Skip to main content

View Diary: Neil deGrasse Tyson tells GMO haters to chill out–people get angry (1268 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  So you disagree with Tyson on this (8+ / 0-)

    scientific matter?

    •  I love Tyson (31+ / 0-)

      but he isn't a biologist, of course, nor is he infallible in matters of Science. But this is not actually a matter of science as much as it is of regulatory policy.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:42:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know if the "science" has really been (18+ / 0-)

      presented or even if the point of anti-GMO can be scientifically proven.

      The point is with profit motive as their baseline that bad things will be done for the environment and for human beings.

      Monoculture farming, for instance. Scientifically proven to be bad, right? But that's not really GMOs fault, so no science.

      Unintentional seed contamination. Not exactly science.

      That large caveat he offered about roping 3rd world countries into captive markets for non-reproducing seeds? That's not science either.

      So one is not really disagreeing with Tyson's science, it's disagreement with his perspective. I think his qualifications in the longer piece spoke a bit to this.

      I would love to take a ride down the rabbit hole with him. What would it take to scare you about GMOs? Kind of questions. I'm sure he'd be full of terror inducing ideas there.

      I'd also like to talk with him about the institutions that do that stuff and get his sense of the Regulatory Revolving Door and of our lack of a Precautionary Principle.

      I think the Lead episode of his show speaks plainly towards the kind of blind spot that GMOs are in the Establishment, and I think that would be a fascinating discussion to have with him.

      Wonder if he likes dogs? :-)

      Love his show and his passion for science, and am a BIG fan of Cosmos.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:44:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  BTW, Slightly off topic but still GMO (21+ / 0-)

        I am a farmer and we are having hell with Round up ready crops this year. Seems as though there is a very large population of Roundup Ready resistance weeds. I still grow the old fashioned kind of corn.

        Don't tell me when you add genes that are not specific to genome that you know what will happen. The closest to nature of a cross species cross is that of a Donkey and a Horse and it has to be artificially manipulated to breed and the final product is sterile. That is somewhat NATURAL crossing of species. The Donkey would have to get the horse drunk in nature so he could mount the mare.

        •  Good comment. (8+ / 0-)

          What the diarist and Tyson gloss over is that human induced cross-breeding is something nature does on its own. Manually injecting mammal genes into plants is not.

          Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

          by edg on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:11:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  If you don't use roundup (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ban nock, T100R, Fonsia

          why would roundup resistant weeds be a problem for you?

          What will happen the next time the mob comes?--Neil deGrasse Tyson

          by mem from somerville on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:24:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  recced for the barnyard drunk mare stuff. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Unduna

          “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

          by ban nock on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:51:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This is consistent with my problem with GMOs. I... (9+ / 0-)

          This is consistent with my problem with GMOs. It is usually not the GMO itself that is the problem, it is secondary effects like spraying extra herbicides. Monopolies and monoculture. And, the choice of modifications pursued. A GMO that reduced water usage of a crop by 20% could be a huge game changer.

        •  um . . . (6+ / 0-)

          Roundup has been sprayed on non-GMO crops for 40 years now, and has been producing Roundup-resistant weeds even before the GMO genes ever even appeared.  (In fact, the Roundup-resistant GMO gene itself was not made by Monsanto--they took it from a weed that had already developed resistance to Roundup, and inserted it into the crop plants.)

          So if you outlaw Roundup tomorrow and shoot anyone who uses it, you'll still get Roundup sprayed on the non-GMO crops which replace the GMO, and the weeds will still develop the same resistance to it.  That is evolution in action.

          PS--we know EXACTLY what the GMO genes will do in nature, because all of them have already existed for billions of years. Monsanto didn't make ANY of them--they are ALL naturally-occurring genes. All Monsanto has done is move them from one organism to another one. BT, for instance, existed in bacteria for billions of years, and has already been sprayed on non-GMO crops for over 100 years.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 08:47:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry I am one of the stupid non scientist (0+ / 0-)

            readers of this site, but how do you spray an herbicide such as Round-Up on a non GMO food crop without killing it?

