Tag Archives: marijuana

Anti-GMO Pot Smokers: The Unwitting Hypocrites

As someone who loves science, with more than just a passing interest, I tend to trust scientists in general far more than politicians, Hollywood stars, CEO’s or the general public.

Sometimes scientists get things wrong, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to argue that any group of people are more right about how the world works; my trust is placed in the most capable hands.

One of the more controversial subjects these days is genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Many people consume them without knowing it, some actively avoid them, and some are like me—trustful of the people who know more than me that the product that they are bringing to market has been well-researched, and has provided no evidence of any harmful effects to the consumer.fda_sign_web_14_0_0[1]

Recently, the FDA weighed in on genetically modified apples and potatoes, approving them for resale in the US. This won’t stop anti-GMO activists from attacking them, however. And companies like McDonald’s, have stated they have no intention of using the potatoes.

McDonald’s have not elaborated on their reasons to my knowledge, but assuming they’re aware of the science behind them, and the rigorous testing these potatoes must have passed by their manufacturer, J.R. Simplot, and then the FDA, I feel it’s safer to assume McDonald’s is simply making a smart marketing decision.Simplot logo[1]

People who are OK with GMOs will still buy from McDonald’s if they already were a customer, and people who are afraid of GMOs will too. The only people McDonald’s might lose are people making a principled stand to avoid them because they’re being anti-science, and I suspect such people are pretty small in numbers.

One group of people are unwitting hypocrites however, and that’s the high number of marijuana users who say they only consume organic, non-GMO foods.

Go to any pot dispensary, and you will find a myriad of choices available to the consumer so vast, that no other consumable crop likely exceeds it in variance. There are certainly more marijuana choices available than there are varieties of apples and potatoes.

The reason for this is that marijuana is one of the most heavily genetically modified organisms on the planet. People have been combining varieties of seeds for centuries to come up with crops that are either heartier to produce a greater yield of usable plant, or more often than not to yield a higher THC content for better highs.

The bottom line is that it’s nearly impossible to procure marijuana in its natural state these days.

Marijuana Harvest
Marijuana Harvest

So these users are either supremely ignorant as to how that pot came to be, or somehow have decided that the “scientist” who lives next door working out of their basement, and may or may not have taken a few biology classes, knows more than the multitude of PhD holders at Monsanto, Simplot, and/or the FDA as to what is safe for human consumption. If there’s logic in that, I don’t see it.

The argument is that marijuana is genetically modified by cross-pollination, or cross-breeding, a process where the pollen of one plant is introduced into the stigma of another. Essentially, it’s the plant version of crossing a horse with a donkey to create a mule.

By doing this, you’re coupling two plants with DNA which is nearly identical, but specifically that share a common trait you hope to enhance by combining them. This will usually work to some extent, because that’s how procreation works in general.

This is oversimplifying it a bit, but basically, when any two organisms procreate, the commonalities they share have a high chance of being part of the offspring, the traits they don’t share have a 50:50 shot at becoming part of the offspring, and of course, if neither have a particular trait, they are all but guaranteed not to produce offspring with that trait.

Think of shooting a shotgun at a target 100 feet away. Most of the shot may centralize around the bulls-eye, assuming your aim was true, but there will be scattered buckshot all around your aiming point that’s rather indiscriminate.Shotgun_Target This is cross breeding. You’ll get pretty close, and you’ll often have something close to the desired result (a bulls-eye), but you’ll likely have a lot of other stuff you didn’t necessarily want as well (shot outside the bulls-eye).

What people like Monsato and Simplot are doing however, is specifically activating or deactivating a particular and singular gene they know will give the offspring they create the desired result, without changing anything else. If cross-breeding is a shotgun at 100 feet, GMOs are a marine sniper on his best day from just 5 feet.

While I know this can be a soft spot for creationists, evolution is a very natural process. Traits that are most common in surviving species carry on, traits that aren’t usually die off before procreation, and go extinct. It’s an incredibly slow process that can take up to hundreds, if not thousands of generations. Cross-breeding and GMOs simply speed it up to one generation, and often obtains something pretty close to the desired result of the breeder, GMOs are simply the significantly more precise of the two.

It may not seem natural, and by definition it isn’t, but it’s effectively just an infinitely faster version of evolution, something that is indeed entirely natural.

Science, somewhat justifiably so, isn’t always considered trustworthy. There is a long history of scientific discovery that has been at the expense of human lives. Whether it be malicious Nazi scientists doing experiments on their Jewish captors, or well-intentioned experiments that have simply gone wrong, scientific endeavors have occasionally killed humans.

However, when you think of all the diseases that have been eradicated, all the organ transplants and medical procedures that have given people new leases on life, or all of the wonderful technology that simply makes our lives easier, clearly science has had an overwhelmingly positive influence on the human race.

