Subject: Re: Genetics & Race
From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 18:06:30 +0000
To: [log in to unmask]
This is such an amazing distortion of my position on the issues we have been discussing that I find it staggering and question myself whether it is possible to discuss these issues here. I will leave the list if George personally asks me to, although I would be interested to hear whether others feel that these discussions have been useless.
The issues here are much larger than you or me or the SftP listserv. The listserv has hardly discussed anything bearing directly on the fact that global human society is on a dead-end. I forget whether it's 80,000 people a day who die, basically from malnutrition, lack of potable water and related deprivation. The number is huge, and most of them are children, and most of them have skin color different from that of damn near everyone on this list. How many of us middle class people know the amount of fossil fuel we consume with our automobiles, air conditioning, electric dishwashers and driers, home laundry equipment, power lawn mowers, air travel, audio and television equipment, electric tooth-brushes and pencil sharpeners, ski-lifts and snow-making machinery, electric golf carts, overheated overlighted large houses, electric blankets, second houses, motor boats, power-this and power-that? How many thousand miles a year do we feel we are 'entitled' to fly and drive? What part have you, Michael, taken in the struggle to prevent that great center of scientific research, the University of California at Berkeley, from firing (or, as they say in academize, not granting tenure, as though tenure is a gift from the all high administrators) to Ignacio Chapela? What has the American Association for the Advancement of Science done to confront that threat to so-called academic freedom bought and paid for by Syngenta? And how much of its budget does the AAAS get from federal sources? The threat to the world's food supply is not being done by mistake, it's for profit above all else. The transgenic contamination of corn, first discovered here in Oaxaca and reported in Nature by Ignacio Chapela and a student of his, David Quist, was disowned by the cowardly editorial staff of Nature on the basis of a campaign mounted by the biotech industry. I've written about it in the posting that begins,
Mexico, birthplace of corn, threatened by its contamination
Scientist who first announced the danger threatened by firing
A chance for you to act
May 2, 2004
Subject: Help protect honest, courageous scientists. Not just an academic matter.Corn is a primary food for many millions of humans. Transgenic corn was invented by agro-industrial giants in pursuit of greater profits. In 1998 the Mexican government, aware of the threat to its native corn, prohibited planting transgenic seeds, but permitted their importation for animal feed. In November 2001, in Nature, a premier British science magazine, Prof. Ignacio Chapela of the University of California at Berkeley and David Quist, a graduate student, reported finding transgenic contamination of Mexican corn. Agricultural bio-tech interests mounted a vigorous smear campaign to discredit the research. But the original results were subsequently confirmed. In that same year, 2001, Prof. Chapela's review for tenure began. After three years, the Chancellor of the Berkeley campus denied tenure. Prof. Chapela's position there is set to end on June 30.
From: George Salzman <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Sun, 02 May 2004 19:31:11 -0500; 20:03:05 -0500
To: [log in to unmask]
BCC: (entire general list)
How much are you paid to plow the narrow furrow that you are assigned? Have you ever seen and talked with a farmer who workes with his or her hands, who relies more on metabolic energy than what I call mechanical energy to sustain the life of his or her family? Do you have any idea why so many of them here in Oaxaca have had to abandon their land to seek jobs to get money as hand laborers in the great USA as roofers, stoop laborers in agribusiness-run industrial farms? Do you think that possibly, just possibly, it might not be because of their inferior genetic heritage? In any event, I'm not interested in reading your 'science-out-of-context' arguments, written from within your subsidized middle-class bubble. Subsidized, I should add, as all of us middle-class folk are, by the labor of the poor people of the world and the robbery of so-called natural resources, which is rapidly destroying the ecosphere, as many frequent-flyer ecologists and other learned persons run around the world informing the rest of us.
There's no reason for me to ask you to leave the SftP listserv. If others want to make an effort to change your perception of the world, that's no longer a concern of mine. I just want Steve to take me off this list.
Sincerely, with disappointment but not personal rancor,