FDA Smackdown on GMO Fear Mongering

In my estimation, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) incur fear mongering of the highest order, perhaps second only to vaccines, if at all. For reasons that escape me there has been a concerted effort to marginalize or outright stop the use and development of GMOs at all levels of the food supply. The expressed reasons are varied; objections range from conspiracy-laden anti-corporate narratives to Frankenfood fears about unknowns. I have noted a severe ideological bent to these objections, which defy scientific evidence of safety and efficacy. They’re narratives based almost exclusively on the nonscientific foundations of chemophobia, naturalistic fallacy, and fear of the unknown.

Over the last few years the fear mongering has grown. With that growth there has been a reasonable-sounding anti-GMO tactic demanded by some advocates, namely forcing labeling of GMO foods.

Protesters at New Orleans’ March Against Monsanto, gathering at Duncan Plaza before the start of the march. Via Wikimedia.

For a variety of reasons I outlined in my previous post—GMO Labeling: Consumer Protection or Fear Mongering?—requiring the labeling of GMO food is an attempt to foster the false idea that GMO is significantly dangerous product, akin to cigarettes, a product that requires a warning label because of its demonstrable harm. This goal misleads consumers by using a patently wrong false equivalency. Labeling has been strongly supported by the organic food industry, which uses its own self-regulated labels to charge a premium for an essentially undifferentiated product. For these obvious reasons the organic industry has funded and promoted a push to label GMO products, resulting in a recent petition to the FDA for a government-mandated GMO food label. This month the FDA responded with a definitive and comprehensive denial of the petition. The FDA released a PDF copy of its response for free.

FDA Logo Via Wikimedia

The FDA pretty much sums up my position. Specifically, it pointed out:

The petition does not provide evidence sufficient to show that foods derived from genetically engineered [GE] plants, as a class, differ from foods derived from non-GE plant varieties in any meaningful or uniform way, or that as a class, such foods present any different or greater safety concerns than foods developed by traditional plant breeding.

All agriculture poses risks to the population and the environment. Despite decades of scrutiny there is no evidence that GMO has an greater risk than conventional agriculture. The FDA requires labeling if a product poses a direct health risk, if it is misleading, or if it is significantly nutritionally different from similar products. There is no evidence for this in the case of GMOs, though this lack of evidence has been unpersuasive for anti-GMO advocates. Nonetheless, belief doesn’t equate to facts.

The proposal sounds logical because some food is labeled organic. Even though the organic food lobby would like you to believe that their food product labeling equates to superior quality, this belief is also unfounded. This can be found in detail in Skeptoid episode 166episode 19, as well as multiple blog posts on this site.

Organic food is labeled with marketing claims. These are claims that have a specific meaning that they charge a premium price for. Although the label’s purveyors want consumers to perceive the label as a promise of wholesome superiority, realistically it’s just a sales gimmick. Conventionally grown tomatoes are just as healthful as their organic siblings, just as organic candy bars and chips are the same junk food at a higher price. There are other examples of this consumer labeling, for example a “Made in the USA” label says nothing about the quality or the construction of the product, or any number of other factors consumers might want to take into account. It is label that makes the product desirable to a section of its market, something that attracts a certain population or something they can charge a premium price for. It has little to do with the product itself.

In its response to the petition the FDA has said that mandatory labeling for GMO makes a claim that the product is different in quality, content, or safety. The response goes on to unequivocally and demonstrably explain that there is no evidence to support that position, saying, in part:

The simple fact that a plant is produced by one method over another does not necessarily mean that there will be a difference in the safety or other characteristics of the resulting foods. The determining factor is the final food product and its objective characteristics in comparison to its traditional counterpart, not the process used to produce the plant from which the food was derived.

Further, the response notes:

Although foods from GE plants may not have been on the market for the length of time as plants produced through conventional plant breeding techniques that does not mean that all resulting foods are any less safe. To date, we have completed over 155 consultations for GE plant varieties. The numbers of consultations completed, coupled with the rigor of the evaluations demonstrate that foods from GE plants can be as safe as comparable foods produced using conventional plant breeding.

The FDA response also gives a complete, detailed refutation of the petition’s specifics, which were based on what the anti-GMO community points to as the best evidence against GMO products. It addressed claims that GMOs pose unknown risks, are responsible for harmful environmental effects, and that consumers are demanding labeling.

Rather than offering blanket dismissals, the FDA was clear and precise; they broke down the research and disassembled it scientifically. The response letter specifically relates how the evidence was flawed, limited, and was used to buttress unsupported conclusions. The letter then specifically reviewed the reasons why each part was wrong and how those ineffectual claims apply to the Administration’s statutes. It was cathartically enjoyable to read it. Frankly, it gives me a glimmer of hope that at least some sections of the US government assigned to protect us act upon science, not ideology.

I am not saying that genetic modification is without risk or that corporations are only benevolent; rather, I’m saying that these problems exist for all food production equally and it is senseless to single out promising new technologies because we are afraid and don’t understand.

For the fear mongers you can still buy organic food and lessen your anxiety. In my estimation the numerical majority of the world endures daily hunger. As long as children are starving it makes no sense to stifle the science that offers the best probability of blunting this growing problem, especially when there is no demonstrable harm.

Organic fruit and vegetables at the entrance to the shop at Loch Arthur Creamery. Via Wikimedia.

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Disclaimer: This post is my personal opinion, it is not a substitute for medical care. It is for informational purposes only. The information on Skeptoid blog is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions. This post does not reflect the opinion of my partners, professional affiliates, or academic affiliations. I have no financial conflicts of interest to disclose.

 

About Stephen Propatier

Stephen Propatier is a board certified acute care nurse practitioner specializing in spine and sports medicine. He is a member of the Society for Science Based Medicine and is adjunct faculty for both Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School and Rhode Island College Graduate School of Nursing.
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128 Responses to FDA Smackdown on GMO Fear Mongering

  1. IdPnSD says:

    “Despite decades of scrutiny there is no evidence that GMO has an greater risk than conventional agriculture.”

    The above statement is very similar to – There is no reason to believe that the earth is rotating round the sun. There was a time when only one man knew its truth and he was Galileo. All others, billions of us, did not know that we did not know. Truth is very difficult to find. But once found, everybody will see the truth everywhere.

    There are many such statements – There is no reason to believe that reincarnation or destiny are valid concepts. Again, once examined, you will find they are eternally correct. Ayn Rand said – “Truth is not for all men, but only for those who seek it.” The idea is – investigate and you will find the truth.

    Look at math and physics. Take any theory from them and you will find it is false. Why these are correct concepts? Because money is false. Using something false, like money, you cannot create something true. Remove money and all truths will come out one by one. Take a look at many examples of truth in the book on Soul Theory at https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/

    • MBDK says:

      Your entire post is an example of WHY science is important. Your illogical meanderings and promotion of what is basically a hipster’s version of religion are meaningless in regards to the topic of discussion. However, if you REALLY believe what you preach, feel free to send me all your money, as well as all the money from each of your like-minded acquaintances. Then let the truth finally hit home.

      • IdPnSD says:

        MBDK,

        “Your entire post is an example of WHY science is important.” – Math and physics are completely wrong. You may have noticed that every science theory has the following structure: (1) A set of assumptions (2) A set of results and (3) A statement that says items in two will be valid only when items in one hold.

        But you know that nature and engineering cannot and do not make any assumptions. All assumptions will be rejected in all engineering experiments and therefore all theories will fail. No theory therefore has ever been tested by any engineering experiments. On the other hand religions have truths. Destiny is a law of nature, described in Bible and in Vedas. Similarly reincarnation is also a law of nature and was there in Bible at one time, but removed later.

        Laws of nature are the only truths. Since money is not an object of nature it cannot obey the laws of nature. Therefore money must be false, like real numbers. Money must be free, abundant at its source, which is the central bank. Yet, such false money is controlling all our activities. As false cannot create truth, all our activities are also false. GMO is not any exception. Remove money education will completely change and truths will come out.

        • Nick says:

          “No theory therefore has ever been tested by any engineering experiments” – Are you even 1% serious, or is this a Poe? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe's_law

          • IdPnSD says:

            For Nick – December 2, 2015 at 5:31 pm

            100% serious. Consider Newton’s first law – an object will continue in motion with constant speed in a straight line. Have you ever seen such an object on earth or in space? No, never. Thus Newton’s first law has never been tested either by any engineering experiment or demonstrated by nature.

            This law cannot be correct because it has an assumption – isolated environment. Which is never valid in engineering and in nature. There are many such examples in the book. But we are still teaching our students this false law. Why?

    • The Galileo Gambit. I love it! (This post may be a prank. Even so, I enjoyed it. Rarely do I see so many logic fallacies and sheer nonsense condensed into a single post. If you wrote it to make a point, well done!)

      Of course, Galileo was NOT the only man at the time to know what the post implies he knew so exclusively.

      “There is no reason to believe that the earth is rotating round the sun. There was a time when only one man knew its truth and he was Galileo.”

      There were LOTS of reasons for believing that the earth ORBITED the sun. (The earth’s orbit and the earth’s rotation around its axis are concepts worth considering separately but I suppose one can casually combine them.)

