Greens exploit widespread science ignorance

It is time people started listening to the farmers themselves about how to grow our food.

  • bad science

I frequently have to tell people that I am a science writer, not a scientist. The only science course I took in college was zoology, and I passed it only because my paper on Procyon Lotor—raccoons—demonstrated an ability to do some good research and present it cogently.

In the decades since then I have had the opportunity to write about many science-based topics.  It became evident that a huge portion of our society and worldwide is ignorant of how science functions and the incredible advances for mankind that it has provided.

It is this ignorance that is constantly exploited by the many environmental groups. Scaring people about the climate has been their bread and butter for decades, but a natural cooling cycle that is approaching two decades in a few years is killing that goose that laid so many golden eggs. The same is occurring for “renewable energy,” as Europe is beginning to regret pouring billions into wind energy while multi-million U.S. subsidies are on the chopping block as well.

The “food police” are generating a scare campaign about genetically modified food crops.  As Dr. Jay Lehr, the Science Director of The Heartland Institute, pointed out in a December 2013 article, “Not one single human has been harmed by genetically improved food.” So, naturally, some Greens are pushing to have everything made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) subjected to warning labels.

Do you know who the first environmentalists were? Farmers! It is the original “green job,” because farmers were among the original users of renewable energy—the solar power—to grow their crops. They used wind power to draw water and grind grain into flour. They built irrigation systems to make more efficient use of water.

When the United States declared its independence, the nation was largely composed of farmers. Now less than 2% of the population grows enough food to feed all of us and have plenty left over to export. The current exception to this is California’s central valley — when farmers have been denied water to save the lives of bait fish — smelt. They’re getting no help from the federal government either.

Throughout the last century the American Farm Bureau Federation and state farm bureaus were leaders in conservation tillage, well-water testing, and many other environmental improvements. As one observer noted, “Long after the current excitement about the Green economy has worn off, American farmers and ranchers will remain green collar workers as they have always been—efficient producers of food, fiber, and fuel and stewards of natural resources.

In the meantime, we are subjected to celebrities like Al Gore, Bill Maher, and Daryl Hannah, none of whom has a science degree.  The outspoken actors, Ed Begley, Jr., and Leonardo Dicaprio, only have a high school diploma; many others who opine on environmental issues are literally high school dropouts. A long list of news media personalities has no science degree. They include ABC’s Sam Champion, NBC’s Matt Lauer, and CBS’s Harry Smith. CBS’s Scott Pelley is a college dropout.

Among the scientists, many have degrees in areas that do not reflect meteorology or climatology. They include Bill Nye – known as the “science guy” –who has a degree in mechanical engineering.

As Dr. Lehr points out, “There is little food on the plate of humans anywhere that has not been genetically improved.” This goes back four thousand years to the creation of wine. In 1862, an Austrian monk, Gregor Mendel, began to crossbreed simple garden peas to improve their taste, yield, and strength. Thirty years later his work on the subject was published in the journal of the Royal Society of London, “and the new agricultural science of hybridization was born to improve our food.”

Writing in the February edition of Wheat Life, a publication for Washington state farmers, John Moffatt, a wheat breeder for Syngenta, noted that “Wheat is not only the largest crop in the world with acreage surpassing that of even corn and soybeans, it is also one of the most complex.” Sygenta is one of North America’s leading wheat genetic research companies, responsible for helping farmers grow profitable wheat with research that begins with seeds that undergo a certification process. Their crop varieties consistently outperform saved seed in yield, quality, and test weight.

“If genetic labeling laws are passed throughout the United States,” warns Dr. Lehr, “it will severely set back the scientific and human health benefits of genetic food advances. Billions of people around the world have consumed genetically modified food since it became widespread during recent decades. Billions more will benefit from such foods in the coming decades.”

Meanwhile, the Green liars will continue to wage war on humanity. From Paul Ehrlich who in 1968 forecast global famine to the Club of Rome that in 1972 predicted exhausted resources and famine and then had to recant the forecasts in 1976, to an endless series of “science” lies before and since, it behooves us all to be wary and skeptical of their claims.
We owe a debt of gratitude to those scientists who have greatly enhanced the lives of the seven billion with whom we share planet Earth. We owe a lot to the farmers who, thanks to scientific breakthroughs in genetics, are feeding us.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
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About the Author: Alan Caruba

Alan Caruba

Alan Caruba, a CFACT adjunct policy analyst, writes a daily blog at factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.

