"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Beware Of Frankenfish!! OMG!

There is an unwritten rule about technology – ‘There is no going back’. Although people have reacted with shock and horror at new technology, there is no way to un-discover it. Socrates once warned about the dangers of writing:

“The fact is that this invention will produce forgetfulness in the souls of those who have learned it,” said Socrates, “They will not need to exercise their memories, being able to rely on what is written, calling things to mind no longer from within themselves by their own unaided powers, but under the stimulus of external marks that are alien to themselves. So it’s not a recipe for memory, but for reminding, that you have discovered.” (www.memebox.com)

The same was said of the computer and word processing.  The ability to draft endlessly, edit, and produce endless revisions would erode mental discipline and the hard-won ability to analyze, organize, and synthesize.  The electric light would destroy the natural harmony between man and the cycles of nature.  The telephone would open the home to unwanted intrusion and invasions of privacy; and it would disembody the very personality of human relations.  The Iron Horse would despoil the peaceful, God-given plains of the West, scare buffalo and antelope, shake the foundation of millennia-old mesas, cloud the azure heavens with infernal blackness.  Airplanes violated the most sacrosanct and pure of God’s creation – the air – and would eventually create a jungle of metal, noise, and contraption.

The first discoveries of Watson and Crick were greeted with panic – Man was playing God – and the chorus of dissenters and doomsday prophets has only gotten louder and more strident.  When Dolly the Sheep was cloned, the prophets said, “See”, and predicted the deformation of the human race, the commercialization of God’s image, and a satanic manipulation of us all.  The mapping of the human genome increased the wailing and renting of garments.  This, said the naysayers, was a blueprint for disaster.  Conspiracy theorists created weird plots of government –controlled, mindless and amoral soldiers, engineered to kill without compassion or judgment.  Pastors banged on from pulpits across the country about distorting God’s will, cited Biblical injunctions against such apostasy and heresy.  Every Commandment was broken, they said.  The First because Man was assuming the role of God.  The second because interfering in God’s plan was idolatry.  The Fifth because soon there would be no fathers and mothers to honor since life would begin in a test tube, then deformed in Man’s image.

Computer science and Information Technology are well on the way to perfecting a virtual reality and an electronic interface between mind and computer has already been achieved, although in simple experiments.  Eventually and in the not too distant future, a complete interface will be achieved.  Our thoughts will be mediated via the computer, and each of us will have immediate and complete access to all information ever generated.  We will be able to create our own virtual world, drawing from our fantasies and coloring them with historical facts.  Our virtual world will be indistinguishable from the real one.

The idea is anathema to many, another perversion of God’s laws by Man.  There is a sanctity to the fundament.  It says so in the Bible:

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

A virtual world will deny Creation, upset the order of the universe, create an imaginary, perverse world only imaginable by the Devil himself.

Yet, can anyone imagine that these genies will ever go back into the bottle? Who can imagine that anyone would ever reject a virtual world of one’s own making, a world of exotic pleasures, excitement, travel.  It might seem weird at first to plug your head into the computer, but as soon as the bright new world of limitless possibilities opens when you push Enter, you will have a very hard time indeed returning in time to walk the dog.

Can anyone imagine refusing the option to create an offspring with the mind of Einstein, the body and athletic prowess of Michael Jordan, and the allure of Brad Pitt? Or to pluck out an offending gene as you would a hair from your soup?  Or to change personality weekly?

Once the technology train has left the station, there is no stopping it.  Human beings have always, persistently and predictably, quaked and howled at innovation.  We are nothing but self-protective, conservative, narrow-minded beings, and we always will.  But most of us get on the train once we realize that it will not return and its destination is a happy one.

There is an entire industry of naysayers in America today as there has been in the past. Men and women who have invested their life and their careers on stopping progress in the name of some indefinable higher good.  Through their eyes everything has a destructive and fearsome downside.  All nuclear plants will explode, spewing radioactivity around the globe creating generations of mutants.  All oil pipelines will burst, covering the pristine prairies with black sludge. Recombinant DNA science will soon go awry, creating cats that bark and fish that fly.  The world will end soon in an environmental Armageddon, black with soot and pollution, hot with radiation, and covered with a slime of bad water.

