The Bill Nye conversation is interesting because it’s two parts … the backstory & the Perception in the reversal. The backstory is important because this is not happening in a void. It is a massive game of politics over the food economy.
The backstory …
- The market valued at 4 trillion dollars in 2002 – prices from 2003 to 2012 had a 90% increase – I can’t find solid numbers for the world food value of 2014 – but we are not talking chump change. Monsanto is a third of the size of Cargill in sales. Compare here … [Link], [Link].
- In 2012, Packaged foods alone, not fresh food are worth 2.1 trillion dollars … [Link].
- A particular company modifies plants spending billions building the buildings, assembling equipment, paying scientists. This testing process of experimentation is more expensive as each batch takes months to grow. Dupont’s person said the average of a single trait being added and tests is $136 million. The longest wait period was 5.5 years due to government restrictions, which usually are an estimated 25 percent of the cost … [Link]. They are not neutral parties because of this fact.
- There is no meaningful research done on GMO except by a company on this list. None. Think about that for a second … [List].
How do you have a debate on facts when only one side supposedly has “facts”? Consider this too, when on NPR or anywhere else – scientists unilaterally dodge the questions of long term harm & cite lack of facts. Both groups attack and disqualify each other’s results for various reasons.
Now, we as a nation have seen in the past that some industries have a history of deceit. Take for example the issues with smoking. There could be no scientific debate for many years. Why? The smoking industry held all of the information, maliciously & actively concealing the most harmful parts of it for over 3 decades. The debates consisted of a situation similar to angry 4chan’ers screaming at each other. The key line toted by any argument is “prove it”…which is a matter of fact, but complete rubbish. No one can prove it without funding their own company to run the experiments as it is an exorbitant amount of money. So there is no evidence to the contrary, because there can’t ever be any neutral research done. If there was real research – it would span at least 15 years of testing and include the children born from such subjects subsisting primarily on those foods. The other debate that mirrors this is the artificial sweetners debate – which is summarized by they can cause it, but we limit the amounts properly (ethically) and it’s an acceptable or nebulous number in people versus rats … [Link].
- Consider the amount of money and effort being extended by Monsanto (and others) just to control information going the labels of products made by their customers. We add in that Monsanto has been looking to hire or buy people to win over public opinion of their consumers – traditionally this is done by instead by the companies selling the finished product to the grocery stores. Link here to the special attention being paid by Monsanto just preventing labelling information … [summary here], [report here], [Direct Donations]. Consider that Monsanto was fighting that same type of bill in 13 states … just to hide information from people. Then consider the separate money and groups out there, Monsanto is one of ten. They also give to other groups to give out more money to particular people in a form of charity style super-pac at the federal level.
Okay, so now, you have the highlights of what the game looks like … on to the reversal.
- We rate news sources based on their bias or slant. We know most news companies are owned by people with money & anything to inciting against that will be slapped down or punished as seen repeatedly in the media. We also know that most journalists who are truly motivated are biased and we rate them on their slant. The same standard of truth in peer review needs to be acknowledged or applied.
- We take Bill Nye for example. Someone quote me how much he was paid for his consulting with the Monsanto company? It’s not publicly listed according to google. For some reason the Washington times didn’t see fit to mention it either. What arrangement allowed Bill Nye, an engineer, not a genetic scientist take the time to pour over all of these results or learn enough of baselines to understand them, much less tell if the results he was seeing were tampered with? Was it as simple as they agreed to fund him x dollars? Did he get salary? Did they have another project or position in the company he would work on later? Did they promise him positions or promotions outside of their company? Who paid his plane ticket? Did they send the company jet?
There’s definitely an element of emotional reaction here from the conspiracy theorists, but make no mistake – this debate is not a cut and dry case like vaccination & Bill Nye unfortunately is just one pawn in many – much like the scientists who got bought for environmental issues like say, global warming. At first the spin artists paid scientists to debate if it was real & when NASA proves it is real, then the spin artists say, “prove it’s company x or y’s fault” … [Link].
This is the answer to the second part of the question, “What was the controversy surrounding that?” lies right here … due to the history of businesses and biased scientific experiments previously conducted by the government, people are asking why Bill Nye changed his stance when just about every other scientist on NPR or other news sources dodges the environmental & questions on long term impact on people.
I read this from popsci … [Link] & have to wonder when they cite 1,700 peer reviewed sources – how did these people afford to run their tests? I respect the work done in those narrow confines, but I reject the narrow minded philosophy that these tests supposedly tell us everything we need to know. How long before we find some change that was outside the narrow scope allowed by these people. The author takes the same tone as someone talking about the vaccinations … but the ecosystem is far more complicated than you can test in labs. As the global warming and el nino debates proved in an undeniable fashion.
Update: In the scheme of all the repeat articles and silly vagueness one slipped by … reader sent me this within an hour of posting:
We had a great day with Bill Nye—he was eager to learn about biotech, had a lot of questions…and in the end realized how important the advances in breeding & biotech are to both world food security and for reducing agriculture’s impact on the environment.
A day huh? Yay for science in a day!