What's going on, Scotland?


Scotland is going to formally ban the cultivation of genetically modified crops. Apparently, this was an easy step for them to take, because it's the scientists who are explaining that this is a foolish move, and everyone knows you can just ignore the scientists.

I also think it's a matter of fearing the unknown. Scotland doesn't have any GM crops! It's easy to ban what you already don't have, and when activists have successfully nailed the phrase "genetically modified" with the stigma of being sciencey and wicked. It's absurd.

If you're going to ban everything that has been genetically modified, the Scots are going to have to go back to harvesting wild grains and hunting wild animals -- every single commercial crop plant has been extensively modified by human intervention, to the point that they're often completely unrecognizable in comparison to the ancestral stock. What they're really complaining about is that modern genetically modified plants are more precisely engineered than the old scattershot style of random genetic modification.


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Why the activist picture/ If instead the media would show real photos of real GE crops the public would gain a far better and more realistic view of the crops and technology.

By Robert Wager (not verified) on 09 Aug 2015 #permalink

It will be interesting to see how Scotland reacts to the Simplot “Innate” potato, which is engineered to excise a gene rather than ‘modify’ a gene (and has anti-cancer health benefits as well as production benefits). It has been approved by the FDA in the U.S. and the U.S. agricultural department says it’s approval is not required.

By AnswersInGenitals (not verified) on 09 Aug 2015 #permalink

And when blight resistant potatoes reach the market will Scotland stick to their guns? I seriously doubt it.

By Robert wager (not verified) on 09 Aug 2015 #permalink

Dr Myers, you are confused in your understanding of genetic modification. Genetic modification by selective breeding is one thing -- a selected modification of natural processes. Genetic modification by splicing parts of DNA from fungus or bacteria in to the wheat genome is NOT OK because it almost never occurs in nature. Doing this sort of thing is not the problem; what is the problem is letting these modified hybrids loos e in the Environment. Neil DeGrasse Tyson suffers from the same confusion.

By Robert Spies (not verified) on 09 Aug 2015 #permalink


"Genetic modification by splicing parts of DNA from fungus or bacteria in to the wheat genome is NOT OK because it almost never occurs in nature."

to maintain that delusion please ensure to avoid the topic of "horizontal gene transfer" at all cost.

All would be well if we could 100% trust that those who own the patents for GMOs do not use their enormous financial and political power to basically enslave farmers

I don't think it's the science that scares people so much as it is the science being owned absolutely by big business

gas-lighting farmers fears and belittling them for their maybe ill-defined and poorly explained fears does not help the matter

the introduction of GMOs should go hand in hand with legislation to protect farmers so that they can not be destroyed by big business for having fears or speaking out against their enslavers

I think a world full of small independent farmers is one far more resilient than one dominated by a small group of giant organisations run by people we know have more interest in their bonuses and insane salaries based on their no-holds-barred methods to keep share prices in line with investors rabid avarice

just how i see it


"Enslavers" !?!?! Gee Pop, I didn't know that they carried whips and chains... Ummm... they don't Mr. Wizard Wow, what a relief? Than what's this all about?

Oh, Timmy these activists don't believe that farmers have been buying hybrid seed for over a century... and that newe GM crops are even more profitable for the farmers, which is why they voluntarily chose to buy GM seed instead of older cultivars. You see Jimmy, when a company markets a new product, the customer has to get value from his choice as well... or he won't change his buying habits. This way, things improve and everyone wins.

Golly Mr. Wizard, I guess my Pop is just dumb.

No Jeremy, he's not dumb, he's just a liar. The real reason they they don't like GMO is that they would rather believe in the tooth fairy, santa claus and that "organic food" is "natural" and that makes is magically more delicious, wholesome, and those that consume it more enlightened that the rest of us...

Jeepers... and BTW, My name is susan.

By Candice H. Bro… (not verified) on 09 Aug 2015 #permalink

GMO in of itself is not a problem, which is why the tarring of GMOs by certain activists really grinds in my gears. I do believe that they should be labeled along with the main function of the modification.

For example, GMOs that increase yield, or nutrient are greatly beneficial with low downsides...

but the recent finding of pests getting adapted to GMO engineered to deter those pests, shows that humans don't have the discipline to responsibly use such GMOed plants and thus not use them or use them under extreme scrutiny.

Also GMO plants that are made to be used with unsustainable pesticides or other practices are bad, not because of GMO, but because of the prolonging of non-sustainable practices.

The most depressing thing to me, is that golden rice, the most promising GMO gets no traction and is even destroyed by 'activists' worried about GMOs, but the worst GMOs, those tie the farmer to unsustainable pesticides and onerous contracts flourish.

Lucky's last paragraph nails it: GM-spruikers talk endlessly about stuff like Golden Rice, while the reality is that virtually all commercialised GMOs are out there increasing the cost of seed, promoting the overuse of pesticides, and actively causing pesticide resistance in pests.
Add to that the fact the GMO industry wants to hoodwink consumers by not labelling GMOs properly, and also endangering consumers by avoiding any of the testing that any other novel food or drug product has to undergo (and GMOs are more akin to drugs than food in respect of novelty), and it's pretty clear that blind enthusiasm for GMOs is not in keeping with sceptical principles.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 12 Aug 2015 #permalink

In fact, pro-GMO activism exhibits the same laughable naivety that was apparent in relation to nuclear power in its early days:
"“Our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter...will travel effortlessly over the seas and under them and through the air with a minimum of danger and at great speeds, and will experience a lifespan far longer than ours, as disease yields and man comes to understand what causes him to age.”"

What a joke.
GMOs aren't going to alleviate poverty and hunger - they will exacerbate it, as corporations get their claws into societies and affect them negatively in a similar way that Nestle did massive damage in Africa by selling people products that weren't just not needed, but actively harmful.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 12 Aug 2015 #permalink

The Scots have no right to ban anything, they are not even a country. Letting the population make decisions is dangerous because it will always come into conflict with Science. The smartest people in the World are Scientists and we need to take over and run the World correctly. These idiot Scots should be worried about Whales not GMO, take away their voting privileges.

You're just Poe-ing, right?