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October 22, 2013

Scientists Declare: There’s No “Consensus” on GMO Safety

Filed under: Corporatism, Food and Farms, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: — Russ @ 3:24 am

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Scientists are striking back against one of the current favorite lies of the GMO hacks, that there’s a “scientific consensus” that GMOs aren’t dangerous to human health. Ninety-three scientists and counting have signed the brief, comprehensive statement issued by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER).
 
It’s an overview of the self-evident fact that there’s no consensus among credentialed technical personnel on the safety of GMOs. This is self-evident because there are so many credentialed scientists who do dispute the alleged health and environmental safety of GMOs. The signers of the statement prove this, and the data surveyed by the statement prove it. Anyone who’s looking for a good resource which assembles just some of the best reports and studies on GMOs should check out this statement and the evidence it compiles.
 
Before continuing with a summary and some comments on the statement itself, I’ll observe that science itself has in fact attained a consensus against GMOs. We know for a fact that they provide no benefits while guaranteeing contamination of non-GM crops and the wild progenitors of those crops. This assault on agricultural biodiversity is an existential danger to the food security of humanity. That’s enough for any scientific mind to reject them. But there’s lots more reasons, which I’ll summarize after discussing the ENSSER statement.
 
I’ll also observe that the name, Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility, ought to be redundant. Science is a tool for the benefit of humanity. A scientist has an affirmative obligation to place his work in this organic context. The Ayn Rand/technocratic notion of technicians being Ubermenschen, and scientific work as being purely for the sake of exploration itself, “because it’s there”, i.e. for the ego of the individual explorer (and in practice for the benefit of his corporate master), is not science at all. It’s just gutter narcissism and sociopathy. We should deal with such bogus “scientists” as the leeches and overgrown spoiled brats they are.
 
Now on to the statement. It groups its evidence into seven points, each of which refutes the lie of a contrary “consensus”. There’s copious links at the statement web page.
 
1. There is no consensus on GM food safety.
 
Reviews of extant animal feeding studies find an almost perfect demarcation between those done by the corporations themselves, which have claimed to find no toxic effects, and those done independently, which have all found toxicity and other health dangers. By now there’s been roughly an equal number of such studies in both groups. That’s especially impressive when we consider the massive imbalance in available funding and access to research materials. (Since the corporations try to deny independent researchers access to proprietary material, which means all GMO material.) It’s an indictment of the system’s lack of desire to know the truth, and a tribute to the truth-seeking will of a relative handful of scientists fighting against the current.
 
Not only is there thus no consensus even if we consider only the findings of peer-reviewed studies by credentialed personnel. There’s also no consensus on the legitimacy of industry studies. All industry tests have been rigged in at least one way – their length was far shorter than the normal lifespan of the animal. Ninety days is a standard length. This is meant to ensure that chronic health dangers are unlikely to manifest during the duration of the test. Most studies also didn’t compare the effects of eating the GMO to the effects of a non-GM diet based on the non-GM equivalent of the GM variety.
 
Most of these industry “tests” were the most minimal kinds of feeding tests, meant to ensure that an animal fed GMOs would quickly put on weight and not immediately drop dead. These never tested for other kinds of toxicity or for chronic health effects. Picture if we organized a test which would feed human subjects nothing but large amounts of cake, pastries, ice cream, candy, etc. for 60 days (and with no exercise), with our only real goal being to test whether the subjects would gain weight and not drop dead. Then afterward we trumpet the test as having proven that such a diet is healthy over the long run. That’s what’s been going on with these corporate feeding trials. Scientists reject these as having any validity as real safety tests.
 
Even many of these tests nevertheless found disturbing evidence of biological changes and toxicity. Such evidence was routinely dismissed as “insignificant”, or suppressed completely.
 
The rare industry tests which weren’t rigged have all found evidence of toxic effects. (That is, rigged as far as the lack of equivalent diets. Again, all of them were rigged with intentionally insufficient durations.) 

 

Meanwhile, under the pressure generated by the 2012 Seralini study, the pro-GMO European Food Safety Agency and the French government have called for more long-term studies on the health effects of GMOs. This is the first time any agency has taken up independent scientists on their constant call for more study. But the fact that this pro-cartel bureaucracy has conceded that more study is needed is in itself more self-evident proof that there’s no consensus.
 
