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As a liberal, democratic parent, have you ever felt thankful for your Western privilege? Read on for a heartfelt piece about why empathetic, pro-science parents (and non-parents) should be pro-GMO. This article originally appeared on Grounded Parents

As a parent, my worst nightmare is the thought of harm coming to my children. I cannot fathom the heartache of one of them suffering a debilitating illness. More unimaginably terrifying would be seeing the death of one of my children. As President Obama said after the Sandy Hook school shooting, “Someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around.  With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves — our child — is suddenly exposed to the world.”

Whenever I enter this rabbit-hole of catastrophizing, I pause and thank the universe for my family’s privileged existence. My family is healthy. We have a beautiful home. We have everything we need and a lot of what we want. We can afford to send our daughter to an excellent preschool. I have the financial and professional flexibility to work from home a few days a week and revel firsthand in my 1-year-old son’s developmental milestones.

I can only imagine how it feels to live on the edge of financial disaster, or to worry about my child’s physical well-being. Like most kindhearted and empathetic people, my heart breaks for those less fortunate. Like many self-proclaimed liberals and democrats, I’m pro-welfare, pro-social programs, and pro-affordable and government-subsidized healthcare.

This is why I simply cannot comprehend why so many liberals, selfless in so many ways, are anti-GMO. Yes, yes, I know. Corporations. But that is not a valid argument when it comes to this:

Image credit to Wikipedia

This is a world map of the prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency based on WHO data. See that Americans? We in our cushy existence don’t have to deal with this. While we’re here marching against Monsanto, pretentiously shopping at Whole Foods, and berating Chobani for using GMO feed, many in those red and orange nations on the map are living off of less than what a serving of Chobani costs.

They are also watching their precious children–as precious to them as ours are to us–suffer from dreadful micronutrient deficiencies like VAD. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness in children, and greatly inhibits immune system function. Furthermore, VAD is a leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide.

So why is there opposition to GM rice and bananas with the potential to eradicate this horrific scourge? If you’re unfamiliar with these crops, Golden Rice and more recently “super bananas” have been modified to synthesize and accumulate beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A when metabolized by the human body. Because of the higher concentration of beta carotene (which gives modern carrots their orange hue), the color becomes yellow or orange. Populations that could benefit consume these crops as staples. For example, Indians consume large amounts of rice, and Ugandans large amounts of banana. While nutritional deficiencies cannot be eradicated without improving infrastructure and social/political issues, these engineered crops have huge potential for tangible outcomes.

So why does Greenpeace vandalize Golden Rice test fields? Why pull the race card with disingenuous drivel about the super banana being a ploy to force GMOs into a brown peoples’ market? As a “brown person,” I can honestly say that I’ve looked suffering in the malnourished eye on my regular visits to India. The nerve of using the race card to oppose these potentially life-saving GM crops is detestable. As I’ve said time and again, GM technology is safe. I urge everyone to read about the basic science and benefits of genetically engineered foods here. In the meantime ask yourself, if anti-GM proponents truly thought GMOs were unsafe, why care only about elite brands like Chobani or stores like Whole Foods? Don’t they care about the proles who can only afford Yoplait?

In the same speech I mentioned earlier, Barack Obama said, “This is our first task — caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.” Our society, my friends, is the whole world. Good people are their brothers’ keepers, the keepers of their sisters’ children. Let’s look past the blinders of privilege, reach above a lack of scientific awareness, and drop the empty anti-corporate ideology and see the light.

Note: This article originally appeared on Grounded Parents

Originally posted to ksenapathy on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 06:37 PM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Its not so simple . (8+ / 0-)

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

    by indycam on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 06:43:26 PM PDT

  •  Much of the opposition (18+ / 0-)

    to the Genetically Modified Organisms cabal comes from people who just want to have labels in the grocery store, letting them make informed choices about what they eat.

    The GMO lobby cannot STAND that.

    •  Which tells you something right there (8+ / 0-)

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 06:59:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And more objection comes from environmental (16+ / 0-)

      and related risks. Too many known ugly factors, way too many unknown ugly factors.

      "Good kindhearted parents" would be concerned about mutations and water degradations. "Green Revolution, Redux" with all the downsides.

      Oversimplifying a complex matter with moralistic pap.

      And a "race card", really? What is a good-hearted parent anyway? So if you don't seek GMO you are a bad-hearted parent. This thing is a mess.

      To those who did, thanks for Hring. You've inspired me.

      •  Well said (4+ / 0-)

        and have a different type of donut.

        "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 07:48:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The oversimplification comes from the H/R crowd (6+ / 0-)

        "GMOs bad".  That's a gigantic oversimplification.

        Please explain how either golden rice or beta carotene enhanced bananas present any environmental risk whatsoever. Spell out a path the harm could take.  There are massive benefits. The only way it could harm someone is by "the magic of GMOs bad".

        I can tell you the downsides of the "Green Revolution" that depended on industrial strength applications of herbicides and insecticides. And I'm with you 100%. That has nothing to do with "GMOs bad". It has to do with "Those GMOs that are designed to encourage massive herbicide are bad. Those GMOs that are designed to kill insects, unless thoroughly demonstrated to be innocuous to all but the target pest, are bad."

        GMOs are a complex matter. More important, GMOs do not constitute a natural kind. Each one is sui generis, and its benefits and downsides have to be separately weighed. It is true that those GMO products which stand to make huge profits for some corporation are hideously unlikely to have their downsides properly weighed. No one owns patents on the specific GMOs discussed by the diarist, so there are no ulterior motives involved.

        Now be kind enought to explain any specific pathway by which adding carotene to food staples might cause environmental or health damage, or else own up to being an over-simplifier, and retract your HR.

        The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

        by nicteis on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 08:07:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah,there is no oversimplification (6+ / 0-)

          in entitling a diary "Good Kind Hearted Parents Are Pro-GMO". Or using Golden Rice (which I mostly support btw but it is not patent free exactly) as a cudgel to make informed debate impossible. Climate change denier & Cameron's Environmental Sec'y Owen Paterson used a similar technique in the UK...http://blogs.channel4.com/...  

          "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

          by tardis10 on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 09:22:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I notice, however, that nobody has even tried to (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Victor Ward, nicteis, Kasoru

            answer this simple question:

            Please explain how either golden rice or beta carotene enhanced bananas present any environmental risk whatsoever. Spell out a path the harm could take.  
            What environmental risk does vitamin A pose in a banana or rice, that it doesn't pose in a carrot? Please be as specific as possible.

            There is also a current project to move genes for resistance to fungal diseases from a wild banana to the domestic Cavendish banana. Can you please tell me what environmental risk this gene would pose in one banana rather than another? Please be as detailed as possible.

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 05:55:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That you would even ask that question (3+ / 0-)

              shows that you still don't grasp the concept that the full spectrum of consequences to any and all genetic modifications are not, and cannot, be predicted. In other words, you share with GMO advocates the arrogance to rationalize that you understand all the complexities of nature, and all the consequences of modifying it.

