The Big Picture: Feeding Edge

 Pages PREV 1 . . . 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 . . . 15 NEXT

All this video did was remind me of "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes." So, thanks for that!

Genetically engineered crops are the most heavily tested crops. They are regulated by the EPA, USDA, and the FDA. The EPA regulates them if there is a pesticide involved, the USDA for how they are grown and how it will effect the environment, and the FDA for food safety. It takes millions of dollars of testing and many years to be able to be approved as a commercial crop.

Dead wrong. Since the GECs were first introduced there has been a lot of pressure on governmental institutions and quite a few revolving-door politicians/lobbyists/assholes happily switching between the big agri-corps and the EPA and FDA. Asking too many questions has been deemed as counterproductive to the ability to compete on a new market. When negative studies existed they were downplayed, even kept secred until whistleblown.

The documentary you should watch as an introduction to this topic is:
'The World According to Monsanto' (
'Le monde selon Monsanto' in French (
'Monsanto - mit Gift und Genen' in German (
by Marie-Monique Robin from 2008.

So uhh... who else is dying to call that cyborg tomato "Terminato?"

I think it's a great name.

Congrats, great episode. I agree 100% but it`s hard to make the general public understand this. I have no idea why but some people will not listen to reason on this one.

Bob makes a lot of good points, but I think he glossed over (what I consider, in my skewed perspective) the biggest issue that I (and other people similarly insane) have with GMO's, which is that it's not limited to merely expediting the natural Darwinian evolution of a crop.

A consequential amount of Genetic Engineering in this field also goes so far as to splice together DNA from two separate entities, which in some cases aren't even the same Domain. (The biggest I've heard is fish combined with plants to get stuff like cold resistance and insect resistance.) This, to me, seems like something that could actually be a fair source of concern, especially since the regulation in this area (like almost all other areas of food science in general) is pretty lax.

That said, it's nothing that proper testing couldn't safeguard against, and if anything serious does happen, it'll be corrected pretty quickly.

Vault Citizen:

John the Gamer:
Yay! We (dutch) made carrots! Also: BEWARE! Be nice to us or we'll make all foods orange!

you'll never get away with it! never!

We've already started! You'll never stop us now, random posting person!

I'm going to admit I didn't get beyond the eating of the carrot bit because, well, I hate the sound of other people eating. Hell, I sometimes hate hearing myself eat. So yeah, in spite of making a valid point before that and probably making one after it, screw you Bob. That's about as petty as I get.

Anyhow, I'm pro genetically engineered food. I don't think it should be done recklessly of course, because in spite of how much we now know about the world around us there's still a lot more to cover. People adapting to new food sources could have surprising side effects, after all, even if it's just a modified version of an existing one. Imagine our embarssment if genetically engineered carrots turn out to not be as good for your eyesight as natural ones due to some of the stuff that was changed? Granted I have no idea if that old claim is true or not, I'm just using it as a hypothetical example. Still, being able to avoid existing problems with food and make them, for lack of a better term, more efficient? I can get behind that.


First of all allow me to say that I completely agree with everything stated in this video. That being said:

While you're certainly correct that a large part of the controversy of GM crops is just ignorant fear-mongering your comparison with traditional farming isn't quite spot on. A big issue many people have is that agribusiness is taking traits from other species and splicing them into foods that said traits have never evolved in. Now that sounds a lot worse than it actually is but there is still some cause for concern. GM is still a technology in its infancy and we still don't have a good idea about what a lot of genes do or how they interact with one another. So yes, there is plenty of idiocy within the GM foods controversy but there is also a sliver of sense.

No there isn't any sense in the GM food controversy the folks that oppose GM foods are using scare tactics and false information. Without GM foods the worlds organic supply can only feed 4 billion people. There are roughly 7 billion people on the planet; which 3 billion do folks think should starve? Me not a god dang one bring on the GM foods!