All this is clear proof that there’s no “consensus” whatsoever among the studies themselves.

 

All this also proves that the pro-GMO “science” has zero independent confirmation for its claims, but is merely a branch of corporate propaganda. It’s really just a more elaborate echo of the original dogmatic decree by governments, that GMOs were “substantially equivalent” to real crops and therefore “safe”.
 
2. There are no epidemiological studies investigating potential effects of GM food consumption on human health.
 
There’s a strong correlation between the commercialization of GMOs and a steep surge of food and other allergies, and of autoimmune diseases such as asthma, autism, and Crohn’s disease.
 
The people are getting sicker. Are GMOs making us sick? Without epidemiological testing, there’s no way to know for sure. Scientists have long been calling for such testing.
 
The lack of these studies is at least proof that governments and corporations fear what the results of these tests would be. They think testing will prove GMOs unsafe. After all, if governments thought they could honestly promote GMOs, instead of the dishonest way they’ve been doing so far, wouldn’t they do so?
 
3. Claims that scientific and governmental bodies endorse GMO safety are exaggerated and inaccurate.
 
The statement compiles dissenting briefs within such staunchly pro-GM organizations as the Royal Society of Canada and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as the ambivalence of the British Medical Association and the American Medical Association.
 
They could also have included the testimony from the 1990s of a large number FDA scientists protesting the agency’s fundamentalist decree that GMOs were “safe” and therefore didn’t need to be safety tested. There were similar internal protests at Health Canada and in many other “food safety” bureaucracies.
 
They also could have included a recent USDA report acknowledging the lack of sufficient data on the safety of RNA-interference genetic engineering technology.
 
All this is self-evident proof that there’s no system consensus.
 
4. The EU’s research project does not provide reliable evidence of GM food safety.
 
This project, “A Decade of EU-Funded GMO Research”, much touted by the cartel propagandists, is most striking for how flimsy it is. It’s based on the rigged tests described in point one, most of which still found problems with GMOs.
 
This paucity in itself is proof they have nothing. That’s the best they can do?
 
5. A list of several hundred studies does not show GM food safety.
 
This is another common citation among the GM flacks. It refers to the same corporate tests which were only industry-geared feeding tests (not safety tests), were rigged to prevent evidence of toxicity from manifesting, and which nevertheless often found evidence of toxicity.
 
6. There is no consensus on the environmental risks of GM crops.
 
A review of the existing environmental risk studies found no consensus even on how to run a test, let alone the sufficiency and validity of the meager work that’s been done.
 
Reviews have also found a structural divide among technicians opining about the environmental safety of GMOs similar to that where it comes to their danger to health. Technicians who are working for the cartel, and especially those who are trained in the narrow specialty of molecular biology, are most likely to “find” that GMOs are environmentally safe. Independent scientists, especially those trained in more holistic disciplines like ecology, are most likely to document evidence of environmental hazards.
 
The published data on Bt crops finds proof of resistance among target species (the evolution of superbugs), proof of the surge of secondary (non-target) pests into niches temporarily opened up where the Bt insecticide has worked against the primary target, and strong evidence of harm to non-target and beneficial species.
 
Herbicide-tolerant GMOs indisputably have caused a massive escalation of herbicide use everywhere they’ve been deployed, and like clockwork have caused the evolution of herbicide-resistant superweeds. There is indeed consensus against GMOs on these facts. Even Monsanto, after trying to deny it, concedes that superweeds are an inevitable part of the GMO regime.
 
Herbicide tolerance is proven to be a completely failed technology. We know for a fact that this kind of GMO does nothing but require ever greater application of ever more toxic poisons to ever more ineffectively combat ever more broadly resistant weeds. Even if one believed there was any doubt about the health effects of GM food in itself, there’s no way any rational person arguing in good faith could justify or defend the notion that humanity should continue with the herbicide-tolerant GMO project.
 
