards women.”  Eventually I let all of this get to me and started lashing out at the activists.

It came to the point where I focused 100% of my efforts on the truly hardcore, irrational, batshit crazy activists.  I attacked them personally, called them stupid, idiots, retards, morons, etc.   I stopped trying to educate regular people on the issue and instead resorted to flame wars with devout believers who had absolutely no interest in learning more about the subject or changing their positions in any way, shape, or form.  When they attacked Kevin Folta for being a “paid shill,” my response to the woman who made that comment was “scientists aren’t cheap whores like you, they are high class broads” (in my defense I defined “cheap whore” as “a person willing to say or do anything for money”).  When friends confronted me about my behavior and asked me to chill out, I told them to fuck off because they didn’t follow the entire conversation word for word (that was true, but still).  It became less about having fun with activists and spreading science literacy and more about preventing anti-GMO activists from spreading bullshit by silencing them through shaming tactics.

Even my wife and kids noticed my transition from being daddy the comedian to the bitter and intolerant asshole that I was quickly becoming.  Eventually it consumed me, and began to spill into other political issues which I am passionate about.  In fact, even to this day I still have some feelings of contempt towards anti-GMO activists, but I’ve mostly learned to make it fun again because no matter what, I’m still on the right side of science and history and that’s all that really matters in the end.  One day anti-GMO activists will come around and realize how stupid they’ve been acting, and those pictures they proudly boast of their protests will be a source of embarrassment once GMOs pervade every facet of our lives like electricity.

 

 

ANTI-GMO ACTIVISTS AND ORGANIZATIONS DISTRACT US FROM REAL ISSUES IN AGRICULTURE, SCIENCE, AND GOVERNMENT

There are many legitimate arguments against the overuse of pesticides, reliance on synthetic fertilizers which require fossil fuels, the patent system, government agricultural policy and subsidies, corporate influence over government and lobbying, unscientific regulations, and the limits of science.  The case can certainly be made that scientists within the biotechnology industry have failed to properly communicate these ideas to the public, and have contributed to the problem by allowing the anti-GMO movement to grow so big in the first place.

Companies like Monsanto and Dow have a deep and dark history of poisoning, cover ups, and close ties to government, so initial public skepticism towards these corporations is absolutely justified.  For example, many biotech corporations only recently started allowing full use of their “intellectual property for independent testing, rather than a patchwork of legalese that leaves the public confused and distrustful.   Their continued reliance on secretive government lobbying and political propaganda rather than total transparency does not help the situation either.

It should be noted that most Monsanto Myths are either outright fabrications or intentionally misleading.  Also, arguments against Monsanto or biotech corporations do not constitute valid arguments against the SCIENCE of Genetic Engineering any more than arguments against Boeing or Lockheed Martin are valid criticisms of rocket science.

But GMOs are much more than just “Roundup Ready” corn and soy.  A friend of mine helped to develop GE insulin back in the 70’s, and now most insulin is made with the help of GE technology, as well as most cheese.  Golden Rice has the potential to eliminate Vitamin A Deficiency in poor countries, which affects hundreds of thousands of women and children every year (causing blindness and death).  In Africa, they are working on drought resistant crops to help solve the challenges of Climate Change and malnutrition.

The main reason that I support genetic engineering is because of the amazing potential this technology has to offer us in the future.  I envision a world where synthetic pesticides become totally obsolete thanks to advances in biology.  Weeds could be modified to produce food, or food could be modified to grow like weeds.  Mosquitoes and malaria can become a thing of the past.  Even human genetic birth defects need not be a thing anymore because the possibilities are endless.  The Chemistry Age is coming to an end, and I believe we are now at the dawn of the Age of Biology.  While it is important that we not be reckless with this technology, we shouldn’t allow our fear of science and the unknown to prevent society from progressing into the future.

DEATH TO PSEUDOSCIENCE, FEAR, AND IGNORANCE!

DEATH TO PSEUDOSCIENCE, FEAR, AND IGNORANCE!

About

I enjoy reading a good book, candlelit dinners, and long walks on the beach.

57 thoughts on “7 Things I learned from being involved in the GMO “debate”

  1. Bronson,

    Thank you for having the bravery to face the facts and stand for truth. Your speaking out has inspired many and opened minds rather than keep them shut. The world needs people like you to make people think about the consequences of the actions we are taking. Thank you again from the many people that stand to benefit from the truth.

        1. Keep up the good fight Joni, just be sure to remind the glorious wise people of Cornell that some of their communications theories may not hold up to empirical evidence when it comes to hardcore anti-GMO activists.

  2. Ha! Public shaming huh? Funny that you linked a site about bigotry. Private shaming works well too. Email screenshots to organizations that don’t want the bad press.

    1. I think you’ve helped me in a way Shane, by making me realize just how far apart I am from anti-GMO activists on the rationality scale. It’s like I’m trying to teach you a language that you simply are not capable of speaking. Maybe the sounds are too foreign to you or there are glicks and beeps or something, I don’t know what it is but there is a total breakdown in communication.

      I thought maybe yelling or trying to utilize emotions would make some kind of difference, but I’ve come to realize that some people simply cannot be reached. Some people are just going to have to wait 1, 3, 5, 10 years until we have hundreds of different GMOs that are doing all kinds of crazy things and then people look back and are embarrassed to have been anti-GMO in the first place. It’s like the people who got photos taken of them protesting desegregation, I’m sure it felt good at the time but you’re clearly on the wrong side of history.

      Don’t worry Shane, one day this will all make sense to you and you’ll realize just how stupid you’ve been acting this whole time. It really doesn’t matter what I say or do in the short term because in the end I’m still on the right side of history and you’re not.

  3. Thank you Bronson, it takes a lot of guts to test your opinion by investigating the opposite viewpoint. I myself was very curious as to what GMO’s were and the dangers they could potentially cause. So I investigated it, and read a lot of things from both sides of the debate. It was at a time in my life where I was returning to school to get an education. For 15 years previously , I was a hippie and loved the hippie lifestyle, but as time went on, I started getting very irritated by the space cadet hippies , and how they could never give a rational answer to any question I asked them. This led me to look for myself, as you did, and what I discovered changed my life . I even got a radio show at the university, where I covered as many controversial topics as possible, and did my best to get both sides of the debate on everything. Thankfully I was at a university and had access to many experts who were more than happy to pass along their knowledge. That is their job at university, to rely upon evidence , and stay away from emotion.

