The Big Picture: Feeding Edge

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keserak:

In comparison to crossbreeding, Bob calls using genetic engineering, "simplifying." By his bullshit logic, invasive surgery is the same thing as taking an herbal supplement.

He did not, go back and watch the video again.

keserak:
Monsanto, the biggest and most well-known perpetrator, made its fortune by doing the following:

a) Invent a highly toxic weed killer.

Specify and realize this can be done without genetic engineering.

keserak:

b) Genetically modify seeds with material outside the seeds' species to resist the weed killing toxin.
c) Modify the seeds further for other uses.

And now you are just fear mongering. How does modifying the seeds make them bad? You don't say you just expect us to think it's bad because you put that they were modified. Oooh scary.

I should also point out that you have no sources.

Love your work Bob you really know how to piss off the village idiots, maybe you could combine religion and GM foods in your next post to really stir them up :)

Keep up the great work.

indeed, I was as familiar with genetic engineering as you are dr. Bob, but I do salute you for explaining it without overcomplicating, nice episode.

I've never heard of FrankenFood or even anyone using Franken to spice a word up! Anyway, thanks for that reassurance, time to spread the word!

SO what is the steroids,ect in hickens and cows called? I suppose its not genetic engineering, as it has more to do with the health and bulk of the animal. Then again we get teenagers that look like 20 year olds so I guess there is no real down side.

Also we do not quit understand the correlation between what we eat and the cross trait engineering(mixing tomatoes with pigs or apples, tho I suppose if we eat both there is no harm) that goes on, tho human body can surprisingly eat alot of things and gain from it, right now we have alot of sedentary life styles that is making us more cancer prone, also it could just be good genes vrs bad genes and your lifestyle that makes you more healthy than the rest.

PissOffRoth:

Azaraxzealot:
"WHY IS OUR SPACE PROGRAM BEING SHUT DOWN?!"

Probably because it's burning up millions of taxpayer dollars to just send highly trained people on a vacation in the void. Until we find something out there that's actually worth the cost of getting to it (i.e., natural resources or an inhabitable planet) then it's really not worth the cost.

yeah... i knew about that, but i was being facetious when i mentioned that. what its meant to say is that the public being distraught over "genetic engineering food" because it's really not even a problem at all.

even our space program being shut down is more important :P

Yes if you breed something into another thing then thats fine, but if you change how a cell works or how it reproduces then i see a problem with that why you ask? well its not natural

There was a study done on chickens or people eating chickens, It was done on man, the man eating chickens that where feed hormones(just like the ones from KFC) caused the man to grow breast while the NATURAL chiken had no effect on the man,

It was on a Russian news network if you want to check it out.

keserak:
Bob is absolutely full of shit.

He is speaking with the air of authority on something he knows less than nothing about. That is, he has so much misinformation that he would actually be better off being completely ignorant.

Let's review the errors.

Selective breeding is NOT the same thing as genetic engineering. Genetic engineering involves using viruses (or other small carriers, such as needles) to modify a species using genetic material from a completely different species. In other words, two species that could NEVER breed in the wild can have materials combined. Viruses can move genetic material around in the wild "naturally," but, in multicellular organisms, this is an incredibly rare event that has only been theorized to have occured. In other words, this is NOT a natural event. In fact, you take genetic traits from plants and fungi and add them to animals. The organisms don't even have to be in the same kingdom.

Bob implied that this was only turning on and off existing traits.

In this, Bob is a liar.*

In comparison to crossbreeding, Bob calls using genetic engineering, "simplifying." By his bullshit logic, invasive surgery is the same thing as taking an herbal supplement.

And oh, let's not hear the "it all exists in nature" canard from some of the posters. Cyanide is naturally occuring -- I invite you to try some. The fact of the matter is, a protein that is excellent in corn won't necessarily be healthy in a trout. Biological systems are exceptionally complex -- they are likely the most complex thing known to man -- and extensive testing would be needed to be certain the chimeric animal is healthy and safe to eat -- testing that Monsanto and the like are dedicated to avoiding.

By the way, the relevant term here is chimera, NOT a hybrid Bob -- and if you don't know what a chimera is, you shouldn't even be in this discussion. Seriously, this is like discussing the Middle East without knowing what Jew, Arab, oil, and the U.S. mean.

But back to that earlier point, it is not the mere existence of a biological agent that makes it "natural," but its relationship with the organism. I can assure you that an octopus contains plenty of chemicals that, if placed in the human bloodstream, would sicken it, and vice-versa. Saying that something is "natural" because it's found in nature is like claiming it's okay to stab you in the head with an icicle. Water is natural, after all, and you're full of it already, right?

It gets worse. The problem with genetic engineering -- which Bob doesn't even understand -- is that it is being used without proper controls and with complete disregard to environmental laws and human saftey. Monsanto, the biggest and most well-known perpetrator, made its fortune by doing the following:

a) Invent a highly toxic weed killer.
b) Genetically modify seeds with material outside the seeds' species to resist the weed killing toxin.
c) Modify the seeds further for other uses.
d) Fail to test the food on animals -- or test the food badly, obscuring animal harm such as increased rate of cancer. (Yep, they'll lie about their own results.)
e) Sell the seed to farmers where the plants will interbreed with wild species, contaminating them.

And the real doozy:

f) If some of Monsanto's seeds get onto your property and you've refused to buy their seed, they will claim your ENTIRE FARM as their own and take the plants you developed via decades of actual cross-breeding, patent the plants, and steal your livelhood.

I'm not kidding. They did this to farmers in Canada and are pulling the same crap in India.

Oh, by the way: if you're in the third world, they'll refuse to let you save your seeds -- you know, what farmers have done for over 20 thousand years. That way you have to buy from them ever year. And they jack the price up. Not that you needed to buy their seed before they started polluting your crops with their seeds.

Needless to say, contamination of some of the oldest crops of mankind could lead to some pretty serious devastation. Monsanto and similar companies are using the entire planet as a laboratory and have no experimental controls. (And again, if you don't know what a scientific control is, you have no business saying anything about genetic engineering. Just to be sure, I'm not saying you shouldn't talk about this: you should. You should look up your terms first, however -- and not spew a bunch of poisonous lies on a popular media site while ridiculing hundreds of millions of people fighting to preserve their lives and jobs.)

