What Bill Nye Got Wrong in His About-Face on GMOs | Civil Eats

What Bill Nye Got Wrong in His About-Face on GMOs

The Science Guy’s errors let the pesticide/biotech industry off the hook.

Earlier this year, Bill Nye, renowned as the “science guy,” made news for changing his mind about genetic engineering (or GMOs) after a visit to Monsanto, the pesticide and seed giant at the forefront of the biotechnology industry.

Nye is an emblematic science educator, who has done a lot to kindle the interest of young people in science, to defend the validity of evolutionary science, and raise awareness about climate change. Until recently, he spoke and wrote about GMOs as environmentally risky technology.

In a video shot backstage after an appearance in March on Bill Maher’s “Real Time,” Nye told an interviewer that he was revising the chapter about GMOs in his latest book. “I went to Monsanto, and I spent a lot of time with the scientists there, and I have revised my outlook, and I’m very excited about telling the world,” he said.

So what did Nye learn at Monsanto headquarters that changed his mind? In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, Nye said that he does not believe genetically engineered crops are inherently bad. To the contrary, he said he now believes that they have been beneficial to agriculture.

To illustrate his point, he explained that GMO crops “put the herbicides and pesticide inside the plant, rather than spraying it on them and having it run down into streams.”

In the case of herbicides, Nye is simply incorrect, and it’s an important error to point out.

More Herbicides, Not Less

GMO herbicide-resistant crops are made to withstand the spraying of herbicides, primarily glyphosate (or Roundup), in quantities that would otherwise kill them. GMO Bt crops, on the other hand, are engineered to produce an insecticidal toxin within the plant. Rather than decreasing toxic pesticides in streams, the former products contribute to their presence. Glyphosate is now widely detected in our country’s water, according to government scientists. And recently, a major, independent body of scientists determined that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic, raising the stakes.

Compounding these problems, herbicide-resistant GMOs have led to an explosion in herbicide use due to the emergence of herbicide-resistant weeds. Monsanto genetically engineered corn, soy, cotton, and more recently alfalfa and sugar beets, to resist herbicides, and by 2012 their use led to an estimated 527 million more pounds of herbicide being used in the U.S. than if these crops had not been commercialized.

This was great news for Monsanto, which sells both GMO seeds and pesticides, but not for the environment. The emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds has led us backward, away from weed control strategies that work with the environment, and toward monoculture (farming that relies on growing the same crop every year)—the opposite of the diverse cropping system Nye says he wants.

To deal with the problem of resistant weeds, Monsanto and other pesticide companies are doubling down with GMO crops that can withstand a combination of glyphosate and old herbicides like dicamba and 2,4-D, setting the stage for the evolution of weeds resistant to multiple herbicides and even further escalation of herbicide use.

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These glyphosate-resistant weeds are a direct result of GMO crops and the herbicide used on them. Resistant weeds arise in response to herbicide use—susceptible weeds are killed, leaving rare individuals that carry a resistance gene. The greater and more continuous the herbicide use, the faster resistant weeds arise, and the faster they spread. GMO crops allowed much greater use of glyphosate, and encouraged more continuous use because of their convenience. There was only one weed resistant to glyphosate prior to the emergence of genetic engineering, despite the fact that it had been sprayed for nearly 20 years beforehand. There are now 14 glyphosate-resistant weeds in the U.S. alone.

As these weeds appear on more farms, the market for herbicides is exploding—a fact that might explain Monsanto’s desire to acquire Syngenta, the world’s largest seller of pesticides (a large class of chemicals that include herbicides).

It is hard to see how Nye could have so misunderstood this. After all, herbicide resistance is the primary commercial application of GMO crops in the U.S. and worldwide.

Nye understands that industrial agriculture causes big ills, including reduced biological diversity and increased chemical pollution. But he fails to recognize that the major applications of GMO crops are intimately entwined with that system, and actually contribute to it.

The Monarch Connection

Nye commendably noted his concern about the 90 percent decline in the population of the monarch butterfly, which he calls “catastrophic.”

Several research studies have linked the loss of milkweed, the sole food of monarch caterpillars, directly to glyphosate use on engineered crops. But Nye inexplicably dismisses the connection between monarch decline and GMOs, and lets biotech off the hook by blaming the monarch demise on industrial monoculture generally. In the Huffington Post video, he blames it on, “the efficiency of farming and the expansion of cities.”

