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1 1Peter G1  Aug 2, 2014 11:06:13am

You either believe in the power of science to establsh public policy or you don’t. I have little patience for fools who embrace climate science or mock those who would suppress the teaching of evolution in schools or anti-vaxers but in the next breath tell you that you can’t trust basic biology because they can’t be bothered to understand it.

2 Romantic Heretic  Aug 2, 2014 11:38:02am

Um, and what do the people who advocate when for GMO do when it fails to do the job?

Much as I admire Professor Tyson, on this I believe he is wrong. Anyone who studies breeding knows what fuckups can occur, like dog breeds that look wonderful but can be quite vicious? Who knows what we’ll end up doing tinkering at the genetic level?

We’re humans, not gods. We’d be wise to realize we’re not.

Ah, who am I kidding? We’ll keep fucking around with nature until that last, fatal fuckup.

3 Skip Intro  Aug 2, 2014 11:44:42am

re: #2 Romantic Heretic

Um, and what do the people who advocate when for GMO do when it fails to do the job?

Much as I admire Professor Tyson, on this I believe he is wrong. Anyone who studies breeding knows what fuckups can occur, like dog breeds that look wonderful but can be quite vicious? Who knows what we’ll end up doing tinkering at the genetic level?

We’re humans, not gods. We’d be wise to realize we’re not.

Ah, who am I kidding? We’ll keep fucking around with nature until that last, fatal fuckup.

If we allow greenhouse gases to go all Venus on us, GMO foods won’t make much of a difference.

4 1Peter G1  Aug 2, 2014 12:14:09pm

re: #2 Romantic Heretic

So basically your argument is that GMO crops are bad because pests evolve. As if they don’t do that for any organism, including every single crop that wasn’t genetically modified in any way. Let us know when you figure out how to make evolution selectively stop so we can get off he treadmill.

5 John Vreeland  Aug 2, 2014 12:45:07pm

re: #2 Romantic Heretic

Um, and what do the people who advocate when for GMO do when it fails to do the job?

Much as I admire Professor Tyson, on this I believe he is wrong. Anyone who studies breeding knows what fuckups can occur, like dog breeds that look wonderful but can be quite vicious? Who knows what we’ll end up doing tinkering at the genetic level?

We’re humans, not gods. We’d be wise to realize we’re not.

Ah, who am I kidding? We’ll keep fucking around with nature until that last, fatal fuckup.

How do you advocate for anything when it fails to do the job? You don’t. You go back to the lab and try again. Ford no longer sells Model T automobiles either.

Number one on my list of top ten stupid things people do on the Internet is “Make decisions based on Internet top ten lists.”

And finally, we are humans, not ignorant animals. We will continue to tinker with nature intelligently, not recklessly like animals do.

6 bubba zanetti  Aug 2, 2014 1:06:29pm

re: #2 Romantic Heretic

Um, and what do the people who advocate when for GMO do when it fails to do the job?

How much cheese have you eaten since 1990?

7 b_sharp  Aug 2, 2014 1:15:42pm

re: #2 Romantic Heretic

Um, and what do the people who advocate when for GMO do when it fails to do the job?

Much as I admire Professor Tyson, on this I believe he is wrong. Anyone who studies breeding knows what fuckups can occur, like dog breeds that look wonderful but can be quite vicious? Who knows what we’ll end up doing tinkering at the genetic level?

We’re humans, not gods. We’d be wise to realize we’re not.

Ah, who am I kidding? We’ll keep fucking around with nature until that last, fatal fuckup.

We’re talking about food here, not pets.

Our bodies break foods down into component parts. The most likely error that would be made is a protein is introduced/formed that is toxic to our bodies, something that would show up immediately.

Even then, most toxic proteins have to be introduced directly into our bloodstreams.

8 Romantic Heretic  Aug 2, 2014 1:48:26pm

Okay people. You’ve convinced me.

We are human. Incapable of making mistakes. The end of creation and from now on Nature does what we tell it to do, not the other way around.

And if God fucks up one more time He loses his job too.

9 Fairly Sure I'm Still Obdicut  Aug 2, 2014 1:48:59pm

re: #2 Romantic Heretic

Um, and what do the people who advocate when for GMO do when it fails to do the job?

Much as I admire Professor Tyson, on this I believe he is wrong. Anyone who studies breeding knows what fuckups can occur, like dog breeds that look wonderful but can be quite vicious? Who knows what we’ll end up doing tinkering at the genetic level?

We’re humans, not gods. We’d be wise to realize we’re not.

Ah, who am I kidding? We’ll keep fucking around with nature until that last, fatal fuckup.

