On a related note, no one has ever become cancer free because of a “natural cure.”
I get where the desire for natural cures comes from. Sometimes, it’s a last resort. Someone has stage 4 face cancer and modern medicine has done all it can (and it was the opposite of fun), then shrugged and said, Sorry, but we tried. All we can do now is dope you up to manage the pain.
People don’t want to die, so they hope for a miracle; and those who profit from the sale of so-called natural medicine are more than willing to offer one. Of course, it never works, but it gave them hope for a brief time and put some money in the quacktitioner’s pocket.
And I’m torn over that. Who am I to say to someone with a terminal illness that they should never embrace a bullshit natural “cure” as a last resort? If someone is facing their life being cut short by a horrible disease, perhaps they get a sense of comfort from trying every possible avenue, no matter how ridiculous. The problem with doing so is that it supports a predatory industry that kills people. Not to mention there could be better things to spend your money on. You could take a trip, will it to family / friends, or donate it to (real) cancer research.
Yes, natural cures kill. They kill because surgery and chemotherapy and radiation are scary, so people want an alternative. Many who had a high likelihood of having their cancer cured – or of at least having their life extended significantly with a reasonably high quality – opted for the alternative-diet-supplement-coffee-up-the-ass method of cancer treatment instead, and they went downhill fast.
I’ve seen many a medical doctor lament this situation:
Doctor: “You have X type of cancer, but with immediate treatment you have a very high chance of recovery.”
Patient: “I don’t like the idea of all those toxic chemicals and radiation in my body. I’m going to look at alternatives.”
Doctor: “Current evidence shows your best chance of beating this is with traditional therapies like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. There is no evidence that alternative therapies are helpful.”
Patient: “I’ve made up my mind.”
Doctor: “Give it some thought and let me know if there is any other way I can support you.”
Patient: “You’re just a shill for big chemo.”
Six months later …
Patient: “I’ve been seeing my naturopath and only getting sicker. Can you help?”
Doctor: “Sorry, but the cancer is now inoperable. We can try to make you more comfortable, however.”
This scenario has played out in doctors’ offices around the world innumerable times. Because someone watched a bullshit “truth” about cancer documentary they ended up favoring something “natural” instead of going the route of science-based medicine, and they died.
But there is something the embracing of the word natural, which is causing even more lethal suckage than bullshit cancer treatments: the fight against GMOs.
Let’s talk about starvation. Here are some sobering statistics from the United Nations:
- One in nine people don’t get enough to eat.
- One in four of the world’s children are growth stunted due to malnutrition.
- Poor nutrition is responsible for 45% of deaths in children under 5, which is 3.1 million each year.
Look at that last one. That’s 8,500 children under the age of 5 dying every single day from malnutrition. Total deaths from starvation each day equals 21,000 people. That’s about 7.7 million people dying from a lack of food each year.
But you’re worried about those nasty old GMOs in your pumpkin spice latte, so you want that shit labeled.
“What’s the problem with labeling GMOs?” you ask. Answer: A whole helluva lot.
But before we get into that, it’s important to understand that the fear of GMOs is unsubstantiated fear mongering schlock perpetuated by the organic industry as a marketing gimmick to justify the higher prices of their NOT superior products.
Wait, organic is just a marketing gimmick? Yep. In 2014 Academics Review conducted an organic marketing report that concluded: “… more than 100 published academic and market research studies clearly shows that food safety and health concerns are the primary drivers of consumer organic purchasing.” It went on to state that, “… the American taxpayer funded national organic program is playing an ongoing role in misleading consumers into spending billions of dollars in organic purchasing decisions based on false and misleading health, safety and quality claims.”
The organic industry has been complicit in spreading unscientific nonsense about the safety of the food supply – including GMOs – as part of a giant marketing campaign to sow fear so that consumers will be willing to pay a lot more money because they mistakenly believe their health is at stake. If you insist on buying organic because you think it’s safer, it means you fell for it. Also, don’t fall for these myths about GMO seeds or fail to put the growth of herbicide-resistant weeds into perspective.
