Kind Of Exonerates Me on Honeybees—Gee, Thanks


Andrew Leonard over at gives me a backhanded compliment for my column dissecting the anti-biotechies' pathetically ideological attempt to link genetically enhanced crops to the current plague of collapsing colonies of honeybees. To wit:

Pro-agricultural biotechnology journalists like Reason magazine's Ron Bailey quickly scoffed at the theory, and in fact, eagerly used its flimsiness to bash anti-GM activists who are probably over-eager to seize upon any scientific finding that supports their own fierce opposition to genetically modified crops. But the long-established bias of the pro-GM boosters made their own dismissals equally suspect.

Of course, Leonard's own earlier oh-so-delicately-skeptical column suggesting a link between disappearing bees and genetically modified corn couldn't possibly have been driven by his own biases against biotechnology, right? Indeed, why ruin a good scary anti-biotech story by actually reading the scientific literature on the subject?

Even more bizarrely, my column showed that the studies cited by the Sierra Club contradicted its dark hints that biotech is somehow harming bees. By the way, I'm pro-agbiotech only because the scientific evidence shows that it's safe and economically viable. Since that is so, I wonder why Leonard's views skew anti-biotech? Couldn't be because of unstated (and perhaps unconscious) ideological premises, could it?

In any case, Leonard has now more or less repudiated the notion that biotech crops are a likely cause for colony collapse disorder, so kudos to him. He writes:

But now comes the most convincing argument I've seen so far, courtesy of the American Farm magazine (with thanks for the tip to the very pro-GM GMO Pundit) and Galen P. Dively, a professor at the University of Maryland who specializes in integrated pest management. Dively sums up the available research—and there has been quite a bit on the possible effects of Bt corn on honeybees—and states that "while this possibility has not been ruled out, the weight of evidence based on a multitude of studies argues strongly that the current use of Bt corn is not associated with CCD [colony collapse disorder]."

Whole Leonard column at here.

Disclosure: I sold my pitifully few Monsanto shares many, many years ago. So I own no biotech crop company stocks. And even if I did I am not so lost in my own self-importance to believe that whatever I might write about biotech companies would have any influence whatsoever on their market values.