Author Topic: GMO's  (Read 631 times)

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Offline Quesi

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GMO's
« on: January 06, 2014, 10:12:10 AM »
I just want to send out a feeler on this topic. 

I admit to jumping on the anti-GMO bandwagon.  I mean, I have lots of reasons to hate Monsanto...from DDT to PCB's to huge lobbying efforts and a corporate style of buying and selling and merging and dismantling smaller companies.

They have a history of saying that what they are doing is safe.  Until we find out that it is not.

But GMO's.  Modifying plants to resist diseases, or to survive in droughts, or to increase the vitamin content or the ability to freeze or pack or transport a harvested crop needed by a far away population?

All my progressive facebook friends hate GMO's.  It seems like I should hate them too.  I mean, if I hate Monsanto, don't I hate GMO's too?  Europe has banned most GMO's.  Aren't the Europeans legislators smarter and less profit motivated than our own legislators, who are bought out by corporate lobbyists? 

But I've always had this nagging concern.  I mean food.  Food.  Lack of adequate food distribution is one of the largest contributing factors to world hunger.  GMO's purportedly make more easily transportable food.  As we face global climate change, GMO's could, in theory, create crops that survive or even thrive in the new normal of hotter or colder or wetter or dryer.  And as the land available to grow food decreases, could GMO's grow more crops in less space?

This is a fabulous, eye opening article.  It doesn't address any of the questions I just asked.  But it traces one legislator's journey to try and find scientific evidence for or against GMO's. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/05/us/on-hawaii-a-lonely-quest-for-facts-about-gmos.html?pagewanted=6&_r=0

What do folks here think?  Scientists?  Progressives?  Europeans?  Parents?  Concerned citizens?  Critical thinkers? 

   

Online jaimehlers

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2014, 10:49:36 AM »
There are legitimate concerns regarding genetically-modified organisms.  But the public hysteria about it is not one of them.  And let's be honest here, most of it is unthinking emotional reaction to something that's potentially scary.  It's exactly the same as the hysteria about vaccinations, in its own way.

I'm not saying we shouldn't be careful.  But there's a difference between being careful and letting hysteria sway us.

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2014, 10:50:23 AM »

But GMO's.  Modifying plants to resist diseases, or to survive in droughts, or to increase the vitamin content or the ability to freeze or pack or transport a harvested crop needed by a far away population?

Seems like a good thing... GMOs themselves don't seem to be bad.
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All my progressive facebook friends hate GMO's.  It seems like I should hate them too.  I mean, if I hate Monsanto, don't I hate GMO's too?

My friends who spout the loudest against GMOs are also Bible thumpers and possible anti-vac so I take anything they post with a grain of salt.  I do remember reading bad things about Monsanto patenting seeds so the locals could not grow them themselves which I find very douchy.  I have of late become suspicious of most corporations and profit mongers.

It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2014, 11:12:58 AM »
We, as a society, no longer have the mechanisms in place to deal wisely with this issue. The outcome will be determined by large corporations and money long before any other points of view can be heard, and we'll never know for sure how good or bad the outcome will be because the lack of good information will continue until humans disappear.

Imagine the bible being protected by a cadre of the most expensive lawyers in the world. This is the same thing, but without constitutional protections.

We're toast. Toast perhaps contaminated by GMO's. And we'll never know the truth because nobody on either side is making it available. Or if they are, I can see no way to either determine if that is true, or use it if it is.

(I need to add the GMO's aren't the only problem like this. Everything from banking to pollutants to power generation to income distribution is falling victim to strident voices, the need for high profits and social disintegration. Or maybe its just me.)

I, of course hope I'm wrong, or I've ruined everyone's Monday.

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Offline Traveler

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2014, 12:22:04 PM »
I haven't read the article yet, but the problem is that people are lumping too many things together. Genetic modification is a PROCESS, not a thing. Modifying genes to increase food production is one thing, and probably poses no extra risk, but what about modifying food seed to include pesticides, or to make them sterile so that farmers can't replant? I'm sure there are tons of other, perhaps more risky modifications. Making genetic modification illegal might throw out the baby with the bathwater. We need to talk about the DIFFERENT uses that GMO is put to.
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2014, 12:39:37 PM »
The problem that most people have with GMO's tend to mostly stem from Monsanto's corporate approach to the food industry.