It is not genetic engineering to improve crops. It's genetic engineering to exploit the trademark system, a legal system that the framers of the Constitution never expected to be employed as we do today. It is supposed to be illegal to patent living things; Monsanto's bribes changed that.

And, oh, Bob -- that carrot? The one you thought you were so clever about? Yeah, we know it was genetically engineered due to activists telling us. It wasn't mentioned in the supermarket. In fact, Monsanto and its allies work hard to obscure all genetic engineering information and hope to make its disclosure illegal. This is despite the fact that some of their additions can trigger allergic reactions in humans.

So, if you're allergic to peanuts, imagine it being illegal to label something as containing peanut products. That's you're future.

Seriously, Bob, that carrot gag did nothing to ridicule your target and simply made you look like an ass.

Hell, even his non-science discussion is a doughy pantload. Frankenstein's lack of scientific credentials in the novel was basically irrelevant since accredidation didn't mean much in the 19th century -- but, zounds, it was a big deal in the 20th, hence the change to the movie.

You'd think he'd know that, being a movie critic.

*The vehemence of this reply is due to the fact that Bob was contemptuous of people who have a valid, important concern with the state of the FDA. In short, Bob was belittling people who are working their asses off to save lives and livelihoods in the face of ridiculously irresponsible and, frankly, antiscientific mismanagement. And he did so using out-and-out lies, some of which parallel the lies used by the industries breaking the laws and bribing congress as we speak. I call him a liar because of his confidence; he made blanket, untrue declarations with the intent to persuade.

I know this has already been echoe by many, but I have a lot of problems with this statement. Not to say that I don't agree that there should have been considerable testing and law-making before any of this became available, but that's not to say GM crops are the devil, either.

For one, the blatant insult of legitimate arguments gets on my nerves, especially when the fear-mongers are not affecting the activists, they're misinforming the masses, and masses are notoriously stupid.

So, "let's review some errors", in order of appearance:

Selective breeding is not identical to genetic engineering by any means, but it is a very similar principal. The extraction of some genes in favor of others. It was a comparison used to reinforce the argument. Not, by any means, an absolute truth (and a comparison should NEVER be taken as such).

Two completely different species resemble eachother in that they are both species (this is where the testing comes in). Did you know humans share 5% of our DNA with bananas? I agree that traits that work in some species might not work in others, but that's what tests are about. You try, find out what went wrong, where, and try again (sometimes you just change things and skip the second step altogether). Two identical traits can be found in two differnt individuals that never shared these traits in their respective genetic pasts.

No, it's not a natural event, but neither is the computer on which you type your unreferenced arguments.

Kingdoms are irrelevent. It all uses DNA, it's all life. Kingdoms are an archaic form of representation that only exist today for the purposes of categorization. That bit was just science-hate.

And what do you expect? You want a guy who's career is based around movies, speaking to people who may not have a full grasp of university-level biology to give you the scientifically correct explanation?

No, that connection is irrelevant. The genetic engineering is a simplification of effort and process, not method. GM means that you didn't spend 500 years of trial and error to get impossible results.

But it DOES all exist in nature. No, trout and corn may not benefit equally from the same protein, but again, testing. I do agree that there should have been A LOT more testing, but other than finding out how, where and why it fails, there's nothing wrong with it.

Biological systems are quite simple. Their interaction is not.

MOST people don't know what a chimera is (including the fearful). Again, the audience has to be kept in perspective here. It's like explaining the middle east with "immigrants to the middle east by force of the second world war", "people that live in the middle east", "balck liquid that makes your car go" and "militarily potent super-power". Sure it's not all-inclusive or particularly accurate, but it lays down the foundation for more complex explanation, and likely those statements will be corrected and elaborated upon as the explanation goes. That's how explaining things works.

I like the icicle-stabbing analogy, but again, TESTING.

Now that bit about Monsanto is a good one. But that is the point about abuse of a new technology, not the mere existence of said technology (which is the one Bob was concerned about).

The rest of the science vs. corporation stuff we're pretty much in agreement about.

But the carrot gag wasn't a gag. It was an important point. The media has created fear of something for its existence, not its abuse, and the general populace is taking it the wrong way. Don't deny that. If you do, you're the liar here.

The lack of scientific credentials was less the point than was a lack of scientific experience. The guy had nothing to do with science and to compare the resurrection of dead things with electricity to editing the nature of something still living with ACTUAL SCIENCE is completely stupid. It doesn't matter where he had or didn't have a title, even though being a doctor did mean domething in the 19th century. If it didn't, why would Darwin have feared the scorn of his colleagues. Even then, being an official member of the scientific community meant something. It meant authority.

No, Bob was speaking contemptuously of the mainstream media, which has created a fear of technology, rather than legitimate concern.

A lot of good points, a lot of misread ones. One might think you're a member of a debate club.

Love this video, especially the part about the history of carrots. Learn something new every day I suppose.

Couldn't agree more. "Science is scary" Ughhh...

I wish more people actually knew this. I'm looking forward to more of these videos, if they're all this good!

oh man, I had to pause the video when you put up the picture of Inigo Montoya

Drake_Dercon:
Selective breeding is not identical to genetic engineering by any means, but it is a very similar principal.

Correct. If by "very" you mean "not at all".

The extraction of some genes in favor of others. It was a comparison used to reinforce the argument. Not, by any means, an absolute truth (and a comparison should NEVER be taken as such).

If you compare two things so fundamentally different the comparison does not serve to make anything clear but it is misleading at best, manipulation at worst. Breeding almost always produces viable offspring with similar properties than the parents, GE rarely produces viable organisms and they can have properties radically different that the original species, including being toxic, causing allergies or simply being worse than the traditional species but superseding it.

I agree that traits that work in some species might not work in others, but that's what tests are about.

I don't think you have a good understanding of how complex the consequences of genetic changes can be and how long it would take to thoroughly test a genetically engineered organism. Fact is genentically engeneered organisms are sold and noone knows exactly what they do to us. All we have are superficial tests, basically educated guesses.

