GMO Food

Terrific New Yorker Article on Evil Anti-Biotech Charlatan Vandana Shiva

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Vandana Shiva
wikimedia

I have called Vandana Shiva One of the Worst People in the World, so I was thoroughly delighted to read Michael Specter's new article in The New Yorker, in which he reveals the anti-biotech campaigner as the evil fraud that she is. She compares biotech crops to rape and claims that they cause autism. Naturally, progressive TV pundit Bill Moyers has called Shiva a "rock star in the worldwide battle against genetically modified seeds." Sadly, yes.

Here are a few excerpts:

"There are two trends," she told the crowd that had gathered in Piazza Santissima Annunziata, in Florence, for the seed fair. "One: a trend of diversity, democracy, freedom, joy, culture—people celebrating their lives." She paused to let silence fill the square. "And the other: monocultures, deadness. Everyone depressed. Everyone on Prozac. More and more young people unemployed. We don't want that world of death."

Total claptrap.

Shiva insists that the only acceptable path is to return to the principles and practices of an earlier era. "Fertilizer should never have been allowed in agriculture," she said in a 2011 speech. "I think it's time to ban it. It's a weapon of mass destruction. Its use is like war, because it came from war."

Lie. The Haber-Bosch technique was devised to produce nitrogen fertilizer and was later diverted during World War I into munitions manufacture. The New Yorker article correctly counters:

"Without the nitrogen fertilizer to grow crops used to feed our recent ancestors so they could reproduce, many of us probably wouldn't be here today," Raoul Adamchack told me. "It would have been a different planet, smaller, poorer, and far more agrarian." Adamchack runs an organic farm in Northern California, and has served as the president of California Certified Organic Farmers.

In fact, about half of the nitrogen molecules found in the tissues of people today were derived from industrially produced fertilizers.

Next Shiva asserts that biotech crops are somehow responsible for the rise in autism:

On March 29th, in Winnipeg, Shiva began a speech to a local food-rights group by revealing alarming new information about the impact of agricultural biotechnology on human health. "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that in two years the figure of autism has jumped from one in eighty-eight to one in sixty-eight," she said, referring to an article in USA Today. "Then they go on to say obviously this is a trend showing that something's wrong, and that whether something in the environment could be causing the uptick remains the million-dollar question.

"That question's been answered," Shiva continued. She mentioned glyphosate, the Monsanto herbicide that is commonly used with modified crops. "If you look at the graph of the growth of G.M.O.s, the growth of application of glyphosate and autism, it's literally a one-to-one correspondence. And you could make that graph for kidney failure, you could make that graph for diabetes, you could make that graph even for Alzheimer's."

Specter correctly notes:

Hundreds of millions of people, in twenty-eight countries, eat transgenic products every day, and if any of Shiva's assertions were true the implications would be catastrophic. But no relationship between glyphosate and the diseases that Shiva mentioned has been discovered. Her claims were based on a single research paper, released last year, in a journal called Entropy, which charges scientists to publish their findings. The paper contains no new research. Shiva had committed a common, but dangerous, fallacy: confusing a correlation with causation. (It turns out, for example, that the growth in sales of organic produce in the past decade matches the rise of autism, almost exactly. For that matter, so does the rise in sales of high-definition televisions, as well as the number of Americans who commute to work every day by bicycle.)

When environmentalist Mark Lynas came to his senses and apologized for his unscientific opposition to biotech crops, Shiva vengefully tweeted:

"#MarkLynas saying farmers shd be free to grow #GMOs which can contaminate #organic farms is like saying #rapists shd have freedom to rape."

In The New Yorker article Lynas observes: 

"When you call somebody a fraud, that suggests the person knows she is lying. I don't think Vandana Shiva necessarily knows that. But she is blinded by her ideology and her political beliefs. That is why she is so effective and so dangerous… on a fundamental level she is a demagogue who opposes the universal values of the Enlightenment."

