Should I Care?

The New York Times says that Monsanto is paying scientists to find that there is nothing dangerous about eating genetically modified crops.

Corporations have poured money into universities to fund research for decades, but now, the debate over bioengineered foods has escalated into a billion-dollar food industry war. Companies like Monsanto are squaring off against major organic firms like Stonyfield Farm, the yogurt company, and both sides have aggressively recruited academic researchers, emails obtained through open records laws show.

Both sides are doing it! I can hear it now from all of my friends that think there is nothing to be done. Your side is doing it just like mine, why vote! Right. Well, the issue is not whether or not there is sin, but whether or not the sin is corrupting the process. In this case just funding something is not really a problem, as scientists are quick to point out. If all the big companies were doing was paying for whatever science emerged then nobody could have a problem with that.

…the biotech industry has published dozens of articles, under the names of prominent academics, that in some cases were drafted by industry consultants.

Historically, though, that is not how their pure science is used by the paymasters. They will cherry pick hypothesis to be studied. They will pose the results in the most favorable language before lawmakers, who themselves have been paid to hear the results in the most favorable way. Laws will be passed, like the recent law that forbids anyone anywhere to label a food as GMO. Missouri recently passed a law “The Freedom To Farm” that forbids any city from restricting any modern ways of farming.

There is no evidence that academic work was compromised, but the emails show how academics have shifted from researchers to actors in lobbying and corporate public relations campaigns.

Tobacco companies, sugar companies, chemical companies…they all want to be loved by everyone. Sugar is actually a health food. Tobacco is a remedy for asthma. Monsanto is only looking out for the food sources of the future. All they want, in common, is a better world for us all to live in. Oh, and profit, they would like to defend their profit as well but…they all do it!

The victim here is not Monsanto or you. The victim is science. The ability to actually determine what the effects of all of these causes are will require some actual scientific-method science. Forcing our universities to go, hat in hand, to the masters of the universe will degrade our research machinery to the point where the only things being learned lead us straight into the world of Idiocracy. Soon the common knowledge will be that you water your crops with Brawndo, because they have electrolytes! If it’s good for you, it must be good for crops too!

Back in the day, in the 1970s, Congress and the States funded public universities. Back then it was understood that an inexpensive college education was good for society. Smart kids should be able to continue their education even if they aren’t rich. Only letting rich kids go to university would not make the average intelligence there go up. They also funded public university research departments.

When science from universities started getting results that hurt the bottom line of pharmaceutical companies, tobacco companies, sugar companies, then something had to change. Cut funding to ‘save money’ and let the research be paid for using ‘private donors’. Same thing, right, private donors will save the tax payer (the wealthy) money. Private donors will make sure the scientific results are what they want or they will kill the research or not publish the results, which is the same thing.

Dr. Folta, the emails show, soon became part of an inner circle of industry consultants, lobbyists and executives who devised strategy on how to block state efforts to mandate G.M.O. labeling and, most recently, on how to get Congress to pass legislation that would pre-empt any state from taking such a step.

What is the answer to this problem? I hate to say it, but quit electing politicians that won’t fund public universities fully. Universities would much rather get science funding from an entity that will let them go where the science takes them, I am sure. This is a single issue that would be worth deciding a vote on. One question “Where are you on public funding of university research?” If the word private comes up as a solution, the answer is vote for the other guy.

The answer is I should care. Not so much about GMO or sugar or tobacco, but about science. The world moves forward by thinking, not wishing.

About dcarmack

I am an instrument technician at the electric utility servicing the Kansas City Missouri metropolitan area. I am in the IBEW, Local 412. I was trained to be a nuclear power plant operator in the USN and served on submarines. I am a Democrat, even more so than those serving in Congress or the White House.
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1 Response to Should I Care?

  1. Pingback: Should I Care? | One Small Change at a Time | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

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