Monday, June 30, 2014

OOooh Look, Pretty. Science, forever relying on shiny baubles to go forth. Now, weedkiller. OOooh, pretty!

Science pretty much has always relied on the natural tendency of humans to be attracted to pretty baubles and shiny new objects.  That is pretty much what science is all about, from explanations of natural phenomena to powered flight to the first vaccines to actual insertion of new DNA into living beings creating entirely new species with specific desired characteristics to the creation of superweeds resistant to all weedkillers.  Ooops, actually that last one was sort of an unintentional byproduct.  A rather unfortunate byproduct, one that was predicted by scientists and has come to pass with terrible consequences for agriculture.  And for the humans attempting to exist in a world where scientists believe themselves to be above the law and able to play god, they do both rather poorly.

The introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms was the huge shiny new bauble for the world to behold back in the nineties.  Look, pretty.  Crops that were able to withstand herbicides and actually grew their own insecticides within their very structure.  How could the world not be excited by them.  GM crops, along with the master money maker Roundup, were the recipe for monetary success for the agrigiant Monsanto.  And later, a whole slew of up and coming pioneers in the business.  The problems were many, and although many scientists predicted what would happen, the shiny new baubles were the shiniest ever seen.  The gilded path to milk and honey, every mid-size farmer and CEO of giant agricultural conglomerates were just wetting their pants to get these new GM crops.  Monsanto promised higher yields, less spraying of herbicides and insecticides, and above all else, higher profits.

In reality, the GM model worked for a few years, according to the USDA the use of herbicides and insecticides went down in the years after 1996 when these new crops became available for commercial use.  However, the truth is that it only worked for a short while. As it turns out though, the scientists and CEOs of these new genetic companies are in fact trying to play god, and like so many shortsighted humans out there, that belief in god doesn't allow for them to consider the reality of nature and the simple fact that organisms evolve.  If you read my blog at all, you saw a couple days ago that science measures the ability to kill an organism using complicated risk assessment and the measurement of how much of a chemical it takes to kill 50% of a given population.  (my info on it)  It is used on mammals, insects, and weeds.  The reality here is that scientists can in fact make chemicals that have a death rate of 100%, it's just that they are so toxic, so dangerous, that they cannot be allowed into the environment, the result would be devastating.  That is sort of the reason that VF Nerve gas is under such total security, if released, thousands, maybe millions would be killed.  There is no LD50 for nerve gas.  But we do have one for things like Bt Toxin and Roundup.  The simple demonstration of the scientific principle of evolution tells us that if an insect or weed is not killed by the application of Roundup, or having eaten a plant that has Bt toxin in its cell structure, then those weeds and bugs that survived will reproduce and the resulting offspring will pass to their progeny that resistance to the toxins.  As the weeds with resistance reproduce and spread, humans do that which is most natural, they spray ever greater quantities of Roundup on their crops to combat the encroachment of now resistant weeds into their farmland.  The same with Bt toxin, once the insects that could eat corn with the toxin in its structure and survive and breed others with resistance, then farmers had to resort to spraying ever more toxic pesticides onto their farms. The result of that, honeybees all over the world are dying.

Those that believe themselves to be infallible, and godlike, seem to believe that this process, evolution, does not exist and cannot happen.  However they do seem to have at the ready, ever more toxic pesticides and herbicides available to sell to farmers to control the problem.  I think I should name this phenomena, I will call it, Agnostigodicism.  They think they are God, but just in case they are found not to be, they are ready to make money either way. 

The entire process in fact is all about profit for those holding the shiny new baubles.  (Whole enchilada)  This link takes you to info about GM crops specifically.  But for right now, let's not talk about how the manufacturers have never done any long term feeding studies to see if GM crops are safe, let's not look at how the scientists in Brazil have discovered that the Bt toxin in every GM crop is in fact toxic to humans, and not just insects; and let's not look at how Roundup residues on GM crops has been raised at the request of Monsanto in response to the need to spray ever more amounts to try and kill the superweeds and that the chemical has been shown to be extremely mutagenic and detrimental to human systems in spite of the assurances by Monsanto that those scientists claiming such are wrong, and their researchers are right and it is harmless.  Let's not look at all that stuff, let's just look at how Monsanto wants to introduce a new generation of GM crops that are resistant to Agent Orange, 2,4-D.  Agent Orange is far far more insidious than Roundup.  There are so many problems with the stuff, not just the horrific effects on humans that we are still dealing with from the Vietnam war, but just the fact that 2,4-D has a very HIGH propensity to drift up to a week after being sprayed on a crop and may drift in high winds up to THIRTY miles from the target field.  Can you imagine the scenario in this Des Moines Register article (DM Register) where some enterprising farmer spends about 10,000 dollars an acre to put in a hundred acres of grapes for wine making and some soy farmer sprays Agent Orange on his crop twenty miles away and it kills all of his grapes.  The very real possibility of this happening becomes ever more apparent when we realize that EVEN Agent Orange doesn't kill all the weeds, there is still that LD50 rate level that farmers are supposed to use.  And the same thing will happen as happened with Roundup resistant weeds.  Agent Orange resistant weeds will grow and spread, and farmers will spray ever more of the stuff on their fields just as they have been doing for the last ten or twelve years in response to weeds evolving into SUPERWEEDS.

Agnostigodicism, the belief that you, and all you do is inerrant and without fault.  But just in case you're wrong, then you are prepared for that, it isn't your fault either.  And you can make money the whole time.   How perfectly sublime the path to money is for some. 

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