    Please keep doing what you are doing, and maybe , just maybe , look at all your ideologies rationally 😉 have a great day 🙂

    1. I’ve learned that it’s pretty easy to determine which “side” is correct on any given issue by asking some simple questions and noting their responses. Any time someone gives an evasive answer or logically inconsistent argument is automatically a red flag. If they CAN’T answer simple questions, that’s another.

      People who are purportedly trying to “educate” you should be able to answer basic questions about the subject that they are “educating” people about. If they can’t, then “education” is not really the goal.

  4. Interesting read. I never knew this debate was so hotly contested.

    I also agree. Biology may indeed be the path that we need for the future.

  5. The recently adopted revised E.U. regulation 90/220 on deliberate
    release does not contain direct provisions to enable Member States
    to declare GE free zones. A respective amendment introduced by
    the Parliament to give national authorities the unqualified power to
    take action to protect environmentally sensitive areas was lost. The
    safeguard clause on health and environmental protection derived from
    the EU Treaty, known in the existing 90/220 as Article 16, still exists
    as a mechanism for national protection but is intended to be only a
    short-term measure pending arbitration at EU level. In practice this
    Article has been invoked so far by six member states without any
    enforcement measures being taken by the Commission to repeal the
    bans.

    Italy: The four regions Tuscany, Molise, Lazio and Marche and
    around 25 provinces, cities and communes banned GE crops,
    including Rome, Milan, Turin, Brescia and Genoa. These are all
    democratically-taken decisions in local or regional councils and
    in the case of Tuscany, the result has been ratified by the national
    government – the decision means that regional governments have
    been given the authority under Italian law to overturn decisions
    taken at EU level.

    Austria: Bans on three GE maize (Novartis, Monsanto and AgrEvo),
    the Federal Institute for Less-Favoured and Mountainous Areas is
    pressing for GM free legislation and published a study on GE-free
    zones, initiatives in the States of Vorarlberg and Salzburg to ban GE
    trials.

    France: ban of PGS and AgrEvo HR rapeseed

    Germany: Ban of Novartis Bt maize. The initiative “No GE on
    communal land” of BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) launched
    activities in several German communities to discuss and vote on the
    GE-free resolutions. Application are launched in: Bad Vilbel,
    Blauenstein, Lahr, Konstanz, Hannover, Hamburg. Application are
    accepted in: M¸nchen, Reutlingen, Freidrichsdorf, Blomberg, Seligenstadt,
    Niddatal, Maintal, Riedstadt, Adendorf, Schwebheim, Pinneberg,
    Schwabach, Langenhagen, Wyhe, Burgdorf, Neetze, District Traunstein.
    Several protestant regional church organisations: banned GE crops from
    their land: Hannover, Hessen und Nassau, Sachsen, Protestantic Church
    of Westfalen, Protestantic Church in Berlin-Brandenburg, Church Province
    of Sachsen.

    Luxembourg: Ban of Novartis Bt maize.

    Portugal: Ban of Novartis Bt maize.

    Greece: Ban of AgrEvo HR rapeseed, moratorium of GE crop trials.

    Spain: The Basque Government went for a five year blanket
    moratorium for GMOs. The Basque Government claims full powers
    for agricultural policy and thus that they can provisionally ban GMOs
    if they so wish. The three provinces of Castilla-La Mancha and Baleares
    banned GE food, AndalucÌa declared a five year moratorium on GE
    crop trials and GE food.

    UK: The Church of England has refused permission for GE crop trials
    on 60,000 hectares of its land, dozens of local authorities supply GE
    free school lunches, the House of Commons banned GE foods for its
    catering. The vote of the Welsh Assembly to keep Wales GE free was
    counteracted by the ministry of Agriculture approving a GE maize variety.
    The Island of Jersey banned GE crops.

    OTHERS

    Switzerland: Although a center of GE science and industry, only two
    trials with GE potatoes in 1991/92 have been performed until now.

    Norway: Banned the import of several GE crops and products which
    contain antibiotic resistance genes.

    Australia: The State of Tasmania banned GE rapeseed as weed,
    Western Australia has banned commercial GE planting. Australian
    States are given the right to declare themselves GE free. Some
    communities (e.g. Bondi/Sydney, West Wimmera Shire) declared
    themselves GE free.

    New Zealand: Some local bodies in Auckland and Wellington have
    declared themselves GM free. Trials with GE salmon have been blocked
    by the government.

    Thailand: Banned imports of 40 GE crops for commercial planting,
    but not for research purposes.

    Philippines: The community of Valencia called for a five-year
    moratoria on GE food and GE crop trials and commercialization.
    The Philippine president announced a moratorium on GE crop
    research.

    Saudi Arabia: Banned food that are made from GMOs and declared not
    to import GE wheat.

    Egypt: Declared not to import GE wheat.

    Algeria: Banned the import, distribution, commercialisation and
    utilization
    of GE plants except for research purposes.

    Brazil: Planting GE seeds is prohibited by federal law in Brazil
    for the time being, the States of Rio Grande do Sul and Mato Grosso
    do Sul have declared their intentions to remain GM-free, 18 States
    called upon the Central government to block commercial GE crop
    planting.

    Paraguay: The Ministry of Agriculture plans to ban GE crops from
    commercial planting.

    USA: Various bills calling for moratoria on GE food (Vermont), bans
    of GE wheat (North Dakota, Montana) have been filed within the last
    year. Several municipalities declared moratoria on GE food
    (Burlington/Vermont), bans of GE crops (City of Boulder/Colorado),
    or urged the federal government to ban GE food (City and County of
    San Francisco/California). Many attempts to adopt such bills or
    resolutions failed in the past.

    GENET will update the situation in the USA in a subsequent GE-free
    Newsletter.

    [N.B.: At this point nearly 20 states (the count was 16 6 months ago)
    are discussing GMO-related legislation, including moratorium bills in
    New York, Massachusetts and several others.]

    1. Political bans are not science. Whenever people bring this up, I simply reply that marijuana was banned in almost every country in the world at one point.

      Now, was the marijuana prohibition based upon sound science or scare mongering, fear, and hysteria? You tell me. Be honest.

      1. Changing the subject is a nice approach but I will not fall for that.

        So you are saying that the scientists of most of the European Union plus of dozens other countries around the globe don’t know what they are saying?
        You are saying that all these scientists that are in the ministries (plus those from research companies who work for these ministries as outside assistance) are all “lying” because of politics? Well, that could be happening but if the benefits of such a thing were great enough.

