Farmer Suicides in India are NOT Caused by Monsanto or GMO’s.

srjcehhoq6pplqj7xt4aHere is the myth:

“Every 30 minutes an Indian farmer commits suicide as a result of Monsanto’s GM crops. In the last decade more than 250,000 Indian farmers have killed themselves because of Monsanto’s costly seeds and pesticides.”

This is pretty appalling story, and it’s easy to see why people who read it become angry about GMO’s and start to hate Monsanto. If I hadn’t seen the other side of the story, this claim would make me angry too. But the story is not true- at least not the part about Monsanto causing farmers to kill themselves. It’s not just farmers in India who are committing suicide in India- it’s a nation-wide problem, and GMO’s are not the cause.

The number of farmer deaths in India is much less than the general population. According to the report, the rate of suicide deaths among agricultural workers is around seven deaths per 100,000 people, whereas the overall suicide rate in India is close to 15 deaths per 100,000.

“In fact, our study found that the numbers of deaths of men in occupations other than farming was twice as great, meaning there were more deaths in clerical occupations, students, and other occupations than in agricultural work,” he said.

So it’s not just farmers who are affected by this high suicide rate. In fact, they’re less affected than other parts of the population.  So why does the anti-GMO movement ignore this important fact? Do they not care about the other countless Indian people who are driven to kill themselves even more frequently than the farmers?

Or do people’s lives only matter if their deaths can be used to support their anti-GMO agenda?

Sadanandan confirms that more than 250,000 debt-ridden farmers have committed suicide during the last two decades. But he says that the real seeds of despair are financial policies that were implemented by the Indian government in the early 1990s.

In particular, the entry of foreign and new generation private banks has made banking in India competitive and led to fewer loans to agriculture and farmers. With increased competition, banks saw lending to the farm sector as unprofitable and unreliable. This drop in institutional lending forced farmers to borrow from private moneylenders at exorbitant interest rates and increased farm indebtedness. When faced with heavier debt burden that they could not repay, many farmers in India took their lives. This, I argue, happened more in some states—particularly, in states where banking became more competitive with the increased presence of foreign and private banks.

The cause of the Indian suicide rate among farmers is not GMO’s, but the nation’s bad banking policies that are driving people into debt. Other social and economic factors are also likely contributing to the nation’s general suicide problem. But there is no evidence that GMO’s are the cause, or even a supporting cause, of these suicides. Cotton is thriving in India, it’s not failing at all.

But myths are hard to stamp out once they’ve been spread long enough… Especially when the myth is a powerful emotional story that can be used to convince people that Monsanto is pure evil and GMO’s are poison.  Fear, not bad banking policies, sells news.

“An evil corporation dumping genetic monstrosities on impoverished farmers makes for a much sexier narrative than the nuances of financial reforms in the banking sector. And therein lies the real tragedy of farmer suicides in India. Anti-GMO activists, by hijacking this story to cultivate sympathy for their own agenda, are distracting us from the solutions that could actually work.” [emphasis mine]

And this is why I am rapidly losing respect for the anti-GMO movement in general (not individuals who oppose GMO’s, I always respect people even if I disagree.) It enrages me to see the plight of these people turned into an emotional ploy to promote the anti-GMO agenda. Instead of addressing the actual causes of these suicides, which need to be addressed immediately, the attention is erroneously directed against GMO’s and the bad banking policies and other societal injustices are left unchallenged. India is not very friendly to the LGBTQ community, there is a lot of violence and injustice that would certainly be affecting how often LGBTQ Indians take their own lives, but do we hear about that when we talk about the nation’s high suicide rates? Of course not. That doesn’t help the anti-GMO cause. 

If GMO’s are really that bad, then surely they should not have to twist the facts and create sensational stories like this to make their point.

If Monsanto is truly an evil company, then crying wolf with stories like these is only hurting the anti-GMO cause because now I am skeptical of all stories about Monsanto being evil. I’ll certainly research each issue on an individual basis, but the anti-GMO movement has really turned me off to their cause even more than I was before by promoting this despicable false narrative.

I want facts, not lies and deceit. And I’m sick and tired of hearing about how evil Monsanto is when the anti-GMO movement has no qualms about deliberately lying to promote their own agenda, even if it means the real issues get ignored and real people continue to be harmed. But that’s ok as long as GMO’s get banned, right? The end justifies the means?


Core Truths: 10 Common GMO Claims Debunked (link)

36a44a197f91a6cc8e34b8188ada4e9dGMO’s are not perfect. But neither is any other kind of farming. Here are some common claims about GMO’s debunked.

