Monday, November 17, 2008

Hawaii County Council: Idiots

The Hawaii County Council has overridden the veto of Big Island mayor Harry Kim to approve a ban on genetically modified coffee and taro. While I’m sure some of the motivation for this ban comes from the standard paranoid idiocy of all anti-GM measures (misunderstanding of how genetics work, corporate conspiracy theories, gross callousness toward the world’s poor), a large part of the support for this ban is even dumber. Native Hawaiian myth says that humans sprang forth from the roots of the taro plant, so we shouldn’t mess with the plant’s genes. The biologists and rational thinkers who are against the ban pointed out that the plant has a much stronger chance of permanent survival if it’s engineered to be resistant to pests and disease, but these kinds of reasonable arguments tend to fall on deaf ears. Of course, this kind of legislation will only up the cool factor of GM crops in Hawaii. Because when you outlaw genetically modified coffee and taro, only outlaws will have genetically modified coffee and taro. More details here.

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