Why People Don’t Take the Anti-GMO Movement Seriously?

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I hear, fairly often, from those who are against GMO technology, that they’re tired of all the mean “pro-GMO” people not being very nice to them, or not being willing to answer their questions. Now, some of the reason that people often reach that point is that they get tired of the same questions that depict a severe lack of knowledge of the topic, over and over and over again. Often, these questions are so easily answered with a quick google search, and it shows that the people asking haven’t bothered to research the topic. They typically spit off sound bytes that we’ve heard a thousand times.

Another big reason, however, is that people in the rational community, those who value logic and evidence, and understand science, often see the actions of these people akin to the actions of other extremist groups, as they have, as shown above, led to what can only be referred to as eco-terrorism. Groups that are vehemently anti-GMO have burned and destroyed GMO test fields all over the world, really helping to discredit their ideology even more.

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Another all too common cliche is that most of the anti-GMO sites or postings all over the net use an image like this, tomatoes being injected with a syringe. First, there are no GMO tomatoes on the market. Second, this shows a huge lack of understanding of how genetic modification works at any fundamental level.

Then, of course, you get extremely disturbing, bizarre, fear-mongering, and fundamentally dishonest imagery like this.

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When I see that, I see an ideology that doesn’t care about facts, logic, or evidence. They only care about spreading fear.

And let’s not forget that their protests look way too much like the Westboro Baptist Church.

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Even with all this, however, that wouldn’t be enough to stop the conversation. The problem is that a large portion of those conversations involve an anti-GMO person ranting and yelling and throwing out cliche after cliche, while ignoring evidence and refusing to have an adult conversation. Don’t look at the following conversation and think that it’s a rare occurrence. This happens more often, by far, than civil discourse on this topic.

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So, the next time you wonder why no one is paying attention to your anti-GMO message, well, remember that there are some very good reasons for that.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Bioethics and Ethical Philosophy student at Cleveland State University, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes. He writes about science, technology, politics, human rights, feminism, religion, and any other topic that catches his eye.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Call For Writers!

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The Rationality Unleashed! Project is expanding rapidly, so we’re currently looking for more writers for our various project. Please see the project and topics below.

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Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Bioethics and Ethical Philosophy student at Cleveland State University, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes. He writes about science, technology, politics, human rights, feminism, religion, and any other topic that catches his eye.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Fraud, Misinformation, and the GMO Labeling Law in Vermont

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In May of this year, Vermont passed a GMO labeling bill that flooded the national news media. It was such a huge event since similar legislation had been defeated in places like Washington and California leading up to it. Those opposing the genetic modification of seeds, who have found quite a bit of support in Vermont, began to celebrate, while hinting at the backlash they knew would come. Of course, they pointed at Monsanto, their usual target of ire, regardless of whether it’s deserved.

The bill, H. 112, titled AN ACT RELATING TO THE LABELING OF FOOD PRODUCED WITH GENETIC ENGINEERING, has several glaring problems that should be looked at from the start. Let’s take a look at the “Findings” section, which sets the premise of the bill.

U.S. federal law does not provide for the necessary and satisfactory regulation of the safety and labeling of food that contains genetically engineered ingredients, as evidenced by the following:

This part alone is demonstrably false, even before they list their reasons for coming to this conclusion. The process itself takes years just to get a new GMO to be approved by the FDA.

U.S. federal labeling and food and drug laws do not require manufacturers of food produced with genetic engineering to label such food as genetically engineered. As indicated by the testimony of Dr. Robert Merker, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Supervisory Consumer Safety Officer, theFDA has statutory authority to require labeling of food products, but does not consider genetically engineered foods to be materially different from their traditional counterparts to justify such labeling.

Alright, this is a very common argument used against GMOs, and it’s “not even wrong,” that is, it’s not based enough in reality to be wrong.

