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Genetic Engineering: A Violation of Natural Law (by request)




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GENETIC ENGINEERING: A VIOLATION OF NATURAL LAW

Byron P.Rigby MBBS MRCPsych
President, Australian Association of Ayur Vedic Medicine

To people of scientific and medical training who are unfamiliar
with the biotechnology industry, it seems completely incredible
that governments, government departments, food scientists,
biologists and corporations could knowingly flood the whole
world's food chain with genetic mutants.  How could it happen?

It could only happen in a world society in which collective
consciousness itself has become clouded and incapable of being
awake to its own interest and survival.  It is a symptoms of a
serious, urgent and desperate need to create a world awakening
to the future safety of all human beings.

Never before in history has such a dramatic, dangerous, new and
untested technology been implemented so instantaneously
throughout the whole world. By comparison with this biological
assault, the introduction of cane toads into the Australian
ecology, the spread of feral animals and exotic weeds, the
choking of the world's tropical waterways with water hyacinth,
the wholesale destruction of the world's forests, and even mass
desertification, are minuscule disturbances.

These are strong statements.  To understand their essential
truth, it is necessary to know something about genetics.

The Genetic Code: The Blueprint of Life

Life is found in layers.  The Earth has an overall geosphere,
hydrosphere and atmosphere in which life forms and evolves. 
Within this, there exists an ecosphere--the world of evolving
life itself.  Inside this in turn are established specific
ecologies, within which there are families, classes and species
of living organisms.  One can regard each of these layers as
itself alive, and, in a sense, conscious.

The layers don't stop there, however.  Within each organism are
organs, tissues, cells, intracellular structures, and finally
DNA, the genetic code of all life.  Deeper than that lies only
atoms and elementary particles.

Up to now, we have manipulated and interfered mainly with the
individual organisms of our world.  We have bred some,
extinguished others and transported yet others to new and
unfamiliar environments, where they have become sometimes useful
and sometimes pests.

In all of this manipulation and interference, we have not
penetrated far into the structure of life.  Occasionally, with
the introduction of viruses or other living species, we have
eliminated whole varieties of plant or animal.  Sometimes, for
example by the introduction of goats, we have created deserts. 
Sometimes we have spread plagues of disease in plants or
animals, or among ourselves.  These alterations may have seemed
catastrophic, but except for extinctions they are in few cases
truly irreversible.  Human beings, and other species, remain
essentially what they are, and have not interfered with, or
polluted, the source of their own consciousness and
intelligence.

Invasion of the Source of Life: Breaking and Entering

Now, for the first time in history, a new form of irreversible,
self-spreading change is being launched, far more powerful and
virulent than any that has ever before been attempted.  This
change is genetic engineering--penetration into, and
irreversible alteration of, the very code of life itself.

In genetic engineering, new information and instructions, never
before seen, are being spliced into the DNA of bacteria, plants
and animals in ways that could never, under any circumstances
whatsoever, occur in nature. Genes that synthesize scorpion
toxin are being used to coat fruit with insect-killing  venom;
anti-freeze genes are being spliced from fish to fruit;
herbicide resistance genes are being incorporated into tomatoes
and other foods, allowing use of far higher concentrations of
herbicides than would otherwise be possible; genetically
engineered bacteria are being cultivated that synthesize
hormones and other substances, some of which are fed to cows to
force unnatural quantities of milk secretion that eventually
destroy the cow; while other bacteria are being altered beyond
anything that would normally occur to secrete substances used in
medicine and food manufacture.

All this could seem dangerous but wonderful--just as other
scientific advances have been, such as electricity and nuclear
power.

But in the case of genetic engineering, there is a completely
new element that makes the hazards inconceivably greater than
those posed by any other technology--the fact that once
released, genetically altered organisms are unrecallable,
irretrievable, and above all self-replicating.

Irreversible Damage to Life: Pandora's Box

Once released, genetically altered bacteria and other organisms
can never be recalled.  Further, and most chilling of all, there
exist processes whereby the genes that have been put into the
altered organisms can actually be transferred to other species. 
As a result, new and virulent toxins can be spread to wild
plants; herbicide resistance can be spread to weeds;
rapid-growth capability can be spread to pests; and
antibiotic-resistance can be spread to the world's most feared
disease-producing organisms--staphylococcus, diphtheria,
salmonella, plague, cholera, typhoid and the whole range of
diseases that have with such slow and painstaking care been
reduced from their former epidemic proportions in the world.

