Skeptics – GMOs

Article is true enough, and still manages to miss the real issue as far as I am concerned.

It is one thing to put up with the natural background rate of risk from various natural mechanisms that DNA can jump from one organism to another. Last time I checked, most people didn’t consider catching a virus and getting a major infection from it a good idea.

It is quite something else to intentionally move chunks of DNA with known toxic side effects into the food chain, because it can enhance profits from the sale of a herbicide.

Yes the term GMO is shorthand for a multi-dimensional topology of risk profiles. We have tools for examining such risk profiles and displaying them (similar in nature to the analytic tools David Snowden uses in his SenseMaker package).

Yet another case where the profit motive is imposing risk profiles that few sane people would accept if they had all the datasets clearly (and probabilistically) set out and displayed in front of them.

There is huge potential in genetic modification technology, and it is one of the most promising areas for long term human benefit, and trying to make a profit out of it while still in the very early stages of understanding what we are doing is a kind of Russian Roulette. Sooner or later we’re going to find that the chamber was actually full, but the bullet travelled quite slowly and had a delayed action fuse on its explosive tip.

I’m all for exploring the science of GE.
Commercialising it at this time is little short of insanity (except in the case of life threatening diseases)..

[followed by]

What concerns me is the incentive structure in the profit system to cut corners and downplay risks.
I am, as I stated, all for doing the science, and all for testing in situations that already have a high risk profile (like terminal illness).
I don’t have an issue where it is transfer of genes already seriously in the food-chain from one organism to another.

Where I have an issue is where we have evidence of toxicity, or we are lacking evidence either way.

I am not any sort of Luddite, and I do have a reasonable knowledge of risk.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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