  • jameshrust

    Science has improved the lives of those living in industrialized countries to an extent beyond belief. Most take for granted our luxuries that even the poor in the U. S. have available. The attack on science has existed over its history. When the Industrial Revolution started in England around 1750 with use of steam engines, their version of “green” subversives were called “Luddites” who went around destroying steam engines. The groups today are bigger and command vast sums of money that give them great power.
    I compare the achievements of 21st century Luddites to those using the medical practice before the 20th century of bloodletting–patients aren’t cured and many died.
    James H. Rust, Professor of nuclear engineering

    • Enchant

      Hi, James. What University do you teach at? I’m a graduate student in Philosophy. I find it strange that you compare “green subversives” with luddites. There is no question that while the industrial revolution in Britain increased the quality of living, it did so and continues to do so at the expense of the environment. I’m not just talking about climate change–I’m talking about general pollution. To me, being “green” means using the least industrial processes necessary to preserve an acceptable quality of life, while avoiding polluting the environment that we all depend on for life, so that we can do things like argue about “green subversives” over the internet. :)

      • Thomas Faddid

        Enchant: you need to start by reading either Julian Simon’s The Ultimate Resource, or The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lumborg to see the historical reality of pollution getting better..ie: less and exchanging one more deadly form for a less deadly form repeatedly.

        • Scottar

          Right -on Brother!

  • Sterling Ericsson

    I suppose this is the other side of the inaccurate coin. I usually have to deal with the super environmentalists, who are into doing something about anthropogenic climate change, but are anti-GMO. Here, you’re the exact opposite, it seems.

    Both positions are faulty. If you’re going to be listening to the actual science on the subjects, then the only stance that can logically be taken is pro-GMO and also pro-climate change (the doing something about it side). That is the side of science.

    Climate change caused by us IS happening and IS something that we have to deal with and try to mitigate. All of the science points to that. At the same time, GM food IS safe and beneficial to humanity. All of the science points to that.

    If you’re going to go with science, then you have to go with science on both issues. Similarly, if you’re going to go against science, then you have to go against science on both issues.

  • Eckenhuijsen Smit

    Thank you very much for your exposé Mr. Alan Caruba.
    I would like the millions of green adherents to read what you wrote; the only question is if they would understand what you say, as they are so blinded and dumb!
    I am Dutch and hear the most stupid commentaries on Dutch TV about all possible
    green alarmist obsessions.
    Often, as today, news readers tell us that manmade CO2 output must be diminished, because -!!as everybody knows!!- manmade CO2 is raising Global Temperature by 2ºC in a few years, if nothing is done, while Global Climate Change, Global Weird
    Weather and all other Global Catastrophes “obviously are explained” by manmade CO2 in the Global Atmosphere.
    As manmade CO2 is only 0,001152% (=nil) of the Global Atmosphere it is obvious, for all people with even a little bit of functioning brains, that is not true.
    But wait, that is not all what those brilliant news readers tell.
    They advise (1. to build many more wind turbine platforms on land and at sea; (2. to install many more electricity generating sunlight collectors; (3. to generate electricity by burning “green” matter; (4. to build electric cars; and so on and so forth; spilling ever more trillions € in the alarmist cesspool!
    But the master idiot, the dumb arrogant narcist Barry Hussein Obama and his court, is of course the illuminated bearer of those obnoxious, obscene, malicious swindler’s ideas, failing any snippet of fundamental knowledge.
    We are as well informed that Shell and other oil-companies have decided ‒on government orders‒ that oil should stay in the ground, because then manmade CO2 would not rise any further!
    The Dutch government wants to spend 100 million € to “sequester” manmade CO2 anyway; how stupid can one get!
    CO2 is a gas of life and since eons indispensable for all life on earth, whatever green alarmists, uninformed politicians and other worthless mouthpieces are impregnating us with.
    The Global Atmosphere needs all CO2 it can get e.g. from car-exhausts and from factory-chimneys!

    • Enchant

      Forget about CO2 then, if you don’t believe it’s a problem. Let’s focus on pollution itself that comes from car exhaust. Carbon monoxide, a deadly gas. Smog. Right now in China the pollution is so bad in the most industrial areas that people cannot see the Sun rise in the morning through the smog from the factories. Forget about wind energy, forget about centralized solar powered energy. What about homes and hell, even cars, having cheap solar panels on their roofs? That seems like the way forward to me. Remember, these “green adherents” want the same things as you–a livable planet, fresh air, clean water, cheap food and energy. Thanks for reading! <3

      • Scottar

        Solar Panels are cheap as they are produced mainly in China very cheaply. They can’t really pay for themselves and require backup from conventional sources or an expensive mass of batteries, usually lead cell. The only doable green energy source would be 5th or 6th Gen nuclear, or preferably fusion, if they ever figure on a way to harness it. Wind mills are even worse, they are intermittent, the stalk kind kill masses of birds and bats, they make disturbing low level noise, and require expensive backup; usually peak power turbines generators that run on gas.

        Civilization is currently stuck on the coal and fossil sources while Western Countries stupidly debate going to nuclear while still trying to make medieval energy sources sustainable, an impossible task since the energy they are trying to harness is too diluted when compared to fossil; and especially nuclear. The infrastructure costs are not feasible, even with battery backup.

        The best we can do while trying to decide what kind of nuclear to build is conserve and use the remaining fossil energy efficiently. Using the suns heat energy passively is the best way to harness solar energy. PV solar or a small windmill could be used to heat water in a tank for personal household use as that is the best way currently to store the energy. And yes there are common sense things that can be done to clean up CO and Coal particulates without going overboard, like when it’s mandated to have the air cleaner after combustion then before, but the we have done that pretty much, the US is not China! it’s just the older equipment that needs upgrading with affordable solutions, not draconian ones.

        So I think that is what Prof. Rust was trying to make a point of. Your philosophy seems technically flawed. :)

  • Robert Carlson

    There is a great difference between hybrid crops and crops which have had foreign genes inserted into the their chromosomes that causes the plant to produce pesticides in every cell of the plant. The author of this article sings the praises of hybridization then conflates that with the GMO tampering in the genes that might produce unintended and unnoticed outcomes that will be impossible to dial-back if or when the environmental damage surfaces.

    • Enchant

      Yep. And I see a lot of those types of arguments online, and it’s clear that either the authors of these ideas are deliberately misleading readers, or are just confused. I would like to see an intelligent, informed discussion about GMOs and Monsanto, and so far I haven’t seen one (from either side).

      • Scottar

        Well now you have one:

        http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/about-gmos.html
        The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM)* recently released its position paper on Genetically Modified foods stating that “GM foods pose a serious health risk” and calling for a moratorium on GM foods.

        Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes “there is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects” and that “GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health.”

        Since then, findings include:

        Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants
        Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies
        More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller
        Testicle cells of mice and rats on a GM soy change significantly
        By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies
        Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity
        Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen
        Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced
        The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer.
        Studies showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas cells, changed enzyme levels, etc.

        http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/category/obamacare/
        GMOs Plus Obamacare: Your Ticket to Slavery

        GMO crops were originally introduced with no human safety studies. The crops were given carte blanche because the whole approval process was rigged. People could be developing cancers as a result of eating GMO food and no one would know. People could be developing serious digestive disorders and neurological problems and no one would know. To pursue this in detail, read Jeffrey Smith’s classic, Genetic Roulette: The Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods. Smith lays out 65 GMO health risks, with references. He also shows how safety assessments of GMO foods fall horribly short.

        The GMO overlords need a cover-story-diversion for the harm their foods inflict. That cover story will, increasingly, be fashioned and sculpted by Obamacare. Obamacare will eventually morph into a blueprint of all diagnosable diseases and disorders, and permitted treatments. This will allow a perfect cover for the protection of “favored toxins.” In other words, when disease strikes as a result of GMOs, pesticides, other environmental chemicals, and so on, the medical diagnosis will fail to name the true culprits. It’s called concealment.

        http://www.pakalertpress.com/2013/10/08/modern-wheat-really-isnt-wheat-at-all/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pakalert+%28Pak+Alert+Press%29

        Modern Wheat Really Isn’t Wheat At All

        http://www.fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/the-ultimate-killing-machine-gmos/73380

        The Ultimate Killing Machine – GMOs

        Observe the pictures!

  • ALCUL8R

    The GMO fuss would not be nearly so great if Monsanto was not extorting farmers into paying ransom for the pollen their creations send on the wind. The intertwined big business and regulatory agencies are as big a problem to this nation as the lack of leadership in Washington.