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

From: Kevin G.
Sent on: Thursday, August 4, 2011 12:31 PM
Please get a chat room.  This list is for notification NOT discussion.

Skydivers don't knock on death's door, they ring the bell and run away...It REALLY pisses him off.

The World Famous Tink ( I never heard of you either! )
AA #2069 ASA #33  POPS #8808.
EAC Chairman, Division of Skydiving and Sushi consumption .

From my iPhone . 

On Aug 4, 2011, at 12:14, Doug <[address removed]> wrote:

It's just a conversion you apparently don't care about, not spam.  No one is trying to sell you Viagra here.  Also, you clearly have gmail so even these 50 emails basically just amount to one conversation in your mailbox.  Is that really so overwhelming for you? Relax.


On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 8:39 PM, John K <[address removed]> wrote:
Oh my goodness, isn't this list supposed to be about atheism, not GM? Look, I follow Monsanto professionally. But this spam is getting out of hand.


On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 12:03 PM, Nishikant Deshmukh <[address removed]> wrote:
The problem is we are not building an ant hill but a complete Himalayas which nature finds it hard to circumvent.

 As I said interventional research at a small scale is fine. Initially the dairy industry got a boom after use of hormones used to get more milk. It has created more malaise than helping us. The problem is we know how to create things but we don't know how to keep them in control. For e.g. Fukushima plant in Japan.

 Nature does experiments on small scale and then slowly expands. It take thousands of years for a particular species to be predominant, enough time for other species to revolve and adapt to this new menace. When we do it in a short time and without warning. The result is a catastrophe.

Best Regards,
Nishikant Deshmukh
Graduate Student
Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus

On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 11:44 AM, Doug <[address removed]> wrote:
The point about the tomatoes was that for any given tomato plant it could have had a mutation that changed it from being safe to unsafe.  You are speaking to how the fruit got here to begin with though.  The tomatoes don't sit around thinking well I want someone to eat me so I better not have any bad mutations.  First come the mutations and then selection. You're just not thinking this out. How the tomatoes evolved has no bearing on whether any individual plants next mutation will be harmless.

As far as the creature surviving long long enough to go shit out some seeds across town.  That seems like a lower standard than any human engineer would apply.  I mean I assume they do do some testing to check that it doesn't instantly kill people before ramping up to mass production.

This is purely philosophical but in my opinion we are part of nature and so if therefore anything we do, no different than an ant building an ant hill.  The rest of nature can just deal with it and rebalance around us. So yeah...


On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 7:57 PM, Nishikant Deshmukh <[address removed]> wrote:
 If tomatoes became dangerous then the whole human population would have been wiped off far while ago. We have multiple colored flowers because of cross pollination . But when you start mixing a rodent genes into a crop, no one knows what will come out of it. The GM crop is more resistant to a certain pest (for a while, pest starts showing resistance soon) because the crop has been mixed with some insect which secrets a special chemical that drives away the pest. Is secretion of such chemicals by a plant on hectares and hectares of land safe? In terms of hybrid crop mostly the yield increases because of better flower but the crop is not resistant to a certain pest.

 Coming back to natural selection. Do you ever wondered what is purpose of a fruit?

 Plants create fruit to attract mammals and birds etc. to carry their seeds far off. Seeds mostly won't get digested and when it comes out of an animals body it is surrounded by all vital nitrogen it needs.

 I agree that not all mutations by nature may not be harmless but if you see the design of nature, animals and birds will stop eating poisonous fruits and they will eventually die off or as you know they will be concentrated in only one particular region. Region where the fruit drops off from the plants and grow just below the tree. Even that is restrictive because the seed is highly unlikely to be a strong plant once it is under a shade of another plant. So this is nature's way of restricting bad and mutant species. Now these plants may be digested by a certain animal species to create poison for other animals, etc. And this is natures way of taking care of everyone. right?

 Going by this natural selection, plants which are harmless to most species are abundant, correct?

 Now coming back to allowing human intervention into this natural selection. It is good that we study them and try to find answers for other known problems like polio, tuberculosis, HIV AIDS, cholera, malaria, etc.

 But do you really think it is advisable to extend this untested research in an adhoc manner in GM crops in millions of acres of land and destroy the balance of nature and above all be ignorant of fallacies?

Best Regards,
Nishikant Deshmukh
Graduate Student
Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus

On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 11:03 AM, Doug <[address removed]> wrote:
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.


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.



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

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