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Old 09-27-2012, 04:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Anti-GMO Activists are the Liberal Version of Climate Skeptics

An interesting essay published in Slate yesterday:

Are GMO foods safe? Opponents are skewing the science to scare people. - Slate Magazine

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I used to think that nothing rivaled the misinformation spewed by climate change skeptics and spinmeisters.

Then I started paying attention to how anti-GMO campaigners have distorted the science on genetically modified foods. You might be surprised at how successful they've been and who has helped them pull it off.

Iíve found that fears are stoked by prominent environmental groups, supposed food-safety watchdogs, and influential food columnists; that dodgy science is laundered by well-respected scholars and propaganda is treated credulously by legendary journalists; and that progressive media outlets, which often decry the scurrilous rhetoric that warps the climate debate, serve up a comparable agitprop when it comes to GMOs.
Basically the author is comparing the way that GMO opponents embrace pseudoscience and propaganda in much the same way that many conservatives tout pseudoscientific sources in order to cast doubt on climate change. In both cases the evidence against both the safety of GMO crops and our changing climate is exaggerated and politicized, often relying on studies with horrible methodology in the hope (and unfortunately realistic expectation) thst most average people won't understand the difference.

It's a fascinsting (and well-sourced) read, and a good critical look at the problems faced by scientists when it comes to communicating findings that are politically inconvenient.
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But I cannot take your arguments seriously when you back them up with links to ridiculously bad information. It's not bad because I disagree with it, it's bad because it really is bad. These sites demonstrate zero knowledge of the science they are discussing, they link almost exclusively to other non-information, and when they DO link to an authoritative source, they misrepresent what the source actually says.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You can have your GMO, fucked if I care, just keep it out of my country

I kind of like genetic diversity.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I want strawberries as big as my fist AND I WANT THEM NOW!

think of all that food we could overprice and throw away !

NO FREE LUNCHES HERE BUB! *tosses giant handfruit into the ocean*
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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GMO - where farmers have to buy fresh seeds every year, and food isn't as healthy - oh, and Monsanto - seriously, you'd trust -them- with your food?

I want to throw them overboard, myself.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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To be honest, the health effects aren't even relevant. It's the mafia like carry on of that shitty Monsanto crowd.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The fact is that GMO hasn't been tested in the long term, not well enough.
I don't believe there is anything specifically dangerous about them- that we know of yet, but the risk is not knowing.

Add to that what they are doing to the planet and to farmers with their modified crops.

I do not buy into any propaganda put out by Monsanto. They are the last people I trust when it comes to food, safety and ethics.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You know, sometimes it's easy to tell when people have read the article and when they haven't.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I just want giant ass fruits and veggies.

that also dance...

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I see the pineapple wishes to not participate...

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Old 09-27-2012, 05:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie Waves View Post
You can have your GMO, fucked if I care, just keep it out of my country

I kind of like genetic diversity.
Lack of genetic diversity long oredated GMOs. However, I understand why Ireland especially would be a place where people are concerned about monoculture and its effects: potatoes are the ultimate monoculture, grown from root cuttings instead of seeds. As a result, most potato crops outside of the Andes are not only monoculture, but composed largely of clones. So all it takes is a single potato blight to wipe out entire harvests.

But like I said, that's an issue that long predates GMOs. For that matter, genetic engineering of our food crops long predates GMOs as well.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It's all about finding an angle that resonates with your potential supporters. The bulk of support is going to come from the people who respond to emotional appeals, with the pseudo-science methods being trotted out to round up the folks who were sitting on the fence.

