WHAT CHRISTIANS SHOULD KNOW
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS
GMO(GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS)
“PLAYING GOD IN THE GARDEN"
Gene Shaparenko, 10/26/07
And on the third day,
"...God said, Let the earth bring forth vegetation, the herb yielding seed, and fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
And the earth brought forth vegetation, and herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after its kind: and God saw that it was good". Genesis 1: 11-12(KJV).
A technical discussion of genetic engineering(GE) can be found throughout the internet and in textbooks throughout academia. In many of these references, one can find a variety of individuals discusssing the virtues of potential medical and production breathroughs of GE while at the same time cautioning Christians to be open-minded regarding the progression of technology, emphasizing that God is pleased when He sees man pushing the barriers of science forward.
Unfortunately, these disarming words are the voices of misguided social engineers, bent on the singular objective to soften and disuade the concerns of Christians who are concerned about modern science playing God in the garden.
Supporting a scriptural position, a few voices are heard decrying the disregard and disrespect that GE has demonstrated toward the original perfection and intent of God's creation as described in Genesis 1: 11-12 above. Their point is:"...what right does man have to attempt to produce new and supposedly better creations than God has provided?"
The following article attempts to provide a fresh perspective of this controversial science - currently the darling of Wall Street and the springboard for bio-engineering specialists reaching for international acclaim and untold corporate wealth and potential manipulation and control of the world's food supplies.
GENETIC ENGINEERING - WHAT IS IT?
All plants and animals consist of billions of tiny cells, each containing a long thread-like chemical called DNA(deoxyribonucleic acid). A gene represents the blueprint of an animal or plant and is a section of DNA in which are 'written' the codes or details of one substance, called a protein. A plant cell may contain many thousand genes, and the proteins all interact in synchronism and completeness to build and regulate the plant. In effect the DNA holds the entire knowledge base which that species needs to survive and prosper and reproduce in its natural environment.
When plants or animals reproduce in a normal fashion, genes from both parents appear in the offspring, in distinct groups. The genetic codes in the DNA from these "parents" determine physical forms, skin color, size of fruits, sensory structures of animals, types of trees, specific times for flowers to blossom, and billions of other features and functions.
For thousands of years, man has grown healthy, nutritious plants, sometimes in fertile soils and sometimes in difficult if not impossible conditions. Drought, pests and other adversities many times affect the quality and quantity of the final product of man's husbandry of these plants. Healthy, reproductively capable seeds were saved from year to year to ensure continuity of healthy plants and an assurance of fiscal stability for the farmer or planter.
Likewise, man has overseen the natural mating and promulgation of domesticated animals whose meat and other byproducts have provided healthy nutrition for countless generations before us. Down through the centuries, the nourishment and physical labor provided by these domesticated animals complimented man's diet and physical activities.
In the case of both plants and animals, the genetic characteristics of the parent plants or animals were natural and un-modified, thus ensuring that the offspring(plant or animal) would contain similar, natural genetic materials which would also have the ability to reproduce similar offspring for future generations...thus"...herb, after its own kind"
as described in the Genesis account at the top of this page.
TAMPERING WITH GOD'S CREATION
For some, this natural, successfully reproductive process from generation to generation has not been enough. Increasing segments of industry and science is determined to demonstrate that man's ingenuity can replace God's perfect creation.
Genetic engineering is the process of artifically tampering with these God-given, natural genetic blueprints. Genetic engineering (or bio-engineering) is a technique to splice, delete, add, isolate, recombine or transfer genes from one organism to another that may be totally unrelated. Alteration in genes and chromosomes causes disruption and disturbance in the biochemical structure of species(plant or animal)and can result in species mutation.
Science has shown that the mutated species cannot reproduce naturally and that the legacy of this type of "artifical genetic engineering" has a biological dead end. Thus, in GE crops, where genetic engineering has altered the natural, host seed, the seed cannot properly germinate and generate seeds"...after its own kind"
as God intended.
In Deuteronomy 22:9, we are given the commandment:
"Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds; lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled".
By way of comparison, scientists who promote evolution propose the same mind-bending theory... that animals, for example, mutate from generation to generation, producing variations of the original species and yielding progressively more advanced versions of the original genetic blueprint.
This, of course is nonsense since any reputable scientist cannot provide conclusive data to demonstrate that mutations of a strong genetic parent will produce a stronger and more advanced version of the parent(s). Find a scientist who can produce such evidence and you will find a scientist who has been sniffing glue in his office closet. In short, scientists cannot provide proof positive of evolution, thus categorizing evolution as something other than scientific fact.
THE TERMINATOR GENE
Genetic engineers have crafted what is called the "terminator gene" which, when inserted into a natural, native seed, prevents a natural germination and reproductive process and prevents farmers(as an example) to use seeds from one crop year to the next, resulting in seeds and food products which are similar to the parent plants and seeds!