              "All war is stupid" - JFK

              by jorogo on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 06:40:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  a better response would have been to (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Kasoru

                answer the question.

                Of course that is pretty hard to do when you HAVE no answer.  (shrug)

                In the end, reality always wins.

                by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 06:45:10 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  The full spectrum of consequences (0+ / 0-)

                to getting up in the morning are not, and cannot, be predicted. Do you therefore spend your entire life in bed?

                You were not asked for a prediction. You were asked to give an example of a concrete risk. A particular way, any particular way, in which a fungal resistance gene in a wild banana might cause harm when introduced into a Cavendish.

                You can't do that.  Your argument is, "we can't guess what unknown potential harms, unthinkable by anyone today, might result if we do something new. Therefore we should never do anything new."

                It's not a convincing argument. And it's not a scientific argument.

                The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

                by nicteis on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:50:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I love the risk of getting up in the morning; (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  flowerfarmer

                  That I have only one other option isn't something that weighs on my mind.

                  I don't love the risk of eating something a corporate lab scientist tells me is good for me and good for their benefactors alike; I have a world filled with other options....options we call food. It's been growing on this planet for a long time now, and I don't think it reasonable for me to bite (ha!) on the "new food" that someone designed when there's been literally millions of food choices growing naturally all around us for literally millions of years. I can try something new every meal and never run out of options with the "old food".

                  You seem transfixed on the idea that I can't predict what nobody can predict. We each find comfort in our own ways.

                  "All war is stupid" - JFK

                  by jorogo on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:45:50 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It's a simple distinction (0+ / 0-)

                    Try to grasp it. "Predict" is not the same thing as "identify a risk".

                    But since you don't love the risk of eating a Cavendish banana with one extra, natural, banana gene, please tell us, what is the risk? What might that scary protein do to you in the Cavendish that it wouldn't do to you if you ate the wild banana? Could it just possibly make you sprout back hair? Wither your duodenum? And why wouldn't it have done the same in the wild banana?

                    Or do you think of "genetic engineering" as a mysterious, non-physical extra ingredient that got added along with the protein, and you worry about what that ghostly extra ingredient will do to you? Since, after all, ghosts can do anything and are not bound by mere physical laws?

                    The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

                    by nicteis on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:10:56 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  I just want to know what's in my food (0+ / 0-)

          so I can decide how to feed my family. Why do you and others want to take that choice away from me and others?

      •  I'm worried more about the known factors (6+ / 0-)

        of malnutrition. Those of us who live in prosperous First World countries can ignore it. The rest of the world can't.

      •  what are the environmental risks from (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Victor Ward, Kasoru

        putting vitamin A into rice? What environmental risk does vitamin A have in rice that it doesn't have in aq carrot?

        Or moving a gene for disease resistance from one banana to another?

        Please be as specific as possible.

        Thanks.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 05:51:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Which is bullshit. (6+ / 0-)

      There are no labels telling me if my food was grown near a herd of brown cows, or if the farmer had a beard.  People want labels to support their outrage.

    •  I have no objection whatever to labels /nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Victor Ward

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 05:52:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can't understand why anyone (10+ / 0-)

    would shill for Monsanto for free. Label GMOs now.

    "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

    by Crider on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 06:47:39 PM PDT

  •  I used to live next door to one of those red (10+ / 0-)

    places on the map, we rated a dark orange. One of those places where kids have swollen bellies and light streaks running through their hair. The rains come in mid summer and the rice is harvested in late fall. Some years the rice doesn't last long enough and everyone has to dig bamboo roots in the forest. Bamboo roots aren't very nutritious.

    I like the GMOs for their resistance to flooding and mold. A really wet summer can wipe out the rice crop, the longer the rice can withstand high water the greater the yield.

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

    by ban nock on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 06:57:25 PM PDT

  •  This reads like a better edited rock crusher post (12+ / 0-)

    And still smells like AstroTurf.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 07:01:24 PM PDT

  •  It's all right with me (8+ / 0-)

    As long as I can get all the organic food I want at Whole Foods, and as long as people have the right to sue Monsanto if their product turns out to be harmful, and as long as they quit harassing farmers who have the misfortune to get the GMO strain mixed up with their own crops, and as long as the food that is GMO is labeled as such, then Monsanto can sell their product to all the third-world people they want.

    •  It wouldn't be all right with me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kevskos

      Even though I agree completely with the diarist. Monsanto's principal products are all evil, and they are evil whether they are sold in the US (where they ought to be labeled not just GMO, but "proprietary Monsanto GMO"), or to the third world.

      Those products have nothing whatsoever in common with golden rice and beta-carotene enhanced bananas, except for the fact that both contain DNA.  Both you and I eat DNA every day of the year, and it hasn't hurt us yet.

      The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

      by nicteis on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 08:13:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  HR'd. (13+ / 0-)

    If the diarist was acting in good faith, she'd have mentioned her employment. Then an honest debate could ensue. Although I doubt the diarist is here to engage in anything other than hipster punching and astroturfin'.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 07:08:28 PM PDT

  •  I think people are trying too hard to silence the (6+ / 0-)

    message. I see no evidence that this poster is banned or that she is anything other than who she says she is. She uses her name to post and has links to her web page and twitter feed. Looks like she's a scientist of S Asian descent. Into family issues and GMOs.

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

    by ban nock on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 07:15:37 PM PDT

  •  The diarist asks questions, (4+ / 0-)

    but declines to honor us with their participation in any discussion. It's the same one-way street of information flow corporate power always demands of its prols. They play the supreme authority, our job is to comply and protest in designated zones where we're never actually heard. It's really the only job security they offer.

    "All war is stupid" - JFK

    by jorogo on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 07:41:33 PM PDT

  •  You're wasting your time with this crowd. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Victor Ward, rduran, ksenapathy

    They hate Monsanto and love their pseudoscience more than they care about starving kids

  •  The diarist is 100% right (9+ / 0-)

    and the fact that 4 people HRd the tip jar shows that we progressives have a junk science problem.

    The GM rice and bananas have nothing to do with corporate agriculture, which has surrendered its intellectual property rights.

    It disgusts me that healthy, well nourished people in the First World are willing to sacrifice the lives of children in the developing world.

  •  How do 'Grounded Parents' feel about (5+ / 0-)

    contributing to the increase in farmer suicides in third world countries?

    How do they feel about granting seed patents to corporations, giving them the power to control food supply and sue farmers who are unfortunate enough to have GM seeds blow over onto their farmland and take root?

    How do they feel about allowing their children to be guinea pigs as corporate scientists are given the task of determining whether GMO foods are safe?

    How do they feel about decreasing biodiversity so that corporations can make a killing as they monopolize a limited range of foods?

    And how much did GMO lobbyists pay Frank Luntz to come up with the term 'Grounded Parents' to describe parents who actually don't give a shit and would like to keep their heads up their ass thank you very much?

