The Big Picture: Feeding Edge

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I thought the problem was how they engineer the food. They switch on and off the trait by using modfiered virus. In other word, they are basicly blindly injecting the gene into the foods DNA, and hope it goes in the right place, and what people are afraid is the gene go in the wrong place and cause something crazy.

Also, without this, there would currently be no such thing as a tomato. Wait crap, TOMATO ROBOTS!?

What has science done?!

I'm curious, what's your view on America's healthcare?

Exort:
I thought the problem was how they engineer the food. They switch on and off the trait by using modfiered virus. In other word, they are basicly blindly injecting the gene into the foods DNA, and hope it goes in the right place, and what people are afraid is the gene go in the wrong place and cause something crazy.

They know more or less what the gene is and what it does and when it is injected it replaces the other gene. Unless they say, got a genome from a completely different species i.e. got antlers from a moose and stuck it in a lion, they're not doing what you think they're doing. Although, that would be awesome.

henritje:
I,m not worried as long as my potatoes dont gnaw my face off

You should be worried about your potatoes causing cancer or containing allergenes because no one bothered to test them, cause they're just potatoes, right? Right?? I mean, c'mon, it's just like breeding, except we're doing something that NO ONE IN 150.000 YEARS OF HUMAN HISTORY HAS DONE BEFORE. No big deal. Right? And no, it's NOT the same as breeding, I have no idea who the FUCK told you that...

People mocked the anti-nuclear movement. Until Chernobyl.
People thought pharmaceuticals were safe. Until Thalidomide.
People thought, smoking was safe. Until the 1980s. Or until they got lung cancer.
People think GMO's are safe. Until...?

There are so many examples in history where the risks of certain practices first became evident after a relatively long period of time.

I'm not saying that it should under no circumstances be done, but to claim that any criticism is just paranoia and that it is no different from breeding, is not only wrong but dangerous.

Yeah, the only problem is companies like Monsanto... Watch the documentary about it (I forget the name, but it's all on youtube) and then say GE is all good. I love the idea of GE, it's just the damn companies doing it I don't like. But yeah, if it isn't filled with bugs and crap, it's heavily modified. If it is, it's just a little old school GE. Everything is. I could talk about this for hours, but let's just summarize by saying that too much GE only for the purpose of profit is really, REALLY, bad.
But now I want a purple carrot :(

What a load of bull. Selective breeding is NOT genetic engineering.

Turning genes on or off may have far broader impact than just changing the colour or any other aspect of just one vegetable. It may make it more resistance to disease, it may allow the crop to grow in a colder or hotter environment, it may do all kinds of things. The point is, turning on or off genes doesn't change just one thing. It can have far reaching implications and effects on the environment in which the modified crop grows. Say, making a certain crop able to grow somewhere it wasn't able to grow may have implications on plants that DO grow there in the first place. It can affect the insects that feeds on its nectar, it may affect plants on which its pollen are transmitted (cross breeding of engineered crops to natural ones). And do you really think all those side effects are screened before they were allowed to be grown? Do you think introducing new species in a strange environment is a good idea?

I think you should stick to movies, Bob. You're good at that.

/stamp of approval We science folk do good stuff every once in a while :)

Sarkis:

The REAL problem is that this testing is not done, and the FDA does not even require biotech firms to tell them if their food is genetically modified.

That's because the Food and Drug administration is only concern with restaurants, grocery stores, and pharmaceutical companies.

The FDA does not monitor food out in the field or in the slaughterhouse. The organization that covers all of that is the United States Department of Agriculture.

Oh, and another axe I have to grind. Those who think that GM crops are going to solve food supply problems all on their own commonly fail to take one important thing into consideration - our actual methods of agriculture. We're still (in my opinion) overly dependent upon the old-school method of growing things out of the ground. It's served us great for thousands of years, but unfortunately arable land is a limited (and dwindling) resource. Soon we're going to have to bite the bullet and move on to things such as industrial-scale hydroponic farming and in-vitro meat. In my opinion these are going to do a hell of a lot more to put food in mouths than genetic engineering.

