# The Future of GM Technology...

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by ULTRA, Mar 10, 2011.

1. ### ULTRARealistically SurrealRegistered Senior Member

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Come on now, Skeptic, no environmental problems? perfect safety? Where are you getting your information? Care to back it up with any evidence? Not even natural foods can claim that!

3. ### SkepticalRegistered Senior Member

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Ultra

I do not think I said perfect safety. For al I know, someone dropped a GM potato from the Empire State Building, which hit someone on the head and killed them!

However, it is fair to say that there is no record of any significant ecological problem from crops because they are GM, and no record of anyone's health being harmed in any measurable way because their food was GM.

5. ### ULTRARealistically SurrealRegistered Senior Member

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Hmm. I seem to remember a load of insects that fell foul of GM in Britain, but it depends on your definition of significant..GM rape with toxic pollen and antibodies to GM viruses turning up in blood samples. Oh, I could mine up a whole spoil-heap if you really wanted. The debate is anything but settled. Even respected scientists counsel caution. A hell of a lot of time, money and effort go into making these things as safe as possible. How unsafe would they be otherwise? The answer as you well know, is very. We therefore know these have the potential to be unsafe without due diligence. And that at the end of the day is all I ask.

7. ### John99BannedBanned

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Everything that grows on the earth is "genetically modified".

8. ### SkepticalRegistered Senior Member

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Well ultra.
You got your wish. Due diligence is enforced by a number of government departments.

"Antibodies to GM viruses"??? That is not anything to do with GM crops and foods. If someone was making GM viruses, that would be an entirely different matter, and I would not be happy. Can you document?

9. ### ULTRARealistically SurrealRegistered Senior Member

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GM viruses used as recombinant vectors, wasn't supposed to happen, but they turned up, whole, in people. No deadly super-weaponized mumps I'm sorry to say..(did I just say that??) um...:shh:

This accidentally got into human livers..http://www.biotech-info.net/gene_therapy.html As a spinn-off it suggested a medical treatment!

It's a very reputable paper. Believe me now? Scorpion venom. I ask you!!!

Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
10. ### SkepticalRegistered Senior Member

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Interesting.

Do you have any empirical evidence, published in reputable sources, of any harm to humans or to the environment from this technology? Other than harm to target species, of course.

Sorry to harp on about the reputable source thing, but I keep getting hit by references from web sites that cannot be trusted. Hope you understand.

11. ### ULTRARealistically SurrealRegistered Senior Member

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It's a perfectly respectable paper, published for educational purposes, with references. Sorry, but I don't buy this whole petulant "i don't like it" crap, because that's exactly what it is. Crap. You have clearly no intention of accepting any data you don't like from any source other than your own, who you still haven't provided. This means, unfortunately I can no longer accept your position as tenable, as this amounts to trolling.
There aspects where we do agree, I suggest we focus on these.

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14. ### SkepticalRegistered Senior Member

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Ultra

You persist in using disreputable sources. Try a proper science source.

First : the sacking of Arpad Pusztai. This guy was sacked for incompetence (actually, his contract was not renewed). He carried out so-called research that was of the lowest possible standard. He failed to use proper controls, for Finagle's sake!! The fact that the anti-GM movement have made a media star out of him since does not alter the fact that he was incompetent.

Here is a report by the Royal Society on the GM potato work done by Pusztai.
And yes, I do regard the British Royal Society to be a reputable source.

Re your reference called The Ecologist.
Yes it is disreputable. Let me tell you how I know. I have not seen this web site before, so I took time to browse the other publications on the web site. It did not take long to see that the web site was supporting biodynamics. This is the branch of organic agriculture that runs mostly to superstition and dogma. It is literally a load of cattle dung.
http://www.biodynamics.in/BD500.htm

Any publication that supports biodynamics has proven itself to be disreputable.