We have always tinkered at the genetic level. You are vastly overstating the risk of GMOs. Like, by several orders of magnitude.

10 Fairly Sure I'm Still Obdicut  Aug 2, 2014 1:49:52pm

re: #8 Romantic Heretic

Okay people. You’ve convinced me.

We are human. Incapable of making mistakes. The end of creation and from now on Nature does what we tell it to do, not the other way around.

And if God fucks up one more time He loses his job too.

Science is a robust process, not mistake-free but it’s produced far more good than evil. Scientists are not cackling madmen who don’t care if the world burns as long as they get their precious research.

Where are you getting your information from, about GMOs being harmful or potentially harmful?

11 EiMitch  Aug 2, 2014 2:04:49pm

re: #2 Romantic Heretic

Um, and what do the people who advocate when for GMO do when it fails to do the job?

Um, learning from our mistakes and trying again?

Much as I admire Professor Tyson, on this I believe he is wrong. Anyone who studies breeding knows what fuckups can occur, like dog breeds that look wonderful but can be quite vicious? Who knows what we’ll end up doing tinkering at the genetic level?

When we breed plants and animals the old-fashioned way, things often don’t turn out as we hoped. So when science offers a potentially more precise way to do these things, we should shun it completely and embrace the old-fashioned way for fear of more of the negative consequences of doing things the old-fash… AAAAAaaaaaaaggh!

Logic fail!

We’re humans, not gods. We’d be wise to realize we’re not.

Ah, who am I kidding? We’ll keep fucking around with nature until that last, fatal fuckup.

So if we can’t do things perfectly with the first try, we shouldn’t even bother at all. So f*** modern medicine while we’re at it. Lets go back to leeches and faith healing.

Or we can recognize that “perfect” is only an abstract. Its not real, and never has been. It has, at best, been a goal to strive for, step by step, piece by piece.

I’m in favor of strict regulations, and enforcement thereof, on the use of GMOs. And I’m very much in favor of reforming corrupt GMO legalities like the ones Monsanto exploits to effectively monopolize corn in the US. But rejecting GMOs whole-cloth is just more anti-science bs along the lines of anti-vaxxers.

Besides, there are spreading problems that thoroughly devastate crops to the point that GMOs might very soon be the only option left.

And those links above are all about oranges. Hardly the only crop facing such widespread destruction.

12 EiMitch  Aug 2, 2014 2:15:31pm

re: #8 Romantic Heretic

Oh btw, using sarcasm to wave-away other people’s arguments without even trying to answer them is a desperate and transparent attempt at saving face.

Quietly leaving would’ve been a much more dignified exit from this conversation.

13 CriticalDragon1177  Aug 2, 2014 2:15:43pm

Randall Gross,

Excellent response from Neil DeGrass Tyson. People are too afraid of GMO crops right now.

14 Self Respecting Woman Voter Against the GOP  Aug 2, 2014 2:46:42pm

I’ve got no problem with GMOs in general. I find it ludicrous to want food labeled simply “GMO.” That tells us nothing. I do have a problem with Monsanto modified crops that have Roundup sprayed all over them. It’s not the food itself I take issue with…it’s the herbicide. I’ve seen firsthand what it did to the breeding cycle of every single rodent in an area and they still have not recovered two years later. If something is going to be labeled “GMO,” it needs to specify what exactly it’s been modified for. I’d like to be able to make an actual informed decision.

15 De Kolta Chair  Aug 2, 2014 2:48:45pm

deGrasse Tyson was obviously eaten so much GMO foods that they’ve totally obliterated his panic gene.

16 b_sharp  Aug 2, 2014 2:54:24pm

re: #14 Self Respecting Woman Voter Against the GOP

I’ve got no problem with GMOs in general. I find it ludicrous to want food labeled simply “GMO.” That tells us nothing. I do have a problem with Monsanto modified crops that have Roundup sprayed all over them. It’s not the food itself I take issue with…it’s the herbicide. I’ve seen firsthand what it did to the breeding cycle of every single rodent in an area and they still have not recovered two years later. If something is going to be labeled “GMO,” it needs to specify what exactly it’s been modified for. I’d like to be able to make an actual informed decision.

People I’ve debated with have had trouble differentiating between the effects of changes in the crop and the effects of the pesticides sprayed on them. I can understand fears of pesticide but many seem to fear the changes in the genome itself as if those changes will result in some kind of Frankenstein’s monster full of toxins that will poison us.

