God & GMOs: What about “glyphosate” and Cancer?

Welcome to Part 6 of God & GMOs, a series I’m writing in consultation with my molecular biologist husband, Aaron. If you’re new around here, you might want to check out the IntroductionPart 1: The Gospel, Part 2: What is a GMO?, Part 3: “Do Your Research, Part 4:  Pursuing Truth, and Part 5: The “Big Ag” Industry so you can say “hi” in the comments. I know most readers probably haven’t heard much in favor of GMO crops online or in your church, so let me know if you have any questions or need clarification as we go!
Be sure to subscribe by email (on the right hand side of the screen —-> over there) so you don’t miss an entry!
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If you’ve heard much about GMO crops, you may know that lots of people articulate specific concern about their association with glyphosate. Y’all that is a Big Word and things that sound sciency and end in -ite or -ate like that can seem extra scary sometimes. Here is the lowdown on glyphosate, why it is associated with GMO crops, why it can be a useful tool in agriculture, why it is not something to be scared of, and why we sometimes use it in our own personal garden and lawn care (where we grow some of our own food, and our children and dog play).

What is Glyphosate? 
Glyphosate is an herbicide. It is used to kill broadleaf plants, which makes it an effective weed controller in modern farming. It is not the only herbicide used in farming these days, but it is one of the more popular ones because it hits a really good sweet spot of safety and effectiveness. This was first marketed by Monsanto under their brand name “Round-Up,” but their patent has expired and many companies now distribute glyphosate and genetically modified glyphosate-tolerant crop seeds. Glyphosate is far less toxic than many of the chemical inputs it replaced, or even those currently allowed under the USDA-Organic program, and because scientists figured out how to genetically modify some crops to withstand it, much of the GMO canola and soybeans in the USA are “Round-Up Ready.” This means a farmer could spray their field of Round-Up Ready soybeans with Round-Up if he or she felt it was necessary, and could do so with less time and energy than many other herbicide options available. Not all Round-Up Ready crops are necessarily sprayed with Round-Up, but they’re developed to keep that option open. It’s cheaper for the farmer to not spray if they can get away with it, but when it is needed the Round-Up used is equivalent to one soda can worth of glyphosate per acre. (That’s more land than I have around my house here, and we have, by far, the biggest yard of anyone we know in town.) Because it’s one of the safest, strongest herbicides available today, we’ve used glyphosate to get our (non-GMO) yards and gardens straightened out in all three houses we’ve owned and we’re perfectly comfortable with our kids and dog running around there after it dries. 

Why is glyphosate controversial? 
Using effective herbicides like Round-Up is one way farmers can practice no-till farming, which is an important component of soil conservation for sustainable agriculture. But… if you look this up online, most of the information available is confusing and misleading. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO IARC) did a data analysis on a small number of the many studies on glyphosate, and in March 2015 they categorized it as a “probable carcinogen.” Because so many of the GMO crops grown in the US are part of the “Round-Up Ready” system, this moved many bloggers and anti-biotech activists to claim that GMOs cause cancer.

Does glyphosate (or “Round-Up”) actually cause cancer?
There are a few problems with this, but I want to say from the start: Cancer is no joke. Both of my grandmothers died from colon cancer, and several other older family members have experienced skin cancer and things like that. It seemed like last year was a really awful season of cancer in the people we know; I mentioned to Aaron that my facebook felt a little bit more like cancerbook. From afar I watched while a friend from college sat on the hospital floor cradling her son through his -ultimately successful- chemotherapy. (I remember cheering when he was born, maybe six years ago?) Two mothers died in agony, leaving families, spouses, and a combined five children. Three moms (two of them grandmothers) are in remission.  A friend lost his sister and lives with his own tumor chemo didn’t eradicate, so we pray it’s at least stable, but do you ever really know? A father died right before his only daughter’s graduation. Another father heals and gets to watch his three kids grow up. A grandfather is in his last stretch of suffering, but will probably die any day now. And then the old haunting picture of the grandma I named my girl after, gaunt, limp, barely cradling my infant niece in her last days pops up on my screen saver – I still cry when I see it. This suffering is not something I speak of flippantly. 