Yeah, totally agree with Bob here. I can't see why so many people are opposed to GM foods. It's really just an extension to what farmers have been doing for thousands of years. I can understand their caution in regards to it being a fairly new technology, but not to the extent that they actually hold it back.

Too many of you are claiming the real concern about GM foods are the "hybrid" foods, saying that because these couldn't have occured naturally the human body may react to it. Really? You all do realize that all genes do is code for proteins, right? Transgenic organisms (the proper term for these hybrids) just make proteins from both species, proteins that DO occur in nature. Eating transgenic food is no different from eating both parent species at the same time and shouldn't cause a reaction unless you're already prone to react to one of the parent species.
Also, this technically isn't a new technology. Since the 1960's, most of the world's insulin is produced by incorperating the human insulin gene into E. coli bacteria using similar techniques to those used to make GM foods. We've been doing this for 50 years, people. The only difference is now we're using it outside the medical field. While there are a few remaining kinks to be worked out (as with all science), the there is little to no reason to be worried about ANY GM food. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to eat my lunch.

Defibrillation is designed to stop people's hearts to give them a chance to start in regular rhythm. It doesn't bring anything to life.

Otherwise, you make fantastic points that I wish more people would understand.

This is pretty much what I've been saying for years, ever since the first scare came around and the whole "organic food" movement came in to overcharge us for stuff that's actually worse quality than it's genetically engineered counterpart. It falls right in with my tired old argument (for me at least) that bottled water is a scam, much like organic food. You know what I saw once? Organic water.

Yeah, let me repeat that again: ORGANIC WATER.

What the hell is the difference between regular water and so-called "organic water"? Maybe it's got more minerals (read: impurities) in it or a lower amount of chlorine (used to keep it from growing fur when it comes in contact with sunlight). Water is one of the most abundant compounds on the planet and it has a very simple makeup: 1 part hydrogen to 2 parts oxygen, that's it, how can you get any more "organic" than that?

The bottom line is that this is an obvious attempt to combine two scams into one, by using the word "organic" so that idiotic sheeple who'll believe anything people tell them will think it has some kind of magical properties that will stave off cancer or make them instantly drop fifteen pounds.

It's water, dude, if you want "organic" water, just stick a glass outside the next time it rains.

Don't let them scare you into paying more for something that has absolutely no healthy advantage over the GM stuff, they're pretty much exactly the same in terms of how "good" they are for you. (random website from Google, the research isn't that hard to track down, but there are other sources on the bottom of that article if you need further convincing).

Organic food is a scam brought on by the first GM food scare, it's only purpose is to make you pay more for an inferior product that has a higher chance of having defects, parasites and feces either inside it or on its outer surface. It will also decompose faster and waste more of your money when you're forced to throw it away. Don't be fooled, it really is a scam.

I've actually written several papers on this issue and honestly Bob is vastly over oversimplifying it. As other commenters have said the concern isn't taste, its speed and quantity. The people doing the engineering in labs is mostly Monsanto, the friendly bunch that brought you agent orange. There already in a lot of trouble in the agricultural business for the malevolent defects in bovine growth hormones, which was widely untested before being released to the public. The biggest engineered product right now is canola, and its getting close to all of it being artificially created, all without being tested. On top of the fact that there crushing all competitors in the agricultural business, a misstep with some kind negative effect attached to the desired one is already integrated into the wild life by the time we find out. Considering Monsanto's track record, a little worry isn't unjustified.

Thank you!
Though you might be preaching to the choir a bit here. I fear a good chunk of your target audience for this one is probably too busy shunning all technology, and therefore don't have a computer, and are busy living in a hippie commune spending their time not bathing because of the chemicals in soap and shampoo and hypocritically smoking pot loaded with chemicals by the growers.

Can you tell I've had my fill of hippies in my lifetime? I've had this argument with them on a 1 of me vs. 10 of them level and it also branched off into the idea (scam) that "organic foods" are better for you too. Reading this makes me feel like the world is not totally insane, so again: THANK YOU!

I think that what everyone is worried about is combining fishes with carrots. Not that I have a problem with genetically modified food. As long as it doesn't add stuff that is nasty for human consumption; like too much sodium or high fructose corn syrup.