GMO producers are simply either trying to being a better product to market, or often save lives by creating crops that can grow in places around the world who are starving because the produced GMO’s natural cousin won’t grow there, saving many lives. So if you’re against that, you’re unwittingly asking people to starve to death because you think it’s wrong for mankind to “play god” with food.

Either way, I love science, and I love the idea of using science to provide the world a better organism. Now pass me the GMO french fries.

 

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Illogical Arguments That Destroy Your Rights

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

As we consider how America should respond to recent gun violence and other issues in our country, those eager to take away constitutional  freedoms from millions of law-abiding citizens to thwart future bad acts of a few, often resort to tried and true arguments with little concern for the fact they are completely illogical.

For instance, if you’ve been watching the gun debate recently, one critic of gun rights, CNN’s Piers Morgan, routinely states that no one can make an argument why people need guns such as the Armalite AR-15 platform (contrary to belief, the A is for Armalite, not assault). This statement would only be relevant or logical in a country where freedom is not the default.

I cannot stress enough that in a free country, the starting point is that everything should be legal. From there, we make a case with a well-reasoned argument where We the people agree that something should be made illegal because one person’s right to do it infringes on the rights of another.Piers Morgan

So as we move into the well-reasoned arguments for criminalization and regulation, let me outline one that is commonly improperly formulated; the cause-and-effect argument.

Starting with the aforementioned gun debate, some argue that gun owners are dangerous people. However, a proper analysis of the numbers clearly refutes this. There are approximately 80 million adults in America who own guns and nearly 11,000 criminal gun deaths. That means that 0.01% of gun owners kill, leaving 99.99% who don’t. So by no proper mathematical analysis can you argue gun owners are unsafe when for every one killer among us gun owners, there are 9,999 who are not.Armalite AR-15

Another similar false cause-and-effect argument is that marijuana is a gateway drug. People assert that by virtue of using marijuana, the drug triggers the user to gravitate to harder and more dangerous drugs. The first issue with this argument is that studies show alcohol is usually the drug that addicts of harder drugs start with. Once bored with that, they may gravitate to marijuana, then harder drugs after that. But because alcohol is legal, it is often removed from the dialogue.

But the reason alcohol and marijuana are the drugs people usually start with in the first place is by virtue of their abundance in the marketplace. They are simply the ones most readily available, and therefore, the ones people most often initially experiment with.

But I want to focus on these cause-and-effect arguments as they are completely backwards. In order to argue cause-and-effect, we first start with the cause (in this case marijuana users) and then see how many effects (harder drug use) result. But, the opposite is occurring.

Let me give an example to prove my point. We know that all Boston Celtics are basketball players, but not all basketball players are Boston Celtics—thousands in fact are not, nor ever will be. So those making the marijuana gateway drug cause-and-effect argument falsely are arguing that by virtue of being a basketball player, you are likely to become a Boston Celtic. While many kids with a basketball in their hands might love this notion, there are almost infinitely more with broken dreams and a regular job.Boston Celtics Logo

While I have never used marijuana, I happen to know many habitual users. They’re in the millions across America, so I’m sure you do to.

Like me, I would hope you’ve noticed that most of them have used it for years without ever graduating to cocaine, meth, or anything else. So I’d like to think you knew all along this argument was wrong, but simply hard a hard time refuting the math people gave you because you weren’t aware of their flawed methodology. Now that you realize it’s a false premise, you’ll be better prepared to refute such nonsense in the future.

As a poker player, I’ve seen how such arguments destroy liberty and ruin lives. Look no further than online poker’s infamous Black Friday. Thousands of American rounders were literally forced into unemployment as they were denied their rights to earn an honest living playing a game of skill based on the cause-and-effect argument that gambling ruins lives and therefore should be regulated or outlawed completely.

First let me point out that poker isn’t gambling—it is a game of skill. It has even been ruled as such by the federal government since 1986. So we have people who falsely consider poker to be a game of random chance, who then make it illegal using another false argument of the backwards cause-and-affect. 

Millions of people visit casinos every year without losing their house, car, or child’s college fund, yet because every gambling addict who did lose everything started in a casino, the significantly greater portion who can responsibly lay a few bucks on the line get punished. We can no longer enjoy the one form of entertainment that might actually pay us back.Poker's Pocket Rockets

So next time someone uses the false cause-and-effect argument to take away your rights, I hope this will help you to be better prepared to take them down by destroying their poor methodology.  More importantly, the next time someone says to you, “Why do you need that gun, drug, etc.?,” you can respond by saying something like this:

This is a free country, I don’t have to make such an argument—everything should be legal here. The onus is on you to make a case for making it illegal by explaining how me enjoying that freedom infringes upon your rights. If you cannot make such a case, we’re done here.

