Click here to see the Dr. Oz show on GE crops with yours truly.

I tried to provide a science-based perspective to the audience.

It was a tough go, though, because one of the other panelists (Jeffery Smith, a former Iowa political candidate for the Natural Law Party with no discernible scientific or agricultural training) believes that eating GE crops causes infertility, organ damage and endocrine disruption. Of course, the scientific evidence for these statements is about as strong as saying that looking at carrots will give you brain tumors.

Can the audience glean that from the information presented on the show? I am afraid not.

What we do know is that after 14 years of consumption there has been not a single instance of harm to human health or the environment (and many indisputable benefits).

I did my best to refute the worst “woo woo pseudoscience” but it was difficult. I asked the producers (who were very nice by the way) to remove the scary graphics and bullet points but no luck. I argued that showing that stuff would tarnish Dr. Oz’s reputation and harm his viewers (who are now probably terrified- I can just imagine my mother-in-law taking note on all the “points” made).

I had a chance to plug some great science-based, academic, non-profit sites (bioforitifed,org, ucbiotech.org and academicsreview.org) but all of my case specific examples (reduced insecticide use in GE cotton fields, enhanced biodiversity, disease resistant papaya, Golden rice) were cut from the TV version. I guess the producers did not want to mix too much scientific evidence in there with the fantastical stuff.

The show demonstrates yet again that as scientists, we cannot dismiss the general anxiety about genetic engineering, and the distrust of science and scientists in general.

So how can we help the public understand the scientific process and learn to distinguish high-quality scientific research that has stood the test of time and can largely be relied on from simple assertions or unsubstantiated rumors?

This is one of the reasons Raoul and I wrote our book. We included a chapter describing how non-scientist can distinguish between fact and fiction. As an example of psedoscience riddled with conflicts of interests and errors, just take a look at Smith.

To “demonstrate” that genetic engineering is dangerous, Smith cites the experiment of a seventeen-year-old student who fed mice genetically engineered potatoes. According to the referenced Web site, ” . . . [the mice] fed GM ate more, probably because they were slightly heavier on average to begin with, but they gained less weight.” In addition, ” . . . marked behavioral diff erences” were observed though, the boy admitted, “these were ‘subjective’ and not quantitative.” Smith argues that this experiment demonstrates that GE food may have negative effects on the “human psyche” and concludes that the boy “has put the scientists to shame.” The implication is that the public can trust this experiment carried out by a student, unhampered by scientific training but not those of peer-reviewed research. Smith ignores the fact that this experiment conducted by a teenager was not subjected to the rigorous methods that are inherent to the scientific process.

In the case of the boy and the mice, I found that the reference given for the boy’s work was to another Web site, and that that web site referred to even another Web site (which is now defunct as far as I can tell). It turns out that the only documentation of this “experiment” was a chance meeting with the boy’s mother, who was the source of the “scientific information.” “Mum Guusje is very proud of her son. . . .”

Why would someone cite a conversation with a boy’s mother as science? Either Smith lacks a basic understanding of the scientific process, or he simply does not care, or both (or something even more sinister…). But he should care; for this kind of deception only confuses and frightens people.

Most people would agree that a mother usually believes the best about her son. Therefore, a mother’s recommendation represents a clear conflict of interest in such a case. Studies tainted by such undisclosed conflicts of interests are a major concern in the debate about genetic engineering. If the only peer-reviewed data on the benefits of GE crops were supplied by parties whose primary concern is not the public good but private interest, then the public would have reason to question the integrity of the research (which is why I try to cite only non-profit peer-reviewed research). Similarly, if a person with a strong stance on the use of GE in agriculture is an employee of a for-profit biotechnology or organic industry, such employment should be disclosed because a conflict of interest may exist.

(Full disclosure: All the research in my lab is funded by non-profit sources. The salaries of Raoul and I are paid by UC Davis and government grants. Neither of us are paid by biotechnology companies or the organic industry).

Comments

  1. #1 Rebecca
    February 13, 2013

    I’m confused. Doesn’t it depend on what the particular plant was genetically modified to do? For example, if the plant is made to grow stronger, taller, and faster, that would probably be beneficial to us all. However, if the plant is genetically modified to resist death from pesticides so that a much larger amount of a certain pesticide can be used to kill pesticide resistant bugs; and, that particular plant happens to absorb that extra pesticide, wouldn’t that be dangerous to humans? Could we really say that is not the plant, it is the pesticide, when any other plant would have died and been uneatable? Isn’t this why Russia recently rejected GMO corn because the plant was too resistant to death from pesticides and they were justifiably concerned that it had absorbed too much pesticide? I am not a scientist. I am asking you for your opinion.

  2. #2 NJ
    April 17, 2012

    Steve @ 214, 215:

    tens of thousands of children plaqued

    At least she can spell and can hit the post button once. You can’t even find a recent post – this one is closing in on two years old – to comment on.

    And that’s without pointing out you have not provided anything in support of your asserion.

    Now go back to your legos, son. The grownups are talking.

  3. #3 Steve
    April 17, 2012

    “there is no evidence after eating for 15 years it causes any problems”.

    Tell that to tens of thousands of children plaqued with cancer stupid bitch.

  4. #4 Troy
    February 19, 2011

    Despite assurances from the Australian government that pollen drift and GM pollution was a “remote” possibility, GM crops have successfully contaminated yet another organic farm. Thankfully, Steve Marsh will be suing his neighbor for the pollution and his loss of organic status. Monsanto is backing the offending farmer (which they first said they would not do but have now changed their minds).

    See below for excellent Q&A (what Biotech will not tell you)

    http://www.nwrage.org/content/14-myths-about-genetic-engineering

  5. #5 tercüme
    February 11, 2011

    Growing only from stock that produces the most, or the fastest, or seems to get X disease less often, is in itself genetic modification – primitive, yes, but genetic modification all the same

  6. #6 Ewan R
    February 7, 2011

    JoanP – apologies for the late response, life, as ever, interferes rather brutally at times.

    I am curious as to how you can assert there is no health risk with GM foods as none of the safety studies have been done by Monsanto. They even stated as such on the Dr Oz show.

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean here – Monsanto have done safety studies, independent labs have done safety studies. Both sets support the hypothesis that GM foods have no health risk (outside of that already associated with the plant in question)

    Substantial Equivalence

    A new variety (non-transgenic) of corn produced next month would be substantially equivalent to all other corn of its general type – it would also be protected by intellectual property law.

    It is funny that you should mention Percy Schmeiser as Monsanto spent over a decade suing him for contamination of HIS land with Monsanto’s GM canola.

    Not entirely true – read the court documents – Mr Schmeiser discovered the presence of GM Canola on his land (at which point he was not in the wrong), he proceeded to spray ~3 acres of his crop with roundup (bizarre thing to do, but still not in the wrong), he collected the seed from the surviving plants and kept it segregated from his other seed (kinda stepping into the wrong here, but probably still not in the wrong), he then planted this seed on ~1,000 Acres (at which point he’s in the wrong, anyone who can say this is accidental presence and keep a straight face should go into politics)

    That sir is hardly Monsanto taking reponsibility for their enviro-pollution.

    Mr Schmeiser engaged in a lengthy legal battle with Monsanto and has lied about it from the start, one can hardly be surprised that no punches are pulled after a decade + of litigation – had Mr Schmeiser (like his neighbors – and I need to dig up that citation) reported the initial presence, then Monsanto would have come in and cleared out the offending material – however this doesn’t make front page news so you don’t hear about it.

    Monsanto to date has sued over 200 farmers and several hundreds more who have settled out of court and signed gag orders – even if innocent – because it is cheaper to pay Monsantos penalties than face bankruptcy fighting Monsanto in court.

    Sir, do you have proof to back up your claims that Monsanto never sues for accidental contamination? I would love to read it.

    since 1997 Monsanto have filed suit 145 times in the US – with a customer base of more than 250,000 per year – that is a vanishingly small number. 700 cases apparently have been settled out of court (again a small number) – Monsanto’s stance (from the website) is that farmers will, in general, own up to having done wrong and settle to get things fixed and carry on – as all proceeds of these cases don’t go to Monsanto coffers but instead to 4-H programs and the like one wonders what exactly Monsanto stands to gain from accusing totally innocent farmers – seems a rather poor sales strategy to me.

    On the proof that they don’t sue for accidental contamination – well, proving a negative is rather hard, perhaps you’d care to furnish evidence that they do?

    JohnR

    How Monsanto tried to posion all of India with their GM Eggplants

    Bad interpretation of the results

    This discussion over at biofortified examines in some detail

  7. #7 JohnR
    February 6, 2011

    How Monsanto tried to posion all of India with their GM Eggplants

    http://richardbrenneman.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/toxic-alarms-for-monsanto%E2%80%99s-newest-food-gmo/

  8. #8 adsense hack
    February 5, 2011

    For example, the countries that make up 82% of our export market for wheat have already said that if Canada begins cultivating genetically modified wheat products, the result will be a disastrous total boycott of all Canadian wheat, whether it is genetically modified or not.

  9. #9 JoanP
    February 4, 2011

    I apologize, I do not know how to insert quotations.

    EwanR states: “To a certain extent, but there should be limits and these limits should be rational – there should be choice where the potential for health risks is well grounded – trans-fats, top predator fish (for reasons of mercury and other heavy metal accumulation), high fat, high sugar etc – all things you should be able to excercise a choice over – hwoever things that pose no risk shouldn’t necessarily be subject to such an approach”

    I am curious as to how you can assert there is no health risk with GM foods as none of the safety studies have been done by Monsanto. They even stated as such on the Dr Oz show.

    Another irony I find is how Monsanto claims “substantial equivalence” when it comes to labelling and food safety studies (ie. our corn is the same as any other variety of corn), and yet then turns around and PATENTS the corn for being different to regular corn species because of its trans-gene manipulation and the protiens it expresses.

    They are playing both sides of the same coin and flip-flop on how different GM products are to conventionally grown depending on who’s back they are trying to massage. For the FDA there is no difference but for the US patent office there is night/day difference.

    Until Monsanto does the necessary safety studies (and I’m talking about double-blind placebo trials through 3 generations using more than one species of animal…) until these are done, then there is no way Monsanto can claim their product is safe for human consumption.

    EwanR states: “I’m actually pretty sure Monsanto will come in and assume clean up costs if accidental presence is suspected – I seem to recall that neighbours of Percy Schmeiser did exactly this ”

    It is funny that you should mention Percy Schmeiser as Monsanto spent over a decade suing him for contamination of HIS land with Monsanto’s GM canola. Then in 2008 after Mr Schmeiser was growing Mustard and that same GM canola contamination happened again, Monsanto REFUSED to remove the offending plants unless Mr Schmeiser signed a cease and desist order (aka. he would never sue Monsanto for the pollution) along with a gag order (he would never talk about Monsanto GM canola contaminatng his land…ever again).

    That sir is hardly Monsanto taking reponsibility for their enviro-pollution. Monsanto taking him to court over $600 because he refused to sign Monsantos strong-arm gag order is blackmail and bullying. Plain and simple.

    EwanR states: “farmers are only sued when presence of the transgene could not possibly have been accidental ”

    Monsanto to date has sued over 200 farmers and several hundreds more who have settled out of court and signed gag orders – even if innocent – because it is cheaper to pay Monsantos penalties than face bankruptcy fighting Monsanto in court.

    Sir, do you have proof to back up your claims that Monsanto never sues for accidental contamination? I would love to read it.

  10. #10 Ewan R
    February 4, 2011

    If we were talking about arsenic you would understand how the Europeans think. GMO might as well have a poision on the label.

    I’m a European. I think I can speak a little more accurately on how Europe, in general (obviously there is huge variance on an individual level), react to the GMO label – GMOs have been labelled in Europe for a while now, I noticed this when over there, I don’t agree with labelling GMOs as it seems utterly counter to the point of mandatory labels, however the impact is spectacularly slight – most Europeans (at least those I’ve interacted with) don’t give a flying hoot about the “may contain genetically modified organisms” label – it’s on 90%+ of products on supermarket shelves (figure pulled from the Journal of Ephemeral Proctology) which in an indicator of exactly how poor your arsenic comparison is (I’m going to go ahead and guess that any product which was labelled “may contain arsenic” wouldn’t exactly fly off the shelves) – the issue with “Triffid” (a name which continues to crack me up) isn’t that it’s a GMO but that it’s a GMO without regulatory approval for import – what is crazy is that the levels at which it is present are so miniscule as to make turning away the shipments crazy.

    No matter how “rational” this aversion to GMO foods in Europe is, I’m certain we can both agree that as free human beings each one of us has a right to choose what they will and will not ingest into their bodies.

    To a certain extent, but there should be limits and these limits should be rational – there should be choice where the potential for health risks is well grounded – trans-fats, top predator fish (for reasons of mercury and other heavy metal accumulation), high fat, high sugar etc – all things you should be able to excercise a choice over – hwoever things that pose no risk shouldn’t necessarily be subject to such an approach – can I go to the grocery store and make sure that my sweetcorn is grown in a no-till setup which uses only knifed in anhydrous ammonia, has hedgerows bordering the property to improve biodiversity, has not been bred in a program that uses any sort of artificial mutagenesis, and preferably is harvested only by folk who are right handed? (There is something decidedly sinister about the left handed) – No, if I have special dietary demands in this area I have to go and look for it myself, and pay a premium for it (a freedom afforded to those who wish to avoid GMOs by organic foodstuffs)

    Finally, who should be responsible for the billions of dollars in losses for GM contamination of non-GM/organic crops and farms?

    The same people responsible for any other imaginary damages caused I’d assume (there haven’t been billions of dollars of losses – if anything the organic industry benefits from the presence of GMOs, the fear they can stir up about GMOs is a great way to generate brand loyalty)

    If Monsanto were to assume to costs of clean up and damage to the organic industry for polluting lands where their gene is not wanted, people would be more accepting of new technology

    I’m actually pretty sure Monsanto will come in and assume clean up costs if accidental presence is suspected – I seem to recall that neighbours of Percy Schmeiser did exactly this – perhaps now that they see his international superstar of the green movement status they may regret their choice (I’d rather enjoy a life of global travel and being lauded by folk completely uncritical of my dubious claims and willing to donate $10 a pop just to bask in my glory)

    Monstantos solution to enviro-pollution has been to sue the innocent farmer. This is why there is such resistance to GM alfalfa in Canada.

    Except that it hasn’t been – farmers are only sued when presence of the transgene could not possibly have been accidental – given that this is the case either resistance to GM alfalfa isn’t due to the reasons you cite, or is based on a lie.

  11. #11 JoanP
    February 3, 2011

    EwanR writes: ” this, in my mind, illustrates more the level of crazy in Europe rather than anything else – very minor contamination by the GM event shouldn’t be enough to exclude such a large portion of a nations export”

    GMO-Free means 0% GMO, not 2%, not 1% not 0.1%. If we were talking about arsenic you would understand how the Europeans think. GMO might as well have a poision on the label.

    No matter how “rational” this aversion to GMO foods in Europe is, I’m certain we can both agree that as free human beings each one of us has a right to choose what they will and will not ingest into their bodies. No government or corporation should ram GMO foods down people’s throats if the people do not want the product.

    Finally, who should be responsible for the billions of dollars in losses for GM contamination of non-GM/organic crops and farms? If Monsanto were to assume to costs of clean up and damage to the organic industry for polluting lands where their gene is not wanted, people would be more accepting of new technology. As it stands, Monstantos solution to enviro-pollution has been to sue the innocent farmer. This is why there is such resistance to GM alfalfa in Canada.

  12. #12 Ewan R
    February 3, 2011

    JoanP:-

    As the government knows, in September 2009, inspectors in the European Union discovered that an illegal genetically modified seed strain, CDC triffid, had contaminated Canadian flax exports. European countries promptly began recalling and quarantining Canadian flax. Prices plummeted and Canada lost 60% of its export market overnight. This ban hit our farmers hard, and they are still paying for the testing and cleanup after this international scandal.

    Couple of points here, first – Triffid? What on earth were the researchers thinking!? (It’s funny and all, but to name your event after killer plants is hardly a good PR move)

    Second – this, in my mind, illustrates more the level of crazy in Europe rather than anything else – very minor contamination by the GM event shouldn’t be enough to exclude such a large portion of a nations export – it does however highlight that in a world where such insane restrictions are imposed testing of GMOs needs to be done with extreme care (Triffid was, I believe, a non-corporate GM project – kinda a blow to not for profit research)

    More and more countries moved to adopt laws that limit the use of genetically modified foods.

    Do you have numbers for this? I haven’t seen anything along these lines (not that I’ve looked exactly, could be true)

    The export market for Canadian crops will continue to shrink unless we change the way that we do agriculture.

    Not if the crops you’re producing are from events which have broad international acceptance – most transgenics require multiple regulatory approvals before a company will consider commercial release – because farmers aren’t going to buy a product they can’t sell

    For example, the countries that make up 82% of our export market for wheat have already said that if Canada begins cultivating genetically modified wheat products, the result will be a disastrous total boycott of all Canadian wheat, whether it is genetically modified or not.

    This seems (if the numbers are right) like ridiculous posturing in the sound knowledge that GM wheat is about a decade away – given that regulatory approval in all major markets will be a key element in commercialization of GM wheat varieties I highly doubt that this will hold up in truth (GM wheat only really kicked back in as a serious prospect in the last couple of years after the general feel of the wheat world changed from predominantly against to predominantly for – based on the performance of crops which have GM)

    Eighty-seven per cent of the world’s countries are GMO free.

    Dont grow them, or don’t consume them? I’m guessing don’t grow them –

    Over 90% of the arable land on this earth is GMO free.

    probably 99%+ of crop species haven’t been GM’d – so this is hardly surprising

    Over 99.5% of the world’s farmers do not grow GMO products.

    That probably coincides rather closely with the number of the world’s farmers who are desperately poor and barely produce enough to sustain themselves – although given the point above about crop species which aren’t GM’d there are obviously other factors at work

    In the United States, despite 20 years of research and 14 years of commercialization, GMO products have not significantly increased crop yields.

    Except where they have (bt corn, increased yield for adopters AND non-adopters, bt cotton increasing yields enormously in India, GM soy and corn increasing yields in developing nations) otherwise your statement is true (and given none of the currently commercialized traits are directly about increasing yield this wouldn’t be surprising even if true)

    Farmers obviously do not want to grow a crop that no one will buy.

    Apologies for jumping about – but this bit needs a QFT moment – look at the %age adoption of GMOs in crops where modification has taken place. Then repeat that nobody wants to buy GMOs. Then note the contradiction.

    Let us be honest, GMO crops will not be the solution to things like world hunger, and the reckless use of genetic modification has the potential to do far more harm than good, both abroad and here in Canada.

    I assume by let us be honest you meant let us make stuff up? Why won’t GMO crops be *part of* (keep in mind nobody, not even my corporate overlords, is claiming that GMOs will be THE solution) moving towards solving world hunger – if Bt cotton can increase yields 60%+ in India why couldn’t Bt Brinjal or corn do the same (both are food crops grown in India), if the drought trait works in Africa in what way isn’t that helping to alleviate hunger? What potential for harm are we talking about? Is this the same nebulous threat that has failed to show itself despite exhaustive testing?

    One of the most important steps to improving crop yields was achieved as long ago as 1961. It was in that year that Norman Borlaug perfected dwarf wheat, a cultivar of wheat that did not topple over under the weight of its stocks, spoiling its yield. The results were staggering. By 1963 the wheat harvest was six times larger than it had been 20 years earlier. Literally millions of lives were saved. For his work he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1970. Even today his cultivars continue to be the staple food of millions of people worldwide, and all of this was accomplished without GMOs.

    So decades before the advent of GMOs other techniques were improving things? Well that’s a slam dunk against GMOs for sure – given that medicine has been making advances for the past 60 or so years I guess it’s perfectly safe to now do away with any and all research to improve it further unless it is done exactly as it was decades ago.

    Also, that’d be the same Norman Borlaug who stated:-

    “There is no evidence to indicate that biotechnology is dangerous. After all, mother nature has been doing this kind of thing for God knows how long”

    “We need sophisticated scientific technology to boost our production”

    “Dosage makes the poison. But vitamins, which are vital, are taken in smaller quantities. If we could get a gene from rice – because rice does not suffer from rust – and then use it to protect other crops that suffer from rust like wheat, that would be a big revolution, and that will not be dangerous to human health in any way”

    “The so called GMOs can play a very vital role in peoples’ lives. However, this must be accompanied by political goodwill because technology alone cannot survive without decisive support”

    Borlaug is a guy who knew agriculture inside out, he lived
    and breathed agriculture for decades – I have no doubt he would have referred to the majority of your post as the thinking of a utopian thinker with no understanding of the complexities of food production.

    Genetic modification has been proven to be wildly ineffective in delivering on its own promises.

    It’s been around for 2 decades and dominates the crops in which it has been utilized, it changed the way farmers operated, increased yields by 60%+ for some farmers – if this is wildly ineffective I’d love to see your criteria for what is effective.

    GM wheat and GM alfalfa in Canada (two products which our farmers do not want or need)

    If they dont want, or need the product then all they need do is not buy it – as soon as one farmer buys the product that makes your statement erroneous as clearly some farmers will then want it – once your market is 90%+ the GM variety will you still stand by the claim that nobody wants it?

  13. #13 JoanP
    February 3, 2011

    I cannot speak for the United States but as a Canadian I am very concerned with GMO’s. Their widespread contamination has closed some of our lucrative export markets (Flax and Canola) and hurt many many of our farmers which is why our government is now in the third reading of Bill C-474. This bill would force a thorough economic analysis to be done prior to the introduction of any GM crop or seed.

    Megan Leslie (Halifax, NS) states it best when she said:

    “Bill C-474 is an amazingly straightforward bill. In just 52 words it asks simply that the government consider the export market impact of any new genetically modified seeds to be introduced to the market before allowing their cultivation. This is the same request that farmers have been making for years. I would urge the House to consider carefully what they have to say and what is at stake with this bill.

    As the government knows, in September 2009, inspectors in the European Union discovered that an illegal genetically modified seed strain, CDC triffid, had contaminated Canadian flax exports. European countries promptly began recalling and quarantining Canadian flax. Prices plummeted and Canada lost 60% of its export market overnight. This ban hit our farmers hard, and they are still paying for the testing and cleanup after this international scandal.

    More and more countries moved to adopt laws that limit the use of genetically modified foods. The export market for Canadian crops will continue to shrink unless we change the way that we do agriculture. For example, the countries that make up 82% of our export market for wheat have already said that if Canada begins cultivating genetically modified wheat products, the result will be a disastrous total boycott of all Canadian wheat, whether it is genetically modified or not.

