GMO Food

Eat Your Frankenfood!

The conspiracy-minded, anti-science liberals.


A slavish devotion to narrow ideology has led many people to reject overwhelming scientific consensus as nothing but a plot by malevolent forces to control ordinary people's lives.

If you think that sentence describes conservative skeptics of global warming, congratulations — you're right.

If you think it describes liberal opponents of genetically modified crops, congratulations — you're right again.

Conservatives get tagged as anti-science, and for good reason. A Pew Research Center survey last month found only 43 percent of Republicans — and 25 percent of tea partyers — accept the theory of evolution. The reason is obvious: Evolution contradicts a literal reading of the Bible. Only 27 percent of white evangelical Protestants, who make up nearly half of the conservative wing of the GOP, think evolution is true. This is a clear case of motivated reasoning — of letting your feelings determine the facts you accept.

Likewise, two-thirds of Americans think the planet has been getting warmer. But only half of Republicans, and only one in four tea partyers, think that. As to what is causing global warming, two-thirds of Democrats — but only one-quarter of Republicans — think human activity has something to do with it.

There is much confirmation bias going on here, too: The science of climate change is not so settled as the science of evolution, but it is solid. This doesn't mean no questions remain — the current pause in global warming has the potential to falsify the anthropogenic thesis. But just because we don't know everything doesn't mean we know nothing.

Progressives have gotten a lot of mileage mocking conservatives' truculent refusal to accept scientific conclusions. But the left has exhibited similar truculence on another subject: genetically modified organisms — "Frankenfoods," as they're sometimes called.

Last month, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi signed a measure banning GMOs (except genetically modified papaya). The measure enjoyed passionate support from supporters who made many of the standard arguments against GM foods: They cause cancer. And allergies. And liver and immunodeficiency problems. They spread uncontrollably, causing "genetic pollution" and "contaminating" the natural ecosystem. And they probably do lots of other horrible things, too, but we don't know what because they haven't been studied enough.

All of which is thoroughly false.

GM foods have been studied, extensively and assiduously. And the overwhelming scientific consensus is that they present no danger. "The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are no more risky than conventional plant breeding technologies." That is the conclusion of the European Commission.

It is seconded by the American Medical Association, which agrees "there is no scientific justification for special labeling of genetically modified foods."

And by the National Academy of Sciences, which says "no evidence of human health problems associated with the ingestion of (GM) crops or resulting food products have been identified."

And by the French Academy of Science, which says, "All criticisms against GMOs can be largely rejected on strictly scientific criteria."

And by the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities, which says the risk from GM foods "is in no way higher than in the consumption of food from conventionally grown plants. On the contrary, in some cases, food from GM plants appears to be superior in respect to health."

Regarding that last point, consider golden rice — which has been engineered to produce a precursor of vitamin A. It has the potential to prevent more than a million childhood deaths a year in the impoverished world. But GMO opponents continue to attack it, both rhetorically and physically.

In August, saboteurs wrecked a golden rice field trial in the Philippines. In response, Science magazine printed an editorial by a chairman emeritus of the National Academies of Science — along with two Nobel laureates, a National Medal of Science laureate and several other eminent scientists.

"If ever there was a clear-cut case for outrage," they wrote, "it is the concerted campaign by Greenpeace and other non-governmental organizations … against golden rice. … Introduced into commercial production over 17 years ago, GM crops have an exemplary safety record. And precisely because they benefit farmers, the environment, and consumers, GM crops have been adopted faster than any other agricultural advance in the history of humanity. … We, and the thousands of other scientists who have signed (a) statement of protest, stand together in staunch opposition to the violent destruction of required tests on valuable advances such as golden rice that have the potential to save millions of impoverished fellow humans from needless suffering and death."

If the overwhelming scientific consensus on GM foods is so clear, then why do so many environmentalists and other activists resist it? Simple — they do so for the same reason right-wingers resist the scientific consensus on climate change: fear of Them. To GMO critics, "they" are not big, bad government but big, bad corporations.

A presumption of corporate malevolence drives much of the hostility toward GM foods. Opponents view them as a diabolical plot by companies like Monsanto to diminish consumer choice, entrench "corporate control of agriculture," "monopolize seed markets," put "profits above human health," and so on. It may be lost on some GMO opponents that "organic" food companies have much to gain from fueling unfounded fears about genetic engineering. That's why they have backed efforts to require the labeling of foods with GM ingredients.