First of all I would very much like to see where you got your figures. I never said organic farming was the solution or that GM crops are not a powerful technology that should be utilized. What I said was that there are questions about GM crops that have not been answered. The FDA has never to my knowledge performed any sort of test on what potential effects long-term consumption of these foods do to the human body. Now granted most of us have been eating them for the past 30 years and we've yet to have a zombie outbreak so maybe there is no cause for concern. The point is that we don't know.

It's worth pointing out that with or without GMOs we have a mounting problem in terms of food production. The vast majority of arable land is already being used for farming and it's unlikely much more can be squeezed out of it even with GM. Personally I favor farmscrapers but maybe that's just the technophile in me talking.

Finally, your juvenile tone does you no credit.

Bob (et al.),
I suppose thanks for bringing it to my attention how much the media lies about the problems with genetically engineered crops because it sells (or something). I am something of an environmentalist, but I do not have anything against the idea behind genetic engineering (great medical benefits, reductionism IN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH can work, yeah. The beef that I have with genetic engineering, and this is the beef as far as I have read, is how it is taughted as the solution to world hunger by the people making genetically engineered crops (real genetically engineered crops: corn with bacterial DNA inserted into it). It is wrong because it does not address the causes of world hunger today and in some ways exacerbates the problem (the problem is not a question of too many people and too little yield, but horrible and inefficient distribution via the worlds corporate and political elite).

Stop reasoning with people Bob, how am I supposed to maintain my arrogant personality if everyone actually knows what the hell they're talking about?

Dude, seriously? You decry Bob for oversimplying a complex issue, which is fine, but you do it arguing with a tone that implies you have all the info.

Wrong on all counts. I decry Bob for lying -- it was, like, at the top of the post -- and decry him for claiming to simplify an issue by saying things about it that are manifestly untrue. I never claim to have all the info, merely that he was nigh-deliberately wrong. Your analysis is inaccurate -- reread the post.

Guess what? To me, a scientist actually in the field to genetic engineering, and a little into transgenic plant development, you look the same way.

That's nice. To me, having worked in both the sciences and politics, hearing someone who's probably from industry obscure the issue makes you look like part of the problem. To each his own.

They are like Wal-Mart in a certain way.

Wow, that's misleading. While Wal-Mart is certainly a noxious company due to a variety of anti-union and anticapitalistic pratcices, saying that the problem with Monsanto is that it's like Wal-Mart completely misses the dramatic challenges to law and politics that Monsanto represents. Transformation of patent law into a legal sword harms both biotechnological research and puts, conceivably, billions at risk. It's a ludicrously horrible example of political corruption -- it may well be the most potent example, given the industry's successful pillaging of property it it cannot conceivably own. If we're all children, fine, I guess one can say is that the respective companies do naughty things, but the similarities end there.

Their science, however, is much more solid than what you've been allowed to know since a lot of the protocols are trade secrets.

You protest too much.

I never questioned their ability to use science to advance their agenda -- that's all that can be taken from your ambiguous use of the word "science." I claimed, straight-out, that the company has no concern and has taken nothing close to sufficient measures to protect the environment from ecological damage. We know this because the company actually uses ecological damage as a strategy for theft. Contaminating native stocks is not a bug, it's a feature.

Do you actually know how long it takes from the idea of introducing x or y thing into a crop to it reaching the supermarket?

Yes. Do you know how inappropriate it is to tranform patent law into a scheme that covers biotechnology? Do you know the kind of profits you can garner through destroying and capturing and patenting native, milennia-old foodstocks and forcing small farmers to grow only from your own seed? Is there a reason why your irrelevant facts were introduced here?

Before you go out and say that "Monsanto and allies" have no controls and do no testing please familiarize yourself with the actual process of creating GM crops.

Maybe you should dismiss your own bias and reread the post. Given the risks involved, industry controls are wholly inadequate; saying that they have said controls is making a completely unsupported assumption. Namely that the industry is concerned with issues besides its own profit margin. Experiments, and therefore their controls, are used by Monsanto to ensure that its products will be profitable for Monsanto, not to ensure that the products will be safe for the environment at large. Not only isn't that the case, we know as a matter of law that they profit when they do not bother with such experiments.