I think that Lynas is being far too gentle. And Shiva's opposition to Golden Rice, enhanced by biotech to alleviate tens of millions of cases on vitamin A deficiency is actually helping to kill people

Two economists, one from Berkeley and the other from Munich, recently examined the impact of that ban. In their study "The Economic Power of the Golden Rice Opposition," they calculated that the absence of Golden Rice in the past decade has caused the loss of at least 1,424,680 life years in India alone.

As I reported earlier (see beginning link), Shiva is the chief proponent of the lie that biotech cotton has somehow induced more than a quarter of million Indian farmers to commit suicide. Spector thoroughly debunks that claim. (For another excellent refutation of this claim, see Keith Kloor's, "The GMO-Suicide Myth" in the February, 2014 Issues in Science and Technology.)

Rich westerners apparently love being duped by Shiva. For example, Spector reports this disheartening reaction of a young Italian anti-GMO activist:

I asked a twenty-year-old student named Victoria if she had been aware of Shiva's work. "For years," she said. Then, acknowledging Shiva's undeniable charisma, she added, "I was just in a room with her. I have followed her all my life, but you can't be prepared for her physical presence." She hesitated and glanced at the platform where Shiva was speaking. "Isn't she just magic?"

For my part, I have been in many rooms with Shiva where I have seen deluded throngs fawn on her every deceitful word. My reaction: Revulsion.

The Specter article is really well worth your time.

NEXT: Former NYPD Chief Bernard Kerik Discusses Ferguson, Police Militarization, and Clemency

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  1. “I am created Shiva the Destroyer; Death, the shatterer of worlds!”

    1. D00d.

      I saw this chick on a Disco channel special talking about agriculture. They were talking about Golden Rice and all of a sudden they show her talking about how it wasn’t Golden Rice that saved millions of people in India but some claptrap about government reforms allowing more poor to farm the land or whatever.

      This raised an eyebrow for me though I didn’t check into it. They just presented her as a researcher or government scientist. But now I see why she was saying this, and it infuriates me that an otherwise straightfaced science show (not your typical alarmist crap) would present her so neutrally.

      1. The Disco Very Channel is a science channel?

    2. You mean Shiva the Farmer, right?

      1. Shiva the Weeder?

    3. You people are desperate and really trying too hard to discredit her.

  2. Depak Choprah is a featured guest on the national propaganda radio. I’m surprised they haven’t picked up this pig for donation time.

    1. I dropped a Depak Choprah earlier today. Digestion issues. I feel much better now.

  3. So basically the Madame Blavatsky of the frankenfood panic? I wonder if she’ll start getting secret letters from the Mahatmas!

    1. +1 for that Theosophist reference.

  4. “I think it’s time to ban it. It’s a weapon of mass destruction. Its use is like war, because it came from war.”

    Today’s special is roast lie in genetic-fallacy sauce — all non-GMO, of course.

    1. Don’t underestimate the argument that “Its use is like war, because it came from war.”

      That’s what I’ve been saying for years about ballpoint pens, and now I think me and Shiva can finally get the momentum to get those banned, too.

  5. And almost as bad as the anti-biotech charlatans are the anthropogenic global warming hoax charlatans.

    1. Having trouble telling which side your on with this one buddy…

  6. For my part, I have been in many rooms with Shiva where I have seen deluded throngs fawn on her every deceitful word. My reaction: Revulsion.

    Stupid people always seem ready to flock to evil.

    1. Do you know who else used charisma and physical presence instead of sound argument?

      1. Zsuzsa Polgar?

      2. Spike Lee?

      3. Haile Selassie?

      4. Hitler?

      5. Siberian twerkers?

      6. Mussolini?

      7. Charlie Chaplin?

      8. Jesus?

      9. Michael Brown?

      10. The Ferguson PD?

      11. Svengali?

    2. Except that Shiva is trying to protect humanity and the future of all life on earth. To a Hitler type, that would sound like a personal threat. She should be proud of her work though, if the enemies of humanity and psychotics of the world weren’t shrieking, ranting and raving against Shiva (as they did Ghandi) she wouldn’t be doing her job

  7. Well, judging from the picture, it doesn’t look to me like Ms. Shiva has missed too many meals, biotech or organic. My guess is that knows pretty well that it would be those other people who’d have to starve, not her.