These apocalyptic preachers have weighed in on genetically-modified foods (GMO) and despite the conclusions of the scientific community that these foods will be a boon to the world, feeding tens of millions who would otherwise go hungry; will help cleanse the planet of polluting pesticides and fertilizers; and will reduce food costs to the poor, they won’t quit.

Whole Foods is getting on the bandwagon and has banned GMO fish, and in this self-serving statement aimed at its green, ‘progressive’, wealthy audience said:

"We believe all farmed animals -- whether raised on land or in water, should be from breeding programs designed to promote their welfare rather than developed solely on production or economic outcomes."

How absolutely ridiculous.  Breeding programs should not just produce fish, but attend to their welfare.  Who cares? What about salmon breeding pens where salmon, used to roaming free in the cold waters of the North Atlantic, have to live cheek by gill with thousands of other shoving, jostling neighbors. And why is that any worse than the ‘wild caught’ tuna which is reeled in with a huge hook in its mouth, then stuck with a harpoon to get it aboard, then knocked silly before tossing it into the deep freeze?

My Uncle Guido is the only person who doesn’t seem to care that chickens are bred to have gigantic breasts, so pendulous and heavy that their spindly little legs won’t hold them up so they have be trussed in special gear so that they can peck while permanently hoisted.  He knows that they are the stupidest creatures on God’s green earth and they wouldn’t know if they were ranging freely or pecking while suspended on pulleys.  The same goes for salmon.  He reminded me that there have been no experiments so far to show that salmon are particularly intelligent, and as long as there is enough oxygen in the water and enough food to eat, then who cares about unruly neighbors?  I don’t think a dog knows or cares much whether he eats kibble twice a day, 365 days a year, as long as there is plenty of it; and he is happy for two squares while his wild wolf cousin has to spend a lot of time in the cold just to catch a measly rabbit.

Now, let’s assume for a minute that some of these breeding practices do affect the psyche of the salmon or fish.  That somewhere in their pea brains they sense that something is missing or that something is not right.  What has being a GMO fish have to do with it?  One of the advantages of GMO salmon is that they grow to maturity in half the time of regular salmon, thus increasing supply and keeping costs low.  The fish has no way of knowing that he is getting very fat very quickly.  He is never hungry because the breeder keeps him well fed, and as far as the neighbors are concerned?  Well, bumping into fat fish is not too much different than bumping into skinny ones, especially if you are also fat.

The statement of Whole Foods is as cynical as they come.  They don’t give a flying fuck about the welfare of their salmon beyond the narrow confines of the market.  They have no doubt that genetic modification is a boon for them. They know from their breeder suppliers that there is no such thing as a happy salmon or an unhappy one for that matter, so if the oversensitive rich green ‘progressives’ want to maintain the illusion and the fantasy that letting dumb salmon breed more slowly is a good thing, then let them pay for the extra cost.  Whole Foods has no difficulty whatsoever in passing on the cost to the consumer, especially if he feels that the extra dollar per pound is saving the environment.  It’s one big joke, and these misguided, misdirected, and self-contented ‘progressives’ are the brunt of it.

The Whole Foods proclamation is to be expected and the ban on GMO fish will only be temporary.  Consumers will get over their freaky freezy opposition as soon as they

realize that with every Dorito, candy bar, Drake’s Cake, and Hostess Twinkie they are eating GMO corn products.  They will soon see that the GMO train has already left the station, and while it might feel good to bid it good riddance for now, it will be back on its next scheduled run, and they will be sure to get on.

All this goes to show that good, green ‘progressives’ do not have enough to do.  There is enough to worry about in the world today without having to worry about the welfare of chickens or fish and whether GMO salmon will break out of their Icelandic pens and turn the whole North Atlantic into freaks:

‘Progressives’ are really Regressives, and they are like every Bible-thumping, Armageddon-preaching, Doomsday-saying, Apocalypse-forewarning worrywart of the past. Get over it and get used to it.  The GMO genie is out of the bottle.

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