Letter: Columnist responds to letter-writer
September 20, 2014
Thank you, Ms. Michelle, for your letter about my Sept. 14 column, "Are Democrats anti-science?" In particular, thank you for not calling me names, which is more than I can say for your tweet on the day the column was published, where you oddly name-called me "Rick Santorum" (which is not fair to him).
Thank you, also, for not contesting the fact that nearly a third of Dems believe in astrology.
As for the rest of your letter: You invited me to cite a study on the long-term effects of genetically modified organisms. According to Forbes, there are more than 100 such studies, and none has shown any adverse effects. Here's a link to a meta-study of 24 such studies: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691511006399.
You say I "spouted" about "golden rice." In point of fact, however, I did not say anything nor "spout" anything nor for that matter "sprout" anything about "golden rice." I did mention that wheat farming had been revolutionized by a geneticist who won the Nobel Prize for his work. Genetically engineered wheat has saved millions of people from starvation — another point that you have not acknowledged but also not contested.
As for the golden rice you mentioned, I have to take you to task because you've repeated a lie that has cost millions of people their eyesight and lives, according to Scientific American. You contend that genetically engineered golden rice was "scrapped" because it causes blindness by lacking vitamin A. The truth is exactly the opposite. Natural rice lacks vitamin A, which is essential to eyesight. Consequently, a serious problem in rice-dominated diets is blindness. Golden rice was genetically engineered to contain vitamin A. It has alleviated blindness and would do more to alleviate blindness but for ideological opposition by the ant-GMO crowd. This scandal has allowed millions of people to suffer blindness whose sight could have been saved. The scandal is discussed and deplored in the Scientific American piece (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2014/03/15/golden-rice-opponents-should-be-held-accountable-for-health-problems-linked-to-vitamain-a-deficiency)
Finally, the article you reference (but don't cite) in the International Journal Of Biological Sciences, for the proposition that GMO corn is dangerous, is apparently the one by a Greenpeace-funded French researcher whose work has been widely discredited. The European Food Safety Authority specifically concluded that the conclusions in his article were not supported by his data. One of his later papers asserting the dangers of GMOs suffered the ignominy of the publishing journal retracting it after it was universally debunked.
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As for the Dems' legalization of addictive, cognition-impairing, brain-damaging drugs, well, I suggest that once the issue is so framed, it answers itself. Your contention that there have been "zero" deaths due to addictive, cognition-impairing, brain-damaging drugs (and your citation of a political website for that statistic) is not cognizant of the fact that we live in a technological society where cognition and brains are essential to survival. I can only hope that you and I are not near the roadway when addicted, cognition-impaired, brain-damaged drivers careen by.
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