Currently, all seeds leaving the biotech firms to the farmers are clearly labeled. The FDA requires labeling on food only if the nutritional value of the food is changed. Since GMO is a process, and not an ingredient, no change in nutrition typically occurs. With the exception of Golden Rice and the new banana, most are engineered with traits to aid farmers in the growing process. They have no effect on the final product.

So, safety, again, is not at issue here.

No formal FDA policy on the labeling of genetically engineered foods has been adopted. Currently, the FDA only provides nonbinding guidance on the labeling of genetically engineered foods, including a 1992 draft guidance regarding the need for the FDA to regulate labeling of food produced from genetic engineering and a 2001 draft guidance for industry regarding voluntary labeling of food produced from genetic engineering.

The FDA regulates genetically engineered foods in the same way it regulates foods developed by traditional plant breeding. Under its regulatory framework, the FDA does not independently test the safety of genetically engineered foods. Instead, manufacturers may submit safety research and studies, the majority of which the manufacturers finance or conduct. The FDA reviews the manufacturers’ research and reports through a voluntary safety consultation, and issues a letter to the manufacturer acknowledging the manufacturer’s conclusion regarding the safety of the genetically engineered food product being tested.

The FDA does not use meta-studies or other forms of statistical analysis to verify that the studies it reviews are not biased by financial or professional conflicts of interest.

The FDA is not responsible for any safety testing. They rely on the science that has been done.  Currently, there are a substantial number of independent safety studies that have been done.

That said, this still represents a distinct lack of understand of how science works. Science self corrects for bias. When a study is done and submitted to a journal, it gets peer reviewed. This is an often brutal process, where any holes can and will be poked in your paper.

Even if a bad study somehow makes it through that and gets published, the scientific community continues to scrutinize the study, and other labs attempt to replicate it.

Whenever you look at making a scientific claim, you have to rely on a body of evidence, rather than a single study, for this very reason. In the end, the funding source makes no difference, because all of these safeguards are built into the process.

There is a lack of consensus regarding the validity of the research and science surrounding the safety of genetically engineered foods, as indicated by the fact that there are peer-reviewed studies published in international scientific literature showing negative, neutral, and positive health results.

There have been no long-term or epidemiologic studies in the United States that examine the safety of human consumption of genetically engineered foods.

The “long-term studies” assertion has been floating around for a long time. The studies done on genetically modified technologies are equivalent to those that have been done on other types of crops and have shown that they are just as safe as other types of agricultural goods.

As far as consensus, there are over 2000 studies thus far on GMOs. A massive review in 2013 showed the consensus clearly with the following: “The scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops.”

Independent scientists are limited from conducting safety and risk-assessment research of genetically engineered materials used in food products due to industry restrictions on the use for research of those genetically engineered materials used in food products.

                This is another very common assertion. There IS a seed agreement that farmers sign when they purchase seeds. The question is, when determining the safety of a food product, what lab is going to grow it from scratch? They can freely purchase the food products to conduct the studies, and they do, as is evidence on the previously linked body of scientific work on the subject.

Genetically engineered foods are increasingly available for human consumption, as evidenced by the fact that: it is estimated that up to 80 percent of the processed foods sold in the United States are at least partially produced from genetic engineering; and according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2012, genetically engineered soybeans accounted for 93 percent of U.S. soybean acreage, and genetically engineered corn accounted for 88 percent of U.S. corn acreage.

That’s pretty accurate, as far as it goes, and only further reinforced the concept that we’ve been using GMO originated foods in abundance with no ill effects.

Genetically engineered foods pose potential risks to health, safety, agriculture, and the environment, as evidenced by the following:

Independent studies in laboratory animals indicate that the ingestion of genetically engineered foods may lead to health problems such as gastrointestinal damage, liver and kidney damage, reproductive problems, immune system interference, and allergic responses.

They do no such thing. No study that has not been retracted (Example: Seralini) has shown any such thing.

The genetic engineering of plants and animals may cause unintended consequences. The use of genetic engineering to manipulate genes by inserting them into organisms is an imprecise process. Mixing plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes through genetic engineering in combinations that cannot occur in nature may produce results that lead to adverse health or environmental consequences.