      Obviously, the ACTUAL story of Galileo is quite different than the popular representation which usually appears in the Galileo Gambit. But I assume that the author used it to add to parody.

      • IdPnSD says:

        “There were LOTS of reasons for believing that the earth ORBITED the sun.” – You may be correct. I do not remember the history exactly. Since you used the word “were”, I assume your statement refers to the time when Galileo lived. I would like to know what makes you think that people at that time believed in any idea against money power.

        “Despite decades of scrutiny there is no evidence that GMO has an greater risk than conventional agriculture.” – this is same as the Galileo statement. Nobody can believe, even today, against any ideas propagated by money power. If you go against money power you will face the same fate that Galileo did.

        But the truth is – money is false. You cannot create anything true using something false like money. So, math, physics, GMO, economics, history, etc. all must be false. For many real examples take a look at https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/

        • Ahh the Galileo gambit. M personal fav.
          No IDpnSD
          In reality, taking up the mantle of Galileo requires not just that you are scorned by the establishment but also that you are correct[1] — that is, that the evidence supports your position. There is no necessary link between being perceived as wrong and actually being correct; if people perceive you to be wrong, you usually are wrong. However, the selective reporting of cases where people who were persecuted or ostracized for beliefs and ideas that later turned out to be valid has instilled a confidence in woo promoters and pseudoscientists that is difficult to shake. They forget the part where they have to prove themselves right in order to be like Galileo. Galileo didn’t guess and was later proved right he had evidence that was discounted. Like you are doing.
          In this case there is evidence and the evidence supports safety so you are incorrect, meaning leave Galileo out. Scrutiny is constant evaluation and testing better known as evidence. Even when you try really really hard to paraphrase it out of existence.

          • IdPnSD says:

            For: Stephen Propatier on January 22, 2016 at 5:39 pm

            Ayn Rand said – “Truth is not for all men, but only for those who seek it.” The hypothesis is that GMO is harmless. You ask 100 people, 99 of them will say GMO is harmless, but 1 will say harmful. Then how do you know what is the truth?

            The laws of nature are the only truth. We have to see if GMO is against the laws of nature. Truth is not what people say, see, feel, or experience.

            Galileo was the only person who said earth is moving, billions of others said no, earth is not moving. In the same way billions of people do not see reincarnation as a law of nature, only seekers know it is a law. Another example is destiny or freewill. Most of us will say freewill is correct. But truth seekers know it is wrong. Reincarnation and destiny are laws of nature.

            There are many such examples: real numbers and money are false, because they are not objects of nature, they do not obey the laws of nature. Therefore anything you create using money must be false. Something true cannot be created by using something false, like money. For more on this subject take a look at https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/

          • Karolyn says:

            I like it!

          • Novay Jose says:

            That’s now THREE rambling incoherent adverts for one inane chi/quantum/reincarnation/yogi/soul wordpress blog/book thing, none of which belongs on skeptoid, least of all on a GMO post.

          • IdPnSD says:

            For Novay Jose on January 26, 2016 at 6:32 pm

            Novay wrote – “That’s now THREE rambling incoherent adverts for one inane chi/quantum/reincarnation/yogi/soul wordpress blog/book thing, none of which belongs on skeptoid, least of all on a GMO post.”

            Here is a clarification to show that this IdPnSD comment thread is relavant to the GMO post. The GMO post has the following statement – “Despite decades of scrutiny there is no evidence that GMO has an greater risk than conventional agriculture.” Which implicitely tries to define the truth in the following way – if everybody says GMO is good then it must be good. That is a wrong definition of truth.

            Laws of nature are the only truth. Nature always demonstrates its truth. You must observe nature to find the truth, juts like Galileo did.

            The mainstream does not have any truth. This is so because mainstream is controlled by money power, and money is false, since money is not an object of nature, and therefore money cannot obey the laws of nature. You cannot create truth using something false like money. Therefore math, physics, economics, quantum mechanics etc are all wrong. On the other hand soul theory, yogic power, reincarnation, destiny are all truths and nature demonstrates them. Incidentally, they are all described in both Bible and Vedas. Checkout the blog site for proofs and examples

          • Galileo used the scientific method to develop his theory and proof. The scientific method discounts the fears proposed by the anti-GMO crowd, In this instance Galileo method agrees with consensus developed from his scientific method. Which the Catholic church did not use and refuted with its non scientific fears and assertions. That is the point you are missing and why using Galileo as an example bolsters our argument and refutes yours.

          • IdPnSD says:

            For: Stephen Propatier ON January 27, 2016 at 2:06 pm

            You wrote – “Galileo used the scientific method to develop his theory and proof.” I am not an expert on Galileo. I did not read his research work on discovery of sun as the center. However, I do not believe that mathematics can create anything real, including physics, because real numbers are false. My understanding is that Galileo observed the sky using his telescope and discovered his theory.

            But the point is that popularity of a subject cannot indicate that the subject is true or correct. This includes work done by all the physicists like Newton (classical physics), Einstein (relativity theory), or Heisenberg (quantum mechanics). – This point was established by Galileo first.

          • NoseyNick says:

            I can walk across the road and find you a hundred engineering students, and their professors, who will tell you that science and maths are VERY necessary for engineering, however you would presumably dismiss them as irrelevant because they are a product of education, which you also think is irrelevant. I challenge you to build a computer, from scratch, without using any maths or science, and then join us on skeptoid again. In the meantime I’ll use my highly scientific, highly mathematical computer, and drive my highly mathematical, highly scientific car to my nice mathematically and scientifically engineered and scientifically and mathematically lit+powered+heated+cooled office building. Thanks.

          • IdPnSD says:

            For: NoseyNick ON January 28, 2016 at 6:41 am

            You wrote – “I can walk across the road and find you a hundred engineering students, and their professors, who will tell you that science and maths are VERY necessary for engineering,…”

            Do not believe anybody. Truth is known only by 1% of the population. In case of Galileo, he was only one out of billions. Find it yourself. Money power controls everything, since money is false, everything must be false. How can you create truth using something false like money?

            Here is an example – Newton’s first law – an object will continue in motion with a constant velocity and on a straight line. Have you ever seen such an object? No, never, neither on earth nor in space. Why then professors are teaching this law? The book on Soul Theory at https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/ has many such examples from math, physics, economics, and engineering.

          • NoseyNick says:

            “The GMO post has the following statement – “Despite decades of scrutiny there is no evidence that GMO has an greater risk than conventional agriculture.” Which implicitely tries to define the truth in the following way – if everybody says GMO is good then it must be good”. That is a wrong definition of truth”

            Partly right, and partly wrong. You are absolutely correct that “argument from popularity” does not prove correctness. It doesn’t prove INcorrectness either, by the way, it’s just a bad argument either way. See “the fallacy fallacy”

            … however “Despite decades of scrutiny” has nothing to do with “everybody says GMO is good”. In fact, plenty of people say GMO is bad, usually based on misinformation, but that’s not the point. “Decades of scrutiny” is talking about EVIDENCE, not POPULARITY.

            “soul theory, yogic power, reincarnation, destiny are all truths and nature demonstrates them”. Excuse me? Prove it. [Citation needed]. Nature seems to prove NONE of those things, in fact it seems to DISprove almost all of them, and seems to be unable to prove ANY of them.

            “They are all described in both Bible and Vedas” – THAT doesn’t make them true either, see “argument from antiquity” and “argument from authority”, in fact why not http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logical-fallacies … And anyway, bibles are printed on printing presses manufactured with false money power and “You cannot create truth using something false like money”, gee, I see how this works, this is fun, I should switch my brain off more often! Go read my blog/book!

          • IdPnSD says:

            For: NoseyNick on January 28, 2016 at 7:12 am

            You wrote – “soul theory, yogic power, reincarnation, destiny are all truths and nature demonstrates them”. Excuse me? Prove it. [Citation needed].

            I have given citation many times in this comment thread – https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/ There are three independent ways to prove existence of soul – Yogic power, reincarnation, and destiny. Nature has the unique characteristics that – it always demonstrates its laws. All you have to do is carefully observe, just like Galileo did.

          • Chris Jones says:

            “Therefore math, physics, economics, quantum mechanics etc are all wrong. On the other hand soul theory, yogic power, reincarnation, destiny are all truths and nature demonstrates them. ”

            …says the individual who is using a working computer invented by people applying sciences and engineering developed using scientific discoveries, operating on fundamental mathematical principles, developed and sold using money and purchased using money. I’d advise sticking to your principles and finding a computer entirely developed through yogic power, reincarnation, etc., with no input from disciplines of science. Good luck.

          • IdPnSD says:

            For Chris Jones ON January 27, 2016 at 6:21 am

            “…engineering developed using scientific discoveries, operating on fundamental mathematical principles,…” Engineering does not require math and physics. Engineering only requires objects of nature. Our engineering is very unreliable, unstable, and pollutes environment because we use false math and physics, and false money. Many examples are given in the above book.

            As I have mentioned elsewhere – none of the following famous people of USA, pioneers of our modern society, can be considered formally educated – Bill Gates (software), Steve Jobs (software and hardware), Wright Brothers (Airplane), Benjamin Franklin (business man, scientist, politician, revolutionary), Graham Bell (electrical communication), Thomas Edison (electrical power) etc. So math and not even education is necessary to produce engineering products.

