In Defense of GMOs

PDB 1gmo EBIHear him out before you comment, y’all! Self-described liberal Saul of Hearts finds things to like regarding GMOs, if not Monsanto, writing at Medium:

Let me get a few things out of the way.

I’m a crazy fucking hippie. I go to Burning Man every year. I teach yoga. I live in a co-op. For the past two years I’ve been delivering organic vegetables for a local delivery service. I’ve been eating vegetarian for years, and vegan for the past four months.

I’m also fascinated by genetics. I read every book that comes my way on evolutionary theory, population genetics, and mapping the genome. I took several classes on the subject at the University of Pennsylvania. All told, I have a pretty solid understanding of how genes work.

And ultimately, I’m just not that scared of GMOs.

Now don’t get me wrong. I understand where my liberal friends are coming from. I share the same desire for a safe and healthy food supply. There’s a LOT that disturbs me about the state of food production and distribution in America.

I think Monsanto is evil, that patenting seeds and suing farmers is unethical, and that some GMO crops (like Roundup Ready Soybeans) lend themselves to irresponsible herbicide and pesticide use and cross-contamination.

But I’m also not going to let my anti-corporate sentiments get in the way of a diverse and promising field of research.

When genetic engineering is used to decrease pesticide use, to add nutrients to crops in malnourished countries, and otherwise improve the quality of our food products, then it’s a valuable tool that can contribute to a safe and healthy food supply.

I want to address three points that are often brought up by anti-GMO advocates that are either simply untrue, or a lot more nuanced than we’ve been led to believe.

1. GMOs create more “unnatural” mutations than traditional breeding methods.

Genetic manipulation is nothing new. Humans have been breeding plants and animals for thousands of years. Many of our staple crops (wheat, corn, soy), would not exist without human intervention. The same goes for domesticated farm species…

[continues at Medium]

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  • Hadrian999

    Oh, you go to burning man, you must be legit. I don’t dislike GMO’s because they are GMO’s I dislike them because we have no idea at all what we are eating and the producers do everything they can to keep us from finding out.

    • Heath

      Not to mention there is no legitamite proof of better yeilds or anything that could be considered a benificial replacment for standard selective horticulture practices. Fix unbroken things much?

      • Hadrian999

        from what i understand the modifications mostly enable the plant to tolerate higher doses of pesticides, that’s just what i want on my food

      • Ittabena

        >”Fix unbroken things much?”

        If it creates a new monopoly to include in our corporate portfolio? Ever’ damn time!

  • Ted Heistman

    Ok, I heard him out and permaculture is still superior as a way to grow food and transform the World. Plenty of good food in the world can be grown in natural ways no need to resort to frankenfood:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sohI6vnWZmk

    • Cortacespedes

      Frankenfood you have to buy seeds every year to grow; leaving you dependent on those fine upstanding citizens at Monsanto, who have nothing but your best interest at heart.

      • saulofhearts

        Exactly, that’s why I oppose Monsanto, along with most of the GMO crops that are currently out there. But a rational approach to the science is more likely to result in the world that you and I are looking for than using terms like “Frankenfood”. I oppose the patenting bullshit that Big Ag resorts to. But not all GMO crops are produced by these companies — I suggest you look at the book “Tomorrow’s Table” and read about some ways to combine organic agriculture, along with SOME GMO crops, for a more sustainable approach that either one or the other.

        • Jin The Ninja

          when GMO genes enter, forever diminish, and irrevocably alter the genes of heritage varieties and wild plants- you’ve lost any legitimacy in regards to sustainability. diversity IS sustainability. and frankly, “a crazy fucking hippie” (dubious) would know that humanity is neither entitled to nor is wise to alter the gaian organism. after all, she’ll have to live with our hubris, long after we’ve gone. dominion over nature is a judeo-christian concept of first world trans-national capitalism. it is NOT even remotely (and i have a very wild imagination) a legitimate NOR holistic model of sustainability or in fact, the world.