            •  you spray it to kill the weeds before the crops (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              polecat

              have sprouted.  It was done for 20 years before GMO crops ever even appeared. And it's still being done today on non-GMO crops.

              I do understand you are one of the stupid non-scientist readers of this site, but please at least TRY to understand SOMETHING of the topic before you blither about it.

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 06:27:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  You spray it on the weeds, not the plants (0+ / 0-)

              See a weed? Spray it.  Kill it.

              But that kind of selective spraying is labor intensive and requires targeted action.  RUR plants let you just blanket the whole field.

              Glyphosate, aka Round Up, is only really toxic in high concentrations - it's 25 times less toxic than caffeine.  As long as they give it a rinse prior to it going to market, it's safe.

              The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

              by catwho on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 06:31:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  glyphosate works by disabling a specific plant (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                catwho, T100R, polecat, sethtriggs, R30A

                protein (one which is involved with cell division--it kills the plant by preventing its cells from reproducing it, forcing the plant to die of old age). Animals do not have that particular plant protein. Glyphosate has no effect on animals.

                The toxic effects in Roundup are from the chemicals added to it to make the glyphosate stick to the plant leaves. Those effects are low-level, and are limited to certain aquatic organisms who absorb chemicals directly through their skin. That is why every container of roundup in the US contains a label warning not to use it near a water source.

                In the end, reality always wins.

                by Lenny Flank on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 07:06:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Another question (0+ / 0-)

                  The chemicals other than glyphosate, is that what the warning  for human skin and contact is for? The label says to remove contaminated clothing and call Poison Control or physician. What is in it that is harmful to humans, if not glyphosate?

                  •  ... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    cville townie

                    http://www.scientificamerican.com/...

                    Weed-Whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly to Human Cells
                    Used in gardens, farms, and parks around the world, the weed killer Roundup contains an ingredient that can suffocate human cells in a laboratory, researchers say
                    Jun 23, 2009 |By Crystal Gammon and Environmental Health News

                    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                    by indycam on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 11:12:02 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  can you explain to us please how this (0+ / 0-)

                      cell-suffocating toxin gets from your stomach to your placental cells . . . . . . at levels enough to produce an effect . . . . . from eating ordinary amounts of residue . . . . ?

                      This is more of the same ole "saccharin causes cancer !!!!!! if you drink a hundred gallons of it a day" baloney.

                      I won't even bother to ask you to show us ONE example of this actually happening to anyone anywhere at any time, just ONE example.  You already know there isn't any.

                      In the end, reality always wins.

                      by Lenny Flank on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 02:49:25 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  1) "your placental cell" ? (0+ / 0-)

                        Being a male as I am , your question is funny to say the least .

                        2) "from your stomach to your placental cells" ?
                        How does anything ?

                        3) "from eating ordinary amounts of residue . . . . ?"
                        What is an "ordinary amount" ?
                        Would you eat a crop that was just desiccated with round up ?"
                        Would you allow a pregnant woman to be near a field where roundup was being sprayed ? Would you allow her to work in a field where it had just been sprayed ?

                        You already know there isn't any.
                        Prove it .

                        How much industrial grade roundup are you willing to drink daily ?

                        It's pointless to talk with you ,

                        This is more of the same ole "saccharin causes cancer !!!!!! if you drink a hundred gallons of it a day" baloney.
                        you play small little games that are worthless / unhelpful / offencive .

                        "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                        by indycam on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 03:27:26 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  OK, so you don't even understand the question (0+ / 0-)

                          (sigh)

                          •  What a weak little comment . (2+ / 1-)
                            Recommended by:
                            flowerfarmer, cville townie
                            Hidden by:
                            Kasoru

                            (sigh)
                            http://www.dailykos.com/...
                            You should maybe see a doctor about that gas leak you suffer from .

