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GM and the Greens

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animist
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Re: GM and the Greens

#201 Post by animist » July 16th, 2015, 7:47 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Alan H wrote:IIRC, there were some calls in the US from pro-GMO activists for all GMO produce to be labelled as such. They felt this would show everyone that they were already eating a huge variety of GMO with no apparent ill effects.
that sounds a good idea

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Dave B
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Re: GM and the Greens

#202 Post by Dave B » July 16th, 2015, 8:22 pm

Alan H wrote:IIRC, there were some calls in the US from pro-GMO activists for all GMO produce to be labelled as such. They felt this would show everyone that they were already eating a huge variety of GMO with no apparent ill effects.
I'd agree with that as well.

TT, I think there are two levels of "concern" here: the scientific sceptical kind and the emotional (some might say irrational) kind.

The former can be tested, the latter is a matter of education (that some may never accept at all). Regardless of any irrationality involved what the customer feels/fears still has to be addressed with a degree of understanding, even compassion. Such things take time, maybe a whole generation.
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Altfish
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Re: GM and the Greens

#203 Post by Altfish » July 16th, 2015, 9:32 pm

The problem is, "What is GM food?"

The banana has been genetically modified, so is every banana marked as GM?
Most well know apples are modified, potatoes, etc, etc.

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Re: GM and the Greens

#204 Post by Gottard » July 17th, 2015, 7:32 am

Dear friends,
I have swiftly read your entries (extremely busy these days) about this topic and I feel to express the following thought/opinion:
1- we should start with a premise that "natural food" in the meaning of food presented to us by nature and natural selection needs no testing for the simple reason that no human intervention has come to alter "the natural world".

2- because of point 1) the onus of proof to show that a product is safe lays with "the alterer" of what nature has produced AND NOT with the natural product (with not human intervention). Of course, a natural product may also be poisonus to "homo sapiens" but this is of medical concern and outside our scope.

3- Let's pay attention to distinguish "genetically modified product" from "transgenic product" . I am sure anyone reading this chapter knows the difference.

I trust in the fact of receaving constructive criticisms from you friends.
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animist
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Re: GM and the Greens

#205 Post by animist » July 17th, 2015, 8:13 am

Gottard wrote:Dear friends,
I have swiftly read your entries (extremely busy these days) about this topic and I feel to express the following thought/opinion:
1- we should start with a premise that "natural food" in the meaning of food presented to us by nature and natural selection needs no testing for the simple reason that no human intervention has come to alter "the natural world".

2- because of point 1) the onus of proof to show that a product is safe lays with "the alterer" of what nature has produced AND NOT with the natural product (with not human intervention). Of course, a natural product may also be poisonus to "homo sapiens" but this is of medical concern and outside our scope.

3- Let's pay attention to distinguish "genetically modified product" from "transgenic product" . I am sure anyone reading this chapter knows the difference.
point 1 and 2 - yes, I think this is relevant. Of course the non-GM foods we eat will be the result of many PAST developments, both completely natural and due to human intervention. Point 3 - I assume you mean that we are really talking about "transgenic", ie the transfer of genes from one organism into a sometime very different organism? Altfish, does this affect your views about eg bananas, which may in some sense be genetically modified but not transgenic?

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/transgenic

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Re: GM and the Greens

#206 Post by animist » July 17th, 2015, 8:21 am

Tetenterre wrote:
animist wrote:What an idiotically inapt comparison to some illegally racist demand.
Is there some part of 'because it has the same safety and scientific content as "contains GMO" ' that you are struggling to understand? In that context, I suggest that it is entirely apt.
the answer to your question is "no". And simply adding a "context" or explanation does not make this comparison apt. It is not just foolish but highly insulting to ordinary people, and thus undemocratic; fortunately we are not yet in a society where men in white coats tell us, not just that something is safe, but that because it is safe we need not be told when it is present in what we buy. And to answer your later point, who are you to decide what is someone else's "legitimate" concern? Again, you come over as elitist and undemocratic, at least on this issue

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Re: GM and the Greens

#207 Post by animist » July 17th, 2015, 8:34 am

Tetenterre wrote:
the message from the Greenpeace video was that there are indigenous plants, notably moringa, which might be able to solve the problem (in this case, vitamin A deficiency) without recourse to GM.
"might be able" - yet they haven't actually shown this, have they?
I think I posted the Wiki article on this plant, which states that it is a source of vitamin A

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Re: GM and the Greens

#208 Post by Dave B » July 17th, 2015, 9:06 am

Not bothering to find TT's mention of moringa but IIRC there is often resistance to novel foods in "tradional" cultures, which are often the ones suffering deficiencies.