First, no animal genes are currently being used in the genetic modification of seeds.

Secondly, they’re making an interesting assertion here. Let me explain the difference between choosing a trait through genetic modification versus choosing it through other methods, such as selective breeding or radiation.

Other methods equate to cutting butter with a club. It’s messy, and there is a LOT of room for error, because you can’t precisely control what you’re selecting for. This was evidenced in the case of the poison potato, long before GMO.

Using genetic modification is like cutting butter with a surgical scalpel. It’s extremely precise, and there is very little room where error can occur in what you’re selecting for. This makes it exponentially more precise than traditional methods.

The use of genetically engineered crops is increasing in commodity agricultural production practices. Genetically engineered crops promote large-scale monoculture production, which contributes to genetic homogeneity, loss of biodiversity, and increased vulnerability of crops to pests, diseases, and variable climate conditions.

Genetically engineered crops that include pesticides may adversely affect populations of bees, butterflies, and other nontarget insects.

All crops use pesticides, even certified organic. Here’s a chart showing organic approved pesticides, and their toxicity to bees.

Organic Pesticides

As for butterflies, there hasn’t been an issue of toxicity towards them. The issue is the destruction of milkweed, which again, has nothing to do with GMO. It has to do with agriculture in general not wanting milkweed in their fields.

Cross-pollination of or cross-contamination by genetically engineered crops may contaminate organic crops and prevent organic farmers and organic food producers from qualifying for organic certification under federal law.

Cross-pollination from genetically engineered crops may have an adverse effect on native flora and fauna. The transfer of unnatural deoxyribonucleic acid to wild relatives can lead to displacement of those native plants, and in turn, displacement of the native fauna dependent on those wild varieties.

Cross pollination can happen, yes. That said, there are simple ways to solve the problem for organic farmers, as evidenced in a Plos One paper in 2013.

Even then, however, this has nothing to do with labeling GMO foods. This is the organic industry complaining about a challenge they “might” encounter while trying to the marketing advantage that is a certified organic label. It shouldn’t be part of this bill, since it’s not relevant to it.

For multiple health, personal, cultural, religious, environmental, and economic reasons, the State of Vermont finds that food produced from genetic engineering should be labeled as such, as evidenced by the following:

Public opinion polls conducted by the Center for Rural Studies at the University of Vermont indicate that a large majority of Vermonters want foods produced with genetic engineering to be labeled as such.

Public opinion shouldn’t dictate scientific policy. Public opinion has zero bearing on scientific conclusions. Legislating science based on public opinion is poor policy.

Because genetic engineering, as regulated by this act, involves the direct injection of genes into cells, the fusion of cells, or the hybridization of genes that does not occur in nature, labeling foods produced with genetic engineering as “natural,” “naturally made,” “naturally grown,” “all natural,” or other similar descriptors is inherently misleading, poses a risk of confusing or deceiving consumers, and conflicts with the general perception that “natural” foods are not genetically engineered.

GMO based foods are as “natural” as any other food we eat. We’ve been modifying our crops from how they would naturally occur since the invention of agriculture, about 12,000 years ago. Labeling anything we eat as “natural” is meaningless, because all of it “natural.”

Persons with certain religious beliefs object to producing foods using genetic engineering because of objections to tampering with the genetic makeup of life forms and the rapid introduction and proliferation of genetically engineered organisms and, therefore, need food to be labeled as genetically engineered in order to conform to religious beliefs and comply with dietary restrictions.

There is no religious doctrine in any established religion that dictates genetic modification. Even if there were, it would then require that its adherents eat none of the food of the modern world, as it has all been genetically altered from its original form.

Requiring that foods produced through genetic engineering be labeled as such will create additional market opportunities for those producers who are not certified as organic and whose products are not produced from genetic engineering. Such additional market opportunities will also contribute to vibrant and diversified agricultural communities.

