The Future of GM Technology...

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

  1. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    vague hints?
    the GM industry is being accused of nonindependent, nonrequired, testing, the results of which is being kept secret.
    i don't know how plainer to make it
    how long do you think it would take for DNA damage to manifest itself?
     
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  3. ULTRA Realistically Surreal Registered Senior Member

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    You'll forgive me Skeptic if I don't put much faith in organisations like Monsanto. The people who created Agent Orange and DDT claiming they were safe. Proven otherwise. People who take out lawsuits against farmers for breach of copyright when thier own GM crops have infected organic ones, when they're supposed to be sterile...
    Profit driven, ethically bankrupt. Nah, not likely. They are not and never have been trustworthy.
     
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  5. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

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    Ultra

    I have never suggested you should trust Monsanto.
    I agree that profit driven companies cannot be trusted, and will do whatever they can get away with to maximise those profits. But what has that to do with whether GM crops and foods are dangerous?

    leopold

    We have had 16 years of large scale consumption of GM foods with hundreds of millions of people eating large amounts. If you want to say, after all that experience, that this represents a hazard, then you have a big battle on your hands.

    As I have said before, there are large numbers of researchers who would dearly love to make their reputations and their fortunes by uncovering a serious hazard from GM foods. Many have tried, and none have succeeded.

    I am aware of the frustration experienced by Ultra and iceaura as they try to win this argument. What they are unwilling to admit is the reason they fail. It is because there is no convincing evidence, published by reputable sources, that shows a clear cut danger from GM crops and foods.

    I am totally willing to be convinced otherwise, but only with good data. Not crackpot political web sites, or even from reputable web sites which discuss vague concerns. It has to be good science, and it has to be something solid.
     
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  7. ULTRA Realistically Surreal Registered Senior Member

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    Do you honestly not see the connection?
     
  8. ULTRA Realistically Surreal Registered Senior Member

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    Not true. I provided information from the secretary of states speech saying explicitly that good husbandry of the soil was more effective than GM crops planted in Africa. You have no intention of listening to anybody else as can be clearly shown throughout this thread! You demand credible science, and can't accept it when given it. I gave you EU maps county by county and you never even read them properly. And all we get in return is your opinion that nothing dodgy has ever happened "or ever will", which frankly is just plain wrong, if not ludicrous! No science, not even pharma is 100% safe. But carry on with your delusion, it's your right!
     
  9. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

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    Lots of people and lots of commercial companies are not to be trusted. That does not mean they are going about committing evil acts.

    I have no doubt, for example, that Monsanto has a policy of obeying the law. Most companies do. If the law requires them to carry out certain tests on their products, they will. If the law imposes penalties for selling something they know to be dangerous, and it does, then they will make every reasonable effort to avoid that.

    All of which fails to alter the fact that they are primarily profit oriented and will do that which makes profits, even if it is not ethical. But they will not do that which costs them money as a result of law suits against them.

    With respect to GM products, this means that Monsanto will make every reasonable effort to ensure their products are as close to harmless as possible. Anything else would be to their detrement.
     
  10. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

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    1,449

    Ultra

    Almost anything is better than the normal agriculture practised in Africa, even if it uses GM. I have read studies that showed African agriculture can have its yields increased five fold, with proper modern techniques.

    Your EU data was not up to date, which I pointed out. What is more important, though, is that the information was irrelevent to the discussion. We all know that lots of countries have banned GM. This is the direct result of the anti-GM organisations at work. It is irrelevent, though, to the question of whether GM actually deserves to be banned. It is like saying that because 200 nations have people practising astrology that astrology must be valid, instead of the ridiculous superstition all good scientists know it to be. No matter how many nations ban GM, there is still no good science to support such a ban. The bans are just bullshit politics.

    We even had the tragic situation where Greenpeace spoke to President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia, during a famine in which tens of thousands of people were dying of starvation, and persuaded him to ban an aid shipment of corn from the USA because it might have contained some GM. Finagle knows how many thousands of innocent people died as a result of that weird decision. Dirty politics and dirty Greenpeace hurting people.

    I have not said nothing 'dodgy' has ever happened. In fact, this is the first time in this thread I even used the word 'dodgy'. I have, however, said that no significant harm to anyone eating GM food has happened due to the fact that the food was GM, and that no substantial harm to the natural environment has come from the fact that crops planted were GM.

