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Avoid 'Miracle' Rice, Just Eat a Carrot!


Avoid 'Miracle' Rice, Just Eat a Carrot!

Vandana Shiva

Golden rice is a false miracle. It is a disease of nutritionally empty monocultures offered as a cure for nutritional deficiency. In fact, golden rice, if successful, will be 400% less efficient in providing Vitamin A...

Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution, died on September 9, 2009. Alfred G. Gilman died on December 23, 2015. Both were Nobel laureates and now both dead. Gilman was a signatory to a recent letter condemning Greenpeace and its opposition to genetic engineering.


I am not opposed to technology - I am no Luddite - but what galls me about so much of the technological sector is the arrogance and presumption that, with a little engineering, all problems can be solved. Then, throw in the lure of big bucks and it easily morphs into fraud, as Vandana Shiva explains. In the process, the more natural alternative, supported by true science, gets criminally chastised or ignored.

At the heart of the matter is the corporate funding of scientific research at the university level, research that is expected to provide corporate dividends. Research that might endanger these contracts is suppressed or simply not pursued. This is privatization of public education at the university level and yet another example of the oligarchy at work. We can use more Vandana Shiva solutions and fewer Bill Gates solutions.


Comparable to proponents of domestic water supply fluoridation using the fewer cavities in poor children excuse for poisoning the water, while the healthy and less costly method would be to distribute free fluoride tooth paste to poor children.


It all boils down to this, and Bill Gates is the poster child for Mars Rules applied to the control, capture, and capitalization of the Natural World:

"Our critique of golden rice is that even if it is developed, it will be inferior to the alternatives women have in their hands and minds. Women are being blocked from growing biodiversity and spreading their knowledge to address malnutrition, by rich and powerful men and their corporations who are blind to the richness of the earth and our cultures."

Thank you for your efforts and wisdom, Dr. Shiva!


Mr. pro-nuclear power demeans the genius and scholarship of Dr. Vandana Shiva?


Linear thinkers who can't integrate the meaning of intersecting fields of interest (or phenomena) due to their own fragmentation and cognitive deficiencies might define Dr. Shiva's scholarship as "semi-coherent."



Wow, really great point there.

Shiva should totally address her message to people who DON'T read her. That's a better strategy.


And with that statement you arrive at the crux of the issue. Unless research is subjected to rigid scrutiny, that research cannot truly be deemed 'science'..The public is bombarded with all manner of biased study offered up from industrial and other special interests that are presented as 'science', yet should more correctly be described as sales pitch shrouded with the intimidating veneer of academic respectability. The idea is to browbeat the public into submission, and should they dare express concerns, then denigrate, belittle, and deride them as backward, unsophisticated, foolish modern day Luddites. The charlatans guilty of this need to be exposed for what they are, and the public needs to be reassured that their healthy skepticism is absolutely within the bounds and traditions of authentic science.

Richard P Feynman gave some explanation to this with his 1974 Caltech commencement address:
"But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in Cargo Cult Science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school—we never explicitly say what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty—a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid—not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked—to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.
Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can—if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong—to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.
In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.
The easiest way to explain this idea is to contrast it, for example, with advertising. Last night I heard that Wesson Oil doesn’t soak through food. Well, that’s true. It’s not dishonest; but the thing I’m talking about is not just a matter of not being dishonest, it’s a matter of scientific integrity, which is another level. The fact that should be added to that advertising statement is that no oils soak through food, if operated at a certain temperature. If operated at another temperature, they all will—including Wesson Oil. So it’s the implication which has been conveyed, not the fact, which is true, and the difference is what we have to deal with" --- RICHARD P. FEYNMAN excerpt from Some remarks on science, pseudoscience, and learning how to not fool yourself. Caltech’s 1974 commencement address. The entire address has been republished many times under the title Cargo Cult Science. It may be found in its entirity here: http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/51/2/CargoCult.htm


Thank you for the excerpt from Feynman. His love of simple elegance in diversity, integrity and ability to articulate its values and contributions opened many eyes - and ears. I had never even heard of the throat singing arts of Tuvalu until he and a post-doc documented this art form.

And the living treasure of Vandana Shiva - I sometimes think of her as a one woman fanfare celebrant of what is right before our eyes and to rub an opening in the chalk circle of capture by propaganda. "...blindness to biodiversity and women’s knowledge is a blind approach to blindness prevention."


It's a cultural thing. In many undeveloped and under-developed countries, women perform the bulk of agricultural work. More here: http://www.wfo-oma.com/women-in-agriculture/articles/the-role-of-rural-women-in-agriculture.html


The article itself was a bit confusing, but the message is clear Nature rules.