In fact, lawyers for the GE companies have crafted patents which prevent farmers from using these "dead-end" seeds the next year; thus forcing them instead to purchase a new batch of GE seeds on a yearly basis. Unwanted pollination of nearby, non-GE fields by the pollen from the GE field brings lawsuits against the unsuspecting neighbor farmer when he takes his crop to market and it is determined that he is attempting to sell crops with GE characteristics without a valid GE seed license.
This is actually happening - and has a very foreboding future for the small family farmer who diligently tills his own fields and uses seeds from one crop year to the next. GE companies and their lawyers seek an end to such historic farming activities and a complete, worldwide monopoly of food production.
In India, hundreds of small family farmers have committed suicide by drinking pesticides because they were fooled by the GE promoters into believing that huge increases in production would occur. Crops failed and the farmers were unable to purchase new seeds to replace the "dead-end" seeds that they had planted during the past year. This pattern of suicide and land grabbing by the international companies promoting GE has already ruined much of Mexico's economy and is producing similar results in Brazil, Africa and other unsuspecting areas.
But, let's look a bit further at the analogy between GE products and the evolutionary view of the secular, scientific community bent on forcing their unproven viewpoints on our society and schoolchildren. There is a similarity in this scientific madness, and it is important to realize that the same intellectual motivations of the evolutionist can be found in the workings of the bio-engineer who promotes genetically (re)engineered plants and animals.
The Challenge of Irreducible Complexity in Genetic Engineering and Evolution
Scientists of all stripes use the term "black box" to describe a system whose inner workings are unknown. To Charles Darwin and his contemporaries, the living cell was a "black box" because its fundamental mechanisms were completely obscure. We now know that, far from being formed from a kind of simple, uniform protoplasm (as many nineteenth-century scientists believed), every living cell contains many ultrasophisticated molecular machines.
Does Darwin's "natural selection" process account for complexity that exits at the molecular level?
How can we decide whether Darwinian natural selection can account for the amazing complexity that exists at the molecular level? Darwin himself set the standard when he acknowledged,"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."
Irreducibly complex systems are components of human and animal physiologies that are very difficult if not impossible to form by successive, evolutionary modifications.
An everyday example of an irreducibly complex system is the humble mousetrap described by Michael J. Behe, from whose writings some of the following is adapted.
The mousetrap consists of(1) a flat wooden platform or base;(2) a metal hammer, which crushes the mouse;(3) a spring with extended ends to power the hammer;(4) a catch that releases the spring; and(5) a metal bar that connects to the catch and holds the hammer back.
One can't catch a mouse with just a platform, then add a spring and catch a few more mice, then add a holding bar and catch a few more. All the pieces have to be in place before you catch any mice at all.
Natural selection(mutation) can only choose among systems that are already working in a unified and coordinated manner. Therefore, irreducibly complex biological systems pose a powerful challenge to Darwinian theory and a constant headache to scientists who espouse evolution and, as we shall see, genetically modified organisms(GMO).
Irreducibly complex systems appear very unlikely to be produced by numerous, successive, slight modifications of prior systems, because any precursor that was missing a crucial part could not function, like our mousetrap example above. Natural selection can only choose among systems that are already working as a coordinated, synchronous entity. Therefore, the existence in nature of irreducibly complex biological systems poses a powerful challenge to Darwinian theory.
We frequently observe such systems in cell organelles, in which the removal of one element would cause the whole system to cease functioning. The flagella of bacteria are a good example. They are outboard motors that bacterial cells can use for self-propulsion. They have a long, whiplike propeller that is rotated by a molecular motor. The propeller is attached to the motor by a universal joint. The motor is held in place by proteins that act as a stator. Other proteins act as bushing material to allow the driveshaft to penetrate the bacterial membrane. Dozens of different kinds of proteins are necessary for a working flagellum. In the absence of almost any of them, the flagellum does not work or cannot even be built by the cell.
Constant, regulated traffic flow in cells is an example of a complex, irreducible system.
Another example of irreducible complexity is the system that allows proteins to reach the appropriate subcellular compartments. In the eukaryotic cell there are a number of places where specialized tasks, such as digestion of nutrients and excretion of wastes, take place. Proteins are synthesized outside these compartments and can reach their proper destinations only with the help of "signal" chemicals that turn other reactions on and off at the appropriate times.
This constant, regulated traffic flow in the cell comprises another remarkably complex, irreducible system. All parts must function in synchrony or the system breaks down. Still another example is the exquisitely coordinated mechanism that causes blood to clot.
Biochemistry textbooks and journal articles describe the workings of some of the many living molecular machines within our cells, but they offer very little or no information about how these systems supposedly evolved by natural selection. Many scientists frankly admit their bewilderment about how they may have originated, but refuse to entertain the obvious hypothesis: that perhaps molecular machines appear to look designed because they really are designed.
Evolutionists love to attack the "mousetrap" example, since it represents a simple but devastating argument against evolution. They claim that the various components of this integrally operating mousetrap have useful functions on their own, unrelated to the composite construction of the mousetrap.
