July 18, 2015 1:46 pm

Sunday, more controversy – Cosmic Queries: GMOs with Bill Nye (Part 2)

Photo of protesters at an anti-GMO, anti-Monsanto rally. Credit: Blondcupie-iStock-Thinkstock.

Anti-GMO protesters at a rally against Monsanto. Credit: Blondcupie/iStock/Thinkstock.

If you’re reading this, chances are that you are used to reading my preview posts about our upcoming podcast on Sundays.

But before we get to discussing this Sunday’s episode, which is Part 2 of Cosmic Queries: GMOs with Bill Nye, I wanted to take a moment to talk about last Sunday’s podcast, Part 1.

Actually, not even the podcast itself, but the discussion around it.

We’ve already gotten well over 100 comments on that episode, which you can read here. Just scroll down until you see the comments.

The reason I want to bring them to your attention is because the comments serve as a snapshot of the controversy surrounding GMOs.

In our discussion thread, there are both pro-GMO and anti-GMO voices, and on each side, there are some commenters who are presenting facts, backed up by studies, articles from respected sources, and personal experience.

One thing both sides seem to agree on is that there is a high level of misinformation leading the opposition to the wrong conclusions.

Anti-GMO voices have pointed out that the companies who are leaders in the industry, Monsanto and Dow in particular, have, in the past, been responsible for dioxins, Agent Orange, and other products with, shall we say, questionable reputations.

So how can we trust what the biochem companies say?

Pro-GMO voices have pointed out that some of the opposition is based on inflammatory articles and emotional screes that turn out to be partially, or entirely, fabricated, in direct contradiction to a mountain of scientific data and tests.

So how can we trust what the anti-GMO folks say, either?

Which brings me to this Sunday’s podcast.

As you’ll hear when you listen, our comic co-host, Chuck Nice, seems to be on the anti-GMO side of the argument. Even though he has chosen both pro-GMO and anti-GMO questions, submitted by our fans, to ask our guest host Bill Nye, you’ll hear Chuck add in a few of his own questions that reflect his distrust and concerns.

And of course, Bill has recently changed his mind about GMOs, as a result of a deeper exploration of the science behind them.

And so this episode, like our discussion thread for Part 1, is an example of how two different sides can still have a responsible, respectful conversation about a subject over which they disagree.

It’s also an example of how some questions are so complex that just looking at one aspect of the issue is not enough. For instance, Bill, while clearly pro-GMO, talks about how an unintended consequence of GMOs has led to wiping out 90% of the Monarch Butterfly population.

But when discussing the impact of monocultures on honeybees, and how it adds stress on our most important pollinators, Bill also points out that it’s a solvable problem, and not inherent to the ideas of genetically modifying organisms.

In a time when climate change is a major concern (another controversial topic for some), when California, a major supplier of food for the entire planet, is suffering a crippling drought, and when the world population is projected to reach 9 Billion in 2040, this is an issue of primary importance to all of us.

Join us for Cosmic Queries: GMOs with Bill Nye (Part 2) this Sunday, July 19 at 7:00 PM ET on our website, iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and TuneIn.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Jeffrey Simons

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