    Farmers obviously do not want to grow a crop that no one will buy. This is why it is critical that any assessment of new genetically modified seeds in Canada be considered in light of the impact they will have on our export market. Canadian farmers are clear that this is something they want. Given the potential consequences of another international contamination scandal, I really have to ask why the government is so adamantly opposed to the bill.

    When talking about genetically modified foods and seeds, it is also important to talk about the alternatives, things like small scale and organic farming. Far too often we forget about these other options. Perhaps that is because among our largest crops, genetic contamination is so widespread that it is not even possible to grow organically, as in the case of the canola crop in Manitoba.

    Transnational conglomerates such as Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta and Bayer have been incredibly vocal in promoting themselves and their GMOs as the answer to problems such as world hunger and unpredictable crop yields due to environmental changes, all the while ensuring that their corporate bottom lines are priority number one.

    Here are some important facts to consider: Eighty-seven per cent of the world’s countries are GMO free. Over 90% of the arable land on this earth is GMO free. Over 99.5% of the world’s farmers do not grow GMO products. In the United States, despite 20 years of research and 14 years of commercialization, GMO products have not significantly increased crop yields.

    Let us be honest, GMO crops will not be the solution to things like world hunger, and the reckless use of genetic modification has the potential to do far more harm than good, both abroad and here in Canada.

    Countries around the world are increasingly becoming aware of this, and that is why the market is actually turning against GMOs. The transnational corporations are aware of this turn, and that is why they vehemently oppose this market assessment of their product.

    With the Conservative Party on side with these agricultural mega companies, I have to ask, whose interests is our government looking out for, those of the farmers or the conglomerates?

    I would like to highlight some encouraging thoughts. While changing climates, drought and disease continue to plague farmers and their crops, exacerbating a global hunger pandemic that afflicts more than one billion people on earth, there are signs that important progress is being made without the need for genetic modification and unconscionable agribusiness practices.

    One of the most important steps to improving crop yields was achieved as long ago as 1961. It was in that year that Norman Borlaug perfected dwarf wheat, a cultivar of wheat that did not topple over under the weight of its stocks, spoiling its yield. The results were staggering. By 1963 the wheat harvest was six times larger than it had been 20 years earlier. Literally millions of lives were saved. For his work he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1970. Even today his cultivars continue to be the staple food of millions of people worldwide, and all of this was accomplished without GMOs.

    There are more success stories.

    In Japan scientists have developed a drought resistant rice crop. In South Africa and the Philippines there are drought resistant maizes. The United States just developed an allergen-free peanut. In Kenya iron fortified corn has slashed the rates of childhood anemia.

    All of these cultivars are making a real difference in the lives of millions of people worldwide, and all of them were done using traditional botanical graftings and selection processes, not genetic modification.

    These very same botanical processes have been used for centuries. They were used to turn an ancestral inedible weed into what today we call cabbage, kale, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

    Genetic modification has been proven to be wildly ineffective in delivering on its own promises. As more and more countries enact laws to ban their import, the economic risks for countries continuing to produce GMOs will continue to rise. Bill C-474 proposes simply that before new genetically modified seeds are introduced in Canada, the government must consider those risks.

    Canadian farmers deserve protection from GMO contamination and from the catastrophic effects it could have on our export markets. We should not be bowing to the wishes of the transnational conglomerates that know that the market is turning away from their repressive products and practices.

    Today I call on the House to vote in favour of Bill C-474 and enshrine in law measures that would ensure that farmers and consumers, not Monsanto, are at the heart of our food and seed strategy.

    In closing, an issue like this is so important for farmers, for consumers and for Canada that it deserves more debate. Therefore, I move:

    That, when the order for the consideration of Bill C-474 is next called, the time provided for the consideration of any remaining stages of the Bill be extended, pursuant to Standing Order 98(3), by a period not exceeding five consecutive hours.”

    http://openparliament.ca/bills/2161/

    ————-

    Of course Monsanto and the other large biotechnology companies have been lobbying like crazy trying to block this motion. They know if this bill passes it will be the end of GM wheat and GM alfalfa in Canada (two products which our farmers do not want or need). I can only hope common sense prevails in the House of Parliament and the Canadian Government finally does something to protect our farmers.

  14. #14 Ewan R
    February 2, 2011

    Ewan R – I take it telling the TRUTH about Monsanto and their toxic products is beyond you?

    How about, rather than throwing about rhetoric without thinking you actually read the discussion you’re jumping in at the end of? For an analysis of the paper you’ve now twice linked to press release of go read my #114 of this very thread (kinda how I know you haven’t made the remotest effort to do anything other than come in here screaming that the sky is falling) which covers the paper you’re so hot under the collar about (as an aside this is a paper by a guy who is now on record as having stated that French students shouldn’t be doing biology practicals but instead should be learning stuff, which is of itself completely insane and shows a fundamental lack of understanding about science) – oddly I can’t find anything about brain weight in the seralini paper at all (other than that it was measured – I’d guess if it was different the paper would have perhaps mentioned it)- but then given the source you cite (abject nonsense) it isn’t surprising that on top of erroneous things that are in the paper erroneous things pulled out of the authors posterior are also included. (the numbers of differences listed doesnt resemble the paper at all – I presume a random number generator was involved)

  15. #15 JohnR
    February 1, 2011

    Ewan R – I take it telling the TRUTH about Monsanto and their toxic products is beyond you? Frankly, I don’t know how you can look at yourself in the mirror and f*ing sleep at night!

    http://www.mathaba.net/news/?x=556517
    ——

    Rats that were fed GM maize showed significant differences in measurements, as well as significant weight differences compared to those fed with normal maize. Almost 70 statistically significant differences were observed and reported – 12 for hematology parameters, 18 for clinical chemistry parameters, nine for urine chemistry parameters, six for the organ weights (brain, heart, liver), 14 for body weights and body weight changes, and eight for food consumption.

    The most alarming was the DIMINISHED BRAIN SIZE [guess this explains Ewan R’s problem!]

    Scientists warned that this was a danger warning for growing children.

  16. #16 Ewan R
    January 31, 2011

    John R – I take it reading the actual reply thread is beyond you? Seralini has already been covered.

  17. #17 John R
    January 31, 2011

    Who can we trust to tell us the truth about genetically modified foods? Obviously NOT MONSANTO!

    A study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences asserts three tested varieties of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn can cause organ failure, calling for further research.

    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/285594#ixzz1CdR7VdTI

  18. #18 capsiplex
    January 29, 2011

    Likewise, not everyone on the internet lives in China, Europe, Africa, India, etc., or works for Monsanto, DuPont, Cargill, etc. However, like watching the weather channel to know whether to bring an umbrella, the world is getting smaller and it would be a disservice to myself and those around me if I did not take a moment to know the world around me. Unless, of course, I have, and insist upon, one world view to foist on the world around me.

  19. #19 Hinemoana
    January 29, 2011

    @ Ken

    I apologise. I’m not a very funny person in real life as it is, and it’s always herder to make jokes online.

    I didn’t mean my comment on not watching US politics stuff in a bad way. It was just a light joke on how those things are often assumed. Maybe if you picture it said in the sarcastic newsy tone the onion uses? Ah, well, never mind… joke fail.

    @Hannah

    Speaking of jokes. Is that supposed to be one?

  20. #20 Hannah
    January 28, 2011

    “The sons of men in those days took from the cattle of the earth, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and taught the mixture of animals of one species with the other, in order therewith to provoke the Lord; and God saw the whole earth and it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon earth, all men and all animals.” Jasher 4:18

    ————–

    …. and then came the Great FLOOD!

  21. #21 Ken
    January 27, 2011

    @ Hinemoana (194)

    “Not everyone on the internet lives in the USA and watches the State of the Union address.”

    Likewise, not everyone on the internet lives in Africa, Australia, China, Europe, India, etc., or works for Cargill, DuPont, Monsanto, etc. However, like watching the weather channel to know whether to bring an umbrella, the world is getting smaller and it would be a disservice to myself and those around me if I did not take a moment to know the world around me. Unless, of course, I’m narcissistic and insist upon my one world view to foist on all the peoples around me. After all, what has an indigenous person living in rural India ever done for a narcissist living and working along the Mississippi, say in St. Louis, MO?

  22. #22 Ken
    January 27, 2011

    @ Hinemoana (194)

    “Not everyone on the internet lives in the USA and watches the State of the Union address.”

    Likewise, not everyone on the internet lives in China, Europe, Africa, India, etc., or works for Monsanto, DuPont, Cargill, etc. However, like watching the weather channel to know whether to bring an umbrella, the world is getting smaller and it would be a disservice to myself and those around me if I did not take a moment to know the world around me. Unless, of course, I have, and insist upon, one world view to foist on the world around me.

  23. #23 Hinemoana
    January 27, 2011

    @ Ken

    Oh yes, supercrabs are a perfect example of humanitarian bioengineering.

    In other news: Not everyone on the internet lives in the USA and watches the State of the Union address.

  24. #24 Ken
    January 27, 2011

    Lighten up, dudes!

    Like I said in #180, Experts agree with Dr. Lester Mordock, Bioengineered crabs pose no threat…
    http://www.theonion.com/video/experts-agree-giant-razorclawed-bioengineered-crab,14318/

    Since the end of December this blog has tumbled into a cesspool of rhetorical one-upmanship. The only thing I can conclude is that the contributing authors are well educated, have alternate world views, and would love to see the other world view tarred & feathered and thrown into the cesspool.

    Have none of you learned anything from last night’s State of the Union address. There’s no more left or right. Like bull ranchers who know when the herd of cows are either pregnant or worn, it seems the masses are finally recognized for having been well serviced as beltway ranchers set their eyes on freshman teasers in one big buller syndrome. Yes, there’s a civil love fest going on in Washington.

    I sure could use a beer for this spectator sport, but I’m fresh out.

    Peace and love to all during your respite from being serviced.

    P.S.: What happened to the love and respect for the four corners of the world?

  25. #25 Hinemoana
    January 25, 2011

    @wow

    I have nothing to do with Monsanto. As I said before, I don’t even particularly like Monsanto.

    The examples I gave of working at an observatory are not hypothetical. I work there part time while I study towards my Masters degree (focusing on plant pathology). I can’t disclose who funds my research, because I don’t know who does and I don’t care who does; all I care about is my research being true and accurate.

    In any event, all whoever-they-are really funds is the media and reagents I use. As a student I don’t get a salary. Hell, I pay fees to university, so in effect I’m paying to work.

    Urgh… I work at an observatory so that I can do even more work in a lab. The irony.

    PS: If I were a goat, I would be a doe, not a kid and certainly not a buck :-P

  26. #26 Ewan R
    January 24, 2011

    What’s terrible is your and your co-worker (here he admits it: “How does using ‘we’ (as in, I and the company I work for) in the quoted sentence” in post 175) have twisted and turned like a wriggling eel to hide your personal investment in GMOs

    Reading comprehension fail squared here.

    Firstly Hinemoana clearly isn’t a coworker of mine (the bit about working at an observatory may have clued you in, I’m going to go out on a limb and state that Monsanto doesn’t operate any observatories)

    Secondly how have I hidden any personal investment I may have? I clearly stated upon entering the debate exactly who I worked for, full disclosure.

  27. #27 Wow
    January 24, 2011

    No, ewan, it was a great and accurate analogy.

    What’s terrible is your and your co-worker (here he admits it: “How does using ‘we’ (as in, I and the company I work for) in the quoted sentence” in post 175) have twisted and turned like a wriggling eel to hide your personal investment in GMOs.

    Since the title of this piece asks: who can we trust when it comes to genetically engineered crops”, the answer is “not you two”.

  28. #28 Hinemoana
    January 21, 2011

    “OK, but this conversation has nothing to do with abattoirs.”

    Yep, you ARE willfully misinterpreting me. Or, at least, completely ignoring the relevant part of my argument (that you can’t assume that someone agrees with everything their employers do/say) in favor of mocking the one sentence directly aimed at your silly analogy.

    “You seem to be unable to think. Try cutting down on the GMOs, they’re rotting your brain.”

    Finally, a relevant argument! Do you have any (non-anecdotal) evidence that eating GMOs ‘rots’ people’s brains? Would any consumed GMO cause rotting, or only certain varieties of GMO? And what would you define as ‘rotting’?

  29. #29 Ewan R
    January 21, 2011

    I was applying what is known as “an analogy”. You seem to be unable to think.

    Its an utterly terrible analogy, breathtakingly bad in fact.

  30. #30 Wow
    January 21, 2011

    “I’m beginning to think you are wilfully misinterpreting me. My question was a direct response to vegans working in abattoirs. ”

    OK, but this conversation has nothing to do with abattoirs. Your elver-like wriggling is increasingly desperate to gish gallop your way around the problem.

    YOU Re: “Nobody pays Monsanto for fertilizers (we don’t make fertilizers)” : How does using ‘we’ (as in, I and the company I work for) in the quoted sentence, give any indication of the persons views of that business sector?

    ME: You won’t find many proselytizing vegans working in an abattoir.

    YOU: Is it safe to assume then, that you have never had to make a choice between starving or working in a job you disagree with?

    I was applying what is known as “an analogy”. You seem to be unable to think. Try cutting down on the GMOs, they’re rotting your brain.

  31. #31 Hinemoana
    January 21, 2011

    @ wow

    “Are you trying to tell me that Ewan is starving and must have that job?”

    I’m beginning to think you are wilfully misinterpreting me. My question was a direct response to vegans working in abattoirs. As in, I fully expect that a vegan faced with starvation or extreme poverty might work in an abattoir if that was all that was available. I thought it was rather obvious that I didn’t think Ewan faced starvation, because my very next sentence was “of course, [the] choice doesn’t need to be so extreme”. And then I gave a less extreme choice that contradicted your assertion about what someone’s job might tell you about that person.

    “PPS I call BS on the ‘Oh, I *HAVE* to work here, even though I don’t like all the things they’re doing (which I’m not going to say, so take my word on it, m’kay?)’”

    (Just in case that is partly aimed at my assertion that people often work for companies where they don’t agree with all their policies and decision) I didn’t go into specifics about what I disagree with at the Observatory because 1) some of the information is confidential/irrelevant to the public/I shouldn’t know myself, and 2) its rather irrelevant to the discussion. I can give an example if you really want; though I hardly think disagreeing with your boss is rare.

    In any event, it appears you are trying to character assassinate Ewan. This is usually a sign that you don’t have any evidence for your arguments against GM; at least none left that haven’t been refuted here. If you DO have other arguments/evidence, please present it. Don’t get distracted by Ewan’s employer – there are others here who don’t work for Monsanto and who hold very similar views concerning GM and GMOs.

    @ Ewan
    Glad you’re still around! Monsanto has just scored a small number of brownie points.

  32. #32 Ewan R
    January 20, 2011

    You mean to tell me that monsato is the only company that would hire you? You’ve got to be pretty damn awful to manage that.

    My prior job had crappy health insurance, my wifes job had no health insurance, other jobs I’d applied for in the area had not so great health insurance – had I actually landed a job as a research associate at possibly Wash U or SLU then perhaps I’d have had both the health insurance and the employer support to make it through a major health crisis without going bankrupt (never did get called in for interview however – I guess my phone interview technique lacked finesse) – you’re clearly pretty much sub human however to assume that people have to be pretty damn awful to land in a job situation where almost dying and ending up on a $1500 a month medication, real classy.

    one reason why your health bills are so high are because of drug patents

    One reason the medication that I take exists is because of drug patents. Probably the main reason I survived is because of drug patents – it’s more that the health system in the US is utterly horrible and set up to punish those without the means to buy good health that keeps healthcare prices high – utterly different debate but drug patents exist in the UK also and I’d have been treated, medicated and sent on my way for the equivalent of ~$15 a month and no hospital fee – as things stand I would have been billed well over $40,000, probably lost my job, and been lumped with the choice of higher risk of cancer, relapse and all that good stuff or paying $1500 a month for medication – to argue that this is because of drug patents is ignorant of how healthcare can and does operate elsewhere.

    I call BS on the “Oh, I *HAVE* to work here, even though I don’t like all the things they’re doing (which I’m not going to say, so take my word on it, m’kay?)”

    I’ve made no such claim (other than the health insurance thing I don’t HAVE to work for Monsanto, I was merely talking hypotheticals and thinking it rather amusing that Hinemoana’s own hypothetical had a grain of truth to it) – to not buy that people may not like all their employers actions in some situations and may not want to talk on a public forum about exactly why also illustrates a spectacular lack of knowledge about both people and a lot of corporate folk (I’m often surprised that many people fear disclosing who they work for lest their opinions come back and bite them on the ass – I count myself as lucky in having an employer who encourages rather than punishes participation (so long as you give the general disclaimer that I periodically throw out there)

  33. #33 Wow
    January 20, 2011

    Uh, actually it IS pretty far from the truth.

    You mean to tell me that monsato is the only company that would hire you? You’ve got to be pretty damn awful to manage that.

    PS one reason why your health bills are so high are because of drug patents.

    PPS I call BS on the “Oh, I *HAVE* to work here, even though I don’t like all the things they’re doing (which I’m not going to say, so take my word on it, m’kay?)”

  34. #34 Ewan R
    January 19, 2011

    Are you trying to tell me that Ewan is starving and must have that job?

    Amusingly this isn’t massively far from the truth – I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t have this job (or at least one with a company that treats employees as well as Monsanto does) I’d have gone bankrupt due to health issues (or died) a little over a year ago – my previous job had horrible health insurance and very poor employee relations regarding health. Although this has absolutely bugger all to do with why I get involved in debates about GMOs – I do that because I enjoy it, and because it’s been a subject I’ve been passionate about since before I graduated from high school.

    Although this is completely aside from the rather unimportant sub issue under discussion here – what does it matter whether one finds proselytizing vegans working in abbatoirs? (I don’t find it an impossibility given the state of the economy, but I don’t particularly see what arguement you think you’re making – do I get fired up about GMOs because I work for Monsanto, or did I end up working for Monsanto because I’m the sort of person who gets fired up about GMOs? And does it matter? If all you have against my arguements is my employer and my motivation rather than dealing with the substance of what I say then claiming any sort of victory is entirely silly (pretty sure it can be categorized as an Ad Hominem arguement).

    You also don’t get to claim a victory on one point by misrepresenting what Hinemoana said on a completely unrelated point and asserting that as one piece was a stretch therefore all arguements are wrong – your arguements against GMOs and general style have been questioned and challenged repeatedly resulting in naught but avoidance and goalpost shifting on your own behalf – perhaps one might assert somewhat more fairly that as you’ve utterly failed to explain your points, answer questions, or acknowledge either responses to your questions or failings in your reasoning that in terms of the arguement between you and the pro-GM side of the debate the only way you could claim to have been proven right is to either drastically redefine the meaning of proven, or the meaning of right – so long as one of the words is redefined as its exact opposite your statement is correct.

  35. #35 Wow
    January 19, 2011

    Are you trying to tell me that Ewan is starving and must have that job?

    How is he managing to connect to the internet then?

    When those pushing GMO as lovely have to reach that hard to defend themselves, I’ve pretty much been proven right.

  36. #36 Hinemoana
    January 15, 2011

    @ wow

    “You won’t find many proselytizing vegans working in an abattoir.”

    Is it safe to assume then, that you have never had to make a choice between starving or working in a job you disagree with? Of course, choice doesn’t need to be so extreme. I disagree with a whole lot of how my employers run the observatory/planetarium I work at and how science is presented and marketed to laypeople in general, but I still work there for a whole variety of reasons.

    Just as the facts that I work for an observatory/planetarium and readily promote telescope use does not mean I think all ‘astrobusiness’ is great, Ewan working for Monsanto and being pro-GM doesn’t mean he thinks all agribusiness is great.

    “I don’t get it. You complain about me getting hints that Ewan wants GM because his job depends on it because he says “We [Monsanto]” but then you complain about me wanting GM dominated or controlled by for-profit organizations.”

    I apologize. I had meant the statement to be a question, which is why I told you I didn’t get it [your statement] and then asked what I thought you seemed to be saying, but wasn’t sure you meant (thus the addition of the question mark). I think neither my, nor your statements were very clear. I will try again:

    “And as for the pro-GM words, I’d believe them a lot more if the biggest push was not for crops resistant to Roundup. When it stops being pushed in the papers as “to feed the world” but pushed in the market as “profit stream”, maybe I’ll listen a little closer.”

    I expect the reason GM is pushed in the papers as a way to help feed the world in a healthier, more sustainable way, is because I, and the people I work with (i.e. people who publish papers), like GM so much for its potential to help feed the world in a healthier, more sustainable way. At the moment for-profits are the generally the only ones that can afford to release GM varieties, and only the bigger ones at that. For this reason, GM is often tangled up with big business in the minds of the public, and, apparently, yours. However, the fact that big business dominates GM release at the moment does not mean it has to, or always will, nor that profit is always mutually exclusive of humanitarian or environmental goals.

    There are already successes which hint at the potential benefits of GM, some developed by not-for-profits, some by for-profits: GM papaya in Hawaii (saving the industry), Bt crop varieties (reducing insecticide sprays and so increasing insect diversity in those fields), Roundup-ready crop varieties (allowing the use of a less-toxic herbicide and lower tillage for better soils) and Golden Rice 1 & 2 (potentially alleviating Vitamin A deficiency in millions of people around the world).

    And please, just because if think Bt and Roundup-Ready crops are beneficial when grown responsibly, do not assume I support big business.

    “Are you using organically produced straw there, kid?”

    I am neither a child nor a goat. I have no idea what you’d have against goats, so I assume you’re attempting to belittle me by calling me a child. However, this merely makes me think of you as a dottery old fogie yelling at young people; ‘in my day the only cutlery we had was a spoon! And we did just fine! None of this knife and fork nonsense!’ (Actual quote. Dads – gotta love ‘em.).

  37. #37 Ken
    January 14, 2011

    Dr. Lester Mordock and experts agree, Bioengineered crabs pose no threat…

    http://www.theonion.com/video/experts-agree-giant-razorclawed-bioengineered-crab,14318/

  38. #38 Ewan R
    January 14, 2011

    Ah well, I understand your position now. Your kids gotta get a PS3, who cares about other kids, eh?

    It has to do with why you are insistent that agribusiness is great.

    You complain about me getting hints that Ewan wants GM

    These three quotes, ostensibly related to the same thing, are a great example of shifting goalposts.

    The first statement clearly isn’t about me thinking that either GM or agribusiness is great, but is an accusation that I care about nothing but my own material wellbeing (and is supported by a quote which is entirely non-indicative of this, a quote which infact simply hints that I work for Monsanto – if this had been what you wanted to get at a far better quote would have been the one upthread where I explicitly state that I work for Monsanto – not that this would have been any more supportive of your assertions of personal greed but at least your meaning would have been somewhat clear) the second and third quotes *may* interrelate in your mind, but lets be fair, they don’t – agribusiness != GM, GM != Agribusiness. I’ve been pro-GM since well before any association with Monsanto (circa 1994 if I recall – before I even graduated from high school) and I’m not wholly for big agribusiness (particularly the parts post harvest)

    Are you using organically produced straw there, kid?

