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September 30, 2015

The Historical Context of the “Genetic Engineering = Conventional Breeding” Lie

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This piece places in historical context one of the primary GMO “science” lies, that genetic engineering is a form or extension of conventional breeding and natural evolution. My main source for the 19th century history is Philip Pauly’s Controlling Life.
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This proposition is factually false, and in most cases we can be assured that those making this claim do so out of ignorance or intentional deception. As an ideological proposition, the notion that laboratory-generated artifices are not qualitatively different from the products of evolution goes back to 19th century German physiology. Among such physiologists as Carl Ludwig and Hermann Helmholtz there was a general neglect of Darwinism and a consensus that it was irrelevant. They tended to take the organism as given and focused on its current state. Physiologists posited a binary state of normality/health vs. pathology. Where a condition was seen as pathological, the goal was to learn how to manipulate in order to restore the organism to its “normal”, healthy condition. So physiologists would naturally tend toward seeking control since they undertook their work within the framework of this normal-pathological binary, with the focus being on pathology and the goal being to change this to the opposite state. This laid the groundwork for subsequent developments.
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The lust for control above all other things loomed ever larger. Starting in the 1870s such practitioners as plant physiologist Julius Sachs, his student Jacques Loeb, and Justus Gaule rejected the normality/pathology binary and increasingly focused on physiological manipulation as such, without regard to whether it was in the direction of the organism’s better or worse health. Bolstered by the instrumental science philosophy of Ernst Mach and the techno-evangelism of Mach’s close associate Josef Popper-Lynkeus, researchers within this framework relinquished any concern for whether or not scientific research or technological development produced humanly beneficial results. Technological control and manipulation as such was religiously assumed to be its own self-caused primary value, with all other values subordinate to it. These researchers added to their negligent contempt for Darwinism the attitude that since health vs. sickness, comfort vs. pain, normality vs. pathology were meaningless distinctions, so it followed that natural evolution vs. technologically accomplished laboratory manipulation was also a meaningless distinction.
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They were explicit that even what almost anyone would call a lab-created monstrosity was just as natural as a healthy, normally developed creature in the wild. Thus when Loeb crowed in a letter to Mach about having created in his lab two-headed tubularia (instead of their usual “head” and “foot”) through manipulation of stimuli, he went on to insist that to call such a lab creation a monster logically would be the same as to call inanimate technology like the telegraph “monstrous”. In accord with his denial of distinctions within the organic state, Loeb denied there was any difference between animate and inanimate matter. Therefore the engineer’s manipulation and control of life was indistinguishable from his manipulation of metals or stone, and the biological engineer was concerned with nothing more or less than developing a “technology of living substance.”
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This was the commencement of a purely nihilist, instrumental, and ultimately mercenary trend which views biological science as nothing but the subordinate tool of engineering, and the goal of engineering to be nothing but maximizing biological control. This engineering goal was then read back into biological science itself, which the engineer defines simply as the description of the ways in which natural or engineered stimuli control the behavior of organisms. From this point of view knowledge and understanding in themselves are superfluous. These matter only insofar as they’re necessary to augment control. From there the goal is to maximize the “cultural power” (Loeb) of technology and, on the social and political level, to institute technocracy. This was the program Mach and Popper-Lynkeus laid out, what they touted as the true measure of bourgeois Progress. Practitioners like Loeb seek to develop science on this basis, not even as applied science, but the complete redefinition of science as a supplement to engineering. Within this paradigm, science and technology are not to be seen as tools for human benefit and well-being, but as a rationalized measure of Progress. This measure is nothing but Might Makes Right, the ability of engineers, as the elite torch-bearers of humanity, to exert power over nature, the power of control and manipulation without reference to any other measure or value. Just power as such. For these ideologues, nothing is real but the ability to control the behavior of organisms through the manipulation of stimuli and, today, the genetic structure of the organism.
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In the 20th century this engineering ideology rose to become one of the main elements of scientism, and today we have the most extravagant manifestation of this instrumental mentality with genetic engineering. Here we have the most extreme juxtaposition of the mentality of control for control’s sake with an utter disdain for any underlying scientific knowledge and a complete contempt for fact or truth.
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The preoccupation of genetic engineers with nothing but gutter control motivations stands out where we encounter their seeming lack of even the most basic knowledge of genetic science. If we accept their claims at face value, they seem completely ignorant of how genes work, how proteins are produced, how proteins function, or how environment affects genetic processes. For detail on this see my essay, “There is No Science of Genetic Engineering”.
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What’s abundantly clear is that genetic engineering has nothing to with the precise application of scientific knowledge nor with precision techniques. On the contrary, it’s always been based on nothing but brute force empiricism. From the gene gun used to literally blast the transgenic material into the recipient cells to the sloppy application of antibiotics or herbicides to locate the transgene-infused cells to the extremely wasteful processes of tissue culture and greenhouse and field trials to the crackpot eyeballing involved in selecting the ancestral GMO plants from which all subsequent seeds are produced, the whole process is nothing but throwing gobs of money and energy at the problem to find a result which looks vaguely like the one the cultists and corporations then advertise.
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It’s easy to see why genetic engineers have always disdained the admonition that they need to have any knowledge whatsoever of agronomy. For them the only meaningful “knowledge” is whatever is required for the laboratory engineering process. Their idiot arrogance assumes that this should be sufficient to subjugate nature in the crop and and in the field. This is a big part of the reason why GMOs are such inferior, shoddy, failure-prone products. The inferiority of the product is the logical outcome of the myopically reductive, anti-intellectual, anti-scientific ideology which went into engineering it. Garbage in, garbage out.
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Given the engineer ideology, in conjunction with the sleazy profiteering of the corporations, it’s no surprise that the quality of the product doesn’t matter at all. The attitude that technological manipulation as such is the highest religious value implies that the product doesn’t actually have to work in any constructive way, just as long as it “works” in some abstract way, to the engineer’s satisfaction. As Loeb’s biographer put it, “The nature of the product was less important than the extent and ease of manipulation.” Consequently, the engineers and fanboys of GMOs join the corporate marketing bureau in having zero compunction about endlessly regurgitating basic empirical lies about the performance of the product: The fact that GMOs require increased pesticide use, that they yield less, that products like “golden rice” or “GM drought resistant maize” are hoaxes, etc. For devotees of the religion of technology-based control, the idea of GMOs is infinitely more important than the real world product itself. Since the lies only touch the real thing while the fantasies soar into the realm of the religious ideal, they see no ethical reason not to lie. This is a fundamental trait of their being.
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In the same way, they tell such “science” lies as that genetic engineering has anything in common with conventional breeding or natural evolution. This overriding contempt for how evolution works adds up to what is, unlike prior strains, a systemically dangerous form of evolution denial. This is because the GMO ideology seeks to force upon the entirety of global agriculture a maladapted, dangerously narrow slice of agricultural genetics which is suffused with mutations which can manifest unpredictably at any time during the course of the transgenic crop’s generations if it meets a particular environmental challenge. The GMO cult wants to do this all at once, in an instant, without even the slightest allowance for evolution’s natural tempo and the challenges it normally poses to any new biological form. Such an agricultural system is cruising for a major fall which will dwarf the 1970 Southern Corn Leaf Blight pandemic, also caused by dangerously narrow genetics. If a cabal were to set out intentionally to render humanity vulnerable to the most dire extremes of famine, it could hardly do better than set up the conditions corporate agriculture, in conjunction with the GMO scientism cult, is currently trying to establish. None of this matters to the cultists since they’re in the tradition of the biological control process itself being the one and only value.
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The influence of this ideology also explains the rampant confusion of science and technology, including the common misconception that the deployment of GMOs, and to a large extent their development, is a “science” matter, when in reality science has almost nothing to do with it. Where the hysterical shrieks of “anti-science!!!” aren’t just lies, it’s the confused engineers and their even more confused fanboys deluding themselves that engineers are scientists, and that science is a part of engineering and even subordinate to it. The phenomenon is basically a major trend of anti-intellectualism within the scientific and engineering establishment. Today’s paid liars, in turn, take advantage of this prior ideological confusion.
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To sum up, the corporate subsidy system and brute economic muscle of the US, UK, Indian, and other governments are expended to make the GMO cartel profitable. Within this framework the engineering cult performs its religious rites for its own vanity and edification-via-manipulation. This is the only edification they desire, since they hold firm to the ideology that the description of the lab manipulation and its effects is the science. Control = Science = religious faith.
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Of course, just as Loeb and his botanical teacher Sachs weren’t content sticking with plants, so today’s genetic engineering cultists regard agricultural GMOs merely as an intermediate step toward a full program of GE eugenics. There’s several practical reasons for this. Sachs consciously regarded his study and experimental control of plant tropism as preparation toward the same work with animals. Similarly, the genetic engineering of plants is, technically and politically, practice for doing the same with animals and humans. At least as important, agricultural GMOs are highly profitable and therefore research toward them brings lavish funding to control-fixated biological scientists and technicians. All this enables the general eugenic research work to go on with only moderate public concern and opposition.
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But the basic logic is clear, and the engineers have always been upfront about it: Agricultural GMOs = animal genetic engineering = human genetic engineering. All of this is toward the goal of total control, both as a scientific/engineering imperative, and of course from the point of view of political and economic tyranny, with which today’s scientific establishment willingly has become conjoined.
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If humanity is to overcome this great threat to its freedom, health, prosperity, and its very existence, we must overcome and replace not only the evil political and economic ideology of modern times, but the nihilist mercenary ideology which has hijacked science. True science benefits and upholds health and freedom. We must redeem it for our future.

