In last week's News and Views from the Nefarium I warned about the emergence of a new "meme" in Mr. Globaloney's arsenal of doublespeak: "Follow the science!" In reality, this is not a new meme at all. It's rather old, if we count a few decades as being "old." It made its first ugly appearance in the Soviet Union where "science" was used to justify the creation of a new type of society based on the "scientific" principles when Marxism, social engineering, collectivism, strange and twisted versions of evolution were all stirred into an ideological stew and used to justify all sorts of policy based upon a particular prevailing "scientific" narrative that were convenient to the ruling political class. More recently, we've watched "global warming" and "climate change" being used in this fashion, to drive policy agendas that are "following science." The trouble is, of course, that these narratives usually follow one one version of the "science" and have little time nor inclination even to mention any contraindicating scientific models and views. The recent covid planscamdemic and "mandatory masks" being yet another case in point. Now, however, we're watching it being driven more forcefully in the west by the propatainment media. And that bodes ill, because it empowers the technocrat - the "computer modelers" - who present their models as science itself.
Which brings us back once again to the narratives that were paraded when GMOs were ramrodded into agriculture and into the food supply. One of the prevailing "memes" at the time that was driven relentlessly by the GMO apologists was that they held the promise of ending hunger once and for all, because with genetic engineering, yields per acre would increase, and there was even the occasional story about how non-productive land could be made to be agriculturally productive.
I've done stories on this website before of studies - notably by the University of Iowa - that indicate that over the long run, this is not the case, and now there's even more of an indication that all those hopeful narratives of a few decades ago are simply not true, according to these stories shared by W.G.:
The first article points out that the promises of increased yields in regions with special problems of raising certain crops has not materialized:
Researchers find GM Bt cotton leads to stagnant yields, high costs, increased insecticide use, low farmer incomes and farmer suicides
The conclusion of this study on GM Bt cotton in India speaks for itself: "The hybrid long-season Bt technology for rainfed and irrigated cotton is unique to India, and is a value capture mechanism. This technology is suboptimal, leading to stagnant yields, high input costs, increased insecticide use, and low farmer incomes that increase economic distress that is a proximate cause of cotton farmer suicides. The current GM Bt technology adds costs in rainfed cotton without commensurate increases in yield. Non-GM pure-line high-density short-season varieties could double rainfed cotton yield, reduce costs, decrease insecticide use, and help ameliorate suicides. The GM hybrid technology is inappropriate for incorporation in short-season high-density varieties."
Or to put all that in the country simple terminology of us deplorables in fly-over country: Genetically modified cotton is a failure.
Why? Because it costs more, increases farmer debt, with little improvement over the yield-per-acre of non-genetically modified cotton. Gee, who would've thought? Well, actually, those who raised all these concerns back when the GMO bandwagon was just getting underway did.
The second article is even more to the point, noting that "science" in certain contexts simply means "corporate agenda":
An anonymous pro-GMO troll on Twitter recently tweeted, "There’s plenty of studies coming out showing GMO crops are increasing yield now. In the beginning they were breeding for resistance." He ended with a finger-wagging admonition to GMWatch over our stance that GM does not increase yields: "Maybe be a little more informed".
The troll tweets under a fake identity, using the name of Venezuela's mustachioed president Nicolas Maduro and the Twitter handle @madurosmustache. He supplied several links to back up his case. Could he be right?
Widely respected authorities have said that GM doesn't increase yields.
A 2013 peer-reviewed paper looked at crop production data from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and found that for staple crops, Western Europe’s almost entirely non-GM agriculture outyielded North America’s GM agriculture, with less pesticide use.
In 2016 the journalist Danny Hakim updated the exercise for the New York Times, looking at more recent FAO data. He found that “genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides”.
In the same year, the US National Academy of Sciences, an organisation that is broadly – some say excessively – supportive of GM crops, published a report stating that “there was little evidence” that the introduction of GM crops in the United States had led to yield gains beyond those seen in conventional crops. (Emphasis added)
Beyond this, of course, are the health concerns that have been raised with respect to GMOs, everything from unintended (or worse, perhaps intended) genetic effects on their animal and human consumers, to increased occurrences of animal and human cancers. And for me, the biggest issue was always that of the lack of any fully independent inter-generational environmental and health impact studies, an issue that was behind Russia's decision to prohibit GMO crops until such studies were done.
But everyone "followed the (corporate-sponsored) 'science,'" and here we are with rising costs and no significant increases of yields.
Yes... "follow the science." GMOs are safe! Face masks are not dangerous! They stop the cold viru...er... 'rona virus! Socially distance! Follow the arrows on the grocery store floors! You'll be safer! Glyphosate is good for you! The climate is getting
warmer er colder er it's "changing", science tells us we'll have better agriculture in collective farms! Saccharine causes cancer! Saccharine doesn't cause cancer! Don't eat apples with Alar! (Remember that one?)
And the sad thing is, real science suffers from all of this, because what we're really watching is a world-wide epidemic of a different sort, of too many people crying "wolf!" when there is no wolf, or rather, not being able to recognize a real wolf come to raid the flock, and ignoring the voices of real alarm when it happens.
The game will be up when people wake up and start asking the question, "whose science? And why follow it when over here there is a completely different scientific argument? And why is that completely different argument never crossing the lips of your network commentators?"
See you on the flip side...