        But if you put such an argument on the table and thus criticizing all these countries for false data from their respective ministries of science and agriculture, the you must accept that this could be happening from the other side as well!

        The truth is that the profits from both ends of the story are high enough. The only thing that is solid so far (and has nothing to do with health and GMOs) is that organic (or whatever you call it) food uses much less energy in terms of carbon footprint (if done properly) and if a more holistic approach is used, it reduces waste, water needs, pesticides et.c.

        1. How is that “changing the subject?” The subject is the political “bans” (GMOs are widely imported throughout Europe) that are not based upon sound science. I’ve given you an example of another plant in history that was banned by nearly every country on Earth, but for some reason you don’t see why that’s a direct counter to your argument (probably because you’re not allowing any contradictory evidence into your closed mind).

          “So you are saying that the scientists of most of the European Union plus of dozens other countries around the globe don’t know what they are saying?”

          Nope, the scientists definitely know what they’re talking about, it’s the politicians and scientifically illiterate public who don’t. I’ve given you the international scientific consensus which is backed up by the European Commission itself, as well as the major scientific organizations from France, Germany, and Italy.

          “The truth is that the profits from both ends of the story are high enough. The only thing that is solid so far (and has nothing to do with health and GMOs) is that organic (or whatever you call it) food uses much less energy in terms of carbon footprint (if done properly) and if a more holistic approach is used, it reduces waste, water needs, pesticides et.c.”

          There isn’t a whole lot of evidence to support that belief. Do you understand the difference between fact and belief?

          1. The subject-matter are GMOs and not political bans in general. It seems that you are incapable of understanding that or you are still trying to change the subject (or do you want to talk about politics? Open another thread and we can start). In either case, there more countries (and obviously their ministries scientists) than any list that you provided. Of course you are still using the word “major” (btw the EC is not backing up, it tries to avoid the issue so far) because you think that words like “holistic” and “carbon footprint” are only used by some religious ignorants as you put it.
            So to help you with that and because you are so open minded and you want facts you can read the following papers about holistic, carbon footprint, sustainable etc, from the United Nations (I guess they are major), the CIDA, WWF officials, and others and maybe, just maybe, you will understand that the truth is somewhere else.

            http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ditcted2012d3_en.pdf
            https://www.mcgill.ca/isid/files/isid/seufert.pb13.pdf
            http://www.trucost.com/_uploads/publishedResearch/TEEB%20Final%20Report%20-%20web%20SPv2.pdf

          2. No George, YOU brought up political bans in these countries, that was YOUR argument which I refuted. I never “changed” the subject, I’m sticking to the specific subject that YOU brought up (political bans).

            In either case, there more countries (and obviously their ministries scientists) than any list that you provided.

            Here we go again, you’re back onto the political bans, an argument I already refuted (marijuana). You put in parenthesis “and obviously their ministries scientists” but that’s actually false. As I demonstrated with the marijuana example, political bans are not necessarily based upon sound science, and you have provided ZERO evidence to indicate that any country banned GMOs based upon sound science, nor any evidence that “their scientific ministries” are opposed to GMOs. I’ve given you the European Commission as well as the science academies of every major country. You’ve provided nothing.

            Of course you are still using the word “major” (btw the EC is not backing up, it tries to avoid the issue so far) because you think that words like “holistic” and “carbon footprint” are only used by some religious ignorants as you put it.

            No, I use the word “major” to indicate credibility as a scientific organization. An anti-GMO or political organization is not a scientific organization. The organization has to be known for its science to be a “major scientific organization,” not its politics.

            http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ditcted2012d3_en.pdf
            https://www.mcgill.ca/isid/files/isid/seufert.pb13.pdf
            http://www.trucost.com/_uploads/publishedResearch/TEEB%20Final%20Report%20-%20web%20SPv2.pdf

            The very first link that you gave has as it’s first words in the intro:

            “The views expressed in the articles contain in this Review are the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of their respective organizations or institutions. Therefore, the views expressed in this Review should be attributed to the authors and NOT to any institutions or to UNCTAD or its member States. Any reference to a company and its activities should not be construed as an endorsement by UNCTAD, or by the authors of their instutitons, of the company or its activities.”

            Strike 1. The second paper is not a scientific paper by any stretch of the imagination, but rather, a policy brief. Non-scientists are not qualified to make statements on subjects that they are not qualified to speak on. Strike 2. Your 3rd link is a business report. That’s strike 3 and you’re out. No science, no argument. You have thus far provided ZERO evidence to support any of your claims.

            You are once again confusing politics with science.

    2. You are a few years out of date on Australia. All but 2 states (Tasmania and South Australia) now allow GM food crops. And Australia has had GM cotton for maybe 20 years.

      1. As you may understand, it is truly hard to find updated info for each country, so I guess you are right and thank you for the correction!
        Nevertheless, I posted these data just for reference because there is another scientific side (that of several countries) that are somewhere in the middle about GMOs concerns.

        1. You said “scientific side” but provided zero science. You are confusing “science” with “politics,” and I gave you a great example with marijuana. Marijuana was not banned because scientists agreed it was a dangerous drug, it was banned for the same reasons that GMOs were, namely fear mongering and hysteria.

          And if GMOs are so dangerous then why are they heavily imported all throughout Europe and the rest of the world?

          1. Look Bronson, you NEVER managed to do anything in my arguments other than labeling them wrongly to win the impressions of an audience. The bans are NOT political. They are SCIENCE based in tenths of countries (do you really want me to call each ministry and ask for their research?) nad expressed naturally through their legal apparatus which we call government! If it was political it would mean that only politicians took that choice to raise votes.

            You didn’t demonstrate NOTHING with marijuana. It is a completely different thing (research is still in a infant status but gaining popularity for its medical use, still being used as recreation).

            You are so narrow minded that you probably haven’t read the papers you have provided. The paper from the EC reads in the first pages:

            The views expressed in this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission! So I guess STRIKE (you seem to lack any true knowledge of how papers are being written).

            That makes me believe that you DIDN’T READ ANY OF THE LINKS that I provided nor their bibliography/references to science facts from MAJOR institutes showing clearly what is happening and the fears about GMOs but just their titles. READ READ READ.

            WHEN you read a little bit more the United Nations paper, and what you misinterpret as business paper, stop a while, try to reconsider all the logical fallacies that you are so bonded with and how you are jumping to conclusions of who is a scientist and who is not and then read a little bit more. Cheers!

