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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 3, 2014 / 3 Adar I, 5774

Eat your Frankenfood!

By A. Barton Hinkle




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A slavish devotion to narrow ideology has led many people to reject overwhelming scientific consensus as nothing but a plot by malevolent forces to control ordinary people's lives.

If you think that sentence describes conservative skeptics of global warming, congratulations — you're right.

If you think it describes liberal opponents of genetically modified crops, congratulations — you're right again.

Conservatives get tagged as anti-science, and for good reason. A Pew Research Center survey last month found only 43 percent of Republicans — and 25 percent of tea partyers — accept the theory of evolution. The reason is obvious: Evolution contradicts a literal reading of the Bible. Only 27 percent of white evangelical Protestants, who make up nearly half of the conservative wing of the GOP, think evolution is true. This is a clear case of motivated reasoning — of letting your feelings determine the facts you accept.

Likewise, two-thirds of Americans think the planet has been getting warmer. But only half of Republicans, and only one in four tea partyers, think that. As to what is causing global warming, two-thirds of Democrats — but only one-quarter of Republicans — think human activity has something to do with it.

There is much confirmation bias going on here, too: The science of climate change is not so settled as the science of evolution, but it is solid. This doesn't mean no questions remain — the current pause in global warming has the potential to falsify the anthropogenic thesis. But just because we don't know everything doesn't mean we know nothing.

Progressives have gotten a lot of mileage mocking conservatives' truculent refusal to accept scientific conclusions. But the left has exhibited similar truculence on another subject: genetically modified organisms — "Frankenfoods," as they're sometimes called.

Last month, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi signed a measure banning GMOs (except genetically modified papaya). The measure enjoyed passionate support from supporters who made many of the standard arguments against GM foods: They cause cancer. And allergies. And liver and immunodeficiency problems. They spread uncontrollably, causing "genetic pollution" and "contaminating" the natural ecosystem. And they probably do lots of other horrible things, too, but we don't know what because they haven't been studied enough.

All of which is thoroughly false.



GM foods have been studied, extensively and assiduously. And the overwhelming scientific consensus is that they present no danger. "The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are no more risky than conventional plant breeding technologies." That is the conclusion of the European Commission.

It is seconded by the American Medical Association, which agrees "there is no scientific justification for special labeling of genetically modified foods."

And by the National Academy of Sciences, which says "no evidence of human health problems associated with the ingestion of (GM) crops or resulting food products have been identified."

And by the French Academy of Science, which says, "All criticisms against GMOs can be largely rejected on strictly scientific criteria."

And by the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities, which says the risk from GM foods "is in no way higher than in the consumption of food from conventionally grown plants. On the contrary, in some cases, food from GM plants appears to be superior in respect to health."

Regarding that last point, consider golden rice — which has been engineered to produce a precursor of vitamin A. It has the potential to prevent more than a million childhood deaths a year in the impoverished world. But GMO opponents continue to attack it, both rhetorically and physically.

In August, saboteurs wrecked a golden rice field trial in the Philippines. In response, Science magazine printed an editorial by a chairman emeritus of the National Academies of Science — along with two Nobel laureates, a National Medal of Science laureate and several other eminent scientists.

"If ever there was a clear-cut case for outrage," they wrote, "it is the concerted campaign by Greenpeace and other non-governmental organizations against golden rice. Introduced into commercial production over 17 years ago, GM crops have an exemplary safety record. And precisely because they benefit farmers, the environment, and consumers, GM crops have been adopted faster than any other agricultural advance in the history of humanity. We, and the thousands of other scientists who have signed (a) statement of protest, stand together in staunch opposition to the violent destruction of required tests on valuable advances such as golden rice that have the potential to save millions of impoverished fellow humans from needless suffering and death."

If the overwhelming scientific consensus on GM foods is so clear, then why do so many environmentalists and other activists resist it? Simple: fear of Them. To GMO critics, "they" are not big, bad government but big, bad corporations.

A presumption of corporate malevolence drives much of the hostility toward GM foods. Opponents view them as a diabolical plot by companies like Monsanto to diminish consumer choice, entrench "corporate control of agriculture," "monopolize seed markets," put "profits above human health," and so on. It may be lost on some GMO opponents that "organic" food companies have much to gain from fueling unfounded fears about genetic engineering. That's why they have backed efforts to require the labeling of foods with GM ingredients.

The belief that ostensibly evil corporations are out to control the food supply is not subject to empirical testing, so it cannot be falsified. And it evidently is strong enough to negate whole libraries of factual evidence: Anyone who says GM foods are safe must be a stooge and a shill for our corporate overlords. And therefore not to be listened to. (This apparently applies even to the EC and the National Academies.)

Besides — The Truth Is Out There. In September, a piece about GM foods on The Huffington Post included this ominous-sounding tale: "A few months ago, I read an article by best-selling writer and filmmaker Jeffrey Smith. Smith writes that an ex-Monsanto scientist revealed to him that, due to the results of tests on milk from cows injected with genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH), three of his colleagues refused to drink milk again unless it was organic. According to Smith, the scientists also disclosed that Monsanto employees discovered adverse reactions in rodents that were fed genetically modified corn. It was further revealed that instead of withdrawing the dangerous crops, the study was written to omit the problem."

GM skeptics tend to put more credence in third-party hearsay from anonymous sources than the assertions of Nobel laureates in prestigious journals.

It might seem contradictory to accept settled science in one case and reject it in another — if you think the common denominator is science. But it's perfectly consistent if the common denominator is corporate malevolence. If you're emotionally invested in believing corporations are the principal source of all the world's troubles, then the consensus about man-made global warming comes in pretty handy. And the consensus about GM foods? Clearly, that's nothing but an evil corporate plot.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

A. Barton Hinkle is Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages at Richmond Times-Dispatch Comment by clicking here.


