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Date:

August 31, 2000

Subject:

Response to Milloy's money; Waste Biotech; Ho:Organics and

 

Concerning the EWG's accusation that Milloy is a tool of Big Tobacco,
consider that another member of Milloy's coalition in the "No More Scares"
campaign is the American Council on Science and Health. While ACSH is
supported by business groups, as well as individual donors, they are
certainly no friend of Big Tobacco. Their publications are amazingly
honest and balanced, rooted in solid scientific evidence, and have
consistently and constantly pointed out the serious harm to health that
arises from tobacco use.

To label the "No More Scares" coalition (which includes my own collegue at
the Hudson Institute, Michael Fumento) as a tool of big pollutors and Big
Tobacco is way off the mark.

Their message was simply that all of the so-called consumer groups and
"public interest groups" are really in the business of fear mongering and
health scares. This fact is wholly supported by these same groups
involvement at the center of the bogus anti-GM food scares--which we've
all been privy to.

So let's put all of these criticisms in their proper perspective and
remind ourselves who is fooling the public. I can assure you it isn't
Steve Milloy or the ACSH.

To get the full report, go to http://www.nomorescares.com

Alex Avery
Center for Global Food Issues

>Subj: Steven Milloy and junk science
>From: "Fred Powledge" Subscribers to this list
who celebrate the musings of Steven Milloy on what he calls "junk
science," some of which have found their way
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From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Milloy's Money


It used to be that the big problem was killing the messenger because of
his message. Are we to compound this message by killing the message
because of the messenger?

The real question is: is the message simply what it is, or is it meant to
serve an ulterior motive? Consider this.

EWG is a project of the Tides Foundation, which is registered as a
charitable non-profit. It accepts tax-deductible donations, and charges a
"management fee" to funnel this money off anonymously to various activist
groups.

EWG is funded by the Tides Foundation, and its activities lately have been
to support the efforts of the organic food industry.

EWG's office is in a for-profit real estate venture formed by the Tides
Foundation and its own head, who is a real estate developer.

This is all too tidy. Take cash (probably from an organic industry
coalition), charge a fee to anonymize it while they get a tax deduction,
funnel it to an activist group that pays rent to your for-profit real
estate venture, and then flow the money back to the organic industry with
what pretends to be a grass-roots consumer effort. On second thought, it's
actually magnificent - and the name "Tides Foundation," implying as it
does the notion of a vast flow that comes in and goes out, is a stroke of
genius.

It seems to me that if EWG wants Milloy to talk about his business, they
better be prepared to talk about theirs.

>Fred Powledge wrote:

>Could it be true that Milloy is not a wholly disinterested chronicler of
what is, and
>isn't, believable science?
=========================================

From: "Kershen, Drew L"
Subject: FW: EUROPEAN CONSUMERS SHOW CONTINUED RESISTENCE TO GMOS

FYI I paste a message below that I received from another list-serve.

Mr. Gary Goldberg, CEO of American Corn Growers Association, has been
consistently antagonistic to agrobiotechnology. He remarks below are from
a longer report about his recent visits with Europeans while attending a
conference on agrobiotechnology in Denmark.

I think that Chris is more accurate than Mr. Goldberg. Moreover, Chris is
straigth-forwardly honest about his goals -- driving agrobiotech from
markets and research.

Drew

Drew L. Kershen
Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law
University of Oklahoma College of Law

-----Original Message-----
From: creuss@bluewin.ch [mailto:creuss@bluewin.ch] Subject: Re: EUROPEAN
CONSUMERS SHOW CONTINUED RESISTENCE TO GMOS
>"It is clear that no matter what American farmers think about GMOs,
>their European customers have rejected these products. If we want to
regain this important and vital market for U.S. commodities, we will have
to segregate our crops and sell them only non-GMOs," added [Gary] Goldberg
[CEO, American Corn Growers Association].

What's the point of segregation when the American continent is full of GMO
pollution anyway (and the odd mix-ups will happen during "segregation") ?

Won't European consumers rather buy produce from *GMO-free continents* ?
(such as, perhaps sooner or later, Oz or Europe)

So perhaps it would be smarter if the American farmers drop GMOs at all...