          2. The bans are NOT political. They are SCIENCE based in tenths of countries (do you really want me to call each ministry and ask for their research?) nad expressed naturally through their legal apparatus which we call government! If it was political it would mean that only politicians took that choice to raise votes.

            A simple website link will suffice. Show me the scientific studies these bans were based upon. You can’t, because they don’t exist. You could link to some unrelated study, but you can’t demonstrate that any of these countries conducted any studies themselves or that the bans were based upon these studies, because they don’t exist. If I’m wrong, prove it.

            You didn’t demonstrate NOTHING with marijuana. It is a completely different thing (research is still in a infant status but gaining popularity for its medical use, still being used as recreation).

            I conclusively demonstrated that a political ban is not necessarily based upon science. You have no counter-argument.

            The views expressed in this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission! So I guess STRIKE (you seem to lack any true knowledge of how papers are being written).

            That’s exactly what the paper you linked to read, except the difference in this case is that the “authors” are the Commission for Research, Innovation, and Science (of the European Commission). In your paper, the authors are not related to UNCTAD in any way.

            That makes me believe that you DIDN’T READ ANY OF THE LINKS that I provided nor their bibliography/references to science facts from MAJOR institutes showing clearly what is happening and the fears about GMOs but just their titles. READ READ READ.

            I read them and addressed the glaring holes in your logic.

            WHEN you read a little bit more the United Nations paper, and what you misinterpret as business paper, stop a while, try to reconsider all the logical fallacies that you are so bonded with and how you are jumping to conclusions of who is a scientist and who is not and then read a little bit more. Cheers!

            It is, in fact, a business paper. I asked you to cite a reputable, credible scientific organization and you failed spectacularly.

          3. It seems that you can’t understand simple things.
            If a country bans (or allows) GMOs, that DOESN’T make it a political ban (or allowance). Each country, based on it’s research (taking into consideration third parties), bans or allows foods, drugs etc. That DOESN’T make it political or to be precise EVERY allowance is political as well according to you. So, the allowance of GMOs by the countries (based on your major science institutions) is not political but the ban is. Are you feeling ok?
            Drop the labels to make an impression and see what is happening in the real world. Some countries allow, some are banning GMOs.
            Please provide a single paper that a proper genetics research (7 generations I think is the time that mutations can happen) has been done for all the GMOs and that they are 100% safe. Well no, there isn’t because there hasn’t been enough time to establish such a connection for all the GMOs (a single link will suffice).

            So, you continue to use arguments only to your favor but not accept them for the other side. The same legal notice is of no concern for you because ‘your’ scientists are ‘true’ scientists while a paper published under the UN umbrella has no credibility because the United Nations has no ‘real’ scientists working for them. I really don’t know what to say…

            OBVIOUSLY you didn’t read ANY of the papers I provided you, so after you reject the UN, WWF and others partners, let’s post something from yesterdays news from Greenpeace (non scientists as well I guess, just swimming with dolphins)
            http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/en/News/2015/Distrust-over-EU-GM-crop-approvals-grows-as-at-least-13-countries-move-towards-national-bans/

            and to quote from REUTERS (Aug 27, 2015) about the safety you claim (which I totally argue as stated multiple times)

            “…letters showing the European Commission is examining rules for imports of products with trace levels of GM and had requested the expert opinion of the European Food Safety Authority. In a statement on Thursday, the Commission said its zero-tolerance policy against non-authorized GM products remains in place and it was simply seeking advice on “a scientific question” unrelated to trade negotiations with the United States. The EFSA said it would issue a scientific opinion on the question by the end of 2017.”

            I guess the EFSA is a major science institute for your standards and it doesn’t have an easy answer as you claim. SO, why don;t you wait a few years, when maybe solid evidence may arise, pro or con, and then we talk.

            ps. for your next reply, I urge you to use somewhere the term ‘profit’. You will love it,

          4. “Each country, based on it’s research (taking into consideration third parties), bans or allows foods, drugs etc. ”

            That is the beginning and end of this little “debate” we’re having right now. Until you provide evidence to support that assertion, I’m calling bullshit. Prove that any of these “bans” that you claim exist, were based upon science. Prove to me that these internal “ministries” determined that GMOs were dangerous and that’s why the government “banned” GMOs.

            No evidence = bullshit.

          5. Please provide a single paper that a proper genetics research (7 generations I think is the time that mutations can happen) has been done for all the GMOs and that they are 100% safe. Well no, there isn’t because there hasn’t been enough time to establish such a connection for all the GMOs (a single link will suffice).

            Mutations can occur in 1 generation.

          6. So, you continue to use arguments only to your favor but not accept them for the other side. The same legal notice is of no concern for you because ‘your’ scientists are ‘true’ scientists while a paper published under the UN umbrella has no credibility because the United Nations has no ‘real’ scientists working for them. I really don’t know what to say…

            I’ve explained this to you. That report was given TO the UN , not BY the UN. They do not represent any scientific body of the UN. The paper I quoted on the other handed, was published by the Commission for Research, Innovation, and Science (of the European Commission). So yes, there is an obvious difference between the two. What don’t you understand about that?

            OBVIOUSLY you didn’t read ANY of the papers I provided you, so after you reject the UN, WWF and others partners, let’s post something from yesterdays news from Greenpeace (non scientists as well I guess, just swimming with dolphins)

            Once again, a presentation TO the UN is not something FROM the UN. Secondly, I asked you to quote SCIENTIFIC ORGANIZATIONS, not political organizations. Greenpeace is a political organization. The World Wildlife Fund is a political organization. Try again.

            I guess the EFSA is a major science institute for your standards and it doesn’t have an easy answer as you claim. SO, why don;t you wait a few years, when maybe solid evidence may arise, pro or con, and then we talk.

            NON-AUTHORIZED. Do you even read the things that you quote? GMOs are grown in Europe, doesn’t that kind contradict your entire argument?

          7. Once AGAIN YOU AVOID a single answer:

            From the start:
            “Please provide a single paper that a proper genetics research (7 generations I think is the time that mutations can happen) has been done for all the GMOs and that they are 100% safe. Well no, there isn’t because there hasn’t been enough time to establish such a connection for all the GMOs (a single link will suffice).”

            To continue:
            Mutations MAY occur in ONE generation BUT they CAN take UP TO SEVEN.

