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Wed Jul 30, 2014, 11:16 PM

Neil deGrasse Tyson Tells GMO Critics to "Chill Out"

Cosmos star Neil deGrasse Tyson is known for defending climate science and the science of evolution. And now, in a video recently posted on YouTube (the actual date when it was recorded is unclear), he takes a strong stand on another hot-button scientific topic: Genetically modified foods.

#t=30

In the video, Tyson can be seen answering a question posed in French about "des plantes transgenetiques"—responding with one of his characteristic, slowly-building rants.

"Practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food," asserts Tyson. "There are no wild, seedless watermelons. There's no wild cows...You list all the fruit, and all the vegetables, and ask yourself, is there a wild counterpart to this? If there is, it's not as large, it's not as sweet, it's not as juicy, and it has way more seeds in it. We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and animals that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them. It's called artificial selection." You can watch the full video above.

In fairness, critics of GM foods make a variety of arguments that go beyond the simple question of whether the foods we eat were modified prior to the onset of modern biotechnology. They also draw a distinction between modifying plants and animals through traditional breeding and genetic modification that requires the use of biotechnology, and involves techniques such as inserting genes from different species.

More: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/07/neil-degrasse-tyson-on-gmo

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Reply Neil deGrasse Tyson Tells GMO Critics to "Chill Out" (Original post)
Quixote1818 Jul 2014 OP
magical thyme Jul 2014 #1
Cha Jul 2014 #18
Maat Jul 2014 #114
ag_dude Jul 2014 #117
mike_c Jul 2014 #122
Maat Jul 2014 #126
ag_dude Aug 2014 #139
Maat Aug 2014 #158
HuckleB Aug 2014 #238
ag_dude Aug 2014 #138
magical thyme Aug 2014 #242
HuckleB Aug 2014 #221
magical thyme Aug 2014 #236
HuckleB Aug 2014 #237
magical thyme Aug 2014 #239
HuckleB Aug 2014 #240
magical thyme Aug 2014 #241
HuckleB Aug 2014 #243
HuckleB Aug 2014 #244
Dreamer Tatum Jul 2014 #2
appal_jack Jul 2014 #22
Nuclear Unicorn Jul 2014 #75
appal_jack Jul 2014 #85
cleanhippie Jul 2014 #88
Art_from_Ark Aug 2014 #140
cleanhippie Aug 2014 #143
Chathamization Aug 2014 #146
gcomeau Aug 2014 #151
Chathamization Aug 2014 #154
gcomeau Aug 2014 #155
Chathamization Aug 2014 #157
gcomeau Aug 2014 #160
Chathamization Aug 2014 #163
gcomeau Aug 2014 #164
Chathamization Aug 2014 #166
gcomeau Aug 2014 #168
Chathamization Aug 2014 #178
gcomeau Aug 2014 #183
Chathamization Aug 2014 #187
cleanhippie Aug 2014 #153
Chathamization Aug 2014 #156
cleanhippie Aug 2014 #159
Chathamization Aug 2014 #161
appal_jack Aug 2014 #218
Springslips Aug 2014 #144
Chathamization Jul 2014 #26
ProfessorGAC Jul 2014 #28
Chathamization Jul 2014 #29
ProfessorGAC Jul 2014 #45
Chathamization Jul 2014 #49
immoderate Jul 2014 #3
jeff47 Jul 2014 #4
immoderate Jul 2014 #9
Cha Jul 2014 #20
jeff47 Jul 2014 #32
Armstead Jul 2014 #43
jeff47 Jul 2014 #65
snooper2 Jul 2014 #36
appal_jack Jul 2014 #23
jeff47 Jul 2014 #31
Name removed Jul 2014 #5
Cha Jul 2014 #19
wandy Jul 2014 #6
mike_c Jul 2014 #37
immoderate Jul 2014 #41
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Quixote1818 Jul 2014 #16
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Quixote1818 Aug 2014 #129
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wisechoice Jul 2014 #58
mike_c Jul 2014 #59
wisechoice Jul 2014 #98
mike_c Jul 2014 #108
wisechoice Aug 2014 #133
chrisa Jul 2014 #80
wisechoice Jul 2014 #103
ag_dude Jul 2014 #121
wisechoice Aug 2014 #188
ag_dude Aug 2014 #197
wisechoice Aug 2014 #211
lumberjack_jeff Jul 2014 #61
Chathamization Jul 2014 #63
MohRokTah Jul 2014 #69
Chathamization Jul 2014 #82
lumberjack_jeff Jul 2014 #102
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jeff47 Jul 2014 #68
mike_c Jul 2014 #74
lumberjack_jeff Jul 2014 #96
mike_c Jul 2014 #104
lumberjack_jeff Jul 2014 #110
mike_c Jul 2014 #113
shireen Jul 2014 #70
mike_c Jul 2014 #79
shireen Jul 2014 #87
mike_c Jul 2014 #90
shireen Aug 2014 #150
Enrique Jul 2014 #73
Lint Head Jul 2014 #77
chrisa Jul 2014 #78
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madokie Jul 2014 #93
mike_c Jul 2014 #97
madokie Jul 2014 #99
lumberjack_jeff Jul 2014 #106
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ag_dude Jul 2014 #118
Humanist_Activist Jul 2014 #94
alarimer Jul 2014 #101
PatSeg Aug 2014 #209
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Fawke Em Jul 2014 #105
mike_c Jul 2014 #111
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ag_dude Aug 2014 #174
xfundy Aug 2014 #134
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HuckleB Aug 2014 #233

Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 11:24 PM

1. and Dr. Tyson is welcome to eat all the GMO, insecticide-laden food he wants

 

but I want to avoid it, and labeling will make both our choices easier.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 01:54 AM

18. Exacttly, magical thyme.. no one is "infallible". I've been eating organic food for

almost 40 years.. supporting my local farmers a lot and also buying imported from good ol California.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:07 PM

114. Exactly.

I no longer debate the issue of GMOs. Nowadays, if a friend walks up to me and says, "GMOs are fine," I just reply, "Enjoy that food!" Then I smile and move on to the next subject. I have my ideas regarding what's best for oneself and one's family, and they have their opinion (no use wasting precious breaths on Mother Earth arguing). If anything, I just say, "Why not have labeling? Then consumers can make a choice." If the person argues that such labels would be confusing, I just reply, "Not for me."

Edited to add, "Make that GMO, insecticide-laden, EXTRA-NASTY-PESTICIDE-LADEN food ..."

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:32 PM

117. GMO and insecticide-laden are not the same thing

In fact, bt strains, one of the most common forms of GMO corn and maize, actually reduce the need for insecticides.

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #117)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:42 PM

122. Bt is certified for organic farming as well...

...as I'm sure you know. I'm an entomologist so my main concern about Bt engineered crops is their likelihood of fostering resistance to the godsend of organic farming, but the alternatives are mostly far worse. But when people complain about Bt expression in crops but don't complain about Bt use in organic production, it's rather hypocritical.

Welcome to DU, by the way.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #122)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:47 PM

126. It's not hypocritical; the link below describes the difference between organic farmers' use ...

and the biotech process.

http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/40-2001/1058-bt-in-organic-farming-and-gm-crops-the-difference-

The idea that people aren't fair to Big Biotech ("hypocritical" is nonsense. An individual consumer has the right to know how his or her food was produced, via labeling, and can and should make any choice that suits that consumer.

I'll let you have the last word. By the way, the produce from my land doesn't contain any pesticide - no need for it!

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Response to Maat (Reply #126)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:18 AM

139. As soon as the general public shows anything resembling competence...

...regarding agricultural science, labeling would make sense. We're nowhere near that and fear based on rhetoric and ignorance prevails.

When there are actual parades demonizing well researched scientific advances, labeling is meant for the same reason people just wanted to know who the jews were.

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #139)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:04 PM

158. How fascist of you.

Seriously. What you said has to be corrected. YOU or "scientists" or corporate fascists shouldn't be deciding when people can get information.

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Response to Maat (Reply #126)

Wed Aug 13, 2014, 10:26 AM

238. That site is an advocacy site, tied to promoting organic products.

It is not scientific, and does not support its claims with a consensus of science.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #122)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:15 AM

138. I've been on DU for quite some time



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Response to magical thyme (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 04:54 PM

221. So you think it's wise to go with unjustified fear?

Really?

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #221)

Wed Aug 13, 2014, 08:05 AM

236. "But constantly dousing crops in glyphosate exacted a price."

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/12/us/invader-storms-rural-america-shrugging-off-herbicides.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%222%22%3A%22RI%3A18%22%7D&_r=1

Google is your friend. Below is from page 1 of scholarly pubs on "glyphosphate toxicity." There are many, many more pages of studies to peruse.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15862083

Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0300483X09003047

Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/tx800218n


Organophosphate poisoning
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/016372589390066M

Unidentified Inert Ingredients in Pesticides: Implications for Human and Environmental Health
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/4119588?uid=3739712&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21104515091757

Cytotoxicity of the herbicide glyphosate in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells
http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/18320126

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #236)

Wed Aug 13, 2014, 09:53 AM

237. Cherry picking, and failing to see the full consensus leads to wrong conclusions.

That's what Google often leads people to do, especially when their goal is to support a preconceived notion, and several important scientific concepts are not in their knowledge base. I used to buy into what you now buy into, but I challenged by preconceived notions. Studies on cells in a lab, tell us almost nothing, btw, though they are the prime feature of the fear mongering community. Of course, glyphosate is an herbicide, not a GMO, though it appears to be a fall back tool for the anti-GMO, when they have no actual arguments against GMOs.

Full reviews of the matter of glyphosate (and any topic) are far more valuable than cherry picking and cell only studies.

"Reviews on the safety of glyphosate and Roundup herbicide that have been conducted by several regulatory agencies and scientific institutions worldwide have concluded that there is no indication of any human health concern. ... This review was undertaken to produce a current and comprehensive safety evaluation and risk assessment for humans. .. It was concluded that, under present and expected conditions of use, Roundup herbicide does not pose a health risk to humans."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10854122

"These data demonstrated extremely low human exposures as a result of normal application practices. Furthermore, the estimated exposure concentrations in humans are >500-fold less than the oral reference dose for glyphosate of 2 mg/kg/d set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA 1993). In conclusion, the available literature shows no solid evidence linking glyphosate exposure to adverse developmental or reproductive effects at environmentally realistic exposure concentrations."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22202229

And another review of the literature that shows no correlation to disease and glyphosate:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22683395

And one should, of course, note that the EPA has looked at the full literature:
http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/0178fact.pdf

And an independent consortium of several universities shows that it's quite safe:
http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/profiles/extoxnet/dienochlor-glyphosate/glyphosate-ext.html

As for those lab tests:
Debunking pseudo science “lab testing” health risk claims about glyphosate (Roundup)
http://academicsreview.org/2014/04/debunking-pseudo-science-lab-testing-health-risk-claims-about-glyphosate-roundup/

And just for kicks, this graph shows glyphosate toxicity compared to other common substances. It quiet enlightening.
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxXxn0qh5nntRzE3WGd4cVNwR2s/image?pagenumber=1&w=800

Of course, if one want to cherry pick, one can find a study that shows glyphosate killing cancer cells, without killing healthy cells, in a lab setting: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23983455


In other words, when you look at the whole of the literature, well, you find out that those who are spouting extreme hyperbole about glyphosate are not being accurate.

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #237)

Wed Aug 13, 2014, 10:49 AM

239. looking at the entire 1st page of studies returned by google is hardly cherry picking

 

but keep trying.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #239)

Wed Aug 13, 2014, 11:17 AM

240. Yes, it is.

You do realize that the search term you use leads to what those items will be, right?

You do now also realize that your claims about glyphosate are not justified when looking at the consensus of evidence, right?

If not, well, just wow!

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #240)

Wed Aug 13, 2014, 01:01 PM

241. the search terms were glyphosate toxicity

 

it leads to studies on glyphosate toxicity. Doesn't imply it is toxic or not.

Furthermore, I'm not going to waste my time trying to re-find studies I read several years ago which made clear that the USDA bent their rules for Monsanto and allowed them to combine the results for one of their products of a study women that indicated statistically significant increased kidney disease and of men with increased liver disease to bring the levels of kidney and liver disease down to insignificant levels when the 2 studies were combined.