    •  Comment on Grounded Parents (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nicteis

      Seriously, click on the link and comment there. Go ahead.

    •  Examples, please (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Victor Ward, aimeehs

      Name a farmer who has committed suicide because of golden rice.

      Name a corporation that has a patent on golden rice or golden bananas.

      Provide any remotely plausible mechanism by which either of these two products could harm human beings? Remember, the only difference between regular rice and golden rice is that the latter contains more beta carotene.  If a danger is created because of the way in which the beta carotene got there, please indicate a remotely plausible mechanism by which the process of introducing the beta carotene could harm a human consumer.

      Golden rice and golden bananas increase biodiversity, albeit by a small amount: they give farmers one additional option.

      Not everything GMO is about Monsanto, anymore than every medical intervention is about Pfizer.

      The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

      by nicteis on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 08:31:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course I will, because YOU are adorable ... (5+ / 0-)

        Name a farmer who has committed suicide because of golden rice.

        Dumb + loaded question. But let's do this anyway--see Plausible Mechanism 1. (Below) for a response.

        Also, do note that the Diarist broadened the discussion from being about Golden Rice when they titled it ‘Good, Kindhearted Parents are Pro-GMO. Which is, of course, a PR hack trick. (and not slimy at all.) Because you, I, and the diarist, all know that GMO’s DO lead to farmer suicides.

        Name a corporation that has a patent on golden rice or golden bananas.

        "Despite being the result of public research, golden rice is enmeshed in around seventy patents owned by some thirty-two companies and institutions, according to the US-based International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).4 Because of the complexity of licensing arrangements, the inventors ceded their rights to Greenovation, a biotech spin-off company from the University of Freiburg, which then struck a deal with AstraZeneca (now Syngenta). According to Dr. Potrykus, a veteran in dealing with multinational companies and an inventor of a number of patented technologies, forging an alliance with AstraZeneca seemed to be the only option available to gain "freedom-to-operate" and speed up the transfer of the technology to developing countries. Hence by a stroke of a pen, AstraZeneca was able to acquire exclusive commercial control over a technology that was developed with public funding and purportedly pursued for a humanitarian cause."

        Read more here: http://www.grain.org/...

        Provide any remotely plausible mechanism by which either of these two products could harm human beings? Remember, the only difference between regular rice and golden rice is that the latter contains more beta carotene.  If a danger is created because of the way in which the beta carotene got there, please indicate a remotely plausible mechanism by which the process of introducing the beta carotene could harm a human consumer.

        Plausible Mechanism 1: Thin Edge of the Wedge.

        GMO’s are banned or restricted in all European nations, as well as Australia, China, India, and Japan and many others (over two dozen) Phillipines is a battleground in getting GMO’s more accepted in Asia and the big corps are making headway. Golden Rice is a chief weapon in getting GMO’s accepted along with all the negative impacts. It’s working, too. They’re pretty much in.

        Plausible Mechanism 2: Undisclosed testing of product safety on children.

        http://www.nature.com/...

        They won’t even disclose whether their genetically modified crops are genetically modified when they’re testing them. That’s weird. (Or sociopathic) but I bet they’ll disclose whether there are any chemical aside from the Beta Carotene getting in there. Yes? You know, like chemicals to make them pest-resistant for example?

        Plausible Mechanism 3: Promotion of a magic bullet approach to solving incredibly complex socio-economic humanitarian issues(for fun and profit)

        Dealing with Third World problems is hard. Fuck it. Give them some yellow rice and we don’t need to address issues of poverty, farmer's rights, social inequalities, inadequate education, or complex malnutrition issues that go far beyond vitamin A deficiencies,

        Golden rice and golden bananas increase biodiversity, albeit by a small amount: they give farmers one additional option.

        Most GMO crops are chemically altered so that they are tolerant to herbicides. This allows a huge increase in the use of dangerous herbicides like Roundup! (Yay, Profits!) and force farmers to purchase even more dangerous pesticides to fight the pests that adapt. (Yay, More Profits!!) So yes, if having more toxic chemicals and toxic chemical resistant pests circulating through the environment helps biodiversity, then hell yeah! (and Mega Profits!!!))

        Not everything GMO is about Monsanto, anymore than every medical intervention is about Pfizer.

        This is very true!

        And I appreciate you lumping GMO corps in with the Pharmaceutical Industry--that’s an appropriate coupling. (You could also have gone with the Tobacco or Arms industry, both of them are also doing stellar work with Third World Children.)

        Hey, let’s close with a fitting quote from Dr. Oscar Zamora, vice chancellor of the University of the Philippines at Los Banos:

         “For every application of genetic engineering in agriculture in developing countries, there are a number of less hazardous and more sustainable approaches and practices with hundreds, if not thousands, of years of safety record behind them. None of the GE applications in agriculture today are valuable enough to farmers in developing countries to make it reasonable to expose the environment, farmers and the consumers to even the slightest risk.”

        •  Thanks for the links (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Victor Ward, hatrabbit

          This is what spirited, intelligent discussion ought to look like. I don't believe you've met my challenges, but you've given me some real food for thought. I had been unaware, in particular, of the IP encumbrances on golden rice - though those will presumably expire by the end of the decade.

          I wish I could respond point for point, without massive comment length inflation. I agree that the diary title was combative, but it did succeed in drawing our attention. I myself am not pro-GMO. I am anti-anti-GMO. In my firm view, it's the wrong enemy, the wrong discussion. Better to be anti-pesticide, anti-monocrop, anti-IP-gone-wild. We should be addressing the real, identifiable problems with industrial agricultural practices, not demonizing a method of generating new varieties of crops, simply because it has in the past been used to develop crops that mandated bad agricultural practice.

          Bear in mind that the crops pushed as part of the Green Revolution were developed using standard breeding techniques. Yet we don't say, "Look at the terrible results in depleted soils, and farmer dependency on pesticides and fertilizers! We should forbid plant breeding. Sure, there may be some beneficial varieties attained by cross-breeding and selection. But that's the thin end of the wedge to get us to accept the next harmful monocrop being hawked by agribusiness."

          The first "harm" you cite fails to be an actual harmful effect of the crops I asked about. It takes the form, "if we allow one GMO, we have to allow them all, and some of those are harmful."  It's no more than guilt by association.

          The second "harm" is mischaracterized. Nature was right to decry the experimenter's shoddy approach to informed consent. But the experiment, also shoddily designed in other respects, was not a test of "product safety"; it was supposed to test the product's medicinal value, whether there was enough uptake of the added beta carotene to make a difference.  The simple fact is that golden rice is safe. One could - and given the irrational fears out there, should - do a controlled study to demonstrate that fact. But no one has ever suggested a way in which the added beta carotene would be harmful, or what other occult substance is somehow introduced by the process of adding the beta carotene which then causes harm.