The belief that ostensibly evil corporations are out to control the food supply is not subject to empirical testing, so it cannot be falsified. And it evidently is strong enough to negate whole libraries of factual evidence: Anyone who says GM foods are safe must be a stooge and a shill for our corporate overlords. And therefore not to be listened to. (This apparently applies even to the EC and the National Academies.)

Besides — The Truth Is Out There. In September, a piece about GM foods on The Huffington Post included this ominous-sounding tale: "A few months ago, I read an article by best-selling writer and filmmaker Jeffrey Smith. … Smith writes that an ex-Monsanto scientist revealed to him that, due to the results of tests on milk from cows injected with genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH), three of his colleagues refused to drink milk again unless it was organic. … According to Smith, the scientists also disclosed that Monsanto employees discovered adverse reactions in rodents that were fed genetically modified corn. It was further revealed that instead of withdrawing the dangerous crops, the study was written to omit the problem."

Well, there you go: a cover-up. Like climate-change skeptics who believe only what they want to and therefore trust talk-radio hosts over peer-reviewed studies, GM skeptics tend to put more credence in third-party hearsay from anonymous sources than the assertions of Nobel laureates in prestigious journals.

It might seem contradictory to accept settled science in one case and reject it in another — if you think the common denominator is science. But it's perfectly consistent if the common denominator is corporate malevolence. If you're emotionally invested in believing corporations are the principal source of all the world's troubles, then the consensus about man-made global warming comes in pretty handy. And the consensus about GM foods? Clearly, that's nothing but an evil corporate plot.

This column originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  1. And the GM foods research doesn’t depend almost exclusively on modeling, like certain other bits of “settled science.”

    1. This is what always bugs me about the false equivalency with regard to GM and climate change. If hedge funds who hire the “best and brightest” and spend billions can’t model a financial market, how are we supposed to rely on climate scientists’ models of something arguably far more complicated?

      1. I don’t think that the climate models are worth much at all. But I’d say that modeling financial markets is far more complex. Each human mind is probably similarly complex to the climate and markets are made up of lots of those. People can predict weather pretty well several days out. But no one has any idea if the Dow is going to close up or down tomorrow.

        1. True, that’s why I said arguably, but in both cases it’s the predictive nature of the enterprise that makes it different than evaluating GM foods.

        2. “People can predict weather pretty well several days out.”

          The weather forecasters where you are must have a far better record than those in south Florida.

          1. Only fools and strangers predict weather in Texas.

        3. IDK, one could easily explain tensors and chaos with the analogy that a man in New York City sells a hot dog and halfway around the globe, the Nikkei collapses, but for some reason they chose butterflies and hurricanes.

          Personally, since the greatest effectors of AGW growth and reduction have been socio-economic, it would make a certain amount of sense to say that economics is a subset of the entities governing global warming.

          I could go on for days about why I believe climate to be much more complicated than market economics (for every one actor in a market there are hundreds in the climate, the market has a 2-century history, the climate has a 2-billionish year history…). However, at the very least, the predictive power associated with accurate weather/climate prediction would negate the need for public funding through a variety of venues.

        4. “People can predict weather pretty well several days out.”

          But progressives and leftists frequently insist that global warming/climate change is not weather…followed by “idiot, moron”, or some other exclamation of “right wing ignorance”.

          I’m starting to believe that the left doesn’t actually know what it is, but knows that anyone who doesn’t believe in it is stupid.

        5. I don’t think that the climate models are worth much at all. But I’d say that modeling financial markets is far more complex. Each human mind is probably similarly complex to the climate and markets are made up of lots of those.

          It is important to remember the vast majority of buy/sell decisions in financial markets are not made by people, but instead a bunch of ‘algols’ running blind on a computer.

          Most the mind and resulting decisions driving, say, the NASDAQ, is Intel Inside. Outside of continuous integration-system software releases, people have scant real input on the direction of modern capital markets.

      2. That’s not the best argument, because while the two are not the same level of complication, they’re even more importantly just Different Things.

        The best argument against climate predictions based on the models is that the models don’t predict (accurately).

        They never have, and yet “we” keep pretending they’re not just trash.

        Maybe, in theory, someday there will be good climate models that can predict even next year (acknowledging that predicting local weather is different from predicting climate!); but those models don’t exist yet, and there is no reason to be confident in the models we have.

        Because they don’t even work when applied to historical data, to get now.

        They don’t predict the near future either.

        So why should anyone take them seriously, at all?

