Wednesday, July 30, 2014

GMO’s: Scare Mongering at Its Worst! Part IV

By Rich Kozlovich

Mike Adams, who publishes Natural News and styles himself as the Health Ranger recently posted an article entitled, The Agricultural Holocaust explained: the 10 worst ways GMOs threaten humanity and our natural worldon July 27, 2014.

He claims "genetically modified organisms (GMOs) a serious threat to humanity and the environment? The reasons span the realms of science, social justice, economics and the environment, and once you understand this, you'll readily understand why so many environmentalists, humanitarians, responsible scientists and social justice advocates are strongly opposed to GMOs", and lists ten reasons why? This is a ten part series.

Here is Part I, Part II and Part III

Adam’s fourth proclamation is that “GMOs run the very real risk of runaway self-replicating genetic pollution and ecocide”. He goes on to say:

Unlike isolated chemicals, GMOs self-replicate. This means there is an automatic risk of a runaway ecological holocaust caused by genetic pollution from GMOs.

Once (sic) scientist calls this risk "ecocide" and has calculated the risk of ecocide caused by GMOs will approach 100%. As I wrote
in this March 2014 article
:

As Taleb convincingly argues, genetically engineered crops are specifically designed to have a survival advantage over conventional crops, allowing them to better resist droughts or infestations of pests or weeds. This survival advantage -- if it's as real as seed manipulators claim -- means genetically engineered plants can out-compete non-GMO crops in open fields. The genetic pollution which is already underway across North America will only get worse, therefore, and there's no reversing it because all living systems -- even genetically engineered ones -- have a natural drive to spread, multiply and survive.

The result is that GMO crops will out-compete and thereby displace non-GMO crops over time. Why does this matter? Because the rise of GMOs is nearly synonymous with the collapse of genetic diversity in seeds and food crops.

So, the Health Ranger’s argument is that all these GMO’s are better and will out compete all non-genetically improved varieties, and will spread this genetic superiority all over the planet. And somehow this is a prelude to ecological holocaust?

Is that his argument? That’s not much of an argument!

They claim the increase of genetically superior plants will spread to feral plants and be the cause for the collapse of genetic diversity – that’s a red herring since genetically superior plants have been displacing biologically incompetent varieties since time immemorial.

There is only one difference. In the past the transfer of genes took place via selective breeding and cross-pollination. Now humanity has gone past that via modern technology into a realm of genetic potentials that were impossible in the natural scheme of things. Now we have the opportunity to tailor plants to meet our needs far beyond anything that is possible “naturally”. And better yet, these enhancements are permanent, and we should be happy about that.

Eco-activists rail against agriculture for using too much water. GMO’s are responsible for a serious reduction in that need. Eco-activists rail against the use of pesticides. GMO’s reduce that need tremendously, not to mention how much less land is needed versus these "all natural" farms that are forced to reduce wildlife habitat to achieve the same level of production. Not only do they use more land, but they have to use more water, more pesticides – “which includes more than 20 chemicals, mostly containing copper and sulfur, along with nicotine sulfate, which is extremely toxic to warm-blooded animals”, and more energy.   

Does anyone besides me see a serious lack of consistency in their thinking?

Is it possible that the real reason for their hate of these products has more to do with “patent exhaustion” than biodiversity? Is it possible they’re real hate of Monsanto and is they’re not giving these seeds away for free? Is it possible they don’t fully grasp that Monsanto spends a billion dollars a year on genetic research?

It takes approximately three hundred million dollars to bring a pesticide to market. One year Bayer tested twenty five compounds and none of them made it to the market. How much was spent on these compounds? I have no idea, but remember they’re probably testing a large number of compounds each and every year and most of those compounds will yield no financial benefit to Bayer.

Monsanto spends billions to bring one product to market, and eco-activists rail against them as greedy monsters committing ecocide. Nonsense! All these claims are wild speculations and logical fallacies since thus far all these GMO’s have been a major source of benefit to humanity. Let’s try to get this right once and for all. If there’s no financial reward there will be no technical advancement, and there will be no new products, including new medicines, in which GMO’s have played a significant role. Companies have been;

“engineering animals and plants to produce proteins to use as medicine. An example of pharming is raising cows with human antibodies-containing milk. Sheep and pigs have also been modified to produce milk containing human blood-clotting protein factor-eight, interferon, and insulin.”

“The virus-free blood-clotting protein is ideal for hemophila patients since traditional methods of producing this protein run the risk of being contaminated with viruses. The mass production of insulin from these animals benefits diabetes sufferers as well.”

“Crops are also used to produce human proteins. In the U.S., rice has been engineered to produce alpha-antitrypsin; in the United Kingdom transgenic sheep have been used to produce this protein, which is used to treat liver disease and hemorrhages.”

“In the late 1990s, about a quarter of all insulin, growth hormone, hepatitis-B vaccine, and antibodies for cancer treatments were produced by GMO.”

One last point regarding patent rights! At some point all of these patents will run their course that these GMO’s will be part of the public domain and can be utilized by everyone creating far reaching benefits to the poor and malnourished people of the world. But, that can only happen if they’re produced at a profit in the first place for the benefit of the stockholders of these corporations that have been financing the research and producing commercially valuable products for humanities benefit. That profit also provides seed money for future research!

One can foolishly rail against them as greedy for their desire to make a substantial profit - if that’s one’s bent - but no one should be finding fault with the beneficial results they’ve produced for humanity, and the environment!

1 comment:

Karl said...

Link to Part V as a public service.