The Big Picture: Feeding Edge

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StriderShinryu:

McMullen:

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

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

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

All bow in fear and awe of the mighty Robo-Tomato!

Broccoli is a man made food, so I have heard.

I'm not particularly against genetically modified foods, but this was a little deceptive and this does not lend credence to the idea that you have a legitimate argument.

First of all, by doing DNA manipulations you can make far larger leaps than you can with selective breeding. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and is definitely more efficient, but can also allow for making a jump that, in its intermediary stage during selective breeding, may have been discovered to be a bad idea.

Furthermore, one of the dangers of genetically modified organisms is that, especially with plants, they can take over native populations of the unmodified version of the plants. And, since there are fewer varieties, there is more risk of a single disease, insect, or fungus wiping them all out. And even before it was done in labs, reckless genetic engineering has had some very bad results... like the africanized honeybee.

Finally, in Frankenstein he didn't just bring a dead body to life, and you know it. He created a living being out of many parts of other living beings and then promptly abandoned it ignoring all responsibility for the thing that he made. We have a word for that today, and it is "absent parent."

Mikael Sanfors:
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?

Grafting is the process of taking pieces of some plants and grafting them to another. Citrus plants are often grafted onto another, but it can be done with any plant species. By doing this, it makes lemons bigger, it makes oranges with qualities of tangerines, and it is the only way that the most common banana species can be produced. Sometimes however, it can produce new species of plants, like the brocoflour. Why did I bring this up? Simply put: this practice disproves the claim that farmers never alter food products at the genetic level because that is the only place these changes can occur. There is nothing selective about this: this is straight up manipulation.

Sorry to break it you, but Yes, selective breeding IS genetic engineering. You are manipulating the genes of an animal or plant by coercing the traits desired that you want out of it. Despite what orgainzations like greenpeace has been feeding the public, Monsanto is doing the exact came thing that farmers have been doing for centuries because the same principles are being used in both areas. Just because a guy in a lab coat does it does not make it more evil than it being done with guys with pitchforks.

I love how you try to make this debate into an fear based one by using the same talking points I've read people like you made on the Skeptoid forums, as well as many other places on the web. You do this because you are projecting your fears onto others, but because fear cause you to go against gm crops in the first place.

That is the heart of this debate. It is not about the "dangers" of Gm crops, but because you are afraid of big business taking over the world.

The greater reason why need to do this is because you are not prepared to answer an even bigger question. Are you going to tell the people in Africa they need to starve because you are afraid? Who gives you the right to say such a thing?

As for me, Yes, there are dangers in Genetic Modifying foods, but there are also dangers going across the street, turning on the car, taking your medicine, or eating at a fast food restuarant. Call me selfish, but I am more concerned with feeding starving and hungry people world wide with the most efficient way possible than some farfetched, unlikely, miniscule problem that may or may not happen.

If your ego is so fragile that you need the last word, feel free to respond. just be forewarned that I my self esteem is so great that I know any further debate would be pointless.

Is Frankenberry genetically engineered? Because I think it's delicious.

Few words of clarification here.

Defibrillation doesnt bring dead people back to life, thats a movie myth and common misconception. On the contrary, you should never ever shock a flatline, when heart is in asystole (its not "working"). It will only make things worse. In such cases adrenaline shots and heart massage is used.

Defibrillation is mainly used when heart is in arrhythmia (when the heart beat isnt regular). I know, I was defilbrillated once :D

I remember this kinda stuff. It was always said to me that we should fear "frankenfood" because it was "going to have the adverse effects since science can never get it right." I.e. things like sterilization in both sexes, development/suffering of physical deformities (blindness, you'd lose some fingers, etc), and the big one was that you would be succeptable to new diseases or the plants themselves would be more succeptable or losing the basic essence that made them a plant or something like that.

of course i luaghed and pointed out how we genetically engineer our food to make it more resistant and the people fell silent cause they were beaten in a sentence. But meh. I'm just waiting for The Simpsons kinda Engineering where we Tomacco! XD

Can we get one thing straight....Frankenstein was mad! Maybe he was a mad scientist, med student, drop out, whatever..Stitching a bunch of dead people together and trying to bring it all back to life still rates as being mad in my book..At best it might be regarded as extremely unwise. Remember how it turned out in both the films and the book! So unless you want to end up wandering the snowy wastes hunting your monster don't do it kids!!

