Coming to Portland’s book burning party?

bookburning
The Portland (Oregon) Public School board recently voted to prohibit textbooks or classroom materials questioning the mainstream thinking about climate change. The Cascade Policy Institute’s comments on the action, reprinted here, deserve attention.
 
“Resolution No. 5272 is two pages long, but the most chilling part is the final sentence:
 
‘[Portland Public Schools] will abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities.’
 
The primary purpose of education is to teach students how to be critical thinkers. Now that the School Board has declared that expressions of doubt about complex scientific topics will be banned, what is the point of going to school?
 
Regardless of the subject we should encourage students to be skeptical. The more questioning the better. They will be poorly prepared for adult living if they spend their childhood years being spoon-fed in schools where skepticism is prohibited.
 
Public education already faces a growing challenge from private schools, online learning, and home-based education. If Resolution 5272 is upheld, Portland Public Schools will give parents one more reason to leave.”

Liberals love science, except on GMOs

Have some doubts about human-caused climate change. Get over it, liberals say. It’s an indisputable fact, a sure thing, unassailable. Science proves it and you gotta trust science.

Heck, it’s so clear-cut, even the Portland School Board has unanimously adopted a resolution that directs district officials to get rid of classroom materials that express “doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities.”

The Board didn’t clarify whether that meant such faulty materials were to be burned, a la Fahrenheit 451 where Captain Beatty burned books because they produce “two sides to a question to worry him”.

But scads of liberals take a different tack when the issue is GMOs.

bamGM0

Ranting and raving that GMOs just aren’t safe, they demand labeling of products containing GMOs and insist there’s a need to protect the non-GMO food supply. In a 330-page publication dismissing the “myths” about the safety of GMOs, Earth Open Source, an organization that “is presenting the evidence regarding the social, environmental, and health impacts of GMO foods”, asserts “that those disagreeing with GMO proponents’ claims of safety include hundreds of eminent scientists.”

GMOatCostco

A display at a Costco store

But science says differently.

GMO crops are as safe to eat as their non-GMO counterparts and have no negative environmental impacts according to a comprehensive report released on May 17 by the National Academy of Sciences —a group founded by the U.S. Congress to provide expert scientifically-based advice on a variety of issues. The report is a 388-page, comprehensive look at every aspect of genetically engineered crops.

Key messages in the report, summarized by National Geographic, are:

  • GMO crops are safe to eat…there’s no evidence of harm.
  • The GMO crops in our food system have “…helped farmers protect yields from insects and weeds.”
  • The report found no adverse affects on biodiversity or danger from interbreeding between GMO crops and wild relatives.
  • The economic benefits to farmers have been well-documented.
  • Appropriate regulation is imperative, and that regulation should be based on the characteristics of the crop, rather than the technique used to develop it, whether GMO or non-GMO.
  • Ongoing public conversations about GE crops and related issues should be characterized by transparency and public participation.

The National Academy of Sciences report also notes that both genetic engineering and conventional breeding are important to crop improvement. Each method has strengths and weaknesses, and treating them “as competing approaches is a false dichotomy; more progress in crop improvement can be brought about by using both … than by using either alone.”

So, will the GMO alarmists finally see the light? Will they embrace science and back off? Doubtful. But at least now there’s a stronger argument to challenge their illusions.