          Given the marketing power and political clout of the big agricorps, we'd be better off adopting the precautionary principle model that Europe has (at least nominally) adopted for chemicals: demonstrate safety, then allow on the market. For GMOs, since the only difference between the engineered plant and its non-engineered forebear is in a small set of added proteins, demonstration of safety would not require extensive, expensive field trials. It would suffice to show that the proteins in question are already present in other accepted foodstuffs, and that the genetically engineered crop can be grown with sustainable methods.

          The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

          by nicteis on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 04:14:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  First: sorry for the condescending header (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nicteis

            at top of my comment. I was reacting to the condescension I found in the article and some of the commenters, and wish I didn't lump it on to you.

            Second: I don't have time to respond to your points this morning (about to head into work) but appreciate your response and will go through them carefully later in the day.

            Third: Yes! to spirited and intelligent discussion. Thanks for your thoughtful response. I will take it in, think it through, and keep trying to learn more about what's going on here.

            •  No harm, no foul on the header (0+ / 0-)

              I have it on good authority from people I love that I AM adorable. :-)

              Looking forward to further discussion.

              The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

              by nicteis on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:17:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  "You don't love kids if you don't agree with me?" (14+ / 0-)

    Ahem.

    GMO food products have not benefited my child, or any children in our area, in any way. They have not made food cheaper. They have not made it more available.

    "Golden Rice" does not solve the Vitamin A problem, in part because there also needs to be fat in the diet. That said, though, it's one of the few GMO projects that was designed to actually benefit the end users - the people who eat it. No other GMO crop has benefits for the eaters.

    In the US, a lot of people want it labeled. This doesn't remove GMO from the food supply. It lets people choose for themselves, just as they should be able to choose between a bread that contains sugar vs. corn syrup, or a peanut butter that is 100% peanut derived versus one with added sugar and shortening. Indeed, if GMO has a consumer benefit, one can imagine people might seek it out. Right?

    And next time, lay off the whole 'Demonizing the Enemy' strategy, please.

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

    by elfling on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 07:55:58 PM PDT

  •  Whoa, comments (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billybush, nicteis, nanoboy, Joffan, Kingsmeg

    Sorry y'all for the lack of participation thus far. This is my first diary. As a previous commenter stated, I'm quite open about my employment. I'm also a busy mom of two young kids. Would love to spend more time engaging, but not always possible. I appreciate the discourse. Also, feel free to comment on the original article, as I tend to address comments there more regularly (I get notifications straight to my email.)

    My company is a small R&D firm. Most definitely not affiliated with Monsanto or any of the other big guys, although I really have nothing against Monsanto. Perhaps I will post something of mine that addresses the science behind GMOs to respond to some of your comments more precisely. Thanks again!

    •  Please keep posting (5+ / 0-)

      We need more real science around here.

      We are hypocrites when we condemn golden rice and super bananas and then turn around and object to conservative denial of global warming.

      •  'Real' science? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        flowerfarmer, hatrabbit, Kevskos

        Like that 'eat butter' thing that ended on the front page of Time magazine? We're awash in junk, industry-sponsored science — if you really want to call it that. Don't forget to eat some butter tomorrow!

        "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

        by Crider on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 09:08:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This isn't industry sponsored (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joffan, Victor Ward, aimeehs
        •  If corporations support research on their product (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Victor Ward

          and it is done by a third party lab the results can usually be trusted. Particularly since if it is performed in an academic lab or even a paid clinical research organization because both have to rely on having a reputation as impartial, fair, and honest to keep getting other grants from either government or business. Federal Government support for basic research is at the lowest level in decades. The most supported projects are application or translational science but not basic science. USA is eating its seed corn and not planting new crops and that anaolgy extends to the farmers (young scientists) too.

          Life is just a bowl of Cherries, that stain your hands and clothes and have pits that break your teeth.

          by OHdog on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 04:28:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Enjoyed the read, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ksenapathy

      was not familiar with 'golden rice', etc, though I love the concept and if this is working, great!  I do have a couple of problems with Monsanto, the corporation, but none whatsoever with the concept of GMOs.

      If I may make a small request: in your next diary, could you please work in one or two actual facts about nuclear power, as well?  Might as well keep all the anti-science ranting in one convenient location.

      190 milliseconds....

      by Kingsmeg on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 09:48:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks again for all comments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kingsmeg

    Just to clarify -

    1. I'm American

    2. Not a "shill"

    3. Yes, I understand this was written in a rather militant tone, as I am apt to do at times.

    Will jump back into commenting tomorrow when I get a chance, and I will be posting another diary or two over the next week or so. In the meantime if you lean toward agreeing, please show some love and share the original piece on twitter/FB http://groundedparents.com/...

    Much love!

  •  The opening line of this diary (7+ / 0-)
    "As a liberal, democratic parent..."
    reads like targeted advertising that sets the writer apart from the audience. The copy talks down to the reader and signals that the audience is about to be told how they should think. It labels us, the readers, and states that we should all think the same way.

    I think here at DKos, we are not always on the same page--maybe just in the same book. We don't always agree just because we are liberals or progressives or Democrats.

    I consider myself to be progressive and a good parent, which means I question and investigate everything, even when the information comes from another progressive. I don't buy into a doctrine that dictates how I should think about each issue.

    Maybe you have a point, but your tone is condescending and off-putting. So is the line about "pulling the race card." It's been used too many times by the right-wing in an attempt to extinguish valid arguments and discussions.

    Mostly, this reads like ghost-written blog content for a corporation.

  •  Not much for over-privileged, anti-GMO whining (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prinny Squad, AaronInSanDiego

    but this probably isn't the most convincing pro-piece imaginable.

  •  I think there are two points of consideration. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OHdog, Victor Ward

    1. Corporations that control these industries are evil, run by rich old white fuckers that do shitty things to everyone.

    There is a sincere and legitimate concern of how these corps run by the worst pieces of selfish shit on this planet harm people by doing whatever they want.

    No question, no argument.

    However, let's separate the entity from the product. That leads to:

    2. GMO as a product is forward-thinking.

    It'd be weird to not genetically augment food. Our most useful asset as humans when we choose to use it is our brain.

    Genetically enhanced food is akin to upgrading your body with cybernetics, or using processed enhanced medicine instead of the lesser effects of herbalism.

    People who hate it are really going to be pissed when we're eating processed nutrition cubes full of flavor and vitamins.

    I guess this makes me a transhumanist more than a humanist, but technology and knowledge are our salvation and our future.  Science is everything.

    Some people say they want to go back to nature, but I like my laptop, modern medicine, ultra thin scratchproof corrective lenses.

    Why wouldn't I want my food to be genetically enhanced? I'm not anti-labeling, labeling is fine, but I really don't get the hate.

    Just because corps like Monsanto use it to hurt people, doesn't mean the concept itself is flawed. We should just take it away from them, punish them, or force them to behave better, not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    I like what we as humans create. We make things better, life easier, more fun, healthier.