No, it's not a natural event, but neither is the computer on which you type your unreferenced arguments.

Ouch, what a horrible comparison! Computers don't spread, multiply and mutate and most of us don't digest computers.

And what do you expect? You want a guy who's career is based around movies, speaking to people who may not have a full grasp of university-level biology to give you the scientifically correct explanation?

I expect Bob not to unleash a flood of uninformed spam that could well be directly from a Monsanto marketing office. Bob should either stick to movies or get a f* clue of what he's talking about.

GM means that you didn't spend 500 years of trial and error to get impossible results.

Which means the organisms are 500 years less tested.

I do agree that there should have been A LOT more testing, but other than finding out how, where and why it fails, there's nothing wrong with it.

You cannot test if a human-made species will eliminate a natural species, leading to destabilized ecosystems. Just look at what the rabbit, the cane toad and the camel do to the Australian ecosystem - and they are not even engineered organsims, just imported ones.

The media has created fear of something for its existence, not its abuse, and the general populace is taking it the wrong way. Don't deny that. If you do, you're the liar here.

I do deny that. The media very justifiedly creates fear of something, not for its existence but for its implications we do not even begin to understand. Some people may have fear for the wrong reasons but scepticism is due.

No, Bob was speaking contemptuously of the mainstream media, which has created a fear of technology, rather than legitimate concern.

Who are you to judge whether the concern is legitimate or not? Are you a genetic scientist? Talking of genetic scientists.. everyone who posted in this thread and has some expert knowledge in the field pointed out that bob got very fundamental things wrong and that things are by far not as simple and positive as Bob wants to make us believe.

I am not concerned of the food so much as the impact on the environment and farmers. A few years ago Monsanto Foods, which is the go to developer of modified foods, started licensing modified soybeans. They sold the seeds and it grew very well, but the plants began to cross-pollenate with unmodified soybeans resulting in both crops taking in similar genetic traits. As a result, Monsanto sued to growers who just happened to have the free upgraded produce. This is a problem.

That

Pumpkinmancer:

As for peoples concerns and reactions to this, as well as your own: Just because you don't like people crying wolf does not mean you should adamantly proclaim that there are no wolves, there never have been, there never will be, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool. You're an intelligent man, so do what intelligent men do, Bob. Go educate yourself about this, and speak about the subject in an intelligent manor.

Edit: Typos

This was by far the most reasoned, logical, and level-headed counter argument I have seen in the forums. It would take me a couple hours to write, revise, and proof-read such a response (one that was desperately needed) to Bob's Frankenfood manifesto and the outcry that followed. However, I bet it would not be nearly as good. Today, you win the internets.

I skimmed the first page of this thread but I'm not going to read all 13 pages so pardon me if I reiterate a previous vantage. Also, I don't know if Bob reads these threads so I suppose I'm typing this for my own satisfaction.

Bob, I'm disappointed. I'm not a follower of your movie reviews but I have become a follower of your Big Picture. Your nerd dissertation, comic book exposť, and cap'n spandex shindig were all engaging. This... sure, you may have exposed the uninformed to concepts which they were unfamiliar. But, actually addressing anything significant about the real controversy you brought up? I fail to find substance.

Stating the modern progression of Darwin and Mendel's work hardly touches upon the issues at the core controversy of genetic engineering. Terminator seed, bleached vs whole grain flour, cloning, pharmaceutical efficacy vs side effect. These are the types of measurable, debatable, moral and ethical considerations that come into play when genetic modification is brought to the table. I'm not here to argue in favor of the scientific enhancement of our species or against the bastardization of all things natural. I'd simply like for you to touch upon real points of controversy the next time you want to spend four minutes and fifty-six seconds tackling issues of more substance than nerds, comic books, and martians.

Entertaining as it was informative, that was a pretty cool little short. Thank you, Bob.

And massive kudos for use of anything from "Gremlins2".

PhiMed:
I agree with pretty much all of this video, but I have to take issue with one thing you said. Defibrillation doesn't work on "dead" things. It only works on certain types of electrical rhythms. This tissue is alive. It's just not functioning properly.

I always get irritated when I see people applying the paddles to someone who's flat-lining in television programs. You don't shock asystole. You shock ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.

Just thought I'd put my two cents in.

damn you, i was coming here to say:

Defibrillation doesn't restart hearts, it stabilises cardiac rhythms.

but you were more accurate ;o)

I've noticed that there have been several posts about people not knowing about genetically modified food and controversy surrounding it. Well if you want a good idea what people are arguing about, just read the long posts.

nice data with the purple carrot, i feel wiser. everybody is gonna freak out with science, because few people actually understand it. my grandfather used to breed superior kinds of llamas (im from peru) and alpacas. now, we impregnate the females with superior sperms to breed alpacas with more wool.

so, why dont do it to make better food? nice topic bob. cheers from Peru.

edit: and by the way, in peru, everything is modified, grapes with out seeds, watermellons without seed, mandarins with out seed, bigger blueberries and over 5000 kinds of potatos.

Giddi:

PhiMed:
I agree with pretty much all of this video, but I have to take issue with one thing you said. Defibrillation doesn't work on "dead" things. It only works on certain types of electrical rhythms. This tissue is alive. It's just not functioning properly.

I always get irritated when I see people applying the paddles to someone who's flat-lining in television programs. You don't shock asystole. You shock ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.

Just thought I'd put my two cents in.

damn you, i was coming here to say:

Defibrillation doesn't restart hearts, it stabilises cardiac rhythms.

but you were more accurate ;o)

Thanks (sorry?). It's not so much a stabilization technique as a "reset button". For stabilization they use drugs like lidocaine.

As per usual the media jumps, or focuses on the two extremes. So you are either for GM foods or not. I sit more in the middle. Rather than the usual right wing scare mongering of the FOX news variety I would rather see as Bob has done some proper facts.

I have a scientific background and can see both side of the coin. GM foods can be of great help especially to places like the 3rd world. But by the same token that does not mean there is nothing to be worried about. Well there is and it would be a dis-service to ignore it. This is where I have to uncharacteristically disagree with Bob and his rosy everything is OK and you're an idiot if you say anything negative picture.