But glyphosate is especially toxic to milkweed. In Iowa and the surrounding states through which monarchs migrate, glyphosate has virtually eliminated milkweed from corn and soy fields. Before GMO crops were introduced 20 years ago, enough milkweed remained in crop fields to support a healthy population of monarchs despite the use of “efficient,” “modern” farming.

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Nye spoke favorably about the plans Monsanto and Cargill have announced to establish new habitat for butterflies now that the milkweed is gone. And indeed habitat enhancement is welcome. But there is likely too little land for milkweed outside crop fields to support the butterflies, because so much of the Midwest is devoted to corn and soybeans.

Nye did not mention that the best way to protect the monarch is to limit the use of glyphosate (and other pesticides) and allow milkweed to harmlessly exist alongside crops in the fields.

Nye also gives GMO crops undue credit for raising productivity over the last 150 years, when in fact it has only been commercialized for about 20 years. In fact, genetic engineering has contributed only marginally to crop productivity since it was first commercialized, for only a few crops, and much less than other technologies.

So back to the original question: What did Bill Nye learn from Monsanto?

Everyone has a right to change their minds. But Nye is an important science educator who could contribute positively to the understanding of the complex issues swirling around the GMO debate. Either way, if he’s going wade into the debate, he has to get the science right.

Doug Gurian-Sherman is a research consultant with Strategic Expansion and Trainings, LLC, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, focused on supporting ecologically based sustainable agriculture, food sovereignty, and food equity. He was senior scientist at the the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists from 2006-2014, where he authored several major reports on genetic engineering, CAFOs, and agroecology, as well as numerous articles. He was previously a scientist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), responsible for assessing human health and environmental risks from engineered plants and microorganisms and developing biotechnology policy. He was appointed to the inaugural FDA biotechnology advisory subcommittee, has advised the National Research Council, and is widely cited in national media. He holds a Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of California, Berkeley. Read more >

Margaret Mellon is a respected expert on sustainable agriculture and the potential environmental risks of biotechnology. She holds a doctorate in molecular biology and a law degree. Now a private consultant, Dr. Mellon was the founding director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Food and Environment Program. Read more >

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  1. T. Davis
    Well, I will accept Nye's enlightenment because I want desperately for my opinion to be supported by science. Nye finally went to see the science for himself and revised his position. It couldn't have been easy, so good on him for being adult! The response is so predictable -- we bash Bill Nye (who up until now was a hero) and recite the same old vague generalizations about herbicide use. When you think about it reasonably, well, of course herbicide use increases with GMO and pesticide use decreases. And as Nye discovered it works and it isn't even a big nefarious conspiracy. I think the authors of this article need to go see the science for themselves -- if they can understand science maybe better focus their ideology. Let's all grow up.
    • Colton Fagundes
      The author is an agricultural scientist... specifically he is a plant pathologist. Further, he writes widely on this topic and has published scientific research in related areas. His statements in this article are valid.
  2. Andrea
    Nice article. The thing about Bill Nye is that he isn't even technically a scientist; he certainly isn't qualified to be telling the public what to believe about scientific topics. He has a Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, I believe. But his early career was as a comedian. He moved from there to hosting Bill Nye the Science Guy. I'm sure he picked up a fair amout of science while doing the show, but he isn't an authority on global warming, evolution, GMOs, or any of the other topics he's been spouting about. If he has something to say about mechanical enigineering or hosting children's television, maybe I'll listen.
  3. Traci
    I have always held Bill Nye in high regard on many levels, but I'm very curious about why he changed his position on GMOs. We now know that farmers use greater applications of glyphosate on their crops to deter weeds that are becoming glyphosate-resistant. In fact, in recent years, many farmers are beginning to blend non-GMO and GMO seeds to achieve a higher yield (corn specifically, as far as I know).

    Food production concerns aside, myriad research has also shown glyphosate inhibits cytochrome P450 enzymes. This is a terrible consequence of glyphosate consumption and detrimental to our health. I can't stress this enough.

