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Comment: Re:Please tell me this is satire (Score 1) 320

by ChromeAeonium (#49131219) Attached to: Use Astrology To Save Britain's Health System, Says MP

I usually just point to the widespread European opposition to genetically engineered crops for that one. At least our creationists aren't opposing lifesaving technology and actively destroying scientific research. As a plant scientist, I have to say I view Europe as a fairly hostile place for science. Europeans have absolutely no room to act as if Americans are the only ones with the problem of opposition to science when that sort of attitude is so prevalent in their own backyard.

Comment: Re:In other news (Score 1) 264

by ChromeAeonium (#49054019) Attached to: NASA: Increasing Carbon Emissions Risk Megadroughts

That's like saying that people who eat healthy can get heart problems, so a diet of greasy cheeseburgers is fine. That problems in one instance were not man made does not indicate that present ones are similarly not man made, nor is it a compelling case against a given course of action.

Comment: Re:This Proves GMOs are Safe! (Score 1) 74

by ChromeAeonium (#48992405) Attached to: Photosynthesizing Sea Slugs Steal Genes From Algae

but to solve it by increasing the price of the only food they can afford does not exactly solve this problem

That's not at all the point of Golden Rice. It is supposed to act as a way to improve the nutritional quality of rice for those who cannot afford anything else, not be a luxury food.

There are cheaper rice crops with higher yield than Golden rice.

Golden Rice doesn't have a set yield. The idea is to breed it into locally adapted varieties so that they retain virtually all of the same genes, but produce the extra nutrition.

Comment: Re:This Proves GMOs are Safe! (Score 2) 74

by ChromeAeonium (#48987227) Attached to: Photosynthesizing Sea Slugs Steal Genes From Algae

So one is saying trust Monsanto (or Syngenta or Pioneer or any of the other seed companies that always get neglected for some reason). I am, however, saying the evidence is overwhelming that genetically engineered crops are safe and effective (and yes, contrary to the conspiracy theories claiming that Monsanto somehow owns the concept of genetic engineering, this includes research that has nothing to do with corporations) and that genetic engineering has been thoroughly demonstrated to be a useful tool for crop improvement. Those are two totally different statements; don't pretend otherwise.

Why can't Monsanto open source everything?

Why can't they work for free you mean? I can think of a few reasons.

You know, if you really want more GE crops that are free to use besides the ones going off patent, and I for one sure do, then you should demand that the scientifically unjustified over-regulation of GE crops be reworked to facilitate more publicly funded GE crops. Thus far, only one university developed GE crop has been released: the Rainbow papaya, developed by the University of Hawai'i. There is also Bt eggplant in Bangladesh which is non-corporate. There's plenty of research, but no ability to bring it to the market anymore thanks to over regulation. There's something very wrong when university research cannot be used and only corporations can overcome the regulatory hurdles.

Comment: Re:This Proves GMOs are Safe! (Score 3, Insightful) 74

by ChromeAeonium (#48987035) Attached to: Photosynthesizing Sea Slugs Steal Genes From Algae

The Bt gene is a 'poison making gene' in the same sense that grapes are poison berries; just because a thing harms one organism (in the case of Bt, lepidopterans and coleopterans and in the case of grapes dogs) does not mean it hurts you. The Bt toxin is very well understood; to imply it is dangerous to humans is simply dishonest.

Comment: Re:This is OK... (Score 1) 199

by ChromeAeonium (#48982039) Attached to: British MPs Approve 3-Parent Babies

driven by Big Agrochem trying to make shitloads of money,

You mean like every other conventionally bred seed they also sell? Better take a stand against conventional breeding. Or maybe you mean Golden Rice, developed by the International Rice Research Institute, or the Rainbow Payaya, developed by the University of Hawai'i, or any number of other GMOs I could mention that have bugger all to do with corporations and are developed by independent university, public, or NGO scientists (who nonetheless are likewise opposed while anti-GMO people ignore them or have the gall to accuse them of being corporate or even vandalize publicly funded GMO research).

acquire copyrights and patents on key food crops

You mean like conventional breeding already does and has been for a long time? You mean the patents that expire and are used in public domain works? By the way, do you have a fair alternative?

'bundle' their own special seeds with their own special pesticides and weedkillers.

Like conventional breeding? Also, selling two products that go together is immoral now? Really? Guess Nintendo must be absolutely abominable for selling gaming systems and the games that go with them for decades, those monsters. By the way, are you referring to the special herbicide (not insecticide as you wrongly imply) that went off patent in 2000? And furthermore, did it ever occur to you that maybe farmers have adopted the herbicide tolerant crops in such large number for a good reason?

You don't even want to take a tiny, tiny risk of killing off pollinating insects or having 'terminator' genes or antibiotic markers jump species.