            To manufacture and sell things we do not need money. Make it free and sell it free. Why do we need money? There is a money-less economy (MLE) chapter in the book.

            If a soul can create a galaxy, a human body, what makes you think that a soul cannot do what engineering can? The power of soul is the yogic power. Take a look at the chapter on yogic power at the book. There are yogis all over the world. Judaism describes many examples of high level yogic power.

          • NoseyNick says:

            I have been to Graham Bell’s house, seen his early plans and prototypes. I promise you PLENTY of science and maths was involved. A lot of trial and error too, sure, but PLENTY of science and maths. Not that this has anything to do with GMO.

          • Chris Jones says:

            “As I have mentioned elsewhere – none of the following famous people of USA, pioneers of our modern society, can be considered formally educated – Bill Gates (software), Steve Jobs (software and hardware), Wright Brothers (Airplane), Benjamin Franklin (business man, scientist, politician, revolutionary), Graham Bell (electrical communication), Thomas Edison (electrical power) etc. So math and not even education is necessary to produce engineering products.”

            Yet many of these did have education — just not necessarily a full BS degree, though perhaps the equivalent. Bill Gates did spend a fair amount of time at Harvard before dropping out to pursue a timely opportunity (opportunities don’t always present themselves and cannot always be made to happen). Steve Jobs might as well have had a degree, as he spent years dropping in on relevant courses at Berkeley as if he were a paying student. He just didn’t get the formal certificate. You’re quite mistaken if you don’t believe that most if not all of these were certainly mathematically literate and each had appropriate mastery of the background knowledge that was needed. And these days, many of the greater scientific discoveries are just not going to be made by someone short of a Ph.D. in the relevant field because we’ve reached a point where a person sitting around reasoning through the basic mechanics will no longer work. You fail to mention the larger number of inventers of advanced technologies and discoverers of important knowledge who do have degrees — it far outpaces those who don’t.

            “To manufacture and sell things we do not need money. Make it free and sell it free. Why do we need money? There is a money-less economy (MLE) chapter in the book.”

            I don’t know if you’re suggesting some kind of bartering economy or just assuming things are going to work out via people voluntarily producing whatever without regard to an effort to receive equivalent value in exchange, but neither is realistic. I don’t feel like it is my place to educate you on the theory of money, why it came about, and the economics behind why bartering cannot work beyond a small number of people, and why it’s a very inefficient way of conducting trade. The latter possibility, voluntary production, is contrary to natural human behavior. If you’re thinking there is any chance that either Bill Gates or Steve Jobs would have ever produced any of what they produced and continued inventing without financial incentive, you’ll need to make a really good case that they would have.

            “If a soul can create a galaxy, a human body, what makes you think that a soul cannot do what engineering can?”

            I don’t even agree that there is such a thing as a “soul”. You are merely claiming that a “soul” can create a galaxy — What if I premised my next remark on the idea “if a leprechaun can horde gold at the bottom of a rainbow, then….”

            “The power of soul is the yogic power. Take a look at the chapter on yogic power at the book. There are yogis all over the world. Judaism describes many examples of high level yogic power.”

            You go forth as if we all agree that there are “souls”, which is not a sound presumption, and that this undemonstrated thing is the source of “yogic power”, another concept I do not accept, and further assert that Judaism somehow agrees with this. I’m quite familiar with Judaism and I don’t recall ever hearing of “yogic power” in connection with any Jewish beliefs or practices. I think you’re projecting your own mystical perspective onto another religion.

          • Chris Jones says:

            …and, IdPnSD, before we lose sight of why I originally jumped in on this, you never bothered to explain why you’re using a computer which was developed using discoveries in the scientific disciplines which you have said are “wrong”. Marvelous how well it works, despite having been designed using knowledge which you are claiming is “wrong”. I’m seeing that you do not address points that are made, but rather you quickly move on to ramble about some other aspects of your mystical beliefs. You assert a whole lot without ever bothering to make a case for any of it. How about staying with a point and establishing it before meandering to another?

          • IdPnSD says:

            For: Chris Jones ON January 27, 2016 at 9:38 am

            “How about staying with a point and establishing it before meandering to another?” – Good question. I will follow your direction, but many may feel we are far off-track of the main line in this Skeptoid article.

            “…you never bothered to explain why you’re using a computer which was developed using discoveries in the scientific disciplines..” – I will take this point and pursue it. But before we start, we must have the definitions for math, physics or science, and engineering. You can define them in your way, if you do not like the following.

            LAWS OF NATURE: The laws of nature are the universal characteristics of the objects of nature. They are properties or behaviors or dharma (in Sanskrit). They exist independent of human experiences and assumptions.

            Everything that we see around us is engineering. The cars, airplanes, roads, buildings are all products of engineering. A PRODUCT: is a physical hardware that we can touch, see, and that occupies some space. Our modern engineering products are very sophisticated and satisfy complex requirements. ENGINEERING: It is a process that is required to create an useful product.

            Thus engineering is not the textbooks on engineering subjects, like mechanical, electrical, etc. All products use natural components, and therefore they also obey natural laws. Thus we can define science in the following way: SCIENCE: It is a collection of manmade theories that tries to explain the laws of nature.

            Consider an example to clarify the distinction between science and engineering. If we place a magnetic needle under a wire, and pass current through the wire, then the magnet will be deflected. We call this an engineering experiment. It is a product that we can see, touch, and learn about it; and it does something useful also. The process used to demonstrate this needle movement is engineering. The science part says that the magnet has a field called magnetic field, the electricity creates a field called electric field (or may be a magnetic field); these two fields interact and create a force that deflects the magnet.

            The mathematics is a symbolic language. Its main purpose is to justify the scientific theories. MATHEMATICS: It is a symbolic language, used to describe expressions of natural language.

            Now you tell me why you think that computer uses science or mathematics. Note that software is not engineering according to the above definition.

          • Chris Jones says:

            IdPnSD says: “I have given citation many times in this comment thread – https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/

            Yes, I suppose you have. And I downloaded and read the chapter on “Moneyless economy”. While I’m reasonably qualified to remark on that particular topic (having attained an MBA degree), one need not have a finance or economics degree to notice the massive problems with this proposal. I had thought when you mentioned “moneyless economy” that you were proposing a return to basic bartering, which simply doesn’t work with more than a handful of people and a small number of commodities and services to exchange. This is even worse than bartering, though. This proposal clearly has the most naive view of human behavior that I’ve ever run across, and as a somewhat lazy sort of guy who also happens to like cool stuff, this system would allow me to go spend my 40 hours (and I’d love to only work 40 hours!) testing video games for Electronics Arts (we can do any job we choose, right?) and then using my “credit” for having put in the 40 hours to buy a 120″ TV, the best sound system available, a kick-ass gaming computer, etc., and every week I’m going to be upgrading to the best that’s out that week. I’m going to be eating the finest foods. I’m going to be traveling every other week to some other country and spending a week, and only working every other week… stocking up on food and stuff during the week I’ve worked and earned my “get whatever you want” credit. And I’m sure everyone else is going to do the same. And even if somehow I’ve misread something and I do need to work every week, so what… Working only 40 hours a week, I have loads of leisure time to enjoy all the stuff I’m getting. I think I’ll also “hire” a team of contractors to build a mansion for me. What a haul for the difficult job of playing video games all day.

            Really, the whole thing is just absurd. It completely lacks understanding of human nature and behavior, it completely lacks any notion of scarcity of resources and how those scarce resources are allocated, and the differences in desirability of various occupations. Who is going to voluntarily go mine the coal? One gem from this chapter (or turd, really): “..Thus men’s physical brain is smaller and weaker than women’s brain because of three reasons: (a) a missing partition corresponding to baby management, (b) ….. ” — !!!!!!! I don’t see that it’s worth wasting time on the rest of the book. This chapter alone is so full of utter nonsense and unsupported assertions that I’d expect the same of the rest.

          • IdPnSD says:

            For: Chris Jones ON January 28, 2016 at 8:24 am

            Thank you for downloading the book and your time on reading a chapter.

            Should I switch to a discussion on Money-less economy (MLE) here on this blog site of Skeptoid? It will be unfair for many. I am sure many already do not like my comments on completely different subjects, although they are all related.

            I will appreciate, Chris Jones, if you make your comments either on the MLE chapter on the Soul Theory book site or there is a dedicated blog site on MLE at https://createmoneylesseconomy.wordpress.com/
            There you can focus on smaller items and become more specific. This site has a FAQ on MLE.

            You can also directly contact me here – subhendu.das@excite.com This email address is on the book.

        • Chris Jones says:

          IdPnSD says: “Do not believe anybody. Truth is known only by 1% of the population. ”

          If that’s actually true, which I doubt, that would mean that there is a 99% chance that you’re not one of that 1% and not someone to trust.

          • IdPnSD says:

            For: Chris Jones ON January 28, 2016 at 9:51 am

            “If that’s actually true, which I doubt, that would mean that there is a 99% chance that you’re not one of that 1% and not someone to trust.”

            Of course that is true. I do not belong to that 1% community. I have mentioned it in many places in the book in many different ways. However, if you search carefully and sincerely, that is, if you become a truth seeker, you will always come across, the results from this 1% community.