I appreciate that it acknowledges the faults and potential problems with GMO’s as well, because any industry that claims to be perfect and the only way to do things is being dishonest (including organic!) All farming methods can use improvement, especially when it comes to effective but safe pest/weed control (though we’ve made great progress in these areas).

I for one am looking forward to the non-browning Arctic Apples! 😀 I hate it when my apples get brown and nasty after I cut them. I will certainly be trying these new apples when they become commercially available.

The Duggar Sexual Abuse Controversy. Oh boy.

josh-duggarFirst off, I have nothing against the Duggars personally. I do not hate them, nor do I think they are terrible people. They’re imperfect human beings just like me. I don’t care that they believe in God and up until now haven’t really cared that much about their show or actions, other than their negative activism against the LGBTQ community and women’s rights. But even then, that’s their choice and I respect their right to choose their own beliefs and to fight for them. I certainly fight for my beliefs.

So why do I care about this scandal with the Duggars? (MUST READ:

1. Because a crime was committed and the molester was never truly brought to justice. He molested at least 5 girls, including his own sisters while they slept, and he paid hardly any price for it. He wasn’t a child, he was 14 years old- old enough to understand that what he did was wrong. He was never charged with a crime, his record was wiped, and he had to work on houses for a few months and “repent of sin” as his punishment. What kind of response is that? How is that justice when little girls were molested? Instead, they covered it up until the statue of limitations expired and no charges could be filed anymore. He got away with sexual assault.  

I know this was a terribly difficult situation for the Duggar parents to deal with. However, Christians are not above the law. Josh committed a crime, and they purposefully stalled for time so the statute of limitations could expire without him being convicted.

By the time the police were ready to reopen the case, the three-year statue of limitations had already passed.

The police reports claims that Josh confessed to several sex offenses, including “forcibly fondling” of several minor females, stemming all the way back to 2002.

“When police asked Jim Bob to bring Josh in for an interview in 2006, he attempted to hire a lawyer and refused to produce his son for questioning. At least two lawyers refused to take his case,” In Touch reports. “Det. Hignite received a voice mail from Mr. Duggar stating that [redacted, Josh] had hired an attorney and would not be coming in for an interview.”

This is not just a “sin” that he needs to repent of, it’s a very serious crime that directly harms and affects his victims. Christians can certainly repent of sin if they wish- but this does not negate the need for legal accountability and punishment.

The more abusers that get away with actions like these, the more that the church thinks they are above the law, the more abuse will occur because there is so little accountability and the punishments are laughable.

Why do you think so much abuse happens in the church? It’s no coincidence that the Catholic church regularly hides abuse, protects molesters, and also has a huge sexual abuse problem. The more they hide it, the worse is gets and the more innocent children and other people become victims. The Protestant church is no better; sexual abuse is practically an epidemic in so many Christian camps.

2. I care because not only did the crime occur, but they covered it up. Jim Bob waited a WHOLE YEAR before telling the church. And then the church waited THREE MONTHS to report it to the police. That’s 15 months of him walking around, unpunished, free to molest other girls. Since he sometimes did it while they slept, who knows what else he may have done in more sneaky ways? Did he peek at them while they dressed, while they bathed? Did he molest other girls that he didn’t admit to, perhaps girls that don’t even know because they were asleep? How do we know that all his victims and incidents of abuse are all accounted for, or that he truly doesn’t deal with those urges today?

Jennifer Marsh, vice president of victim services at the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), tells Yahoo Health that while some juvenile sex offenders continue their patterns of abuse throughout their lives and others do not, the long-term effects on children who have been molested by their siblings has “a lot to do with the factors and terms of whether [the abuse] was disclosed, how the person [to whom the abuse was disclosed] reacted, and whether the victim feels they received support from their loved ones and family” in response to the disclosure of their abuse.

The girls he molested had to watch him walk around free. He molested them, and he gets to just go on with his life as though nothing happened while they have to live with the shame, hurt, and confusion caused by his actions. Crimes like this cannot be hidden away as though they never happened… they must be put out in the open so other potential abusers know that they will be held accountable if they give in to the desire to sexually assault or molest someone.

3. I care because these young girls, who were molested by their own brother, had to go on performing for a TV show after the abuse occurred. The abuse happened while parts of their show were being filmed, and the show continued on afterwards. These girls were molested and the show just goes on? I find this very disturbing! Did anyone even ask the girls if they were ok with it? And if they did, would they have actually felt comfortable saying no since the show is a major source of income for their family? Probably not. The parents needed to step up and stop the show so they could focus on their grieving and recovering family without cameras in their faces every day. I can’t even imagine what those girls went through, being filmed every day while trying to come to grips with their assault.