It takes LONGER than developing pharmaceuticals. . .

So what?

. . .and you know, it's not regulated by the FDA. The department of agriculture is in charge of that.

Again, so what? It should be under the perview of the FDA. That's the point. (As it stands, the FDA does have influence over these entities, but it "regulates" in the same way that a well-paid and competent hooker "punishes" a john.) In the same way cigarettes were kept free from FDA regulation due to sheer bribery, our bureaucracies can't even claim proper jurisdiction. In effect, you're claiming that "things shouldn't be better because they're already horrible."

You think they skimp on controls and tests, etc, etc, to cut down costs?

No, I know that the point of their tests is to ensure the wealth of their respective companies, not to protect anyone else. You are, again, making unfounded assumptions. The problem is Monsanto is using a U.S. model of legal responsibility: the burden of proof is on the plantiff to show environmental harm, as opposed to, say, Germany, where the company creating an environmental problem is assumed to bear its legal responsibility. As such, Monsanto has no real reason to bother with experimentation that would do nothing but give it knowledge that would ultimately increase its liability.

(snip). . . any slip up opens the door to huge legal backlash in lawsuits, loss of patents and HUGE economical set backs.

Wrong -- for the umpteenth time, contamination can actually increase their wealth. You begin with the assumption that Monsanto cares for the people it's robbing, a completely incoherent assumption that is nonetheless commonly found in people that work for people that rip others off for a living.

The companies aren't run by stupid people. They're run by bad people.

Holy shit! We agree on something again!

Holy shit! We agree on something again!

Dead wrong. Since the GECs were first introduced there has been a lot of pressure on governmental institutions and quite a few revolving-door politicians/lobbyists/assholes happily switching between the big agri-corps and the EPA and FDA. Asking too many questions has been deemed as counterproductive to the ability to compete on a new market. When negative studies existed they were downplayed, even kept secred until whistleblown.

And your point is that some corporations will do anything to increase their bottom line? New methods and technology often have a period where only a few have control of it. Unfortunately this can lead to blinding greed. Corruption is a whole other monster I don't even want to get into. I don't know about the rest of the world but, what I am finding says that GE products are still regulated by the FDA, USDA, and EPA. Just as the corporations push for less regulations there are others pushing for more.

Genetic Engineering is one of a number of methods required to feed the growing population and doing it efficiently. I would recommend reading up on Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution and credited with saving the lives of an estimated billion people from starvation and malnutrition.

You'd think that sticking engineering on it would make it more likeable to the general public. Engineers tend to be more awesome people than scientists (No offence, scientists. I still love you).

Think about it. In the last few years science has probably provided more bad news for you than good. Maybe your favourite food isn't so good for you. Maybe the density of this planet proves that the chances of getting hit by an asteroid is higher than previously thought.

Then you have your engineers who just keep making things better. Like your car? Let's put some rockets on it. Like your little pet doggy? Let's make a cyborg one with lasers. Engineering's supposed to be about making things BETTER (once they are out of testing, anyway).

You'd think that the first reaction to the word 'genetic engineering' would be "AWESOME! Now my food can fill me up, taste great, connect me to the internet and do my taxes".

Genetically engineered food? No, I'm not worried about stuff like that, and I completely agree with your video.

Now when it comes to all the chemical additives, you know the stuff that's been tested and proven to give rats cancer, that's when I start to worry...0o

the technology of genetic engineering isn't bad. as Bob pointed out. but questionable things do get done with it. most important to come to my mind is making crops immune to weedkillers. This has infact been done, so that they could use the more aggressive weed killers to basicly wipe out all life but the vegetables. This caused the weedkillers to leak into the groundwater, then into the streams, the fish, the big predators, the people.

so it is the same as with all engineering. you have to ask yourself the questions about ethics and durability. and justify your decisions on those fronts. Before you carry on and do the things you intend to do.

The previous example is an example of bad engineering. but denying poor 3th world country farmers the possibility to grow geneticly engineered tomatos that are immune to common diseases. Diseases they would otherwise not have the expertise nor the means to prevent, just because you don't 'trust' the crazy scientists. Thats almost criminal isn't it.

