Statements about Genetically Modified Organisms are neither True nor False and Put Your Health at Risk
Btcorn with genes of Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium (photo from Mr. Mercola, Internet)
A sentence that is neither true nor false is not knowledge
A sentence that has no proof for it is not true. A sentence that has no proof against it is not false. In Knowledge Management, how do you place a sentence that is neither true nor false?
Does it fall under Knowledge by description or under Knowledge by acquaintance? First, let us clarify the kind of sentence we are dealing with. It is one that does not assert a convention, like: “Today is Monday.” Monday is a convention. If two persons are using a Gregorian calendar they agree that today is Monday if yesterday was Sunday. The Gregorian calendar is also a convention. Indeed there is a Muslim calendar, a Chinese calendar, a Julian calendar (that was modified into the Gregorian calendar). Each serves the purpose of people who adopt it.
There is no physical entity that is called Monday. (We will not go into the niceties of how days or things were named.)
Knowledge by description is presented in symbols, words, sentences. Knowledge by acquaintance is behavior, experience, apprenticeship. Both are transferable. I have a Hub “Knowledge Management: Knowledge by Description and Knowledge by Acquaintance.”
We deal with a sentence that asserts a physical entity.
Presently, there is no evidence in favor of, and there is no evidence against, a sentence that is neither true nor false.
For example: “The mitochondria in a human skin was a bacteria.”
Some clarifications on mitochondria. It is a particle inside the cell of a human being. (A cell of a cat also has a mitochondria, but we will confine our discussion to a human being.) An exception is that for the mature red blood corpuscle of man that has no mitochondria, according to Cummings (Cummings, M. Human Heredity Principles and Issues. 2009). That is one reason why we specify skin. A bacteria is a one-celled microbe with a capsule. For example, Streptococcus pyogenes, the bacteria that causes scarlet fever and rheumatic fever that may result in rheumatic heart.
The mitochondria has a membrane. It manufactures adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is a unit of energy. It gets raw materials in energy-making like glucose from the cytosol (fluid inside the cell) and makes 38 ATPs from one molecule of glucose (blood sugar). That is why mitochondria is considered the energy factory of the cell. It shares that energy with other parts of the cell; in fact, with all organs of the human body. One peculiarity of mitochondria is that it has 37 chromosomes. Therefore a skin cell has a total of 85 chromosomes: 48 chromosomes in its nucleus and 37 chromosomes in its mitochondria. (We will use “mitochondria” and “bacteria” as singular form.)
Now, some people believe that the mitochondria was once a bacteria. Other people believe that it was an integral part of the skin cell from the beginning (whatever beginning means).
“The theory is that eukaryotic cells (cells containing, among other things, nuclei) first appeared when one prokaryotic cell was absorbed into another without being digested. These two cells are thought to have then entered into a symbiotic relationship....” (Bellomo, M. The Stem Cell Divide. 2006:186).
Eukaryotic means multi-celled, like a human being; prokaryotic means one-celled, like a bacteria.
The word “theory” is not being used strictly here. In the context of the above paragraph, its equivalent in layman’s language is “belief.”
I have a Hub that explains what a theory is: “A Theory of Why The Salk Vaccine Kills the Polio Virus It Marked With Antigens.”
What is the evidence that the mitochondria was a bacteria? Its appearance and its structure are not enough evidence. What is the evidence that the mitochondria was absorbed by eukaryotic cell sans mitochondria? None. No one has reported having found such a process.
Therefore, “The mitochondria in a human skin was a bacteria” is neither true nor false. It belongs in what Bertrand Russell calls “excluded middle” (Russell, B. Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits. 1947). A description that belongs in excluded middle is not knowledge. However, it is meaningful. (We will have some occasion to discuss what is meant by “The mitochondria in a human skin was a bacteria” being meaningful.)
There is another kind of sentence that is neither true nor false not because of evidence but owing to framework.
For example: “Rheumatic heart is an autoimmune disease.”
“Rheumatic heart disease occurs years after acute rheumatic fever, and although it usually affects the mitral and aortic valves, it can also results in damage to the tricuspid valve.” Once the acute phase of rheumatic fever had set in, penicillin turns less effective against it. It looks like an allergy to the bacterium (DeBakey, M., M.D. and A. Gotto, M.D. The Living Heart. 1977).
The preceding event is rheumatic fever that is caused by bacteria of the type beta streptococcus (spherical). Streptococcus pyogenes enters through the skin and attacks heart muscles then triggers inflammation. Scar develops in the valve resulting in stenosis (narrowing) or valve insufficiency. Not properly closed, the valve(s) allow backflow of blood. About 65% of those who suffered from rheumatic fever had inflammation of the heart (the saclike covering, heart muscles, and valves). Mitral valve prolapse involves floppy valves: one or both the valve cusps “balloon upward into the atrium” (Clayman, C. B., M.D. ed. Your Heart. 1989: 90).