                            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                            by indycam on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 04:56:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  is that an insult . . . ? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Kasoru

                            Can I now expect all the self-righteous to swarm to HR you for that insult?

                            Silly me, of COURSE not.  It's only people on the OTHER side who get HRd . . .

                            (snicker)

                            PS--the link YOU provided claimed that placental and fetal cells were damaged by exposure to a chemical.  I asked a simple question-----> how exactly do those chemicals, if you eat the residue from them, get from your stomach to those placental or fetal cells, in dosages sufficient to actually do anything.

                            I do understand why you can't answer that question.

                            It's a scare story, the same as all those stories back in the day about how "dangerous" the "carcinogen" saccharine was---if you drank a hundred gallons of it a day.

                            In the end, reality always wins.

                            by Lenny Flank on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 05:13:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You might want to think its an insult , (0+ / 0-)

                            I gave a link to the gas leak ,
                            "sigh"
                            "58 results were found"
                            between 07/05/2014 and today .

                            When you "sigh" what comes out ? Gas ?

                            Over that same time for everyone on the site
                            http://www.dailykos.com/...
                            616 results were found
                            616 - 58 = 558
                            58/558
                            Approximately 10% for just you .
                            You might want to get that checked .

                            I asked a simple question-----> how exactly do those chemicals, if you eat the residue from them, get from your stomach to those placental or fetal cells, in dosages sufficient to actually do anything.

                            "dosages sufficient to actually do anything."
                            How much is enough "to actually do anything" ?
                            Your OK with some as long as its not enough "to actually do anything" ? Interesting .
                            How much round up would you have a pregnant woman drink / eat each day ? What is the amount that you would say was to much ?
                            How much round up would you accept in mothers milk ?
                            If a woman was shown to have round up in her breast milk
                            would you say that is fine and dandy ?

                            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                            by indycam on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 07:50:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Gas leak?!? (0+ / 0-)

                            Uncalled for and HR'rd for it.

                          •  Franky my dear (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't give a dang .

                            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                            by indycam on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 07:05:57 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  How about your making up a list (0+ / 0-)

                        of all the negative / bad / harm , that comes from roundup use ?
                        Knock yourself with a full assessment and write up of all the externalities / downsides , associated with the worldwide use of roundup .
                        Show us all what a great handle you have on the subject .

                        "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                        by indycam on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 03:36:04 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  yopu do understand, right, that Roundup is sprayed (0+ / 0-)

                          on non-GMO plants too, where it produces exactly the same environmental effects . . . .?

                          PS--Roundup has already been sprayed into the environment for 40 years--20 of that before GMOs even existed.  We already know its environmental effects, because we've been looking at them for almost half a century now.

                          •  You failed to make the list of all the (0+ / 0-)

                            downsides , you have merely gone back to your tired old arguments , and that is exactly the failure I expected of you .

                            You really don't have a good handle on the subject , I know that you claim that you do but you have been making the same mistakes over and over , and that shows your failure to understand .

                            Make up a list of known problems with worldwide round up use or fail to make up the list , not my problem , but please stop with the little tiny abusive insulting games .

                            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                            by indycam on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 05:09:18 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  you DO understand that Roundup is sprayed on (0+ / 0-)

                            non-GMO crops too, and was for 20 years before GMOs even appeared--where they produce exactly the same environmental effects.

                            Right?

