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Messages - ontic

1
FWIW, I can certainly appreciate your position, Peez, as described - not arguing that GMOs are good or bad, but challenging my off-the-cuff suggestion that they were, or might be, bad. I mistook your position myself. However, I also perceive the information you choose to present as supporting the idea that you consider them good and resent or mistrust the nay-sayers. This may be my misreading of you, or true and known to you, or an unconscious bias - that's for you to know, since, by your own admission, you have not shared your opinion on the matter. This is, by the way, an odd condition. It also seems very likely that the impression you gave me and TC, of support for GMOs, and a certain degree of knee-jerk disregard for its criticism, would be shared by most people reading you, right from your first "Evidence please". Finally, I kind of despair a little about the blind spot that typically develops in the various allegiances that develop between powerful businesses and the scientific community. As I have described at length, I think it is partly due to the limitations of science in detecting future, slow, long-term threats, since the data it collects can only be in the present. I'm afraid I don't have the skills or knowledge base to paint a clear picture of this, but the history of our environment is rife with examples of recognition in hindsight of problems or major threats and disasters that only a small number of more imaginitive folk had been warning of for some time based on extrapolation of trends and the application of 'principles' as I called them. (Incidentally, whatever they're called, ecology must surely have some!)  I learned a few things, but I am left frustrated at your apparent imperviousness to these points. I was quite amazed that you interpreted my concerns the way you did, with the question of whether I thought GM was good now, but might become ineffective later (or words to that effect). Like you might ask if I thought our speed was okay at the moment but couldn't be sustained, while I warned you that we might possibly be driving towards a cliff since the windscreen was covered in shit. And, whether you are guilty of it or not, I have certainly experienced what TC describes from the scientific community, the assumption that concerns over GM are by default misguided.
All the best,
John
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In the mists of time, who knows. Maybe humans saw birds doing this and copied it (without the flying part, that is), or birds weren't clever enough to figure it out until they saw humans setting fires deliberately (unlikely), or maybe even humans and birds cooperated setting fires to flush out prey together (crazier things have happened).

This reminds me of birds that used bread thrown to them as bait to catch fish. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWT3fgImCDY

I often wonder how much the intelligence and discoveries/inventions of one species - particularly humans - stimulates others'. I guess there are two levels, cultural learning on the same 'hardware' which is likely to be the case with species we've interacted with only over short time spans, and evolutionary changes, which we'd only see on the longer time scale, maybe with domesticated species.
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Peez, thanks. I take on board your criticism, i.e. I accept the argument that these are equivocal results, there are problems with excessive dosing in toxicity studies, and possible other causes of observed effects ('taste', etc.).

I appreciate you taking the time to respond to those points, and that you didn't intend to get into a long discussion. Nor, really, did I - that's what happens on forums when we make a passing observation and someone picks it up and asks for evidence (quite right, of course). I'm learning a lot from this, so I'm grateful for your involvement.

Testy Calibrate, wow, that last longer post of yours was quite something! It felt very supportive of many of my views on this, although not all. I think we have to be careful when we start talking about people creating a them-and-us division, since we've already identified a culpable group (like the old joke about there being two types of people in the world...), and I find talk of 'the religion of science' tends towards the same effect of dividing us, although I recognise that sometimes these short-hand versions are useful or we'd never say anything.

I don't want to make this about individuals any more than it has to, and I'm unable to make such harsh judgements of Peez as you have here, but you put many of my concerns very succinctly, and have given me confidence that my intuitions about GM crops (as one of the leading edges our dangerous environmental and agricultural practices generally) aren't completely mad.

I'm a generalist. I have some grounding in the biological sciences from school and a couple of years at uni, and also a little general knowledge of 'systems' theories, computational modeling, etc., and some of my concerns come at this meta-level, seeing the forest and worrying that so many who are making the decisions are lost in the trees.

Natural systems create and maintain balances. If we distort the dynamics too far and constantly in one direction, which is to drag more and more biomatter out of a piece of ground, I think there's plenty of evidence from similar systems and system theory that we could end up making things progressively worse. Where this kind of process gets established, each intended improvement to the system causes it to adjust in ways that make a bigger fix necessary. As I suggested earlier, at one end of this continuum, there's a virgin forest with apes picking fruit off the trees, at the other a micro-managed world where we're endlessly trying to kill the latest pests and diseases that have mutated to take advantage of our vast seas of protein and carbohydrate. This is what life does, mutates (randomly) to exploit (by natural selection) opportunities in its environment. As I've said, our fight with our own bodies' pathogens are a case in point. I also recognise that this raises a big question about whether we can act differently, and what advantages and disadvantages other approaches might have. But we tend to have a fixation on increasing the height of our high-tech solutions in the world, and a knee-jerk reaction against low-tech ones (the 'bunch of hippies' response is one; but sometimes it's other things, like accepting sacrifices have to be made - lower productivity, or harder work, or more cost, or greater complexity: these are automatically identified as backward steps, even when we might acknowledge that our drive for higher production or simplicity or cheapness or ease has caused environmental damage). There are examples where a return to simpler, traditional systems (or invention of new, but 'natural' systems) have improved everything, from productivity to diets to wildlife, to self-sufficiency and sustainability, but they're just seen as quaint one-offs. Raising fish in paddy fields is one example that comes to mind.

I don't think biologists generally have got their heads round the fact that the ecosystems of which we're a part will often tend to react to (or 'against') whatever disturbance we cause. I'd have expected ecologists to grokk this, but I don't really think Peez does. It's almost like if physicists didn't get their heads round the conservation of energy, and were installing 'free energy' power stations. The idiot public keep raising concerns about the rumours that they only work by 'borrowing energy from the future', but the physicists reassure them that, logically, the future is always the day after tomorrow, never arrives, and thus there's no problem. And it's a fundamental weakness of science, as I may have already mentioned, because it is necessarily based on analysing past events to give us 'hard evidence', so if we take the political stance that all technologies are acceptable unless hard evidence can be found against them, we can rationally expect to find technologies that are actually destructive, but can be excused on those grounds. I think this may be one of them. Burning fossil fuels was like that for a long time, and showing that global warming is a real problem still requires a good deal of projection into an insanely complex, chaotic global system. I am in no way intending to argue against AGW, but logically we have no idea whether a large increase in vulcanism, or any number of other changes, might work against the warming, with or completely without causal relationship to rising temperatures.

Besides this, there are just simple ethical feelings - we're effing with the planet too much, treating it like property and an endless goldmine - even while we're in the midst of a mass extinction phenomenon. AGW will probably give the GM argument more force - we can tweak plants to be more drought-resistant, etc. - but we might be better working towards more 'organic' principles (even if changing climates will alter the suitable flora and fauna). Or maybe GM is the only way to cope with global warming. I don't know.

I just found this in an unrelated article on stigmergy, and thought I might as well post it. http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/Papers/Stigmergy-Springer.pdf
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This general principle can be illustrated by a classic ecological experiment: if two identical patches of land are seeded with plants that belong either to one or a few species, or to several different species, the more diverse patch will produce more biomass than the more homogeneous one (Cardinale  et  al.,  2007;  Naeem  &  Li,  1997).  (The  overall  yield increases  with  the  logarithm  of  the  number  of  species.)  The  reason  appears  to  be  that plants  of  different  species  use  the  available  nutrients  in  somewhat  different  ways,  thus together being able to exploit the resources more completely ("niche complementarity"), while  moreover  helping  each  other  through  synergies (Hector  et  al.,  1999).  This  is  an example  of  parallel  stigmergy  where  synergetic  interaction  is  mediated  by  the  shared environment (land).
The evidence seems to have been very equivocal on this over recent decades, but the above seems to be settling out of the data. If we could work towards local economies based on near-permacultures, we might get roughly 1.5 times the amount of bio-matter out of our land, and not have to import so much into the system.

This again points to the massive ignorance behind our agricultural systems - we rip rock and petroleum products out of the earth, pump them onto barely living soil used as a holding medium (because it's blitzed with Roundup), feed ourselves on it (wasting a vast amount feeding animals to eat), then pump a good deal of the waste into the sea. Our whole global outlook is unsustainable, and I believe GMOs and monocultures work within this insane paradigm, they ignore that background, and worsen it. We get further and further from equilibrium, from a sustainable cycle of natural substances, and the reaction just seems to be 'we'll fix any problems that arise later'. Like global warming has been until recently, unsustainability in agriculture is a later generation's problem. Or rather, I believe we're lied to that it's the fix.

Maybe this answers a question of yours, Peez, that I didn't get round to - do I see GM as Good now, but not maintanable? (paraphrasing maybe). If you identify reasonable arguments that current actions (even with some benefits) are going to lead to serious problems in future, it's hard to call those 'Good', although there may be times when suboptimal action needs to be taken in the short term that can be fixed later, and all of this depends on subtle interplay of benefits and disadvantages likely to occur over time. I have a picture of someone digging their way out of a hole, though, imagining most of the benefits of deepening it in the first place. We have to wake up from the underlying delusion we have, that fucking with the Earth is generally Good.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-seed-companies-control-gm-crop-research/
That's rather old news - any idea if this situation has improved since?
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Some more links supporting points I made earlier:

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The most widely planted GMOs are designed to tolerate herbicides. By 2006 some weed populations had evolved to tolerate some of the same herbicides. Palmer amaranth is a weed that competes with cotton. A native of the southwestern US, it traveled east and was first found resistant to glyphosate in 2006, less than 10 years after GM cotton was introduced.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food

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An understanding of agroecosystems is key to determining effective farming systems. Here we report results from a 21-year study of agronomic and ecological performance of biodynamic, bioorganic, and conventional farming systems in Central Europe. We found crop yields to be 20% lower in the organic systems, although input of fertilizer and energy was reduced by 34 to 53% and pesticide input by 97%. Enhanced soil fertility and higher biodiversity found in organic plots may render these systems less dependent on external inputs.
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/296/5573/1694

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Glycophosphate. Weird. My spell check changes glyphosate to glycophosphate. Wtf is glycophosphate and why would spell check think that's a better word?
Yeah, it seems interchangeable in duckduckgo, but much less common. It's related to glycine, so I guess it was just shortened.
...you beat me to it.
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A few bits I collected - some are articles about papers with links to the study (at least the abstract), others direct links to the study.
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Our results show that transgenic crops expressing Cry1Ab protein at 5000 ppb may affect food consumption or learning processes and thereby may impact honey bee foraging efficiency. The implications of these results are discussed in terms of risks of transgenic Bt crops for honey bees.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18206234