    That’s the second time (albeit related to someone else) – I have to wonder if perhaps you’re Liverpudlian? Although given the ‘right honourless idiot’ just prior to that perhaps I’m being a little charitable here.

    If GMOs are about feeding the needy and hungry, why patent it?

    Again, I’ve answered this part (not all GMs are about feeding needy and hungry, and patent protection isn’t just about making money – its possibly to patent something so as to prevent others from using it for profit while at the same time licensing it for free to those who will benefit – for products with utility in the developing and developed world patent protection offers the capactity to make a buck in the developed world (to recoup costs of development, or to buy your kids PS3s or whatnot) while giving the tech for free to the developing world.

    You’re the one who appears to be using some form of straw here – its absolutely a straw man arguement that ALL GMs are about feeding the needy and hungry – before removing the straw from your neighbours eye perhaps you should attend to the scarecrow in your own.

  39. #39 Wow
    January 14, 2011

    “I don’t get it. You’d rather GM remain dominated or controlled by for-profit organisations?”

    I don’t get it. You complain about me getting hints that Ewan wants GM because his job depends on it because he says “We [monsato]” but then you complain about me wanting GM dominated or controlled by for-profit organisations.

    May I refer the right honourless idiot to my previous answer in post #88:

    If GMOs are about feeding the needy and hungry, why patent it?

    Now, if it’s not patented, what corporation or for-profit organisation controls it?

    Answer: none.

    Are you using organically produced straw there, kid?

  40. #40 Wow
    January 14, 2011

    “How does using ‘we’ (as in, I and the company I work for) in the quoted sentence, give any indication of the persons views of that business sector?”

    Yes.

    You won’t find many proselytizing vegans working in an abattoir.

  41. #41 Ewan R
    January 12, 2011

    Wow – What Hinemoana said (see my #60 if confusion remains) – I apologize for expecting you to have paid any attention whatsoever to the conversation, my bad.

    Hinemoana – distrust is all well and good – you appear perfectly capable to distrust the company while accepting the science around their products, which imo shows a lot more integrity than denying the science because you distrust the company selling products based on that technology – no apologies are required or expected.

    I am however horrified at your horrendous views around commercial astronomy – won’t you think of the children?

  42. #42 Hinemoana
    January 12, 2011

    @ wow

    Re: “Nobody pays Monsanto for fertilizers (we don’t make fertilizers)”

    How does using ‘we’ (as in, I and the company I work for) in the quoted sentence, give any indication of the persons views of that business sector? Let alone whether that person cares about the welfare of others, or children other than their own.

    If your impression was from the greater context of your exchange with Ewan, then why quote that neutral, factual statement? It’s not like, if I said; “Nobody pays the Observatory for naming rights to stars (we don’t sell naming rights to stars)”, you would assume I’m all for the commercialisation of astronomy.

    Also…

    “And as for the pro-GM words, I’d believe them a lot more if the biggest push was not for crops resistant to Roundup. When it stops being pushed in the papers as “to feed the world” but pushed in the market as “profit stream”, maybe I’ll listen a little closer.”

    I don’t get it. You’d rather GM remain dominated or controlled by for-profit organisations? I, and the people I work with, like GM so much for its potential to help feed the world in a healthier, more sustainable way. Operative word there is POTENTIAL. At the moment, for-profits are the only ones that can really afford to release GM varieties, and only the bigger ones at that. But that doesn’t mean it has to, or will always be so.

    Anyway, (despite my distrust of Monsanto -sorry Ewan, but I’m wary of multinationals in general) I consider both round-up ready and Bt varieties more sustainable than their conventionally grown counterparts. And there’s a good amount of evidence to support this view.

  43. #43 Wow
    January 12, 2011

    “How is the statement “Nobody pays Monsanto for fertilizers (we don’t make fertilizers)” even remotely indicative of my position on agribusiness?”

    the “we don’t make fertilizers” bit.

    Duh.

    Or are we Royalty?

  44. #44 capsiplex
    January 9, 2011

    were you just picking a quote completely at random on top of completely shifting your goalposts as some sort of diversionary tactic?

  45. #45 Ewan R
    January 7, 2011

    How is the statement “Nobody pays Monsanto for fertilizers (we don’t make fertilizers)” even remotely indicative of my position on agribusiness? I was just countering your made up nonsense with the actual facts of the situation – if you’re going to rail about Monsanto’s financial interests at least get it right – if folk are buying Monsanto seed, or Monsanto pesticides (which would predominantly mean roundup) then bitch about this – however if you’re going to raise it as a concern when it has no basis whatsoever in reality (ie in Eritrea) then expect to be called on it (I’d request that you actually admit to being completely wrong (to see how this is done note my admission of epic reading failure) on the matter but would prefer you respond to other requests first so ignore this parenthetical aside)

    Or were you just picking a quote completely at random on top of completely shifting your goalposts as some sort of diversionary tactic?

  46. #46 Wow
    January 7, 2011

    It has to do with why you are insistent that agribusiness is great.

  47. #47 Ewan R
    January 7, 2011

    Ah well, I understand your position now. Your kids gotta get a PS3, who cares about other kids, eh?

    I don’t understand how this statement has anything to do with the statement you quote. You made a factually incorrect statement (or one that appeared to be incorrect, it is possible I suppose to argue you were only talking about seeds, although as described in my above post it appears that Eritreans don’t buy Monsanto seed anyway) and I called you on it – Monsanto doesn’t make fertilizers, they don’t sell fertilizers – what on Earth does you being spectacularly misinformed about the situation have to do with whether or not my kids need a PS3 (or indeed anything at all) – aren’t you the one who’s being utterly gung-ho about restricting the availability of high-tech innovation to the world’s poor? Isn’t the PS3 analogy better fitted to Westerners with their food security (PS3) sitting back in their EZ-boy recliners and proclaiming that Eritreans (who presumably don’t even have a NES to keep the kids entertained) don’t need no damned food security – there are plenty of PS3’s to go around but um, mines, and warfare! Yes!

  48. #48 Wow
    January 7, 2011

    “Nobody pays Monsanto for fertilizers (we don’t make fertilizers),”

    Ah well, I understand your position now. Your kids gotta get a PS3, who cares about other kids, eh?

  49. #49 Ewan R
    January 7, 2011

    Meh, link borked (preview fail aswell as reading fail… and no baby to blame this time… good day for me)

    Anyway – it is report 51 from http://www.drylands-group.org

    Google searching “eritrea seed suppliers” finds it close to bottom of 1st page

  50. #50 Ewan R
    January 7, 2011

    Apparently I was baffled by your parentheses – that was indeed an epic fail at reading (and given my own propensity for parentheses an unforgivable one at that!) (I suppose the excuse that I’d just woken up to feed the baby while posting that last one won’t work?)

    Although to take you up on your rather erroneous points…

    especially needed when you have to pay for fertilisers, pesticides and seed from Monsato…)

    Nobody pays Monsanto for fertilizers (we don’t make fertilizers), you don’t have to pay Monsanto for pesticides (even if you use roundup ready crops there is no requirement to actually use Roundup branded herbicides – if there was then Monsanto wouldn’t have faced a bad couple of years in terms of roundup profitability – and afaik sales of pesticides to Eritrea for example are either zero or completely negligible) and you also don’t have to pay Monsanto for seeds – there are numerous other seed producers out there and despite any claims to the contrary OP varieites and seed saving are ubiquitous in developing nations (as a side note if farmers had access to and could purchase hybrid seed the liklihood is they’d be a lot more productive and be able to eat and sell their crop – again, I doubt that Monsanto seed sales in Eritrea amounts to any great number if indeed this number is above zero

    (because Monsato won’t take wheat as payment for their chemicals, they want dollars).

    Monsanto doesn’t sell chemicals to farmers in Eritrea, and as far as I am aware doesn’t sell seed there either, so the requirement for Eritrean farmers to pay Monsanto anything is absolutely zero.

    This (assuming the link works…) states that:-

    In Eritrea, very little or almost no improved formal sector seed is used.

    (page 21) – in fact the whole linked document’s piece on Eritrea is pretty much in absolute opposition to your statements that the country can feed itself.

  51. #51 Wow
    January 7, 2011

    “Oddly Eritrea lists foodstuffs as one of its exports – one wonders how on earth they are doing this if subsidies prevent them from… doing this.”

    Reading failure of epic proportions, Ewan.

    Never said they couldn’t. In fact they HAVE to (because Monsato won’t take wheat as payment for their chemicals, they want dollars). However, the profit realised is so low that they have to devote more and more of their land to cash crops, leaving less and less for feeding the population.

    EPIC fail on reading there, produced by your absolute need to push GM crops.

  52. #52 Ewan R
    January 7, 2011

    I did. you know what? I found out this was not the case:

    Explain then the ubiquitous use of GMOs in nations which accept their growth (there are naturally a few exceptions such as Spain, but on the whole GMOs predominate the markets in which they are sold) – over periods longer than 5 years no less.

    Go back again in five years, kid.

    Really? Kid? I thought I was supposed to be the condescending jackwagon in debates about GMOs, clearly I misread my contract.

    Eritrea has enough growth in food to manage to feed all its people.

    Even if this were the case (it may or may not be – I shall attempt to look into it as time allows) this says practically nothing about worldwide need for food – if one country has enough this says nothing about others – given that the CIA world factbook pegs agricultural employment at 80% in Eritrea I’m going to work on the assumption that the agricultural sector their isn’t exactly working optimally.

    War means that much of the land is mined, many adult males are in the army or retired medically (or dead).

    Clearly the land being mined poses issues (one might think that increasing the yield on available unmined land would go a ways to countering this given the relative dangers of clearing mines compared to growing more productive crops) but your point on adult males goes somewhat over my head – afaik most developing world farmers are female anyway, short of being a point to illustrate they’re in a shitty situation I’m not sure what exactly you’re getting at (given your relative inability to explain what in the hell you’re going on about at any given time I shan’t push this one as you’ve left far more pressing questions completely unanswered in your quest to muddy the waters and toss around condescending nonsense)

    Farm subsidies in the first world mean that third world cash crops cannot fetch the profit needed to sell on the markets

    Oddly Eritrea lists foodstuffs as one of its exports – one wonders how on earth they are doing this if subsidies prevent them from… doing this. It’s almost as if they’re making less money than they could because they can’t bring enough to market – not because they can’t bring anything to market.

  53. #53 Wow
    January 7, 2011

    “Any arguement around there being enough food produced seems to utterly hinge on bulk transcontinental transportation of food”

    Wrong.

    YOU may consider that, but it’s not the case.

    Eritrea has enough growth in food to manage to feed all its people.

    War means that much of the land is mined, many adult males are in the army or retired medically (or dead).

    Farm subsidies in the first world mean that third world cash crops cannot fetch the profit needed to sell on the markets (especially needed when you have to pay for fertilisers, pesticides and seed from Monsato…) and foodstock to feed the family at the same time, so food is scarce to raise cash to go outside the country to the first world.

  54. #54 Wow
    January 7, 2011

    “Why not ask thousands of farmers.”

    I did. you know what? I found out this was not the case:

    “Y’know, the ones who’ve adopted GM technologies and ended up making more money.”

    Go back again in five years, kid.

  55. #55 Ewan R
    January 6, 2011

    That new cultivars are available isn’t creating a new organism

    Neither is inserting a single gene – Zea mays with one, two, or twenty inserted genes is still Zea mays arguing that they are different (I presume you mean species rather than organism… given that all the offspring of one plant are certainly different organisms to it) is just silly and ignores utterly that individuals within a species can have pretty significantly different genomes while still being the same sort of organism (gene duplications, varying transposon numbers etc etc)

    Nature IS providing them enough food.

    Even if agriculture in general was providing enough food “nature” categorically is not – agriculture, even organic, != nature – total category error (seems to pervade all your posts)

    HUMANS are preventing the food from getting there

    Any arguement around there being enough food produced seems to utterly hinge on bulk transcontinental transportation of food – this is an untenable solution as it offers absolutely zero food security and essentially leaves states receiving a net import of food (for survival) at the whim of states which are net exporters (the way the world works now this would categorically increase the stranglehold that the west has on the rest of the world) – it’s all well and good espousing such a view when you have the luxury of living in a nation which has a high degree of food security – not so much if you have to depend on others for food rather than being given the opportunity to grow your own.

    As it is, cross breeding STILL only moves the genome to the nearest available state, not a completely inaccessible one.

    What the merry hell does this even mean? Nearest available state? You are aware no doubt that conventional breeding and mutagenesis induce far higher changes in transcription (and quite possibly in actual genome organization – jumping transposons, gene duplications etc have the capacity to change a genome far more than insertion of a piece of DNA) profile than currently commercialized GMOs?

    Ask a farmer.

    Why not ask thousands of farmers. Y’know, the ones who’ve adopted GM technologies and ended up making more money. Or explain why farmers adopt GM technology in such a widespread manner (it isn’t necessarily the case that farmers will always make more money by adopting the tech, but it is the case that where they lose money they won’t adopt, therefore it is fair to say that on average when a GM tech is utilized the farmer also benefits)

    Why not look at India and the well documented increase in income seen for GM farmers as compared to their non-GM counterparts

    Also as you’re apparently still around could you please elaborate on your accusations that pro-GMOers in this discussion are also anti-scientific in respects to AGW? It’s a point you raised a couple of times but which appears to have absolutely no merit whatsoever (or perhaps I’m missing something due to using simplistic search terms)

  56. #56 Wow
    January 6, 2011

    “@Kyle:
    The problem is, nature doesn’t work for thousands of people who starve and die daily. For whatever reason, nature just isn’t providing them food.”

    Nature IS providing them enough food.

    HUMANS are preventing the food from getting there.

    Re 142: “I can see that the large corporations taking money is true here, but the farmers who utilize the GMOs end up making more money also”

    Nope, they spend more money. North-East India they changed to non-chemical natural farming. Increased yields over the agro-chem scenario they’d been using for years and they didn’t have to pay for the fertilisers.

    Agrochem increases yields in the short term but doesn’t replace enough and so yields drop, necessitating more chemicals and a bigger spend.

    Ask a farmer.

  57. #57 Wow
    January 6, 2011

    “Growing only from stock that produces the most, or the fastest, or seems to get X disease less often, is in itself genetic modification – primitive, yes, but genetic modification all the same.”

    Wrong.

    It’s about the same as saying that flying in space is just like jumping really high.

    And re post 149: “Because you wrote that they are “already released”!”

    These plants are already released and have been for thousands of years. That new cultivars are available isn’t creating a new organism and is COMPLETELY different from GMOs.

    Please stop being so damn stupid. It burns.

  58. #58 Wow
    January 6, 2011

    “Fruits today are larger than they used to be, because of human intervention”

    Since when did we do GMO for thousands of years?

    If you’re talking about cross breeding, please come back to me when you have an insect making the beast with a number of backs with a cotton plant and we can continue discussing.

    As it is, cross breeding STILL only moves the genome to the nearest available state, not a completely inaccessible one.

    Give a go at reading my other posts then you won’t appear to be so damn stupid.

  59. #59 Ewan R
    January 4, 2011

    BWhat – thanks – that gives me a lovely warm fuzzy feeling inside.

    If only Kyle’s worldview held true I’m sure your post there would have gone a long way towards paying my mortgage this month – alas not.

  60. #60 BWhat
    January 3, 2011

    Ewan…thank you so much for engaging.

    I’ve always found it much more compelling to base my actions on that which I know (adjusted for relative confidence), rather than formulating action to address that which I don’t know. (I’m not even sure what the latter part of that proposition means.)

    You consistently stay on point, withstanding the smell-test of reasonableness. (Common sense, as is yours, is uncommon.)

    This is early schooling for me in recent issues of crop engineering, and I don’t have a technical contribution to the discussion. But in addition to having been a silent reader, I want you to know that I (and presumably many others) feel better informed for this debate and mainly your disciplined interchange with others. As they say, this is a difference of “world views”. Given one world, I prefer a view based on observation (and characteristics of repeatability) rather than speculation. I also prefer action that incorporates a healthy measure of risk commensurate with the unavoidable levels that come with this that is [to me the unlikely] predicament of being alive, probably mortal, in the observed universe.

    Indeed, application of the scientific method is our best foot forward, even if somewhat unsure, surely much surer than any other. It seems, at least, a way to elucidate details of this world on which we _can_ agree.

    Thanks again.

  61. #61 çilingir
    December 31, 2010

    Growing only from stock that produces the most, or the fastest, or seems to get X disease less often, is in itself genetic modification – primitive, yes, but genetic modification all the same.

  62. #62 gainmax
    December 31, 2010

    Otherwise, what do you think we’ve been doing to plants for thousands of years? Fruits today are larger than they used to be, because of human intervention. The banana exists purely because of human intervention (and requires humans for its continued existence).

  63. #63 maç izle
    December 30, 2010

    I read this blog pretty often, based just on the titles that I find at ScienceBlogs, and I am consistently pleased with the writing quality that I find here.

  64. #64 Ewan R
    December 29, 2010

    Calling Jeffrey Smith a “goof ball” shows how immatureinsightful you are

    fixed it for you. Seriously the man believes (or believed to be charitable) that meditation by one group of people would bring down crime rates. Oh, and that he could fly. Goofball is right on the money.

    If you are not a scientist (ie. on your level) you are an idiot and could not possibly know what you are talking about?

    I think it’s more along the lines of if you think you can fly and that transcendental meditation reduces crime then you’re an idiot – combined with the if you think you know science but instead pull it out of your ass you’re an idiot. But then that could just be my take.

    Why mention a likely made up study of a teenager feeding GM potatoes

    Because it illustrates the Smith is not only a goofball but is either a complete fool or someone who believes his target audience are complete fools – don’t you feel that his inclusion of this piece as a major line of evidence against GM crops is somewhat suspect? (I can imagine there might be a certain amount of furor if Pam for instance aired the claim that GM crops cured what ailed you and had extended the life of someone she knows personally by 50 years – it’d, y’know, be worth mentioning)

    and not the recent studies by Russian scientist showing GM soy sterlized third generation hamsters (vs. organic and non-GM soy)?

    Still to see the citation for this one in the scientific literature – please furnish post-haste (as it sounds utterly made up – if these results were a true reflection of the effects of GM soy then one would assume that animal handlers in labs across the globe (most of whom keep meticulous records and feed chow which indubitably contains GM soy) would have noted a marked decline in fertility of at least hamster lines used in experimentation and likely in at least all rodent lines utilized – after all there has been the potential for way more than 3 generations since the introduction of GMOs and their widespread use – it’s a wonder that all lab animals aren’t utterly infertile and furry of cheek by now, well, it isn’t, as the russian study you mention holds about as much water as invented tales of teenage experimentation)

  65. #65 Nick
    December 28, 2010

    Calling Jeffrey Smith a “goof ball” shows how immature you are, a brilliant scientist and all. Since Mr. Smith is not a scientist, and repeating that point again and again, what are you saying? If you are not a scientist (ie. on your level) you are an idiot and could not possibly know what you are talking about? So an intelligent person who studies your work and agrees with you must be an idiot too since they are not a scientist? Any pro-GM consumer advocate is irrelevant? Is that why Dr. Hansen is not mentioned in your blog? Why mention a likely made up study of a teenager feeding GM potatoes (were they even on the market that a teen could buy?) and not the recent studies by Russian scientist showing GM soy sterlized third generation hamsters (vs. organic and non-GM soy)? What is left out of the blog is most revealing. Good luck to you.

  66. #66 supratall
    December 27, 2010

    Otherwise, what do you think we’ve been doing to plants for thousands of years? Fruits today are larger than they used to be, because of human intervention. The banana exists purely because of human intervention (and requires humans for its continued existence). Growing only from stock that produces the most, or the fastest, or seems to get X disease less often, is in itself genetic modification – primitive, yes, but genetic modification all the same. And if GM means the world can grow enough food to make sure that every person has enough to eat, I’ll happily support it.

  67. #67 canlı maç izle
    December 27, 2010

    I agree with Kyle 71. commenter “Please excuse some of my grammatical errors (they make me cringe too). Unfortunately, you can’t edit a comment after you post it.”

  68. #68 windy
    December 26, 2010

    Wow:

    Do you seriously believe no new conventional varieties of crops are being bred?

    No.
    Why do you think so?

    Because you wrote that they are “already released”!

    Kyle:

    I love nature and I love what it naturally provides.

    Like tea from naturally occurring plantations, naturally shipped halfway across the world?

  69. #69 dartigen
    December 25, 2010

    I don’t mind GM foods…but I hate it when biotech companies use them to put a stranglehold on farmers. It should be illegal to patent a gene or genetic discovery, because it’s just that – a discovery. You didn’t invent it, therefore, no patent. Otherwise, on the logic that a discovery is patentable, why can’t I patent a new species of butterfly? Or a newly-discovered island?
    That and it’s wheat genes patented today, human genes patented tomorrow. I’d rather not be sued just for existing, thanks.

    Otherwise, what do you think we’ve been doing to plants for thousands of years? Fruits today are larger than they used to be, because of human intervention. The banana exists purely because of human intervention (and requires humans for its continued existence). Growing only from stock that produces the most, or the fastest, or seems to get X disease less often, is in itself genetic modification – primitive, yes, but genetic modification all the same. And if GM means the world can grow enough food to make sure that every person has enough to eat, I’ll happily support it.

    @140: I don’t understand it either. All I can think is that it’s not profitable enough, which considering how much these biotech companies make per year shouldn’t be a worry but is for no good reason.

    @Kyle:
    The problem is, nature doesn’t work for thousands of people who starve and die daily. For whatever reason, nature just isn’t providing them food. Maybe there’s been a drought for so long that the soil is too dry to even break. Maybe there’s been a flood, and the crops drowned or were washed away. Maybe the soil has been ruined. Maybe the fields were burnt by wildfire or by war. Maybe the farmers can’t afford seed crops because last year was a bad year, and so was the year before, and the year before.
    You would do well to visit some farmers trapped in these situations and try to understand just how scary it is when the crops fail years in a row – and now there’s no food, and you have to figure out how you and your family are going to eat this year when you’ve just lost your income, much less keep your house or send them to school, in countries where there is no government benefit to put food on the table and no charities to turn to.
    Consider yourself lucky that you live in a country where organic food can be produced and you can obtain it easily – because there’s thousands of people who don’t have food, full stop.