Also, I didn't know that MovieBob is an geneticist. I guess I learn something new everyday.

Very informative, thanks for another great episode.

Now believe me when I say I don't "fear" science or despise it, but isn't the real issue more or less the METHODS by which this genetic engineering is taking place? And I'm not talking about the way you described, I'm saying there's shortcuts around rearranging the genetic code because it's cheaper to do so. Then people have reactions to these cheaply modified foods and there you go.

The real issue isn't genetic engineering, it's making sure that it's done properly so as to protect people's health.

just

THANK YOU!!

THANK YOU!!
THANK YOU!!
THANK YOU!!

and now go world touring with that "wisdom" until the last idiot stops to tell me something about my "unhealthy" food

now this was an amazing piece, nice job Bob, i feel like you are getting the hang of actually making your point without going all rant-o´-matic on us

loved this show, and now its getting better and better

k-ossuburb:
This is pretty much what I've been saying for years, ever since the first scare came around and the whole "organic food" movement came in to overcharge us for stuff that's actually worse quality than it's genetically engineered counterpart. It falls right in with my tired old argument (for me at least) that bottled water is a scam, much like organic food. You know what I saw once? Organic water.

Yeah, let me repeat that again: ORGANIC WATER.

What the hell is the difference between regular water and so-called "organic water"? Maybe it's got more minerals (read: impurities) in it or a lower amount of chlorine (used to keep it from growing fur when it comes in contact with sunlight). Water is one of the most abundant compounds on the planet and it has a very simple makeup: 1 part hydrogen to 2 parts oxygen, that's it, how can you get any more "organic" than that?

The bottom line is that this is an obvious attempt to combine two scams into one, by using the word "organic" so that idiotic sheeple who'll believe anything people tell them will think it has some kind of magical properties that will stave off cancer or make them instantly drop fifteen pounds.

It's water, dude, if you want "organic" water, just stick a glass outside the next time it rains.

Don't let them scare you into paying more for something that has absolutely no healthy advantage over the GM stuff, they're pretty much exactly the same in terms of how "good" they are for you. (random website from Google, the research isn't that hard to track down, but there are other sources on the bottom of that article if you need further convincing).

Organic food is a scam brought on by the first GM food scare, it's only purpose is to make you pay more for an inferior product that has a higher chance of having defects, parasites and feces either inside it or on its outer surface. It will also decompose faster and waste more of your money when you're forced to throw it away. Don't be fooled, it really is a scam.

Want to know what sometimes gets into bottled water?

Arsenic. You tell me how that's "organic."

messy:
Selective breeding (I.e with carrots and cows) and genetic engineering are not the same thing. Neither are bad, just genetic engineering isn't just shutting on and off genes its making potatoes provide the correct proteins so they can be used for vaccinations (for human diseases) something which would never happen no matter how many potatoes you bred together.

I'm fine with both, this is more of a definitions thing.

Yeah, I was going to storm in and shout about it but fortunately somebody had already said what I wanted to say in the 3rd comment. I think that shows what an obvious error it was. Get your definitions straight, Bob. The authority given to you by this video slot means you have to be extra careful about what you say, otherwise it makes people go out and use your flawed arguments and make themselves appear idiots to other people.

And yes, your argument DOES make you look like an idiot. It says in the first paragraph on wikipedia that Genetic Enginnering "does not include traditional animal and plant breeding". Oh deary deary me.

Watch Penn and Teller's Bullsh!t! on organic foods. Interesting stuff.

Carrots were purple????? Wow. Learned somethin' new. Though that puts the word carotene in an a funny position.

Well done Bob. This is actually the best and most concise argument for modified food I've ever heard. Just don't show this movie to Beck, he will call you a Nazi and a Terrorist and then throw his monkey feces at you

I hate the fuss about gen-tec food since I found out that the modified corn flour in the tortillas is what keeps Taco Bell from coming to Germany (or so they say).

Still, I want my friggin' tacos if it gives me cancer. Can't live forever anyways.

Bob you just blew my mind with the purple carrots! Good show!

Oh dear, I think Bob left a little bit out. Hear me out, please.