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The study of combined effects of pesticides represents a challenge for toxicology. In the case of the new growing generation of genetically modified (GM) plants with stacked traits, glyphosate-based herbicides (like Roundup) residues are present in the Roundup-tolerant edible plants (especially corns) and mixed with modified Bt insecticidal toxins that are produced by the GM plants themselves. The potential side effects of these combined pesticides on human cells are investigated in this work. Here we have tested for the very first time Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac Bt toxins (10 ppb to 100 ppm) on the human embryonic kidney cell line 293, as well as their combined actions with Roundup, within 24 h, on three biomarkers of cell death: measurements of mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase, adenylate kinase release by membrane alterations and caspase 3/7 inductions. Cry1Ab caused cell death from 100 ppm. For Cry1Ac, under such conditions, no effects were detected. The Roundup tested alone from 1 to 20 000 ppm is necrotic and apoptotic from 50 ppm, far below agricultural dilutions (50% lethal concentration 57.5 ppm). The only measured significant combined effect was that Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac reduced caspases 3/7 activations induced by Roundup; this could delay the activation of apoptosis. There was the same tendency for the other markers. In these results, we argue that modified Bt toxins are not inert on nontarget human cells, and that they can present combined side-effects with other residues of pesticides specific to GM plants.
http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/bt-toxin-and-glyphosate-residues-genetically-modified-plants-likely-exhibit-synergistic

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A groundbreaking new study published in the current issue of the Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases reveals the potential "leukemogenic" properties of the Bt toxin biopesticides engineered into the vast majority of GMO food crops already within the US food supply.
http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/new-study-links-gmo-food-leukemia

Hematotoxicity of Bacillus thuringiensis as Spore-crystal Strains Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2Aa in Swiss Albino Mice https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/hematotoxicity-of-bacillus-thuringiensis-as-spore-crystal-strains-cry1aa-cry1ab-cry1ac-or-cry2aa-in-swiss-albino-mice-2329-8790.1000104.php?aid=11822

Pool of resistance mechanisms to glyphosate in Digitaria insularis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22175446
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Hi Peez, I'll deal with some of your other points first, then post some links to studies.

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With respect, I think perhaps you don't know what they are. They are very often engineered to produce pesticidal compounds, conveying higher immunity against pest attack, which represents an immediate and powerful selective advantage over natural varieties without this.
No, not necessarily.  I am not an expert on "GMO's", but I am an expert on selection.  It is simplistic to assume that adding in a gene that provides increased resistance to certain pests will automatically give that type of organism a selective advantage outside of the farmer's field.
I don't see why. Inside or outside of the farmer's field, biology works pretty much the same. Having resistance to a pest gives a selective advantage, it would seem almost by default. Unless you mean that GM crops are sterile - to be honest, I haven't looked into this in detail. If that's the case, then you have a fair point.

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They are also mostly engineered to resist chemical herbicides, so that they survive while 'pest' species and natural varieties are killed on spraying (Roundup, etc.), conveying another selective advantage.
Some are engineered to resist certain pesticides, but this only provides an advantage in the farmer's field.  There is no reason for selection to favour this trait beyond the reach of the farmer.
That's a fair point, to a degree. However, a weed is a plant in the wrong place, and herbicides such as Roundup are used in other contexts to eliminate unwanted plant growth. So theoretically a GM crop could become a weed outside of the farmer's fields. I'm only 'thinking aloud' here; I don't know enough about the biology. It would also obviously depend on the viability of the strain.
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This is then compounded deliberately by the domestication efforts of humans planting these varieties instead of older, natural ones with higher genetic diversity (since GM ones are clones).
Actually the "older" ones are mostly relatively new varieties that have been modified (but not "GMO" by your definition) and are often clonal.
Sure. A fair point. I am concerned about those too.

My general concern, however, was that through whatever means - even just the superior yields, profits, ease of use, etc. - GM crops replace a wider range of alternatives, and reinforce an already established agricultural norm, which devalues bio-diversity and ecosystem health, just valuing yields and profits.

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You are apparently attacking a straw-man version of the fear of 'super-organisms'.
Your misunderstanding of selection belies this point.
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That is what they are supposed to be, or there isn't any point.
Incorrect.  There is no point to producing an organism for agriculture that will thrive in the wild.  In fact, this would run counter to the interests of many businesses.  The point is to produce organisms with specific characteristics more quickly than can be accomplished by (e.g.) selective breeding alone.
You misunderstand. By 'super-organism', I didn't mean to imply a rampant organism. I meant that they are superior within the domestic context. If you follow the conversation back, I said:
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The advantages of a GMO can be so great in the short term and narrow measures applied that it is likely to utterly replace all competing varieties, for example, or significantly alter the numbers of other species in the local ecology.... Crops take up a larger and larger percentage of the environment, so diversity of those crops and the ecosystems supporting them should be of major concern.
So this is about artificial selection, not natural selection. Humans and our crops are part of the ecosystem. We and our crops are becoming a major constituent of the global ecosystem.

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Of course, the resulting reduction in genetic diversity represents a future risk to our food security, if pathogenic organisms evolve 'to compensate' (not to be taken teleologically, of course). I wonder how long it would take to repopulate our fields from samples in Svarlbard.
Are you under the impression that the "non-GMO" crops that stand to be replaced by "GMO" crops are genetically diverse?  If so, I have news.
Roads cause problems, but widening a motorway is different from building a cycle path. Pointing out that agriculture has been wrecking the planet since the Stone Age doesn't make GMOs "Good" (we can all play at that).

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Sure. But GMOs represent a very powerful driver of this VERY DANGEROUS process, which is responsible for significant species loss, and would be a major contributor to risks to food security from seriously reduced genetic diversity of our staple crops.
Getting rid of "GMO's" will not stop monoculture (which has been around for at least centuries).  By all means spread the word about monocultures, but you have still not identified anything Bad about "GMO's".
I think I have. They increase monoculture reliance. They increase pesticide reliance. This is dumping billions of kilogrammes per year of chemicals into our food, the soil, rivers and seas, with some level (poorly established as yet, apparently) of toxicity.

There is a slippery-slope argument. If we do not establish boundaries to our interventions in biological systems, there is a legitimate concern that the world will become limitlessly engineered. This is one of those concerns that is all too easily dismissed as hippie romanticism, but I would argue that it is essential to our human happiness. Where the line is, it's hard to say, but I feel we've already come far too far. This issue, of course, dovetails into the destruction of natural environments, like rainforest, to grow crops, like soya or palm. I feel we should be finding ways to re-wild and encourage local, organic agriculture. I'm fine if others disagree with my position, and I accept that these are as much emotive issues as purely scientific/economic ones.

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Which, regrettably, I am apparently failing to do in a way that you are capable of comprehending. Please note, however, that I am not and have never 'demonized' GMOs. Another mantra. Another reverse-pyschology, straw-man propaganda term, like 'Frankenfood' to make all the nay-sayers look like hippie kooks.
Look, I have not accused you of having a "casual attitude", nor asked if you are "blind" (lab or not).  Before this post you had not offered any clear definition of a "GMO" for me to be capable of comprehending.  I also did not suggest that you were demonizing "GMO's" (speaking of 'straw man'), but certainly some people are.  Note that I did not bring up 'Franken-food'.
I'm not quite sure I trust you on these points. From the beginning, when you asked for evidence, there have been two ways to take you. The literal can sometimes be a way to avoid taking responsibility for the insinuated. Mentioning demonization of GMOs, but not applying it to me once I react, or that one might argue that GMOs could save us from corporate control, then that you wouldn't argue that once I react...it's all just a bit suspicious. My failure to provide a definition of 'GMO' that you are 'capable of comprehending' seems equally forced. I am sure you had an adequate definition already in mind, which seems to have informed a comparative table featuring the term.

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Yes, that makes no sense. I'm saying almost the opposite (maybe you made a typographical error). The text doesn't say most of them are funded by big business, but that a strong association was found between professional conflict of interest and 'favorable study outcome'. This suggests grounds for scepticism.
No, it really isn't.  Let us assume for a moment that all of the scientists funded by Big Ag (for lack of a better term) publish results that are favourable to "GMO's" while those scientists who are not so funded will sometimes have that bias (perhaps for ideological reasons) but sometimes will publish results even when they show Bad stuff.  Of course there will also be some scientists in the latter group who will have a bias against "GMO's" (ideological, or from Big Org for lack of a better term).  In this case we would expect to see a correlation between funding and the kinds of concerns that are stated, even if there is nothing Bad about "GMO's".  However, if there is something Bad about "GMO's" we would expect to see evidence being reported at least by some of those scientists.  This is what I find mysterious: if the Big Oil could not stop the consensus among climate scientists, how could Big Ag stop all scientists from publishing any good evidence of the Bad stuff with "GMO's"?
I'm sorry, the first part of that was too contorted to follow. I'm not sure what part of the strong association between professional conflict of interest and study outcome you don't get. For this to be reported, there presumably has to be some negative outcome published. This nullifies your contention that Big Ag has stopped all scientists from publishing evidence of harm or danger from GMOs.

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My first and strongest objection to the off-the-cuff assertion that GMOs have ben studied and been found to be safe and useful is that the measures of safety and usefulness seem to be poorly conceived, narrow, short-sighted, unimaginative and largely economic.
What are these "measures of safety and usefulness" that you are referring to, specifically?
From my limited research, they are often economic, based on measuring yields, or they establish that a GMO grows normally, or that it kills the pest it's meant to kill, or that it survives a herbicide, or that consuming it is safe, etc. Little long-term sketching of possible dangers, and little interest in human psychological needs.