        1. Because they don’t even work when applied to historical data, to get now.

          And their temperatures climb even on random data sets, which clearly doesn’t act like reality.

  2. A slavish devotion to narrow ideology has led many people to reject overwhelming scientific consensus as nothing but a plot by malevolent forces to control ordinary people’s lives.

    The difference between the the GMO and AGW debates is that there is actual scientific evidence to say that GMOs do no harm. This is better than a high number of people agreeing on something.

  3. A slavish devotion to narrow ideology has led many people to reject overwhelming scientific consensus as nothing but a plot by malevolent forces to control ordinary people’s lives. If you think that sentence describes conservative skeptics of global warming, congratulations ? you’re right.

    It’s hardly “a slavish devotion to narrow ideology” to note that the scientific consensus in the 70s used to be that we were sliding into an ice age, that the AGI computer modeling predicting catastrophic outcomes doesn’t seem to match up with real world results over the last decade plus, or to be skeptical that whatever degree of climate changes that may result from a tiny change in the atmospheric level of CO2 is unlikely to be effectively ameliorated by government action.

    1. meant to say “or to note that whatever degree of climate changes that may result from a tiny change in the atmospheric level of CO2 is unlikely to be effectively ameliorated by government action.”

      Damned double negatives.

  4. A slavish devotion to narrow ideology has led many people to reject overwhelming scientific consensus as nothing but a plot by malevolent forces to control ordinary people’s lives.

    Scientific consensus is important when we’re discussing global warming, but when we’re talking about GMOs…

    1. When you notice that the consensus keeps changing, and that there actually are people who may mean well but who definitely are proposing to control other people’s lives, that’s what I would call “describing objective reality”.

      1. Yeah, same old statist shit. Group A wants to dictate behavior to Group B. Excuses for doing so include unquestionable religious doctrine, “it’s for your own good!”, for the good of the children, scientific consensus, and, when those don’t work, because FYTW.

    2. That’s because climate scientists are inherently vituous because they all work for universities and intergovernmental panels on climate change and stuff, and plant geneticists are inherently evil because they work for evil agribusiness.

    3. Scientific consensus, per se is not particularly important in climate science; rather, what is important is a useful predictive model of climate. Without this, theories regarding climate behavior have no credibility.

      Rather than finding such a model, and proving it out by measuring how it sell it tracks future (rather than simply past) empirical data, many supposed scientists have replaced the scientific method with a political method whose goal is not to discover approximations to the truth but rather influence the behavior of others — including those who fund them.

  5. Man, for a minute I thought this was a Baylen article and that I accidently came to work on a Saturday. Now I have to stay the rest of the day. Thanks a lot Hinkle.

    1. No, if this were a Linnekin article there would be the obligatory shilling for animal cruelty.

  6. Is anyone else getting the “Local Food Contamination Revealed!!” ads? Google needs to fix its algorithm.

    1. I take joy in being served ads of no relevance to me. It means that SkyNet is not yet sentient. And that someone is wasting their advertising dollars serving me ads for asian mail-order brides.

      1. SkyNet is not yet sentient or is completely sentient and fully aware that ads for Asian women are far more effective than hoards of cyborgs.

        1. Pffft, small minded human thinking. SkyNet is not above creating hoards of cyborgs that look just like Asian mail-order brides. And the silly and soon to be obsolete humans pay SkyNet for shipping.

  7. I might not like how some big companies do business, or how poor people in the Third World are getting bilked by commodities traders, but I’ve long been satisfied that the research itself is nothing to worry about. I’m much more concerned with eliminating crop subsidies, so that high-fructose corn syrup won’t turn up in practically everything anymore, and Mexican agriculture can afford to keep people working, because that’s been a big factor in illegal immigration.

    1. that’s been a big factor in illegal immigration.

      Interesting assertion, and new to me. Got something on this?

  8. Politics, and religion are a method of dictating the results of an inquiry. Science is a method of obtaining results from an inquiry. Philosophy is a method of thinking about the results from an inquiry.
    Politics, and religion IMO are pretty useless.
    I think I just went from being a minarchist into an anarchist.
    Also shameless advertisement for a show I like, because pirates.

    1. I got to see an early edit of the pilot for this show. Looks awesome. Of course, the problem with seeing something so far ahead is you end up waiting for the rest of it that much longer.

  9. Anti-GMO activists are losers who should be scorned and reviled by anyone with a brain.

    1. Agreed Hazel. I would also add bible thumpers to the list of scorn, because the Permian-Triassic extinction event could never happen again being that the world is only 6000 years old.