    This is the exact attitude that results from a sheer lack of consideration for others. Sure, neither you nor I have ever felt what it’s like to live for months on barely enough food to stay alive. Neither you nor I have felt hunger pains like the starving do. Neither you nor I havelooked at a flooded or burnt or bone-dry paddock and felt true despair at the realisation that there will be no food for another year. Neither you nor I have had to dig through a rubbish heap for food, or eat mouldy bread knowing full well we’ll be sick tomorrow, but also knowing that this is the only food we’ll get today. Neither you nor I have watched someone slowly die from malnutrition, much less felt what true starvation is like. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen every goddamn hour on this lump of rock we call Earth.

    (There are many reasons that there are shortages of food in third-world countries. War, poor weather, and poverty preventing farmers from buying seed to grow are some of them. Global warming cannot be reversed, no matter how energy-efficient the human world becomes. And green technology won’t stop a drought or a flood or disease from ravaging food crops – it may make it less common, but it won’t sto altogether. Even without counting global warming, GM crops are possibly the only hope for many people in the world.
    Granted, much could be done if people were willing to change their staple diets from water-greedy rice to hardier millet, but would you be willing to go from eating bread as a staple to eating rice or potatoes as a staple? It’d be a difficult change, given how entrenched staple foods are in some cultures, and ultimately an extremely slow one.)

  70. #70 T.R.
    December 23, 2010

    10, you are so full of garbage, literally. Why would you purposely avoid real food, real farmers, real families trying to make a living, just to support a huge billion dollar company. Just ridiculous. Not to mention, you know about the large amounts of pesticides used on the GMO foods, the families ruined by these gmo crops, the large amount of evidence showing the bad effects of gmo foods, that several other whole countries can see, but somehow our few scientists and of course, Monsanto, are the only ones saying it is safe. Thank You Dr Oz, you are amazing.

  71. #71 Patrick 027
    December 22, 2010

    Re 122 ERV – Horizontal gene transfer happens all the time. Corn is ~2-3x the size it ‘should be’ because of retrotransposons alone. Adding a promoter + gene to the, what is it, 2 billion nt of corn is like a tear drop in the ocean.

    Wow, interesting. To be clear, are you saying the corn genome size is larger, or the ears of corn are larger?

    Is this largely accurate?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transposon

    Re 138 Wow –
    It also often results in no viable organism when it does happen, much like transcription errors or radiation damage to

    Well it wouldn’t surprise me. To be clear, my first knowledge of this came from an article several years ago about … as best I can recall … some bacterial gene found in the human genome – presumably it had evolved recently in the bacteria, so it couldn’t have just been present in the LCA. I’m now getting the impression that this kind of thing is not rare and many living organisms/species contain the results.

    But can this happen to any gene with significant likelihood? Ie a virus infects a host, picks up part of host’s genetic code (large enough for it’s origin to be identifiable), infects another host and transfers the genetic code from the first host? (is this how it would happen?) (And it would tend to occur among species that can be infected by the same virus, although what if can jump, via a host, to a different virus, etc., and of course, viruses (and geographic distribution) can evolve and infect other species…)

  72. #72 Ken
    December 22, 2010

    -

    Holler back if you would like some tea.

    Kyle, sounds like great tea. A heads up on sending any to the GE community. They may map its genome, change one link, patent it, and drive The Republic of Tea out of business.

    To all GE advocates, what have you got against full disclosure and giving consumers the right to choose?

    Could it be the light of day will…
    …narrow your job prospects?
    …jeopardize the all-knowing montra of BIG-government/corporation?
    …reveal people prefer choices?
    …create a control group that proves you could be wrong?

    One word, LABEL!
    -

  73. #73 Kyle DO ND
    December 22, 2010

    . . . clearly this means I lied utterly when I claimed to be in R&D and not PR . . .

    Well, I don’t know if you truly work in R&D, and I don’t know if you really work for Monsanto, but I do know one thing from this discussion. You are a Monsanto PR machine.

    You don’t know if I am a Doctor or not, nor do you need to. However, it should be obvious that I am a human being. A human being that sees past your rediculous, nonsensical rebuttals.

    Do I read your comments at any length anymore? Nope. I skim a few words, but then the terrible headache sets in from the BS.

    You know what, I am going to have a cup of organic (gasp) green tea and go to bed. It’s from a company called The Republic of Tea and I drink it not only because it’s organic, but because according to me, they are the best tea leaves god has ever delivered.

    Ewan, I can send you some if you want. It makes good cold tea as well. I’m not usually a fan of unsweetened tea, but it tastes good unsweet or sweet. I like it unsweetened, which is odd since I can’t stand unsweetened tea from any other source.

    Just in case you are being toxified by your GMO food (I am not saying that you are), green tea has excellent antioxidant benefits. The L-Theanine nature provided may also help you relax a bit about this discussion. There is some caffeine, so I know the relaxation part may seem a bit counterintuitive.

    I love nature and I love what it naturally provides. Notice how similar those words are. In the summer I grow herbs and vegetables. The bugs here do go after the plants, but I haven’t needed roundup and I haven’t needed to genetically modify the plants. Strange enough, garlic spray seems to to the trick, and it does it well! Odd, eh?

    I’m done here chaps. Holler back if you would like some tea.

  74. #74 Anonymous
    December 21, 2010

    I just don't envision the sort of global conspiracy that'd be required to have every reg agency in corporate pockets as being remotely based on reality.

    Global conspiracy is a lot to bite off and believe. Let’s just start with this simple truth, conspiracy has just one partner; greed. It doesn’t matter that ‘A’ doesn’t care what ‘B’ wants, so long as ‘B’ knows and delivers what ‘A’ wants in exchange for what ‘B’ wants. It’s that simple. Nothing complicated about it.

  75. #75 Ewan R
    December 21, 2010

    It’s somewhat weird to me that many people pushing for GMOs are ones who take climate science as a scam for making money

    The only other direct reference I’ve seen to AGW was one equating anti-GMO with AGW denialism – where is the AGW denialist who is pro-GM here? (I’m being a tad lazy here)

    The difference being that GMOs make large companies pots of money that goes mostly to the rich and takes mostly from the poor to do so

    I can see that the large corporations taking money is true here, but the farmers who utilize the GMOs end up making more money also – who exactly is it that the companies are taking money from here (keeping in mind that no farmer is going to pay for a GMO which reduces their income)

    Another weird one is another poster who PREFERS that those vested in medical science and the government REFUSE to listen to the people when it comes to GMOs but, when it comes to AGW, government MUST “show the controversy” and MUST NOT demand without 100% consensus

    Again – who/where is this? I’ve been the loudest here saying that un/antiscientific views shouldnt be taken into account on the topic of GMO safety – I’d extend exactly the same opinion to AGW deniers and policy on AGW – their opinion should no more be taken into account than that of any other deranged screaming loon.

    I’ve not yet seen a good answer to this one:

    I made a stab at it @ 92

    Anyone? There’s money in Oxfam et al. Enough to pay for research and testing, and NOBODY gets to take their money with them when they go.

    So your saying Oxfam et al should invest hundreds of millions in GMO research rather than covering the charity aspect they cover? Or that there should be an estate tax imposed on all and sundry to fund GM research? You also appear to be conveniently ignoring the vast amount of work that gets done on GMOs outside of corporate science – I’m trying to remember any of the names but for some reason the name of the owner of this blog escapes me. (I still get the feeling anyone working in the public should patent their inventions if only to prevent them being utilzed by big business without some sort of compensation – patents work both ways and I see no reason that the inventor of an idea which is commercially viable shouldnt profit from it (or that a non-profit organization who did invent a new trait shouldnt be able to fund themselves from licensing of the trait while at the same time providing it pro-bono to the areas that most need it (for example if a non-profit/public sci program was to develop a drought tolerance gene which worked in Africa and in the US in corn for instance – why not provide to African farmers free of charge and then market it in the US to farmers in drought prone areas – funnel the proceeds back into R&D or disbursment of seed in Africa)

    why should I trust his science to the gatekeeper of published studies?

    What exactly are you railing against here? The peer review process? What exactly is your alternative? Just because you have some examples from the past where corporate science has misrepresented itself this doesn’t mean it always will(particularly as there are independant studies on GMOs which show no evidence of harm and substantial equivalence) – indeed I’d argue that the debacle with smoking in particular is something which led to more stringency by regulatory agencies – current commercialized varieties not only have to be approved in the US but also in every major export market – failure to secure reg approval across multiple agencies globally would lead to failure of the product – I just don’t envision the sort of global conspiracy that’d be required to have every reg agency in corporate pockets as being remotely based on reality.

    You claim you are not paid to flood the internet in Monsanto speak. I truly wonder as you seem to always want to have the last word.

    (etc)

    I do apologize Kyle, for actually being interested in the debate/discussion and having an attention span slightly longer than a mayfly, clearly this means I lied utterly when I claimed to be in R&D and not PR, although it does raise the question as to why my lie wasn’t somewhat better constructed, how easy it would be for instance to be an utter coward and formulate a name and persona purely for this discussion with no prior history of online debate, how easy it would have been for instance to pretend to be a biologist turned farmer who loves Monsanto products etc etc. I have utterly no reason to make up what I do – I’ve fully dislosed my conflict of interest in the discussion – if you’re going to go after my professional affiliation rather than my actual arguements then so be it – you wont be the first person on the internet devoid of anything meaningful to say resorting to Ad Hominem bullshit and I’m pretty sure you won’t be the last.

  76. #76 Ken
    December 21, 2010

    Ewan,

    While my brother is a great scientist and well meaning, why should I trust his science to the gatekeeper of published studies? History is replete with evidence of people led astray by a gatekeeper.

    Just as a patronage government stood by and watched religious leaders persecute Nicolas Copernicus’ science, a patronage government stood by and watched lobotomist, Walter J. Freeman freely pursue his ‘science’ of the day.

    On the matter of cigarettes and smoking, should we have trusted R.J. Reynolds and the compliant science of the day? As late as 1985, R.J. Reynolds ran misleading ads suggesting that a large epidemiological study had not found evidence of a link between smoking and heart disease.

    I will stop here with the examples. Manufactured ignorance is not new to science, and silent lambs do not scream until they are about to become lamb chops. Are we there yet? Must we repeat a middle-age practice of waiting until the cat is let out of the bag?

    Ewan, you may be a nice guy and well meaning, but why should I trust the gatekeepers of published studies, especially in light of history?

  77. #77 Wow
    December 21, 2010

    Funal point. I’ve not yet seen a good answer to this one:

    “If GMOs are about feeding the needy and hungry, why patent it?”

    Anyone? There’s money in Oxfam et al. Enough to pay for research and testing, and NOBODY gets to take their money with them when they go.

  78. #78 Wow
    December 21, 2010

    > Should I trust the Monsanto studies and the studies the Monsanto website links to?

    Ex Cathedra, no.

    > Could there be study selection bias?

    It’s been well documented in the past.

    > Do you think bias or conflicts of interest could influence the outcome of certain studies?

    It’s all been well documented in the past.

    > Or is everything just pure science?

    Facts are pure facts. What we do with them isn’t.

    > Can science be debatable?

    You have to know enough to debate it, but what does that have to do with wanting GMOs? Or, worse, wanting them unlabeled?

    When pots of money are on the line, a capitalist system will corrupt the process. Just as when government control is on the line, a communist system will corrupt the process.

    Pots of money in selling the crack cocaine of GMOs and pots of money in the avoidance of AGW mitigation.

  79. #79 Wow
    December 21, 2010

    > although lateral gene transfer appears to have happened naturally last I heard (I recall it’s thought to be accomplished by viruses), presumbably it’s not a high frequency event (?).

    It also often results in no viable organism when it does happen, much like transcription errors or radiation damage to genetic codes.

    It’s somewhat weird to me that many people pushing for GMOs are ones who take climate science as a scam for making money (see above quote for an additional level of weirdness when this is taken for AGW to mean the scientists can’t be trusted) and don’t believe that models make any prediction at all, yet here we have a basic idea and keep whacking the round peg of insect genes into various shapes of hole in plant genes until we get it to stick.

    Another weird one is another poster who PREFERS that those vested in medical science and the government REFUSE to listen to the people when it comes to GMOs but, when it comes to AGW, government MUST “show the controversy” and MUST NOT demand without 100% consensus.

    The difference being that GMOs make large companies pots of money that goes mostly to the rich and takes mostly from the poor to do so, yet AGW mitigation makes no large corporation pots of money, taking money mostly from the rich rather than the poor.

  80. #80 Wow
    December 21, 2010

    > Given the choice between trusting someone only in it for the money, and someone crusading for the public good, I’ll take the greedy bastard every time. They have a simple goal: Money, and tend to be pragmatic about how to get it.

    Weird misanthropy here.

    So someone who will sell their grandmothers for money will be more trustworthy than someone who will help your grandmother cross the road.

    Like I said. Weird.

  81. #81 Wow
    December 21, 2010

    > Do you seriously believe no new conventional varieties of crops are being bred?

    No.

    Why do you think so?

    Or were you just strawmanning away?

  82. #82 Kyle DO ND
    December 20, 2010

    P.S. I think you are digging yourself in a hole. You better get out before you get stuck and taken in by the rabbits.

  83. #83 Kyle DO ND
    December 20, 2010

    I came back to check up on things.

    My god Ewan. You don’t stop.

    You claim you are not paid to flood the internet in Monsanto speak. I truly wonder as you seem to always want to have the last word.

    And that’s all I have to say about that. (Forrest Gump)

  84. #84 Ken
    December 20, 2010

    Hi Ewan,

    Today’s crazy and I must get back with you tomorrow or later in the week.

    Ken

  85. #85 Ewan R
    December 20, 2010

    #124

    In a departure of proponents of Tomorrow’s Table guiding philosophy of replying with facts and truth, Ewan defuses Questioning’s inquiry (see #93) over the connection between Monsanto and Blackwater with the following rhetorical question

    That wasn’t a rhetorical question. Questioning baldy stated that

    Monsanto (My Satan) has, with co-operation with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, collectively brought up half a million shares of Blackwater/Xe.

    which isn’t even supported by the article they linked. Question made a factual claim, I asked for this claim to be backed up as it appears to me to be tin foil hattery run amock.

    The remainder of your post details that Monsanto has hired the services of a company which appears to be owned by the same consortium that owns blackwater – not something I denied, I infact commented further on Questioning’s article which shows that Monsanto spent circa $100,000 p/a on the servies of TIS which I don’t believe is really enough money to hang hopes of vast conspiracies on.

    But why bother with a fact based reply when rhetoric and making stuff up serves a better purpose right?

    Ken

    In optimal test conditions, where each factor is isolated, 500m can be the case.

    Erm no, in actual tested conditions – I don’t have time to dig up the reference right now – but will do so later if required. There’s a recent paper which includes Tabachnik (sp?) as an author discussing gene flow in cotton seed production fields which pegs transfer at less than 1% due to insect mediated pollen flow which again uses real world conditions.

    Under fairly normal meteorological conditions (e.g., winds of a cold front converge on and displace a warm air mass resulting in uplift) the lift index of corn pollen allows it to travel easily 1 mile.

    In other not so unusual conditions inflicted by mother nature, corn pollen travels distances up to 3 miles. This does not even consider conditions such as those of dust storms that carry heavy particles hundreds of miles.

    None of this is particularly pertinent when discussing %age pollination of nearby fields by transgenic pollen – the pollination window of corn isn’t overly long, fields will predominantly self pollinate (as flowering time is synchronized pretty well and the amount of pollen produced is prodigious – I would suggest against walking a corn field during the VT-R1 transition if I were you – you’ll be washing the pollen off for days – although not so much if you’re a few meters from the edge of the field), for a pollen grain to even get to the silks requires getting down through the canopy (a grain that travels 3 miles or 300 miles and then lands on the flag leaf is not a concern even if it occurs during silking) which frankly is no mean feat.

    Apparently, when drafting grandiose national policies that impact all Americans it is acceptable in the pro-GMO corner (and Tomorrow’s Table?) to determine among its own peers that there is no need to invite to the negotiating table experts and seasoned policy makers that may have expertise grounded in an alternate world view.

    What does “having expertise grounded in an alternate world view” mean? To me an “alternate world view” essentially means making stuff up and pretending it’s real – if your world view isn’t grounded in science you shouldn’t be involved in making decisions which should be grounded in science.

    Here is India’s reasoned reply to alternate world views.

    Clearly that is an insane overreaction and afaik never made it as a law (I would hope not – there should, I think, be some recourse open in cases where folk decide scaremongering based on making stuff up is a good idea, but obviously the proposed legislation in that link is beyond insane)

    Concerning there is “more than one world view” and whether we “can get ahead by disregarding the will of the other three corners and points between.” Ewan states…

    The corners I was absolutely fine disregarding were all corners which espoused views which were ridiculous. Is it your assertion that ridiculous viewpoints should hold any weight whatsoever in fact based debates?

    In a free market, alternate world views are not mutually exclusive.

    Looking at your various corners I’d like to know how, in a free market, the viewpoint that god created crops as is 6000 years ago, and the viewpoint that everything has been evolving for 6 billion years are anything other than completely contradictory? (or how either of these viewpoints isn’t contradictory with established science, whether under a free market, under communism, or under the malevolant rule of Xenu)

    There is no strength in victory when the defeated remain captive. What will become of American principles of freedom and liberty? Where shall Americans with alternate views relocate? Is the answer genocide of alternate world views?

    I have no idea how any of this pertains to anything. “Genocide” really? I’m just stating that “alternative world views” have no place in a rational scientific discussion of anything – homeopaths and naturopaths don’t get to make policy decisions on medicine, young earth creationists don’t get to weigh in on evolutionary biology (or policy around the teaching thereof) – this isn’t a genocide of alternative world views, it’s just sensible.

    However, in your arguments for quashing free markets and NOT properly labeling GMOs apparently two wrongs do make a right, which seems to be supported by Tomorrow’s Table.

    Nobody is espousing quashing free markets, and I’d argue that GMOs are properly labelled – there is no precedent for labelling that which causes no harm in a mandatory manner – foods which do not contain GMOs have every right to self label and identify and thus support the free market (mandatory labelling infact appears to be totally undermining of any sort of free market mentality – particularly when a stigma is attached to the labelled product for no sound reason)

  86. #86 windy
    December 20, 2010
    I assume you’re also behind banning the release of any more conventionally bred varieties of any food crop at all because after all – we don’t know that we have nothing to fear.

    They’re already released.

    Do you seriously believe no new conventional varieties of crops are being bred?

  87. #87 Anonymous
    December 19, 2010

    Kerrie (#25). Valid points. Family farms lose and conglomerates win when full disclosure and freedom of speech is quashed in free markets. Mary (#7) bolsters this when she indicates that grant scores are often hurt when scientists evidently attempt to go around big government and industry in an attempt to educate people. The GMO industry and big government is not interested in education. Both are simply interested in procuring a monopoly.

    Richard (#28). I agree.

  88. #88 Anonymous
    December 19, 2010

    Pam Ronald writes, “The [Dr. Oz] show demonstrates yet again that as scientists, we cannot dismiss the general anxiety about genetic engineering, and the distrust of science and scientists in general. We need scientists to do [the Dr. Oz Show]. But what is the incentive?” (#2)

    Pam, your right, since the GMO industry has already defeated labeling requirements, there is no reason or incentive to overcome any criticism. The battle was won before it was even waged. Enjoy the spoils of war!

  89. #89 Ken
    December 19, 2010

    To: John C. Welch (#121) who states…

    The crazy is low in the greedy and veerrrrrrry high in the crusader.

    I agree, and in this case the crusader is the self-appointed GMO industry that places its aims above the greedy consumer.

  90. #90 Ken
    December 19, 2010

    In reply to “one needs only to look back at his/her ancestral roots and the reasons your ancestors emigrated from their indigenous countries.” Ewan states…

    “Because the promise of land stolen from other indigenous people is of course noble, moral, and right.”

    Touche. I agree, two wrongs do not make a right. However, in your arguments for quashing free markets and NOT properly labeling GMOs apparently two wrongs do make a right, which seems to be supported by Tomorrow’s Table.

  91. #91 Ken
    December 19, 2010

    P.S.: Here is India’s reasoned reply to alternate world views.

    http://www.mynews.in/print_story2.php?nid=38523

    Might Tomorrow’s Table reason the same?

  92. #92 Ken
    December 19, 2010

    Concerning there is “more than one world view” and whether we “can get ahead by disregarding the will of the other three corners and points between.” Ewan states…

    “Not all world views are equally valid.” And, “…it’s very safe to disregard the validity of [the other three] corners.”

    Concerning the deafening lack of an alternate world view at the negotiating table when GM proponents established a “consensus and determination that labeling GMO foods makes [no sense].” Ewan states…

    “The ‘consensus’ referred to is amongst experts and seasoned policy makers and not survey based.”

    Apparently, when drafting grandiose national policies that impact all Americans it is acceptable in the pro-GMO corner (and Tomorrow’s Table?) to determine among its own peers that there is no need to invite to the negotiating table experts and seasoned policy makers that may have expertise grounded in an alternate world view.

    As we discussed over at Biofortified (http://www.biofortified.org/2010/12/watch-out-for-facts/)…. In a free market, alternate world views are not mutually exclusive. When free markets, liberty and freedom of speech are quashed, how many despots will rule the world? What war is won in a battle where the victor must carry the welfare of the defeated? There is no strength in victory when the defeated remain captive. What will become of American principles of freedom and liberty? Where shall Americans with alternate views relocate? Is the answer genocide of alternate world views?

  93. #93 Anonymous
    December 19, 2010

    In a departure of proponents of Tomorrow’s Table guiding philosophy of replying with facts and truth, Ewan defuses Questioning’s inquiry (see #93) over the connection between Monsanto and Blackwater with the following rhetorical question (see #94)

    If you can point me to where shares of blackwater were purchased by Monsanto and the B&MGates foundation I’d be happy to rescind my portrayal of your ravings as anything other than conspiracy theory gone wrong.

    A more fact-based and direct-to-the-point reply would be to refer Questioning to Monsanto’s own web page where it states that “In 2008, 2009 and early 2010, Monsanto engaged Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS) to provide Monsanto’s security group with reports about activities or groups that could pose a risk to the company, its personnel or its global operations.”

    TIS is owned by The Prince Group, a holding company that owns Blackwater Worldwide (now known as Xe). Erik Prince (b. 1967) personally financed the formation of Blackwater Worldwide in 1997. The companies of the Prince Group offer intelligence
    services such as risk analysis to companies and governments.

    This past Friday, December 17, 2010, USTC Holdings, LLC, an investor consortium led by private equity firms Forté Capital Advisors (“Forté”) and Manhattan Partners (“Manhattan”), announced that it has acquired Xe Services, LLC (“Xe” or the “Company”) and its core operating subsidiaries.

