Shooting Ourselves in the Foot: The Banning of GM Technology and Research in Hawaii

There is a breaking news story that a possible case of Ebola is at a Honolulu hospital tonight.  It’s not confirmed however, but this shows how it is indeed a real problem worldwide should it spread. Hawaii is an international hub that so many people travel through making it a prime location for the spread of contagious illnesses.  Recall other illnesses that have made it to our shores several years back from H1N1, swine flu, and Dengue fever.  Diseases spread and it can be devastating.

According to the CDC website, genetic testing is used to diagnose this deadly disease.  Yes, the science used in genetic engineering is applied in making that diagnosis of the Ebola virus.  (Any protests to GM technology in medicine?)

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It is also interesting to note that several aid workers who had been infected with it in Africa managed to recover from this viral illness possibly due to GMO tobacco plants that produced an experimental drug.  You can read more about this treatment and outcomes here and watch the video below to hear his story.

So while the people of Hawaii are growing concerned about this contagious and very deadly illness, in Maui County, voters are seeking out a ban of GM technology until it is proven safe.  Hawaii has the perfect growing conditions to possibly be a contributor to solving this very deadly issue and yet the public will get to vote to block it from happening.  Our state could be at the forefront of helping to research and grow medications that can alleviate suffering and death but we’d rather use well read Google scholars to dictate laws that prevent us from being global citizens in helping others.  That’s just sad.

We are fearing a technology that can save lives but prefer to listen to lawyers from Earthjustice, the Center for Food Safety, and politicians like Gary Hooser, Tim Bynum, Elle Cochran, and activists like Nomi Carmona and Walter Ritte to dictate laws.  I can’t help but wonder if political science PhD. Ashley Lukens of the Center for Food Safety is rethinking her stance on blocking this technology when faced with Ebola.  Where’s Vandana Shiva and her life saving offer to the people suffering from this deadly disease?  Where’s the organic activists like Zen Honeycutt of Moms Across America and her claims that organic cures autism helping to alleviate the suffering of others?  Where’s Hawaii SEED and their donations to solve this problem? What’s the SHAKA Movement doing to revamp their ordinance should this disease and others spread across the world?  Will we leave ourselves handicapped to do anything to address this problem because we choose the “naturalistic” lifestyle and live in harmony with nature? Ebola is indeed natural and definitely something none of us want.

This is a real issue that we need to address and if we don’t, we won’t be ready for it should it escalate further and we’ve shot ourselves in the foot.  Think its not real? Think this is fear mongering? Listen to Dr. Kent Brantly, one of the survivors of the virus, tell his story of what is happening in West Africa.

I know some people are reading Natural News and alternative health sites that are telling you that Ebola is a made up illness and such.  Please have some skepticism and get off of those sites as they are making you look foolish for not even questioning it.  Questioning genetics and the science behind it only to call it propaganda isn’t considered skepticism.  That’s called being scientifically illiterate and not something you should be professing in the social media.  Those conspiracy theories aren’t helping your intelligence and critical thinking or logic either.  You can post them on the social media and believe them, but quite a few people know you’ve been made the fool but are too nice to not say it.

To pass bad laws like the Maui Moratorium one is irresponsible at best because the touters of it have no idea of the unintended consequences of such an action.  Do we want to block our options for very viable solutions because of what someone read on the internet and believes with no facts behind it?  I say no and you should too!

 

 

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Who Can You Trust in the GMO Issue?

I have to thank Dr. Kevin Folta for commenting on my blog the other day.  What he said really got me thinking more about the anti-GMO club and why we have such a problem.  It’s not just that they don’t understand the rationale of science and the process, but they also have problems with trust.  Who are you to trust in all of this mass information on the internet?  There’s so much conflicting information all over the place and how are you to navigate through all of this?

I decided to put together a simple guide for how to figure out who is trustworthy and who isn’t.  Read on!

Red Flag Number 1: Celebrity Status

 A huge red flag for me is that if someone is a celebrity and are touting being anti-GMO, I wouldn’t trust them for anything.  For one, most of them have no training or education at all to make the claims they do and tend to jump into these hot topics for attention and fans.  Here’s a great example of celebrities and their anti-GMO activities.

Who can’t forget Roseanne Barr?!  We haven’t heard from her much on the issue since she has refused to pay up her donation to the Babes Against Biotech.

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Bette Midler, a part time Kauai resident who jumped on the anti-GMO bandwagon.

Vani Hari aka “The Food Babe”

Rachel Parent, a then 14 year old activist with the Right to Know Kids

Darryl Hannah with the Babes Against Biotech leader Naomi Carmona at the Mana March.

