genetically modified produce.

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by leopold, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    What country do you live in John where people go looking for vampires with pitchforks but have comics at home they could be reading?

    It sounds like a scene from a movie, and not a good one, or a hallucination. No substance as usual and in response to an old post. How odd.
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  3. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    What is the evidence that transgenic foodstuffs are more harmful to human health than selectively bred ones?

    GM foods can certainly be hazardsous, but selective breeding not only encourates the selected trait, but that single minded dedication carries recessive traits to the fore, so I'm not sure I see one as incredibly more dangerous than the other. If there is actual data comparing the two, though, I'd be interested in it.
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  5. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    I'd like to see hard evidence also. I've absolutely no interest in all the hysterical opinions being thrown about here by people like Doreen with NO scientific credentials in the area of biology. Mere opinions are both worthless and apt to spread misinformation! They serve NO purpose other than to introduce confusion.
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  7. airlence Registered Member

    Obviously GM foods will have danger in them since we are dealing with genes. If something goes wrong resulting in a defective gene it would be really harmful.
  8. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    How so? Would it cause the plants to grow laser eyes and zap us?
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Lessee, in the past couple of years: a project to boost the protein content of either corn or soybeans (I forget which) by introducing alien genes from Brazil nuts came within a whisker of killing a few hundred Americans with nut allergies- the modified stuff was only allergy checked by accident.

    Some researchers discovered that the herbicide sequestered by atrazine-resistant soybeans (that's how they resist - by embalming the herbicide in chemical complexes stored here and there in the plant) is often released by digestion processes in the human small intestine, with unknown long term effects. They are looking into the matter.

    The BT spewing gene in some genetically engineered bug-resistant plants has been found in distant plants of various kinds, and its widespread presence in the environment (rather than the spot applications to infestation organic growers employ) is threatening to create resistant pests - making harsher and more dangerous pesticides more of a necessity and driving up the price of organic food. It also threatens bees and other beneficial bugs.

    The effects on local agricultural economies in various places (such as Haiti, India) have been malign and growing.

    And a few others. Not much really - but then, this stuff is brand new and even most of the rumors haven't been checked out, let alone the results of longer term observation recorded.

    The idea that ignorance, mystery, unmonitored complexity, untested procedures, the influence of large profits, enormous influence and critical role, and gullibility of the market, ensures one's safety, has been generally discredited in other decision venues; but in truth we must admit it hasn't been thoroughly tested in this one.
  10. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Well then regulate for antigen checking, Heck we accidentally breed antigen producing celery before with traditional breeding and we only found that out by accident. I never heard of alien genes before, that could be the problem

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    logic fallacy, implying appeal to fear. Worse so the problem here is the use of Atrazine, why not fight against the use of atrazine rather then a whole technology simply because of one implementation?

    No shit Bacillus thuringiensis is everywhere, we have been using it as a pesticide since the 1920's! Fuck Organic food makers using Bacillus thuringiensis because its so called "natural"!

    yeah and aliens on mars said hi to the rovers.

    Haven't been long term studies on what the trace amounts of Glycoalkaloid toxin in potatoes have been doing to us either. What your point?

    I'm all for regulating the GM companies and proper testing, I'm not for labeling or banning this technology.
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    More regulation would be in order, yes - in dozens of different areas. Meantime, we see the criteria by which this new stuff has been declared harmless, by the people making hundreds of millions of dollars marketing it worldwide. The criterion is their ignorance - what they don't know won't hurt anyone, in their apparent opinion.
    If you think a minute, you'll realize you aren't making any sense there.

    The kind of problem that example illustrates has nothing to do with atrazine in particular.
    It has never before been used in such a way that it will create resistant pests. It will soon be ineffective.
    Fuck you guys for making it worthless, and depriving the community of a cheap, well understood, and easily used pesticide. How about you provide the replacement pesticides at your expense?
    Yes there have been - potatoes have been eaten by millions of people for thousands of years, and comprehensive multigenerational crosscultural epidemiological data on the effects of such a diet are there for the taking, as well as being inculcated into custom and practice via pragmatic experience.

