Argumentum Ad Monsantum: Bill Maher and The Lure of a Liberal Logical Fallacy
Let’s get real. It doesn’t matter if you think Monsanto is evil. Genetically modified food is safe — no matter what logical fallacies will lead liberals like Bill Maher to believe. If Monsanto has anything to do with it, it must be evil.
Maher, who I think gets a lot of science right, gets the science of GM food so wrong because he is unable or unwilling to disentangle the politics from the science. Many liberals seem to have the same problem.
This is a veeeeerrrrrry interesting take on the demonization of GM crops by the Left. I’ve always wondered why GM crops are always labeled as the purest evil known to man, while there seems so little evidence as to its harmfulness. Where’s the actual proof that GM crops are going to kill and mutate us all? I’ve heard all the arguments before, but nobody seems to have anything except rhetoric about “Frankenfood”, and scary, anecdotal tales of gruesome mutations and whatnot. If you poke around online, you’ll find that the studies claiming proof of GMO’s toxicity have largely been discredited as bad science and sloppily conducted in order to produce a politically-motivated result. Why is this so hard to prove, after 20 years of GMOs being out there in the world? You’ll also find that many, many articles which give reasons why GMOs are evil also happen to be selling organic foods and products. It reminds me of when Splenda hit the market and became a sensation — the sugar industry went berzerk and launched a thousand attack ads against it, claiming it causes cancer and whatnot.
And then we get into the really unpleasant aspect of the matter: well-fed Westerners telling starving people in other countries what they can and can’t eat. Denying starving children a meal? Sure, why not? That rice might be POISON! I recently ran across this damning article about Greenpeace’s efforts to keep starving people hungry and it simply enrages me.
This descent into cruelty can be traced back to 2002 in Zambia. At the time, the country faced food shortages and people were starving. The U.S sent food to help alleviate the disaster. Then, in waltzed foreign activist groups who convinced the Zambian Government that the food was “poison.” Zambia then warehoused all the food aid and refused to distribute it to their starving people.
This is a crime against humanity.
My own problem with GM foods is with Monsanto’s seed patents and their habit of suing farmers out of business for allegedly infringing on them. Sometimes it happens purely by accident, as in the famous case of one farm next to a highway frequented by passing Monsanto seed trucks. This is where things get complicated — yes, the company did the research to create these crops, but what’s going to happen in the case of a worldwide food shortage? Will they be selling their special seeds at $500 each?
So while I’m not convinced that these things are toxic, I’m worried about the future of our food supply being potentially held hostage by corporations who only look out for their own best interests. I wonder why these activists aren’t focusing on this angle more than anything else.