            Bible says – if you have the ear, then you will hear. That means if you prepare your ears through yogic meditation, which essentially means if you become a truth seeker then you will know the truth. Galileo was such a person.

  2. NAS says:

    My problem is MONSANTO not GM. There are some, I consider, useful GM modifications out there (and some crazy ones which died …Tomatoes) but to engineer a product to be resistant to herbicide (proprietary at that) so that they can spray itv during it’s whole growth cycle is madness. I do NOT want to eat food soaked in Roundup. I won’t even use it in my garden.

    • The infamous “Monsanto Monster”. Fun. I wonder why Monsanto is still vilified above and beyond all other agribusiness companies?

      Of course, if you are at risk of eating food “soaked in Roundup”, you are doing something wrong.

      If memory serves, Roundup doesn’t survive over the winter, as its molecules are broken down and don’t persist in the environment. If you believe it poisons your food, what is your evidence?

      We KNOW that organic gardening methods like use of animal manures DOES kill people. (And wherever there are profit motives at work, some people will be willing to cut corners—and ignore safety requirement of properly turning composting of animal manures for at least 14 months and sustaining internal temperatures sufficient to kill E.Coli.) Yet I have organic-food obsessed friends who have gotten sick from “eating foods soaked in E.Coli”.

      Of course, my major beef with “organic foods” is that they are damaging to the environment, especially in their wasting of fresh water and topsoil. I’m a strong believer in soil conservation, wise water management, and feeding hungry people. Those who obsess on imaginary dangers believer their “peace of mind” is more important than empty stomachs—and they are quite willing to make decisions which force hungry people to remain hungry. (That is what one is doing when trying to outlaw GMO seeds for other countries where hunger is a huge problem.)

      • Karolyn says:

        Soil conservation? Organic gardening enriches the soil, using mulch, and does not continuously over plant. Wasting of water? Where do you get your info from?

        • “Where do you get your info from?”

          In the running of my farm, Purdue University and the county agricultural agent. Yet ANYONE can learn what you don’t yet know by reading any agronomy textbook. (And, yes, I tossed in some of the realities and science of “organic farming” because I knew you’d go for the bait and exposure your ignorance of that topic as well.)

          The reason organic farming is wasteful of water and soil is that it takes FAR MORE land and water than conventional farming methods. Of course, that also means FEWER PEOPLE can be fed per acre of land. If you don’t know understand WHY that is, you probably need one-on-one tutoring in elementary mathematics as well as logic—and I’m not paid to do that job.

          By the way, I also criticize many aspects of conventional agriculture—which, fortunately, in the USA is slowly changing for the better. Both conventional and organic farmers are very often reckless in soil management and our richest farmlands are still losing topsoil at an alarming rate. (If you honestly believe that “organic farming” is all wonderful for soil management, you are a clueless ideologue, something we already knew.)

          “Organic farming” has been a tremendous danger to human health for many years now. How many E.Coli scares (and body bags) from “natural” and “organic” dairy products and fruit juices, for example, does it take for the organic evangelists to wise up?

          Show me some obsessed with the superiority of “organic food”, and I’ll show you someone who (1) is ignorance of basic agronomy science, and (2) has no experience in farming of any sort.

          By the way, two of my siblings (who co-manage our farm properties) have graduate degrees in agricultural science and horticulture. One also has a PhD in organic chemistry—-which, in this context of discussing organic farming, makes me smile to myself because I can imagine how you would incorrectly define the term.

        • Karolyn
          Funny you should mention soil benefits over conventional, exactly an argument for GMO crops. Weed control is a constant problem that farmers of all production methods must manage to have healthy, high-yielding crops. One way farmers control weeds in their fields is through tillage – which is to literally turn over the top layer of soil to uproot the weeds. While this is one solution for weed control, it leaves a field open to erosion and run-off to waterways, and releases carbon dioxide, a contributor to greenhouse gases. Herbicide tolerant GM crops enable farmers to till less often, leading to improved soil health and water retention, reduced runoff, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The organic matter and moisture that remains in the soil helps crops better withstand periods of drought, and less erosion means that the inputs farmers use stay in place and don’t end up in our lakes and rivers. So your saying soil conservation is a good thing but only if you like the method.
          Plus organic methods have a lot less yield so lower environmental impact but over an much greater amount of land to produce the same amount of product. More tilled land= more environmental impact. Soooo as long as people starve we can be assured that organics are protecting the environment. If we grow the same amount of product the environmental impact is about the same because the cost of so much more land. Unless you believe as many do that organic farming is “natural” and therefore beneficial it isn’t. No cultivated farming is. Just let your organic garden go and grow naturally you will see that you don’t get organic crops you likely won’t get anything. That is unless you do the unnatural method of human cultivation. You will find that most steer in nature don’t tend to weed and till as they defecate in fields of corn. Organic or no. Plus they eat the corn. 100% natural tho. 🙂 Human being have a fascinating habit of using language to derive a difference when the only difference is the words they use.

  3. Gary Smith says:

    IdPnSD,

    It amazes me that individuals like yourself troll sites like this and proselytize. It would be a safe assumption that any viewer to this and similar sites, outside of the ilk you represent, are educated well enough to come here to find information that supports what the site is about. Coming here to “ilk” your contrary views is time poorly wasted.

    There are more members of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster than there are of the United Church of Canada. I am an Ordained Minister of my beloved saucy Church, which bears a hint of garlic, and would be willing to invite you to my Colander for consideration.

    However, you will be required to admit your sins in a holy hot tub as you boil them away with a pirate’s allotment of pasta, roughly 5 and 3/4 grams, or 6 11/13 ounces. In the British Isles, that would equal 5/7 of a Stone. The conversion to Quatloos should be obvious.

    Cheers

    • IdPnSD says:

      For
      Gary Smith – December 2, 2015 at 3:52 am

      I will appreciate if you pick up any specific word, sentence, or paragraph and give your analysis. A very general comment is difficult respond.

  4. Karolyn says:

    Do not trust the corporate-sponsored FDA and Federal Government. The US should be like all the other countries that care about their people and are banning GMOs, including Russia. The recent approval of genetically modified salmon is alarming. Farmed fish, in general, is a bad enough idea.

    • So you trust the Russian government to do the right thing, you think that they are a more benevolent and less corrupt entity than the US…… Vladimir putin government cares more than the US, they are protecting their people. Given the strong record of clean government and humanistic principles like imprisonment for homosexuality Good luck with that logic.

      • Karolyn says:

        If they are banning GMOs, they are doing the right thing. 26 countries have banned them. They can’t all be stupid.

        • Why do crowds act more reasoned than individuals?

          • IdPnSD says:

            “Why do crowds act more reasoned than individuals?” – This is a very good observation. There is actually a law of nature that creates our destiny – All objects in the universe are continuously and simultaneously interactive with each other for all past, present, and future times. These objects includes human souls also. Thus more souls you include better conclusion you derive. That is one of the reasons why our courts use 12 jurors. Information is an infinite dimensional space. One soul represents only one dimension.

          • It was not an observation it was a question. Otherwise I have no idea what the rest of that statement means other than a a rambling philosophical triatse

  5. The threat to our food supply is real. I’m not concerned about the genetics, but about having the quantity and quality of the food I eat being dependent upon the bottom line of multi-national corporations. They’re not known for their concern about human health.

    • Faith Simply put that those concerns are not isolated to GMO either. There is simply no part of the food supply that doesn’t involve corporations, even so called organics. Small farms cannot feed the world. It says nothing about the risks to say that corporations are bad they are always involved gmo or not.

    • “They’re not known for their concern about human health.”

      What is your evidence that “multi-national corporations” are any less concerned than single-nation corporations or unincorporated small farms?

      Buzzwords and mantras is not a reasoned argument. They are also not EVIDENCE.

  6. argoodlv says:

    Actually, GMO labeling could likely have a positive effect by helping to overcome any fear-mongering factor in current marketing. It would inform the consumer over time that non-dangerous GMO products are not to be feared.

    • Karolyn says:

      The only reason they fear GMO labeling is because many people won’t purchase those foods, and there goes the bottom line. They’ve spent at least millions lobbying against labeling. The state of Vermont is currently being sued by Monsanto over their GMO labeling law. How is that possible? How can a corporation sue a state for mandating labeling of the food its people eat? That’s how screwed up this country is, with the politicians in the pockets of corporations like Monsanto.

      • Again you already have a GMO label Organic why do you want everything else tagged. Oh because a billion dollar corporate empire the organic food business spends billions in misinformation to keep you scared and buying their products. Fear is the enemy knowledge is the solution.

      • Answer: Because a “GMO label” is a political message. Do want labels telling me whether the suppliers of all ingredients in a food were kind to the environment? ….paid their workers well? … paid overtime for working more than 40 hours in a week? …did not exploit child-labor? …did not divert water from nearby villages? …practice only low-till/no-till soil conservation?

        The reason anybody “fears” GMO labelling is because they don’t like the FALSE IMPLIED MESSAGE of such labelling. Why do YOU fear NOT specifying GMOs on labels? Is it because you can’t support your position by evidence so you want to IMPOSE IT on others via government coercion?