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The page on GMOs and the environment on that site gives the impression that the world exists in a time bubble and changes in one organism have no effect on others. Tests again are to ascertain that the new crop 'grows the same as the non-GM variety. They're also tested to make sure that they demonstrate the desired characteristic, such as insect resistance.' If it does what it's supposed to do, that constitutes one of those positive study results. (I realise this is a brief summary, but this is what I find generally.) It also says they are assessed for 'impact on beneficial insects like honeybees or ladybugs', displaying a nonchalant and potentially dangerous categorisation of wild organisms as 'beneficial' or 'pests'.
Or, perhaps, a focus on specific organisms that are most likely to be affected and which are most likely to have a large impact if they are affected.  Perhaps you would hope that others would not malign you so easily.
No, I wasn't maligning anyone. The use of the term 'beneficial insects' suggests that other insects don't matter, or else, why use it? It seems to me you express the same conflation of benefit and importance when you suggest the ones studied might be 'most likely to have a large impact if they are affected' (if this equates to 'beneficial insects'). Other insects might well have a large impact if they are affected, even pest species.

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This is the current paradigm in agricultural sciences, is it? If we decimate pest species, we can just ignore the complex ecological consequences and rejoice that our crops are, for now, growing normally? Where have all the insects and birds gone? Who gives a shit? Read this http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/lifestyle/lifestyle-opinion/vast-reduction-insect-numbers-indicative-13185845
Go on, tell me this is nothing to do with GMOs.
It has nothing to do with "GMO's".  From the article you linked to: "A recent long-term study in the Krefeld area of Germany estimates that insects there have reduced by a staggering 80% since 1989, a mere 28 years ago. This follows decades of decline which probably started with the impacts of DDT in the middle of the 20 century, and was exacerbated by increasing use of other pesticides, even when DDT was banned. "  You can blame "GMO's" if you like, but why?  Exactly why do you seem to think that "GMO's" are to blame for this?
I am not blaming GMOs for the damage DDT did. There is a connection, which is the continuing philosophy of aggressive control of nature, attacking the species we find problematic with toxic chemicals. And another connection might turn out to be the retrospective realisation of harm done.

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Yes, and there is now a predicted catastrophe re antibiotics!
Indeed there is (more or less, "predicted" is a bit strong), specifically we might no longer be able to rely on them.  Are you suggesting that "GMO's" are good but we will eventually stop being able to rely on them?
I have never bought into the good/bad dichotomy. Most things are a mix, and often benefits and problems aren't even too clear. What an odd direction to take from the apparent analogue between antibiotics and GMOs. Why ask that? It's almost as if you're trying to get me to admit GMOs are Good.

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Since GM technology could be seen as arbitrarily beneficial to the industry,
Not to mention outside of the industry.
No, you missed the significance of 'arbitrarily'. GMOs might be beneficial to the wider community in specific ways to specific degrees. Big Ag might make vastly more profits by any number of dubious GM techniques that are dangerous to the wider community, but attractive to the individual customer. Big Med is awash with this, if we need another example.

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there is just as much risk of 'overuse' as has led to the antibiotics crisis.
So the danger is that "GMO's" might some day no longer be useful?
Now you seem to be suggesting that there is one danger. I'm almost as concerned that the industry just manages to keep ahead of the problems it creates, in a biological arms race against 'pests' and 'diseases', because it would be an increasingly engineered world, and I love wildlife.

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And the comparisons don't stop there. There's another direct one concerning the evolutionary 'arms race' that is started when you wage war on parts of the ecosystem. We may see a time (or our children may) when biotech is desperately trying to combat the latest super-pest infestation that's wiping out vast areas of our monoculture diets. I know next to nothing about vaccines.
Please explain what you mean here, as an ecologist I really am not clear on what you are trying to say.  Of course I know what an "evolutionary arms race" is, and I know that we are altering ecosystems in ways that are detrimental to ourselves (and, obviously, other organisms), but I am not following your point here.
I'm not quite sure what it is you need here. As I see it, when we have problems with an organism - like a pest or disease - and attack it in some way, through vaccination or toxins, for instance, it can cause knock-on effects where the stress on the organism causes it to evolve 'defences' against our attacks. This is clear from the antibiotics issue. In the case of GM crops that produce their own pesticide, for example, this effect has been found in the target pests. The first step in a process can seem like it's beneficial and should be the end of a problem, but requires increasing interventions to fix the problems it's caused. I am not saying we should let nature do what it will (although that could theoretically be an ideal that humans were presumably not far from millions of years ago), only that I find the logic behind GM (as applied to crops, at least) simplistic in the extreme. Clearly, also, sometimes we eradicate a pathogen completely without any harmful side-effect (obviously, the evolution of that organism is no longer a problem). There may be instances where eradication of a problem organism might be possible, yet cause great harm to the ecological web. As an ecologist, maybe you can elaborate these issues more than I.

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I don't think there is any evidence of direct risk of meteor strike currently either.
Actually there is.  We don't know everything about the objects moving around in the solar system, but we can estimate the risk from a major meteor strike.  We can describe what a meteor is, and how it could harm us.  We have evidence that there are objects moving through the solar system, and evidence that such objects can cause harm.  This is quite different from the "GMO" case.
Why, because you're sure GMOs are safe, or because it's difficult to measure that particular future trajectory?
Because we have evidence that a meteor strike can kill us.  In contrast, we do not have evidence that a "GMO" can kill us.
This again was a misunderstanding. I meant that we might ignorantly check for meteors currently on a kill path, find there are none, and conclude that there is no danger from meteors. It was a metaphor - just because plagues aren't ripping through our crops now, we might imagine everything is rosy.

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I've tried to suggest that we know a great deal more about the principles of ecology than certain authorities are letting on, while they merrily wipe out 'pests' with no thought for the morrow (and have a perfect analogue in the antibiotics issue).
Well, I am an ecologist and I am not aware of this hidden knowledge you seem to be implying exists.
I'm sorry, this was a misleading phrase. I don't know "the principles of ecology". I feel that I've made the point, though. Should I repeat the above all over again? Principles in my imaginary handbook of ecology include that webs of dependent organisms are extremely complex, with relationships that are to some (fairly large?) degree unknown (soil is extremely rich); disturbance to one organism almost always will have knock-on effects; organisms are in complex dynamic equilibria, and, through natural or unnatural mutation and selection will exploit opportunities to gain more energy from the system (which contributes to some of the knock-on effects of attacking an organism); growing large amounts of limited crops represents a big opportunity for attack by 'pests', which, if successful, can devastate a large resource; conversely, growing lots of very diverse crops reduces the risk of major crop damage; bio-diversity is, on the whole, a sign of healthy ecosystems.
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ontic:
I did point to studies that raise concerns. I pointed to a dirctory of them. And yes, the quote I referred to says that an 'equilibrium' (a roughly equal number) of 'research groups ... raise concerns about some aspect of GMO'. Just one point of several.
It is frustrating that you seem to reluctant to simply point out an example.  Since you refuse, I looked at one myself that is linked from the review you linked to
Peez, I'm not 'reluctant to simply point out an example', I gave links to several with more just a click or two away, starting at post #38. You jumped on one of those, which between us we failed to discuss to much depth, but appear to have ignored entirely two others. One was the 'directory' I referred to (I suspect somewhat biassed, to be honest), but with links to several studies. It was early days for my looking into this. The other was this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2952409/?tool=pubmed which I posted because it exemplified most closely my original off-the-cuff criticism of GM, poor, possibly corrupt, industry-led science. You perhaps misssed it.

One quote from it demonstrates, I feel, a balanced concern:
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We wish to reassert that our work does not claim to demonstrate the chronic toxicity of the GMOs in question, especially since it is based on the data originating from insufficient tests that were accepted by regulatory authorities and Monsanto et al., a fact for which we are not in any way responsible. For the regulatory authorities, as well as Monsanto et al, these tests prove chronic innocuousness for mammalian and human public health. And they claim it is not essential to demonstrate the GMOs innocuousness. This again raises the same issues and consequences. We have revealed the inefficiency both of these tests and of their statistical analysis and biological interpretations, for the various reasons detailed above. However, some of the in vivo 90-day tests are not performed any longer today to get worldwide commercial authorizations, especially for GMO with "stacked events" (i.e., producing one or several insecticides and tolerating one or two herbicides), and this is even more seriously inadequate since the so-called "cocktail effects" are not taken into consideration.

The same controversy took place (February 2010) in India, in relation to the authorization process for a transgenic eggplant that produces a new Bt insecticide. This authorization was based on three-month tests on three mammals and other animals for shorter times, which presented significant biological effects after this GM consumption 10, 25. The same arguments were used in the debate in India. But in this case, the government decided to take the time to study chronic health effects, following our expertise, and therefore to implement a moratorium 26.

In the present case, we wish to underline that the commercial GMOs in question contain pesticide residues, some of which have been demonstrated as human cellular endocrine disruptors at levels around 1000 times below their presence in some GM feed 27. Such Roundup residues are present in more than 80% of edible cultivated GMOs. This does not exclude other possible effects.

In that post #38, I gave a different quote. You have not commented on the article. The article also refers to several other studies of some concern (as I said, a click away from links I already posted). Such as this: Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19539684

So I have not refused to point out an example. I would have posted more, but you failed to respond for quite a long time, and I moved on, closing a bunch of tabs I'd kept open. I also hesitated to post many similar to the above because I thought you would dismiss them as being nothing to do with GMOs, but merely the toxicology of herbicides and pesticides applied to crops or produced by them, and that this might be a reasonable rebuttal. In the meantime, I have become more confident that the toxicology of glyphosate and other chemicals used in GM crop production is an integral issue, since, from my research, it seems that many GM crops are developed to withstand high doses of glyphosate and/or produce their own pesticides.

You have now dismissed the spread of monoculture and loss of insects in these terms. I understand your point, but it is a bit like saying that rising temperatures are nothing to do with people driving petrol cars because there are other causes (and using this to refute criticism of manufacturers increasing production of petrol cars).

Do you consider the pesticides issue relevant to an assessment of GMOs?

By post #43, I linked to a statistic about the 15-fold increase in the use of glyphosate since GMOs began to be used. Correlation is not causation, but there is an obvious reason why the increase in GM crops might cause it, and I have read (but currently do not have to hand) papers saying that their use has had that effect. If you have a product that can kill all your weeds while your crop is resistant, overuse comes without (overt) serious implications, and underuse just loses you profits.

