Sweden (GREED)— Have you ever had a so-called ‘know it all’ friend who was proven wrong in front of a crowd? If so, do you remember how it felt? Maybe satisfying, especially if you debated them without gaining much ground. Here’s an interesting question: Did that friend, after being proven wrong, still cling to their shaky assumptions? Well, that’s precisely what happened when a gene researcher decided to eat genetically modified lettuce on television.
Swedish plant biologist Stefan Jansson was interviewed by a TV reporter regarding a new method of genetic modification. CRISPR, as it’s called, focuses specific molecules to allow for ultra-precise gene modifications. Jansson’s stunt coincided with a piece by The Atlantic claiming the new technique–called CRISPR–could “usher in a new era of delicious GMO foods.” According to GM Watch, Janson offered to eat a plate of modified cabbage he’d grown in his garden. He’d reputedly been supplied the seeds by anonymous researchers ‘outside Sweden’.
Stefan and his colleagues hope the new technique will finally eliminate remaining resistance against GMOs. This latest propaganda stunt might’ve snuffed all those ambitions out, however. Regardless of how the plant tasted, GM Watch reports, Jansson was immediately afflicted with stomach cramps.
He’d later compare it to as “if I had spicy food at an Indian restaurant.” GM watch quickly highlighted the tale as a textbook example of why GMOs need rigorous testing before humans eat them. The most incredible part, however, is undoubtedly that Jansson remains a vocal, unflinching GMO advocate.
According to GM Watch, CRISPR has already been shown to manifest ‘off-target effects’ cataloged by medical science. Despite this, geneticists continue to stomp ahead with their volatile curiosities. Jansson’s story also points out another critical component of the modern GMO problem–scientists pushing idea’s more off ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ than fact.
— “ ‘Science’ and/or Dogma” —
While science–as a tool–should provide clear and testable truths, it can be manipulated by those seeking to capitalize. Scientists can be prone to territorial attacks on others for threatening the ‘truths’ they feel their research has contributed society. Archaeology is notorious for this phenomenon, as evidenced by past attacks on new discoveries. There’s also the added factors of vanity, greed, and the things done in their interest.
Cornell University Robert Schooler experienced some of this during his stay at the institution. Schooler described how the current college ‘education model’ burned him out, ultimately affecting his physical and mental health. Like many students, particularly freshmen right out of high school, Schooler took a break to recoup and regroup. Schooler’s health improved after some dietary changes, inspiring an interest in nutrition and agriculture.
Schooler thought it necessary to take Cornell’s sole course on GMOs to learn more about the controversial organisms. During his leave, he learned of the intense GMO debate and their associated dangers.
Schooler described the course, called “The GMO Debate”, as a “blatant display of unscientific propaganda in an academic setting.” Instructors and guest speakers “took turns each session defending industrial agriculture and biotechnology with exactly zero critical examination of GMOs.” The class’s very name proved ironic, as Schooler found “a complete lack of actual ‘debate’” in it. Schooler made a list of “memorable claims” presented that semester, some of which highlight the Jansson stunt. Those are:
-GMO food is necessary to feed the world
-There is no instance of harm from agricultural GMO’s
-If you believe in science, then you must believe in GMO technology
-Current pesticides and herbicides don’t pose an ecological and human risk
-GMO crops are the most rigorously tested crops in the history of food
-If [renowned environmentalist] Rachel Carson were alive today, she would be pro-GMO
The last is akin to “if Jesus were alive he’d think perpetual war in the middle east is great.” Another gem is the third claim. While one statement relies on something unprovable–a dead person’s opinion–the other discourages questioning in general.
It’s the oldest trick in the book cults, militia’s, militaries, and nations utilize to maintain ideological control. This is where mainstream academics become thought police enforcing dogmatic belief systems which ignore inconvenient facts.“Critical thinking”, though encouraged from day one in college, neutralizes when students are shamed unless they “believe in GMO technology.”
It’s reminiscent of Purdue University’s president, Mitch Daniels, calling anti-GMO rhetoric immoral. “The attack on GMO technology is the most blatant anti-science of the age”, he proudly declared. Notice that Daniel’s–a republican–reserves that status for agra-giant provided GMOs, but not climate science.
Daniels supported his thesis with dooming projections of increased food demand, and dwindling agricultural resources. “Thousands of studies and trillions of meals consumed prove the safety of biotechnologies”, he claimed.
Daniels even went as far as to state “we would never withhold medications with a safety record like that.” This ignores the fact that even medications–to use Daniels’ example–are touted as being safe when they are the very things ruining people. Continuing with this logic, Daniels’ claim ignores the financial motives of the corporate entities which provide those medicines.
None of this is any more shocking than Jansson’s unwavering faith, despite his body rejecting a GMO. It’s almost like the new favorite video game that also gives everyone headaches, and no one will admit it.
CRISPR gene editing is quickly becoming the new thing to tinker with. Another Swedish researcher is currently using the technique to explore the functions of human genetic material. Where people cringe is upon learning the research is being conducted on human embryos.
This report was prepared by Isiah Holmes.