One gets well from rheumatic fever, but the matter of concern is the scar that develops long after the occurrence of fever. The scar in the valve would not go away, or it is very hard to treat. The scarred valve can be replaced with the Starr-Edwards caged-ball valve or the Bjork-Shiley tilting valve. Or a valve from the heart of a pig can be used as a replacement. However, this is rarely used because the pig’s valve might be infected with virus, the pig being a host of virus.
Development of autoimmune disease
“Antibodies produced by the body in response to the streptococci proceed to attack part of the heart, which they misidentify as streptococci” (Clayman, C. B., M.D. ed. Your Heart. 1989:90). This may be called the “misidentify” version.
“Sometimes the body gets confused and thinks part of itself are not-self. As a result, the body begins to attack itself. The resulting illnesses, called autoimmune diseases, can affect any part of the body. Rheumatic arthritis is an example of an autoimmune disease in which the body begins to attack the joint” (Ornish, D., MD. 1996. Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease. 1996:239). This may be called the “confused” version. "Itself are not-self" is metaphysical in the genre of dialectical materialism of Hegel.
The result is easy to see or feel: a scarred valve; a painful knee (arthritis). But the process is hard to see, so it is guessed as “misidentify” and “confused.”
Framework of interpretation
In fairness to conventional medicine, please bear with the following long quote:
“Immune responses can be mounted against proteins that belong to the host, giving rise to autoimmune diseases. Although the immune system naturally generates antibodies to its own cells, mechanisms exist to keep this activity in check. Two mechanisms that prevent the immune system from mounting an attack against the host's own tissues have been identified. The first involves the elimination of self-reactive lymphocytes during their development and maturation in the thymus, a lymphoid organ in the chest. Self-reactive lymphocytes present in these cell populations are destroyed when they encounter the self-antigen to which they react. Because this protective selection process is not highly efficient, some self-reactive lymphocytes survive, exit the thymus, and enter the blood and tissues. Outside the thymus a second line of defense against immune self-destruction is afforded in which self-reactive lymphocytes lose their ability to react to self-antigens when they are encountered in blood and tissues….” (Encyclopedia Britannica 2009).
The framework of interpretation of autoimmune disease is the germ theory of disease inaugurated by Edward Jenner, Louis Pasteur, and Robert Koch. Microbes cause disease.
The process and the result are easy to see in chemotherapy, depending on the framework with which to see. For example, in the application of adriamycin, a drug for use in chemotherapy. To conventional medicine (the framework) adriamycin destroys cancer cells and healthy cells. To the free radical theories of disease (the framework), adriamycin produces a lot of free radicals that destroy cancer and healthy cells.
“Drugs such as adriamycin and bleomycin work by releasing a cascade of free radicals in the nucleus of cancer cell” (Sharma, H., MD. Freedom from Disease. 1993:90).
“Leukocytes and macrophages are potent generators of free radicals. Disease-causing organisms are destroyed by free radicals which are used much like ‘bullets’ by macrophages” Cranton, E. MD. and A. Brecher. Bypassing Bypass. 1984:199). Leukocytes and macrophage are components of the immune system.
In the process of destroying cells, free radicals are not confused. They are indiscriminate: they kill both cancer cells and healthy cells in the vicinity of cancer cells.
In the case of rheumatic heart, the free radicals produced by the macrophages are not confused. They destroy the bacteria, Streptococcus pyogenes, the cells that play host to the bacteria, and healthy heart cells in the neighborhood.
What about the scar? Cells have life spans and are replaced by apoptosis or programmed cell death. For example, hemoglobin is replaced every 120 days which is its lifespan. Nerve cells and cardiovascular cells are not renewed that is why an injury on them remains as scar for a long time.
I have a Triond content “The Secret of Autoimmune Disease Revealed” that I revised for this Hub.
Since conventional medicine ignores free radicals as causes of disease it will not see free radicals in the whole process of disease development. This is not to say that it is not aware of free radicals.
If the autoimmune disease (as seen through establishment medicine) were seen through a framework that includes free radicals it could be seen that free radicals are not confused. They are indiscriminate. Then the cause of rheumatic heart, not just the risk factor, could be identified and appropriate treatments and cures could be developed.
“Rheumatic heart is an autoimmune disease” is true in the framework of establishment medicine. It is false according to the free radical theories of disease framework. It should be noticed that two different frameworks are being used. Only one framework should be used.
The case between the germ theory of disease and the free radical theories of disease can be settled by medical research. A referee should be involved. As of now let us go into analysis.
“Rheumatic heart is an autoimmune disease,” if valid, is true in the germ theory of disease. However, its occurrence in the germ theory is shown as invalid. Why? The reasons are: "misidentify" is a concept that has no basis in fact. "Confused" is a concept that has no basis in fact. So far, the most specific process in the human body (in animals also) is done by an enzyme. An enzyme is switched on or switched off, but never switched on and switched off at the same time. In that case it could "misidentify," or get "confused." (More of this below.) Therefore, any statement of fact that arise from "Rheumatic heart is an autoimmune disease" is false. Its occurrence in the free radical theories of disease is shown as invalid. In the sense that "autoimmune" means "misidentify" or "confused," the statement "Rheumatic heart is an autoimmune disease" is false. It is not knowledge. The statement should be: "Rheumatic heart is caused by free radicals." In this form, it is true; it is knowledge by description.