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I'm pleased that at least some people are taking the subject of our creation of new organisms by artificial means, which under natural conditions almost certainly would never arise,
Really?  What is your basis for asserting that these "new organisms" "under natural conditions almost certainly would never arise"
GE takes precisely chosen genetic material and splices it into a genome, within a theoretically enormous space of possible genetic changes. That particular change happening by chance seems pretty unlikely. Given that sometimes several such changes are made, this multiplies the odds against.

, and why do you think that this is a Bad thing?
All the things I'm writing here. Monoculture is encouraged. Rich corporate ownership of bio-matter is encouraged, which is deeply anti-social and potentially very dangerous (briefly, due to the tension between profit-making and public good). It may foster a biological arms race. Species considered 'pests' are treated as irrelevant, when they are nested in complex ecological webs (I don't know how well such webs are understood, but I intuit it is not very well, therefore the knock-on effects are poorly known). Other strains cannot compete economically against the 'improved' plants (on short-term gains), so bio-diversity suffers more. Toxic chemicals are used against all 'pest' species, relatively freely, with issues of run-off, pesticide residues left in foodstuffs. 'Organic' principles (this needs unpacking, I know) are sidelined (again on short-term economic grounds), devaluing natural ecosystems that support high diversity and maintain a beautiful, abundant natural world for humans to enjoy (and other species to exist in).

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and letting them loose in the biosphere, a little more seriously.
More seriously than what?  You seem to be assuming that anyone who does not agree with you is not taking this seriously.
OK, fair enough. I can't objectively judge how seriously you're taking GMOs. You appear not to be taking it very seriously. Somehow you've missed several links I've posted and found two papers showing equivocal results by following links from the one 'pro-GM' article I posted. It appears that you demand that if 'GMO' can't be defined in absolute terms, without any shady area, criticism is moot, and all collateral damage connected with GM crops (taken seriously by quite a number of scientists) are apparently "Nothing to do with GMOs". To me, this looks worse than not taking it seriously; it looks like a determined effort to whitewash the issue. It's another response I've come to know well: We've been 'genetically modifying organisms' since the Neolithic; end of discussion.

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There are obvious examples from the introductions of plants or animals into non-native environments where they have caused havoc.
Indeed the introduction of new species to different areas will sometimes have a major effect.  For example, the introduction of wheat to North America.  The modification of varieties has also had an impact, for example the evolution of corn.  Of course new species have been invading areas for billions of years, though we have sped things up quite a lot.  In any event this is a concern that is not special to "GMO's".
No. I didn't imply that it was a concern that was special to GMOs. I implied that it was a comparable concern. You seem to be suggesting that you find natural introductions of non-native species something to be concerned about, but you are not concerned about GMOs being introduced. Pardon me if I'm not following the logic.
The point I am making is that if you are concerned about the introduction of non-native species, then by all means draw attention to that concern.  Stopping the use of "GMO's" will not stop the use of non-native species, so citing the introduction of non-native species as a justification for stopping the use of "GMO's" does not make sense.  The "non-GMO" wheat that we use in North America is non-native, no less than any "GMO".
They are different issues, yes. They are similar. Non-native wheat in America may have been a mistake. Non-native humans may. I'm not commenting on that right now. I'm making the general point that monkeying around with stuff can and does cause problems. We can't go back and take all the Europeans or all the non-native wheat out. We may be able to stop further dangers from GM crops if we identify and act on such dangers. Again, your objection looks like deliberate obfuscation. I am genuinely sorry if that's not the case, but I can't help what I perceive.

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You seem to be confused. You were urging me not to be concerned about GMOs
This is a vast simplification.  I am arguing that there is no evidence that "GMO's" cause any Bad effects.
You suggested that you haven't assessed all the evidence out there. How can you also say 'there is no evidence' of harm?
  I am "concerned" about "GMO's" just as I am concerned about "non-GMO" use and about the use of solar power and pretty much any technology.
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Now you say that we should be concerned about GMOs.
What I am saying is that we should be "concerned" about "GMO's" as much as we are "concerned" about "non-GMO's".
Maybe you could start another thread about the dangers of non-GMOs. Good luck defining it adequately for those who ask for evidence and start telling you it's nothing to do with non-GMOs, just biology.

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You also say, with less contradiction, that they have the potential to release societies from capitalist power and control. Erm, can you say how?
You don't like me being vague? I know how that feels. :) In any event I did not state " that they have the potential to release societies from capitalist power and control".  Rather I stated that this could be argued.  Personally I would not make that argument,
Oh right. Well other people could argue a lot of things that it would be irrelevant and potentially misleading for us to mention.  :stareicide:

but one could point out that a "GMO" that allows farmers to grow crops without pesticides (e.g.) would release those farmers on reliance on the producers of pesticides.
That, I feel, is a fool's erand and belies a deep confusion about how biology works. Life is generally trying to 'eat' other life and avoid being eaten, resulting in a dynamic equilibium. GMOs mostly work by giving immunity to pesticides, as I've described, which tends to increase pesticide use, not reduce it, for the reasons I've given, or they react to pest attack by producing pesticides. GMOs haven't been getting very close to growing crops without pesticides, and I can't imagine how that would work, can you? On the other hand, there are methods of farming that do tend to reduce pesticides, referred to as organic.

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OK, how about this: A genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques (i.e., a genetically engineered organism).
Since 'genetic engineering' could be taken quite loosely, I would suggest that we include the direct manipulation of an organism's genes using biotechnology. ... New DNA is obtained by either isolating and copying the genetic material of interest using recombinant DNA methods or by artificially synthesising the DNA.
These were taken from the first paragraphs of the relevant wikipedia pages. I would suggest it is a fairly intuitive definition in keeping with most people's understanding, though I realise concerted effort can yield wide meanings from the same words.
Thank you, I appreciate your effort.  It is worth noting that this definition excludes some organisms that are considered by some people to be "GMO's", and it is also worth noting that any genetic alteration produced through biotechnology can also be produced "naturally".
People construe words differently. That is why I find your apparent defence of GM on these semantic grounds a bit spurious, when there are reasonably clear delineations between types of reproduction. The table you posted would be meaningless without these categories, so they're clear enough when you're talking about GMOs. Fuzzy borders only apply to critiques.

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Again I ask you: are you willing to allow lawyers and politicians to define what is and is not "natural".  For the record, I put "natural" in quotations because it is also poorly-defined.  About the only useful definition that I have ever come across is something like 'natural: not involving Homo sapiens'.  Essentially anything that humans do is, by definition, not natural.  Of course if you have a better definition then I would be happy to see it.
Peez, take a moment, please to ask yourself if these meta-challenges about definitions are really your exercising of critical thinking, or just trying to avoid something. If I used 'natural' in this context it was obviously to contrast non-GMOs with GMOs, which is obviously a necessarily approximate use of language, which, other than in some philosophic-logic situations is all language can attain. I was not criticising all artificiality. I'm not sure why you're asking if I'm happy to let lawyers and politicians define 'natural'. If I was criticising nuclear power, would you be asking me if I can define 'power station' satisfactorily, and whether I'm happy to let lawyers define 'electron'? I understand and agree that a stricter definition of 'natural' could delineate on the human involvement, but all definitions are arbitrary, even those of species. Law has to constantly refine its definitions through new cases creating precedent.

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Before you start asking about someone being "lab-blind" perhaps you should check your own assumptions.
I'm sorry if you feel insulted, but I am quite frustrated by your apparent attempt to invalidate discussion of an issue on the grounds that descriptions used can (be forced to) merge with other things. This sophistry appears to be one of the ways valid criticism is shut down by the industry and scientists who think they're exercising critical thinking when they're actually just defending a position they've already accepted.

I'll leave it there for now, but I have several links to post shortly, and I'll check if there seem to be important points in your latest reply I haven't dealt with. I think we ought to clear up what kinds of dangers you're willing to concede have anything to do with GMOs.

I would also like to say that your introduction right away of this "Bad" epithet is irritating. It suggests an unreal binary condition about GMOs. It also suggests that it is critics of GMOs who are insinuating this false dichotomy. It is yet another way to cloud the issue of what specific or general dangers and advantages GMOs have, and a reasonable, balanced assessment of them.

Later, good sir.
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Pasture-raised meat outlawed in restaurants/grocery stores in 44 states.

Lab-raised meat released to the mass market.

GMO are morally and ethically equivalent to solar panels and wind generators, and even the plow. All are technologies developed to permit and enable business-as-usual. By that, I mean growth without limits. That is the ultimate motivation: to feed more and more with less and less.
I'm not quite sure that population growth is the ultimate motivation, except maybe in certain religious communities. Economic growth, both individually and at political levels, seems the greater direct motivation. This is a double-edge sword - currently, it equates to increasing strains on resources, as we want to own more stuff, business wants to sell us more stuff, it uses more power, etc., but research shows that taking people out of poverty reduces population growth. The very poor subsistence farmer has a large family to compensate for child mortality and to help with low-income labour (working on the fields, etc.), while in developed nation, population growth is, I think, zero or negative, and some figures suggest global population growth should peak at around ten billion.

The sustainable population capacity of Earth is presumably enormous, since ultimately it depends almost entirely on energy collection, and the energy we could collect is huge.

There is never any consideration of how to employ technology to curtail the growth of human populations.
Well there's contraception. And the arms trade seems fairly bouyant.

But this isn't surprising. Just try and imagine the grant application.  To whom would you apply? How would that entity raise funds to pursue such research?
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  But there is some not insignificant reason to be hopeful. Along with the threats, there is the power of AI to analyse the problems we face, and the capacities of current and future technology to solve them.
What is the financial incentive to develop these technologies? 
With AI, it might not need a great deal. We seem fascinated by gathering and analysing information, and AI could develop naturally to do this more cheaply than we do it now (and that information is a commodity to sell). What the incentives might be to fix things will depend on the situation, but some of them might not require vast sums, or the urgency of the situation might make us spend vast sums. We've not been here before. The general population has only just begun to realise global warming is real and dangerous. (Trump had to be good for something.) :happydance:
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Ah yes, I've deployed that modern re-definition of the word 'Like' for your post, Autonemesis. There's plenty more funny-sickening stuff after the solipsis, too, ending 'Turn off the lights when you are no longer in the room'.