My problem with genetic engineering is not the engineering or the science, as has been put out, but what people eventually do with it. Genetic engineered soy, for example, is perfectly edible soy, but they've engineered it to withstand every kind of pesticide. The result is that after that they use way more pesticide than necessary and kill all the life in a wide mile radius. It's like claiming nuclear power is the cleanest energy in the world if you handle the waste right (which is true) and then putting the depleted uranium in bullets and airplane-weights (which they did) contaminating every warzone and crashsite.

There is no end to human cleverness, but unfortunately human stupidity will ALWAYS ruin it.

C_Topher:

Also, this technically isn't a new technology. Since the 1960's, most of the world's insulin is produced by incorperating the human insulin gene into E. coli bacteria using similar techniques to those used to make GM foods. We've been doing this for 50 years, people. The only difference is now we're using it outside the medical field. While there are a few remaining kinks to be worked out (as with all science), the there is little to no reason to be worried about ANY GM food. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to eat my lunch.

I hate to be a real anal retentive, but insulin produced from genetically engineered E. coli does NOT date back to the 1960s. The technology (for insulin production) was developed in 1978, and the insulin manufactured by these processes didn't hit the market until the 1980s. Prior to that we were still harvesting pigs (and before that, cows) for insulin. Hell, restriction enzymes (which are the key to gene splicing) weren't even isolated until 1970.

Furthermore, your (inaccurate) boast that "we've been doing this for 50 years, therefore it's 100% safe" is a terrible (not to mention fallacious) argument. Just because we haven't had a serious problem yet doesn't mean we'll never have one. For example, it was 32 years between the first nuclear power station going online and the Chernobyl disaster.

McMullen:

Anyone seen the episode of Penn and Teller: Bullshit that covers this?

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

Except Genetically Modified seeds give Monsanto even more of a monopoly on the commercial seed market. Making it more expensive to grow crops so that the only way to make money off of farming is to have larger and larger farms that require more and more fossil fuels, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides in order to grow. In the long run, the way genetically modified seeds are patented, marketed and sold is not sustainable.

Having said that, I don't have any reason to fear genetically modified foods in and of themselves. The only thing I worry about is their potential to spread completely non-naturally occurring traits to wild plants. When humans tamper with our ecosystem, the results generally aren't good. See Asian Carp entering the great lakes, other invasive species and global warming.

There is basically not a natraul food on this planet that hasn't been genetically engineered to a point where if somebody saw a the original they would think you were joking.

Go on, try me.

CYBORG FOOD!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES ITS THE T-MATO SERIES!!! SKYNET HAS FOUND US!

Good points all round Bob (I want to kick the originator of the Franken-food trend so hard), although there is a more worrisome side to genetic engineering which is less common.

Such as lowering the number of seeds an orange will produce to make a more enjoyable orange for the market. The problem being is that it can be coupled with a dominant trait so that there is a reasonable percentage risk that eventually the majority of oranges wont contain seeds.
Of course this is just an example from my biology days and the number of oranges grown makes that risk negligible.

The thing that I dislike about GM foods is the introduction of material to increase the amount of natural defence agents a plant will produce, a natural pesticide if you will. More preferable than chemical pesticides but still with long term complications.

drisky:
I've actually written several papers on this issue and honestly Bob is vastly over oversimplifying it. As other commenters have said the concern isn't taste, its speed and quantity. The people doing the engineering in labs is mostly Monsanto, the friendly bunch that brought you agent orange. There already in a lot of trouble in the agricultural business for the malevolent defects in bovine growth hormones, which was widely untested before being released to the public. The biggest engineered product right now is canola, and its getting close to all of it being artificially created, all without being tested. On top of the fact that there crushing all competitors in the agricultural business, a misstep with some kind negative effect attached to the desired one is already integrated into the wild life by the time we find out. Considering Monsanto's track record, a little worry isn't unjustified.

This is pretty much what I'm worried about. Genetically modifying seeds is expensive enough that it's mostly large corporations doing it. Whenever you put large corporations into the mix the public safety tends to be compromised to the full extent of the law and sometimes beyond the legal limits.

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