GMO foods

Alright, I haven't posted in a while, but this will hopefully get me started again.

As you can see, I'm posting about GMO foods, and I'm wandering about your thoughts about it. See, I used to absolutely detest GMO foods and I was also an Alex Jones listener. My view on the subject has, somewhat, blurred and I'm more pro about them now. I am now not an Alex Jones listener, but if you look at my bio, which is now outdated, you will se some ideas very in line with his.

I am a great fan of the Vlogbrothers, although I prefer all of their work that isn't vlogbrothers, ironically, and I came across Hank Green's video about the 'Frankenfoods'. Watch.

...Oh, well, it was taken down due to a copyright claim and so I'll show you one of his other videos on the topic. Shame the first one got taken down.

And then the rebuttal from a Myles Power...


So, you've seen Hank Green talk about genetic modification, but what about the other side of the arguement, the side of Alex Jones and David Ike? Well, they have some fairly strong views on it, and I'll link one of their documentaries at the end, if you have nothing to do on a Sunday.


And finally, a word from the outspoken Richard Dawkins, with whom I stand...

Actually, it's not about GMOs, because I couldn't find the clip I was looking for, but it's similar...

Now, here's him talking directly about genetically modified food, to Prince Charles, in fact:


Your Royal Highness,

Your Reith lecture saddened me. I have deep sympathy for your aims, and admiration for your sincerity. But your hostility to science will not serve those aims; and your embracing of an ill-assorted jumble of mutually contradictory alternatives will lose you the respect that I think you deserve. I forget who it was who remarked: 'Of course we must be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.'

Let's look at some of the alternative philosophies which you seem to prefer over scientific reason. First, intuition, the heart's wisdom 'rustling like a breeze through the leaves'. Unfortunately, it depends whose intuition you choose. Where aims (if not methods) are concerned, your own intuitions coincide with mine. I wholeheartedly share your aim of long-term stewardship of our planet, with its diverse and complex biosphere.

But what about the instinctive wisdom in Saddam Hussein's black heart? What price the Wagnerian wind that rustled Hitler's twisted leaves? The Yorkshire Ripper heard religious voices in his head urging him to kill. How do we decide which intuitive inner voices to heed?

This, it is important to say, is not a dilemma that science can solve. My own passionate concern for world stewardship is as emotional as yours. But where I allow feelings to influence my aims, when it comes to deciding the best method of achieving them I'd rather think than feel. And thinking, here, means scientific thinking. No more effective method exists. If it did, science would incorporate it.

Next, Sir, I think you may have an exaggerated idea of the natural ness of 'traditional' or 'organic' agriculture. Agriculture has always been unnatural. Our species began to depart from our natural hunter-gatherer lifestyle as recently as 10,000 years ago - too short to measure on the evolutionary timescale.

Wheat, be it ever so wholemeal and stoneground, is not a natural food for Homo sapiens. Nor is milk, except for children. Almost every morsel of our food is genetically modified - admittedly by artificial selection not artificial mutation, but the end result is the same. A wheat grain is a genetically modified grass seed, just as a pekinese is a genetically modified wolf. Playing God? We've been playing God for centuries!

The large, anonymous crowds in which we now teem began with the agricultural revolution, and without agriculture we could survive in only a tiny fraction of our current numbers. Our high population is an agricultural (and technological and medical) artifact. It is far more unnatural than the population-limiting methods condemned as unnatural by the Pope. Like it or not, we are stuck with agriculture, and agriculture - all agriculture - is unnatural. We sold that pass 10,000 years ago.

Does that mean there's nothing to choose between different kinds of agriculture when it comes to sustainable planetary welfare? Certainly not. Some are much more damaging than others, but it's no use appealing to 'nature', or to 'instinct' in order to decide which ones. You have to study the evidence, soberly and reasonably - scientifically. Slashing and burning (incidentally, no agricultural system is closer to being 'traditional') destroys our ancient forests. Overgrazing (again, widely practised by 'traditional' cultures) causes soil erosion and turns fertile pasture into desert. Moving to our own modern tribe, monoculture, fed by powdered fertilisers and poisons, is bad for the future; indiscriminate use of antibiotics to promote livestock growth is worse.

Incidentally, one worrying aspect of the hysterical opposition to the possible risks from GM crops is that it diverts attention from definite dangers which are already well understood but largely ignored. The evolution of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria is something that a Darwinian might have foreseen from the day antibiotics were discovered. Unfortunately the warning voices have been rather quiet, and now they are drowned by the baying cacophony: 'GM GM GM GM GM GM!'