                            PS--Roundup has been in use for almost half a century.  Its environmental effects are not exactly a secret:

                            Glyphosate has a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Toxicity Class of III (on a I to IV scale, where IV is least dangerous) for oral and inhalation exposure.[22] Thus, as with other herbicides, the EPA requires that products containing glyphosate carry a label that warns against oral intake, mandates the use of protective clothing, and instructs users not to re-enter treated fields for at least 4 hours.[22][43] Glyphosate does not bioaccumulate in animals; it is excreted in urine and feces.[22] It breaks down variably quickly depending on the particular environment.
                            Human[edit]
                            Human acute toxicity is dose related. Acute fatal toxicity has been reported in deliberate overdose.[42][44] Early epidemiological studies have not found associations between long term low level exposure to glyphosate and any disease.[45][46][47]
                            The EPA considers glyphosate to be noncarcinogenic and relatively low in dermal and oral acute toxicity.[22] The EPA considered a "worst case" dietary risk model of an individual eating a lifetime of food derived entirely from glyphosate-sprayed fields with residues at their maximum levels. This model indicated that no adverse health effects would be expected under such conditions.[22]
                            The European Commission's review of the data conducted in 2002 concluded that there was equivocal evidence of a relationship between glyphosate exposure during pregnancy and cardiovascular malformations; however, a review published in 2013 found that the evidence "fails to support a potential risk for increased cardiovascular defects as a result of glyphosate exposure during pregnancy."[48]
                            Effects on fish and amphibians[edit]
                            Glyphosate is generally less persistent in water than in soil, with 12 to 60 day persistence observed in Canadian pond water, yet because glyphosate binds to soil, persistence of over a year has been observed in the sediments of ponds in Michigan and Oregon.[22] In streams, maximum glyphosate concentrations were measured immediately post-treatment and dissipated rapidly.[22] According to research done in the late 1980s and early 1990 (Ecotoxicological Risk Assessment for Roundup Herbicide), glyphosate in ecological exposures studied is "practically nontoxic to slightly toxic" for amphibians and fish.[49]
                            Soil degradation, and effects on micro-organisms and worms[edit]

                            Degradation pathway of glyphosate in the ground[49]
                            When glyphosate comes into contact with the soil, it can be rapidly bound to soil particles and be inactivated.[22][50] Unbound glyphosate can be degraded by bacteria.[51] Glyphosate and its degradation product, aminomethylphosphonate (AMPA), residues are considered to be much more toxicologically and environmentally benign than most of the herbicides replaced by glyphosate.[52]
                            In soils, half-lives vary from as little as three days at a site in Texas to 141 days at a site in Iowa.[50] In addition, the glyphosate metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid has been found in Swedish forest soils up to two years after a glyphosate application. In this case the persistence of aminomethylphosphonic acid was attributed to the soil being frozen for most of the year.[53] Glyphosate adsorption to soil, and later release from soil, varies depending on the kind of soil.[54][55] A 2009 study using a RoundUp formulation concluded that absorption into plants delays subsequent soil-degradation and can increase glyphosate persistence in soil from two to six times.[56]
                            A laboratory study published in 1992 indicated that glyphosate formulations could harm earthworms[57] and beneficial insects.[58] However, the reported effect of glyphosate on earthworms has been criticized.[49] The results conflict with results from field studies where no effects were noted for the number of nematodes, mites, or springtails after treatment with Roundup at 2 kilograms active ingredient per hectare.[59]
                            It has been suggested that glyphosate can harm the bacterial ecology of soil and cause micronutrient deficiencies in plants,[60] including nitrogen-fixing bacteria.[61][62] A 2012 study on the effect of Roundup (glyphosate with adjuvants) on three microorganisms used in dairy products found while the formulation had "a microbicide effect at lower concentrations than those recommended in agriculture", glyphosate alone "at these levels has no significant effect".[63]

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                            In the end, reality always wins.

                            by Lenny Flank on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 05:18:21 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  my question to you: (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            T100R

                            Which of these effects is different depending on whether the glyphosate is sprayed on a GMO crop instead of a non-GMO corp.

                            Please be as specific as possible.

                            Thanks.

                            In the end, reality always wins.

