Borlaug didn’t do GMOs

Letters, Week of Nov. 12


(Re: “The man who saved one billion lives,” Danish Plan, Oct. 22.) The Danish Plan is also to misinform, again evidenced in the Borlaug article. I’m disappointed Danish continues to blur his perception when he lumps facts with GMO fantasy.

Kudos, of course, to Norman Borlaug and another of his ilk, Derald Langham, who created natural hybrid strains of wheat to attain the hybrid vigor in seeds to maximize climate adaptability and yield in starving countries. These countries are now wheat-exporting countries.

That’s another giant leap for Danish from that very noble humanitarian endeavor of Borlaug to the actual genetic manipulation of seeds for greed and profit by Monsanto, which released them with little or no testing. It’s tantamount to comparing a cockapoo with a twoheaded goat.

Steve Demos, I trust, is not “trashing scientific agriculture” (quoting Danish). He’s more likely trashing Monsanto.

Philip Brooks/Longmont

Laughable ignorance

(Re: “Teach Darwin’s other beliefs,” letters, Oct. 29.) The comments of Bert Robinson, from Baton Rouge, La., made me laugh for a number of reasons. For one, he squeezes the cultural times of creation of a given idea around the modern perception of said. No doubt, Mr. Robinson is a Protestant, yet Protestantism was, in its time, associated with fornication with Satan an’ a ’hole bunch o’ other stoff, mon …

Darwin was a product of his times, as are we all. Mr. Robinson’s presumption is that if a given human being demonstrates evidence of mortality, then his or her ideas are somehow suspect. Ergo: Martin Luther, the originator of Protestantism, because he was and is a demonstrable anti-Semite, is therefore without intellectual merit as the founder of Protestantism.

Mr. Robinson would have us believe, for instance, that if Newton, for example, believed that washing and bathing was somehow unhealthy — as he did, in fact, believe — then his entire theory of calculus and the Physical Laws of Motion were somehow … wrong! Well, then, let’s be brave and teach that while developing the Theory of Motion, etc., Newton said that we should never wash. Scandal! Therefore, physics is a fraud.

I rest my case, and I have proved that modern physics is fraudulent, and I challenge others to prove me otherwise.

Peter F. Johnson/via Internet

Judge the idea, not the man

Mr. Robinson’s comments concerning the theory of evolution and its teaching betray a level of ignorance and willful misunderstanding about science that I would call astonishing if it were not so common. We teach and revere the theory of evolution, not because Charles Darwin was a great man, not because he is morally upstanding, and certainly not because all of his other ideas are impeccable. Evolution is fantastic because it explains the observable natural world with such amazing accuracy that no other theory even comes close to competing. From the fossil record, to DNA, to inheritable traits, to diverse behaviors, to sexual reproduction itself, the theory of evolution has successfully defended itself time and time again, often in the face of strongly held and
cherished religious beliefs. Darwin himself was reluctant to believe
the full impact of his discovery, and it is obvious that the theory
continues to have many misguided foes.

Robinson dares us to believe in “all of ” Darwin, taunting us with his
other, mistaken, ideas and writings. Ultimately, the argument goes, we
must either believe everything he thought or throw out evolution.
Science does not (or should not) care about the character or morality
of a theory’s author, nor that he is upstanding, nor that she is always
correct, nor … anything other than the theory’s ability to explain
observations and defend itself against contrary evidence and claims.
Evolution would still compel our support if Hitler, Mao, Charles Manson
and Pol Pot were joint authors. Similarly, a competing theory
explaining the state of the natural world would have not an ounce more
credibility despite full moral support of world leaders, sacred texts
and politicians — which, come to think of it, is exactly the sorry
state of affairs that science must battle every single day.

John Lilley/Boulder

Leave dispensaries alone

Town boards all around Colorado are scrambling to get a
handle on the medical marijuana “industry.” All of them seem ignorant
of the thing they are trying to control. Colorado’s constitution
provides for the affirmative defense of medical necessity for patients
who have received a recommendation from their doctors to use marijuana
for relief of their medical conditions. It also allows for the
appointment of a primary caregiver. This is a private relationship
between three people: a patient, a doctor and a caregiver. Just as the
government cannot step in and limit the number of friends a person has,
there is no provision for limiting the number of patients a caregiver
can have.

it seems to me that to the extent that a caregiver elects to pay taxes
the only question for the control freaks on any town board to decide is
how to zone such a business. These boards should be reminded that the
establishment of a taxable entity is done voluntarily by the caregiver
out of a desire to pay his fair share.

is not required. A “big” grow operation does not necessarily equal a
“commercial” operation. To interfere in this relationship is to run
afoul of patients’ rights.