  8. Am I wrong, or is the dot generally much smaller than that?

    1. Those I see in real life tend to be smaller than that.

      1. I seriously think she needs to get that looked at.

    2. It’s not a dot. It’s a birth mark.

    3. A target, perhaps?

    4. It’s a space station.

    5. That’s no moon…

  9. …but no Disclosures?
    of censure, condemnation, vilification by the Living God Shiva and her army of acolytes?

    I am disappoint.

    Specter, FWIW, used to be someone I could cite to progs as ‘worth reading’, and they would take his presence at the New Yorker as some kind of liberal Bona Fides. I even got some people to accept (after reviewing his criticisms) that “organic food was complicated”, “anti-vaccine people were crazy”, and that “dietary supplements are bullshit”.

    a year or so after his ‘Denialism’ book came out, this changed. Someone handed out the memo that he’d had his Planetary Citizenship Card revoked and he was henceforth one of the Untouchables. Something to do with how he was paid to speak at some Conference of Wrong and therefore could never again be a carrier of the truth.

    1. Most people are receptive to the fact that yea this could be bad but the alternative is/was so much worse. But when it comes to global warmer it is much harder to sway the cultist any criticism or specter of doubt marks you as heretic.

      1. I think calling them ‘untouchables’ would be appropriate in this case?

  10. TV pundit Bill Moyers

    Moyers is an ordained minister and ex LBJ staffer. Peak Asshole. No asshole will ever asshole more than Moyers. Humanity isn’t capable of fitting any more smug self-righteousness in one body.

    1. I disagree, there will always be innovations in smug storage capacity.

      1. You can compress smug, but there is no lossless smug compression algorithm. For 100% pure, undiluted smug, Moyers will never be topped. Combining the will of the baby Jesus with original Great Society progressivism is a 1000 year flood of smug.

        1. No need to compress smug, we’ve combined smug de-duplication with dimensionally trancendental smug storage to add nigh-infinite adjunct smug storage which can be hooked to either a person or an online community with no need to convert your smug to another format or polarity.

          1. Moyers smug exists outside of time. It is eternal smug. It is divine smug. It is supernatural smug. No mere science can top it.

            1. We take comments like that as a challenge.

              1. If Moyers contained any more smug, he’d collapse into a nondimensional smug singularity.

      2. there will always be innovations in smug storage capacity

        Is that a reference to Robert Reich?

    2. When I first read it I thought it said Bill Maher. The same thing could apply to him (and given that he’s anti-vaccine and has managed to deny the germ theory of disease, I’m imagining Maher is anti-biotech as well)

      1. Maher isn’t a believer. No matter how right he thinks he is, he can’t say the omniscient supreme being of the entire universe says he’s right. Even Maher is a lesser asshole compared to Moyers.

        1. I agree – Maher doesn’t really believe things, he just says things to get attention. Moyers is a true believer.

    3. Moyers is an ordained minister and ex LBJ staffer.

      Not just an LBJ staffer, he was the prick who gave the world the Daisy petals commercial. And I’ve watched him whine, bitch, piss and moan about the lack of civility in our political discourse.

      1. Moyers was speaking Truth To Power, not being uncivil. Know your place, peon.

    4. I’ll never forget the Moyers’ mini-series on Joseph Campbell – The Power of Myth.

      Moyers’ lack of understanding of Campbell was utter. At one point, when he asks “Do you see yourself as a hero?” Campbell gives him a look of naked disgust, clearly thinking to himself “you didn’t actually read my book, did you?”

      1. Who crapped on Campbell more, Moyers or George Lucas?

        1. Lucas developed at least a vague understanding, and drew some attention to it. The whole thing was lost on Moyers, totally.