    I wish GMOs could work without consequence, but that is simply not the case.
  4. Scott
    Bill Nye was clearly referencing Bt Corn when he said the pesticide was "inside the GMO." It's a bit disingenuous for you to misconstrue his comment like that. Bt Corn, a Monsanto product, does only target insects who actually eat the corn, thus preventing the need to spray on and around the corn, creating runoff and killing unintended insects.
  5. Steve S.
    I see Monsanto has their people on the case already.

    Good job, T. Davis.

    Unfortunately, you are working with/for the actual Devil Incarnate and you will pay for it.
  6. Cindy L
    Cindy L
    Yeah, out of the stream an into the food. It is killing us and the farm animals and anything or anyone that eats them....including bees and butterflies. If gmo is safe, why can people eat organic foods but have adverse reactions to the same food if it is gmo?! I have witnessed it myself!
  7. Andrew Schwartz
    Aren't the bt line of gmo crops those that have pesticides inside the plant? Are these not grown anymore? Either way certainly not representative of all gmo technologies out there, but I have to wonder if civil eats is fully representing Nye's arguments when addressing this point.

    You write that gmo crops are designed to withstand pesticides. That's not true of all gmos, and I think some acknowledgement of the differences is pretty critical to this debate and to reasonable policies.
  8. Jean Piche
    This article is uninformed, disingenuous and manipulative. There is no scientific data provided which is not surprising since none exists. The world is not out to get you. Enough with the conspiracy nonsense.
  9. I guess if one is smart in one area they think they are an expert in everything. Too bad for him, he has lost credibility after this opinion. Wow, too bad he didn't stop by my farm and I could have shown him our bee hives or what is left of them thanks to Monsanto & friends.
  10. S. Arenas
    Well, let me tell you T. Davis that you're quite wrong about Bill Nye. He's never been a Hero, nor a real Scientist (I am), he's an educator, I'll give you that.. but what about being one on the nation with the worst education in the world?
    I've followed his speeches carefully and let me tell you that he has never told anything useful, he's like a clown put there just to ridicule the truths he's supposedly defending. There's a reason why he never wins an important debate, and that's because he uses no solid arguments despite the huge majority of them on the issues he debates about, he just uses nerdy childish phrases with no content whatsoever. This all comes as no surprise to me, because he's part of that nefarious conspiracy you point out
  11. Paul Gepts
    In support of this very interesting commentary, two observations : 1) from 1975 (intro of glyphosate) to 1996 (intro of GE crops), no glyphosate-resistant weeds appeared. After 1996, glyphosate-resistant weeds appeared almost immediately. Overspraying with glyphosate is hardly a sustainable and environmentally sound practice. If the same company sells the herbicide and the crop resistant to that same herbicide without safeguards like herbicide rotations or other practices, this represents a conflict of interest.
    2) Yields of crops with transgenic varieties are going up at the same linear rate pre- and post-Introduction of genetic engineering in contrast with the promised of the biotechnology industry and its supporters.
  12. G
    The big question I have is: If the GMO plants are bad for insects then surely they are bad for us. If you take a look at the gut flora, you'll find that the same bacteria live in insects too. So an LD50 dose for insects may not be an LD50 dose for us, however toxin accumulation is a very real problem. Especially in food sources. Surely this is common sense ????
  13. Mike Kirchner
    Bill is good at BS, pretending to known more than he really does know. Sometimes it makes me uneasy to see him on the news or to hear about him being in debates. I always expect him to mess up royally, but he usually does okay. He's a like-able guy, whose heart was in the right place, but there is no excuse for kissing up to Monsanto without knowing what he's talking about, or spouting their rhetoric.
  14. Cathy Nicksy
    I think Bill Nye the science guy better go move in with Monsanto. If he things all this stuff they are producing is good for us or the planet..... we don't need him on our side anyway. He can go live there and roll around in the poison they produce for all I care. Never mind about the butterflies! What about the bees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Without them we will all starve! Have you ever once thought of that BILL! These are the people we are suppose to listen to and believe they know what they are talking about. I guess we can all stroke another one off our list. Sorry Bill I think your a little full of it. Just wondering how much Monsanto is paying him!!!
  15. They both miss the point. There are non-GMOs that have pesticide traits, and GMOs without them.
  16. Sounds to me like somebody ended up getting some big bucks from Monsanto.
  17. Mary Mangan
    Remind me, Doug and Margaret: were you upset when Bill was wrong in the stuff he put in his book? The incorrect papaya allergy claims? And the other bad info he got from you and your friends that caused him such bad press when that came out? I cant' recall you wanting to correct that.
  18. Doug Gurian-Sherman
    @ Andrew, thanks for the question. Yes Bt is produced in several crops, but the GE herbicide resistant crops are much more widely grown. We were explicit about addressing errors in Nye's video, not all his positions. We cannot represent all of Nye's positions in one blog. Bt is complicated: research by Rosi-Marshall has shown that it does get into streams via corn crop debris in the fall. And while less insecticide is sprayed, a much larger area of the US is actually exposed to bee-killing insecticides now, that readily gets into streams, via insecticide coated crop seed that has replaced most sprays. See my last blog for that: https://civileats.com/2015/04/29/how-seed-and-pesticide-companies-push-farmers-to-use-bee-killing-insecticides/
  19. Mary Mangan
    @G, Let me fix that for you: The big question I have is: If the chocolates are bad for dogs then surely they are bad for us.

