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March 27, 2017

Norman Borlaug: The Greatest Man You've Never Heard Of

Feeding the world is much easier because of this man, and he represents pretty much everything the agricultural neo-luddites on the Left despise. Norman Borlaug: A Man For All Seasons is a short description of his career, which spanned 50 years and cannot possibly be more impressive. And like a true scientist, he had an open mind, and saw the possibilities of the burgeoning recombinant DNA technology.

With the world’s population continuing to increase, the need for additional agricultural production remains, and in his later years Norman turned his efforts to ensure the success of this century’s equivalent of the Green Revolution -- the application of modern genetic engineering (also known as “genetic modification,” or GM) to agriculture. As Norman and other plant scientists realized, the use of the term “genetic modification” to apply only to the newest genetic techniques is an unfortunate misnomer, because plant scientists had been using crude and laborious techniques to obtain new genetic variants of wheat, corn and other crops for centuries. Products now in development with genetic engineering techniques offer the possibility of even higher yields, lower inputs of agricultural chemicals and water, enhanced nutrition, and even plant-derived, orally active vaccines.

No hysterical political stance, no hyperventilating about peak this and peak that and WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE! Just a fanatical focus on the job at hand...to feed the starving. And he did it.

And he did it in part because he understood better than most what science is;

“It is easy to forget that science offers more than a body of knowledge and a process for adding new knowledge. It tells us not only what we know but what we don’t know. It identifies areas of uncertainty and offers an estimate of how great and how critical that uncertainty is likely to be.”

He knew what he didn't know. And that is something that our insular, good-ole-boys-club of climate scientists would do well to understand.


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posted by CBD at 07:05 PM

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