                            by Lenny Flank on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 05:22:23 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You are asking yourself the question . (0+ / 0-)

                            I hope you will be better able to answer the question that you ask of yourself .
                            If you could somehow come to answer your question to yourself accurately , then you would be maybe showing some progress , but I'll not hold my breath waiting for you to get up to speed .  

                            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                            by indycam on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 05:45:52 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I already know the answer (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            T100R

                            The answer is "the GMO makes no difference at all. Glyphosate is glyphosate is glyphosate, no matter what it is sprayed on."

                            In the end, reality always wins.

                            by Lenny Flank on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 06:13:22 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You have no problems with roundup . (0+ / 0-)

                            Roundup can do no wrong .
                            No problems have ever come from using roundup
                            and no problems will ever come from using roundup .

                            And that is where your argument fails / falls flat on its face .
                            You fail intentionally or unintentionally to see the problems resulting from roundup use . You brush everything under the rug and pretend its not there . That is not science . That is make believe and just a sad little game .
                            Write up all the problems with roundup use world wide ,
                            that would be a start to show that you are more than just a cheerleader who believes there are no downsides whatsoever wherever .

                            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                            by indycam on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 09:38:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  and you can't read /nt (0+ / 0-)

                            In the end, reality always wins.

                            by Lenny Flank on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 04:18:34 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  What an interesting thing to say ! (0+ / 0-)

                            Your games are small and weak .
                            You fail to answer the questions , you dodge and deflect .
                            You are showing your true colors by playing small little games .

                            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                            by indycam on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 06:54:31 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Your same old tired arguments , (0+ / 0-)

                            boring and old .
                            Now how about that list of all the problems with world wide round up use ?
                            Do you think you will ever get around to that ?
                            Or will it just be the same old same old all the way down ?

                            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                            by indycam on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 05:41:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent comment (10+ / 0-)

        You've summed up most of my personal concerns about GMO and my feelings about Tyson's statements.  Thanks, you must be an expert :)

        However, I would strongly disagree with Tyson's equivalence between modifications accomplished through breeding (GMO-agricultural) vs. genetic manipulation in the lab (GMO-laboratory).  While the resulting modifications may appear similar in kind, these two methods are magnitudes apart in the degree of potential change and unforeseen consequences.

        Genetic engineering, as a science, is still in it's relative infancy.  We understand how some of the bits work and can do some neat stuff with cut and paste, but we're far from understanding how complete genomes function in and of themselves, let alone how they might interact long-term with other organisms in the Earth's natural biome.

        I would argue that we should proceed exceeding carefully in modifying any organism, but even more so in experimenting with anything that constitutes part of our basic food supply.  No one's going to die from getting their cosmology wrong (religion aside), but taking risks with our food supply could have disastrous impact.  I don't hear anywhere near that kind of caution reflected in Tyson's statements and that concerns me.  

    •  No, I think it's an agreement on the (6+ / 0-)

      Science, and disagreement on the politics and economics of agribusiness. But a willingness to use populist anti-scientific attitudes as a weapon.

      Mixed feelings about the first, strong feelings against the second. It's not just hypocrisy, it's riding a tiger--like the GOP and the Tea Party. You wind up with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare.

    •  I agree with him as far as he goes. Did anyone (10+ / 0-)

      ask him if the increased toxicity of new pesticides and herbicides are safe for the environment? The possible ramifications of killing off any number of helpful insects? The possibility of GMOs creating super-insects, bacteria, and worms through evolution? (which is already happening, btw).

      Here the difference between artificial selection and GMO is most pronounced. Artificial selection takes time, many generations in which the ramifications can be determined. GMOs provide for instantaneous change, and a degree of change that is orders of magnitude greater than Artificial Selection.

      •  There is an answer to this (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mwm341, Kevskos, catwho, T100R

        But the agriculture business ignored it.