The IARC’s classification of glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen” sounds scary, and if your personal life includes any of the cancer exposure mine has, it’s not something you’d want to mess around with at all. But many other organizations around the world don’t consider it to be a contributing factor in cancer at all, and if you dig into the actual information from the WHO you will see that the IARC’s risk classifications put people who would apply glyphosate all day, every day in the same cancer risk category as people who work night shift, drink hot beverages, or work in a hair salon. They also don’t think realistic exposure from eating crops that were sprayed with that teeny bit of glyphosate shows any increased health risks for consumers. I don’t worry that getting my hair cut will increase my risk of cancer even though my hairdresser’s constant exposure to all those sprays and fumes might increase hers a bit. I don’t worry that a midnight trip to the ER would increase my risk of cancer even though the night shift nurses might have an increased risk over their lifetime. I don’t worry about my exposure to glyphosate, which could come through eating genetically modified foods as part of my balanced diet or my yard, and I don’t think anyone else needs to be particularly worried about it either. 

Does spraying those Round-Up Ready crops cause superweeds?
Well, yes. It can. Just like some infections can become “superbugs” that resist antibiotics, some weeds can become “superweeds” that resist herbicides. But weed resistance is a problem with other herbicides and other farming practices, too. It’s not unique to genetically modified crops or any certain chemical application. We can read in Genesis that the earth is full of thorn and thistles along with our food. We know that the only full solution to this is Jesus’ return, not in any specific farming practice or technological advance. The existence of superweeds should give us reason to be prudent but it’s not a reason to avoid using herbicides or pesticides all together.

Where can I read more about glyphosate safety and cancer incidence? 
For further reading, you could check out Is Glyphosate Dangerous? and What Does Farming Without Glyphosate Look Like?
There’s also some interesting and very recent reporting about the incomplete studies the WHO used to study glyphosate from Reuters. For follow-up, this response from the IARC is available as well.
God & GMOs

Thanks so much for reading – I hope this is helpful for you all. I’ll be back soon to talk about what on earth is going on with farming and GMOs here and around the world!

God & GMOs: The “Big Ag” Industry

Welcome to Part 5 of God & GMOs, a series I’m writing in consultation with my molecular biologist husband, Aaron. If you’re new around here, you might want to check out the IntroductionPart 1: The Gospel, Part 2: What is a GMO?, Part 3: “Do Your Research, and Part 4:  Pursuing Truth, so you can say “hi” in the comments. I know most readers probably haven’t heard much in favor of GMO crops online or in your church, so let me know if you have any questions or need clarification as we go!
Be sure to subscribe by email (on the right hand side of the screen —-> over there) so you don’t miss an entry!

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Many people with reservations about GMOs have told me something like this: “I’m skeptical because I don’t trust big business; I think the agricultural industry is all a political game at this point.” They’re talking about the big crop development companies and the negative stigmas surrounding profits, patents, labeling, and various licensing practices of the “Big Ag” development industry, and they’re talking about the prevalence of large, industrial farms with concerns about monoculture farming (growing large amounts of fewer crops) and various chemical treatments like herbicides and pesticides. Monsanto is the most notorious company (and the target of much anti-biotech hatred), but there are other big companies like Dow AgroScience, Syngenta, DuPont-Pioneer, and BASF. There are also numerous small companies, like the one Aaron works for, which develop crop lines using the same technology and sell to farmers on a smaller scale.

I’ll say from the start: Aaron does not work for Monsanto. We think they are a great company and personally know many people who do work there. We go to church with them, visit the zoo with them, babysit each other’s kids, and eat dinner together. They’re good people. As far as I can tell, the most we’ve ever gotten from the company itself was a reusable grocery bag Aaron picked up at some conference, which I now use every week at Aldi. (I’m trying to work up the nerve to take it into Trader Joe’s, or maybe even… Whole Foods. Pray for me.) But if you search for GMOs on any social media or online search, or even bring it up in conversation, you’re likely to hear a lot of negative things (and many flat-out lies) about this company. We hear this negativity in person a lot, too. Since Aaron’s employer is smaller and not well-known, we usually say he leads a team of scientists in biotech development without naming the company (because no one’s heard of it before), and many people have said, “But not Monsanto, right!? They’re the bad ones!” This isn’t just idle words for some anti-GMO activists, who coordinate massive protests and marches as part of the “March Against Monsanto” movement. (I assume they pick on Monsanto over other companies because their name is most easily changed to spell “Satan.”)

