The Pros and Cons of Genetically Engineered Food

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by S.A.M., Jun 13, 2008.

  1. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think generally irresponsible or promiscuous, and I think we can distinguish reasonable risk from unreasonable.
     
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  3. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    There is some risk associated with everything, and usually some benefit also. The "acceptable" risk benefit ratio is a strong function of who is deciding if you must endure the risk and there can be several orders of magnitude difference.

    For example many CHOSE to ride motorcycles but almost violently oppose a nuclear power plant or GM food where the risk death is at least 10,000 times less and the benefits are probably greater. The real problem in many of these cases is the question of who decides, If you make the choice then a much higher risk benefit ratio is acceptable than if the choice is imposed upon you.

    No one has directly responded to my belief (posted many pages back) that GM food is reduced to simple molecules by digestion - not one of which is not already present in the gut from some non-GM foods, so I personally see little risk in eating GM foods, at least not until someone explains convincingly that digestion does not do this to all foods (GM or non-GM).

    There is surely some risk that GM plants can mingle with the wild ones and transform the environmental balance, but it is hard to imagine that the change would be nearly as serious as some man has already made. For example the introduction of rabbit into Australia or the English bird fancier who imported a few pairs of Starlings into the new world. Can you say "passenger pigeon" or "airplane spread epidemic" or "prophylactic anti-biologic injections" for cows?
     
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  5. ronan Only Consciousness Exists Registered Senior Member

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    Nazi? final solution?

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    companies indeed control FDA, please educate yourself. Monsanto for giving only one name has/had many of his past employees in the FDA
     
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  7. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Like I said if you believe the FDA is that corrupt then your goals should be to fix it. And yes the nazi ideology was based on implementing nature as rules of the land: people were races
    and some races were better then others.
     
  8. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

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    Apropos the FDA here's how an early potential public relations disaster for the whole gm food industry was evaded by shifting blame. I especially urge people to read the end of the article. The only reason more people did not die was because the symptoms of those who ate the gm supplements were acute and nearly immediate. If byproducts and toxins created by gm modification are slower and only acute after long periods, untold numbers could die.

    In this case we had a company who developed bacteria that produced L-tryptophan. The FDA despite evidence to the contrary treated the amino acid as the problem, under the influence of industry, and nipped in the bud public awareness of how complicated the changed made by gm processes are to track.

    Certainly efforts should be made to improve the FDA and change it from a revolving door club from industry into something that actually does oversight of non-alternative products - it is always happy to clamp down on alternative medicine products.

    But given the types of problems possible with gene modification we cannot simply shift the problem onto the FDA. Industry has unbelievable control over government oversight, all around the world. If the error made is like in the L-tryptophan case where individuals get sick and die, this is one thing. It is a risk that is taken in many industries. But gm offers a penetration into the workings of nature and ourselves that can be much more profound. GM problems can spread in ways that are unlikely with, for example, most medicines. This is because gm is a potential information pollutant rather than simply a chemical one. Part of nature can be told to produce various things and to keep on producing, despite all of Electricfetus' assurances that all the products are sterile.

    http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/disaster090105.cfm
     
  9. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Simon Anders,

    A bias article does not make a fact, no proven mechanism was found into how GM caused eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. Rather the theories of impurities or histamine degradation pathways make better sense.
     
  10. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

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    http://www.cqs.com/50harm.htm

    This is an excellent link that points out many of the problems of gm and gm food production and makes it clear that this is not simply another technology and that if you have a problem with it you are a luddite.
    And since people are generally selfish in their interests this information may be eye catching:
    If you make a pesticide, for example, and spray it on .001% of the crops in a certain nation, yes, you can damage the soil in those areas and perhaps also raise cancer rates, for example, in the higher animals in that region. Generally speaking chemical changes are local or regional in damage and can be fixed - though the time frame for this fixing is much longer than most people realize. But with GM problems, the implications can be global.

    Some gm products have been damaging to the soil itself. Imagine the problems created by a soil damaging bacteria or virus. yes, these have been caught in time, one by a whistleblower.