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Kelly Slater, a professional surfer touts organic food.

What do all of these celebrities have in common?  First of all, none have any higher level education in any kind of science at all.  I highly doubt they know much about DNA let alone farming and what it takes.  Secondly, they all repeat the same Monsanto mantra word for word.  Thirdly, they all use fear in their messaging from you’ll get cancer and autism if you consume GMOs. None are independent thinkers and repeat the same messaging over and over again.  And really, do you trust a surfer to tell you what to eat???

And think about it for a minute.  Would you trust a plumber to build your house?  Would you listen to a teenager for your nutritional advice?  Would you use a electrician to treat your illnesses?  If you answer no to those questions, then why are you using a celebrity for what you eat?  Do they actually have the right education and training to make the claims they do?  Uh, no.  They are there to sell things, act the part, but they aren’t for teaching anyone anything.  TV is a lot of made up stuff so why go to the tube for “good” advice???

In this sense, common sense should rule.  Common sense tells you that these are not the people you should trust for your information on agriculture, nutrition, and last but not least, biotech issues.  It’s just as bad and making stuff up.  That’s exactly what Hollywood and TV are good for though!

Red Flag Number 2: “Scientists” that Have Single Studies

leagueofantis

Meme by Jeff Cotter posted in the Facebook group, Skepic

Hopefully, you got to read the page I published on “The Most Misunderstood Concepts of Science and Thinking by the Anti-GMO Club,” to give you some basic tenets of this process.  Key point is that science is not pick and choose what kind you like.  It’s an evidence based meaning that you continually build data to bolster or reject your claims.  We’ve had the pleasure of meeting quite a few “scientists” here in Hawaii courtesy of the tax exempt Hawaii SEED and other richly funded anti-GMO clubs.

From a post in the GMO Skepti-Forum by Richard Green, this summarizes these “scientists.”

This meme was a means to gather the rogues, now lets take a closer look at this motley crew:

Gilles-Éric Séralini: He is active in research and is the author of the infamous rat study that was retracted and recently republished without critical review. His work is often shown to have poor methodology and analysis.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2014/06/24/profile-of-gilles-eric-seralini-author-of-republished-retracted-gmo-corn-rat-study/

Charles Benbrook: Benbrook is an agricultural economist at Washington State University and science advisor for The Organic Center. He is the author of a widely panned study on pesticide use in GM crops.
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2012/10/03/when-bad-news-stories-help-bad-science-go-viral/#.U8gxcajSCux

Judy Carman: Another active researcher and the author of a study on pigs which were fed GM corn. The study was found to be lacking in many areas.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrymiller/2013/07/17/you-can-put-lipstick-on-a-pig-study-but-it-still-stinks/

Stephanie Seneff and Anthony Samsel: These two are computer specialists that do not conduct research per se, but use algorithms to look for correlations. They typically engage in what I call reverse snake oil. Instead of a magic elixir curing unrelated conditions, they lay the blame for unrelated conditions on a single cause, usually glyphosate. They have the distinction of having a paper being used as a model for detecting a bogus scientific journal.
http://www.sci-phy.com/detecting-bogus-scientific-journals/

Vandana Shiva: Shiva is a philosopher who would like you to believe she is a physicist. A frequent claim is her rallying cry against “terminator genes/seeds”. These seeds are more of an idea than reality, as they never made it out of preliminary development. She is also fond of making outrageous claims with no supporting evidence.
http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/01/28/who-is-vandana-shiva-and-why-is-she-saying-such-awful-things-about-gmos/

David Suzuki: Suzuki was a zoologist/geneticist and retired in 2001. Now he is an environmentalist who accepts the global consensus on global warming but falls short on accepting the global consensus on GMOs. His vague cautions against unknown risks apply equally to creating new crops from any form of plant breeding. The few times he has been confronted with hard questions have left him flummoxed.
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/02/04/rob-breakenridge-we-need-a-better-david-suzuki/

Don Huber: Huber is a retired agricultural researcher from Purdue University who was well respected in his day. These days he claims the existence of mysterious pathogen somehow associated with Roundup that only he can see…
http://www.biofortified.org/2014/01/deconstructing-don-huber-a-tale-of-two-talks/

Thierry Vrain: Vrain was a soil biologist and genetic scientist for the Agriculture department in Canada. As with others in the gallery, he makes poorly sourced claims to elicit fear. Unlike some of the others, he really doesn’t specialize, his is more of an all-purpose type of misinformation.
http://www.comoxvalleyecho.com/real-science-vs-pseudo-science-on-gmo-s-1.971682

