Sorry long post back to the threadjack.
My apologies for misunderstanding you. I’m afraid I’m still a bit confused about what you are saying. It was not my intention to misquote you I genuinely am not sure what you are trying to say.
I am very much in support of use of GM technology in medicine and the pursuit of GM science. What I object to is the lack of independent scientific research in GM. Companies like Monsanto using the word "science" when they really mean "technology" or "industry".
I’m not sure what lack you are referring to. There is a huge amount of research (which we believe is science) around all aspects of GM. How to do it, how to do it differently, how to do things people haven’t done before, what the effects are on: existing crops; existing environments; previously present ecologies. You seem to have read some sources so I’m not sure how you could have missed the scale of the research that is going on. You may be implying that it is not independent of companies but that just is not true.
Yes there is a shit load of “development” of products but there is also a lot of pure science as well.
and the message from every discipline [snip] the message is "caution."
Um yes but the other half of the message is very clear as well. Thus far none of those disciplines has come up with anything they can demonstrate as being dangerous about GE. The people are all smart enough to know that unexpected things happen and hence they all want testing and monitoring. But people in all those fields all say there is nothing inherently unsafe about GE (as far as we know now – what we don’t know is of course unknown).
Regarding your quote from the meeting. There is lots on that to talk about but I’ll just make two comments.
Re: science for profit.
Over the last two decades in NZ (and many other places) there has become an established dogma that science can me “managed” to produce wealth (profit). This despite all evidence from the history of science that it is NOT possible to manage science to produce wealth. Personally I believe it is a pile of bullshit designed to allow MBAs to steal science funding so they can sit in meetings.
Science does produce wealth for countries/businesses etc but only when the science is directed by quality and not by managers.
Over the last two decades in NZ there is no evidence that “managing” science has improved the wealth of NZ but it has reduced the amount of science being done. Which should piss of every taxpayer.
I will happily spend hours discussing this but unless one can change the current administration of science it is a fruitless argument and my time is better spent doing the bench work.
Re: world hunger is clearly a problem of distribution not production.
This is only true in the sense of maths. It is clearly not possible to change the behaviour of people to alter the unequal distribution of food. That has been tried for decades and has failed.
Hence my personal opinion is that we may as well try changing production efficiency – which we can do using a range of technologies of which one of the most important is GE, in my opinion.
By all means continue to try and resolve distribution issues but please don’t try and stop me trying to address the production side of the equation.
We don't know what effect GM will have in generations to come …. GM has not been around long enough for us to predict the effects, much less assess them.
The above is true to a degree (see below) but it is still not a reason to stop using GE technology. It is only a reason to test and then monitor, nobody I know in science has any objection to testing and monitoring. Our objection is when the testing and monitoring is so ridiculously extreme that it becomes impossible to do the work.
However I would point out that GE has been around since 1983, I was personally making transgenic plants 20 years ago! And GE crops have been on sale since the early 1990s. How long do you want? And I would point out that we have pretty thoroughly assessed existing crops for everything we can think of, but not of course for things of which we cannot yet imagine.
advancing it in the face of cultural prejudices
And here you say this like it's a bad thing?
Seriously do you expect the argument that "because other nations allow prejudices to define their laws then so should we" to be compelling?
The key to changing the law is to allow all groups of society the same feedom. In crude terms where someone wants to put the sexual organs should not grant or deny them any rights and that's what the current situation does.
Changing it does not reduce your rights.
BTW NZ was progressive enough to allow wimin to vote when many societies/culture argued vehemently that they simply had neither the capacity nor god given right. They were wrong in that.
I'm allowed to publically state what I believe and lobby how society should be organised and I'm allowed my vote as much as you are.
And even if you are a minority with what I believe are very weird ideas there is no way the majority should prevent you practicing them (providing they do no harm).
Of course again IMO imposing said ideas on your children could be viewed as "harm" by the majority but that would step well into the bounds of social engineering and this thread is about acceptance and not imposing the will of the majority on a minority.
Actually I suspect that when the law was written it was expected that you would have respect for and consider your father-in-law to be an authority figure. Especially if you consider 16-18 year olds got married back then.
So probably the logic is OK - except of course for the bit about having sex with your Mum - well usually anyways.
21 when I got married. (Which BTW didn't seem young at the time and now seems quite mad.)
Heck 23 for my first marriage was way too young, by 30 we were different people. I was totally sure I was mature and old enough - yeah right.
Doh! Was thinking step father.