    5. And don’t forget Moyers’ gay witch hunt past
      http://theweek.com/article/ind…..witch-hunt

      Liberal PBS host Bill Moyers has some explaining to do, said Jack Shafer in Slate. The Washington Post reported that when Moyers was working for President Lyndon Johnson, he directed J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI to investigate whether two fellow Johnson administration officials had “homosexual tendencies.” The “gay hunting” made political sense in 1964?LBJ aide Walter Jenkins had just been arrested having gay sex in a restroom?but Moyers should own up to it.

      This isn’t the first time Moyers’ name has been linked to gay hunting, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. Federal judge Laurence Silberman, who read all of Hoover’s secret files in 1975, says that Moyers also asked the FBI to search for any homosexuals working for LBJ’s 1964 rival, Barry Goldwater. Amazingly, this is the same Moyers who has remade himself into a “political moralist.”

      1. “Moyers also asked the FBI to search for any homosexuals working for LBJ’s 1964 rival, Barry Goldwater.”

        Are you shitting me? Now I finally understand why two FBI agents brought a number of us Youth for Goldwater together in the local campaign office and asked us if “Mr. X had ever made any homosexual advances to us.” {No, he hadn’t.} Seemed very strange at the time.

  11. Wow, it always surprises me how large and lucrative the market for charlatans is.

    1. PT Barnum quote here

      1. “This way to the Egress”

        1. Ha! I remember that from my freshman class in vocabulary, circa 1977. Thanks for posting it!

          1. Hey, I’m an ornithopter in my spare time!

  12. Yet more evidence that personality cults lead to starvation.

  13. “Without the nitrogen fertilizer to grow crops used to feed our recent ancestors so they could reproduce, many of us probably wouldn’t be here today,” Raoul Adamchack told me. “It would have been a different planet, smaller, poorer, and far more agrarian.”

    Something tells me Ms. Shiva would consider this a feature, not a bug.

    1. Can we extract all the unnatural Nitrogen from Ms. Shiva, for her own good?

      1. Oooooo….. A Nitrogen extractor.

        New Gadget for Doctor Rudra!

    2. She would have loooooved 1960’s and 70’s Cambodia!

      1. Except for the part where Doctors got decapitated. For some reason the credentialists hate being on the chopping block.

    3. How many Indians would be left in their country in 12 months if we banned fertilizer? 50 million?

    4. Inserting a foreign animal or plant gene into a plant including one that manufactures pesticides, is not the same as “nitrogen fertilizer”. It’s completely different than ancient practices such as splicing. Pesticides are also not harmless vitamins, and plant variety and pollinators are not “bad for the earth”… just heading off your next low IQ inane arguments.

  14. Off topic: More idiocy from the Ferguson PD

    Apparently, on the pretense that it was being illegally used as an overnight shelter, police surrounded and raided a church that had been used as a safe haven for people who had been teargassed. They apparently seized water and kits that were being used to help tear gas victims.

    1. I may have to stop reading H wa R. My blood pressure can’t take it.

    2. Tear gas is supposed to be punishment. Can’t allow people to actually wash the stuff out of their eyes. I mean, that takes away from the fun of gassing people. Sheesh.

    3. And more:

      jelani cobb
      ?@jelani9
      Organizers saying this is the 3rd time police have come here. Last night they had assault weapons. #Ferguson

  15. it’s supposed to be a little coat Shiva, not a huge orange sarong.

    1. But people flock from all over the world just to touch the hem of her garment!

  16. reminds of the caveman comic; our air is clean, water is pure, plenty of exercise, we eat all organic and nobody lives past 30.

    For all the conditions we face I wonder how many of the increases are due to the fact that we can care for all sorts of people and keep more people alive for longer, long enough to develop cancer, when 100 years ago some cold or cut could do us in long before that would happen.

    1. Exactly. Alzheimer’s is being predicted as one of the major growth diseases of the next few decades. The reason? Longer life expectancies.

