Science Literacy Under Assault: Anti-GMO Propaganda Invades NY State Parent-Teacher Association

Monsanto's takeover by Bayer must be triggering massive cognitive dissonance among organic food and anti-GMO activists because their favorite bogeyman, that American incarnation of pure corporate evil and greed, has been purchased by a reputable European company. (Bayer is regularly featured in Fortune's top 10 "most admired" chemical companies, where it earns high praise for its social responsibility.) So, what's the next step for the anti-GMO crowd? 

The New York State Parent-Teacher Association (NYS PTA), apparently. A proposed resolution (PDF, pages 13-14), to be voted on at their November convention, supports mandatory labeling and a GMO ban from school food. The resolution, which is shocking coming from an organization that, at least in part, represents New York's teachers, is packed full of pseudoscientific thinking and anti-biotechnology propaganda.

For instance, the resolution states:

This biotechnology science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature

Whoever wrote this resolution lacks a high school understanding of biology. (Yet, he or she is part of an organization with a strong influence on education policy.) Genes, including the ones inserted into GMOs, work precisely because they are stably expressed. If they weren't stable, then whatever function the gene encodes would not work. And the claim that strange gene combinations do not occur in nature is just wrong. Your genome is riddled with dead retroviruses, perhaps up to 8% of itYou are a GMO. Sorry. 

some laboratory research is demonstrating a link between pesticide dependent GMOs and GE foods to negative health consequences

That's like saying, "Some research demonstrates a link between vaccines and autism." Ok, that's technically true, but the research was subsequently debunked. (And in the specific case of the vaccine-autism link, found to be fraudulent, too.) No serious research shows a negative health impact from GMOs. On the contrary, a massive review concluded that they were perfectly safe for human and animal consumption.

more transparent and conclusive studies need to be conducted before GMOs are assumed to be safe for human and animal consumption

The review just mentioned analyzed 1,783 documents. If that isn't "transparent and conclusive," then nothing is.

The truth of the matter is that pro-organic, anti-GMO activists are members of a religious cult. In their belief system, things arbitrarily called "natural" are better and things arbitrarily called "unnatural" are bad. In this cult, as the late Michael Crichton famously said, "Organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs imbibe." Woe unto those of you who dare blaspheme the name of Whole Foods. 

As the NYS PTA resolution demonstrates, widespread efforts to boost science literacy in America are being viciously undermined by dishonest food activists. We must ensure that an entire generation of impressionable young minds is kept safe from their indoctrination. Keep their twisted religion out of the classroom.