Science in Society Archive

Science in Society #41 - Letters to the Editor

Science in Society 41

Money is not wealth, and how Godly our Nature?

An economist by learning, I was very much taken by your article Financing Poverty (SiS 40 editorial). It reminds me of my discussions with a macro-economics professor on the subject of money creation. The whole matter of money vs. wealth was something that puzzled me back then. I just wouldn’t buy it, so to speak, that the two are just the same.

Der Spiegel has a question on its cover this week (26 January): Can the state get bankrupt? Angela Merkel says it can and history agrees with her. France went bandrupt eight times between 1500 and 1800.

On the same day, our Dutch government announced that they will buy a package of lousy mortgages in the US made by Dutch bank ING (supposedly worth 22 billion Euros, but would they get rid of it if that were true?). So the dishonest profits have all been privatised and now the risks and eventually losses are smeared out among the taxpayers. As the brilliant comedians Bird and Fortune say “If you cock up big time, you get bailed out.” Alas that is the case (do check them out on Youtube). Governments are increasing our collective debt in order to bail out financial institutions, with Britain leading the pack.

What happens if a state can’t pay back the interest on its debts? Already we are seeing cracks in the last line of national monetary defence, the government bonds. The Italian government had to raise the promised interest on a new issue of government bonds to attract buyers willing to pay 220 billion Euros. According to financial sources, the Italian government faced a disaster had these bonds failed. 

My fascination has always been how money is actually created. On leaving the Golden Standard, money has severed its connection to the material world (and creation of actual wealth). We’ve given carte blanche to a few parties to create money from nothing (eg. the FED is a privately owned bank with permission to print money and lend it to the American government for a set interest). This can only work if there is trust among all parts involved and if the system is connected or coherent if you will, and share a common goal. That, we have seen, is not the case. You can compare money to the blood in a body; it transfers nutrients throughout the body. We now have a case of global ‘leukemia’ in which the blood-money flow is no longer beneficial to the whole body, but threatens its very existence instead..

The Kabbalists recognize two Godly forces in Creation. One is the force of nature (Elohim) which has specific laws and principles that are relatively easy to discern. This is the Darwinistic part of nature: “I must first and foremost take care of myself as only the fittest will survive.”

The other Godly force works at a higher divine level and has laws and principles that are not easy to discern and only indirectly provable. They go something like: “we’re in this together and taking care of my neighbour is taking care of myself.” This is the spiritual part of nature and, in my opinion, your field of work and that of several of your fellow researchers like Popp, and van Wijk, to name but a few..

The financial crisis has brought us to a point at which we must choose collectively. Either we conclude the Darwinistic/mechanistic view on life and human interaction is the only correct one and we will all go down as a result. Or we acknowledge that we form a whole and must take care of one another, rebuilding trust. It is to ask: “what's it to be human?”

Dirk A. van Mulligen, Leiden, The Netherlands

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho replies

In my worldview, “natural” and “spiritual” are one and the same. The mechanists/ Darwinists are simply mistaken, a case of bad science fabricated by projecting the prejudices of the ruling classes onto nature (see Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare). The new paradigm of Western science is indeed the organic perspective universal to the great cultural traditions of the world, which is based on cooperation and reciprocity. That’s what motivates and inspires my work (see The Rainbow and the Worm, The Physics of Organisms). 

HPV vaccine and cancer?

Your articles not only give good quality information, but also challenge the mainstream. As a medical research journalist I have studied the history of Western medicine and come to the conclusion that it is a patent-oriented, not a patient-oriented paradigm, and needs to generate lots of patients and illnesses.

Regarding Gardasil (The HPV Vaccine Controversy, SiS 41) would it be possible that the virus like particle (VLP) formed by the L1 protein of the human papilloma viruses 6, 11, 16 and 18 in the HPV vaccines would do the same with the DNA in the human recipients? And that in that sense the Gardasil VLP could be considered an attenuated cancer virus?
Désirée L. Röver, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho replies

Your point is a good one, as these proteins could obviously wrap around other DNA that could be oncogenic. In addition, the L1 proteins could be contaminated with the viral DNA itself.

