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Mar 01 2017

Genetically Modified Organisms

GMOs. We’ve all heard the phrase. It’s some sort of nasty thing “they” are putting into our foods. They should put it on labels so we know what we are consuming. It’s unhealthy. It’s poison. It’s a plot by corporations to keep us docile. Or maybe it’s just food.

Here’s some history. Way back in the since forever, we realized that humans need fruits and vegetables to survive. Sadly, we also noticed that bugs and critters do, too. Also, plants are prone to viruses, just like mammals.

To combat this, we came up with pesticides. These would kill off bugs and plant viruses, or prevent them from consuming the food. Obviously, then we would consume those pesticides. I mean, sure you’re supposed to rinse it, but what if there was a better way?

Scientists learned more and more about gene splicing (taking genes from one organism and mixing it with a different organism). Thus, we created GMOs. We developed foods that were resistant to viruses. We developed foods that could last longer, taste better, and produce more food. We’ve got such a huge population, this sounds like a great solution. Right?

Well no. See, there’s this new group of people, called scientifically illiterate morons, or “idiots”. These are the same people who think vaccines cause autism. (I’m autistic. Vaccines don’t cause autism.) Basically, their premise is a big bag of conspiracy theory lunacy, mixed with a lack of scientific education, smothered with a fear mongering glaze.

They believe some variation of “(insert chemical here) is put into the food by (insert evil organization) in order to (insert wildly bizarre claim).” The American Association for the Advancement of Science, World Health Organization, American Medical Association, and US National Academy of Science and a ton of others have all come out in support of GMOs. “But what do they know. They’re THE MAN. We should eat natural foods, not this science crap.”

Here’s a thing you might not know. Bananas as we know them today, are completely different than wild bananas from a few hundred years ago. Naturally, they look different, taste bad, and have seeds. So over a few centuries, we specifically bred them until we got the bananas in the supermarket today. That’s why Ray Comfort’s ludicrous claim that bananas are proof of intelligent design is flawed. The only difference between bananas and GMOs is that bananas took time, and GMOs don’t. To be fair, GMOs do manage to splice genes from organisms that normally couldn’t breed. Oh. And one more thing. Argument from Nature is a logical fallacy. Opium is natural. Doesn’t mean it’s good for us.

“This is mad scientists playing God.” Well sure. This planet was not designed with us in mind. We have adapted. We need water to survive, yet we are on a planet that is mostly covered in water we can’t drink. Hell, even water can kill us. Most of the animals in the zoo would love nothing more than to tear us to shreds. Our natural life span is like 40 years. Yet now, our average lifespan is close to 90. What changed? Scientists played God. We learned how to purify water. We came up with special contraptions that enable us to breath under water. We came up with weapons to protect ourselves from predators. We came up with vaccines to protect us from threats invisible to the naked eye. And now, we’ve come up with a way to create food that can feed more people, with less waste. Bastards!

There is one possible problem with GMOs. That is, that since GMOs aren’t completely immune to viruses, we do still need to use some pesticides. Over time, there is the possibility that the viruses can become immune to the GMOs or the pesticides. Just like humans have to worry about drug resistant super bugs. This could happen to plants, too. Luckily, we already have a solution. It’s called GMOs, where we just come up with new ways to protect the food. New genes. New splicing techniques, etc.

Sadly, none of what I’ve said today matters. The people who are against GMOs are so convinced that the scientists are up to something nefarious, that any time you try to point out the scientific literature, they already exclude it on the basis that they’re in cahoots. It’s all one big conspiracy. It ends up becoming a sort of delusional circle jerk. I’ve heard claims that it releases “toxins” into the body. I don’t feel like really getting into how ridiculous that is, but I’ll just say that we have livers that remove any toxins in the body, they don’t accumulate, and most of the time, when people are talking about “toxins” they are actually talking about “bullshit I’ve made up”.

I’ve heard that it causes an increase in allergies. Interesting. I looked through an antiGMO website, that listed a ton of threats GMOs provide. It started off by saying that even though the FDA said GMOs were safe to eat in 1992, it was all a conspiracy by the White House. When I clicked on the source, it took me to a website trying to sell a book about not eating GMOs. That was a common thread in that antiGMO website. Every source I tried, took me either to more madeup claims, to someone trying to profit off of fear of GMOs, or an article that didn’t even say what they claimed it did. Try finding a peer reviewed scientific article against GMOs. Please. If you can find one, let me know, and I’ll update this article. I found lots of real sounding groups, like the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. A group that thinks all chemicals are bad for you, and which is accredited by itself, and has been criticized for being “quackery” and “fraudulent”.

The truth is that GMOs are as safe as anything else you eat. Which by the way, is inaccurate, since Americans eat trillions of dollars worth of processed foods, which we KNOW cause health issues. So it would be more accurate to say that GMOs are SAFER than most of the things you eat. If you want to eat organic foods, by all means, go for it. Unfortunately, it’s more expensive, and to the average American, if you can even get them to eat a green food, it has to be affordable. GMOs offer that, plus the food usually lasts longer, so that’s less food being thrown away. It’s all around good, with no verifiable downside, that I could find.

About the author

Chris Dantes

My name is Chris. I currently live in Seattle, though I’m formerly from California. I’m a writer, comic, and superhero (allegedly).

I complain. A lot. About everything. I also tell jokes.

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