What do food activists do when science isn’t on their side? They repackage it or make it up. Writing for the online magazine Health Facts and Fears, University of Houston professor and published food-safety author Dr. Thomas DeGregori exposes “Green science” — something he says emerges when advocacy groups attempt to “redefine scientific knowledge.”
The “scientific” reasoning spouted by biotech scaremongers is particularly ridiculous, as DeGregori explains:
Green science requires an increasing number of odd redefinitions. “Organic” no longer refers to carbon compounds. Tomatoes do not have “genes” unless biotechnologists put them there. A “chemical” is something synthesized by humans and doesn’t exist in nature — ditto for toxins. “Organic” water is bottled and sold (there is now a debate as to whether it should be decertified as organic). And now DNA is a “complex protein.” A proposed ordinance to ban the deadly chemical dihydrogen monoxide was on the agenda for a California city council meeting until someone realized that it was H2O, a.k.a. water. The odd items in this “new science” seemingly go on without end. To the plant physiologist, microbiologist, or biotechnologist, the supposedly “scientific” claims of the anti-GMO [genetically modified organism] movement are as absurd as any of the foregoing.
Organic purists and anti-technology zealots want to scare the world into thinking that genetically enhanced foods are somehow dangerous, though they offer no scientific evidence. Instead they cry wolf about so-called “frankenfoods” and hide behind the decidedly unscientific “precautionary principle” in an attempt to stop biotech advancement. The fact that millions of people all over the world have been safely consuming biotech foods for a decade doesn’t deter them one bit.
When their scare tactics fail to take root, anti-biotech activists turn to uprooting crops. In Europe, Green activists are especially hostile toward genetically enhanced foods, despite the European Union’s assurance that biotech products are “even safer than conventional plants and foods.” In 2002 anti-biotech activists destroyed a genetically modified (GM) crop field in Scotland. In 2000 Greenpeace vandals ruined a biotech crop field in London, and just last year they sabotaged a GM wheat crop in Germany. Activists from groups such Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have vowed to “remove GM crops from the ground or support those who take action to remove GM crops.”
The only real weapons in the radical Green arsenal are misinformation, scare tactics, and vandalism. As the American Medical Association pointed out: “Opponents of GM food understand that diminished understanding and lack of knowledge is the key to obstructing biotechnology.”