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View Diary: GMOs: What we can all agree on (230 comments)

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  •  Lack Of Basic Biology Knowledge Plus Urban Legends (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alain2112, pixxer, Roadbed Guy, futurebird

    There's a lot of disinformation out there that does not rise to the level of "conspiracy theory" but are definitely urban legends.

    For example it seems like every diary mentions sterile "Terminator" seeds, which in fact were never sold.  But it's an article of faith for many people that these things are out there and that's what they are fighting.  And that story about this thing that never happened is 20 years old at this point, so who knows what the half life is?

    Besides if Terminator seeds were being sold 90% of the current controversy wouldn't even exist, and we couldn't have that, now could we?

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:31:22 PM PDT

    •  Our bottom-feeder media pushes Urban Legends (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bernardpliers

      & Drama.

      This is a huge factor in the ignorance and hype around this issue, as with so many others.

      The media's first duty should be to its viewers, and to informing them.

      But media corporations' first duty is to the dollar: to entertaining and arousing their viewers.

      If the media started looking at the science, and weighing theories and evidence (as Bill Moyers, Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes might do, to their small segments of the audience), then we could at least start dispelling some of the urban legends and advancing towards a slightly clearer understanding of the facts of the matter.

      A lot more Americans will stay glued to the screen when it's covering scary urban legends than when it's asking the viewers to think a bit about the science. And it's cheaper and easier to put together faux-news than it is to do real reporting.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:56:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which is one reason (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht

        We should have a scientific community that engages with the public and is willing to respectfully correct misconceptions.

        Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

        by MrAnon on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:00:42 PM PDT

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        •  And Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting For Greenpeace (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alain2112, Roadbed Guy

          ....to help, because they haven't done anything to educate the public in 30 years.

          This video, isn't that bad, except that "GMO" = "Everything you don't like"

          Every scary thing about GMO plants is also true about conventional agriculture.

          Rain forest getting chopped down?  GMOs!  Pesticides? GMOs! Insect resistance?  GMOs!

          The message is clear - GMOs are the only thing standing between you and Rock Candy Mountain or Utopia or immortality or perfect hair forever.  

          It's not informative, it's propaganda.

          There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

          by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:21:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  After the Greenpeace propaganda film (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            After the Greenpeace propaganda film were a series of anti-GMO films: "The rush to apply these ideas is absolutely dangerous because we don't have a clue about the long term impacts of these manipulations are going to be."  "Now is the time to stop this technology before it's too late."  "This is about the corporate enclosure of life itself."

            These films were narrated by scientists, geneticists, farmers, and other people I trust.  The end result of watching these videos leave me thinking that no GMO plants are safe.

            If...you want to go forward, what do you do? You put [your car] in "D." When you want to go backwards, what do you do? You put it in "R."...That's no coincidence.

            by AnnieS on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 08:45:22 PM PDT

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        •  Indeed. Daily Kos usually does better than most of (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kane in CA, mikidee

          the media out there (though there are very good specialist web sites that are more purely fact/information based, over a far narrower ground). Generally, we hold facts and level-headed analysis in high esteem around these parts.

          But we do seem to dumb-down when we get caught up in an emotional pie-war, and dozens of Kossacks on either side of the divide decide that the other side are all talking out of their rear ends.

          So I appreciate this diary, which seems to be aiming for some common ground to advance the debate. Thanks, whoever you are.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:22:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  What Keeps Terminator & Brazil Nut Stories Alive? (0+ / 0-)

        There's something that has kept this nonsense in active circulation for decades now, and it has come up in these diaries over and over again.

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:02:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know those particular stories, though I've (0+ / 0-)

          seen the Brazil Nut mentioned.

          In general, the urban legends that live for decades do so because they tap into some vein of fear, wish or curiosity that looms large in our culture. So perhaps those stories put compelling faces on the boogiemen that many Americans suspect are coming to get us.

          You can't extinguish those irrational fears (though if Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck vanished, they might mellow down to 40% of their present high-tide). But transparency and fact-based discussions could help some of the boogiemen to vanish into the mist.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:29:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The brazil nut fiasco (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Involuntary Exile

            was highly dangerous. There are lots of people with nut allergies so serious they could die of eating a potato chip fried in peanut oil. Engineering said allergenic 'large' protein into some completely other type of food plant is asking for big trouble. But the GMO folks don't think on basic levels like the rest of us, entire cultures and subcultures for whom foods are a very large part of their being, beliefs and activities.

            For instance, an interview with an at-the-time CEO of Monsanto demonstrated that he had absolutely no clue as to why Jews, Muslims and Rastafarians (among some others) would object to pig genes in their corn or potatoes. Honestly, someone that ignorant about humans and foods shouldn't be leading a rapacious multinational gigacorp like Monsanto.

    •  It occurred to me a few comments ago that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bernardpliers, Roadbed Guy, mikidee

      breeders have also produced sterile plants - for example, seedless oranges. That's really neither here nor there in the GMO argument, I just thought about it and wanted to write it down somewhere :)

      We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
      Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

      by pixxer on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:53:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And bananas, of course. (0+ / 0-)

        It is possible that bananas will not survive for more than 5 to 50 more years without "GMO-type" genetic intervention . . ..

      •  Reproduction via cloning, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pixxer

        cuttings and grafting are fairly old technologies that do no harm to either the environment they're grown in or the people/animals that eat the foods. These reproductive technologies are not the same thing as genetic engineering.

        •  I know. I said it had nothing to do with the GMO (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau

          issue.

          The technology of grafting has been used well, from what I know of it. The technology of GMOs has the potential to be used well, too, and has been. The technology of GMOs also has the potential to generate products harmful to us or to the environment. The technology of selective breeding generally has been done with good intent, though it has produced some sad "products," like cats prone to crossed eyes, and dogs especially susceptible to arthritis, and birds that can get too heavy to walk. Those don't harm the environment, just themselves.

          Like the others, genetic engineering is a technology, not an outcome. We can all thank our lucky stars - or more relevantly our government funding agencies - that genetic engineering was well developed before HIV started its rapid spread in the human population. The understanding of, and therefore attack on, that scourge would have been much slower had it spread widely in the human population 30 years earlier. The issue is whether this technology is ready to be used on potential food sources, how we would know that, and what to do about it.

          We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
          Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

          by pixxer on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 10:47:32 AM PDT

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    •  Several of the companies claim (0+ / 0-)

      their GM seed is sterile. If a plant that requires a pollinator gets sterile pollination it would produce no seed.

      It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

      by PSWaterspirit on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 06:53:59 PM PDT

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      •  I Have Not Seen That, But I Havent Really Kept Up (0+ / 0-)

        This guy says it's a myth.

        http://www.npr.org/...

        Pollen sterile male plants are used for breeding and would be useful in the field to prevent the spread of GMO pollen, but that would be too awful for words.

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 07:42:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Many hybrids are essentially (0+ / 0-)

        sterile as well. And entirely unpredictable in following crops, as the seeds that do manage to germinate usually end up producing one or the other variety of plant they were hybridized from. So growers generally need to purchase new seed annually, and those hybrids are indeed patented.

        What you don't see is Burpee (et al.) busy bankrupting growers and stealing their land for the unpardonable sin of saving seeds and trying to grow a crop out of them. Those crops will generally fail or not produce true, and that's punishment enough.

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