    I simply do not trust corporations in the age of cutting corners, efficiency programs, outsourcing and emphasis on short term financial gains to keep a careful enough eye on what they are doing. For pretty much the same reasons I don't want private individuals to have access to plutonium.
     
  11. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

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    And the readers here can decide whether to trust your biased opinion over what you are calling a biased article.

    I also don't think you understand the issue if you mention impurities since one of the sources of the 'impurities' could very well have been the gm organisms. This is one of the points of the article. GM is not the simply change the gene get the specific result well controlled process. The changes made on the genetic levels have very complicated effects and complicated biproducts that are very hard to track.

    Let's assume that readers here know that articles can be biased in the same way that posts by you and I can be biased.

    I also find it silly for you to raise the issue of bias in reporting. Who do you think has more ability to bias articles, global corporations or the people who are concerned about what they are doing. The average reader is being drowned in articles that downplay the potential problems and problems we have already had. Oddly enough the ability to bias is directly related to disposible income.

    If you do not think this is true - that companies have the advantage in creating bias - then you must believe these companies are run by morons. Because they spend incredible amounts of money on PR and lobbying. If this is not giving them an unfair advantage then they are wasting a lot of money, money most critics do not have access to. If they are stupidly wasting all this money, then perhaps they are not competent to take care of potentially catastrophically dangerous products.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2008
  12. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    The articles some from an anti-gm site, it can't be anything but bias interpretation! I would trust a neutral source of reporting, I'm not going to listen to a cooperation or ideology group without a bucket of salt. The average reader though does not read Nature or Science or other journals of science, and does not look over the evidence for them selves, they simply want it presented to them with an opinion an all.

    The changes made can have complicated effects on the host organism, this is not always true nor are the effects beyond testing most of all the effects may not even be relevant to health or enviromental concerns, usually the effects caused result in cell death and just keeping these critters alive is more a concern then them run out of control in the wild or producing a side-effect in people.
     
  13. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

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    I think it is naive to think that it is easy to find a neutral source. Pretty much all sources are dependent on advertising or have direct connections to industry on their boards of directors, sponsors, etc. What you have considered neutral sources are very likely not at all neutral sources and this is even assuming that corporations are in the habit of sharing all their data and research findings, including those that do not fit their sales pitches. A poor assumption. You also have threats of lawsuits by industry which are beyond the means of most magazines to defend against. There are individual reporters out there who strive to be unbiased and these can appear in all sorts of journals and magazines but they are fighting an uphill battle.

    You are concerned about the average reader. But you are expecting the average reader to read your quick dismissal of the article I linked to a few posts ago and accept that. Why are you not concerned about the average reader being swayed by your bias?

    And why assume that all writing that has specific concerns must be incorrect or different from this hypothetical neutral source? Often in society concerns that have been marginilized by those with financial power can only find a voice in alternative press. Your argument is basically ad hom. They said it so it must be wrong. That is a weak argument.

    Once the organism is a product it different in many many ways, not just in the way the scientists intend it to be. It is not like accessorizing a car. The idea that the main differences are ones that kill the organism is beside the point even if true. One they have come up with a viable organism many, many changes have taken place that are beyond current ability to track and see the consequences of.
     
  14. ronan Only Consciousness Exists Registered Senior Member

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    It is a bigger problem than just FDA,
    This would be solved if people get the information
    Yes
    Yes but no need to believe that also.
    That is why I laugh

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  15. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Yes belief in natural righteousness is funny, like belief in what is natural must be good, that always get me laughing.
     
  16. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

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    For example one could contest the assertions made and quoted in the so called biased website. One could cite studies that who that now they can control such profound differences.

    These companies want their food products to be regulated in same (already inadequate) ways that other food are regulated. However due to the nature of the production process there are new issues.
     
