About Those Non-Flatulent Cows . . .

I got to thinking a bit more about the item I posted Saturday on how “Scientists Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gases by Breeding Fartless Cows,” and it suddenly occurred to me—hey wait a minute: I thought environmentalists were against genetic engineering!

As it happens, I’m currently reading the galleys for a fabulous book coming out at the end of this month, Pascal Bruckner’s The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse: Save the Earth, Punish Human Beings.  Put it on your summer reading list; it is terrific.  I’ll have a complete review in due course in one of the usual places, but for now I’ll share his comment on the reflexive anti-GMO position of the environmental left:

Ecologism is the philosophy of twilight, of the pale and wan.  Will genetic engineering soon allow us to develop a mosquito that can sterilize the anopheles mosquitos that spread malaria?  That would be a prodigious invention capable of eradicating one of the worst scourges of our time.  Immediately the censors throw fits, associations mobilize: no genetically modified organisms!

Yeah, that sounds about right.  Fartless cows, si; saving third world children from malaria, no.

Meanwhile, over at the Discover Magazine blog, Keith Kloor takes to the woodshed journalists who credit unscientific anti-GMO views, wondering whether said journalists are stupid, or just lazy:

When a NYT investigative reporter reinforces the biggest myths and fears pushed by the anti-GMO movement, I don’t see how it’s possible to have a constructive, science-based discourse about genetically modified foods.


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