It is kind of strange how many organisations based on superstition adopt a name that sounds scientific. The British Soil Association, for example, is nothing more than a marketing arm of the organic food industry, and uses their impressive sounding label to appear scientific as they present unscientific dogma in favour of the multi-billion dollar organic food corporations to make more sales and more .

15. ### ULTRARealistically SurrealRegistered Senior Member

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The Ecologist is a perfectly respectable publication, with an excellent reputation. Your source is obviously biased, as it makes no mention that the accusations were later retracted. The british soil association is the regulatory body that verifies and awards organic status. It would help if you knew what you were talking about. Slandering these organisations does nothing to prove your entirely ridiculous, unproven claims.

16. ### SkepticalRegistered Senior Member

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Ultra

When discussing GM we have a problem. The internet is rife with web sites discussing GM, and 9 out of 10 of them seem to be crackpot web sites.

Since there are literally dozens of such web sites, I cannot know them all. So when I find a web site, like the Ecologist, I have to make a judgement on whether it is likely to be reputable or crackpot. Sometimes I recognise the site, but more often not. If not, there are three ways I can check.

1. I can check with good scientific sources to see if they have had reason to discuss the web site in question.
2. I can look at the web site and see if I recognise the names of authors. Some are reputable scientists, and some are "woo" artists.
3. I can review the web site, and see what else they have written. A web site that is based on good science will be consistently good science. Something like Scientific American will not present a good article and then go on, in another item, to discuss bullshit as if it was good science. It will be consistent.

With the Ecologist, I used technique number 3. They had an article on biodynamics, which was saying that biodynamics was the way to go in agriculture. Since biodynamics is bullshit of the worst kind, the web site is clearly written by "woo" artists, and must not be taken seriously.

As I have said to you repeatedly, find your point on a reputable web site and I will take it seriously and treat it with respect. Use a "woo" site and I will treat it with the contempt it deserves.

17. ### ULTRARealistically SurrealRegistered Senior Member

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Biodynamics are simply a way to operate a farm on an organic and sustainable way. That the Ecologist discusses it is hardly "woo" as you put it. Farms have been using biodynamics successfully for the last 10,000 years until artificial fertilisers and sprays came along in the last centuary. The introduction of modern agrochemicals accounts for 0.0001% of historical agriculture. If that is "woo" then thank God for "woo" because it kept all your ancestors alive. Really, you should know your histiory.

18. ### SkepticalRegistered Senior Member

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Ultra

Biodynamics is less than 100 years old. It was begun in the early 20th Century by the mystic and religious thinker, Rudolph Steiner.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Steiner
It is the most extreme version of organic farming, and is based on superstition and pseudo-religious dogma. There is little or no science in it, but lots of pseudo-religious mysticism. To give you an idea, here are two of the techniques they use.

1. The cow horn method. A cow horn is stuffed with cow faeces. It is buried in the ground, so that it can absorb "life energy" from the ground. It is dug up four months later, and the now composted faeces are mixed with water, and sprayed over field at a dose of 25 grams per hectare. This miniscule dose clearly has no fertilising effect, but is supposed to add "life energy" to the field.
http://www.biodynamics.in/BD500.htm

2. Peppering. This is a replacement for pesticides. They take the dead bodies of the pest animals, and render them to ash. It is sprayed over the fields, and the ash, by some mystical process, turns the pest sterile.

Anyone who takes this nonsense seriously is no scientist.

19. ### ULTRARealistically SurrealRegistered Senior Member

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Citing sceptics.org alone destroys your own arguement by your own rules. I have no intention of giving it any credence.

20. ### SkepticalRegistered Senior Member

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To Ultra

Fine. I accept the reproof.

Here is a reference from the biodynamic industry itself.
http://www.biodynamics.net.au/articles/T&C Weed article.pdf

I quote :

"Biodynamic Banana Farmers, Greg
Holmes and Susan Foster of Nambucca
Valley, NSW, also found a combination of
peppering and biodiversity management
was their solution to an outbreak of Black
Rats (Rattus rattus) attacking their
horticultural crops.
"I basically add the ground rat pepper
ash
to 60 litres of water in my flowform,
stir for an hour, and using water as the
carrier, fill it into my backpack and spray it
over the land, making sure I cover the
boundaries of my banana plantation,"

Feel free to read the whole article, so you judge for yourself how bad is the nonsense that is biodynamics.

