Sometimes science can be so confusing

Legislative Update

by State Representative Randy Armstrong

Sometimes science can be confusing.

And I’m a college graduate. But since my degree is in business, I can easily be baffled by biology.

There are two scientific subjects that appear regularly in the news that are bewildering and can be detrimental to the anxious citizens of Idaho. My initial confusion began in a biology class. It was the spring semester of 1973. The professor stood before the class and stated unequivocally that the population of the world was far too large and if we didn’t do something about it we would all die very soon from starvation.

I ignorantly raised my hand and said that that position seemed rather extreme and asked, was he sure. He looked at me like I was an idiot. Then with a sneer he said, “If our population increases just 10 percent more the result will be mass starvation. The earth cannot sustain that many people. Don’t you watch the news? Don’t you read books? Ninety-seven percent of all scientists are in agreement with this assessment. How can you be enrolled in college and be so ignorant of such an obvious fact?”

The end of the planet from overpopulation really was all over the news and in virtually every scientific journal. But I was just naïve enough to be skeptical. In 1973 the earth’s population was 3.9 billion. Today it is 7.4 billion. And one of the most pressing health problems we face is not starvation but obesity. When was the last time you missed a meal? Twelve years later the government started the CRP program (and it’s still going today), where they give farmers your money not to farm, because we have too much food.

I was just beginning to restore a little confidence in my scientific acumen, “maybe I’m not as ignorant as they thought,” when the global warming warnings began. Now I’m considered just as foolish as before; because I’m still skeptical, even though 97 percent of all scientists agree. It was called global warming but that wasn’t working so they changed it to climate change, so now regardless of what happens, they will always be right.

I recognize my ignorance but the baseline for establishing this tenuous hypothesis is so very short considering the millions of years of earth’s existence. I realize that I will not be able to change a single mind, because it is a scientific fact, and I’m not an expert, but can’t we be just a little skeptical?

The frightening part of this entire dilemma is that back in 1973, during the population explosion, they had two solutions. Put more power over the lives of individuals into the hands of the government and invoke special taxes. Eerily that is the same two solutions today. Can’t we just study this out a little longer? In 12 years we will probably be paying people to burn firewood out in their yards to warm the planet.

The other subject to which I am vastly ignorant is GMO: Genetically Modified Organisms. Farmers and the Idaho economy are being harmed by the questionable science surrounding this issue. We have genetically altered sugar beets. The result is a plant that is more resistant to pests, requires less water and is not harmed by Roundup. Remember when workers spent all summer hoeing beets? That isn’t required now because farmers spray the whole field with Roundup and everything dies except the sugar beets. It’s amazing. It’s miraculous.

It is also wildly controversial because the same type of suspicious scientist believes that it will harm humans. “You will grow an extra thumb if you put Idaho sugar in your coffee.” There is no data confirming this tri-thumb theory. In fact, if you look at the sugar molecule under an electron microscope you can’t tell the difference between GMO sugar and non-GMO sugar. They are exactly alike.

Hundreds of years ago we domesticated corn, carrots and peaches. They were altered genetically. Bananas had large, hard seeds in their middle. Watermelons were almost all green and filled with seeds. Are you comfortable eating those things? It’s the way of nature and of humans to make things better.

My son was looking for a spouse. I told him about the GMO warning. “If you are looking for a quality partner, go with non-GMO.” He was getting close to a beautiful girl and then he found out that she had been vaccinated for polio. Just like the sugar beet was changed so they weren’t affected by Roundup, she was changed so she wouldn’t be affected by polio. He had to drop her. Then he found the perfect soulmate. They had a ring and a date when he found a hidden receipt for a flu shot. How despicable!

We have a large yogurt producer here who won’t use Idaho sugar, which is just a few miles from his factory, he uses non-GMO as a marketing ploy to convince the wide-eyed consumers that they have a nobler product. They import their sugar from Louisiana.

We seem to be oddly selective in who and what we will believe. Has the earth never had these changes before? Is your spouse GMO? “What! You will procreate with a GMO organism, you just won’t have it in your yogurt?”

Thanks for reading!

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