  17. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Simon Anders,

    I don't think it matter what i'm saying. searching neutral advice should be the goal even if its not perfectly achievable, your source simply interprets the cause of the problem to GM when the cause was in fact poor purification or tryptophan overdosing, there no evidence that the gm produced toxics or somehow change L-tryptophan chemically, rather to bias article simply blames GM regardless.

    What are these many many changes you speak of Simon Anders, perhaps you should learn more about gene regulation and expression, protein interactions and gene insertion.
     
  18. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think you read the section on L-tryp. At least what you write above indicates that strongly.

    And perhaps you should. As for the changes, perhaps if you read the linked articles you would know a portion of what I meant by this. You could then discuss those issues or link us to articles that you consider unbiased.
     
  19. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Oh then please tell me what I missed.


    They don't actually explain the changes, they just assume there out there and that they are bad. If you believe otherwise then give me examples.
     
  20. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

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    Also the overwhelming onus is on the genetic industries to prove the 'innocence' of their products given the types of environmental changes that are possible. However this tends to get turned into an onus on the concerned citizen, consumer or scientist
    which is wrongheaded. If you are making a new kind of shelf, I feel pretty relaxed. If you are making a shelf that uses nanotechnology that builds the shelf out of available raw materials when a cannister is opened, I want to see a shitload of evidence that this construction will be contained. No one has definitively proved either way what the causes of the problems with the L-tryp. problem was. We do know that industry inluenced both the FDA and the media and got the ban placed on a naturally occuring amino acid. I certainly admit this is the possible source, though I consider it unlikely in the doses they were given. The onus is not on us to prove that it was gm. The onus is on the gm users to prove it was not. Again, the reasons for this are obvious. We are talking about potential global effects.
     
  21. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Proper regulation and testing is a must, we strive for that, but the public does not want that rather they want to stop the technologies dead in their tracks. If you ask for better testing and more regulations I don't object, if you ask for an opportunity for the public disregard something because of ignorance I do object.

    Why? Does a new way of doing things mean that its dangerous? What if our testing show it safe?

    Just because it naturally occurring does not mean its not bad for you, again learn you fallacy of appealing to nature. Many amino acids that your body produces can cause harmful effects when over-dosed, even sugar and water can kill you.

    What testing could we do to prove it safe to you? What global effect?
     
  22. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

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    http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/L-tryptophan/index.cfm

    The above link leads to an excellent tracking of the history of the L-tryptophan issue. It is thorough and will take some effort to get through but it directly contradicts ElectricFetus' assertion that it was likely not the gm part of the process that was the problem.

    Further it should be noted that the reason we will not be able to conclusively prove the issue either way is because of either the FDA or the company that manufactured the L-tryp. Each blame the other for the orignal samples not being tested. These were eventually destroyed by the company. The linked essays show that it was in the interests of both the manufacturer and the FDA to keep those samples from being made available.

    The article does show the evidence that it is likely that gm processes were the root cause and absolutely cannot be ruled out. It also uses the L-tryp case to make it very clear that gm processes are special cases and should be dealt with more stringently. To put it simply, the reason is because to test for contaminants one needs to know which contaminents and toxins one is looking for, but gm processes create new sets of contaminants and toxins that the testers (and the filters, etc.) are not on the lookout for, especially in today's wild west gm world. The essays do a much better process elucidating this than I do and the entire website is a thorough, documented, scientific attack on the gm industry.

    As a side note: I notice that no industry advocate, like ElectricFetus, is concerned that L-tryptophan was taken off the market despite the fact that there is little to indicate that it was the problem.
     
  23. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

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    No, duh. However l-tryptophan levels can be stimulated by using precursors and despite raising blood levels to similar levels similar problems have not take place. I would never assert that simply because something is natural it is healthy. I just want to make it clear to readers who are not familiar with the name that the compound itself is a naturally occuring one in the body BECAUSE THIS KNOWLEDGE reduces the types of concerns we have. We are then dealing primarily with L-tryp. levels. As opposed to something like plutonium or a variety of industrial products and byproducts where no real safe dosage exists.

    Stop assuming that everyone who is against gm is ignorant.
     

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