But as the organic marketing report shows, most consumers are concerned about their own health. And so, the organic industry really wants GMO labeling because it will be yet another boon for them. They’re perpetuating the naturalistic fallacy that because something is “natural” it must therefore be good, and if it is deemed “unnatural,” which “genetically modified” imply, it therefore must be bad.
Here is the basic argument from the anti-GMO crowd: “If it’s safe, then why not label it?” But then if it’s labeled their tune will almost certainly change to: “If it’s so safe, then why does it need to be labeled?”
Idjits gonna idjit.
The number of deaths caused by GMOs = zero. This is supported by literally thousands of studies; even long-term studies show GMOs are safe. There is absolutely no rational reason to label GMOs, and a lot of reasons not to. I saw a meme a while ago stating that since 38 countries had banned GMOs then shouldn’t we at least label them? The devastating reply was: “79 countries ban homosexuality. Does that mean you think we should label them too?”
Just because other countries do something stupid doesn’t mean we should follow suit.
And labeling is stupid, because it perpetuates the unfounded fear of GMOs. The pro-organic crowd pushes a “right to know” agenda, but guess what happens in countries that label their GMOs? Fear takes over. Instead of providing more choice to consumers, retailers stop carrying GMO containing products because of a perceived consumer aversion to them (much like how they loaded their shelves with gluten free products because it was a boon for sales based on equally bad information). Besides being a colossal waste of money that gets passed onto the consumer, it constrains one of the most valuable technologies ever created from being able to feed the world.
The campaign of fear against GMOs in favor of what is “natural” has had far-reaching consequences. In 2002 during a famine in Zambia, President Levy Mwanawasa forbade importing of food aid from the United States because a sizeable portion of the corn and soya was genetically modified. What’s more, anti-GMO crusaders such as Green Peace have played a significant role in delaying the development of what is referred to as “Golden Rice.” Golden Rice is a genetically modified organism that incorporates high levels of beta-carotene, which compensates for low levels of vitamin A in many poorer populations. Vitamin A deficiency kills hundreds of thousands of children each year because of compromised immune systems, and leads to blindness in many more.
We seem to have entered an era where the lies spread by the organic industry have taken root to the point that everyone from celebrities to food bloggers are lobbying corporations and governments to make changes that aren’t just bad science, but bad for society. The fact that so many countries have banned GMOs, and many others insist on labeling them (plus a bunch of other assorted anti-scientific fuckery) is holding back technology that can feed the world.
The United Nations predicts that worldwide food demand will increase 50% by 2030, and 70% by 2050. There is no way that can be satisfied via moving backwards and embracing what is supposedly natural over the use of advanced, life-saving technology. And remember that number: 7.7 million people die of starvation each year, over three million of them children under 5. Organic isn’t going to save them. Rather, pushing an organic agenda that endeavors to, either directly or indirectly, limit GMOs contributes to those deaths.
If someone really fears GMOs, then whatever. That’s their issue. They can pay their stupidity tax and just eat certified organic. No GMOs in that and therefore no need to fuck it up for everyone else by insisting on expensive, useless and ultimately harmful labeling for all products.
If you’re anti-GMO and pushing for labeling or bans, you are part of the problem. You’re actively standing in the way of ending world hunger; so fuck you in a place that hurts. (And if you’re not one of those anti-GMO ass monkeys, then props to you – please share this article and help fight one of the most egregious disinformation campaigns going.)
Whether it’s cancer treatments, food, or some other dumbfuckery, this obsession of avoiding alleged toxins by sanctifying that which is deemed natural is the most toxic – and lethal – thing of all.
James S. Fell is an internationally syndicated fitness columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of Lose it Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind, published by Random House Canada. He also interviews celebrities about their fitness stories for the Los Angeles Times, and is head fitness columnist for AskMen.com and a regular contributor to Men’s Health.