'Flat-earth'. ever thought the world was flat. They always assumed the world was round (that, or just didn't give a shit). But they certainly didn't think they would drop off the edge of this "flat" earth; they did assume, correctly, that it was a round planet. I have Stephen Fry to thank for that knowledge.

LSD carrots.. pass me one

Oh boy. This... no. I'm not even going to spend time on this.

Just watch "The World According To Monsanto". That'll be enough. Come back when you did.

As has been said, the "fear" (which I would more describe as "skepticism", personally) towards genetically modified food is not at all the media fear-mongering. And while there might be no danger in the foodstuffs themselves (a debatable issue, by the way), there is certainly something worrying about the corruption and monopolization surrounding the issue. It's also telling - not taking sides here - that in many countries outside of the USA where the government has a much bigger say in economics and agriculture this level of genetic engineering is a much bigger question.

Of course, I'm not an expert on this subject, and I take most of my dough from - whaddayaknow - the media, but I try to look at things rationally as much as possible and I just think that the media's arguments are a bit more convincing than your arguments.

(On a side note, I really like that this video provoked me to write this. I think it's these kind of discussions that episodes of "The Big Picture" should stir up.)

Good Video, now tackle the Organic Food plague, nothing like taking steps backward.
GMO's have saved million of people around the world. The most classic example is the drought resistant wheat, that was introduced into more arid countries.
It just always bothers me that those people against GMO's with their full bellies, trying to stop other people in more difficult countries from being allowed to eat.
We all get caught up in our own special interests, lets all remember to step back and look past our own agenda.
As has been said "If you and yours aren't starving, what gives you the right."


While you're certainly correct that a large part of the controversy of GM crops is just ignorant fear-mongering your comparison with traditional farming isn't quite spot on. A big issue many people have is that agribusiness is taking traits from other species and splicing them into foods that said traits have never evolved in. Now that sounds a lot worse than it actually is but there is still some cause for concern. GM is still a technology in its infancy and we still don't have a good idea about what a lot of genes do or how they interact with one another. So yes, there is plenty of idiocy within the GM foods controversy but there is also a sliver of sense.

Exactly! Bob takes the easy route of oversimplification. Although I agree to some degree, the complete ignorance of concerns strikes me as just as blinded as the "Frankenfood Club". The truth lies somewhere in between.

As for the Frankenstein reference - simplification strikes again. Of course, modern doctors don't collect corpses, stitch pieces together and try to reanimate those for personal interest . I think that wouldn't quite fit the hero term.

Too much of a straw man argumentation for my taste.

good rant. Missed a few things like switching genes from one species to the next but that doesn't make it a bad thing. Besides hybrid crops are pretty old as well.

And compared to pesticide and hormones used other wise genetically engineered food is great

Wow, the pro GEC comments keep coming in. Please tell me that you all come from the US, then I could accept that you are uneducated people who actually boast about their own ignorance and do not even want to know whether they are brainwashed by billion-dollar marketing campaigns.

Actually Bob uses the exact same rhetorical pattern: "xy is like cute kitties and who is against cute kitties? Are you a kittie hater?". (xy being GEC and kitties being accepted traditional crops.)

Saying "glad Bob pointed that out, I think likewise" is the same as saying "I have a preconception and feel good if a layman biologist has the same" Is Bob an expert? No. Did he read anything from an expert on GE? Obviously not even that because he very clearly has no clue what he is talking about. Selective breeding has nothing to do with altering genes directly and it has a copletely different set of risks of which bob chooses to keep quiet about.

You are so very much in conflict with reality that I suggest you do a little research about GE. Check your sources and read something that is not directly or indirectly payed by the GE industry and educate yourself instead of affirming each other with your false preconceptions.

Uhm... Very compelling Bob. I though you could talk about how native american did with corn. Well considering you are very american and U.S is the biggest producer of corn in the world. Still I think you should go back to this again, because there is still topics inside this subject that need to be talked.