The Duggars had to know that someday the media would find this story. They had to know that if they stayed in the spotlight long enough that eventually this scandal would make the news. So what about how their girls feel, having their stories blasted on the news before they were ready to share them? I can’t even imagine how they must feel right now.

When you cover up stuff and then go on like it never happened, eventually the past comes back to bite you.

3. I care because the Duggars, as well as the Christian communities they come from, believe and teach that their narrow views of sex and morality are the only way to live- and they actively oppose LGBTQ rights and other rights because of those teachings. These groups actively oppose marriage equality and other LGBTQ rights because they see that as “deviant” and “immoral”. And yet even after raising their children in this atmosphere, sheltering them from “evil influences”, it did not stop sexual abuse from occurring in their own family and church. And isn’t it better to be in a consensual homosexual relationship than to sexually assault young girls?

If this was a rare story to hear of sexual abuse in the church, it would be easy to write off as an anomaly. But this story is sadly reminiscent of countless others. Sexual abuse and pedophilia is an epidemic in many conservative religious communities, which seems to confirm what many sex-positive people have been saying all along: When you repress people’s sexuality, it can easily backfire and result in the individual expressing and satisfying their desires in very unhealthy ways. (These communities that cover up sexual abuse also become targets for abusers who want to molest people without consequences or accountability.)

Which leads me to my next point:

4. Strict rules about sex and sexual desire often have very negative results- and people need to see the consequences of these teachings. Christians who were raised to feel ashamed and fearful of sex often have problems in their marriages when it comes to sex and intimacy, and sadly they often don’t get help for it. And that’s not even covering the damaging ideas of gender inequality that can and do result in spousal abuse as the man “controls his wife” in unhealthy ways- all according to Biblical principals of course (or at least that group’s interpretation of scripture). And as I mentioned before, it can also lead to sexual abuse when the person harmfully lashes out against the shame and inability to satisfy their desires.

…Utah, where the highest percentage of Mormons reside, has the highest rate of pornography subscriptions than any other state in the U.S. In addition, the LDS church continuously lists pornography as one of the biggest problems within the church (they even launched a dedicated website to deal with the problem). I don’t see this as a coincidence. The emotions we suppress and try to hide (no matter which emotions they are) simply build up pressure inside of us until they either make us sick, or we act out our emotions in unhealthy ways, either in secret or in public. And because we believe we have done something wrong, this results in guilt and shame.

Wouldn’t it have been far better if Josh Duggar had not been raised to abhor masturbation and premarital physical contact? Surely masturbating and enjoying healthy sexual relationships with consenting girls his own age would be better than molesting his sisters and other underage girls! Perhaps if he was raised with healthier ideas of sex and was not cut off and shamed from satisfying his sexual desires and curiosities, he would not have turned to abuse and sexual assault. We cannot underestimate the power of being repeatedly shamed for our desires and being terrified of Hell lest we stray… it’s an incredibly abusive mindset, one that many people believe contributes to the rampant sexual abuse in the church.

I am certainly not excusing him, he and he alone is responsible for his actions against those girls and he should have been charged with the crime he committed. However, I am also pointing a finger at the community that raised him to be so ashamed of his sexuality, the community that may have unknowingly helped trigger this behavior in him by teaching him shame and depriving him of any possible healthy means of sexual release.


So what happens now? Some factions of Christianity will spin this into an “attack on Christians”, instead of the media just doing what they do to everyone. And to be honest I’m glad they do- because otherwise how many abuse cases would never have seen the light of day? Just because the truth is ugly or uncomfortable doesn’t mean the media is evil for bringing it to light. After all, they’re not the ones who molested these young girls. Let’s remember that as the Christian Right goes up in arms as the crimes of their members are brought into the light of day- Josh is the molester who got away with his crimes, the media is just reporting it.

At the same time, it grieves me to think of how this public scandal affects his victims. Situations like this are so difficult… which is why it should have been properly dealt with right from the start. If they had been open about it, they could have controlled how and when the story was made public. Their girls could have at least been more prepared. By hiding it and still choosing to regularly be in the public eye, they by default chose to allow the media to uncover it in their typical sensationalist manner, since that’s what the media does best. And by fighting against LGBTQ rights under the guise of “family values”, they made themselves a media target for hypocrisy. I don’t really blame the media… I blame the parents and other leadership for how this was handled. And as usual, the victims are the ones who pay the price.

