Warning: Genetically Moronic Organisms

The U.S. left’s anti-science movement is almost as bad as the U.S. right’s anti-science movement. The anti-science-right thinks everything is an ungodly development (or will hurt the oil & gas industry). The anti-science-left wants us all to die of cholera, measles, and mass starvation so long as we all use only “all-natural” medicine and food, supposedly because humanity survived before the modern stuff.

True — and life was miserable because everyone was sick or hungry until they died, hopefully not before popping out enough surviving children to keep the species going.

I’m fine with the critiques of environmental sustainability of food production, but many of the modified crops are more sustainable and have a lower ecological impact than the “natural” and “organic” competitors. And I want everyone to have enough to eat, which is hard to execute without higher-caloric food and drought-resistant crops.

I’m also not going to sit here and pretend that more or less every crop consumed by humans for the past wasn’t genetically modified by humans, via trial-and-error and then formalized food science, for the past twelve thousand years. You can be mad at the health effects of some of the engineered food combinations, and you can be mad at the role of the broken patent system in the GMO world, but you can’t be mad at “genetically modified” food as a concept, because then you’re just mad at all food humans have ever grown.

Even the maize the English colonists found in the “New World” in the early 17th century was engineered by indigenous populations of the Americas for thousands of years before it was a productive, large-ish food crop even close to modern corn. It’s not some twisted Mary Shelley novel up in those food genetics labs. They’re figuring out how to feed everyone.

Meanwhile, the critiques of modern, settled medical science (such as vaccination) are unacceptable and dangerous, as previously covered by Arsenal For Democracy. The only exceptions are on things we know are still in need of improvement, such as pain management and antibiotic over-use. But nobody is going around claiming those areas are a-ok. Doctors and researchers are pretty aware of those problems and are working on them.

Everything that is settled won’t be re-opened just by you rolling out of bed and checking up on your favorite conspiracy blog, the one your buddy from suburban parenting group told you about. Maybe start worrying about actual, verifiable pollution of drinking supplies near vulnerable populations (often non-white and usually low-income) before telling your doctor she’s a sheep for trying to get your kid vaccinated to go to school.

Between the two anti-science factions — right and left — it’s no wonder this country is seeing a rise in childbirth deaths of women and has an infant mortality rate not matched in peer nations. But at least we’ll be back to everyone dying at 30 — like God and/or crunchy Mother Earth intended. YOLO.

March 31, 2014 – Arsenal For Democracy 78

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Description: Guest expert Sydnee McElroy MD of the “Sawbones” podcast explains the science of vaccines. Bill and Nate look at why government steps in where charity falls short. Persephone on the future of nursing in the United States, by looking at Europe.

AFD 78

Related Links

Sawbones: “Dr. Mesmer and the Power of Animal Magnetism”

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March 10, 2014 – Arsenal For Democracy 76

AFD-logo-big-new Description:
Nate and Greg join Bill to talk about rising vaccine hysteria, the importance of public vaccinations, and how the “debate” fits into the broader arc of American politics and ideology. European correspondent Persephone looks at the debate over Spanish time zones and siesta culture. Finally Nate, Greg, and Bill look at Crimea in the context of other separatist/independence movements, such as Scotland and Catalonia.

Part 1: AFD 76

Note: This week, the online/podcast version contains an additional segment not aired on WVUD for time purposes. The whole episode with all 3 segments this week is an hour long.

Related Links

Mother Jones: Study: You Can’t Change an Anti-Vaxxer’s Mind
BBC: Analysis: Why Russia’s Crimea move fails legal test
Slate: Crimea referendum: Is the U.S. hypocritical about which independence movements it supports?
The Globalist: A History of Spanish Autonomy
The Globalist: Spain Urgently Needs Consolidation
The Globalist: To Secede or Not to Secede: The Case of Europe

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Anti-vaccine myths fuel global rise in preventable disease

The dangerous fantasy that vaccines cause autism has infected communities across the world and contributed to a resurgence of formerly rare diseases. Data collected by the CFR since 2008 shows a growth in reported cases of measles in the UK and whooping cough in the US. This includes a 20-year high of 2,000 measles cases in the UK and a eye-popping 15,000 French cases in 2011. Due to a fraudulent 1994 study, many believe the MMR  (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine can cause autism in young children, a toxic viewpoint has been championed by current “The View” co-host Jenny McCarthy. Looking at the map, we should be working to improve vaccination rates in India and Africa instead of weakening herd immunity in America and Europe.