            To quote you: “No evidence = bullshit.”

            What paper/research is officially under the umbrella/has the signature of the UN/WWF/Greenpeace has the same official status.
            What don’t YOU understand about that?

            And to close with your remarks which are totally based on irrational thinking and biased thoughts:
            OF COURSE they are GMOs that are beneficial (the classic insulin example and others). What the MAJORITY of countries is saying (and the reason why the BAN GMOs)(do you want the list AGAIN?) is that there is NO THOROUGH research yet for most of them which can prove GMOs are 100% safe. In many countries around the globe, there are still casualties from DDT related cancer because people thought based on excellent science facts of the previous decades (not thorough of course) that DDT is safe if used properly. It takes more TIME AND TESTING and because of PROFIT, things are on the fast lane.

            AND ONCE AGAIN (and I will shut up if you can do it),
            “Please provide a single paper that a proper genetics research (7 generations I think is the time that mutations can happen) has been done for all the GMOs and that they are 100% safe. Well no, there isn’t because there hasn’t been enough time to establish such a connection for all the GMOs (a single link will suffice).”

          8. “Please provide a single paper that a proper genetics research (7 generations I think is the time that mutations can happen) has been done for all the GMOs and that they are 100% safe. Well no, there isn’t because there hasn’t been enough time to establish such a connection for all the GMOs (a single link will suffice).”

            LOL I like how you get to pull information out of your ass (“I think”) and without even cracking a smile insist that the scientific community must now conform to this new standard that you’ve pulled out of your ass. Bravo sir, for your deadpan humor style.

            What the MAJORITY of countries is saying (and the reason why the BAN GMOs)

            And yet, every single time I ask for evidence for this assertion, you always come up short. You’ve not even linked to a single official scientific ministry. The best you could muster were 3 anti-GMO political organizations.

            (do you want the list AGAIN?)

            Sure, your fake list where they do actually grow GMOs in those countries is amusing to me, feel free to post it again.

            http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/04/11/most-countries-other-than-u-s-ban-gmos-myth-debunked/

          9. AND ONCE AGAIN YOU FAIL MISERABLY

            FOR THE FOURTH TIME ! ! !

            “Please provide a single paper that a proper genetics research (7 generations I think is the time that mutations can happen) has been done for all the GMOs and that they are 100% safe. Well no, there isn’t because there hasn’t been enough time to establish such a connection for all the GMOs (a single link will suffice).”

            PS. The “I think” part is called sarcasm. If you don’t get it check out these links. Maybe you can understand those
            http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8624.1990.tb03568.x/abstract
            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0093934X0400241X
            http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=search.displayRecord&UID=2002-12819-062

          10. Once again, it’s funny that you think you’re qualified to determine what “proper genetics research” looks like. You’re not. The international scientific community on the other hand, is.

            George = Not Qualified. International Scientific Community = Qualified. Any questions?

          11. Bronson you are so funny after all….

            When you wake up and realize the magnitude of the profits that are at stake in all aspects of industry and how with a slight manipulation of science standards (thank god in Europe the situation is slightly better) you can get the results that are needed to create an endless debate thus avoiding the real situations, then, maybe, we’ll talk again.

            Until then, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish…

          12. That’s the problem, you don’t have science, evidence, or facts on your side, which is why you have to resort to using the political process which requires none of the above. Simply put, you’re on the wrong side of history. Being anti-GMO is like being against metal, or rocket science, or vaccinations. Just because people can make a profit off of something doesn’t automatically make it bad (otherwise everything that you own would be bad). Big Organic is a $21 Billion industry, but that doesn’t seem to make you question them at all. Your skepticism is highly selective and designed to conform to a particular worldview rather than changing your view to reflect the evidence. In other words, you are “fixing the facts” around the view rather than allowing your view to conform to the facts.

          13. Bronson, don’t let your lack of knowledge, history and expertise mesh with your -biased- opinion. You haven’t answered a single question. Since you are so smart and confident (so far, you are just shouting “you are wrong”) and I’m wrong, why DON’T you provide a SINGLE link PROVING that GMOs are a 100% SAFE for the human genome for the next generations?

            I’ll provide yet another set of links which of course you won’t read but maybe someone else will that shows once again how “solid science facts” are for the waste bin and only did good for the profits of mega corporations and their sidekicks. You don’t understand the notion of independent research and free data.

            From wars and tobacco to the food industry, there has been a great manipulation of data in order to sustain the true politics of mega-corporations. Unfortunately this is not a conspiracy theory from the dark ages but rather a history unfolding. I guess you do remember the tobacco scandal (science papers even proving that it is good for the health) so I will just put about the lead scandal (which lasted from c.1924-1975 ! ! !) with even more papers from the scientific community that there is no “bad” connection between lead and poisoning.
            http://www.nytimes.com/1995/12/08/us/clair-c-patterson-who-established-earth-s-age-is-dead-at-73.html

            And there is DDT (which you failed to answer on my previous comment) which once again had hundreds of papers from major institutes that it is safe for the human organism and now it is proven to be cancer related (after many generations-surprise)!
            http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/23/health-cancer-insecticides-idUSL8N0Z91EU20150623

            So Bronson, when the anti GMOs community says MORE research it means MORE research. Do you need a drawing to understand that?

            When you say that you are sure that everything is fine and everybody else is stupid, you go against fundamental principles of questioning authority and providing a future for the next generations. You can go on living as it is and feel safe. Let me -and others- question all the time everything (whatever the result maybe) in order to provide safer future.

            PS your facts are no better than those provided in the previous decades and finally proved to be erroneous.

          14. Since GE is a breeding technique, I’ll simply ask the question: what are we comparing it to? No food of any kind (or anything, for that matter) is “100% proven safe” because that’s impossible to do with science (which requires testable predictions). Vaccines are not “100% proven safe.” Exercise is not “100% proven safe.” Surgery is not “100% proven safe.” I don’t see you asking to ban any of these things that are not “100% proven safe.”

            Organic is totally untested and unregulated. Why? How do we know that it’s “100% proven safe?” If we compare GMOs to non-GE breeding techniques, then yes, they are safe compared to other breeding techniques. That’s what the evidence indicates. Until we find compelling evidence to demonstrate otherwise, that will remain the scientific consensus. It can of course change, but that’s what makes science different from your belief system (which is not based upon any evidence at all).