Though they’re all working in the same field toward the same ultimate goal of providing food for people, the “Big Ag” players are essentially direct competitors of my husband’s employer. I’m not on anyone’s payroll to say this (it’s the opposite, actually, since I’m paying for childcare), and a giant turn of cultural affection towards Monsanto, Pioneer, BASF, or anyone else wouldn’t necessarily benefit Aaron’s work in a measurable way. But I’m especially burdened that there’s a lot of vitriol coming from Christians towards companies that, frankly, do not deserve the hate. Just this week I have seen two different friends (people I know in my real life) making snarky and destructive comments online denigrating various biotech development companies and employees – before or after sharing Bible verses and other Christian material. The New Testament speaks to this, even more sharply than I recollected initially: “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.  My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:8-10) When it comes to what we say about scientists and farmers and companies, big or small, we should be careful that our words are true and that they do not contradict our profession of faith.

Many of the negative things I’ve heard and seen about Monsanto have been proven false with a very quick fact check. Most of us are not very connected to farmers and the food production industry at all, so I’m going to talk a little bit today about how these “Big Ag” companies work and why we don’t need to feed on extra cynicism about the agricultural industry.

Contracts, patents, and “saving seeds.”
Farmers of all kinds have lots of options for working with different companies, and there are plenty of ways to grow non-GMO crops. These “Big Ag” companies are in business because hard-working farmers choose to purchase from them year after year. One such farmer in Indiana wrote about his contract with Monsanto for growing their crops here.   An Iowa farmer wrote about how he decides which seeds to purchase for his 500 acre operation. Another family farmer with 1400 acres of cattle and crops in Kansas wrote about discerning fact from fiction about Monsanto here – many of the things I was going to list in this post are already there, so I’m not going to reiterate them!

Many people like to criticize the patent and licensing regulations that go along with purchasing these seeds, saying we shouldn’t patent crops or that it’s wrong for a company to forbid saving and sharing seeds. It’s important to consider that patents and licensing rights are a way to protect and reward the intellectual property of the developers. As Christians we can read scriptures like I Timothy 5:18 that tell us “the laborer deserves his wages,” and even stronger statements from the Old Testament that say withholding money from someone who has already worked for it is equivalent to theft, like Leviticus 19:13. While the current system is far from perfect, it is not immoral to require payment for a service rendered. I’d argue that it’s actually immoral to demand the fruit of someone’s labor without compensating them.

When certain farm contracts require farmers not to reuse seeds, trade them, or collect them for replanting, we should think about the legal use of most other creative products. Back when we had CD’s, you weren’t supposed to burn copies of a CD to hand out to all your friends. You’re not supposed to print off extra copies of books for profit or download pictures from the internet without permission of the creator. We have legal guidelines about the use of all sorts of products – this isn’t unique to crops and farming. I’ve also found that most of this is a manufactured controversy in the first place, because farmers don’t really want to save seeds anyway. It’s extremely laborious and time consuming, and after all that work the yield of saved seeds is not nearly as effective as growing new seeds. These contract rules aren’t always limited to GMO crop seeds, either. Farmers can certainly seek seeds from distributors who don’t have requirements about where and how you can plant, but these big businesses are still running because so many farmers choose to operate within their rules.

Are Big Companies out to ruin Small Farmers?
I also dug in to claims I’ve heard about Monsanto suing other farmers for accidental cross-pollination with Monsanto products, and found the landmark case — farmer Percy Schmeiser in Canada claiming his entire canola field was contaminated with Monsanto’s Round-Up Ready Canola, which you may have seen in the movie “Food, Inc.” — was basically a joke. You can read the Canadian Federal Court decisions (March 2001September 2002) and the final Canadian Supreme Court decision (May 2004) for details, but it seems like this guy’s implausible story keeps changing through his legal journey and the courts didn’t rule favorably for him on any point. His story just does not hold up and there haven’t been any other examples of GMO crops contaminating entire fields like he claimed. Governments are not infallible and some may argue this is further indication of political-industrial corruption, but we ought to be just as skeptical over the unsupported claims of a lone farmer and a documentary as we are towards bigger groups of people. It’s also worth pointing out that when Monsanto does win a court case over a contract violation (which has happened all 9 times they have been to trial in the last 10 years – hardly a significant amount compared to 3+ million contracts they have had with farmers during this time), their legal action protects the interests of the farmers who do abide by the legal guidelines and the lawsuit proceeds are donated to charity, not lining their pockets.

Why does this matter?
Like I discussed earlier, truth always matters for Christians. While the average grocery shopper has the rare privilege, compared to history and much of the world still today, of purchasing food without much concern for how it came to be there, those of us who wonder about our food and it’s development should be careful to find full, faithful information to answer our questions. And when the Bible tells us that the devil is the father of lies, and is like a prowling lion bent on destruction, we should expect to be confronted with smooth and appealing deception. We should also be very cautious about sharing, spreading, or passively approving things that aren’t true, as this is sin and it damages others (as well as our Christian witness).