        Basically, it's a recommendation for moderation in usage.  For example, scientists recommended that only a fraction of corn should be of a borer-resistenat variety (I think the recommendation was for something like 1/3 or maybe 1/2, I don't recall exactly).  The Ag lobby didn't like that recommendation and adjusted to a recommendation of using a much higher percentages (like 3/4 or something).  In actual practice, farmers ignored the recommendations and planted damned near 100% of the GMO corn.

        The result was more rapid evolution of borers that could eat the GMO crop, bypassing the resistance.  Had farmers and the Ag lobby followed the advice of scientists, the selection pressure for resistant bugs wouldn't have been nearly as great and would have kept a much larger pool of non-resistant genes in the populations.  

        Instead, the result was the we got the resistant bugs decades before they might have become an issue otherwise.

        •  alas, though, that is a fight we can never win (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Witgren, catwho, T100R

          Any pesticide is only good for a limited time before its target develops resistance to it. That is evolution in action, and we can never stop it.  At best, we can do what we can to delay it for as long as we can. But in the end, evolution is smarter than we are.

          Weeds were already beginning to develop resistance to Roundup before the GMO even appeared (indeed, the Roundup-Ready gene was simply taken out of a weed that had already developed resistance to Roundup). So it won't be long now before Roundup itself will no longer be used, since too many weeds will be resistant. That's why Monsanto is already looking to start making 2,4-D-resistant plants. Until the weeds develop resistance to that too.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 11:24:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  True (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            T100R

            The scientific recommendations made it clear that limiting usage would extend the usefulness of the crop, but wouldn't stop the evolution of the borers.  IIRC, the scientific thought was that if the recommendations were followed, it would buy about 20 years or so.

          •  RoundUp resistance... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SilentBrook

            The problem I have with Roundup-resistant plants is that it makes indiscriminate use of Roundup more likely. Indiscriminate use of Roundup speeds up the evolutionary processes by which weeds develop RoundUp resistance, which renders Roundup useless in the long run (or in this case the shorter run).

            I'm not particularly worried about consuming food around which Roundup has been used. I'm willing to accept the science that indicates that it degrades quickly and that rinsing the food before eating it is sufficient to render it safe to consume. However, Roundup resistance will result in the need for new herbicides about whose safety we can know nothing, since they are imaginary at present.

            In addition, if the overuse of Roundup results in an absence of milkweed and the extinction of Monarch butterflies, well that's a damn shame and completely unnecessary. It may be useful to control weeds in agriculture, but it's not necessary to completely eliminate them. Maybe Monstanto could win some points for developing a Roundup-resistant milkweed and mixing some of its seeds in with its food-plant seeds to ensure a sufficient supply of Monarch food. ;-)

            By the way, this is entirely analogous to the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in cattle to get them to be more productive and to grow faster, which has resulted in the faster evolution of antibiotic-resistant microbes, which are killing people. Since the pharmaceutical industry finds it insufficiently profitable (after all, once an antibiotic has cured a patient, the patient stops using it) to produce new antibiotics, this is a big problem. To quote Rick Perry, "Oops." (Unintended consequences are a bitch.)

            •  Roundup is used on non-GMO too. has been for (0+ / 0-)

              20 years.

              We can ban GMOs tomorrow, and it won't have any effect on the use of Roundup.

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 02:06:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  But my point is... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SilentBrook

                The excessive use of Roundup is encouraged by the existence of Roundup-resistant crops. Farmers can't blanket their fields with Roundup while their non-Roundup-resistant crops are growing. Excessive use of Roundup leads to Roundup-resistant weeds, which leads to the need for new herbicides to kill Roundup-resistant weeds.

                As with antibiotic-resistant microbes, where not using a given antibiotic for some period of time results in the loss of selection for microbes resistant to that antibiotic and the resurgence of microbes sensitive to that antibiotic, so with Roundup-resistant weeds, reducing the use of Roundup reduces the selective pressure for Roundup-resistant weeds.