Biotechnology companies would have us believe that normal
plant-breeding is the same as genetic engineering.  We select
the genes of a plant, and combine them with others in
cross-breeds.  We even find mutants, and then cultivate these.

To anyone with the slightest biological knowledge, this type of
statement is completely fraudulent.  The very fact that it is
made rings the strongest possible alarm bells warning that if
such crass misconceptions are being deliberately spread, the
perpetrators must have something very substantial and profoundly
negative to hide.  It is an obvious symptom of a profound and
radical disconnection from the truth by a whole generation of
scientists, technologists and commercial interests.  It is a
disorder of consciousness.

A Hit-and-Miss Technology: Catastrophes Have Already Happened

The simple fact is that to create a genetic alteration by gene
splicing, it is necessary to directly disrupt and reconstruct
the genetic code by procedures that could simply never arise in
nature.  Far from being accurate, these alterations are highly
hit-and-miss.  In most cases, the total function of the gene
being altered is not fully known, its interactions with other
biochemical processes in the organism are obscure, and the
long-term effects of the changes cannot be predicted.

As in the case of food irradiation, genetic manipulation can
potentially produce a large number of unknown and exotic
chemical substances that can have completely imponderable
effects.  These effects include direct poisoning through
ingestion by other organisms (including ourselves); serious and
even fatal illness through production of new and unknown
allergens; spread by replication of the existing organism; and
transfer of genetic information to other species, including to
pests closely related to the altered organism.

Some genetic scientists warmly reassure that these things will
not happen. But how can any scientist worthy of the name
possibly declare that "something won't happen?"  Have we not
been sufficiently warned by DDT? Thalidomide? Dioxin? Plutonium?
Chernobyl? Mad cow disease? Cane toads? Killer bees?
Chlorofluorocarbons? Asbestos? Every single one of these has
been a subject of warm and avuncular reassurance by scientists
who were wedded to their pet idea, and by technologists and
corporations that saw profit in them.

Again, the disorder here is not specific to genetic engineering.
 It is a blindness at the level of consciousness to the safety
of human beings and to the serious consequences of playing the
sorcerer's apprentice in a field that is totally imponderable
from our current level of understanding.

We do not have to wait and see whether genetic engineering will
kill or injure people, or damage our world.  It has already
happened.

37 Killed and 1500 Permanently Injured

Some years ago a Japanese firm manufactured tryptophan by
genetically engineered bacteria for use in the treatment of
depression.  This substance occurs normally in dietary protein,
and is the metabolic precursor for serotonin, the
neurotransmitter whose depletion results in depression.  By
ingesting extra quantities of tryptophan, depression can be
reversed.

What was not known, however, was that the organism that
synthesized the tryptophan was also synthesizing another
substance that stimulated the body's immune system, resulting in
a disease known as eosinophilia.  As a result 37 people were
killed and 1500 permanently injured.

It couldn't happen again?

Genes from Brazil nuts were incorporated into transgenic
soybeans.  The combination proved to be highly allergenic to
some people.  They had no way of knowing that they would get an
allergic reaction from the soybeans, even if they had known they
were allergic to Brazil nuts--because the genetically altered
soybeans were by law exempted from labelling.

In another sphere, klebsiella bacteria were genetically altered
to secrete alcohol from the digestion of wood pulp and other
organic material.  This organism escaped, infected soil in wheat
farmland in the United States, and destroyed the nutritive
bacteria that are responsible for the fertility of the fields. 
Whole fields were rendered sterile, capable of growing wheat
only a few  inches high.

In all these examples, the problem is not only the danger of the
technology.  It is the consciousness that allows such a mass
form of human experimentation to be perpetrated without any
consent and warning for the public, not even the labelling of
genetically manipulated foods.

In some states of the USA it has even been declared illegal to
label food as NOT genetically engineered, lest it threaten the
profitability of the genetic technology companies.  This
reversal of normal ethics is not a technical problem, it is a
consciousness problem--a problem of collective, governmental and
individual attitude and mindset.

Labelling and A Moratorium

The potential damage that could be caused by unforeseen effects
of genetic engineering are vast, formidable and impossible to
predict.