    Q: Are fact-based replies becoming too troublesome for Tomorrow’s Table? Must we digress to rhetorical questions that miss the point and are absent any facts for purposes of diffusing discussions that counter proponents of Tomorrow’s Table?

  94. #94 Ken
    December 19, 2010

    Ewan writes, “…pollen from GM plants isn’t likely to hit [non-GM] plots unless you’re a spectacularly bad farmer and the very poor transmission of for instance corn pollen (less than 1% contamination beyond 500m or so if I recall correctly) etc makes this a non-issue at best”

    In optimal test conditions, where each factor is isolated, 500m can be the case. In variant conditions that you cannot control (i.e., mother nature, where multiple occurring conditions converge) this is not the case.

    Corn pollen is spherical and much larger than the pollen produced by most grasses (Burris, 2002; Gray, 2003). Corn pollen is among the largest particles found in the air.

    Under fairly normal meteorological conditions (e.g., winds of a cold front converge on and displace a warm air mass resulting in uplift) the lift index of corn pollen allows it to travel easily 1 mile.

    In other not so unusual conditions inflicted by mother nature, corn pollen travels distances up to 3 miles. This does not even consider conditions such as those of dust storms that carry heavy particles hundreds of miles.

  95. #95 ERV
    December 19, 2010

    I really cant get over the fact how much comment threads, like this one, demonstrate how much we NEED someone like Pam to be given a platform to educate the public.

    @ Patrick 027– Horizontal gene transfer happens all the time. Corn is ~2-3x the size it ‘should be’ because of retrotransposons alone. Adding a promoter + gene to the, what is it, 2 billion nt of corn is like a tear drop in the ocean.

  96. #96 John C. Welch
    December 19, 2010

    Given the choice between trusting someone only in it for the money, and someone crusading for the public good, I’ll take the greedy bastard every time. They have a simple goal: Money, and tend to be pragmatic about how to get it. They behave in predictable ways, and can be influenced to change how they make their money. Since they care about the ends more than the means, that makes them more open to compromise.

    A crusader has about as much chance of changing their minds, no matter what the evidence, as I do of waking up in bed with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Christina Hendricks and Angelina Jolie.

    Whilst my manservant readies my giant pool of gold coins.

    The crazy is low in the greedy and veerrrrrrry high in the crusader.

  97. #97 JH
    December 19, 2010

    Its simple. Consumers decide. Its over. Science evolves. Food evolves. Humanity evolves. Disease evolves. Thought evolves. GM evolves. Organics evolves. Plants evolve. Intelligence evolves.

    LABEL IT! Then evolve.

  98. #98 Patrick 027
    December 18, 2010

    … of course, non-GE breeding is not without risk. Killer bees.

  99. #99 Patrick 027
    December 18, 2010

    Re my 113 –

    distance in genotype space as defined with one dimension for each base pair would be equal to the square root of the number of unreversed base pair changes (including additions, deletions). So it could be large. However, a single relocation of a gene would be a very large change if the coordinate system is fixed relative to sequence along a whole set of chromosomes, when actually such a change seems much smaller in some ways, and a different n-space might be defined (the genome equivalent of natural coordinates?) where the distance in genotype space would be some rather small number (maybe 1.41 ?).

    After more thought I still have to conclude that GE is significantly different from most natural evolution and breeding, at least among most – or at least most familiar – multicellular organisms (maybe not so much bacteria? I here they swap genetic code all the time – is this interspecies, too?). Because, so far as I know, even when genes are shuffled, split and combined, or deleted or copied, it is still parts of the same gene; hybrids would provide different alleles of the same gene

    the exeption would be any hybrids where one parent contributes a gene that doesn’t match up with a gene contributed by the other parent – now it gets tricky here, because what if that ‘extra’ gene was a recent duplicate – in that case it’s not all that different from the aforementioned extra copy of a gene – the question then is how recent? Because multiple genes within a single organism can themselves have a common ancestor gene. I guess the question is how recognizable the relationship is. Does GE introduce genes which are less recognizably related to the most related relatives in the organisms with a much higher frequency than would breeding via hybrids?

    (Then there’s the interesting point that, depending on where the species come from, all the genes being put into one organisms may have had some degree of interaction in the environment. But the connections would have a different structure, of course, and the results wouldn’t be the same.)

    And that itself, taken in isolation of other facts and reasoning, wouldn’t be a reason to be against GMO, but my point is that GE may ?(depending on some things about hybrids that I don’t know) be considered signficantly different from breeding or natural evolution.

  100. #100 Ewan R
    December 18, 2010

    Big cars and rock and roll as far as I’m aware.

    And the right to wear sleeveless T-shirts of course.

  101. #101 informania
    December 18, 2010

    Government funding ey?
    So obviously you can be honest about any risks, just like Professor Nutt?

  102. #102 informania
    December 18, 2010

    Not a single instance?!
    The main reason for the existence of Bt corn is the fact that it enables the corn to harm certain elements in the environment to a certain degree.

    And it might go beyond that as well..
    For example: “Uptake of Bt endotoxins by nontarget herbivores and higher order arthropod predators: molecular evidence from a transgenic corn agroecosystem” By Hardwood, Wallin, Obrycki (2006)

    You must have meant to say: No more harm to the environment than by conventional human activity..

  103. #103 Ewan R
    December 18, 2010

    I didn’t realize things were so black and white.

    So your stance is that any given GMO can at the same time both be as safe as its non GM counterpart and not so? Note I’m not saying we know it is safe or isn’t (i’d argue we do for commercially existing lines, but that wasn’t what I was arguing here), just that in terms of reality they either are or aren’t – some opinions will turn out to be wrong, others to be right, not all are equally valid (unlike for instance whether or not a given variety of strawberry is delicious – taste is an area where all opinions are valid and none are objectively either true or false)

    In fact, I can even find evidence that GMO can be harmful:
    http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

    Erm, no, you can’t (at least certainly not in that paper) you can find that a reanalysis of data using non-traditional statistical measures can find some statistical differences in a massive data-set and that dishonest reporting of the importance of these differences is sufficient to maintain a scare around GMOs (note for instance that most of the differences in the tables are only between the GMO and isogenic line whereas not between the GMO and the 6 other reference groups (showing that even where the differences are statistically significant they arent relevant in terms of showing differences between rats fed non-GM diets containing different lines of corn) – measure enough parameters and you will find statistically significant differences with no biological meaning (~5% of the time at p less than 0.05 and 1% of the time for p less than 0.01) – given that 80 different measures were taken (x 2 sexes x 2 treatments to give 360 different measures – so you’d expect ~3 minimum at 0.01 p and 15 at p 0.05) and that 5-10 were significantly different (and those that were are probably linked not independant (is it all that surprising that if heart weight increases then so does heart as a % of brain and heart as a % of body weight? or other organ weights as % of brain/body (adrenal) interrelate (or indeed that urine phosphorous and urine phosphorous correlate… seriously check table 1 – the same parameter is listed twice, with the same significant differences, although with the values of said differences being… different.. what the deuce?)

    Regarding your “Too Late” link

    while I do tend not to shut up on issues on this thread I can’t claim the too late link as my own

    (Order 81)?

    And the foil hat is back on…

    When it comes down to it, I don’t believe we should be altering our food in the way we are doing it. Is this belief not valid? It’s really more about morals and ethics. Am I not allowed to think in such a way?

    You can think however you want, if your reasoning is based on faulty science and pulling things out of the journal of proctological science however you should expect to be called on this.

    Please, remind me, what principles does America stand for?

    Big cars and rock and roll as far as I’m aware. I don’t understand what this has to do with the debate (keep in mind as a non US citizen I find the notion that a country stands for or against certain principles as pretty absurd)

    Do you think bias or conflicts of interest could influence the outcome of certain studies?

    I think they could, I don’t think they have, given that the data from Monsanto is supported by a wealth of non-Monsanto generated data (and apparently the only study you can link to which shows harm is a study which covers the Monsanto data, so apparently you trust the source too) – why not go after the content of the studies rather than who funded them (right up until this moment here I didn’t once mention that the study you put up while not only being completely meaningless was also funded by Greenpeace, which rather puts a kibosh on your support of it if you are against science with what appears to be a conflict of interest(even more interesting there are no conflicts of interest declared in the paper despite this line being directly below the source of funding))

    On a personal level, one needs only to look back at his/her ancestral roots and the reasons your ancestors emigrated from their indigenous countries.

    Because the promise of land stolen from other indigenous people is of course noble, moral, and right. Fleeing tyranny to become tyrants does not an arguement against how the world now operates make.

  104. #104 Patrick 027
    December 18, 2010

    Re 89 Wow –

    I was thinking something along those lines myself; although lateral gene transfer appears to have happened naturally last I heard (I recall it’s thought to be accomplished by viruses), presumbably it’s not a high frequency event (?).

    Natural evolution: base pairs get miscopied, genes get shuffled, split apart, multiple copies of genes, whole chromosomes, sometimes whole genomes (bananas are triploid, right?); inheritance from parent(s), along with some epigenitic/imprinting stuff (I’m fuzzy on the details there; actually I’m fuzzy on most of the details). But the probability of stumbling onto a genome with some high correlation with a genome in a less-related species is low for long sequences. Etc. But nonetheless stumbling occurs. At some rate which, relative to ?, is not terribly fast. And humans evolve too. And some mutations in humans cause trouble for those humans. And some mutations in other organisms cause trouble for those organisms, and then we don’t have to worry so much about it. But some cause trouble for other organisms. But there’s selective pressures acting that allows species to adapt to each other and themselves, although it doesn’t always work out.

    Breeding is at first just a human molding of an otherwise natural process – unless you have hybrids from parents that would otherwise have never met, but still, if it’s possible to produce fertile offspring, it doesn’t seem so unnatural. Even if knowledge of genetics is used to make the process more efficient.

    GE/GMO is different.

    However, while there is faster evolution out from what would otherwise be more likely for next generations naturally towards some very unlikely possibility for some future generation down the road, it is only because (assuming the inserted genetic material is incorporated in the cells in a way such that it looks like the rest of the genome – although there’s also mitochondrial DNA, so maybe …) a very specific genome is being chosen. If you buy a lottery ticket, the chances are very high that you’ll have a set of numbers, and very low that they’re the ones you want. Some defenders of GMO/GE would say that it’s safer than natural evolution or more traditional or other breeding because there are not accidents – we’re getting precisely what we’re trying to get (it probably didn’t help me that I first heard this from was Jon Stossel, but a broken clock can be correct twice a day). But if we don’t know all the interactions among the genes, via epigenetics, turning on or off activity, protein-protein interactions, with other proteins from other parts of the diet, with human biochemistry, with human endosymbionts, within the ecosystem, etc. …

    (in response to the proposition that Morgellon’s might be caused by GMO’s, I had thought to suggest it might be caused by some exotic organic food getting to a human genotype that previously hadn’t had access to it – or maybe interaction between a GMO and an organic food in the presence of human genotype and some industrial chemicals – really the only thing we (well, I, non-expert on that) know is it’s not caused by asteroids – well not literally, you know what I mean)

    … It seems risky because, while it is the same as natural evolution and breeding, it still isn’t the same as natural evolution and breeding – bigger jumps that essentially couldn’t have happened (well, very low probability) naturally. It’s safer, when near a drop-off in the dark, to take small steps. On the other hand, we’re only blindfolded over one eye and the prescription in the other eye is only a little bit off. And also, the effect of changes in genotype is not linearly proportional to genotypic space. What is genotypic space, anyway. If it’s n-dimensions, one for each base-pair plus some for epigenetic stuff, then all changes cover similar distances.

    Any thoughts?

    But another thing – I think it’s possible a person could choose non-GMO food for aesthetic reasons regardless of safety and ecological concerns. Consider how it’s only Champaigne if it’s from that part of France – okay, I suppose a connoseir (tired, don’t have time to look it up) might be able to detect uniquely Champaigne soil composition and climate and ecosystems in the Champaigne (?), but you know what I mean…

    (PS I’m a complete non-expert here, and new to this blog. Just wanted to post something in response to the – it’s just like breeding – no it’s not argument; I thought it deserves elaboration, but this is all I can provide.)

  105. #105 Jolo5309
    December 17, 2010

    I can honestly say I don’t know much about GMO foods, unlike all the experts currently posting, so I ordered your book from Amazon (.ca).

  106. #106 Ken
    December 17, 2010

    Kyle,

    Your post (109) is well said.

    And, at the end of the day, oligopolies that quash free markets that cater to the demands of consumers ultimately weaken and divide, not strengthen, a nation and its society.

    On a personal level, one needs only to look back at his/her ancestral roots and the reasons your ancestors emigrated from their indigenous countries. Dollars to donuts, it was not because they were seeking tyranny or fleeing free markets.

  107. #107 Ken
    December 17, 2010

    Ewan,

    Regarding your “Too Late” link concerning deluded world views shaping world policy, again I agree with you and your point bolsters the need to support a free market where consumers are allowed to freely choose the origin of their meal.

    And, directly to your “Too Late” link…

    It is hard to fathom that, after +/-10,000 years of adaptation and survival, the country known as the cradle of civilization is incapable of growing its own food from its own indigenous seeds. Yes, from time to time there are droughts and mismanagement that cause hardship. Is a period of hardship, however, justifiable cause for the wholesale replacement of a country’s food system (Order 81)? Is it merely coincidental dumb luck that Iraq finds itself suited with a knight in shining armor; Monsanto. Not all that glitters is gold nor is it the free market. It’s like telling the people of Iceland they now need BIG government-supported industries to make ice for them. Or similarly, telling the people of China they can no longer grow or brew tea without a STATE-sponsored industry providing it for them. Is it any wonder we find ourselves shackled to supporting welfare?

    The expression of demand and criticism, in a truly free market, is met with products designed to meet those demands, not with tyranny and censorship for quashing free markets.

    Please, remind me, what principles does America stand for?

  108. #108 Kyle DO ND
    December 17, 2010

    Either a given GMO is safe, or it is not.

    I didn’t realize things were so black and white. I can’t have the opinion that there is not enough information and independent studies to conclude that GMO food is safe? Is this not valid? Perhaps GMO food should fall under the GRAS category (Generally Recognized as Safe). I think that’s fair. That’s not so black and white.

    In fact, I can even find evidence that GMO can be harmful:
    http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

    Should I trust the Monsanto studies and the studies the Monsanto website links to? Could there be study selection bias? Do you think bias or conflicts of interest could influence the outcome of certain studies? Or is everything just pure science? Can science be debatable? Do you think it’s possible that certain studies could be fabricated (See Vioxx, Celebrex, or just about anything by Scott S. Reuben as examples). I am not making any accusations, I am just asking questions.

    When it comes down to it, I don’t believe we should be altering our food in the way we are doing it. Is this belief not valid? It’s really more about morals and ethics. Am I not allowed to think in such a way?

    I also don’t trust Monsanto. Yes, I think they are driven by corporate greed. And no, I don’t think there is a need for them United States. There has been enough controversy over the years with your company. Sure, you and your colleagues will probably try to counter anything negative. I’ve also heard executives in the past publicly say things like, “Yes we have made some mistakes in the past, but we have learned from them.” I don’t buy this either.

    But, but, but, we saved the papaya!

    Do I eat GMO food? I try to avoid it, but as of now, it’s kind of inevitable if you eat out. I don’t eat any wheat (becauae of sensitivity, not GMO), and I avoid most soy. I don’t believe eating a lot of soy is good for you (GMO or not). I have trouble avoiding GMO corn because there is a taco place near me that has excellent tacos. I’m not sure if it’s GMO, but I would guess it is.

    And by the way, your opinion is as valid as mine. Your not going to change my opinion (which primarily based on my personal morals and ethics), and I’m obviously not going to change yours.

    Perhaps if you were laid off, your opinion would change.

    For an example, I knew a Microsoft employee that was very pro-Microsoft, and anti-Apple. He bought all technology from Microsoft. Shortly after he was laid off, I visited him, and his whole house was filled with Apple computers, iPods, iPhones, and even iPads (he bought 5 for his family). I asked him why he changed so dramatically, and he said he realized that Apple products were superior.

    We both had a good laugh.

  109. #109 Ewan R
    December 17, 2010

    Too late!

    Aught and is/was are two(or maybe three now I decided to do the whole present/past thing) different things – sadly history is replete with deluded world views shaping policy and buggering things up for everyone – who’d be a lonely old cat lady in the 1700’s for instance?

  110. #110 NJ
    December 17, 2010

    Ewan R @ 106:

    …should deluded world views shape policy?

    Too late!

  111. #111 Ewan R
    December 17, 2010

    All this discussion boils down to one thing; there is more than one world view.

    Not all world views are equally valid. Either a given GMO is safe, or it is not. Either species space is a meaningful concept, or it is not. Either Monsanto are pushing suicide seeds or they are not. Etc etc. Either 3 GMO corn varieties cause organ damage, or they do not. Jeffrey Smith’s world view no more belongs in the discussion on GMOs than Ken Ham’s world view belongs in the discussion of the K/T extinction event.

    Policy formation takes in-depth research, expert opinion and a lot of critical thinking by seasoned policy makers.” Monsantoco concludes, “The issue of GM food labeling has already taken place in the US, and that the consensus and determination is that labeling of GMO foods makes [no sense].” Yet ironically, “[Monsantoco] knows for a fact that nowhere near 90% of Americans have been exposed to enough serious debate on this topic to have an informed opinion.” Furthermore, Monsantoco says surveys or petitions are not to be trusted. According to Monsantoco, “It’s way too easy to design surveys and petitions that, intentionally or unintentionally, influence the response. Survey results and petition signatures often reflect not only the opinion of the survey population, but of their general knowledge, or lack thereof, of the subject matter.”

    I’m not altogether sure what is ironic there either. The consensus referred to is amongst experts and seasoned policy makers and not survey based.

    Can we get ahead by disregarding the will of the other three corners and points between?

    As discussed over at biofortified it’s very safe to disregard the validity of each of your corners. Anyone who believes GMOs will solve all of lifes problems (or even all problems related to food security) is clearly deluded. Anyone who believes the world is 6000 years old is clearly deluded. Anyone who believes all our food evolved naturally (particularly if they stand by the 6 billion years figure) or will have nothing to do with food altered by man is clearly deluded (although one could argue that a sub-set of hunter/gatherer types could take the stance and be consistent between their beliefs and their practices) – should deluded world views shape policy?

  112. #112 Dunc
    December 17, 2010

    But he should care; for this kind of deception only confuses and frightens people.

    Ah, the naive assumption of good faith and intentions so common in science…

    He does care: confused and frightened people are easier to scam. Confusing and frightening people is exactly the desired effect.

  113. #113 Ken
    December 17, 2010

    Good morning Ewan,

    After reviewing your replies of yesterday, I hope you’re feeling better today.

    All this discussion boils down to one thing; there is more than one world view.

    In one corner you have people who believe that GMOs are the best thing since sliced bread and technology will solve all man’s ills. In another corner you have people that believe God’s creation over the last 6,000 years trumps the trial run of GMOs. Still, in another corner you have people that believe 6 billion years of evolution trumps the trial run of GMOs. Yet in another corner you have people that simply don’t want anyone tampering with their food, and even this world view is as ancient as refusing to be Pharaoh’s food taster. Lastly, between the four corners and throughout the middle you have all points in between.

    To those of you in the first corner, I accept your world view. Just don’t impose it on me. Can we get ahead by disregarding the will of the other three corners and points between? If I say black and you say white, does black not exist? Even in the science of food science there are alternate views.

    Mankind benefits from alternate views when they are vetted in the light of day. Monsantoco blogger (a.k.a. corporately-approved Monsanto speak) at Beyond the Rows…
    http://www.monsantoblog.com/2009/03/02/gmo-label-jeffrey-smith/
    …states, “Policy formation takes in-depth research, expert opinion and a lot of critical thinking by seasoned policy makers.” Monsantoco concludes, “The issue of GM food labeling has already taken place in the US, and that the consensus and determination is that labeling of GMO foods makes [no sense].” Yet ironically, “[Monsantoco] knows for a fact that nowhere near 90% of Americans have been exposed to enough serious debate on this topic to have an informed opinion.” Furthermore, Monsantoco says surveys or petitions are not to be trusted. According to Monsantoco, “It’s way too easy to design surveys and petitions that, intentionally or unintentionally, influence the response. Survey results and petition signatures often reflect not only the opinion of the survey population, but of their general knowledge, or lack thereof, of the subject matter.”

    I don’t know of any seasoned policy maker (politician, staff or otherwise), critical thinker or researcher that does not bring a world view to the table. And, while it is well documented that GE industry leaders were at the table when the issue of GM food labeling was decided by policy makers reliant on GE researchers, the lack of an alternate world view at the negotiating table is deafening.

    Full Disclosure: While I have read Seeds of Deception, I have absolutely no connection to Jeffrey Smith. This is the first I have heard of the survey referenced by Monsantoco. And I own no stock in Monsanto.

    So, while I may say tip and you may say tap, all the tips for taps add up to the fact that there is more than one world view in this contemporaneous world we live. And, unless you’re hell-bent on kings and feudal systems, fully disclosed free markets provide the healthiest and most stable economies and societies. To borrow a phrase from Matthew Barnes’ assessment of well-reasoned arguments, it appears as though the truth and fact of world-wide market acceptance for GM labeling is like a bad case of cognitive dissonance among GE petitioners.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  114. #114 Ewan R
    December 17, 2010

    The article Ginna references

    No time to look further into it at the moment, but thought a direct link might help folk out a tad.

  115. #115 Ginna
    December 16, 2010

    An article in the latest issue of the journal Current Science raises serious questions about the long-term viability of genetically-modified Bt cotton to actually do what it’s intended to do, increase pest resistance. Scientists have found for the first time bollworms not only living and surviving on GM cotton, but having offspring that can complete their full lifecycle there.

  116. #116 Ewan R
    December 16, 2010

    Ducks quack. Do ducks bark in GB? Those are some weird ducks you got there!

    I figured with your suffix I’d avoid the term quack. (below the belt? Hey, at least I didn’t googlestalk you badly!)

    Google search terms (About 1,430 results): “Ewan R” | “Ewan Ross” +Monsanto | GMO

    Needs to be refined – I certainly never dodged bullets in Basra or published anything before I was born.

  117. #117 Kyle DO ND
    December 16, 2010

    If it barks like a duck…

    Ducks quack. Do ducks bark in GB? Those are some weird ducks you got there!

    Google search terms (About 1,430 results): “Ewan R” | “Ewan Ross” +Monsanto | GMO

    Like I said before:

    You are good at what you do. I’m sure you are a highly valued employee.

    I’m sure your not getting paid enough for what you do. I honestly think you deserve a raise. You are a PR machine. You should show your boss or an executive at how many people you persuade on the internet. Mr. Ewan Ross, you are now living in America. It can bit cutthroat here, and raises don’t come easily anymore.