We were told at school about the campaign to stop Eastern cultures polishing rice to reduce the incidence of beri-beri - vit B deficiency I think.

Not all of the Far East is yet heavily influenced by Western thinking, "modernisation", that goes for parts of China as well as more remote communities.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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Re: GM and the Greens

#209 Post by animist » July 17th, 2015, 11:47 am

animist wrote:
Tetenterre wrote:
animist wrote:What an idiotically inapt comparison to some illegally racist demand.
Is there some part of 'because it has the same safety and scientific content as "contains GMO" ' that you are struggling to understand? In that context, I suggest that it is entirely apt.
the answer to your question is "no". And simply adding a "context" or explanation does not make this comparison apt. It is not just foolish but highly insulting to ordinary people, and thus undemocratic; fortunately we are not yet in a society where men in white coats tell us, not just that something is safe, but that because it is safe we need not be told when it is present in what we buy. And to answer your later point, who are you to decide what is someone else's "legitimate" concern? Again, you come over as a teeny bit elitist and undemocratic, at least on this issue

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Re: GM and the Greens

#210 Post by animist » July 17th, 2015, 11:56 am

Tetenterre wrote:if you assume that there is some potential risk to so-called "GM" foods that is different to the risk of any other food, then you are indeed begging the question.
I don't think you grasp what I was trying to say, but to answer you in your own terms: no, I was not assuming this
Tetenterre wrote:
animist wrote:I just don't buy your contention that organisations like Greenpeace have somehow taken over the minds of these countries' rulers - and their farmers and consumers - to prevent them adopting what you claim are life-saving techniques. It may indeed be so, but you're the apostle of evidence and proof - prove what you claim.
Cheap shot, animist: I did not assert that Greenpeace has taken over anybody's mind and I'm damned if I'm going to to be tricked into trying to provide evidence for an assertion that I haven't made.
I did not mean to refer to some hypnotic or other takeover of minds by Greenpeace! But you often refer to the powerful influence of Greenpeace and other anti-GM groups, so I don't think that I was making any sort of "cheap shot". You could well be right though when you say that LDC leaders are influenced by the negative attitudes to GM in Europe (though not the USA); I would dearly like to find out how these countries make such decisions

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Re: GM and the Greens

#211 Post by Tetenterre » July 17th, 2015, 12:41 pm

animist wrote: And simply adding a "context" or explanation does not make this comparison apt.
If you genuinely cannot see that to use something that most reasonable people would recognise as being an unreasonable prejudice is an apt comparison/analogy to something that they might not (yet) recognise as being an unreasonable prejudice, then I cannot help you.
It is not just foolish but highly insulting to ordinary people, and thus undemocratic; fortunately we are not yet in a society where men in white coats tell us, not just that something is safe, but that because it is safe we need not be told when it is present in what we buy.
To my mind, this is at best inconsistent and at worst utterly hypocritical:
* Do you insist on having your food labelled to enable you to distinguish whether its contents are the product of artificial selection or natural selection?
* Do you demand that it is labelled to enable you to know which of its genes are transgenic and have been introduced by a virus?
* Do you not think it might be more fruitful (ghastly pun intended) to have cherries labelled with the warning that, if you bite the stone open, you might release dangerous amounts of cyanogens?
And to answer your later point, who are you to decide what is someone else's "legitimate" concern?
Yet again you choose to misrepresent what I wrote. At no point did I decide anything for anyone; I merely expressed an opinion (Clue: "I suggest...").
Again, you come over as elitist and undemocratic
PSSSTZZZST!
Bugger! There goes another irony meter! (Clue: It is you, not I, that repeatedly objects to the other person stating his opinion - and who repeatedly misrepresents the other's opinions as decisions or demands.)
animist wrote:
Tetenterre wrote:
the message from the Greenpeace video was that there are indigenous plants, notably moringa, which might be able to solve the problem (in this case, vitamin A deficiency) without recourse to GM.
"might be able" - yet they haven't actually shown this, have they?
I think I posted the Wiki article on this plant, which states that it is a source of vitamin A
That moringa is a source of vit A is not in dispute: "they" refers to Greenpeace; "this" refers to moringa's ability to solve the problem.