            If we apply your logic on GMOs to any other breeding technique, we see how silly and absurd your entire worldview is. Organic is not 100% proven safe therefore it should be banned. NON-GMOs are not 100% proven safe so they should be banned.

            As for your hilarious argument linking GE science to the tobacco industry, consider it refuted.

            http://www.crediblehulk.org/index.php/2015/05/14/blowing-smoke-annihilating-the-fallacious-comparison-of-modern-biotech-scientists-to-tobacco-company-lobbyists/

          15. Once again you prove that you don’t know anything!

            First of all, you don’t answer about the lead cancer scandal nor about the DDT. How could you of course. You think you had me about with the tobacco with a fantastic article (truly fantastic). Since we talk about the past, is far more simple to be certain about some things. Here you go
            http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/16/6/1070.full

            And then for your hilarious arguments about the 100% safe. We tend not to argue about what lies in nature. Even though nature itself is not 100% safe (from the sun to the air that we breathe), we accept because it was there a priori and there is a de facto state of things that nature doesn’t make a profit out of us. So we don’t question it!
            It would be at least stupid to imply such a thing. But we can, and we must, question mega corporations which make a profit out of us.

            And then we to GMOs. Accepting that nature is not 100% safe (to be precise, it is 100% if you know how), ‘trying’ to reverse engineer it and producing a new result labeling it BETTER than the original WITHOUT enough RESEARCH is simply moronic. Wait for a few decades and then we talk. As for the other things that you mention, you are given a choice. You know that heart transplant has a x% of going bad. But YOU decide whether or not you will take that chance. Simple as that.
            Please stop those arguments that drive the conversation nowhere. OK, you are biased, we got it, just try a little harder to see the whole picture..

          16. Your argument can basically be summarized as argumentum ad monsantium. First, you try to re-link Monsanto with the tobacco companies even though I completely refuted that argument (scientific community never had a consensus that smoking was safe, ever). Your inability to separate GE technology with “Monsanto” seems to be at the heart of all of your arguments. Monsanto could be the most evil corporation on Earth and it wouldn’t affect the scientific consensus on GMOs at all. GMOs have been independently tested and verified and independent scientists have come to the same conclusion (unlike with tobacco). You of course have no counter-argument to this contradictory fact besides a blanket statement that they are all “bought out by Monsanto.” You can’t explain how Monsanto can simply buy out the entire international scientific community when Exxon mobile couldn’t do it with 100 times the money, so instead you Gish Gallop onto another issue without ever addressing the contradictory information (this is known as cognitive dissonance).

            As for “not questioning nature,” that’s about the dumbest thing I’ve heard all day. Diseases have always existed. Cancer has always existed. Lead has always existed. Lava has always existed. Your idiotic argument that we should “just assume these things to be safe” is on the level of preschool logic.

            Vaccines are profitable. Hospitals are profitable. Doctors are profitable. The internet is profitable. You’re gonna have to come up with something better than “they are making profits” to prove that they are dangerous.

          17. You are trying to make an argument so hard, that you forgot how to read.

            I have NEVER said ANYTHING about Monsanto nor to link it with anything. Where do you come up with these things? Are you so blinded by your beliefs that you are talking with yourself? Did even read what I posted? Did you CLICKED the LINKS?

            It seems that you don’t have anything to do with scientific community. Cancer is a natural phenomenon. Lava is a natural phenomenon. Everything around us is a natural phenomenon. ‘Bad’ and ‘Good’ are anthropocentric notions in order to sustain life as long as possible. Everything can be ‘dangerous’ if misused. You are trying to come up with arguments that you twist my sayings, add words and of course -wherever you can- say something about Monsanto which I never even implied. It seems that I can not have any kind of argument with someone that is behind a veil of his own truth. Hey, you can always start a war because surely your government has solid evidence that something tricky is going in europe, asia or wherever there is a strong pushback for GMOs until further proof is solid.

            Our difference is that on a scientific level, independent research is far more thorough while you take for granted that if t x institute says so, it is true. Of course, we have HISTORY, great lessons, great stuff there. Open a book and question authority, question yourself. If you ever had the opportunity to be anywhere near an academic doing research on anything, it would be the first thing you would have learned.

          18. You attacked the profit motive, there is absolutely no getting around that. You said GE science is not legit because somebody (now you’re claiming not to be talking about Monsanto, so I’ll just let the readers guess who you are referring to when you talk about profiting since you’re pretty much just dodging the issue at this point) is profiting from GMOs. That is the essence of your argument, and the profit motive is central to your argument about the alleged “dangers” of GMOs.

            Now you’re back to the appeal to nature. I think the best refutation to that is this simple video:

          19. So far Bronson YOU have shown how BIASED you are. I put on the table, the regulations and bans from a few dozens countries from the EU and around the globe (say they are political bans and that their ministries are not official), the UN official paper regarding agriculture from 2015 (you say that it is not from the UN itself -whaaaaaaat?- but from another group of people that work for the UN), papers from Greenpeace, WWF and other organizations are deemed not sciency enough (because of course they are characterized as something else than what YOU find appropriate), papers from WHO from 2015 stating concerns about GMOs are found by you not whatever enough, previous historic events from the last 80 years until today (from lead to DDT) demonstrating how official and major institutes were not thorough enough in their research have nothing to say to you about the non standardized tests that take places in such studies and how manipulated the data can be.
            Yet, you say that I’m biased when the only thing that is asked from the anti GMO community, is more thorough tests with the participation of independent researchers.

            You Bronson, are inadequate to grasp a single thing because you can only see from your prism. Thank you and goodbye.

          20. I am absolutely, unequivocally, unapollogetically biased towards science, facts, evidence, and truth, and categorically biased against fear mongering, propaganda, lies, and pseudoscience/ semi-religious cult bullshit. For that I make no apologies and will not pretend to be “neutral” on this issue. I’m absolutely not neutral. I’m anti-bullshit in all its forms. Whether that comes from the left or right, up down or sideways, is immaterial to me. I am extremely prejudiced against bullshit, and do not treat bullshit equally with science, sorry.

            As far as your “banned” GMOs, it has already been brought to your attention that every single European country imports GMOs (besides Russia, which also banned being gay), and most of them also grow GMOs, including ones that you specifically listed as having “banned GMOs.” Thus, bullshit in, bullshit out. If the beginning of your argument starts with bullshit, it is very likely to end in bullshit. Not only have I demonstrated to you that most of the countries on your list have not “banned GMOs,” but furthermore you never even bothered to demonstrate how these political bans were based upon “science” which you never cited even once. You simply asserted it as fact. But remember, that which is asserted without evidence may be dismissed without evidence. I can simply call “bullshit” and now the burden of proof is back on you. Prove the political ban was based upon science, show me the evidence.