        If food safety and things like water and soil conservation matter, why not BAN organic foods from being sold in America? The only reason you FEAR such a law is that nobody would be purchasing organic foods “and there goes the bottom line.” (See how great your “logic” works?)

        Demonstrate there are real dangers to GMOs and then you might have a valid argument for labelling. Short of that, why pick on GMOs for labelling and not any of a million other facts about the food we eat?

        • Karolyn says:

          Banning organics, as you suggested, makes no sense “professor.” You’re sounding rabid.

          • “Banning organics, as you suggested, makes no sense “professor.”

            Of course it doesn’t! You clearly struggle with reading comprehension. Read my post again, this time more slowly and maybe you’ll get the point of my QUESTION, “Why not ban organic foods from being sold in America?” I was showing the nonsense of your brand of “logic”—and it flew right over your head. No surprise there.

        • NoseyNick says:

          I wouldn’t BAN organic foods, I’d quite like a label that tells me if organic fertilizer (manure, poo) has been used on my food, because I should take better care to wash+sterilize it.

  7. bandit, Albuquerque says:

    My concerns are pretty simple:

    (1) Monsanto has successfully sued farmers for “patent theft” when pollen from their GMO crops have been blown by the wind to other farmer’s fields.

    Yes, one farmer played a game and the lawsuit set a bad precedent. But the first case was in Canada, I believe, and there was no doubt that the pollen was driven by the wind.

    (2) allowing J Random Corp to have monopolistic control over a basic food crop (wheat, soybeans, etc) sets a bad precedent. Such power should not be in the hands of *any* corporation.

    (3) Nature has a way of mutating crops to deal with the environment. The only way Monsanto can generate the large quantities of seed to sell is to grow the crops. It is likely the “round-up ready” crops are going to start mutating. This is speculation, but Nature has a long track record of doing similar things.

    (4) the non-GMO crops are a variety of strains. We should preserve them for a number of reasons. They are starting to cross-breed with Monsanto crops – both ways. This should be a concern on “both” sides.

    (5) The FDA has approved a new kind of GE Salmon. For now, they are to be grown in fish farms in inland areas. However, it is a sure bet that some will get loose (because things like this will *always* get loose) and has the likelihood of breeding with wild salmon. This has the likely effect of destroying the various wild salmon species.

    (6) several countries, for whatever reason, have specifically stopped the import of wheat and/or soybeans from the USA. This has started to impact US producers.

    In short, whether or not GMO crops are safe to eat, we should use caution. Unintended consequences *always* occur.

    I am an engineer. I try to learn the science about things I do not understand. I basically *do* understand the science of GMOs, and know it is (generally) a shortcut on Nature; the process is sped up. I also know pesticides *can* and *have* increased yields tremendously.

    I recognize conspiracies exist – I lived through Watergate, Iran-Contra, etc. I also recognize there are a lot of idiots out there – goto Youtube and search “Moon Hoax”. Make popcorn first.

    Monsanto is not in a conspiracy. They are very open about what they are doing.

    However, as an engineer *and* participant in society, I am leery of huge changes in a short period of time, especially when huge monopolies and big money is involved. Wisdom dictates caution.

    • bandit
      #1 myth-http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/pages/gm-seed-accidentally-in-farmers-fields.aspx
      #2 Corporations are in charge of every part of the food supply GMO is not significantly different than any other.
      #3+#4 there is unintended cross breeding of all variatals there is risk for all cross breeding GMO variatals have no greater risk. You assume natural=safe which is not true.
      #5 explain why a gm salmon would automatically “wipe out” natural species?
      #6 Politicians are subject to irrational and nonsensical decisions based upon public whim not science.

      I prefer science not fear, evidence not conjecture, Truth not lies about lawsuits.

      • Karolyn says:

        GMO salmon breeding with wild salmon would corrupt the gene pool.

        • In what way would it corrupt the gene pool?
          Why would GMO salmon go to their native species spawning grounds? It is not genetic is fish specific. Salmon don’t just breed in open water they return to spawning grounds. Why would farm raised fish know where to go to? Why wouldn’t they return to their pens to breed?

          Unsubstantiated fear mongering is common in GMO opposition.

          • Karolyn says:

            Why would they not follow the other fish, especially if they couldn’t return to their home grounds? If a group of them escaped, what would keep them from joining in with the wild salmon? That scenario is entirely possible.

          • Salmon swim to very specific breed grounds they just don’t follow the other fish. Never mind What does corrupt the gene pool mean, organisms change genetically all the time. Scaring people with big sounding words is exactly what GMO opponents do best what they fail to do is prove any problems.

          • I loved Karolyn’s “they’d follow the other fish” knowledge of fish behavior!

            Ever notice how people who complain about GMO “dangers” are really really bad at science?

    • Karolyn says:

      NEVER eat farm-raised fish, GMO or not.

      • Nathan says:

        Yes let’s entirely wipe out the natural populations instead.

      • Yes! Let’s allow hungry people struggling to get enough protein in their diets to have stunted growth and malnutrition so Karolyn can feel better about fearing farms.

      • why would anyone want to eat fish that are farmed? they swim in their own poop X’s 10.

        • “why would anyone want to eat fish that are farmed? they swim in their own poop X’s 10.”

          More ignorance from someone who knows nothing about aquaculture. If such fish were truly “swimming in their own poop times ten”, they would quickly die of fin rot, parasites, and a host of other diseases and would never produce a profit for the farmer. Water quality is absolutely essential to aquafarming or else the fish die. (And sick fish never put on protein weight at a profitable rate!) If there was any truth to “their own poor times ten”, it would be a fish-farmer about to go out of business. Dead fish don’t bring much profit.

          Profitable fish-farming operations often deal in water that is much cleaner and safer than that found near many public beaches where people go swimming. Why? The aquaculture farmer has a financial incentive to keep the water at a consistently high quality level and the chemistry is monitored continuously and is usually computer-controlled minute by minute. Unfortunately, this is NOT true of America’s lakes and waterways where oxygen levels can be very low, ammonia and urea levels high, and a wide variety of pollutants are far too common, including heavy metals.

          Yet, Stacie Noonan knows that the best way to get people all worked up and ignorant is to get one’s “science” from propaganda websites where nobody has ever actually researched the science and the commercial reality. They know that simply mentioning “poop!” sends the simpletons screaming and ranting!

          Much of the hysteria over “fish living in their own poop” came from a popular reality-TV series where a particular variety of fish was being used to clean up the organic debris, including poop, which a poorly managed pond had accumulated. Those fish were not intended for human consumption and were doing the same “job” in the pond as they normally do in nature—where there is plenty of debris and poop as part of the natural environment but with nobody to 24/7 manage the safety of the water!

          I find it amazing that the science-ignorant would visit a website like Skeptoid where facts matter. Perhaps it makes them so uncomfortable that they have to try to silence the truth. Ignorance hates information.

    • rabbit says:

      how would a landlocked fish “escape” to the wild????

      • Karolyn says:

        The “farms” are adjacent to natural waterways. Here’s a good article regarding farm-raised vs. wild-caught. It actually says that farm raising causing overfishing of the species that the fish are to be fed (among other drawbacks).
        http://draxe.com/the-dangers-of-farmed-fish/

        • Oh yes! The peer-reviewed science of Dr.Axe. So apparently Karolyn doesn’t think all corporations are evil. (If Dr. Axe opens a website in South America, will that make him a “multi-national corporation” and therefore evil?)

          Be sure to visit Dr. Axe’s website STORE where for $40 you can buy a bottle of “Leaky Gut Support”. We all know that “leaky guts” need more support. (Seriously, Karolyn, do you understand that such entrepreneur’s call their stuff “support” rather than “medicine” or something of substance is because “support” is a meaningless word—and therefore they avoid any health claim and the litigation which comes with such products. What does “leaky guy support” do?)

          Yes, Karolyn gets her science from a guy who makes money selling “Leaky Gut Support.”

          Isn’t it interesting that the health nuts who spend their money on organic foods and miracle supplements have problems with LEAKY GUTS so they have to spend money to stop their leaking?

    • “and know it is (generally) a shortcut on Nature; the process is sped up.”

      Of course it is! And so is watering your garden instead of waiting for the next rainstorm to come through. Of course man “speeds up” nature—as do a great many animals on this planet when they modify their environments in order to enhance their chances for survival!

      We take “shortcuts on Nature” and modify natural processes all the time. Indeed, when you use a garden hose to wash the winter road salt off of your car to prevent accelerated rusting, you interfere with a natural process of oxidation of your car metal. Indeed, I eat food daily in order to postpone the natural process of my body parts eventually returning to the soil and getting recycled.

      Caution is fine—in all human endeavors. I often asked the anti-GMO people what is their evidence that GMOs are harming anyone any more than any other human activity? (All human activities involve risk tradeoffs. Name one that doesn’t.)

      • Karolyn says:

        But we can minimize those harmful activities by being aware and taking action. Your superior manner does nothing to further your cause. While what you have said makes me think, speaking in a demeaning manner doesn’t help but only pushes people away. I am not an ignorant child. For every point you make, there is a counter-point.

        • “But we can minimize those harmful activities by being aware and
          taking action.”

          1) No. “Being aware” accomplishes nothing. (It may help you feel better about something but it doesn’t minimize harmful activities.)

