Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The stars against Monsanto

In the last week my Environmental Science class has been discussing the production, use, and safety of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).  It's a balancing act for me; addressing the legitimate concerns about their effects on human health and the environment, without buying into all of the alarmist hype, is never easy.  Additionally, the subject always brings up the questionably ethical practice of patenting genes and crop strains, so it is a topic that stirs up good discussion -- and strong feelings.

And, of course, inevitably the name "Monsanto" comes up.  Monsanto has become such a stand-in for "Evil Corporation" that a new fallacy, the argumentum ad Monsantum, was coined a while back -- the logical error that allows you to smear anyone or anything as long as you can tie it to Monsanto.

It's an increasingly hot topic.  So no wonder the woo-woos have gotten involved, this time to see if they can get some information about GMO safety, and the corporate practices of Monsanto...

... from astrological readings.

I swear I'm not making this up.  I'm not nearly creative enough to invent something this completely idiotic.  If you don't believe me, you'll have to check out the article on Activist Post entitled, "GMOs: What Do the Stars Say Astrologically?", by Catherine J. Frompovich.  In it, we learn that not only are the anti-GMO folks worried, the stars are, too.  Frompovich tells us that an astrologer, Eric Coppolino, has done a complete astrological work-up for Monsanto and its founder, John Francis Queeny, and what he found should alarm the hell out of you, as long as you have a single kernel of KettleCorn where most of us have a brain.

The first thing that Coppolino tells us is that when President Gerald Ford signed TOSCA (the Toxic Substances Control Act) into law, in October of 1976, "Mars and Chiron were in opposition."  Chiron, which is a comet-like body that has an orbit between Saturn and Uranus, is one I hadn't heard of before in connection to astrology, but Cafe Astrology tells us that it "is symbolized by the 'wounded healer.'  It represents our deepest wound, and our efforts to heal the wound."  So there you are, then.

Why that's important, Coppolino tells us, is that this reflects "a cosmic pattern that occasionally sets into Monsanto’s horoscope negative aspects that affect Monsanto’s genetically modified foods ‘mission’."  Whatever that means.

But things may not be all that rosy for Monsanto in the future, Coppolino says.  "Monsanto’s 11th house provides a description why the company seems so intractable, including its stranglehold on the public.  Monsanto survived the onslaughts against genetically modified food by its usual tactics – the use of government influence.  However, Monsanto’s Jupiter-Saturn conjunction will experience a simultaneous conjunction from Pluto and square from Uranus, which happens in 2015."

Oooh.  Scary.  "While there is no way to predict exactly what the Uranus-Pluto square will bring," Coppolino says,  "there are few astrologers who would dare to underestimate its potential power.  Those who are working for a sane response to genetic modification or to stop Monsanto outright, should know that the company is approaching a vulnerable moment, which is an invitation for activists to persist in their efforts."

Yeah.  So take that, Monsanto.

As I've said before, astrology falls into the category of "mostly harmless" -- the only damage done being the suckering of gullible people.  Still, it always bothers me when two kinds of woo-woos join forces.  The anti-GMO crowd rely largely on discredited and dubious information in their claims for harm to human health from genetically-modified crops -- most notably, the now-retracted "study" by Gilles-Eric Seralini that allegedly showed that rats fed GMO corn developed tumors.  The data, after months of peer review, were deemed "inconclusive" -- and the conclusions of the study were therefore ruled suspect.  Even so, it's still considered gospel by people who think that any genetic tampering with anything is scary and immoral (despite the fact that we've been tampering with genetics for centuries, via selective breeding of domestic animals and plants).

So teaming up with astrologers, who have about the same level of scientific veracity on their side, is not good news for those of us who want to approach the whole thing in a more fact-based, logical, scientific fashion.  One has to hope that the number of people who would appeal to an astrologer on these matters are few in number, and that the astrological prognostications of Eric Coppolino will mostly be ignored, in favor of an actual consideration of the evidence -- i.e., the real information, not just some blathering on about Pluto and Chiron and Mars.

But as we've seen many times before, optimism is sometimes a losing proposition.  I predict that the next thing we'll see is either covens of witches casting spells to stop Monsanto, or else the homeopaths coming up with anti-GMO "remedies," made from shaking up RoundUpReady tomatoes in water, and then diluting it 5,000 times.

1 comment:

  1. 2015 - Monsanto Going to Trial for Crimes Against Humanity In the Hague, Netherlands, International Criminal Court