The level modification may not be too worrying at the moment but the types of modification technology will get more advanced quickly. And has been seen in the US, the regulatory bodies are not so great at keeping up with what the latest things people are doing and what risks they may pose. Regulation of the financial markets and oil safety being two recent examples of regulatory failure.

Also there is the issues around companies controlling our food supply as growers are completely beholden to them for the seeds, etc. Also with the food getting out into the wild and out competing the normal varieties only to fall ill to some disease that normal varieties have a natural immunity to.

So I say yes we should be going forwards with GM foods, but lets take it slowly.

Also what I would really like to see (may main bug bear) is labeling on the food so that you know what types of genetic manipulation that have been done to it. Then it is up to the consumer to decide at the shop shelf what they want to buy. And that is how it should be at the end of the day.

SensibleCrout:
1. Correct. If by "very" you mean "not at all".

2. If you compare two things so fundamentally different the comparison does not serve to make anything clear but it is misleading at best, manipulation at worst. Breeding almost always produces viable offspring with similar properties than the parents, GE rarely produces viable organisms and they can have properties radically different that the original species, including being toxic, causing allergies or simply being worse than the traditional species but superseding it.

3. I don't think you have a good understanding of how complex the consequences of genetic changes can be and how long it would take to thoroughly test a genetically engineered organism. Fact is genentically engeneered organisms are sold and noone knows exactly what they do to us. All we have are superficial tests, basically educated guesses.

4. Ouch, what a horrible comparison! Computers don't spread, multiply and mutate and most of us don't digest computers.

5. I expect Bob not to unleash a flood of uninformed spam that could well be directly from a Monsanto marketing office. Bob should either stick to movies or get a f* clue of what he's talking about.

6. Which means the organisms are 500 years less tested.

7. You cannot test if a human-made species will eliminate a natural species, leading to destabilized ecosystems. Just look at what the rabbit, the cane toad and the camel do to the Australian ecosystem - and they are not even engineered organsims, just imported ones.

8. I do deny that. The media very justifiedly creates fear of something, not for its existence but for its implications we do not even begin to understand. Some people may have fear for the wrong reasons but scepticism is due.

9. Who are you to judge whether the concern is legitimate or not? Are you a genetic scientist? Talking of genetic scientists.. everyone who posted in this thread and has some expert knowledge in the field pointed out that bob got very fundamental things wrong and that things are by far not as simple and positive as Bob wants to make us believe.

I wish I had the hours to cut up this post into reference-able slices, but I don't, so the numbering will have to do.

1. and 2. The "turning on/off of genes was a rudimentary comparison (noted quite clearly in the video) to the extraction, replacement and addition of genes. That is, over the course of millennia, how evolution works; different genes are added from one population into another, sometimes extending the genome, sometimes shortening it. Often, genes are removed entirely from a population through breeding. The principle of genetic modification is almost identical. Through changes to the genome, a new species is created. No, we cannot change genes as they would mutate naturally, because it's even riskier. One of the reasons genes die out is because they're random mutations. A new gene would be untested, more difficult to create, likely dysfunctional and we'd have a hell of a time figuring out what it does.

3. A bit of specification on what I meant by tests would have worked wonders here. What I meant by test was taking a very complete census of the introduction area, isolating it, then introducing the modified species into the isolated zone, studying it and other species that interact with it METICULOUSLY for forty to fifty years. A LOT more testing, so much that it wouldn't be profitable to create something that could hurt the environment around it.

4. Internet. Apple.
Computers do not spread, multiply and mutate of their own accord, but they do change over time. They have grown massive as a technology and seem to have overshadowed and/or integrated with all others. They are redirecting the arts and destroying forms of media. A computer could very well be compared to an invasive, man-made species. (Past 20 years: computers have spread, multiplied AND mutated)

Good job with the digestion bit, I can totally see companies not caring weather we put cyanide in our bloodstreams (actually, I can, but that's not the point). The fact is, if you can get shut down for it, you do your best to prevent it, conceal it, or play dumb. Playing dumb doesn't cut it when you're working with science and concealment is fairly hard to do these days. It as been tried, it has failed. While in the past, these corporations have cut corners and some serious health issues have been found in their products, the problems have come to light. They will have to start investing in the health security of their products eventually or be run out of business.

5. So I could assume yours comes directly from Greenpeace? I'd really prefer a flood of informed spam coming as a retort to my argument, not what's been spat at you by a single source. Keep in mind that I don't agree completely with Bob, there is a problem in the GMO industry, but the problem he outlined was a completely different one. Media fear-mongering.

He hasn't stuck to movies because everyone has the right to an opinion, it was placed on the web to be properly (and hopefully civilly) evaluated by those who chose watch it because, well, (as stated in combat evolved?) the people who own the escapist are clearly out of their minds.

He was talking about a different issue, on which he has quite the clue.

6. 450 years, as per my definition of test. After the first fifty years, any problems in interaction with the ecosystem and the humans that consume it will become apparent (and if proper measures have been taken, it won't spread beyond the intended ecosystem).

7. Yes, you can. People are just unwilling to try, because of the time and expense. This sounds like a science=witchcraft type argument.

8. I have never once heard, spoken from the mouths of the popular media, "genetic modification is a fantastic idea, but is being handled so poorly by the corporations that control it, it risks ruining things even worse than what has already been done". What I have heard is "corporations are ruining farmers", "unnatural things might hurt you" and "science is changing the nature of things that live". I'd like at least an "and it's really cool, but there are some severe problems" tagged on the end of that last one. While there are some legitimate concerns, there's no good news to stop these concerns from becoming hysteria. For its "implications that we cannot understand" are the same as for its existence. Simple lack of desire to understand the implications before judgement is given. Skepticism is due, not just towards the corporations but also to the media (which, may I remind you, makes its money from bad news).

