Neil deGrasse Tyson on Anti-GMO Movement


I often agree with Neil deGrasse Tyson; However it appears to me that he’s either deliberately withholding information here, and/or he doesn’t fully know what he’s talking about. What’s your input disinfonauts?

In science, ‘fact’ can only mean ‘confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.’ I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.

Stephen Jay Gould

Pardon the vertical video.  They must not have seen this PSA. Just say no to vertical video.

via IFL Science

There has been a considerable amount of discussion and debate regarding the safety of genetically modified food. Though the topic has been researched over and over again, there isn’t evidence that eating conventional produce will cause disease, despite whatever the scientifically-illiterate Food Babe has to say. In fact, over 2000 studies have found GM food to be perfectly safe. Genetic modification is simply a tool, and like all tools, it’s how you use it that matters.

Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson takes down the anti-GMO argument swiftly and deftly, in a way that only he can.


  • ersatz

    tyson’s dismissal is expected here,as he’s made a similar comment on his twitter months ago about genetic modification.

    now…do you really fucking think that neil degrasse tyson,or any of the other gm touters, and funders like bill gates …would ever accept a challenge of eating nothing BUT gm food for the next 5 years?

    surely, if those who share such certainty that genetic modification is nothing to be skeptical and wary of,then it’s time to step up and prove that’s the case via the science they tout.

    • sgtdoom

      I am all for Bill and Melinda Gates feeding their spawn nothing but GMO foods, ditto Tyson.

      I recall that the first official whistleblower on Monsanto’s GMO mutations was none other than their chief scientiest, and Indian immigrant, who stated that they were really more of a genetically mutating organism, and therefore to be avoided.

      • Oginikwe

        The first whistleblower was Dr. Arpad Pusztai, a Hungarian research biologist. He completed his doctorate in London’s Lister Institute of Preventative Medicine and then went to work at the prestigious Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland. He published over 270 scientific papers. He started a project in 1995 on lectin in Monsanto gmo potatoes and the first thing they did was run a search for biological testing papers on genetically modified food. There wasn’t any. One finally showed up in 1996 in the Journal of Nutrition, written by B. G. Hammond, a Monsanto scientist. Pusztai ran his experiment and rats fed these gmo potatoes had smaller livers, hearts, and brains and weakened immune systems. Potatoes by themselves were fine; the lectin by itself was fine, but gmo the two=problems. There was something about the genetic engineering process that produced the results.

        In an interview, he made the mistake of saying it is, “very, very unfair to use our fellow citizens as guinea pigs.” Two weeks later, he was suspended and forced into retirement. His experiments were terminated and all his data confiscated. The PR firm working for Monsanto started their disinfo campaign, claiming Putsztai used things he did not. Then they decided to try and discredit him: he was “senile, muddled, gibbering” etc. Eventually, in 1999, a 20-member international scientific panel went on record supporting him and his research. What is remarkable about his story is how quickly he was muzzled by the Rowett Institute, how quickly the PR machine kicked in, and the nefarious way they then tried to paint him as a doddering old fool. A lot like the gaslighting and intimidation that Syngenta (atrazine) has done to Tyrone Hayes.

        Of course, here in the U.S.,in 1992, gmo foods were decreed substantially equivalent to conventional foods which exempted them from mandatory safety testing or special product labeling. Michael Taylor, formerly an attorney for Monsanto, helped draft that FDA policy and later left the FDA and returned to Monsanto. And, back at the FDA is where he is today.

        You can read more about this in “Trust Us, We’re Experts” by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber. Or, just google “Arpad Pusztai”

  • BuzzCoastin

    most members of The Religion of Science
    are fans of GMOz
    which is the sacramental food of Science

    even though over 2000 studies say GMOz are safe
    despite the unprecedented rise of obesity & type 2 diabetes
    and the food technology is only 50 years old
    but is nonetheless deemed safe
    for the million year old human digestive systems
    that have not evolovedby using GMOz

    • Rhoid Rager

      But, Buzz, science tastes so much better when it’s served on an all-beef special paddy of technology, and sandwiched in a sesame seed bun of progress…

      • Echar Lailoken

        It’s hardly progress if the omelettes are poison.

        • Rhoid Rager

          Ya gotta crack a few eggs to make an omelette…. Ah, Stalin’s wisdom persists still…

          • Echar Lailoken

            I suppose if the end result is intended to be poison.