Then there’s the mounting evidence of the devastating health effects of glyphosate. We can add that the meager testing which governments have performed has been done only with glyphosate itself, never with the real-world commercial formulations like Roundup. Yet there’s strong evidence from independent studies that the adjuvants, surfactants, and other additives in these formulations render them far more toxic.
 
7. International agreements show widespread recognition of the risks posed by GM foods and crops.
 
The Cartegna Protocol on Biosafety would never have been negotiated and ratified by 166 governments if there weren’t major uncertainty within the system about the safety of GMOs. Similarly, even the UN’s corporate-friendly Codex Alimentarius acknowledges this uncertainty in many ways, including its endorsement of GMO labeling as acceptable within globalization guidelines.
 
Both of these are examples of globalization cadres acknowledging the precautionary principle and the lack of sufficient knowledge about GMO safety. However toothless this has been in practice, it’s at least more proof that there’s no theoretical consensus on GMO safety.
 
 
What is the scientific position on GMOs? Science condemns them.
 
We have proof:
 
*They inevitably contaminate non-GM crops, wild relatives, and the general environment.
 
*Herbicide tolerance and endemic insecticide expression don’t sustainably work. They generate an inescapable arms race with superweeds and superbugs which nature shall certainly win.
 
*We already knew at the outset that we should have enforced the precautionary principle. By now the refusal of governments to carry out epidemiological studies and require long-term safety testing of each GM variety prior to commercialization is proof of their bad faith.
 
*Corporate agriculture cannot “feed the world” and does not want to. Any rational person who actually cares about there being sufficient food for humanity has to reject corporate ag as a proven failure.
 
*GMOs serve no constructive purpose whatsoever. There was and is zero need for them.
 
We have the evidence piling up:
 
*The toxic and long-run chronic health effects of GMOs themselves.
 
*The toxic and long-run chronic health effects of herbicides and Bt toxins.
 
*The malign socioeconomic and political effects of seed sector monopoly driven directly by and for the GMO regime.
 
*The alternative, agroecology, is MORE productive acre for acre in terms of calories and nutrition. This is true even now during the time of industrial ag powered by fossil fuels, fossil water, cheaply mined phosphorus. Once these input sources falter and industrial ag collapses, this margin shall become infinite, and the agroecological alternative shall become the only option which exists at all. It would be much better for humanity to switch over to it now in a disciplined, intentional way.
 
Any real scientist starts with the questions: Do we need this? Are there better alternatives available (better for humanity)? What does the precautionary principle say: Is this safe?
 
Only if we could honestly answer Yes, No, Yes, would a scientist feel justified in going ahead with the project. Of course establishment “science”, along with corporations and governments, never even asked the first two questions, whose answers are clearly No and Yes.
 
As for the third, corporations and governments never asked it either, and neither have most system technicians. But here there have been plenty of system personnel who have acted as scientists when they’ve demanded:
 
*Mandatory long-term safety testing for all GMOs.
 
 
*Open access to research materials, as the lifeblood of science itself.
 
Any scientist would demand these as the bare minimum. 
 
For all these reasons, any real scientist would oppose the GMO regime as it exists.
 
In contrast, let’s list some of the crackpot “science” and lies which comprise the defense of GMOs, such as it is. These have all been disproven, and repose on the trash heap of junk science. Nevertheless to this day they make up the “scientific” part of pro-GMO ideology.
 
*The whole is just the sum of the biggest parts. Smaller parts, and any kind of holistic network, don’t matter. (The “NPK mentality”, as Albert Howard called it.)
 
*One gene = one protein/one trait.
 
*The genetic code is the primary driver of phenotype. (Genetics over environment, nature over nurture.)
 
*Evolution denial. (Denial of superweeds, superbugs, antibiotic resistance among pathogens.)
 
*”Substantial equivalence” of GM varieties and non-GM near-isogenic varieties. (In genome except for the engineered trait, in proteins produced, nutritional profile, and many other ways.)
 
*Most genetic material is “junk DNA” which cannot be reactivated by external influences. (In humans, 1-2% is active, the rest is junk.)
 
*Genetically created proteins always correctly fold themselves.
 
*The CaMV promoter functions only in plants, not in animals.
 
*A synthetically modified organism (SMO) is identical to the corresponding GMO.
 