9. I never actually denied that Bob got things wrong, but an understanding of communication as well as biology is necessary. Can you honestly say that everyone who posted on this forum has expert knowledge on the subject? Certainly not. What must first be understood is that a recognition of audience is necessary above all. Since the audience is not made up entirely of biologists and people that scored an A on their 10th grade science exam (10th grade science being the point at which the consequences of introducing foreign materials into an ecosystem are discussed), while remembering it all, these concepts must be introduced in simplified terms. Second, no ground must ever be given in an argument (unless it is to be swiftly retaken), or the argument is lost (thus the reason for his biased presentation). Simple and positive are two core aspects when attempting to formulate an argument to counter another describing something as complex in a negative light. Providing two opposing, severely biased arguments is key to listeners forming reasonable, middle-ground conclusions.

Are you a biologist, by the way? I'm not saying I have any degrees, but I do a lot of independent research in biology, psychology and physics. Why? Because it means I know what I'm talking about when I say you need to look at this issue from all angles, not just one side of the biology perspectives. (Also, to put the physics bit into perspective, it's all irrelevant as this has only taken small portions of several days in the relatively short histories in which we live within relatively short histories. This argument will be long done by the time amounts of time start to matter.)

I doubt I'll be the first person to say this, but no. NO! We do NOT send thousands of volts through people to bring them back to life. That's not what defibrillators are for or how they work. You've been watching too many movies. Obviously.

Numbering is a good idea :-)

2. You can't compare "turning on/off of genes" by breeding with GE, you really can't. The difference are the extreme constraints for modifications via breeding and the almost total lack thereof in GE. It's like comparing a match of tennis (constraints) with total war (no constraints). With GE you create organisms that would never be possible by breeding - with new, unpredictable side effects that are not well (if at all) understood.

3. Testing for decades would be a very wise thing to do but I cannot see GE companies willing to make that kind of investment in safety and neither do I see legislators forcing GE companies to do so. They do test, yes, but only to see if the organisms fit their goals (safety not being the top priority here).

If GE companies were to take the responsability for all consequences of their creations they would have a hard time finding an insurance for that. Contamination of a whole continent and the unadvertant extinction of species can be expensive.

4. The comparison does not hold well, let's keep it at that.

5. My arguments come from what I've learned in the last years. I admit I was lazy not linking to proof of what I say, but in contrast to Bob's statements mine can be proven scientifically (i.e. they are more than just claims because they are verifyable).

Fear-mongering is nothing but a word. Sometimes fear is due, sometimes not. You need unbiased sources to decide and the best are independent expert views, not layman claims. Of course Bob can say whatever he wants to but he published biased, incorrect and misleading statements and clearly many did not question them for one second so I think he abused his reputation here to convince people of his dubious views.

6. There is absolutely nothing humans can do to stop GE organisms from spreading once they leave the lab. Hell, we cannot even contain the pollen of single flower for 100%.

7. No we cannot. That would require a second world to test with. All we have for testing are small-scale models of ecosystems that are magnitudes simpler than the real thing.

8. Maybe our media here in Germany are a little more differentiated and less dependant on big corporations because I positively did read articles saying exactly that (good idea but requires thorough testing and extremely careful handling). In fact, that's what our laws say and as a result AFAIK there is but one outdoor test of GE crops in Germany.

Of course there are also articles being very pro or con GE crops without any arguments but I tend to ignore (or forget) them.

9. It is absolutely not necessary to be an expert in order to have an educated opinion about something. What you do need is the competence to choose reliable sources. Experts that do not depend on GE corporation money are reliable, movie reviewers are not. I can highly recommend the Video The Nature of Science for why this a reasonable strategy to come to good decisions.

And I maintain: Bob did much more than simplifying. He simplified to an extend that what's left is just a lie. It's like if I was saying a car is the same as a dollar coin - both are made from metal. The coin does not pose any danger so why should the car? That's the level of simplfication we're talking about in this case. And it's even worse because the audience has no expert background, because they are likely to (and sadly did) take his word for granted.

To the discussion bit: We two are discussing and that's a good thing but Bob did not join a discussion. Most will just view the video, think that GECs are a natural thing and all critics are just fear-mongers who want to make you feel bad. And then they move on with their new false "knowledge".

Drake_Dercon:
Are you a biologist, by the way?

No, I am a computer scientist, but I try to keep myself informed about genetic engineering, probably much like you do.

Father Time:

keserak:

In comparison to crossbreeding, Bob calls using genetic engineering, "simplifying." By his bullshit logic, invasive surgery is the same thing as taking an herbal supplement.

He did not, go back and watch the video again.

Wrong. Go back and watch the video again.

Father Time:

keserak:
Monsanto, the biggest and most well-known perpetrator, made its fortune by doing the following:

a) Invent a highly toxic weed killer.

Specify and realize this can be done without genetic engineering.

Realize that that is irrelevant. The point of the weed killer was that it was effective because of resistance to the compound instilled in the crops via genetic engineering. I know you're joining us late in the discussion but it would help if you'd read up on the background, or read the post thoroughly, before making claims of relevance. Further, I was pointing out were Bob was broadly wrong; I was not trying to do what Bob did and educate the world. Hell, because I believe this issue is important and complex, I wouldn't have waded in with a 10-minute-composition and expected that to be enough -- because, well, that's what Bob did. Refuting Bob's claims doesn't require much, rhetorically speaking.

Father Time:

keserak:

b) Genetically modify seeds with material outside the seeds' species to resist the weed killing toxin.
c) Modify the seeds further for other uses.

And now you are just fear mongering. How does modifying the seeds make them bad? You don't say you just expect us to think it's bad because you put that they were modified. Oooh scary.

Bullshit. You have no idea what you're talking about. You didn't even read the whole post -- nor have you read anything on this forum about the implications of Monsanto's engineering or its actual uses in patent law. Read the post.

Father Time:
I should also point out that you have no sources.

Um -- neither do you. I wasn't writing a term paper, and everything I described comes up on the first couple hits of Google. I did, however, have a prima facie logical and sound argument -- you did not. Nor was anything I said manifestly untrue on its face -- unlike your own statements. You and Bob seriously don't know what "fearmongering" means, do you?

unacomn:
I've never heard the term Frankenfood before.