      1. Anti-GMO activists are worse, because liberals should know better.

        The anti-GMO crowd is given intellectual harbor by people who have college degrees and can read a scientific paper.

        1. Nailed. It.

        2. I dunno. Saying one side is worse implies the other side is better. I just see both sides trying to push a fanatical agenda hindering the people who solve problems.

          1. Nothing wrong with saying one side is worse. The relative degree of median asshattery does change from group to group. The median also shifts over time. Right now Anti-GMO get the prize because of the impact on poor across the globe because of their insanity.

            Paying 30%-50% more for food should not be on the table. But these fools cannot get out of their first world middle-income mindset and realize that GMO v. Non-GMO v. Organic is the difference between starving and not going hungry.

            The whole ‘my body is a temple’ bullshit is just another religion. Their hope is that if they never ingest another molecule of pesticide or GMO corn they will live forver. In the meantime in elsewhere we have famine and poverty due to food shortages.

            1. There is no food shortage. Its distribution and government control such as in Africa. Efficient farming techniques are lacking in 3rd world countries.
              There is also a huge hidden cost with food with subsides in the farm bill. If the farm bill was not in effect. The price of grains would sky rocket from a drought. Not until then would we see the real price of food. Or perhaps people will start having gardens again.

              1. I agree that if we removed the food subsidies we would see greater fluctuations in price in 1st world countries.

                My point about the Anti-GMO crowd is that it is the 3rd world that suffers from the purists. There is no evidence that GMO food is somehow dangerous. In many 3rd world counties – especially Africa – local farmers would benefit greatly from such products/options.

                Instead the result is grain shipments to nations of people. The political landscape in Africa is hosed, and muddies the analysis. The end result is that the 3rd world is spending more resources on feeding itself than would otherwise be the case. The excess captial can be used for other things.

                1. Besides medicine and banking, ag markets are the most regulated in the world. It is unfounded to predict greater price fluctuations occur with deregulation. It might at first, but eventually world markets and logistics would rationalize pricing. The over all fluctuations would most likely by downward pricing in food as the overall market became more competitive and, thus, more efficient. Doubt it? Look at the pricing in the least regulated industry: technology.

          2. The key phrase there is “trying to push a fanatical agenda”.

            I can tell a bible thumper to get lost. The anti-GMO crowd is unabashedly using media and government to push and execute their agenda. The power of bible thumpers in the media is limited to those who wish to tune in and their power to have the government force you to submit to their wishes is on the wane.

    1. Black holes are not real, because no one has ever seen one. I do not even know anyone who claims to have felt gravitationally, or even sexually, attracted to one, either, unless we are talking about the va-jay-jays of black pepples of the female persuasion… Or some other orifice of other dark-skinned pepples… Please clarify…

  10. I am NOT “anti-science” and I’m not opposed to GMO foods. But unlike the staff at Reason, I DO believe that I have a right to know what I’m eating and make my own decisions. How anyone can be against informed consent is beyond me, yet this publication ridicules anyone who supports food labeling. If a particular law is a bad law, that is one thing, but to oppose the very idea of food labeling seems suspect to this libertarian.

    1. If there are enough people who care about this some plucky company will label their food as “not GMO” and make a fortune. Required labeling creates an undue burden on agriculture and provides an avenue for officials to hand out favors to specific companies by exempting from labeling.

      1. Mand13 slaps it down, calls it bitch and trains it to get his coffee in the morning!

      2. Freedom works, goddamn it. How much evidence do you need.

        Listen, if I produce it, it is mine. It is mine to market and label as I see fit. You can buy it or not buy it. If I misrepresent it or I knowingly sell a harmful product, and I have, therefore, violated other people’s individual rights, I should be treated like the criminal I would be. But until then leave me alone and let me produce MY product, market it and label it as I see fit. If you don’t like how I do that, then DON’T BUY IT. Screw government enforced labeling. It is an infringement on my free speech.

        The market is the best protector of quality and safe products there is.

    2. For the most part I agree with you. What I don’t understand is why it needs to be a law? Why don’t the farmers and food processors just take it upon themselves to label their products? Making labeling a law only for farmers/processors to comply, I find to be retarded. The other thing one can do is to not purchase processed foods. But I know how lazy people are these days when it comes to actually preparing food. I grow a huge portion of my produce (about 80%). I’d rather not eat GMO foods. The argument for GMO’s is insane to me. And most people don’t know a lick of what its like to be a farmer. Let alone know squat about soil science. So GMO crops are being grown in lifeless soils. Opposed to building soil.