  • misinformation

    Repeat after me: Transgenic modification. Transgenic modification. Transgenic modification. That way, cults of personality can’t ‘deftly’ avoid the actual discussion around the issue of transgenic modification.

    “We” haven’t been splicing genes of different species together for 10s-of-thousands of years so Tyson is either being intellectually dishonest or lazy. Either way, the strawman argument of selective breeding is tiresome.

    Or, perhaps he thinks that his ego is all that is needed to convince the public?

    • ersatz

      yes,i’ve seen him use this argument before and it’s strange to see him doing it yet again…as it’s a misrepresentation.

      and transgenic modification is definitely a more precise,and fitting term.

    • anechoic

      thank you for saying this! it drives me crazy when people conflate selective breeding with transgenic modification…I don’t need jellyfish genes in my carrots thank you! :)

    • Erika Hernandez

      Yes, but we have been inserting entire genomes into plants from thousands of years without knowing what they are going to produce. It simply a way to reply to the “you are altering nature” phrase, which the honest answer is yep, always.

      • misinformation

        In this instance, he conflated transgenic modification with selective breeding. They are not the same and gene splicing hasn’t been done for thousands of years. Pretty straightforward.

  • swabby429

    Science is a great method to discover previously unknown or new aspects about our World and the universe. However, just because something is manufactured or grown through scienctific based techniques, doesn’t automatically make the item superior or even good for us. Take nuclear weaponry as a blatant example. The jury is still out on GMO foods. While I’m not one of the militant anti-GMO people, I am quite skeptical of them. Dr. Tyson needs to examine his bias on this issue. He’s one of the very best astro-physicists of all time, but I’m not so sure about his skills as an agronomist, a farmer, or a dietician. Sorry Dr. T.

    • Andrew

      I’m not philosophically against transgenic modification, in that I think it could theoretically be done safely and wisely, but that’s not how agribusiness is doing it. They’re doing it to increase profits, not nutrition.

      • godozo


        Although it’s come to be learned that it’s easier to expand profits than to improve nutrition. Making the plant safe for pesticides and herbicides only requires a single gene per pesticide/herbicide, whereas making the plant more nutritious requires the cooperation of many genes, most of which resist transgenic modification. That this happens to be convenient for Monsanto, Dow et. al I wish to consider a coincidence.

  • Echar Lailoken

    I don’t go to a proctologist to get my teeth cleaned.

    • drokhole

      Perhaps Neil should schedule a visit to one to remove his head from the area.

  • Number1Framer

    Sometimes the precautionary principle trumps the scientific method.

    • Andrew

      I’m not sure it’s just the precautionary principle that argues against current transgenic modification practices. Plants that are modified to produce their own pesticides are generally going to be less healthy than modified plants that don’t. What kinds of transgenically modified plants have the the tests Dr. Tyson mentions been done on, and are illnesses caused by such pesticides being discounted as not technically the result of the modifications?

      • Number1Framer

        I’m going to apply the PP myself as I understand it and avoid all this crap…just in case.

        • Echar Lailoken

          How will you do that if they are not labeled?

  • AL76

    Yep, this basically verifies what I suspected about this man’s character. He’s either a complete fool, or more likely, a shill for profit-driven agendas masquerading as ‘progressive science’ and is thereby creating a mockery of the very thing he proclaims to hold sacred.

    • Echar Lailoken

      I’ve lost some respect for him.

    • sgtdoom

      I normally don’t continue to post at a site where they just deleted my two most important comments, so this will be my last at this site, but this could be the financial reason why Tyson is now shilling for Monsanto:

      • Echar Lailoken

        I doubt yours were deleted. They may have got caught up in spam purgatory. It helps keep the, “my aunt just purchased a whatever car” spam posts at a minimum. Likely you included a link, and newer posters are on a posting watch, sort of. A mod needs to ok your posts, which may be ok’ed already. Please be patient. Disinfo is a damn cool community.

        • sgtdoom

          Negative. With disqus when someone replies, and their reply is received in one’s email account, it is proof positive it was uploaded, and I normally double check anyway after uploading. Two comments were uploaded, two comments were deleted.