But it also matters because, believe it or not, the cultural stigmas and activist criticism that leads to more governmental regulation of these big companies actually just places further burdens on smaller companies, which creates incentive for bigger companies to merge and leaves fewer players on the field. (This part might possibly be a conflict of interest, but… it’s coming from a place of love!) The fact is that biotechnology isn’t going anywhere. In many ways, GMOs are here to stay, and I think it’s better to keep these powerful tools in the hands of many different groups for maximum benefit to farmers and consumers. It’s a fair guess that big companies like Monsanto or Syngenta will be able to weather whatever regulatory burdens come their way, but smaller companies will not always be able to do that. Someone who really hates Monsanto would probably be better off fighting for less regulatory burden on crop developers, so smaller companies could grow quicker and new start-ups could get off the ground easier for greater flourishing in collaboration and competition among biotech developers.

God & GMOs
If you’re reading this and still thinking, “Okay, but what about that pesticide, glyphosate, with the brand-name Round-Up? Doesn’t it cause cancer?” or you’re wondering what to make of the large industrial farming side of this discussion, I’ve got you covered. Stay tuned! 



God & GMOs: Pursuing Truth

Welcome to Part 4 of God & GMOs, a series I’m writing in consultation with my molecular biologist husband, Aaron. If you’re new around here, you might want to check out the IntroductionPart 1: The Gospel, Part 2: What is a GMO?, or Part 3: “Do Your Research” and say “hi” in the comments. I know most readers probably haven’t heard much in favor of GMO crops online or in your church, so let me know if you have any questions or need clarification as we go!
Be sure to subscribe by email (on the right hand side of the screen —-> over there) so you don’t miss an entry!

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We talked last time about the scientific method and a little bit about how peer-reviewed research works in the scientific community today. I think there are some important ways we need to approach cultural topics like this one as Christians, too.

One of my biggest concerns about the trend of Christian suspicion towards agriculture and biotech is how quickly people let cultural stigmas drive their opinions instead of taking their thoughts captive and pursuing truth. In the Bible we read that everyone is fallen (Romans 3:23) and no one can perfectly know everything (1 Corinthians 13:12). We also see that “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1), which is (hopefully) the theme of my discussion here – I love people who disagree with me, and I want to host this discussion with charity and honor towards all. But we also read that scripture continually upholds wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, in direct contrast to admonishing foolishness, ignorance, and the “simple man.” There is no way to read Proverbs, for example, and assume that pursuing truth is “optional” for a Christian. There is no way to look at Jesus, who reveals himself as Truth (John 14:6), and take a casual attitude about falsehood.

There are definitely Christians who write online about natural living and specifically condemn GMO crops, but there is also a larger group of people (many of whom are likely in the numbers listed by that Pew Study I referenced in my Introduction) that say they think GMOs are dangerous simply because they have heard other people say it. Maybe they have seen labels in the grocery store that made them consider a non-GMO food item to be a safer or superior choice. Maybe they’ve seen confusing posts on social media, watched a misleading documentary, or read something negative in a magazine.

I think the Bible offers us a better way to filter information than just immediately believing what we see or hear, and I think this compels us to responsibly pursue truth even when the answers are hard.  I absolutely understand how confusing it is to know what’s reliable with all the information floating around, but that doesn’t give us a free pass on figuring out what’s right. It’s popular right now to discuss “nuanced” views of some topic or another, but the Bible calls it “discernment.” Let’s be careful, discerning people. If you care enough about science and the food industry to be concerned about GMOs, consider that the validity of your information (especially if you are promoting your views to others!) really does have significance to the God who made all things, sustains all things, and abhors all falsehood so much that he made “Do Not Lie” one of the Ten Commandments.

So before you spend extra money on groceries to “avoid GMOs” (or feel uneasy about “not feeding your family the best”), before you post something against GMO crops or agricultural developers (like Monsanto) on social media, before you pipe up in group settings or discuss this with your friends, consider if your lifestyle information has been filtered through some of the counsel of scripture:

Proverbs 6:16-19 “There are six things that the Lord hates: …a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” Are you watching for lies in your reading, just as much as looking for truth? Remember that lies are smooth, subtle, and appealing. Does what you’re reading lines up with the principles of the gospel, or does it subtly idealize nature, or tell you that certain food choices are holier, or  make you think that Eden (Creation) or Mount Zion (Heaven) are basically attainable right now? And does this information bring freedom, or does it bring shame to others who “just don’t see it the same way”? Does it give you a sense of superiority to “feed your family better” than someone who hasn’t read the same things as you? Would someone who shops differently feel insecure or shamed because of your attitude about food? Are you hesitant to eat food others offer because it might not be up to your standards? Are you hesitant to host meals because you can’t afford to feed company with your more expensively sourced groceries?

