Monday, February 24, 2014

Berkeley, Frogs and Declining Sperm Count

Berkeley, Frogs, and Declining Sperm Count

From the University of California, Berkeley, have come many break through scientific discoveries , both in the so-called hard sciences (physics, chemistry, biology) and in soft sciences such as anthropology and psychology.   I’ve long held UC Berkeley, in the highest esteem, particularly their anthropology departments.  Why? Because this department uses hard science methods (carefully controlled experiments) in the so called soft sciences while testing their own thesis.  But the latest bomb shell to come out of UC, Berkeley is all hard science.  And it is as scary as hell. 
What could be scarier than hell?  The road to getting there.  Can you imagine a world where most of the males in the world, both human and non-human, are sterile   and suffering from reproductive deformities of all sorts?  Where  the biology of men is so confused they began to grow eggs instead of sperm?   Where women can no longer nurse even when they have men whose sperm is viable enough to fertilize their eggs because their breasts are cancer ridden?  Enter Dr. Tyrone Hayes, professor of integrative biology  at UC, Berkeley.  (Democracy Now 2/21/2013):
“Well, here at Berkeley I was already studying the effects of hormones and the effects of chemicals that interfere with hormones on amphibian development.  And I was approached by the manufacturer  (later to become Syngenta) and asked to study the effects of atrazine, the herbicide, on frogs.  And I discovered that it interfered with male development and caused males to turn into females, to develop eggs, the company tried to prevent me from publishing and discussing that work with other scientists outside of their panel.”
Of course Syngenta would try almost anything to shut Dr. Hayes up.  Syngenta is used on more than half the corn crops in the US and widely used on golf courses and Christmas tree farms (Democracy Now).   It is a highly lucrative business.  But what does the use of Syngenta on corn that is already genetically modified (I understand most corn in Canada and the US is now genetically modified) mean?  And that the corn syrup from this chemical soup is now in most packaged or bottled or canned food we eat or drink? God/goddess, have mercy on us!  Even China has recently refused 60,000 tons of corn imports which contained unapproved transgenic contents (China Daily 2013-11-30).  Back to Dr. Hayes on Democracy Now when questioned by Amy Goodman:
What were the abnormalities you found in frogs, the gender-bending nature of the drug atrazine?”
Dr. Hayes:   “Well, initially we found that the larynx, or the voice box, in exposed males didn’t grow properly.  And this was an indication that the male hormone testosterone was not being produced at appropriate levels.  And eventually we found that not only were these males demasculinized, or chemically castrated, but they were also starting to develop ovaries or starting to develop eggs.  And eventually we discovered that these males didn’t breed properly, that some of the males actually completely turned into females…”
One could reply, but Dr. Hayes, your experiments were just on frogs.  People aren’t frogs, right?  But Dr. Hayes went on to say:
“But I’ve just published a paper with 22 scientists from around the world, from 12 different countries, who have shown that atrazine causes sexual problems in mammals, that atrazine causes sexual problems in birds, amphibians, fish.  So it’s not just my work in amphibians.”
In mammals?  That’s us.  We are governed by the same sex hormones as all of the above.  But what has happened to Dr. Hayes who published these findings in the most prestigious science journals?  Harassment.  Threats.  Attempts to discredit him.  And the position of his university?  The University of California at Berkeley? Did they take up for Dr. Hayes?  They did not. When he went to his vice chancellor for research for help and then to the university lawyer he was told:
Well, I represent the university, and I protect the university from liability.  You’re kind of on your own.”   And I (Dr. HAYES) remember I looked at him and I said: ‘But the very university, from the Latin universitas, is a collection of scholars and students, so who is this entity, the university, that you represent  that doesn’t include me?”
Good question, Dr. Hayes.  Who indeed?  The universities in Canada and the US seem to no longer even represent the people studying and teaching in them, much less the general population who pays for the universities. 
But universities are now also being supported by pharmaceuticals who use their contributions as tax write-offs while giving them a great say in what will be researched and how it will be researched.  And if they don’t like the result of a particular research they can make a whistle blower like Dr. Hayes as miserable as possible.  And in the meantime, young and old and in vitro, continue to be exposed to the gender bending drug atrazine produced by Syngenta.  Shall we passively consume these murderous chemicals or shall we start thinking seriously of revolt?
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