    Right? Or do you not understand that species differences matter?
  20. Thomas Hood
    The assertion that there is a connection between the elimination of milkweed in fields by glyphosate and the decline of the monarch butterfly is a red herring. Milkweed grows in waste areas that cannot be cultivated and that are not sprayed. Milkweed invaded this area of NC twenty years ago but has now disappeared, not from glyphosate spraying in fields, and I do not understand why.
  21. Nataluscious
    T.Davis, I'm curious as to why you believe a visit to Monsanto qualifies as "going to see the science" and therefore justifies Bill Nye's reversal of opinion. Isn't there at least a small part that seems fishy when the perpetrator is providing the justification? I think a good dose of skepticism in the hallowed halls of Monsanto would be beneficial for all involved.
  22. Kathleen Hallal
    All so true. Funny that he and Tyson just started on a National Geographic science show on TV- what a coincidence. Let's ask them repeatedly on their FB pages what they think of Roundup/glyphosate and would they like a glass?
  23. John McNay
    First class analysis!
  24. Bil Polesnak
    Sounds like Bill needs to go back to school.
  25. T. H.
    Wow seems like Bill Nye is on Monsanto's bank roll now too. Brain washing nonsense dumbing down from all that roundup in the water.
  26. Delmer Smith
    Bill Nye got it right You people need to take a better look at things. I'm a farmer who knows, we use less herbicide than before Gmos. Glyphosate is much less toxic also. Most of what you stated above is wrong I can't understand why you folks insist on telling lies about Gmos.
  27. phyllis randolph-whitacre
    Follow the money.
  28. Will
    In the first quote, Bill Nye says he will re-write a entire chapter of his book on this subject. So instead of reading the chapter (It's not out), you take advantage of his fame and image to push your agenda.

    The second quote isn't sourced so as a good research I went to find it. Sadly, all I found on google is this article syndicated by others. Your entire argument is based around this quote and I don't even know if it's real.

    The final quote that seems to put a nail in Nye's preverbal coffin about GMO not even working, is from a clearly biased group. I'm not saying it's wrong, just I wouldn't take their word for it any more than monsanto.

    In the end this article does not comply with journalistic standards and must be rejected.
    • Twilight Greenaway
      Hi Will,
      First off this is commentary, and not meant to be seen as journalism. Secondly, the second quote is taken from the video linked to in the third paragraph. Thanks for reading.
  29. DWS
    "Bill Nye The Science Guy" - how accurately this guy epitomizes everything that is wrong with modern science.

    Years ago, science was funded by independent organizations who endeavored to understand the truth and make the world a better place. And that philosophy made giant leaps. Today, we live in a world where the independent organizations are under-funded, leaving only the industry with the means to do the science, and as has been demonstrated by many court cases for fraud, it is very easy to control the outcomes of experiments when you hold the purse strings.

    And in a similar way, Bill Nye The Science Guy, has conveniently forgotten how easy it is to make the science say whatever you want when you control the research funding.
  30. DWS
    I am sure that Mr Nye thought that his recent revelations would benefit his career, and one can only speculate the kinds of promises that were made to him - same goes for Tyson.