      1. If you grow 80% of the produce you consume you either eat virtually no produce or have no concept of what 80% really means.

        “Living soil” is the soil that kills people and livestock and has for generations. If it were so benign, you wouldn’t need to wash your hands before eating as opposed to that act being one of the fundamental precepts to civilization and hygiene.

        If we were gonna make farmers label food, it should be the food that was grown in animal feces with potentially infectious material.

        1. Your science is really really old in regards to “living soil.” Sterile soil is not a good thing. Ever read some Gene Logsdon, Joel Salatin, or Elaine Ingham books?

          1. Ever read some Gene Logsdon, Joel Salatin, or Elaine Ingham books?

            So, to refute my archaic knowledge of science, you cite books that are, “not used in an ag course, as one might expect, but for a course in anthropology and sociology”.

            Rhizobia and other ‘living soil’ ideas have been tried for centuries. They surely work, but plain old can’t compete for anhydrous for productivity. Also, if you think ammonia runoff is an environmental tragedy, spend some time in and around water polluted with manure runoff.

            The most productive and cleanest crops on the planet are raised in styrofoam, perlite, and (sterile) coconut hair. The idea that soil is ‘living’ is like looking at a solid rock with moss growing on the top and calling it a ‘living’ rock. 95+% of the mass of topsoil, outside of moisture retention and physical anchoring, is entirely useless to all biological organisms and plenty of organisms that do live in it are or can be harmful to both plants and the animals that consume them.

            I understand that the effects can be managed, but do you act like soil born illnesses haven’t killed people throughout human history and still do today.

          2. Modern greenhouse food producers regularly pasteurize (sterilize) not only the soil but the water used to transfer needed plant nutrients to their produce. The “soil” is nothing but a substrate for delivering the nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and other trace minerals plants need to grow.

            Living soil, sterile soil? You guys do not know what the hell you are talking about.

            1. Living soil, sterile soil? You guys do not know what the hell you are talking about.

              No offense, the fact that you aren’t familiar with the notion of ‘living soil’ is very odd and makes me think you haven’t spent time tilling soil or reading about it. It’s not at all a new or uncommon notion in agriculture or soil science. I understand people in greenhouses may not like to get their hands dirty, but that shouldn’t prevent them from learning about history.

              Please brush up on the Haughley Experiment. Regardless of your opinions on the experiment or it’s outcome, it’s hard to spend any time learning about soil and agriculture an not to have at least a passing familiarity with it. Even if you disagree with me (even though you made the exact same assertions I did) you should still be aware of it’s existence.

            2. I’ve been farming my entire life. What the fuck do you actually know? NPK’s aren’t the only thing a plant needs to grow and then to be nutrient dense. That’s the same piss poor attitude that got our ag business where it’s at today.

              1. no, they also need micronutes and S and Ca which are majors or minors dependibg on whom you ask.

      2. lifeless soil eh? Let’s take a culture of some of that soil in which those GMOs are being grown and see what happens. If the culture doesn’t show growth after a month of incubation, I’ll give you $100. If it does show growth after 30 days you owe me $100. Care to take that bet?

    3. “but to oppose the very idea of food labeling seems suspect to this libertarian.”

      Is Reason opposed to labeling, or opposed to mandatory labeling?

      XKCD nails it:

      1. Ha Ha nice !!! I would say they are opposed to mandatory labeling. There is already an “Organic” voluntary label, and the anti-GMO crowd wants to label GMO’s like how cigarettes are labeled.

    4. There is already a voluntary “Organic” label and BTW to be labeled organic the product must not contain any GMO’s. A mandatory GMO label is unnecessary. That and the anti-GMO crowd want GMO’s labeled like cigarettes. They do not want a label, they want a warning label.

      1. ^ 07negative

  11. I would like to note that , while I am an agnostic, I think that the present understanding of evolution is missing something and possible seriously flawed. I know that evolutionary scientists can, and will if challenged, propose environmental/evolutionary scenarios that explain the Platypus or the Giraffe. I just think that any explanation that doesn’t include reference to a higher power with a peculiar sense of humor is deliberately overlooking the obvious.

    1. Creatard. Why do you hate science so much? I bet you don’t even use computers and cars and stuff, because you hate science so much, you Creatard.

    2. Evolution is not something that cares whether or not it makes any sense to you. Much like the free market.

      I actually have trouble seeing how we can have groups that only accept either the invisible hand of markets or the invisible hand of evolution. They seem quite indistinguishable to me.