Bob you fucker, now im hungry!

But seriously the media are nothing more then fear-creating dip-wod's. I mean come on there are more pressing matters in the world first.

Movie Bob's right about us all eating genetically modified food. However, some of those "scares" are about the more drastic, less moral things that are being done. Ever heard of the "terminator gene" (not making this up). It was an idea, put into practice by a few, to make it so that seeds would grow but not produce viable seeds themselves, meaning that you, the farmer, would HAVE to rebuy seeds every year. Fine for big companies that buy all their seeds anyway, but terrible for little groups and individuals. Scary part is: what happens if those plants cross breed in unexpected ways? The extinction of food crops? Probably not, but it is a scary thought.

While I agree with the premise that fear of GMO food is overblown, this video was so full of poor logic and half truths that it does a disservice to the argument. Selective breeding and modern genetic manipulation may both be "genetic engineering" but that does make them the same. Just as removing a sliver with a knife and heart transplants are both surgery, I am sure that you would only let your mom do the former.

There are valid concerns that need to be taken into account when splicing genes to produce better food. The scale of change is much larger and faster that could ever have been accomplished by dutch farmers using selective breeding. Inserting entirely new genetic material into existing genes cannot be compared to techniques that select existing genetic material. The results need to be thoroughly tested for safety to the consumer and the environment. To pretend that raising concerns is the venue of only the ignorant is offensive and only shows bob's ignorance.

The truly sad thing is the number of posters who are thanking bob for being enlightened. This is almost no better than the other idiots who scream against GMO foods.

Alright, I just finished my global responsibility management course in university and did a group research project on stem cells, we were going to look at algae-engineered bio fuels; however, we specifically decided to stick to stem cells.
Another group did Genetically modified food.

Because both deal with genetics and lab modification there were a few overlapping themes.
To summarize the extremists who are against it want to ban the development and research of Genetic Modification (GM). They mostly use fear tactics and point to the "people who are doing it wrong".
In stem cells, this was what Russian beauty salons were doing, injecting programed stem cells into your face and scalp to prevent hair loss and wrinkles; people got tumors in their face. Indian researchers were claiming they could cure all sorts of things but refused to publish their research or even prove that they were injecting stem cells. Many people found that they had skin from feet injected into their spin.

For GM foods the paranoia is that the foods are not healthy. Somehow they will cause cancer, mutation, or just make food less tasty than expensive organic foods.
Bob does a good job summarizing the selective modification that farmers have done for thousands of years; however, Genetic Engineering can allow you to add genes that do not exist naturally in the plant or food.
This is when you can get an apple orange:
image

To be more realistic, you can add in genes that make fruit produce vitamins and a plethora of many different results. Corn is the most likely candidate for GM due to its HUGE production level yet its low nutritional value compared with other vegetables.

The dangers of GM come from a lack of regulation to establish standards that prevent disasters. Corn that grows fast anywhere would be awesome until you end up with corn actually growing everywhere. This super corn with its high nutritional yield would be a huge feast for locusts and any other pest creating a spiraling problem for our eco system.

To conclude, Genetic Engineering does need to be deregulated to allow good researchers to get shit done; however, there also needs to be regulation on the deregulation to prevent "PhD dropouts" from getting revenge on society with their robo-matoes.

I think most people when they hear "genetic engineering" especially when it comes to food get a mental image of their food being injected with chemicals and steroids. I get that image when I hear "genetic engineering" even when I know it not to be the case (because it is hard to fight your subconscious)

As long as what I'm eating can't hurt me and doesn't cost too much, I'm okay with it. I imagine most of the country is as well.

Genetic engineering (GE) could be used to vastly improve our agricultural system and lower famine in impoverished areas but current policy is causing a lot of problems. Under US law it is illegal to plant GE crops unless the company with property rights or copyright of the plant gives permission. The problem is GE crops release polin which fertilizes non-GE crops on other farms. It as been ruled in the us that this is "stealing" company property and trade secrets. This has led to large numbers of legal actions resulting in bankrupting many mid-western farmers. Another big problem with GE is it is being used it alter animals and crops to fit destructive farming practices. Currently GE is being used to support industrial agriculture which is dependent on petroleum. GE should be used to decrease the need of petroleum and increase sustainable agriculture. It is not such a black and white issue.

Right now genetic engineering looks a lot more like this [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4LJ2iBJnhw] when what is being described.

