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Of the many controversies surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMOs), one of the biggest shockers was when Bill Nye changed his mind and came out in favor of GMOs. Now, in a new podcast, Bill Nye the Science Guy answers his fans’ burning questions about his GMO flip-flop, including whether or not he’s actually a hired gun for Monsanto.
— Bill Nye (@BillNye) July 13, 2015
Nye temporarily took over hosting duties on Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s radio show StarTalk to make his position about GMOs absolutely clear. Here are some interesting things he said during the one-hour podcast:
On GMOs feeding the world’s growing population
After meeting with Dr. Robert T. Fraley, the executive vice president and chief technology officer at Monsanto, and the winner of the 2013 World Food Prize, Nye said, “In my opinion, [he’s] really not such a bad guy. He believes that we can raise more food than ever on less land. In other words, we have almost 7.2, almost 7.3 billion, people on earth today. His colleagues believe they can raise food for 9 billion people on 2 percent less land … That’s a noble goal.”
“[Fraley] argues that glyphosate’s really is not such a bad thing. Compared to all the other herbicides, glyphosate’s pretty benign, which I’ve done research on and I’ve decided that’s true. I’ve changed my mind about genetically modified foods, that’s the top line.”
On the health risks of genetically modified food
“I looked into it. There’s no difference between allergies among GMO eaters and non-GMO eaters. There is a big difference in inputs from an agricultural standpoint. Organic farming takes a lot more water, takes a lot more tillage. Actually you end up with less diversity of microbes in the soil with modern Roundup-ready crops because you don’t have to till, you don’t have to turn the soil over to kill the weeds.”
“The thing is, genetically modified food has no effect on us. That is to say, there is no difference between it and organically raised food. This is scientifically provable. It’s certainly provable to my satisfaction, and that’s the most straightforward thing about it, to see if it’s still nutritious and see if it has any allergic effect, and it absolutely does not. In fact, in general, all of these foods are more nutritious.”
Co-host Chuck Nice exclaimed, “Whoa, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard that assertion made.”
Nye replied, “Just in general, you get more soybean per hectare, per acre. You get more corn, per hectare, per acre. You get bigger kernels of corn. If the bushel of corn weighs so many kilos or pounds, how much of that is nutritious corn and how much of that is cob, inedible cob?”
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