17 ObserverArt  Aug 2, 2014 3:13:47pm

re: #14 Self Respecting Woman Voter Against the GOP

I’ve got no problem with GMOs in general. I find it ludicrous to want food labeled simply “GMO.” That tells us nothing. I do have a problem with Monsanto modified crops that have Roundup sprayed all over them. It’s not the food itself I take issue with…it’s the herbicide. I’ve seen firsthand what it did to the breeding cycle of every single rodent in an area and they still have not recovered two years later. If something is going to be labeled “GMO,” it needs to specify what exactly it’s been modified for. I’d like to be able to make an actual informed decision.

How far back in the chain of modifications would you have to go to know all of what characteristics changed in a particular vegetable to make an informative label?

I’m not being flippant. I am pretty sure that the worry about GMO is fairly new. Maybe because people latched onto the term genetically modified. With the proper slant that can be made to sound damn scary.

Let’s just take corn. They have been messing with corn for as long as I’ve been aware. I remember seeing all those signs along big fields of corn for the seed used in the fields. It was explained to me the seed wasn’t just advertised it was also being identified by number and the seed was bred for the local farmers in Ohio. That was as a kid 50 plus years ago I learned stuff like that.

So, how many changes has the seed already been through or is it from a recent point forward we need to worry?

We may have to log onto a company’s web site to download the extensive PDF file of a plant’s history. If they can even trace it back to the changes done hundreds of years ago.

18 Self Respecting Woman Voter Against the GOP  Aug 2, 2014 3:40:20pm

re: #16 b_sharp

People I’ve debated with have had trouble differentiating between the effects of changes in the crop and the effects of the pesticides sprayed on them. I can understand fears of pesticide but many seem to fear the changes in the genome itself as if those changes will result in some kind of Frankenstein’s monster full of toxins that will poison us.

Yes, I’ve noticed that, too.

19 Self Respecting Woman Voter Against the GOP  Aug 2, 2014 3:41:32pm

re: #17 ObserverArt

How far back in the chain of modifications would you have to go to know all of what characteristics changed in a particular vegetable to make an informative label?

I’m not being flippant. I am pretty sure that the worry about GMO is fairly new. Maybe because people latched onto the term genetically modified. With the proper slant that can be made to sound damn scary.

Let’s just take corn. They have been messing with corn for as long as I’ve been aware. I remember seeing all those signs along big fields of corn for the seed used in the fields. It was explained to me the seed wasn’t just advertised it was also being identified by number and the seed was bred for the local farmers in Ohio. That was as a kid 50 plus years ago I learned stuff like that.

So, how many changes has the seed already been through or is it from a recent point forward we need to worry?

We may have to log onto a company’s web site to download the extensive PDF file of a plant’s history. If they can even trace it back to the changes done hundreds of years ago.

Pretty much, what I want to know is if it has been modified in order to be polluted with pesticides or herbicides. I’m not afraid of GMOs otherwise.

20 Varek Raith  Aug 2, 2014 4:10:02pm

re: #8 Romantic Heretic

Strawman.

21 subterraneanhomesickalien  Aug 2, 2014 4:47:31pm

re: #2 Romantic Heretic

I’ll take what keeps the most human beings from starving to death.

Thank you.

22 wrenchwench  Aug 2, 2014 5:49:54pm
23 Islamo-Masonic Conspirator  Aug 3, 2014 12:19:43am

All actively anti-GMO people are ignoramuses. Most are douches too.

24 Cardio (formerly JRCMYP)  Aug 3, 2014 6:39:01am

I’ve been to a few different food industry conferences over the past year and am in the middle of producing one for my company for next year. The GMO “debate” has been front and center at all of them.

I went into this issue with zero opinion—only a vague unease at the idea that tomatoes might be produced with frog DNA…or something. But now that I’ve sat through countless sessions on this issue what strikes me is the continued polarization in the food processing community. For the record, food scientists are flabbergasted that this is a controversy. And frustrated.

I think that because we are so removed from food production today (as opposed to 50 years ago) and because 70% of what we eat is processed food (that encompasses a wide range of processing) coupled with a distrust of “big” anything (big government, big business, big ag, etc) we just are all super skeptical. Its unfortunate because this need to be skeptical is coupled with a lack of *independent* critical thinking. We rely too much on other people to tell us what to think or do. It’s unfortunate. But I get why it’s happened.

My opinion? We need to feed an estimated 9 billion people by 2050. If we think we can do that without GM food, I’d like to hear the alternatives. Because organic isn’t going to do it.

