Pope Blesses Golden Rice:

On the heels of my last post, I came across this article over at The Golden Rice Project, a fine program aimed at ridding vitamin deficiency in children in developing nations.

It seems that in November of last year, Pope Francis personally gave his blessing to the project.  Now, normally I wouldn’t really care what a Pope blessed, the fact that he has billions of Catholics behind his robe, can’t hurt the chances for this project’s eventual success, and will hopefully help turn the tide against the ‘activists’ that interfere with it.  Unfortunately, the Pope’s blessing doesn’t translate to official endorsement (if an official blessing of the Holy See were to be given, it would be issued from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace), and the Church has made no move to do so for this most worthy project.  Hey!  It doesn’t have anything to do with birth control, so what’s the hold up?

Read the article and learn more about Golden Rice here.

Americans Fear DNA in their Food, Overwhelmingly Support Mandatory Labeling:

You can’t make this stuff up.  America; the land that is an ongoing parody of itself has spoken and the verdict is overwhelming; we won’t put up with that nasty old-government putting  evil things in our food!

C.A.A.C.A. learned about it over at Prof. Jerry A. Coyne’s blog, Why Evolution is True:  A recent Washington Post article reports that a survey conducted by the Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics found that 80% of respondents favor mandatory labeling of foods that contain…wait for it…DNA.

Yes, folks; us Americans are a discerning bunch.  We will tolerate no deoxyribonucleic acid in our foods!  And when we are done labeling DNA, we will set our sights on the next goal; no cells in our foodstuffs!  Molecules must go after that!

To be fair, this is about the same average number of people who oppose GMO-derived foods (and what an overwhelmingly ignorant bunch that is), and it’s not hard to believe that some of them at least, are thinking of so-called “alien DNA,” or DNA that has been introduced to a food through GE processes (not that this makes them any less ignorant).

All food contains some foreign DNA.  Thankfully, we have this thing called the digestive system, which does a wonderful job of breaking down any foreign DNA that may make it past the stomach (not that it would be a threat).  The human body even takes in foreign DNA simply by breathing from moment to moment (from organisms and bits of organisms in the air).  While much of that ends up in the lungs, some will find its way into the digestive tract-where it is promptly broken down via millions of years of evolution designed to do just that.  As far as foreign DNA introduced via GMO’s, they end result would be exactly the same; a big “so what?”

With the exception of climate change denialists, I can’t think of a semi-secular (I say ‘semi-secular’ because so many of them are Pantheists of some sort) group of people so misguided, and willfully ignorant as the hardcore ‘all-natural’ set.  Nor one doing so much damage.

They spend every waking moment railing against ONE (of about 6 or so, I believe) fair-to-middlin’ companies, only mildly successful by global corporation standards (I’m talking about Monsanto, of course) with annual profits that usually hover around a billion dollars.  Meanwhile, the real experts at bullshit and shady political and business practices is the so-called ‘organic’ industry, a $63 BILLION dollar a year mega industry that has people so bamboozled that they go around railing against friggin’ DNA in their food and bitching about Glyphosate while their own darlings have all-but cornered the market on Dioxins (although the chemical is much safer than it was back in the Silent Spring days), and pull off schemes that would make Darth Vader blush.  They rave about how only big corporations are the only ones who can do business with genetically-engineered foods, willfully oblivious to the fact that their NGOs and the overbearing laws and regulations they saddled the industry with are the factor that makes this so.

It’s thanks to people like this that valuable and life-saving advances in food such as Golden Rice are still not available.  These people are still quaking in fear over so-called ‘terminator genes,’ a technology long-shelved that never made it to market.  But they need something evil-sounding to complain about, so they conveniently ignore this fact at every turn, just like they refuse to take their sweaty, grubby hands off that long-refuted rat study with all the tumors.

Unfortunately, it’s not just talk on the internet.  Many of these people (they give activists a bad name) have resorted to eco-terrorism by destroying field trials.  Golden Rice was hit in the Philippines, as well as a tree trial that promised to increase the amount of usable timber from a given area and reduce deforestation, just to name a few.  Africa is only just beginning to wake up from the lies that NGO’s have told about GE food there; lies that led to tons of corn and seed being destroyed in the middle of a famine some years back, and decades of lost opportunities there.

Sadly, the right-wing in America has no monopoly on anti-science.  Anti-science views on both sides tend to correspond to political views and issues that either side supports or rejects.  Thus, climate change denialism for the right, becuase they just LOVE consumer culture, and anti genetic engineering on the left, because they just LOVE pretending that they live on Walden’s Pond.  If the left was this anti-science during the original Green Revolution, the dire predictions made famous by the book, The Population Bomb, would have come true.

Conditions are getting even worse this time around, with an ever-growing population that lives far longer being ravaged by both climate change and the weight of our own numbers…and an appalling rate of ignorance.  The last thing we need is all of that ignorance about how we grow food nowadays; mostly from people who have no problem with huffing a can of cheese-whiz and chasing it with a diet coke.  The farmers themselves mostly treat these people like a joke and they are the ones who should know.  When you don’t even know what DNA is, you need to step away from the table and not come back until you’ve taken a class or two.

Are you agnostic about the issue of GMOs?  A good cure for that is the Royal Academy’s definitive take-down of Genetic Roulette, the book and movie (I won’t call it a documentary) by Jeffery Smith that started this mess.  Smith is a purveyor of various New Age woo and a former swing dancer before he somehow magically morphed into an expert in bio-engineering.  If you are still on the fence after that, please report to C.A.A.C.A.’s reeducation camp.