      1. I think the chief difference is that people can see the results of the invisible hand at work. So far, no one has seen a new species arrise from and old.

        The current Darwinian theory involves something called punctuated equalibrium. This revolves around a species changing quickly when its environment changes and then when the environment stops changing, the species in question also stops changing.

        Environment can change due to climate or other factors like new competition. Entelodonts grew far larger when the modern dogs arrived in North America. Considering the changes to the environment in places like Europe and North America in the past 150 years, something could be changing.

        1. So far, no one has seen a new species arrise from and old.

          WTF? We can induce this phenomenon. Saying we haven’t seen species form or go extinct is like saying we haven’t seen a new market form or collapse.

          1. Whoa! Slow down. All I said was people have seen markets rise and fall, and businesses come and go. The can intuitively relative to the invisible hand.

            Evolution works far more slowly, and it is not like we can repeat the experiment. For many looking at the fossil does not carry the same weight as watching Hechingers go bankrupt or Sam’s club gobble up Pace.

            And yes, we can induce the process; we are just another environmental stress and or competitor competing for resources, space and we are (thankfully) hunters.

            1. *they can*
              This interface sucks

        2. actually, we have seen new species arise or rather more broadly evolution in action. There are microorganisms that have evolved to eat toxic waste that never existed in nature. In early 1900’s England, a certain moth changed color because the rampant pollution blocked out the sun and killed the algae that grows on a tree that it had evolved to mimic in order to camoflouge.

          There are other examples but I’m too lazy to think hard and keep typing

          1. Point taken, especially regarding the bacteria that have evolved to eat toxic waste. That does sound new.

            I forgot about the the moth color in england always had the recesive gene for the alternate color. But are you claiming this a new species or evolutionary action?

      2. Your argument strikes me as boiling down to “We know that evolution exists, therefore any data that doesn’t make sense in light what we know of evolution is merely some part of evolution that we don’t understand.”

        Mind you, I think that evolution is a real thing. I just suspect that it is the tool that some creative being uses, and that the giraffe (for example) is the result of that being saying to itself “I wonder what happens if I push this slider all the way up?”.

        1. Well plants and animals use a common genetic code. Why should they? Unless they EVOLVED from a common source.

          1. If you are open to the idea of an intelligent “engineer” rather than “creator”, perhaps the answer could be that the common source was all the engineer had to work with. I, personally, have some problem reasoning how a single organism evolved into the various species, current and extinct, through random catalysts. It’s a curiousity though, I’m indifferent to any spiritual implications of it all.

        2. Oh, yeah, sure. This is covered in South Park “Can’t evolution be the answer to how and not why?” (the character Stan Marsh says after his teacher claims that evolution proves there is no God).

          Anyway, the whole evolution-means – there – is – no – God thing is entirely the THEOLOGISTS’ fault. YOU guys are the ones who are such sticklers for complete literal interpretations of the Bible. Except of course, when you’re not, which is all the time; like, no one really thinks the story of the prodigal son is literally just a story about a guy and his son, ditto the parable of the mustard seed, etc.

          Science is only a philosophy/method to find out what ACTUALLY happens in the observable world. It makes no claim to being able to be a life-directing philosophy; it can only make positive statements, not normative ones

    3. “the present understanding of evolution is missing something and possible seriously flawed”

      I totally agree. Natural selection is fine for gradual changes that lead to huge changes, but I never got how something like porcupine quills could come about. There’s no way that there would be some small difference in some primitive mammal that helped it stop predator attacks that later evolved fully into quills. I mean, what the hell is like that? What, coarse hairs? That would never stop a predator in the first place, even some of the time. Clearly there must have been a lineage of spiny animals from very early on.

      And epigenetics, we have no way to account for that. It turns out that that Frenchman’s theory that animals evolved due to physical demands caused by their environments may have some truth after all (i.e. giraffes stretching their necks and then their kids having longer necks because of it)

      1. Edwin|1.27.14 @ 9:32PM|#
        …”I never got how something like porcupine quills could come about.”…

        Argument from ignorance isn’t going to make your point here.

        1. I wasn’t saying I don’t believe in evolution, how about you fucking read what I wrote you assumptive cunt

          Again, there is clearly a gap where there is no way that a very prominent physical trait has any predecessors that do the job half as well. It’s not like “coarse hairs” would deter a predator, so how could they eveolve into spikes? It must mean that mammals evolved from the get go with a few spiny-backed species, from which the procupine evolved, and that the spines DIDNT eveolve independently

          if you know something I don’t, I’d be glad to hear it, but please how about you actually address what I wrote?

