1. Svartbjørn

    Svartbjørn Senior Member

    Was toodling around a few science journals today and came across a link for an OpEd type piece on Slate.com. The Author's basically pointing out all the very same things we do every time we run into someone digging in their heels when it comes to XYZ Conspiracy or just trying to have a discussion in general. Take a look at the whole article (First paragraph below) and see what you guys think. In the context of the article itself... I enjoyed it, to be honest. I had a GMO discussion with my room mates just the other night. They were insistent that GMOs were bad, they were evil and poison, so I asked them to tell me what GMO even stood for. They didnt have a clue When I broke down the acronym they were horrified, and started pushing even harder.... until I pointed out that our cat is, technically, a GMO. He's not a tiger or a lion, he's a house cat etc. Seemed to get through to them on that scale, might have them read this article and see if it confuses or helps them. What do you guys think?

    • Like Like x 2
  2. SR1419

    SR1419 Senior Member

    I Think its a great venue for critical thinking. There is a lot of FUD surrounding GMO's. Its more science-y stuff and some people tend to build a wall against science before taking an honest look. Technically, all the domesticated crops we eat are genetically modified, done over generations in the field. Somehow people freak out if its done in a petri dish instead and can't make the connection.

    That being said. I am not opposed to labeling and transparency.
  3. Spectrar Ghost

    Spectrar Ghost Senior Member

    I'm not either, except that in this case forcing labeling plays right into the anti-GMO camp's agenda by implying GMO ingredients must be disclosed for a reason aside from food politics.

    These things get traction because they are phrased as "why shouldn't we know what's in our food?" Why shouldn't we know where the steel in our pans was mined? Because there's no evidence it matters.

    While I'm far from anti-regulation, increasing regulatory burden for trivialities is foolish. Based on an informal survey of my local grocery, there's clearly money to be made by labeling things "GMO Free", so let those who care continue that practice.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. NoParty

    NoParty Senior Member

    Now that you'e come clean on that, I've changed my mind about eating your cat.

    I do think it's a good "critical thinking" issue, as I think that the bulk of the scientific argument
    comes down on the side of these things being, essentially, safe.

    On the other hand, just because I think that there is some, tiny but inherent risk, yes, I
    would like labeling. If there were two essentially identical products on the supermarket shelf,
    and one had a "No GMO" label and the other didn't, I would probably buy the non-GMO option.

    Again, I doubt there's a real risk...but I still value transparency:
    I was part of the 48.6% of Californians that voted for Prop 37 in 2012...
    but could not overcome the $13.5 billion spent by just Monsanto & Dupont...
    I think the evidence is overwhelming that--without the big hand of corporate America,
    in the form of thousands of TV ads, to sway voters--
    Californians would have gotten the labeling most wanted.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  5. MikeC

    MikeC Senior Member

    Not only your cat - but you yourself......
  6. Svartbjørn

    Svartbjørn Senior Member

    I brought that up too Mike.. but it went over their heads, when I applied it to something they really care about it made sense all the sudden and the lightbulbs came on.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Auldy

    Auldy Senior Member

    I have often fell into inescapable holes trying to explain GMO's to those anti to them, and I think the hardest hurdle to overcome is how to "dumb down" the explanation from a scientific level to the layperson. Even going as so far to try and explain Gregor Mendels work or Punnett squares (stuff which I learned in high school, but wrongly assumed everyone already understands), only to be met with more loathing and distrust. Having a quick look at some of these slate articles though seems like they can be a good resource for future discussions.
  8. Marin B

    Marin B Active Member

    I don't believe a selectively bred animal (or crop) is technically considered a GMO, at least under the definition I found below because it doesn't involve genetic material that has been artificially altered.

    I could see people wanting to be informed about GMO foods for reasons other than the safety of the food. For example, if it's true (as I've heard), that Round-up resistant crops contribute to environmental damage because farmers can spray the heck out of their crops to get rid of unwanted weeds, etc, which can affect natural ecosytems (e.g. killing of milkweed needed by migrating Monarch butterflies), then as a consumer, I might want the choice to buy the cheaper mass-produced GMO food that is causing environmental harm or the more eco-friendly non-GMO food option.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
  9. MikeG

    MikeG Active Member

    Great article. It does a very good job of laying out just how many different directions a debate might take over anti-GMO advocates or other similar people/groups.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Marin B

    Marin B Active Member

    When I posted earlier I hadn't yet read the Slate article. Now that I've read it, I agree that it's a good article. I can't think of any lesson in critical thinking to add to the 13 already mentioned in the article - but I'll give it some thought.

    I wanted to find something to support the comment I made earlier:

    and, coincidentally one of the first articles I found was from Slate:

    The Missing Monarchs
    Monsanto’s Roundup and genetically modified crops are harming everybody’s favorite butterfly.

