Monday, April 25, 2016

Agents of Pseudoscience

I feel you, Tony. (Image credit: Dave Sampsell.)

 
         So, boys and girls, y’all know I don’t keep up with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. anymore. However, last week my pro-GMO group exploded in nerd rage – apparently this show has decided to be terrible in a whole new way and have Simmons (the biologist!) make some broad anti-GMO statements (something to the effect of “GMOs and pesticides are ruining the food supply”) that apparently reflect her actress’s actual views, but may or may not have become part of the plot. Because of course it did. Because appealing to liberal hipsters is much better done with a swipe at GMOs than by actually removing some of the fascist content in your show. On the one hand, it’s deeply disheartening that the parent company, Disney, would allow this kind of potentially dangerous rhetoric to become part of their products (when they have a ride at Epcot sponsored by freaking Monsanto) and I’d hate for any of the show’s remaining ten viewers to be influenced by it. On the other hand, Jessica gets to drop some science education and talk about how terrible Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is. It’s like Christmas came early.


         So first, the science. I’ll try to keep it interesting. I promise if you eat your dinner of a long and hopefully educational portion on GMOs and general ranting about the depiction of science in fiction, you’ll be rewarded with a delicious plate of Jessica anger for dessert. 




         What are GMOs? GMO is an acronym for genetically modified organism. This could technically apply to pretty much every domesticated animal and crop, but it almost always refers to organisms that have genes artificially inserted into their genome from another strain of the organism or even another species. (Or have genes deleted by using CRISPR, a means of genetic editing that has become available in the last few years, all though it appears those GMOs will avoid federal regulation which means they raise a whole other issue.) GMOs are created for a variety of reasons – including creating strains that resist specific environmental challenges (pests, drought, etc.), creating strains that provide extra nutrients or nutrients that food item would not usually provide, to create strains that last longer on the shelf or are more palatable, or simply to increase aesthetic appeal, such as embuing apples with a resistance to browning or making vegetables of unusual colors. Many people oppose the use of GMOs as food items, while others advocate for them as a way to save the world from hunger and vitamin deficiencies.

         So what are the risks of GMOs? Anti-GMO activists blame them for everything from killing bees to human cancer to bad gas. They often assert that GMOs are not thoroughly tested, however all GMO strains (except those created with gene deletion by CRISPR, though I suspect that may change soon) are subjected to rigorous FDA testing before approval for human consumption. Not only is general safety tested, but also things that you might not think of – for instance, I’m allergic to strawberries, so foods that are not strawberries but have strawberry genes could cause problems, right? Well probably not – allergies are caused by a specific protein in the organism causing the allergy, and scientists will avoid using genes related to known allergens in the production of GMOs, and allergy safety is included in that pre-release testing just to be safe. The closest this ever came to being a real issue was a strain of soybeans with Brazil nut genes that were found, during testing, to be a possible allergen to people with nut allergies. The strain was immediately pulled from testing and never released on the market. Most GMOs are consumed by animals rather than humans, and no increase in cattle cancer has been reported despite cattle being fed almost exclusively GMO feed for decades. In fact, this Forbes article has an excellent report on a compilation study of many, many studies conducted by many bodies, many of them independent, across the board showing GMOs are safe.

Probably the most (in)famous anti-GMO study, the Seralini study, was retracted and for very good reason. Dr. Seralini made a poor choice in strain of rats to use in his study (a strain that has a very high rate of cancer regardless of diet and environment that is most often used for cancer treatment research), used a pitiable sample size, and didn’t even perform statistical evidence on his results, instead showing gruesome pictures of rats with tumors that had been allowed to suffer well after humane endpoints had been reached (conveniently ignoring the fact many of his control animals also developed tumors). More detail on the poor design of this study in this link. At best, it was a poorly designed study, at worst it was an exercise in fraud. (There’s no evidence for the latter, and I’m more inclined to blame incompetence than malice.) Either way, it was an exercise in cruelty towards lab animals that would make Herbert West blanch, but whatever. They’re just rats right? Who cares if a bunch of them have to suffer for months on end with tumors bigger than their body so some hipster can defend spending three times as much for organic apples by showing you gruesome pictures? 
        