    If you have good scientific data to the contrary, then post it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011
  11. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    law? what law?
    according to monsantos own website they are not required to do human trial tests.
    so tell me, how does monsanto know this stuff is safe in the long run?
    and why are they keeping test results secret?

    you also didn't answer the question of how long does it take for DNA damage to manifest itself.
     
  12. ULTRA Realistically Surreal Registered Senior Member

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    Just for you to ignore? no, I've better things to do with my time.
     
  13. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

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    leopold

    Monsanto, to the best of my knowledge obeys the law. If the law does not demand human tests, then Monsanto will not do them. If you want human tests, then lobby government for them. I am not a Monsanto apologist. I know they will do anything unethical if :
    1. they can get away with it.
    2. there are no negative repercussions.

    There is nothing new here. The way modern capitalism works is that governments are needed to provide legal controls on businesses. This is just the same.

    DNA damage?
    As far as I can tell from the scientific literature, there is none. Nor is there any theoretical reason to suggest any. We all eat DNA in all our food. If I am French and eat frogs legs, I eat frog DNA. If I am American and eat a tomato with a frog gene, I will also eat frog DNA. In both cases, the alien DNA will be digested and broken down, and will reform as my own DNA. There is no DNA damage.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011
  14. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

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    Sorry about the double posting. I wanted to say something about the levo tryptophan issue, which leopold raised in one one his references. I knew that the anti-GM view on this was wrong, but I had to do a bit of research to find the correct view.

    If you do a quick google search, you will find this issue on a hundred crackpot web sites like : http://www.gmfreeireland.org/resources/documents/science/SA/L-tryptophan-.pdf
    Who claim that dozens of people were killed by GM.

    In fact, the deaths occurred, but it had nothing to do with GM. The Institute of Food Technologists (a reputable body) describe the reality in :
    http://www.worldfoodscience.org/cms/?pid=1000763

    I quote :

    "Yes, the illnesses and death occurred, but the rest of the story is moonshine. In reality, extensive investigation traced the cause to an impurity in L-tryptophan made by just one of its several chemical manufacturers, all in Japan. The culprit was Showa Denko KK of Tokyo (the fourth largest chemical manufacturer in Japan, but which had some 80% of the market for L-tryptophan).

    There has been litigation by plaintiffs against SD KK. The genetic modification red herring came up early, and plaintiffs' attorneys thought they could use it. However, the evidence proved that GM had nothing to do with the case, however inflammatory the suggestion might be. There have been three trials, and the issue was not raised seriously by the plaintiffs because there was such overwhelming evidence against it being a factor. "


    This is rather typical of the anti-GM movement. Something happens, which they blame on GM. When the truth comes out, and it is shown that the nastiness was caused by something other than GM, the anti-GM mob continue to proclaim GM was responsible. This is dishonest, and an outright lie. But sadly, most members of the public have no reason to understand that.
     
  15. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    i don't care about illness and death.
    i want to know why there isn't independent testing in the GM industry.
    i want to know what the big secret that the GM industry is hiding.
    it can't be "trade secrets" because any money maker would be patented.
    i want to know what the effects are of eating a tomato frog.
     
  16. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

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    leopold

    I am afraid that is a track I cannot help on. I am not big on conspiracies. I am too well aware that large conspiracies are inevitably betrayed - the whistleblower phenomenon.

    Neither am I big on legal matters. I prefer to discuss science. The science of GM, and the data around GM is clear cut. Legal matters, though, can be horribly fuzzy.

    You suggest the GM industry has a big secret?
    Frankly, that sounds really paranoid. Such secrets tend to be betrayed. I find it hard to believe that anything but trivial secrets will be kept.
     
  17. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    17,455
    where have you been for the last 21 posts?
     
  18. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair

    Or maybe on not revealing it?

    I suspect anyone who would reveal that Monsanto was doing something potentially dangerous would get effectively blackballed in the US.

    They'd never get hired to work in any corporate genetics lab again. Rendering what's probably at least a bachelor's degree education worthless...They certainly would get fired. Most employees now sign nondisclosure agreements, meaning they can be fired if they reveal anything about confidential, proprietary processes...and i certainly imagine that revealing dangers to the public falls under that rubric. I sign nondisclosure agreements. I'm a freaking guard.