Here’s more info on the story:

An Open Letter To All Of My Friends Who Take Selfies

The Belle Jar

Dear Friends Who Take Selfies,

I want you to know that I love it when you post pictures of yourself. I know selfies get a lot of bad press, but I think they’re rad. They give me a little window into your life, and you’d be amazed at how much I can get out of one little photo.

I love your pictures because I love seeing what you’re wearing – the outfits you build give me ideas about how to mix it up with my own wardrobe, and seeing you work your shit gives me courage to try clothing that I otherwise might have thought was too outlandish or revealing.

I love seeing how you do your hair and makeup. You look like a hot babe and I wish you would make YouTube tutorials explaining how you get your eyeliner just so. I want you to post pictures every time you change your…

View original post 425 more words

Skinny Doesn’t Equal Healthy. And Unhealthy Doesn’t Equal Ugly.

I often hear people get antsy when larger people start loving their bodies. “But aren’t we glorifying obesity? Aren’t we encouraging people to be unhealthy?” But here are some of the problems with this mentality:

geri-halliwell-musician-quote-some-people-are-naturally-thin-and-some1.Skinny doesn’t mean healthy. Some thin people just have a fast metabolism, but they don’t work out and eat only junk food. I’ve seen some very thin people who are much less healthy than some larger people I know. Plus, anorexia and other eating disorders are major problems that cause people to be thin. Stress can also cause people to drop a lot of weight, but in a very unhealthy way. My point: You can’t really tell how healthy someone is just based on their size. Extreme obesity is a tougher area, since being so large that they cannot move obviously prevents them from being able to exercise, but even then we’re really in no place to judge.

“Active obese individuals actually have lower morbidity and mortality than normal weight individuals who are sedentary … the health risks of obesity are largely controlled if a person is physically active and physically fit.”
-The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 2000

At a size 14-16 I am considered a bit overweight, but I can also bike 10 miles in a day. I’m sore as hell and exhausted afterwards because there’s lots of hills on the route I take and I don’t do it often enough, but I can do it. How many people do you know that can (or are willing to) bike 10 miles? I may not be a fitness enthusiast, and yes I could stand to be active more often, but I’m certainly not a couch potato either.

2. Who defines healthy? It’s such a vague category. What if you have a severe medical condition but you eat veggies and exercise, are you still healthy despite your condition? And what if you have no medical conditions, your body works just fine and you are active, but you eat mostly junk food? What defines a healthy individual, what makes one person healthy and the other person unhealthy? It’s based on the individual. What’s healthy for one person may not be healthy for another.

a7bf19cc-9da6-4f3b-bb8b-db1d4b5967d83. Even unhealthy people need to love their bodies. If you’re unhealthy- so what? It doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to love your body as it is! People smoke and drink too much or they use unhealthy crash diets to lose weight, and we don’t shame them like we do larger people. People who exercise or do sports so much that they regularly injure themselves are not really taking care of their bodies either, but we don’t see athletes and fitness enthusiasts being shamed for overdoing it all the time. Also, what about people with medical conditions or disabilities? They may not be very healthy, but they can’t really help it. Are they ugly, should we police their bodies and tell them they can’t love themselves too?

Bottom line: Unless it’s an extreme situation, it’s none of our business if someone is “healthy” or not. And we certainly have no right to tell them that they cannot love their bodies. 

If you’re very concerned about your family member or close friend, make sure you address it in a respectful manner, and only if you’re concerned that they are going to cause themselves significant harm. Otherwise, why intrude on their personal lifestyle choices? We all do some unhealthy things; it doesn’t mean it’s ok for other people to judge us for them. There’s a fine line between looking out for the well-being of your loved ones and making unnecessary judgments on their personal choices. You may think soda is liquid poison, but that doesn’t mean you should rail on your friend who loves her Pepsi. And we all know “that person” that gives you a withering look anytime they see you eating processed sugars or carbs. (Really?) However, if your loved one is a raging alcoholic and they’re destroying their life because of it, then that would be an extreme situation and you should probably say something and offer to help. If your loved one has an eating disorder, obviously that’s also an extreme situation that needs immediate attention. But see the difference? Life threatening and severe health risk behavior vs. “I don’t think you should be eating that doughnut because it’ll make you fat!” 