GM maize worries doctor

Thank you for GM Maize Disturbs Immune System of Young and Old Mice (SiS 41)

I am very worried now whether the maize that is freely sold in the market is GM maize.

The soft textile steamed maize sold by evening market traders and in supermarkets throughout South East Asia is a popular finger food eaten leisurely by the children in particular.

Can you please tell me what the GM maize look like? How to identify it? The traditional maize is hard in texture after cooking. The newer maize we are eating now is soft and tender after being cook. Is this soft and tender variety GM maize?

Your reply is important to the ignorant people over here. With your good help I hope to do the little I can as a medical Doctor in this part of the world.

Dr. Ing-Or See, Melanka, Malaysia

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho replies

Unfortunately, there is no way to tell unless it is tested specifically for the GM DNA or the transgenic protein. Please tell your government in no uncertain terms that you are worried and demand that they test the maize being sold in the markets, and impose a ban on GM food and feed imports.

Transgenic fish and horizontal gene transfer

Thank you very much for Transgenic Animals for Food Not Proven Safe (SiS 41). I'm studying the activities of the aquaculture genetic industry (after doing research on livestock genetics industry, see So the part on GM salmon is extremely useful, also Horizontal Gene Transfer from GMOs Does Happen (SiS 38).

I'm collaborating with the International Collective for the Support of Fish Workers. There is a lot written about fish escapees, and this seems to be taken quite seriously (see the EU funded Genimpact project). It mainly looks at the mating issues in a whole list of species, not only GM, but also domesticated species in general. And of course the chances to improve sterility in ‘terminator fish’; triploidy is the buzzword.

There is a European Aquaculture Technology Platform (EATP) preparing a Vision to guide EU funding, as was done before in livestock (FABRE-TP). FABRE-TP has no risk assessment in its Vision. Shouldn't one try and put the questions on the EATP table? I know the chances are small, but the aquaculture genetics industry is still less concentrated than in livestock genetics.

Once the FDA has decided, the EFSA may try and follow, as seen with the clones. GM fish has the largest number of concerned among the scientists due to the escapees, but also the fish scientists are not yet as perverse as the livestock geneticists. They may take notice of horizontal gene transfer, especially if other fish species are affected.

Susanne Gura, Bonn, Germany

Prof. Joe Cummins replies

FDA recently released its Guidance on transgenic animals, which certainly ignored the many cogent public comments made, including ours. FDA’s refusal to label the products of GM animals is infuriating.

My other concern about triploid salmon is their leakiness in the production of viable sperm; that seems to be ignored by US regulators so long as it occurs at relatively low frequency. Certainly a few viable sperm may be enough to produce a line of fish that is rapidly amplified. The most advanced GM salmon line is the Canadian Coho but it has not been specified how they will be grown; by release into the open seas, produced in pens or in land-locked facilities such as  artificial lakes. Sadly, the FDA is not an agency with any expert knowledge of fish but one rather too keen to rush into approving commercial release.

Epigenetics rules

Thank you for your series Epigentics and Beyond (SiS 41); it’s the best piece of news in a long time. I sent it to a good friend whose 30 year-old son was diagnosed with Duchènne muscular dystropy at 5, and was supposed to die at 12. I always thought she and her friends saved him. Geneticists keep asking him for blood but he does not want to meet physicians, which is a worry for her, but it is within his own right. He lives in a solar ecological house he designed and she built (from selling organic food) and though he cannot run any more, his life seems rather good; he even travelled in Africa when he was 20.

Marie-Paule Nougaret, Montpellier, France

You continue to expand us all with your latest, Epigenetic Inheritance - What Genes Remember (SiS 41). Thank you.

Walter Bortz, Palo Alto, California, USA

Article first published 04/03/09

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