          • http://wildernessvagabonds.com/ Mike Lewinski

            Aren’t those heritage varieties and wild plants already cross-contaminating each other? What makes GMO plants so special? Of course we favor some species and promote them to our detriment. But this is as true of “conventional” corn as it is of Bt corn.

            Our own genome is apparently 8% viral in origin. Many of the biotech methods involve using natural viral mechanisms for altering DNA because they’re masters of it and do it regularly in nature. But they apparently do it for their own selfish purposes of reproduction.

            I’ve written more on the hubris argument here:

            http://wildernessvagabonds.com/blog/?page_id=1242

            I’m willing to believe that the earth has a kind of consciousness we can’t fathom. You won’t find it in a single nerve cell, so why should you find it in a single bacteria or other kind of cell?

            If so, she’s hardly defenseless. I’d wager if she was conscious and had viral agents at her direction, Gaia could wipe us out immediately.

            That she doesn’t leaves me to conclude, if she exists, then she evolved us to further have intentionality over how evolution proceeds using biotechnology.

            In reality, I’m mostly atheist. But I can envision a super-organism with intelligence because that’s effectively what we are, with a 10:1 ratio of bacteria:human cells, and 100:1 ratio of bacterial:human genes. We’re mostly not human by either cell or gene count.

          • Ted Heistman

            He lives in a fucking co-op. I’d say he’s a hippy. Give the dude a break! I checked out his blog. I think he seems legit. Not everyone with bad ideas has bad motives.

            I think you are right about Gaia, but still in the progressive mindset there is the idea of progress. Should everyone return to living like indigenous people or are we heading towards something better through human creative efforts? I tend more toward wanting to reindigenize myself but I can’t deny the postive effects of some technologies, like the internet.

            I think its a complex issue and I wrestle with it myself.

        • Ted Heistman

          Here is another good article that sorts out the complexities and moral ramifications of this issue:

          http://www.westonaprice.org/modern-foods/transgenic-rice

    • marshall

      I can appreciate your sentiments, but proving a point with a source cited from a youtube video is irrelevant. To agree with you, I think “permaculture” has been working for 100,000 years of drought, famine, environmental and cosmic catastrophes and war. It doesn’t have to prove itself against the new paradigm.

  • astrofrog

    “I’m a crazy fucking hippie. I go to Burning Man every year. I teach yoga. I live in a co-op.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGDT7wKvdRk

    • Ted Heistman

      That was fucking Brilliant!

  • namvetted68

    I merely ask to be informed about what is and what is not in, on, or disguising itself as my food and the Monsantos of the world want to block that info through legal and extra-legal means. Until that happens, I’ll remain skeptical.

  • http://wildernessvagabonds.com/ Mike Lewinski

    One common falsehood is that there has been no independent safety testing of GMO foods. David Tribe puts that to rest on his website here:

    http://gmopundit.blogspot.com/p/450-published-safety-assessments.html

  • DeepCough

    Too bullshit; didn’t read.

    • Jin The Ninja

      well i read it- but otherwise agree that it was analogous to factory farm antibiotic-laden BGH-ridden cow excrement.

      it was a good post though- the board rumbles.

      • DeepCough

        Well, I did skim it, like I do with some articles, and even then, I found the argument terribly flaccid, but alas, that is what you get for supporting GMOs.

  • emperorreagan

    On top of the other comments about companies trying to prevent labeling and right-to-know efforts for GMO products, GMOs have been rushed through the regulatory process in the US and are using economic & legal pressure to try to open markets elsewhere.

    Produce good science? Cool.

    Try to circumvent that process? I’m going to assume the worst.

  • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

    How about instead of genetically engineering proprietary crops to ‘help’ the poor (OMG, LOL), we stop stealing their resources so they can feed themselves.

    What happens when poor farmers get the GMO seed? Ask the farmers of India; you know, the ones who haven’t killed themselves because they lost everything.

    It’s interesting how the author pretends Monsanto’s intimidation tactics aren’t part and parcel of the process. Also how this “distracts” from various Very Related Problems. Again, like they are separate issues. Just like he pretends that genes are “basically [interchangable] pieces of computer code.” News flash – genes aren’t the same genes in various environmental differences, let alone different organisms. It’s called epigenetics.