4. Eating junk food doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy. “She eats chocolate and drinks soda, she must be sooo unhealthy!” Sure, if you come to my house at certain times of the week, you’d think I binge on junk food all the time- because sometimes I certainly do! Especially during Netflix marathons. 😉 But what you don’t see are the super healthy fruit and kale and protein powder smoothies I try to have every morning, which are packed with nutrients and protein. You don’t see me adding extra veggies and fresh meat to boxed meals when I’m in too much of a hurry to make homemade, or the countless homemade healthy meals I prepare in my slow cooker. You don’t see my entire eating routine, so it’s easy to judge me based on the few things you do see. Bottom line: Don’t assume someone doesn’t eat healthy just because you see them eating a burger or some junk food. It’s the whole picture of their diet that’s important. (And it’s not your place to judge anyways!)


We all deserve to love our bodies.

Thin people are allowed to love their bodies whether they are healthy or not. Their bodies are praised as beautiful on glossy magazine covers even if the model has an eating disorder or starves herself to fit into her clothes. Health is obviously not a concern in many cases where skinny bodies are glorified. So why can’t larger people love themselves as they are too? The double standard is frustrating and unfair. We have to stop making it our business to judge other people’s bodies, and stop making them feel like they can’t love themselves just as they are. We don’t live in their bodies; they do. And you don’t live in my body. I cherish my body; I take good care of it, even if I don’t fit your narrow idea of what my “healthy body” should look like on the outside.

If your friend or loved one wants to get more active or change their eating habits, then by all means be there for them and support them. I’m not saying that we should not work out or improve our eating habits; improving our health is a wonderful goal that I personally ascribe to. I’m just saying that we need to stop assuming that skinny means healthy, fat means unhealthy, and that unhealthy means we’re not allowed to love ourselves.

Loving the Body I Have Right Now- Changing the “Temporary Wardrobe” Mindset

gaboureyquoteWhen I was in college at barely 17 years old, I had America’s ideal body type. I was a svelte size 4, long blonde hair, blue eyes- everybody envied my body. But over the past decade my body has changed. My full adult figure developed, as well as a few extra pounds. Those “extra” pounds resulted in my being a size 14-16 (depending on the store). For years now I’ve been in a state of “temporary” clothing choices: I’ve intended to slim down, but it just hasn’t happened. I haven’t really cared about pounds or specific dress sizes, I just knew I wanted to be LESS. I’m not inactive, I biked 10 miles the other day, but I have a hard time sticking to a rigorous exercise routine. I eat decently well, but I haven’t been able to make myself stick to a strict eating routine (and I’m not sure I even want to anymore; I’d rather eat moderately well and enjoy my favorite foods!)

53a1050e10a6d_-_cos-04-jennifer-lawrence-body-quotes-deI’ve avoided buying anything expensive in my current size because what if I lose weight and then it’s wasted? I have always viewed my current body size as temporary. But it isn’t temporary, or at least I can’t view it that way anymore. My clothes don’t fit the way they should, I buy the cheapest stuff I can find because it’s just to “tide me over until I get to my long term size”, and so on. But I’ve been this size for years now- and I’m tired of living in limbo. Of course financial limitations have been an issue in my wardrobe choices too, but I could have bought some nicer things on more than one occasion. I just didn’t want to spend the money on them if I was going to change sizes soon anyways.

I no longer care if I lose weight down the road. I want to feel and look good in the size I am right NOW. And you know what? I look pretty damn good. I have lots of curves and my body shape is nothing to sneer at. And I don’t need to lose weight for health reasons since my health is just fine. So why do I rarely feel comfortable in my own skin? Residual body image issues are part of it, but more than anything I hate how my clothes look on me. They aren’t flattering, they aren’t comfortable, and I don’t feel like most of them represent my current fashion interests. I have a pile of jeans and not a single pair fits me like they should. I’ve had chronic acid reflux all my life, which is exacerbated by my jeans that are too tight in the waist. So how can I expect to feel sexy and confident when my wardrobe is “temporary ill-fitting chaos”?

I’ve also never seriously shopped in a plus size store. But I’m a very curvy woman, and many clothes designed for thinner people just don’t fit my body shape very well, even if they come in my size. And since even a size 12 is considered plus size these days, I really need to start shopping at stores that carry clothing specifically designed to flatter my particular body type. This is a mental barrier that I had never really addressed before. Why have I never sought out these stores? Because in my mind, I still see myself as a size 4-6 teenager like I was in college. I still see my current size as temporary even though it obviously is not.