Previously:




01/28/14: The retributionist case for limited government
01/22/14: Why school choice foes remain wrong
01/09/14: The great inequality debate
01/02/14: Do-nothing Congress? Please, Do Much Less
12/09/13: Mozart for babies all over again?
11/25/13: Food police are gluttons for punishment --- of others
11/12/13: Cheer up --- things are getting better
10/29/13: Cure for ignorant voters --- really small governments
10/24/13: If they can't cut the small stuff...
10/22/13: Political speech --- dumb as a ham sandwich
10/15/13: Why College Costs Will Soon Plunge
09/19/13: Progressives Reap What They Sow
09/13/13: You are being watched
09/10/13: Sorry, your business isn't desirable enough
09/05/13: The least bad option: Kill Assad
08/27/13: GOPers wrong ones to take on ObamaCare
08/08/13: Gas prices: What can the president do?
08/02/13: Chris Christie pulls a Dowd
07/29/13: Should Click and Clack wind up in the clink?
07/08/13: Commit any felonies lately?
06/18/13: Citizens and the State: the problem is bigger than you think
06/06/13: Political derangement threatens basic rights
05/30/13: Should we fear ex-Marine --- or those who detained him?
05/23/13: Professor of Constitution goes to war against it
05/23/13: REVEALED: IRS letter to tea party groups
05/15/13: Today on NPR: The smothering tax burden
04/30/13: What does Boston say about diversity?
04/25/13: For some libs, 'courage' = agreeing with them
04/18/13: Utterly outraged by their president's callous betrayal
04/11/13: Cognitive dissonance on guns
04/04/13: Do unto others, but not unto us, say the media
04/01/13: Observations from the auto shop holding pen
03/14/13: The nation-building follies
03/12/13: Will the right come around on pot?
03/07/13: Another U.S. dupe falls for a dictator
02/28/13: How dare you say that here!
02/26/13: Eating Frito-Lay chips at gunpoint
02/20/13: Death Star petitions are just what we need
02/13/13: ObamaCare proves law correct --- deep down you knew it would
01/29/13: It's Time to Get Judgy About Incompetency
01/23/13: Look who's mocking fascist fear-mongering now
01/16/13: Only in Washington could you get away with referring to spending and tax increases as spending 'cuts'
01/09/13: Obama begins his second term, Bush's fourth
01/07/13: Who's Attacking the Constitution Now?
01/03/13: Why, historically, January is the perfect time to debate the filibuster
12/26/12: When libs devalue diversity
12/20/12: Mark Your Calendars
12/13/12: Gun control, ad infinitum
12/11/12: Fracking can help fix the CO2 problem
12/06/12: Let's open the door to lots more immigration
12/04/12: Who's watching the kids? Just about everyone
11/29/12: The Real Middle-Class Champion was Mocked and Opposed
11/26/12: It's time to cut a deal on the budget
11/20/12: The case for a carbon tax
11/15/12: Cue the hysterics. Reports of Democracy's Death Greatly Exaggerated
11/07/12: The $4,000 Trash Can: We need regulation, but not this much
10/23/12: The Ballad of Islamist Rage Boy
10/17/12: Undermining the values that enable people in poverty to escape it? Sadly, yes
10/11/12: How Much Is This Tax Cut Gonna Cost Me, Doc?
10/04/12: Warrantless spying skyrockets under Obama
08/20/12: The wrong side absolutely must not win
08/14/12: America was not built on dirt alone
08/02/12: Libs Discover Their Inner Cheney
07/30/12: Feds want to help you --- whether you want help or not
07/23/12: Barack Obama, Storyteller-in-Chief
07/23/12: Nation's worst outsourcer? You
07/19/12: Listen up, America: You need to knuckle under
07/12/12: Obama, Romney: As Different as Two Peas in a Pod
07/05/12: Are teenagers big children --- or little adults?
06/25/12: Minorities treated as mere numbers
06/21/12: Memo to the the Little Guy: Seemingly innocuous activity could bring the federal hammer down out of a clear blue sky
06/19/12: We mustn't let America be buffaloed
05/31/12: Drop and Give Uncle Sam 20
05/15/12: The feds would like to know if you enjoyed that video
05/03/12: Obama inspires: 'America --- Still Not as Bad Off as Venezuela!'
04/26/12: It's everyone's favorite time of year again
03/29/12: GOP disillusionment is a good thing
03/27/12: Just what America needs: more red tape
03/20/12: Nation wondering: what happening to language?
02/21/12: Culture warriors resort to propaganda
02/15/12: Step away from that cookie and grab some air
02/08/12: Lessons in heresy
02/01/12: Do We Really Need Pickle-Flavored Potato Chips?
01/11/12: Shut up, they explained
12/30/11: A Modest Proposal: Let's Ban All Sports!
12/26/11: A Christmas letter from the Obamas
02/24/11: Will the next Watson need us?
12/24/10: Here Are Some Good Gifts for People You Hate
06/15/10: The Presinator
05/26/10: More than equal
04/08/10: Angry Right Takes a Page From Angry Left but guess who is ‘ugly’?
02/16/10: Either Obama owes George W. Bush an apology, or he owes the rest of us a very good explanation for his about-face on wiretapping
02/03/10: Talkin' to us 'tards
01/27/10: I never thought I'd see the day when progressives would howl in ragebecause the Supreme Court said government should not ban books
01/07/10: Gun-Control Advocates Play Fast and Loose
12/31/09: Nearly everything progressives say about neoconservative interventionism abroad applies to their own preferred policies at home





© 2011, A. Barton Hinkle

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