    You have proved your self.

    Good luck on your internet brigade. Wish me luck as well.

    Just let me know if I am being too hard on you or your beloved Company, and I’ll stop.

    P.S. It isn’t the first time I’ve seen you.

  118. #118 Ewan R
    December 16, 2010

    What is the point of GMO’s? To have a greater food supply?

    (ignoring the request to never mind the question!)
    Really needs to be assessed on a case by case basis – most GMOs are simply used in pure research (pretty much any paper discussing a knockout mutant these days will have a GM version of the knockout with the presumed knocked out gene reinserted) – in these cases GMOs are used to further our scientific knowledge. In the case of GMOs in agriculture the current big(ie by volume utilized) GM traits are to provide farmers with better weed control (and increase profits for farmer and corporation selling the trait) or better insect control (likewise) – academic efforts look to biofortify various crops (so a better food supply not in terms of quantity but quality), increase yields (so more food, but also potentially aimed at increasing farmer incomes) through various routes (salt tolerance, drought tolerance, flooding tolerance (hat tip to Pam), then there are instances like phytoremediation above where GMOs could be used to clean up pollutants or suchlike – you can’t really bucket all GMOs together and say GMOs are for X – each one could be for something utterly different (GM glow in the dark fish are, for all intents and purposes, for looking awesome – and for upsetting my previous bosses wife when he decided that purchasing them mail order was a good idea(tm))

  119. #119 Brooke
    December 16, 2010

    Never mind my above questions, I found some answers from a different entry…

    In considering whether to embrace GE crops as a way to enhance the sustainability of our global agricultural systems, we must not disregard the well-documented impacts of production: reduced insecticide use, a shift from toxic to more benign herbicides, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, reduced soil erosion, increased profit to small- and large-holder farmers, and enhanced farm-worker safety.

    Makes sense now, but I still do not like the patent or Mike Taylor. :)

  120. #120 Brooke
    December 16, 2010

    Admittedly I am not a scientist. I do not have a scientific background, and I regularly browse Alex Jones’ website. I do, however, am skeptical about what the media feeds me. And this Dr. Oz show is a perfect example of how “average Joes” are so often controlled by fear and left in the dark. We do not want to be scared into making choices, we just want the truth. I did a little simple research to try to find some info about GMO’s and safety and was bombarded with “scaresearch” instead of scientific research. Because of this, I have no opinion about GMO’s because I do not know enough about them.
    I will say one thing though, I get a little queasy when I think about our government allowing the patenting of life, which is clearly against our constitution. I also dislike the fact that Michael Taylor is deputy commissioner for foods at the Food and Drug Administration. I can understand that he may have good experiences and backgrounds, but isn’t it a little like the hen watching the hen house?
    I really just want to know the basics, What is the point of GMO’s? To have a greater food supply?
    Thanks all for the great discussion!

  121. #121 Ewan R
    December 16, 2010

    Reasoning with people who you deem are unreasonable (or have conflicts of interest) is close to impossible.

    Sounds like a dodge rather than anything else – and an effective way at excluding people from a debate – can’t counter points so go straight for the proponent of the arguement rather than what they’re saying.

    You aren’t going to convince someone who has believed in the Bible all their life to believe in the Quran (vica-versa).

    I’m pretty sure that conversions from Christianity to Islam have occured, and vice versa, aswell as conversions from either faith to others or to none, it’s sort of why evangelism exists.

    *and here comes accusations of twisted logic along with poor science arguments*

    If it barks like a duck…

  122. #122 Kyle DO ND
    December 15, 2010

    Reasoning with people who you deem are unreasonable (or have conflicts of interest) is close to impossible.

    Think of it like religion.

    You aren’t going to convince someone who has believed in the Bible all their life to believe in the Quran (vica-versa).

    It’s very much the same.

    *and here comes accusations of twisted logic along with poor science arguments*

  123. #123 Ewan R
    December 15, 2010

    Aw, you’re accusing me of tin-foil hattery. How quaintly pre-2008 sheeple of you! Your fluffy dismissal of the associations between two of the nastiest Corporate entities on this planet are so laughable.

    If you can point me to where shares of blackwater were purchased by Monsanto and the B&MGates foundation I’d be happy to rescind my portrayal of your ravings as anything other than conspiracy theory gone wrong.

    *(cough)Delta and PineLand*(cough)

    Just because the patent exists doesn’t mean the technology is used or is being pushed. D&P was bought so that Monsanto had good cotton germplasm to work with.

    that’s working out very well in India in particular.

    Glad to see that acknowledged! (given that in actuality Bt cotton has increased yields and revenues – obviously your slant is either going to be on Indian farmer suicides (which have bugger all to do with Bt) or with evolution of some resistance by bollworms (which isn’t at all unexpected or indeed severe and is dealt with by Bollgard II)

  124. #124 Questioning
    December 15, 2010

    “So not only do you link to a preposterous piece of conspiracy theory, but you also havent read it in enough depth to get the “facts” contained therein right – your fluff piece actually reports that Monsanto hired Blackwater (or as the piece appears to claim a subsidiary thereof) for rather paltry sums (I’m sorry but I doubt you’d get much in the way of clandestine information for $100k a year and that in a completely unrelated instance the B&MG foundation purchased shares in Monsanto (which is a sound investment move considering Monsanto share performance compared to the rest of the market)”

    Aw, you’re accusing me of tin-foil hattery. How quaintly pre-2008 sheeple of you! Your fluffy dismissal of the associations between two of the nastiest Corporate entities on this planet are so laughable.

    “Really? Suicide seeds? Again? Pushing a technology that’s never been commercialized and which Monsanto have stated they have no intention to commercialize. Well played sir, well played, the old “I’m still living in 1998 and I ain’t moving” gambit.”

    *(cough)Delta and PineLand*(cough) Don’t worry, I’m sure that the _actual_ science is being rigorously performed! Keep trusting Monsanto, that’s working out very well in India in particular.

    You know, I’ll take the tin-foil hat over your particular brand; It looks like it is too hard to see where you’re going, stinky too.

  125. #125 Ewan R
    December 15, 2010

    Except

    a) No it’s not.

    b) If it were, then it’s not the same, like hitting someone is “to some degree” killing people.

    I think you need to clarify here a little what your contending because all the things stated above that are “happening now” are happening now to some degree, and certainly to some degree which far exceeds your hitting/killing analogy.

    If GMOs are about feeding the needy and hungry, why patent it?

    Once you own the patent you can do with it as you please and allow anyone to utilize it – nobody has claimed GMOs are only about feeding people – it is entirely possible to patent a trait and then go ahead and donate that trait through a licensing agreement making at available to the needy while at the same time using the same trait commercially in settings where farmers can afford to purchase (WEMA plans to do exactly this)

    Plus they change, we change. Since the change is naturally available into the potentially available potential species space, the change is regulated to our own ability to change with it and the natural ability to adapt.

    Meaningless waffle. Particularly considering that new hybrids are developed on an approximate 5 year cycle – or do you contend that we adapt on a cycle far shorter than our actual generation time? You pseudoscientific waffle about adapting in species space on production fails when you take into account different generation times and methodologies applied in plant breeding – unless your contention is that all modern varieties, and all new varieties thereof are as bad as GMOs because we can’t adapt (or are as good as GMOs and therefore you’re making a lot of fuss about nothing)

  126. #126 VJBinCT
    December 15, 2010

    @28 Just the wildest form of present-day veggies. OK. Don’t you just love fresh-in-from-the-fields teosinte with its sub-inch-long cobs dripping with butter. Bread made from birdseed. All sorts of beans that must be boiled in multiple changes of water to remove natural toxins. Agriculture was a thousands of years long slog to allow humankind a reliable supply of good eats.

  127. #127 emlak haberleri
    December 15, 2010

    PS to above comment. I hope, for Dr Oz’s patients sake, that he gets his medical ” Scientific” information from better types of sources than the two anti GMO guests on his program

  128. #128 Wow
    December 15, 2010

    > I assume you’re also behind banning the release of any more conventionally bred varieties of any food crop at all because after all – we don’t know that we have nothing to fear.

    They’re already released.

    Plus they change, we change. Since the change is naturally available into the potentially available potential species space, the change is regulated to our own ability to change with it and the natural ability to adapt.

    Translating genes into other organisms is different because you aren’t pushing the host organism into the potentially available species space and the change is immediate on the production, therefore no channel for either ourselves to change or nature to adapt.

    And Kyle, it’s funny you say you don’t get swayed with emotional appeals, yet you litter your own posts with the same thing.

  129. #129 Wow
    December 15, 2010

    > All of these things are happening to some degree now.

    Except

    a) No it’s not.

    b) If it were, then it’s not the same, like hitting someone is “to some degree” killing people.

    If GMOs are about feeding the needy and hungry, why patent it? Jefferson (I think it was) invented the pot bellied stove but REFUSED to patent it because he wanted the benefit of more efficient and cleaner heating to be spread as wide as possible.

  130. #130 Ewan R
    December 15, 2010

    To Kerrie and Kym, I agree. Monsanto (My Satan) has, with co-operation with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, collectively brought up half a million shares of Blackwater/Xe.

    So not only do you link to a preposterous piece of conspiracy theory, but you also havent read it in enough depth to get the “facts” contained therein right – your fluff piece actually reports that Monsanto hired Blackwater (or as the piece appears to claim a subsidiary thereof) for rather paltry sums (I’m sorry but I doubt you’d get much in the way of clandestine information for $100k a year and that in a completely unrelated instance the B&MG foundation purchased shares in Monsanto (which is a sound investment move considering Monsanto share performance compared to the rest of the market)

    Reading from this article and others, it seems the primary agenda is to push forward “suicide seeds”

    Really? Suicide seeds? Again? Pushing a technology that’s never been commercialized and which Monsanto have stated they have no intention to commercialize. Well played sir, well played, the old “I’m still living in 1998 and I ain’t moving” gambit.

    And I really wish the first example of “GMO” crops to reach wide spread use was something other then “Round-up ready”

    Well it was close – Bt crops were released the same year

    that Round-Up may not be pure distilled evil, not to say I like it but

    The distillation process for evil is still probably 5 to 10 years away from perfection so you’re not likely to see pure distilled evil outside of a teabagger rally (and those guys aren’t sharing their proprietary technology)

    Ironically, a President that both strongly supported GMOs and had little use for facts or science is G.W. Bush.

    Irony – you’re doing it wrong. I’m pretty sure every president who has been in office since GMOs came online has been supportive – so lets not go painting with the whole “hah, the shrub likes it it must be evil!” – by the same logic the Wiggles should be banned from TV (I have it on good authority that was his favorite show)

    Here’s a science-based, academic study of the effects of 3 GM corn varieties on mammalian health.

    Science based in the same way that Star-Trek is science based – all great right up until the point they want it to say something that the science doesnt support (which isn’t a surprise – all the actual science was done by Monsanto, the statistical smoke and mirrors used by Seralini have all the scientific validity of a Ken Ham screed)

    dum de dum… Abraham Lincoln.

    I’d salute the flag while star spangled banner plays in the background only I don’t buy in to petty attempts to tap into patriotism (and also you’d have to appeal to the great authority of William Wallace or Robert the Bruce for that to work if I was that way inclined)

    Is that what they do in some countries in Europe? Like I said before, I really don’t like Federal laws or big government.

    Federal laws and big government certainly is what they do in Europe! Sadly while they get that right the whole approach to GMOs is based on unscientific ridiculousness, which is a shame.

    Also, the air and water quality improve where organic farming is practiced, not to mention the reduced risk of contaminating heirloom seeds.

    How is there a reduced risk of contaminating heirlooms? As soon as you ain’t planting that heirloom the risk of contamination is there. Or is it just that you haven’t the first clue about genetics and enjoy hammering on about buzz words that you don’t understand?

    Ironically, the GMO industry is heavily reliant on the FDA’s overused finding of “Substantial Equivalence” that says the GM plant or animal is no different than its counterpart, thereby eliminating added tests and GMO labeling requirements. While at the same time, the GMO industry relies heavily on the U.S. Patent Office to rule that the plant or animal is uniquely different. This then allows the GMO company to obtain a patent to enforce its ownership over the patented plant, as well as the seeds (or offspring) of any adjacent plants the wind causes to pollinate. Crazy, ah?

    Neither ironic nor crazy – the patent is issued on the gene inserted not on the variety – the use of the gene inserted (plus attendant genetic elements) has to be novel and unique (and non-obvious and all other manner of legalese wossnames) to get a patent – different varieties of hybrid also have to be unique to get varietal protection and you’d have a pretty hard job arguing that they arent substantially equivalent.

    Unfortunately, “No Trespassing” signs do little to keep unwanted pollen off your property and from contaminating the seeds you’d like to save for next year.

    Luckily however the fact that the pollen from GM plants isn’t likely to hit your breeding plots unless you’re a spectacularly bad farmer and the very poor transmission of for instance corn pollen (less than 1% contamination beyond 500m or so if I recall correctly) etc makes this a non-issue at best (cue Schmeiser in 5..4..)

    Government of by and for the people would surely tend towards supporting the GM farmer – considering they make up a greater proportion of all farmers.

  131. #131 Ken
    December 15, 2010

    Hello Kyle,

    Yes, the European countries require GMO labeling and it works very well to bolster the free market. Consumers are free to select GMO or non-GMO foods. GMO labeling also increases economic diversity and consumer choices for fresh local foods, as the labeling increases consumer attention of local organic farms that can deliver food over shorter distances. Also, the air and water quality improve where organic farming is practiced, not to mention the reduced risk of contaminating heirloom seeds.

    Ironically, the GMO industry is heavily reliant on the FDA’s overused finding of “Substantial Equivalence” that says the GM plant or animal is no different than its counterpart, thereby eliminating added tests and GMO labeling requirements. While at the same time, the GMO industry relies heavily on the U.S. Patent Office to rule that the plant or animal is uniquely different. This then allows the GMO company to obtain a patent to enforce its ownership over the patented plant, as well as the seeds (or offspring) of any adjacent plants the wind causes to pollinate. Crazy, ah?

    Unfortunately, “No Trespassing” signs do little to keep unwanted pollen off your property and from contaminating the seeds you’d like to save for next year. Perhaps some case law needs to be established in defense of the organic farmer. But then again, that would require U.S. courts to return to a forgotten American resolve; government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth – Abraham Lincoln, 1863.

    Have a great day.

  132. #132 Kyle DO ND
    December 14, 2010

    The solution is simple, full disclosure in a truly free market, where the destiny of GMOs is guided and decided by consumers who are armed with facts and proper labeling so that they may freely decide food choices for themselves. Not government-supported and underwritten conglomerates that subvert freedom and the will of the people by promoting one world view that retreats from a forgotten American resolve; government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth – Abraham Lincoln.

    A government that sees “Full Disclosure” as a road block to progress is a government commandeered by the benefactors of that progress, where freedom, liberty and entrepreneurial capitalism are merely abstract desires.

    I actually like your solution, and I haven’t thought about it that way. Is that what they do in some countries in Europe? Like I said before, I really don’t like Federal laws or big government.

    How about restaurants? Would GMO labels on menus be appropriate? I don’t think that’s much to ask, and it gives the GMers the freedom to eat all the GMO food they want.

    However, what I do worry about is GMO seeds blowing over into other farms and potential cross pollination of non-GM crops. Of course, this is already happening, and it seems that the only way to truly stop it would be to ban GM food.

    Again, I generally like it when big government keeps their heads out. However, in situations like this there is no easy answer, is there?

    I am not affiliated with any political party. I dislike all of them.

  133. #133 Ken
    December 14, 2010

    Hello Pam,

    Ironically, a President that both strongly supported GMOs and had little use for facts or science is G.W. Bush.

    I watched the Dr. Oz episode, and I too believe the facts of GE and GMOs were glossed over. Here’s a science-based, academic study of the effects of 3 GM corn varieties on mammalian health.
    http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

    The solution is simple, full disclosure in a truly free market, where the destiny of GMOs is guided and decided by consumers who are armed with facts and proper labeling so that they may freely decide food choices for themselves. Not government-supported and underwritten conglomerates that subvert freedom and the will of the people by promoting one world view that retreats from a forgotten American resolve; government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth – Abraham Lincoln.

    A government that sees “Full Disclosure” as a road block to progress is a government commandeered by the benefactors of that progress, where freedom, liberty and entrepreneurial capitalism are merely abstract desires.

  134. #134 the backpacker
    December 14, 2010

    Being part Communist I have what I consider a healthy distrust of any coperation bigger then the scale of Ma (Pa can be a shady dude sometimes). And I really wish the first example of “GMO” crops to reach wide spread use was something other then “Round-up ready” Although on some further reading I find that Round-Up may not be pure distilled evil, not to say I like it but… I think the people who are against GMO foods greatly underestimate the plasticity and variety of life. It would not be hard in insert a toxic gene into grain or tomatoes or anything. But at the same time I am willing to bet with the right tools and some time even I (a wannabe biologist still working on his bachelors and amateur gardener) could breed a toxic tomato from strictly Heirloom Tomatoes. I mean if some guy in middle of nowhere Idaho can breed purple potatoes it can’t be all that hard.

  135. #135 Questioning
    December 14, 2010

    To Kerrie and Kym, I agree. Monsanto (My Satan) has, with co-operation with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, collectively brought up half a million shares of Blackwater/Xe.

    http://blacklistednews.com/Machines-of-War:-Blackwater,-Monsanto,-and-Bill-Gates/11026/0/3/3/Y/M.html

    “It is a marriage between the two most brutal monopolies in the history of industrialism: Bill Gates controls more than 90 percent of the market share of proprietary computing and Monsanto about 90 percent of the global transgenic seed market and most global commercial seed. There does not exist in any other industrial sector monopolies so vast, whose very existence is a negation of the vaunted principle of “market competition” of capitalism. Both Gates and Monsanto are very aggressive in defending their ill-gotten monopolies.”

    Reading from this article and others, it seems the primary agenda is to push forward “suicide seeds” and “updated” food health bills that are selectively porked up with beneficial riders to allow a total monopoly on all grain seed.

    As it ever was, follow the money.

  136. #136 Patrick 027
    December 14, 2010

    Re 64 ildi and re Kyle DO ND, others –
    Psychiatric disorders aren’t “fake diseases.” Very true. However not all real diseases are psychiatric. Also, once upon a time, people with some diabetes symptoms were thought to be drunk. Some have thought that asthma attacks were a behavioral issue. And people thought that menstrual blood was toxic, and they got the fertile time of the cycle mixed up. Meanwhile, it’s suspected that Fish odor syndrome (is it a syndrome or a ? – it’s a metabolic condition at any rate, I think similar to PKU) might actually not be so rare, but recognition is rare because of embarrassment people have with body odor. I hope they get to the bottom of Morgellons and can start treating it or curing or preventing it (as I would hope for any such condition), whatever the cause may be (GMO? artificial estrogen mimickers? prions? a new virus? … I don’t know; I have little to go on).

  137. #137 Kyle DO ND
    December 14, 2010

    The brainwashing takes place before your beautiful PowerPoint presentation. The presentation just puts the icing on the cake. It’s an affirmation for them.

  138. #138 Ewan R
    December 14, 2010

    Yawn. Keep tap dancing long enough and we’ll probably learn that it was really Ewan who killed the electric car.

    I really do need to lock my lab book up more securely!

  139. #139 MCP
    December 14, 2010

    The only thing Kyle is making me think about is how blithely the woo brigade ducks and dodges around any kind of contrary argument. You say they DO study GM crops? Well, what about the aluminum-proof seeds?! Oh, you mean, they’re not for eating? Well, how about this bill you’re pushing through Congress?! Oh, wait, you say it’s actually the ORGANICS industry pushing it? Well, you guys brainwash students!!!

    Yawn. Keep tap dancing long enough and we’ll probably learn that it was really Ewan who killed the electric car.

  140. #140 Cyrus
    December 14, 2010

    And for those against GMOs…
    So you are against putting an animal gene in a plant correct?

    What about a gene from another plant?

    What about a gene from a microbe (bacteria or fungi)?

    What about a gene from another variety of the same plant (the apple example above)?

    What about if you take a gene out of a crop plant, shuffle it in specific ways, insert it first in bacteria then maybe in a test plant like arabidopsis to test the activity, then insert the changed gene back into the original crop plant?

    What about if you take a gene from a crop plant, use a computer to model it and simulate what different changes would do, then when you get something that looks good in the computer, synthesize it then stick it back into the original crop plant?

    What about Molecular Breeding, where you use robotics and automation on a massive scale to investigate breeding only around specific genes or groups of genes?

    All of these things are happening to some degree now. The point is it is already preposterous to divide the world up into GM and non-GM and it will get increasingly more so. Is this debate really what is important? Labels, really? Or maybe, just maybe, we should be treating our agricultrual system as the beautiful complex system that it is and looking not at these meaningless designations but at what is truely sustainable and what will truely accomplish our goals (feeding a growing population while minimizing impact).

  141. #141 Ewan R
    December 14, 2010

    It’s funny how Monsanto employees seem to often find their ways into these discussions.

    I rarely come across anyone else who self identifies as being a Monsanto employee in these discussions – I believe I bumped into a Pioneer employee in a discussion over at Pharyngula. Astonishing right? People who work in the field end up discussing it, shouldn’t be allowed.

    Mmmm… Food from landfills. Fascinating.

    You may have missed the bit where I talked about using non-food plants for bioremediation – the paper I failed to link was on tobacco (although I’m guessing this is just because tobacco is such an easy plant to transform and experiment on rather than because it’d be the plant of choice for phytoremediation of contaminated soils)

    And the correct term is tinfoil hats, not aluminum foil hats.

    Bizarrely I’ve found that using the term tinfoil in the US tends to draw blank stares – it’s aluminum everywhere I look (as a Brit this was mad confusing, as was dropping an “i”) – plus the joke wouldn’t have worked using correct nomenclature, can I get some artistic license please?

    I’m not accusing you of being behind that specific bill

    Simply bringing up the question implies you think it’s probable.

    You are good at what you do. I’m sure you are a highly valued employee.

    How on earth you know that is beyond me – have you been scoping out my lab notebook or admiring my various databases for viewing yield data? Inquiring minds want to know (and I guess highly valued is questionable, I balked this morning parking between two lexuses (lexi?) in my corolla with windscreen crack from 2009)

    However your stock is sinking.

