Opposition to GMOs is Neither Unscientific nor Immoral

Is the engineering of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) a dangerous technology posing grave risks to human and ecological health? Or are GMOs a potent new tool in the onward march of modern agricultural technology in its race to feed the world?

In a recent opinion piece -- Opposition to GMOs Isn't Just Anti-Science, It's Immoral-- Purdue University president Mitch Daniels offers an impassioned plea that we embrace GMOs in agriculture. Daniels’ argument runs as follows: The health and ecological safety of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is unquestionable “settled science.” Therefore, it is immoral to deny developing countries the agricultural technology they need to boost food production and feed their growing populations. It seems an open-and-shut case: the self-indulgent anti-GMO fad among rich consumers threatens the less fortunate with starvation. A Daniels says, it is immoral for them to “inflict their superstitions on the poor and hungry.”

But let’s look at some of the assumptions that this argument takes for granted: (1) That GMOs are indeed safe, and (2) that GMOs and industrial agriculture in general allow higher yields than more traditional forms of agriculture


Read the rest of the essay on the Huffington Post --


  1. great article, thank you Charles. i appreciate you resisting the temptation to debate the establishment under the context of more is always better. if it was working, it might be useful to debate it, but its not. let’s move on to the next thing.

    I like what is happening in the urban farms of Detroit and other economically ravished inner city areas. Here is a great example just uploaded to TED yesterday: How urban agriculture is transforming Detroit

    I got to see some of this transformation as a guest of Drew Philp, author of “A $500 house in Detroit” last October. Great things are blooming there.

  2. Hi, Charles,
    Great clear writing laying out the two visions. One challenge is replenishing the agrarian population that the truly biological approach needs to succeed. I am 64 and was raised when in the Midwest when there was still a substantial agrarian population in the 50’s and 60’s. 200 acre farms each with a family still blanketed the Midwest when I was young. My farming father and his farming brother had ten children between them. Only one farms – thousands of acres of rented land growing corn and soybeans with immense machinery and great inputs of chemicals. Two of my brothers live on ten acre hobby farms as a lifestyle choice. Those countless families are no longer on those farms. In my family the agrarian tradition goes back to the 1600’s. The chain was broken, traditions and customs lost. Has our culture moved on? Where will that missing 8% of 10 % come from. to revive the rural population? Is there a workable in between compromise place between your two opposing visions ?

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