|The consensus is real:
this biotech corn
won’t hurt you.
“Scientists Issue GM Crops Safety Warning”
That’s the headline I saw in my Facebook feed on Wednesday morning. As you can imagine, alarm bells went off instantly. Then I realized the news organization is from the UK. The fight over biotechnology is starting to get interesting across the pond; some people have been talking about lifting the ban on biotechnology and allowing farmers to move into the 21st century.
As you can imagine, not everyone is happy about that.
The leaders of the UK biotech movement have been honestly telling people that there is a consensus: GMOs are perfectly safe. So, as a response, a statement was released by 90 so-called scientists stating that there was no such agreement. The statement read, in part:
We feel compelled to issue this statement because the claimed consensus on GMO safety does not exist. The claim that it does exist is misleading and misrepresents the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of opinion among scientists on this issue.
They went on to complain that there apparently aren’t enough studies (ha!) and the studies that have been done are testing the wrong thing. They also took a dig at US researchers. Readers of The Farmer’s Daughter know that’s just plain silly.
There has never been a single scientific study showing that biotechnology is bad for people or the environment. Never.
And there has been a whole heck of a lot of studies.
But I’m a lawyer, not a scientist, so I’m not going to sit here and try to refute the groups “scientific” claims. (Besides, we all know that the anti-biotechnology crowd isn’t into the whole scientific method. There are a whole host of bad studies, lies, distortions, and the like from them. And they ignore the science that show the positive effects of biotech.)
Rather, I’d like to point out a really rather obvious fact about the folks that put out this ridiculous statement — they’re just activists. Just like these crazies.
How do I know? Because this wasn’t just a random assortment of concerned scientists that got together to come up with this statement because they’re really worried about GMOs. No, this was produced by what amounts to an interest group full of quacks dead set against any technologies (how are you a scientist and against technology?!). The group is known as the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility or ENSSER. (Go ahead and click. Everything I’m about to tell you is proudly displayed on their website.)
They were formed precisely to get attention grabbing headlines. Get ready for their mission statement:
the advancement of science and research for the protection of the environment, biological diversity and human health against negative impacts of new technologies and their products. This especially includes the support and protection of independent and critical research to advance the scientific assessment of the potentially negative impacts.
Bold portions are my own. That’s what these guys focus on – scare tactics. The whole goal of the ENSSER is to seek out and warn people about the allegedly negative potential of any new scientific advancement — even when they don’t have proof it exists. They formed back in 2008 because they’re worried about where the world is headed, specifically with “Climate change, loss of biodiversity, development of agro-food systems (GMOs, biotechnology, biosafety, food sovereignty), emerging technologies (e.g. nanotechnologies), degradation of ecosystem services, agricultural policy.”
In other words, modern agriculture.
Just like HSUS is set up to stand against animal agriculture, ENSSER’s sole mission is to stop scientific and technological advances in agriculture. These guys stand against the stuff that gives us higher yields, lower inputs, and better quality. These scientists have an agenda.
Besides the mission statement, how do I know these guys aren’t looking for real scientific results? Here’s the kicker: their funding comes directly from the (even crazier) groups that are spreading the anti-GMO garbage all around the world. ENSSER was set up by these anti-GMO groups to produce “science” that supports their deranged ideas.
By the way, how hypocritical that people don’t trust Monsanto because they have a “vested financial interest,” but they’re perfectly comfortable trusting a group of “scientists” whose funding comes directly from activist groups opposed to biotech.
So, who are these sponsors? They aren’t quite as obviously crazy as our environmental groups (think: PETA, Greenpeace, and HSUS). I mean, after all, they are European. But these groups have pretty simple missions: stop biotechnology. Each and every one is opposed to modern agriculture. They’re also anti-science.
How about Foundation Sciences Citoyness? They host speakers talking about “Seeds of dissent: How the biotechnology industry silenced scientific research” and “Do not open the Pandora’s box of synthetic biology.”
Or how about NABU who lobbies for “Agrarian Reform – reversing now!” in the UK? What does it mean to “reverse” agriculture? Just what you’d think — getting rid of any modern technologies, animal rights, and breaking up large farms. Sounds like they might have an interest in preventing biotechnology.
My favorite is Stiftung Gekko! What do they want? “The Gekko Foundation works to ensure that the dissemination of agro-biotechnology and its products in Europe, as well as the world [is] stopped.”
Are you noticing a pattern here? The ENSSER isn’t a group of concerned scientists. Rather, they’re a conglomerate of the anti-science activists groups that try to stop progress, science, and technology. The funding for these “scientists comes directly from huge European-style interest groups that are promoting and spreading the lies and misconceptions about biotechnology that we hear about every single day. And all of them have a big vested interest in scaring people about GMOs. That’s how they make a living is by spreading their backward propaganda.
Is it any wonder that this ridiculous statement came out right when the UK is starting to wake up to the potential to biotech? Absolutely not. Just like any other political propaganda, this statement was calculated to make an impact right now when it counts.
So before people start touting this statement as proof that biotech isn’t safe, consider that these guys are trying to prove a point. They’re trying to scare people into thinking that GMOs harbor some unknown danger. That’s what they’re getting paid to do. Just like the other fake studies on GMOs, these so-called scientists want to spread a certain message because that is their gravy train.
Talk about unethical.
The bottom line is this: real scientists, the ones that believe in the scientific method and create real studies, are at a consensus — GMOs are safe. They aren’t going to hurt you. They aren’t going to destroy the Earth. And, no, they don’t all work for Monsanto or the FDA.
What biotechnology will do is allow us to increase yields, decrease inputs, and feed a world population that is ready to explode. There is no real controversy over this. There is no real debate anymore. Just a bunch of puffed up scare tactics from a desperate campaign to win over confused consumers.
And that’s the consensus.
Indeed, there is no need for consensus as both science and risk assessment are based on majority opinion. Please have a look at http://genpeace.blogspot.com.br/2013/10/no-need-f…
Very good article!! Indeed, consensus is NOT needed. It reminds me of Thomas Khune's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. More people need to read that book and understand how science works. Absolutely fascinating.
I see you didn't have the guts to publish my comment. Color me not surprised. 🙂
Nope. I do not publish comments that ignore the facts and state a bunch of ridiculous propaganda, If the only thing you have to say is the same ignorant things coming out of the March Against Monsanto crazies, you're not getting a platform here.