Proverbs 18:17 “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” As you read or hear about GMOs, science, and farming practices, are you listening to the same kinds of negative voices (like podcasts or magazine articles from lay people), or are you looking for what positive scientists and farmers have to say, too? If you’re watching documentaries, are you willing to take a few moments to check the facts and sources presented there?

Proverbs 23:12 “Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.” Are you willing to work hard to understand answers about your questions, looking to people who are credible teachers? (Sadly, being a published author or an internet personality does not mean someone is a credible teacher these days.) Or are you listening to voices that validate your ignorance? (Like, “If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!”)

Proverbs 25:18 “A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.”  We’ve met fellow Christians in every laboratory and department Aaron’s been a part of during the past 14 years. We know believers working in all roles of many different agricultural companies. We know Christians who are proud to farm genetically modified crops. Have you considered how negative words about GMOs, scientists, industry developers, and farmers, might be bearing false witness against others, especially those in the household of God?

God & GMOs

When we have concerns about scientific advances (and as I’ll tell you later, the Hummels do have them) scripture compels us to use faithful, reliable sources for our information because we serve the God who defines Truth. Of course, eating GMOs or not isn’t a test of our faith… not. at. all. But I want to encourage everyone to consider that our attitude about sources (and the way we act on them) matters, especially for Christians, because Jesus is the source of all things. The influence of our personal opinion matters because we want to leave people with a more beautiful understanding of Jesus than of our food choices. As we stake our lives together on the Truth that God reveals in his word and his Son, we can celebrate by pursuing truth and wisdom in the rest of our lives, too.

God & GMOs: “Do Your Research”

Welcome to Part 3 of God & GMOs, a series I’m writing in consultation with my molecular biologist husband, Aaron. If you’re new around here, you might want to check out the IntroductionPart 1: The Gospel, or Part 2: What is a GMO? and say “hi” in the comments. I know most readers probably haven’t heard much in favor of GMO crops online or in your church, so let me know if you have any questions or need clarification as we go!
Be sure to subscribe by email (on the right hand side of the screen —-> over there) so you don’t miss an entry!
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When you start asking questions about something like GMOs, the most common refrain you’ll hear is “Do your research.” The availability of information today is astounding. The collective wisdom of the known world is available in the palm of our hand. 

But the collective foolishness of the world is there, too. Anyone can write anything on the internet, and scientists (in academia and in the bigger industrial corporations) drastically underestimated the power of social media for steering the conversation about GMO crops. It’s frustrating to know how much information is swirling through the internet, especially in blogs, podcasts, and documentaries. If you’re browsing Netflix documentaries or typing your questions about GMOs into a search bar you’ll find lots of information that could very well be wrong. This freedom and availability of information is wonderful, but it comes with serious responsibilities. Fair or not, another equally important question that absolutely must accompany our previous concerns is: How can I find reliable explanations about GMOs? What’s a good source for my information?

My biggest problem with “do your research” cultural pressure is that there’s a specific end in mind, always opposed to scientific consensus: Do your research, and you’ll see that Big Ag/Pharma/Medicine is corrupt and I have found the superior way. It carries the implication that anyone who follows the conventional path is “uninformed.” In reality, anyone can write a blog, even about topics they don’t know much about. (I hesitated to write this series for years because I’m describing myself there, too.) Anyone can make a documentary. Anyone can craft a clever meme or infographic. Many of these “alternative sources” about science are just as biased and arrogant as they accuse professional scientists of being.

Aaron’s biggest problem with that phrase is that it’s a misuse of the word “research.” As someone whose life work is in scientific research and development, he’ll tell you that reading things on the internet is not scientific research. A frantic Google search is not equivalent to a series of laboratory tests or the body of work necessary to earn an advanced degree. This is an important distinction.