This is key, right here. This states explicitly that they are legislating GMOs to aid competing parts of the industry in gaining a higher market share.

Labeling gives consumers information they can use to make informed decisions about what products they would prefer to purchase.

It gives them no information that is relevant to the health, safety, or content of a food. It only tells them that a specific process was used prior to the food being grown.

Because both the FDA and the U.S. Congress do not require the labeling of food produced with genetic engineering, the State should require food produced with genetic engineering to be labeled as such in order to serve the interests of the State, notwithstanding limited exceptions, to prevent inadvertent consumer deception, prevent potential risks to human health, promote food safety, protect cultural and religious practices, protect the environment, and promote economic development.

This final statement just reiterates the points addressed above.

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So, we’ve established here that the premise of the bill is entirely faulty. There isn’t anything in it that is relevant to enforcing labeling. Given this fact, it’s no wonder that a lawsuit HAS in fact been filed against the state of Vermont over the constitutionality of this piece of legislation. Only…it wasn’t filed by Monsanto.

Let’s look, first, at the plaintiffs.

GMA – Grocery Manufacturers Association

The GMA is an organization representing the interests of the food and beverage companies of America. They have initiatives such as The Healthy Schools Partnership and Keeping the Industry Green.

Of course, since members of theirs aided in defeating the labeling initiative in Washington, they’ve already been demonized.

Mercola names then the “Most Evil Corporation on the Planet,” which, you know, isn’t hyperbole or anything. Occupy Monsanto asks you to boycott their entire membership list, which does include Monstano, as one of hundreds of companies.

 

NAM – National Association of Manufacturers

NAM is an organization that represents small and large manufacturers in America. They include a huge membership all over the country, in many industries. They’re a pretty active organization on the national stage, and are transparent to the point of publicly stating their positions on a myriad of issues.

 

IDFA – International Dairy Foods Association

The IDFA is comprised of the Milk Industry Foundation, National Cheese Institute, and the International Ice cream Association. They’re members are entirely dairy producing companies.

 

SFA – Snack Food Association

The SFA resents about 400 companies worldwide that are snack manufacturers and suppliers. They’re active in education and research globally, and reputable.

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So, looking at these four plaintiffs, aside from membership in one (amidst hundreds of other companies), Monsanto isn’t even an aspect. They are certainly not suing Vermont, as the headlines are continuously claiming.

This is pretty telling, actually, because a non-profit by the name of Sum of Us is currently raising money to fight against Monsanto. They’ve gotten over 21,000 donors so far, to help them fight the evil Monsanto.

Now, there are a couple of interesting things to this.

First, Monsanto is one of thousands of companies represented by the four plaintiff organizations, yet they are using Monsanto as the focus of their fundraising, but naming them as the company leading the charge. They’re essentially lying to their donors to raise money, which constitutes willful fraud.

Also, they are a non-profit actively raising money to aid in the legislative process. While a non-profit is allowed to lobby, they aren’t permitted to financially influence the legislative process.

OK, so let’s look at the lawsuit itself.

They’ve filed it based on the following.

Vermont passed Act 120 to require food manufacturers to change the way they label and advertise foods containing ingredients derived from genetically engineered crops. Plaintiffs represent manufacturers who are subject to the Act, who fundamentally disagree with the message it forces them to convey, and who must now take immediate steps to change their labeling and advertising to comply with the Act’s enforcement deadline. Plaintiffs bring this suit to declare invalid and enjoin Act 120 on the ground that it violates the United States Constitution.

That’s pretty pointed. Do they have justification for it?

                The operative provisions of Act 120 take effect July 1, 2016. That is a difficult, if not impossible, deadline for Plaintiffs’ members to meet. They must revise hundreds of thousands of product packages, from the small to the super-sized. Then, they must establish Vermont-only distribution channels to ensure that the speech Vermont is forcing them to say, or not say, is conveyed in that State. To comply by the deadline, some companies may have no choice but to revise labels for all of their products, no matter where they might be sold in the United States.