    2. I posted a link to that comic about a week ago. Coincidentally, it was from the New Yorker.

  17. Sir Bedevere: …and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana-shaped.

    King Arthur: This new learning amazes me, Sir Bedevere. Explain again how sheep’s bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes.

  18. One: a trend of diversity, democracy, freedom, joy, culture?people celebrating their lives.

    One of these things is not like the others. No surprise she’s a socialist, so somehow voting pluralities will result in freedom and joy for millions of people who’re forced into a political monoculture against their will.

    I’d like to see a continued emergence of libertarians who succeed in cutting off the moral high ground from all of these anti-globalization and environmentalist sorts. There is nothing more irritating than seeing a bunch of well-meaning, pious neoclerics working together for decades to screw over humanity with their good intentions, and it seems that heaping sarcasm and derision on them won’t be enough.

    But I’ll continue to do my part, beer in hand.

  19. “If you look at the graph of the growth of G.M.O.s, the growth of application of glyphosate and autism, it’s literally a one-to-one correspondence.”

    Never forget that Nicolas Cage is responsible for accidental drownings.

    1. Oh, damn you flye.

      1. Great minds, etc., etc.

    2. Actually, autism rates correlate nicely with pediatric acetaminophen usage rates and would seem to be a much more likely candidate for further investigation. But I’d rather people starve, so let’s get rid of RoundUp.

      1. Scruffy Nerfherder|8.20.14 @ 3:00PM|#
        “Actually, autism rates correlate nicely with pediatric acetaminophen usage rates”…

        Ha!
        I’ve got an even better correlation: The number of years that pig has lived with the autism rates!

  20. From Mahatma Gandhi spinning his yarn to Shiva and her anti-fertilizer rants, to coddled American lefties, it all boils down to this for me: fine, you don’t like fertilizer, don’t use it. You like organic food? Fine, eat it. But don’t ban stuff for the rest of us.

    The issue to me is that a libertarian society allows these people to live however they want. If they want to spend 6 hours a day to raise food and warm their houses, great. But leave me out. But that’s not good enough for them. They need to ban certain technologies and economic structures — like economies of scale — for the rest of us. ARGH!

    1. Well, you wouldn’t want those Indian farmers to develop false consciousness and think that it might benefit them to use modern farming techniques.

  21. If you look at the graph of the growth of G.M.O.s, the growth of application of glyphosate and autism, it’s literally a one-to-one correspondence. And you could make that graph for kidney failure, you could make that graph for diabetes, you could make that graph even for Alzheimer’s.

    This woman needs some correlation/causation shoved up her ass.

  22. This quote is via the GREAT blog cafehayek.com (Boudreaux’s GMU blog):

    ? from page 235 of Matt Ridley’s 2010 book, The Rational Optimist; (I’m re-reading Matt’s book in preparation for a new class that I’m teaching this Fall semester at GMU; the class is entitled “Economics of Sustainability”):

    Suppose you had said to my hypothetical family of 1800, eating their gristly stew in front of a log fire, that in two centuries their descendants would need to fetch no logs or water, and carry out no sewage, because water, gas, and a magic form of invisible power called electricity would come into their home through pipes and wires. They would jump at the chance to have such a home, but they would warily ask ho they could possibly afford it. Suppose that you then told them that to earn such a home, they need only ensure that father and mother both have to go to work for eight hours in an office, travelling roughly forty minutes each way in a horseless carriage, and that the children need not work at all, but should go to school to be sure of getting such jobs when they start to work at twenty. They would be more than dumbfounded; they would be delirious with excitement.

    1. I am currently also re-reading this book- but for pleasure. It’s amazing how many people DON’T get it. Still. Don’t. Get. It.

      1. “Still. Don’t. Get. It.”

        Exactly. Lefties don’t take our arguments in favor of freedom and free markets seriously. They argue against them without understanding them. They think anyone if favor of a free market is named “Koch.” And instead of reasoned arguments, we get books like “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” proclaiming we’re dupes for the 1%.