    How sad it will be, when GMOs are finally exposed for fraud they are, and the biotech industry are bankrupted by having to pay for all the damage they have done. I guess the career's of Nye and Tyson will be flushed down the same toilet.
  31. Cindy Koch
    We all know money talks! Couldn't be more obvious in this case!
  32. Rachel
    Finally, someone is looking into Nye's change of heart. I posted a comment on his Facebook page and was ripped to shreds for it. I didn't believe for a second that his change of heart was due to a bribe. I can more easily accept that Montsanto only gave the information that they wanted him to hear.
  33. Jennifer
    “put the herbicides and pesticide inside the plant, rather than spraying it on them and having it run down into streams.” Am I the only one that sees an issue with this statement? This is the WHOLE REASON I HATE MONSANTO!!!! We are digesting these chemical laden pesticides and herbicides as they are GROWING INTO our food!! This is supposed to be a good thing? Really? No one else see this as the main issue? Why do you think we have such a HUGE health care problem in the USA? Because we are literally EATING POISON and everyone thinks that is just fine...keep drinking that kool aid people!!
  34. Andrew Clark
    The man is an idiot. No doubt about it......
  35. Tim
    Did you try to contact Nye for a direct comment or clarification?
  36. Tim
    Love folks tearing Nye down. The guy is a mechanical engineer with a degree from Cornell, not some online university. Worked at Boeing. A lot of you treat him as he were some circus clown.

    You should ask Neil Degrasse Tyson about GMO's. He'll make your head spin. Then a lot of you will accuse him of not being a scientist, or being on Monsanto's payroll. Sheesh.
  37. Susan
    Bill, what are you thinking?
  38. Bill, where's your head? Have you been bought!?
  39. Eric Bjerregaard
    A pathetic bit of science free propaganda from the authors....Just what I expected. Also what I expected from many commenters. The evidence free shill bunk. See the facts folks. http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/science-gmo-safe/ and when the tests are completed in spite of the thugs destroying test plots. The nutrition enhanced crops will be on the market. And those will be the nails in the coffins of the authors.
  40. Cletus DeBunkerman
    Bill Nye is a PR propaganda asset for Monsanto.

    Nye has an undergraduate degree from Cornell and his grades were not good enough to get him into graduate school. Bill Nye is an entertainer/propagandist not a scientist.

    Monsanto flew him down to St. Louis, they worked out a deal and fitted him for the special shoes. Bill Nye is going to do for Monsanto what Ronald McDonald did for McDonalds