That’s pretty important. They’re requiring actions from out of state companies that may be forced to affect how those companies operate in other states.

The proscriptions in Act 120 are beyond Vermont’s power to enact. The State is compelling manufacturers to convey messages they do not want to convey, and prohibiting manufacturers from describing their products in terms of their choosing, without anything close to a sufficient justification. The State is forcing the costs of this experiment on out-of-state companies and citizens to which it is not politically accountable, and it is undermining and impeding the federal government’s interest in uniform, nationwide standards for food labeling prescribed by duly authorize expert federal agencies.

                In each of the above respects, the Act exceeds Vermont’s authority under the United States Constitution. The Act should be invalidated and enjoined in its entirety.

                That’s the key to it right there. You have the state government legislating companies and people in other states, affecting interstate commerce, and overriding the federal government’s authority. It’s feasible that this could even ripple internationally, with our exported goods from these companies as well. By all appearances, Vermont has well overstepped its authority.

As James Cooper points out aptly in his article on the subject, “since this is much the same law as was overturned in International Dairy Foods v Amestoy case, it is likely to be overturned as well.”

So, we’ll keep watch on this legislation and subsequent lawsuit, and for those of us that follow the science, we’ll hope that more rational minds will prevail, and the law will be summarily overturned.

Rows of a Carrot Field

References

“A Built-In Strategy to Mitigate Transgene Spreading from Genetically Modified Corn.” PLOS One. 6 Dec. 2013. 18 Jun. 2014. <http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.137&gt;.

“PDF: Lawsuit vs. Vermont GMO law.” Scribd. 12 Jun. 2014. 18 Jun. 2014. <http://www.scribd.com/doc/229432405/PDF-Lawsuit-vs&gt;.

Vermont State House. State. 2013. 18 Jun. 2014<http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2014/bills/House/H-112.pdf&gt;.

Chaussee, Jennifer . “California GMO Labeling Push Fails A Second Time After Lawmakers Reject Bill.” Huff Post Food for Thought. 28 May. 2014.<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/29/californi&gt;.

Cooper, James . “Vermont sued for its GMO labeling law.” Examiner. 16 Jun. 2014. 18 Jun. 2014. <http://www.examiner.com/article/vermont-sued-for-i&gt;.

Entine, Jon . “After GMO Labeling Bill Defeat In Washington, Will Anti-GMO ‘Witch Hunts’ Escalate In Next Battlegro.” Forbes. 6 Nov. 2013. 18 Jun. 2014. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2013/11/07/a&gt;.

Ford, Dana . “Vermont governor signs GMO food labeling into law.” CNN Health. 8 May. 2014. 18 Jun. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/08/health/vermont-gmo-l&gt;.

Novella, Steven . “The Seralini GMO Study – Retraction and Response to Critics.” Science-Based Medicine. 4 Dec. 2013. 18 Jun. 2014. <http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-seralini-g&gt;.

Pomeroy, Ross . “Massive Review Reveals Consensus on GMO Safety.” Real Clear Science. 1 Oct. 2013. 18 Jun. 2014. <http://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2013/10/massi&gt;.

Rebgetz, Louisa . “Genetically modified Queensland bananas to join fight against catastrophic results of vitamin A defi.” ABC News. 15 Jun. 2014. 17 Jun. 2014. <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-14/genetic-bana&gt;.

Stockstill, Ellen . “Agricultural Biotechnology.” Curiosity from Discovery. 18 Jun. 2014. <http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/GM-crops-h&gt;.

Wendel, JoAnna . “With 2000+ global studies affirming safety, GM foods among most analyzed subjects in science.” Genetic Literacy Project. 8 Oct. 2013. 17 Jun. 2014. <http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/10/08/w&gt;.

