Wednesday, May 17, 2006

GM food? Oh, yes please

The irrational, suspicious reaction to GM crops seems to know no natural limits. It's actually quite disturbing, because the criticisms directed towards GM crops reflects a hatred of the enlightenment proposition: that human reason will triumph over superstition, fear and ignorance.

I believe that nature is not good enough for humanity. We have developed more choice over how we live our lives - we no longer live at the mercy of nature. It has only been through developing a technological society, which has meant, we in the advanced West no longer suffer from starvation and hunger.

I have read a lot of superstitious nonsense and ignorance in regards to the nature of GM. One such nonsense is that GM is a new type of crop product. But GM is nothing of the sort. GM is not a product - it's a process. The last 300 years have seen humanity taking things from nature, like for example wild grass and bred it into wheat, barley, rye and oats. Charles Darwin called this process artifical selection, where artifical means human action. No more reliance on biological chance.

Irrational anti-GM activists have claimed that GM transgenes are unstable and will escape, only to end up contaminating the environment. Or that GM can cause cancer, or that GM transgenes can enter human cells or our gut bacteria. But there is no evidence that GM transgenes cause cancer, or that they are particularly unstable. The truth is, that GM transgenes are no more dangerous than any other DNA that enters bacterial or human cells. Indeed, tests have shown that GM transgenes don't even tend to survive once they've entered bacterial or human cells.

There is one thing I've aways notice about the critics of GM, is that they fail to produce evidence to substanciate their wild claims. They have a tendency of showing you articles, or other peoples opinions - but never any real hard evidence. I'm not even going to go into the benefits of GM technology - I'll wait to see what types of replys I get from this post. If anyone out there does have any evidence to dis-prove my claim - I would surely like to see it.

Picture: A pro-GM demonstration


At 2:39 PM, Blogger Matt M said...

I think this has a lot to do with trust. Like most people I don't have the relevant scientific knowledge to make an informed, rational decision about GM food. Therefore I have to rely on the opinions of people I trust - as scientists, business and government don't fall into that category, I'm slightly wary.

My position on GM is neither pro nor anti, it's simply that I don't know enough. In the absence of information, people will go for superstition and prejudice.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Finally something I agree with you on! But an intersting deliberation is this: I had a convesration with an organic farner recently and one point he had I really agreed with. He said there is enough food on the planet to feed all. He said, rightly, that the issue was the price control games, that lead even to burning of commodities to uphold prices.

Either way, creating staples GM modified that would grow wheat in the desert, or rebalancing the fair redistribution of food available today, will be OK. Both represent at the end a threath to the way our economies are run!


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