The reason some people are scared of genetically engineered food is that, well, sometimes it's done not for better food, but for more food. In theory that's not a bad thing, even in practice that's a good thing.
But in some areas of the world, where, well, let's say there's no FDA-like entity, and morals are, well, they aren't, and people with money give money to people with knowledge so they can make more money, well there may be some mistakes in there somewhere. Mistakes can sometimes be harmful.

I keep forgetting to respond to this thread, but I guess your response (from early on) is a good one to address with my thoughts.

To be entirely honest, technophobia is one of the biggest problems with first world society today. The bottom line is that we're all conditioned by techno-phobes from a very early age to hate and fear science and scientific development. As a result progress happens at a very slow pace. Aside from "Frakenfood", look at people's attitudes about say intelligent computers or the development of robotic technology. The first response almost every single time either thing is mentioned is that if such things were created they would immediatly rise up to try and kill us all off. It's not even a remotely rational conclusion. It's just that were all conditioned from an early age with things like "The Terminator" and skynet to believe that this is what would happen. People tend to overlook speculative fiction that deals with the issue of men and intelligent machines working together in harmony and so on.

Pretty much everyone is so conditioned that major scientific developments, especially those that could bring about sudden, radical change, that any development that could influance things on a large scale is viewed as "scientists playing god". Concerns over genetically modified vegetables and such are just one of the sillier aspects of the entire problem.

With any kind of scientific development there are of course going to be risks. Also with so many systems of morality in place, any development that can change the world in a signifigant way, is going to step on at least one major system. For the progression and survival of humanity however, science needs to move on heedless of such things.

Likewise I do not think because there are risks involved in a development (even big ones) that this means we shouldn't take them. When you get down to it, nothing is entirely safe. Looking for absolute guarantees when it comes to research and development in any area, is simply another way of trying to stymy development.

Truthfully I think a lot of this comes down to the simple fact that massive changes to society means massive changes to the power structure. The big businesses don't want their products to become obselete if they can help it, so work to avoid fundemental changes to technology. You see this with the oil cartels and car companies going up against
alternative power sources for example.

With Frankenfood (as I believe has been mentioned) it's important to note that you wind up with a situation where those businesses that can't afford the new, genetically superior crops, or to compete by developing superior strains, are of course going to be put out of business. There are people who are going to have a vested interest in trying to limit how powerful these products become on the market. Even if presented as benevolent and acting for YOUR interest for moral reasons, or some kind of safety watchdog, consider who might be behind the scenes and covering the funding for that message (especially if they have a national platform) and what they have to gain by it. Chances are it's those who would be (or are) competing with whatever is being called an abomination of science today.

I will say that when it comes to cloning and genetic engineering of humans that I have the somewhat contreversial stance that we should go ahead with these things. That technology should not be released to the general populance however until such a time as we master space travel and start developing colonies. Right now we need less people, not more people, and definatly not more people that live longer. As "sick" as it sounds (pun intended) disease is actually our friend as much as it blows chips, because right now anything that gets rid of people is a good thing. As it is a lot of society's problems come from there being too many of us, and us living far too long.

What's more right now I believe we're at a point where we need a fluid society, with open competition and the possibility for advancement. Putting genetic tech on the market right now if it was developed would make it a benefit for the rich. It means that rather than fortunes being won and lost, that all of the rich people and their kids would be super-men who the less wealthy could not compete with, creating a rigid power structure. This kind of tech is something that should be developed, and then distributed to everyone (like vaccinations) in an admittedly socialized practice once we have enough living space.

The point being that even with the most contreversial of subjects, I think the research should be going forward. Basically I don't think there really is any inherantly bad science (though science can be used for bad things, and scientists themselves can be jerks like anyone else).

Drake_Dercon:
I know this has already been echoe by many

If many means two people, then yeah, I guess that's many to "echoe."

Drake_Dercon:
Not to say that I don't agree that there should have been considerable testing and law-making before any of this became available, but that's not to say GM crops are the devil, either.

Now, see right there? That's how you fearmonger, folks. Too bad one of Bob's supporters is actually doing the fearmongering. I did none of it. I didn't say that GM crops are absolutely and under all circumstances bad -- but how and why it's being done is clearly terrible right now. But hey, why actually read a post when you can make up some strawman and argue with yourself, right?

Drake_Dercon:
For one, the blatant insult of legitimate arguments gets on my nerves, especially when the fear-mongers are not affecting the activists, they're misinforming the masses, and masses are notoriously stupid.

Well, since I didn't insult a single legitimate argument, it seems you were upset due to your own predilections. I can't help your anxiety. In addition, I'm concerned with things in the real world, as opposed to your and Bob's fantasy land of eeeeeevil food-hating activists, so I don't have the same concerns as you -- nor am I concerned with the boogeyman or the monster under the bed, either. (What can I say, I'm a risk-taker.)

Drake_Dercon:
But the carrot gag wasn't a gag. It was an important point. The media has created fear of something for its existence, not its abuse, and the general populace is taking it the wrong way. Don't deny that. If you do, you're the liar here.

So here's the point in case someone missed it several times over: the thesis of Bob's claim relies on the existence of irrational, crazy anti-GM people who are distorting the political process -- and those people don't exist. That's the bullshit in the gears. Bob made up a boogeyman. The media may throw out trite and stupid phrases, but dumb media trend does not a political lobby make -- thus Bob was making shit up. He says it straight-up in the posts above that these terrible people are stopping poor widdle GMC producers from doing yummy science -- that's a fever dream. The people concerned with Monsanto et. al. have serious, legitimate, and well-reasoned concerns. We have death tolls already in the hundreds of thousands to millions depending on how you want to count it from indirect harm, and well onto the thousands for direct harm (if you're counting problems in India and Africa), alongside untold property damage and theft.

So Bob and his buddies here are fearmongering. They're making up a bunch of fantasy activsts who don't exist. That's the central problem here, though far from the only one.

Drake_Dercon:
MOST people don't know what a chimera is (including the fearful). Snipped wacky stuff about the Middle East

Then if you don't explain it you have no business instructing anyone on the issue. And there are no "fearful" here -- you're fearmongering again.

