One hundred and ten Nobel Laureates in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Economics, and even one in Literature, have signed an open letter “To the Leaders of Greenpeace, the United Nations, and Governments around the world,” begging the environmentalist organization to stop their anti-GMO crusade and the others to stop listening to Greenpeace if they won’t.
The “Laureates Letter Supporting Precision Agriculture (GMOs)” accuses “organizations opposed to modern plant breeding, with Greenpeace at their lead” of misrepresenting the “risks, benefits, and impacts” of GMOs, and of supporting “the criminal destruction of approved field trials and research projects,” most notably the vitamin A enriched “golden rice.”
On the one hand, they’ve got a point — Greenpeace has gone full dogma on GMOs, not once stopping their crusade against them for a moment to check and see if maybe GMOs aren’t actually bad (they aren’t, by the way, at least, not according to the overwhelming scientific consensus on the matter). Their opposition to golden rice in particular has been bizarre, carried out despite the evidence and for an ever-changing list of less and less rational reasons.
On the other hand, as this Vox article points out, there are a lot of non-Greenpeace reasons that golden rice isn’t quite there yet, too.
That said, Greenpeace’s response to this has been to screw the tinfol hats on tighter. According to their response today, “corporations are overhyping ‘Golden’ rice to pave the way for global approval of other more profitable genetically engineered crops.” Gotta hate those dastardly corporations trying to eliminate vitamin A deficiency induced blindness in children to prove that GMOs are a good thing. What next, are they going to try to sneak around regulators by ending famine? Those bastards. BY the way, those “corporations” involved in the Golden Rice Project are such evil organizations as the University of Freiburg, the Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, and the International Rice Research Institute.
Unfortunately for the Nobel Laureates, they aren’t going to get any traction. When it comes to the particular strand of anti-intellectualism behind their stance on GMOs, Greenpeace is no better than PETA. But if the scientists are really lucky, they might just convince people to stop listening to Greenpeace, and on this issue, that’d be a really good start.
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Richard Ford Burley is a human, writer, and doctoral candidate at Boston College, as well as an editor at Ledger, the first academic journal devoted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, feminism, and futurism here at This Week In Tomorrow.