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Re: [atheists-55] Re: Indian Ocean concert - please save the dates.

From: Doug
Sent on: Thursday, August 4, 2011 11:03 AM
I pretty much agree with Malcolm here.

To Emil, I could just as easily say if you claim that regular tomatoes are safe then what's your evidence?  Have you conducted a longitudinal study on this years tomato crop?  They all have mutations in them that make them slightly different from last year.  Have you analyzed the long-term effects and possible genetic interactions that arise  from cross-pollination with every other  tomato out there?  Basically what you are saying is silly.

What matters is what proteins and other chemical compounds the genes make, that was the whole point of my chocolate milk example, we already know sugar and chocolate are safe they don't magically become unsafe just because they were produced by a cow cell.  I think it would be reasonable to require that you only design plants or animals to produce chemicals are proteins that we already know are safe for consumption if they are going to be in a food product. The point is though that it's not some whole seperate thing where you need to start from scratch.  If we engineer a tree that emits mustard gas we know in advance it's going to be deadly, it's not going to surprise anyone.  Now yes as with bisphenol sometimes our ideas about what's safe change as new information comes along, but so what. Just make some new batch of seeds that don't produce whatever substance.  There isn't a problem you can engineer your way into that you can't engineer your way out of.

Also, do you know what the potential consequences of some round up ready plant being crossed with a wild type are? Just another plant that doesn't die when you spray it with roundup.  That's very likely it. I am absolutely saying though that if this mutation came about by natural means than it is equally safe as a GM one.  Emphasize on equally cus they are both potentially unsafe as well, in other words it's not like nature can't make a poisonous plant.  Yet you accept every day that it probably doesn't.  Basically you trust random chance mutation more than those that a human being purposely put there, a human who was consciously trying to make something safe for human consumption.  Doesn't it seem like if anything you would more likely want testing in the former case, yet I don't see you calling for it.  Where is the false analogy? Why would the plant be any more likely to produce a compound that was safe? You're the one subscribing to a fallacy and it's the fallacy that anything "natural" must somehow be good or harmless.  Random mutations don't have any motivation to not harm you.  However, The scientists creating genetically modified crops certainly do.

-Doug

On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 8:19 AM, Malcolm <[address removed]> wrote:
Couldn't most of these arguments be applied to breeding as well?  AFAIK, pretty much none of fruits and vegetables you buy at your local supermarket bare much of a resemblance to their pre-agriculture ancestors.  Just look at what we did to bananas.  My point is, GMO might sound new and scary but is it all that different from what we've been doing since the beginning of agriculture?

- Malcolm


On Aug 3, 2011, at 11:27 PM, Emil Volcheck wrote:

Hello, Doug,

You characterized Deshmukh's position as "well I don't really
know but something bad is bound to happen, so we should ban it".
I think he addressed that when he called for testing.  Let's apply
some skeptical and critical thinking to Monsanto's claims.

If the claim is that GMOs are safe, what is their evidence?
Have they conducted a longitudinal study?  Analyzed the
long-term effects and possible genetic interactions that arise
from cross-pollination with wild types?  I think the evidence
is thin.  It's not unreasonable or being a "hippie" to ask for
stronger evidence before accepting the claims.  When
engineering a complex system, there can be side-effects
that take a long time to appear.  For instance, bisphenols
are complicated molecules, once thought safe enough
to use for babies.  Then it was discovered that they had
hormonal side-effects, something completely out of the
realm of expectation at the time.  Could there be
unanticipated side-effects to certain GMOs that exceed
today's science but become apparent in the year 2040?
I don't know myself, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility
without evidence.

Also, have you noticed some of the contradictions in the fear mongering
about these plants "replicating out of control on their own" and being
terminators.  How does that add up? You can't have it both ways.

The foreign genes inserted into GMO crops have been proven to
appear in ordinary non-GMO crops through cross-pollination,
and then those plants reproduce.

inherently better? Safer?  How would it be different at all?  Did you know,
for instance, that there are roundup resistant cocaine plants? Not from
being GM either, but because they have been spraying shit tons of roundup on
cocaine crops out of planes in Columbia for years.  A naturally resistant
strain developed simply due to random genetic mutation. Genetic engineering

This is a process of natural selection.  The plants "discovered" the
resistance through a combination of pre-existing genetic material
and random mutations that conferred a selective advantage.
This is categorically different than a genetic change that was
engineered and inserted by humans.  If the intent here is to suggest
that the same effect could be produced by a natural as well as
an artificial process, therefore the artificial process must be
equally safe, then I'd say this is a fallacy of false analogy.
Your claim might be correct, but a skeptic should hesitate
to accept your reasoning.

In any case, I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with what you and
Deshmukh are claiming.  My point is that we could be a bit more
skeptical and ask for more evidence before dismissing each
others' arguments out-of-hand.

Thanks,

--Emil

On Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 11:32, Doug <[address removed]> wrote:
Harming the ecosystem is a bit subjective.  To some anything man does is
considered harm.   They probably shed a tear for "unnatural extinction of
the small pox virus.

We aren't talking about ozone or climate change.  We are talking about
genetic engineering of plants. They have nothing to do with each other. I'm
not defending monsanto, it seems like they may be misusing this stuff if so
have at them, toss they all in jail, lynch them in the streets, I don't
care. you seem to be missing the point.  Which is that you are spreading
fear based on ignorance about GM anything.  Your whole argument basically
boils down to "well I don't really know but something bad is bound to
happen, so we should ban it".  I'm sorry if that sounds ignorant to me.
What if I just inserted the genes for producing coco and sugar into a cow so
it could produced chocolate milk?  What that be bad?  Is that cow more
likely to grow 10 feet tall with five horns and start ransacking the
neighborhood? Are your children from drinking the EVIL GM chocolate milk?
Some fool like you probably thinks "well idk that's a possibility maybe we
should test it".  That's one of those things that's sound reasonable if you
don't know any better. Like "teach both sides of the controversy" for
example.  However,  I do know better and let me tell you, it's not a
possibility and if you think that it is it's only because you are indeed
completely ignorant about genetic engineering.

Also, kinda of along the lines of what John is saying you could probably
accomplish these same things they have done by modifying genes with
selective breeding over time.  It might take longer but would the product be
inherently better? Safer?  How would it be different at all?  Did you know,
for instance, that there are roundup resistant cocaine plants? Not from
being GM either, but because they have been spraying shit tons of roundup on
cocaine crops out of planes in Columbia for years.  A naturally resistant
strain developed simply due to random genetic mutation. Genetic engineering
is just a means to and end, and it's the end you seem not to like.

Also, have you noticed some of the contradictions in the fear mongering
about these plants "replicating out of control on their own" and being
terminators.  How does that add up? You can't have it both ways. Another
thing if these things are so terrible for farmers, the farmers could just
not use them. If it really puts them in this huge economic hole then just
grow something else. Seems likes it's a problem that would solve itself.

Anyway, yeah, like I said stop the practices if that's what you are
against.  Figure out whether it's terminator seeds or roundup ready or the
fact that they are conning people with it and make JUST that illegal.  Stop
trying to frighten people that anything that's genetically modified is some
kind of scary dangerous mutant when you have no evidence to that effect.
Natural random mutation could just as easily introduce something dangerous
into our food supply all replicating and interbreeding on their own and
shit.  Maybe we should have a batteries of tests that we institute for every
single plant of every new generation.  You know just to be on the safe
side... yeeash

-Doug





--
Emil Volcheck
[address removed]
http://EmilVolcheck.com/



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