    Hate to mention it… but everyone’s stock sank – there was this little thing called a global recession – apparently we’re down 35c on the day so far (at 3:26!) but really the stock has been pretty stable at around 60 for weeks now (there was a sharp drop when people thought smartstax wasn’t working, but that obviously fixed itself when the bulk of the data came in – and then a prior drop which was caused by the revelation that our roundup business had performed well under target) (personally I’d rather the stock stayed closer to 40 until I get near retirement age, then it can jump to those heady days of 120+ and I can switch my pension to government bonds and laugh my way to the bank)

    What are the company plans in case the U.S. bans GM crops? Oh, right, that would never happen. Lobby money.

    I’d guess massive layoffs in biotech and a bolstering of the breeding business – it’d suck to be me I guess. Although you’re right, it isn’t likely to happen, what with the stance on GM crops still being science driven rather than craziness driven.

    P.S. Those seminars you hold for biotech and ag students (often before they graduate) are nothing short of brain washing.

    It’s amazing how much brainwashing can be done in the course of a single seminar – major cults require months of isolation away from family and friends – Monsanto just need a lecture theatre, donuts, and a well built powerpoint presentation.

    Take that cultists.

  142. #142 Cyrus
    December 14, 2010

    Clarification of the Aluminum thing…
    Soil aluminum resistance is being investigated to remeidate the fact that most tropical soil is high in aluminum (which is why Boxite Aluminum ore is a major export of many tropical countries). From what I know (from a school project over a year ago) most resistance studies are using traditional breeding and not GM and were geared toward coco and coffe production. Currently these crops (and others) suffer from significant yield drops due to aluminum toxicity to the plant and introducing varieties resistant to it would potentially be of huge gain to many small farmers in developing countries (and potentially reduce tropical deforestation).

  143. #143 Kyle DO ND
    December 14, 2010

    It’s funny how Monsanto employees seem to often find their ways into these discussions.

    perhaps the aluminum resistant seeds are required for use on land used for landfill of all the aluminum foil hats discarded by conspiracy theorists?

    Mmmm… Food from landfills. Fascinating.

    And the correct term is tinfoil hats, not aluminum foil hats.

    I’m not accusing you of being behind that specific bill, but I have to admit your lobbying power is nothing short of incredible. What’s your lobbying budget this year?

    You are good at what you do. I’m sure you are a highly valued employee.

    However your stock is sinking. What are the company plans in case the U.S. bans GM crops? Oh, right, that would never happen. Lobby money.

    I didnt initially want to get into this discussion, but when you chimed in, I couldn’t help myself.

    Sorry about that chaps.

    P.S. Those seminars you hold for biotech and ag students (often before they graduate) are nothing short of brain washing.

  144. #144 Ewan R
    December 14, 2010

    Hmm – guess that’s what happens when you don’t preview… there should be a link close at the end of that somewhere…

    also on the food bill

    If Pollan digs it surely it’s a Monsanto bill

    Hopefully this one closes and works…

  145. #145 Ewan R
    December 14, 2010

    But yes, the food seemed to work fine before Monsanto.

    It did? That must be why farmers flocked to roundup ready crops so (roundup)readily. What they were doing previously was just fine, why make their job any easier? That must also explain why yields went up and insecticide use went down on Bt crops – because they were working just fine already.

    Y’know what else worked just fine in 1996? My pentium processor (who’m I kidding… I was running a 486 until the prices dropped…) why on earth did they change the architecture on something that worked just fine?

    Next up: Aluminum resistant seeds. Why in the heck would anyone need aluminum resistant seeds? Is the amount of aluminum somehow increasing in our soil or something? If so, how and why? Monsanto employee, please chime in.

    Erm, I can’t find anything about Monsanto developing GM aluminum resistant seeds – the one paper I dug up is out of russia this one (very quick search) and seems to be more about phytoremediation of soils contaminated by aluminum rather than anything else (plants which can clean up industrial contaminants seems like a fine idea to me, not sure why one would have issue with them, although dependant on the mode of action I don’t think I’d want them entering the food supply)

    And are you guys behind the “FDA Food Safety Modernization Act”

    Erm, no. Bizarrely Monsanto are not behind each and every act of law that is passed in relation to food – perhaps the aluminum resistant seeds are required for use on land used for landfill of all the aluminum foil hats discarded by conspiracy theorists? Just a thought. I mean if you look at the organizations who support the bill on your link one glaring one is the Organic Consumers Association – as they have a direct link to “millions against monsanto” I’m going to say it’s a pretty safe bet this bill is at best completely neutral to Monsanto.

    In the U.S., roughly 5,000 people die from food-borne illness each year. Some statistics indicate that over 100,000 die each year from prescription drugs. Are we targeting the right industry?

    How many individuals are saved by food borne illness each year as compared to how many are saved by pharmaceuticals? Also how many people are directly exposed to the risk of food bourne illness (hint : anyone that… eats) as compared to those who take pharmaceuticals (and who have to be provided by law with a list of possible adverse side effects – my own personal favorites from my meds are incurable cancer and death by fungal infection – but I know these risks going in) (I’d have died two years ago without pharmaceutical intervention, and not in a pleasant off in your sleep manner (I also relied quite heavily on opioid analgesics during this period – the miniscule risk was more than worth the whole being able to sleep/interact with others/focus on anything other than the searing pain) – you also seem to be under the false impression that regulating food (and regulations in place are probably why 5,000 die of food-bourne illness rather than a massive number more – and this also skips blithly over the number of people hit by food-bourne illness who don’t die (if you’ve ever spent a week in hospital crapping out blood you’ll understand why this figure probably matters too)) for some reason is an either/or prospect with regards to regulating pharmaceuticals – unless I missed the bit in the food safety act which stipulates that upon signing into law there will be a moratorium on legislation of the pharma industry – could be there in the small print I guess.

    I did a quick search of the bill for such ominous inclusions as GM (1… in GMP (good manufacturing practice)), GMO (0), corn (0), soy(0), genetically (0), modified, modified (3 – none pertaining to anything genetically modified), monsanto(0), pharmaceutical(0) etc etc – I’d be interested as to why you’d assume, or even think, that Monsanto had anything to do with this (other than having an obvious interest as to whether or not it pertains directly to their business or impacts their customers negatively)

  146. #146 Kyle DO ND
    December 14, 2010

    Please excuse some of my grammatical errors (they make me cringe too). Unfortunately, you can’t edit a comment after you post it.

  147. #147 Kyle DO ND
    December 14, 2010

    You do know that the CDC is conducting an epidemiologic study as we speak?

    Are they? Really?

    If you tracked their progress and over the years and followed their lack of information, they seem to be pulling more of a Tuskegee than anything. Time will tell.

    If you look at their report on progress, it looks as if it took their secretary 5 minutes to write it in Word.

    Oh, and many things over the years are labeled as psychological, especially if the patient presents with symptoms that mimic a psychological disorder. We’re quick to use this label, when in reality, it could be proinflammatory cytokines could be causing and/or contributing to these behaviors (see PNI).

    People with syphilis were accused of having psychological issues, but when they were effectively treated with antibiotics, those issues could mysteriously disappeared. AIDS was called psychological (that is before a huge number of people started dying). CFS was labeled as psychological by many over the past 25 years. After the Incline Village outbreak, the employees the CDC sent out decided a skiing was more fun than investigating CFS (I will have to agree). Suddenly, this syndrome may be associated with a retrovirus (and I’m sure there are many that would like to argue against the study published in Science by Lombardi et al).

    Great teacher, where did you go?

    I think we are getting off-topic.

    But yes, the food seemed to work fine before Monsanto. Next up: Aluminum resistant seeds. Why in the heck would anyone need aluminum resistant seeds? Is the amount of aluminum somehow increasing in our soil or something? If so, how and why? Monsanto employee, please chime in.

    And are you guys behind the “FDA Food Safety Modernization Act”. This is one dangerous bill in my opinion. If you look at previous versions of the bill, they kept revising it and changing the wording so it appeared to be more benign.

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-510

    I’m sure glad I’m not a small farmer, but at the same time, I don’t want your food!

    In the U.S., roughly 5,000 people die from food-borne illness each year. Some statistics indicate that over 100,000 die each year from prescription drugs. Are we targeting the right industry?

    According to the CDC, roughly 120,000 people are hospitalized from prescription drugs. I can’t find the death toll, but for some perspective, in 2004, nearly there were nearly 7,500 deaths from opioid analgesics (much more than cocaine or heroin.

    To make things clear: While I think there are dangerous prescription drugs that probably shouldn’t be on the market, I am no way against the careful use of prescription medication. I am not against the prescription use of opioids. That just happened to be a figure the CDC provides.

    When you have been hospitalized for a severe ADR yourself (I have), I think it’s fair to say that it’s likely you’ll become more of a cynic.

    I know I am not making friends here, but I am sure I am making people think.

    Cheers.

  148. #148 terry
    December 14, 2010

    thank you Ewan(@68), for your reasonable reply. Yes, I can get behind that.

    Wow(@66, 67), appeals to Emotion have never worked on me. :) I don’t have children, however, if I did, I’d employ the same streetlights rule that I had as a child.

  149. #149 Ewan R
    December 14, 2010

    ban before the studies? Because the studies might prove you’re irrational and there’s nothing really to fear from GMOs?

    Not actually as dumb as it sounds – that’s essentially how the system works right now – you don’t get to release a GM crop until you have studies which show that it isn’t harmful to health. Perhaps it could be tweaked such that the EPA or USDA does the testing and the company pays for such or whatnot (although then you get the usual complaints of the USDA and EPA being in bed with big-Ag… as I’m sure you would with any scientist who actually found that there was no evidence of harm)

    You ban because you don’t know you have nothing to fear. The same reason why you don’t let your little kids out at night: you don’t know that they’re safe.

    I assume you’re also behind banning the release of any more conventionally bred varieties of any food crop at all because after all – we don’t know that we have nothing to fear.

  150. #150 Wow
    December 14, 2010

    > ban before the studies? Because the studies might prove you’re irrational and there’s nothing really to fear from GMOs?

    It’s too late to ban something dangerous after it’s killed lots of people.

    Look at Thalidomide as to what happens then.

    You ban because you don’t know you have nothing to fear. The same reason why you don’t let your little kids out at night: you don’t know that they’re safe.

    If there’s nothing to fear, then the inquiry will prove it and you have nothing to fear about the ban, do you.

    Unless it will cost you your profits, of course…

  151. #151 Wow
    December 14, 2010

    > You have labeling. You can find any number of products explicitly labeled “GMO-Free”. What more would you need?

    The USA doesn’t. That is why they’re unhappy with the EU which requires that imports be GM free. Because the USA doesn’t segragate their foodstuffs, much of their produce cannot be certified free, even if it is, because they don’t know.

    So when it comes to GMO-free labelling, that has to be done as a specific step with a limited set of suppliers who do keep track.

    And as for the pro-GM words, I’d believe them a lot more if the biggest push was not for crops resistant to Roundup. When it stops being pushed in the papers as “to feed the world” but pushed in the market as “profit stream”, maybe I’ll listen a little closer.

  152. #152 terry
    December 14, 2010

    Kyle said: “I am not one that likes Federal laws in general, but I would support a ban on GMO food in the United States. We don’t need to wait for studies if we act now”

    ban before the studies? Because the studies might prove you’re irrational and there’s nothing really to fear from GMOs?

    Dumb.

  153. #153 ildi
    December 14, 2010

    My older sister has Morgellon’s, a currently unknown disease (or a fake disease as some like to call it) possibly from GMO food.

    Psychiatric disorders aren’t “fake diseases.”

    What is your source for the assertion that there is any connection between GMO food and Morgellons?

    There is no mainstream information about this, because the information is not allowed to be published since Morgellon’s isn’t technically a disease, but a mental disorder called delusional parisitosis (or DP).

    Now you’re drifting into tinfoil hat territory. No mainstream information? Have you google-scholared Morgellans recently? You do know that the CDC is conducting an epidemiologic study as we speak?

    Here is a bit of mainstream information that somehow slipped through the cracks: a summary of the intersection between new diseases, patient empowerment, medical authority, and the internet:

    Morgellons: contested illness, diagnostic compromise and medicalisation

  154. #154 Ewan R
    December 14, 2010

    why is it necessarily a bad thing to put a gene for a useful product into a plant? Other than the knee jerk reaction some folks have to the idea, that is.

    You’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head with the latter part of the statement – avoidance of the knee jerk reaction is what steers corporate research (at least that which I’m exposed to) away from using genes sourced from animals in transgenic plants (afaik it’s also what killed the terminator gene – no John Conner required)

    Some things are just too squicky in the public eye for even Big Ag to do it seems.

    Luckily the gene space occupied by animal genes is vanishingly small compared to the rest of gene space (which to a first approximation is entirely bacterial), so ignoring it *probably* isn’t losing anything major.

  155. #155 MCP
    December 14, 2010

    Kyle, (not that you’ve provided any examples of cases where animal genes have been added to plants) can you explain to me why the provenance of the gene makes a difference? I mean, if you accept the idea of common descent, then you acknowledge that plants and animals have a bunch of genes in common already. Further, while some genes produce things we clearly don’t want in our food (like, say, cobra venom), why is it necessarily a bad thing to put a gene for a useful product into a plant? Other than the knee jerk reaction some folks have to the idea, that is.

  156. #156 Meg
    December 14, 2010

    The purpose of the show is to entertain. if solid science doesn’t do that enough, then the producers will turn to pseudo science to get the entertainment factor back. All tv is about entertaiment, so you can’t expect it to be searching for truth If fiction has a better hold on the audience.

  157. #157 Ewan R
    December 14, 2010

    Disclaimer (as I don’t know I’ve mentioned it here yet and it seems about time, plus I’m replying to unfamiliar names…):- I’m a Monsanto employee, in biotech, and the statements made herein are entirely my own views and not those of my evil overlords (or even my benign ones(incase they’re reading))

    Anywy, should we really be putting genes from bacteria in our food so we can douse it with a bunch of Roundup? Really?

    Yes, we really should (if only because the chemicals we were “dousing with a bunch of” (nice emotive and innacurate wording!) with prior to roundup are…. nastier than it.

    Agriculture is a far cry from inserting genes from an animal into a plant.

    So is any commercially available GMO – none of them source from animals.

  158. #158 Kyle DO ND
    December 14, 2010

    My point is that what we think of as ‘modern’ organic food is the product of thousands of generations of selective breeding. If you object to GM, then you should be even more aghast at agriculture, which doesn’t just insert one or two new genes, it creates whole new blends of genes never before seen in nature. If the GM fearmongers were intellectually honest they’d refuse to eat anything but the wildest forms of fruits and vegetables still extant.

    I know you aren’t speaking to me, but I’ll respond anyway.

    Selective breeding is a different than GMing the food. But I agree, we should eat all the wild berries we can find. The wild berries in Oregon are fantastic.

    Anywy, should we really be putting genes from bacteria in our food so we can douse it with a bunch of Roundup? Really?

    I think GM food should be banned. Call me radical, it won’t offend me. If you really think hard and long about it, the GMers are actually the radical ones.

  159. #159 Rorschach
    December 13, 2010

    In what way did I destroy my own argument, Douglas? My point is that what we think of as ‘modern’ organic food is the product of thousands of generations of selective breeding. If you object to GM, then you should be even more aghast at agriculture, which doesn’t just insert one or two new genes, it creates whole new blends of genes never before seen in nature. If the GM fearmongers were intellectually honest they’d refuse to eat anything but the wildest forms of fruits and vegetables still extant.

    Waiting for your explanation.

  160. #160 Kyle DO ND
    December 13, 2010

    could someone provide a list of some credible references for the length and breadth of the “awful lies and deception” that Monsanto is guilty of over

    I was actually trying to avoid doing this as it appears to be a sensitive subject to some. I will leave it up to somebody else.

  161. #161 Marc Pacchioli
    December 13, 2010

    Just for the heck of it could someone provide a list of some credible references for the length and breadth of the “awful lies and deception” that Monsanto is guilty of over these last many, long years,and, please, not just because Jeffrey Smith told you so. Trying to get past the formidable body of web based, anti-GMO hearsay to some verifiable facts, just wondering…

  162. #162 Kyle DO ND
    December 13, 2010

    Note: I purposely omitted my opinions on Monsanto.

  163. #163 Kyle DO ND
    December 13, 2010

    How about we don’t mess with what we eat?

    My older sister has Morgellon’s, a currently unknown disease (or a fake disease as some like to call it) possibly from GMO food. There is no mainstream information about this, because the information is not allowed to be published since Morgellon’s isn’t technically a disease, but a mental disorder called delusional parisitosis (or DP).

    Let’s not wait another 20 years for strong scientific evidence that GMO is good or bad for your health. Even if the health of the public deteriorates, I don’t think it’s likely it will be traced to GMO foods. If there is a GMO food that causes disease, I would bet that the true cause will probably be denied, and the cause will be attributed to whatever symptoms the patient is experiencing (physical or mental).

    Since the consequences of GMO food are currently unknown, I think the safest bet is to avoid GMO food to your best ability.

    I am not one that likes Federal laws in general, but I would support a ban on GMO food in the United States. We don’t need to wait for studies if we act now.

    Note: My sister has a degree in biotechnology/bioengineering and worked in a lab, but is now going down a different career path after becoming ill.

  164. #164 Hinemoana
    December 13, 2010

    @ G King

    So you are OK with it if its plant genes into plants? Like a carotenoid pathway gene from maize into rice. Or what about genes from the same species? Like an anthocyanin regulation gene in wild apples into domestic apples?

  165. #165 G King
    December 13, 2010

    |thousand year campaign of genetic modification known as ‘agriculture.’

    Agriculture is a far cry from inserting genes from an animal into a plant.

  166. #166 Douglas Watts
    December 13, 2010

    I hope the simpletons on here caterwauling about genetic-altered foods aren’t going home and eating modern fruits and veggies, which are of course all products of that horrific, thousand year campaign of genetic modification known as ‘agriculture.’ Nope, only the original, old-fashioned produce for them. Of course, if you pointed out to them that nobody’s ever done a scientific study proving that organic fruits and veggies are safe, they’d probably starve to death.

    Nice job at destroying your own argument, R.

  167. #167 Rorschach
    December 13, 2010

    I hope the simpletons on here caterwauling about genetic-altered foods aren’t going home and eating modern fruits and veggies, which are of course all products of that horrific, thousand year campaign of genetic modification known as ‘agriculture.’ Nope, only the original, old-fashioned produce for them. Of course, if you pointed out to them that nobody’s ever done a scientific study proving that organic fruits and veggies are safe, they’d probably starve to death.

  168. #168 Electronic cigarette
    December 13, 2010

    The problem I see is that there is a public outcry against GMs, therefore the show is geared to have those folks say “Yep, see…I told you”.

    The other issue I see is that Monsanto(after all, they are the biggest scapegoat) has an awful history of lies and deception. How and why would you trust them now?

  169. #169 Militant Agnostic
    December 12, 2010

    I’ve not paid much attention to the GM foods debate, but it is immediately striking in this thread how similar the cranks’ comments here are to those in every science blog.

    By their ALL CAPS ye shall know them. Especially interesting are the similarities between the Anti-GMO crowd and the AGW denialists.

    It is too bad that the scientist can’t get a contract saying not only will the show make edited out content available, but they will forgo copyright on it. If they don’t agree to this it is pretty good evidence they will engage in selective editing.

  170. #170 Adam R.
    December 12, 2010

    @43: eventually the Truth WILL come out no matter what….. may take time but it WILL come out.

    I’ve not paid much attention to the GM foods debate, but it is immediately striking in this thread how similar the cranks’ comments here are to those in every science blog.

  171. #171 Marc Pacchioli
    December 11, 2010

    Saw the clips from Dr. Oz. Had never seen him before but as soon as the clip began I smelled snake oil. I think the scientific community needs to realize something that is painful yet true, that is, that the mainstream media universe is in the grips of shysters (unfortunately,some are former doctors) interested in ratings not the real story. They frame the debate and control the narrative to their own ends which is “control and profit”. And we let them, going in like lambs to the slaughter. Sound familiar? “Control and Profit” are the sole motives the anti-GMO’ers assign to the efforts of Monsanto and, yes, even public sector genetic researchers like yourself. Interesting how it always seems to be the former dance instructors and “international bestselling authors” that the Media Elite goes to for their pinch of scientific authority rather than the scientists that are actually conducting and publishing legitimate research. But lets not deceive ourselves, the truth doesn’t often yield short term profits. We need to publicly challenge the “Activist”community as to profit motives and economic interests behind their superficially altruistic crusades and then hang them out to dry on national TV. These folks make a very nice living shaking down the scientific and industrial communities and go unscathed. I say, stop being too nice and hold them accountable for their pseudo-scientific fraud. The scientific community needs to find a vehicle to get more of a market share in framing the debate and controlling the narrative being floated out there in the mainstream media, until then, any more visits with the likes of Dr Oz will just result in more frustrating show trials.
    Maybe Bill Gates might like to invest in a new foundation, how about “The Center for Science that People can Believe” or maybe, ” Credible Science in Media.” I like this one ” The Grain of Truth Foundation”

  172. #172 Piper
    December 11, 2010

    *tentatively waiting for wikileaks to release the unedited broadcast*

    Above posted by Ewan R
    ————————————-

    No, I’ll wait for an email of the:
    “human safety studies”
    performed independently on GMO Food.

    Sincerely,
    Piper

  173. #173 Ewan R
    December 10, 2010

    Sounds like a blog from a sore loser and know that eventually the Truth WILL come out no matter what….. may take time but it WILL come out.

    *tentatively waiting for wikileaks to release the unedited broadcast*

  174. #174 Piper Montgomery
    December 10, 2010

    Sounds like a blog from a sore loser and know that eventually the Truth WILL come out no matter what….. may take time but it WILL come out.

    For all your letters, more will arrive Thanking Dr. Oz for bringing this topic to the audience.

    Please Email me the “human safety studies” performed independently on GMO Food.

    Sincerely,
    Piper

  175. #175 Trish
    December 10, 2010

    I just want to thank you for taking the time to be on the show. You did an incredible job under impossible conditions.

  176. #176 Pam Ronald
    December 10, 2010

    Nice letter Diane!

    I described the GE papaya twice on the show but those responses were also edited out of the video that was promoted

  177. #177 Dianne
    December 10, 2010

    I had to send my two cents to the Dr. Oz crew as well. My letter to them…

    I am sorely disappointed with your recent show about genetically modified foods. You presented a very one-sided argument, even setting it up with terms like “Frankenfood”. By placing a world-renowned scientist on the same panel as a self-proclaimed expert with no scientific background, you present them to your viewing public as equals; as though the opinions one presents can be held to the same standards as the peer-reviewed science presented by the other. But I assume that was your intention, to bolster the credibility of the panelist who would best support your own opinion?