Jeffery Smith: Such a gallery would not be complete without Mr. Smith. He has no academic credentials. Not that credentials are needed to understand the science behind GMOs, but Mr. Smith has not made that effort. Like a lot of the rogues, he tours the paid lecture circuit making unfounded claims about the dangers of GMOs. His seminal work is the novel Genetic Roulette, which has been thoroughly debunked.
http://www.biofortified.org/2010/03/academics-reviews-meets-genetic-roulette/

To sum up:
The active scientists in this group all seem to start with the end point they want to reach and then try to manipulate enough variables to achieve their goals. That is the exact opposite of how to conduct a good experiment.
The non-scientists and retired scientists seem to be pushing an ideology instead of examining the current research.

“View anything these folks have to say on agricultural topics with extreme caution.”

 Believing without Questioning=Religious Ideology

If you’re still “believing” in these folks, here’s some additional reading that you might add to see why the your links using them aren’t viewed as evidence.

Press Digs into Anti-GMO Study–Journalists were the first group of people to wonder about Seralini’s lumpy rats when he asked them to sign a non-disclosure agreement with a hefty fine of a million euros if it was violated.

Don Huber and the Mystery Pathogen–Video by Dr. Kevin Folta questioning this mysterious claims of Don Huber.

A Generous Offer Turned to Dr. Huber Turned Down–Dr. Folta offers to study this so called pathogen for Dr. Huber with not a response.

Wealthy Activist Vandana Shiva is a Poor Advocate Poor Advocate for the Poor–Shiva has made her rounds here in Hawaii and is said to make some $40K per lecture as well as asks for $10K for travel expenses.  She also has an organic farm where you pay to work for free!

Study of Organic Crops Finds Very Little–The recent headlines of organic food having more anti-oxidants questions the methodology used and the person quoted in it, Dr. Charles Benbrook, a well known organic proponent.

Suzuki is Clueless–Video documenting Suzuki’s anti-science flip flopping on Sun News.

Genetic Roulette & the GMOs-The League of Nerds–Myles Powers takes down Jeffrey Smith’s beloved anti-GMO movie, Genetic Roulette.  (This video is pretty long as a FYI but a great take down of each of his claims.)

Once More Bad Science in the Service of Anti-GMO Activism–Another take down of Dr. Judy Carman’s bad pig study.

What do the Creationists and Anti-GMO have in Common?–Blog post by Fourat Janabi on why we should keep calm and carry on.

GMO Skepti-Forum Thread on Dr. Thierry Vrain –A compilation of discussions on his claims and sources.

Condemning Monsanto with Bad Science is Dumb–A breakdown as to Seneff and Samsel’s claims and why it doesn’t help their cause.

Tumor Incidence in Normal Sprague Dawley Rats–Scientist have known since 1956 that the rats used by Seralini has a high incidence of tumors.  Is it a surprise that he got such results in his study?

 

 The Index of BAD Links

The cardinal sin that so many anti-GMO believers make is posting the same links as their evidence.  When they post these links, it just shows that these people’s ability to cross check their information is very limited.  The typical links that they post  are Natural News, Institute for Responsible Technology, GMO Education, AltNet, Natural Cures not Medicine, Green Med Info, World Truth, Truth Deniers, GMO Seralini, Nation of Change, Dr. Oz, Dr. Mercola, Collective Evolution, Raw for Beauty, and anything GMO Free. What do all of these links have in common? They all sell fear and use partial bits of information to convey their side of “studies” and health claims. There is never any link to the actual study that they are talking about and it’s hard to figure out the actual source of information, but the antis will still use it as “proof” because they don’t know how to research and vet their information.

Before you get scared of what you’re reading, stop and ask questions first.  “Is that for real or what?”  By simply starting there instead of adding that link to your “GMOs are dangerous” link file, you just might just save yourself lots of anxiety and emotional stress.  If you choose to believe, you just might find yourself in a utterly hysterical state and might leave a nasty message for a state senator.  Save yourself an apology and ASK questions first before you get yourself into a tizzy fit!  It just might save your reputation if you care about it.

Remember, if you read it on the internet and it tells you connect the dots, science isn’t about putting together a dot to dot puzzle.  It doesn’t work like that.

 

 

Farewell RoundUp, We’ve Found a New Love, Atrazine

If go on the social media and visit some of Hawaii anti-GMO activist pages, here’s some of the typical things you see on there…

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What does all of these images share?  It’s all about fear mongering.  There is no evidence that goes along with many of these pictures and memes, but just the image alone is powerful enough to convince activists of some horrible outcome as the result of any farm other than organic ones.  No one ever seems to crosscheck these statements either and thousands of people just believe without a hint of skepticism.