          This isn’t the first time that I and others have had our informative comments deleted, and therefore I will never post again to this site, just as I no longer post to the following heavily censored sites:

 (made one exception this time as they ran this article there as well)

          vast majority of sites in Canada and Sweden

          and quite a few others….

      • Echar Lailoken

        Perhaps he’s strapped for cash?

        • sgtdoom

          Excellent, that’s what I was driving at with the accident link.

          • Echar Lailoken

            I am replying to a comment that was caught up in spam purgatory. I doubt that they are being deleted, it’s just people aren’t patient enoughto wait and expect the worst. Your loss.

  • LovelyLady666

    Nikola Tesla argued in one of his books, (can’t remember but maybe someone here knows) that the best way to supply nations with a healthy abundance of food, the focus should be on the nutrients placed into the ground rather than injected into the plants.

    • Chaorder Gradient

      which makes me think things along the lines of what impact are humans having with burying dead in air-tight kaskets, and what exactly is done with all the shit we (literally) produce

      • LovelyLady666

        I really hate that we continue to waste space for the dead. We’re stuck with these archaic rituals that people cling to for no good reason. Like voting for people to represent us in a day when the majority of people have some sort of access to internet. oh and all our shit gets dumped on 3rd world countries.

        • Andrew

          I’d like to be buried without a casket or embalming.

          • LovelyLady666

            my mother bought a tree for my family so we can all be cremated and the ashes buried under the tree, but there’s so many alternatives. I read somewhere you could be turned into a diamond or pressed into a vinyl record. Personally I wanna be the first person to commit suicide by blackhole but we’ll see how that goes…

          • Echar Lailoken

            Suicide by blackhole seems risky. What if time dialation makes your suicide into an eternity? Or what if you keep on committing suicide over and over?

          • Oginikwe

            I was hoping to be the the first person to beat death . . .things are looking pretty grim, though. :^)

          • BuzzCoastin

            I have some mango trees ready when you are
            no hurry though

        • invisible

          I would suggest some basic lessons in pedology or just go outside and watch the importance of the soil as a host were the life cycle moves on.

          As long as your ancestor isn`t buried with weird fillings or other artificially created and replaced parts, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
          On the contrary: as everything else, the form of our bodies will inescapably change, our atoms will disintegrate and build other states to nourish other lifeforms…

          By the way, bodies have the same effects as any other “fertilizer”-like thing, that is a strong nitrogen-source.
          (among many other nutrient elements…)

          There are indeed many problems concerning over-fertilization, but this is mainly caused by our industrialized agriculture.

          • $20756863

            Yeah, lets just forget about the whole embalming fluid practice…it’s cool. Ashes work as great fertilizer too. My point was wasting space on the dead, maybe you need some basic lessons with reading comprehension? henya?

    • misinformation

      Tesla would only be one in a long line…

      “The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of
      all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease
      passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care
      for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we
      can have no life.” ―Wendell Berry

    • Erika Hernandez

      I actually agree with it, there are other ways. But that doesnt mean, GMO are not a useful tool too and that shouldn’t be explored. they are not excluding ideas.

      • $20756863

        I would agree, if there were enough studies done to document the long lasting effects before implementing these processes. We are just beginning to see that artificial sweeteners change gut chemistry ( This recent study shows a direct link between the fake sugars and our bodies reacting negatively leading to glucose intolerance. Very important and overlooked information. I could only imagine how manipulating plants DNA will affect our systems.

        Besides the science behind all of that we have this corporation, monsanto, that sues farmers for reusing seeds (which is insane because they make so little and they are a multi-billion dollar industry) even if the seeds the farmer replanted were blown over into their fields from neighboring farms. They are able to sue these people if their field is found to have more than 1% GMO seeds in their product, yet organic farmers can not sue for GMOs contaminating their product. Double standard much?

        This is creating a monopoly like atmosphere in the farming community. Oh, and least we forget that they’ve already admitted to bribing government officials in Indonesia…. but of course these people have your best interest at heart and so very obviously care about the people using and consuming their products, just ask the guy who had to pay them close to 3 million in damages, without being able to declare bankruptcy on it, or that awesome other product they created…..what was that called? oh yeah….agent orange.