The Scientific Method & Scientific Research Today.
Do you remember science fairs from school? I do, because (believe it or not!) I actually won a competition during my junior year of high school. I did a lame project that took me an hour and I tell you the truth, I just copied-and-pasted the report requirements from an email into a Word Document to fill in my results. Many of the other entries came as the result of an entire semester’s worth of hard work, in some cases from students who have since become medical doctors. My project was not “high school science fair winning” caliber, but I won because I followed the scientific method. I scrupulously documented my observations, hypothesis, experiment, and results so the judges could figure out what was happening and could replicate the experiment to see if my findings were consistent. My classmates worked harder than me, but they were sloppy with their research and couldn’t answer some of the judges’ questions. I’ll confess that winning didn’t feel great. My physics teacher and another judge chided us all: me, for not coming up with a harder project, and everyone else for not documenting their research appropriately.

This gives us a helpful way to work through “anti-GMO studies” and “pro-GMO studies.” When Aaron publishes research, which is the professional grown-up version of a science fair project, he spends years working 60+ hours a week of compiling data, organizing it, and collaborating with his partners before sending the report to a “journal,” or an academic publishing team. A while later, he’ll receive a bunch of comments from a team of editors and blind reviewers acting as “science fair judges” with questions, criticisms, or recommendations to tackle before the research can make it to publication. (EDIT: Michelle, a professional scientist, explains further in the comments “My clarification would be this: those “editors and blind reviewers” are other scientists in the field, meaning colleagues and competitors. The reviewers are especially knowledgeable and invested in the quality of work being performed and published, because this work shapes the body of knowledge in their field. The very currency of their profession is critical thinking and their mantra is “show me the data.” In short, these are not a group of easily convinced or impressed peers. One’s research must be well supported by evidence in order to earn publication.”) The group seeking publication must meticulously record their methods, materials, and procedures. If another group repeats their project and gets different results it could have disastrous consequences for their academic and professional credibility.

When I look at anti-GMO sources, they usually paint the scientific community as a bully clique group trying to keep the truth hidden for their own profit, and say that the “powerful” scientists are suppressing studies showing GMOs to be harmful (or something like that). In reality scientists are only as prone to corruption and greed as any of us, and the community polices itself using a firm commitment to the scientific method, and the necessity of collaboration and peer review. So far the anti-GMO studies have not demonstrated anything that passes the muster of other scientists.

A good example of this is work from Gilles-Eric Seralini, a scientist from France who published a paper claiming GMO corn and the popular herbicide glyphosate (brand name “Round Up”) were associated with terrible tumors in his laboratory rats.  This study was later retracted after criticism from the scientific community as a whole concerning poor methods (he used a breed of rats that were inappropriate for this study because of their natural propensity to develop huge tumors), his changing hypothesis, and his obscure control groups (there were not enough rats in the control group and their feeding plan was not sufficient to compare them to rats eating GMO corn). As the spouse of a scientist, I’ll tell it to you straight: these folks don’t mess around. If they can poke a hole in an argument or find something wrong with a method or conclusion, they will, and they aren’t really worried about hurting anyone’s feelings in the process. The ways the scientific community responded to Seralini’s poor research with legitimate, reasonable criticisms gives me quite a bit of confidence in the process of scientific publication and peer review. Still, I see this guy’s work touted on social media and in “natural living” blogs as evidence against GMO crops on a regular basis.

Reading “Real” Science Research. 
The catch for most people here is that you have to pay to look at most of the studies published in reputable journals. If you want to look at the research scientists are doing in this field, you can search online but the reliability of free (or “open access”) studies varies widely. They aren’t all bad, but the limitations can be different. (Don’t hate too hard on scientists for this, though, because it is standard across all disciplines. My friend who is an English professor was just lamenting about paid access to research published in her field, too.)  If you don’t want to shell out money to read technical scientific publications, you would be wise to check out some science journalists and other groups who are reading these studies and talking about them.

Some excellent sources would be The Genetic Literacy Project and the Talking Biotech Podcast. We’re ecstatic about the upcoming documentary called Food Evolution. The Skeptical Raptor blog also has a wealth of DOCUMENTED information about discerning scientific sources, and is worth clicking around in as well.

God & GMOs

Thanks for reading! If you want to chat, I’d love to know how YOU evaluate sources for your information. Do you read blogs? Watch documentaries? Do you fact check much? Is that important to you?  

If you missed anything, check out the IntroductionPart 1: The Gospel, and Part 2: What is a GMO? to get up to speed. I’ll be back soon with some practical application of scripture and the Christian community’s responsibility to practice discernment and uphold truth in all aspects of life!