Like any student riding their bike to class, I am forced to see the mass of political signs along the bike paths. However one sign during this election season has caught me off guard: A sign asking voters to say yes to Prop 37, which wants to label genetically modified foods (GMOs). Now I have a sense of great pride in my fellow Gauchos that grows every time I see their intolerance of the pseudosciences that invade this campus, such as Scientology and the creationists with the signs that say “EVILution is a lie”. So how can a portion of those same educated students be in favor of a bill whose rhetoric is unnervingly similar to other anti-science movements?
Do you “have the right to know?” You have the right to know that there are people who have dedicated years of their lives to incorporating additional nutrition into crops grown by third world countries and to include resistance to common pests so that pesticides aren’t necessary. You have the right to know that believing that the increase in U.S. food allergies and the increase in GMOs are related is a cause-causation fallacy akin to saying “vaccinations cause autism.” You have the right to know that DNA, no matter where or what it is from, is strictly hereditary material that acts like a genetic library and cannot affect you in any way. Perhaps if proponents of Prop 37 had access to a library they would realize how ironic the term “Frankenfood” (used to describe GMOs) is. The Frankenstein monster was actually an intellectually benign monster until he became hated by a hysterical mob. Like the horror movie that was influenced by the original novel, Prop 37 attempts to scare you into believing the lack of labeling isn’t utterly redundant. California already has labeling for its foods: It’s called “organic.” By law, organic foods cannot contain genetically modified DNA, nor be grown with the use of pesticides. There is a good chance that if what you are eating isn’t organic, then it has been grown with the use of pesticides and/or genetic modification. These so called “Frankenfoods” aren’t the real monster here, ignorance is. If we let ignorance run amok on the university level, then what kind of message does that send to the rest of the Santa Barbara community?
Patrick Allen is a fourth-year Biochemistry major and a Varsity member of the UCSB Men’s Club Rowing team.
Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.