 

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Bioethics and Ethical Philosophy student at Cleveland State University, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes. He writes about science, technology, politics, human rights, feminism, religion, and any other topic that catches his eye.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

The Folly of GMO Field Mapping

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Well, Oregon is at it again. They’ve decided that it is their place to map out GMO test fields, in hopes of the entire country following suit. The claim is that it is to minimize cross-pollination potential between GMO and non-GMO fields. Cross pollination is really less of an issue than people try to make it out to be, however, there is that potential, and there are ways to avoid it. The major Biotech firms, as well as conventional farmers, are coming out against this, due to worries of sabotage.

A site called takepart, another one of those online resources that no rational person would ever cite as a source, is making some pretty fun accusations regarding this push-back. They’re claiming that the “evil corporations” are trying to avoid transparency. They claim it’s a matter of hiding their business practices.

So, all that said, let’s take a look at some fantastic reasons why no one should want test fields mapped out while the level of fear mongering and misinformation in the public is as high as it is.

Activists Destroy ‘Golden Rice’ Field Trial

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Germany: 5 gmo fields sabotaged in 3 weeks time

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GMO test field destroyed by protesters

Kartoffel, Potato field

These are just a few examples of a growing problem of violence and sabotage against conventional farmers and test fields. Any movement that claims that there isn’t enough testing, then destroys test fields, is inherently dishonest and destructive.

In the end, there are definite consequences to the fear based anti-GMO actions being taking around the world. I just wish the anti-GMO activists payed attention to them.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Palestinian Activist Casey Kasem Dies at 82

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While I normally stay way from celebrity stuff in my writing, I think this is important. Casey Kasem was best known for his work as a DJ, and rightly so. He had a voice that no one could forget, and it was hard not to feel at ease while listening to it. After a bitter battle between his children and his second wife, he was taken off artificial and passed away, poetically, on Father’s Day morning.

That, however, isn’t the story that I think should be told. Casey Kasem should be remembered more for his activism.

As a Palestinian American, he spoke out for the rights of Palestine and against the occupation by Israel. He even involved himself in active protests over the years. There’s a great article in People from 1990 that discusses his activism, and how much he spoke against anti-Arab nationalism in America.

He was also a longtime vegetarian who refused jobs that supported the meat industry.

So, this is my short eulogy for a radio personality who was known for the top 40 countdown, but should be remembered for his moral activism that lives on through his children.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Deconstructing Men’s Rights Activism

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I think that Cracked said it best, on their report on Men’s Rights Activism, when they said “Men’s Rights Activism began as the natural response of American males to the growing threat of feminism, in much the same way that burning your house down is the natural response to the threat of ghosts. In both cases, a better solution would be to walk away and let a less emotionally fragile man deal with the situation.”

The Men’s Rights Movements is actually quite a few fractured groups of men fighting against that horrible act of women asking to be treated as equals, or as MRAs actually put it “Those uppity bitches wanting to take what’s mine!” Yes, I’ve actually had someone use that line, sad though it may be.

On their face, they appear to be addressing real world problems such as….wait…hold one….nevermind. None of their issues are issues, and many are just horrible soapboxes to be on. Let’s take a look.

Child Custody

They are often on about how custody battles are always in the favor of the mother, and men never get the chance. They even use lack of custody to justify not paying child support.

In reality, men far less often even ask for custody. When they do, and push for it, they very often get it.

Divorce

They claim that men are discriminated against in divorce hearings, for being male. Given the realities of custody, that men far less often ask for it, and our societal standards of women as caregivers for children, when you figure in time and expense of caring for children, women tend to end up far worse off, financially, in divorce results.

Education

They actually believe that men are oppressed in education, thanks to feminism. I’m not even sure what to say about this. It’s so not based in reality that it’s not even wrong. It’s just bizarre. How often do we hear that males are far better for STEM fields than females? How many athletic scholarships are there for males as opposed to females? Such a silly assertion.

