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Date:

June 5, 2000

Subject:

The Penguin

 

AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com

Subj: The Penguin
Date:Mon, 5 Jun 2000 10:48:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:Andrew Apel

Colleagues,

Lots of disgusting things can be found on the internet, and
people do all sorts of things to keep kids away from such
sites. Then along comes http://www.oneworld.net/penguin/ , a
disgusting and subversive site specifically targeted at
children. It is run by a loquacious penguin who spouts
eco-reactionary, anti-biotech propaganda of a grade and
quality worthy of Goebbels.

It’s anti-science, anti-authority, anti-government,
anti-corporation, even anti-human on its main page, calling
humans the worst thing that ever happened to the planet
since the dinosaurs were killed off. Stylistically, the text
relies on the standard Greenpeace/FOE mantra... “unexpected,
unintended, unpredictable, untested, dangerous.” As if
children have not yet been scared enough by a world they do
not fully understand, and here is a website which would
cruelly exploit their native curiosity.

This discussion group should take a good hard look at the
following excerpts from this website, which carefully avoids
outright lies, while displaying a lawyerly mastery of the
arts of unabashed and clever distortion. For the sake of
misleading the young.

Targeting gullible adults is one thing, targeting innocent
children is another. Is there an activist “Hall of Shame”
somewhere? I have a nomination which is sure to win.

If there is no Hall of Shame, Dr. Lynas, I personally call
down shame upon your head. Shame, damnable shame, for
seeking to corrupt the innocent, for offering the forming
minds of youth innuendoes and half-truths, and feeding them
notions of anarchy, while betraying your science degree as
you pander to neo-Luddites and neo-Marxists. You work to
undo the fabric of culture with your cleverly cloaked
mockery, and to scour clean the tablet science has written
through its centuries of labor, you invite schoolchildren to
join the illiterate howling ranks of anarchy. May God
forgive you, for I cannot, and I will not. Satan need not
exist, when so many champion the cause of ignorance.

I feel quite at home with the falsehoods which the organic
contingent promulgates amongst consumers in a bid for market
share, but targeting children is cheap, foul and
quintessentially evil, Dr. Lynas.

Here follow excerpts from the distortions, calumnies and
half-lies which Lynas foists upon children, in the voice of
a penguin:

********EXCERPTS FROM THE SITE*********

If you eat ‘genetic’ food, you become part of an experiment
in which you are being used as a guinea pig. And one of the
main reasons for doing this is for some people to make lots
of money.

No-one can be certain what will happen. It is unpredictable.
Genes can do unexpected and unintended things and nobody can
ever be quite sure what.

Some nasty [companies] don’t care much who gets trampled on
in the process. That’s why I’m frightened about GE in the
hands of the companies that do it.

The companies say they want to feed all the world’s starving
people. I wish I believed that. Few companies want to give
money away - which is what they’d have to do to feed the
starving. Hungry people have no money to buy food or land to
grow it on. That is why they’re hungry. Not because there
isn’t enough food.

I think this is very dangerous because the genetically
modified organisms (GMOs) they are already growing
(especially, you American kids, in the USA) and getting us
to eat have simply not been tested properly.

The big seed companies like to say that their GMO seeds and
foods are ‘substantially equivalent’ - meaning more or less
the same as ordinary seeds. A soy bean seed or tomato looks
the same whether it’s genetically modified or it isn’t. They
taste the same. They smell the same. So they are the same
(almost), say the companies. So there’s no need to test
them. Critics say this is a lie. If a plant’s genes have
been altered by GE, that is to make the plant make or do
something different. So it is different, and it may have
effects that no-one can know about until people start to get
ill and even die. In case you think this is a bit far
fetched, this has already happened. Thirty seven people in
America died and over a thousand got sick because they ate a
special type of GE food which was ‘substantially equivalent’
to the normal one.

Problems with weedkiller-safe crops — Farmers like tidy
fields and weeds compete with crop plants meaning that the
farmer gets less crop and less money. So making sure no
weeds grow by spraying herbicide seems to make sense … but
not for the other creatures and plants that live on the
planet. By killing everything but his crop, the farmer is
making the landscape into a desert for other life. No birds
will be there because there are no weed seeds or insects to
eat. There will be no flowers. Just miles of identical GE
plants. The whole web of life is destroyed.

Hope for the future? — Yes there is - if you and your
friends do something.

Ordinary people - including kids - must be involved in
deciding the future of life on our planet. GE could affect
natural life in all kinds of ways nobody yet knows. . . .
Don’t leave it to the ‘experts’!

What can kids do? — Lots of things. If you are worried about
GE, here’s what you can do: . . . You can pester your mum
or dad to help you (and them) find out more. Get them to buy
organic food (which is not allowed to contain any GMOs). . .
. And remember, some of the information you’ll find won’t
be true or honest because some of it will be made by the
companies themselves. They don’t want you to hear the whole
story because they will lose money.

**********END OF EXCERPTS***********

The penguin (who seems more of a parrot, actually) claims to
have no sponsors, but the bird does list “useful
organizations which you can join or find out stuff from,” a
rogue’s gallery of misinformation, anarchist and paranoia
sources including: Biodemocracy Campaign, Friends of the
Earth, The Food Forum, The Council for Responsible Genetics,
Greenpeace, Physicians and Scientists for Responsible
Application of Science and Technology (PSRAST), RAFI, Third
World Network and Union of Concerned Scientists.

Bry Lynas, OneWorld Online’s Guides coordinator, is the
author of this nefarious site, and claims a Ph.D. in earth
sciences (University of Cambridge, UK - 1970). His email
address is bry@oneworld.org, and he is said to welcome
feedback and suggestions.

“Nothing is true, everything is permitted.” Abdul Alhazred,
The Necronomicon.