So I’m going to start revamping my wardrobe. I’ll choose pieces that actually fit me just as I am, and I’ll stop trying to make my curvaceous body work in clothes that were not designed to flatter figures like mine. I’ll stop settling for “it’s ok, I can make it sort of fit” and go to a shop that can sell me something that actually fits me right the first time. I may also look into tailoring, it’s not very expensive (and I might be able to do it myself) and it can make a so-so garment fit incredibly well. From what I’ve been reading, tailoring is the best friend of curvier ladies since our body shapes are so diverse.

LoveYourBodyPoster2_800It’s ok to not be a size 6, or whatever size you’d like to be. You don’t have to always feel like you’re in limbo waiting for your size to get smaller before it’s acceptable to buy yourself clothes you actually like and that fit you well. I’m learning to love my body just as it is- to not wait until I’m smaller to treat my body right, but to start doing it right now. And I’m really excited!

This doesn’t mean I don’t still strive to improve my health whenever I can. I’m always interested in improving my health in ways that I can realistically manage while still enjoying life. But I’m learning that my health and my size are not necessarily connected, and that’s ok. It’s time to start loving the body I have- because it’s a pretty amazing body and I’m tired of viewing my differences as “flaws”.

Curvy is beautiful too. 🙂


“If You Want More Healthful Food, Then Opposing GMO’s Will Accomplish Literally Nothing” (link)


“Even more important, however, is that the entire framing of the debate is wrong. This is not about grassroots people vs the power of large corrupt corporations. This is about the marketing of some large corporations against the marketing of other large corporations. For example, Monsanto’s 2014 revenue was 14.8 billion. Whole Foods was 12.9 billion. The organic food industry sales for 2014 was 51.8 billion. The organic food industry has demonized GMOs in order to promote their own brand over a competitor’s [emphasis mine].

“If you want more healthful food, then opposing GMOs will accomplish literally nothing. Worse, it will hurt nutrition globally by depriving those who need it most of one entire category of potential solutions. Golden rice, for example, could be providing vitamin A to deficient children, except for mindless opposition to GMOs. There are GMO potatoes that produce less acrylamide when fried, a potentially carcinogenic compound. The GMO potato is literally more healthful then the non-GMO varieties.”

Read the whole article here, it’s really good:

This is why I always try to go back to the science. What do the scientists who actually study and work with GMO’s say? What do their studies show? The overwhelming consensus is that GMO’s are safe. I don’t care what Monsanto says or what the organic industry is trying to sell me- I want the facts! And I’m tired of people demonizing the scientific community whenever the science does not support their personal agenda. Facts are facts, whether we like the implications of those facts or not. And the fact remains that GMO’s have been proven to be safe over and over again by countless studies over decades of intense research.

Yes, there are a few scientists and doctors who oppose GMO’s. There are also a few doctors and scientists who think Vitamin C and baking soda can cure cancer, that vaccines cause autism, that deny climate change, and many other scientifically debunked or unproven things. Doctor Oz has gotten in trouble for peddling snake oil to the public, using his degree in medicine to mislead people into thinking that these products actually work when there is no evidence that they do. Of course this is not a popularity contest- the number of people who accept something doesn’t necessarily determine truth- but when only a few scientists oppose something and they are repeatedly unable to prove it, and the other 90% of scientists have buckets of evidence that have been rigorously peer reviewed, then why should we take those few seriously? Even doctors and scientists can be wrong sometimes; hence the vital importance of intensive peer review and multiple studies. GMO’s have more than passed this test. When anti-GMO activists can show their own extensive peer reviewed studies proving GMO’s to be unsafe and also explaining why almost 2,000 other intensely reviewed studies showed them to be safe, then I will seriously consider their claims.

I recently wrote another blog on this subject that has links to studies and information about the safety of GMO’s. Check it out if you want to learn more about the safety of GMO’s.

How I Got Converted to GMO Food


In regards to the above article:

This isn’t the first scientist I’ve heard that is practically begging us to stop believing and spreading the misinformation about GMO’s because it’s hurting people. People around the world are not being allowed to use better crops because of anti-GMO misinformation and paranoia, even leading to Greenpeace ruining field trials by literally pulling up the plants.

“In Africa, however, countries have fallen like dominoes to anti-G.M. campaigns. I am writing this at a biotechnology conference in Nairobi, where the government slapped a G.M.O. import ban in 2012 after activists brandished pictures of rats with tumors and claimed that G.M. foods caused cancer.