         Sorry. Getting off topic. Despite what PETA would have you believe, most biologists who work with animals, actually love animals and hate stuff like this. We make every effort to minimize suffering of the animals by using other methods wherever possible, avoiding redundancy as much as possible, using the lowest lifeform useful for the study, and doing everything we can to ensure the animals have a good life and are put down as painlessly as possible. Animals having to suffer and die for actual science is sad enough (and the minute computers and cell culture technology have advanced enough to fully replace animal testing, biologists will be all over that like musca domestica on feces), but animals suffering and dying for quackery is rage inducing.

Moving right along; another assertion by anti-GMO activists is that since GMOs are banned in many countries in Europe, this means there must be something wrong with them. However, according to my very own European friends Peter and Alex, as well as my own research into the matter, this has more to do with European protectionism of local strains than anything else.

Many people object to Monsanto’s business practices. Monsanto is not the only maker of GMOs, in fact they’re not even the largest producer, and their profit margin is a fraction of what the big oil companies make. If you think that the big oil companies, who make twenty times what Monsanto makes, can’t make the scientists shut up about global warming, what makes you think Monsanto could buy off every food safety expert and plant biologist who insists GMOs are safe? If your argument begins and ends with “Monsatan,” I frankly don’t have much to say to you.

Look at how tiny Monsanto's bar is! It's cute!


Many people are okay with the genetic modification itself but are chemiphobic about the herbicides and insecticides the plants are made resistant to – this is a more understandable position. However, GMO organisms can actually use less pesticides (as well as less fertilizer, land, and water depending on the strain) and less toxic ones at that. Many people have the mistaken belief that organic agriculture doesn’t use pesticides, but this is simply not true. Organic agriculture is limited in which pesticides they can use, but ironically many of them are actually much more toxic than those used in conventional and GMO farming. For instance, nicotine sulfate is approved for use in organic agriculture because it is derived from tobacco, but is so dangerous to mammals that the gardeners must use gloves when applying it (or full body suits if applying it on a large scale). This doesn’t mean it makes the plant dangerous to consume – I don’t imagine it would be approved if it did – but it’s just something to think about when someone tries to scare you by showing you pictures of farmers wearing a mask and/or body suit to spray glyphosate. Most pesticides will be gone from the plant by the time it reaches your table, and whatever trace amounts remain are extremely unlikely to be dangerous. Dose makes the poison, whether it’s pineapple juice or formaldehyde – just because something sounds scary doesn’t mean it is. 

But hey what would this random farmer know?

Some people seem to be scared of the foreign DNA. I almost don’t even want to justify that with a response. You’re already eating the DNA – you understand this right? If the DNA from the tomato isn’t literally going to turn you into a tomato, why would DNA from a potato put into a tomato turn you into a potato? I work in a company that does quality assurance for other labs that have developed gene therapy vectors and biologic medicines (human proteins grown in GMO bacteria for use in humans) and believe me … I wish to God it were that easy to get DNA into the genome of an organism that way. We could feed people sick with genetic diseases blood from a genetically healthy person and they would be cured. Nobody would be sick of anything with a simple Mendelian or sex-linked disorders anymore, and yet millions of people continue to suffer from hemophilia, sickle cell anemia, progeria, and all kinds of other horrible crap.

         In the green corner, it appears that GMOs may actually be better for the environment too, despite organic agriculture’s claims. Drought-resistant strains use less water, pest-resistant strains increase yields by decreasing the amount lost to insects or weeds, so that more food/fuel/fibers are grown on the same resources. The coveted prize of plant biologists working on GMO strains right now is to make crop plants into C4 plants – C4 being a more efficient variation of photosynthesis employed by some plants that would allow plants to be more calorie-rich while grown on the same resources. (I’m assuming you all know the basics of photosynthesis – sunlight plus carbon dioxide plus water equals sugar. In reality, it is more complicated than that, and C4 plants are able to produce more sugar from the same amount of CO2 and take more advantage of the sun’s energy than plants using other variations of the pathway.) This is very, very important for areas where meat and other animal products not a significant portion of the diet, and means you could get a greater calorie/resource density even in the first world. (So you could have fruit trees that produced more or bigger fruit, or vegetables with bigger edible parts, etc., without expending extra water / fertilizer / usable soil to do so.) Bee and butterfly depopulation is a huge concern, but most evidence suggests that GMO crops were incorrectly blamed for these events. In fact, rumors of the beepocalypse were likely greatly exaggerated. Even seemingly frivolous GMOs such as the Arctic apple can help the environment by reducing food waste – a picky toddler (or adult) is more likely to eat a sliced apple that hasn’t browned instead of throwing it away.