But back to the point that is the crux of this: still nobody has shown any reason that altering an organism's genetics by laboratory-based, intentional, targeted genetic splicing should carry any more risk than altering its genetics by (say) selective breeding; neitehr has anyone produced any evidence to show that it is. Logically (because more genes are involved), it must be selective breeding that is potentially riskier than targeted gene splicing, yet it is the latter that is being demonised. Can someone please explain to me how this is logically, ethically or morally reasonable or responsible?
Steve

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Re: GM and the Greens

#212 Post by animist » July 17th, 2015, 1:56 pm

Tetenterre wrote: But back to the point that is the crux of this: still nobody has shown any reason that altering an organism's genetics by laboratory-based, intentional, targeted genetic splicing should carry any more risk than altering its genetics by (say) selective breeding; neitehr has anyone produced any evidence to show that it is. Logically (because more genes are involved), it must be selective breeding that is potentially riskier than targeted gene splicing, yet it is the latter that is being demonised. Can someone please explain to me how this is logically, ethically or morally reasonable or responsible?
did you read Gottard's post, TT? Selective breeding has been going on a long time, and so, whether this is rational or not, we are used to it; for the same sort of reason it also SEEMS less radical than transgene splicing. I won't respond to the rest of your spiel pro tem, as my responses would be mirrors of your complaints, and our exchanges, while they might amuse the rest of TH, may also bore them :wink:

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Re: GM and the Greens

#213 Post by animist » July 18th, 2015, 1:37 pm

I watched the SF film "Interstellar" for the first time last night. Earth was dying because of crop blight, so humanity shot off to Saturn, to a time warp and beyond. I wonder if GM to fight the blight had been tried first? :wink:

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Re: GM and the Greens

#214 Post by Tetenterre » July 20th, 2015, 12:23 pm

animist wrote:did you read Gottard's post, TT?
Yes. I disagree with his opinion, but didn't bother to say so as that must be blindingly obvious from what I have already posted here.
Selective breeding has been going on a long time,
Gottard's post specifically mentioned "natural selection". Selection can be either "natural" or "artificial". Selective breeding has been happening ever since the first organism able to select a mate did so, i.e. hundreds of millions of years. Artificial selection, which usually refers to the situation where a human chooses the breeding partners for a different species, is probably only about 10,000 years old, if that. Which are you talking about?
animist wrote: I wonder if GM to fight the blight had been tried first? :wink:
Nah, the anti-science misinformation-mongers had already won that battle. :wink:
Steve

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Re: GM and the Greens

#215 Post by jdc » July 21st, 2015, 2:36 am

Gottard wrote:Dear friends,
I have swiftly read your entries (extremely busy these days) about this topic and I feel to express the following thought/opinion:
1- we should start with a premise that "natural food" in the meaning of food presented to us by nature and natural selection needs no testing for the simple reason that no human intervention has come to alter "the natural world".

2- because of point 1) the onus of proof to show that a product is safe lays with "the alterer" of what nature has produced AND NOT with the natural product (with not human intervention). Of course, a natural product may also be poisonus to "homo sapiens" but this is of medical concern and outside our scope.

3- Let's pay attention to distinguish "genetically modified product" from "transgenic product" . I am sure anyone reading this chapter knows the difference.

I trust in the fact of receaving constructive criticisms from you friends.
1. Why would food being "natural" be a good reason to exempt it from testing? Plenty of things that are "natural" are dangerous.
2. Why would something of medical concern be outside the scope of safety testing?