Drake_Dercon:
Selective breeding is not identical to genetic engineering by any means, but it is a very similar principal.

Okay, stop, wrong. Twice wrong in one sentence -- we're off to a great start. They are not similar principles (that spelling would be error one). Selective breeding involves, for the umpteenth time, using natural processes to change a species. Creatures mate and produce offspring. Genetic engineering involves no mating; wholly different species have genetic material combined. If you can't see the difference there, even with the posts above, there's really no hope here. It's already been explained. The outcome of a crossbreeding pair is fairly predictable since the offspring can't be too different from the parent. The outcome of genetic engineering can vary widely, and umpredictably, depending upon the modification made.

Drake_Dercon:
The extraction of some genes in favor of others. It was a comparison used to reinforce the argument.

These sentences didn't make logical sense. I'll just leave them.

Drake_Dercon:
Not, by any means, an absolute truth (and a comparison should NEVER be taken as such).

The comparison was invalid and came to a nonsensical conclusion because it was based on erroneous statements of fact. No one said that it was making a claim of "absolute truth," whatever the hell that is.

Drake_Dercon:
Two completely different species resemble eachother in that they are both species (this is where the testing comes in).

WTF? Are you drunk? What did that mean?

Drake_Dercon:
Did you know humans share 5% of our DNA with bananas?

what is this i don't even

Drake_Dercon:
Snipped wacky crap about tests.

The point was made numerous times that inadequate safegaurds and insufficient testing involving GMCs abound.

Drake_Dercon:
No, it's not a natural event, but neither is the computer on which you type your unreferenced arguments.

Wtf x2.
You're on a computer as well. So -- wait, the property we own determines the facts? Awesome.

image

As for references -- um, where are yours? Where are Bob's? And, ah, funny story here: if you actually google any of the issues Bob's critics raise, you can find the relevant facts easily. Your facts are only found if we invent a web search engine for your fevered imagination.

Drake_Dercon:
Kingdoms are irrelevent. It all uses DNA, it's all life. Kingdoms are an archaic form of representation that only exist today for the purposes of categorization. That bit was just science-hate.

Wtf x3 -- hat trick! "Science-hate?!" You babble something incoherent and irrelevant about bananas having some genetic similarity with humans (zounds! two species on the same planet share genetic material!) and I'm the one who hates science? Dude or dudette, I don't know what science-hate is, but you are definately badtouching some intellectual discipline here -- science, logic, grammar -- you name it. And the point of mentioning kingdoms that you missed so thoroughly is that selective breeding couldn't even begin to produce the results that genetic engineering could. But hey, don't let things like "the point" get in the way of your fancies.

Drake_Dercon:
And what do you expect? You want a guy who's career is based around movies, speaking to people who may not have a full grasp of university-level biology to give you the scientifically correct explanation?

No, I want a person who puts up a video on a media site to not lie.

And you do realise that, unlike myself, you just attacked Bob's authority to make the post in the first place?

Wait, what am I saying? No, you don't realise this.

Drake_Dercon:
The genetic engineering is a simplification of effort and process, not method. GM means that you didn't spend 500 years of trial and error to get impossible results.

Wtf x4. Genetic engineering is not a method? What?!

Drake_Dercon:
But it DOES all exist in nature.

What, you mean genetic engineering? No, by definition, it doesn't. Do you mean genetic material? If so, that's just inane. You should therefore claim that automobiles are natural because their components come from nature and not from, say, the shade dimension containing Carcosa.

My God -- that's it, isn't it? It's not that your arguments are doggerel -- you must know of the mysteries of the King In Yellow!

Have you seen the Yellow Sign?

Drake_Dercon:
Biological systems are quite simple. Their interaction is not.

Aaaaaaand that's the game folks, thanks for coming out!

That's right. Biological systems are "quite simple." We're done here.

Drake_Dercon:
Incomprehensible argument involving Frankenstein (?) snipped

Hastur! Hastur! Hastur!

keserak:

Father Time:

keserak:

In comparison to crossbreeding, Bob calls using genetic engineering, "simplifying." By his bullshit logic, invasive surgery is the same thing as taking an herbal supplement.

He did not, go back and watch the video again.

Wrong. Go back and watch the video again.

He was simplifying what genetic engineering was by calling it manually changing genes.

keserak:

Father Time:

keserak:

b) Genetically modify seeds with material outside the seeds' species to resist the weed killing toxin.
c) Modify the seeds further for other uses.

And now you are just fear mongering. How does modifying the seeds make them bad? You don't say you just expect us to think it's bad because you put that they were modified. Oooh scary.

Bullshit. You have no idea what you're talking about. You didn't even read the whole post -- nor have you read anything on this forum about the implications of Monsanto's engineering or its actual uses in patent law. Read the post.

I did, it's still fear mongering when you expect us to think they're up to no good just because they're modifying the genes. And stop pretending you're a psychic, you don't know how much I've read.

keserak:

Father Time:
I should also point out that you have no sources.

Um -- neither do you. I wasn't writing a term paper, and everything I described comes up on the first couple hits of Google.

It doesn't matter, you make a claim you back it up. I refuse to do your work for you. Although do tell me which of my arguments need referencing.

keserak:

Nor was anything I said manifestly untrue on its face

Then prove it.

keserak:
You and Bob seriously don't know what "fearmongering" means, do you?

You expected us to question what Monsanto was doing by telling us they were modifying seeds. That sounds scary but tells us absolutely nothing about what the seeds will do or why we should be concerned. That is fear mongering.

keserak:

So here's the point in case someone missed it several times over: the thesis of Bob's claim relies on the existence of irrational, crazy anti-GM people who are distorting the political process -- and those people don't exist. That's the bullshit in the gears. Bob made up a boogeyman. The media may throw out trite and stupid phrases, but dumb media trend does not a political lobby make -- thus Bob was making shit up.

Because you know media hype never encourages people to write to politicians demanding something stupid.

Well hey here's some people who appear to be trying to get all GM foods banned

http://www.netlink.de/gen/
http://www.bangmfood.org/

and hey look Sri Lanka had banned all GM foods in 2001 so there must be some people who not only tried to get them to ban all GM foods but were successful at it.

http://www.elaw.org/node/880

geierkreisen:
You may think Star Trek, I think Dune.
You may think "for the good of mankind", I think "for the good of the monopolist".