    All of this points to the true problem, the illusion of separation. It’s tearing this world apart.

    • saulofhearts

      I’m not sure where you get that I’m “pretending Monsanto’s intimidation tactics” aren’t part of the process. I specifically mention that I find patenting seeds unethical. The only way to get Monsanto out of the picture (which I want to do as much as you do) is for sane, rational liberals to present an alternative option that isn’t about shutting down a legitimate science.

      • Jin The Ninja

        the only thing ‘liberals’ are able to do is carry on with the status quo.
        and as to the “legitimacy” of that “science” you admit you have no idea to the long term effects on human or ecological health, nor are you a scientist save for enough undergrad biology credits less a minor. and as a radical free thinking person i am highly skeptical of things that claim moral authority whether science or any other paradigm- and even of the idea of moral authority itself.

        • saulofhearts

          exactly, that’s why we should be looking into the long term effects carefully and rationally, without bashing an entire science. simple as that.

          • Jin The Ninja

            i don’t want to be monsanto’s guinea pig, nor do i trust other market forces ‘to do the right thing’ and not play lab rat with a declared human right and necessity for survival, and as i stated above- dominion over nature is so 3 centuries ago- it’s not your right, nor the right of ANY multi-national (no matter how well-intentioned their website mission statement might sound), NGO, country or gov’t to permanently alter the cycle of natural selection or evolution through the insertion of foreign genes into plants that ultimately and always contaminate ecosystems and ruin genetic diversity.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            The whole post was about separating the concepts of GMO’s from Monsanto itself.

            I mentioned before how i think grouping all GMO’s together is potentially foolish, and i got my head bitten off; and all arguments against them come from monsanto’s designs.

            But I suppose i see where you’re coming from, its like nuclear energy. Designed poorly It could be as bad as The Bomb, and even done with the best intentions, it could still possibly never get any better than “clean” nuclear power.

          • Jin The Ninja

            i read the entire post. personally i didn’t think the speculative ‘science’ aspect of it held up to a 6th grade chem lab.

            if the actual SCIENCE of it can bear the burden of quantitative proof of long-term safety, efficacy, and non-contamination then GREAT. however, there is already evidence that GMO foods damage the gastrointestinal tract, already evidence that wild and heritage varieties of corn, papaya, canola are irreparably diminished and contaminated.

            there is plenty of bad science, commerce really, masquerading around as innovation. that doesn’t mean it is. when it comes to the health of human beings or the enviroment the burden of proof is on corporate entities (with profit as a motive, not to end world hunger- quel horreur where would the trading in commodities markets go????!?) to definitively prove that it is safe and fit for use- especially in such a thing as food.

            i get it, i do, you want to believe science will do the right thing, tell you what- fund a market analysis- tell me what is MORE profitable -feeding the hungry or relying on western govt’s to buy huge surplus GMO crops to send as food aide to hungry nations, while displacing local economies, playing the commodities market, patenting, suing and bankrupting farmers from all nations in the name of trademark and eventually of course due to cross-contam with native and wild species owning all the rights and charging licensing fees for their use, maybe even trademarking their names.

            if monsanto owns 90+% of GMO seed patents and they’re out, i suppose we
            could ‘trust’ Cargill to enrich rice with broccoli and fish protein.

            if not monsanto, if not cargil then either maybe pioneer or maybe
            dow? because all of those companies respect both the environment and
            human rights.

            they’re aren’t many big ag companies left that haven’t been swallowed by the big ag conglomerates. which is why monsanto has become synonymous with GMO.

            it is very much the atom bomb, only subtle and insidious.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            Honest curiosity, what form of GMO is known to damage the GI tract? Is it something other than the roundup forms of GMO’s? If not then all the negative effects of a known poison (glyphosate) are being pushed onto a very general concept (GMO’s). If it is something else though, then you’re probably right.