    Your show was crudely elementary in its presentation of science. Do you believe your own viewers so incapable of understanding a scientific diagram that you presented DNA in a method that even my 9-year old child would have scoffed at? As a doctor, I’m certain you understand that we eat DNA every day, but that the function of the genes in our plants are to create proteins for basic plant function. You had Mr. Smith point to a GM papaya, but didn’t explain to your audience that a USDA scientist (not some scary Monsanto executive) engineered the papaya to be virus-resistant and saved the Hawaiian papaya crop by doing so. I guess your audience doesn’t need to know about the subsistence farmers whose livelihoods were saved by the process, and that any non-GM papaya they eat is thanks to the protection provided by GM papaya (much like herd immunity with vaccinations, but maybe they don’t appreciate that either).

    In a world where the population is expected to grow by nearly 2.5 billion people in the next forty years; a world with growing climate concerns of water shortages, increasing carbon dioxide levels, and desertification of the land; you choose to further belittle the reputation of scientists who are working to secure our food resources. I believe it is a disservice to your viewers that you chose to take this stance, to imply to them that they are too feeble to understand true science. You have a far-reaching platform and with this show you opted to promote fear and ignorance rather than give your audience a factual presentation on the confirmed benefits or effects of genetically modifying food crops.

    Sincerely,
    Dianne Pater

  178. #178 Kym
    December 10, 2010

    “A UN and World Bank study said there is no necessary role for GM in the future in order to deal with issues of hunger and increasing production. Agroecological methods are able to do it.”

    SOURCE: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/thebusinessofgiving/2013635923_q_one_of_the_projects.html

    It is purely corporate enterprise at work to exploit new markets that provide more profits, control, and ownership.

    Regardless, it is WRONG for consumers to have never been given a LABELED choice and still is.

  179. #179 Drew McCormick
    December 10, 2010

    In addition to whatever editing they did, Mr. Smith is certainly a polished presenter. He knew how to say his keywords in nice, packaged sound bites.

  180. #180 Karl Haro von Mogel
    December 9, 2010

    I might suggest stipulating in a signed agreement that if you feel you have been misrepresented that you have the right to see and publish edited-out material from the interview. I guarantee that for anyone I interview. There is a tendency for some in media to use and abuse interviews to serve their own purposes. I, on the other hand, want to be able to guarantee to anyone listening to or reading anything I put together that I am not misrepresenting those I disagree with. After all, there is enough said openly by those I disagree with to nail them to the wall, who needs to make stuff up or hide what they say? It sounds like you got the Expelled treatment.

  181. #181 pam ronald
    December 9, 2010

    Ewan #35 Exactlly

  182. #182 Ewan R
    December 9, 2010

    One of them was when Dr. Oz said he wanted to keep children safe.

    It’s good to know the important things were brought up then – because that’s one most people are on the fence about. Did he mention where he stands on microwaving kittens also?

  183. #183 pam ronald
    December 9, 2010

    A contract is a good idea. I tried to set up some guidelines before I flew all the way out there. I knew it would not be worth having a debate with J Smith. (It would be like debating if any food is actually safe to eat). However they told me it would not be a debate and I would be talking to Dr. Oz. It was quite a surprise to find out at the dress rehearsal that they would show those wacko slides and that the main purpose was to promote the idea that “GMOs” are dangerous.

    I also did not know they would edit out all the science (like when I explained that every GE crop has to be evaluated on a case-by case basis and attempted to explain the difference between herbicides and insecticides) and leave in only the most banal and benign (Eg I like labels, I have children…).

    It would have been hard to write a contract that could have captured the totality of their imaginative actions. This too, I knew before I flew out there as ERV and others told me to prepare to be ambushed.

    Anyway, it was somewhat interesting and gave me insight into how these shows work. People are VERY excited by TV. I dont even have one so am a little removed from all that.

    As for the audience, they were surprisingly quiet. They seemed to take the cue from Oz. I think there were only 2 moments of audience response, which were both kept on the video version. One of them was when Dr. Oz said he wanted to keep children safe.

  184. #184 Ewan R
    December 9, 2010

    Pam – you’re clearly a better person than I! I would be absolutely furious about having wasted time preparing and having none of it used.

    The question is why? Does Dr. Oz get more TV viewers if he prevents a science-based discussion? I wouldnt think so.

    I get the feeling that Dr Oz would suffer if he started to foster science based discussion – Oz makes bank on magical thinking and nonsense masked by the respectability of being a Dr.

    I figure if scientists all do this kind of stuff 1-2 times a year, then the concept of evidence-based policy making may make it out to the public.

    That’s only going to work if you get to actually make this point and present some of the evidence and have it aired – otherwise all you get is a veneer of scientific respectability added to the debate – I dunno if maybe there is some way to contracually force honesty or suchlike (sure, I’ll appear on your show, however I require that the following statement be made/want some editorial input into how my responses are framed/want my own film crew in on the act also so that following the airing of the episode we can expose your nonsensical editing with a quick youtube release/something)

    I guess that at least the captive audience had to listen to everything you had to say – did you note any confused (or indeed just any) reaction when presented with the facts, or when Jeffrey Smith was called on proctological proclamations?

  185. #185 hd video izle
    December 9, 2010

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  186. #186 Jim
    December 8, 2010

    I love the way the onus is put on his guest to prove GMO foods cause damage, when me Dr cannot really point to any studies which prove it does not, because there aren’t any. How would anyone know if GMO foods caused their illness, me Oz? If there’s no good science showing they do not cause problems, how could anyone possibly pinpoint GMO as the source? and why need is show up as a full blown illness? GMO might well be altering us in ways we do not understand. How about leaving food alone? GMO is only done for profit and control.

  187. #187 pdiff
    December 8, 2010

    Steve@26:”It was great to see Jeffrey Smith have a widely watched forum to share his concerns.”

    Please read http://academicsreview.org/ re:Smith. At best, he’s dishonest.

    “At least let us have labeling.”

    You have labeling. You can find any number of products explicitly labeled “GMO-Free”. What more would you need?

  188. #188 Pam Ronald
    December 8, 2010

    Ewan @22. Do I regret appearing on the show? Well not really because I was well-prepared I think. With Jeffery Smith as a panelist it was clear it was not going to be a real discussion. Still many people urged me to go because they felt there needed to be at least some counterpoint. So duty called. I figure if scientists all do this kind of stuff 1-2 times a year, then the concept of evidence-based policy making may make it out to the public. Of course I was horrified at the slides they put up during the dress rehearsal (and almost got on the next plane home), even then I thought well, I might as well go out there and tell the audience how fantastical it was. I knew Jeffery Smith would say all kinds of crazy stuff, but I was still shocked Dr. Oz went for it. Whereas J. Smith is clearly a goof ball if you scrape the surface, Dr Oz is like God to the audience.

    I was also disappointed they edited out all my science-based evidence points. I dont think anything I said was left in except the most banal (oh I do like labels…I care about my familys’ health etc). So, although I am not naive and went in with my eyes open (thanks to the many scienceblogs posts on Oz/Oprah) I was surprised at the extent of the misinformation campaign.

    The question is why? Does Dr. Oz get more TV viewers if he prevents a science-based discussion? I wouldnt think so.

    #28. There is of course debate among scientists about many aspects of agriculture but in regards to GE crops, some key points have long been put to rest. (eg reductions in insecticides, GE crops on the market are safe to eat, etc. -see my numerous posts and links to peer reviewed articles on these subjects). So I dont think scientists are being narcissistic. We want the science out there so consumers and policy makers can make informed decisions.

  189. #189 richard
    December 8, 2010

    There are many scientists, including geneticists, who are against genetically engineered food. You do not portray this fact. There is great debate even among scientists about its value. You act like all scientists agree with you, which is pretty narcissistic view. The ramifications of changing the gene pool at the whim of some corporate scientist cannot be taken lightly. Genetics is really not yet completely understood. The fact that the human genome project identified 1/2 the number of genes they expected shows that there must be ways that genes act and express themselves that are not understood. Using the population as guinea pigs for corporate experiments is brazen and irresponsible.

  190. #190 Anne Pumfery
    December 8, 2010

    I started watching the video and I can tell that Dr. Oz had a bias from the start. In his introduction, he calls genetically modified salmon Frakenfood. He’s more concerned with genetically modified fish that can grow faster in a shorter period of time than the environmental issues associated with fish farming. I think fish that grow faster would be a great idea.

    I have friends you are against GMO foods and I sometimes wonder how informed they are about this – and where they are getting their information. What they fail to realize is that all crops have been genetically modified. Plants with certain characteristics have been selected and bred with other plants with desirable traits. This has been going on since humans began farming – as it was the only way farming was going to succeed.

  191. #191 steve
    December 8, 2010

    It was great to see Jeffrey Smith have a widely watched forum to share his concerns. At least let us have labeling.

  192. #192 Kerrie
    December 8, 2010

    I do not own a TV, but if the show really stacked everyone up against you, Dr. Ronald, that is extremely unfair. I also agree that the public is quick to jump on pseudoscience hysteria (otherwise we wouldn’t be facing the return of whooping cough).

    However, I must say that I personally try to avoid GM foods. Naturally, that is extremely difficult to do, since GM foods do not need to be labeled as such and unless I purchase food straight from a local grower, I really don’t know how it was grown and sometimes don’t even know where it’s from. But the reason I steer away from GM foods has nothing to do with safety or ethics. I agree with the literature that it is safe to eat.

    I steer away from the food namely because of the GM corporations. Companies like Monsanto and Cargill utilize GM technology to further monopolize their markets and drive family operations out of business. For example, Monsanto is well-known for inserting tags in their seeds and patenting them so that they can sue nearby farms whose plants naturally cross-pollinated with the patented plants through dispersion. As long as such practices as these occur, I will actively try to avoid GM foods. Another example: corporate farms that uses GE on animals, such as rBST to increase milk production in dairy cattle, are the same farms that are guilty of the most inhumane treatment of animals. I’ll stick with my expensive local milk taken from cows I can pet.

    It is a shame though that corporations tainted such scientific development in the US market. That really just gave ammo for the pseudoscientists.

  193. #193 doug l
    December 8, 2010

    Very interesting. Let’s hope that the same efforts toward alleviating the general public of their fear of nuclear energy so that we as nation can follow France’s and now China’s lead in taking bold steps when it comes to the scientific reality of nuclear power, in particular when it comes to the new generation of even cleaner, safer and more effective forms that are waiting in the wings. Cheers.

  194. #194 GregH
    December 8, 2010

    Did you notice that on the next segment, he said to choose organic because ‘it doesn’t have any pesticides and is GMO free’. Jeepers, he already had his mind made up before the whole thing even started. You weren’t there to inform, you were there to be the token scientist. Reminds me of that Dara O’Brian piece, about that fake balance you see in the media…this was exactly that. Let’s turn away from the scientist and hear what the other guy has to say. Ugh. Still got it recorded, don’t think I can stomach any more.

    You totally got Randied.

    But I’m sure that Jeffery Smith wants the truth scientific or otherwise to be known, and do more than just sell books & get speaking gigs, so in the name of accuracy, he will let it be known that you were unfairly misrepresented.

  195. #195 Ewan R
    December 8, 2010

    Eric @ 20 – very good question, if true then someone somewhere has seriously breached a whole gamut of rules.

    Of course the whole thing could just be made up.

    I’m wondering whether Pam regrets appearing on the show – I have a feeling that this falls into the same sort of area that Dawkins is concerned about when debating creationists – you give people who deserve no credibility exactly what they lack (or a thin veneer thereof) – only in this case they get editorial command so that they can make you look as silly as they want (I haven’t actually watched the thing, and shan’t, because Dr Oz is de debil)

  196. #196 Robert Wager
    December 8, 2010

    I was deeply dissapointed by the fear pushing production Dr. Oz did on GM crops and food. Where can I send a letter demonstrating a few of the most egregious examples of misinformation.

    Dr. Ronald, you were great considering how they did their best to mute any point you put to counter the fear. well done.
    cheers
    Rob

  197. #197 Eric Baumholder
    December 8, 2010

    Inquiring minds want to know:

    Where did the GM potatoes come from, and how did a teenager get them?

  198. #198 Veronique
    December 8, 2010

    Pam – I couldn’t watch the clown but have written the following in support of reason. Very timely – I am constructing a blog entry on future food security that I will post soon.

    Dear Mr Mehmet Oz,
    I do not usually have anything to do with proposers of alternative medicine. If peer review accepted, alternative medicine would be main stream by now and we would all be super healthy and disease free wouldn’t we?

    I note that you have a TV show funded by some company or another and that earlier this week you talked somewhat spuriously and misleadingly about genetically modified foods. And had some other pseudoscientific spruikers to strike fear and loathing into your audience.

    Have you ever gauged your show’s demographic? Or do you assume that it is fairly easy to bamboozle average non-scientific audiences with pseudoscience?

    You realise full well and with cynicism that you are perpetuating fear of the unknown by propounding your non-evidenced conclusions made up by you and your cohorts to bolster your own agenda – which I assume, like most of your ilk, involves the primary focus of making money.

    How about future food security for (at present) 6.78 billion people, about a quarter of whom live on the margins with staple crops that are not nutritious? What is wrong with the addition of essential nutrient to such staples?

    You know I love taking cheap shots, so cop this: I note, that you rely upon the ‘authority’ of a former political candidate (wow) with his unsubstantiated beliefs (that you know! are untrue) about infertility organ damage and endocrine disruption being the result of the consumption of GM foods. His party? Some arm of Transcendental Meditation. Running the country are they? And Oprah Winfrey thinks you are tops!! Whoopee doo. Some accolade!!

    Why do you target people who have less scientific training than do you? Because those who actually have a science background would blow your premises out of the water?

    Well, here’s what I propose – host a proper show and only allow those who have peer reviewed and accepted evidenced research onto your show to tell your audience that there has never been one, I repeat one, instance of infertility, organ damage or endocrine disruption or anything else that can be laid at the door of GM foods consumption. Why not get on a reputable biochemist like Nick Lane. Surely we can take comfort from a scientist who doesn’t shill for a company but is an academic researcher?

    I truly hope that you receive so many emails from people that your in-box doth runneth over. Make sure that each one is answered to reflect the appreciation you must have of the effort people have taken to contact you with their responses to your show.

    More and more people (though maybe not in the US where Sagan lived, worked and educated) have access to what Sagan called the BS Detection Kit. It is a series of critical questions that help steer people to discarding slick pseudoscience and woo delivered by the likes of you and the various ‘guests’ you have on your show and so rely upon to obfuscate further.

    Awaiting your reply etc.

  199. #199 Jonathan
    December 8, 2010

    Virginia

    “opportunity to understand a scientific process: one that in combination with sustainable, organic agriculture”

    and the scientific evidence that supports a successful organic system of agriculture (either with or without GM) is…….?????

    Jonathan

  200. #200 islami radyo
    December 8, 2010

    arama motorlarinda en iyi yerlere gelmek icin ugrasmaktayiz bakalim hersey nasip bizim icin en guzeli neyse o olur umarim herkese kolay gelsin

  201. #201 Scott
    December 8, 2010

    Oops! Sorry about the double post, I was trying to correct my spelling.

  202. #202 Scott
    December 8, 2010

    The thing that stands in the way of reason is a complete lack of scientific knowledge. If these people truly understood biology, especially evolution and genetics, then the big picture about GMO would come into view. It really isn’t that difficult to understand the basics of these sciences, maybe it just seems difficult to understand, so they don’t even try. So, what we get are people referring to whoever sounds good, and just going with whatever advice their dishing out even though its nonsense.

    For what its worth Pamela, I thought you were right on. And its clear that Dr. Woo Woo and friends lack basic biology understanding. Even I could slap those guys around and I’m a auto mechanic.

  203. #203 Scott
    December 8, 2010

    The thing that stands in the way of reason is a complete lack of scientific knowledge. If these people truly understood biology, especially evolution and genetics, then the big picture about GMO would come into view. It really isn’t that difficult to understand the basics of these sciences, maybe it just seems difficult to understand, so they don’t even try. So, what we get are people referring to whoever sounds good, and just going with whatever advice they dishing out even though its nonsense.

    For what its worth Pamela, I thought you were right on. And its clear that Dr. Woo Woo and friends lack basic biology understanding. Even I could slap those guys around and I’m a auto mechanic.

  204. #204 Militant Agnostic
    December 8, 2010

    I hope, for Dr Oz’s patients sake, that he gets his medical ” Scientific” information from better types of sources than the two anti GMO guests on his program.

    Sadly, no – Dr Oz’s wife is a reiki practitioner and Dr Oz has reiki practioners wave their hands over his patients. He also has antivaccination tendencies.

    For those of you are unfamiliar with the Natural Law Party, they are the political arm of the Transcendental Meditation cult. They have been a source of comic relief during the last few Canadian federal elections.

  205. #205 Steve Sanguinetti
    December 8, 2010

    PS to above comment. I hope, for Dr Oz’s patients sake, that he gets his medical ” Scientific” information from better types of sources than the two anti GMO guests on his program.

  206. #206 stephen sanguinetti
    December 8, 2010

    I’d like to thank Dr. Arnold for having the courage to put herself through such and ordeal as was exhibited on the Dr. Oz show. It must have been frustrating for her to deal with such ignorance. Dr. OZ’s primary intention was obviously to pander to beliefs he already held regarding both GMO and organic food throughout the show. On top of that he had the nerve to speak of his faith in scientific progress just because he was a doctor. Of course a lot more could have been said in defense of modern sustainable agriculture, but she at least made the effort. I guess Monsanto and the other companies involved in developing GMO based procucts don’t feel it is worth their bother. At least they didn’t on this show and haven’t so far.

  207. #207 Anastasia
    December 7, 2010

    Kristen, actually, I actively avoid any foods labeled non-GMO because I know that, based on sound science, products of genetic engineering are safe and I don’t want to support fear mongering through labels. I have to make a special trip to the Asian Market to buy GMO tofu because all the tofu in the regular grocery store is labeled non-GMO.

    If you have any specific questions about safety or science of GMOs, feel free to visit the forum of Biofortified, a non-commerical website by grad students and professors devoted to shedding light on the science of agriculture. http://www.biofortified.org/community/forum/

  208. #208 Kristen
    December 7, 2010

    I’d love to see your grocery cart. I’d bet there’s not a single GMO item in there. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Next you’ll say that being gay is a choice and there’s no such thing as global warming.

  209. #209 The Omnibrain
    December 7, 2010

    “Dr. Oz asks who can we trust when it comes to Genetically Engineered Crops?”

    Certainly not Dr. Oz!

  210. #210 Mary
    December 7, 2010

    @Anastasia: Oh, I’m with you on the talking about science. But sometimes I feel like science blogging is largely reaching other scientists or the science-inclined anyway.

    We need a Sagan-esque person. But people didn’t put Sagan up with creationists much, did they? I don’t remember that if they did.

    And as Pam mentioned there’s very little incentive to do this. You aren’t paid to do “community outreach”. It doesn’t count on your grant scores. And in some cases it can even hurt. Saganized is also a verb I’ve heard used to describe flack that popularizers of science have generated. And that’s from their peers.

    You also need asbestos pantsuits on this topic. Most people don’t have that naturally. It gets toasty out there. And that’s certainly not rewarding either. Can be fun sometimes, and funny other times, but does wear on you.

    I don’t mean to dissuade you. I think your efforts are the key to getting scientists in the pipeline prepared for this. But even if we prepare them somehow–they still face the lack out wide outlets, “balanced” stories with cranks, and little career reward for it. There’s a systemic problem, and I’m not sure how to fix that.

  211. #211 Pam Ronald
    December 7, 2010

    Go Ginny! Thanks for that. Lets all write such letters to Dr. Oz.

  212. #212 Ginny Powers
    December 7, 2010

    Well, I’m speechless. The cards were even more stacked against you than I thought. I have written and sent the following to Dr. Oz.

    Dear Dr. Oz,
    On your genetically-modified foods segment today (12/7/2010) you promoted pseudo-science and manipulated your interview to disregard evidence from the scientific community, peer-reviewed research, and rational discourse. You allowed claims by guests who are not scientists to go unchallenged by you (who has a scientific background), and you did not allow your audience to hear compelling evidence from a nationally and internationally recognized and highly esteemed scientist.

    What do you win by appealing to the lowest common denominator? We in this great nation have lost yet another opportunity to understand a scientific process: one that in combination with sustainable, organic agriculture (terms which also, by the way, need more specific definition) may solve many of our nation’s long-term challenges concerning our health and the availability of nutritious foods for our families.

    I challenge you to host scientists on yet another show to review what genetic engineering involves – more than a simplistic change of the color on the rungs of two ladders – and to seriously discuss the subject. I believe that your audience deserves this and can understand far more than you or your staff has given them credit for.

    I await your response.

    Respectfully,
    Virginia Powers

  213. #213 Anastasia
    December 7, 2010

    My mom was very proud to hear Biofortified mentioned on the show. She said she didn’t even remember anything that Dr. Hansen said, even though he talked a lot, so it must not have been very important (her words). She also said it was a shame that you were only allowed to say a few sentences. I wonder why the extra material isn’t posted on the Dr. Oz website or something. Well, aside from the fact that they want to hide anything unfavorable to their world view.

    Mary – I think there is something that we can do. We can be out there, talking about science, as much as possible. I’m working on a new website “If Einstein Blogged” http://ifeinsteinblogged.net/ that has the goal of helping and encouraging scientists (young and old, established and students) to communicate their work and their professional opinions to the public. Popular culture is full of people who aren’t experts – let’s give them some competition! If anyone’s interested in this project, please check it out and contact me – the more people contributing the more likely we are to reach other scientists.

  214. #214 Kevin R
    December 7, 2010

    So the bottom line is that Jeffery Smith, a former Iowa political candidate for the Natural Law Party with no discernible scientific or agricultural training, gets a national forum to discuss his unsubstantiated beliefs that eating GE crops causes infertility, organ damage and endocrine disruption, while a qualified researcher, married to an organic farmer, doesn’t get to present any factual evidence to the contrary. I think it is clear who we can’t trust.

  215. #215 pam ronald
    December 7, 2010

    So true. And what makes it worst is that scientists we need scientists to do this kind of stuff. But what is the incentive?

  216. #216 Mary
    December 7, 2010

    Ugh. I’ve been waiting for the show, but with dread. I know I’ll be screaming at my TV and at Smith.

    I agree with you on this:

    The show demonstrates yet again that as scientists, we cannot dismiss the general anxiety about genetic engineering, and the distrust of science and scientists in general.

    But how can we do it when the important stuff is cut? When credentials don’t matter to the show’s producers?

    This stuff isn’t trivial. It really does have impact on policy and on the support we get for science funding. And in some cases we see anti-science tee-vee even kills (as Orac has been following with the Oprah incident).

    It’s enormously frustrating. Bullshit and superficial crap is easy for people to grasp. And it’s impossible to counter in the time and in the venues we have.

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