Mmmmm carrot .. *omnomnomnomnomnomnom*

Interesting information there, thanks for sharing :)

the crossing of animal dna into plants is something you didn't go into. To tell you the truth not overly fussed about it. But putting fish dna into tomatoes so they can withstand colder temperatures and can be stored longer I cant say I love.

Sure, we don't have to panic when we hear the words Genetic Engineering, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be careful either. It doesn't always work out well. For example, there is a dog breed where the skull is too small for the brain and dogs from another breed can't even be born without c-section.

Currently there is a distinct lack of laws and regulations which makes the whole field more questionable than it really is. I got the feeling this is beyond politicians and they tend to ponder to the irrational fear of their voting crows.

The important point is that there is no such thing as a bad technology which is inherently evil but the question is always how people put these techniques to use. Currently there is very vocal group promoting Genetic Engineering as the ultimate evil for religious reasons or yet unproven fears which is a harmful environment for innovation in general.

So do not condemn genetic modified food yet and do not embrace it thoughtlessly. Be caution and yet reasonable. That's always a good attitude in life.

Initially, I must note that most things concerning the subject has already been said, but that has never stopped anyone. ;)

I agree with Bob on one point, the dangers of GMO has been greatly exagurated when it comes to practical concerns. Yes, mankind has been modifying nature since before the beginning of recorded history and yes, it is the foundation of agriculture as we know it.

However, in the quest of making a point about the absurdity of the debate, Bob has failed to make justice to the name of his video segment. He does not convey a 'Big Picture', but reduces the concept of generic engineering to controlled breeding and the "activation and deactivation of protein producing DNA segments". This is just a part of the field and definitely not the area of interest when it comes to the GMO debate.

The real concern is the transplantation of a gene from one completely different organism to another, perhaps best exemplified by the transference of genes from fish to plant life. This form of genetic engineering is quite different from the discussed practice, which simply entails promoting certain genes and mutations. By introducing a new gene into a plant family, you are effectively making a change that would not be possible by conventional natural or controlled selection, as fish and tomatoes rarely if ever interbreed (emphasis on "ever" ;) ). The aforementioned introduction of the gene is not itself a problem or a moral concern, the problem rests in the fact that the new gene now becomes transferable not only within the population but also the entire plant family. The actual occurrences are few, but there has been instances where poison-resistant DNA has been injected into crops and later transferred to close weed relatives which now retain properties they would not otherwise have. The consequence: we now have weeds we cannot kill by conventional herbicide.

A grave concern? Probably not, but to claim that the mere suggestion of unforeseen consequences equals the behavior of 'dopy, paranoid, flat earth extremists (paraphrase)' is not only one-sided and counterproductive, it is a strictly emotional way of though. Science is observation and empirical reasoning. We observe a problem and then deduce the impact. In this case, the later part 'might' indeed conclude that the dangers of GMO can be countered by further study and control over the environment into which the genes are transplanted. Bob, however, has decided that observing the problem as real would give power to the opposition and has thus decided to exclude the parts of the debate he disagrees with by using a strict and ultimately false definition of what genetic engineering is. I understand that he is making a point, but by lying as much as some media spokesmen he only reveals his bias or - alternatively - his ignorance.



Thank you very much Bob for this. Speaking as someone who is currently studying this field, it's great to see someone actually dispelling people's fears. Now, where did I put the DNA to make those living bagpipes?

Also fun field in this vein, synthetic biology, or the making of biological toys, like bacteria which can solve sudoku.

hey can you answer to this guy?

As a chef, I get a lot of information about GMO's.

And frankly yes, just because its altered does not mean is dangerous. The only cause for concern is that when you alter food slightly over generations the body adapts to it. And hybridizing and husbandry combine the genes of the same species.

GMO's can have very harmful side effects, but it is by no means assured. Simple scientific testing can determine its saftety.

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.

Im pretty sure he's spouting bullshit, and he has little to no actual knowlege of the field, but just wanted to make sure.