With regard to GMO practices, the elimination or suppression of genetic diversity in our source of food should not be controlled by a group whose main interest in doing so is for financial gain. With that being said, if Monsanto wants to develop and sell strawberries the size of my head, my feeling is sure go ahead, as long as I and others still have the option to choose between consuming/raising those or any of the other varieties of strawberries that are available to us today, at a comparable price and similar availability. (I get long-winded, I hope that makes sense.)
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:09 PM   #11 (permalink)
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With regard to GMO practices, the elimination or suppression of genetic diversity in our source of food should not be controlled by a group whose main interest in doing so is for financial gain. With that being said, if Monsanto wants to develop and sell strawberries the size of my head, my feeling is sure go ahead, as long as I and others still have the option to choose between consuming/raising those or any of the other varieties of strawberries that are available to us today, at a comparable price and similar availability. (I get long-winded, I hope that makes sense.)
Oh, we'll always have the right to grow our own stuff, so long as we aren't down wind of a Monsanto seed farm.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Aribeth Zelin View Post
GMO - where farmers have to buy fresh seeds every year, and food isn't as healthy - oh, and Monsanto - seriously, you'd trust -them- with your food?

I want to throw them overboard, myself.
Actually, the point of the article was that much of the coverage of GMOs tends to skew the scientific evidence or use particularly shoddy studies to make GMOs seem less safe. So for example, your statement that they are not as healthy is both vague and does not seem to be supported by much evidence.

I don't think that companies like Monsanto are particularly altruistic or that they should be trusted withoht any evidence to back up their claims, but I apply that standard across the board. As was poijted out in the article, much of the anti-GMO activism is untrustworthy, including the people behind the California bill to require GMO foods to be labelled. I have no reason to trust Monsanto, but if some of the people who've been financing that bill told me that the sky was blue, I'd still look out the window to double-check.

As for long-term studies, the article referenced a 20-year study published recently in Nature on GMOs, finding that they may be beneficial to some ecosystems. Again, the problem is that the scientific findings get ignored in favor of fearmongering.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Anyone who tries to copyright life is a paragon of death.

God made the world, and if you don't believe in God, then Nature made the world. Or random chance made it. Or the Devil made it.. it is open for question who created this wonderful planet around this yellow-G star.

But I can tell you who did not make this star, did not make this planet, did not create the life upon this world, and who shall never, ever, EVER pretend to own life itself - and that is all you criminal corporations out there.

Balls to the Empire.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellis Harcourt View Post
With that being said, if Monsanto wants to develop and sell strawberries the size of my head, my feeling is sure go ahead, as long as I and others still have the option to choose between consuming/raising those or any of the other varieties of strawberries
Well you bring up a big problem with GMO. GMO producing companies, and Monsanto specifically, make it pretty damn hard for farmers to make that choice.

I am in no mood for reading actual research studies, so I will take the article's stance on this particular study at face value. I don't think people should buy into the scare tactics on either side. I maintain that "14 years of research" really isn't enough to be sure, considering that we don't know what was specifically looked at for 14 years, and that it isn't really long enough to determine long term effects on health and the environment.

Not all GMO are potentially natural mutations that were just sped up by science. That's just a way of trying to shut down the questions, and really makes me more suspicious than I would be otherwise.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:19 PM   #16 (permalink)
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its easy to damn the use of GM foods when if your crops fail, you can go the nearest store
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:20 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Actually, the point of the article was that much of the coverage of GMOs tends to skew the scientific evidence or use particularly shoddy studies to make GMOs seem less safe.
Well that was their point, but they only mentioned the one study.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:23 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Actually, the point of the article was that much of the coverage of GMOs tends to skew the scientific evidence or use particularly shoddy studies to make GMOs seem less safe. So for example, your statement that they are not as healthy is both vague and does not seem to be supported by much evidence.

I don't think that companies like Monsanto are particularly altruistic or that they should be trusted withoht any evidence to back up their claims, but I apply that standard across the board. As was poijted out in the article, much of the anti-GMO activism is untrustworthy, including the people behind the California bill to require GMO foods to be labelled. I have no reason to trust Monsanto, but if some of the people who've been financing that bill told me that the sky was blue, I'd still look out the window to double-check.

As for long-term studies, the article referenced a 20-year study published recently in Nature on GMOs, finding that they may be beneficial to some ecosystems. Again, the problem is that the scientific findings get ignored in favor of fearmongering.