        1. Which is what happens when people assume the moral high ground as their birthright. Becomes that much easier to dismiss RKBA activists as rednecks or libertarians as corporate shills. Most of us have met decent socialists, so we at least know that some socialists are good people operating off of bad premises.

          Not so with them. We’re the boogie man, as online debates devolve into spitefests and they never engage us in the real world. No wonder they can’t even define capitalism.

          1. One of the things Progressives spout is that libertarians pine for an unobtainable utopia. Talk about projection!

            1. Worse than that, libertarians want to force this supposed utopia onto society!

              Liberty means you don’t have to ask permission and obey orders! But what about those people who currently demand that you ask permission from them and obey their orders? You will have to force them to stop forcing their will upon society! That, that, that’s tyranny!

              /progderp

            2. “One of the things Progressives spout is that libertarians pine for an unobtainable utopia. Talk about projection!”

              And libertarians haven’t murdered one hundred million innocent people trying to get it, either.

        2. They don’t understand the differences between money, wealth and capital.
          I remember how my father, a lefty, explained economics to me when I was little. He said the invisible hand is government, taking it’s share whenever money changes hands. And he described capitalism as a system where rich capitalists use their money to make more money, and if you’re not rich then you work for a capitalist. In other words, he has no concept of the difference between money, wealth and capital.

          1. Sounds like he studied at the same school as Tony – Invisible Hand = Government; Social Contract = obligations of citizens to Government

          2. government, taking it’s share whenever money changes hands.

            Well, he got that part right.

        3. ‘They’ could always move to Amish country, or start a commune.

          But its no fun choosing a tough life if everyone else gets to choose not to.

  23. “”She is usually described in interviews and on television as a nuclear physicist, a quantum physicist, or a world-renowned physicist””

    KRUGMAN WON A NOBEL PRIZE

    ergo, QED, in ur face!

  24. which charges scientists to publish their findings

    Just a quick note. That doesn’t really say anything about the quality of the journal. Every single mainstream journal in my field has page charges. And they are not cheap.

    1. Alas, this is quite true for many journals, many of which have submission fees as well. I think these journals are of the type where you give them $$$ and they publish the article. I get at least one email a day asking for a submission to these types of journals. The universities in China are working with a “publish or perish” mentality so the supply of journals has increased to meet demand.

  25. What’s her motivation? Does she own something- or is it powermongering? I’m always curious about these types. If they’re true believers, then there’s nothing we can do. They are simply irrational and crazy. If they are, however, using such misinformation for personal gain… it still sucks, but at least they’re rational…?

    1. True believers addicted to moral highs. Same thing you’ll see in fundamentalist missionaries.

      1. As a true nonbeliever, I have a hard time believing anyone is a true believer. 🙂

    2. If somebody can scare you, they can control you. There’s a Mencken quote about it somewhere. Too lazy.

  26. the other thing about the inherent contradictions in Shiva and other anti-GMOs arguments…

    they seem to simultaneously assert that

    #1 – GMOs are THE WORSTEST THING EVER, and cause
    – cancer
    – destruction of the environment
    – autism
    – cross-pollinate and exterminate other natural species
    – etc

    #2 – GMOs are the WORSTEST THING EVER because
    – *Farmers cannot Afford them*

    e.g. “Shiva says that two hundred and eighty-four thousand Indian farmers have killed themselves because they cannot afford to plant Bt cotton…. “Farmers are dying because Monsanto is making profits”

    ….

    which is reminiscent of the woody allen joke about 2 old jewish women in the catskills resort =

    “Isn’t the food here *terrible*?”
    “Yes! and such *small portions*.”

    I do understand that her case is that GMOs benefit large-enterprises more than small-family-farms… but so does ‘large scale food production’. It is a repeat of the argument that the Automobile unfairly affects the Horse-and-Buggy driver’s union.

    1. “I do understand that her case is that GMOs benefit large-enterprises more than small-family-farms…”

      But even this is false. It’s the restriction on GMO creation and experimentation that prevents this from being a boon to small family (and specialized) farmers. Were it not amazingly expensive to get a GMO crop to market, small farmers could experiment on their own and who knows what benefits we could see.