But to paraphrase what I initially wrote: YOU and deGrasse are welcome to eat all the GMOs you want. I simply want food labeled so I can choose what I put into my body.

Have a nice day.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #241)

Wed Aug 13, 2014, 02:10 PM

243. Ah, so now you're making claims you can't support.

You were debunked by science, but you won't admit it. You just double down with more baseless claims.

That seems odd.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #241)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 12:50 AM

244. A little more valuable information for you:

From: http://fafdl.org/blog/2014/08/14/what-the-haters-got-wrong-about-neil-degrasse-tysons-comments-on-gmos/

"...

What we are talking about here is herbicide resistant crops, most notably Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready crops. These have been bred so that they don’t die when the herbicide RoundUp (glyphosate) is applied to the fields to kill weeds. The reason that RoundUp was chosen is that it is much more effective than other herbicides while being relatively non-toxic and easy on the environment IN COMPARISON to other herbicides. In fact, for acute toxicity, RoundUp is less toxic to mammals than table salt or caffeine. Again, this has to do with ‘mode of action’. The reason it is incredibly effective as an herbicide is also the reason it isn’t a poison to mammals.

Glyphosate works by inhibiting photosynthesis. For critters that don’t rely on photosynthesis, it is just another salt with the normal toxicity of salt (less than sodium chloride). If you are a plant that relies on photosynthesis for energy, it’s literally ‘lights out’.

So while use of glyphosate is up, use of other more problematic herbicides is down. It works so well that it allowed many farmers to adopt what is known as conservation tillage. Tillage is an important tool for controlling weeds. Prior to planting the farmer tills the soil to interrupt weeds which would cause problems during the growing season. While this may seem like a good way of avoiding using herbicides, it releases lots of carbon into the atmosphere, uses plenty of tractor fuel and cause problems with erosion and soil structure. The judicious use of a low environmental impact herbicide like glyphosate is often the environmentally friendlier strategy.

Consider this chart taken from the same study showing trace amounts of herbicides in air samples. Raise your hand if you’d like to return to the 1995 herbicide profile (keeping in mind that the category of ‘other herbicides’ that have fallen out of favor, nearly universally had a higher environmental impact).

..."



There are some very important bottom lines in this piece. Please read it. Thanks!

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 11:27 PM

2. Well, he's infallible here, so I'll go with him on this one. nt

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Response to Dreamer Tatum (Reply #2)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:01 AM

22. Yup, nothing like asking a physicist about biology & nutrition.

 

Yup, nothing like asking a physicist about biology & nutrition.

Maybe next we should ask some smart electricians about the evolution vs. creationism debate. I'm sure they will have some brilliant insights to share...



-app

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Response to appal_jack (Reply #22)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 04:26 PM

75. "Yup, nothing like asking a physicist about biology"

Wouldn't that same line of snark also disqualify his defense of evolution?

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #75)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 05:00 PM

85. Look, I like Tyson (& evolutionary theory) very much.

 

Look, I like Tyson (& evolutionary theory) very much. He is a smart, engaging, and charismatic voice for science in our media sphere. His outreach helps scientific literacy in America every day. But he is a physicist by training. Holding him up as an authority on biological controversies does not make for a particularly compelling argument.

I happen to agree with N dG T very much on the evolution vs creationism 'debate,' so it is convenient to cite him, but again, not absolutely compelling.

I happen to disagree with N dG T regarding GMO's long-term human and ecological safety (highly debatable at best). And with regards to his drawing equivalence between crop improvement by selection and GMO technology, he is flat-out wrong. They are verifiably different processes, with quite different outcomes thus far.

-app

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Response to appal_jack (Reply #22)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 05:21 PM

88. When the smartest person in the room speaks...

You really should listen.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #88)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:22 AM

140. Depends on what that "smartest" person is talking about

"Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects."-- Will Rogers

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #140)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:42 AM

143. Are you implying that NDT is ignorant in Biology and Ecology?

Perhaps Will's advice is best followed when directed inward.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #143)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:27 AM

146. No, it’s possible he’s just being dishonest

But when someone says “selective breading = GMO” they’re either being dishonest or don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s a good sign that you probably shouldn’t be listening to them.

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #146)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:32 PM

151. Or...

 

...when someone says "when someone says “selective breading = GMO” they’re either being dishonest or don’t know what they’re talking about"... THEY don't know what they're talking about.

Tyson was making a completely valid point about the artificial distinction people draw between one form of genetic modification and another.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #151)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:52 PM

154. People actually working on GMOs think that's a pretty huge distinction, but they're not celebrities

But I'll tell you what. If you CC me on an e-mail you write to the IRRI or the Golden Rice institute telling them know that they need to stop claiming that they can only get these results with GMOs, I'll believe that you're being intellectually honest here.

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #154)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:56 PM

155. It's a difference in speed and capability. Not type.

 

Yes, that difference is large. But that is not the difference anti-GMO people freak out about.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #155)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:01 PM

157. Eh...so if the "difference is large" then saying they are the same might be, I dunno, incorrect?

I don't really worry GMOs, but the amount of junk science thrown out by the pro-GMO crowd makes me wonder if I should.

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #157)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:11 PM

160. No.

 

Tyson was saying there is no meaningful difference between GMO and non GMO food end products.

That has nothing to do with differences in speed and effectiveness of generating them. And the anti- GMO crowd are not pulling their hair out in hysteria over how GMO techniques let us do things faster or more efficiently. Only over there being some claimed inherent problem with the end product.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #160)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:15 PM

163. Except the people who work with GMOs say they do so because they can't get the same end products

with traditional methods. But like I said, CC me on an e-mail you send IRRI telling them they're wrong and I'll believe you really think there's no difference in the end products and aren't just being intellectually dishonest.

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #163)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:24 PM

164. Sigh...

 

They can't get the same end products without generation upon generation of breeding and 'traditional' hybridization work. Which depending on the target outcome could take freaking forever.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #164)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:42 PM

166. Which is why “selective breeding=GMO” is as idiotic as saying “selective breeding=invasive species"

Same outcome, the only difference is the time frame. Why are these anti-science types keeping me from importing whatever the hell I want?

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #166)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:40 PM

168. WHAT???

 

"Same outcome, the only difference is the time frame. "

Umm, no. Not the same outcome. Not the same outcome at all. What the heck are you talking about? The outcome of selective breeding is an alteration of allele frequencies in the general population of a species over successive generations eventually altering that species. The outcome of invasive species is to decimate or wipe out other species through competition.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #168)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:32 PM

178. Sigh…how do you think those invasive species came about? Hand planted by god?

Here, this might help you.

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #178)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:56 PM

183. Or by people carrying them from one place to another.

 

Which has exactly squat to do with selective breeding or the outcomes of same.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #183)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 05:28 PM

187. Differences between organism are largely the result of selective breeding. You've already stated

That degree and time don't matter. It seems that you still haven't thought through the implications of this. Again, it's the blindness of the pro-GMO types that make me wonder if I perhaps should be cautious about them.

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #146)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:36 PM

153. Is it possible that you yourself may be mistaken?

Isn't the likelihood that you, not NDT, are the one mistaken here? Is it possible that you simply do not understand the point NDT is making?


Occam's razor seems to apply here.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #153)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:56 PM

156. Occams's razor says trust pop scientists commenting on an unrelated field rather than people working

in that field? Always nice to see what type of "science" Degrasse-Tyson come away from his stuff with. "Question everything"...

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #156)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:05 PM

159. That you only see NDT as a "pop scientist" speaks volumes.

Good luck with that.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #159)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:11 PM

161. Oh, sorry. You were discussing his paper on the possibilities of gas-rich dwarf galaxies in the

Lyman-alpha forest?

Yes, we're discussing him because he's a pop scientist. If you want to start a thread talking about some specific research he's done, I'd be happy to talk about his role in scientific research. But out of the numerous Degrasse-Tyson threads here, I've only seen ones dealing with his role as a celebrity scientist.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #88)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 12:57 AM

218. You've clearly ignored your own advice. nt

 

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Response to appal_jack (Reply #22)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:06 AM

144. He is talking in the abstract.

Not about a specific scientific issue. In the abstract he is dead on; humanity has been manipulating the genes of plants and animals from the beginning. Just because we do it in a lab now doesn't mean its dangerous. Now a specific thing can be argued. But that may be out of his skill and knowledge range.

But in the abstract he's right and doesn't need to be a biologist.

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Response to Dreamer Tatum (Reply #2)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:31 AM

26. I'm not much of a fan of him or science entertainers in general

I don't have much use for lies-to-children. If someone wants to learn about physics these days, there a wealth of accurate information available online (college lectures, free courses, discussions among physicists, etc.). I have no use for inaccurate information because it's dressed up in Star Trek references; science entertainment is to science what the Sunday talk shows are to politics.

Of course, the last time I said that here I was met by "are you a creationist?" and "he's got a PhD!"

On topic, what he's saying here doesn't make much sense (and yes, a physicist is no ecologist). I've never heard the "we've been doing it for thousands of years" argument used to convince people that we should be able to bring invasive species through customs unchecked, though that would be a much more natural place for it. Saying it's the same as other methods seems a bit misleading when GMO advocates say in the next breath that it's the only way we'll be able to get certain strains.

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #26)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:50 AM

28. He's Not Teaching Science On TV

He's promoting interest in it.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #28)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:59 AM

29. That's the claim; one could also claim that professional wrestling promotes interest in exercise.N/T

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #29)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 12:13 PM

45. Non Sequitur Alert (eom)

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #45)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 12:35 PM

49. Yes. Unsubstantiated claims supporting stuff I like are nothing like unsubstantiated claims

supporting stuff I don’t like. Completely different.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 11:38 PM

3. I think Tyson is making an error here.

 

GMOs will have feedbacks and other unforeseen problems. Colony die-offs, super weeds, and weird cancers are harbingers.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #3)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 11:44 PM

4. So does hybridization.

The Irish potato famine was caused by the hybrid they were growing being susceptible to a blight. Not exactly foreseen, or they would have grown more than one kind of potato.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 12:07 AM

9. So why don't I feel better?

 



--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #9)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 02:00 AM

20. 'Cause two

wrongs don't make it right?

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Response to immoderate (Reply #9)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:42 AM

32. Because unfounded fears are not easily soothed with logic. (nt)

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #32)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 12:05 PM

43. You're contradicting yourelf

 

On one hand you are criticizing "unfounded fears" while citing a disastrous unforeseen consequence of an earlier version of similar modifications.

Therefore you are proving that "unfounded fears" may indeed be fear based on actual possibility.

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Response to Armstead (Reply #43)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 03:42 PM

65. The unfounded fear is that a "GMO" is more dangerous than a "traditional" hybrid. (nt)

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Response to immoderate (Reply #9)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:31 AM

36. what you plan on eating for lunch?

 

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:08 AM

23. Nonsense.

 

Yes, the one variety of potato being grown in Ireland in the late 19th Century was vulnerable to phytopthora (blight), but your description of why 'they' grew only it is shallow and ill-informed. Neither plant resilience nor the nutritional needs of the Irish people factored much into the considerations of Ireland's colonizers. Throughout the famine, Ireland continued to be a net exporter of food:
http://ighm.nfshost.com/exports-in-famine-times/

It just so happened that the Irish were priced out of access to this food. One, lousy variety of potato was all they were offered by their 'civilized' British occupiers.

'Hybrids' have little to do with the issue of Irish famine. People making broad-brush, ignorant statements of support for GMO's would do well to consider DU'er immoderate's point in this subthread: we don't know what can of worms will be opened by tinkering with plant genomes in this novel manner, but it could be a doozy.

-app

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Response to appal_jack (Reply #23)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:42 AM

31. And that changes how other varieties were immune by..........?

Doesn't particularly matter why they were growing one variety. They were growing one variety, and it was susceptible to the blight. Two varieties and they don't get priced out.

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Response to immoderate (Reply #3)


Response to immoderate (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 01:59 AM

19. You're not alone, imm

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 11:46 PM

6. So does this mean there is no difference between selective breading

where plants are cross pollinated for desirable qualities and splicing spider DNA to cows in a lab?
I guess like tobacco and DDT it will just take us a few generations to be sure that no harm is done.

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Response to wandy (Reply #6)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:45 AM

37. essentially, that is correct....