    I have noticed the decline of Monarchs over the years, and up until the past year or two hadn't seen any where I live for quite a few years. But people are starting to plant native milkweeds in their gardens (myself included) and the Monarchs are making a comeback. So a plug on behalf of the Monarch -- if you happen to be in Monarch area (or a former Monarch area), get some native milkweed at a local nursery that sells herbicide-free plants and plant some this Spring - it's pretty amazing how the butterflies can find it. And, if you happen to find some yellow, black and white caterpillars eating your milkweed, that's a good thing! :) (apologies, a bit OT, I know).
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
  11. Marin B

    Marin B Active Member

    Another (possibly OT) point I want to make is in response to knowing where "the steel in our pans" comes from... A few years ago I bought an article of inexpensive clothing and after getting home saw a "Made in Eritrea" label inside the clothing -- I admit to not even knowing, at the time, where Eritrea is, so I looked it up and did a bit of research on the country and came to the realization that the piece of inexpensive clothing I purchased was very likely made by forced child labor. So based on that experience I am in favor of labeling and transparency to let consumers know where their products come from (and, being the "liberal" I am, would also be in favor of regulations to ensure that products made from forced labor aren't imported into the US in the first place). But, there is also the issue of where do you draw the line... what about products that have materials made in several different countries? Or, back to the topic of food, what about cereal made from 25 different ingredients (probably half of which you shouldn't be eating anyway). In thinking about this more, I'm starting to believe that Spectrar Ghost's idea is probably the most workable - don't require GMO labeling, but permit certified "GMO-free" labeling, just like how certain products are certified "organic".
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
  12. Cairenn

    Cairenn Senior Member

    Tangent on Monarchs. We may have been looking at them wrong


    On GMOs, One of the reasons that I am not as active here, is because of my activity on debunking misinformation about GMOs.

    If there is an area that anyone wants to know about, please feel free to either post it or to PM me about it.

    We don't label dry floors, we label food for nutritional information, not for production methods or slaughter methods or anything else.

    There are a lot of organic and non GMO products in the store, (a lot of the non GMO ones are sort of false advertising, since there is NO version of that crop that is GMO.) You have the same choice that folks that eat Kosher have or that want to buy 'grass fed beef' or free trade coffee'

    I can't afford a mandatory label that is useless to me.

    We may want to have separate threads for aspects
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    Most life-enabling diabetic Insulin today is "synthetically (GM derived)" made from genetically modified bacteria cells.


    Rennet, is the most common activator for about ~80% of cheese produced in the US. It too, is a GM product.

    So, we have some little known GM or GMO products, in common use, that help facilitate life, and/or prolong human life, without the need to kill innocent animals......something you'd think would be viewed as a humane and sensible alternative.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
  14. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Active Member

    Myles Power has done some nice videos on YouTube pointing out how some foods considered to be non-GM actually came about through non-natural genome altering methods.

    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. william wiley

    william wiley Member

    The problem is not that GMO's are known to be bad or poison but that GMO's are inadequately tested. Typically animal tests are for shorter periods (so harmful effects that show up later on are not known about), or that nutritional studies are done, rather than blood studies.
    When long term blood studies are done we will be able to say GMO's are not harmful, until then we cannot.

    What evidence is there that the collateral damage to DNA caused in the lab can be said to be the same as changes which occur in nature?
    Whenever we insert a gene into DNA in the lab there are other changes that occur to that DNA. we need to see if those changes can be considered much the same as when changes occur "naturally".
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017 at 7:48 PM
  16. Svartbjørn

    Svartbjørn Senior Member

    Whats that got to do with the fear around dangers of ingesting GMO foods or using grains that have either been bred naturally (which is a type of genetic modification thats been used for millenia) to resist disease, or one where the same genes have been implanted by a scientist in a laboratory? Thats what people are "afraid" of.. they dont understand genetic modification in its most basic form, and they think that by eating GMO foods that its going to damage THEIR DNA some how. Lets not even get into the whole "Monsanto therefore evil" bs.

    Its a lack of basic biologic and scientific understanding, coupled with bad PR for a company thats had shady dealing in the past which has created a fear in people. Youve got crackpots like AJ and FoodBabe running off at the mouth about things that they dont understand, whipping people up into a frenzy about the "evils of genetic modification" because its not "natural."

    Are people really afraid that someone's going to create an Africanized HoneyBee version of corn? Because thats exactly the kind of thinking I was dealing with when I was talking to my room mates during the OP. All GMOs have done is create food plants that are more resistant to drought, insects, fungus and pests while allowing animals like bees to still go about their business.

    I dont necessarily agree with the whole restricting farmers to use certain seeds blah blah blah, and then charging them an arm and a leg, but thats more of an ethics thing and not a scientific debate. Does that make the position Im taking a bit more clear WIlliam?
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. qed

    qed Active Member

    Can you back that assertion up?
  18. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Active Member

    Plenty of generational studies have been done in controlled conditions and livestock are fed GM crops their whole life.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Svartbjørn

    Svartbjørn Senior Member

    I can. Monsanto's gotten into issues in the past with how they treat their employees over seas and a couple of chemical leaks that were caused by a want to save money over keeping up proper maintenance. The big one most people are familiar with is the 1979 Dixon Spill in Missouri:


    Im not saying this makes Monsanto "EEEEEEEEVIL" (hence the "dont get me started on the whole Monsanto is evil bs") but they're not completely innocent either, which is what I meant by shady, not the clandestine mega evil corporation thats trying to poison the world kind of shady.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017 at 12:07 PM
    • Informative Informative x 2