Chris

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Waste and the Future of Biotechnology
Gareth Evans

http://www.envirospace.com/waste_management/view_article.asp?article_id=313

Was there ever so demonized a field of endeavour as biotechnology? It
seems that hardly a day goes by without some new scare, moral dilemma or
concern playing itself out in the media. Cloned this, transgenic that and
the genetically modified other have largely become a new pantheon of
ghouls, goblins and bogeymen in popular culture, to such an extent that
their true reality has become as lost in the mists of obscurity as
Atlantis or the gods of ancient Rome.

The dawn of the nuclear age promised unlimited cheap power, even though it
was forged, quite literally in the heat of war; for all its incipient
benefits to humanity, therapeutic and otherwise, biotechnology has never
enjoyed this kind of public approbation. Perhaps in seeking to control
biology, to harness its power to our will, we stray too close to the sin
of Eden. Shall mankind truly become "like God" in our knowledge of life
and of our own origins?

In all of these grand issues and questions of our age, we tend to forget
that not all "biotechnology" involves the modification of genomes, stem
cells, cloning or xenotransplantation. Some of the potentially most
beneficial uses of biological engineering which may touch the lives of the
majority of people involve much simpler approaches. Less radical and
showy, certainly, but powerful tools, just the same. Environmental
biotechnology is fundamentally rooted in waste, typically concerned with
either the remediation of land polluted by previous industrial use, or the
treatment of waste from current human activities. Composting and the
anaerobic digestion of municipal solid waste (MSW) may not share the
glamour and glitz of high-end genetic engineering, but equally, they come
without provoking any of the strong passions that have greeted GM crop
trials throughout the UK. In one of my previous articles here, I described
the biological treatment of waste as a Cinderella science, widely seen as
unglamorous, funded on a budget and traditionally viewed as a necessary
inconvenience. The development and application of biotechnology may yet
prove to be the fairy godmother in the story.

Often it is specific local factors which have the greatest effect on
biowaste processing and flexibility may be vitally important in allowing
the need for maximum diversion to dovetail effectively with the demands of
a given area. While it is unlikely that emergent biowaste treatments will
ever represent a serious challenge to either composting or AD it would
appear that such approaches will always have some value in response to
particular circumstance. As individual states, authorities and other
interested parties begin their considerations of the way they intend to
treat biowaste in the future, a role , or even a need, may be found in
their plans for alternative methods. With adequate political will to
achieve the reduction in putrescible waste entering landfill, and suitable
financial incentives to do it, it is likely that new technologies will be
developed to solve many of the technical problems presently associated
with maximizing the sustainable re-use of biowaste resources. Once the
technology is in place, it only remains for the wider economic environment
to foster the kind of conditions in which the emergent industry can
thrive. The wider issue of resources management is intimately wound up in
our approach to waste. Biowaste management cannot simply be about
maximizing the diversion of biodegradable material from entering landfill;
it must, equally, seek to maximize the rational re-integration of the
materials diverted, returning them back into the chain of utility. In this
sense, it is no different from any other form of recycling. A recovered
aluminium can is of no intrinsic value until it has been made back into
another can, or something else of use. There is, clearly, no virtue in
simply having it pulled it out of the garbage. This in itself is one of
the strongest arguments against those who seek to justify wholesale
incineration as an alternative disposal route for biowaste. So-called
"thermal recycling" can only truly be thus described if it does not
represent a negative calorific contribution to the overall combustion
process. It is apparent that all forms of biological treatments currently
available have their characteristic advantages and limitations. It seems
fair to speculate that the same will be true of any to be developed in the
future and this could be an important factor in the years to come. It may
ultimately spawn a series of "treatment train" approaches, with sequential
use made of different technologies to process biowaste, each offering its
own contribution as a step in the overall bio-conversion. This is,
perhaps, where some of the less well known techniques may best be
employed, although they may well retain a sole-use status for certain
specialist applications.

