Author Topic: A "scientific" case for a perpetual ban on GMOs  (Read 423 times)

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Offline Via Media

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A "scientific" case for a perpetual ban on GMOs
« on: February 19, 2017, 11:22:42 AM »
A relative shoved this into my Facebook feed today. Would love to know what folks here think:

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39497-gene-drives-a-scientific-case-for-a-complete-and-perpetual-ban

Offline lonely moa

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Re: A "scientific" case for a perpetual ban on GMOs
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2017, 12:45:35 PM »
Interesting article.  IMHO, practical and economic reasons should be enough to think twice before investing in GE.
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Re: A "scientific" case for a perpetual ban on GMOs
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2017, 01:54:06 PM »
  Consider the source.  Truth-out is not exactly a peer reviewed source of information.  The bulk of the article goes off the rails with a false dichotomy about insidious chemicals not being tested enough.  The few cases the article does bring up are all hyperbole. 
    People who do not understand pest management don't know that controlling pests often yields a lot of collateral damage to non target species.  The GE crispr derived  insect in question (Plutella xylostella) is the only species affected. That is like the holy grail of pest management. 
  The other examples make the faulty assumption that canola or corn can spread to the wild.  Have you ever seen wild corn?  Modern cultivars do not do well in the wild.  There are very few crops that do not need a farmer to keep them thriving.  Although the idea seems plausible, the fact is that it does not happen. 
  The other tired trope is that new crops are not tested enough.  In fact there are years of regulatory hoops and the average GE crop takes about 13 years to be approved.  No amount of testing will ever be enough in spite of the fact that no animal or human has ever been made sick after 30 years from a transgenic crop. 
   Another tired trope is the assumption that all those biologists are demented Dr Frankensteins. Scientists are not held in high regard as the result of ignorance based cultural vilification.   Biologists are the most qualified to determine where things might go wrong.  Knee jerk anti transgenic zealots are generally not biologists or remotely qualified to critique the science behind transgenic crops. 

Offline daniel1948

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Re: A "scientific" case for a perpetual ban on GMOs
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2017, 01:55:29 PM »
I only skimmed the article. The thrust seems to be:

Regulators allowed some nasty chemicals to be used in the past.
Maybe GMOs will eventually be discovered to have harmful effects.
Therefore we should ban all GM technology.

The author of the article is scared of GM tech and does not believe that the mountain of evidence for its safety is or ever could be adequate, because no matter what you study, maybe the harm will be something else, so he wants to ban all GM tech.

There is a fallacy in his reasoning. I am terrible at "Name that logical fallacy," but in this case it's that he's imagining possible as-yet undiscovered risks, while ignoring the massive and well-established benefits. By his logic, he should never get in a car because it might be in an accident; he should never go for a walk because he might trip and break his arm; he should never leave his house because he might get hit by a bus.
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Offline David "Stubb" Oswald

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Re: A "scientific" case for a perpetual ban on GMOs
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2017, 08:43:25 PM »
To summarize the arguments.

Chemicals in the past are bad and were not properly regulated. Therefore new chemicals are bad.

GMOs are like chemicals. Some have escaped into the wild. Therefore anything can happen.

I would agree that some have escaped into the wild. The rest of the argument isn't well evidenced. To put it into Trump terms. The argument is BAD.
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Re: A "scientific" case for a perpetual ban on GMOs
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2017, 11:13:09 PM »
There are very reasonable and measured approaches to dealing with these issues. This is not it.

If every GE food were regulated as a new food product and labeled this issue would go away. By refusing to compromise at all the risk isn't labels or more testing. The risk is outright bans.


Your mileage may vary.
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Offline SkeptiQueer

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Re: A "scientific" case for a perpetual ban on GMOs
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2017, 01:34:54 AM »
"If you don't compromise we'll throw a tantrum" isn't the reasonable and measured approach either. You have to have the power to execute a threat for it to be effective.

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Re: A "scientific" case for a perpetual ban on GMOs
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2017, 02:54:29 AM »
I am predicting not threatening. And not even that. There are already outright bans in place in some countries.


Your mileage may vary.
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.


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Offline lonely moa

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Re: A "scientific" case for a perpetual ban on GMOs
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2017, 12:12:36 PM »
I am predicting not threatening. And not even that. There are already outright bans in place in some countries.


Your mileage may vary.

Commercial planting of GE crips isn't allowed in NZ.  There are a few indoor projects.  None of the currently available GE crops would be economically suitable here.  Imported GE animal feed and human foodstuffs are allowed and no labelling is necessary.
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Offline stands2reason

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Re: A "scientific" case for a perpetual ban on GMOs
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2017, 12:53:28 PM »
There is a fallacy in his reasoning. I am terrible at "Name that logical fallacy," but in this case it's that he's imagining possible as-yet undiscovered risks, while ignoring the massive and well-established benefits.

This is hard to dismiss outright, because it is already understood that modifying genes have complicated consequences. We can guess that modifying a gene will have a side-effect, but we can also guess that it will not catastrophic or particularly dangerous. But that is not the point. I consider this "appeal to nature". Genetic variation and novel genes are fine when they appear naturally, but if the genome is modified artificially, it is assume to have a different kind of effect than the kind of genetic variation that appears naturally.

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Re: A "scientific" case for a perpetual ban on GMOs
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2017, 01:27:26 PM »
There is a fallacy in his reasoning. I am terrible at "Name that logical fallacy," but in this case it's that he's imagining possible as-yet undiscovered risks, while ignoring the massive and well-established benefits.

This is hard to dismiss outright, because it is already understood that modifying genes have complicated consequences. We can guess that modifying a gene will have a side-effect, but we can also guess that it will not catastrophic or particularly dangerous. But that is not the point. I consider this "appeal to nature". Genetic variation and novel genes are fine when they appear naturally, but if the genome is modified artificially, it is assume to have a different kind of effect than the kind of genetic variation that appears naturally.

Genetic engineering can make rapid and immediate changes in the modified organism beyond hybridization, natural or otherwise.

I think it's pretty well established that genetic engineering itself is not an issue. The issue is whether the modified organisms should be assumed to always be safe if the manufacture claims they're safe, or if they should be required to undergo testing to show that they are safe, the same as any new food substance added to the diet.

There's no fallacy here. It's a very simple question. Does genetic engineering have the potential to make changes in an organism that would make it unhealthy for humans in the short term or the long term. 

As it stands now any genetically engineered organism can be introduced into the market without the manufacturer being required to do any testing at all. I can't believe that skeptics are fine with that.
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.


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