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Offline EV

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2014, 04:17:45 PM »
I am wholly in support of genetic modification to resist disease and make crop yields larger. Selective breeding is already GM technology that we've been using for thousands of years.

Using genetic therapy is merely speeding this process up to me.

As said above though, I am against large corporate bullying, and the way I've seen that Monsanto works is utterly disgusting. It's a shame that the manufacturer has gotten a good product such bad press.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2014, 05:08:30 PM »
Thank you for your thoughtful replies.  Sorry it is a NY Times article.  I know that there are monthly limits or fees to access it. 

@jaimehlers Yeah.  I thought the article really demonstrated an instance in which public hysteria took over, it seems, to the detriment of the farming community.   And moms who love planet earth and their children were taken more seriously than the folks who understand the science.   

@Lori - Interesting.  I seem to be seeing the frantic anti-GMO stuff from smart progressives.  It seems to have crossed political and social lines. 

@PP - I agree 100%.  We are more likely to see a single payer health care system than we are to wrestle control of our food away from corporate interests.  Did you read the article?  I think of you as someone who really cares about the land and the environment, as well as a wide range of social issues.  And of course, science.  I'd be really interested in your take on this specific set of circumstances.

@Traveler- Yeah.  I don't trust Monsanto, and they have proven themselves irresponsible in the past.  Pesticides?  Exercising greater control over famers?  The potential for danger is definitely there. 

@Madbunny - I think that we all hear GMO and make the leap to Monsanto.  And then we get mad.  How do we get past the idea of corporate evil, and focus on the science that has the potential to sustain future generations?

@EV - Yeah.  Selective breeding has indeed been going on for thousands of years.  This is just speeding up the process.

 

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2014, 05:41:01 PM »
I happened to have overheard an acquaintance who works for, um, someone high in the above mentioned news source, and , um, lets just say that if your browser just happened to accidentally be in its private (or stealth or whatever your browser calls it) mode and if you happened to then accidentally click on the link in the OP, you just might find yourself able to read it and as much other stuff on the site as you wanted without limits.

Hey, stranger things have happened.The downside is that if your browser is in private mode, you can't post to this site. You have to return to non-stealth mode to do that.

There, I've finally sinned. Now who should I ask for forgiveness? If only we had a few hyperactive theists who could clue me in...

Jesus, the cracker flavored treat!

Offline Quesi

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2014, 05:59:45 PM »
I happened to have overheard an acquaintance who works for, um, someone high in the above mentioned news source, and , um, lets just say that if your browser just happened to accidentally be in its private (or stealth or whatever your browser calls it) mode and if you happened to then accidentally click on the link in the OP, you just might find yourself able to read it and as much other stuff on the site as you wanted without limits.

Hey, stranger things have happened.The downside is that if your browser is in private mode, you can't post to this site. You have to return to non-stealth mode to do that.

There, I've finally sinned. Now who should I ask for forgiveness? If only we had a few hyperactive theists who could clue me in...



I don't think that Yoda would approve of this wishy washy accidently putting your browser in some private mode. 

Do.  Or Do Not. 

But I'm sure that Yoda will forgive you. 

Offline shnozzola

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2014, 06:59:51 PM »
   Like many things, we want GMO decisions to be simple, but they are complex.  Like what's been said, Monsanto, with mainly the herbicide roundup, has inserted a roundup ready gene into field corn and soybeans. Genetic modification.  It has been very successful.  Since weeds are one of the biggest problems for farmers, it makes management much easier.  Plant the corn, wait till the corn and weeds have emerged, spray it all and only the weeds die.  Science.  But now there are beginning to be roundup resistant escapees.  And, like EV said, we have been genetically modifying plants for years, even when we save a favorite variety's seeds, or only plant the seeds from the biggest tomatoes.