Moreover if, as I expect, the dire prophecies of GM doom fail to materialise, the feeling of let-down may spill over into complacency about real risks. Has it occurred to you that our present GM brouhaha may be a terrible case of crying wolf?

Even if agriculture could be natural, and even if we could develop some sort of instinctive rapport with the ways of nature, would nature be a good role model? Here, we must think carefully. There really is a sense in which ecosystems are balanced and harmonious, with some of their constituent species becoming mutually dependent. This is one reason the corporate thuggery that is destroying the rainforests is so criminal.

On the other hand, we must beware of a very common misunderstanding of Darwinism. Tennyson was writing before Darwin but he got it right. Nature really is red in tooth and claw. Much as we might like to believe otherwise, natural selection, working within each species, does not favour long-term stewardship. It favours short-term gain. Loggers, whalers, and other profiteers who squander the future for present greed, are only doing what all wild creatures have done for three billion years.

No wonder T.H. Huxley, Darwin's bulldog, founded his ethics on a repudiation of Darwinism. Not a repudiation of Darwinism as science, of course, for you cannot repudiate truth. But the very fact that Darwinism is true makes it even more important for us to fight against the naturally selfish and exploitative tendencies of nature. We can do it. Probably no other species of animal or plant can. We can do it because our brains (admittedly given to us by natural selection for reasons of short-term Darwinian gain) are big enough to see into the future and plot long-term consequences. Natural selection is like a robot that can only climb uphill, even if this leaves it stuck on top of a measly hillock. There is no mechanism for going downhill, for crossing the valley to the lower slopes of the high mountain on the other side. There is no natural foresight, no mechanism for warning that present selfish gains are leading to species extinction - and indeed, 99 per cent of all species that have ever lived are extinct.

The human brain, probably uniquely in the whole of evolutionary history, can see across the valley and can plot a course away from extinction and towards distant uplands. Long-term planning - and hence the very possibility of stewardship - is something utterly new on the planet, even alien. It exists only in human brains. The future is a new invention in evolution. It is precious. And fragile. We must use all our scientific artifice to protect it.

It may sound paradoxical, but if we want to sustain the planet into the future, the first thing we must do is stop taking advice from nature. Nature is a short-term Darwinian profiteer. Darwin himself said it: 'What a book a devil's chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low, and horridly cruel works of nature.'

Of course that's bleak, but there's no law saying the truth has to be cheerful; no point shooting the messenger - science - and no sense in preferring an alternative world view just because it feels more comfortable. In any case, science isn't all bleak. Nor, by the way, is science an arrogant know-all. Any scientist worthy of the name will warm to your quotation from Socrates: 'Wisdom is knowing that you don't know.' What else drives us to find out?

What saddens me most, Sir, is how much you will be missing if you turn your back on science. I have tried to write about the poetic wonder of science myself, but may I take the liberty of presenting you with a book by another author? It is The Demon-Haunted World by the lamented Carl Sagan. I'd call your attention especially to the subtitle: Science as a Candle in the Dark .


-Richard Dawkins, The Observer, 2000


And remember, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence...




Mashable has a video released a video about this.


...and so has Neil deGrasse Tyson (well, not him)

Please, I'd like to hear your views.

In to next 50-100 years we'll face further population growth (will probably cap out at around 11-12 billion) coupled with a decrease in agricultural spaces and a higher demand for resource heavy foodstuff (fruits, meat, diary) and non food agricultural products like biofuel. In the past the agricultural production has been kept rising using new breeds in large monocultures coupled with the excessive use of fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides.

GMO are the best way we have to meet the demands in food production while also reducing use of enviromentally harmfull substances. Especially growth under suboptimal environmental conditions and losses though diseases have a vast potential to be improved using genetic engineering, also some new agricultural areas can be farmed.

That said, there are certainly issues with GMO companies pulling shenanigans. The issue is the same as with pharmaceutical companies: The cost of research and development is huge (unbelievably huge) and usually leads to a dead end. The end product is relatively  cheap and easy to produce (or copy), so those large for profit companies use aggressive legal means to ensure the get their money. Some people find it unethical to charge large sums of money for seeds or life saving medicine, but the market is obviosly capped and companies like Bayer need to make money if they want to continue to exist and do research.

One solution would be more government founding, but it seems there are other priorities........


Yeah, you're right. It's annoying, though, because biofuel is taking up 8%, I think, of the total farming space globally, and the benefits of the small amount of usable fuel is outweighed by the total imact on food production.