I'm not sure if you're talking to me, or the other guy. Anyways, I don't know that much in regards to FDA regulations dealing with genetically modified food, but I have never ever heard of genetically modified food adapting to the body over generations causing problems.

For example, many strains of corn have been genetically engineered to be resistant to certain chemicals. As part of ensuring that this gene does not transfer to other plants, these strains of corn cannot produce offspring, they are sterile. The only way for genes to transfer from one species to another in plants (I do mean plants, and they can do this and do do it quite regularly) is for pollen from one to fertilize the ovum of another. These strains do not pollinate, so each year, the farmers must buy a new batch of seeds from whichever company makes the corn strains. Because the plants can't reproduce, they can't evolve, therefore there is no adapting.

I have heard of organic plants evolving new toxins which may be poisonous to humans in a few generations, but I have yet to seen any hard literature in this area, so I'm hesitant to proclaim this as fact yet.

And so you know, my qualifications are a BS in Molecular Biology and I'm currently pursuing a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics.

Thanks, that clears some things up, sarkis was obviously bullshitting. I also didn't know that genetically modified corn could not reproduce, that kind of fucks over the farmer though.

Long time viewer, first time poster.

This video is so wrong about a subject so important, I couldn't stay quiet about it.
First, I'm a science lover myself.
I firmly believe Science is th only good path for Mankind's (and any earthian lifeforms) future.
But even I know what is wrong when I see it.
And I believe any person who has done properly his/her High School Biology program could end up at the same conclusions.

On Food for humans
As stated previously, GMO can trigger allergia, old and NEW.
Because what's inside cannot possibly be tested against every genetic profile of the human pool.
Monsanto doesn't give a shit about it, because they're willing to pay a few thousands bucks to law suits, while gaining billions on the global market.
On the side note, if you think Monsanto is testing its new food on human with every medecine, polluant and matter we can absorb during a lifetime, you're clearly dellusionnal.
At best, it is a "are you feeling fine? Yes/No" every month or so. They won't slice up thousands of people around the world for decades just to be sure there's nothing wrong in them because of their stuff.
How long did it take for Tobacco industry to recognize publicly the dangers of smoking, being both a drug AND a poison?
History is repeating itself here...

On starvation
So GMO has ended food starvation worldwide?
First news...
There's still people dying in several parts of the world, and even in the developped countries, not everyone eats to his/her content.
Prices are still skyrocketting. There's still shortage of food due to disease and bad weather. Starve riots pop up every now and then.
We can't feed the whole planet with organic food? I'm not quite sure about that.
What I'm sure of, is certain countries (ie US) are eating far more than they should, then spends billions in diet programs and shady medecine.
First, we should be eating less (one small piece of meat per day, more seasoned veggies, smaller portions).
Compare a BigMac menu in Europe with the "same" one in USA. You won't believe your eyes.
Give priorities to local production for local selling. Less transport fees and no social dumping.
Teach how to grow crops efficiently without using chemicals (which most of third world producers don't know shit about, since they're mostly illettrate).
Then we'll see if we cannot feed everyone.
But of course, it will be less profitable to big compagnies and money-obsessed traders.

On Testing
You know how GMO should be tested ?
Take a planet similar to Earth, plant your GMO, wait one THOUSAND years, and then test EVERY SINGLE ORGANISM of said planet to see how they have copped with your new introduced chimera.
Oh wait. We didn't have any other planet, right?
Neither we have 1000 years to waste waiting?
Nor the capabilities to study a whole 40 000 km round ecosystem?
So am I saying we're screwing the ONLY VIABLE PLANET we have with something we absolutely don't control, just for the sake of someone's banking account?
Here's a hint : yes.