My grandfather was one of those folks that saw things and just believed it.  He loved to watch wrestling and was convinced that it was real.  My dad would tell him that the stuff he was watching was faked and scripted, to which he’d say, “No way, it’s real!”  The funniest thing was that when there was news of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon, he refused to believe it and said that it was fake.

The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words still applies to this day as we are seeing with our anti-GMO activists.  These pictures that are constantly being put out there on the social media to people who lack that ability to scratch their heads and say, “Now is that for real or what?”  Neither to many of these folks even know how Google operates to pull up the fear laden sites too when they do a search.

It is of no surprise that the fear lovers are going to start up once again by bringing in Tyrone Hayes in May.  They have lost their love our RoundUp and didn’t succeed in getting Senator Josh Green to ban it.  Their newest love affair is now with Atrazine and Tyrone Hayes.

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Before the anti-GMO club goes berserk on this year’s chemical, Atrazine, let me show you how to do the head scratch bit before you just believe it all.  You can read more about the selective reporting done by the author of the article posted by the Babes Against Biotech too.

I’m no Google search expert by no means but I am always asking to debunk things because I don’t straight out believe it.  If you enter into Google “debunk Tyrone Hayes” this is what you’ll get in this search.

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If you do another Google search, with Tyrone Hayes and Atrazine, you get a slightly different picture with a bit more of the activist sites like Democracy Now and his own page, Atrazine Lovers.  His academic papers also come up on the top of the search.

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If you’re afraid of reading too many words on Google, like most activists, then you’d scurry on over to their next best research site, YouTube.  What do we find on YouTube when we search for Tyrone Hayes?  Let’s see.

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Holy Atrazine-ites!  All you get is activist videos that are full of fear mongering.  Typical anti-GMO ways again.

When Tyrone Hayes shows up in Hawaii in May, you know what to expect.  You’ll get the same kind of message that came along with Dr. Huber, Stephanie Seneff, Andrew Kimbrell, Vandana Shiva, Hector Valenzuela, and others.  I also start to wonder, who’s funding these folks to have nice Hawaiian vacations on many of the islands.  Are they doing this out of the kindness of their hearts?  Hmmm…

What Would Vandana Shiva Say About This?

Nearly 80% of the papayas grown in Hawaii are of the transgenic variety.  Yes, that means it is GMO.  And to people like Vandana Shiva, those three letters are really bad.  Just take a look at what she says about it on Twitter.

If you were to take what she says, then I guess you’d have to say that the above papaya with no seeds must have been “raped” by a GMO contamination.  Then all of the anti-GMO club members are going to join in and spread that same “fact.”  They never bother to research any of their facts about the source of their information and it goes all over the social media like a wildfire.

When someone does a bit of research to counter their claims, they find out that papayas do sometimes lack any seeds at times and that if it has a funny shape, it is probably a female fruit, not some mutant terminator papaya.  Note that this papaya was grown in Asia where there was no such thing as transgenic papayas to begin with.  But of course, the “facts” will spread that this is a GMO mutant and so on.

So before you send those emails about your horrid discovery containing misinformation that you are completely unaware of, do some research or be called a fool by someone who catches it.  Then again, maybe some people like to be called a fool.

The Anti-GMO is Indeed a Crime Against Humanity

My dad and I exchange emails with links and stuff here and there and I get some good reads from what he is sent.  When I checked my email tonight, I was literally bouncing up and down.  It would seem really trivial to some but to me, I was ecstatic over it.  It was sent from Truth for Trade and Technology, which he is a member of.

Here’s what it read:

Allow Golden Rice Now!

Media Release –  October 1, 2013

Former Greenpeace leader Patrick Moore to lead demonstration against Greenpeace’s crime against humanity, their anti-Golden Rice campaign that perpetuates blindness and death among millions of children.
www.allowgoldenricenow.org

At 10 AM on October 2 the global campaign Allow Golden Rice Now! will be launched in front of the Greenpeace office at 33 Cecil Street. Dr. Patrick Moore will lead the demonstration with a banner that reads:
‘Greenpeace’s Crime Against Humanity’ ‘ Eight Million Children Dead’ ‘AllowGoldenRiceNow.org’

Details of the campaign and the demonstration will be released at an information session to be held tonight, October 1, at 7 PM at the Pauper’s Pub at 539 Bloor Street West.