         The last remaining argument against GMOs is the appeal to nature fallacy. Maybe these things are inherently dangerous or wrong because nature didn’t mean for them to happen. I’m going to swallow my snark and walk you through this Socratically.

         Are you okay with using selective breeding to increase the size of the tomato, make a better tasting strawberry, or introduce a naturally occurring fungal resistance from one strain of potato to another? I’m assuming so, because otherwise you would starve since literally every crop we eat now is very different from its wild counterpart.


Mmmm mmm. Bananas with huge seeds in them.

         First hypothetical example. Imagine I want to breed a bigger strain of strawberries. I could breed several big strains together, and it might result in an even bigger strain, or it might not. It might take years of selective breeding to achieve the desired results. What if I used genetic analysis to identify genes that contribute to strawberry size, then only bred plants together based on those results, and got a big juicy strawberry within a generation or two of plant breeding? Is that acceptable? Why or why not? It’s still just selective breeding, but in this case guided by technology.

         Okay, imagine I have one big, juicy, delicious strain of tomatoes and one tiny strain of tomatoes with a natural resistance to bugs. I could theoretically breed these strains together over the years, and eventually end up with a big, juicy delicious strain of tomatoes that is also resistant to bugs. Or I could identify the resistance gene in one strain, cut it out with a restriction enzyme, and introduce it to my big juicy delicious strain. And voila, I have a big juicy tomato that won’t get eaten by every bug in the area. The only difference from the previous example is that I cut the gene out from another plant and put it directly into the other strain. Is that acceptable? Why or why not?

         And finally, imagine I have a country like Ireland in the eighteen hundreds that’s hugely dependent on one crop, the potato, that is being attacked by a fungus that rots it. Now let’s say I’m a benevolent time traveler with access to a strain of turnip that’s naturally resistant to this same fungus. Obviously I can’t breed turnips to potatoes, but I could identify the responsible gene in the turnip, snip it out, and put it in potatoes and save millions of people. Setting aside all questions of screwing with the timeline, is this okay? Why or why not?

         If your answers changed between examples, seriously examine why that is. If it’s “but nature!” then remember that 1. Mother Nature is a heartless bitch that will kill you horribly 2. These genes are coming from somewhere. They naturally exist already, just not in the organism they end up in. If it’s because you think something about this process will induce a mutation that could be harmful to humans, please understand that’s highly unlikely, and if it did, it would be caught during the safety testing I mentioned way back at the start. 

Pictured: Mother Nature's loving embrace.

         And there’s a reason I used the potatoes for my last example. When I said that the anti-GMO line of reasoning was dangerous, I wasn’t being dramatic. One of themost promising GMO strains being horribly delayed in implementation is goldenrice, a strain of rice engineered to produce additional vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency causes blindness and even death in millions of children worldwide. The release of golden rice was delayed by Greenpeace tearing upfields where it was being grown for safety testing. Yes. Really. And they continue opposing it every step of the way, as well as the introduction of other GMO crops to third world countries that could literally save lives. 

Pictured: The end results of the saddest Google Images search I have ever conducted.

         Also, anti-GMO is a gateway drug to other dangerous pseudoscience. While many otherwise reasonable people are anti-GMO (pro-vaccine celebrities Jennifer Garner and Sarah Michelle Gellar oppose them, Bill Nye did before examining the research more closely, and even respected scientists (in other fields) like Jane Goodall have made misguided statements against them), anti-GMO lunacy often leads into anti-vaccine and anti-medicine nonsense and even the true derp … chemtrails (which seems harmless until you read posts calling for the execution of airline pilots). For instance, the March Against Monsanto Facebook page has shared anti-vaccine images, chemtrail hysteria, and even a story promoting the use of MMS, the horrible bleach substance from my last blog. (Trace amounts of glyphosate, a probable but not proven carcinogen that would only be carcinogenic in industrial amounts, in my veggies? The horror! Concentrated bleach in my kid’s bottom? Sounds perfectly reasonable.) This is because conspiracy theories are like potato chips – it’s hard to stop at one. If you believe Monsanto can buy off every scientist except Seralini and a handful of others and government agencies, why not believe the more profitable Merck can buy off doctors and immunologists and the same government agencies? Why not believe the government is poisoning their own citizens with chemtrails for some clown shoes depopulation plot? 