Genes are nothing more than information storage. Genes store information about how organisms successfully overcame challenges in their evolutionary past.

Information is universal. When we speak of "spider genes" or "bacteria genes" we are really only referring to where specific information is stored, not to any unique property of spiders or bacteria. It's just information.

When hybrids are formed by reproductive genetic recombination, information about the solutions to problems from one organism's history is combined with information from another organism's evolutionary history. That's all. There is no actual requirement that the genes be from the same species, or even similar ones, because information is universal. That requirement is only imposed by the parent organisms' reproductive systems-- NOT their genes.

Genetic engineering "in a lab," as you put it, simply overcomes the problem of reproductive system incompatibility to allow us to use information about desirable characteristics-- pest or pathogen resistance, improved nutrition, etc-- from one organism's suite of solutions to improve another organism. It is nothing more than lateral information transfer, exactly like hybridization.

The only difference is one of technique. What is it about laboratories that the anti-GMO movement is so freaked out about? That's where the anti-science part comes in, I'm afraid. They have an irrational fear of science and technology.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #37)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:58 AM

41. GMO genes do not store information from the past.

 

And they may as well store genetic arrangements that did not survive natural selection. Possible?

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #41)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 12:12 PM

44. of course they do-- ALL genes store information about an organism's past....

That is what genes do. All genes. There is nothing that distinguishes "GMO genes" from any other genes. All genes are information storage about how organisms solved past phenotypic challenges.

Are you describing deleterious alleles? Remember the distinction between "genes" and "alleles." Genes are information storage about past challenges, alleles are the specific transcript of that information and might vary from one individual to another, even though all individuals posses the genes in which they occur. I suppose one could insert sufficient copies of a deleterious allele into another organism to express a maladaptive phenotype, but why? Certainly that isn't the goal of genetic engineering generally. And it's also worth noting that the same general problem exists for selective breeders-- if I understand your comment correctly, you've described one outcome that selective breeding works to avoid. Genetic engineering works to avoid it to-- it's senseless.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #37)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 12:04 PM

42. Is there evidence that such lateral info transfers have occurred naturally?

That is, that a plant has acquired such info from a spider or a pig, or vice versa? That in a nutshell is what the anti-GMO movement is "so freaked out about." It's not about splicing a Brandywine gene into a Big Beef tomato.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #42)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 12:27 PM

47. yes, it happens all the time in nature....

It is especially common among single celled prokaryotes, like bacteria, who exchange specific genes among species frequently. Many specific bacterial adaptations result from lateral gene transfer between different species, including antibiotic resistance. It is also common among some unicellular eukaryotes, and there are several known instances among multicellular eukaryotes as well.

Part of the issue for multicellular organisms is that lateral gene transfer takes place fairly easily within a unicellular organism's environment, but the environment of most cells in multicellular organisms is composed of the organism itself, making horizontal gene transfer more difficult. In fact, one can argue that sexual reproduction itself evolved to facilitate this, and that vertical gene transmission and horizontal transfer are just two sides of the same information recombination coin.

But anyway, before this becomes a technical discussion, the answer to your question is yes, lateral gene transfer between species is common in nature and has been an essential feature of the evolution of several of the largest and most common groups of organisms.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #47)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:29 PM

115. So lateral transfer has or has not been observed in multicellular organisms?

Trying to make sure I understand your statement about the transfer being more difficult. Difficult but has occurred, or difficult and thus not yet been proven to have occurred in nature?

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #115)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:48 PM

116. yes, it has...

The most spectacular example of all is one that most people overlook-- all eukaryotes (which includes all multicellular organisms on Earth) carry prokaryote genes in their mitochondria. Likewise all plants carry prokaryote genes in their plasmids (as well as their mitochondrial DNA). That lateral transfer created the entire eukaryote branch of life, to which all plants, animals, fungi, and protists belong. It is likely that at least some nuclear DNA arrived this way, too. Within individual cells, lateral transfer occurs between nuclear DNA and mitochodrial and plasmid DNA, too.

Lateral transfer also occurs between at least some plant lineages, and some nudibranchs incorporate plasmids (and their DNA) from photosynthetic algae into their tissues, where they happily photosynthesize for them.

It is also common among eukaryote protists who are phagotrophic, i.e. engulf other cells whole.

However, as I mentioned in other responses, it is not common among animals for reasons that have to do with the evolution of mechanisms for maximizing reproductive fitness, and as far as I'm aware lateral transfer of nuclear DNA is not the norm in multicellular eukaryotes. The barriers to lateral gene transfer in animals (and most plants) are almost entirely reproductive, not genetic. That is one reason that genetic engineering works so well. The evolution of reproductive isolation apparently has little to do with genetic difficulties, but probably has much to do with insuring individual reproductive fitness by focusing on gamete transfer (vertical gene transmission) which individuals can control. The prevalence of lateral transfer in single celled asexual reproducers suggests that the two mechanisms are equivalent, complementary methods of genetic recombination between organisms, best suited for different life forms and lifestyles.

However, as I said, genetic engineering is largely about circumventing reproductive isolation, and once that is accomplished lateral gene transfer is relatively easy and effective in multicellular organisms because there simply are not strong genetic barriers to lateral transfers. Plants are perfectly happy with bacterial or animal DNA in their genomes, as long as they don't have to hybridize successfully to get it there.

on edit-- Oh, and just to really shake things up, think about traumatic insemination in bed bugs-- it's both (within species) lateral AND vertical gene transfer simultaneously when a male bedbug pierces the abdomen of another male, deposits his sperm inside the cavity, and the sperm migrate to the other male's seminal vesicles where they wait for him to do the same thing to a female bedbug. Then the second male inseminates the female with the first males's gametes.

Just did a quick search and found some more examples. Take a look at the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizontal_gene_transfer . I'd forgotten about Wolbachia in insects, for example.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #42)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 03:46 PM

66. There's a bunch of lateral transfer in the bacterial world.

The most widely known is caused by the F' plasmid.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #42)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:09 AM

132. Ahem, humans have retro viral DNA in their chromosomes.

Also, a lot of bacterial DNA. It's called horizontal gene transfer and it has been likely happening since the origins of life. Plus, you do know we share DNA with all other life forms on the planet, don't you? Yup, even spiders. We know this because we all exist on one tree of life with a common origin, traceable through our DNA.

Yup! It happens naturally.


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Response to mike_c (Reply #37)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 03:30 PM

64. I think I understand this...........

It would be similar to "porting" code from one program into another. If a group of sub routines work well in program "A" and are superior to similar routines in program "B" their is no reason not to reuse them. It is done all the time.
The thing to keep in mind is that the end result must be tested to insure nothing was broken in the process. Even 'minor' changes can require "BOX" test cycles that can be longer than the lives of a few generations of fruit flies.
If the program/device works in conjunction with other programs/devices further system environment testing must be performed to insure the 'end product' does not exhibit undesirable results in the "real world".

Here lies my concern.
Splicing spider DNA into a cow may produce a happier bovine but what effect will the decaying cow have on, or say, caterpillars.
How do we predict/test for the over all results.
DDT,agent orange, roundup, Windows VISTA may be proof that we sometimes become careless or at best miss our guess.

A true believer that the fluttering of a butterfly's wings in Brazil may influence a hurricane in the Atlantic.


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Response to wandy (Reply #64)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 04:05 PM

71. that's a decent analogy...

...although I think the failure mode part breaks down a little bit. The most likely failures are always system failures, and they are amply guarded against by the transcription and translation machinery of cells themselves. Ironically, the anti-GMO movement was initially spawned by scientifically illiterate people who decried science "playing God," which has been echoed in the AL and AI communities too.

As for unintended consequences, we use Occam's razor and our knowledge of genetics, biochemistry, ecology, and so on to make informed choices. No, it's not a perfect system, and science improves by making mistakes, but that's an argument against nearly every human endeavor. Short of arguing that we should not do something because we don't know all the bad results that might happen whether there is any evidence that they will or not, the best we can do is to think things through and anticipate what we can.

As I've pointed out relentlessly in these discussions, the overwhelming consensus of scientific and medical professionals around the world is that GMOs are not materially different from non-engineered foods. The majority of people opposing GMOs reject that consensus on the basis of emotion and misinformation. Do you really think that the web bloggers at Natural News understand biology, genetics, and ecology better than the world's biologists, geneticists, and ecologists? If the anti-GMO movement is not patently anti-science, how else do we explain their outright rejection of knowledgeable scientific consensus in favor of internet quacks and charlatans?

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 11:46 PM

7. So he opposes laws intended to mandate "Contains GMO's" on labels?

 

Because as far as I know, that's the only hot button issue being discussed here on DU, NOT the legitimacy of the science behind genetics or modifying genetic materials.

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Response to closeupready (Reply #7)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 11:56 PM

8. Yes, he was speaking only to DU

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Response to closeupready (Reply #7)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 01:04 AM

13. he illustrates why it's a pointless endeavor, actually

 

Scientifically, there is no difference between altering genes through selective breeding, and altering them in a lab. All that stands to differentiate the two is the number of generations of the organism in question.

As soon as GMO labeling is mandated, you know what will happen? The food companies selling GMO will demand the label be put on EVERYTHING, for exactly this point. And they will win, because their claim will be backed by science.

Now if you were to go for transgenic modification labeling, that might actually work. But it also might not, because then a cherry with apricot genes is labeled the same as a catfish with cat genes - you're not going to know what went into what, and even if the exact genes are listed, you're no going to know what the fuck that label is telling you. You sure won't know what's possibly harmful and what's not.

If your concern is abuse of the science, yes, that's absolutely fair. The best way to deal with that, is to remove the "fast profit" impetus behind these abuses. Don't lobby for labeling. Lobby to end the private patenting of genes and organisms. Cut that out of the picture, and the rush to hammer eight or nine genes into one corn stalk just because will be cut out with it.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #13)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:51 AM

21. Minor point

Being backed by science does not always equal a win, in terms of politics.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 12:23 AM

10. This is very disappointing

There is a big difference between hybrids and GMOs. He should know better than to make such board generalizations about a complex subject.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #10)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:55 AM

40. there is no material difference AT ALL between hybrids and GMOs....

They differ only in the sense that GMOs are created using specific scientific techniques (as are many hybrids, for that matter). Otherwise, both recombine genetic information from two or more organisms. Genes are just information storage about an organism's evolutionary past-- they are not unique properties of the species they come from. Information is universal.

The barrier to lateral information transfer outside of hybridization is reproductive, not genetic. GMOs do nothing more than circumvent that reproductive barrier to achieve the exact same outcome-- recombination of stored information about evolved solutions to past problems. Nothing more.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 12:39 AM

11. Anti-GMO and Anti-Vaccination woo is the Left's climate change denial and creationism.

Good on Tyson for pointing out the idiocy.

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Response to DemocraticWing (Reply #11)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 01:04 AM

14. Amen. nt

 

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Response to DemocraticWing (Reply #11)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 01:30 AM

16. Agree nt


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Response to DemocraticWing (Reply #11)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:48 AM

38. exactly-- very disappointing and embarassing....

eom

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Response to DemocraticWing (Reply #11)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 02:57 PM

60. Could not be more true.

 

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Response to DemocraticWing (Reply #11)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 03:53 PM

67. Yep. n/t

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Response to DemocraticWing (Reply #11)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 04:57 PM

83. Agreed

And I don't mind labeling, because I will be able to select cheaper food without the woo-woo labels, just like I do when I avoid the word 'organic'.

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Response to DemocraticWing (Reply #11)

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 08:24 PM

231. All too true!

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 01:03 AM

12. It's always fun to watch him talk down to idiots.

 

K&R for science.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 01:10 AM

15. Good for NDT.

 

I don't believe the anti-GMO crowd because they don't have any scientific evidence to support their claims.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 01:40 AM

17. Now Neil deGrasse Tyson goes under the DU bus.

What a short time we knew you Neil...

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Response to former9thward (Reply #17)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:14 AM

25. ^^That

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Response to former9thward (Reply #17)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:50 AM

39. Because mere disagreement is actually throwing someone under the bus...

Because mere disagreement is actually throwing someone under the bus in the world of the melodramatic, the hysterical and the shrill...

