It is with a heavy heart I must challenge Bill Nye, “the Science Guy” once one of my idols, to a debate regarding his dangerous views on genetically modified foods (GMOs) and vaccines. I fear Nye has trespassed against the gods of science and the souls of Aristotle, Galileo, and Darwin cry out from their graves for me to rescue him from his error.
This is what I have on the wall of my science classroom:
Science means I will be faithful to the cause of free inquiry, and will accept truth where I find it, no matter how relentlessly it may tear out the roots of prejudice and superstition. I will not be blinded by the new or spectacular, condemning the old and tried, simply because it is old and tried. I will not distort or weigh evidence to support a favored theory, suspending judgment for more nearly adequate evidence. This I pledge as an ideal of Science.
Now when I look at Nye’s views on GMOs it seems as if he simply gets overwhelmed with the new and spectacular, rather than thinking through the wisdom of the effort.
In explaining why he changed his view on GMOs, here’s an example of his thinking from a July 13, 2015 Business Insider article. “He explained that what changed his mind was a fateful visit to the lab [a Monsanto lab] where scientists do the actual gene modification. There, he watched them scan the entire genetic sequence of the crops they wanted to modify. The process he saw, was startlingly precise, far more than it had been 20 years ago.”
The process may be precise, Bill, but you still have no idea what effect it will have on living organisms.
I draw your attention to research published in the journal, Environmental Science Europe in 2014 on genetically modified corn and the pesticide Round-Up, on toxicity in rats. This research was viciously attacked by Monsanto, especially since it represented a financial risk to their company’s efforts.
“Biochemical analyses confirmed very significant chronic kidney deficiencies, for all treatments and both sexes; 76% of the altered parameters were kidney-related. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5 to 5.5 times higher. Marked and severe neuropathies were also generally 1.3 to 2.3 times greater. In females, all treatment groups showed a two-to-threefold increase in mortality and deaths were earlier. This difference was also evident in three male groups fed with GM maize.”
The takeaway is that feeding rats genetically modified corn, which is then treated with the pesticide Round-Up, is causing kidney problems, liver issues, neuropathies (nerve death), and decreased life span. Yes, it’s cool that you can splice genes into organisms that could not have done so before, but maybe there’s a reason nature doesn’t do it on her own.
And maybe this is just from my legal training, Bill, but maybe you shouldn’t be so trusting of research which is funded by the people trying to sell you the product?
I also struggle with Nye’s flawed reasoning when it comes to vaccines. I found an article entitled “5 Things Bill Nye Has to Say to Anti-Vaxxers,” from The Record, May 8, 2017.
Reason #1 is that “Eating healthy won’t protect you from infectious diseases.” I’m not really sure anybody is making that argument. Eating healthy is better for you, just as clean air and clean water is good for you, but it’s not an iron-clad guarantee. Just because I put my seat-belt on and drive a car with air-bags doesn’t mean I won’t die in a traffic accident.
Reason #2 is that “Vaccines protect me from you.” I find this one more interesting. He argues that vaccines protect infections, and during the course of an infection a virus might become more pathogenic and that new strain might infect people who were previously vaccinated, like Bill. Valid point.
However, if we look to what has happened with anti-biotics, they have only created more pathogenic strains of the various viruses and bacteria, so there might be more to fear from man’s attempts to control nature, than working with nature by making sure our air, water, and food are clean.
Reason #3 is “You guys are wrong.” He talks about an area of Puget Sound, Vashon Island, in which about one quarter of the parents skip vaccines for their kids. I’m not sure what Bill is talking about, unless it’s the well-known fact that the more highly educated a person is, the more likely they are to delay or skip vaccinations. Arguing against educated people is a losing proposition, Bill.
Reason #4 is “Don’t Forget the Spanish Flu of 1918.” Okay, remembering my history, the Spanish Flu was preceded by World War I, which had some of the most appalling sanitary conditions of the modern era, and there was no vaccine to prevent it anyway. What exactly does Bill mean to say? Maybe another question is, has there been anything like the Spanish Flu since 1918? No. I’d vote for a cleaner world being the main difference.
Reason #5 is “Science is political.” Again, this is one of those statements which makes me say, “Yeah, so what’s your point?” My mom loved to smoke, even though the doctors said it wasn’t good for her and it killed her. It’s in this section that Nye starts to get tripped up because he doesn’t follow the course of his own logic. Nye says, “To just close your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge is not going to get us anywhere.”
I agree with you, Bill. Science “IS” political…
Here’s a thought. How about doing an unbiased study on the health of vaccinated and vaccinated children? If it was done according to scientific principles I would listen.
Too much? How about a simple study of earlier and later administration of the MRR vaccine, the vaccine about which Dr. Andrew Wakefield first raised an alarm in regards to autism?
Oh, that study was already done by the CDC in 2001-2004 and the CDC threw out data they didn’t like. That corruption was revealed a few years ago by senior CDC scientist, Dr. William Thompson. If YOU want to educate yourself about you can read my book, INOCULATED: How Science Lost its Soul in Autism. I got the whistle-blower documents from the Office of Congressman William Posey, so don’t even think of calling it “fake news.”
Or maybe you’d like to review the recent publication by Professor Chris Exeley about aluminum in the brains of children with autism and published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology?
This is from an article on the Daily Mail of November 30, 2017 on the research. “Aluminum in vaccines may cause autism, controversial new research suggests. Autistic children have up to 10 times more of the metal in their brains than what is considered safe in adults, a study found. Aluminum crosses the membrane that separates the brain from circulating blood and accumulates in cells involved in maintaining a constant internal environment, such as temperature, the research adds.”
“Study author Professor Chris Exley from Keele University, said, ‘Perhaps we now have the link between vaccination and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the link being the inclusion of aluminum adjuvant in the vaccine.’ The researchers speculate autism sufferers may have genetic changes that cause them to accumulate aluminum which healthy people are able to remove.”
How about it, Bill? Sounds like a good scientific debate. Are you up for it?
Or have you sold out completely – as shown in the video below?
This video is a “Science Show” designed for our children?
The book is co-authored with Judy Mikovits PhD. It is an indictment of the “Fake Science” we find so prevalent in the US.