                •  and your point is baloney (0+ / 0-)

                  First, if excessive use of pesticide is the problem, the simple obvious solution is to ban the pesticide. Blaming GMOs for the effects of pesticide we spray on them is like blaming grass for the effects of fertilizer runoff we spray on it.  It's silly.

                  Second, Roundup is far less toxic than anything it replaced.  Roundup works by disabling a particular plant protein. It does nothing at all to anything (like animals) that does not have that plant protein.

                  Third, resistance appears in weeds (not in microbes) whether the crops it is sprayed on are GMO or not.  There were already Roundup-resistant weeds before GMOs even appeared, since Roundup was already being sprayed on NON-GMO crops for 20 years.  In fact, the Roundup-Ready gene was itself taken by Monsanto out of a weed that had already developed resistance to Roundup during those years of use. Monsanto did not make that gene--Mother Nature made it for them.

                  Fourth, the level of Roundup usage per unit of crop is not significantly higher on GMO fields than it is on non-GMO (the figures I remember show about a 15% increase--lower than what can be found from ordinary variances in dispersion caused by wind or weather). Once you spray enough herbicide on a weed to kill it, you don't NEED to spray more than that.

                  Why oh why why why do the GMO CTers insist on talking ignorantly about things they don't know anything about . . .?  (sigh)

                  In the end, reality always wins.

                  by Lenny Flank on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 07:30:31 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Trying not to take offense by your tone, but... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    bethann
                    First, if excessive use of pesticide is the problem, the simple obvious solution is to ban the pesticide. Blaming GMOs for the effects of pesticide we spray on them is like blaming grass for the effects of fertilizer runoff we spray on it.  It's silly.
                    Second, Roundup is far less toxic than anything it replaced.  Roundup works by disabling a particular plant protein. It does nothing at all to anything (like animals) that does not have that plant protein.
                    If Monsanto didn't intend to make it possible to spray Roundup on established crops, why did they insert the resistance gene into those crops? It's not silly at all to consider Roundup-resistant crops to be an enabler of overuse of Roundup. I have no problem accepting the notion that Roundup is a relatively benign herbicide. In fact, that's an argument in favor of trying to keep it useful in the long run instead of abusing it in the short run.
                    Third, resistance appears in weeds (not in microbes) whether the crops it is sprayed on are GMO or not.  There were already Roundup-resistant weeds before GMOs even appeared, since Roundup was already being sprayed on NON-GMO crops for 20 years.  In fact, the Roundup-Ready gene was itself taken by Monsanto out of a weed that had already developed resistance to Roundup during those years of use. Monsanto did not make that gene--Mother Nature made it for them.
                    No doubt all true. So what? Resistance in crops allows the overuse of Roundup adding selective pressure for resistance in weeds, resulting in its eventual uselessness in controlling weeds.
                    Fourth, the level of Roundup usage per unit of crop is not significantly higher on GMO fields than it is on non-GMO (the figures I remember show about a 15% increase--lower than what can be found from ordinary variances in dispersion caused by wind or weather).
                    I'll take your word for the numbers, but it would seem to indicate that farmers are not taking advantage of the sole benefit of Roundup-resistant crops, in which case why plant them?
                    Once you spray enough herbicide on a weed to kill it, you don't NEED to spray more than that.
                    From personal experience, killing existing weeds doesn't prevent new ones from germinating. This means that there is a temptation to spray again to kill the new weeds. Without Roundup-resistant crops, farmers must be more careful about the application of Roundup once the crops are growing, or even to live with some amount of secondary weed growth.

                    I'm perfectly happy to eat GMed food in most cases. I'm merely philosophically opposed to Roundup resistance in foods for the reasons I've attempted to present - apparently with limited success. If I knew what a CTer was, I suppose I might be offended by your last remark. And, for what it's worth, I don't think I'm "talking ignorantly". You seem to be purposely missing my point. Maybe other readers will understand it.