The refusal to accept any risk at all is a flawed ideology. That's the kind of thought that leads people to refusing vaccines on a 'risk aversion basis.' When one considers your rational of terminator genes (never even been used) and horizontal gene transfer (common only on an evolutionary time frame, and no more or less likely to happen to a transgene than any other gene; maybe I say we ban conventional breeding because I don't want rice sd-1 to jump species hmm? What risk do you see the NPTII gene you refer to having anyway?), your argument falls apart completely.

only if you own shares in big agro (unless you think buying expensive seed and complimentary chemicals from multinationals and not being able to re-plant harvested seed is somehow going to cure third world hunger).

You forgot increased yield, decreased insecticide, safer for farmers and consumers, lower environment impact by replacing harsher herbicide and soil degrading tillage, and saving an entire industry from a devastating virus. You mean beside those benefits you conveniently neglected to mention? And even if none of that were the case, you'd still be wrong because you'd be saying that the present use of a technology is not good therefore there is no good use for it. That's completely absurd, and made all the more so considering that the present use is not wrong. Without using magical thinking, can you explain why a genetic improvement to a crop is an intrinsically bad thing?

In short, your comment exemplifies everything wrong with the opposition to GE crops.

Comment: Re:pesticides are expensive, so you buy resistant (Score 1) 514

They let you spray MORE, not less.

Do you really, honestly think farmers buy Roundup Ready crops so that they can just go and spray more herbicide for the hell of it? Yes, there are herbicide resistant crops, but the systems those are used in result in the replacement of other, harsher herbicides and the promotion of soil conserving no-till methods. When you put it in context, you find that it really isn't that bad of a thing at all. If anyone's got a better viable weed control strategy, I'm the agricultural community is all ears, but until then, herbicide resistant crops are a win.

Comment: Re:Just for fun (Score 1) 351

by ChromeAeonium (#48902849) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

We don't really understand what it does to the ecosystem when we introduce new traits at that speed and effectiveness.

Thing is, a lot of crops don't really work that way. Yes, it happens in some cases at low levels depending on the location and the species, but ask yourself, when was the last time you saw a population of feral corn just growing out in the wild? How much ecological risk is there in something that doesn't exist naturally in an area by adding an additional gene that really doesn't improve wild fitness? I can't prove that an ecological problem won't happen, but I can say that it does look very unlikely that genetic engineering is intrinsically prone to such things. It's complicated, but I feel that the fear is vastly overstating the actual risk.

Comment: Re:So what's the point? (Score 1) 351

by ChromeAeonium (#48900557) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

such as reduction in crop diversity,

Note even remotely how things work. Diversity is genetic sum of what you grow. Genetic engineering is a way of improving crops. They're not at all the same thing. What you are saying is like saying that spinning rims on cars are bad because it reduces the number of car models. It doesn't make any sense at all.

or unintended consequences

Oh like what? If you have evidence that there is some intrinsic deleterious effect of GE crops, show it. Otherwise, what you are doing is vacuous speculation. I could just as easily speculate on the 'unintended consequences' of vaccines, wifi, water fluoridation, or anything else I fell like opposing today, and it would be just as meaningless.

So "the point" is clear: to use labels to introduce non-health related message to consumners.

I call that deceiving people to advance an unscientific agenda.

Comment: Re:Damn Meant to include this (Score 1) 351

by ChromeAeonium (#48900491) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

Not quite. The insecticide in question is the Bt toxin. It has a very specific mode of action, affecting only coleopteran and lepidopteran insects, like European corn borer and cotton boll worm, and of course its only going to significantly affect the things that are actually eating the corn. Contrast that to insecticide sprays, and you get benefits in terms of field level insect biodiversity.

Comment: Re:not honest (Score 1) 351

by ChromeAeonium (#48900427) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

It can never be "pro-science" for information to be withheld from consumers.

Evolution is just a theory. I demand it be labeled on textbooks.

A study once found a link between vaccines and autism. I demand that parents be informed prior to vaccinating their kids.

Is either of those anti-science? If so, why? I'm just giving people information.

Thing is, a fact taken out of context and presented to those without the basic background information is deceptive. You want to lie to the public to force your anti-science agenda.

"Does somebody own the intellectual property on the corn in this cereal?"

Implying that GMO=patent and non-GMO-no patent. This is not the case. If you were well informed about the thing you wish to regulate,you'd already know that, and wouldn't be insinuating a falsehood. This is the problem here. Maybe the regulation of scientific matters should be left to those of us who actually understand the topic, and not put to popular vote of those who don't actually know the issue.

Comment: Re:not honest (Score 1) 351

by ChromeAeonium (#48900373) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

Oh, the corporate conspiracy card, that didn't take long. My university has often been accused of being part of that conspiracy. We're not, and it is an easily verifiable matter of public record, but the lovely thing about a conspiracy is that everything that disproves it is just part of the conspiracy. It's great for when you want to make wild claims with bugger all to back them.

Comment: Re:They want us all to be dependent on them (Score 1) 130

I'd say its more like those who trust science and those who think science is a corporate conspiracy (see anti-vaxxers for reference). Just because a corporation uses something does not make that thing corporate in nature. Companies that sell GPS devices use relativity, but no one would ever bring up those companies in a physics discussion, unlike when the topic of genetic engineering and the related manufactroversy comes up.

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