The absence of knowledge of danger must not be mistaken for the
absence of danger! Scientists only know what they know.  They
certainly don't know what they don't know.  For this reason,
simple common sense and responsibility dictate that before any
genetically altered organisms are produced, a total halt on any
releases must be called, so that sufficient knowledge can be
accumulated.

Scientists around the world have proposed a 50 year moratorium
on all genetic experimentation and technology sales.  The
Natural Law Party  
[ http://www.natural-law-party.org ] 
has proposed this in 40 countries, and in Western Australia in
the recent election campaign was joined by all major parties in
a multilateral televised statement urging extreme caution in
authorizing any genetically engineered products in Australia.

Governments simply have to realize that they are legislating for
other people's children--not just their own.  "Probably safe" is
just not safe enough--not for an intervention that cannot be
reversed, and not for matters relating to food and children's
development.  "Proven to be safe" is the bare minimum.  And true
proof in science is very, very difficult. "Possibly safe" is an
outrage.

Yet at this time, we are faced with the strongest possible
lobbying by biotech companies to waive the requirement that
genetically altered products even be labelled!

What an extraordinary suggestion! To remove all possibility that
damage caused to human beings could even be traced to the
offending source.  To contrive that if illness or death should
occur, whether by unforeseen toxicity or by the development of
new allergens, offending corporations can never be identified or
prosecuted, and further injury can never be prevented.

Responsibility of Scientists

In the past, scientists were motivated by the inspiration of
scientific discovery.  Even then, their enthusiasm led them at
times to grotesque interference with human life--the
high-voltage X-raying of children's' feet for fitting shoes; the
overuse of DDT and its accumulation in mothers' milk; the
persuasion of whole populations of mothers that commercial
formulas were better than breast milk; even in ancient times,
the use of lead pipes for plumbing, resulting in the poisoning
of whole populations.

Now, however, the pressure on scientists is economic, and is of
such a magnitude that geneticists with almost one voice have
abandoned their primary concern for human life.

The patenting of new technologies is immensely profitable.  The
identification of human genetic traits, and their patenting and
preservation in secret, has now reached such a level that whole
populations of indigenous people on the verge of extinction are
being raided for their unique genetic information, without the
slightest assistance being offered to ensure their future
survival.

A Crisis of Consciousness

The crisis of genetic engineering is not a crisis of biological
science, it is a crisis of consciousness.  What kind of
consciousness can knowingly perpetrate the dangerous
interventions in life that we have detailed in this article and
in this edition? On can't talk to such people.  Closed off,
hermetically sealed from the world of other people's lives,
concerns, rights and safety, their response is unreachably
self-interested and overconfident.  The mind is blinkered, the
imagination extinguished.  Only by a transformation of
consciousness can such a mind be awakened to the reality of what
it is doing.

And it is not a matter of individual consciousness.  It is a
matter of collective consciousness.  Genetic raiding is
proceeding rapidly.  The realization of the truth is proceeding
at a snail's pace.  Enlightened warnings are unheeded.  At the
present rate, by the time the true seriousness of the situation
has been realized, it will be too late.  The world will have
been infected with genetic alteration, irreversibly.  Even the
consciousness of people themselves will be altered by what they
ingest.

In this situation, and many like it, there is only one solution:
to create a mass awakening of the collective consciousness of
the world.

This is possible.  It has been shown in over 47 studies that
group practice of the TM-Sidhi program, in particular Yogic
Flying, transforms the collective consciousness of whole
populations within a matter of days.  
[ http://www.tm.org ]
In Washington DC, in a formal experiment carried out in
July-August 1993, this procedure reduced crime rate by 20%.  In
Mozambique its introduction resulted in the resolution of a
bloody 20-year civil war.  In cities throughout the world,
including crisis areas, it has proven time and again that it is
both possible and easy to transform the collective consciousness
of a nation from violence, disorder, and insensitivity to
survival, to harmony, order and farsighted consensus.

To this author, at least, it is obvious that the solution to the
dangers of genetic engineering will come not through scientific
and technical discovery, but through the transformation of our
consciousness to a calm, life-loving, mature and wise awakening
to the great potential and delicate responsibility for all
future generations involved in all handling of scientific
knowledge.

Copyright: Byron Rigby

Reference: the Australian newspaper "Living Now "      
Jan-Feb1997 
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