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #39)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 01:38 PM

53. Hmmm, let's see ...

Dr. Tyson is welcome to eat all the GMO, insecticide-laden food he wants

Yup, nothing like asking a physicist about biology & nutrition.
Maybe next we should ask some smart electricians about the evolution vs. creationism debate. I'm sure they will have some brilliant insights to share...

I'm not much of a fan of him or science entertainers in general

He should know better than to make such board generalizations about a complex subject.



Yep, just a little disagreement -- by posters who were praising him on other threads.

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #39)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 01:39 PM

54. Hmmm, let's see ...

Dr. Tyson is welcome to eat all the GMO, insecticide-laden food he wants

Yup, nothing like asking a physicist about biology & nutrition.
Maybe next we should ask some smart electricians about the evolution vs. creationism debate. I'm sure they will have some brilliant insights to share...

I'm not much of a fan of him or science entertainers in general

He should know better than to make such board generalizations about a complex subject.



Yep, just a little disagreement -- by posters who were praising him on other threads.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:09 AM

24. The wheels on the bus go round and round

and up and over and up and over. Poor Neil deGrasse Tyson the buss has your name on it.

Happen to agree with his view. GMO is a scattergun term that designates most food items.

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Response to whistler162 (Reply #24)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:32 PM

107. There's a big diff betw incremental discrete hybrids & Frankenfoods

 

Last edited Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:18 PM - Edit history (2)

Tyson seems utterly oblivious to any such distinction ... whatsoever. which is downright weird.

I'm guessing he's choosing his enemies carefully here. Fewer and fewer peeps with lots to lose feel inclined to "take on" the Monsanto/Blackwater/NRA thugs.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:41 AM

27. my concern about gmos is more of an engineering one: testing time.

old-fashioned modification of plants and animals through selective breeding and such is simply a more gradual process, so that as people eat the food, we have real-life experience as to the long-term safety of such foods, never too far removed from the current generation.

the modern gmo technology allows for foods to be introduced that are quite a bit different than previous generations, and the long-term effects are not yet fully appreciated.

20 years from now, assuming no great health problems in the gmo-eating public, i'll have no objection to whatever is being introduced to the food supply today, though i'll still have the same objection to whatever's being newly introduced 20 years hence.

i'm just not an early adopter of food technology, i guess.


so maybe it isn't really an engineering concern after all; observation and confirmation are key parts of science, after all.


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Response to unblock (Reply #27)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 04:11 PM

72. I'm more concerned about the unintended consequences of introducing GMOs to the environment.

 

So Monsanto develops the "Roundup Ready" gene which allows for heavy usage of glyphosate to keep the weeds down in corn and soy bean acreage.

That seems wonderful on its face.

Problem is, now we are experiencing the unintended consequences of that because what REALLY happened was this opened up an unintended selective breeding program for super weeds that develop their own "Roundup Ready" genetic components, so now those weeds spread everywhere and new genetic manipulation will have to be developed so that newer, stronger, more intense herbicides can be developed to take care of these "Roundup Ready" weeds.

And a new cycle begins...

How about breeding corn and soy beans (however that is accomplished) and developing farming techniques for these new versions so that weeds can't take root in the first place due to being choked out by the crops and dispense with the chemical herbicidal solutions?

Wait until we see the superbugs that will be unintentionally bred to be resistant to bT!

Now don't get me started on what will happen once the Genetically Modified Via Modern Bioengineering Techniques Salmon get loose into the wild, and mark my words, they WILL get loose into the wild no matter the promises made that they will not.

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Response to unblock (Reply #27)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 05:40 PM

92. 20 years from now...

 



...you won't have a choice.

What is the economic effect of owning the production of food?




.

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Response to unblock (Reply #27)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:38 PM

119. HT and BT crops HAVE been around for about two decades

...and have had literally hundreds of studies done on them.

How much testing time do you need?

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:04 AM

30. An Astrophycist commenting on Biology.

 

Aren't there biologists and chemists cited by the climate change deniers?

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #30)


Response to MohRokTah (Reply #30)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 05:03 PM

86. does that mean you dismiss Tyson's defense of evolution...?

Or are you being selective about which science you reject from broad scientific consensus?

If the latter, I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts on that. For full disclosure, I'm a career academic scientist and educator, and I'm flummoxed by some people's wholesale rejection of scientific consensus on GMOs. Sure, there will always be individuals with different perspectives in every profession, but the overwhelming consensus among scientific and healthcare professionals is that GMOs are not different from non-engineered crops. And yet many people reject that consensus out of hand.

Do they distrust scientists and academics generally? That doesn't gibe with other things I hear-- generally I'm told that scientists and professors are held in high regard. Yet many people commenting in this thread evidently think we're either lying to them about GMOs or that we're not competent to find a favorable consensus. Most will probably admit to little understanding about cell biology, genetics, or ecology (for example), yet they reject the consensus of professionals. I don't understand this.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #86)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 05:25 PM

89. You went totally off base there.

 

Tyson approached a very complex issue very simplistically. He addressed none of the concerns over unintended environmental issues, corporate hegemony, or the many other issues raised by those who distrust the GMO industry.

Your post went off the rails in a direction that has no meaning or resemblance to the reality of the issue, much like Tyson's simplistic argument.

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #89)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 05:31 PM

91. ah, then I misunderstood your comment and I apologize....

I thought you meant that Tyson was not competent to comment on life science issues. I'm sure you can see how I might have gotten that impression from your comment. Nonetheless, I apologize if I misunderstood you.

I agree wholeheartedly that there are important social and economic issues involved with GMO agriculture. I think that's where most of the discussion about GMOs should be.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #91)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:07 PM

95. Thanks, I can see how you would misunderstand where I'm coming from.

 

I was being a bit facetious in my comment, but really, many of my issues go beyond GMO agriculture and reach into modern agricultural techniques in general and many of the unintended consequences of those techniques.

Monoculture based agriculture in itself is inherently unhealthy. Yes, I understand that 18 row windrower combines are more efficient in harvesting, thus reducing overall costs, but growing hundreds of acres of corn in an area invites the pests that prey on corn to come have a feast, thus requiring more insecticides to fight the pests. That's only one of the hundreds of issues facing agriculture.

Technological advances in planting and harvesting technologies could go a long way to beating some of these problems, if only big ag would take a few lessons from backyard gardening. In my garden, I achieve an insecticide free garden through many techniques, not the least of which is companion planting. If you could take that to a bigger scale through new planting and harvesting technologies, you could have large multicultural plantings producing more food per acre with less work, pesticides, and herbicides. Hell, you could even take it to the next step and be capable of labeling your product "Organic" (Organic in terms of technique, not a scientific definition of the term).

Instead, the focus is on bioengineering which produces its own problems. Even going to the most basic form of farming with selective breeding can produce unintended consequences (Apis mellifera crossed with Apis mellifera scutellata, for example).

A healthy dose of improved farming techniques would certainly do wonders for modern agriculture, too.

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #95)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:55 PM

112. Well said

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:58 AM

33. just saying

Aurochs are extinct but there are plenty of wild cows. I know that he meant cows today are products of humans selectively breeding but there are "wild cows" just as there are wild horses in north america, the descendants of former domesticated animals.

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Response to d_r (Reply #33)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:30 AM

35. I believe the distinction you're missing is that "feral" does not equal "wild..."

...in a genetic sense. In genetics, "wild" is short for "wild type" or unaltered background population genetic stock. It does not imply anything about whether feral individuals exist or not.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:27 AM

34. one either respects and embraces science or one rejects it out of hand, preferring ignorance....

The anti-GMO movement is utterly anti-science, anti-intellectual, and anti-progressive. The overwhelming consensus of world scientific organizations and the world's working scientists is that GMO foods are not materially different from non-engineered versions. The anti-GMO movement ignores their judgement and dismisses their reasoned arguments, advancing irrational fear and anti-science nonsense instead.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #34)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 12:34 PM

48. Saying that anyone who is anti-GMO is anti science

is over-the-top. Science brought us dangerous pesticides that are now banned, nuclear weapons that could destroy our planet, technology that is polluting our air and water, etc. Just because something is the product of scientific exploration, does not necessarily mean it is beneficial.

26 countries (probably more since this article was written) have banned GMOs and not because they are "anti-science, anti-intellectual, and anti-progressive".

http://www.thenation.com/blog/176863/twenty-six-countries-ban-gmos-why-wont-us

The case against GMOs has strengthened steadily over the last few years. Critics say that genetic engineering disrupts the precise sequence of a food’s genetic code and disturbs the functions of neighboring genes, which can give rise to potentially toxic or allergenic molecules or even alter the nutritional value of food produced. The Bt toxin used in GMO corn, for example, was recently detected in the blood of pregnant women and their babies, with possibly harmful consequences.

A second objection concerns genetic contamination. A GMO crop, once released in the open, reproduces via pollination and interacts genetically with natural varieties of the same crop, producing what is called genetic contamination. According to a study published in Nature, one of the world’s leading scientific journals, Bt corn has contaminated indigenous varieties of corn tested in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Third, a GMO, brought into natural surroundings, may have a toxic or lethal impact on other living things. Thus, it was found that Bt corn destroyed the larvae of the monarch butterfly, raising well grounded fears that many other natural plant and animal life may be impacted in the same way.

Fourth, the benefits of GMOs have been oversold by the companies, like Monsanto and Syngenta, that peddle them. Most genetically engineered crops are either engineered to produce their own pesticide in the form of Bacillus thurengiensis (Bt) or are designed to be resistant to herbicides, so that herbicides can be sprayed in massive quantities to kill pests without harming the crops. It has been shown, however, that insects are fast developing resistance to Bt as well as to herbicides, resulting in even more massive infestation by the new superbugs. No substantial evidence exists that GM crops yield more than conventional crops. What genetically engineered crops definitely do lead to is greater use of pesticide, which is harmful both to humans and the environment.

More at link http://www.thenation.com/blog/176863/twenty-six-countries-ban-gmos-why-wont-us

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #48)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 12:48 PM

50. Backwards, third world countries like

Germany, Ireland, Japan, France, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand have instituted bans on GMOs products.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #48)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 01:18 PM

52. so what do you call ignoring the reasoned, professional judgement of the majority...

...of the world's scientists and scientific organizations, all of whom have said that GMOs are not materially different from non-GMO foods, if not anti-science?

Let's examine your points one by one.

Science brought us dangerous pesticides that are now banned, nuclear weapons that could destroy our planet, technology that is polluting our air and water, etc. Just because something is the product of scientific exploration, does not necessarily mean it is beneficial.


Those same pesticides saved millions of lives and were banned not because they are intrinsically dangerous, but because people over used them. Most people's understanding of the decision to ban pesticides like DDT is terribly flawed, often resulting from scientific illiteracy and misinformation. Technology is a two edged sword-- we can use it responsibly or not, but are you really suggesting that science should stop advancing because people don't always use it's fruits responsibly?


26 countries (probably more since this article was written) have banned GMOs and not because they are "anti-science, anti-intellectual, and anti-progressive".


They did so against the advice of most of the world's major scientific and medical organizations. All too often, governments react to civil hysteria, not to scientific consensus. The fact that countries have banned GMOs says exactly nothing about whether those bans were justified.

The case against GMOs has strengthened steadily over the last few years. Critics say that genetic engineering disrupts the precise sequence of a food’s genetic code and disturbs the functions of neighboring genes, which can give rise to potentially toxic or allergenic molecules or even alter the nutritional value of food produced. The Bt toxin used in GMO corn, for example, was recently detected in the blood of pregnant women and their babies, with possibly harmful consequences.


Critics "say" this, but no one has ever demonstrated it. Ever. I disagree with your contention that "the case against GMOs has strengthened." Certainly the hysteria among the scientifically illiterate has increased, but no credible evidence that GMOs are harmful to consume or grow has EVER been found, as far as I know. Every attempt to do so has either failed or been shown to be too flawed to be credible, as is often the case with agenda driven science. Anti-GMO websites have proliferated to spread the anti-science hysteria, certainly. That does not mean that any case against GMOs has strengthened.


A second objection concerns genetic contamination. A GMO crop, once released in the open, reproduces via pollination and interacts genetically with natural varieties of the same crop, producing what is called genetic contamination. According to a study published in Nature, one of the world’s leading scientific journals, Bt corn has contaminated indigenous varieties of corn tested in Oaxaca, Mexico.


