The iconic Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport, Oregon. Photo by Koocheekoo/Flikr.
It has been well documented here on this blog how I went from being an anti-GMO activist, completely opposed to transgenic technology as it relates to crops and food, to supporting it and calling out the very activists whom I once revered.
In the Sleuth4Health chronicles that describe events leading up to and just after my metamorphosis, I pinpoint how it was science itself that changed my mind. I corresponded with biologists, saw real data, read pro-science media, etc., and in combination, this all served to fry me up a juicy GMOs-are-really-pretty-cool burger – with all the fixings. And yes, I ate it.
I have not wavered since. I am on the side of evidence, of knowledge, of rational thought. Scientists are my friends and I wish I could pat them all on the back. I want to tell them that some of us out here in the public actually appreciate that they devoted decades of their lives to their work – and the effort it took to allow them to do that, like, for example, earning advanced degrees.
But there was another very big reason I switched sides.
The very people I had aligned myself with were the very people who drove me away. The obstinate, willful refusal by the anti-GMO crowd to consider evidence that supported any view different from their own was a huge turn off. I saw this time and again. The activists reminded me of five-year-olds who plug their ears when they’re being told something they don’t want to hear. This tendency did not, in the least, impress me, even from the very beginning of my activism.
And one place where this stubborn ignorance was rampant was with an outfit called Moms Across America (MAA), a nation-wide activist group that centers around their website and facebook community page. I’m not going to single out any individuals in this post, but just point to the organization as a whole. My sole intent is to describe how things that were said on this website heavily influenced my decision to become a turncoat.
I am open-minded and curious by nature. And not only do I have this overwhelming urge to be right, I bloody well hate to be wrong, about anything. I came to accept with conviction the widespread scientific consensus that transgenic technology had much to offer crops, that its benefits outweighed its risks, and that it had been needlessly vilified. Mostly what I realized was that anti-GMO activists fight against something they both don’t understand and flat refuse to try to understand.
As my indoctrination into the science world was occurring, e.g., coming to understand that beliefs and facts are not the same thing, what was to become and remain an information debacle appeared on the MAA website. It was a so-called report titled “Stunning Corn Comparison” which allegedly made comparisons between non-GMO corn and GMO corn.
To someone not trained in how to evaluate data and whether or not it is valid, it came across shocking. Here is just a sample of what the report claimed:
GMO Corn has 14 ppm of Calcium and NON GMO corn has 6130 ppm. 437 X more.
GMO corn has 2 ppm of Magnesium and NON GMO corn has 113ppm. 56 X more.
GMO corn has 2 ppm of Manganese and NON GMO corn has 14ppm. 7X more.
But come to find out, the data couldn’t possibly have been about corn, or possibly anything biological. For one thing, there was a lack of the basic element carbon in the GMO corn data – which is impossible. What startled me even more though was that apparently anyone who passed a biology 101 class their freshman year of college would have known this.
Oh Jesus, I thought. Are we really that stupid?
MAA was way out of their league. When this was pointed out to them, they refused to back down and chose instead to keep this ridiculous report on their website and as the link above proves, it remains there today.
Fast forward to recent events. A tragic incident occured in my home state of Oregon and I was again reminded of the lengths that activists like MAA will take to further their agenda. A mother suffering from mental illness threw her son, six-year-old London McCabe (right), off of an iconic bridge in Newport (seen above), a coastal bay town. The news was difficult to process, especially for Oregonians. The picturesque bridge towering over the bay, the little boy who died so young…
I had actually forgotten all about MAA until I ran across this facebook post and then I got angry.
The picture of the boy was directly above these words, about twice the size of what you see here. I couldn’t believe it.
To use such a tragedy to shock, to scare, to emotionally manipulate people while you’re cramming an agenda down their throat is abhorrent. According to anti-GMO ‘pundits’, and I use that term loosely, just about every physical disease on the planet is attributable to GMOs, and now, apparently, so is mental illness.
Data anyone? Citation please?
Anti-GMO activism has become like a religion. Too many beliefs. Too few facts.
Update 11/17/2014: The correct acronym for Moms Across America is MAA.