            As for the other “evidence” that you provided, I’ve debunked everything categorically. A report PRESENTED to the UN is not a report BY the UN. Greenpeace is an environmentalist (political) organization, not a scientific organization. Sames goes for the “other organizations” which you cited. You still can not name one major scientific organization which opposes the consensus (there actually is one, but you haven’t identified it because you don’t know what a major scientific organization even looks like).

            As for the WHO, they have stated that GMOs are safe — why can’t they be trusted when they say that GMOs are safe? Answer: because it contradicts your worldview. They are right when they say glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen” but wrong when they say that GMOs are safe, right? Not because you’ve actually read any of these papers, but because one position is consistent with your worldview and the other is simply not (confirmation bias). You want to have your cake and eat it too. Whether or not an organization can be “trusted” depends entirely in whether or not they conform to your worldview.

            As for your past examples, let’s face it, you’ve not read any of those papers either. In fact, we both know that you don’t read scientific papers at all. Let’s be honest here, your concern is not the science because you simply don’t understand the science. This is wayyyyy above your information level. Your entire concern over this issue stems from political opposition, not science. You can’t criticize studies that you’ve never read, sorry it doesn’t work like that. You very likely wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a good study and a bad one in the first place.

            Yes, goodbye, please leave, you have nothing useful to contribute to this conversation and you’re not interested in learning more about the subject.

          21. “Question everything” LOL! If you did that you wouldn’t be anti-GMO, period. If you applied even a fraction of the skepticism towards anti-GMO quackery as you do towards the international scientific community, your entire belief system regarding the subject would quickly evaporate. You’re not “open-minded,” that implies that you are open to contradictory information, which you have absolutely not even remotely demonstrated to be the case. Being open minded means that you are willing to listen to the evidence and change your view accordingly. That’s science, and that’s not the logical thought process that you are engaging in at all.

            You only accept information which conforms to your belief system and categorically reject any information which calls it into question. You apply a double-standard of evidence to protect your belief system. You couldn’t remain logically consistent if your life depended on it. You are the classic case of cognitive dissonance, a person who would rather deny the evidence rather than change their beliefs to conform to the evidence. There is literally no way that I could change your position given these circumstances, because nothing could ever satisfy your unequal, impossible evidentiary standard. I would be like trying to “prove” to Ben Carson that the Earth was not created in 6 days. It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are, when you have an irrational belief system then evidence simply doesn’t work in such cases.

  6. Thank you for a very compelling essay. I’ve been non GMO mainly due to a lack of information. I’m still against Monsanto due to their treatment of the small farmers, but that’s a discussion for a different time. You have given me much to think about and links to information I can access.

  7. Sometimes i wish that i could live happily within the walls of willful ignorance…. Most of this is already known to me (Final year of a B.Sc Chem . mature age student)… but what hit me was your aggression during the flame wars…. i’m absolutely at fault for this myself… i’ve raged and linked so many creditable sources at ignorance, getting pissed off at what in most cases can only be described as stupidity that it started to consume me (going to ignore Australias recent idiot PM… the last 2 years of rage was deserved, this is the man who stated “coal is good for humanity”) But then as i was frankly insulting the entire small town i grew up in (recently returned to see mates) a friend pulled me aside and said plainly “when i asked you to explian GMO’s etc to me after a few beers, you were calm striaght forward and made perfect sense to me, stop being a dickhead these people arent crazy just ignorant… teach dont preach” So began an hr of badly drawn diagrams on costers and more questions then i had imagined… and i enjoyed it. And in the end people who have dealt with breeding and genetics all their lives (just in the old school way of selective breeding) realised that fear not reason had swayed them. Now dont get me wrong, if its a flame war moron… then i’m not going to bother, i still enjoy a good ignorant bash on the web, but its not those people that even matter. Great article well written and honest.

  8. Well done good info on the idiot fringe. Frightening how dumb and gullible people are. stupid is as stupid does. Good on you for doing what you have done regarding this. I am a huge fan of Mark Lynas as well.

    1. It seems like a topic that’s not widely reported on — how batshit crazy the anti-GMO movement is. It’s like they are afraid of the mass phone calls and emails and calls for journalists to be fired for publishing articles critical of the anti-GMO movement.

  9. I used to be stoutly anti-GMO, but recently had a change of mind. What really turned my head on this whole issue was a good friend who, like you, challenged me to look at the overwhelming scientific consensus and helped me better understand food DNA in a way that dispelled the fear brought on by the rhetoric used by the anti-GMO crowd.

    Despite my change in opinion on the safety of GMO foods, a lot of my opinions still align with those anti-GMO folk out there, because some of their misguided rhetoric is tapping into a widespread agricultural problem that’s barely addressed in this country. That problem is monoculture.

    The perfection of genetic engineering of food has brought many advantages to our society and agriculture such as: increased nutrients in crops, high crop yield, pest resistant crops, etc. But it hasn’t been immune to certain drawbacks, and so far we haven’t seen much resolution to these drawbacks beyond increased pesticide use. The widespread use of single strands of crops have allowed pests of said crops to run rampant. Without a natural diversity of crops to evolutionarily thin out viruses and pests we’ll continue to see problems with disease taking advantage of certain crops. I don’t have a source but recent memory recalls a problem with bananas and limes (something about a green center to the crops, correct me if I’m wrong). As agriculture corps continue to copyright strands of seeds farmers are either forced to pay dividends to these corps when cross pollination occurs, or they’re forced to go to extreme measures to avoid them. I’m not a farmer, so I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to go through the legal mumbo-jumbo that is crop copyright infringement, but I’ve read a few things that suggest the strong arm of corps, as backed by the FDA often times, can be a bit overwhelming to small farmers. All of this promotes the use of a single strand of crop, maximizing profit of said strand. That is a problem when it comes to nutrient rich soil and crop diversity.

    I feel like I’m rambling without much of a cause, so I’ll stop here. If you have any sources that suggest there’s a good cure for monoculture and overuse of pesticides I’d love to read it.