Before a sophisticated research on free radicals could be done the statement "The nitric oxide is a free radical that signals the artery to dilate to make blood flow easier" looked contradictory. This is in the sense that an extra free radical is most of the time harmful. But now around 2005 it was found that nitric oxide (NO) is produced by three enzymes: endothelium nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), neuron nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) (Spieker, L.S. et al. “The Vascular Endothelium in Hypertension.” The Vascular Endothelium II.2006:249-269). eNOS produces the NO that dilates arteries. iNOS, mediated by the macrophage, produces the NO used to kill the bacterium (Streptococcus pyogenes) attacking heart muscles and valves, killing the bacterium and healthy cells as well resulting in scar in valves then rheumatic heart. That is how an enzyme could be so specific.
For that matter, any sentence where "autoimmune" occurs in the same context is not knowledge. You will be surprised to find that all diseases that conventional medicine tags as "autoimmune" or "degenerative" or "non-communicable" are diseases caused by free radicals.
Diseases caused by free radicals, or reactive oxygen species are: heart attack, senility, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, cirrhosis, lupus, diabetes, schizophrenia, diabetic retinopathy, cataract, gangrene, macular degeneration, stroke, varicose veins, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, glaucoma, kidney diseases, hypercalamia, atherosclerosis, angina pectoris, heavy metal poisoning, arteriosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, claudication, radiation toxicity, arrhythmia, sickle cell anemia, osteoporosis, impotence, high serum cholesterol, hypertension, Chrone’s disease, ulcer, emphysema, Raynaud’s disease, and psoriasis.
The impact of the "autoimmune" concept in conventional medicine is that the root causes of diseases are not vigorously pursued. Most that are identified are "risk factors" a practice which leaves much to be desired.
What is a risk factor?
A definition is given by Dr. Michael DeBakey and Dr. Antonio Gotto. DeBakey is a renowned heart surgeon in America who had trained a lot of heart surgeons. He invented the pump that prevents the destruction of blood platelets during heart bypass surgery. This pump accompanies the heart-lung machine. A person with destroyed platelets will not live long after surgery.
“Since we have not yet defined the precise mechanism of atherosclerosis development, it is fortunate that we can identify factors that determine people’s risk for development of the disease. We do not have to know the exact mechanism for the development of a disease to be able to reduce risk for it.
“A risk factors is defined as any trait or habit, whether genetic or environmental (which includes lifestyle factors), that can be used to predict an individual’s probability of developing a particular disease” (DeBakey, M., M.D. and A. Gotto, M.D. The New Living Heart. 1997:79).
A free radical is any atom, ion, molecule or fragment of molecule with at least one unpaired electron (molecular oxygen, ozone, superoxide, singlet oxygen). It is unstable and to attain stability it grabs an electron from a molecule which belongs to a cell, or tissue or organ. The victim of grabbing sustains an injury that results in disease like tumor or cancer. A reactive oxygen species is a derivative of free radicals that act like free radicals (hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl, nitrosamine, nitrobenzene, alkoxy radical). I have a Hub "Free Radicals With Unpaired Electrons in Alternative Medicine."
Another sentence that belongs in “excluded middle” is:
“A genetically modified organism is safe.”
Presently, there is no evidence in favor or against this sentence. To say the least, it is controversial.
Let's see the side of an advocate:
"Scientist have time and again guaranteed that GM crops, like all other biotech products such as medicines, liquor and wine, or even the soy sauce and vinegar that we consume everyday, pass through the highest standards set up by regulators before they are marked 'safe for human consumption' and released in the market." (Mayuga, J. "How Safe Are We? APEC summit for biosafety get rolling." Significant Change Stories. 2007:29).
Let's hear the side of a critic:
"Virtually every genetically engineered organism released into the environment poses a potential threat to the ecosystem. Critics of the technology argue that once genetically modified organisms (GMO) have been released into the environment they may transfer their characteristics to the other organisms and can never be recalled or contained...
"Biotechnology has made many laws and regulations in developing countries obsolete. At present, many developing countries do not have the expertise, infrastructure, legal or regulatory capacity to monitor, assess/test and control activities involving genetically engineered organisms...." (Zamora, O.B. "Ten Implications of genetic engineering for developing countries." People First in Asia's Organic Agriculture. Fontanilla, C.D. editor. 2000 :542).
Any evidence in favor of, or against GMO will take a long time to come.
"A genetically modified organism is safe" is neither true nor false. It is not knowledge.
Another sentence that is neither true nor false is:
"Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, went bodily to heaven."
There is no scientific proof in favor of this sentence. There is no scientific proof that it is false.