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5 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on New Human New Earth.

    Comment by NewHuman NewEarth — September 30, 2015 @ 12:30 pm

  2. We did not vote for any part of the UN 1945 plan for a totalitarian, one-world government.

    The Pope, Obama and Putin have been working together behind the scenes to get us to voluntarily jump from the frying pan into the fire.

    Google “Stalin’s science” To see how abrupt and unfounded FALSEHOODS were inserted in the foundations of nuclear & solar physics after WWII

    Comment by omanuel — September 30, 2015 @ 2:59 pm

  3. […] and corporate goals. Indeed, both formally and in its genesis and function it’s similar to the lie of pro-GMO activists that genetic engineering is a form of natural evolution. . The most bizarre thing about the […]

    Pingback by Liberal Climate Change Denial (“the Anthropocene”) | Volatility — October 8, 2015 @ 6:39 am

  4. […] toward this goal, and the entire history of their type (the history of eugenics specifically, and the control ideology among engineers in general) proves that at some point they will consciously organize to attain this goal. . So I think […]

    Pingback by The Goal of the Scientism Cultists | Volatility — February 8, 2016 @ 3:36 am

  5. […] “precise” and “controlled” industrial agriculture is, and how much of a lie the ideology of scientific control is in the first place. It also demonstrates how all the pretensions of control so pompously touted […]

    Pingback by GMO News Summary February 26th, 2016 | Volatility — February 26, 2016 @ 3:15 am


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