    Thanks for the post

    1. GMOs, on average, have largely reduced pesticide use. http://acsh.org/2014/11/meta-analysis-shows-gm-crops-reduce-pesticide-use-37-percent/

      That being said, it makes sense for us to differentiate between “kinds” of pesticides. Roundup replaced much worse herbicides that were used in the past. I’ve noticed that many anti-GMO activists come from the environmental left hoping to “expose” the same issues that were found with DDT or PCB’s, while simultaneously refusing to acknowledge the substantial difference between them. Modern pesticides are simply safer than older ones, there is no arguing against that, as much as many environmentalists want to believe otherwise, the evidence is overwhelming.

      That some weeds are developing glyphosate tolerance is not some kind of revelation to plant scientists. The theory of evolution is not controversial at all in the field, this is science remember? Not politics. Evolution is settled-science as far as plant scientists are concerned. OF COURSE weeds evolve. That’s not an argument against genetic engineering at all.

      The other concerns you bring up are all libertarian arguments against government. Patents are government creations. That has nothing to do with GE technology and many non-GMOs are also patented. If it weren’t for government this technology would very likely have taken off already and wouldn’t be dominated by large corporations looking for herbicide resistance or Bt. I want to do with GE what was done with the internet, a sorta anarchy. Nobody should be in control of this technology, absolutely nobody.

  10. Bronson, I noticed and began reading your comments while trying to gain some prospective on the Mauna Kea situation, probably because we share a name, and found your comments both witty and thoughtful.
    I’ve been a fence sitter on the GMO issue, not being informed enough to sift through all the available “information” to decide who’s experts are telling only their version of the truth. Your article takes an approach that I understand and believe in. Follow the money. Sheds a new light on any issue. I’ve always questioned using GMO technology to only to create a Round Up ready product being the best route to follow. Your summary was very fair in presenting an overall view however identifying the idiots as idiots isn’t likely to win their hearts and minds. Keep up the good work.

    1. I know, but for the truly irrational there isn’t actually anything that can change their view besides time. They just have to see how society and the world changes around them before they conform to the scientific standard (kinda like racism or segregation or slavery).

      Right now it is “normal” for them to behave like this and believe in the things that they do. It’s socially acceptable to be anti-GMO. In the future, they will be universally viewed as idiots or largely just ignorant/irrational. History is not very kind to people who are on the wrong side science.

  11. I’m not against the idea of GMO. I’m against how it’s used at times. Make a food *look* more attractive, but in reality, tastes worse, like some tomatoes. Big and red and juicy, but zero flavor. I just hate *how* GMO is used. It’s more marketing than actually improving foods. They’d rather trade favor so they can grow all year long. So, the is that gray area of being against GMO. I’ll eat it, but only when done right or at least didn’t kill the good in question too much. Also Monsanto is simply an ass, GMO or not. Their use of the legal system and patents is awful. But, that’s only related to GMOs. Though it doesn’t help anyone want to be on their side on any argument.

    1. You’ve almost certainly never eaten a GMO tomato, so that’s entirely in your head. There are no commercially available GE tomatoes. In 1994 there was the Flavr Savr which was discontinued in 1997. The Flavr Savr was designed to counter the (current) process of picking the tomatoes while green (to improve shelf-life from handling and ripening). The Flavr Savr ideas was to allow farmers to let the tomato to ripen on the vine, and while it did preventing ripening, it did not affect firmness so it was eventually discontinued as better varieties were developed.

      It’s in your head.

  12. Thank you so much for opening my eyes!

    I’m not talking about the GMO thing, I already knew that was pretty much all good, but I had no idea people could be just so ignorant!
    The first half of this article I found amusing, but the parts where you were interviewing the activists at the rallies, it was just… in a word, sad.
    And what makes it worse is that this isn’t the only issue in which there are far too many ignorant people around, there are so, SO MANY!

    One thing I’ve noticed however is that the majority of these people (I noticed you said you were religious in one of the videos so I apologise if I offend you) the vast majority are religious, and haven’t the slightest clue how to think for themselves, and instead quote a book, rather than going out and finding information themselves as you did.

    I’m glad you included the part where you engaged in flame-wars, it’s nice to know that you can get wrapped up in such unpleasantness and still be a good person.

    Keep up the good work, it’s good to see people are still fighting the war on ignorance.
    🙂

    1. I’ve probably met an equal amount of non-theist anti-GMO activists as religious. In fact, it is beyond proportion to their representation in the population, but that’s because there are a lot of New Age hippie types here in Hawaii, so I’m not sure if that’s considered “religious” or just cuckoo.

      They don’t follow a set holy book or worship a specific deity, but they do believe in LOTS of crazy shit with GMOs just scratching the surface.

  13. In the next decades the world will ned a lot more food of better quality. There’s no alternative to GE.
    As for the seeds being expensive, that is probably the main reason that poor nations reject it. Patent expiry should take care of that…

  14. Quite a read, I never really did any of my own research, but I thought, “wont this end world hunger? why aren’t people excited about this?” When i first heard the term GMO. About a year ago, my 3 month old popped out 3 teeth. I just thought she was an early teether. I ran into an acquaintance while at the store. I an brief conversation she told me” all babies teethe faster, and grow bigger because of all the GMO’s.” At that point, Claire’s diet consisted of breast milk. I did some serious thinking about what I put in my body and my kids bodies. I have always tried to feed my family food that is less processed, but my 16 year old loves Spaghettio’s and Hot Pckets, I love Spaghettio’s and Hot Pockets. I will eat GMO’s, but i won’t eat aspartame. Mostly because I hate the way diet anything tastes. During the interview with Dr. Pang I was convinced when he “didn’t have his power point.’ However he did have an outdated version of a study by the Nat. Academy of Sciences, published in 2003. Awesome. Thank you Bronson for reassuring me I wasn’t poisoning my baby when nursing her.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read BobbiSue Brock. I was largely tricked in the same way, they first got to me when my wife was pregnant with our first child. Being a new parent means you are a paranoid parent, and will believe in and trust anything that you hear. We intentionally avoided processed and non-organic foods even though we could ill-afford it at the time. I even questioned our pediatrician about the dangers of vaccinating.

      Naturally, upon learning the truth about this whole thing, I became angry, but in a good motivating kind of way (like when you realize you’re too fat and you need to start working out again), not the self-destructive kind of way that I later descended into. I feel a sense of civic duty to educate others on all the lies and myths coming from the anti-GMO movement. I know most people are well- intentioned and are just victims of the propaganda and lies like I was, but there really are some people who are intentionally making this stuff up for some kind of sick and twisted personal gain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *