Are schools teaching ‘anti-GMO propaganda?’

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The decision of the Sausalito Marin City, California, school district to incorporate a program of serving only non-GMO, organic meals to its schoolchildren is part of a widespread effort among anti-GMO groups to “educate” children on the alleged hazards (regardless of no scientific proof so far) of eating food that was grown using genetic engineering.

Judy Shils, head of The Conscious Kitchen, the organization that is handling school meals for the school district just north of San Francisco, told writer Kavin Senapathy that the program is designed to “teach parents and kids ‘a lot of the really good words’” and that instead of focusing on reducing fat, salt and sugars, the program’s anti-GMO focus is “part and parcel of the same thing…“In my mind if you’re serving non-processed food that has pesticides on it, then we are not doing justice to these kids.”

Of course, organic and non-GMO food also use pesticides, perhaps even more than GMO crops, because the pesticides allowed for organic foods are generally not as effective and need to be used in larger volumes. And they’re not remotely “safe.”

Anti-science lessons

In addition, the program includes lessons about how organic and non-GMO is “better,” including claims that “GMOs (genetically modified organisms) have yet to be deemed safe for humans or the environment, yet they are ubiquitous in today’s food,” and that “organic food puts human health first.” No mention is made of the fact that scientific studies have found no nutritional difference between organic food and food made with transgenics.

And finally, while organic food is more expensive just about anywhere, the cost of the organic lunches at the two schools in the Sausalito Marin City district are about equivalent to what school lunches cost elsewhere (about $2.00), although one site saw a price increase from $3.75 to $4.25. This is however, due to donations from parents and from the chefs who prepare the food.

Meanwhile, in less than a year, The Conscious Kitchen claims that it has “transformed school culture in the dining hall and beyond,” with:

Increased leadership qualities exhibited by students
Improved academic performance
Decrease in disciplinary cases
Diminished tardiness
Increase in attendance
Respectful students, improved manners and open communication

Of course, these behaviors could be brought about by many other factors than eschewing GMOs.

But Shils, who described herself as “the biggest non-GMO there is,” should know all about the anti-GMO rhetoric that has passed itself off as science-based information for decades. She’s not only the head of The Conscious Kitchen, she’s also founder of the Conscious Kitchen’s parent organization, Turning Green, which presses for legislative and regulatory changes affecting cosmetics, consumer products and non-GMO food. Shils also serves on the board of the non-GMO Project.

Sponsored by “big org”

Turning Green and the Conscious Kitchen have a number of corporate and non-profit sponsors that are known for their opposition to genetic engineering. These include Amy’s, Acure, Suja, Whole Foods, Annie’s, Good Earth Organic, Numi Organic tea, Chipotle, Dr. Bronner’s, Center for Food Safety, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, GMO Inside, and the non-GMO Project.

But these two intertwined groups are just part a growing number of organizations dedicated to creating lesson plans and “educating” children on avoiding transgenics and other genetically modified foods:

  • At BrainPop, lessons available for school children and teens include portion size, avoiding obesity and encouraging physical activity. There also is a plan on organic foods, including “the benefits and drawbacks to organic farming, as well as what its supporters claim about the health benefits of organic food.”
  • Learning to Give, another lesson plan-filled website offers instruction on “Why Eat Organic?” for high schoolers. The lessons “develop an awareness of organic/sustainable foods as an alternative, earth-friendly way to eat.”
  • Love to Know has a lesson plan on organic food that includes sections on organic farming. While the lessons address some of the drawbacks of organic farming (lower yields, certification paperwork, higher prices and labor costs), it claims that conventional farming uses harmful pesticides while organic farming supposedly focuses on “biological pesticides” such as ladybugs, dragonflies, brachonid wasps, and basil. Nothing is mentioned of Bacillus thuringiensis, pyrethrins/pyrethrums. Or copper sulfate. Or nicotine sulfate.
  • The US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) also provides lesson plans on genetically modified seeds, based on the documentary film “Food, Inc” which stars anti-GMO activist Michael Pollan. These plans show evidence of more scientific input, including watching the documentary and answering questions on patenting seeds, but also conducting a virtual experiment involving transgenics and traditional breeding techniques, and reviewing information from the government’s Human Genome Project site.

Back in Marin County, The Conscious Kitchen/Turning Green’s Shils wants to expand her program, and offers lesson plans and meals that subscribe to her theory of healthy food, known as FLOSN (fresh, local, organic, seasonal and non-GMO).

It’s difficult to predict how much this will catch on, but in Taiwan, the island country’s legislature passed a law banning any gm-produced food in schools there. The decision raised prices for school meals, which concerned a number of cash-strapped districts (donations were not part of the legislation). “Soy is a major ingredient in Taiwan’s school lunches,” said Lin Shu-fen of the Democratic Progressive Party, who advocated for the passage of the bill. “Genetically modified soy has been shown to contain toxic residue from pesticides.”

No mention, however, of the pesticides found on conventional soybeans.

Organic farmers, as opposed to anti-GMO activists aren’t quite as thrilled with the demonization of conventional and GM farming methods. Last year, when an organic-industry funded video featuring an elementary school musical was posted on YouTube, it met with hundreds of thousands of hits objections from GM supporters and huzzahs from anti-GMO groups.

It was also met with criticism from at last one organic farmer (Rob Wallbridge), who didn’t find it at all constructive.

The line between indoctrination and education is verifiable truth. When they are scientifically inaccurate, do these programs cross the line?

Andrew Porterfield is a writer, editor and communications consultant for academic institutions, companies and non-profits in the life sciences. He is based in Camarillo, California. Follow @AMPorterfield on Twitter.

  • Brian Sandle

    The Ministry of Health in NZ advise not to feed babies on soy milk
    where avoidable. Soy contains plant estrogens. And if produced from GMO soy it has more estrogenic effect because of the Roundup.

    Japanese and Chinese traditionally fermented soy before consumption. That lowers the plant estrogens. (Natto and fluffy tofu are what they used) I wonder what fermentation does to
    the xenoestrogen effect from Roundup.

    “The Xinmin Evening News reported on 22 November 2011 that the rate of precocious puberty in Chinese girls has increased 10-fold over the past 10 years”

    I believe there has been corruption in the approval process for imports of GMO soy to China.

    And why do you think the Korean adoptees in Sweden would have less precocious puberty than all the others? Do you deny that the extra awareness of GMOs in Korea could be a reason?

    Now what would you teach in mothercraft classes at school about soy?

    • RobertWager

      Please cite your source for the roundup estrogen claim. all the data I have read says otherwise.

      • Guest

        But Robert, he believes it, so therefore it has to be true! It has NOTHING to do with the increased amount of animal protein and fat in the Chinese diet…just ask Brian!!

      • Oh Rob… always with the “citations.” How sorely pedantic of you.

        When’re you going to learn that people like Brian are anthroposophists, born of a philosophy of freedom and eternal truth!

        Brian doesn’t need to bother with all the pesky “data” and “facts” that occupy mere mortals like you and me.

    • gmoeater

      I think you ought to call that school right away and sell them your program of BS ideas.*

      * that’s a double entendre, by the way

  • Farmer with a Dell

    Excellent article Andrew! Spot on with all the research that obviously has gone into preparing it — we find too few such examples of journalistic integrity.

    By the way, you know you have hit on a motherlode of uncomfortable truths when our trolling friend Brian Sandle is immediately sent beaming in to spam and flame the comment thread into a tedious stream of sophomoric twaddle.

    Winning the “Brian” is like winning a Pulitzer for investigative reporting! Congratulations Andrew.

    • Andrew Porterfield

      Thanks! And he is giving me some story ideas….

    • Verna Lang

      Thanks for the chuckle. Not sure whether the “Brian” is Pulitzer weight or not. It may be best to wait until after the intellectual heavy weights of the anti-GMO side like “purple prose” razorjack and Rob “not so” Bright show up to start the celebration.

      • Farmer with a Dell

        Yeah, I’ve noticed it sometimes takes them 48 hours or so to get around to swarming a thread. I suppose they are busier than one armed paperhangers these days, what with the multitasking — spreading misinformation, routinely flaming a thread, stomping out brush fires and all. A snake oil salesman’s frantic work is never done, it seems, and it must be hell when they get backlogged. I’ve learned to have faith, however, because they are such a dedicated bunch.

        • Verna Lang

          Not to mention doggedness. No matter how many times you think that you have scienced them into silence, they will pop up with more witty rebuttals like “shill!”

          • agscienceliterate

            Shill is so 2010 “yawn.”

          • WeGotta

            Maybe you mean “shill is so 5 days ago”?
            That’s when you last used that word to describe someone.

      • Rob just called me a “corporate meat puppet” on another site. Do I get some kind of achievement badge for that?

        • gmoeater

          Yes, Rich! You get the double-down Robbo Jobbo Meat Puppet Award! Slammed on two sites ain’t no small achievement. Keep being all scienc-y on maybe a third site, and perhaps you can get a Trifecta Shill Sock Puppet Award too! Congrats!

        • Verna Lang

          Congrats! I hear they are starting to hand out shill bucks bonuses as well as the badges now. Just be patient. As always, the check is in the mail. Delivery, however, is subject to the whims of the illuminati overlords.

  • (regardless of no scientific proof so far)

    I would say no evidence, in particular given that there is no mechanism by which GMOs in general can be any more or less dangerous than any other genome change. It’s like saying that cars designed with the aid of CAD software are somehow more dangerous than cars designed completely by hand.

    • Rob B

      As a GMO proponent, not sure I like that analogy. The CAD software may have some bug, that would be caught if designing things manually, hypothetically.

      Better:

      It’s like saying that cars designed with the aid of CAD software are somehow more dangerous than cars designed by picking values from a hat.

      • WeGotta

        Both analogies miss the mark.
        It’s more like trusting a toddler to oversee safety at a nuclear reactor.

        The baby will cut out a costruction paper badge to pin on his shirt and proceed to start flipping switches and turning dials with a smile of pure confidence.

        • Who built your nuclear reactor? Toddlers?

          • WeGotta

            Who wrote your CAD, sugar beets?

          • I can’t recall the last time I have met such a devastating argument.

            Oh yes I can, it was when the young earth creationist insisted that there’s no genetic evidence for common descent.

          • WeGotta

            I can’t recall the last time I have met such an overreacting drama queen.

            Oh yes I can, it was when I was last on this website.

        • Rob B

          @WeGotta:disqus How is your toddler analogy at all applicable?

          Mine is based on the fact that all breeding introduces random genetic variations and with GM at least, these variations are reduced considerably.

          Your analogy implies what? Conventional breeding, including artificial selection, wide crosses and mutagenesis are.. ?

          • It’s not an analogy, it’s flipping the game board while accusing others of being “drama Queens”.

          • agscienceliterate

            And moving the goal posts constantly, with ludicrous pseudo-comparisons that don’t meet the test of any reasonable debate. One of our big-hair political candidates does exactly the same thing. Change the subject, whip up the troops, while saying …. absolutely nothing.

          • WeGotta

            Mine implies that humans don’t show any evidence of wisdom, intelligence or maturity to handle such powerful technology; just the most rudimentary capability to screw things up with them.

            So it’s with an innocent proud smile that you can look others in the face and pretend you know more than the first couple of things about such technology, how to use it or the consequences of its use.

            No thanks. Step away from the control panel please little Johnny.

          • Rob B

            Are you talking about GM breeding, or conventional breeding techniques mentioned earlier?

          • WeGotta

            I’m talking about the sum total of everything related to humans.
            However smart we think we are, however clever; we still can’t seem to figure out how to treat ourselves or each other.
            The technology changes but the basic flaws remain the same.

          • Rob B

            So in other words, as much as you protest GM breeding techniques, you must beside yourself with conventional breeding techniques?

          • WeGotta

            That question makes no sense.

            So in other words, as much as you protest a chainsaw, you must be beside yourself with a handsaw?

          • Rob B

            Given that GM breeding techniques, introduce orders of magnitude less genetic change, than other man-made genetic interventions (such as selective breeding, artificial selection, mutagenesis, wide crosses, etc), then what do you think?

          • WeGotta

            If that is so, then that’s just a random fact.
            What am I supposed to think of it?

            Do you think that thing A is always better than thing B because A changes some other thing less than B?

          • Rob B

            If the main complaint that you provided, is that GM breeding is akin to a toddler operating a nuclear power plant, then it would stand to reason, that the fewer buttons “little Johnny” pushed, the better.

            You aren’t simply shifting goal posts, you’re entirely flipping which net to aim for.

            So, without resorting to tangential monologues on the evils of myopic scientific development, you still haven’t addressed why GM breeding deserves much more ire than our earlier, primitive genetic interventions.

            Its not enough to pick one arbitrarily with the reasoning that ‘all our knowledge is limited’. You still need to make a decision based on available knowledge, as incomplete as it is.

          • WeGotta

            Some people who use technology are the toddlers. They love twisting knobs and pushing buttons and they falsely they believe they are doing something special.
            Like what they do is better than what others do because it’s “new” or “high tech”.
            Like they would even be around to do it if the janitor didn’t clean, the truck driver didn’t deliver or some person didn’t help them.
            They couldn’t do it without poor people being taken advantage of or war for oil either.

            Oh yes, but how clever little Johnny is.

            When have humans ever shown any capacity to take a technology and not use it against other humans or the planet that sustains them?

            Let’s solve that problem first.

          • Rob B

            GM breeding is not better because its ‘new’.
            Its better because it reduces all the random chance previous techniques employed.

            You keep switching gears from specific ‘GM is dangerous’ to vague ‘new technology hurts the defenseless’.

            It’s evasive, not insightful.

            If your argument is that ‘GM is bad because some segments of society treat other segments like crap’, then what can I say?
            That applies to every innovation since man walked upright.

          • WeGotta

            You keep thinking I believe science is alive or something. GM is just a technology. It’s only as great or dangerous as the people who use it.

            Like you said, since man walked upright (and before) we have been fearful and greedy. And still so called experts claim our problems will be solved by some new technology. They won’t.

            We will just use them to do the same thing we’ve always done. Except now strangers on the other side of the world can bash your head in with their clubs.
            Now insane people can tear apart DNA and build it back in new ways. Now they want to be the gods they mock.
            For what? Money and ego.

            Where’s the science on how we can learn to conquer greed and fear? Where are those experts? That would impress me more than your Bt corn.

          • JP

            Ah, I see. We shouldn’t use any technology because it could possibly be used for harm.

            Brilliant.

          • WeGotta

            Where did I say that? Who would possibly think that was a good answer let alone possible.

            Not brilliant.

          • Rob B

            “Where did I say that?”

            With repeated messages like:
            “Where’s the science on how we can learn to conquer greed and fear? Where are those experts? That would impress me more than your Bt corn.”

            That’s your repeated message.
            If you want to talk about conflict resolution etc, then talk about it in a forum devoted to such things.

            Do you enter a plumbing forum and say “Yes, you can invent a low water volume toilet, but can you plumbers solve the problem of global ignorance!”

          • WeGotta

            If plumbers were trying to mess around with my food, my earth and my community then I would go to their forums.

            When insane plant biologists assume everyone on earth wants to eat something they made in a lab and people who don’t are ignorant, then it’s a little different.

            When insane plant biologists assume they could account for all variables and make claims like “it’s safe” because they ran some tests on animals in a lab, then it’s a little different.

            What seems “random” to you is likely not random at all.
            Your like an English speaking person who sees written French and claims its all random letters so we can just change this and that with no consequence.

          • JP

            WeGotta, you’re pretty stark evidence that laypeople shouldn’t be the ones making decisions on what technologies are appropriate to use. You’re a walking, talking (or writing, I suppose) genetic fallacy.

          • WeGotta

            Pretty scary world you want to live in if you ask me.
            I suppose you pick those worthy of self determination and those who are just too, well you know, “lay”.

            JP, you’re pretty stark evidence that Christians shouldn’t be the ones making decisions on what technologies are appropriate to use.

            No difference between your version and mine except a human’s opinion.

            If a technology is planned to affect all people of the world then the whole world gets to decide.
            Let’s start right here at this point. Because if you say you disagree, I’m not sure I can trust your opinion.
            And there are logical and scientific arguments to support my position as well as religious.

          • JP

            Yes, there is a pretty big difference between mine and yours. The group you selected (Christians) is a non sequitur to the issue. You can be a Christian and have training and knowledge of agriculture and genetics. The group I selected (laypeople) by definition encompass those that do not.

            Good effort though!

          • WeGotta

            You think some Latin incantation could transmute your nonsense to sense?

            You can be a terrorist and have training in plant genetics also. You could have training in agriculture and be a complete moron.

            So a terrorist moron calls the shots in your world?

            And which people decide who is a “layperson” and who is not?
            The Great Priestess of genetics maybe?

          • JP

            More non sequiturs. But by all means, continue to deflect from the fact that you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • Rob B

            So you’ve now switched back to specific mode, and exposed your true colors.

            No doubt, it will be nothing but vagaries again when I ask you to elaborate on your issues.

            PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY explain how your concerns do not apply equally if not more to non-gm breeding techniques.

            Ahem. Sorry for shouting, but you’re really becoming quite a bore with your evasiness.

          • WeGotta

            Shout away. I’m not easily offended or scared. I like passion.

            If it were up to me, I would halt all such practices (GM or otherwise) except for those that people did the “old fashioned way” before we decided to declare war on plant DNA for greed and vanity.

            Then I’d get to work creating a food system based on different science.
            Like the science of human health and environmental regeneration.
            I’d make sure it was resilient and redundant so that there would be enough for all and no freak accident in a small part of a country would affect the entire world.
            I’d expand the food choices by picking the already available hundreds of edible plants rather than trying to forcibly change a few of them.
            I’d take the yoke of debt off of farmers and give lots of land to those who want to farm.
            As a start.

          • Rob B

            “If it were up to me, I would halt all such practices (GM or otherwise) except for those that people did the “old fashioned way” before we decided to declare war on plant DNA for greed and vanity.”

            What the heck does this even mean?
            The ‘old fashioned way’ was a blind stomping on existing DNA information, that *also* relied heavily on environmentally unsound practices such as tilling, and heavy use of unsafe inputs.

            You have not kept up with innovations in farming over the last several decades which has reduced inputs, reduced erosion, reduced water + resource usage, increased yield, dropping costs.

            You know what Christmas was like for my parents growing up? One rich kid in class bringing in an orange they received as a gift, and *maybe* sharing a slice with a few lucky friends if they were lucky.
            Compare this today, where my mom can now buy a bag of oranges on her modest pension without a moment’s hesitation.

            Don’t lecture anyone on how farming is amoral and exploitive.
            You’re just as arrogant as you are ignorant on the history of agriculture.

          • JP

            What that means is, WeGotta wants people to have the choice to grow and eat what they want, so long as the only things available are those that he wants to eat.

            Why? Well, because apparently all genetic scientists are “insane” and “stupid.” How does he know this? Because he doesn’t agree with what they’re doing. It’s all so… circular.

          • Rob B

            And any request to clarify why the ‘old fashioned’ way addressed his/her goals is met with a long vague monologue about the evils of society.
            What a vacuous exchange its been.

          • WeGotta

            There are many varieties of citrus trees in the world, some for nearly all zones. So your mom should have just planted one. What a great gift to her sons and grandsons and great grandsons.
            My neighbor brings me bags of tangerines and there are wild trees in my neighborhood bursting with fruit. Why not just plant wild types everywhere?
            My neighbor’s taste so much better than any oranges I could buy. Likely because those types are modified for commercial profitability rather than taste, are picked too early and have sat on trucks too long.
            But by all means, let’s be happy for your mother who can buy oranges. Meanwhile how many other mothers are picking our fruit making pennies per pound?
            How many more sent children to die in a foreign land to secure more oil on which those orange farms heavily depend?

            “Stomping on DNA”? Are you serious??? More like picking certain plants to have sex with each other. And that type of plant breeding definitely does not require tilling or those other things you listed.

            I’m not really interested in those outdated agriculture practices you say I should learn. There are much better ways of doing things.

          • JP

            See, Rob? Everyone should have the choice to eat and grow what they want, as long as it’s what WeGotta thinks is appropriate.

          • WeGotta

            Exactly.

            And what I think is appropriate is freely available healthy food for all grown in ways already proven to be not only sustainable, but regenerative for the environment as well in ways that are resilient and not dependent on diminishing resources that require violence to maintain availability.

          • Loren Eaton

            Wow. You walked right into that one. And, NO. I’m not going to live by your rules. Get over it.

          • agscienceliterate

            I think that’s the whole point, Loren …. GE is another food option for those of us, like myself, who want and prefer to use it. Another person’s biases, whether based on fear, ignorance, religious fervor, or paranoia (whateva), do not apply to me, and that person shouldn’t feel surprised or disappointed or angry when I — gasp! — choose to live my own life in my own way. We will let him continue to have his neighbors bring him food and suck off the system, and then have the gall to tell others what is “appropriate,” and we will then promptly ignore him because our lives and what we choose to grow and eat are none of his business.

          • WeGotta

            Live however you want.

            I don’t need to get over anything because I don’t base my emotional state on external conditions such as how you want to live your life.

            But if humans want to claim they are smart enough to understand and control technology like GM, I could make a strong logical and scientific argument that we are not.
            We mostly just use it for monetary gain for a few. If we wanted to feed the world we could do that without GM. If we wanted to feed people healthy food it wouldn’t be the junk food we are making with GM food now.

            No, like you said. You’re just Columbus looking to plant your flag in some “new” frontier. Get some articles as first author and maybe strike it rich. Pride and vanity.

          • JP

            OK, then, so… what’s your problem with GMOs then? They can very well meet all of those requirements.

          • agscienceliterate

            Right, JP. And the only “violence” in the food system is caused by self-righteous crazed activists attacking and destroying healthy and environmentally sustainable GE crops, and lobbying to prevent other countries from feeding millions of starving people with them.

          • WeGotta

            I never said they couldn’t.

            I said there’s plenty of evidence to show that humans can’t be trusted with powerful technology.
            We show time and time again how we will just use it for our greed and vanity.

          • JP

            Ah, so we shouldn’t use GE technology because you have arbitrarily determined that it’s too “powerful.” Pray tell, what standards have you used to draw the line as to what technologies are too powerful to use?

          • JP

            Where did you say that? You didn’t out and say it quite like that, but the train of logic you’re riding on only ends up there. Or is there a completely arbitrary stopping point you’re going to pull out?

          • WeGotta

            No, I think I’ll do the sane thing and not have feelings for technology one way or another.
            If it could help me, I’ll use it.
            If I don’t need a table saw then I won’t buy it.
            If I like to use a broom, I won’t use a blower machine.
            If I need to drive, then I’ll drive.

            You do the same.

            And if you’d rather use stupidly applied technology to cover up the stupid application of other technology, be my guest.

          • JP

            The language of your last sentence stands is stark contrast to your assertion that you don’t “have feelings for technology one way or another.”

            By all means, use whatever technology you want. You certainly have that choice.

          • WeGotta

            Not at all.
            Technology is different than the application of technology.
            Stupid is not a feeling.
            Definition: lacking intelligence or common sense.

            Like the way we use GM to keep growing genetically identical crops in larger and larger farms that require more energy than they create simply to supply more processed junk for snack foods which happens to contribute to some of the most common causes of death in the US.

          • JP

            No, stupid is not a feeling. But the obvious disgust embodied in that sentence is most definitely a feeling.

            “Genetically identical crops?” You really have absolutely no idea what you’re railing against, do you? Like, none at all. You know nothing of biology or genetics but in your ignorance you have judged that those that do and apply it are “stupid” and “insane.” That’s just rich.

          • WeGotta

            Stupid is a descriptive word. I don’t have feelings about adjectives except when they are used perfectly as to transcend the written word, like in poetry. I guess I’d say the same about any tools so that must make me a liar.

          • Farmer with a Dell

            The top 5 causes of death in America, per year:

            1) Heart disease 611,105
            2) Cancer 584,881
            3) Chronic lower respiratory disease 149,205
            4) Accidents (unintentional injuries) 130,557
            5) Stroke 128,978

            You, WeGotta are a hopelessly ignorant, spectacularly uninformed assclown. And you deign to tell us what is stupid and what is not, ha, ha, ha, ha….

          • WeGotta

            Oh boy, someone needs some science education.

            Start at the place about how our bodies are made up of mostly the things we eat.

            Then look up some stuff about what makes your body more healthy. Read about what health means. Learn what helps our bodies fight off disease.
            Then you can read about the relationship between all those things you listed and the food you eat.

          • agscienceliterate

            FWAD — When I was growing up, my mother used to say “An empty wagon makes the most noise.”

          • WeGotta

            I do and I don’t.

            Unfortunately, there are insane humans in the world who feel I mustn’t use certain technologies and instead should use what they say.
            They work very hard making sure my choices are limited and that their choices are among the few.
            They love to think their way is always best “because of science”.

          • JP

            Nobody is forcing you to use those technologies that you don’t wish to.

            Are you done with the strawmen yet?

          • agscienceliterate

            JP, maybe he is being forced. Weak minds can be persuaded to follow just about anyone, if he does not have the capacity to think and act for himself. Whining and exaggerating about ones’ own hopelessness and helplessness at the hands of perceived straw demagogues is always easier than growing up and leading ones’ own life without interfering with others’ lives.

          • WeGotta

            If I gave you iced tea and didn’t tell you I urinated in the cup, did I force you to drink my piss?

            If I owned a company that sold candy and bribed an inspector so that I could sell some of it that got mixed up with a dead rat during processing, did I force people to eat dead rat candy?

            If I was the head of an industry association who bribed government for favorable taxes which allowed me to undercut the competition and drive them out of business, did I force you to choose my technology over the competitions?

            This isn’t Oz so drop the straw man thing. Don’t be lazy and think you can just throw out some phrase you heard in the past and think it means anything to me.

          • JP

            I don’t care if the phrase means anything to you or not. It’s exactly what you continue to do. None of these things are at all comparable. You have the right and the ability to buy and use things that are labeled to your specifications and avoid those things that aren’t.

            A better analogy using your first example would be that if you were worried about urine in your iced tea, you could buy “non-urine verified” iced tea.

          • Farmer with a Dell

            Yes WeGotta, and those “insane humans” you describe are now trying to make sure I don’t use GE technology. “They are [trolling and lobbying] very hard making sure my choices are limited and their choices [organic, local, blah, blah] are among the few.”

            Any of that sound familiar to ya? Think hard, it will come to you.

          • WeGotta

            Yawn…..zzzzzzzzz

          • agscienceliterate

            If it can help you, eat it.
            If you don’t need a GE food, then don’t buy it.
            If you like to eat organic, then don’t eat GE food.
            If you need to eat food, then eat food.

            Follow your own advice and grow up. Eat what you want. Believe what you want. Read what you want. Keep your pseudo-science to yourself.

          • WeGotta

            Nice advice.
            Now if you’d do the same, other people would appreciate that too.

          • Rob B

            Your position is so vacuous.
            Please don’t interpret that as a sign that I am unenlightened, and cannot grasp your profundity.

            You’re basically saying, people should not work on better farming practices (and all the benefits that entails) because we still live in a world with ignorance and fear.

            Forget the fact that the world has never been more peaceful historically in terms of armed conflicts, poverty, literacy, minority rights, etc, etc.

          • WeGotta

            The “world has never been more peaceful” he says.
            That’s rich.

            People can work on whatever they want, farming practices included.

            Just don’t tell me your doing it for me or that “its perfectly safe”. No technology is perfectly safe.

            And don’t delude yourself into thinking technology is magic or that one day it will save us.

            And don’t assume someone who’d rather use hand tools is any less intelligent or important.

            And don’t assume you know anything more important than any other person.

          • Rob B

            “The “world has never been more peaceful” he says.
            That’s rich.”

            Do you have evidence to the contrary?

            “Just don’t tell me your doing it for me or that “its perfectly safe”. No technology is perfectly safe.”

            So, only organic breeders can be interested in producing better, more sustainable farming practices? And who is claiming ‘perfectly’ safe or magic solutions?

            It entails no more or no less risks than other breeding techniques, from all available evidence.

            “And don’t assume someone who’d rather use hand tools is any less intelligent or important. And don’t assume you know anything more important than any other person.”

            What are you blathering on about?
            Did some plant biologist kick sand in your face at the beach or something?

            Listen, if I have a migraine headache and one doctor wants to review my diet, and another wants to drill a hole in my head to release the evil humors, for damn sure I’ll conclude one has more important information and more intelligent than the other.

          • Farmer with a Dell

            Well Rob, you’ve finally hit the nail on the head — I’ll bet WeGotta really, really wishes you could have given that advice a few years ago…the part about not opting for holes drilled in the head, I mean. When a troll has a brain that sloshes, the last thing they need is more holes and that’s why WeGotta is so adamant about the dietary fix these days, now that it’s too late for ’em. Buyers remorse.

          • WeGotta

            Here’s an idea. Let’s murder a billion people this year so that from here on out we can claim things are great because it’s safer than 2016.

            Your whole argument is not only wrong but utterly useless. It says very little about technology one way or another. Its humans that are the cause of the violence.
            There are things that make humans more violent or more caring. Let’s focus on that.

            We can’t even define any goals beyond economic growth because we are insane.
            Our fairy tales tell us to “be courageous and be kind” but our society tells us to be greedy and be violent.

            We are insane and we will use technology to hurt one another and wreck our planet until we grow up.

            We are insane and we look at DNA as yet another new frontier to monetize.

            Whether scientists agree or not they are complicit with a system that couldn’t care less about “advancing humanity”.

          • Rob B

            Again, what the heck are you talking about?
            I can’t decide if you’re just being dishonest, or incapable of reading phrases that don’t fit your narrative.

            Who is limiting goals to simply economic? Did or did I not say the world has never been more peaceful in terms of food security, literacy, protection of minorities, reduction of violent crime and armed conflict?

            You see that phrase and your brain reads it as “economic goals”.

            You keep flailing on about ‘DNA’ while DISHONESTLY ignoring all my requests to describe how your preferred ‘old-fashioned’ ways were any less insane?

            Your one-sided rants grow tiresome.

          • agscienceliterate

            Every single one of his posts is a prime example of ad hoc fallacy, and I believe that is all he is capable of. It has nothing to do with the subject being discussed, or the science, or the rationality. The most common of logical fallacies, reflecting limited cognitive ability to focus on the merits of an issue, along with a psychological need to prevail at any cost:

            http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Moving_the_goalposts

          • Here’s an idea. Let’s develop a non-animal sourced insulin so we don’t rely on factory raised pigs and cows to produce it. And let’s develop a way to make cheese without requiring the death of a calf. Coupled with a reduction in veal consumption, we could further reduce the load on factory animal husbandry.

            Oh wait, we’ve done those, with genetic engineering.

            Hey, maybe we could use GE to splice pig and cow genes into plants and grow hamburger and ham. More efficient, less suffering, far less impact on global warming.

            But no, you would reject such measures that could reduce animal suffering and reduce global warming- because a terrorist knew how to fly a plane.

            Brilliant.

          • WeGotta

            Okay, nice chat.

          • WeGotta

            As far as your last example. Imagine a world where the brain drill industry spends billions on advertisements, bribes government, gets FDA food recommendations to include foods that cause migraines, spends millions funding science related to pressure of bad spirits, blasts the media with fake news stories about the benefits of brain drilling and pays people to make derogatory comments against those who advocate for dietary changes with such stupidity like:
            -you are a Luddite because you fear the advanced technique of brain drilling.
            -you are scared of the science because you don’t understand the spirits.
            -Only those who have a degree in such things should be allowed to have an opinion about it.
            -doctors shouldn’t be “compelled” to tell you about alternative techniques to alleviate migraines.
            -those against brain drilling hate poor people who are suffering because they want to withhold this technology.

          • Rob B

            So apparently the entire world, including the thousands of scientists, farmers, agriculturalists and part of some giant conspiracy selling the equivalent of brain drills to willing dupes, where a few individuals such as yourself know the real truth?

            What’s is like waking up so enlightened surrounded by sheep?

          • WeGotta

            Oh boy. Ya, just like that.

            That whole imaginary group of people are out to get me.

            Of course in the real world there’s no such thing as cheaters and frauds and no one does any of those things.

            What’s it like being sane? Great! Very peaceful.

          • agscienceliterate

            Good advice, WG. Go back to a place where you don’t need wisdom, intelligence, or maturity. The rest of us will continue to fight disease, produce food, and use our remarkable human intelligence, creativity, and imagination to develop a sustainable world. I hope you can live well in yours.

          • WeGotta

            I’m already living in that world.
            That’s what I’m trying to tell you.
            You can be devoid of all those qualities and still be the head of a company or country.