To town boards all around Colorado: stay
the hell out of people’s relationships, and don’t look the gift horse
in the mouth when the tax revenue comes looking for you. All you have
to do is provide zoning guidance. Is that really so hard to grasp?

Read Spear/Lyons

Boulder’s police state

I remember when
it was the Boulder Police Department’s mission to serve and protect.
Now, by hoping to regulate Halloween festivities by controlling and
restricting citizen access they are crapping on the U.S. Constitution,
which establishes the right to freedom of assembly.

What’s next — arresting Santa Claus for illegal entry? Welcome to the police state.

Tad Miller/Boulder


Transition for all people

(Re: “Planet of
insects,” cover story, Oct. 22.) Thank you for the article about
relocalization, community, skill-building and energy independence. I am
grateful to see the philosophies and practices of Transition Colorado
featured in the Boulder Weekly. I was even more excitedto see the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center included in this piece.

of the reasons I so appreciate the “Transition Movement” is because of
its potential agency for social justice. At the same time I also
question how the means and ends of this “movement” assemble barriers
and etch creases of marginalization, structurally — even if
unintentionally — supporting injustice by focusing on the needs of
privileged peoples and neglecting those needs, and skills, of more
underprivileged peoples. These needs and skills are not nonexistent —
they are silenced and made invisible.

role does Transition play in this silencing, what role would it like to
play, and what role does it need to play? I read a lot of words such as
“community” and “basic human connections,” but nothing of power,
privilege, domination and oppression. Does Transition think “sharing
pie” dissolves such deeply rooted and harmful realities? Is avoidance
an option? For whom?

would love to see Transition Colorado host anti-racism trainings and
bystander intervention trainings. That seems like the kind of
re-skilling we need here in Boulder! Are Transition Communities safe or
hostile for people of color, LGBTQI folk? And what about the rights and
needs of undocumented peoples? (Note to the writers and editors:
careful of your usage of the word “citizens.” Do you mean to exclude
residents and the 12 million undocumented people in the U.S.?) I cannot
see how a “Transition Movement” can function within this country’s
broken immigration system.

am sure many of the readers and hopefully all of the Transition
supporters can see the links between agriculture, the food industry —
and thus Transition’s focus of local food and economic self-sufficiency
— and immigrant rights. We are all connected to these faulty and
harmful policies by what we put in our mouths, but changing what and
how we eat will not by itself change the lives of those invisibilized
and dehumanized. Is “Transition” (the verb) feasible without these
changes? What conditions prevent participation? And again, what is
Transition’s role in these conditions?

would like to see orientations towards freedom, justice, liberty and
equality — such as active movement for and actualization of changes in
federal immigration policy and public opinion — directly included in
the rhetoric and activities of Transition. What about partnering with
an organization such as Reform Immigration for America? Colorado
Immigrant Rights Coalition? Intercambio de Comunidades? ¿Hablan
español? Ever consider collaborating with Moving to End Sexual Assault
or Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence?

am critical because I am supportive — it would be quite easy for me to
suffocate word limits crying within the dysfunctions and crises
Transition passionately toils to heal, exalting praises for the already
vibrant efforts of the principles and people of the “movement,”
reiterating what is already made known. At this point, however, I must
respect my internal erk that whizzes when I hear, read or talk
about anything “Transition,” voicing this shared and potentially
ignorant aversion as a petition for organizational and collective
questioning. I also understand that this organization is probably, like
most, understaffed and underfunded, which poses challenges for outreach
and integration but is no excuse for such a limited pulse. While you
may hold the values of social and environmental justice, we have yet to
overtly see these values demonstrated or given priority. In the
article, cofounder of Transition Colorado Michael Brownlee mentions
freedom — I ask, freedom for whom? Freedom cannot only be an outcome,
but must also be fundamental method of the “movement,” do you agree? Of
course, one organization can’t address every issue, and at the same
time, how and when can we see represented the interconnectedness that
you are advocating (in theory)? From the article Brownlee states: “It’s
[Transition Colorado] a catalytic force in the community to inspire and
motivate people to do exactly the kind of things that we’re talking
about. You can’t do it for them, but you can provide them some access.”
Can you? And can we?

as individuals and a community we must take initiative in preference to
relying on others — officials, organizations, etc. — to “do things for
us” (I hope to be encouraging myself and the public in these
statements, not just leaders in the “movement”). My expectation is that
Transition as an organization can be, as Brownlee avows, an accessible
and conceivably constructive and proactive resource for more holistic
and realistic reconnectings, for and with all people. This, as I see
it, enables the movement.

Emily Zisette/Boulder

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