Big-Ag thrives on marketing mumbo-jumbo and ordinary BS - it's well established that some modern varieties touted as wonderful are selected for qualities other than nutrition and taste - like those square tomatoes that taste like cardboard. Just more profits over people and the environment - Mother Earth! They may look pretty but the nurtrition is missing!

Welcome to "decriminalization and the end ? of Cannabis/Industrial Hemp proibition - welcome to conspiracy between government corporate whores and Big-Ag/Monsatan and Big-Pharma conspiring to control cannabis/hemp to be for-profit corporate-dominated only! The worst despicable corrupt offenders: Obama and Andy Cuomo!



At the risk of going further off topic, there is a more fundamental issue with conventional science in that it represents an authoritarian approach to knowledge - just as some churches have done and still do.
Here is a piece of perfectly legitimate science:
Do an experiment to see if the human race is suceptible to embracing technologies before fully assessing the risks. Now as regards both nuclear power and fossil fuels, this experiment has actually been carried out on a far grander scale than any damned peer-reviewed laboratory experiments. But is it considered that the hypothesis is proven and therefore ALL technology should be regarded as potentially dangerous in manners that cannot be understood upfront? Of course not! And the reason is because science is deeply corrupted by money and its own cultural self-importance. Meanwhile the planet is screwed - primarily as a result of scientifically-enabled human technologies. How hard is it to join the dots here?


Thanks for posting that - an interesting read.

But here's the rub... Mayr is taking the scientific perspective, which is basically determinist, and saying 'look at what we have discovered'. That quickly turns into the sort of fatalism that Chomsky expresses. But the problem here is one of a self-fulfiling prophecy in the sense that a conviction that we are evolutionarily doomed causes us to abandon all efforts to turn things around. An alternative position is to look at what Mayr states as a warning - not only that things are urgent, but also, and more importantly, as an unwitting statement that science and its inherent determinism are actually the means by which the individual can become an inept passenger playing his own little part in doing nothing about human demise.

If we are genuinely intelligent, is it not possible to see that we can take Mayr's perspective and learn from it? Surely if we can understand the mechanics by which our demise is possible, we can use that knowledge to alter our course to avoid the worst? The problem here is not that we cannot live differently, it is that no one believes we can... and so no one tries. But you only need to realise that our cultures are utterly drenched in conservatism to understand that this apparently monstrous obstacle of change being impossible is just a facade maintained by those who do not want the masses to waken up. Hence we have knee-jerk negative responses like 'You cannot change human nature'. This is the position of many depsite the fact that so-called human nature is daily and extensively manipluated by the media.

If our near-eradicaton is to come about, it seems inevitable that those who survive will develop a culture that examines exactly where we humans went wrong... and no doubt that culture will accept certain dangers that in general remain obscured in our current cultures. Mayr's perspective does not account for the fact that we are in certain respects truly the most intelligent species yet to walk this planet. We are exceptional in that respect, and so his playbook-style science does not apply. But our intelligence has allowed us to unleash dangerous new powers through technology. And we have not yet learned how to control those formidable powers. All the facts are actually staring us in the face right now... we simply need to cut ourselves loose of our standing convictions that we cannot change and that we are therefore doomed. Real change starts in the mind.


Apologies - I did not mean to call Chomsky himself a fatalist. I was merely commenting on the fact that he narrated the ideas of Mayr.

But even Sagan sounds a bit like someone who wants to suspend judgement until he can 'find out the facts', as it were. This is like people standing in a burning house debating the chances that the fire might just die down of its own accord - let's wait and see. To state the obvious, we are the creators of the problems we face, and so this idea that what we might see elsewhere (through time or space) somehow dictates our own fate is a dangerous abnegation of our own abilities to change our behaviour - regardless of all else.

There may be intelligent life out there that has learned and survived, just as there may be other intelligent life that did not learn and so perished. Surely what was learned by those that survived is that you do not sit and academically speculate about what your fate might be within a crippling form of determinism - you grasp the nettle and make charge happen.

I personally feel the modern 'scientific' culture we live in is a major problem in that everything is reduced to a set of supposedly incontovertible rules. Such rules are fine as regards understanding the behaviour of chemical elements and other non-complex entities, but they are dangerous in terms of pretending that living entities are fixed and known entities. As such, they are arguably our worst intellectual attribute. They effectively prevent us from learning that how we behaved yesterday only dictates how we behave today to the extent that we fail to realise that how we behaved yesterday does NOT in fact dictate how we behave today. If we learn from our mistakes, stupid stuff we did yesterday becomes the stupid stuff we do not repeat today.


Yeah... I'm not so familiar with Feynman. I'll go do some reading!