    •  Not a scientific matter, to me (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yasuragi, MichaelNY, Kevskos, spearfish

      It is a policy matter having to do with who "owns" the planet, the seeds, the patents, etc.

    •  I disagree with his premise that plant breeding (3+ / 0-)

      is the same thing as genetic engineering...they are not. He made a basic error in logic when he conflates the two processes. Since he starts from an invalid premise his conclusions are also then invalid.

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 10:30:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Naw (6+ / 0-)

        I've taken some pretty high level botany classes and mucked around in plant genomes (the lab I helped at was working on duckweed's genome at the time.)  

        Plants are WEIRD.  Corn has randomly doubled its genome twice since mass agriculture started, long before GMOs were a thing.

        The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

        by catwho on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 06:35:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just because plants continue to evolve (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          flowerfarmer

          does not mean that natural evolution and genetic engineering are in anyway the same thing. In the natural evolution, these plants very rarely randomly adds genes from bacteria, insects, birds, animals and even humans like are routinely spliced into the plants with genetic engineering.

          Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

          by RMForbes on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 11:32:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Routinely? (4+ / 0-)

            Once they've confirmed that they've added the target genes and it is expressing in the organism (e.g. they can detect Bt toxin, they confirm the offspring is sterile), they are usually done with that particularly project.

            And plants are totally okay with hybridizing themselves into sterility in nature, just to note.  Natural peppermint is a sterile hybrid of spearmint and water mint.  Because of this hybridization, the chromosomal counts are all over the place.  Genetically, it is one of the most singularly confused organizations on the planet (even beating out non-GMO, standard cultivated corn).  And yet it thrives, and we cultivate it, because it is delicious.

            The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

            by catwho on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 01:28:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Again, how does all that prove (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              flowerfarmer

              that bio engineering is the same thing as selective breeding and natural selection? They are obviously not the same process at all. It's has been the pro-GMO forces that continually try to conflate bio engineering with natural processes. It is a lie.

              Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

              by RMForbes on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 01:46:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  it achieves the same goal (4+ / 0-)

                Desired characteristics.  One relies on chance mutations across generations, the other picks out the characteristic and adds it.

                Some of those chance mutations actually did come from cross-species contamination, by way of accidental viral DNA transfers.  The human genome is littered with relics of viral DNA and snippets of genes from millions of years of accidental viral contamination.

                It's like arguing that walking across the country is better than taking an airplane because walking is natural, planes can crash, and they'll both get you to the destination eventually.  Are walking and airplanes the same thing? Yes and no.  Yes they are both forms of transit.  But one is natural, and the other is just a thousand times more efficient.

                So is selective breeding the same as direct genetic modification? Yes and no.  Yes, they are both forms of genetic engineering.  But one is natural, and the other is just a thousand times more efficient.

                The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

                by catwho on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 02:07:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  In nature cross-species contamination is quite (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  flowerfarmer

                  rare and also very rarely leads to viable changes in the species. In many things efficiency does not always produce better outcomes and sometimes even creates disasters. I don't want to participate in your bio engineering experiments, I want to opt out. How do we do that?

                  Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                  by RMForbes on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 03:15:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Grow your own food then (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Paul Rogers

                    The ONLY way to know 100% what's inside anything you purchase is to grow it or make it yourself.

                    You call it a bio-engineering experiment - I call it sound science.

                    The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

                    by catwho on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:12:37 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I do grow most of my own food (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      RiveroftheWest

                      and genetic engineering may or may not be sound science. It still is an ongoing experiment with most of the American public being used as guinea pigs without their explicit consent. I just want to be able to opt out of this scientific experiment. That requires food to be labeled to if they contain bio engineered plants or animals or not.

                      We have the right to the information in order to make an informed choice. There is no valid reason to withhold this information from the consumer no matter if it is sound science or not.

                      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                      by RMForbes on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:51:49 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

    •  YES. (0+ / 0-)

      Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

      by Lucy2009 on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 12:24:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site