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Topic: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding" (Read 741 times) previous topic - next topic - Topic derived from Deextinction and Rewi...

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Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #50
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! ;)

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #51
An Incomplete Timeline of What We Tried

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Working back from human extinction.

Human extinction.

The coordinated release of various strains of a human sterilization virus.

The no-child laws.

The launching of the Colony into space, no final destination in mind, for those able to afford the journey.

Retraction of health care services for the ill and/or "undesirables."

Resurgence of prayer.

The demolition of nursing homes and/or retirement homes in the redlined countries that have reached or surpassed their maximum population density.

Suicide incentives for those of a certain age.

Daily calorie restrictions.

Mass space travel attempted.

Voluntary sterilization. Included in the procedure is a colorful shoulder tattoo so that everybody will know who has done their part versus who here continues to be the problem.

Geoengineering. Sulfates into the stratosphere, a trillion thin mirrors in space reflecting sunlight, cloud-seeding, forests of artificial CO2 sucking trees. Dropping tons of iron into the ocean.

The closing of borders to all climate refugees.

Believe in, hope for aliens who may bring us technology necessary to save our planet.

Retreating to walled compounds in remote locations priced for those in the upper income bracket. The High Wall communities are built so tall that there's no way to see what's happening on the other side of the wall. One can only hear what is happening, which is preferable.

Government-mandated reduction of corporate energy consumption.

Increased military fortification of national, provincial, and state borders.

We are wasting our time.

Waste time.

Multidirectional SOS signals projected into space, in case anyone or anything is listening.

. . .
  • Last Edit: December 16, 2017, 08:36:20 PM by Autonemesis

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #52
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.

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #53
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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. There is never any consideration of how to employ technology to curtail the growth of human populations. 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? 

  • MikeB
Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #54
.....There is never any consideration of how to employ technology to curtail the growth of human populations.........
I thought that this was a done deal in that reliable "birth control", pregnancy control, has been available for decades.  Also there is legislation such as the "one child" policy adopted by China, although I understand that is being phased out.  So I'd say we have the technology but no way to persuade all societies to use it.

I think I recall world population being about 4.4 billion in 1980 and now it has risen to 7.6 billion!  (Growing population) x (increased resource use per person) = a big stressful footprint on mother Earth.

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #55
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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:

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #56
heh. I've seen several people link concern over gmo's with this which my kids' pediatrician used to swear was a deal from her review of metastudies. Because she's a kind of a hippie, I just filed it away as thing she said. Now? Hmm.  :hmm:
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #57
Better left filed under 'junk science'.  The Time link is to the abysmal level of cheap scare journalism they sank to long ago.  They get in fast with the usual nothing statements "some laboratory experiments and human health studies have suggested the possibility that long-term, high use of cell phones may be linked to certain types of cancer and other health effects." using the usual spray of meaningless alarmist words 'some' 'suggested' 'possibility' 'may' which ought to immediately flag this as junk science.

Followed up with "studies have not established any definitive links between health problems and radiofrequency (RF) energy".  And there you have it.  There's zero science to report here.  Which isn't all that surprising since microwave photons have energies six orders of magnitude too low for molecular ionisation effects.  The only effect microwaves can have on organic tissues is heating through polar molecular oscillations with water accounting for nearly all of that.  A typical cell phone antenna pressed against the head radiates power sufficient to raise the temperature of a small patch of adjacent skin by around 0.4 C.

It's a great gig for grant funding though with two major trigger words 'radiation' and 'cancer'.  Researchers have been searching for the mythical but lucrative 'non-thermal microwave effect' for decades now.  There is no physical theory which predicts such an effect but never mind that - on the search goes anyway.  If you are a health worrier there really are more pressing issues.

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #58
Heh. Yeah, it does seem unlikely. But it also seems kind of silly to assume it either is or is not a hazard when no one actually has any definitive way to test the situation. Anyway, it's a good dogwhistle because it gets everyone with an agenda excited.
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #59
Doesn't seem silly to me. Science constrains these things.  Usual skool definition is :

1)  Observation and description of phenomenon.
2)  Formulation of a testable hypothesis to explain the phenomenon.
3)  Use the hypothesis to predict other phenomenon or results.
4)  Perform an experiment or experiments to ensure that results predicted based on hypothesis are achieved in the experiments.

