OMG! Why are so many people going ballistic over GMO?

If social media is to be believed, Monsanto is Public Enemy No. 1, or very close to it. Seems like even people I would normally consider as reasonable, just seem to go batshit crazy when it comes to Monsanto and GMO’s more specifically.

I’ve been conducting a running argument on this blog and over email with one of my many critics (whose name shall remain concealed from those who have not read the comments section on the relevent post), who insists that GMO’s are harmful, evil even, despite there being little to no evidence to support that assertion. He picks his evidence from websites that spread absolute bollocks, like Natural News.com (no, I’m not even going to link to it), to trusting without question the horse-shit written by wacko’s like Mike Adams. [Read this response to his latest attack on GMO's].

I’m not going to try to convince you on my own why GMO’s are perfectly safe. I’ll just leave that to someone who is by far more eminent. Neil deGrasse Tyson.

I’m amazed how much objection genetically modified foods are receiving from the public. It smacks of the fear factor that exists at every new emergent science, where people don’t fully understand it or don’t fully know or embrace its consequences, and therefore reject it. What most people don’t know, but they should, is that practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food.

There are no wild seedless watermelons; there’s no wild cows; there’s no long-stem roses growing in the wild — although we don’t eat roses. You list all the fruit, and all the vegetables, and ask yourself: Is there a wild counterpart to this? If there is, it’s not as large, it’s not as sweet, it’s not as juicy, and it has way more seeds in it.

We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and animals, that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them. It’s called “artificial selection.” That’s how we genetically modify them. So now that we can do it in a lab, all of a sudden you’re going to complain?

If you’re the complainer type, go back and eat the apples that grow wild. You know something? They’re this big, and they’re tart. They’re not sweet, like Red Delicious apples. We manufactured those. That’s a genetic modification.

Do you realize silk cannot be produced in the wild? The silkworm, as we cultivate it, has no wild counterpart because it would die in the wild. So there’s not even any silk anymore. So we are creating and modifying the biology of the world to serve our needs. I don’t have a problem with that, cause we’ve been doing that for tens of thousands of years. So chill out.

Here’s the video:

The evolution destroyer

proofevolution

His name is Joshua Feuerstein. Joshua must believe he’s an absolute genius because it took just three minutes for him to destroy hundreds of years of work by biological scientists.

That three minutes of assumed genius is contained in this video posted on his Facebook page.

The reality off course is that Joshua is a monumental ass. He preaches a very dangerous ideology that will wreck the future lives of potentially tens of thousands of children by tainting their education with pure unadulterated bullshit. Joshua wants science to be kept out of our classrooms. Here’s his starting point:

Evolution is not a science. Never has and never will be. Why? Because it cannot fit within the parameters and parentheses of science for one simple reason: It was never observed. That’s why it’s not science. That’s why it’s called the theory of evolution. One man’s theory.

By embracing such a fundamental misunderstanding of what a scientific theory is, its little wonder the rest of his blasé rant goes pear-shaped. A scientific theory is not something that a scientist just simply asserts. A scientific theory is “a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena.” [one variation].

There’s really no point in debunking the rest of his bullshit, but it’s done fairly well here on Patheos.

If you value honesty and collecting just the facts, I advise that you steer well clear of this guy. And if your kids are going to any school that heeds the demented advice of such corrupters of the truth, get them the hell out.

The future is in science, not fairy tales.

The Universe A Perfect Creation?

rock space

People are always telling me that the universe is a perfect creation. They go further and assert that it was created especially for us humans – not so much for everything else that winds up as food on our table, clothes on our backs, shelter over our heads, or comforts for our pleasure.

Well… ATTENTION

I’ve got news for you. The world is in fact positively hostile. Everything out there is trying to kill you. And a great many things right here on Earth are also not only trying to kill you, but have been doing so for ever; quite successfully too. It’s in fact much worse – the universe is not only hostile, but fucking indifferent too.

The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent, but if we can come to terms with this indifference, then our existence as a species can have genuine meaning. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light. – Stanley Kubrick

Think about it…

The only thing that is actively trying (unappreciated, I might add) in all the known universe to save your bacon, is your fellow human being (sometimes the odd dog or cat). And yet we behave in the most appalling manner towards the fellow members of our species. If I have to spell out the ways in which we do this, you are truly beyond redemption and the sooner you hurtle off this rock, the better for all of us.

Credulous at best your desire to believe in
Angels in the hearts of men
Pull your head on out your hippie haze and give a listen
Shouldn’t have to say it all again
The universe is hostile, so impersonal
Devour to survive… so it is, so it’s always been – Tool, Vicarious

Irreverence FTW!

ideology

The primary reason for creating this blog was to deliver irreverent commentary on the strange beliefs that people cling on to for dear life. I had a second blog which I used to cast derision on the shitty things that politicians do.

I decided to merge the two because ideology and politics seemed like a match made in heaven, and it kinda made sense for me to take the piss on both these forms of lunacy on the same forum.