The origin of the scare was a French scientific paper that was later retracted by the journal in which it was originally published because of numerous flaws in methodology. Yet Kenya’s ban remains, creating a food-trade bottleneck that will raise prices, worsening malnutrition and increasing poverty for millions.

In Uganda, the valuable banana crop is being devastated by a new disease called bacterial wilt, while the starchy cassava, a subsistence staple, has been hit by two deadly viruses. Biotech scientists have produced resistant varieties of both crops using genetic modification, but anti-G.M.O. groups have successfully prevented the Ugandan Parliament from passing a biosafety law necessary for their release.”

If we’re serious about helping people, and about people’s health, then we need to start listening to the scientists who are sharing their stories and asking us to stop perpetuating misinformation. People talk about the mythical GMO-causing cancer that has been repeatedly debunked, but people are starving because anti-GMO activists won’t let them use better crops? Forgive my French, but that’s bullshit.

(Just to clarify: Being pro GMO doesn’t mean I necessarily support Monsanto. Businesses should be held accountable for their bullying practices whether they’re GMO businesses or not; this is a problem rampant in large corporations in every industry. If they’re acting irresponsibly they should be called out on it. But that doesn’t mean GMO’s are evil.)

This is a speech by a plant geneticist in a TED talk, discussing GMO’s and how they’re helping people:

An article summarizing the safety of GMO’s, as verified recently by a team of Italian scientists who scrutinized almost 2,000 studies on GMO safety. Their verdict confirmed the already proven consensus- they’re safe.

An article about how farmers are affected by GMO’s:

This article from The Science Babe talks about GMO’s, among other things. She cites sources to prove what she’s saying. I encourage you to check out those links and see for yourself the consensus of the scientific community.

The Hypocrisy of Rudeness in Spiritually Abusive Forms of Christianity

funny-cat-stretching-rudeWhat makes someone rude or immature in a conversation, particularly online? I’ve noticed that the standards for some Christians are very different than standards for nonbelievers. Why? Because it doesn’t matter how nice or rude you are, what matters to them is which SIDE you’re on. These Christians who adhere to spiritually abusive teachings have such a strong us vs them attitude that they will defend a rude Christian bully over a respectful atheist.

For many Christian fundamentalists/Evangelicals/etc., it’s perfectly acceptable to be blunt and even outright rude as long as you’re promoting the right beliefs. It’s “understandable” to get “a little carried away” because your motives are supposedly golden. But atheists and LGBTQ people are given no such understanding. Even if we have been repeatedly insulted and harmed by these people, it’s still “rude” to call them out on it and tell them that they are, in fact, not very nice people.

For example:

If a Christian calls me a sinner and says my sexual orientation is abominable, it’s righteous. If I call them homophobic and point out that their beliefs have caused the LGBTQ community extreme harm, I am the bad one in the conversation.
If a Christian is condescending and says “I’ll pray you come to your senses”, they are praised. But if I suggest that they actually read a science book before bashing evolution, I’m rude and horrid.

  • “You’re going to hell!”
  • “You can’t possibly understand truth because you’re an atheist.”
  • “There are some things we just don’t question.”
  • “Atheists are the cause of all the problems in society.”
  • “Atheists can’t really love or have morals.”
  • “Your life must be falling apart since you don’t believe like me.”
  • “Gay people are unnatural sexual deviants.”
  • “Gay people can love each other if they want, but they should do it behind closed doors and not ever talk about it.”
  • “You can have different opinions than me, as long as your opinions are Biblical.”
  • “I don’t believe your story of deconversion. You couldn’t possibly have been a real Christian and then turn atheist. Either you were never really saved, or you’re lying to me about your past.”
  • “It’s your own fault that your Christian friends abandoned you. You’re a threat to their faith now, and they’re in the right because you refuse to recant your sin and they have to wash their hands of you and follow Biblical discipline.”

These are actual things that have been said to me. Some of them I hear on a regular basis.

So if I get a little irate when I speak to you, if I maybe don’t mince words as much as you’d like, remember that I’m human just like you and I have been told so many hurtful things that sometimes my fuse is a little shorter than it should be. Just like Christians don’t always say things the way they should, I don’t always either. But I will no longer fall for the guilt trip of these hypocritical standards. I will no longer let them bully me and tell me that I’M the rude one. I know that I have been forever labeled as “rude” and “argumentative” by some who don’t understand me, and nothing I do will change that unless I give in and start supporting their side again or shut up and never voice dissenting opinions. Then they’ll call me respectable.