The term "genetic contamination" sounds pretty scary, doesn't it? Again, the scientific consensus is that this is not a real problem because natural selection will reduce the prevalence of such "contamination" if it is deleterious or it will favor it it is adaptive. Other than mostly nonexistent biological issues, the problems of "genetic contamination" are social and political, not scientific. If Monsanto sues farmers because it's patented genes show up in seed that wasn't purchased from Monsanto, that is a social problem, not in any way a biological issue with GMOs. It requires a social solution, not a scientific one. The problem is with the offending corporations and their behavior, not with GMOs.


Third, a GMO, brought into natural surroundings, may have a toxic or lethal impact on other living things. Thus, it was found that Bt corn destroyed the larvae of the monarch butterfly, raising well grounded fears that many other natural plant and animal life may be impacted in the same way.


This comment is mostly misinformation. The monarch study you mentioned has been largely debunked, but of course the anti-GMO crowd has largely ignored that since it doesn't conform to their anti-science narrative. Again, the general fears regarding unintended consequences of GMO "release" are pretty much all unfounded. The scientific consensus is that there is presently no serious problem there.

On a personal note, I'm an entomologist and ecologist by profession, so this issue is one of the most important to me professionally and personally. It is my considered professional opinion that GMOs are a tiny blip on the radar of extinction for species like monarch butterflies. The real culprits are habitat loss, human overpopulation, and incompatible land use. GMOs currently have negligible impact on non-pest species.


Fourth, the benefits of GMOs have been oversold by the companies, like Monsanto and Syngenta, that peddle them. Most genetically engineered crops are either engineered to produce their own pesticide in the form of Bacillus thurengiensis (Bt) or are designed to be resistant to herbicides, so that herbicides can be sprayed in massive quantities to kill pests without harming the crops. It has been shown, however, that insects are fast developing resistance to Bt as well as to herbicides, resulting in even more massive infestation by the new superbugs. No substantial evidence exists that GM crops yield more than conventional crops. What genetically engineered crops definitely do lead to is greater use of pesticide, which is harmful both to humans and the environment.


I agree with much of what you say in this paragraph, but like pesticide over use, the problem isn't with GMOs-- it's a problem of bad corporate citizenship and profit first thinking. Development of Bt resistance is my main objection to engineering Bt expression in a wide variety of crops, but on the other hand, I'd rather see Bt being used than malathion. But in the end, this is going to be a problem with just about any pesticide. While we might argue against using pesticides at all, that rather ignores that fully one third of modern agricultural production is lost to insect herbivory annually, and until everyone in the world has food security, we will need to try and recover some of that production in order to feed them. It's easy to criticize big ag if you have a full belly.

I'm also disappointed that companies like Monsanto and Syngenta use genetic engineering to increase reliance on their toxic herbicides, in particular. It doesn't surprise me-- that's what economic entities like corporations often do-- but again, the problem isn't genetic engineering, it's bad corporate citizenship. That's where the real problems lie and where the solutions should be implemented.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #48)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 02:11 PM

57. Not over the top. It's fact.

At least on the subject of GMOs.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #48)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:45 PM

120. Stop linking to b.s. slanted articles

Why is it that the anti-GMO crowd always links to stuff like thenation.com and other slanted sites?

Why not link to actual scientific studies instead of cherry picked, slanted, summaries of studies?

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #120)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:30 PM

124. Gee thanks for telling me what to do (or not do)

And thanks for putting a tag on me - "anti-GMO crowd". I do not belong to a "crowd". I tend to be anti-Monsanto (don't trust them or their research), NOT anti science.

This is a liberal site and The Nation is a reputable liberal magazine. I got involved with Democratic Underground ten years ago because I am an open minded liberal. As such I never tell anyone else here to "Stop linking to b.s. slanted articles" (your opinion which you are entitled to). I do not agree with everyone here and do not expect them to agree with me. That being said, no one has the right to tell me what to post or not post as long as it is within DU guidelines.

If you don't like the article, then don't read it, which I'm pretty sure you didn't anyway. Meanwhile, you might brush up on your manners and try not to be so condescending and rude.



(Thanks for reminding me why I don't spend as much time here as I used to)

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #124)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:41 PM

125. Funny

It's okay for THEM to link to slanted articles from biased sources (once I traced back several 'reputable studies in a reputable journal' directly to the Monsanto website) but it's not okay for the 'rest of us' to link to any source that disagrees with them (because we are dunces who can't possibly know science - only the science in those Monsanto journals must be the REAL science). It's why I don't bother with these threads anymore.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #125)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:43 AM

130. Thanks for the moment of sanity

I don't normally bother with such threads either, but Neil Degrasse Tyson's remarks really threw me off. I thought I'd come to DU and hear some sane discussions about the subject, but much of what I've seen has been a lot of name-calling and put downs. It has been a bit surreal.

Sure didn't feel like a liberal site for a while there.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #125)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:13 AM

137. I didn't and I don't.

You don't bother with these threads any more because the only science you can find to support your opinion has to come from such slanted sites.

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #137)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:11 PM

162. LOL

Thou dost project too much. You don't even really know my stance anyway, so how do you know what 'my opinion is'. You don't.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #162)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:39 PM

167. I don't care what your stance is

I'm saying that linking to biased political sites as a source in a discussion on GMOs is an idea to terrible that you almost have to know what you are doing when you do it.

There are literally thousands of scientific papers you can link to in order to keep the conversation rational and away from rhetoric. When you choose to link to political sites as sources in scientific discussions, you are intentionally muddying the water.

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #167)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:54 PM

169. And

when you link to journals with 'scientific papers' that are sponsored by Monsanto, same to you. Biased journals do not equal 'science'.

I've never linked to anything biased. I've never linked to anything period. So you are directing your statements at the wrong person.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #169)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:01 PM

170. First, who linked to anything sponsored by Monsanto?

The idea that anywhere near a high percentage of papers on GMOs are "sponsored by Monsanto" is just plain old ignorant in the first place. There are LITERALLY hundreds and hundreds of papers done by both major universities and governmental entities in both the United States and Europe a person can go to.

Secondly, I guess you didn't pay attention to the context of this conversation?

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=5316832

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #170)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:10 PM

172. I read the entire thread, oh condescending one.

I'm done. When I see you post in other topics on DU I might take you more seriously.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #172)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:11 PM

173. Predictable.

So very predictable.

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #173)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:17 PM

176. There's that projection again. nt

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #176)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:24 PM

177. Yes, you say you aren't something but you act just like it

Every time somebody in the anti-GMO camp gets to the point in the conversation where they have to defend their reasoning for linking to bull shit sources instead of actual science, they pull out the Monsanto boogey man.

When that's shot down it's 1-2 posts more and they have to leave because the conversation is beneath them.

Sure, you're different. Of course you are. Your opinion is based on actual science, I'm sure.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #124)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:12 AM

136. You don't spend as much time here as you used to because...

...you prefer to be told what to think about science by politically motivated writers instead of actual scientific journals?

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #136)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:03 AM

142. And I have a feeling

you spend time here primarily to stir up trouble and hijack threads.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #142)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:07 PM

149. No, I spend time here...

...fighting the anti-science group that continues to spread false information.

I spend time on conservative sites arguing with the climate change deniers for the same reason.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 12:24 PM

46. I would like the DUers who have a family member or friend who has been killed by GMO products

to comment on this story.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 01:16 PM

51. I'm impressed.

I didn't know he had degrees in biology, genetics, and healthcare in addition to his astrophysics studies.

The man must have gone to school his entire life.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #51)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 02:02 PM

55. Plenty of DUers with no scientific background whatsoever

 

post prolifically about GMO foods and their presumed dangers. I'd say NDT is just as qualified as anybody else to weigh in on the topic.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #51)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 02:05 PM

56. scientific literacy doesn't require terminal degrees in every field....

However, if it makes you feel better, the majority of the world's scientists who DO have advanced degrees in "biology, genetics, and healthcare" have reached the consensus about GMOs that Tyson describes. I am one of them, and it is my considered professional opinion that GMOs achieved through horizontal information transfer are not materially different from any other crop or domestic animal achieved through vertical transfer.

It really bothers me that so many on the left, supposedly critical thinkers, will so easily reject the broad scientific consensus that GMOS are safe and useful, in favor of anti-science hysteria propagated by cranks and charlatans. It precisely mirrors the right's rejection of climate change in spite of broad scientific consensus, and creationists' rejection of biological evolution despite abundant and clear evidence.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #56)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 04:46 PM

81. +1 nt

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Response to mike_c (Reply #56)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:40 AM

129. Bravo! nt

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Response to mike_c (Reply #56)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:13 AM

145. ^^That

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #51)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 04:35 PM

76. "I didn't know he had degrees in biology, genetics..."

Is that what you say when he defends evolution?

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #51)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:39 AM

128. All he had to do was look at the peer reviewed research


You don't need a degree for that. It would be nice if those on DU did the same.

http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/review-10-years-gmo-research-no-significant-dangers/

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Response to Quixote1818 (Reply #128)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:54 AM

141. He's making the same assumption everyone else is.

That the fact that you have studies that eliminate the possibility of certain specific dangers that you've already studied means that you've eliminated the possibility of all dangers, including the ones you haven't yet even considered studying.

Biological systems are extremely complex, and we're still working to completely understand them. Every year, we get farther along, but the honest truth is that humans still simply don't understand everything about them, and by definition that means that we can't check for problems that occur in mechanisms we haven't even discovered yet.

I'm not dismissing ANY of the studies that have been performed. They're good, and they're useful. But they're not the full picture, because we haven't even finished putting together the canvas to paint on yet.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #141)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:31 AM

148. But that's always going to be true about everything

That the fact that you have studies that eliminate the possibility of certain specific dangers that you've already studied means that you've eliminated the possibility of all dangers, including the ones you haven't yet even considered studying.
What's the threshold, then? At what point do we say "okay, that's safe enough" and move on?

From what I've read, the studies aren't claiming anything like "the possibility of risk is mathematically zero," but they are instead concluding that GMO foods have been found to be as safe as non-GMO food. I think that's all that we can realistically ask for.

Caution is justified, sure, but fear-driven calls for outright bans are dangerous and ill-informed. GMO-phobes assume that risks that haven't been demonstrated must nonetheless exist, or else Big Agra would certainly be transparent about them. See how it works? They know that the risks are real because industry doesn't admit that they're real.

GMO-phobes don't cite specific risks or any history of harm, but instead they declare that GMO foods are unsafe, and anyone who disagrees is labelled a shill for Monsanto.


I doubt that Tyson is "making the same assumption everyone else is," in part because very few people are making the assumption that you claim they are. I am also confident of Tyson's ability to assess data and comprehend the literature, so I'm inclined to trust his interpretation more than the fear-mongering of Natural News and its allies.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #148)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 06:44 PM

201. At what point?

I'd say that's up to the individual. Just like when I used to have an investment portfolio, and I had to specify my 'risk aversion', each individual should be able to decide upon their own risk aversion. Which is why I'm for labeling, just like I'm for vegetarian labeling, or kosher labeling. I'm not calling for a ban, although I wouldn't be terribly upset if 'Roundup Ready' seed was banned. And, in fact, I suspect certain types of GM will be very helpful in dealing with climate change resistant crops.


As to the 'in part because very few people are making the assumption...' To me, that's what every person who unequivocally says 'they're safe' is saying. I'd say there are very few people out there, if any, on the 'they're safe' side who will even admit to the nuance of 'as far as we know, with the types of studies we have performed'. No, it's just 'They're safe' and 'All of you protesters are anti-science and just like anti-vaxxers or creationists' and are 'fearmongering'.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 02:15 PM

58. If GMO is safe then why we had recall?

The StarLink corn recalls occurred in the autumn of 2000, when over 300 food products were found to contain a genetically modified corn that had not been approved for human consumption.[1] It was the first-ever recall of a genetically modified food. The anti-GMO activist coalition Genetically Engineered Food Alert, which detected and first reported the contamination, was critical of the FDA for not doing its job. The recall of Taco Bell-branded taco shells, manufactured by Kraft Foods and sold in supermarkets, was the most publicized of the recalls. One settlement resulted in $60 million going to Taco Bell franchisees for lost sales due to the damage to the Taco Bell brand.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taco_Bell_GMO_recall

In August 2013, StarLink corn was reported to be found again contaminating some foods in Saudi Arabia.[47]

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #58)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 02:40 PM

59. the recall was a procedural matter, not caused by any evidence of harm....