After a while I decided that since there were so many other things that were of interest to people, I would not limit myself to just writing about strange beliefs and dirty politicians. And so the part about “… just about anything else not as perplexing or vile…” was born. However of late I have not focussed nearly enough on the irreverent bit and seemed to drift off into posting a lot of stuff about everything else.

Nothing vex’s someone more than when you try to burst their ideological bubble. It may seem cruel, and I sometimes feel a little remorseful afterwards, but the eventual benefits of making someone see things differently, even if a little, is to my mind worth the effort. I have had lengthy debates arguments here with some of my commenters. Nearly all invariably grow weary and never come back; a fairly large number exit with the traditional, but very annoying parting shot “I’ll pray for you.” Yeah, you will not believe how many people are praying for me. I’m truly blessed.

I am all too familiar with the adage that you’re not going to convince someone to change their mind by poking fun at their beliefs. Fuck that! Sometimes it’s the only way. The other benefit is that I too have learned from this process. I harboured many ideological beliefs, some of which have been modified, others turned completely on its head, more still totally discarded.

Anyway, I think I’m gonna start being irreverent again with my very next post. Until then…

Facebook Skepticism

I’ve been tempted a few times to prune my Facebook friend tree, but haven’t done so because in between all the bullshit that’s posted on my feed by the uncritical, there’s  the odd gem.

Besides, I have only a little over 100 Facebook friends, a fair number of whom are related to me in some way or the other, and I don’t want to risk a family feud.

I’m not so much annoyed by a lot of the posts that smack of credulity, as puzzled and bemused that otherwise seemingly bright people don’t care to check facts etc. before sharing guff stuff on their timeline. Anyway, I found this brilliant piece yesterday which kinda sums up what I’m talking about:

SkepticGlassesNow I’m pretty sure that some a lot of my posts, especially those of a political or irreverent nature must annoy a lot of them, but I don’t attempt to pass them off as facts. I expect bright people to know the difference between opinion or commentary and verifiable truths.

Ham’s Ark

Featured

Saying “what the fark” would be kind off late as the Ark Encounters project is not really news, being punted some time ago already by Answers in Genesis’s Ken Ham.

Not surprisingly, the whole ludicrous idea has been the subject of much mirth since inception, but recent reports suggest that it will finally get off the ground because of a sudden flood of cash that has materialised, probably through the foolishness generosity of credulous supporters.

HamArk

In the last week meme’s such as the one above have been doing the rounds on social media. So how is spending money on this project any different from spending money on say the space programme? It’s a valid question since space programme funding could equally be argued to be spent more productively on feeding poor and hungry people.

Well it is different and the difference is captured poignantly here by Gwen Pearson of Wired, the online publication:

This is an attraction that exists to promote a religious message. It’s not about animals at all. The welfare of the animals and their biology is less important than their ability to reinforce a religious myth.

This project will not enhance or better the current or future lives of human beings in any meaningful way as the scientific discoveries made on the space programme will. In fact, Ark Encounters not only will diminish the lives of people by keeping them chained to the outlandish ideology of Creationism, from the article it is apparent that live animals, should they be used, will be subjected to much distress.

Like the Creation Museum, another one of Ham’s obscene projects, this one will most probably become a reality. Reason alone seems unlikely to dissuade these perverters of science from going ahead. Perhaps nothing short of a biblical deluge in Kentucky will.

The “open mind” conundrum

bible wheel

“Do not be so open-minded that your brains fall out.”

Variations of this quote have been attributed to a number of different people such as Richard Feynman, G.K. Chesterton, Richard Dawkins and Bertrand Russell. However, having recently debated a literalist Christian on this blog, I have realised that it sounds rather crude.

My detractor claimed that I don’t have an open mind, which is why I will never understand, let alone accept the assertions in the bible. In hasty retort I quoted the line that precedes this post.

So as I’m currently re-reading Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World – Science As A Candle In The Dark, I was reminded of that encounter in a chapter titled The Marriage of Skepticism and Wonder, which I think perfectly settles this conundrum.

As I’ve tried to stress, at the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes – an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive, and the most ruthlessly skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense. The collective enterprise of creative thinking and skeptical thinking, working together, keeps the field on track. Those two seemingly contradictory attitudes are, though, in some tension.

There, now everything’s clear as daylight. Thanks Carl.

Kids DON’T say the darndest things

Remember that CBS television series hosted by Bill Cosby?

We all used to think that the responses were cute. Admit it! Well, they’re not. The responses were just simply untainted by ideological baggage that we pick up along the way as we grow older.

However, not all kids are so lucky as to be free of indoctrination at that tender young age. Adults (sometimes well-meaning, sometimes not) tend to influence their kids into accepting and believing some of the craziest bullshit imaginable.

I found this today, and can only hope that these kids stay on the right track, but if they don’t, I wish someone would show them this video clip.

As adults, it’s extremely difficult to NOT be untarnished by ideological filth, but fortunately the information age makes available many resources to get back on the right path. If you want to, off course…