It's so nice to be on Bob's side for once...

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.

Check out this awesome genetic engineering. Meet SUPER COW!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nmkj5gq1cQU

I pray we never have to deal with Cyborg-SuperCows or we are screwed.

Yet another work of complete sophistry on the part of Bob.

Should we be afraid of genetically engineered food? Probably not.

Is inserting new genes the same thing as breeding animals and plants selectively? F@#K NO! Breeding occurs naturally using the doping of genes that pants and animals already have. Breeding basically changes things by changing the proportions of what genes are made. Genetic enhancement through artificial means is WAYYYYYYY more unpredictable. There SHOULD be much more heavy regulation over foods that are directly modified, but as the science progresses, genetically engineered food will be the way to go.

In short, yes genetic engineering is nothing new in principle, but the new methods we have started to employ ARE. Should we be terrified? No. Should we be cautious? Yes.

Don't tell me stuff like glow-in-the-dark bunny rabbits is perfectly natural, there's no way we could breed them to do that (unless they randomly got the mutation on their own, which is highly unlikely). I'm all for genetic engineering, but it is a technology of incredible power and thus requires respect and caution in its use.

Fruits will take revenge on you !!! Especially the Vegans and Vegetarians !!!!

Zombie Carrots will rise from their crops!

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 parallels 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.

+1

The problem is that we don't understand pleiotropy and cellular mechanics enough to predict all of the macro phenotypic results of inserting new genes. Why are we spending trillions of dollars on CERN when physicists can't even give us an efficient form of fusion energy, when we could be devoting supercomputers and the like to understanding genetics, cellular mechanics, and neuroscience, which will inevitably have an ENORMOUS impact on society? All we have right now are people playing it fast and loose with a technology we haven't even begun to fully understand.

Well, here's a nice array of misunderstandings.

First, I agree with Bob on the core principle that picking and choosing genetic traits on food is a potentially world-saving thing that could allow us to feed our starving people more efficiently.

Second, I TOTALLY, ABSOLUTELY FRICKING LOVE Bob for giving a nod to the original Frankenstein as opposed to the bastardized conservative movie everybody remembers. If anything, Frankenstein is a mildly atheistic socialist parable. Frankenstein (God) creates life but then is horrified because it looks ugly. Because of this, he deserts the monster and becomes an absentee father.

The monster sees happy people and tries to help by secretly learning from them and using his strength to work for them (education, workforce, taxes?) but when he exposes himself to them, he gets rejected and reacts violently. It's society that makes the monster evil by making him poor and illiterate and lacking guidance. Frankenstein, a rich boy that lives a happy live among his friends and family, is the effin' villain of the piece, even if it's told from his perspective. He's constantly an arrogant prick that only refuses to give the monster what he wants (his own family) because he's afraid it will breed and bring down his priviledged lifestyle.

Anyway, on to the third, which is where I disagree with Bob.

The problem with genetically engineered food is that, under the idiotic US patent laws, there is a lot of discussion about whether genetically engineered strands can be patented. If they can, they can also be made sterile. See where this is going? If they can sell you seeds or animals that a) are more productive but b) can't be used to breed more of those unless you go to the company that owns the patents for their genes we are in a world where corporations don't only own our money, they can also choose to starve us.

Now, if we rule that nobody can own the genes of a species of animal or plant, then I'm perfectly fine with responsible gene-tinkering (although there are some risks about new species overriding local species and damaging the food chain that might need to be managed on a case by case basis), but if it becomes a matter of ownership, that's a bleak future. I wouldn't like the food industry to work like the current pharmaceutical industry.

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 parallels 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 actually think you and Bob are more in agreement then you think. His rant seemed like more a critique on people acting out of fear and ignorance rather then facts. I suppose he could have taken time to point out that mishandling of genetic modification can definitely be dangerous. However the same could be said of any other science. Maybe he could take an episode to berate "BAD" scientists that take paychecks over the purity of scientific pursuit.

malestrithe:

That is the heart of this debate. It is not about the "dangers" of Gm crops, but because you are afraid of big business taking over the world.

The greater reason why need to do this is because you are not prepared to answer an even bigger question. Are you going to tell the people in Africa they need to starve because you are afraid? Who gives you the right to say such a thing?