    My point is that our current agriculture is time tested and human tested, thoroughly, for thousands of years, with lives on the line. A lot of bugs have been worked out of it - aspects that killed people, that destroyed communities. This new stuff still has all its bugs - and some completely new kinds of them.
    That's not the question. The question is what to do in the time before such regulation or testing is even possible, let alone implemented.

    Do you bet the food supply of half the planet on obviously problematical stuff you know almost nothing about, for the profit of Cargill and Monsanto?
  12. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    But chances are in their favor that it won't, chances are that it won't provide any more risk to people than conventional agriculture.

    Has everything to do with atrazine, if atrazine was not used there would be no argument.

    Total bullshit, its use period will put evolutionary pressure on making resistant pests.

    Nope, no study has been done to try to correlate potatoes with anything, fuck I could easily say American potato chip consumption is the reason for their high rate of heart disease and colon cancer, no study has been done to prove or disprove such a correlation.

    Time tested means nothing, just in the last century we have dramatically increase lifespan yet have been using new agriculture techniques like artificial fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.

    Bugs like Killer bees, cane toads, Purple Loosestrife? All follies of conventional agriculture, if they had been engineered with lethal operons that could have been prevented.

    Lobby for such regulations?

    Sure, chances are in my favor that more lives will be saved from starvation then killed by some appeal to the unknown. If you don't like Cargill and Monsanto then demand regulation of them.
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    They are not taking those chances - they are imposing them on other people, for their own profit.
    If it provides even the same risks that modern, well-established conventional agriculture has provided in its dealings with new things, it will kill half the population of a second world Asian or European country sometime in the next fifty years.

    If it provides the risks that conventional agriculture provided in its early days, it will do far worse than that.

    If it is allowed to run the kinds of new risks obvious from its nature and the utterly stupid, heedless arrogance of its louder proponents, it is capable of destroying modern civilizations. That's not very likely, but it is possible. Stuff that reproduces itself exponentially has lots of interesting capabilities, even without the backing of powerful economic entities.
    Spot application is quite different, in its evolutionary pressure, from saturation of an environment - which is childishly irresponsible; indefensible politically, economically, or ecologically. And that is not bullshit.

    Corporations willing to behave like that cannot be trusted with their own oversight, in matters carrying these kinds of community risks.
    Thousands of years of experience provide very good information on such things. Better than most studies. The people who eat potatoes as their traditional staple, who developed and bred potatoes as food, eat them with special clays used as a coating on the skin, for example. Others peel them, routinely. Potatoes are bred and handled to have much lower levels of these alkaloids than a wild crop wrongly handled. Almost certainly many people, especially children, sickened or died during the discovery of the benefits of such practices.
    Not so limited to special category - bugs as in computer programs, glitches in the system. Like salt infusion in irrigated land, or disease vulnerability from reduction in genetic diversity of food crops, or famine from international currency fluctuations in agricultural landscapes newly devoted to Monsanto's idea of farming.

    And those you mention are all mild, easily handled inconveniences, compared with the problems worked out in the past, when traditional agriculture was developing its traditions.
    Or as the biker says when beating you up - write your congressman. Typical asshole comment, from people profiting by the abuse of others.

    Why is it that the current state of ignorance, and the risks of such ignorance, are so hard for people to recognize?

    Marie Curie died of radiation poisoning, from what she didn't know about a new thing, within the time scale in which these idiots want to replace the planet's food supply and agricultural practices with some tricks they invented for their own profit, operating with stuff they know nothing about.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  14. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    riiiigggggghhhhhtttt. Please do explain how conventional agriculture killed so many people, at the very least admit it allowed more to be born then it killed by means yet described.