          2) “Taking action”. In other words: “do something”. Needless to say, that is so generic that it is meaningless. You have simply stated “We can minimize harmful activities by doing something.” You might as well as saying, “We can solve our problems by doing something to solve our problems!” Are you a politician? You sound like one. (“If elected, I solemnly promise to do something to fix our problems by being aware of them and doing something!”)

          “Your superior manner does nothing to further your cause.”

          Pointless and irrelevant. Nobody has claimed that a particular attitude (whether real or imagined by you) is in anyway superior. But you ARE correct about one thing: using evidence and logic is a SUPERIOR way to proceed in furthering a solution to a problem.

          “While what you have said makes me think, speaking in a demeaning manner doesn’t help but only pushes people away.”

          Again, that’s irrelevant. If people run away or don’t think about the evidence because their feelings are hurt, they have chosen to remain in ignorance and to do nothing to solve the problem. In other words, they will remain irrelevant to a solution.

          Moreover, WILLFUL ignorance deserves a rebuke. Indeed, I’m thankful to those who made enough impression on me over the year by hitting me over the head with a 2×4 of logic and evidence such that I was able to see my error and change my mind. It would be nice if we as humans easily responded to evidence and changed our minds the moment we saw the facts. Yet, because we often tend to dig ourselves in deeper when challenged, it often takes a major confrontation to shake us loose. I appreciate those who got my attention and pointed out the errors in my thinking.

          “I am not an ignorant child.”

          Irrelevant. Whether your refusal to deal in evidence and logic is due to willful ignorance or simply stubbornness in holding on to cherished positions does nothing to change the facts of organic farming.

          “For every point you make, there is a counter-point.”

          No. That is a popular myth. There is no rule of logic which says that every item of evidence and application of logic has a counter-point of equal value. No doubt you WISH that were true—but you hope it would add credibility to your position. But in the real world, some ideas have merit and some idea do not.

          Besides the wasting of soil and water, I should emphasize that organic farming tends to be EXTREMELY POLLUTING and ENERGY WASTING. And in a day when carbon footprints matter—because they contribute to climate change, for example—organic farming tends to produce much larger amounts of carbon dioxide and air pollution (including the greater production of carbon monoxide and related pollutants) due to increased cultivation and lower yields per gallon of gasoline or diesel and per acre of land.

          Organic farming does help SOME people to feel better. But it comes at an enormous cost in the form of human suffering from hunger and resulting loss of life. Modern farming technology, including the skillful application of manufactured “artificial fertilizers” brought developing nations “The Green Revolution” at a time when mass starvation regularly brought societal instability, revolution, and the terrible suffering which comes from constant strife and war. A nation like India began to feed its own people for the first time in modern history as it replaced organic farming with modern methods.

          One of my professors was an economist who helped India plan its use and deployment of those modern, factory-produced fertilizers, and the larger harvests he predicted and the reduction in food imports, which he also predicted, helped to propel India into a future that made it a stable democracy when many had said it couldn’t be done. Only by abandoning previous “organic farming” methods was such change possible. (Without it, the toll of suffering in India during the past half-century would have been staggering. And that is just one of many countries which could be cited.)

          Resorting to “organic farming” would be a return to mass starvation—because a nation like India simply can’t support the hungry populations without better methods. Where would the required additional acreage and soil come from, Karolyn? Are you ignorant of history? Why would you want a return to organic farming methods and the starvation which accompanies them? You sound like a rich and well-fed American who can afford to gamble with the lives of others for the sake of “feeling better”. Those not so fortunate around the world strongly disagree with your “organic” agenda. (Of course, the word “organic” is largely a mirage and can be difficult to define. It often depends upon the ambiguity of the word “natural”, such as in pretending that “natural pesticides” are somehow nicer/better/gooder than “unnatural pesticides”—even though ALL pesticides by definition are poisons used to protect plants.)

          (Of course, some of the methods favored by “organic” advocates have been part of modern farming technology for many years now. For example, barren land reclamation in Africa involves the careful use of mulch and food wastes together with carefully chosen tree varieties in process of increasing the water retention of soils and the strategic shading of those soils. Some of those soils were originally destroyed by over-application of animal wastes, that is, “traditional organic farming” practices.)

          Do you feel more virtuous when you promote organic foods? In surveys, many people report that they do. That is the principal advantage of organic food—and corporate America has built the organic food industry on charging 40% to 300% more (the “feel better” premium) for food of equal nutrition yet while wasting more water, soil, energy, and pollutants.

          No, whether or not someone is “an ignorant child” is irrelevant. Evidence and logic is what matters. And no, there is NOT a “counterpoint” of equal value for all arguments based on evidence and logic. (It is something those without valid arguments tell themselves in an effort to feel better about their ignorance of the evidence.)

          By the way, yet another hazard of organic farming has been its association with “locally grown” programs where consumers visit the farm where there food is produced, even returning on a weekly basis to collect their portions of harvests (including various farm “consumer co-op” and shared-crop schemes.) These are TERRIBLY WASTEFUL in energy expenditures and unnecessarily polluting. It is FAR MORE efficient to use large trucks to transport harvests through modern distribution systems to eventual retail sale at grocery stores. The energy costs and pollutants (as well as dollar costs) per pound of produce, grain, and dairy foods is FAR LOWER than having every waste their time and gasoline driving their personal vehicles to/from the farm. How ridiculous! Again, it replaces efficiency for just one advantage: a misguided sense of feeling good about “being virtuous” but without any real virtue!

          Getting my produce from South America and Australia can be MUCH CHEAPER (as well as LESS WASTEFUL of energy, water, soil, and most everything else) than getting that produce from a local farm. “Buy Local” is an empty slogan which should NOT be pursued except where the math works out! (For example, most groceries get their dairy products from local processing centers because those efficiencies make sense through the local or regional infrastructures of farms and creameries.)

          • christo says:

            I have read all your replies to karolyn ….you are a very patient man ..great points well made ….I have enjoyed reading them immensely….thanks for the reasoned arguments.

          • “…you are a very patient man ..great points well made ….I have enjoyed reading them immensely….thanks for the reasoned arguments.”

            Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad to hear that my energy expended in trying to educate Karolyn was not a waste of my time. (I doubt that she bothered to read my point-by-point reply to her assertions. So I’m always hopeful that others will benefit.)

            Many years teaching at both public and private universities in the USA and UK led me to conclude that pretending that everybody’s opinion is informed and of value is bad for the individual and bad for a wise electorate. Pseudo-science, quackery, “alternative medicine”, and “neutra-ceuticals” are costing us billions and billions of dollars and even more in opportunity costs and productivity. It’s time we put our foot down and identified nonsense and rubbish for what it is. Of course, that’s why Skeptoid is such a great resource.

  8. Bill Kowalski says:

    I thought Skeptoid had eliminated comments sections but I guess that just applies to the main articles. Clearly it was a good idea, and should be extended to the entire site. There really is no reason a person who sounds as if they are clinically insane should have the same voice as everyone else, but these comments sections seem to grant that privilege.

    • Bill Morgan says:

      Have you ever heard of the first amendment and freedom of speech? Who gives you the right to censor someone else’s comments? I disagree with everything you have said, but I will defend to the death your right to say it and be heard. No censorship in America! I don’t trust anyone who wants to censor someone else’s speech! And who gave you the right to play amateur psychologist?

      • Nathan says:

        Have YOU ever read the first amendment? Skeptoid isn’t the US Government. They can temper the comments all they want.

      • Wow. My local newspaper won’t print every editorial I send them. According to Bill Morgan, they are unconstitutionally censoring me.

        Poe?

      • Comment sections cost money/time to run and moderate. Bill Morgan, are you saying that once someone has set up such a free service, they are forever obligated to continue to work for free in providing it—or else you will charge them with violating your free speech rights? Did you sleep through your high school government/civics class?

    • Karolyn says:

      So your mind is closed to open debate and the exchange of ideas?

    • Bill K. The comments section will disappear soon.
      Bill M.- we are a private entity that is not under any requirement to present fringe views. We are not impinging anyones’ freedom of speech. We are not the government. We are a private entity and have the right to decide who gets to use the website and who doesn’t. If you want to propose opposing views host your own website or write your own blog to exercise your first amendment rights. This is our right not free speech restriction anymore than you are required to give me your email address and address book so I can send informative emails to all your friends to exercise my freedom of speech.

      • Karolyn says:

        I don’t understand why. I believe it is a problem when people can’t handle honest debate without getting offended or becoming hostile. Why dismantle comments? Does it cost you anything?

        • Bill Morgan says:

          Karolyn, The reason why is that some Skeptics have Intelligence Agency connections or Big Business Connections or Political Connections. They are on someone elses hidden payroll that they are not telling you about. For example, Dan Rather, Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams are media people who work for CIA. Gerald Posner and Vincent Bugliosi are authors who are CIA. Check out Operation Mockingbird and how the CIA controls the Major National News Media like NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, etc. You should not trust Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine. He is CIA and Mossad.
          Things are not what they appear to be on the surface. And oh yes, all electronic communication is being tracked by NSA.

          • Ray says:

            I’m trying to decide if this comment is real or if I’m missing a joke. If the latter then you’ve fooled me. If the former then you’re bloody crazy.