Unfortunately, this dissembly of the "irreducible" mousetrap results in a "DEVOLUTION" process, rather than a progressively increasing complexity(or mutation) which is absolutely essential to the theory of evolution.
Perhaps they expect that the reader of their argument is simpleminded enough not to see through their vacuous premise.
WHO ARE THE MAIN PLAYERS IN THE GENETIC ENGINEERING GAME?
This entire process is being engineered, with tongue in cheek and eboldened by visions of untold profits, by the giants in the Genetic Engineering(GE) industry: Monsanto, DuPont and a variety of smaller organizations. Promises of more nutritious food, more of it and of course more colorful and tasty produce grown in a supposedly “green” environment are quietly vanishing while our water, soil and dinner plates are being bombarded with genetically generated monstrosities which in many cases have no anti-biotic cure if ingested by unsuspecting humans.
HAVE GENETICALLY ENGINEERING PRODUCTS BEEN FULLY TESTED PRIOR TO BEING MARKETED?
One of the ironies of this issue is the contrast between the enthusiasm of food producers to claim that their biologically engineered products are different and unique when they seek to patent them and their similar enthusiasm for claiming that they are just the same as other foods when asked to test and label them.
HAVE THE PROMISES OF GENETIC ENGINEERING BEEN MET?
Lofty promises have been floated by bio-engineering, pharmaceutical, chemical and seed distribution companies. These promises to "feed the world", return agri-business to a "green" environment while producing safe and nutritious foods are founded on multiple, faulty premises. The results of these GE activities have yet to demonstrate their viability and truthfulness.
In fact, the opposite has now been demonstrated: cross-species viruses, new species of bacteria, antibiotic resistance to these new bacteria and viruses, a reactivation of dormant viruses, new and never before seen genes, destruction of the environment...and the list could go on...to include the need for more powerful and voluminous crop pesticides...
HAVE THE "COLLATERAL COSTS" OF GENETIC ENGINEERING BEEN EVALUATED?
In war, collateral damage or costs can be seen in the killing or injuring of innocent bystanders while targeting the bad guys. In Genetic Engineering, virtually all caution of such collateral damage has been thrown to the wind and smoothed over with extensive advertising, public relations activities, university funding programs etc. In the preceeding sections we have identified some of the categories of this collateral cost and damage. It is difficult if not impossible to find industry studies to evaluate such damage or cost, simply because such studies would raise public doubts about the advanced science being produced to provide "...better food products for the hungry".
COULD GENETIC ENGINEERING PROCEDURES BE RESPONSIBLE FOR RECENT FOOD CONTAMINATION?
Besides possible water contamination, there are other sources for E-coli in our food chain. These sources of contamination continue to be politically incorrect subjects of discussion amongst food industrial executives, agricultural specialists, ag school professors and even Food and Drug executives who have(or should have) intimate knowledge of this source and its potential ramifications.
We are talking about the use of e-coli 157:H7 and its siblings in the horizontal gene transfer process in genetically engineered foods, where residues of these virulent pathogens have shown up in the genetic composition of hybrid seeds which can ultimately end up on your dinner table.
While water may very well provide a cooperative conduit for the distribution of TOPICALLY PRESENT e-coli species, the original sources of these bacteria can be traced back in most cases to domesticated animals such as cattle, poultry and hogs which are in turn fed food products produced by genetic engineering using e-coli 157:H7 and its siblings.
In the water industry, those of us who build and operate bottling plants and water stores are required to regularly and intensively validate that our water products are biologically clean, even though the source water may be valididated apriori as clean by a municipal water entity. Not so with GMO.
The GE scientists and their lawyers have cleverly convinced the FDA that even though virulent bacteria and viruses are regularly used in the production of GMO hybrids, these new food products are “substantially equivalent” to food grown from “straight line” or naturally germinated seeds.
Safety tests on GMO products(whether grown indigenously or imported) are employed throughout the EU and an increasing number of other areas but are not applicable to US grown GE products.
Additionally, GMO products are not subject to special labelling here in the US, while in many areas overseas not only are labelling requirements in place but GMO products are outrightly banned from farm production and presentation in a growing number of grocery stores.
So, what’s the big deal and how does this situation relate to the water industry? First, as discussed above, those of us in the water industry may be getting a bad rap on E-coli contamination when the real culprit may well be traced to selected portions of the food chain and to GE activiites which drive this food chain.
Actually, many of the primary species of E-coli didn’t begin showing up in Jack in the Box burgers, Odwalla juices, cattle droppings and green vegetable products until shortly after GE companies began quiet experimentation with transgenic mutations of completely healthy plants that have served us well for thousands of years.
It is time that water entrepreneurs, the water industry and its spokespeople(WQA, IBWA, et al) demand that an even handed labelling and testing process be employed for both food and water products sold over the counter. Think about this before you take your next bite of that lettuce or spinach salad on your family’s dinner table.
For more information, Google on “genetic engineering e-coli” and you will be shocked at what information is being withheld from the public and the duplicity of the federal agencies responsible for ensuring consumer product safety.