   There is roundup ready sweet corn technology available but the public is worried.  Another GMO - the BT gene, has also been inserted into corn.   Bacillus thuringiensis - it is a biological pesticide "created" by Bayer that prevents worm damage.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacillus_thuringiensis

We talk about organics.  The organic issue is a bit like people wanting more government services and lower taxes.  The public wants organically grown produce but no trace of insects, rots, or molds.  We need to get used to blemished produce, and insects we need to wipe off the strawberries.   Or, perish the thought, not abhor biting into an apple and seeing the other half of the worm.

   There is also the organic fertilizer industry where companies spring up that spray all kinds of seaweed and brews - some may work, some doesn't.  To the plant, it is nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that helps - it doesn't matter to the plant if it is broken up with a sledge hammer and horses or if it comes out of a bag.  There are petroleum use issues, however, in commercial fertilizer production.  Which brings me to another modification in agriculture.  If you google the town of Almería Spain, here is the satellite picture of  20,000 Hectares of plastic in use to make it the greenhouse of Europe.



Like most things, we need to test and test and doubt and question and hold government and private industry's collective feet to the fire to make sure we are getting a balance we can live with.  Remember DDT had full backing of universities, and only now are the bald eagles coming back.
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Offline shnozzola

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2014, 08:46:06 PM »
Heard a member of the "Center for Science in the Public Interest" speak today about GMOs.

Straight Talk on Genetically Engineered Foods: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions -

http://www.cspinet.org/biotech/faq.html

Here's some of the debate going on.  An apple protein has been removed from an apple and "moved" with a "gene gun" to a new place in an apple in order to prevent browning inside a cut apple.  Is that genetic engineering?  Is it dangerous?
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 08:49:38 PM by shnozzola »
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2014, 09:04:03 PM »
I just want to send out a feeler on this topic. 

I admit to jumping on the anti-GMO bandwagon.  I mean, I have lots of reasons to hate Monsanto...from DDT to PCB's to huge lobbying efforts and a corporate style of buying and selling and merging and dismantling smaller companies.


The anti DDT hysteria is based on bad science. DDT saves lives. It us used badly, yes but,,,

http://junkscience.com/1999/07/26/100-things-you-should-know-about-ddt/
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2014, 12:11:21 PM »
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11. Population control advocates blamed DDT for increasing third world population. In the 1960s, World Health Organization authorities believed there was no alternative to the overpopulation problem but to assure than up to 40 percent of the children in poor nations would die of malaria. As an official of the Agency for International Development stated, “Rather dead than alive and riotously reproducing.” [Desowitz, RS. 1992. Malaria Capers, W.W. Norton & Company]

HOLY FRICKEN CRAP!   :o
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline screwtape

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2014, 03:40:14 PM »
The anti DDT hysteria is based on bad science. DDT saves lives. It us used badly, yes but,,,

http://junkscience.com/1999/07/26/100-things-you-should-know-about-ddt/

I find junkscience to be a dubious source.  Under the "About Steve Milloy" link is a photo of him and Drudge.

below that is a photo of him supporting Freedomworks and Jim Inhoffe, one of the worst anti-science d-bags in congress.

If they are kindred spirits, then junkscience is an apt name for the site, only in an ironic way.

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Offline shnozzola

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Re: GMO's
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2014, 05:22:23 PM »
The anti DDT hysteria is based on bad science. DDT saves lives. It us used badly, yes but,,,

http://junkscience.com/1999/07/26/100-things-you-should-know-about-ddt/

I find junkscience to be a dubious source.

In a sad way, possibly due to the internet, science is a bit like cafeteria Christianity.  Find the science spin you like.  Here is the EPA's website.

             http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/chemicals/ddt-brief-history-status.htm

  A fact sheet on the EPA website (with an exit disclaimer) goes to Oregon State University National Pesticide Information center.  It's f*cking pdf, so I can't copy the info. about thinning bird shells due to DDE.  Pick the version of the truth you feel comfortable with.  I had heard DDT was still used in third world countries.  I don't agree with it's use, but there probably is a trade off with malaria protection. 
« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 05:25:13 PM by shnozzola »
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
  The real holy trinity:  onion, celery, and bell pepper ~  all Cajun Chefs