We often joke that some activists seem out of touch with reality – from another planet, even. Why would anyone fight for the lives of rodents over people? Who on Earth would want to move technology backward? But every now and then, we find ourselves really wondering if some of these campaigners are one chair short of a picnic. The latest news from the animal rights freakosphere is the resurrection of this gem of a PETA conspiracy theory which claims that animals are working together to take revenge against humans. (Okaaay.)
But there are even stranger activist delusions to worry about. Like the movement against modern advancements in agriculture, particularly genetically modified (GM) crops. In England, Soil Association director Patrick Holden brings us the latest in anti-technology activism:
There is no evidence that GM crops increase yields, reduce pesticide use or bring any public benefits to society. And there is a growing body of evidence there could be health risks.
Where does Holden get this stuff? Was all the news about breakthroughs in yield-increasing, extra-nutritious, and potentially life-saving GM crops a figment of our imaginations? And last time we checked, the “growing body of evidence” says there are no health risks associated with GM foods.
It’s as if anti-biotechnology activists are united in a scientific state of denial about, well, science. Holden’s comments bear a striking resemblance to the Prince Charles’ hysteric rant a few weeks ago. Yesterday, British farming minister Lord Rooker weighed in on the madness and offered his own assessment:
One thing I will not accept is the arguments and the slogans when there isn’t any evidence. They are on a messianic mission. It is almost a religion where there isn’t any science base to it.
Rooker’s rhetoric may be a little harsh, but it’s actually not too far off what some activists have openly admitted. As Lord Peter Melchett of the Soil Association put it, “Science doesn’t tell us the answers so some of it we have to go on feelings.”