    Like saying cows are going to breed in the wild and destroy the world, agriculture plants are so domesticated that many can't live without human assistance let alone in the wild.

    Spot application? No its sprayed on whole fields and blows around in the wind. Heck BT plant probably release less BT protein into the environment compared to application treatments with BT.

    Then control the corporations!

    yeah and Chinese Tradition medicine, acupuncture and Ayurveda work with high proficiency.

    The potatoes has only been staple diet outside of the Americas for less then 500 years, certainly not enough time to evolve so kind of resistance. If the trace amounts of alkaloids in potatoes increase cancer rates or heart disease is completely unknown, period.

    Monsanto's problem not GM, stop blaming the tool.

    yeah that why we have gotten rid of all the killer bees and cane toads, oh wait no we haven't.

    Yeah Norman Borlaug, the man that saved 1 billion lives, was an asshole.
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Norman Borlaug never did a minute's worth of genetic engineering in his entire life.
    The Irish potato famine was not the only such incident in history. Dozens of crop failures, poisonings from ergot and the like, droughts and other consequences of dependency, these things litter the history books and any common sense evaluation of past human life. Look at the effort people have put into refining and changing and discovering with agriculture - you think they were not motivated by need and necessity, often? Please try not to be just idiotic about this, OK.
    The prevalence of that kind of comparison - ignorant, stupid, dishonest, and dangerous - is why the proponents of corporate, commercial genetic engineering cannot be trusted. They are not paying attention to physical reality.
    I'm not blaming the tool. I'm trying to take it out of Monsanto's hands. I'm trying to banish it from the corporate tool kit.
  16. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Aside for all the selective breeding Norman Borlaug was an advocate of GMO and stated that he saw no difference between selective breeding, hybridizing and direct genetic modification, all were genetic modification to him.

    And how do you expect another Irish potato famine with GMO crops? The whole idea of engineering crops resistant to pest and disease is to prevent such famines again. How is drought going to effect GMOs more then traditional crops?, in fact crops are being engineered to be resistant to drought.

    So your reduced to slander now? I win.

    And take it from everyone else as well?
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Quote, please.

    Borlaug, although never employing genetic engineering (invented in his old age), or participating in any of the research into it, was not that far out of the loop as far as I know. I would be disappointed to see him spouting that kind of bs - he's been one of my favorite researchers for many years.
    If we knew the forms of the Great Fuckups to come, we could prevent them - maybe (it's hard to tell whether anything, even a direct looming specific threat, could beat sense into some of these guys)
    That's not Monsanto's whole idea. And it has never been anyone's- even Monsanto's - idea to create such disasters. What role will your ignorance of what you are doing play, do you suppose, in keeping us safe from them?

    Nature doesn't care what your "whole idea" is, what your good intentions might be - or even your bad ones, in Monsanto's case.

    Maybe the basic problem here is that genetic engineers (like the nuclear engineers before them) don't think of themselves as engineers, they aren't part of the history, the generations of humbling event that have inculcated into the engineering profession a reflexive respect for the unknown in complicated situations, a basic reaction against dependence on blind luck. They don't have the cultural, conscious, repeated and reiterated and reemphasized basic approach that engineers have summarized in the pithy variants of Murphy's Law.
    Who knows? Not the proponents of GMO crops. They very carefully know nothing, see nothing, recognize no threats.
    Like who?
  18. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member


    The research projects are continuing, and improvements are being made. Genetically modified organisms are a big step in that direction, but there's a lot of confusion in that. Some people fear genetic modification, which is not very sound, because we've been genetically modifying plants and animals for a long time. Long before we called it science, people were selecting the best breeds.

    Norman Borlaug: genetic modification can feed the world

    And here is video of him advocating GMOs

    Here a very nice video explaining it all:

    Monsanto this Monsanto that, if you have such a problem with Monsanto why don't you take it up with them, stop bring GM into this.