*Bt becomes toxic only amid the alkalinity of an insect’s digestive tract, not that of the mammalian.
 
*GE material is destroyed in processing/cooking/the gut. It never enters the bloodstream.
 
*There’s only linear (“dose-dependent”) effects. There’s no such thing as non-linear effects.
 
(Those are just the ones I have listed so far. I’m sure there’s plenty more. If you can think of any I missed, let me know.)
 
 
Scientific experimentation requires informed consent. But this vast human feeding experiment never obtained consent from the billions of human beings it has turned into guinea pigs. Worse, the experimenters and their supporters in the professional and academic ranks want to withhold all the information they can, by opposing real safety testing, suppressing adverse data from the inadequate tests which industry has done, slandering independent science, and opposing labeling.
 
The ENSSER statement concludes with the recognition that GMOs always have been and always will be a political decision and policy. By definition science is always an ongoing process. Those who claim “the debate is over”, and who make fraudulent claims about “consensus”, cannot be acting as scientists, but are making a wishful political assertion.
 
Which brings us to our final point on science vs. anti-science. Scientists, however much pride they take in their endeavor, are humble about the limits of this endeavor. The recognize the much greater uncertainty which encompasses whatever seems certain. Most of all, assuming they respect democracy, they recognize that all control belongs in the hands of the people. They see themselves as advisors of the people, helping to make political decisions.
 
But where technicians side against the people, telling mercenary lies on behalf of corporate power, they abrogate the role of scientists and cast away any right to that name.
 
But we still have real scientists, and we have this statement, as well as the great and ongoing work of independent researchers on GMOs, fracking, and the many other corporate assaults which are bolstered by the lies of junk “science”. We have the work of these scientists counteracting these lies, doing what they can to ensure that in the end science shall live up to its role as the helper of democracy and the watchdog of human health and freedom.  

 
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5 Comments

  1. Indeed, there is no need for consensus as science (and risk assessment) is based on majority opinion. Please have a look at http://genpeace.blogspot.com.br/2013/10/no-need-for-scientific-consensus-on-gmo.html

    Comment by Paulo Andrade — October 25, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

    • It’s you clowns who keep telling the lie that there is a “consensus”. So you’re the ones who feel the need to claim there is one.

      But it’s typical of your kind that the moment one of your lies is refuted (and they’re all incredibly flimsy), you don’t even bother arguing but drop it immediately and switch to another one. Thus the moment your “consensus” lie is disproven, you switch to something like the moronic post you linked here. “Consensus? Who said anything about a consensus? Science is done by a majority vote!”

      Of course science isn’t done by “majorities”. Science is about truth. It’s funny that you have to retreat from a lie that would at least make sense if it were true, to something that’s simply idiotic in principle.