            And I know the whole GMO deal is bought and paid for by corporate interests. But hating on the generality because of who owns it is like hating the whole electromagnetic spectrum because you live in a fascist nation with only one TV channel.

          • http://wildernessvagabonds.com/ Mike Lewinski

            The idea of “known poison” is questionable. The idea that “the dose makes the poison” is true with regard to all substances humans know about. Every nutrient, every “good” chemical will kill you in a sufficient quantity. The entire universe is made of known poisons.

            It was never a question of “Is glyphosate toxic?” but rather “Are the levels of exposure from normal applications harmful to human (and other) health?” By comparison, glyphosate is one of the least toxic herbicides developed to date.

            Certified organic farms are permitted to use a wide variety of “natural” sourced pesticides and herbicides. Some of them are much more toxic (milligram for milligram) than glyphosate.

            In college I tended an organic garden (for a family out of town, and so not certified) and was directed to apply Rotenone and Pyrethum to the vegetables intended for human consumption. I believe both formulations are more toxic than glyphosate.

            The use of herbicides forms a part of no-till strategy designed to conserve soil. There are other components that work hand-in-hand with herbicides, such as cover crops, pneumatic drill planters that deliver fertilizer with seed much more efficiently (so less runoff polluting the oceans). The no-till practices are vital. The concept of “peak soil” has been making headlines recently and is worth reading up on. The alternatives to glyphosate have their own environmental and human health costs (not to mention direct costs to the farmer).

            Some of my neighbors are organic farmers and the most common limitation on their output is a lack of farm labor. To have a more sustainable agriculture means putting human labor (and waste) back into farms on a large scale. Most people don’t want to work on farms because it’s blistering and back-breaking work pulling weeds. I come to the inevitable conclusion that only large scale collapse and sheer necessity will roll back the unsustainable use of fossil fuel inputs that delayed Malthus’ predicted famines.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            well this is a complete sidestep to what i was talking about. Lets put it this way, some substances, glyphosate included, at extremely low doses are still Chronic Toxins. It is damn annoying when people argue about poisions and start talking about overexposure and say something silly like “even water is poisonous when you drink 1000 gallons of it”. It is not a poison if it takes an absurd amount to overwhelm cells. If a small amount has no beneficial effect and does harm, -that- is a poison. Just because there can be too much of a good thing does not imply that its okay to have a little of a bad thing.

            I was also not discussing what poisons are good and what poisons are bad. I’m talking about conflating a poison with a very general approach to biological manipulation. I know, very many people are nervous about “playing god” for the religious, and “messing with nature” for the non-religious, but I’d prefer to have a little more information than that knee-jerk reaction.

            I’m aware of the hurdles involved with organic farming, and as the article said, besides the artificial dichotomy of words we have created, there’s no reason why “GM” and “organic” cannot work together.

          • Lookinfor Buford

            Based on what “definitive science”, again, Jin?

          • Jin The Ninja

            i am not sure why there are quotation marks around “definitive science” as it appears nowhere in my post.

          • GregForest

            But we all know that nuclear energy is, “too cheap to meter.”

      • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

        I have this incredibly racist uncle. He always starts his rants with, “I’m not a racist, but…” and then I’m happy, because that kind of socially awkward self deception amuses me vastly.

        • saulofhearts

          So instead of finding common ground with someone who might be an ally on 90% of what you’d like to see in the food industry, you’ll just compare him to a racist? Great idea.

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

            I almost compared you to George Monbiot. I wouldn’t do that to you though. Relax, I was joking.
            edit:
            So I’m sorry if that was offensive. I forget how sensitive Liberals are, especially about that issue.

  • godozo

    Finally, someone who has a similar viewpoint as mine – little problem with GMOs, major problems with what they’ve been used for (market herbicides and insecticides, enslave the farming industry and target bees for extinction, thereby making us all dependent on grains and meat for our sustenance).

    One issue that seems to keep poking at me, though – being able to genetically modify an organism without the trial and error of breeding requires much expensive science and tech. This implies that Monsanto would be an absolute necessity for this, with all that that implies (being a form of pure evil is the only way to be able to work the genome for any sort of benefit).

