Saturday, April 20, 2013

Scientific Terrorism- Forcing You to Change with Fear

Is the anti-GMO movement scientific terrorism? Terrorism is defined as acts committed which are intended to create fear (terror), perpetrated for a religious, political or, ideological goal.  Here I will show evidence from only one recent source that supports the assertion that the anti-GMO movement is scientific terrorism.

Last week we saw Zen Honeycutt and Moms Across America deploy explosive nonsense, outright falsehoods, in an attempt to cause as much intellectual collateral damage as possible- to build fear, create terror -- when no scientific reason exists.

This week let's look at an on-line petition from  Note, this is not "inspire change" or "scientifically influence change".  it is FORCE CHANGE.  Change is demanded and they will use any means possible to achieve it, even if it is not scientifically warranted. 

Their stated goal is to force change because their beliefs and ideological goals dictate that they do-- they have marching orders to carry out, even if it creates harm beyond their mission.  Let the anti-intellectual terror campaign begin!

When you can't inspire change with logic, reason and evidence, you "Force Change". It is parallel to the frightening rhetoric of "Take America Back" in the last election. If you can't get your desired outcomes by evidence-based means, use lies and distortion to force it, to take it back.

Let's examine the recent on-line petition on the page above.  The petition states many blatant falsehoods.  Whether the author is lying, stupid or both is unknown, but it does not stop them from driving a fear-mongering campaign that is inconsistent with science.  Here is the petition broken down into digestible bites, followed by evidence-based commentary.

"Monsanto Corporation has a multinational monopoly over genetically modified foods. This means that farmers are having a difficult time using other seeds." 
Farmers are free to use whatever seeds they want to use. There are plenty of non-GMO seed sources. Farmers choose this technology for its performance and/or cost savings.
"Monsanto necessitates that farmers don’t save and replant next-generation seeds, so that they’ll have to keep buying Monsanto’s seeds every year."
Farmers are free to not sign the agreement and use alternative seeds.  Plant materials, GMO and non-GMO are protected by patents to ensure continued variety improvement by providing some funds back to breeding programs
"When a farmer used a variety of unmarked seeds from a grain elevator, some were found to be Monsanto’s and the corporation sued him for $84,000."
The farmer acquired seeds from an elevator and then used glyphosate (roundup) to select for those containing the beneficial gene. That’s stealing technology. Try making a million copies of software, music or art. You can’t take other people’s inventions or creative work and sell it/use it as your own, and this was the basis of the court's decision. 
"Genetically modified foods are also dangerous. The genetic material added to make crops more resistant to disease often carries RNA that can lead to other diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes." 
The authors present no evidence of this.  In the accompanying plea, they state 
"A Chinese study found that people who ate genetically modified rice had RNA in their bodies that binds to human liver cells and absorbs cholesterol from the blood. RNA is also known to lead to cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes."
What they fail to tell you is that the "Chinese study" was not done with GMO rice. Oops.  Standard old white rice.  PLUS!! "RNA IS ALSO KNOW TO LEAD TO CANCER, ALZHEIMER'S, AND DIABETES!! Holy crap!  I'm loaded with RNA!
"Here in the United States, the Monsanto corporation owns 90% of genetically modified crops, and 88% of corn and 93% of soybeans are genetically modified. In Europe, Monsanto owns 36% of tomato, 32% of sweet pepper, and 49% of cauliflower varieties."
Oh, and the tomato, pepper and cauliflower varieties are not GMO. They may even be growing on your organic farm...
"The European Patent Council can vote to outlaw patents on food, which will end Monsanto’s stronghold in Europe. Hopefully, if you do this, it will encourage the United States and other countries to follow suit, leading to better economic futures for farmers and better health for people."
Better economic futures?  By driving corn, soybean, canola, sugar beet and cotton production overseas?  Better for plant breeders that rely on plant patents to protect their interests and maintain their programs?  


Once again the anti-scientific rhetoric of the anti-GMO movement soars to a new low.  Not only do they provide absolutely false information, it is presented to generate fear in an attempt to force change. That's using terrorism to drive an agenda, to force you to change your ways or your thinking because of fear. 


Jennie Schmidt, MS, RD said...

Different subject matter but in a recent decision Hudson Farm v Water keepers Alliance, the judge called out the Assateague Coastal keeper for practicing "the ends justify the means" activism to attempt to prove her case. Too many ppl are simply trying to prove "they're right" at any cost.

John Lord said...

The fightback is starting against militant reactionary environmentalism. In many ways it mirrors what happened prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, where socialism rather than environmentalism was taken on. Ironically many enviro. campaigners jumped ship from same failed socialism!

DebbieC said...

A FB friend posted this one today, and I provided some info about its inaccuracies. He thanked me! That NEVER happens. Most of the time people dislike any information that might alleviate their fears.

Luminous said...

Using the word "terrorism" in this context appears to be extremely manipulative. "Fear-mongering" would be a more accurate label, as that is what they are actually doing, playing off the public's fear of a new technology. If science validates your position so thoroughly, why then would you need to prove your point by marginalizing the anti-GMO movement as a form of terrorism, a very politically-charged word?

I've been following the GMO debate for only a couple of years, and what I've found is that individuals on BOTH sides of the argument use facts selectively and manipulate emotions. You've done that in this post.

Just so you understand, I don't completely disagree with you, and my only agenda is to find the truth, and I don't claim to possess it. My observation is that presenting your one-sided arguments as the complete truth, "illumination" or even moderate is not just misleading, it is a lie. In reality, GMOs are a recent innovation, science does not yet have all of the answers, and none of the current data can completely alleviate valid environmental, ethical, political and philosophical concerns, of which there are many. Perhaps individuals who are pro-GMO should use their knowledge and energy to educate the public about what we do know, and acknowledge what we don't, and then allow people make up their own minds.

Kevin M. Folta said...

Luminous, good points, and I do a lot of public education-- tons. Too much!

The first line asks IF this is terrorism, then analyzes what terrorism is, and how it works. This is not fear-mongering on my part at all, it simply asks a question.

If the shoe fits...

I'd never say that science has all the answers, but we have an awful lot of them. To date, none indicate harm, even with our most sensitive tools.