    2. I know this is what you were getting at, but just to state it differently…

      If this shit is so awful AND costs way more, why is ANYONE using?

      1. They imply that ‘market forces’ are to blame in ‘requiring’ people to use GMOs despite their horrible properties.

        That people ‘resort’ to GMO because of ‘competitive demands’, and overlook the longer term negative consequences in favor of some immediate need to ‘sell and profit’.

        its the same completely ignorant anti-capitalist assumptions that make people claim that corporations, sans regulation, would feed us all poison and build houses that collapse and dig wells that cause ‘earthquakes’ because PROFIT…

        …as though none of these things have any actual ‘costs’ in a marketplace. As though every product ‘succeeds’ only because of some kind of evil scheme rather than actual *cost/benefits* compared to other replacements.

        the system that anti-capitalists criticize is always one where ‘choice’ is strangely absent. or where lawsuits are strangely ineffective unless they are part of some federal-regulatory-scheme run by TOP PEOPLE.

    3. “GMOs are THE WORSTEST THING EVER”

      This one drives my wife nuts, and she leans pretty Green. She used to work in biotech and would be the first to point out that pretty much every single thing humans eat at this point is “genetically modified.” We can just do it more quickly now.

      Unless we’re going to go back to harvesting wild grass and trying to make flour out of those tiny seeds, the GMO milk is already spilt.

    4. Reminds me of an article where the writer was describing the harm to kids from all the smart phone apps, simultaneously lamenting the “App gap” between poor and rich kids.

    5. “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded!”

  27. One of the other things i find enormously frustrating about having to deal with the luddites and anti-capitalist environmentalists, is how they seem to necessitate a perpetual, nonstop process of *re-explaining* the most basic facts about economics and science and medicine to people who are otherwise being constantly inundated with bullshit.

    The bullshit machine is so much cheaper to run. They can just churn out endless revisions of the same tired claims, while actually having to explain the details of things like, “How the Water Table is waaaaay above all those fracking chemicals” or, “why autism has zero connection to your diet” or, “there’s nothing healthier about ‘organic pesticides'”, etc. to people with zero background in science, geology, food production, … is a Sisyphean task that never ends.

    Truth requires a little effort. Which is why it too often fails in the face of ’emotionally-appealing bullshit’

    1. It’s very difficult to reason people out of their feelings. They feel certain things are true, so they grasp at evidence that supports their feelings, and dismiss the rest.

    2. This. It is so very, very, wearisometo have to deal with the continual bullshit machine. And it’s not just science and medicine. You have to explain basic logical principles to them, like it’s impossible to prove a negative, and that the credibility of a scientific paper is not determined by who funded it.

      And then, once you explain the science and the logic to them, they will declare that all of science is an establishmentarian conspiracy.

  28. Because it isn’t apparent what has caused an upswing in autism, maybe we can jump on board the blame game and turn a few bucks in the process? I think there’s ample research to prove autism is growing because more people are getting laser eye surgery and the obvious solution is to ban it and force them to wear monocles! Hey, did you ever hear about autism back when the wearing of monocles was commonplace?

  29. In fact, about half of the nitrogen molecules found in the tissues of people today were derived from industrially produced fertilizers.

    OMG, that’s frightening! Industry is polluting our bodies!! What more evidence do you need??!?!?

    1. Not only that, but numerically speaking, every breath you take contains at least one molecule of what used to be Gabby Hayes.

  30. Because it isn’t apparent what has caused an upswing in autism,

    All that’s apparent is that there has been an upswing in the diagnosis of autism, not the actual incidence of autism.

    Carry on.

    1. Isn’t it pretty obvious that what’s diagnosed autism today wasn’t before? Sounds to me like that’s all that’s increased, which is not likely an increase in incidence at all.

      1. That seems as likely as anything. People having kids when they are older also seems like a good place to look if there is reason to believe that actual incidence has increased (I have no idea if there is or not).