    • BuzzCoastin

      there are ways to use genetic information
      to create hybrids in less time than usually required
      that is not GMO
      GMO is when a frog gene goes in a corn genome
      to stop Round-up from killing the corn

    • Guest

      My question is why are they playing such a dangerous game on our home planet when they could be terra-forming Mars or the moon, or whatever…it seems stupid to risk polluting our only food source when we could be using the technology to start a “back-up” food source…

  • BuzzCoastin

    let’s not let rash guesses be considered our most lucid thoughts

    it takes nature multiple generations to establish a mutation
    and it never mixes genes from other species
    already evolved beyond Family connection

    • Jin The Ninja

      it’s “science” but not science.

      • BuzzCoastin

        it’s propaganda & disinformation
        but to name it that
        creates a shield of invulnerability around it
        so it’s best to say nothing and
        hope not everyone is brain damaged by Cyborg “food”

        • Guest

          “so it’s best to say nothing and
          hope not everyone is brain damaged by Cyborg “food””

          I hope you at least say something to your friends and family…if you should procreate, you can at least control what’s on their plates…

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      I always wonder if it is really true if nature never mixes genetics. Bacteria and viruses have the infrastructure to do it (hell that’s where the human “designed” technology comes from). Who’s to say there isn’t more mixing going on than we perceive.

      • BuzzCoastin

        the genetic record
        till now
        says what Nature did
        GMOs are not following Nature
        they are raping Nature for a profit

        • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

          I wasn’t necessarily defending GMO’s in that comment just trying to point out a curiosity. Viruses have been around exchanging genetic info with larger lifeforms since possibly before larger lifeforms ever existed.

          The hubris goes both ways. We don’t really know nearly enough to make GMO’s work the way a techno-idealist would want, but neither do we know what -is- natural.

          • Ted Heistman

            Chaos is part of nature.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            Yep, as is order

          • Ted Heistman

            If some GM plants became feral and established themselves, and resisted eradication they way many “invasive species” do I would support them. That’s how culture becomes nature.

          • sambrown299

            It would still be unnatural..

          • atlanticus

            Just…to play Devil’s Advocate for a moment, why exactly do you assume that humans and human activities are “unnatural”? Do you think we were created to be special by a god? Do you think we were genetically engineered by aliens? Do you think that we ourselves are aliens?

            If we evolved from nature, than we are part of it. “Unnatural vs. Natural” isn’t the argument that we should be focused on…

          • sambrown299

            We are made from years of evolution as are the plants we evolved with. Why would you go into a lab to make food? It isn’t real science, it is fake science. Science that has been explored by humans has some boundaries and that is crossing the line. Anything is possible in ways of where we came from, but this article doesn’t talk about that. The argument we should be focused on is why is food being used as a means of control…

          • atlanticus

            It appears you missed my point; I’m thinking a little broader here:

            Birds. They make nests. Sometimes a new bird makes a different nest. We name that bird a new species (or subspecies). We call it “evolution”, but really, what’s to say that bird isn’t just “experimental”? Maybe that’s an artist bird. Maybe it’s an engineer.

            As for “real science”…please, do you really believe such a thing exists in the “real world”? Money is the enemy of “real science” as much as it is the enemy of…um, everything. As long as scientists are bowing to the providers of either grant or corporate money for them to continue their research, “real science” will remain the sole domain of middle schoolers.

            (<3) $ = evil^2, said some dirty hippy a couple thousand years ago…

    • sambrown299

      Agreed, GMOs take away that connection even more then buying your food in a grocery store. GMOs are just a newer type of processed food, used to power mindless, sterile machines.

  • BuzzCoastin

    “The CDC has quickly removed a page from their website admitting that more than 98 million Americans received one or more doses of polio vaccine within an 8-year span when a proportion of the vaccine was contaminated with a cancer causing polyomavirus called SV40. ”
    http://www.realfarmacy.com/cdc-admits-98-million-americans-received-polio-vaccine-contaminated-with-cancer-virus/

    Opps, wee goofed again; sorry ’bout that.
    Butt wee got the GMOs right and safe; don’tchu worry ’bout dat.

