4 comments on “Study ties GMO corn, soybeans to butterfly losses

  1. Note that it really isn’t the gmo seeds that were linked to declines in milkweed, it was the increased use of roundup, which kills the milkweed plants (which are undesirable when they’re in a farmer’s field). This is one legitimate concern about the use of gmo seeds, the fact that in some cases the use of pesticide resistant crops will make the use of pesticides go UP, and have unintended consequences (like killing off milkweed and decreasing food available for monarch caterpillars).

    However, even having said that, there were more factors than just the use of roundup that were contributing to the decline in monarchs (like the lengthy drought).

    What I haven’t seen anywhere on the anti-gmo pages is A) an admittance that it’s the pesticides, not the actual seeds, that are having an effect on the milkweed plant population, which is in turn having an effect on monarchs, and B) that it’s “a bit more complicated than that” when it comes to the reasons for the monarch’s decline. All I see is “GMO! BAD!”

    Over-reliance on pesticides is a hallmark of people looking for an instant cure, for a dichotomous choice that’s clearly one way or another. But as surely as a single variety of a single plant that resists a single pesticide is NOT the answer to the long-term issues related to food production, neither is pretending that a single dichotomous choice of “pro” or “con” is the answer when it comes to GMO foods.

    Life is not merely a set of dichotomous choices, and neither is science. While reporters love to latch on to a dichotomous choice of “good” or “bad,” and frequently provide false balance by presenting the opposing side (where no solid scientific evidence exists to support their ideas), reality doesn’t work that way. Things aren’t black and white, good or evil very often. There’s almost always a shade of gray. Yet this over-reliance on (usually highly contrived, inaccurate) dichotomous choices not only persists, but increases all the time. It really is virtually always “a bit more complicated than that.”

    However, in certain areas of so-called “debate,” the evidence is so heavily weighted to one side that presenting any part of the issue as a “debate” or “choice” is not only misleading, but is actively promoting a known lie. Vaccinations are one such issue. And I’m afraid that for most aspects of the debate, so are GMOs.

    If you want absolute truths, there is only one place you can turn: mathematics. There you can absolutely prove something with zero doubt or room for so-called “debate.”

    In the world of science, absolute proof can’t truly exist, but DIS-proof of a particular idea can surely be VERY strong. So very much of what the anti-gmo crowd says has been thoroughly dis-proven that I’m wondering why they bother to continue repeating it.

    And please note that I am NOT at all on the side of big business, particularly not biotechnology. I did work in that industry for a number of years and I can honestly say most of those companies are run by complete douchebags who care nothing for their employees. Now I am working on a master’s in environmental science, and have zero intention of working for any big biotech companies again. However, despite my distaste for the industry, it serves no-one to promote obvious lies about any aspect of science or biotech companies.

    • dang, a short edit window would be great (like no more than ten minutes). I don’t know if wordpress has this feature (my blog doesn’t have it either). Oh well! Just a typo, nothing major….

      (p.s. my blog is about beer, not GMOs, so anyone disagreeing with my comments probably shouldn’t comment there LOL. But if you have an opinion on beer…).

      • Thanks for all your detailed comments Alcapone. I don’t know about all biotech companies, but I have a tiny bit of experience with Monsanto and from what I’ve observed, the employees think its a good company to work for… but my miniscule view can hardly be considered expert here. I agree with you that things can’t be looked at in black and white and that’s what we want to do as a society… paint things with one brush stroke and call it good. It’s never that simple! I don’t paint big business with one brush stroke either, using the same logic.

        By the way, I love craft beer, especially some of our wonderful offerings here in Oregon. I drink IPA almost exclusively, with porter being a distant second choice. For health reasons, I have to treat it like dessert so I never get as much as I want! I treat myself to one pint when I’m out and I rarely have it in my home. I see from your blog that you’re a homebrewer. That is something I’ve always been curious about, but know I’d probably drink all the beer I made if I had it so close!!

        If it was good for me, I’d float away in IPA!

  2. Well beer saved the middle ages, craft beer will have to save the modern day. As a craft beer drinker, I try to have something different all the time, liking almost every style equally (although I must admit a slight preference for the hoppy stuff). But as a homebrewer, I brew lots of pale ales and IPAs because they are simply easier to make (and your chance of coming out with tasty beer goes way up if you keep it simple). Cheers!

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