I'd be happy enough with a situation where traditional foods with a long track record of safety were exempted from testing, where foods known to be poisonous were banned, and where novel foods required safety assessments. I don't think I'd complain either if novel foods which contained genetically modified organisms required an environmental risk assessment. (I think this is pretty much the status quo now in the EU.)
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Re: GM and the Greens

#216 Post by Gottard » July 21st, 2015, 9:08 pm

jdc wrote:I'd be happy enough with a situation where traditional foods with a long track record of safety were exempted from testing, where foods known to be poisonous were banned, and where novel foods required safety assessments. I don't think I'd complain either if novel foods which contained genetically modified organisms required an environmental risk assessment. (I think this is pretty much the status quo now in the EU.)
Jdc, you have given the answer yourself, i.e. I agree with you.
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Re: GM and the Greens

#217 Post by animist » July 21st, 2015, 9:17 pm

Tetenterre wrote:Gottard's post specifically mentioned "natural selection". Selection can be either "natural" or "artificial". Selective breeding has been happening ever since the first organism able to select a mate did so, i.e. hundreds of millions of years. Artificial selection, which usually refers to the situation where a human chooses the breeding partners for a different species, is probably only about 10,000 years old, if that. Which are you talking about?
well yes, actually I got a bit confused about what he meant exactly, but I felt it worth mentioning his distinction between transgenic and other types of human intervention in the breeding of plants or animals. I would have meant artificial rather than natural selection, to answer your question. BTW, I see that Emma W started a thread on Facebook relating to GM; one friend of hers mentioned lifetime testing: ie, I assume, monitoring a consumer of GM food through their entire lifetime in order to attempt to see if they had developed any disorder - a pretty drawn out and difficult exercise I would think, and I actually responded by saying that people in poor countries might well have a different set of priorities to us if they were facing drought or some other threat to their food security

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Re: GM and the Greens

#218 Post by Tetenterre » July 22nd, 2015, 10:07 am

animist wrote:BTW, I see that Emma W started a thread on Facebook relating to GM; one friend of hers mentioned lifetime testing: ie, I assume, monitoring a consumer of GM food through their entire lifetime in order to attempt to see if they had developed any disorder - a pretty drawn out and difficult exercise I would think, and I actually responded by saying that people in poor countries might well have a different set of priorities to us if they were facing drought or some other threat to their food security
Is this same person proposing lifetime testing for all new crop varieties or only for so-called "GM"?

It probably comes as no surprise that, if it's just for GM, I have no sympathy with what I see as essentially an "I don't understand the technology so it frightens me and, rather than either learn about it or accept the overwhelming consensus of experts in the field, I want legislation to cater for my fears" attitude. At the risk of sounding like a stuck record (I think most of us remember those), I just don't see how that is a logical, ethical or moral stance.

As an aside, does anyone else here recognise the sick irony that those who attempt to prevent GM field trials are amongst those that whinge that the very same crops are inadequately tested?
Steve

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Re: GM and the Greens

#219 Post by Alan C. » July 26th, 2015, 8:29 pm

GM crops won't produce viable seed, that in my opinion is reason enough to be anti GM.
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Re: GM and the Greens

#220 Post by Alan H » July 26th, 2015, 9:12 pm

Alan C. wrote:GM crops won't produce viable seed, that in my opinion is reason enough to be anti GM.
From the Sense About Science publication Making Sense of GM:
Terminator Technology

Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURT) is a proposed method for restricting the use of GM plants by causing second generation seeds to be sterile. In the late 1990s, GURTs, nicknamed ‘terminator’ technology, were conceived by companies to protect their commercial interests and intellectual property rights in GM crops. This was seen as a violation of the rights of farmers to grow crops from saved seeds. A global moratorium on the testing and commercialization of the technology was established under the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity in 2000. It was reviewed in 2006 and still stands.

Environmental concerns about the cross-pollination of GM crops have led to renewed interest in using GURTS so that any resulting seed would be sterile, but at present the technology is not used or ready for use. The European research programme, Transcontainer, is looking at other technologies that might prevent cross-pollination.

It wasn’t made clear in previous discussions about GURTS that in conventional agriculture farmers buy new seeds every year as standard practice, and are usually tied to a supplier for each season’s seeds. Popular F1 hybrids are also single use because the plant characteristics aren’t reliably repeated the following year. Farmers in developing countries use this system where they can, as it guarantees quality, although many still use home-saved seed and choose varieties that enable them to do that.
Alan Henness

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1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: GM and the Greens

#221 Post by Gottard » July 27th, 2015, 4:17 pm

Thank you Alan, this info is much interesting. :thumbsup:
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