And another one - this time using peppering to control weeds.
http://www.biodynamics.in/pepper.htm

I quote :

"Seeds which are ripe and viable should be burnt at Full Moon or when the Moon is in Leo (Simha) constellation.

The seeds are put into a small tin and placed in a very hot fire. If seeds are not available, gather the roots of rampantly growing weeds and burn them in a very hot fire.

The resultant ash is mixed with fine sand or wood ash and spread over the affected land or potentised to a D6 or D8 and should be spread at Full Moon, several times in the year if needed. The potentizing can be done by a homeopath."

These quotes are what the biodynamics people themselves are saying. Do you still think biodynamics is anything but a load of nonsense?

21. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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Apparently, some people will believe that what they can't see whne they don't look therefore doesn't exist.

These people should not be allowed to deploy GM organisms unto the landscape we all share.

The example was construction equipment, not weaponry. No one is trying to kill people when they dig subway tunnels.

Small and focused explosions, sometimes fizzle burns even, of kinds useful for construction, have been tested for more than fifty years now. There is no evidence anyone or anything has ever been harmed by them.

They are common - modified viruses (and a virus is mostly genetics, so we are talking modified genetics) are all over the place - vectors, vaccines, research.
Your assigning of benign motives to the executives of Monsanto is without data support.

Your offer to restrict the field of consequences of actions to those aligned with the best motives for acting, is refused.

But since Monsanto's executives are of such reliable and commendably competent selflessness, perhaps we could make nuclear subway construction equipment acceptable by having Monsanto oversee its deployment?

btw:
We need a name for this kind of reasoning. It's a general phenomenon, coming up in discussions of nuclear power frequently and many other issues.

Proposal: "Challenger Logic", after the famous example of it in which the absence of disaster from a continual but sporadic erosion of the O rings during shuttle launches and engine tests was gradually incorporated as evidence of safety.

We could then reply in shorthand, saving ourselves the longwinded explications each and every time, with a likeness of Ockham's Razor - maybe we could call it "Feynman's Rebut" - that stands for the general observation that a series of unexpected mishaps and near misses, not predicted and not routinely handled, only arrested short of actual disaster by good fortune and/or sudden ingenuity in response, is not something from which safety can be inferred.

Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
22. ### SkepticalRegistered Senior Member

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To iceaura

You said :

"Apparently, some people will believe that what they can't see whne they don't look therefore doesn't exist. "

Fine. Show me the harm. Use reputable sources.

You said :

"The example was construction equipment, not weaponry. No one is trying to kill people when they dig subway tunnels.

Small and focused explosions, sometimes fizzle burns even, of kinds useful for construction, have been tested for more than fifty years now. There is no evidence anyone or anything has ever been harmed by them."

OK. I accept this point.

You said :

"They are common - modified viruses (and a virus is mostly genetics, so we are talking modified genetics) are all over the place - vectors, vaccines, research."

OK. Misunderstanding. I thought you were talking of human viruses.

You said :

"Your assigning of benign motives to the executives of Monsanto is without data support."

I have never assigned benign motives to Monsanto. I have consistently said that corporates cannot be trusted. However, their motives are not death and destruction. Their motives are to increase the wealth of their shareholders. Very, very different to those who make nuclear weapons.

You said :

"We need a name for this kind of reasoning."

We have several names - logic and rational thinking. To say that a lack of problems over 16 years is a positive sign is totally logical, reasonable, and rational. What is irrational is to keep using imaginary and speculative scenarios as 'evidence'.

23. ### ULTRARealistically SurrealRegistered Senior Member

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Untrue Evidence?