    Bill Nye loves 'science" all the way to the bank.
  41. Nye is one of my favorite "go to guys" for most general science. I still trust he hasn't been "purchased" but what reasonable explanation is there for this turn of events?
  42. Tazman Gunderson
    Sounds like Bill's pockets got fat of being a anti science ; h ow would you say liar.
  43. GAIL
    Just freaking great another shill for the monstersanto! This is beyond pathetic!! He is no science guy to me as he has been sold out!!
  44. Well done, Doug. I believe this may be the most serious issue of our times, especially since Monsanto virtually controls Congress and the Administration with their dollars.
  45. I wonder how much Monsanto paid Nye in "consulting fees" or "education programs" in order to change his public position?
  46. Dr. William Steiner
    This is an excellent analysis of Nye's simple statement which really does little more than show his ignorance on the topic which should concern WHO study concerning glyphosphates? I have told my own students many times that time and more studies by independent scientists would eventually tell the true story. Bill Nye would be better off pushing a call for more study rather than buying so whole heartedly into the Monsanto information mill.
  47. Jane
    Mr. Nye just informed the world that he can be bought. What has Mr. Nye done other to impress young people with his knowledge of science. He is not the end all knowledge of all things scientific, and should be exposed for what he truly is ..... a man with limited knowledge of our environment and the damage that is being done to it every day by people just like himself!
  48. DALE
  49. Richard and Carolyn Robinson
    I thought there was something wrong with Nye's analysis. I hope he will revisit this subject again because, if not, he willdropp several levels in my estimation.
  50. Mary Mertz
    I'm a farmer in Kansas. We grow GMO corn and soybeans. You are wrong on so many levels! Since the introduction of GMO technology, we have greatly reduced our use of chemicals and have increased our yields. As far as milkweed is concerned... Milkweed is a WEED that shouldn't be growing within a food crop. If you want Monarchs...plant a milkweed garden. Plant a milkweed park. Our Flint Hills pasture has plenty of milkweed and butterflies, .wildflowers and every insect imaginable. What are you basing your claims on? You definitely didn't choose to talk with a farmer that actually produces GMO crops! Shame on you!
  51. Anon
    Maybe what he learned is, in fact, how large a check Monsanto would write...
  52. mike k.
    bill nye is a fraud! not even a bachelors degree in science!!! and he is influential and should not talk about what he does not know, shit he probably got a big check from Monsanto
  53. Danon McMahan
    I am a lay person and I want to Thank you for your explanation and your expertise. We all need to be educated, even the so called scientists. They don't always have the facts about cross pollination distances or the pesticide resistance weeds and harm to the monarch you described, as well as the harm to bees and saving seeds as well as you reported the contamination of water and foods and the consequences and the coverups & corruption. I am sharing and telling people such as a local produce manager that was misinformed and looked into it.
  54. Lisa Delmonico
    This is a huge disappointment - His book should be boycotted -
  55. Kieth
    Bill Nye the science guy that money can buy.
  56. John Tobin
    I hope he goes back over the information and double checks his opinion, before making any changes to his book....I would hate to think he was hoodwinked.
  57. Money,money,........Money,Money,Money!
  58. ian asquith
    Why has Nye got it so wrong. " I smell a fish, or is it a tomato"
  59. Therese
    So sad, and I thought Bill Nye was a smart man. ??? Did Monsanto give him a windfall of some sort?? Money seems to be at the root of such evil most of the times.
  60. mkf
    It's a little shocking actually. One has to wonder how it could happen? Can you send him your article asking him to explain? And WHY would an insecticide INSIDE the plant be good for whomever will be eating it's produce, whether it's an animal (that we will then eat) or humans directly. Scary to me that Monsanto can twist a mind like that. Who the hell are these people? They can't possibly believe what they are doing is good or right, so are they just pure evil??
  61. Jenna
    A few sources in comments made on the Internet by suppose it scientists would be nice for a change. Why should I believe anything that you're saying when you have zero citations to back it up? Doesn't matter whether your scientist or not. There's a lot of scientist out there who are full of shit. Plenty of scientists, the majority, say that GMO's are safe. And they actually have evidence to back up what they are saying. They don't postulate based on what they think could be happening.
  62. George
    If the plants have herbicides and pesticides in the plants, won't that kill the good bacteria in our guts "Mr. Science Guy"??? omg...
    • Chelly
      George, herbicides kill plants, pesticides kill insects. Neither of those kill bacteria. I believe you are referring to the antibiotics in our factory farmed animals.
  63. I just lost all respect for Bill Nye. I have to wonder if he didn't get a massive pay off for this? Either that, or they brainwashed him while he was there. It's the only two scenarios that make sense to me.
  64. Judy
    Bill Nye is getting old and senile!!!!!
  65. This must not stand. Bill;s position must be corrected or it will throw many kids off. Glyphosate is a serious broblem and we do not have time to mess about.
  66. Victoria Ryan
    Highly suspicious turn around.
  67. Isabel Papagno
    I wonder how much Mr. Nye is being paid by Monsanto to be their champion. He's lost all credibility with anyone who is awake.
  68. ludwig ostfeld
    Nye is just another sell out who is ill-equipped to say anything. Creating a food source that kills the things that eat it is ridiculous. What do you think it is doing to humans. The poisons that are used like Enlist Duo and Roundup are polluting the limited water supplies in California and the world. There have been no actual studies to prove the GMOs are safe and in fact there are studies to prove they are not. It is a crime against our planet and the animals that are forced to eat the GMO foods. Someday in the near future the truth will come out and we will see who were the real criminals.
  69. I love Bill Nye
    I'm just sayin', Bill Nye, as great a job as he has done as a science educator, is not a scientist according to the sources I checked.
    He does, however, hold an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Willamette University.

    Also, could the GMO bt crops, which are responsible for the Glyphosate in the water, be at all related to the problem with honey bees?
  70. Steven J Malm
    The one thing that nobody has mentioned yet, is that the Human species has evolved to tolerate the diverse foods that we eat, and this has not occurred over a single generation, but many.

    The introduction and growth of inserting genetically altered plant materials into our food chain, will force the Human genome to once again evolve over a multi generation time period, to not only become tolerant to the toxins that will remain present in the plant stock, but also in adapting how we can extract nutritional content from these plants.