  • Rhoid Rager

    Modern scientists are truly lost souls. They’ve swallowed their own triumphalist science bullshit line. This is what my favourite epistemologist, Paul Feyerabend, had to say;

    “Science is not sacrosanct. The mere fact that it exists, is admired, has
    results is not sufficient for making it a measure of excellence. Modern
    science arose from global objections against earlier views and
    rationalism itself, the idea that there are general rules and standards
    for conducting our affairs, affairs of knowledge included, arose from
    global objections to common sense.

    • sgtdoom

      The criminal corporation, Monsanto (and others), who are pushing their GMOs, constitute corporate pseudo-science — and of course, those of us who bothered to take the time to read some of those WikiLeaked State Department cables realize just how much lobbying the US State Department does for Monsanto.

      Not to mention that the Gates Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation are heavily invested in Monsanto and those two have been involved in promoting their adoption throughout Africa and America.

      • Oginikwe

        Yes. Gates has invested heavily in gmos.

        Bill Gates Invests $25 Million In Controversial GM Crop Center (AP/Huff Po) 2/13/2013:

        Chemical Relations: Monsanto and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Truth-out) 10/11/2010:

      • Erika Hernandez

        GMO is indeed a discussion highly influenced by money, but just because we have a terrible face for corporations of GMO (monsato), doesnt mean GMO affect others influent companies that will be affected negatively by there introduction. Thats why GMO should be disccoused in general or by a speccific product, but not both at the same time. Because not all GMO will be beneficial, but not all will be bad.

        • sgtdoom

          Agreed in the objective sense, but in the present reality we exist in we have President Obama not only signing legislation granting legal immunity to the banksters for their enormous crimes, but also a recent piece of legislation he signed also granting legal immunity from prosecution to Monsanto for their GMOs.

          Now, there’s a reason he did this.

          Just as there’s a reason the Gates Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation have been ardently pushing the adoption of Monsanto’s GMOs across Africa (and America) while being invested in Monsanto.

          Just as, if you’ve happened to read those WikiLeaked State Department cables, the US has been working on behalf of Monsanto internationally.

        • $20756863

          Actually, monsonto either owns or works together with the top major 6 companies working on GMOs, including Dupont, after they sued the crap out of them of course.

    • Chaorder Gradient

      I always liked the idea that in its inception, science was first and foremost a tool used for speaking truth to power (religious at the time). Now that it actually has power, its original thrust is meaningless.

      Given, it mildly conflicts with the other story that science and religion were once united but now divided, but i like the mythos of the idea.

      • Rhoid Rager

        Well, the mythos is always good to throw around, because–thanks to the stridency of the neo-atheists–it’s worked its way into undeniability, ironically enough.
        Feyerabend’s larger argument of the counterinductive ‘rule’ makes more sense: how can any progress ever be achieved without someone saying something controversial??

    • ishmael2009

      My favorite psychologist, Freud, would have a lot to say about the desperate rationalisaton in your comment. Why not just say you’re scared of something you don’t understand?

      • Rhoid Rager

        desperate rationalisation of what? care to elaborate? and my favourite psychologist was Jung. Freud was too dark for me.

  • sgtdoom

    The once-respected Elsevier Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology has apparently decided to violate those procedures and has announced it is retracting a long-term study on the toxic effects of Monsanto Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)—GMO Maize–it published a year ago.

    The bizarre announcement comes only six months after Elsevier created a special new position, Associate Editor for Biotechnology (i.e. GMO), and fills it with a former Monsanto employee who worked for Monsanto’s front-organization—the International Life Sciences Institute—which develops industry-friendly risk assessment methods for GM foods and chemical food contaminants and inserts them into government regulations. Sound like something wrong with this picture?

    • Echar Lailoken

      This one would make a great publish here as well.

  • Echar Lailoken

    Someone on FB said this is some important conext that is being missed.

    I made this last year when NDT came to the University of Iowa to give a lecture and met up with him afterwards for a book signing.

    As for the context of the video, I had a project for French class the next day on GMOs and thought that I would capitalize and earn some EC points by asking one of the most well known scientists presently his opinion on GMOs.

    So to those who disagree with whatever he said, know that this was coming literally straight off of the top of his head and that he may have phrased things differently if he had been given adequate time to prepare.

    First of all, how are we to know if Monkeyboy2014 is who he says he is? Something else, I agree, it does offer some more context. It gives evidence that NDT’s knee jerk reaction is a dismissive one. Meaning it’s his honest answer, even though it may not be the one he would like to be known for. That is if he’s not toeing the Rupert Murdoch line.