If we’re lucky, they will either have an epiphany and embrace freedom like you and I, or they will remain swathed in a blanket of ignorance and intolerance as they wrongly argue to oppress you by using false arguments and logical fallacies under the guise that it’s “For your own good.”

Government is you. Act like it!

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

One of the things that I find most troubling with the public’s attitude towards government is the misunderstanding of what the government is, what it is for, and how it was designed to be used.

We elect representatives to protect our rights, as enumerated in the Constitution, but that are deemed innate among each of us, simply be virtue of being alive. If we strictly adhered to the Constitution, that’s pretty much all government would do.

Then, for reasons I can find little logic to justify, we let them do other things like carry the mail, administer health care, manage our retirement, and even study the effect of pot on a man’s most prized appendage.

With that in mind, I’d like to remind people what our forefathers intended for government: it is essentially an extension of you. We pay our government officials to do things that we can’t be bothered to do ourselves because we don’t have the individual resources, money, time, or expertise. Everything the government does, is literally done at your behest.

Below are a few glaring examples of where government has overstepped its Constitutionally-defined bounds. But using these examples, I’m sure you can think of many more; which is why I have a “comments” section below this post. Please, spout off at your leisure.

For those of you, like me, that do not use recreational drugs such as marijuana, I have a bit of information that may surprise you: I solemnly swear to you that you have several acquaintances that smoke marijuana. If you’re a realist, you already know this. But if you’re a prude, you’re saying, “I would never be friends with someone like that.” I promise if you are the latter, you are indeed friends with someone like that—they just know you’re a prude and bite their tongue to avoid your reaction.http://localtvkdvr.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/marijuana-joint.jpg?w=400

So imagine that this person happens to be your favorite neighbor, which it probably is, because trust me when I tell you that marijuana users can be quite entertaining. Now imagine if you knew they were smoking it next door. Would you go over, barge in, put a gun to their head, and demand they stop immediately or you’ll use deadly force?

I’m guessing your answer is no.

Conversely, if you knew your favorite neighbor were over there molesting a child or murdering their spouse, unless you’re the most depraved of individuals among us, you would not hesitate to intervene and potentially stop them with deadly force.

So the difference is obvious. One is a personal choice without a victim. One is a blatant infringement on someone’s right to life and liberty.

So if you insist on making something illegal, at least hold yourself to a standard that says you would intervene yourself if there were no such thing as government to do it for you. Because in both the above scenarios, if you call 911, people with guns will shop and potentially use lethal force on your behalf.Utah-DPS-SWAT[1]

The other issue is a little more subtle, yet equally troubling; tolerating things you wouldn’t dream of tolerating if it were done to you personally.

Imagine you had a nice house with an unused extra bedroom. A friend of yours is down on their luck, lost their job, and can’t afford the apartment they’re currently in. So you offer to let them stay at your place rent free because you’re a good person, and you believe that it will be a short-term cohabitation.

The days turn into weeks, then months. You even tell your friend about some job leads you’ve heard of that you know he could do, but your friend’s answer is always the same.

While I’m living here off of you and not paying anything, I’m going to ride it out for my ideal job.  I could take a lesser job for now in order to earn something while looking for a better job during my off time, but I’d rather not.

Is there anyone among you that wouldn’t grab that freeloader by the scruff of their neck, bury your foot in their salad shooter, and tell them never to come back? I’d be furious! Yet we all allow this to happen every single day with unemployment insurance. That’s your money they’re living off of! Many could work and take a less optimal job, but they choose not to while there’s “free money” just lying around.freeloader-beer-2[1]

If you read my previous post about privatizing everything, and you think I’m onto something, then maybe it’s time to do some serious blue sky thinking and look at getting rid of government subsidized unemployment insurance in favor of a private version.

You may point out that no one offers private unemployment insurance. Ss far as I know, you’re likely be right. But that’s only because the government has a monopoly on it; and therefore private insurers aren’t bothering to even try. You’re being pilfered for the government’s unemployment insurance, so why would anyone pay additionally for a private option on top of that since opting out of Uncle Sam’s isn’t allowed? https://logicallibertariandotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/20110316_unclesamgrope.jpg

I propose that we demand the government give people their money back and let them use that money to buy private insurance if they want, or live with the consequences of that risk if they choose not to. Liberty doesn’t just mean you have the right to have fun and enjoy life, it also means you have the right to gamble and fail. I will never acknowledge someone was successful if there was no risk of failure to begin with.

One thing I know about the private sector is this. If there’s a market for something, there’s an entrepreneur willing to provide it for a fee. If you get rid of the government monopoly on such things, private insurers would surely offer unemployment insurance for a nominal fee. Likely for less than the government does, and with far less waste and abuse.

So remember, if you wouldn’t do it yourself if you could, don’t ask government to do it for you.