This hijacked thread started because I contrasted GMOs, where the scientific consensus appears to be in accord with big business, with global warming, where big business tries to deny scientific consensus. Increasingly, I see the first issue as a significant contributor to the latter, and what connects them is a deep disrespect for wilderness and nature, a casual hubris about marching into an entirely artificial future where technocrats try to run the global ecology in cahoots or in tension with global oligarchs.

But there is some not insignificant reason to be hopeful. Along with the threats, there is the power of AI to analyse the problems we face, and the capacities of current and future technology to solve them. I am not discounting that genetic engineering may play an important role in that, only that we are currently using it very badly, to make corporations rich at the expense of the health of the planet and people, and without sufficient research on future ecological consequences. The fact that these are firmly coming home to roost may also start to kick us over the turning point and recognise the very real benefits of so-called 'organic' principles, in particular protecting diversity and the natural ecosystems of the planet, working with them instead of stamping our arrogant authority on them. The ideal is everywhere ridiculed, yet has sustained human societies through countless millennia in thousands of situations, and even been re-introduced with ease and health benefits and even economic benefits in various situations. Agro-chemical shills, along with fossil-fuel shills, keep pointing and insisting we laugh at the silly hippies.
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Seems to be a molecular parallel of the macroscopic ecological interventions everyone is familiar with - rabbits, cane toads, rats etc.  Protein space is all but infinite and you can monkey around in it through DNA modifications towards what you perceive to be an advantageous result.  You cannot of course ever have full knowledge of all of the ramifications of that change.  It isn't like you are going to create some Frankenstinian monster since everything is still subject to the same selection pressures in the wild but you may well wind up with unforeseen and disadvantageous consequences along with your intended and realised advantages.
Just one nit-pick. If 'protein space is all but infinite', you can create an arbitrary number of Frankensteinian monsters, and they might select you for breakfast! ;)
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Glyphosate use has increased 15-fold since genetically modified crops were introduced in 1996
https://glyphosatestudy.org/faqs-glyphosate/
Waaaaaa!? Are we growing 15 times as much food since 1996?

Why? maybe the genetic/chemical arms race:
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Rising use heightens risk concerns. Growing reliance on the broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate has triggered the spread of tolerant and resistant weeds in the U.S. and globally [5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. To combat weeds less sensitive to glyphosate, farmers typically increase glyphosate application rates and spray more often [11, 12, 13]. In addition, next-generation herbicide-tolerant crops are, or will soon be on the market genetically engineered to withstand the application of additional herbicides (up to over a dozen), including herbicides posing greater ecological, crop damage, and human health risks (e.g., 2,4-D and dicamba) [6].
https://enveurope.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s12302-016-0070-0
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ontic:
I haven't had much time to research yet, but one indication is that at least one of those literature reviews cited in the article I linked to (you missed the link, btw, I did post it https://www.biofortified.org/2014/02/industry-funded-gmo-studies/ ) there were about as many papers pro-GM as those "raising serious issues" (or words to that effect).
I did quickly scan that article, but this seems like a case of cherry picking one result.  I believe that the quote you refer to is "An equilibrium in the number research groups suggesting, on the basis of their studies, that a number of varieties of GM products (mainly maize and soybeans) are as safe and nutritious as the respective conventional non-GM plant, and those raising still serious concerns, was currently observed."  If anyone can point to one of these studies that raise concerns about some aspect of some "GMO", I would be interested in seeing it.  In any event the "GMO's" have been tested many times (far more than any "natural" food), and the consensus remains that they are safe.  Scientists, being scientists, tend to be cautious and just about never state that anything can be proved entirely safe.
I did point to studies that raise concerns. I pointed to a dirctory of them. And yes, the quote I referred to says that an 'equilibrium' (a roughly equal number) of 'research groups ... raise concerns about some aspect of GMO'. Just one point of several.

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My sense from informal reading over the years is that there are serious concerns raised, and I find some of them reasonable concerns. I know I haven't given much of that yet, but one is the narrow measures of benefit, or conversely the apparent failure to intuit that there are all sorts of knock-on effects in ecosystems that are unpredictable.
I would argue that this is not an example of a reasonable concern.  This seems to me to be a vague notion that there is something out there that we should be concerned about.
Call it 'vague' by all means. I'm pleased that at least some people are taking the subject of our creation of new organisms by artificial means, which under natural conditions almost certainly would never arise, and letting them loose in the biosphere, a little more seriously. Not enough. Too many have your casual attitude.

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There are obvious examples from the introductions of plants or animals into non-native environments where they have caused havoc.
Indeed the introduction of new species to different areas will sometimes have a major effect.  For example, the introduction of wheat to North America.  The modification of varieties has also had an impact, for example the evolution of corn.  Of course new species have been invading areas for billions of years, though we have sped things up quite a lot.  In any event this is a concern that is not special to "GMO's".
No. I didn't imply that it was a concern that was special to GMOs. I implied that it was a comparable concern. You seem to be suggesting that you find natural introductions of non-native species something to be concerned about, but you are not concerned about GMOs being introduced. Pardon me if I'm not following the logic.

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And perhaps much of my concern is political, about the control of the technology. You don't trust Monsanto. This is the point. The pro-GMOers will point to famines and say we must develop these new crops, but look at the wrangle India had over Monsanto. There is a danger that cutting edge technologies can be used for power and control - a new 'capital imperialism' where we used to have the good ol' British Empire lording it over everyone. I only have vague evidence for that, too, but you have to be stupid not to think it's going on.
I have no doubt that this sort of thing is going on, and has been since long before "GMO's".  On the other hand, it could be argued that "GMO's" have the potential to release societies from such power and control.  There is nothing about "GMO's" that make them any better or worse than any other technology.  We should be concerned about the politics and economics related to the development of "GMO's", solar power, stem-cell therapy... any technology.
You seem to be confused. You were urging me not to be concerned about GMOs. Now you say that we should be concerned about GMOs. You also say, with less contradiction, that they have the potential to release societies from capitalist power and control. Erm, can you say how?

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I love the way the GMO movement argue that GMOs aren't anything different from natural organisms, then slap a patent on them and ban their customers from using anything else, or alter the ecosystem so that nothing else is economically viable.
You seem to be creating a "GMO movement" (I also note the odd term "pro-GMOers") that includes, well, anyone who is not 'anti-GMO'.  This is simplistic and does not reflect the reality.  Note that "golden rice" was developed and made available without a patent.  Note that businesses like Monsanto would patent water of they could.  If you could provide a clear definition of a "GMO" (and "natural"), then perhaps we could address what differences there may be between a "GMO" and a "natural" organism.
OK, how about this: A genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques (i.e., a genetically engineered organism).
Since 'genetic engineering' could be taken quite loosely, I would suggest that we include the direct manipulation of an organism's genes using biotechnology. ... New DNA is obtained by either isolating and copying the genetic material of interest using recombinant DNA methods or by artificially synthesising the DNA.
These were taken from the first paragraphs of the relevant wikipedia pages. I would suggest it is a fairly intuitive definition in keeping with most people's understanding, though I realise concerted effort can yield wide meanings from the same words.

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I recognise this can be denied as a "Bad" of GMO itself, but maybe there's a hint about at least a part of a relevant definition. If you can patent it, it's a GMO.
Are you willing to go with such a legal definition?  I see no reason in principle that any organism cannot be patented.  Certainly "natural" products have been patented (e.g., adrenaline).
I didn't know that, but I'd be surprised if the adrenaline now pumping round my body breaches any intellectual property rights. It will be artificially produced examples that are protected by law. Look how nicely this dovetails with GMOs. Are you lab blind? Do you really not understand the difference between artificially engineering organisms and rubbing the stamens of one variety against the stigma of another? And this is exactly why you put "natural" in inverted commas, because natural things (no quotes) cannot be patented. Thankfully the law isn't quite enough of an ass yet.

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Maybe not, but the power of the technology makes a difference. The advantages of a GMO can be so great in the short term and narrow measures applied that it is likely to utterly replace all competing varieties, for example, or significantly alter the numbers of other species in the local ecology.
I think that you may have a mistaken notion of what "GMO's" are.  These are not 'super-organisms', they are no more likely to replace other organisms in the environment than any other species.
With respect, I think perhaps you don't know what they are. They are very often engineered to produce pesticidal compounds, conveying higher immunity against pest attack, which represents an immediate and powerful selective advantage over natural varieties without this. They are also mostly engineered to resist chemical herbicides, so that they survive while 'pest' species and natural varieties are killed on spraying (Roundup, etc.), conveying another selective advantage. This is then compounded deliberately by the domestication efforts of humans planting these varieties instead of older, natural ones with higher genetic diversity (since GM ones are clones). You are apparently attacking a straw-man version of the fear of 'super-organisms'. That is what they are supposed to be, or there isn't any point. Of course, the resulting reduction in genetic diversity represents a future risk to our food security, if pathogenic organisms evolve 'to compensate' (not to be taken teleologically, of course). I wonder how long it would take to repopulate our fields from samples in Svarlbard.

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Suddenly, from the shops having half a dozen varieties of apple or potato, there's one GM variety. Genetic diversity is hailed as the most important measure of resilience in biology, as you're aware, and yet we're merrily deliberately celebrating its reduction in our crops.
Monoculture is a concern, and again this has nothing to do with "GMO's".  One can have a monoculture with or without "GMO's".
Sure. But GMOs represent a very powerful driver of this VERY DANGEROUS process, which is responsible for significant species loss, and would be a major contributor to risks to food security from seriously reduced genetic diversity of our staple crops.

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Hmm. That's kinda odd. I sense this is a bit of a mantra.
I don't know what you mean.  All living things are 'modified' one way or another.  We have intentionally modified organisms in various ways for thousands of years.  If people wish to demonize certain organisms, it is up to them to specify what they mean.
Which, regrettably, I am apparently failing to do in a way that you are capable of comprehending. Please note, however, that I am not and have never 'demonized' GMOs. Another mantra. Another reverse-pyschology, straw-man propaganda term, like 'Frankenfood' to make all the nay-sayers look like hippie kooks.

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Now you have the link, I'd be interested to know if you see any bias. Yes, 'many studies are being carried out by people who are not financially rewarded by big business', but more seem to be of the other sort.
And... ?  The unstated implication you seem to be making is that somehow if most of the studies are funded by big business then those that are not so funded should not be trusted?  This makes no sense.
Yes, that makes no sense. I'm saying almost the opposite (maybe you made a typographical error). The text doesn't say most of them are funded by big business, but that a strong association was found between professional conflict of interest and 'favorable study outcome'. This suggests grounds for scepticism.