The aim of the campaign is to convince Greenpeace that they should make an exception to their zero-tolerance position on genetic modification in the case of Golden Rice, on humanitarian grounds. The World Health Organization estimates that up to 500,000 children become blind each year due to vitamin A deficiency, half of whom die within a year of becoming blind. About 250 million preschool children suffer from vitamin A deficiency among the nearly 3 billion people who depend on rice as their staple food.

Conventional rice has no beta-carotene, the nutrient that humans need to produce vitamin A. In 1999 Dr. Ingo Potrykus and Dr. Peter Beyer, both science professors who were aware of this humanitarian crisis, invented Golden Rice after a nine-year effort. By inserting genes from corn they were able to cause rice plants to produce beta-carotene in the rice kernel. It is beta-carotene that makes corn golden and carrots orange. Golden Rice can end the blindness, suffering and death caused by vitamin A deficiency.

Field trials in Louisiana, the Philippines, and Bangladesh have proven that Golden Rice can be grown successfully. Clinical nutritional trials with animals, adult humans, and vitamin A deficient children have proven that Golden Rice will deliver sufficient vitamin A to cure this affliction. Yet Greenpeace continues to support the violent destruction of the field trials and trashes the peer-reviewed science that proves Golden Rice is effective and safe. We demand that they end these activities, stop fundraising on this issue, and declare that they are not opposed to Golden Rice. We believe that their continued actions to block Golden Rice constitute a crime against humanity as defined by the United Nations.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines is coordinating the research and development of Golden Rice. The IRRI is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Helen Keller International, USAID, and many agricultural research organizations. Golden Rice is controlled by non-profit organizations, and it produces viable Golden Rice seeds, so farmers are not dependent on any particular supplier.

“The Allow Golden Rice Now! campaign will carry this protest to Greenpeace offices around the world,” stated Dr. Moore. “Eight million children have died unnecessarily since Golden Rice was invented.  How many more million can Greenpeace carry on its conscience?”

Allow Golden Rice Now!
www.allowgoldenricenow.org

I was so excited to hear that Greenpeace is being called out as committing crimes against humanity because that is exactly what it is.  These well funded activists group oppose these attempts to help others yet have no plan to deal with this problem.  They never see the suffering of these children and the parents who see them die or become severely disabled by such a preventable disease.  If we were to wear these people’s shoes and see our infant slowly become blind and disable with nothing to stop it, would we want help to prevent this?  Of course!

Ask yourself, what has Vandana Shiva, Jeffrey Smith, Andrew Kimbrell, Bill Freese, Walter Ritte, Jessica Wooley, Gary Hooser, Tim Bynum, Brenda Ford, Margaret Wille, Tulsi and Mike Gabbard, Russell Ruderman, Hector Valenzuela, and Nomi Carmona done for solving a real world problem?  What is their contribution to helping others except for supporting the same thing that Greenpeace is supporting?  How about all of the activists who spread their propaganda of fear and claims of dangers resulting in wanting to ban all GMOs?  Are we so selfish to protest and not offer up anything to contribute to others around the world?  Sadly, yes, we are so fixated on “our” food and what is “best for us” that these folks along with their followers have lost sight of the potential to help others.  It really appears to be a crime against humanity, way worse then the claims and rumors they harbor towards Monsanto any day.

We westerners never see this and can argue about GMOs and block it because we are well fed and well nourished.  What about all the others in the world who suffer because our stupid fights over food and technology?  That’s selfish and ignorant to block this potential tool to help others live a better life that we take for granted.  We fight over food because we have it while others are lucky to get anything at all.

Penn and Teller minces no words about Greenpeace and the anti-GMO supporters either.

When I traveled to Thailand and visited the cities, my eyes opened up to the problems these countries have with the disabled.  They would all be begging and either hobbling on their arms dragging their legs, blind, and their clothes would be shredded.  One kid walked on his hands with his legs straight out in front of him and the rest were all blind.  It was terribly saddening to me to see this.  If we westerners could somehow help these people, why not?  That is how I see Golden Rice as a tool to make someone else’s life that much better.  It is a great reason for why I support science and research.  I donated money towards this cause that I do believe in.

Hawaii people are stuck on their rock making claims of poison and spreading anecdotal evidence.  They have become blind to the needs of others that can be helped by this technology.  Are we too stuck in our own world to look beyond at the bigger picture?  Have we become selfish, self absorbed people blind to the world’s problems?  Think beyond the rock people, there is more than what you see about being anti-GMO about “your” food.

Mark Twain summed this issue up nicely in his quote:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

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