    -

    In summary, I think ksenapathy makes a good point about the topic.

    Though her delivery is objectively a bit sanctimonious and not recognizing Monsanto as a corrupt entity is morally questionable, defending GMO foods is legit and I agree with her on the concept.

    Humans can improve on nature.

    We have, we will, and we should.*

    *Remaking T-Rex is probably not a good idea though. Just saying, I think nature made the right call here by making it extinct.

  •  rec'd solely to counter the improper HRs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, Victor Ward, nicteis

    which were all given for disagreement.

    This diary alas sounds like a Monsanto sales brochure. But it's basic idea is correct---the anti-science knee-jerk opposition to GMO is silly. Particularly to GMOs like adding vitamin A to rice, or moving a gene for resistance to Sigatoka and Panama diseases from one banana to another--a GMO which has stuff-all to do with pesticides or weed resistance or even Monsanto. The fact that the fringers within the anti-GMO movement opposes even THAT, indicates that their opposition is not based on science or environmental protection; it's simple emotional tribalism. And it's silly.

     

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 05:50:17 AM PDT

  •  GMO crops-the worst possible way to address hunger (6+ / 0-)

    I've spent a lot of time with small scale farmers in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean and imo gmo crops are one of the biggest threats to ameliorating hunger.

    First of all can we finally all listen to economics Nobel Prize laureate Amartya Sen?  He famously wrote -- I'm paraphrasing -- hunger is not a problem of there not being enough food; hunger is a problem of people not being able to afford to buy the food that is available.  

    The reason people have vitamin deficiencies isn't because the native rice is deficient in vitamins. It's because people don't have the income to purchase the balanced food diet that is almost always available.  Vitamin deficiency in developing countries is not a nutrients in rice problem; it's an income problem.

    The widespread introduction of gmo food would make income based malnutrition worse because that would displace "land race" crops and diminish "seed saving" forcing farmers to purchase more seed and inputs.  This is likely to drive prices up leading to more income based malnutrition.

    So if you are a liberal person concerned about the well being of hungry children in those red colored countries, you should support efforts of local communities and governments to regulate the introduction of gmo food as they see fit.

    You may think that opposition to gmo food is anti-science, but the reflexive support for gmo food is anti-economics.

  •  Not wanting humans to play god with nature (3+ / 0-)

    is a perfectly valid opinion.  This is one of those cases where "science" does not come into play.  

    You're not a scientist, are you?  Either way, you should know that really all that science can do is tell us what sorts of effects something might have.  It can't tell us if something is right or wrong.  Even if transgenic rice is not directly harmful to the environment, the belief that messing around with a billion years of evolution in completely new ways is wrong is a fine argument.  

    Stepping back, even arguments where supposedly science is on our side are really all "emotional tribalism," too.  Science does not tell us that climate change is bad--it only tells us what might happen.  It's our emotional reaction to a planet bereft of half its species and with coastlines underwater that makes it bad.  Science is descriptive, not normative.

    So, back off on the "science says you're wrong" argument.  It's full of crap.

    The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

    by Scott in NAZ on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 06:14:55 AM PDT

    •  the computer you are using right now (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nicteis, ksenapathy

      is "humans playing god with nature". So are the vaccines you had as a kid. And the wheat and corn in your breakfast cereal isn't "natural" either--neither of them even exists in nature. They are the product of humans playing god with nature.

      So unless you live in a cave and eat roots and berries, spare me the "don't mess with Mother Nature" speech.

      Even if transgenic rice is not directly harmful to the environment, the belief that messing around with a billion years of evolution in completely new ways is wrong is a fine argument.  
      It may be a fine argument--it may be a crap argument.  What it's NOT, however, is a SCIENTIFIC argument. It is, as you note, a "belief". You may be a scientist, but your non-science "beliefs" are no more (or less) valid than my next door neighbor's or my car mechanic's or the kid who delivers my pizzas.

      So spare me the "back off, man-I'm a scientist" speech.

      So, back off on the "science says you're wrong" argument.  It's full of crap.
      Then I presume you can tell us the scientific argument why vitamin A in a banana is harmful to . . . something . . . but vitamin A in a carrot is not. Or why a gene for resistance to Sigatoka disease is harmful in one variety of banana but not in another . . . or why that particular gene is dangerous if it is placed there by GMO technology but not dangerous if it is placed there by selective breeding.

      Please be as scientifically detailed as possible.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 06:26:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  On top of which (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lenny Flank, ksenapathy

        Gene transference is not messing around with evolution "in completely new ways."  Viruses and plasmid-laden bacteria have been ferrying genes from one plant species to another from time immemorial.
         

        The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

        by nicteis on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 06:37:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  indeed, about one-third of our own DNA is (0+ / 0-)

          old broken genes from other species that were originally placed there by long-ago virii.

          But I thank our scientists friend here for demonstrating that, as I have said all along, the fringe within the anti-GMO movement is based on emotional beliefs, not on science.

          There is no science to show that vitamin A bananas or rice is harmful to anything, anywhere, in any way.

          Of course, MY opposition to Monsanto and its use of GMOs is also political, social and economic, not scientific. I'd still be opposing Monsanto and its use of GMOs even if every product they ever make is proven to be as safe as the powder on a  newborn baby's ass. That's because my opposition to them is not based on any nonexistent "safety" concerns, or on selective ideological fears of "playing god".

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 06:43:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oy, really? (3+ / 0-)

          So it's natural for a herbicide resistance gene to show up in a crop and allow farmers to double their spraying of Roundup?  It's natural for salmon to get a gene that doubles their growth rate so that when they escape their pens they outcompete the native salmon?

          It's not the DNA manipulation itself that's the problem.  It's the interaction of the resulting organism and the rest of the natural world.  

          The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

          by Scott in NAZ on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:09:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  there is no gene for herbicide resistance in (0+ / 0-)

            either the golden rice or the Sigatoka-resistant banana. So stop changing the subject.

            Or I'll have to point out to you that Monsanto did not make the Roundupo-resistant gene---it appeared naturally in weeds exposed to Roundup, and was simply taken from that weed by Monsanto and moved into another plant. That gene is entirely utterly one-thousand percent the product of natural evolution. As are every other GMO gene. Monsanto didn't make any of them. Mother Nature did.

            It's not the DNA manipulation itself that's the problem.  It's the interaction of the resulting organism and the rest of the natural world.  
            OK, now that we've established that you actually have no gripe with GMO itself, just in the awesome dangers presented by the GMO plants . . .  tell us again what awesome environmental or human danger is presented by either vitamin-A rice, or Sigatoka-resistant bananas. (And since neither of them has stuff-all to do with glyphosates or herbicide resistance or weeds, let's try to stick to the subject this time.)

            I am particularly interested in your non-scientific beliefs about the Sigatoka-resistant bananas, since Sigatoka-resistant genes already exist in nature--the aim of the GMO project is to simply move that gene from one banana variety to another. So please feel free to tell us why that gene is safe and happy and a friend of Mother Nature in one variety of banana, but is dangerous beyond comprehension in another.