  The petroleum industry has huge resources and yet has failed to prevent the consensus among climate scientists that anthropogenic global warming is real (a point the article you linked to makes).
And? Whether any particular level of funding has or has not helped establish the reality of one phenomenon only has vague, circumstantial implications about a completely different one. In the case of GMO crops, or their potential risks, there is little that corresponds with the 'reality' condition of AGW. It would be fairly meaningless to say that concerns were 'real' or 'unreal'. My first and strongest objection to the off-the-cuff assertion that GMOs have ben studied and been found to be safe and useful is that the measures of safety and usefulness seem to be poorly conceived, narrow, short-sighted, unimaginative and largely economic.

I thought I'd check quickly if there is a scientific consensus on GMOs, and found this https://gmoanswers.com/scientific-consensus-and-gmos
While the list of organisations supporting GMOs is impressive, the brief statements remind me of the most obvious of these narrow concerns, food safety in consumption. Obviously this must be tested, but the whole of the GMO debate seems overwhelmed with these food safety studies. I intuited the risks of toxicity from an alteration of the genes of a food to be almost nil, perhaps naively. It is the longer-term local and global effects on ecosystems and politics that I am more concerned about. The page on GMOs and the environment on that site gives the impression that the world exists in a time bubble and changes in one organism have no effect on others. Tests again are to ascertain that the new crop 'grows the same as the non-GM variety. They're also tested to make sure that they demonstrate the desired characteristic, such as insect resistance.' If it does what it's supposed to do, that constitutes one of those positive study results. (I realise this is a brief summary, but this is what I find generally.) It also says they are assessed for 'impact on beneficial insects like honeybees or ladybugs', displaying a nonchalant and potentially dangerous categorisation of wild organisms as 'beneficial' or 'pests'. This is the current paradigm in agricultural sciences, is it? If we decimate pest species, we can just ignore the complex ecological consequences and rejoice that our crops are, for now, growing normally? Where have all the insects and birds gone? Who gives a shit? Read this http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/lifestyle/lifestyle-opinion/vast-reduction-insect-numbers-indicative-13185845
Go on, tell me this is nothing to do with GMOs.

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You assert that no bad effect has been identified. I'm not sure about that at all, but I'll keep looking.
I cannot prove a negative, but I have asked repeatedly, in a number of different places, for any good evidence that "GMO's" cause harm, and I have yet to see any such evidence.
Maybe you should follow some links I posted already, or do some research yourself. But this is going to look pretty positive on the whole while agricultural science is so blinkered (as evidenced above). It is a subject where imagination, considering probable long term effects of GMOs from known ecological principles, is important.

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I also hope you can understand some of the issue I have, which is of the 'unknown unknowns' variety. Science is amazing, but it has this problem. Its validity is solidly positioned in the past. It makes future predictions, but can only ascribe value to its hypotheses after checking the results. Hence, where future dangers are involved, we have to use our imagination a bit more, and hard science can mislead us through its reliability in other areas. I have no wish to dilute commitment where countering global warming is concerned, but this is an issue there too. Ecosystems and substance cycles (like the water cycle or carbon cycle) are chaotic, dynamic equilibria, so a small miscalculation in one prediction (the rate of acidification of the sea, for instance) can have magnifying effects later.
It is certainly wise to know that our understanding of the universe is limited, and we cannot be certain of our predictions.  However, this argument could be deployed against the use of antibiotics, vaccines... really any technology.
Yes, and there is now a predicted catastrophe re antibiotics! Since GM technology could be seen as arbitrarily beneficial to the industry, there is just as much risk of 'overuse' as has led to the antibiotics crisis. And the comparisons don't stop there. There's another direct one concerning the evolutionary 'arms race' that is started when you wage war on parts of the ecosystem. We may see a time (or our children may) when biotech is desperately trying to combat the latest super-pest infestation that's wiping out vast areas of our monoculture diets. I know next to nothing about vaccines.

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I don't think there is any evidence of direct risk of meteor strike currently either.
Actually there is.  We don't know everything about the objects moving around in the solar system, but we can estimate the risk from a major meteor strike.  We can describe what a meteor is, and how it could harm us.  We have evidence that there are objects moving through the solar system, and evidence that such objects can cause harm.  This is quite different from the "GMO" case.
Why, because you're sure GMOs are safe, or because it's difficult to measure that particular future trajectory? I've tried to suggest that we know a great deal more about the principles of ecology than certain authorities are letting on, while they merrily wipe out 'pests' with no thought for the morrow (and have a perfect analogue in the antibiotics issue).

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That's not a Luddite manifesto, just food for thought.
Time for a quote from Douglas Adams: "Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans."
So you took it as a Luddite manifesto.  :dunno:
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This is an interesting resource (not that I necessarily consider it unbiased) listing and classifying some of the GMO research: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/guide/health-guide-gmo-research
You can dig into it by type, such as http://www.greenmedinfo.com/anti-therapeutic-action/genetically-modified-organisms
Some just have abstracts, some are freely published.
Here's one https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2952409/?tool=pubmed which raises serious concerns, for instance,
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the possible chronic side effects of pesticide residues are not scientifically assessed, whereas these edible GMOs were modified in order to either tolerate or produce such residues in the first place. In addition, unpredictable metabolic effects, such as metabolic interferences, or direct or indirect insertional mutagenesis consequences cannot be excluded. All these possibilities have been summarized (Fig. (Fig.1).1). For instance, insertion of the transgene in varieties producing Cry1Ab toxin caused a complex recombination event, leading to the synthesis of new RNA products encoding unknown proteins
Now, I can find lots of websites stating categorically that there are no risks, that the science has proved there are no risks, etc., but a number of criticisms, like the above, are raised again and again by independent researchers, as well as studies with contrary findings on toxicology, horizontal gene transfer, pesticide runoff, etc., and, like the above, re-analyses of industry-led research describing a range of poor protocols (after a legal battle to force the data even to be published). Making an adequately detailed and informed judgement is impossible for me, as the biology is way above my pay grade.

However, I am sceptical about my original position due to not finding, so far, a similar phenomenon as is readily available for AGW, reputable journalistic whistleblowing. On the other hand, this may reflect a tendency of such journalists to accept the orthodox message, when they face the same problem I have of the extreme technicality of the detail. Journalists may accept scientists telling them that their global warming data is virtually incontrovertible and there's a conspiracy of self-interested oligarchs trying to push it under the carpet. They may also accept scientists telling them that the GMO safety data is solid and reliable, and there's a bunch of hippies trying to hinder progress, when those scientists have been swayed by simplistic arguments, poor experiments and propaganda from the agricultural oligarchs.

The arguments for GMOs seem to be based on poorly analysed assumptions about the need for them. For example, Golden Rice is held up as evidence that the industry is well-meaning. There is an easily verifiable problem, that large numbers of people in poorer countries dependent on rice are malnourished, suffering blindness due to the lack of vitamin A, and a rational solution, Golden Rice, to provide that additional vitamin. But nobody acts on the obvious alternative, recognising that the problem is actually caused by the power of agri-business and Western economical self-interest, which manipulated these countries to grow rice for export, causing the dependence on rice as a cash crop, with the resulting malnutrition and suffering, and that vitamin A is readily available in large numbers of easily grown crops, that the local population could use to feed themselves properly. Instead of fixing the problem at source (our enslavement of develping countries to grow food for the rich), we deepen the enslavement by making them dependent on an even narrower range of crops, ready to be drenched with arbitrary quantities of Roundup. And then we call it all good science and global beneficence, because, having fed 8 rats on the stuff for three days, nobody died.
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ontic:
Sure. I acknowledge my claim is somewhat vague and unsupported. I think there is some objective rationale behind my concerns. I don't know - and didn't say - that big business is 'controlling virtually all the scientists'.
Fair enough, you suggested that "big business has... paid for most of the 'research'", I took it one step further because I would have expected that if a substantial number of experts studying "GMO's" are not being funded by "big business", then we have no obvious reason that they would be hiding Bad stuff about "GMO's".
Yes, I understand. No problem.

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I said (more like) that big business is largely outside democratic control, and scientists have too much freedom and incentive to keep pushing the envelope.
I agree that so-called "big business" is not democratic, and I certainly trust companies like Monsanto about as far as I can spit.  "Pushing the envelope" is once again vague, one could argue that 'pushing the envelope' is what science does by definition.  What is missing here is any indication that "GMO's" are Bad.
I haven't had much time to research yet, but one indication is that at least one of those literature reviews cited in the article I linked to (you missed the link, btw, I did post it https://www.biofortified.org/2014/02/industry-funded-gmo-studies/ ) there were about as many papers pro-GM as those "raising serious issues" (or words to that effect). My sense from informal reading over the years is that there are serious concerns raised, and I find some of them reasonable concerns. I know I haven't given much of that yet, but one is the narrow measures of benefit, or conversely the apparent failure to intuit that there are all sorts of knock-on effects in ecosystems that are unpredictable. There are obvious examples from the introductions of plants or animals into non-native environments where they have caused havoc. And perhaps much of my concern is political, about the control of the technology. You don't trust Monsanto. This is the point. The pro-GMOers will point to famines and say we must develop these new crops, but look at the wrangle India had over Monsanto. There is a danger that cutting edge technologies can be used for power and control - a new 'capital imperialism' where we used to have the good ol' British Empire lording it over everyone. I only have vague evidence for that, too, but you have to be stupid not to think it's going on. I love the way the GMO movement argue that GMOs aren't anything different from natural organisms, then slap a patent on them and ban their customers from using anything else, or alter the ecosystem so that nothing else is economically viable. I recognise this can be denied as a "Bad" of GMO itself, but maybe there's a hint about at least a part of a relevant definition. If you can patent it, it's a GMO.