            And also if the former, here’s one for you: The anti-skeptics have created a set of false charges and claims about skeptics in order to deflect the criticism that so obviously bursts their little bubbles. The anti-skeptics are all also former and current mental patients who are off their meds and can’t manage to cope with their disappointment that the world isn’t as crazy as they are.

            Hey, this is fun! Making stuff up is really easy and it makes you feel really good! Well, sorry, I have to go now. The Mother Ship is calling…

          • Karolyn says:

            Go ahead and laugh. However, there is a great deal we don’t know and/or not told the truth about. ANYTHING is possible – even that mother ship; and anybody who does not realize that has an incredibly small mind.

          • Ray says:

            No, ANYTHING isn’t possible. Only mystery mongers say things like that. Fact is that your position is based on what you hear in your echo-chamber. We know more than you think. Yours is a philosophy, not science.

          • Karolyn says:

            When it comes to “mother ship” information, I would rather believe the people who’ve experienced it. Not everything can be explained by science.

          • Ray says:

            That’s irrational at best. First, you assume that what people say about the “mother ship” is correct and honest. We know that people don’t understand what constitutes actual evidence and we know that people often ignore knowledge in favor of a belief. You and they, obviously, prefer belief over knowledge. We also know that people hoax things. You’re setting yourself up as a sucker who’ll buy the Brooklyn Bridge every time. And you leave yourself with no standard by which to judge the reality of any claims. Second, no one has ever claimed that science has an explanation for everything. But science is our only source for dependable explanations. Anything else amounts to mere belief… which, again, is your preference over knowledge.

          • Karolyn says:

            I know a couple personally who have had extraterrestrial experiences. They are well-respected professionals (he, a successful former technology business owner and she, a teacher) who do not broadcast what they’ve experienced because of where we live and have no reason to lie about it.

          • Chris says:

            I wouldn’t assume lying as the most likely scenario here, nor would I assume a genuine extraterrestrial experience. Is lying the only alternative to a genuine encounter that you can imagine? Being genuinely mistaken is another possibility that would certainly be more likely than a bona fide extraterrestrial encounter. Even a successful former technology business owner and a teacher can be honestly mistaken. It would be impossible to ascertain how such a mistaken identification could happen without a good deal more information, but people make mistakes due to many reasons, such as perception being imperfect, circumstances making perception less reliable, hypnagogic sleep (i.e., sleep paralysis), etc. Particularly with sleep paralysis, a very vivid, detailed, absolutely believable experience can leave a person with certainty that he or she has experienced something supernatural, paranormal, or just plain weird.

          • Karolyn says:

            It was not just one experience, and one instance included her young son.

          • Ray says:

            It doesn’t matter. There’s a saying that you should be aware of: The plural of anecdote is not data. It means that you can pile up the anecdotes as high as you like but it doesn’t become any more convincing because, as I’ve said before, an anecdote is merely a claim in need of evidence. It is not a proof of anything. If you accept their story then you simply prefer to believe. And that’s a matter of personal psychology, not logic.

            Eyewitness testimony is not dependable. That’s a fact. If it were dependable then we’d be obligated to accept every claim at face value – and we’d have to believe that the world is awash in all the monsters that people claim to see. Yet I can walk out my front door at any time of day and not see any. The fact that I see no monsters tells me that I can’t trust the stories of them. Nor should you trust your friends’ “extraterrestrial experience”.

          • Ray says:

            You’re taking that on faith. Hoaxers are all around us. It can be argued that those who are trusted by others are in the best position to fool others into believing them. People who mistake their experiences for “extraterrestrial experiences” are also all around us. And being “well-respected professionals” means nothing. Anyway, all of this amounts to nothing more than blind faith – evidence be damned. This is just a set of excuses to stave off critical analysis — belief before knowledge.

            A little critical thinking would do wonders here. Instead of merely believing, why not ask for some evidence next time to test the claim? And, btw, anecdotal testimony isn’t evidence. Anecdotes are just claims. We need evidence in support of them.

          • Nick says:

            “The people who’ve experienced it”? That would certainly be interesting. How might these people be best identified?

          • Ray says:

            I would like to see Bill provide some evidence for this. All he can muster up is blanket claim with no support. But then again, all he has are blanket claims and mere beliefs.

            How about it, Bill? What is your evidence that, say, Dan Rather, Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams work for the CIA? Please don’t merely restate your beliefs. Give actual evidence – assuming you know what that word means.

          • Bill Morgan says:

            Former Washington Post publisher Philip Graham “believing that the function of the press was more often than not to mobilize consent for the policies of the government, was one of the architects of what became a widespread practice: the use and manipulation of journalists by the CIA” (*81). This scandal was known by its code name Operation MOCKINGBIRD. Former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein cites a former CIA deputy director as saying, “It was widely known that Phil Graham was someone you could get help from” (*82). More recently the Post provided cover for CIA personality Joseph Fernandez by “refusing to print his name for over a year up until the day his indictment was announced …for crimes committed in his official capacity as CIA station chief in Costa Rica”

          • Ray says:

            You haven’t answered my question. You’ve merely concocted a detour and substituted the claim that if some news person was cooperating with the CIA that every other news person must also be. That’s terrible reasoning. I asked you specifically about Dan Rather, Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams, since you brought up their names.

            You’re also guilty of taking the claims made by your source as if they’re evidence. They’re not. They’re just claims and innuendo. Have you got any actual evidence? And this time, try to answer in your own words rather than cutting and pasting from some external source.

          • Bill Morgan says:

            Science verses Politics

            In Science, you look for facts and evidence to prove a hypotheses. In Science, you can do that. I’m not talking Science. I’m talking Politics and Human Nature. It’s more difficult to get Hard Facts and Evidence in Politics and Human Nature, unless you work for the FBI or you are a Prosecuting District Attorney who has the resources to do detailed investigations to find Evidence and Facts to convict someone in a Court of Law.

            When you have multiple sources who say something happened, and it’s the same story, that story has credibility. Does it prove it happened? No it doesn’t. I have served on three juries in my life. Two were criminal cases and one as a civil case. The District Attorney presents his case and then the Defense presents its case. Then the Jury retires and reaches a verdict, unless it’s a hung jury. That’s the process we have to follow when dealing with Politics and Human Nature. We listen to sources who claim they have witnessed something. When we find multiple sources who have the same story, we give that story credibility and then decide what we want to believe.

            Believe what you want. I don’t believe the Government who feeds us lies and propaganda. All Governments do this. If you want to believe the Government and the National News Media tell us the truth, go right ahead. I don’t.

          • Noah Dillon says:

            Aren’t both the district attorney, who prosecutes the accused, and the police, who gather evidence, part of the government? Did you hand down not guilty verdicts just because the government was prosecuting?

            Sure, be skeptical of government. Question what they tell you. Disbelieve them if they lie. But dismissing everything anyone in government says just because of their job is silly. They’re bureaucrats. Look at the evidence, not their authority.

          • Ray says:

            Your repeated response is not an answer. Let’s try again:

            You haven’t answered my question. You’ve merely concocted a detour and substituted the claim that if some news person was cooperating with the CIA that every other news person must also be. That’s terrible reasoning. I asked you specifically about Dan Rather, Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams, since you brought up their names.

            Care to be honest enough to support your claim or are we supposed to be as blind as you are and merely accept it upon suggestion?

          • Bill Morgan says:

            Newly Declassified Govt Docs Reveal Operation Mockingbird is Alive and Well
            Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/feds-exposed-planting-talking-points-questions-60-minutes-episode-wikileaks/#XkcjseuzBo08diOt.99

          • Ray says:

            More failed reasoning. Even if this sort of thing does happen (I’m not denying it at all) it’s entirely another matter to take that fact and then proclaim that all news persons are involved. There’s nothing in what you’ve supplied here that argues that it’s as far-reaching as that. That’s just an assumption on your part. Try thinking a bit more critically: What evidence do you actually have? How much of what you say is merely belief? Is your belief system driving you to accept things for which there is no evidence? Until you can answer questions like these you’ll be nothing more than a believer pleading for the belief of others instead of making a coherent argument in favor.

          • “They are on someone elses hidden payroll that they are not telling you about. For example, Dan Rather, Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams are media people who work for CIA.”

            Evidence please. (Or did the idea just pop into somebody’s head—and you liked it.)

            If the CIA funded them, they aren’t very careful about their spending.

      • Karolyn says:

        I also hate to see the comments section dismantled because there is important information to be gleaned from others’ comments.

        • Nick says:

          I also hate to see the comments section dismantled. Unfortunately when the “important information” has been diluted to near-homeopathic quantities in all the bat$#!+ crazy mothership pseudo-science un-researched uninformed uneducated anti-vax evidence-denialist irrational magical hand-wavey conspiracy ramblings… Yeah I can see why Skeptoid don’t want to have to wade through the sewerage to moderate it, or provide a stage for it to be publicly spouted from, accidentally lending it any implied credulity. This is not a “freedom of speech” issue, you are more than welcome to exercise your right to free speech on your own website, or any of the Top 10 Worst Anti-Science Web Sites skeptoid has provided a handy guide to: https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4495 . Skeptoid are under no obligation to put up with that crap themselves.