    Yeah that why nature finds our domesticate plants and animals so pathetic.

    Yeah because last I remember nuclear engineer blew up the earth, oh wait they didn't! Engineers have respect for the unknown its call calculating risk, you on the other hand don't, yours is based simply on emotion and ideology.

    And here we see a logic fallacy called and implied appeal to the unknown, basically stating that because we don't know we should fear it, the fallacy is most obvious when considering that all technology nay any action period can and will provide unknown effects, and that if the fallacy was applied all development and activity would grind to a halt.

    Oh smaller non-monopolizing companies and academia.
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Sure does sound like he's swallowed the koolaid on that one. Sniffle (wipes a tear) - there are no heroes - -- - -
    Not yet.

    They just poisoned a good share of it, dispossessed a few islanders, set up ticking bombs waiting for the terrorist with a plan, before the adults put a leash on their schemes.

    IIRC I heard that same "argument" from them, something about how the sun was a nuclear reactor, and there was already background radiation, and there were all these safety features, so it was natural - just like sunlight or background radiation. Unfortunately for them they had already dropped that bomb on Hiroshima, so the sales pitch had rougher sledding. Then came Chernobyl.

    Genetic engineering has not had its Chernobyl - yet. Will we have to have one, before we leash this stuff? Will we even recognize it when it happens?
    We know it's explosive, fundamentally and irrevocably influential in multiple arenas, and all but completely unpredictable. If you don't fear it, we should fear you. You're crazy.
    People should be wary of jumping off low cliffs. People should fear jumping off high cliffs. People who have no idea how high the cliff is should not jump. People who push other people off cliffs no one knows anything about, for money, should be perpwalked to the hoosegow.
  20. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Again blaming the wrong people, the scientist did not do any of those things, governments and other people did.

    Watch this (all parts 1-5):

    Chernobyl was a engineering failure, the reactor was built without a containment dome and was run by untrained monkeys.

    Give me scenario. We can predict a melt down, we can also predict side-effects from GMO, lets look at how bad they could be.

    Explosive??? its relatively predictable a variety of unwanted side-effects have already been noted.

    We know the cliffs low.

    Sure they should.
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So? Let's not do it again, check.
    1) Some of the stuff that has been predicted is disaster.

    2) A continually lengthening list of unpredicted side effects turning up is not evidence of one's ability to predict reliably.
    Don't be silly.

    When people claim to know what they don't know, there are many explanations, some benign and easily handled.

    When people claim to know what they can't know, there is a serious thinking disorder involved.
    As I mentioned, failure of genetic engineers to think of themselves as engineers, with their creations operating out there in the real world - so that, for example, they think "engineering failure" is something that happens to other people - is part of the problem.
  22. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Do tell! Then lets calculate how likely they are. Time to learn risk assessment, so lets hear these predictions.

    How likely is a unpredicted side-effect to lead to horrible disaster?

    Hey I can't know that my cell phone will become sentient and take over the world because of a program I download unpredictably interacting with another program, should I therefore burn my cellphone right now th prevent the robot apocalypse? Fuck we have been playing with fire with these computers, every year they get more powerful and more complex, who to dare say they won't become self aware and kill us all, quick burn your computer!

    Other people sue engineers.
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    That is impossible. We do not have a knowledge base or historical experience sufficient to assess the risks of genetic engineering.

    You don't either.
    Nobody knows. But it has happened before, in similar situations. At least with Chernobyl we hadn't set up 20% of the world's power supply dependent on it, and the meltdown did not take place on a continent wide scale. The Irish potato famine did not involve the entire continent of Europe. Past disasters have been intrinsically limited. That was fortunate.
    And that kind of "argument" is the sole justification for declaring genetic engineering in all its forms a safe and well-understood technology that prudent and sensible people should allow to be employed in any situation anyone finds profitable for themselves.

    if you find that kind of "argument" convincing, then full speed ahead on the GMO technology is for you.

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