      Comment by Russ — October 26, 2013 @ 3:27 am

  2. […] Last week I wrote about the statement of scientists refuting the self-evident lie that there’s any kind of “scientific consensus” in favor of GMOs. The fact that GM proponents so often feel the need to tell this lie is proof of how desperate they are to fraudulently represent their position as the “scientific” one, and the fact that this go-to lie is so flimsy is strong evidence of how flimsy their case is in general.   The statement was drafted by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), but not all the signatories are members of ENSSER.   By the latest count, the number of scientists formally signing the statement has climbed to 231. This is impressive in light of how viciously any scientist who expresses even the slightest skepticism about GMOs, or who merely asks for more testing, is attacked. Many have had their careers derailed by the establishment persecution. Those who have gone public with their concerns have said that for each of them there are many more who agree but are afraid to speak up for fear of slander and retaliation. So this list of formal public adherents is just the tip of the iceberg.   In stark contrast, there are no scientists who support GMOs in any way. Without exception credentialed GMO proponents are being paid by the cartel for their support, or are ignorantly moonlighting as laymen outside their own disciplines. This, of course, is an unscientific position.   But then, to support GMOs as such is clearly an anti-rational, anti-scientific position, for the following reasons. Given any dubious and expensive new technology, a rational person asks:   1. Do we need it? Does it serve any real purpose? This is the Need Principle.   2. Are there better, less questionable, safer alternatives? This is the Alternative Principle.   3. Is it safe? This is the Precautionary Principle.   A rational person would need to ask these questions and honestly answer them : Yes, No, Yes, before supporting deployment. In the case of GMOs, the system never asked any of these questions, so support for GMOs is on its face an anti-rational position, even prior to the evidence.   By now the evidence is incontrovertible that GMOs were never needed and serve no constructive purpose at all. Compared to both organic and non-GM conventional agriculture, they yield less, require vastly greater use of poisons, generate poison-resistance superweeds and superbugs, contaminate crops and the environment, and have malign political and socioeconomic effects like escalating seed sector and general agricultural corporate monopoly. As for the Big Lie that GMOs are needed to ”feed the world”, right now the world produces enough to feed ten billion people, yet out of 7 billion on earth 1 billion go hungry. This is mathematical proof that corporate agriculture does not and cannot feed the world. The fact is, corporate agriculture has proven for decades now that it cannot and does not want to feed the world. There’s no problem with food production or availability. The only problem is distribution. It’s impossible to fix distribution by trying to double down on a system that, by its very nature, maldistributes. GMOs represent doubling down on this already failed system.   It’s clear that GMOs have zero benefits for farmers or consumers. They have never benefited anyone but a handful of corporations. The answer to the Need question has been given once and for all: No, they serve no purpose, and we don’t need them.   Similarly, the evidence record is complete, after decades of performance, that non-GM conventional agriculture is superior to GM agriculture. Non-GM outproduces GM and uses far less poison. It’s also proven that even during the soon-to-end era of cheap fossil fuels (upon which all of industrial ag including GMOs is 100% dependent), decentralized polyculture organic agriculture outproduces industrial, acre for acre, in terms of calories and nutrition. Once the cheap oil runs out, this difference shall become infinite.   It’s clear that there are far better, much less expensive alternatives to GMOs. Once again, the shoddy, poorly-producing, high-maintenance, more complex, vastly more expensive GMO regime benefits no one but a handful of corporations. The answer to the Alternative questions is: Yes, both organic and non-GM conventional are far better and less expensive for farmers and consumers.   Finally, as the work of many of these signatories has documented, there is such ample evidence of the health and environmental risks from GMOs that any rational person would demand independent long-term safety testing of any GM product before commercialization, and to demand a recall of existing approvals and a moratorium on field testing and any further deployment until this necessary safety testing has been done.   This sums up the rational, scientific position on GMOs, even before we get into the political and socioeconomic aspects.   One new thing I learned in the latest ENSSER press release was that a conference twenty years ago ecologists and molecular biologists agreed that their disciplines were complementary and that specialists in each should consult with the findings of the other. We’ve since seen how molecular biologists working for the GMO cartel have flouted this scientific agreement and expressed their contempt for ecological science, and indeed for any and every kind of scientific or rational thought, other than the most narrow, nihilistically instrumental concern with the “how” of their own discipline.   Far from constituting “science”, this instrumental nihilism, which dresses itself up in a scientistic religion and a technocratic authoritarian political ideology, is radically anti-scientific. On the contrary, it degrades the name and practice of science to that of being a hired triggerman for the worst kind of corporate gangsterism.   To find the real exponents and practitioners of science, we must look to the signers of the ENSSER statement, and to similar scientific workers around the world. These are the people of integrity who know their duty as scientists and as citizens of democracy. These two duties are always in harmony.   […]

    Pingback by The List Grows for Science | Volatility — October 31, 2013 @ 6:58 am

  3. […]   In that connection, we can take note that some of the scientists who object to the lie that there’s a “consensus” on GMO safety are nevertheless anxious to insist they’re seeking a “middle ground” between […]

    Pingback by History Will Spit Out the Lukewarm (A Periodic Series) | Volatility — November 8, 2013 @ 3:47 am

  4. […] Study”, GENERA, the “GMO Pundit” list, etc. ad nauseum – is nothing but another list of these same bogus industry trials. . So the positive scientific evidence for the safety of GMOs is zero. . Meanwhile we have the very […]

    Pingback by The Abdication of Establishment Science | Volatility — August 2, 2015 @ 3:14 pm


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