  • Ted Heistman

    Hey Saul,

    You realize that there is no shortage of food right? You realize that there is a distribution problem rather than a shortage and that hunger is caused by poverty not lack of food? So how would frankenfood help the hungry? How does that work if today people are starving while food goes to waste? Wouldn’t it make more sense to work for freedom, equality and self determination?

    Also I will grant you that evolution occurs through mutations but most are bad. We have the benefit of millions of years of evolution to sort them out though.

    Anyway, I don’t have any moral judgements about you as a person, I just am unconvinced of your arguments.

    • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

      Tell him to ask a farmer from India while he’s got the time…I mean…if he can find one who isn’t slitting his wrists over insolvent debts to the seed manufacturer (Monsanto) after getting shitty yields instead of fields full of food.

      • Ted Heistman

        right. I heard that. I think its about power really. This mindset of solving “problems” with technological fixes. It often doesn’t address the roots of systemic problems. You just work in a lab remote from all these problems and create a magic seed to solve poverty. Its sounds too much like a pipe dream. I support people on the ground teaching permaculture like this guy:

        http://greenwarriorpermaculture.wordpress.com/

      • saulofhearts

        Yup, that’s why we defeat Monsanto while also providing sane, non-corporate alternatives to those farmers. Check out Pamela Ronald if you haven’t heard of her:
        http://grist.org/food/genetic-engineering-vs-natural-breeding-whats-the-difference/
        http://indica.ucdavis.edu/

        • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

          I would argue that, no matter whether we crush Monsanto or not, a corporate culture is in place that is so pervasively corrupt that it doesn’t matter who ascends to the throne of GMO science…all are equally ready to exhibit the same disregard for safety. Power, like nature, abhors a vacuum…and only boundless optimism or crippling innocence would suggest that handing off GMO product releases to any other corporation large enough to make us of that power would work out differently.

    • saulofhearts

      I think we can more rationally address the issues of hunger and poverty once we drop the word “frankenfood” — which mischaracterizes the science and makes absolutely no sense in the context of food or Frankenstein.

      • Ted Heistman

        Ok, so dropping off “golden rice” at a refugee camp. How is that a superior solution to establishing self sustaining Permaculture?

        Empowering people to grow diverse nutritious foods themselves in small garden plots, using techniques that conserve water, create and preserve topsoil and don’t employ pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. How is giving people a hand out of GM food superior to that?

        I recommend this article to you: http://permaculturenews.org/2010/12/01/guardians-of-the-seed/

        • saulofhearts

          It’s not an all-or-nothing problem. There’s room for permaculture, organic ag, and GM ag on the same planet. I think too often we look at it as a one-size-fits-all equation. I know plenty of vegans who think the solution is to get rid of all animal farming, and plenty of Paleos who want to get rid of all grains that evolved after the hunter-gatherer era. Neither one is going to happen. What we can do is take multiple viewpoints, let some folks try permaculture, let some folks try Paleo, let some folks try GM…. We all want a healthy, sustainable food supply, and it doesn’t do any good to oppose everyone who takes a different approach.

          • Ted Heistman

            What is the reason for growing this rice? Its really not all that high in vitamin A. Also eating mostly rice is a shitty diet. What’s needed is a diverse diet. Many heirloom seed varieties are being lost due to industrial mono cropping, including many nutritious strains of rice. It seems to me that it is a Trojan horse for getting GM seeds into new markets plain and simple.

            What model of agriculture does “golden rice” fit into if not Industrial mono cropping and failed Aid hand outs that create dependance?

            If people were able to grow their own nutritious food in self determined way, instead of being alienated from their own land, why would they need golden rice?