  • polfilmblog

    Who’s paying that asshole?

  • sgtdoom

    This fellow makes a most important point which Mr. Tyson should carefully contemplate:

    referring to p. 45 of Monsanto’s report:

    • Echar Lailoken

      This would be great as an article here.

      Go here:

      and let them know you want to publish it and possibly more. :)

    • Oginikwe

      Thanks for those links.
      That Monsanto document is some piece of PR work.

  • anechoic

    if scientists are the only ones smart enough to understand GMO food, then they are the only ones smart enough to eat them…

  • Anarchy Pony

    What angle is he defending gmo’s on? Just the aspect of safety of consumption? Does he bother to approach it from the angles of economics? Or environmental effects? The overall approach of modern industrial agriculture and its massive waste and pollution and the perpetuation of that system through the use of plants that would otherwise be unable to withstand its destructive practice?

  • D351

    I resent his insults toward wild apples. I like my apples tart.

  • mannyfurious

    He’s a priest in the Church of Scientism. What did anyone expect. He believes science can do no wrong and anything science can do, it has the right to.

    As I’ve said a billion times, “science” hasn’t even told us whether eggs are good for the human body or not (even though we’ve been eating them since the dawn of our species), so what the fuck do they know about the effects of GMOs?

    Piss on these fuckers.

  • emperorreagan

    Celebrity science talking head has opinion. Next up, celebrity economics talking head has some gobbeldygook for you, celebrity politics talking head gets angry about something, and celebrity chef tells you why you can’t put pepper on his potatoes because his flavor profile is perfect even though they really, really need pepper.

    • Adam’s Shadow

      But un-peppered potatoes are totally a thing right now. Gluten.

  • terrasodium

    I must have missed his astrophysical paper on the biological effects of food product modifiction on the cellular level in men women and children, ad vericundium runs rampant on the marketing streets of “pure science”

  • AManCalledDa-da


  • Ron Chandler

    For what it’s worth, this link is about GMO corn’s hazards.
    To say GMO food presents no risk is ridiculous. Why then has your FDA had to raise its ‘permitted’ levels of glyphosate, i.e. Roundup, in food? Because GMO food is designed to be liberally sprayed with Roundup!
    Glyphosate is very nasty stuff. Moms know best:

  • Heath

    Ladden with advertisements telling us pumping chemicals in our earth is safe, petroleum based fertilzers and insecticides are safe spurns just a few examples how fact short selling points drive these arguments. Whilst the media scrambles to misdirect and save their go to science pundit who just showed where he has stock or a lible gag order which always over rides any fact. It is because I say so.

  • Go Ri

    Hybrids(selections) are different animal from GMO. Neil is messing thous two.
    GMO vs Hybrids reading here: …and yes GMO is the bad one.

  • kcorb

    There are 2 issues here the people seem to conflate. GMO as a technology and GMO as it is practiced by particular corporations like Monsanto. I’m guessing that Tyson is only defending GMO as a technology. Also, he’s an astrophysicist not a biologist so his opinion on the matter is practically irrelevant beyond his celebrity as a science generalist.

    A lot of the fear around GMO is completely unfounded fear of an advanced technology that people don’t even bother to try to understand. The difference between selecting for random mutations and manually tweaking mutations is just a technological leap scientifically speaking.

    It’s the application of the technology that is worrisome. Tweaking plants to taste better or be more nutritive seem like pretty laudable pursuit, but tweaking them to be poison resistant or to lack any vital nutrients that might trigger an insect’s interest both seem to be moving in a bad direction. The science isn’t being applied to make food better but instead to make more profit. In the end we’re going to have food that is just simple starches that looks pretty–processed food in a pseudo natural packaging. Feels like we were already moving in that direction before GMO even came on the scene.

  • kat

    Here’s another smart video about the dangers of science-denial and GMOs

    • Echar Lailoken

      Hmm, a new account with 5 of the same exact comments. All about the same topic. My guess is viral marketing. I liked the video, not the spamming though. Unless you decide to come back and offer more insight on this topic, without promoting your video or the people who made the video.

  • draeger

    check out the “team” and the “advisors” at the genetic literacy project – the link of 2000 scientific studies…both are made up mostly of people without genetic engineering degrees play acting at being GMO experts