And of course, it's a logical fallacy to propose that the recall is evidence for harm in the absence of any actual evidence before the fact. This is exactly the sort of fallacy that fuels much of the anti-GMO movement.

The overwhelming consensus of scientific and medical organizations around the world is that there is nothing intrinsically unsafe about GMOs, and that they are materially no different from non-engineered foods. Why do so many on the left summarily dismiss the professional judgement of scientists and healthcare professionals, just because a bunch of quack websites spread anti-science hysteria? I mean, think about that for a moment. Do those folks really know more about biology than the world's biologists and doctors? Really?

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Response to mike_c (Reply #59)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:21 PM

98. EPA is anti science?

"the EPA had concerns about its allergenicity, and PGS did not provide sufficient data to prove that Cry9C was not allergenic."

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #98)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:39 PM

108. of course, that's not at all what I said...

...but that's not surprising. I said it was a procedural matter. The EPA has procedures for review of transgenic organisms, and they were not followed to the agency's satisfaction. In the absence of evidence regarding allergens-- that did turn out to be baseless after all-- the procedure prescribes caution. That is NOT evidence that caution was warranted--it was not, actually-- only that the procedure was not properly followed. You'll note there there has been no actual harm from transgenic Cry proteins, only an abundance of caution about licensing them for production.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #108)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:30 AM

133. procedural matter?

Last edited Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:14 PM - Edit history (1)

So why didn't starlink prove that it is safe for human consumption? That is all what EPA wanted. Is it because they cannot prove it is safe for human consumption?
There is a claims done for 60 million dollars for lost sales by Taco bell. And Starlink couldn't get it proved that it is safe for human consumption.

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #58)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 04:45 PM

80. Like all other products, GMO can be unsafe.

However, I don't understand the viewpoint of banning all GMO and GMO-related research. GMOs in general aren't unsafe, especially if regulated.

Why not just regulate the market?

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Response to chrisa (Reply #80)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:27 PM

103. Often the argument is whether it is regulated properly

Monsanto has connections and they can push through crops. Like all corporations they are driven by greed. Once a crop gets out, it cannot be recalled like other food because the crops cross contaminate. The starlink incidence shows that they were not able to contain the crop.
Then there is the whole other argument about whether it is ok for corporations to own the seeds. Are we in danger of our food being controlled by these mega corporations?

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #58)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:51 PM

121. There are literally hundreds of types of GMOs

and they DO have to be approved for human consumption.

Your article actually highlights the safety measures that are in place.

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #121)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 05:40 PM

188. And those that slip out because

"Some scientists wishing to conduct research on genetically modified plants or seeds have been unable to obtain them for study, because of restrictive end-user agreements that limit what can be done with such seeds. Cornell University's Elson Shields, the spokesperson for one group of scientists who oppose this practice, submitted a statement to the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 protesting that "as a result of restrictive access, no truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions regarding the technology".[77] Scientific American noted that several studies that were initially approved by seed companies were later blocked from publication when they returned "unflattering" results. While arguing that seed companies' intellectual property rights ought to be protected, Scientific American calls the practice dangerous and has called for the restrictions on research in the end-user agreements to be lifted immediately and for the Environmental Protection Agency to require, as a condition of approval, that independent researchers have unfettered access to genetically modified products for testing.[78] In February 2009, the American Seed Trade Association agreed that they "would allow researchers greater freedom to study the effects of GM food crops." This agreement left many scientists optimistic about the future, but there is little optimism as to whether this agreement has the ability to "alter what has been a research environment rife with obstruction and suspicion."[77][79]"
"Independence in research has been studied by a 2011 analysis into conflicts of interest which found a significant correlation between author affiliation to industry and study outcome in scientific work published on health risks or nutritional assessment studies of genetically modified products.[84]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_controversies

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #188)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 06:06 PM

197. Perhaps you could link to actual facts?

I mean, instead of a Wikipedia page.

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #197)

Sat Aug 2, 2014, 03:02 AM

211. now wikipedia is not legitimate source?

Not approved by Monsanto? There is enough reference on that page

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 03:09 PM

61. There's a difference between hybridization and round-up resistant soybeans.

 

In the latter case, we're inventing shit out of blank sheets of paper with attributes that haven't ever existed in the wild. There's no natural precedent for round up resistant organisms. We don't know what they'll do. Will they kill all the bees? Will they cross breed with Kudzu (yikes!) who knows?

Further, those patented seeds are displacing natural diversity. As they dominate the crops, they contaminate the natural plants.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #61)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 03:26 PM

63. Kudzu is fine. Human’s have been introducing “invasive species” for thousands of years. There’s no

intrinsic difference between “invasive species” and “local species.” Only anti-science types engage in such fear-mongering.

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #63)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 03:59 PM

69. Introduced species upset the ecological balance in a region, denying that is anti-science.

 

Seriously, you are the one being anti-science now.

Look at the devastation the jack rabbit caused in Australia. With no natural predators, they overran the land destroying local agriculture and the ecology for organisms native to the region, displacing many species.

Introduced species are going to happen, there's no getting around that fact with the global reach of human travel. Recognizing unintended consequences of such introductions and attempting to keep it from happening is critical to the survival of many species.

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #69)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 04:49 PM

82. Poe’s law. Not surprising, given the pseudo-science being spread by the pro-GMO crowd.N/T

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #69)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:26 PM

102. Good example.

 

Imagine how much worse the problem would be with rabbits that had the growth and reproduction capacity of cornish cross chickens?

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #63)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:22 PM

100. Lose the f'ing dog whistle.

 

"anti-science types" my ass.

Maybe someone should hybridize a western bark beetle that can tolerate slightly higher or lower temperatures to help people understand the potential risks.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #61)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 03:55 PM

68. There was no natural precedent for the nectarine either.

Yet we humans bred peaches with plums to make a new plant.

Further, those patented seeds are displacing natural diversity. As they dominate the crops, they contaminate the natural plants.

Agriculture has not used "natural diversity" for centuries.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #61)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 04:24 PM

74. there's a lot of FUD and biological illiteracy in your response....

Let's break it down:

In the latter case, we're inventing shit out of blank sheets of paper with attributes that haven't ever existed in the wild.

That is not how it works. We don't invent anything. In the case of herbicide resistant plant varieties, the usual method is to either clone an existing gene from some other species if one exists, or more usually, to stimulate selection for that characteristic in bacterial models by screening for colonies that will grow in the presence of the herbicide, and then cloning the gene or genes that confer resistance. These can then be inserted into the DNA of target species to transform them into resistant varieties. There's more details, of course, but that's the basic process in a nutshell. Living organisms exposed to selection "invent" solutions to those challenges (this is called evolution), and we exploit their genetic history of that to transfer the same solutions to other organisms. If those traits don't "exist in the wild," it's because they have not yet been selected for. Nothing "unnatural" occurs during this process.

Note too that the only barriers we usually overcome are reproductive isolation. There are few genetic barriers, which is one reason that genetic engineering works well.

We don't know what they'll do.

This is nonsense. We choose the selective pressures to provide. Overcoming those pressures is the desired outcome. We know EXACTLY what that means.

Will they kill all the bees?

No. Why would you think so? Is there any evidence that transgenic organisms are "kill(ing) all the bees?" Did you just spread reliable information, or did you just spread scientific illiteracy and misinformation?

Will they cross breed with Kudzu (yikes!) who knows?

Only if they are reproductively compatible with kudzu. This is only a problem-- potentially-- for GMO kudzu. I say potentially, because I suspect that if anyone ever bioengineers GMO kudzu it will likely be for control of an invasive species, and hybridization with wild type kudzu will likely be a feature, not a bug.

Further, those patented seeds are displacing natural diversity. As they dominate the crops, they contaminate the natural plants.

To the extent that this is true, it is true of all agriculture. All domesticated plants and animals "displace natural diversity." Still, food production remains an important industry and always will. GMO crops certainly don't have a monopoly on the ecologically seedy side of big ag.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #74)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:15 PM

96. 1) to my knowledge, humans didn't traditionally hybridize corn by breeding with cyanobacteria.

 

2) we know what we intend, but we don't know (and can't predict) the outcome. DDT was made to overcome the selective pressures of insects, but we didn't know "EXACTLY" the ramifications.
3) So we should wait until turbo-neonicitoids in transgenic tobacco have killed all the bees to suggest caution? I get that proving a negative is problematic (proving that nothing bad will happen) but the burden of proof that should be on producers to guarantee safety should be at least as strong as that on drug manufacturers, if for no other reason than the potential impact extends beyond one individual taking one drug.
4) One person's bug is another person's feature.
5) GMO crops may not have a monopoly on immoral business practices, but the patents that GMO provides give those shitty business practices legally enforceable teeth.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #96)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:29 PM

104. so is "traditional" the baseline for "acceptable?"

I will grant you that genetic transformation was beyond the means of nomadic tribes when they settled down to invent agriculture. However, I'd also say that it's a difference in method only, not results. The result in either case is transference of information about the solutions to phenotypic problems from one organism to another.

The barriers between corn and cyanobacteria are not genetic barriers. Corn is perfectly content with genes from cyanobacteria, etc in its cells. The real barriers are reproductive incompatibilities, and those evolved for completely different reasons that are not very relevant to discussions about GMOs unless we veer into certifiably woo territory where genetic identity is somehow sacred (and that's VERY thin ice). Modern genetic engineering does little more than simply circumvent those reproductive barriers to allow transfer of information over a much wider range of source material than reproductive hybridization would allow. Reproductive hybridization is therefore a subset of the genetic recombination possible with genetic engineering in the broader sense.

I think most of the problems with GMOs are social and economic, and should be solved with social and economic solutions, e.g. reign in the business practices of big ag.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #104)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:44 PM

110. We are at the stage of genetic science where drugs were at the time of thalidomide.

 

The difference is that the problems with thalidomide were contained to the individuals given it, and didn't pose a risk to the entire biosphere.

Imagine a gmo that gives an advantage to the Mountain Pine beetle? Let's say a GM Spruce tree which is immune to the dutch elm fungus that the beetle carries? Without the natural population limits that dead forests put on the beetle, how long before the fungus carried by the beetles render all the natural tree species extinct?

We need to deploy the kind of due diligence we apply to drugs to GMOs BEFORE learning a lesson the hard way.

No, I don't trust Monsanto.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #110)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:01 PM

113. this is what the "scientists playing God" argument has evolved into....

GMO crops (in the modern sense) have been cultivated for decades and marketed for 20 years. The anti-GMO movement began as a backlash to "scientists playing God" with the premise that with that sort of power comes the virtual assurance that tragedy will ensue. Except that it hasn't. And the majority of the worlds scientific and medical organizations-- the folks who we either admit are knowledgeable about these matters or whom we reject as incompetent in favor of internet blogs and scaremongers-- have gone on record in support of GMOs. At some point we have to recognize that the bogeyman didn't materialize. Science was right. Again.

Much of the anti-GMO movement needs to repurpose itself as the anti-corporate bad citizenship movement. At least that's an honest assessment of the situation in real life.

To a large extent GMO foods ARE treated with similar due diligence to drugs. In spite of that, none of the feared tragedies have occurred, and the anti-GMO movement, like so many similar anti-intellectual movements, blames a lack of diligence because they just KNOW that the tragedies are out there somewhere, being covered up by untrustworthy scientists and unscrupulous business people. Except they're not. They're just not.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 04:03 PM

70. there are two different types of GM

Neil is referring to hybridization. Technically, you could call it genetically modification. HOWEVER, these hybrids are created by cross-breeding plants or animals within the same genus. Another way is to develop progeny of favorable mutations. Farmers have been doing it for hundreds of years.

However, when you stick a snippet of bacteria DNA in a tomato plant to make it insect-resistant, I want to know more about it. Those organisms are from two different domains!

Not all GMOs are the same, and each should be evaluated on its own merits. But who has the time to investigate that?

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Response to shireen (Reply #70)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 04:44 PM

79. please explain why phylogenetic distance has any relevance to the moral issue....

This one really puzzles me, and I suspect it arises directly out of misunderstanding and biological illiteracy. I've discussed this a lot up thread, but it keeps coming back. Recall that the anti-GMO movement began with accusations of scientists "playing God," whatever that means.