          • OregonIan

            The problem is that we don’t know what the long term consequences are for GM- for our species, on wild species, or for agriculture. It seems better suited as a last resort. On the other hand, we do know how to feed everyone healthy food with sustainable practices tried and tested for thousands of years. Bottom line: There is no evidence that GM food has helped anyone other than corporate interests- yields are not better and the food is not healthier. This is a ploy make money on patents. Energy can be better spent of developing better ways to grow food sustainably, on small scale, using systems of biodiversity and symbiotic relationships- this is the past and it is the future.

  • Charlie Primero

    Saul makes a specious argument: “…some GMOs are safe, and others are not.” Huh? Some snakes are safe to step across on a trail, others are not. If you don’t know for sure which is which, the prudent course is to avoid them all.

    He also promotes the psyop wherein “liberal” is reversed to mean “collectivist authoritarian”.

  • wcarver

    I was a biology teacher for 30 years and I agree with the author’s POV. Opposition to GMO foods is a luxury of the well fed. The millions of people with inadequate or no food security are not so picky. Monsanto is a clutch of villains even without their GMO efforts. The science of genetic engineering should not be judged by their ethics (or complete lack of ethics)

    • Ted Heistman

      do you have any evidence that gm foods help starving people? So they are starving due to a lack of genetic engineering? Its not oppression or poverty that is the cause but rather the crops in their area are inherently, or have become defective and the only solution to this problem is genetic engineering? I don’t see that anyone can make that case.

      I think this is magical thinking.

      • Jonathan Gauthier

        http://www.normanborlaug.org/ the man who pioneered GM crops, its estimated he saved nearly a billion lives by making crops more sustainable in developing countries.

      • Ted Heistman

        Jonathan Gauthier, while you await moderation:

        Its not that he was a bad guy its that his ideas are out of date http://permaculturenews.org/2010/01/07/the-looming-food-crisis-and-the-food-2030-report/

        Mono cropping, GMO seeds and relying heavily on fossil fuels and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is not sustainable. In its time, however it did accomplish a lot of good and fed billions of people. Its time has passed.

    • sambrown299

      The only reason that the people aren’t picky is because they are uninformed, which is why they don’t even want to label products that contain GMOs. People would start to wander why they need to label GMOs and wondering is intolerable in this country.

    • atlanticus

      Why would a biology teacher know better than anyone else here whether or not poor people are benefiting from GMO’s?

      Maybe if you were a sociologist or economist, or better yet, if the three of you get in a room together and discuss ALL of the varied factors in this complex situation…

    • Joel Tattooing

      How will it feed more people when it leads to lower yields in the long run? What is the point of feeding a lot of people in the short run only when there are ways, permaculture för example of feeding us in the long run?

      http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2013/06/19/574096_national-news.html

  • Ted Heistman

    to the commenter awaiting moderation: Why is it irrelevant? Its a short clip of a demonstration garden that
    reversed severe desertification and salinity of soil, using no
    pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or GM seeds.

    I think it is
    proving itself against the paradigm of thinking GM seeds will solve
    problems. Permacultural Aid is the only truly effective aid to hungry
    poverty stricken nations. Its the only thing that actually works
    reverses cycles of dependency. dumping GM rice off at a refugee camp
    doesn’t solve anything.

    http://permaculturenews.org/category/permaculture-projects/aid-projects/

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Methinks Mr Hippie missed the lynchpin points…

    1) We just don’t want it and we shouldn’t be forced and deceived into accepting it anyway.

    and most of all…

    2) Encouraging a lassaiz-faire attitude toward the development of gene mutated foods doesn’t mean that each and every product will be a toxic doomsday…it means that the odds are on most products being relatively safe…but when we’re dealing with hundreds of future and current products and countless experiments…ALL fast tracked through a permissive society with little or no long term testing…

    …yeah…at that point, inevitability starts stacking up against this working out well.