      2. Its now “autism Spectrum”

        Its all the rage

        “Thought you were just a boring cunt? NOT ANYMORE! Now you’re *a victim*! You too can be a member of the Aspergers Club, with only a quick online test…”

        1. If your kid has Aspergers, you would know it. It’s not a pleasant parenting experience. I can say that confidently as one of my 3 kids has it. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

      3. It’s inconclusive at best. There are conflicting studies on reasons for the rise in diagnosis. South Korea has one of the highest, if not the highest rates of autism, however the social stigma associated with the diagnosis in that country would suggest that people would avoid having that diagnosis placed on their child. At the same time, awareness has increased significantly over the last 20 years, but autism rates were climbing before then as well, starting in the 70’s.

        In short, it’s probably both.

      4. This^^^
        The ‘Autism Spectrum’ now places people who were just wierd when we were kids as autistic.

        I think you got ass-burger’s.

      5. A little from column A a bit from column B. Look at this way, in the U.S. let’s say 25% of people go to the doctor when they get a cold, because they would rather not pay a doctor to tell them they just have a cold. But in a country with a single-payer system, 50% of people go to the doctor with a cold.

        Voila, twice as many people are diagnosed with colds, so therefore single-payer healthcare causes the common cold. It’s spurious logic, but it’s the same spurious logic that anti-vaccine and GMO people use.

  31. Charisma is in the eye of the beholder.

  32. Sometimes I just want to give up and become someone like Shiva. Think of the life she has, globe-trotting around the world, telling people what they want to hear, enjoying their fawning adoration. It would be so *easy* really, to just start writing slap-dash bullshit about the evils of capitalism and how those bad profit seekers want to steal your money and poison your children. So damn easy, because it preys on people’s worst instincts and deepest fears.
    Think of all the charlatens throughout history who have made riches doing essentially just that. There is no profit in the truth when the truth is not something people want to believe.

  33. GMO is a dangerous poison. Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto’s Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, “developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females.” The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. Everywhere GMO is being grown, food allergies, disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others have been skyrocketing in the human populations.

    There has been a drastic decline of crop-pollinating insects all over the world, and what this means for the future of the world’s food supply. Wild pollinators like bumblebees, butterflies, and beetles are basically disappearing. GMO industrial agricultural practices are causing this insect genocide. Pollinating insects in general, which include a wide range of insects and other animals, are simply vanishing from their normal habitats and foraging areas. That lower diversity and lower abundance of wild insects means less fruits and destruction of the diversity of plants and their fruits worldwide.

  34. GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.

    GMOs increase herbicide use. Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”?surviving deadly weed killers. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide. Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.

  35. GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.

    By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

  36. GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.

    Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield?the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.

    The toxins associated with GMO should never be tolerated. NEONICOTINOID PESTICIDE neurotoxins are absolutely the main factor causing the collapse of bee and pollinator populations along with other lethal chemicals, glysophate, etc. When these poisons are banned as they were in Europe the bee populations start to recover. GMO neonicotinoids, roundup etc. MUST BE BANNED OUTRIGHT and all the farmers along with USDA, Biotech and chemical companies told to cease and desist from what they are doing.

  37. An even scarier prospect: the “BT” version of GMO soybeans and corn, (basically pesticides engineered directly into the plant )

    The “BT toxin” gene is put into the DNA of the corn in order for it to manufacture its own toxins that kill pests. The BT gene originated from a soil bacteria that also infiltrates the microflora (friendly digestive bacteria) in your gut. The Bt gene converts the microflora in your intestine into toxin-manufacturing machines.

  38. So, to be clear, eating GMO corn products can cause your gut (which is primarily responsible for keeping you healthy) to turn into a breeding ground for tiny little pesticide factories inside your body, actively creating toxins which are designed to kill living things. These toxins are found in the blood and are readily transferred across the placenta to developing babies in the womb.

  39. The transgenic warm can be a disaster without doubt.

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