          I would LOVE a place for rational debate with informed skeptics, but too often the comments have unfortunately devolved into drivel that they really don’t need on their site. I totally understand why they might want to remove the comments 🙁

          Farewell, Skeptoid Comments, I shed a tear dreaming of what you could have been, what you SHOULD have been, what we really wanted, what we really needed, but I completely understand your inability to provide that utopia.

          • Ray says:

            I agree. The discussion section has become a gathering place for looneys who can’t think and don’t want to, anyway. They’d rather believe.

  9. JIMJFOX says:

    Fear of GMO’s is perfectly natural; history of smoking, asbestos, thalidomide, BSE/Mad Cow, etc.

    We must have freedom of choice, even if it is seemingly irrational. Labelling is a reasonable and rational demand, with minimal cost to producers- objecting to it smacks of “something to hide”.

    • Ray says:

      What’s to hide? It’s all the same stuff that’s in non-GMO food.

      What really needs a dose of honesty is “organic” food really is. In fact, it’s not any healthier than non-organic food nor is it any better for the environment. Google “truth about organic food” to get the other side of the story.

      • Karolyn says:

        Seriously? Organic has the same amount of pesticides as non-organic? That is illogical.

        • John Symon says:

          That is correct. And, of course, more than GMO produce.

        • Nick says:

          http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2011/06/18/137249264/organic-pesticides-not-an-oxymoron

          Organic farming DOES use pesticides, otherwise your organic veggies would be full of grubs – hope you’re not on a vegan diet! 😀 Organic farmers just use “natural” pesticides, which certainly doesn’t imply that they are any safer (see “naturalistic fallacy”), especially if/when you need to use larger quantities of the “organic” pesticides to keep the same number of bugs off. (Which also implies more manual labour, more frequent spraying, more tractor-miles, more tractor gas/diesel, more truck miles/gas for transporting more organic fertilizer, etc etc.

          Similarly fertilizers – organic fertilizer is usually POO – is that honestly supposed to be safer than a “conventional / non-organic” nitrogen-based fertilizer, made from nitrogen from the air?

        • Ray says:

          I see you didn’t Google “truth about organic food” like I suggested.

        • ” Organic has the same amount of pesticides as non-organic? That is illogical.”

          No, it’s science and it’s factual. Nature was filled with the daily chemical warfare of pesticides long before man started dealing in flasks and beakers. Ever hear of nicotine? It is a pesticide which protects tobacco plants from many (but not all) boring and chewing insects. Yes, it is a poison. How about caffeine? Yes, it is a poisonous pesticide which helps protect tea leaves from insects.

          Karolyn, it is no wonder you are confused by so many topics. You have zero basic knowledge of science. You know nothing of “logic” and “logical” thinking.

  10. Mabel Amber says:

    ” Conventionally grown tomatoes are just as healthful as their organic siblings (…)”

    How do you know?

    • Noah Dillon says:

      They’ve been tested repeatedly by different studies looking at nutritional content. You take tomatoes, look at all the nutritional stuff in it, such as carbs and vitamins and fiber and proteins and other stuff, and you compare it to the same measured content in organic tomatoes, and you record and analyze your results. Some studies have found just a little bit more in conventional tomatoes, some have found just a little bit less, and when you look at all the studies together, you find that it averages out to both tomatoes being the same.

      You can see one such study here: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/90/3/680.full

    • Excellent intelligent question. And a good way to learn.

  11. Chris says:

    I do wish someone would get Consumer Reports properly up to speed on GMOs. I really do enjoy the magazine in many other ways and appreciate the work they’re doing, but they’re just wrong on GMOs. Somehow, they have taken on an anti-GMO position, holding to the wrongheaded idea that GMOs are, at best, of unknown safety, and more likely, dangerous. They’re heavily advocating labeling under the pretense that “you should be able to know what’s in your food and make your own choice”, not seeming to be aware of the realities of this position and the false perception that is reinforced. I had thought Consumer Reports was typically in the habit of doing thorough research before taking a position but it would appear that they have taken a position and stuck to it dogmatically without having fully reviewed the data. I don’t know what it would take to nudge them toward reconsidering this, as they seem very committed to this position, and that level of commitment and this much heavy campaigning against GMOs (and for “labeling”) may actually have made it impossible to persuade them. In short, I’m sorely disappointed in them over this. Has anyone else been as bothered by this as me?

    • Nick says:

      They should chat with Bill Nye the Science Guy. He used to be very “anti GMO”, using the “too experimental, we just don’t know, the evidence isn’t in yet, the risks are too high” arguments, until he decided to be a bit more scientific about it, actually look at all the evidence, for and against, weigh the pros and cons, etc. He is now very “pro GMO”, goes around teaching others how to properly evaluate safety, and understand the truth rather than the fear-mongering.

      GMOs are almost certainly THE ONLY way, or in any case certainly the BEST KNOWN way we can hope to feed our children and our grandchildren in an expanding population that needs to reduce carbon footprint and damage to natural habitats. They are more nutritious, safer, lower in chemicals than their organic or “traditionally grown” counterparts, require less pesticide, less fertilizer, less weed-killer, less labor, and less land, thus are cheaper, greener, and safer for us – that is, after all, the entire point – “how can we make our food better?”.

  12. As long as the uninformed naively insist “Natural is always better!”, they will continue to encourage starvation, waste, pollution, and unnecessary harms to those who are less fortunate than they. Indeed, they will deny it, but granted their wishes, many will starve and everyone will pay much more of their income for their food.

  13. IdPnSD says:

    For: Stephen Propatier ON January 27, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    The main idea is that math and physics are all wrong or false and cannot be necessary for creating engineering product. Just because industry uses Ph.Ds does not mean their work is meaningful or useful for engineering.

    Take for example Newton, his first law – an object will move in a straight line with a constant velocity. But have you seen such an object on earth or in space? No, you have not. Thus Newton is wrong, but all Ph.Ds are still using that law. Even Einstein used the same law in his relativity theory. There are at least 1000 peer-reviewed papers that say Einstein is wrong.

    The reason is obvious, money is false, and you cannot create something true using something false like money. Thus math and physics cannot work for any engineering product. Just because engineering is using math and physics does not mean math and physics are correct and needed.

  14. Kathy N says:

    Has anyone seen/heard of any studies showing an increased incidence of food allergies with GMO foods? I ask because I read something several years ago about using fish DNA to GE some vegetables to increase the Omega 6 levels. This would be a concern to me as I have a severe fish allergy (and yes, this is an IgE mediated reaction!)

    • No such thing. Although they certainly experiment with it in the lab, there are no agricultural products on the market containing genes from animals. But, also note that it’s not really appropriate to say “a fish gene” or “a human gene” or “a plant gene” — genes are genes, and any given gene is found in many species; many cross kingdoms.

      • Kathy N says:

        Good to know! Thanks, Brain Dunning. I feel I have to always be vigilant as there are cross-allergy issues due to protein “markers” on plant material that people react to. Not sure if this is the case in animals. Very interesting discussion- encourages me to brush up on genetics and biology in general! I thought this “back to nature” movement was supposed to make life more simple; seems to me it has become much more complicated!

    • NoseyNick says:

      New GMO foods tend to undergo a whole suite of different food safety tests, including allergy risk tests. They get WAY more testing than new non-GMO foods in fact (EG the latest trendy tropical fruit your supermarket imports). http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/safety/human_health/192.gmos_mean_more_allergies.html

      There are also GM efforts underway to REMOVE allergens from high-allergen foods, EG GM allergy-free peanuts!

      Are you sure you mean Omega-6? Seems like an odd thing to be boosting – most of us in the west are supposed to reduce our Omega-6 but increase our Omega-3s. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-6_fatty_acid

      I, too, have a fish(+seafood) allergy, but I get no adverse reaction from other sources of Omega-3 such as flaxseed, butternut, lingonberry. I’d love to try GM omega-3-boosted vegetables, given that MOST good omega-3 sources are seafood, boring, or assumed illegal (hemp) 😀

      • Chris Jones says:

        You’re right about Omega-3 being the one you really want. As for sources, those that you can have are all the “ALA” type, whereas the seafood provides DHA type. I’m absolutely no expert on this, so others will want to verify as I could be recalling poorly. I believe ALA sort of converts to DHA but not very well, so you are not as well off as if you had the seafood variety. Still, far better than not getting it at all.

  15. Kathy N says:

    Ack! You are right, Nosey Nick! Of course, I met Omega 3! I have problems with flaxseed,
    and chia seeds sent me to the ER (but you might want to try them). Ironically, I have more problems with fruits and so called “natural” products that are plant based ( no “trendy, tropical fruits” for me!)than with “artificial chemicals”. I, too would love omega 3 boosted veggies- bring on the GM!

  16. Mathiasalexander says:

    What about GMOs and the use of patent law to create monopoly?

    • Noah Dillon says:

      What monopoly? Patents expire after 20 years. And there’s lots of companies producing lots of kinds of seeds—multiple companies producing varieties of corn, producing cotton, tomatoes, any kind of seed plant you can find. There are ag universities developing new varieties of fruits and vegetables, both with conventional and GMO breeding. There just isn’t a monopoly. The reason a lot of people believe that one exists is because they only know the name of one hated company.

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