In a wider sense, the growth of biotechnology is likely to have major
implications for waste management over the coming years, beyond the
development of new and better systems of direct biowaste processing.
Irrespective of the treatment method used, the clear benefits resulting
from a relatively pure stream of biowaste feedstock entering the
biological phase of the operation have been well established. This, of
course, originally gave rise to the rival views of source separation and
on-site sorting as the most appropriate practical way of achieving the
required input material. One of the problems with the former approach has
been the tendency for the bags in which the biowaste is stored and
collected to become a nuisance at municipal facilities, often requiring to
be opened and screened out, which can be a labour intensive prospect at
this scale. The development of truly biodegradable plastics has already
begun to have an impact, particularly at composting plants, where bags
which will themselves breakdown, have significantly reduced the amount of
work involved. It will be some time before the vision of vast swathes of
land growing bio-plastics within transgenic crop plants, with production
costs no higher than for potatoes or wheat, becomes a commercial reality,
despite its obvious attractions. Never the less, progress is being made in
this direction with the announcement of the successful use of genetically
modified varieties of oilseed rape and cress. Not only is this new
material biodegradable, but it is also suitable for a wide number of
applications. Although other plastic-growing techniques have been used
experimentally in the past, chiefly using strains of bacteria which can
produce plastic under certain environmental conditions, the product has
proved expensive, costing between three and five times as much as normal
oil-derived plastic and typically is too brittle for most uses. By
inserting four bacterial genes responsible for plastic production into
plants, the expense of feeding bacteria on glucose is avoided, since
photosynthesis naturally provides the necessary carbon. At present the
yield is low; at 3%, it is around six times lower than has been achieved
by other means and while success cannot be guaranteed, the next step will
be to attempt to refine the process for greater production.

However, if and when the predicted wider use of a broad variety of new
families of such bio-plastics is realized, there may be some unforeseen
consequences, particularly in respect of any statutory requirement to
reduce the total amount of biodegradable material entering the landfill
disposal route. With plastics accounting for around 8 - 10% of the waste
stream, it is thoroughly laudable to wish to reduce our exploitation of
finite oil reserves for polymer production, particularly when so much of
the final product is lost, buried or burnt as unwanted packaging and
containers. However, from one point of view, at least, this may represent
something of an "own goal" as the replacement of even a portion of this
total by new forms will inevitably increase the overall biodegradable
component of waste. Dependent on the detail of any legislation regarding
biowaste diversion, this may well ultimately mean that, recycling
initiatives and waste minimization aside, an even greater percentage of
MSW will require some form of biological treatment in the future.

Waste treatment biotechnology may indeed be more of a fairy god-mother
than a ghoul, but, if serious advances in biowaste diversion are genuinely
intended, it seems likely that she will have her work cut out.

This article has been adapted by the Author from his forthcoming book,
Biowaste and Biological Waste Treatment, to be published in October by
James & James (Scientific) of London.


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What do Americans know about biotechnology?
By Lisa J. Dry, Biotechnology Industry Organization

Those charged with the marketing, development and communication of
agricultural biotechnology products might feel blasted by a firestorm of
media. It seems that every magazine from Cooking Light to Mademoiselle and
Time has managed to cover this "controversial" news topic this year. Many
reporters seem to almost plaintively bemoan the fact that Americans don’t
hold the same semi-hysterical perspective of some Europeans who stridently
oppose the acceptance of biotech foods.

So it is ironic to note that for the general public, the word
"biotechnology" has little, if any meaning. Biotechnology, by any
definition, is not top of mind for most consumers according to a recent
study by the Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI). In fact, 1 out
of 5 consumers admit they have never even heard the word. Seventy percent
in total have heard "something" and 12 percent have "heard a lot." Those
most familiar with the terminology tend to be college graduates, and those
in rural communities.

Technology familiarity
When asked to name different types of technology that affect how people
live, computers ranked highest (62 percent), followed by the internet (22
percent), health technologies (7 percent) and biotechnology associated
with genetic engineering or modification at only three percent, on a par
with automotive technologies.

When asked what comes to mind when they hear the word biotechnology,
people are far more likely to mention health applications than those of
food and agriculture. Although 12 percent say they think of "genetic
modification" and "genetic engineering" there was only a 2 percent to 4
percent linkage with food and agriculture.

The poll was conducted concurrent with BIO 2000 when there was widespread
news coverage of biotechnology, including extensive coverage of protests
and demonstrators. At that time 27 percent said yes to having heard or
seen biotech stories in the news. Of that group, most recalled stories
involving genetically altered plants and foods, and one in five recalled
protests and controversy.