Are you beginning to see why I care? It’s not just about people paying extra for non-GMO popcorn. (There are no strains of GMO corn used to make popcorn so you’re being duped anyway.) It’s about eco-terrorists tearing up fields of potentially life saving crops (in the process of being tested for safety! The thing you supposedly want!) and people being sucked into a pseudo-scientific mindset that could cause real harm. It’s about potentially life and environment saving technology being swatted away from the world at large by activists who, frankly, do not know what they are talking about. You are welcome to eat your own overpriced organic crap, but have the decency not to swat it away from me, starving children in Africa, and people who actually give a crap about the environment, thank you.

And probably the worst part about this sentiment showing up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and being put in the mouth of their biologist? Because unless things have changed dramatically since I rage quit after that little turd Hunter blew an op acting like a jealous little butthole and Coulson doesn’t even chew him out even though it’s supposedly world-ending crap happening because this show has no sense of stakes or how to make me not want to strangle its characters and of course Mockingbird still gets back with her jealous, lazy, stupid, useless, hateful ex who can’t go five minutes without slandering her because FEMINISM!!! seriously screw that guy I stopped watching early in season two, they rely on magic-like science to solve their problems on an every other episode basis. The hypocrisy of putting science on this completely unrealistic pedestal and then spitting on real science is infuriating but sadly not unexpected. Bones had a similar pro-organic screed fairly early on in the show’s run, despite being a show that was supposedly all about the science. (I find Bones really execrable for other reasons so that barely bothered me at all.) Just because something claims to be science-positive doesn’t mean they are.

Because let’s be frank, most fiction doesn’t treat science as, well, science. They treat it like magic. This is certainly true of the Star Trek and CSI franchises. Trek has a mixed track record – sometimes they use actual science and scientific speculation, but all too often they use purposely obfuscating technobabble to sound smart but really it’s just nonsense. All too often, this puts science on a pedestal that mere mortals cannot hope to access. CSI usually has a basis in real science but they exaggerate the efficacy, specificity, and feasibility of testing, and make certain factual errors about procedure. For instance, they’ll have a tech mention they’re looking for a Caucasian male based on their DNA sample, and while you can usually tell someone’s ethnicity from their DNA, the DNA markers used for criminal testing are all microsatellites, which are from noncoding regions of the DNA and provide no information whatsoever about any physical features of the person, including ethnicity. The CSI effect is an essay unto itself, so I’ll cut to the chase – shows like this may encourage interest in science in a very superficial way. Many a student showed up to be a forensics science major at the height of the franchise’s popularity, only to be disappointed to find out how unreliable many of the fancy tests depicted on the show are and how un-glamorous the work actually is. It encourages people to trust in anything that sounds science-y, even though many of the tests depicted on the show have not been subjected to rigorous peer review and are not as conclusive as indicated on the program.

True science positivity is incredibly hard to come by, because by some cruel coincidence, fairly accurate pieces are often fairly anti-science in message. Many scientists praise Jurassic Park even though it has a very blatant anti-science message just because it’s (relatively) scientifically accurate, especially at the time it was made, and the heroes are scientists who aren’t evil or stupid. (And I love it too, don’t send me letters.) When I was planning to write an essay just about this topic, I was trying to think of scientist characters I thought were authentic, and the top of my list was Herbert West. I’m not kidding. And only a little because of my massive crush on young Jeffrey Combs. Yeah he’s callous and irresponsible and generally a very dumb smart person and has quite a temper, but his dedication is admirable and, regardless of actual scientific accuracy, the fact West has worked on the reagent basically his whole life (as of the third movie) and only made incremental progress already makes the Re-Animator franchise one of the most realistic depictions of the scientific process I’ve ever seen. And I am fully aware of how sad that is. Hell, the fact he doesn’t whip out some particle physics knowledge or something makes him one of the most realistic movie scientists ever. (Get it together Hollywood.) 



Do not hit play if you're squeamish. Pictured: One of the most positive depictions of science in film.
     