    I’m not opposed to GMOs because I’m sure they’re fatal…I’m opposed to them because they aren’t tested for long term effects and the testing they do receive is shrouded in mystery. Erring on the side of caution isn’t superstition. Superstition would be imagining that the ‘food gods’ will rain fire on me for permitting this sin against them. Caution is acknowledging that the human rush to make profit share gains each quarter might lead to sloppy research…a notion measurably born up by the entirety of 19th and 20th century corporate science.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      I think you hit the nail on the head. It cannot be lassaiz-faire. Probably the only thing I disagree with in the article is that I believe that it should be labelled. Not only would it have to be labelled, it would have to have a regulated index of GM foods so you could look up the kind of modification, and future accountability could be held.

      Problem with this is that you would have to have people with scientific knowledge in the regulation business(for some reason that seems rare) and the capacity of the average american to understand what they are looking up is probably limited.

  • rhetorics_killer

    I think this is a fake. This as a new tactic we have seen in France brought by neo-fascists posing as former (and disappointed) leftists and by doing so propaganting the idea that fascism is cool from a liberal point of view. Of course they betray themselves with dialectics. A real leftist has ways to address (expressions, vocabulary..) very different from right-wing semantics. The same applies here: by posing as a hippie, living a hippie way in every cliché, the author strongly arises my suspicion. He tries to induce the idea that gmo’s are cool from a hippie point of view. And he does so clumsily.

    Anyway, real or fake, he is a dumb-ass for what we can read. I particularly like the ‘everybody will be fed with gmo’ argument. This is not the result of a lack of available food which induces people starving, but a lack of rationale in the way we manage it. Everyday tons of exceeding food are given to trash. Only a real motive of tight control over populations helps the problem keep permanent, regardless how much is to distribute.

    Also: ‘Genes are basically bits of computer code that are interchangeable from species to species.’ Y-yes! And dogs exist in order to write the word D.O.G Whern one takes the human description for what is real..

    Never trust everything one pretends, mostly when printed/published!

    • saulofhearts

      I don’t recall saying “everybody will be fed with gmo”. I said that the GMO debate was a distraction from real issues related to hunger and poverty, and the sooner we approach it rationally, the better.

      • rhetorics_killer

        You may not say this in these words, I was formulating the argument the way it is usually meant.

  • sambrown299

    Your body reacts to GMO the same way it would react to poison! You say you are a hippy, but any kind of genetic engineering is unnatural. Hypocrisy is just as bad a ignorance. Biodiversity certainly won’t come from mono-culture fields of round-up ready crops, just let nature run it’s course and evolutions will happen on their own. GMO’s are not needed, just another means for control.

  • Ted Heistman

    Hey Saul,

    You wouldn’t happen to work for the Gates Foundation by any chance would you?

    http://www.naturalnews.com/035105_Bill_Gates_Monsanto_eugenics.html

  • ehmkec

    This guy is like Mother Theresa saying “I do wonderful things – but I also support fracking and corporate buy-outs.’ This guy is an extremely uninformed hippie. This guy is the reason we can never get the real truth out of GMO companies. This guy is why inconsiderate conservatives say ‘Even your own liberal pals support GMOs.’ Saul, you don’t pay your Hippie dues by going to Burning Man and taking hikes.
    Drop the ‘Hippie’ thing until you get a clue.

    • saulofhearts

      Ad hominem much?

      • Heath

        Butt hurt much?

  • Ittabena

    The introduction of GMO wheat was followed by the sudden need for Gluten Free products. There has been no research, that I know of, to discover whether these isolated incidents are connected. As a manager of a grocery store I find myself amazed every day at the number of people who are “Gluten Free”, when no one suffered from this problem when I was a child. Yes they come to us because they know we have it, but all the chains are carrying it now as well, so it’s not like we are some oasis in the dessert.

    Another example of this is the High Fructose Corn Syrup, which should read High Fructose Genetically Modified Corn Syrup (yum!). Stanford University found that HFGMCS definitely led to obesity and diabetes. When I quit allowing it in my house my acid reflux “disease” went away within weeks, and so did my need for Prylosec OTC which I took everyday for three years.

    Eating stuff that has not been researched is just dumb. Eating something that when the genetics are modified comes out unpredictably is the act of a cretin.

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