            Who are you? You don’t own the rights to human intelligence, creativity and imagination.
            You assume you own that right why? Because you learned some stuff? Because of some animal tests?
            Nobody in the world is required to think what you think so stop preaching to us like some cult religious nut.
            Not everybody has to be into what you are into.

          • agscienceliterate

            Yes, you are indeed living in that world. A world where you don’t need wisdom, intelligence, or maturity.
            Just please stay far, far away from my world. I am happy to leave you in your evangelistic cave. Stay far away from my technological advances. We will both be happy.

          • WeGotta

            Or what?
            I’m gonna “get it”? Violence is never far away from where you live.
            Believe me because I said so. You are a fool. This is mine! I’m warning you!

            That’s ancient history being played out endlessly in our present moment. No matter how smart we think we are or how shiny our new toys.

          • agscienceliterate

            You play with your nice little rune stones in your cave, and I will play with my shiny new technology-based toys. I will stay away from your magic stones. Keep your pseudo-science evangelism far away from me, and from my support of technology.

          • WeGotta

            What runes?
            Who’s the one clutching a divinatory symbol claiming it gives them unearned magic powers over others or protection from some future imagined suffering?
            You think some knowledge about plant science means you are God of the universe and leader of the human race?
            All people get a voice if it’s going to affect all people. Who gave you consent?

          • agscienceliterate

            Naaaah, not god of the universe, WG. (Does that stand for Whole Grain, btw?) Just a very educated, smart, literate person about ag biotech. You have a voice. You don’t need my consent to use it. But you do not have the right to inflict your unscientific values on me. You can use your voice to go shout on some street corner or join March Against Monsanto. You have the right to do that. And I have the right to tell you that you are a promoter of pseudo-science woo, and to leave me and my technological values alone. Go back to your cave and play with your magic rocks. Keep your evangelism to yourself. Those of us who are scientifically educated will just tell you “No, we are not interested, thankyouverymuch,” and quietly shut the door on your preaching. Go preach your dogma somewhere where you are welcome.

          • WeGotta

            Silly talk.
            Who’s inflicting something? Me with a different opinion or you with your science project in all our food?
            You don’t own science and your education gives you no special privilege or considerations.

            You think I should trust your worldview more than a plumber’s? Are scientists infallible?

            Sounds like you claim godlike powers to me.

            Who’s preaching? Who’s out there doing interviews, news articles, radio talk shows, public statements, commercials, public “outreach” and indoctrination? Who’s building temples to idols?

            You think just because you say something it’s got to be correct because why?

          • agscienceliterate

            Nope. You don’t need to trust my world view. You have the absolute right to distrust scientists, chemists, corporations, governments, researchers. Your choice.
            Stay out my science, logic, and education-based world, as you nave nothing to offer.
            You twist words a lot, don’t you? That is a sure sign of a Cluster B personality disorder. There is no help for that, so I can only offer my compassion.

          • WeGotta

            Who says I distrust any of those things? That doesn’t even make sense.
            How do you distrust a tool like corporations and governments? I lack trust in some of the people wielding them.

          • gmoeater

            Your own views for leading your own life are your business. My views for leading jy own life are my business. Your attempting to force your distorted views on my life, however, are invasive and offensive. You fear technology and are conspiracy-driven. I love technology and do not adhere to conspiracy theories. I’ll go my way. You go your way. Please. Go.

          • WeGotta

            You are the lover of distortion. How better to describe advertising?
            Ads disguised as news, ads disguised as science, ads disguised as compassion, ads disguised as government.

            That’s okay with you but not dissent related to opinions as to how to use a technology.

            You are the lover of force as you force yourself on the world. Like Columbus and the other “civilized” societies that forced their world view through war made easier via shiny new toys.

            What could be more invasive of a world view then wanting to invade all of us with your hidden “food”?
            You literally Invade plant DNA in search of Aztec gold and title.

          • gmoeater

            Nah. Your furious and paranoid exaggerations are science fiction fearmongering and are actually pretty schizoid. I merely support farmers’ rights to plant and sell anything they want that is allowable and legal. You can eat anything you please. I will eat anything I please, too. Simple.

          • WeGotta

            I’m just showing the real you the false you.
            A good look in the mirror.

            That’s why all your comments are actually better descriptions for you.

            I have no anger, no paranoia. I see clearly.
            All people can see clearly with no special requirement such as knowledge about plant DNA.

            A people who saw clearly wouldn’t be murdering each other with their advanced technology.

          • gmoeater

            I am so happy you believe that you see clearly. “All people can see clearly with no special requirement such as knowledge about plant DNA.” Yeah, actually learning something about plant DNA, about genomes, about genetic modification would require diligence, character, and application.

            May you continue to see truths in your rigid, unscientific fantasy world.

          • WeGotta

            Going to school takes abilities? So what?
            So does working two jobs as a single mother or learning to whistle.
            You act like learned knowledge about plant DNA is somehow more special than any other knowledge.

            What sinful pride.

            I’ll stick with real science and real science heros.
            I’ll stick with real truth and those with clear vision.

          • I’d like the airplane I fly in to be designed by people with learned knowledge in aeronautical engineering, thanks.

            You can have the one designed by “clear understanding” if you want.

            I think “real science” is code for “science that confirms my bias”

          • WeGotta

            The terrorists who flew planes into buildings had that type of knowledge.

            They were still insane.

          • I think you’re confusing “pilot” with “engineer”, but with the level of distrust you exhibit for “that type of knowledge” I’m amazed to see you using the Internet.

          • WeGotta

            I’m amazed you don’t understand that pilots must possess knowledge on that subject.

          • Funny how they have two different names for it. Wonder why they don’t just call them all “airplane people” since they all posses knowledge on the subject.