Benefits of biotechnology
Most importantly, researchers found that a higher level of awareness and
understanding of biotech issues resulted in greater support for the
technology. This validates the work of industry to continue to share
information about the importance of biotechnology and new developments.
Additionally, by a two to one margin, Americans agree that in the long run
biotechnology will be beneficial to their families. Medical and health
applications are viewed most positively, with increased agricultural,
productivity and land use following. More than half agree that
biotechnology will help ensure the long-term viability of farming in this
country. Consumers seem to withhold judgment on the benefits of more
nutritious food, or longer shelf life, because these products have yet to
be realized.
The Council for Biotechnology Information of which BIO is a founding
member supplied research for this article.
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The Organic Revolution in Science and Implications for Science and
Spirituality
"Future Visions" State of the World Forum, September 4-10, New York

Mae-Wan Ho
Institute of Science in Society <www.i-sis.org> and Dept. of Biological
Sciences, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK

1. The machine metaphor has dominated the west for at least two thousand
years before it was officially toppled by relativity theory and quantum
physics at the turn of the 20th century. Einstein's relativity theory
shattered the Newtonian universe of absolute space and time into a
profusion of space-time frames in which space and time are no longer
neatly separable. Furthermore, each space-time is tied to a particular
observer, who therefore, not only has a different clock, but also a
different map. Stranger still - for western science, that is, as it comes
as little surprise to other knowledge systems, or to the artists in all
cultures - quantum theory demanded that we stop seeing things as separate
solid objects with definite (simple) locations in space and time. Instead,
they are de-localised, indefinite, mutually entangled entities that change
and evolve like organisms.

2. Leading thinkers of the age such as Henri Bergson, Alfred North
Whitehead, J.S. Haldane and Joseph Needham were inspired to develop a
science of the organism appropriate to the new understanding of nature,
that would transform the entire knowledge system of the west. Whitehead,
in particular, declared that we cannot understand nature except as an
organism that participates fully in knowing. For me, that was perhaps the
most significant turning point. It was to re-affirm what we all knew in
our heart of hearts: that we are inextricably within nature; and that we
participate in shaping and creating nature, for better or for worse.

3. To participate fully is to do so with all of oneself: intellect and
feeling, body and spirit. That is the real meaning of the mutual
entanglement of 'observer' and the 'observed' in quantum theory. It
matters how we know or 'observe', not only because it changes the entire
character of our knowledge, but because the act of knowing transforms both
the knower and the known. That is why we must never know with violence,
but always with sensitivity and compassion.

4. The project to develop a science of the organism was interrupted and
eclipsed, however, by the rise of molecular biology since the 1950s.
Biology was taken back down the road of mechanical reductionism, to
culminate, today, in a genetic engineering technology that has the
potential to destroy all life on earth and to undermine every spiritual
and social value that makes us human. We need to reject reductionist
biology not just because of its inherent dangers, but because there are
positive, rational, life-enhancing, fulfilling and aesthetic reasons for
embracing the organic alternative.
5. Fortunately for us, the 'organic revolution' has survived. It has been
gathering momentum across the disciplines within the past 20 years, from
the study of nonlocal phenomena in quantum physics and nonlinear dynamics
in mathematics to complexity in ecosystems, the fluid genome in the new
genetics and consciousness in brain science. The message everywhere is the
same: nature is nonlinear, dynamic, interconnected and interdependent. The
linear, static paradigm of mechanistic science based on interactions
between separate, independent parts is a travesty of organic reality.

6. All the elements for a science of the organism are there between the
disciplines, precisely as envisaged by the pioneer thinkers. I have put
some of the key elements together in my book, The Rainbow and The Worm,
The Physics of Organisms, first published in 1993 and in 2nd edition in
1998, which is patterned after Erwin Schrödinger's What is Life? It
attempts to explain organic wholeness and complexity based on contemporary
quantum physics and non-equilibrium thermodynamics. It gives new insights
into physiological regulation, bioenergetics and cell biology, many of
which were predicted by the pioneers. Also consistent with their vision,
the new science of the organism promises to restore all the qualities that
have been exorcised from life and nature, to reaffirm and extend our
intuitive, poetic, and even romantic notions of nature's unity.

