The anti-GMO movement…

It’s surprising how many people are anti-GMO, playing into the hands of unscrupulous marketers who have made a lot of money attending to their whims. The whole idea is absurd, of course. Humans have been making GMOs since prehistoric times. Their creations weren’t called such a nasty, degrading name as GMO, to be sure, because the usual name until hysteria took hold was “domesticated variety” or something similar. New technologies just speed up the process, but they just continue this process.

A recent article in Science News should be read by every anti-GMO activist on this planet, many of them in the U.S. (These probably overlap considerably with the anti-immunization crowd, PETA members, vegetarians, and vegans.) OK, I’m being a bit snarky here—I don’t really care about what your belief and behavioral choices are as long as you don’t proselytize about them by shouting in my face.

Back to the Science News article; it’s titled “The Road to Tameness” (SN, p. 21, July 8, 2017). I’ll extract from that articale a short list of ancient GMOs: golden hamsters, horses, silkworms, dogs, cats, chickens, honeybees, rice, foxes, watermelons, wheat, llamas, alpacas, turkeys, camels, ducks, sheep, corn, tulips, and roses. There are many more. Human beings have been genetically tinkering for ages. One really impressive sight is to drive through Holland when all those tulips are in bloom. Guess how many varieties in those fields of color are wild.

The article’s title is politically correct; SN always tries to stand above the cultural and political wars. They talk about “tameness” and “domestication” in the article. I talk about ancient GMOs and genetic engineering. Po-tah-toe v. po-tay-toe. No matter what you call it, human beings have been genetically tinkering for a long time.

So vegetarians and vegans are forewarned: if you eat corn, rice, and wheat—many other vegetables, in fact—you’re eating GMOs! And PETA members have a whole slew of GMO animals to contend with, bred to provide protein in the human diet and clothing for naked bodies. What a disgrace, right? Much better to let people starve and run around naked, dying from exposure to the elements. And don’t counter by saying there are synthetics available now—there weren’t before. Why, I know some people who want to dress up their dogs with winter sweaters. Often both the dogs and sweaters are GMOs.

I particularly like the silkworm example. I didn’t know it was a GMO. The Chinese genetically modified them along with rice thousands of years before the acronym GMO was invented or anyone even understood genetics. When was a rose not a rose? I guess when it became a GMO. I wonder if there are Dutch anti-GMO activists. Do they invade the tulip fields and trample the tulips?

Of course, there are GMOs that aren’t really domesticated. Any cat lover knows her or his pet has turned things around because the cute little felines have domesticated humans to be their slaves. But there’s a fine irony when an anti-GMO person is also a cat lover. Same thing for dog lovers too.

Anti-GMO activists usually play on people’s fears. The mad scientist tinkering with Nature, often as silly a concept as monsters under a child’s bed, are stereotypical creations of anti-GMO sentiments. Mutants are ubiquitous sci-fi characters who become scarier when they’re created by a psychotic and evil scientist.

In the “Clones and Mutants Trilogy” (more current today than when I wrote it, and on sale now at Smashwords—use the coupon codes during checkout), I turned this 1950s sci-fi theme on its head. The trilogy’s clones and mutants are GMOs created with evil purposes in mind, but they turn out to be both victims and good guys. Maybe this series hasn’t been too well received because of this? (The clones make their appearance in Full Medical, the first novel in the trilogy. The mutant Sirena appears in Evil Agenda and joins forces with a clone. In the trilogy’s final book, No Amber Waves of Grain, the clones and mutant come out of retirement to fight a psychotic Korean industrialist. So why “mutants” in the trilogy name? Yep, there’s a misguided bad one who appears at the end of the last book as a bow to the usual paranoia.)

Generally speaking, fears about GMOs are unfounded. When one considers all the good things that have come from GMOs through the ages, we shouldn’t lose sight of the positives. Like most everything nowadays, reasonable regulations and enforcement are needed to control the negatives. In these days where deregulation seems to be the trend, that’s food for thought (even GMO food). In general, nothing in our modern world is black and white. Calm thinking as opposed to histrionics is needed.


Rembrandt’s Angel (a mystery/thriller from Penmore Press). To what lengths would you go to recover a stolen masterpiece? Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiques Inspector Esther Brookstone goes the extra mile. She and paramour/sidekick Bastiann van Coevorden, an Interpol agent, set out to outwit the dealers of stolen art and recover “An Angel with Titus’ Features,” a Rembrandt painting stolen by the Nazis in World War Two. Their efforts lead to much more, as they uncover an international conspiracy that threatens Europe. During their dangerous adventures, their relationship solidifies and becomes a full-blown romance. This book is available in ebook format at Amazon and at Smashwords and its affiliate retailers. It’s also available as a print version at Amazon, B&N, or your favorite bookstore (if not there, ask for it). See the review and interview on Feathered Quill.

And so it goes….

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