You want a company that made big money on killing Viets with herbicides to feed the starving masses with Roundup Ready Bullshit? All the First World does is patronize the Second and Third and sell them the milk powder and chicken meat we don't need any more as well as the genetically modified bullshit that we in Europe, Canada and other countries don't let onto our fields nor into our countries. We should stay the hell out of their economies and start paying them back real cash for centuries of exploitation and slavery instead of swinging that dick labelled "we are your saviours" around. My Germany is in this as much as your US and I am not calling for the Monroe doctrine back. But we overproduce and flood the Third World with cheap leftovers and monopolist patents and Golden Rice so that noone there has any chance left of leading a meager but autonomous life and to save themselves instead of being held in a state of dependence and post-imperial oppression.

Once again, another few minutes of interesting, reasonable discourse, the sort we don't seem to see so much of. Im seriously liking this series.

Well done.

Killer Tomatoes...God help us.

:)

Couldn't have said it better myself.

geierkreisen:
-snip-

yup, creating seedless plants is the truly dangerous part of geneticaly enginering food, because lets face it corporations do and will continue doing this.

Not a bad video but I'd like to throw my 2 cents on the internet anyway. I personally am not afraid of GMO's and I don't think a lot of people are, and especially not the science behind them. I think a lot of the 'irrationality' that Bob mentioned comes more from the businesses behind the GMO's. Companies that patent seeds and use huge amounts of influence to keep labels off of GMO crops/foods (in the states at least) While I am all for supporting natural and local foods I like that I can have different kinds of foods year round, or that preservatives keep it lasting longer. I just don't like that the cost of this is factory farms and the loss of the small farmer who happened to have some GMO seed mixed into his crops by wind. (I know this wasn't entirely clear, but this is the simplified version)

I wish Bob touched more on the actual benefits that GM crops could bring. It'll improve the economy since farmers would have more successful harvests and make more money, they can breed crops to be more resilient to nature cutting down on the level of maintainence and expertise required. And then aply this to the developing world where over population, polution and droughts and famine cause food shortages and starvation. GM crops could greatly help countries to overcome these problems but are being held back by the constant demonisation of GM foods. Ofcourse I'm not saying that GM crops would solve world hunger over night, most the world's problems in developing countries are due to war.

Damn Bob, you could've taken this opportunity to debunk "Organic Foods" as well.
Like GMO's using a more earth friendly fertilizer. Because Cow Shit is produced along side massive amounts of methane (many many times worse than carbon for the environment) and is a breeding ground for bacteria and diseases... No thank you.
GMO's use a far far less toxic pesticide. Yes, that's right there is no such thing as pesticide free. DTD free sure, but GMO farmers have moved onto more effective and less toxic pesticides while "Organic" farmers have not.
GMO's are innately more nutritious than "Organic", because they have been engineered to.
"Organic" Foods would have us all starve as they can at most feed 4 billion people, considering we are moving towards 7 billion people that is not a good thing.
Small Farmers use GMO's because of higher yield crops, in fact most "Organic" foods come from conglomerated farming in China.
And on and on.

se7ensenses:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94d-KVorSHM

Too bad he is lying through his teeth.

vulkman:

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.

apperently you didnt saw the vid its not like they are stuffing it with radiation or something they modify it on a genetic level (IE rewriting the blue prints) if genetic engineering would have anything to do with that it would REMOVE those effects instead of ADDING them, you should be more afraid of your computer turning agianst you then your carrots giving you cancer
PS there is a bigger chance of getting cancer from taking a walk in the sun then getting it from genticly engineerd food

Probably the best Big Picutre thus far.

Penn and Teller did a piece on genetic food in their show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIvNopv9Pa8

Sorry I don't remember how to embed a YouTube vid into the message.

Nicely presented.

I have this conversation with people all the time. You didn't even touch on how GM food is not only bigger, it's stronger and more likely to survive to harvest...less dead crops make for a much healthier yield, and makes much better use of the limited farmland we have than letting crops die(and farmland be wasted)in the name of preserving nature.

If we let crops die, less people get fed...

There's nothing ethical about being a snob and opting for organic food.

Edit - Bring on the cloned meat, go science!

Great video. The hysterics over GM food is something that really gets me goat. Though it did make me laugh when there was a bout of panic when it turned out that somehow, someone had allowed a GM cow to reproduce and have its offspring enter our food chain.

From this laymans perspective, if the animal is healthy enough to breed and produce offspring, then we shouldn't be too worried about eating the processed components of said offspring, surely?

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