Phone cancer junk science:

1)  No observation or description of any phenomenon.
2)  Invent an untestable hypothesis without any kind of theoretical physical support to explain the imaginary phenomenon..
3)  Fail to predict any other phenomena.
4)  No proposed experimental validation.

It's junk science.


Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #60
Doesn't seem silly to me. Science constrains these things.  Usual skool definition is :

1)  Observation and description of phenomenon.
2)  Formulation of a testable hypothesis to explain the phenomenon.
3)  Use the hypothesis to predict other phenomenon or results.
4)  Perform an experiment or experiments to ensure that results predicted based on hypothesis are achieved in the experiments.

Phone cancer junk science:

1)  No observation or description of any phenomenon.
2)  Invent an untestable hypothesis without any kind of theoretical physical support to explain the imaginary phenomenon..
3)  Fail to predict any other phenomena.
4)  No proposed experimental validation.

It's junk science.


See: epidemiology study design.
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #61

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #62
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

  • Spode
  • I'm sorry.
Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #63
Banana flavoured stuff doesn't taste like modern bananas because we had to change the variety we grew because the plantations got wiped out.

Citation, please. I thought this was just a fever dream I had after eating an expired hot pocket.

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #64
Doesn't seem silly to me. Science constrains these things.  Usual skool definition is :

1)  Observation and description of phenomenon.
2)  Formulation of a testable hypothesis to explain the phenomenon.
3)  Use the hypothesis to predict other phenomenon or results.
4)  Perform an experiment or experiments to ensure that results predicted based on hypothesis are achieved in the experiments.

Phone cancer junk science:

1)  No observation or description of any phenomenon.
2)  Invent an untestable hypothesis without any kind of theoretical physical support to explain the imaginary phenomenon..
3)  Fail to predict any other phenomena.
4)  No proposed experimental validation.

It's junk science.


See: epidemiology study design.

That's actually interesting.  What is the root cause of the mass junk science outbreak and how does it propagate?

  • Peez
Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #65
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Testy Calibrate:
But gmos are exclusively used to promote monoculture so ...
Since I have yet to see a clear definition of "GMO", I cannot be certain but, no, it is my understanding that "GMO's are not exclusively used to promote monoculture.  However, ignoring that, so... what?  Rather than make some vague implication, just explain what point you wish to make.

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that plus the genes which have already jumped to related weed species in at least the case of rapeseed just means that we shouldn't be using gmos in industrial ag. Duh.
Why?  Please explain why this is a problem.  I am not saying that it isn't, I just want to know exactly what you are trying to say.

Peez

  • Peez
Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #66
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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: Dona, A. and Arvanitoyannis, I.S. 2009. Health risks of genetically modified foods. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 49:164-175.  This paper does not seem to offer any actual evidence of any problem with "GMO's", but refers to other papers.  I looked up one: Bakke-McKellep AM1, Koppang EO, Gunnes G, Sanden M, Hemre GI, Landsverk T, and Krogdahl A. 2007. Histological, digestive, metabolic, hormonal and some immune factor responses in Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., fed genetically modified soybeans. J. Fish. Dis. 30(2):65-79.  This paper does not provide any good evidence of anything Bad about "GMO's".  I also looked at Rickard, C. 2010. Response to "Health risks of genetically modified foods". Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 50:85-91. This letter explains many errors and problems with Dona and Arvanitoyannis, 2009.  The bottom line: I am left still searching for good evidence of something Bad about so-called "GMO's", and you do not seem to be able to provide any such evidence.

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Call it 'vague' by all means.
I called it vague because it is vague.  This allows people to avoid explaining what the alleged problem actually is, and what evidence might exist to support it.

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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", and why do you think that this is a Bad thing?

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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.


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Not enough. Too many have your casual attitude.
Now you seem to be assuming that anyone who does not agree with you has a "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.
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".

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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.  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".

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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, 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.

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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".  Here is a table that might be useful

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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.
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.

Before you start asking about someone being "lab-blind" perhaps you should check your own assumptions.

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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.  Pesticidal compounds require resources to make, one must always balance the costs and the benefits of any trait.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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".

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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'.

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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"?

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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'.
The point I was making is simply this: there is no basis for arguing that Big Ag (again I am using this term for brevity) could prevent all scientists from publishing evidence of Bad stuff regarding "GMO's".

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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?

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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.
Fair enough.