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I have been alarmed when I have looked into this by the narrow definitions of benefit, and apparent lack of consideration of the potential dangers to the environment at more systemic levels. I typically found studies on crop yields, spread of GM crops to small areas outside field test sites, success in short-term goals like 'pest' control (if you're going to put quotes round GM, let's do it round 'pest' too), and tests on toxicity. But it's years ago and I don't have the references to hand.
Fair enough, but note that these concerns are not special to "GMO's".
Maybe not, but the power of the technology makes a difference. The advantages of a GMO can be so great in the short term and narrow measures applied that it is likely to utterly replace all competing varieties, for example, or significantly alter the numbers of other species in the local ecology. Suddenly, from the shops having half a dozen varieties of apple or potato, there's one GM variety. Genetic diversity is hailed as the most important measure of resilience in biology, as you're aware, and yet we're merrily deliberately celebrating its reduction in our crops. Crops take up a larger and larger percentage of the environment, so diversity of those crops and the ecosystems supporting them should be of major concern. It seems not to really come into the purview of the GMO research - or it does in that other half of the papers I mentioned, perhaps!

For the record, I am putting quotation marks around "GMO" because the term is not well-defined at all.
Hmm. That's kinda odd. I sense this is a bit of a mantra. The definition is stretched to make it include manual crossing of varieties and thus muddy the waters. Of course, all definitions are arbitrary, but there's a long way between natural crosses of varieties and the deliberate microscopic insertion of genes from different kingdoms, or indeed the arguably non-life genetic machinery of viruses. There are several reasonable places on this continuum where we could draw a line.

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OK. A brief bit of searching tonight throws up a figure of 1/3 of collected research projects being "independent", and the source seems to be intending to be very pro-GM. I'm not very far through it due to following links to other articles, but it has so far struck me as disturbingly biased....
I don't agree with your interpretations here, there does not seem to be any obvious bias illustrated by the short passages you quoted and you did not provide the sources (references).  However, there are two things that seem to be clear: many studies are being carries out by people who are not financially rewarded by big business, no evidence of any Bad effect of "GMO's" has been identified.
Now you have the link, I'd be interested to know if you see any bias. Yes, 'many studies are being carried out by people who are not financially rewarded by big business', but more seem to be of the other sort. You assert that no bad effect has been identified. I'm not sure about that at all, but I'll keep looking. I also hope you can understand some of the issue I have, which is of the 'unknown unknowns' variety. Science is amazing, but it has this problem. Its validity is solidly positioned in the past. It makes future predictions, but can only ascribe value to its hypotheses after checking the results. Hence, where future dangers are involved, we have to use our imagination a bit more, and hard science can mislead us through its reliability in other areas. I have no wish to dilute commitment where countering global warming is concerned, but this is an issue there too. Ecosystems and substance cycles (like the water cycle or carbon cycle) are chaotic, dynamic equilibria, so a small miscalculation in one prediction (the rate of acidification of the sea, for instance) can have magnifying effects later.
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An even more robust review of the total literature published in 2014 is more conclusive in their findings: "The scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops."

My italics. Note the bias - plenty of evidence!...(to affirm a cautious stance based on equilibrium between positive and negative results in health-related studies); an even more robust review (than that cautious stance); no significant hazards DIRECTLY connected with GM crops. That's great, since the biosphere is so compartmentalized.
I find it interesting that you interpret a lack of evidence for any direct effect as evidence of an indirect effect.  Without reading the actual article it is hard to tell, but it seems like this specific paper looked for a direct effect and found none.  That does not mean that there is no indirect effect, but it certainly is not evidence of anything Bad about "GMO's".
I hope what I've said above helps you grokk that a bit more.
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Yeah, manipulation died out as a phenomenon, it was so useless. ::)  I guess this type of thing may not be typical, or I may be misinterpreting it.
One must always be cautious of data manipulation, and also about 'data fishing' (If you start with a set of data with enough variables, you can pretty much always find statistically significant relationships somewhere even when there are no actual relationships, plus one must keep the old adage in mind: correlation does not necessarily mean causation.)  In any event, it would not surprise me if something on the order of 2/3 of this research is supported in some way by so-called big business, and about 1/3 'independently' supported.  In the 2/3, I would expect at least some scientists to be ready and willing to publish results that provide evidence of Bad stuff in the use of "GMO's", and I would expect that many of the 'independent' scientists would be ready and willing to do the same.  Thus the complete lack of such credible evidence cannot be dismissed by appealing to industry influence.
Well I haven't yet had time to find the other half of the 'equilibrium' that paper mentioned, in which serious concerns were raised. These may, of course, be more 'imaginative' and 'philosophical' papers, and dismissed by hard scientists as irrelevant. I don't think there is any evidence of direct risk of meteor strike currently either.
Of course absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but any claim that there is something Bad about "GMO's" is not supported.
References please.  ;)  But seriously, I don't know what this means. There could be tons of Bad evidence out there. I don't know how much you've searched for it. I know it's early days for me. So absence of Bad evidence may be all we have as yet. Additionally, it's difficult to assess, since we have to work out if there's an agenda behind either kind (and, for me at least, I don't have the detailed biology to understand a lot of it).
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OK, your request was rather abrupt. Anyway, the evidence we would need to consider is historic (and economic and political as well as scientific). Or are we going to discuss data from the future? But you're right, you're not commenting on those.
I apologize for being abrupt, I posted in haste.
I'm sorry I took it the wrong way. Glad we got that sorted. I'll skip the rest of that issue.
For the record I am a university biology professor.
Noted. For the record, I'm aware of my potential for Dunning-Kruger effect, and hope not to overestimate my ability. I did biology to (UK) 'Advanced Level' and some additional stuff in my first year of a geology degree. Very casual learning since. Your knowledge will be a big help in this.
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There are a few ideas in the last paragraph. Which in particular do you disagree with?:
the chaotic system difficult to predict
I would go with 'a complex system is difficult to predict'.
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current and future actions risk dangerous change
Vague and applicable to just about anything.  It could be argued that there is a risk to not using "GMO's".
Indeed. That opens a whole mess of philosophical debates! One issue is whether taking action and not taking action bare different intrinsic moral responsibility. It also reminds me of a theory that many human changes were arguably Bad, whilst each person involved made rational decisions to improve their lot. It was applied (I forget by whom) to the Neolithic Revolution, and quite convincingly! Growing crops caused increases in malnutrition, famine, disease, murder, war.... while hunter-gatherers lived relatively healthy, peaceful lives surrounded by plentiful food. Then we slashed and burned the forests. Then we started burning coal and oil. Now we're unleashing AI, nanotech and biotech. That's not a Luddite manifesto, just food for thought.
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GM is becoming exponentially more powerful
I find this meaningless with a definition of "GM", units that are increasing exponentially, and what is meant by "powerful" in this context.  Certainly our ability to modify genetics is increasing and will likely allow us to do things in the future that will present considerable ethical and practical challenges.  Of course the same might be said of other technologies, but I would agree that genetic technology has perhaps the greatest potential for changing the way we live.
Yes. I think a terraformed future is most likely, especially with AGW to contend with.
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the precautionary principle therefore says to take great care and time and discussion
How much?  We could test "GMO's" for thousands of years and still have this objection raised.  Where would we be if this precautionary principle was applied to vaccinations for example.
Sure, there are limits. For me, it happened already. I didn't really notice and nobody asked my opinion, and it seems nobody is asking anybody's opinion in the general public, just doing it. This is maybe why there's so much reaction against GMOs.
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Sure, I'm fine with a definition of 'GMO', although I guess it's problematic, partly because the subject is so multi-dimensional. We can define it too closely, whereupon crossing two plants in your garden shed qualifies, or we can have a more realistic view of GMOs embedded in a socio-economic context, where it intersects with pesticide use, pollution, ecological diversity, food security, famine (and from there, international politics, etc.), and large corporations with political clout.
This is a problem, there really is no clear distinction between "GMO's" and 'wild' organisms.  However, on what are we going to apply the precautionary principle?  What organisms are potentially dangerous, and why?  What do you consider to be a "GMO"?

Peez
I hope I've started to answer that last bit. There's no 'clear' distinction between a lot of things we nevertheless separate. It's somewhere between a shiny lab and virgin forest.
Cheers,
ontic
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split off from "Deextinction and rewilding".

Let me know if I've put any posts in the wrong thread.

If you want me to change the title of this splitoff-thread, someone will have to explain to me how to do that in Elkarte.

Edit the OP.  The Title can be edited there.
Maybe "AGWhitewash and GMOaning" :D
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Yo mods please split the "GMOaning" derail off to its own thread, starting around the second post.
Yes, sorry: this was largely my fault.

Peez
Sorry, mine too.
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ontic:
Peez, you said,
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There are certainly issues that we should be concerned about, but I find it odd that you accept the scientific consensus on global warming but not on GMO's.
I explained why I accept the consensus on GW but not on GMOs.
I can only guess that you are referring to the vague and unsupported claim that some unspecified thing about "GMO's" is bad and that big business is controlling virtually all the scientists with expertise on this area.  Once again, this is the sort of thing I expect from climate change deniers.
Sure. I acknowledge my claim is somewhat vague and unsupported. I think there is some objective rationale behind my concerns. I don't know - and didn't say - that big business is 'controlling virtually all the scientists'. I said (more like) that big business is largely outside democratic control, and scientists have too much freedom and incentive to keep pushing the envelope.

I have been alarmed when I have looked into this by the narrow definitions of benefit, and apparent lack of consideration of the potential dangers to the environment at more systemic levels. I typically found studies on crop yields, spread of GM crops to small areas outside field test sites, success in short-term goals like 'pest' control (if you're going to put quotes round GM, let's do it round 'pest' too), and tests on toxicity. But it's years ago and I don't have the references to hand.
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References, please.
For what?
For starters, for this: "Meanwhile, big business has... paid for most of the 'research'..."
OK. A brief bit of searching tonight throws up a figure of 1/3 of collected research projects being "independent", and the source seems to be intending to be very pro-GM. I'm not very far through it due to following links to other articles, but it has so far struck me as disturbingly biased. Several quotes have emboldened text (pro-GM), while one only has to read the surrounding text for completely contrasting conclusions. For example, a passage (needing a better proofreader) from a literary review is quoted:
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An equilibrium in the number research groups suggesting, on the basis of their studies, that a number of varieties of GM products (mainly maize and soybeans) are as safe and nutritious as the respective conventional non-GM plant, and those raising still serious concerns, was currently observed. Nevertheless, it should be noted that most of these studies have been conducted by biotechnology companies responsible of commercializing these GM plants.
and interpreted thus:
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José Domingo and Jordi Giné Bordonaba are certainly no cheerleaders for biotech crops. Yet, despite the increase in industry funded studies between their reviews of the literature in 2007 and 2011, they still find plenty of evidence to affirm their cautious stance towards the technology.

