GMO opponents continue to kill millions of people

Golden Rice Opponents Should be Held Accountable for Deaths linked to Vitamin A Deficiency

Also, for the sake of education, this article talks about some of the commonly argued points against Golden Rice from groups like Greenpeace, and how they are demonstrably false.

It’s kind of mind blowing that they’ve developed a solution to this problem which kills millions of children, and which would cost only $100 per life saved, compared to thousands of dollars per life saved if they were to use things like Vitamin supplements… and yet we still have people who are opponents based on nothing but ignorance.

Some additional information regarding a recent debate at Berkley regarding GMO foods, where Pam Ronald debated some opponents of GMO foods. There are some links to some recent work which has developed important things like Rice strains which can survive floods, and prevent huge crop loss during bad weather events, or GMO modified Papayas which saved Hawaii’s papaya industry.

In many ways, I tend to feel like the GMO opponents are effectively in the same camp as opponents of nuclear power, or vaccines. They aren’t really evil people, but their opposition to these technologies is having very negative impacts on humanity as a whole… in many cases, impacts which go directly against the goals of the opponents themselves. Just as nuclear power could result in dramatic decreases in humanity’s carbon footprint, GMO crops could (indeed, HAVE) dramatically reduce the amount of pesticides used, and have beneficial ecological effects in addition to the economic benefits to populations both rich and poor around the globe.

One reason I stopped giving money to MassPIRG was that they sent around an anti-GMO campaign, where you could click a link to “tell us what you think” - but the only option was to tell them why you felt GMO grain should be banned.

It’s not quite on the level of the anti-vaccine nuts, since the Monsanto is in fact evil, but it’s much more a case of how it’s being used rather than the technology itself.

Yup, said this stuff before.

There’s also, for example, the idiotic controversy around “terminator genes”…which have a legitimate use in field trials of crops to stop genetic contamination of other crops (which, remember, is one of the issues constantly brought up!) but because of resistance from the anti-GMO industry they haven’t been used for that for well over a decade.

(And yes, seed patents are the real problem :/ )

No question. As I’ve said in another thread, there’s a real left/right equivalence here. Both ends of the political spectrum are fans of science when it supports their ideological predispositions but ignore or condemn it when it does not. For example, the left’s anti-business slant loves science that shows climate change is at least in part a consequence of human action but deplores science that says GMO’s are safe (because GMO’s are the product of evil corporations). The right’s pro-business slant reverses things. Both sides loudly trumpet “science!” when it’s in their favor but trot out cranks or corrupt and paid for “scientists” when it isn’t. Neither seems to care about actual truth–they just want to beat the ideological drum.

And while scientific cranks occasionally prove the mainstream consensus wrong, laymen aren’t qualified to judge the rare instances when that’s the case, especially on the basis of their political leanings.


Timex and I both agree that GMO’s and Nuclear Power are good, and AGCC is going on.

I generally accept scientific consensus regardless of how current conclusions mesh with my political leanings. Coming to an educated decision on every topic isn’t feasible from a time perspective. The odds that scientists are correct, at least partially, about science seem to be much higher than other types (e.g. politicians, conspiracy theorists, creationists, playboy models, etc)

In the wake of disasters like Fukushima, as well as the thorny problem of what to do with radioactive waste that’s toxic for decades if not centuries, I don’t believe nuclear-power skeptics have anything to apologize for. You could say nuclear disasters are the result of human error, not science; but until you figure out how to make people infallible, that’s always going to be a risk, one which some people will never want to take. But feel free to move downwind from your nearest nuclear power provider in order to express your support for them. :)

OTOH, GMO opponents tend to fall into two categories: those whose understanding of science doesn’t go any further than old “radioactive horror!” movies and those who think all corporations are evil. The former are willfully ignorant; the latter are at best reflexively judgmental. Obviously, rational skepticism has its place; I’m not suggesting we drop all barriers to genetic engineering so we can start splicing ourselves. [Although being able to shoot bees from my hands would be pretty cool…]

So you’re using a 1970’s reactor as an excuse? And ignoring the potential of fast breeders, thorium reactors, etc.
The 1980’s reactor hit in Japan…shut down without serious issues. And it’s considerably less safe than modern reactors.

“But they’re not working” you say. Well, same reason golden rice has “not lived up to it’s potential”.

Fukushima was a fifty-year-old design. We’ve learned a lot about reactor design since then, and each disaster has contributed to that knowledge. As for the damage caused by those disasters, you have to consider their cost versus the effects of other methods of power generation. Coal, which is the majority electric producer, causes far more illness and death than nuclear material ever has. I think it’s analogous to the safety of airplanes vs. cars. Passenger fatalities per mile traveled are far, far higher for cars than they are for planes. However, car crashes seldom even make the local news, while a plane crash is worldwide news. A nuclear accident is far more showy (and, because it’s so rare, novelty is also a factor) than people dying of asthma, COPD, and what have you. Coal even releases more radioactive material into the environment (due to natural radioisotopes in the smoke) than nuclear power does.

Yep. Opponents of nuclear power are the primary contributors to continued use of fossil fuels, and the continued release of huge amounts of carbon into our atmosphere.

If that’s acceptable, then go for it. But don’t pretend like that isn’t the result of your crusade, because it is.

Oh, and for the record, I did live downwind from a nuclear power plant for my entire childhood. It had no adverse effects, of course.

Any sane person would rather live downwind from a nuclear plant compared to a coal plant.

I heard once that a coal factory, over it’s lifetime, will produce more radio active waste in the environment than a nuclear power plant that had a melt down. That’s pretty scary.

Also, one solution to the nuclear waste issue that probably won’t get any traction is to launch it at the sun. I doubt many nations would be comfortable with that as a solution though.

Don’t you go polluting our sunlight with radioactives.

But it just goes up into the air and disappears! If you can’t see it, it’s not there. That’s science.

Launching it into space can go real bad, just because if the rocket has a problem, you run the risk of spreading radioactive waste all over the place.

The reality is though, modern reactors produce exceptionally small amounts of waste. Storage really isn’t a problem, except that people have this mistaken idea that the alternative is no waste, and thus storage of nuclear waste is a horrific show stopper.

It’s a false dichotomy though, because the REAL alternative is continued burning of coal, which results in crap like fly-ash pools which break down and then destroy entire towns with the waste. But hey, it’s not radioactive (oh wait, yes it is!) so it’s ok.

Again, it’s the same as folks who oppose GMO and Vaccines… It’s irrational fear that avoids doing any kind of real analysis of the REAL choices at hand.

It’s the kind of pseudo-analysis which looks at imagined dangers from GMO foods, and then uses the mere potential that something could possibly go wrong (despite no evidence of such danger), and then ignores the fact that half a million children go blind and die every year despite the fact that we already have a solution to the problem.

And that’s the point of this thread… To point and those kids, and tell the people who irrationally protest against GMO foods, “YOU do that. Those children going blind is YOUR fault.” And maybe they don’t want to hear that. Good. Maybe they should stop being jackasses.

Well isn’t this boring, we’re mostly agreeing :P To some degree we’re seeing a shift away from coal, but it’s to gas, which has it’s own set of problems and is still a fossil fuel.

At the end of the day, sadly jackasses will be jackasses, and appealing to emotional reactions on these issues with facts is only partly effective but the only weapon that can really work (we just need to remember the core jackasses won’t change, but we’re aiming for the wider public). Engaging them in public and trying to get them to state the basis of their arguments…which they often do badly…