It's not really a scientific problem, it's an economical and social one.
While a farming dynasty can, say, breed the perfect sheep for their benefit, Monsanto and others genetically engineer crop and vegetables to dominate the market.
They even go so far as to "unsex" plants so that they don't produce new seeds which have to be bought for a hefty price every damned year again and sustainability and independence go overboard.

I only fear the day when Monsanto's Sardaukar-crops have eliminated all and every "organic" AKA traditional alternative and some African farmers have to go Fremen on His Imperial Highness' corporate ass.

That's the Bigger picture right there Bob. Science always wows us with the positive potential, then submit to Corporate and Militaristic goals.

Look at nuclear energy by Einstein, reactors to ward off cold/lack of sun for crops/free electricity for Humankind. Instead we gained stockpiles of Apocalyptic proportions and non are for the defense of Earth from asteroids. Which scientists know are inbound.[TWO of them! and they couldn't raise 15mil to deflect them, 400mil is 1 Jetfighter]

Look at NASA. Tons of their patents paid for with tax dollars are now commercial goods. And we have no idea if they contacted any number of alien lifeforms.[Arsenic Biology was announced last week for God's sakes]

Look at Antibiotics. We are about to enter the fallout of polluted water systems, hyper-bacteria, diminishing returns and commercialization of corona viruses. All from people being saturated in mercury-containing vaccines, heart pills for terrible diet choice, and doctors over-prescribing, to write things off on Medicare[Socialist tax policy being abused, government powerless to stop that, just like the EPA/FDA/school systems/and the taxes themselves]!
UN-REGULATED REGULATION IS NOT REGULATION[deep oil drilling, CIA 9/11 Commission report, GE being heavily done in South America...yeah...]. Sometimes you just don't do a thing.

Also, the fear with "frankenfood" is the same fear with mass-produced poultry and beef. If your kids absorb the leftover materials like they do with the steroids in meat, they will have altered puberties/body indices/bone structure/CANCER rates/sterility! Might as well slow-feed them cyanide.

Corn syrup replacing sugar in food production is NOT for our best interest, neither is this. And I'm surprised you didn't mention that in this video.

Not to mention if a test plant escapes, transfers proteins into something like grass.
Imagine the fight against Kudzu or the Africanized honey bee. Those are not even modded/spliced, they take an advantage and run with it. And we are powerless to fix it.[Unless we use DDT gain...that worked well last time, glad we tested it long term.]
Also "sleeper effects", if the problem builds over time. It could be released, become dominant choice and then collapse, from a random/planned combination of unforeseeable factors, right from under the future society.[Is that genocide or do we 'whoops' that off?]
This issue is as complex/dangerous as allowing Artificial Intelligence to have an internet connection.
So complex, and only gets more complex, so why even bother to cross the point of no return? Money? Pride?

:edit: Just read the long posts on the last page, I'd advise Bob read them. The context this tech is in is so much larger than Bob summarized, he must have done this on purpose to alarm the people who followed/practice GE.

@ Father Time, if a country bans the food, wouldn't that require inquiry into why they turned down food? Are they banning the company? The threat of chaos? Or just panicking with no valid reason presented?

:tl;dr: This is Pandora's Box. And Pandora thinks the box has jewelry in it. It contains the wolf we are warning about.

Father Time:

keserak:

b) Genetically modify seeds with material outside the seeds' species to resist the weed killing toxin.
c) Modify the seeds further for other uses.

And now you are just fear mongering. How does modifying the seeds make them bad? You don't say you just expect us to think it's bad because you put that they were modified. Oooh scary.

Imagine you wake up and find a huge rocket parked in your backyard. It looks extermely complicated and there is some vapor coming out of the fuel cells. Would you fiddle with it? Would you study it for a day and then give it a try? No, because you have no idea whatsoever what would happen and you don't want to take the risk.

Genetic engineering is like that. There are undenyable benefits, the subject is minblowingly complex, no man on earth can make good predictions what will exactly happen and there is a big number of huge risks. There is only one rational course of action and that is to be extremely cautious. What Bob does is advertizing carelessness and I find that irresponsible.

I always know tomatoes would be the downfall of humanity.

There is a big difference between fear mongering and people voicing concerns. Fear mongering is having a terrorist alert program that is ALWAYS on alert, and being bumped up to higher alerts every week or every other week. Fear mongering is proclaiming that everyone who does not believe in this or that is going to hell to burn and cry and suffer for eternity.

No one here has said that GMO foods will destroy the world, everything in it, and anything from other worlds that discovers this dead world in the future. They have only voiced legitimate concerns. GMO of today and tomorrow is NOT the breeding of yesterday. It is a brand new and -untested-field. Fear mongering is NOT voicing particular concerns and giving examples of those concerns. Those being cautious, in fact demanding caution, could be what saves someones foolish self who would jump into something with absolutely no idea of what could happen.

Edit: to hide the retard in me that makes weird scentances and typos.

Father Time:

Urh:

StriderShinryu:

Yeah, I loved that episode, particularly the blind taste test segments. :)

Ugh, don't get me started on that absolute crock of a show...

What's wrong with it? I mean sure they're biased but they admit it.

Where to start? Bias, even when transparent, is still fucking bias. There's also their over-reliance on strawman arguments (i.e. the "hey, let's use crackpots as representative samples of the viewpoint we're bashing!" approach. This is usually prefaced by Penn saying "And then there's this asshole!"), gross oversimplification of issues and sometimes just plain missing the point (and even being flat-out wrong). Oh, and when all else fails, TITS EVERYWHERE (not that I'm complaining, boobs are one of my favourite non-sequitirs). Oh, and Penn Jillette's not-so-subtle libertarian agenda shits me. Sure, the primary goal of Bullshit is entertainment, but as far as contributions to important discussions go, they tend to do more harm than good.

I'd really like to see an episode where they own up and admit to their own bullshit. That just might entice me into watching it again, if only for one episode.

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