Another Cosmos script Neil deGrasse Tyson read maybe he should have paid more attention to regarding the situation with short-sighted corporate monopolies misusing cherry-picked science to promote their profits at the expense of all of us and the only planet we’ve got.
Talking about the fall of the ancient Mesopotamia civilization, the script Dr. Tyson read for Cosmos Episode 11, The Immortals, says:
Another cause of decline was that their technical know-how overran their understanding of nature.
The ingenious irrigation system that was the basis for the great civilizations of Mesopotamia had an unintended consequence the water channeled into their farmlands every year evaporated and left its salt behind.
Over generations, the salt accumulated and began to kill the crops.
Maybe we should be worried about what we’re putting into our soil, for example after the French Supreme Court convicted Monsanto of laying for falsely advertising that Roundup was “biodegradable” and “left the soil clean”. Or even trust that pesticiding crew, which has already bred mutant weeds that more spraying can’t get rid of, while some of those pesticides remain in all urine samples tested by a German study and in the urine of school children according to a Canadian study using USDA data, from Kansas to Manhattan, where Tyson works.
The script continued:
But what about civilizations that self-destruct? Our economic systems were formed when the planet and its air, rivers, oceans, lands, all seemed infinite. They evolved long before we first saw the Earth as the tiny organism that it actually is.
They’re all alike in one respect they’re profit-driven, and therefore, focused on short-term gain. The prevailing economic systems, no matter what their ideologies, have no built-in mechanisms for protecting our descendants of even 100 years from now, let alone, 100,000.
So if we trust Monsanto and Syngenta and Bayer and the rest of the agrochemical companies to do the right thing for the long-term health of the planet, we’re being a bit foolish.
In one respect, we’re ahead of the people of Ancient Mesopotamia. Unlike them, we understand what’s happening to our world.
Apparently Dr. Tyson doesn’t understand one part of what we’re doing to our world.
Even though that script explained that, too:
Human intelligence is imperfect, surely, and newly arisen. The ease with which it can be sweet-talked, overwhelmed, or subverted by other hard-wired tendencies, sometimes themselves disguised as the light of reason, is worrisome. But if our intelligence is the only edge, we must learn to use it better. To sharpen it. To understand its limitations and deficiencies.
And Dr. Tyson seems to have been subverted by a tendency to defend science even when it is being misused by agrochemical companies in exactly the same way as gasoline companies misused it to keep lead in gasoline, as the script he read for Episode 7, The Clean Room, explained in detail. Perhaps Dr. Tyson should talk to scriptwriters Ann Druyan and Steven Soler; maybe they understand this connection.
Episode 11’s example of what we do understand was this:
For example, we’re pumping greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere at a rate not seen on Earth for a million years. And the scientific consensus that we’re destabilizing our climate. Yet our civilization seems to be in the grip of denial; a kind of paralysis. There’s a disconnect between what we know and what we do.
Yet the profit-driven oligarchy of half a dozen agro-chemical companies, led by Monsanto’s monopoly on major crop seeds in the U.S., is also a force for climate destabilization, through the destruction of forests for crop lands, through the production and burning of corn ethanol instead of switching to renewable solar and wind energy, and through the subsidization of corn to feed to animals in CAFOs that, because they evolved to eat grass, not corn, then excrete massive amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times worse than carbon dioxide, according to the EPA.
Carl Sagan, in his last interview, said:
“Science is more than a body of knowledge; it’s a way of thinking. A way of sceptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility. If we are not able to ask sceptical questions; to interrogate those who tell us that something is true; to be sceptical of those in authority, then we are up for grabs, for the next charlatan, political or religious, who comes ambling along.”
Dr. Tyson: stop falling for the GMO oligarchy charlatans. You are an authority figure for science to the public. Like your mentor and Cosmos predecessor Carl Sagan, you have a responsibility to listen to sceptical questions and actually investigate, rather helping Monsanto misuse the authority of science for its own profit while damaging the public and this blue dot of an Earth.
Maybe Tyson would like to sign this petition to Charge Monsanto with Crimes Against Humanity. If he won’t, you can.