          1. I read it. The assumption that all or even most traits that evolve are useful causes a very significant misunderstanding. Most traits that evolve are undesirable and lead to early death of the carrier. Many more traits are essentially useless. Only a small fraction of evolutionary changes are good for the carrier.

      2. the mistake you are making is to assume that the initial pressure is the same as the existing pressure. In this case defense against predators. They initial pressure could have been coarse hair regulates temperature better and eventually it was coarse enough to also provide defensive capabilities. More easily imagined would be a creature evolving a light sensor thay allowed it to better find food. Then it turns out that a light sensor can also better find predators.

  12. The idea of “consensus” itself and “settled science” are anti-science. Science is about the vigorous application of critical thought data collection to arrive at fact. Not even the Theory of General Relativity is “settled” in that sense as it is constantly under review. In any other circumstance AGW would be reviewed openly, modified and even rejected ? not declared “settled” when fact stubbornly refuses to comply with theory.

    AGW must also be examined with a political view. In the 1970s the fledgling Green movement advanced Man-Made Global Cooling. Some of those today who loudly trumpet AGW, like Obama’s Science Adviser John Holdren , pushed Global Cooling back in the day. And each time their answer is to apply massive State power over society and the people.

    AGW is also quasi ?religious. Skeptics have been labelled “deniers” which is a religious term for those who deny religious truth. AGW luminaries James Mann call for “Nuremberg style” trials for crimes against the environment, the penalty for which according to some should be death. Yes, death for challenging AGW. Where among the many skeptics to we see calls for death against AGW proponents? We don’t.

    And notice the same AGW supporters also happen to generally be GM food opponents. And here too they apply their own code of morals, apply death threats, threats of violence, and ignore any science that doesn’t adhere to their narrow world views.

  13. The smartest progressive I know is hilariously anti-GMO. It is not a rational belief, it is the same disgust mechanism I see activated when I am around Biblethumpers when queers get mentioned.
    The hate I see for lefties concerning the people of Walmart, Southerners, smokers, fatties (caucasian only fatties), fast food, and GMOs is all emotional disgust. The intellectual justifications come after that initial reaction.

  14. Nice false equivalency there Hinkle. Trying to keep your cool on? No pun inended.

    The earth colder today than it was a thousand years ago, or two thousand years ago. The could make there own wine in England in Roman and Medieval times. But not now. Do you know why?

    The Earth, Venus and Mars all experienced an increase in their temps in the early to lat nineties. No SUV or other human activities on Mar’s. No polution producing factories on Venus. If it ain’t the fossile fuels being burned by them nasty humans on Venus or Mars, what could it be? What is the common factor for climate on those three planets Hinkle? Care to guess?

    Why is it that so many of the narratives regarding AGW start in the 1640 Hinkle? Inquiring minds want to know.

  15. So the author would never visit a doctor or other healthcare professional if he or she believes in creationism or deity of some kind? Because they’re “anti-science”? What do I care if an Orthodox Jewish doctor thinks God created the world, as long as he practices sound medicine? I ain’t going to no liberal guru who thinks non processed foods and chakra molding are miracle workers.

    No one denies that the globe is warming, but people on this side of aisle aren’t alarmist. They don’t oppose cap and trade measures for the same reason they oppose GMO labeling.

    It’s so strange for a libertarian to equate a GW skeptic with a GMO haters who are down with using government coercion to achieve their agenda – even though the science is even more settled in that arena.

  16. “They oppose cap and trade”

  17. AGW is a farce. I’m sorry, but when someone tells me “nope, case closed” – I have a real problem with that. The very definition of science is to question everything instead of accepting what you’re told.

    Ever notice that every single proposed solution to AGW is political (taxation) and not a single one is scientific? That should tell you something.

  18. WTF Hinkle, are you still on the AGW crap? That last IPCC report *should* have been the suicide letter of the whole rationalistic farce that is AGW.

    It essentially said, “Though none of what we have been predicting for decades has come remotely close to being true, don’t give up the faith, because the heat acts in defiance of the laws of thermodynamics, and is now hiding on the bottom of the ocean, where we can’t detect it or prove it exists.”

    ^^This is your lefty “scientific” brain on RATIONALISM.

  19. the current pause in global warming has the potential to falsify the anthropogenic thesis.