An even more robust review of the total literature published in 2014 is more conclusive in their findings: "The scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops."
My italics. Note the bias - plenty of evidence!...(to affirm a cautious stance based on equilibrium between positive and negative results in health-related studies); an even more robust review (than that cautious stance); no significant hazards DIRECTLY connected with GM crops. That's great, since the biosphere is so compartmentalized.

Later, the main article says
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Looking at the scientific literature about GMO safety, we find little difference between the results of independent and industry funded studies.
...and then goes on to demonstrate that this is a lie.
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What if we were a little more rigorous in our scrutiny? Johan Diels of led a team that did exactly that. The results were interesting, but not without some problems.
It then quotes a passage (their bold) from the paper:
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In a study involving 94 articles selected through objective criteria, it was found that the existence of either financial or professional conflict of interest was associated to study outcomes that cast genetically modified products in a favorable light (p = 0.005). While financial conflict of interest alone did not correlate with research results (p = 0.631), a strong association was found between author affiliation to industry (professional conflict of interest) and study outcome (p < 0.001).
The text goes on to trivialize the professional conflict of interest correlation and blatantly lie and set up a strawman:
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The authors did find a correlation between "industry affiliation" and favorable study outcome. But realize how far we have moved the goal posts. We started with the proposition that we couldn't trust any of the research because it was it was all paid for by the industry. But we found that's not true. Now we have researchers looking into the matter and they can't find a relationship between industry funding and favorable study outcomes. And there's no connection there. What's left is griping about the industry ties of some of the researchers. Before looking a little closer at that, let's get one thing out of the way. When a company pays for a study, they are paying because they want to find out something. Fudging the data does not help them in their business. Such data manipulation would be generally be counter productive.
Yeah, manipulation died out as a phenomenon, it was so useless. ::)  I guess this type of thing may not be typical, or I may be misinterpreting it.

Anyway, their figure of 1/3 "independent" would seem to substantiate something of my vague claim (although I'm not sure what their definitions of "independent" and "non-independent" are).  If 2/3 of the studies are "non-independent", and "a strong association ... between author affiliation to industry ... and study outcome", then I have reason to suspect that professional conflict of interest may be skewing GM study outcomes. I put it rather bluntly, maybe.
https://www.biofortified.org/2014/02/industry-funded-gmo-studies/


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The vast compex political and economic history of GMO (presumably the bit you're incensed that I'm sceptical about)?
I am not "incensed" and I am not commenting on history, economic or otherwise.
OK, your request was rather abrupt. Anyway, the evidence we would need to consider is historic (and economic and political as well as scientific). Or are we going to discuss data from the future? But you're right, you're not commenting on those.
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Do you demand references anytime someone shares an opinion?
I ask for references when someone puts forth a claim if I wish to examine that claim critically.  This is a habit that I recommend strongly.
OK. I recommend voicing your wish to examine the claim critically more invitingly, offer concerns about it or a contrary view, chew the fat a bit. Just asking for references is a common way of saying "You don't know what you're talking about, and some research will prove you wrong". It comes over as pretty rude.

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But a reference or two won't change my mind overnight, due to the fact that it's a vast complex political and economic history.
I am not specifically trying to change your opinion.  I presume that you have sources for your information, obviously your sharing such sources with me (and others) would not change your opinion (you already had access to that information).  I asked for the references to better understand your position, to assess it, and to challenge my own position.
I don't have sources for my information - so the challenge requires me to ignore it and leave the photos-or-it-didn't-happen suggestion or put quite a bit of time into carefully researching it myself. Again, maybe, "How much is your opinion supported by evidence?" would be a pleasanter starting point. If one of your motives is to challenge your own position, you could do some reading yourself.

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But I'll take any rational arguments or evidence on board. Thanks. Admittedly, I have spent some time researching the climate-change-denial propaganda and the power base it emanates from, and less the GMO debate. So educate away!
I have little to contribute on the politics or economics involved in the various issues related to so-called "GMO's".  I do have a modest grasp of genetic modification of organisms, this is what I was commenting on.
I have a very modest grasp of that too. I recently read Creation: the origin of life; the future of life by Adam Rutherford, which is very good. It informed my view that the field is exploding at an exponential rate, so part of my concern is the technology getting ahead of the regulation (it already has, in fact, in that genetic code is being bought online and assembled by amateurs). I wasn't aware that you had commented on genetic modification of organisms. You asked for evidence of my comments on it.
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Part Two:
The precautionary principle also points in opposite directions:

With GW, we have a chaotic system that's difficult to predict the behaviour of precisely, but there is reason to believe that past and current actions risk extremely dangerous climate change (this is an understatement), so the precautionary principle says that we should strive to reverse the damage, even if it's just buying time while more research is done. It is also a problem that we were not aware of while it was growing over many decades.

With GMOs, we have a chaotic system that is also difficult to predict the behaviour of (in fact, these are essentially the same systems, the whole ecosystem of planet Earth), and there is reason to believe that current and future actions risk dangerous change. The technology of genetic modification is becoming more powerful exponentially. The precautionary principle therefore is against the 'consensus' (if indeed there is one) for GMOs, again at least in order to buy more research, theoretical reasoning and public discussion time.
I disagree with your final paragraph.  Perhaps we should start by defining a "GMO" since this is a vague term.

Peez
There are a few ideas in the last paragraph. Which in particular do you disagree with?:
the chaotic system difficult to predict
current and future actions risk dangerous change
GM is becoming exponentially more powerful
the precautionary principle therefore says to take great care and time and discussion

Sure, I'm fine with a definition of 'GMO', although I guess it's problematic, partly because the subject is so multi-dimensional. We can define it too closely, whereupon crossing two plants in your garden shed qualifies, or we can have a more realistic view of GMOs embedded in a socio-economic context, where it intersects with pesticide use, pollution, ecological diversity, food security, famine (and from there, international politics, etc.), and large corporations with political clout.
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Oh I see, Cephus0, you're just counting cash, and then you reckon...what, that the biggest funding is fraudulent? I offered the follow-the-money argument as one thing we should consider. If you just think whoever's spending the most is the most corrupt, end of argument, that's a bit silly. Count the cash - count the scientists - we've had both now.

I would expect that the funding on research into climate change would be fairly big - it's one of the biggest threats to our survival. Calling it 'alarmist science' is pure propaganda, begging the question (i.e. concluding that AGW is trivial or a lie). I see no reason to make that claim.

Your casual dismissal of the importance of undisclosed funding of political lobbying is worrying, as is your dismissal (and childish misunderstanding) of the motive, "charged with evil, malice and a Baphomet-esque desire to destroy the planet". It is greed. The culprits are not worshipping Satan necessarily, just insanely greedy for money and power.

Your complaint about taxes being spent on climate research is the other side of you missing the point. Here's a quote from a prominent article you maybe haven't found yet: ""The real issue here is one of democracy. Without a free flow of accurate information, democratic politics and government accountability become impossible,"
https://phys.org/news/2013-12-koch-brothers-reveals-funders-climate.html
Citizens can vote on how their taxes are used, they can't vote to stop multi-billionaires buying policy.

Wonder why the USA is now out on a limb on climate change? Another bit of news you may have missed: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/in-the-withdrawal-from-the-paris-climate-agreement-the-koch-brothers-campaign-becomes-overt
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How this happened is no longer a secret. The answer, as the New York Times reported, on Sunday, is "a story of big political money." It is, perhaps, the most astounding example of influence-buying in modern American political history.

As the climate scientist Michael Mann put it to me in my book "Dark Money," when attempting to explain why the Republican Party has moved in the opposite direction from virtually the rest of the world, "We are talking about a direct challenge to the most powerful industry that has ever existed on the face of the Earth. There's no depth to which they're unwilling to sink to challenge anything threatening their interests." For most of the world's population, the costs of inaction on climate change far outweigh that of action. But for the fossil-fuel industry, he said, "It's like the switch from whale oil in the nineteenth century. They're fighting to maintain the status quo, no matter how dumb."
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You literally cannot be serious in the first part of your money trail claim.  Government funding - with your taxes - of alarmist climate science makes the Manhattan Project look like a school science fair.  The fossil fuel industry itself ploughs plenty in also.  Cash funding research into natural climate drivers - which you doubtless have some hysterical slur name for - is utterly trivial in comparison.
Listen, I was going to collect a few links for you, but I'll let you find them. I just duckduckgo-d "koch brothers climate change denial propaganda campaign". Try the same in your fave search engine, see what you find.
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Peez, you said,
There are certainly issues that we should be concerned about, but I find it odd that you accept the scientific consensus on global warming but not on GMO's.
I explained why I accept the consensus on GW but not on GMOs.
References, please.
For what? The vast compex political and economic history of GMO (presumably the bit you're incensed that I'm sceptical about)? Do you demand references anytime someone shares an opinion? If you want to correct my mistake and bring my opinion in line with the 'scientific consensus' on this, fine. But a reference or two won't change my mind overnight, due to the fact that it's a vast complex political and economic history. But I'll take any rational arguments or evidence on board. Thanks. Admittedly, I have spent some time researching the climate-change-denial propaganda and the power base it emanates from, and less the GMO debate. So educate away!

Part Two:
The precautionary principle also points in opposite directions:

With GW, we have a chaotic system that's difficult to predict the behaviour of precisely, but there is reason to believe that past and current actions risk extremely dangerous climate change (this is an understatement), so the precautionary principle says that we should strive to reverse the damage, even if it's just buying time while more research is done. It is also a problem that we were not aware of while it was growing over many decades.

With GMOs, we have a chaotic system that is also difficult to predict the behaviour of (in fact, these are essentially the same systems, the whole ecosystem of planet Earth), and there is reason to believe that current and future actions risk dangerous change. The technology of genetic modification is becoming more powerful exponentially. The precautionary principle therefore is against the 'consensus' (if indeed there is one) for GMOs, again at least in order to buy more research, theoretical reasoning and public discussion time.