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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.

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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?

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Maybe you should follow some links I posted already, or do some research yourself.
Maybe you should stop assuming that you know what I have done.  I have followed your links, and I have done research, and I have still found no good evidence of anything Bad about "GMO's".  If you have done the research that you are asking me to do, and if you have found good evidence that "GMO's" are Bad, then please direct me to that evidence.

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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.
It is worth noting that "GMO" is not restricted to agriculture, but in any event you have not provided any evidence that "agricultural science" is "blinkered".  However, could you list the "known ecological principles" that you are referring to?

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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?

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Since GM technology could be seen as arbitrarily beneficial to the industry,
Not to mention outside of the industry.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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:
Nope.

Peez

  • Peez
Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #67
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Testy Calibrate:
Also, point out a single case of gmo tech actually being better for people than the non gmo alternatives.
Why, exactly?  I am not 'pro-GMO'.  I am not arguing that "GMO's" are good.

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Yellow rice is awesome.  Why isn't it being planted again?
I don't know, is it important here?.

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Science as a religion is disturbing.
I am sure that it would be.  Science should be about empirical evidence.  So, where is the empirical evidence that "GMO's" are Bad?

Peez

  • Peez
Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #68
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Testy Calibrate:
so, youyr singular example of a good idea still isn't even working
Actually I did not offer this as an example of a "good idea", only as an example of a "GMO" that was not developed for profit.

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and ffs, all this one is doing is adding a gene that creates beta-carotene.
lol!  Isn't that exactly the sort of argument that one of those "pro-GMO" people would make?

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Yeah, cult of science is a problem.
Don't forget this the next time some scientists tells you about the age of the universe, or evolution, or global warming.

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Anyone who thinks GMO's are a slam dunk is an idiot.
I have never heard or seen anyone suggest that "GMO's are a slam dunk ", whatever that means.

Peez

  • borealis
  • Administrator
Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #69
Tbf, re effects of GMO crops on various insects, there seems to be potential consequences:

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In 1999, researchers at Cornell University did a preliminary lab study on the effects of Bt corn pollen on monarch caterpillars. The lead researcher, Dr. John Losey, sent a description of the study to the editors of the science journal Nature (Volume 399, 20 May 1999, page 214).

In Dr. Losey's study, monarch caterpillars in a laboratory were fed milkweed leaves that had been dusted with pollen from Bt corn. This was done because wind-borne corn pollen can settle on the leaves of milkweed plants, and milkweed is all that monarch caterpillars eat. Milkweed often grows in meadows or untilled fields and can be found in or near corn fields. Dr. Losey wanted to determine whether pollen from Bt corn would affect monarch caterpillars. His study found that " ... larvae of the monarch butterfly on milkweed leaves dusted with transgenic Bt-corn pollen ate less, grew more slowly, and suffered higher mortality than those fed leaves dusted with untransformed corn pollen or leaves without pollen."

Some people understood the results of the lab study to mean that Bt corn harms monarch caterpillars, but other scientists pointed out that the study may not accurately reflect what would happen in a field of Bt corn. They noted that:

    there were higher amounts of Bt pollen on the milkweed leaves in the lab than there would be found in a field;
    in the lab, caterpillars were limited to eating only leaves covered in corn pollen, whereas in a field, caterpillars may be able to avoid pollen-coated leaves.

As a result of Dr. Losey's findings, some scientists decided to combine their research on this topic and produced a large body of peer-reviewed work on monarch butterflies and Bt corn, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). These studies concluded that monarch butterflies exposed to Bt corn in the environment are not subjected to any significant risk. More information on these studies can be found on the Web site of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service.

The CFIA, in co-operation with Environment Canada, commissioned a study that became part of that body of work, called, "Final Report on the Ecological Impact of Bt Corn Pollen on the Monarch Butterfly in Ontario". This study concluded that the risks to monarch butterflies from Bt corn pollen is less than 1/100 of 1 per cent.

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/plants/plants-with-novel-traits/general-public/monarch-butterflies/eng/1338140112942/1338140224895

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #70
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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.
  • Last Edit: December 22, 2017, 05:50:01 AM by ontic

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #71
Church of science.
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #72
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.

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #73
Just make it illegal to patent genes in any context.
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

Re: GMO/AGW/whatever derail from "Deextinction and Rewilding"
Reply #74
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