Government funding is always crappy, while there may well be some legitimate uses of government money, they seem to be overshadowed by the misuses. To name a few:

-Expenses scandal

-90,000 stirling wages for MPs

-Solar Roadways

-Shady deals with Saudi Arabia

etc. etc.


Hmmm, OP your thoughts on Monsanto?

I don't know... I used to go with what Alex Jones said, but I don't now. I feel as if they're just a company which happen to be run by Bill Gates. I know that they were voted most evil company , but that equates to diddily-squit in the real world, and that they've done a bit of shady buisiness, but most companies have, so it ends up being ok, by buisiness standards, or, to put it differently, the norm. Why? - what's your opinion on Monsanto?


Why does that wacko video seem like extra credits? O.o


I'd rather eat the synthetic burger meat than the stuff that actually came from a cow (Or Horse, depending on whether you bought it from Tesco or not, lol)

But, I'd rather have fruit that was modified to repel insects, produce sweeter fruit/sourer fruit, be of a consistant size etc. Than have fruit that Wasn't.


TBH, the Hell that some predict where we've all replaced normal meat with insects is the stuff of nightmares to me. I can't stand insects when they're alive, let alone in my gut. *Blech*

Long story short: GMO FTW. We already use Gamma radiation to kill bacteria in fruit. Is making them better by changing their genetics gonna hurt us more?



Im sure there are some good people with decent intentions that work for them, but as a whole Monsanta imho aren't to be trusted and I personally Monsanto as a world power (not company) should be taken down for the damage what glyphosate has done to the environment alone.

Dont get me wrong I think if done ethically GM crops etc can be directed in a way that benefits all. Monsanto's vision is they control and patent the genes, control the distribution of seeds and destroy the industry of local farming. They get desperate farmers signed up to 'no liability agreements', ~ deems Monsanto free of any responsibility yet still gain profit. Then the GM crops that may or may not contain herbicides that may harm the ecosystem set seed and contaminate neighboring crops. There is a case of a farmer a few hours south of me, his certified organinc farm (min 10yrs and very strict testing) lost its certification cause a GM canola crop contaminated 70% of his fields. The poor bastard tried to take em to court, even had a QC with em. Nope not good enough. Monsanto won. Now his livelihood is in complete disarray. 

Actually, that hits on one of the less discussed issues with GM modification for the purposes of making crops more resilient  to natural pests. If you do GM modify a fruit tree or a type of grain to be resistant to all natural pests and it escapes into the wild, what would be there to stop that organism becoming a pest itself and taking over the whole ecosystem? It has no natural predators to take it out and control it. This could even spill over into the animal kingdom, if that plant is a significant food source for one animal in the area but not another. The knock on effects boggle the mind.

This is why I think all GM crops should have a 'kill system'. Add something to their genetic code that makes it so they will die without a particular substance, something that can easily be added to the irrigation system and is relatively benign if it escapes.   

lol G.M.O = god move over

This is actually very interesting. It seems like it's very difficult to contain the GM seeds since they can be transported through a variety of methods such as wind, animals, or water. If it spreads to other areas, it would start competing with other plants and start pushing out the wildlife. Since animals refuse to eat those GM plants, it could potentially endanger a lot of species. So I agree with you that GM crops should have some sort of kill switch. Maybe make it so that the crops will only grow in a very specific environment.

Couldn't agree more. GMO is the future, but as with all things, there are teething issues. But fact of the matter is with an exponential growth in the worlds population will naturally give rise to the issue of how humanity is suppose to feed itself. Growing crops that have been genetically modified to withstand drought, or disease is is going to be the way to maintain the planet. 

You're not being serious, are you? Look, I didn't want to start a religious flame war, but if you want one, I can almost certainly prove that your geni- correction, god doesn't exist.

You definitely have a point, but the fact is, we know very little about the ins and outs of genetic modification at the mo., and it looks as if we may not be able to do much more if we have hundreds of ignoramuses, such as Kai here, who would like to get a ban on GMO foods based on no evidence.

Look, I don't think that sound healing or meditation do any good, if fact, they do damage, but does that mean I should have a right to have institutes which perform it shut down? No!

We now have a fairly good concept of the mechanisms behind lots of things, and can manipulate them for the welfare of many. Sadly, ignoramuses, such as David Icke and Alex Jones, try to throw aside this newfound scientific understanding and replace it with, I assume, nonsense.

I'd suggest watching this

And also it is worth noting that there is 2000+ studies of health risks of GMO and no indication that you should worry.

I dont get into patents and company politics, simply not something I know enough, or care enough about. But looking from a health perspective there is no reason to avoid GMO, no reason to lable GMO and no reason to legislate for or against it.