7. From the organic perspective, there is no separation between science
and spirituality. This stems from the participatory knowing that it
entails, in which the knower places her undivided being within the known,
which is ultimately all of nature. And, like all participatory knowledge
common to indigenous traditions worldwide, it is an unfragmented whole, at
once intensely practical, aesthetic and spiritual. It is a coherent and
comprehensive knowledge system whereby one lives and whereby one
participates in co-creating reality along with all other beings.

8. There is a two-way connection between science and society. Science is
shaped by the politics of society and in turn reinforces it, unless we
consciously choose otherwise. The mechanistic paradigm projects a
Hobbesian-Darwinian view of nature as isolated atoms jostling and
competing in the struggle for survival of the fittest. And through the
self-fulfilling prophecy, it has created a dysfunctional social milieu and
a laissez-faire globalized economy which is destroying our planet and
failing to serve the physical and spiritual needs of the vast majority of
humanity. That was why fifty thousand took to the streets at the World
Trade Organization conference in Seattle in November, 1999.

9. Science shapes society not just through the technologies it creates,
but through values and assumptions that motivate human beings, define
social norms and inform the policies of nations. That is where I believe
the science of the organism may hold the key to a more sustainable and
spiritual world.

10. I take science, in the most general terms, to be any active knowledge
system shared by a society of human beings that gives both meaning to
their way of life and the means whereby to live sustainably with nature.
Science, therefore, has an overriding obligation to be socially responsive
and responsible. It is inseparable from the entire culture of society and
its highest moral values, which define the public good. Sustainability is
a moral imperative to achieve and safeguard the manifold conditions of a
healthy and fulfilling life for present and future generations.

11. What does it mean to be an organism? To be an organism is to be
possessed of the irrepressible tendency towards being whole; towards being
part of a larger whole. One of the key concepts in understanding organic
wholeness is coherence, the ideal of which is quantum coherence. Quantum
coherence aptly describes the perfect coordination of living activities in
our body, and there is growing empirical evidence that it may indeed
underlie living organization, as described in my book.

12. To get a feeling for the organism, imagine an immense super-orchestra,
with instruments spanning the widest spectrum of dimensions from molecular
piccolos of 10-9 meter up to a bassoon or a bass viol of a meter or more,
performing over a musical range of seventy-two octaves. Incredible as it
may seem, this super-orchestra never ceases to play out our individual
lifelines, with a certain recurring rhythm and beat, but in endless
variations that never repeat exactly. Always, there is something new,
something made up as it goes along. It can change key, change tempo,
change tune perfectly, as it feels like, or as the situation demands,
spontaneously and without hesitation. What this super-orchestra plays is
the most exquisite jazz, jazz being to classical music what quantum is to
classical physics. One might call it quantum jazz. There is a certain
structure, but the real art is in the endless improvisations, where each
and every player, however small, enjoys maximum freedom of expression,
while maintaining perfectly in step and in tune with the whole. There is
no leader or conductor, and the music is written as it is played.
13. What I have given is an accurate description of the totality of
molecular, cellular and physiological reality of the ideal, healthy
organism, which serves to illustrate the radical, paradoxical nature of
the organic whole. It is thick with activity over all scales, and both
local freedom and global cohesion are maximized, which is generally
thought to be impossible within the mechanistic paradigm. In the coherent
organism, global and local, part and whole, are mutually implicated and
mutually entangled from moment to moment. Each is as much in control as it
is sensitive and responsive.

14. When we extend this notion of mutual entanglement of part and whole,
as Whitehead did, to societies, ecosystems and ultimately to all of
nature, we begin to recover the profoundly holistic ecological traditions
of indigenous cultures worldwide. The coherence of organisms is
quintessentially pluralistic and diverse, and at every level. It is so,
from the tens of thousands of proteins and other macromolecules that make
up a cell to the many kinds of cells that constitute tissues and organs;
from the variations that characterize natural populations to the profusion
of species that make a thriving ecological community. And most of all, the
kaleidoscopic, multicultural earth that makes life enchanting and exciting
for us all.

15. Part and whole, individual and global are mutually entangled and
mutually sustaining. That is the basis of the universal moral imperative
that we do unto others what we would have others do unto us. It marks the
beginning of a genuinely new world order that celebrates and nurtures
individual diversity and freedom with universal love.

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