There are two important topics in this single post. I will put the short one first, in case you do not make it to the bottom of the long one.
Here is a wonderful, short video from the TED series. Movie titles aside, it shows the critical importance of, TRUE GRIT.
The second, and also extremely important topic is that my friend Janell sent some wonderful links regarding the GMO studies that she had mentioned previously. For those of you who know how to find it, it is in the comments for my post that is labeled, “GMO”. But, if you don’t know how to get to that, fear not. I think that this link will take you to her most recent comment:
A related link:
Sometime soon I will post another post on the subject. Janell’s links also link to other equally great links and I need time to digest the information.
At the moment it looks like the summary of what that’s going to say is, that people, pretending to be scientists, who just happen to have millions of dollars at stake and desperately wanted GMO foods to be approved, did very short-term studies (90 days) and felt that these studies proved that their inventions were safe. It seems to me that the depth of idiocy that that displays should not, cannot, be allowed in the scientific community. Maybe another way of saying it would be, that it is just not science. It is been known for thousands of years that some poisons, some diseases, etc., are slow acting and have diverse side effects. Lead poisoning, Mercury poisoning, thalidomide, syphilis and a lack of vitamin C, come to mind, and the technology of healthcare is certainly not anywhere close to anything I have been trained in. So, if I can see that this is nonsense, then what about the professionals, and experts in the field?
I think pretty much everybody agrees that if there were any GMO product that made the animal immediately fall over dead, that the product would not be in the marketplace. What concerns me are long-term effects, and surprising and/or subtle effects. The links that Janell sent me, demonstrate many rigorous scientific studies, from all over the world, show frequent devastating long-term effects. Here is a brief quote from one of the articles that shows what happens when the truth gets in the way of people making millions of dollars.
“Scientists who discover adverse findings from GMOs are regularly attacked, ridiculed, denied funding, and even fired. When Ermakova reported the high infant mortality among GM soy fed offspring, for example, she appealed to the scientific community to repeat and verify her preliminary results. She also sought additional funds to analyze preserved organs. Instead, she was attacked and vilified. Samples were stolen from her lab, papers were burnt on her desk, and she said that her boss, under pressure from his boss, told her to stop doing any more GMO research. No one has yet repeated Ermakova’s simple, inexpensive studies.
“In an attempt to offer her sympathy, one of her colleagues suggested that maybe the GM soy will solve the over population problem!”
Anyone that knows me, knows that I am not a Luddite. I welcome new technology and new ideas. And I also think that truth is absolutely essential.
For example, I hope I am crystal clear when I say that I have nothing whatsoever against Catholicism. Many bigots will proudly say that they are not anti-XYZ. Some of their best friends are XYZ.
I can happily say that some of my best friends are Catholics, and I do not wish to offend them. However I have a great deal of suspicion and concern about the gigantic industry that was and is managing Catholicism.
I have grave concern over how it treated someone who was foolish enough to point out that the earth was not the center of the universe.
I have grave concern over how it dealt with the idea of what we now refer to with the Greek letter pi. It is my understanding that the organization that controlled Catholicism ordered that pi would be defined to be exactly 3.000.
For an organization that claims to be the best and indeed the only highway to God, I’m more than a little concerned that it had not noticed that God had already mandated that pi should equal something closer to: 3.14159265359. And that it was one of those numbers that the more accurately you calculated it the longer it got. As far as anyone knows it will never have a long string of zeros at the end. At least in the numbering system that we presently use.
On a much broader stage, I am more than a little concerned over any person or organization or disorganization that does not believe that truth is extremely important. Particularly in scientific endeavors. I really bristle at what I believe to be mandate and dogma.
The more we can understand about how the universe actually works, the better we are armed in our journey through life. If we don’t believe in bacteria and think that cholera can be driven away by certain kinds of loud noises, I believe that we quickly become candidates for Darwin awards. Like the people that were convinced that malaria was caused by bad air. Giving rise to its name, malaria.
I certainly am aware that the truth is not always what we wanted to hear, but I believe that it is always what we need to know.
For me, the whole geometry of the GMO situation, screams out that the people behind it know that it is dangerous. Why else would they spend $70 million to keep it a secret? But, what I really hope to find out is the truth. If it is wonderful, or like most things in life, it is more accurately, a double edge sword, that has some wonderful aspects and some not so good aspects, then we need to know that.
When we were traveling through the American State named Louisiana, many of the people there would explained that they had the best politicians money could buy. Not a very good endorsement. But I think that a society can work better with bought politicians, than it can with bought scientists. I believe a dishonest scientist is far worse than no scientist at all. And, it seems obvious to me that it is sarcasm to describe someone as a dishonest scientist. It is an oxymoron. There is only one kind of scientist. That is a person who tries to the best of their ability to learn the truth. As I’ve explained before several times, it is by no means rare for them to make mistakes. And we always need to be careful. But one of the ways to minimize that is to have many other minds, that are also skilled in whatever particular art, to examine their work and try to replicate the experiment. This is usually called peer review.
I will close with the quote,
“Cherish your doubts, for doubt is the attendant of truth. Doubt is the key to the door of knowledge; it is the servant of discovery. A belief which may not be questioned binds us to error, for there is incompleteness and imperfection in every belief. Doubt is the touchstone of truth; it is acid which eats away the false. Let no one fear for the truth, that doubt may consume it; for doubt is a testing of belief. The truth stands boldly and unafraid: it is not shaken by testing: for truth if it be truth, arises from each testing stronger, more secure.”
Robert T. Weston (Unitarian Universalist minister, died 1988)