    Further, we don't yet know the long term effects of consuming these toxins and especially, we don't know how they will alter the gene structures we pass along through our own reproduction...
  71. will
    this is quite dissapointing, as Nye needs to step away from making such supportive statements about agri-business and focus on science vs agricultural industry
  72. Gale Gault
    Bill nye get it right or don't spout just because you took a tour. Everyone can spin things to make them soy d good, it doesn't mean it's true.
  73. Rachel Smolker
    Agree it is confusing why someone like Bill Nye would turn around on this issue when the science is so clear. It is not too hard to imagine why Monsanto, on the other hand, might go to great lengths to win over "the science guy". Like National Geographic... Monsanto must have some really sweet candy?
    • JoeD
      The science IS clear. GMO's are safe. Sorry, honey, but that's just the reality of the subject. But please, do point to the consensus stating just the opposite, would you.

      It's funny when people like you, who have not one clue about genetics (or anything else for that matter) post things like this. I mean... why bother basing your arguments on evidence when you can just point to Monsanto like the rest of the drooling idiots and say "dem bad!"
  74. Mondoman
    I don't get it -- I was expecting to read about why GMO crops were somehow inherently bad, but instead found an article arguing only against the use of glyphosate, not GMOs in general. I'm glad the authors apparently agree with the scientific consensus that there are no new significant health or safety issues associated with using genetic engineering to modify crop genomes.
    Perhaps the authors might consider fixing the title, subheading and initial part of their article to reflect its actual topic -- arguments against using glyphosates?
  75. Barbara Mitchell
    He sounds like he was paid off as he is ONLY sharing their side and minimizing the damage to life. He only mentions a problem with runoff. He needs to sit down and talk to one of us that GMOs have seriously messed up our health
    • JoeD
      I guess the majority of scientists who study this stuff should all talk to you who THINK GMO's have effected their health. I'm sure you're the picture of health otherwise. You guys should get together with the psychic crowd and tell the rest of us what is really happening.
  76. JoeD
    I'm sorry to break it to you, but the consensus of ACTUAL scientists on the GMO issue is that they are safe, and they are a safer way of doing what has been done for thousands of years. I guess, though, that it's easy to focus on Bill Nye and his questionable qualifications as a "Scientist" than actually engaging with real science and real scientists. Dopes.
    • JoshU
      Science like anything else is open to corruption when billion dollars is surrounding the industry. There are thousands of ACTUAL scientists who disagree that genetically modified foods are safe. Joe I don't know where you get your consensus from but it's just false. You are just an ignorant bully who assumes their opinion is correct. People should seek the truth out for themselves. It does not take a scientist to look at genetic farming to see how wrong we have gone. The the mega companies that produce and patent genetically engineered seeds have very unscrupulous practices and have hurt farmers and farming much more and they've helped. Your government and Mega Corporations should be the last people you trust. So whoever is reading this don't be bullied by ignorant people like Joe. Look into the truth for yourself.
  77. Thank you for this informative and logical article. It is unfortunate that someone who has done so much for science education would be so misled on this issue. An important element of this situation is we assume that scientists do have the appropriate perspective, information and wisdom to make definitive statements on all issues dealing with science. They are people too and make mistakes, and humanity has a tendency to be very arrogant when it comes to nature. Natural law will take its course and time will tell the truth. Unfortunately, that could be devastating for humanity if we do not start listening to what Earth is communicating to us. We need to become scientifically and democratically literate citizens who are independent thinkers from any particular scientific voice. Look at the way Monsanto operates, not only its history but what's happening in India now with induced-farmer debt and suicides that has ruined and ended hundreds of thousands of lives. Most technologies are not inherently bad or good, but the ethic and precaution with which we approach them are essential and it is clear that the implications of GMO technology as it has existed has devastating implications on many fronts. Vandana Shiva is right own with her work and she is an equally weighty scientific voice. It is essential that people see the light on this issue with the future of our food and species at stake.
  78. Karen
    Bill....dude you have to do the entire science project....you have to include the lack of micro organisms in the soil, the polluted water and lack of beneficial insets that pesticides cause...you cannot just look at one aspect of any part of science.....and no GMO crops do not produce more food! They don’t. Get the rest of your ducks in a row and stop believing the Corporate lies....yes, they lie and even you bought it! Shame!

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