25 Backwoods_Sleuth  Aug 3, 2014 8:20:44am

I think part of the problem in explaining the problem is conflating GMO with hybridization. They are not the same thing at all.
As a farmer, I have several problems with GMO crops.
Some philosophical: patenting GMO seed stocks and then suing farmers whose own non-GMO seeds are contaminated by cross pollination from GMO crops.
Some are practical: ie splicing Bt genes into the DNA of crops is, in my own opinion, and indiscriminate blanket use of a pest control tool that should be used only when pest populations rise to a level, as is determined by regular field scouting, as to warrant its use.
The practical concern is particularly troubling because Bt is rapidly losing its use an effective pest control precisely because it has been used as a blanket preventive instead of on an as needed basis, so the pest are becoming immune.
I could discuss this in more detail, but most of the time people’s eyes start to glaze over.

26 EiMitch  Aug 3, 2014 10:24:09am

re: #25 Backwoods_Sleuth

Some philosophical: patenting GMO seed stocks and then suing farmers whose own non-GMO seeds are contaminated by cross pollination from GMO crops.

Thats not just “philosophical.” Its a corrupt legality that helped Monsanto monopolize corn production in the US. Other tools in their bag are:

- bloated litigation costs, making it impossible for the non-wealthy to fight any accusation of gene-patent theft,

- and transporting their corn harvests in uncovered trucks, allowing some kernels to fall out and next to roadside farms to grow, making it easier to accuse them of gene-patent theft.

Its a f***ed-up law in a f***ed-up legal system. Drastic reforms are needed to stop Monsanto from shaking-down farmers.

As for the overuse of pesticides, yeah, that ideally should be tightly regulated. In addition to making pests immune, obviously a big problem in itself, there is also the issue of runoff pollution. You’d think we’d want to not cause harm unnecessarily. That we wouldn’t want to put chemicals designed to kill things into the ecosystem way more often than we actually have to. But we’d be forgetting that we’re talking about Monsanto, the makers of Agent Orange.

27 ObserverArt  Aug 3, 2014 12:01:22pm

re: #25 Backwoods_Sleuth

I think part of the problem in explaining the problem is conflating GMO with hybridization. They are not the same thing at all.
As a farmer, I have several problems with GMO crops.

-cut-

Backwoods_Sleuth

Is not genetic modification an outgrowth of hybridization? One is done through cross breeding plants and animals and the other done in a lab with introducing different genes biologically? I think that if the sciences would have allowed genetic modification a century ago it would have been done.

So, is genetic modification as a science bad, or is how it is used in certain ways bad? I understand your point. There are certain modifications we may not want and certain that may be hugely beneficial.

My point is we need better education for people to understand the good versus the bad and not be quibbling over the words. Right now the words GMO to many mean bad things and may cause people to ignore the good things.

28 Backwoods_Sleuth  Aug 3, 2014 12:09:48pm

re: #26 EiMitch

All true.
And my main point is the most relevant to the argument: GMO plants are not the same thing as the age-old process of hybridization.
I adore Dr. Tyson, but he is essentially saying they are the same thing and they are not.
In producing hybrids, one selects attributes of a plant to promote by cross pollination, such as Mendel and his pea plants, or the process of developing modern day corn from the original wild maize.
GMO is actually splicing unrelated genes into a different DNA, as is the case with Bt and Roundup Ready, to produce new plants. An artificial hybrid, if you will, that could not occur by merely selecting attributes to promote by cross fertilization.
I really wish this was explained better by those who should know better.

29 EiMitch  Aug 3, 2014 1:52:50pm

re: #28 Backwoods_Sleuth

About “unrelated genes,” how do you think evolution works? Natural selection does nothing without random mutations to select from. Hybridization took the “natural” out of natural selection. Whereas genetic modification takes the “random” out of random mutation.

And yes, like any tool, this can be misused and abused. Blame bad laws and the corporate a-holes enabled by them.

Btw, referring to GMOs as “artificial hybrids” implies that the hybrids we’ve been eating for thousands of years are “natural.” NDT was saying that this isn’t the case. And I agree with him on that.

Edit: ObserverArt already made the same point and I didn’t notice. I need to take a break and unwind. I’m clearly not with it right now.

30 Backwoods_Sleuth  Aug 3, 2014 2:08:42pm

re: #29 EiMitch

I knew I wasn’t going to be clear about this.
Gene splicing isn’t the same thing as natural selection.
I suppose it could happen, but it’s highly unlikely that corn or soybeans could naturally select to include Bt in their genetic structure.
Mostly because Bt is not a plant nor does it pollinate.

31 Backwoods_Sleuth  Aug 3, 2014 2:38:53pm

I guess my problem with this is that “hybridization” has been redefined with the advent of genetic splicing.

32 EiMitch  Aug 3, 2014 6:00:56pm

re: #31 Backwoods_Sleuth

In other words, your complaint is that they’re able to do things with gene splicing that they couldn’t do before. Say it ain’t so!


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