The genes of bacteria and tomatoes are nothing more than genetic records of past solutions to phenotypic challenges. They are an information storage medium (granted, some genes do more than simply store information, but those are not the genes we're talking about here). They are NOT unique properties of bacteria or tomatoes because information is universal. The means of expressing resistance to selective pressures are just as relevant within the context of a tomato cell as they are in a bacterial cell. There is nothing sacred about genes, and in fact there are relatively few genetic barriers to recombining genomes across wide phylogenetic gulfs.

Instead, the barriers are reproductive, and they evolved for completely different reasons that are not relevant in this discussion (the essence is that lateral gene transfer is common among unicellular asexual organisms, but multicellularity and sexual reproduction severely limit opportunities for it, which is a bit off topic in this discussion, I think). Even so, lateral information transfer via genes is common and widespread in many groups of organisms across phylogenetic distances far greater than genera (including domains).

There is no material difference between genetic recombination via hybridization and recombination via other forms of genetic engineering-- in either case, the objective is information transfer from the genome of one organism to that of another, in order to achieve desirable characteristics. That is one reason that most biologists dismiss the notion that GMOs are the result of "scientists playing God." They understand that genes are not unique properties of specific organisms, but rather that they represent bits of stored information that can retain their relevancy in other biological contexts.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #79)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 05:17 PM

87. I don't know. I'm illiterate.

I do not know enough about biology, genetic manipulation, and all that stuff you're talking about.

I don't have time to dissect every sentence and google the terms you're using to figure out what you're saying.

All I have to rely on are my gut feelings. Combining genetic material from two organisms that would otherwise never encounter each other in a reproductive sense gives me the creeps. It's a far cry from traditional hybridization.

So, like all other biological illiterates, my lack of understanding brings out fear and suspicion.

I'm not anti-GMO or pro-GMO. I simply don't understand the science and safety issues behind each product. Nor do i have the time to study it in detail.

Maybe if GMO researchers can find a way to explain their work to us illiterates, that could go a long way towards allaying fears and reducing the hysteria around it.

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Response to shireen (Reply #87)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 05:27 PM

90. just about every major scientific and medical organization HAS said that GMOs are safe...

...and that there is nothing intrinsically "creepy" about genetic engineering. That's the part that freaks me out. People like yourself who admit to not understanding the issues, but who summarily reject the findings of those who do understand them. Don't you think that's a recipe for a dangerous world? Why send our kids to school if we don't respect intellectualism? Why foster scientific literacy if we don't value the consensus of scientists?

It's a world view that's completely incomprehensible to me. Seriously. It troubles the hell out of me.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #90)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:22 PM

150. the issue is more nuanced than that

Science also teaches critical thinking. It's given me the need to understand why something works. Unfortunately, it does not give me the time to delve into it.

If the science is so solid, why are many people anti-GMO? Scientists have done a poor job in explaining why they think GMOs are harmless. Fear-mongers have taken advantage of the situation to make the public afraid of GMOs--once that seed is planted, it's hard to shake off. Our education system has failed in giving the general public a basic foundation in the sciences needed to understand complex scientific issues and to think critically.

When it comes to medical and food safety, things that directly affect our well-being, we feel compelled to act with an abundance of caution. Science and corporate interests (big pharma, big agriculture) can be tightly intertwined in areas of high economic value. Therefore, it's natural to be suspicious, especially when it comes to something as profound as manipulating the code of life.

Be empathetic; see the world through the eyes of anti-GMO'ers. Ask them detailed questions about their fears. Figure out where it's coming from, and try to address it in clear technical non-condescending terms. Gain their trust.

Personally speaking, I have questions about GMOs and not understand it makes me uncomfortable. Therefore, I'm mildly biased towards buying non-GMO products. But the issue never enters my mind when I'm out food-shopping because I pick stores that adopt sustainability practices that are important to me. Those same stores happen to only sell non-GMO products. But if i see a product elsewhere that I really like, that contains GMOs, I'll buy it.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 04:18 PM

73. Neil Degrasse Tyson is dead to me

but seriously, he addresses the anti-science aspect of GMO opposition, but I think there is opposition which is not anti-science, and he does not address that.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 04:36 PM

77. The Banana is also genetically modified.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 04:39 PM

78. Anti-GMO woo is as bad as healing crystals woo, and homeopathy woo.

It's also destructive to real GMO concerns, because it provides a strawman punching bag for those who don't care about GMO safety.

None of the woo-artists are scientists, but they sure pretend to be.

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Response to chrisa (Reply #78)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 05:00 PM

84. +9,000,000,000 eom

 

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 05:41 PM

93. I hate to break it to Dr Tyson

genetically modified and selective breeding is not the same thing. We didn't arrive at roundup ready plants by selective breeding, they did that by splicing genes from other organism. if my understanding is correct he is way off on this. We're not talking about selective bred tomatoes compared to heirloom tomatoes we talking about genetically modifying corn etc.

I agree I'm but a gnat on the ass of a Dr Tyson but either he's blowing smoke or I'm totally off in my thinking considering roundup ready foods which to me is GMO

label the shit and let me decide if I want to eat it, I'll give him a clue I don't want to eat roundup ready corn or other grains if I have a choice.

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Response to madokie (Reply #93)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:18 PM

97. actually, round up resistance more than likely WAS obtained by selective breeding....

The usual method is to grow bacteria in the presence of herbicide at varying dilutions until some colonies evolve resistance. Those colonies are selected, taken through more generations of selection to strengthen the trait, then the gene or genes conferring resistance is cloned for insertion into the target plant's genome.

The point is that there is nothing "unnatural" about the process. It works because artificial selection on bacteria screens the evolution of resistance quite effectively, and because there are very few genetic barriers to recombination once the relevant gene is in hand. But the bacteria evolve resistance quite naturally when challenged by exposure. We use exactly the same methods to screen for bacterial drug production, or for strains that will mitigate pollution.

Granted, this isn't what you likely meant by "selective breeding," but that's only because the methods applicable to asexual prokaryotes are different that those you're likely accustomed to for sexually reproducing eukaryotes.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #97)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:22 PM

99. I'm sorry Mike

but you're way over my head with this so I'll just accept that I don't know squat and let it be that.

My understanding was that GMO was they modify the genes by cutting and splicing from other organisms. Like from other things besides just from other plants .

Like I said I'll shut up now

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Response to madokie (Reply #99)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:30 PM

106. Splicing the DNA from petri dish grown cyanobacteria onto soybean DNA is just like...

 

... splicing a apricot bud onto a flowering plum tree. Because they both use the word "splice". See?

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #106)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:43 PM

109. best comment in this thread....

Hats off.

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Response to madokie (Reply #93)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:36 PM

118. If the science indicated a need for labeling, I'd support it

...but it doesn't.

It's just meant to feed on the general lack of scientific knowledge of the general public.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 05:47 PM

94. I do have only one issue with his argument, traditional hybrids can't be patented...

 

the products of biotechnology, including GMOs can be. I find the legal framework when it comes to any biotechnology to be inconsistent and fails to address issues with self reproducing organisms.

As far as safety and the hysteria surrounding "frankenfoods" I agree with him, its unfounded.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:24 PM

101. He's right.

There is no evidence that GMOs are harmful.

And he's right that all of our food is genetically modified. They just have a fancy way of doing it now.

Some GMOs have the potential to do a lot of good. Golden rice is a strain of rice that has been modified to contain extra beta carotene (a precursor of Vitamin A) to be used in areas with dietary vitamin A deficiency. This deficiency kills hundreds of thousands of children under the age of 5 every year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_rice

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Response to alarimer (Reply #101)

Sat Aug 2, 2014, 12:32 AM

209. Dr. Vandana Shiva

would disagree.

I would like to see her debate the issue with Tyson.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #209)

Sat Aug 2, 2014, 03:04 AM

212. scientist not approved by monsanto

Therefore not legitimate scientist

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #212)

Sat Aug 2, 2014, 10:49 AM

215. AND

as someone at YouTube commented, she has a big dot on her head so she's influenced by superstitious beliefs!!! No credible!

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:30 PM

105. No wild cows?

Umm... what's this?



Looks like a female buffalo - or cow - to me and they certainly are wild.

I still adore deGrasse Tyson, but he's wrong on that point (and on GMOs).

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Response to Fawke Em (Reply #105)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:48 PM

111. in genetics "wild" does not mean "feral..."

...and bison are not feral cattle. In genetics, the term "wild" is short for "wild type," which has a variety of related meanings but basically means "unaltered." All cattle have been genetically altered by domestication and thousands of years of selective breeding-- there are no wild type cattle left in the world, though there are undoubtedly feral cattle.

"Cow" is a generic term for a female bovine or ungulate, not a species of anything. And bison are not cattle.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #111)

Tue Aug 5, 2014, 02:32 AM

220. I'm just now getting to this and you're correct..

She's still called a cow for lack of a better term. She's still bovine.

I was being as proper as he was.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:47 PM

123. NDT debunks creationist nonsense on Cosmos, collective orgasm.

 

NDT goes after the anti-science fringe on the left, under the bus.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:03 AM

127. I guess it depends on why the GMO's were GMed

I don't want to eat anything that has been tweaked so it can be sprayed with glyphosate weed killer.

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Response to tularetom (Reply #127)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:05 AM

131. I guess that is too simple and basic

for some here, but it makes sense to me.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #131)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:15 PM

174. It's simplistic and basic, yes

But based on science or any legitimate, peer reviewed, scientific proof that glycophosphate has any sort of negative health impact?

No, it's not based on anything like that.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:09 AM

134. Funny, though, that our ancestors never spliced fish genes into a tomato.

Or spider genes into another animal, so it could produce silk.

Sorry, the jury (time) is still out.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:09 AM

135. Why is it seen as panicking?

As far as I have seen, all people are requesting is that the foods be labeled, that we study it further and that we are able to keep some unmodified foods available just in case it is a problem. I certainly see the wisdom in doing so and really don't understand the push to force GMO products exclusively upon the world.

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Response to Live and Learn (Reply #135)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:16 PM

175. Labeling indicates that there is a danger.

A danger that hasn't been found by anything resembling sound scientific proof. That's the panicking.

As far as studying it further, how many more than the hundreds and hundreds of studies that have already been done do you think should be conducted?

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #175)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 05:42 PM

189. Those studies are biased

"Independence in research has been studied by a 2011 analysis into conflicts of interest which found a significant correlation between author affiliation to industry and study outcome in scientific work published on health risks or nutritional assessment studies of genetically modified products.[84]"

Some scientists wishing to conduct research on genetically modified plants or seeds have been unable to obtain them for study, because of restrictive end-user agreements that limit what can be done with such seeds. Cornell University's Elson Shields, the spokesperson for one group of scientists who oppose this practice, submitted a statement to the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 protesting that "as a result of restrictive access, no truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions regarding the technology".[77] Scientific American noted that several studies that were initially approved by seed companies were later blocked from publication when they returned "unflattering" results. While arguing that seed companies' intellectual property rights ought to be protected, Scientific American calls the practice dangerous and has called for the restrictions on research in the end-user agreements to be lifted immediately and for the Environmental Protection Agency to require, as a condition of approval, that independent researchers have unfettered access to genetically modified products for testing.[78] In February 2009, the American Seed Trade Association agreed that they "would allow researchers greater freedom to study the effects of GM food crops." This agreement left many scientists optimistic about the future, but there is little optimism as to whether this agreement has the ability to "alter what has been a research environment rife with obstruction and suspicion."[77][79]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_controversies

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #189)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 05:50 PM

193. Wow, that's a keeper

Thanks for posting. I'm saving it for the next time I come across a GMO thread.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #193)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 06:03 PM

196. There's your problem. It's a Wikipedia controversies page

If that's your source, you are going to keep yourself ignorant by choice.

How about you actually study the subject yourself?

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #196)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 06:31 PM

199. No my dear

Right now YOU are my problem. You couldn't be much ruder.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #199)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 06:35 PM

200. You are citing a Wikipedia controversies page as a source

Do you understand what a controversies page is on Wikipedia?

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #200)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 06:47 PM

202. And you are still

trying to provoke me.

I've got better things to do.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #202)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:05 PM

204. ill take that as a no.