    And keep this in mind for the younger ones...

    http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2010/04/20/4427-student-loan-debt-load-keeps-climbing

    So revealing issues could get them fired and never rehired...meaning that they then have the student loan debt they can never fully repay, following them through the sorts of barely-livable-wage service jobs you can get without a degree...they can't write the loans off through bankruptcy, either.
    So the debt keeps getting interest added on, and they may make efforts at repaying, but chances are it will follow them for decades. I have friends of mine in that basic situation-it's why I'm not in college full-time...

    I'm a pretty guilt-ridden person and even I might keep my mouth shut and the money rolling in under the above circumstances.

    So, that's the climate under which Monsanto's making the GMO's....
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011
  19. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

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    1,449
    Let me explain something to you guys who are filled with paranoid ideas about conspiracy theories.

    Conspiracy theory is a valid area of science and has been researched. I cannot claim to be an expert, but I know a little something.

    Conspiracies, to be real, must be secret. Yet keeping secrets is not easy. We are all aware of the old adages on this subject. One person has a secret. As soon as it is shared, it is no longer a secret.

    The researchers came up with an overall average. The rule is :
    "If seven people share a secret, the probability of it being betrayed is 50:50."
    If more than seven - say ten or more - share a secret, then you can regard the secret as blown.

    If there is some damn secret held by GM companies, and it is to remain secret, then there must be fewer than 7 people sharing that secret. As soon as the number of sharers gets up, the whistleblowers take over.

    So, do you think there is some terrible secret held by GM companies - and that secret is known by less than seven people? If the answer is yes, then I regard you as an idiot. No such secret is ever held by so few people, and as soon as the number gets up, the secret is blown.
     
  20. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    Not everyone would know of the problem-it would be the one lab team doing the testing that would know...and not necessarily all of them, possibly just a few on that specific lab team-the senior researchers.

    And again, I just listed very powerful disincentives to spill the beans.
     
  21. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    Not everyone would know of the problem-it would be the one lab team doing the testing that would know...and not necessarily all of them, possibly just a few on that specific lab team-the senior researchers.

    And again, I just listed very powerful disincentives to spill the beans.

    Those on the corporate side who read the data? they might not understand, they might mentally minimize the hazards, they might not care. Not their area of expertise.
     
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Not the corporate ones - by far the most powerful and prevalent and significantly dangerous ones involved in the GM issue.

    You support them uncritically, and push their agenda as well as their fatuous "science" and made-for-TV arguments, right here. You don't subject them to any critical analysis whatsoever, not even on the simplest and most basic of considerations: money talks.

    To remember whenever listening to a corporate spokesman/scientist or captured regulatory agency official or the like: "It is very difficult to get a man to understand something if his livelihood depends on his not understanding it."

    Nothing I have asserted is happening needs to be a conspiracy among people on a mission to do evil. Simply acting in their own best personal and economic interests, one step at a time, will lead most of the main actors to behave exactly as they do.

    And very little of it is actually secret. The capture of the regulatory agencies is in the public record, the record of past infelicities is available to us, the motives and essential interests of the major players are not mysteries or matters of guesswork.

    And the detailed business plans of large, for-profit corporations are often secret - normally so. One reasonably accurate single term description of the upper level organization of a large, management controlled, multilevel corporation is simply 'conspiracy' - that's what it is.

    Ask yourself how the trans fat debacle happened.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011
  23. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    Anything's possible, but the more rational view is that people by and large are good people and so the chances of finding a set of people who are both hard workers (they made it through years of school and into important postions in the lab didn't they?) who are willing to release something that they KNOW is bad for people (no morals at all) and all of them on the same team is simply not that likely.

    More to the point, if this Lab team indeed discovered something seriously bad about the product that would not mean that their salaries would depend on them being quiet, indeed, if they prevent the company from releasing a bad product they are likely to be rewarded by the company and promoted as obviously that's the purpose of the lab.

    On the other hand, if they hide this data and after a few years of bad things happening because they did so at least one of these people who were smart enough to work in the lab would come to the conclusion that it is almost inevitable that an investigation is going to trace it back to their very lab, and that when they do, the people fudging the data and the company will be held responsible and at that point they WILL all lose their salaries and possibly go to jail and they will never likely work at their profession ever again.

    To expect in any group of people that at least one person won't take the LONG view is simply not credible.

    Arthur
     

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