            Be as detailed as possible.

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:28:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Jeebus (0+ / 0-)

              I already said I don't care about GMO bananas.  I'm just saying that you can't just use your awesome hand-waving powers to dismiss the argument that screwing with DNA is wrong.  This is a valid belief.  You might disagree, but that's just your non-scientific opinion.

              Science will never tell us what is right or wrong.  You might think that your arguments are better than everyone else's, but that's just your delusion.

              The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

              by Scott in NAZ on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:32:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  OK, so your opposition to GMO is indeed just (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ksenapathy

                emotional and ideological, and has stuff-all to do with science. And your non-science opinion doesn't mean any more than that of my veterinarian or the kid who served me a Big Mac for lunch today.

                Thanks for confirming.

                You may want to have a chat with your compadres here though who DO claim to have "scientific evidence" that GMO genes are harmful . . . . Or do you follow Reagan's Eleventh Commandment?

                In the end, reality always wins.

                by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:44:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Oy (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm not arguing shit myself.  I'm just saying that the opinion that fucking with DNA is wrong is as valid as anything else you can think of.  And sure has heck haven't proven me wrong--you can't.  Science doesn't tell us what is right or wrong--just values.  You can argue that your values are better but you can't prove it.

                  The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                  by Scott in NAZ on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:50:18 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  and that's all fine and dandy (0+ / 0-)

                    You are entitled to whatever non-science opinion you like (shrug).

                    The fact remains that there is no scientifically-demonstrated harmful effect for any GMO gene. And certainly none for golden rice or Sigatoka-resistant bananas. None. Not a one.

                    If you want to believe it is harmful anyway in the face of no evidence at all for that, that's your right.

                    In the end, reality always wins.

                    by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:10:32 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Actually I don't care about transgenic rice or (3+ / 0-)

        bananas, so go argue with someone else.

        Also, ad hominem attacks like calling someone a hypocrite for using a computer are pathetic and lame.  You seem like a smart person--that sort of argument just makes you look dumb.  And if I have to explain the difference between GMOs and selective breeding, then I'd really question your intelligence.  Don't be daft.

        It may be a fine argument--it may be a crap argument.  What it's NOT, however, is a SCIENTIFIC argument. It is, as you note, a "belief". You may be a scientist, but your non-science "beliefs" are no more (or less) valid than my next door neighbor's or my car mechanic's or the kid who delivers my pizzas.
        Exactly.  And your argument that GMOs are fine and dandy is as emotional as anyone else's.  You might be able to provide evidence that GMO bananas won't hurt anyone.  But you can't tell me that it's right.  Science can't do that.  That's why we have philosophy, religion, and emotions.

        The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

        by Scott in NAZ on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:07:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  um . . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ksenapathy
          Exactly.  And your argument that GMOs are fine and dandy
          There is no evidence anywhere that GMO genes do anything harmful to anything anywhere. Science is based on evidence.  I do of course understand that NON-science arguments are not based on evidence, and it is entirely NON-science arguments you are making.
          is as emotional as anyone else's.
          Wrong. There is no evidence that GMO genes cause any harm to anything anywhere (if you have some, please by all emans share it with us). No emotions involved. It's precisely the same as saying "there is no evidence that the full moon causes any harmful effect anywhere on anything". You are of course entirely entitled to believe that the full moon does something harmful to something, if you like. But you do so without any evidence.
          You might be able to provide evidence that GMO bananas won't hurt anyone.  But you can't tell me that it's right.  
          Anti-science, summed up.
          Science can't do that.
          Yes it can. If there is no evidence that a thing exists, there's no reason to assume it exists.  Sir Billy of Ockham. You have no evidence that harmful effects from golden rice exist.  

          Of course nobody can stop you from beleiving they exist anyway despite the lack of evidence--just as nobody can prevent people from believing in Bigfoot or Nessie or chemtrails or the Lost Continent of Atlantis despite the lack of evidence.  (shrug)

          That's why we have philosophy, religion, and emotions.
          Indeed, thanks for confirming once again that the fringe's opposition to GMOs is entirely ideological and emotional, and doesn't have stuff-all to do with science.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:36:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why are ideological arguments automatically wrong? (0+ / 0-)

            Huh?  Show me that.

            Oh, wait, you can't.  Sorry, but all of your stuff above boils down to "emotional arguments are wrong."  Prove it.

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:56:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't say they were automatically wrong (0+ / 0-)

              What I said is (1) they're not science, and (2) they're no better than the ideological beliefs held by the counter girl at the Walgreen's across the street.  (shrug)

              PS--there is still no scientific evidence that GMO genes do anything harmful anywhere to anything. None.  Not a shred.

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:15:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And now we're agreed (0+ / 0-)

                Your opinion is no more valid than anyone else's.  Science can illuminate facts but it can't decide if one value system is better than other.

                Have a nice day.

                The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                by Scott in NAZ on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:34:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  cool (0+ / 0-)
                  Your opinion is no more valid than anyone else's.
                  Nor have I ever claimed it is.  (shrug)

                  But that still doesn't change the scientific fact that there is no evidence that any GMO gene is harmful. Just as there is no evidence that flying saucers exist. One can of course believe they exist anyway, despite the utter lack of evidence for it, if one wants to.

                  In the end, reality always wins.

                  by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:48:51 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  I will assume (0+ / 0-)
          And if I have to explain the difference between GMOs and selective breeding, then I'd really question your intelligence.
          that this is simply an evasion of my question rather than a poor reflection on YOUR intelligence.  I didn't ask about the difference between GMO and selective breeding. I asked what's the difference in the effects of a gene that is placed in a plant through GMO and the effects of the very same gene that is placed into the very same plant through selective breeding.

          I suspect you have no answer to that question. Because I suspect you know just as well as I do that there is no difference. It's the same gene with the same effects.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:40:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll try to answer your question. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Scott in NAZ

            In selective breeding, people select desirable organisms from nature and help them to breed. If it's within the organisms' natural ability to produce an offspring which shares traits of both "parents", that will happen naturally, the same as it could under certain coincidental natural circumstances, though the offspring itself may lose the ability to reproduce itself in the process (hybrid).

            Genetic modification is performed in a lab, where genes from multiple organisms which are not naturally capable of producing an offspring are spliced together, producing what the human designer predicts....or so they hope.

            "All war is stupid" - JFK

            by jorogo on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:10:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

              That was not my question.

              I'll ask again:

              If banana B has a gene for resistance to Sigatoka and banana A does not, and we crossbreed the two so the gene from banana B ends up in banana A, what effect from the gene is different in any way than if we just cut the gene from banana B and put it into banana A. How is the gene or its effects any different in banana A according to which method we use to put the gene there. If the gene is put there through genetic engineering rather than through selective breeding, what becomes different about that gene or its effects.

