>> Almost everyone in the public research community, the
>> industry... believes the risks are very small.
> It is incredible to me that you would be willing to say this
> in public, Dale. I fear it will come back to haunt you.
Well, maybe so. But everybody I know (except on a list-server or two)
thinks GMO's are okay. My understanding of the science involved leads me to
that conclusion too. I think the biggest risk is that the usefulness of
pesticides like Bt toxin and Roundup will be lost due to development of
resistance in pest populations. The kind of geno-apocalypse that seems to
be expected on this list looks exceedingly unlikely to me. I honestly
expect to be kidnapped by space aliens before being hurt by a GMO.
> I have never seen such a gap between what most scientists
> (supposedly) think about an issue and the clear trend of
> public opinion world wide, as I see currently on this issue.
Oh yeah, I agree! (maybe not in the US) It's phenomenal, it's political, it
has something to do with distrust of science and technology in general, and
with vitalism. I should probably shut up about this, but I'm just telling
you what I think is true.
> Dale: just curious. How is that one is able to determine that
> the risk is so small as to be unworthy of effort at detection,
> if one has not done the studies to test/demonstrate this in the
> first place?
I did the following lit search a few weeks ago in Agricola and Biosis to get
info for a high school student working on a project:
No. Records Request
1 21465 transgenic
2 6850 transgenic in de
3 53 trans-species
4 5 trans-species in de
5 171870 risk
6 32430 risk in de
7 1950 outcrossing
8 716 outcrossing in de
9 96910 open
10 17379 pollinat*
11 307 open pollinat* in de
12 2092 introgression
13 860 introgression in de
14 19168 interspecific
15 7124 interspecific in de
* 16 173 #2 and (#4 or #6 or #8 or #11 or #13 or #15)
118 of these appeared relevent to the issue of risks and/or gene transfer
from GMO plants. I haven't scrutinized these, but there was no obvious
smoking gun. What kind of study, and what results would it take to falsify
your beliefs about transgenic risks? I think there are hundreds of
scientists working on this. Demonstrating some awful hidden truth about
GMO's would a great way to make your career!
The main reason I am not worried about our clumsy, primitive transgenic
adventures, is that the really awful sinister stuff is already out there! I
know it is hard to imagine in our sanitized, public-health-saturated
culture, but lurking just beyond the door are all manner of flesh-eating,
child-ulcerating, immune-deceiving, spirochete-insidious,
viral-cell-subverting, hemorragic natural stuff that evolved to kill and eat
you and me by quite natural horizontal-transfer and spectacularly rare
quasi-sexual events over hundreds of millions of years. We couldn't create
tragedies like these if we tried.
Again, I am not saying that GMO's are risk-free. I am saying
1. This has been studied (maybe not enough)
2. This is not a crisis
3. It is consistent with the intentional shaping of nature, characteristic
4. The biological risk is not as important as the social implications
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