The Criminalization of Marital Rape

This one’s great. They’re angry because feminists want to make marital rape illegal. Rape has to do with consent. If there is no consent, then it is rape. It doesn’t matter if the person is your spouse. Marriage does not give you universal rights over someone’s body. Even the thought of that blows my mind. If this is really a sticking point for you, if you are angry because you should have the right to do what you want to your wife at any time, you need to check yourself in for a mental health evaluation. You aren’t well.

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There’s a pretty large list of other topics, but they are so silly they aren’t even worth mentioning. Let’s look, now, at the leaders of the movement. It seems that, at least according to Wikipedia, a whole lot of their “causes” come from Warren Farrell. He’s a big name in the movement, and a very loud anti-feminism voice. So, we’ll start with him.

Warren Farrell

Wikipedia says that “He is now recognized as one of the most important figures in the modern men’s movement.” In fact, he used to be a feminist, and on the board of NoW.

According to Farrell, “Everything went well until the mid-seventies when NOW came out against the presumption of joint custody [of children following divorces]. I couldn’t believe the people I thought were pioneers in equality were saying that women should have the first option to have children or not to have children—that children should not have equal rights to their dad.”

So wait…his problem, his big overriding issue, that drove him from feminist to rampant misogynist, and building a movement against feminism, was…..joint custody.

Wow.

Since then, he’s written books and campaigned against feminism, and build the men’s rights movement quite a bit.

Oh, but he gets better.

In 1977, he was interviewed in Penthouse Magazine about…incest. It seems he fully supports the idea. Here’s what he had to say.

“When I get my most glowing positive cases, 6 out of 200, the incest is part of the family’s open, sensual style of life, wherein sex is an outgrowth of warmth and affection. It is more likely that the father has good sex with his wife, and his wife is likely to know and approve — and in one or two cases to join in.”

And…

“First, because millions of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, and genitally caressing their children, when that is really a part of a caring, loving expression, are repressing the sexuality of a lot of children and themselves. Maybe this needs repressing, and maybe it doesn’t. My book should at least begin the exploration.”

Oh, and also…

“Second, I’m finding that thousands of people in therapy for incest are being told, in essence , that their lives have been ruined by incest. In fact, their lives have not generally been affected as much by the incest as by the overall atmosphere. My book should help therapists put incest in perspective.”

And even…

“Incest is like a magnifying glass, in some circumstances it magnifies the beauty of the relationship…”

And finally…

“Since the father otherwise extends very little attention to his daughter, his sexual advances may be one of the few pleasant experiences she has with him.”

Let’s not forget, this man is one of the founders and a well regarded icon of the Men’s Rights Movement. This is the foundation of the movement itself. That speaks volumes.

Paul Elam

This is the current big name in Men’s Rights Activism, and runs A Voice for Men. He can be quoted saying “they are stupid (and often arrogant) enough to walk though [sic] life with the equivalent of a [sic] I’M A STUPID, CONNIVING BITCH – PLEASE RAPE ME neon sign glowing above their empty little narcissistic heads.”

More recently, he attempted to hold a conference in Detroit, but after lying about death threats to the hotel they were being hosted at, it appears the hotel dropped them and they had to find another venue…which they also lied about.

He’s also quoted here, “feminism, consumer products, psychology, media, advertising, politics and social custom [have] all merged into one Great Big Bitch Machine; [and] the modern female psyche is nothing more than a product of that machine.”

W.F. Price

W.F. Price runs The Good Men Project. The project itself is nowhere near as horrible as the rest, but he can be quote here, commented on the death of a 22 year old.

“Four years of college buys women precious little time in the mating market. … I’d guess … about exactly as much time as it takes for them to complete it, because their pool of future mates tends to go through the same process … That’s to say that she has her best shot to land a good match up to perhaps 25.”

And here…

The problem with young women today is that they internalize this “anything is possible” attitude and don’t lose it until it really is too late for many of them. They think they can do better at 30 than at 22, which, in most cases, is simply wrong. Some might say that family and men are not a priority for these girls, but women for whom this is really true throughout life are an insignificant minority. In fact, most women are holding out precisely because they think they can get a better man later, perhaps when they have a better job and work with more powerful men.