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #204)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:32 PM

205. You should take it

as a refusal to be provoked into a pointless argument. Don't you think you've pushed enough buttons for one day? From what I can see, button pushing is pretty much all you've ever done at DU.



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Response to PatSeg (Reply #205)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:35 PM

206. So, no, you don't know what Wikipedia controvery pages are?

You're right, I do push buttons, but very specific buttons.

I only push the buttons of those that are so anti-science that they refuse to discuss GMO issues rationally.

That button doesn't exist in those that have a basic level understanding of agricultural science.

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #196)

Sat Aug 2, 2014, 03:08 AM

213. there goes your ignorance

That wiki references quotes from other sources. They just don't post rubbish. Perhaps you don't like it because they are not approved by Monsanto?

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #213)

Sat Aug 2, 2014, 11:34 AM

216. Of course

he doesn't want to hear that. I thought of mentioning it, but it would be like talking to a wall. Well, actually a wall isn't as combative.....

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #189)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 06:03 PM

195. A Wikipedia controversies page?

That's your basis for throwing out literally thousands of studies done by private sources, universities, and government organizations in both North American and Europe?

Can you list a half dozen or so studies that you feel that Wikipedia page describe?

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Response to ag_dude (Reply #175)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:04 PM

207. No -- labeling indicates there is a label!

 

Is there a danger from pulp in my orange juice? Should I be afraid because it's on the label?

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #207)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:19 PM

208. riiiight

Labeling is just for info.


/Germany 1940

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:28 AM

147. Missing the matter of who and why. Politically naive.

 

Re: Tyson's defense of GMOs.

Here is what he's not asking:

How is this technology applied? What kinds of GMOs have been developed? By whom? To what purpose? With what effect, not just on the biology of the organism or of the eater, but also on the environment and in the political economy, the lives of humans generally? What are the totality of the consequences, insofar as we might know them, as well as the potential unintended consequences? Who decides?

Analogy:

Applying new techniques in metal sciences, I invent a new gun and sell it to a corporation that puts it into immediate mass production. Some people don't like this, many of them for visceral reasons. Others rationalize my invention, like Tyson in this case, with the general argument that people have been making things out of metal for millennia. This is obtuse. He's a smart guy, but he's missing the point. What's the gun for? Who's using it, to what end?

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Response to JackRiddler (Reply #147)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:30 PM

165. You know

I watched something on television recently that focused on how industry often hired (hires) scientists to assure the public and often congress that their products are safe (scientifically tested of course). It was mainly about lead in the 1950s, but it also mentioned asbestos and cigarettes.

I was really impressed with the story about the pro-industry scientist that testified before congress about lead. It was so well presented ................by Neil Degrasse Tyson.

<The story of leaded gasoline, and the attempts to call into question its dangers, has been extensively told. Along with the stories of cigarettes and perhaps asbestos, it is part of a series of historic tales of how corporate interests have tended to challenge and attack science that demonstrates the risks emanating from their practices or products. "This was one of the first times that the authority of science was used to cloak a threat to public health and the environment," says Tyson.>
http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/04/cosmos-neil-tyson-lead-industry-science-denial

I would have hoped that he might take that into consideration when he presents his views on GMOs. I agree with you that it came across as "naive", but from someone who clearly should know better.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #165)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:02 PM

171. There was recently a new story on this

here in Canada. It caused a bit of a sensation, because of the scientists that were involved. When Canada had their SARS outbreak, these scientists (they were doctors too) were there, and a few even caught SARS themselves. They were Canada's 'best' doctor/scientists, often on TV commenting on any new outbreak (flu, ebola etc). The journalists were able to show that many of the medications that these scientists were promoting or studying were sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies that were producing them. Not only that, there were specific journals and advocacy groups the purported to be neutral but were actually receiving money from some branch of a pharmaceutical company or were tied in some way to a doctor or scientist who was employed by a pharmaceutical company. Basically, it's all one big incestuous industry. In the research I've done, it seems it is much the same way with GMOs and GMO research. There's not much for 'science' that doesn't, in some way, link back to 'big ag'. It's too bad Tyson is being obtuse about it.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #171)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:44 PM

180. I recently read two books

about drug companies and their deceptive practices. I'm quite sure those practices are used in other businesses as well. There appears to be a revolving door here in the U.S. between certain industries and the government agencies that supposedly regulate them. Wink, Wink!

I'm beginning to think that companies like Monsanto may also pay people to come on forums like this one to peddle their products and put out fires. There are some who doth protest too much if you know what I mean. Probably the same people who write negative reviews at Amazon for books they've never read.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #180)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:54 PM

181. Oh, here's my area of expertise

I have a business degree (from a good school, lol, not one of those diploma mills) and companies absolutely do hire people to post online. It's usually part of marketing expenses. They usually hire several people as 'social media consultants' and all these people do all day is post to social media and large message boards to promote the company or the views of the company. It's naïve to think those types aren't here. Really large companies that deal with controversy on a regular basis may have entire departments dedicated to this. It's extremely effective because people believe that they are immune to ads (they aren't though, studies show advertising works) but will willingly listen to an anonymous poster online. The internet is a great, free way of marketing for these companies. All the people you can reach for very little expense.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #181)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 05:03 PM

184. Ah, so its not my imagination then

Gullible little anti-science chick that I am!!!


I think some need further training though so they might be a bit more subtle. I've noticed that some end up shutting down a conversation by being overbearing and rude, which might be their objective.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #184)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 05:57 PM

194. No, not your imagination

Another technique I've seen is that when people start calling them out, they disappear for awhile...a few months or so. Meanwhile, someone else starts posting (sometimes with an older account with few posts) that parrots the exact same lines, has the same links, same arguments, etc. When THAT username starts getting heat, they disappear for awhile, and then the first username comes back. There are some usernames that have done this for years, and I've rarely caught them posting on threads not related to their pet subject.

I'm cursed with having a really good memory of everything I read (not quite photographic, but almost) and usernames really stick in my head. I've seen this play out over and over again. You are right though, the objective is to shut down the conversation with intimidation.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #194)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 06:28 PM

198. I have several DU friends

who don't spend a lot of time here anymore because it gets so contentious. We all got tired of it and mostly come here for news and headlines these days. I admit I've given up on threads where someone continually attacks me, but I couldn't with this one. The bullying and condescension couldn't be ignored and the issue is too important.

Glad to see that you've noticed a definite pattern. Makes it much easier to deal with them.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #198)

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 08:04 PM

228. I've given up too.

I mostly post news items, in LBN or Good Reads if it doesn't meet LBN rules.

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Response to bananas (Reply #228)

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 08:10 PM

229. With what Laundry Queen said,

I realized that that is what the trouble makers want though-Kill the threads and any meaningful discussion.

I'm just getting too old for combative stuff. I just have to not let people push my buttons. Some lessons evidently take a lifetime to learn!!!

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #184)

Sat Aug 2, 2014, 02:58 AM

210. i have wondered

Why people are so railed up and call others "idiots". I thought they must be either so arrogant or super passionate for gmo food. After reading your post, it now makes sense. They want to silence anti gmo crowd.

I have seen only Republicans talk like "you are either with us or against us". There is no scope for in between or having suspicion. If someone raises doubts on gmo they are labeled anti science. If you ask for labeling gmo food you are anti science. Ridiculous.

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #210)

Sat Aug 2, 2014, 10:47 AM

214. Such people

seem to know what buttons to push on liberals and inferring that we are in the same category as creationists or the "anti-science crowd" really seems to do the trick. Some of the tactics remind of playground bullying.

Yeah, if you want labeling on your food, that evidently implies there is something wrong with the food and causes panic among us ignorant folks! You're right, their tactics have that republican feel to it-badger and repeat until you wear them down.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #180)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 05:11 PM

185. I have to agree with you

I was shocked to see same lines from some of the pro GMO group that were posted here were also posted in other places in the internet. Especially the sentences with "vaccines" Somehow they want to link anti gmo to anti vaccine group.

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #185)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 05:43 PM

190. Yep

Its starting to look like a script. Think they got their playbook from republicans-everyone using the same talking points. I know there are some old-fashioned trolls who just like starting trouble, but the GMO folks are too organized and consistent to just be rabble-rousers.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #171)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:55 PM

182. Well this thread is good timing for this discussion

From Wikileaks cables:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025322827

<Studies that link Genetically Modified (GM) food to multiple human health ailments are not the only thing that has millions of people questioning the production of GM food. The fact that previously classified secret government documents show how the Bush administration developed ways to retaliate against countries that were refusing to use GM seeds is another.>

http://www.naturalblaze.com/2014/07/wikileaks-cables-reveal-us-govt-planned.html

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #182)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 05:15 PM

186. They are anti science countries

They are anti vaccine countries too. Bush is pro science guy. He will push for science. Everyone in this world has to eat the GMO food.

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #186)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 05:46 PM

191. What is wrong with those backwards countries???

I'll bet they think the world is only 6000 years old too!!!

Sometimes it feels like everything is about money, gets depressing.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:35 PM

152. That's fine that he has this point of view, but ...

... as a person (me) who does not grow his own food, I would like to have the ability to make the choice at the market as to whether I want to pay a few pennies more for GMO-free foods, or settle on a food that has mouse or earthworm DNA spliced into it.

Why is that such a controversy ... ?

Oh, wait, there are CEOs' bonuses and stock options to consider.

Silly me.

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Response to daggahead (Reply #152)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:37 PM

179. THAT is the issue he fails to address here.

 

And a question which many pro-GMO voices here dismiss.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 05:48 PM

192. That's nice.

 

I'm not scared of Frankienfoods. I am scared of the companies that make such foods and what they are doing and why they won't let me know what is in the food.

His argument is moot...nobody is scared of GMO food, but some are worried about the companies that make such food and what corners they might cut in the name of profit.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 06:50 PM

203. The World According to Monsanto

is available on YouTube. It was referenced in the Wikileaks cables. I haven't watched it yet, so can't comment on it.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Sat Aug 2, 2014, 12:30 PM

217. That's disingenuous.

Comparing breeding to altering dna in a lab is a propaganda technique he should be ashamed of.

It also deliberately ignores the other issues: patented seeds that guarantee control of the global food supply to the 1%. That has ethical and moral questions far beyond science.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 12:59 AM

219. Here comes the bus!

Under it you go, Mr Tyson! DU has spoken!

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #219)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 04:56 PM

222. Yikes.

It's bizarre to see it at DU. Fear can win anything if it's pushed hard enough.

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #222)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 09:01 PM

223. fear to label food?

Corporations are afraid they will lose profits?

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #223)

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 06:11 PM

224. No one is afraid of labels that give actual information.

Labels focused on baseless fear mongering, on the other hand, make no sense.

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #224)

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 07:35 PM

225. Then give that information

Label it as "GMO food" and don't label it has "GMO food. May cause allergies and health issues"

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #225)

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 07:44 PM

227. If he's looking for accuracy

then I think "This plant has genetic material from another species artificially inserted into its cells." That should do it. It also means we don't have to go around labeling hybrids which the talking points say are exactlythesame. So, look. Accurate labels. Somehow I think it's about more than that, however.

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #225)

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 08:23 PM

230. You're post is odd, at best.

Just to be clear, GMO food does not cause allergies or health issues.

Secondly, why don't you want to know the mechanism of genetic change for all mechanisms?

And, if you do, why doesn't the anti-GMO movement actually focus on a desire to know the mechanism, regardless of type?

Finally, what would that information tell you? Do you know?

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #230)

Fri Aug 8, 2014, 04:08 AM

234. i am trying to understand this

Why would anyone resist labeling? Labeling is not going to kill gmo technology. At best it might create a small loss of sale to mega corporations. Why is that you are so desperate and go against labeling. That is something I would like to understand.

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Response to wisechoice (Reply #234)

Fri Aug 8, 2014, 08:13 PM

235. Why do you ignore the content of my post in your reply?

Please don't do that. Thank you.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #219)

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 07:37 PM

226. I think he just crawled under the bus and some here want to drag him back into the light of day

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Response to FiveGoodMen (Reply #226)

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 08:26 PM

232. Really?

Are you saying DU is now a religious entity? I don't get it.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Fri Aug 8, 2014, 01:01 AM

233. Alas, too many scientists refrain from pointing out the obvious.

At least NDT does the right thing.

In this day and age, we need all scientists to speak out about these issues.

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