          • WeGotta

            Funny?
            I don’t wonder that at all.

            Some knowledge is used by different types of people and some people use different types of knowledge.

          • So, since terrorists know how to fly planes, we should not trust aeronautical engineers or pilots? That seems to be what you’re arguing.

            I’m just trying to figure out what criteria you use to decide if a particular branch of science should be trusted, because frankly it seems kind of up in the air.

          • WeGotta

            Now comes the wriggling.
            You take me down some winding road of nonsense where your tightly held theories unravel and then act confused.

            No. I’m still clear.

            Specific knowledge learned about some subject doesn’t grant you any special powers, nor does that knowledge gaurantee the knower knows anything except that specific knowledge.

            It doesn’t make you the keeper of science, a good person, a food expert, a public policy expert, a smart person or any different than some Jehovah witness claiming that they know truth because of what they learned.

          • Farmer with a Dell

            Right, because the only politically correct way to “know truth” is because of what one hasn’t learned.

            That puts our willfully ignorant troll WeGotta at the head of the genius category for making up truths as he/she bumbles along.

            That explains why WeGotta has never contributed a useful fact to any discussion on GLP, ever. Always just a load of squishy mewling milksop emotion cloaked in the argumentative persona of a 3rd grader. What a waste of time, what a waste of oxygen this tedious fool WeGotta turns out to be.

          • Dominick Dickerson

            What a perfect description of that poster.

          • WeGotta

            Wow. It’s always a little surreal to see ignorance not only on display, but being upheld with such evangelistic vigor.

            No little nursery rhyme, political correctness doesn’t have anything to do with it and you can’t know stuff by not learning.

            Feel free to just ignore me if I’m “wasting your time”. I wouldn’t mind in the slightest.

          • WeGotta

            What criteria do you use to know if a screwdriver is to be trusted?

            See how rediculous of a question that is?

          • And to your original response

            I wonder why then they don’t call you

            I see clearly that I don’t posses the required learned knowledge on the subject of designing or flying airplanes. I leave that to the professionals.

            Maybe I’ll die when a terrorist hijacks my plane.

          • WeGotta

            I don’t need that specific knowledge because I don’t go around telling pilots what to do because I’ve learned some stuff about aluminum.
            Nor does an aeronautical engineer go online to complain that those people who’d rather drive are anti-science.

            That seems to be a very unique thing about plant biologists. They seem to hate one particular choice people make among the thousands.

            If only those ignorant people would just support that thing that supports you.

          • I don’t go around telling pilots what to do

            Step away from the control panel please little Johnny

            Ya, I’ll admit, I’m not sure what you’re saying, but it’s making my head hurt trying to figure it out.

          • WeGotta

            I just made an analogy about humans and their ability to understand and wisely use certain technology.

            Then things went sideways.

            Most of the comments I’ve read from you sound very reasonable so it’s probably just a small misunderstanding.

            Of course it doesn’t help having those “ag experts” and “gmo eaters” verbally vomiting on the discussion.

          • Jason

            There you go with the murder & violence again. Why do you keep bringing this into the conversation? What does it have to do with Ag science?

          • agscienceliterate

            And his bizarre comment that people can see clearly without any knowledge of plant DNA (ostensibly he is referring to GE crops) shows additional evidence of magical thinking. I have noticed that violence and ignorance often go together hand in hand.

          • Jason

            Yah… That guy/lady has got some f’d up beliefs.

          • agscienceliterate

            Genetically confused, perhaps.

          • WeGotta

            Which conversation?
            The one you just jumped into or the one you are fabricating out of it?

          • Jason

            Well, I don’t think I was fabricating. So it must be the other one.

          • WeGotta

            You “merely” a lot of things.

          • gmoeater

            Please read. Many people have posted this link before.
            http://www.genera.biofortified.org

          • WeGotta

            Your link is as broken as your notion of science or civics.

          • Jason

            You seem to be the only one bringing violence into the conversation.

          • WeGotta

            Just a prediction based on evidence.
            That’s how science works don’t you know.

          • Jason

            people in glass houses…yadda, yadda, yadda….

          • Loren Eaton

            It is a very good thing that people like you have not been in charge throughout history. Columbus wouldn’t have sailed to the new world, the polio vaccine would have been withheld and we never would have walked on the moon. All three of these things were “technologies” far more powerful in their time than plant breeding and GMOs are today. That’s why you’re known as Luddites.

            And, “Step away from the control panel please little Johnny.” Condescension doesn’t work you.

          • agscienceliterate

            What always interests me is why people who are so afraid of technology also feel compelled to try to make other people afraid of it, too. It threatens them when we are not.
            Very much like evangelism. If we don’t believe in their god the way they do, they get very threatened and fearful.

          • And use powerful technology to do it.

            Step away from the Internet WeGotta!

          • WeGotta

            Spare me the lectures.
            Columbus? Please.

            All those wonderful things yet we still murder each other for profit, destroy our delicate amazing miraculous habitat for greed and bomb people to “keep us safe”.

            You have false beliefs about the world.

  • agscienceliterate

    And her name is Shils. I wonder how much the organic industry is paying her to live up to her name.

    • Verna Lang

      The organic industry is so sure of their teflon coating that they don’t even bother hiding that incriminating last name.

  • Stuart M.

    The Food Nazis at it again. Try to get them when they’re young…

  • Parents should train their kids to ask their teachers the following two questions about organic food…

    1. Are organic crops tested to ensure prohibited pesticides are not being used?

    2. And what about manure? Is there testing to ensure it’s being fully composted?

    The answer to both questions is, of course, no.