And just because I’ve been so negative so far, I’ll get off-topic a bit to talk about the depiction of science done right. It can be done! Big Hero 6 is simply put, awesome. Not only is it fairly accurate to STEM grad student life (your friends and family will bombard you with requests for super powers) but it makes science look cool in a realistic way. Unlike the CSI montages which make everything look quick and easy, Big Hero 6 has multiple montages that show the trial and error involved in scientific progress. In fact, when someone tries to cut corners and go to something flashy without proper testing, it goes tragically wrong. They make it look like hard freaking work, which it is, but fun and rewarding. Which is also true. I think it will give little kids who get excited about science and engineering because of the movie a little bit more realistic expectations than a lot of other programs. And because I can’t go a whole paragraph being positive – it is really freaking sad that a movie aimed at kids by the parent company does a much better job than this show, which is meant for teens and adults. 
Some cuteness for the squeamish people who hit play anyway.


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is more like Trek in that their science is basically magic, but more like CSI in that they make it look absurdly easy. The science on Trek was often silly, but at least the doctors and engineers had to work at it – whole episodes would be centered on the engineers trying and failing to get them out of the anomaly of the week or the doctors rushing to cure an alien disease, and in Deep Space Nine, Bashir has a whole tragic episode about failing to cure a sadistic alien plague, and the final arc of the show has him resorting to espionage after hitting a brick wall finding a crucial cure to a bioweapon through scientific means. I can glean a lot of science positivity just from that even if it’s inaccurate as hell and has the unfortunate side effect of encouraging the mentality that science can’t be understood by laypeople, because it celebrates the hard work scientists do. CSI science was more grounded in real science but, as I’ve already complained about at length, managed to make it look obnoxiously easy. Again I can glean some science positivity from the value they place on it in-universe even if it gives a very false impression of what a science career is actually like. It’s like AOS decided to take the worst of both approaches and make a show – Fitz can make something to counter Asgardian technology (which is so advanced it really does resemble magic) offscreen and Simmons can conjure up a cure for an alien virus in a day with very little explanation. Why does cancer still exist in this universe?! This was a fairly minor complaint I had compared to the show’s other problems, which considering how passionate I am about science and science representation says a lot about the show’s other flaws. But whatever – I’m happy to be correcting that oversight now. 


The science of AOS is atrocious in every way. Simply atrocious. It’s the technobabble of Trek without the work ethic. It has the unrealistic ease and false certitude of CSI and Bones without the real world grounding. The fact the allegedly good S.H.I.E.L.D. did God knows what to arrive at the serum that re-animated Coulson implies the madness and callousness of Re-Animator (appropriately enough) and every other mad scientist movie ever, but doesn’t even imbue these faceless developers of the technology with the passion West has. There’s no good counterpoint to the mad scientists of Centipede we see creating explosive test subjects and cybernetic monstrosities. The scientists in AOS are apparently either Dr. Insano (the bad guys) or Dr. West (the unseen S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists in fact I am totally writing a crossover fanfic where he is literally one of them and has history with Coulson) or a bland good guy who can just magic this crap up offscreen (do I really have to explain who that refers to?) and not even bother to technobabble the explanation half the time. And then, judging by this incident, occasionally find enough actual science just to crap on it. Yikes! It’s like a crackpot inventor who can’t actually invent things and an “expert witness” who testifies that “lip prints are totally unique and the defendant definitely did that” had violent hate sex that produced a baby that was then raised by Jenny McCarthy.

Oh yeah, or the scientist characters only remember they’re a scientist when they need to do safe work for a while because their completely awful terrible horrible no good piece of garbage ex-husband and paternalistic boss are worried about the little women being in actual danger because FEMINISM!!!! they’re recovering from severe emotional trauma. Because professional level science is a casual hobby that can be dropped and picked up at a whim and it’s not at all insulting to suggest it’s just super mega relaxing and not at all stressful in it’s own way.

 How do you do this Marvel? How do you give me things I want in horrible ways that make me regret ever asking for them? I’m sorry I asked for Mockingbird. I’m sorry I asked for someone to acknowledge she’s a scientist. I’m sorry I asked for one of my favorite female characters to be depicted in live action. I’m especially sorry I had the audacity to hope they might acknowledge she shares my profession.  I’m especially sorry for asking she be treated as an awesome character in her own right instead of defining her solely by a man. A really awful man who I would like to see tortured by Ramsay Bolton. I freaking get it okay. I learned my lesson. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’ll be careful what I wish for. In fact I’ll never wish for anything ever again. I’ll never want anything again. HOPE IS FOR LOSERS. I GET IT!!! PLEASE JUST STOP! I’M BEGGING YOU!!! *unintelligible sobbing*

*ahem*

Well, I did promise a heaping dessert of Jessica anger. But back on topic.

