For decades, excessive, unscientific regulation has slowed innovation using molecular genetic engineering. Policymakers must awaken to the realization that regulations based on pseudoscience or nescience are destructive and regressive. Tremendous innovations await, if only we have the wisdom to permit them to be developed.
The world's biggest consumer hoax is organic agriculture, which pretends to be what it isn't. And very successfully.
Part 1 of this two-part series described the “Stanford University paradox” – the uncritical embrace of politically correct concepts that contradict its reputation as a cutting-edge, science-grounded institution. I described the contrast between the university’s outstanding research and its dubious view of “sustainability,” which includes a commitment to organic farming practices. I elaborate on the latter here, in Part 2.
California's Central Valley produces more than 250 different crops comprising one-fourth of the nation's food. That includes 40% of our fruits, nuts, and other table foods. However, California is currently facing a severe drought, which will require farmers to fallow at least 500,000 acres of farmland. So how do we grow the necessary food?
The organic industry is built upon a gigantic lie. It's the notion that "natural" farming methods are safer and healthier while "unnatural" methods are dangerous. It should surprise no one, therefore, that such a deceptive industry would attract its fair share of hucksters.
There is no right answer to this question. That's because it depends on who you ask, a farmer or a chemist. And even then it's not always straightforward.
Proponents of organic agriculture have succeeded in scaring many consumers about the supposed dangers of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. But few have thought to examine the effects of those chemicals approved for use under organic rules. At least some, such as copper sulfate, are also dangerous for beneficial species such as bees.
Although many consumers believe organic food is better than the conventionally-produced varieties and are willing to pay a premium for it U.S. farmers apparently aren't drinking this particular KoolAid. At least, they're not rushing to grow organic crops.
An organic farmer in Australia actually sued a neighbor last year -- and won -- claiming some of the neighbor's GM canola blew onto his field and caused some of his crop to lose its organic certification. But the Australian Court of Appeals has now reversed that ruling, which makes complete sense.
Now that the claim that organic foods are more nutritious than conventionally-produced ones is rarely espoused by responsible writers, organic producers and adherents have fallen back on the fewer pesticides claim. But is that really accurate? Blogger Steven Savage says no, not really.