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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Greenpeace smackdown over genetically modified crops

Brian Dunning, proprietor of the excellent blog Skeptoid, offers a concise debunking of the arguments used by Greenpeace to try to halt the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by farmers in the third world (plus a nice summary of the immense benefits that the Green Revolution brought to poor countries all over the world):
When we turn our skeptical eye toward the Philippines, we see Greenpeace activists wearing full biohazard spacesuits cutting down GMO crops and disposing of them in sealed containers. By inviting reporters and photographers to document these demonstrations, they very effectively spread terror among the undereducated poor Filipino public. Now, I think any reasonable person agrees that you wouldn't do such a drastic thing without very good reason; so there must indeed be very good evidence that GMO crops are only safely handled by hazmat disposal teams — wouldn't you think?

Dunning goes on to effectively rebut each of Greenpeace's scientific claims about GMOs. He concludes with a quotation from Dr. Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize winner and father of the Green Revolution:
"Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things."
Read the whole thing.


Anonymous said...

my guess is none of these idiots have ever stopped to think about where they got that bannanna they're munching on or the fact that they wouldn't exist today and won't tomorrow once the existing sterile trees die off...all genetically engineered over the last 40-50 years via selective breeding... but then they're probably busy eating at a fast food or take out place and drinking the milk, eating chicken full of steroids or growth hormones...

nosmokes said...

First off Skeptoid is either an idiot or at best is using an intellectually dishonest argument. Comparing hybribization to transgenic manipulation is utter nonsense, akin to comparing removing a brain tumor with removing a splinter. They're both surgery but should they be spoken of in the same breath? No honest person would say yes. GMOs are a skourge on this earth, a product that no one asked for, and benefits no one except those that hold the patent. Certainly not the farmer or consumer. NO GMO yet has increased yield and on the Indian subcontinent alone the business practices of The AgBiotech industry are resposible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of farmers.