On GE and "natural"
Do you know what happens when you put a new specie in an unknown environment?
Here an example : put a fluffly and cute pal, let's say a bunny, in a wide remotely location, let's say Australia.
Then ask Yatzhee about it.
Another one : take an cute and harmless turlte, the Florida one, and put it in the european rivers.
Guess the result.
Another one : pick a green and natural veggie, a pretty tropical seaweed for aquarium, and let it spread in, let's say Mediterrannee.
Long story short : lots of money wasted to clean the mess, extinction of natural species (some were fished for food by locals) and without being sure it will be successful, even in the long term.
So yeah, introducting something natural in a system which wasn't ready for it is a REALLY BAD IDEA.
Imagine then, when it's about something as chimeric as a GMO...

On Sterility and Natural spreading
Just because Monsanto's stuff is sterile doesn't mean every damn seed will be.
Do you think they have the capabilities (even less the will) to verify each crop to be sure it's conform to their standards (as fucked up they can be)?
Of course not, because they brush away a very known fact: spontaneous mutation.
One crop could retain all the genetics of its peers, except the sterility gene.
So what happens next?
Of course, it will contaminate the natural environment, spreading, breading, and mutating on its own, away from human attention.
And when it will be noticed, it will be already too firmly implanted in every ecosystem to get rid of it.
Of course, the consequencies on natural species is unknown. But since we're speaking about the base of the eating chain, the end results (i.e us)

cannot be little.
And you know the fun part? This is the best case scenario.
In the worst, the mutated crop carries its terminator gene, but within several late generations.
Not only it will contaminate and terminate natural viable species, but it will destroy ultimately every eating material for every evolued organism, decades after its introduction.
Fun, isn't it?

On Natural adaptation
What happens when yo use too much of anti-biotics?
Yes, anti-biotic resistant bacterias begin to appear.
What will happen if naturally bug-immune plants are widely spread?
Obvious. bug-immune plant-immune bugs will appear too.
And then, we're screwed.
Because there no way in hell we will have a way to stop them, not only to eat our sweet GMO, but every other damn vegetables.
It's as easy as that: stronger stuff makes stronger opposite stuff (unless we eradicate it before it gets stronger, like small pox).
On the planet scale, where any spore can cross oceans and mountains in a few hours, it's impossible.
And I'm not talking about other harmless insects, like bees, who will get genocided in the process by those sweet GMO.
BTW, do you like your honey with or without killerbug?
Because soon, you might not have this choice anymore.

On everything else
Others posters have already stated the other wrong points in this video, and the overall ignorance about this subject some escapists seem to hold.
To add a little to the mix: Man-engineered viruses are held in strongly (I hope so) secured facilities, which get blown at the first sign of leaks.
Why aren't GMO under the same standards? Isn't their impact scale on the same level?
And just because they don't immedialty affect human body, they should be spread in the Nature, interacting in Who-knows-how ways with local organisms?

Bottom of line.
GMO are great... for TERRAFORMING MARS.
On Earth, it's just a kid playing with a heavy machinegun in an atomic missile launcher.
Sooner or later, a bullet will hit the bad spot.

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.

I couldn't have said it better myself. That last part in particular.

It seems people today are too lazy to look up facts themselves, and instantly trust their most preferred sources regardless what they spout. People who go "Oh thank you Bob, now I feel 10 x smarter and better, and know all there is to know about this! Them damn organic food supporters are just dumb and do not understand marvelous science!!" are simply hilarious.

How about in stead of blindly trusting this one persons "facts", you also check up and read on the subject matter at hand yourself? Wikipedia has some great pages on it, and I guarantee you that you will walk away from those pages a hell of a lot more enlightened then you will from any segment by Bob.

Or perhaps most of Bob's fans prefer to stay in the cartoon world, where science can only bring about a new and better tomorrow.

Now I'm not saying that Bob's entire video was fallacious, but it grossly oversimplified and issue that is much more complex than what this video would leave you thinking.


This could stand to be reposted on every single page of this discussion.

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.

the only thing i dislike about genetically engineered food is when they start doing things like puting fish genes into strawberrys to make them grow all year round, when u taste the difference between home grown and store bought strawberrys you will see what i mean store bought are bland and tastless almost while homegrown granted havent got a long shelf life but are absoultly mouthwatering tasty

 Pages PREV 1 . . . 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 . . . 15 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
Register for a free account here