Ecoterrorists Plan Attack On Research Institute And Advertise The Date
    By Hank Campbell | May 2nd 2012 08:00 PM | 3 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    Anti-science hippies are getting bolder; not only will they announce what they plan to do, they will issue the time and date to meet to carry out their next attack. And ask for help from the public.

    Take The Flour Back is planning a "mass action against genetically modified wheat" at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, on May 27th. This attack is over genetically modified food - and England in the birthplace of genetically modified anti-science hysteria so no surprise, but their boldness is.  Imagine if BP announced plans to attack a climate research group. It just wouldn't happen.

    They get away with it by clever use of framing - and politically aligned journalists and bloggers help.  They are anti-corporation, they claim, not anti-science.  They are cautious.

    What are these evil scientists working on?  Modifying wheat so it won't need aphid pesticides and it will be better for the environment and clean water.  Oh, the humanity! Stop the Frankenfood!

    The loonies are not seeing reason, though.  "We're asking the scientists to do the responsible thing and stop this trial," said a member of the group, Helen. "If they don't, we're going to have to do the responsible thing ourselves. We really don't want to be pushed into this action. We're not anti-science. It's just about doing things responsibly."

    Ummm, a subjective personal definition which provokes you to violence if anyone disagrees with you is actually the definition of being anti-science, Helen.

    The researchers wrote an open letter to the ecoterrorists, asking them not to destroy years of work and stating ethics are on their side, because they want to work with nature rather than against it, like pesticides do.  "What you are planning to do is reminiscent of clearing books from a library because you wish to stop other people finding out what they contain."

    If reason were going to work, they wouldn't be militant kooks threatening you in the first place, scientists.


    For those genuinely interested in the debate, you might be interested to read that campaigners responded with an open letter outlining the dangers of the trial to other research sites and asking Rothamsted researchers to join them in a public debate. The letter is attached below, but I fear the hysteria around 'scientists' vs 'terrorists' will over-shadow any debate around the either the science or the public benefit of this trial.

    There is really no debate when one side knows no science yet invokes the precautionary principle and flawed logic; "can you prove that nothing harmful will ever happen?"  An impossible test for every food and every occupation but only applied by militant kooks about their latest pet peeve.  What can be proven is that, to-date, organic foods have killed and sickened thousands and thousands of people who no GMO food has led to even one stomachache. 
    Gerhard Adam
    The issue I have with all of this is that no one seems to be consistent in articulating the problem that is being solved and demonstrating how any particular solution is going to solve it.

    I'm not interesting in using government mandates to improve profitability, nor am I interested in economic models.  Neither of those are rightfully part of the scientific model.

    So, if the purpose is to reduce use of pesticides, then it should be easy enough to point to studies demonstrating such results and to provide benchmarks to mark successful achievement of such objectives.  Similarly consumer safety choices are largely irrelevant to the discussion and can be readily addressed through proper labeling of foods in the marketplace. 

    Similarly, tertiary concerns such as environmental impacts that have not been properly accommodated or studied should simply be implicit in the liability assumed by those promoting the "product".  These are the elements that represent the "true cost" of production.

    It isn't a matter of arguing about the science, since I'm quite confident that the scientists have done a good job and that there is no subterfuge nor dishonesty taking place.  I realize that some will argue that the issue of liability may be onerous, but I don't have much sympathy for that argument.  If I can be held liable for someone slipping on my property, why should I absolve a major corporation that stands to make huge profits be exempt from liability from introducing a new "species" [or at least a modified one] into the biosphere.  If there are no risks, then there's equally no risk of liability.

    I also don't think that the legal system should be tolerant of frivolous lawsuits or harassment suits that are an impediment to successful businesses either.  In other words, people shouldn't be entitled to sue over the perception of GMO modifications any more than they can hold an apple tree liable for the fruit it produces.  So, in that respect, I would also expect the standard for claiming damages to be quite high [regarding human health complaints].  Similarly GMO food growers should also be held to an equally high standard of liability should they intentionally or unintentionally cross breed their plants with others that don't wish to.
    Mundus vult decipi