You are right Emma but still eeewww!
While we're vaguely on the subject, can anyone tell me why I can't legally marry my father-in-law?
That one is easy if you think about it a bit.
Your father-in-law is likely to have occupied a position of authority over you while you were a minor. As a result the law (rightly IMO) determines that you are not able to make a truely free decision to choose to marry him.
It's essentially an abuse of power issue.
And yes there will be situations where he only became you father-in-law after you were and adult and he had no power/authority.
And finally ... eeewwww he was having sex with Mum!!!
"get in the kitchen and cook me some eggs, bitch" routine on Emma or Deborah
Oh I think they are evil enough to say "yes dear" and do it...
Which would leave you paranoid for months waiting for the revenge.
And if you find the idea of my marrying my male partner so repulsive,
Actually the contrary. I love marriages and CUs. I just went to a lovely CU of two friends. I just can't help enjoying the spectacle of two people who care for each other standing up with their friends and declaring it.
As for the arguments about same sex marriage, can't say much more than Emma.
Personally I'd just like to see a simple contract system as the only thing that the government is involved in - for all the rest it's about the preferences of the couple (or more) involved as to whether they want white dresses (yay) or just want to sign up at the lawyers (boring boo hiss).
However, as long as other countries use Marriage as a title we kind of have to use it and use it for everyone and anyone who wants it.
I wrote a reply to this but the ether ate it
Excuse my ignorance here but what is the worst GE crop ever identified and what was the impact?
And what would we be missing if GE was banned worldwide, (hypothetical question).
To the best of my knowledge nothing bad has happened in the field. No sky falling, no escape of transgenics, no resistance developed.
The only surprises I know of have been good eg the reduction in tilling.
The worst GE plant that I know of was the soybean they transformed with a methionine rich gene from Brazil nut. Soybean is very low in this particular amino acid, so increasing methionine in soybean would be good. Unfortunately they happened to choose the major allergen from brazil nut and so the transgenic plants in the greenhouse were shown to be allergenic to anyone who had a brazil nut allergy. The plants never made it out of the greenhouse.
Oh and they now know what the allergenic protein is in brazil nut is, which they didn't know before.
What would we be missing?
Too big a question. Kind of like asking what would we miss out on if they killed the internet 15 years ago. Transgenic porn?
I don't know what we will have in 10 years. What we would lose now would be maize, soybean, cotton and sugar beet that is all a lot better for the environment than what was grown before. Hawaii would have no papaya industry. ISAAA has some interesting numbers about what it would mean for small holders growing GE crops.
Reasonable guesses, Golden rice of some kind is very close and it will make a difference to the health of those who eat it.
There are a bunch of virus resistance projects close for specific crops.
There is quite a bit of work on improved wood for paper, mostly focussed on removing the need for the polluting processes being used now.
There are a number of basic yield issues being worked on. Cold, salt, drought tolerance are all being worked on. All those have the effect of improving the yield from a given amount of land/water.
There is a lot of work on fertiliser independence.
There is work on Cassava and other 3rd world staple crops.
As I said it's too big to try and list them all.
Sorry for the interlude back to the thread...
The risks that are posed by the introduction of species that have entirely new gene sequences - and the implications of that vertical transmission - are not yet understood by anyone Bart, certainly not by those who work in the sole field of biotechnology.
Ok I don't want to dismiss this because it is a very real concern for many folks.
If I can be forgiven for simplifying what you are saying is,
We don't know what we don't know.
And from that you are saying it may be dangerous so we shouldn't do it.
There is no question that we don't know what we don't know and there is also stuff we know we don't know.
BUT I've said this before and I don't mean it to be insulting, but just because you don't know that we collaborate across many many disciplines and you don't know how genes interact in genomes doesn't mean that knowledge isn't out there.
In fact we know a hell of lot about what happens when you move genes around in genomes. It isn't the mystery that it is sometimes portrayed as. We also regularly combine groups of scientists from different disciplines.
But you are right in the sense that the unexpected does happen.
But that is a reason to test and study and monitor. But it isn't a reason to stop doing experiments and it isn't a reason to prevent crops that have passed those tests from becoming part of our agriculture.
There are very real benefits from this technology and to pretend that those benefits are not real is as bad as pretending there is no risk.
In the end it comes down to risk versus benefit. The sky has not fallen, many of the risks first stated have not proven to be real.
Also understand for the scientists doing the work it really is not a profit driven job, none of us want to harm the planet and we really believe based on all we know that GE will help.