              I'm not interested in your philosophizing about the beauties of nature.  I want to know what is different about the gene or its effects.

              Please be as detailed as possible.

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:21:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What you refuse to get (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                flowerfarmer

                is that neither I nor anybody else on the planet is capable of predicting precisely what the results will be in the long term.

                The only thing you've achieved here is absolute proficiency at asking questions nobody is capable of answering.

                "All war is stupid" - JFK

                by jorogo on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:26:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  how dreadful (0+ / 0-)

                  I notice you didn't answer my question, though . . .

                  WHATEVER you think the future consequences will be, how do they change according to whether that gene got into that banana through selective breeding or that very same gene got into that very same banana through being genetically inserted.

                  Please be as detailed and specific as possible.  Which effects change if it's GMO instead of breeding, and why do they change.

                  In the end, reality always wins.

                  by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:46:12 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think you've discovered what's eluded science (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    flowerfarmer

                    till this day - perpetual motion. You ask what nobody can answer, I tell you nobody can answer, so you ask why I don't answer, and on infinitum. I'm done.

                    But y'all can look for it to come around one more time ......right down here.......V

                    "All war is stupid" - JFK

                    by jorogo on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:09:33 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  and I think you just can't answer my question (0+ / 0-)

                      because there is no difference between a gene that gets there by GMO or a gene that gets there by selective breeding.  A gene is a gene is a gene is a gene.

                      In the end, reality always wins.

                      by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:15:11 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  I should add (0+ / 0-)

              that even if the offspring of genetic modification is what the human designer predicted it to be, there is no way the human designer can predict with absolute accuracy how that new organism will interact with the other billions of organisms it will interact with when it's released into the natural world.

              "All war is stupid" - JFK

              by jorogo on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:21:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Are you arguing from deontology? (0+ / 0-)

          I think you and Lenny may be talking past each other, because of this:

          You might be able to provide evidence that GMO bananas won't hurt anyone.  But you can't tell me that it's right.  Science can't do that.  That's why we have philosophy, religion, and emotions.
          <.blockquote>
          If I'm understanding you, you are not making the claim of the other anti-GMO commenters that GMOs in every case cause, or pose considerable risk of causing, harm. You are claiming that regardless of outcomes, futzing with organisms' genes is ethically wrong: perhaps has too high an ick factor, or violates an implicit compact between man and nature on the order of a Prime Directive.

          If that's where you're coming from, then you're right; there's no way to argue with an a priori ethical belief. And all the more so, no way to argue against it with scientific facts. But I'm not sure there's a way for you to argue for it, either. It might be chacun a son gout ethics.

          The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

          by nicteis on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:12:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  English translation, please? n/t (0+ / 0-)

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:23:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry about the failed close blockquote (0+ / 0-)

              If you mean "deontological" - it's a basic distinction between kinds of ethical theories. Utilitarian accounts of ethics classify acts as good or bad depending upon their consequences. Deontological accounts classify acts as good or bad depending upon their motivating principles. The premiere example of the latter being Kant's categorical imperatives. Which Wikipedia can probably explain more clearly and concisely than I can.

              The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

              by nicteis on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:38:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ah (0+ / 0-)

                Thanks.  So, my philosophy is rusty and it will show (I could've answered this question way better back in college).  But I think that all beliefs and arguments ultimately come down to values and what people believe, irrationally, deep inside.  And I don't think that there is any objective "right" or "wrong" other than what we create for ourselves based on those values.

                The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                by Scott in NAZ on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:48:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  that is true in matters of subjectivity (0+ / 0-)
                  And I don't think that there is any objective "right" or "wrong" other than what we create for ourselves based on those values.
                  It is not true in matters of fact or science.

                  There is no evidence that GMO genes have done anything harmful. Just as there is no evidence that Bigfoot or ghosts exist. That is simply a fact, and remains so whether anyone likes it philosophically or not.

                  You are of course entirely free to ignore the evidence and assume ideologically that they exist anyway despite the lack of evidence.

                  (Though it sounds a wee bit "anti-science" to me, in my non-scientific ethical philosophical opinion which is no more valid than that of my taxicab driver's.)

                  In the end, reality always wins.

                  by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:22:42 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Scott is not saying GMOs have harmful effects (0+ / 0-)

                    I gather he's saying that it's a sort of tinkering that's just wrong in and of itself. He rightly says that pointing out results is irrelevant to such a conviction.

                    A more productive line of discussion might be asking him to elucidate how he tells wrong tinkering apart from right tinkering, since he doesn't seem to object to technology as such, or to tinkering via artificial selection. Perhaps he tells them apart by gut feel, and that's the end of the dialogue; or perhaps he can articulate a clearer principle.

                    The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

                    by nicteis on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:42:54 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  yeah, I get that (0+ / 0-)

                      Though I'm a bit surprised to see such an argument coming from him, of all people . . . .

                      At best, I'd be interested to hear why GMO bananas are "meddling with nature" but the grains in his breakfast cereal (which are not found in nature) aren't.

                      But alas I really don't care about his religious or philosophical opinions, any more than I care about those of my next door neighbor or the dude across the street.  He's entitled to whatever beliefs he likes.  (shrug)

                      In the end, reality always wins.

                      by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:53:21 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  And chacun a son gout = each to his taste n/t (0+ / 0-)

              The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

              by nicteis on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:40:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with you...mostly. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scott in NAZ, flowerfarmer

      O.k., sorry, here comes the "but":

      all that science can do is tell us what sorts of effects something might have
      Science is far more accurate, and even so far from perfectly, at analyzing the past than predicting the future. And when you're dealing with genetic modification, not only are you trying to predict within a system far more complex than science may ever grasp completely, but the consequences of the slightest error or omission in your prediction can have dire, planet-wide consequences.

      Most of the "lively discussion" here is between those who get that, and those who rationalize around it.

      "All war is stupid" - JFK

      by jorogo on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:28:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jorogo, flowerfarmer

        Perhaps it's more accurate to say that science can tell us what sorts of effects things are having right now or in the past vs the future.

        The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

        by Scott in NAZ on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:34:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that's a proper balance. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Scott in NAZ

          Keeping in mind that science, still our best bet for gathering knowledge (as opposed to superstition or whatever is of personal benefit), will always have inaccuracies and must continue to question itself, both science and people will use it to try to predict the future. In fact, with no better option, we need to do that. Global climate change is a well-known example of a need to predict.

          But that process of using science to predict must not be worshipped as capable of being absolute in its accuracy, and it must be considered that within the complexity of the natural world, the slightest inaccuracy may have the most dire of consequences. That consideration is what's missing from this diary and many of the comments.

          "All war is stupid" - JFK

          by jorogo on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:48:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  except . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ksenapathy

        All of the genes used in GMO have already existed, some of them for decades, some of them for billions of years. We already know what effects they have in the environment, because they have already been in the environment.