If GMO is safe then labeling produce as GMO shouldn't be a problem.

and fuck monsanto. anything that ruins their day is fine by me.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:25 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I don't have a problem with GMOs, specifically. I don't think enough long term research exists to say one way or another that they are harmful. What I do have a problem with is Monsanto, which is the corporate definition of evil. The way they have treated farmers and the company's business practices deserve an incredible amount of scorn. They are a textbook example of how profit before any other considerations corrupts a company.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:48 PM   #20 (permalink)
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If GMO is safe then labeling produce as GMO shouldn't be a problem.

and fuck monsanto. anything that ruins their day is fine by me.
It only makes sense to require a label if there is in fact some sort of substantial difference between GMO and non-GMO foods. Should every product that contains flour he required to list which specific strain of wheat was used? Would they even be able to do so?

Requiring a label amounts to pretending that some significant difference exists as well as pretending that any food without such a label would not contain GMO food. This is the naturalistic fallacy at play: the irrational belief that there is some quakity called "natural" that can be defined and applied to describe something, and that "natural" implies that something is safer or healthier.

And that's without even getting into the fact that virtually all of our food products have been genetically altered, often in dramatic ways, from the wild-type from which they were domesticated. From wheat to rice to maize to marijuana, humans have been tinkering with the genotype and phenotype of our plants for millenia to alter their properties to make them more suitable for our purposes.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:58 PM   #21 (permalink)
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It only makes sense to require a label if there is in fact some sort of substantial difference between GMO and non-GMO foods. Should every product that contains flour he required to list which specific strain of wheat was used? Would they even be able to do so?

Requiring a label amounts to pretending that some significant difference exists as well as pretending that any food without such a label would not contain GMO food. This is the naturalistic fallacy at play: the irrational belief that there is some quakity called "natural" that can be defined and applied to describe something, and that "natural" implies that something is safer or healthier.

And that's without even getting into the fact that virtually all of our food products have been genetically altered, often in dramatic ways, from the wild-type from which they were domesticated. From wheat to rice to maize to marijuana, humans have been tinkering with the genotype and phenotype of our plants for millenia to alter their properties to make them more suitable for our purposes.
Right, well then a label that says "Monsanto has profited from this product" will do.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:59 PM   #22 (permalink)
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One study is completed and it looks very bad for GMO/GE foods

Lifetime Feeding Study Evaluating the Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:59 PM   #23 (permalink)
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If anti-GMO activists are the liberal version of climate sceptics, then why are the Slate Magazine and Jahar making the same fallacious argument as the Climategate hoaxers?

This kind of calculated outrage over a cherry picked amount of questionable 'research' that supposedly discredits an entire movement is something I tend to associate with climate change deniers. Yeah, there's probably a lot of bogus science going on in the anti-GMO camp, but flaunting an opinion piece from an online magazine and some anecdotal evidence isn't exactly scientific either.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:15 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case.
Kanomi's head is like a drawer full of loose cutlery and other kitchen utensils that someone slammed shut with too much force: the thoughts are there, but in complete disarray and utterly random. You never know what comes out of her mouth the next time she opens it, she could just as well have produced a rant against naive anti-GMO activists - so how does this prove anything?
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:33 PM   #25 (permalink)
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One study is completed and it looks very bad for GMO/GE foods

Lifetime Feeding Study Evaluating the Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods
Did you even realize that the study you linked to is the very SAME study that was referred to in the article?

excerpt from the OP's article link, about the article you linked:

Quote:
Within 24 hours, the study's credibility was shredded by scores of scientists. The consensus judgment was swift and damning: The study was riddled with errorsóserious, blatantly obvious flaws that should have been caught by peer reviewers. Many critics pointed out that the researchers chose a strain of rodents extremely prone to tumors. Other key aspects of the study, such as its sample size and statistical analysis, have also been highly criticized. One University of Florida scientist suggests the study was "designed to frighten" the public.*
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