In fact, why am I surprised this anti-biotech speech was put in Simmons’ mouth? She doesn’t even press Coulson about releasing the literal life-saving serum to the world, as I discussed in my previous AOS related essay. And ever since I quit watching she’s apparently become an anti-mutant Inhuman bigot so why not. Maybe she’s one of the anti-GMO people whose literally said people need to starve and die off for the good of the environment. “People” of course meaning little brown children in Africa, not pretty white American and European children who are actually, like, human and stuff – none of the privileged buttwipes who suggest such a thing are ever stepping forward to volunteer for these depopulation schemes.

You read right: This person is literally saying the millions of people saved by the Green Revolution would be better off dead.


Why am I surprised it’s in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at all? Not only is their science depiction (and the overall show) atrocious, but it’s outright anti-intellectual. I don’t say that lightly. My friend told me that “my least favorite character” (this friend has a gift for understatement) has a line to the effect of, “I never liked science, it has too many big words.” That, frankly, embodies the show to me. It's got (supposedly) easy morality and magic science you don’t even have to try to understand that will get you out of a jam without applying any real problem solving and an overreliance on clichés and a desperate attempt to avoid any actual drama that might stem from anything less than rigidly black and white morality. 

Also, they have (or had, anyway) this guy. I don't think I've properly conveyed yet how much I hate this guy.
In fact, the entire MCU (save perhaps the Netflix shows) is anti-intellectual. Yeah. Boom. I went there. Listen to the way fans and people behind the scenes alike promise “none of that icky seriousness and gravitas and depth and useless stuff like that.” They use the same atrocious science even if it’s less obviously atrocious in the movies because somebody at least proofreads it and it’s read by people who have a modicum of acting talent. Jane Foster started out as a dedicated scientist, on par with West but less callous (which is a good thing!) but by the second movie she was a moping bitch who barely scienced in the whole movie. What? Were you afraid you might actually inspire little girls to be interested in science or something and actively removed it from the franchise? The morality is just as easy (Winter Soldier tries adorably hard to raise a difficult moral question then says, “Screw it. It was Nazis,” halfway through, the others don’t even try, and I’m getting my bet in now Civil War is going to end up taking a similar copout and shoot the morality right back to black and white by the end of the movie). They’re perfectly happy to pull melodrama from Black Widow’s sterilization or Steve and Tony’s “great” romance friendship ending after two movies of … barely tolerating each other, but won’t even touch the fact Fury blatantly lied to them about Coulson or anything else that might add even the tiniest modicum of gray to the black and white morality. Civil War might change that but I seriously doubt it – Marvel Studios thinks their audience is comprised of cranky toddlers. And I am not exaggerating – not only does nobody die (the parent company has more respect for ability of the actual child audience of their movies to handle sadness than Marvel Studios apparently does), but read Tom Hiddleston’s interview about the explanation he was given for why Loki was cut from Avengers 2. Tom of course is much too classy to come right out and say it, so allow me to translate from delicate British into blunt American: They were worried that after having to put on clothes and drive to the theater and exchange money for tickets and possibly even for snacks and find the right auditorium, all while remembering to breathe, you might just be too mentally exhausted to understand that Loki wasn’t controlling Ultron just because he shows up in a freaking dream sequence. That is how dumb they think you are. (I know it was supposedly based on test audiences but ... did they actively find the dumbest people possible for that test screening to be safe?) Either that or they’ve given up and are just straight up making the movies directly for the little kids in the audience, in which case that sterilization scene was even more ill-advised.  

And there’s nothing wrong with being a franchise based on stupid fun. Just don’t give me crap for not being able to turn my brain off to enjoy it. And, Marvel Studios, please try to not crap on actual science and scientists trying to save lives by pushing an elitist agenda, mmm’kay? Thinking I’m too dumb to understand Loki isn’t controlling Ultron is insulting enough, but suggesting GMOs are bad because they have DNA and they’re the only crops grown with pesticide is both insulting and dangerous, because, while your audience probably isn’t as stupid as you think they are, there’s at least one idiot in the audience who will believe you. And that idiot is probably allowed to vote. 

God help us all.

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