        Even the GMO crops themselves have been around for decades now. They have had no demonstrated harmful effects. (The stuff we spray on them is another matter--though we also spray that very same stuff on non-GMOs too).

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:51:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They've existed, obviously, (0+ / 0-)

          but they have not combined in ways which can be done in a lab today.

          "All war is stupid" - JFK

          by jorogo on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:15:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  um . . . . (0+ / 0-)

            you seem to have missed my point entirely.

            You complained that we don't know what the effects of GMO genes are in the environment.

            I pointed out that we DO know the effects, since the GMO crops you wave your arms about have already BEEN in the environment, for decades now. And they have had no demonstrated effect.

            You of course can argue that 20 years isn't long enough, and then that 50 years isn't long enough, and then that a thousand years isn't long enough.

            But your assertion that the GMOs have not been tested in the environment is simply wrong--trivially, embarrassingly wrong. They already are in the environment, and have been since the 90's. They make up the majority of all crops grown in the USA. After all, it is precisely their presence in the environment that you are trying to STOP, isn't it . . . .

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:53:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I'm thinking journalist want to be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scott in NAZ

      A "writer for a small startup"

    •  Totally disagree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ksenapathy, nicteis, Prinny Squad

      I'm sitting here as my daughter's cat is at the vet, thinking that cats only exist because years ago our ancestors "played God with nature." Same with the wheat in the cereal I ate for breakfast this morning.

      I won't give up either the cat or the wheat.

      If you want to argue against big corporations patenting a crop and trying to sue you if their crop breeds with yours, I'll listen.

      But using science to control nature? It's what we need to do!

      •  Genes don't jump between (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        flowerfarmer

        cats and wheat.  Those 2 organisms were created by selective breeding, which is the same sort of evolution that Darwin (and Wallace) discovered, just speeded up.

        Why do we need to use science to control nature?  We've been doing that for a few hundred years, and as a result, we're now on the brink of destroying the ability of the planet to support human civilization.

        Maybe we need less science.

        The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

        by Scott in NAZ on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:36:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  cats and wheat share about 60% of (0+ / 0-)

          their DNA.

          Indeed, you can take a PAX gene from a fruit fly and put it into a rat, and it functions perfectly.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:53:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Are you fucking serious? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ksenapathy, flowerfarmer

            You're pulling that crappy argument?  Do you know the first thing about genetics?  That's the stupidest thing I've heard on this site.

            Go read a couple of genetics textbooks before you spout crap about sharing DNA.   I doubt you even understand how they define that term.

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:58:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  yes, I am fucking serious (0+ / 0-)

              And I strongly encourage everyone, on both sides, to read some genetics books.

              (Though it won't help anyway since, as you correctly point out, this whole "debate" is about tribal emotional ideology, not about science.)

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:06:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I am alive (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Prinny Squad

          Because scientists figured out how to do safe caesarean sections that also didn't kill the mother.

          And because other scientists developed antibiotics to combat the pneumonia that would have killed me at six months.

          And now fewer women die in childbirth, and fewer kids starve, and we can produce more with fewer hours of work, and Stephen Hawking can investigate black holes from his wheelchair and write books and give lectures.

          Maybe we need more science.

          •  Wha? (0+ / 0-)

            Big big difference between surgical techniques and what I was talking about with respect to humans mucking with nature (write large).

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 07:59:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed. (0+ / 0-)

            More science.

            Science can both control and improve nature.

            The solution to scientific advances that have negative side effects is not to abandon them and go backwards. It's to improve them to remove the negative effects.

            For example, the solution to pollution heavy vehicles is not to go back to walking and using a bike. Slow and sweaty.

            The solution is to invent better vehicles - as seen with the electric car movement.

            There is no question that selfish corp assholes are a huge problem. But to confuse their product with the entity does disservice to the product, science, and human creativity/achievement.

            We should be pissed at the heartless suits who abuse people and inventions, not scientists who create great things.

  •  My next diary on this subject (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for reading and commenting (both sides.) This topic is important and should be discussed. I've posted another piece here

    It originally appeared here

    •  I hope my remarks are actually read, and (0+ / 0-)

      responded-to for their content. I've had exchanges with one or two people on the subject of GMO's wherein I was accused, without justification, of being a&#(@#( anti-science ignorant idiot. I would appreciate that not happening here. OK.

      I would like to gently take issue with the title, simply because not all GMO's are created equal. I don't know enough to give a perfectly-informed answer, but I will say that I think the "golden" (Vit.A enhanced) crop-plants are a good idea. No-one has died from eating carrots, (although they can turn you orange), whereas Vit. A deficiency is a real health threat. Carrots don't threaten the environment, so I'm guessing neither do these new "golden" crops.

      But other GMO's, such as herbicide-resistant or pesticide-containing crops, are an environmental threat. Roundup-ready crops encourage higher applications of glyphosate, which is harmful to the environment. And the application of more and more herbicide leads to the (more or less natural) evolution of herbicide resistant weeds- whose resistance quickly passes into the general weed population, leading to an upward spiral in herbicide use.
      Pesticide-containing plants cause both a spiraling evolution of pesticide resistance in insect pests (similar to the evolution of herbicide resistance in weeds), and death of non-pest species of insects.
      Genetically modified salmon, if released to the open sea, will contaminate the wild gene pool with traits not beneficial for living in the wild.

      So please, consider titling your diary something like "Good Kindhearted Parents are support good GMO's". Otherwise, the clear implication is that any opposition to GMO's is the sign of an evil person, which I gently protest.

      I invite your response. Thank you.

      •  a gentle correction (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ksenapathy
        But other GMO's, such as herbicide-resistant or pesticide-containing crops, are an environmental threat. Roundup-ready crops encourage higher applications of glyphosate, which is harmful to the environment. And the application of more and more herbicide leads to the (more or less natural) evolution of herbicide resistant weeds- whose resistance quickly passes into the general weed population, leading to an upward spiral in herbicide use.
        The threat is not from the GMO plant, but from the stuff we spray on it--just as the threat from fertilizer runoff is not from the grass, but from the stuff we spray on it.

        We also spray Roundup (and other harmful herbicides) on non-GMO plants too--where they have exactly the same effects.

        But there's little point any more in opposing Roundup--resistant weeds already began appearing before the GMO plants were even even released (people have been spraying Roundup since the 70's), so it's already losing its effectiveness, and its replacements are already in the works. (And some of those replacements are not as relatively benign in the environment as Roundup is.) So it won't be long before Roundup has gone the way of all the other herbicides that are no longer used because they no longer work.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:47:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Though I would not HR this diary (0+ / 0-)

    I do not blame those who did.

    What the Right Wing calls "being politically correct" is what my mama used to teach me was "being polite".

    by Walt starr on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 02:37:05 PM PDT

  •  Destroying many things.... (0+ / 0-)

    The rash of suicides among Indian farmers in debt did not happen during British times when they were burdened with colonial taxes, it is happening now, in Independent India, with the farmers beholden to the corporations.

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