But these girls are not going to change fundamentally, and in their early 20s are at the peak of their beauty while still retaining an innocent charm. Nothing about their looks or personality is going to make them more appealing at 30 than at 22, and the men available to them are not going to get any better, either….

The point is that neither men nor women change fundamentally past a certain point, and the same guys young women have available in their early 20s are generally the same guys that will be available at 30, only they will be older and, due to marriage, there will be far fewer of them.”

And then…

“Time tends to accelerate past a certain age, and the 25-year old woman soon finds herself 30, and then 35, and at that point she’s got precious little of it left. Perhaps at 22 she was laughing about the “comical” notion that it could ever be too late, but after a certain point it is no longer comedy, but tragedy, and her laughter turns to tears.”

And finally…

“[M]en do age better than women. I looked around at the women and they all just looked old to me. I could not imagine myself with any of them. They had lost whatever charm they had and I found attractive the last time I had seen them. Almost all of the men that were there with their spouses were with younger women. …

As for the women specifically, while they all seemed old, I noted that the happiest of the lot talked about their family. Some of them were married, some of them divorced, but in both cases they talked about their kids. They were clearly the most fulfilled. Many of the other women than I knew had pursued consuming careers were not at the reunion. Those that were, and who did not have children, had a whiff of pain on their faces. They seemed to be looking around and suddenly forced to face the consequences of their choices.”

Sadly, these aren’t his only horrible comments. There are so many more.

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Now, let’s look at the actions of the Men’s Rights Activists recently, to see what their intentions look like.

False Rape Reporting

In December of last year, Men’s Rights Activists on Reddit found out that Occidental College has an online form for rape reporting. Making the assumption that this was used to falsely report rape, regardless of actual reality, they started spamming it with false rape reports, in an effort to discredit women who are actually…reporting…rape….

Canada MRA Lectures

The MRA has, a couple of times, held lectures at the University of Toronto, that speak vehemently against Feminism. They spouted righteous indignance against the Feminist protests of these lectures, calling out the militancy of protesting them.

Praise of Marc Lepine

A couple years ago, an MRA blogger came out (with a lot of support) praising Marc Lepine. In 1989, Marc Lepine, at  École Polytechnique in Montreal, killed 28 people in the name of fighting Feminism.

Fake Death Threats

The MRA group planning the Detroit rally lied about death threats to raise an extra $25k for their rally. They claimed to need it for security. They have yet to prove those threats.

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Now, I’d say that everything above speaks volumes about the movement. I assure you, however, that the members are worse. Here are some examples, taken from MRA sites, pages, and groups:

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Many more can be found here, at The Real Face of Men’s Rights Activism

Now, given all of this, it should be pretty clear that the Men’s Rights Movement isn’t designed or run with any noble or moral cause. It’s there to attack women and attack feminists, while glorifying its leaders.

And THAT is worth fighting against.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Amidst The Vitriol, Some Words of Kindness for Suey Park

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In the aftermath of #cancelcolbert the response against Suey Park was pretty massive. I decided to check out her feeds and see what people were saying…..

What I read there makes me ashamed to call myself American, let alone left wing aligned. The commentary is disgusting. It makes me physically ill to read. These people are the reason we need activists just like Suey Park in this world. These people should be ashamed to look at themselves in the mirror each day, or to face their own families. These people are a disgrace to humanity.

Even if you disagree with someone, or even outright hate them, this behavior makes you many times worse. I wouldn’t wish this on the most vile of human beings, nor would I wish to see any person lower themselves to the actions I’ve seen directed towards Suey.

In light of this, I decided to read all of it, and find some words of kindness from Suey’s supporters. I would imagine, like any human being who is facing harassment and threats around the clock, that she could use it about now.

Suey, keep doing what you do. It makes a difference, whether it’s visible or not.

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Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.