September 25, 2013

Scientific Transparency vs. Obscurantism (GMO Labeling)

Filed under: Food and Farms, Freedom, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: , — Russ @ 4:35 am


1. Let’s never forget that, whatever else one thinks of GMOs or any other food additive, any dispute over labeling is a pure dispute of transparency vs. obscurantism.
2. By definition, rationalists and scientists are in favor of transparency and oppose secrecy and obscurantism. This is a core Enlightenment value. Any true scientist would support GMO labeling on this ground alone.
3. If a scientist truly believed that GMOs or any other additive were being unfairly maligned, he’d still support labeling. He’d then see his task as to publicly counter what he considers to be misinformation with what he considers to be the correct information. But the whole debate would be aboveground, fully in the public eye. This would include full public information about where the ingredient in question exists. It would include fully transparent labeling.
4. The fact that so many alleged “rationalists” and “scientists” want instead to strangle this debate in the cradle is proof that it’s they who are forced to spread misinformation wherever GMOs cannot prevail through might-makes-right and brute force. It’s they who desperately want to avoid public debate altogether through such devices as obscuring information and denying the public’s right to know what’s in our food.
5. Before we even reach the content of their lies, this initial obscurantism in itself proves that these are not scientists, but prostitutes and hacks who despise science, despise the Enlightenment, despise democracy, and despise humanity.
6. We must fully reciprocate this contempt, for all anti-scientists, all scienticians, all technocratic types.
Here’s the basic position of science on GMOs:
Transparency is a core democracy and freedom value. That’s part of why my strategic position starts out supporting labeling as such, however ambivalent I am about the labeling movement as it currently exists. It’s one good litmus test which separates at the outset those who believe in democracy, science, and reason, from those who despise these. I think that should help clarify the whole science vs. anti-science dispute, where unfortunately the anti-GMO movement is mostly pretty lame so far.
They tend to whine, “we are NOT anti-science!!!!” in reaction to hack lies, rather than affirmatively assert the truth: The only scientific position is to oppose GMO field testing and commercialization since the precautionary principle demands that the proponents of a dubious technology prove the need for it and the safety of it. GMO proponents have done neither of these. On the contrary, by now sufficient counter-evidence has piled up proving that there’s no need for GMOs, that they don’t work for any of the purposes advertised, and that they are unsafe for human health, animal health, and the environment. Therefore, the only scientific position is to demand the abolition of GMOs. Finally, since transparency is a core value of science, it was always self-evident that the only scientific position is to support full publicity for ALL food additives, including GMOs.
Those who support science and reason hold this position. Those who oppose this position oppose science and reason, and are its obscurantist, prostituted enemies.



  1. Well, as you know, the real reason for the existence of GMOs is due to the capitalist imperative of accumulation. But no one can question the validity of the God of Capitalism and escape with their life in this country. So we have to fight on the spurious grounds of science vs. anti-science. A true scientist, one who had not been captured by capitalism, would object to GMOs because the entire idea is a violation of the laws of Nature. There are other forms of science besides Enlightenment, Cartesian science – traditional societies engaged in scientific endeavors for millenia. Those societies were embedded in Nature, not alienated like capitalist societies, where Nature is a “resource” to be exploited for the sole benefit of humans. But we can’t talk about those traditional societies because we are obviously so superior to those primitive and backwards savages, aren’t we?

    Comment by Paul — September 25, 2013 @ 6:35 am

    • I regard the science vs. anti-science battlefield as a secondary, though still important, one. Unfortunately, among Western middle-class types, the condemnation of GMOs on socioeconomic grounds is also secondary.

      I regard the main lines of attack as being:

      1. GMOs are a crap product which don’t work and merely render all economic activity, and especially agriculture, less efficient and productive. E.g., they cost far more, their yield is less, they produce lower-quality food, they require greater pesticide use, they generate ever-tougher superweeds and superbugs, they accelerate and aggravate the destruction of the soil, they’re a constant hassle to every aspect of the food production and distribution system*, in general everyone except the GMO rackets themselves would be better off without them.

      2. They’re poisonous, and constitute a mass poisoning of humanity and the environment.

      3. Whatever angles we can explore as far as their being a moral and spiritual abomination.

      *I’ve written before on how my thesis is that GMOs are the final frontier for “growth” capitalism, for example here:


      So in this sense all of Big Ag, and corporatism as such, is dependent upon them. But that doesn’t mean we can’t seek to drive in political wedges where there are proximate differences of interest between, for example, Monsanto and the supermarkets.


      Comment by Russ — September 25, 2013 @ 6:52 am

  2. […] when they’ve demanded:   *Mandatory long-term safety testing for all GMOs.   *Labeling as part of the transparency principle.   *Open access to research materials, as the lifeblood of science itself.   Any scientist would […]

    Pingback by Scientists Declare: There’s No “Consensus” on GMO Safety | Volatility — October 22, 2013 @ 3:24 am

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