    And THAT is the problem. CAGW is not falsifiable and therefore is NOT science. No matter what the observation, it is attributable to CAGW. The fact that many “researchers” are rapidly moving the goalposts now that observed temperatures have falsified the models should tell you something. Here’s a hint: Look up the definition of epicycles.

    Genuine scientists would be questioning their models. A pack of cardinals defends their beliefs.

    1. a pack of cardinals?

      1. Its like a bushel of Bishops – only the have gang tattoos

  20. I’m sorry, what “scientific consensus” about AGW? Surely not the studies witch conclude that 97 percent of scientists agree that humans are causing climate change? One study that looked at a mere 1,372 other studies (How were they chosen? Who knows?) And then picked the “top 200” of these (How were they chosen? Who knows?) 97 percent of these “top studies” supported AGW. Maybe the one that looked at 13,950 studies and after culling the ones the author deemed “unimportant” came to a 97 percent figure. Of course this figure includes all scientists that concede that human activity “might” have caused “some” global warming. Of course this figure includes any study at all that even mentions AGW, including the ones in which the scientists incorporated mention of it into otherwise unrelated studies in order to qualify for grants. Any study of global warming yields far too many questions and reasonable doubts for any intelligent person to deem it case closed. Quite frankly, I’m surprised on a Libertarian site such an obvious ploy to control people through legislation and redistribution of wealth gets any credibility at all.

  21. The Right Wingers are on sounder footing re: plant food. The models didn’t predict a 17 year (and counting) pause in warming with CO2 increasing steadily.

    Too much scientific “faith” is as bad as none.

    1. …”a 17 year (and counting) pause in warming”…
      The word “pause” indicates there will be a resumption in a certain activity.
      There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest so in this case, so I think the proper term here is “cessation”.

  22. This article misses the point. This is not about scientific ignorance. People can dislike GMOs without being kooks. Mainstream science, like mainstream politics, always has holes, and this issue is no exception. Throwing out names of premier, government-backed scientific “authorities” is neither a legitimate nor logical method to verify science. Competent debaters aptly call this an “appeal to authority,” and that thought process is largely why many people reflexively believe government is an obvious solution to our problems. That makes the foundation for this reasoning decidedly unlibertarian.

    The reason a GMO label mandate is a stupid idea is economics. Such a mandate would cost a ton of money for producers, to be passed on to consumers, and would likely fail to impact consumption anyway. Health-conscious people are a very specific breed of shoppers, and they are already actively avoiding GMO products by and large. Everyone else will continue to buy GMOs, irrespective of any label on the package. Consider also that food producers wanting to appeal to the health-conscious market sector already label their foods as GMO-free, grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic, etc. So, a mandate for GMO labels would be a stupid idea–because of economics. The “our science says it’s safe” argument is a moot point that puts excessive faith in scientific authorities and incorporates a petty and inaccurate character judgment of skeptics.

  23. Gardening led me into learning about botany, plus I know my basic biology, so I know whereof I speak:

    GM foods are totally safe, and if anything, they were OVERTESTED. The list of things that can harm people in plants is very finite and well known. Even if the added genes do change the expression of other genes or induce the plant to produce more of other chemicals unbeknownst to us, if the effect doesn’t lead to an increase in the poisonous-chemical list, then there’s nothing to fear.

    There was no reason to require the companies to test for TEN YEARS!!! What the hell could they be doing for TEN YEARS!?

  24. We were told for decades to eat our transfat(magarine) it’s good for you. That didn’t work out very well. Many people and businesses will lie to you if their money or ideology is involved. The biggest point here is peoples right to at least know what they are eating.

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    Get ready!

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  28. Climate change alarmism is a giant farce. It is clearly ideologically driven.

    Science is for explaining the past and present. It is for proposing theories about what is observed, and for testing those theories. It is not the business of science to look forward fifty years, and to propose theories that cannot be tested. There can be absolutely no certainties about what will happen with climate in the future. It is not knowable.

    We humans are an industrious lot. I trust that we can invent our way out of many things nature throws at us. Indeed we already have, and have thus made much of the planet inhabitable which would otherwise not be.

    Those who lack faith in our ability to improvise and invent clearly are not acknowledging ample, glorious, brilliant man-made evidence to the contrary, and thus we must suspect their motives. There is something anthro-phobic going on here.

    Cataclysmic predictions about the course we’re on have been around for millennia. They’ve all been ideologically driven, they’ve all been based on fear, and they’ve all been wrong.

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