I’ll always do my best to word things respectfully, and if I say something in a manner that was out of line I’ll apologize for it. But I will never again apologize for saying what I think, and I will no longer play this game of rudeness hypocrisy. If you’re rude, you’re rude. Being religious doesn’t excuse that. And I will call you on your bullshit.

My Inner Warrior: Discovering The Rest of Myself

Xena_warrior_princessI was recently in a counseling session, the first I’ve ever been in that involved professional psychologists. (Side note: If you ever have the chance to see a professional psychologist, do it! If you get the right person, the results can be amazing!) During the session, sub-personalities were mentioned. Sub-personalities, in this context anyways, are parts of ourselves that are very prominent but often hide under the surface. It’s the personification of our major personality traits. I realized that I had two very prominent ones.

I have an inner healer and an inner warrior (I picture Xena Warrior Princess in my head lol). I’ve always had both of these traits within me, but for many years they were out of balance. Let me explain.

Violence can be good or bad. Sound strange? Well, self defense is still violence. Physically defending your loved ones from an intruder or marauder is still a violent act, but it is not an immoral one. Whether or not violence is good or bad depends on the context. I watched an episode on the TV show Bonanza where a traveling group of pacifist religious people were in trouble. They were being attacked by a group of awful cowboys who wanted to take the money they’d collectively saved to buy themselves a community piece of land out west. But they were complete pacifists- they believed it was even wrong to defend themselves if it involved violence or weapons. If it hadn’t been for the Cartwright brothers stepping in to help them, they would have been robbed and likely physically harmed by these evil men. The brothers used violence to defend and protect, thus making it a moral act.

There are two sides to all of us, and we must embrace both sides in order to thrive. If you only heal and never fight, you cannot protect yourself from harm or stand up for those who need help. If you only fight and never think of others, you will hurt people. A balance between the light and dark must be found; an accord between angel and demon. For many years my inner healer called all the shots. I sacrificed myself for the sake of others- all the time. And I did it to the applause of a Christian community that idolized servanthood and demonized selfishness even when it was in a healthy context. While self-sacrifice is sometimes necessary and valiant, it’s unhealthy as a continuous lifestyle. I was so bent on making life better for everyone else besides me that I didn’t even think I should have my own individual opinions because I hated being contradictory. My inner warrior was stifled; she gained some expression through religious avenues such as preaching against sin and high intensity outlets like Civil Air Patrol (a military cadet program), but overall she stayed mostly dormant and followed the orders that others gave her.

Now I have more of a balance. My inner warrior has been fully released to do her job- to fight the battles that I didn’t even know that I needed to fight. I no longer ignore my own needs and desires- I stand up for myself unapologetically. My healer is still there, very active and extremely prominent in my life- she drives me to support causes that help others, she drives me to protect those who are being hurt. Instead of being at odds with each other, my healer and warrior are now working together in more harmony than they ever have before. I’m still working out the balance between the two, occasionally my newly-freed warrior gets a little too enthusiastic (lol), but I have a feeling that this is a life-long endeavor for balance that never really ends.

But people who knew me before my deconversion don’t always understand this dichotomy shift. Where I once was always apologetic and overly accommodating and avoided conflict at any cost, now I have very strong opinions of my own and I’m not afraid of conflict. I don’t mince words or pretend I agree in order to make others feel more comfortable like I used to. I don’t play the mind games that I used to rely on, I speak my mind bluntly and openly. I have discovered my own opinions and thoughts, and I will never stay silent again! But to those who don’t understand, they see this as anger and darkness. Yes, I do get angry sometimes. But anger is not always bad. It must be kept in check, like everything else, but it is a tool that can be used for good. And to be honest, I’m still grieving for what I’ve lost and struggling to reconcile the trauma of having my entire worldview fall out from underneath me; and in grief and pain there is anger that must run its course.

I will always respect your right to have your beliefs. I will not attack you as a person for holding those beliefs, and I will try to understand you and your opinions as best I can. However, I will also be blunt and unapologetic about what I believe and how your beliefs and attitudes affect me and others I care about. If you are homophobic, expect that I will call you out on it if it’s an appropriate situation. I no longer care if it makes you uncomfortable; it is silence that allows hurtful ideas and attitudes to permeate and poison our society.
Beware my warrior. She will never again let you walk all over her, she will not allow you to use guilt and shame to make me conform to a box I don’t fit in. She is, I am, strong and unafraid. Share your opinions without fear- but be prepared to be met with someone who is strong and not afraid to challenge you. And if you belittle or attack others for their beliefs, sexual orientation etc., you will see my true inner strength manifested in your direction.