And there's absolutely no reason you couldn't select successive generations of mutations until you had a gene that also happened to be found in a fish. It would probably take a long time -- a very long time -- but if you were determined enough, you could probably do it. Like I said, GM is simply a more efficient technique than relying on chance
That's like saying cryptography is inherently unworkable since you could always brute force the key. Scale and work factor matters in life. Here as well. Throwing e.g. fish at tomatoes in the vain hope that something will stick is a fools errand. GMO makes the practical difference between success in short order or intractabiltiy.
But it's not reasonable to say that GMO is inherently more dangerous or unhealthy just because the genes were modified by a different method.
Yes it is. First; like I said, we'd like to throw out Belgian Blue as well, even though that was genetically engineered the god-old-fashioned way. Second, and more important, the kind of experimentation that GMO allows gives whole new degrees of freedom for the likes of Monsanto. Ways and means they didn't have before, or were even close to having.
Again work factor counts. In fact, it's the "it's just genes modified another way" that is the straw man here. (A slogan invented by the GMO industry, no doubt.) It's no different from saying; "Hey, an M240 GPMG is just as dangerous as a bow and arrow. After all, all they do is make holes in something. If you allow the bow and arrow there's no reason to forbid the M240. Saying there is a difference is just a reactionary knee-jerk."
I've made a bow and have had fun shooting it with my 8-year old. Haven't seen an M240 since the army took it back (actually my brother was the asst. machine gunner, but you get the gist). And you know, I'm fine with them making that distinction. And I agree with it. Work factor counts!
Finally, you're creating a strawman with regards to Monsanto: Just because they're a producer of GMO doesn't mean I'm defending their business practices. I'm not. I'm saying that making blanket statements about products based solely on the fact that they're genetically altered is reactionary, alarmist, and unproductive
Yeah, and I'm saying that we'd like to see proof of some actual tangible benefit from these products (other than lining the pockets of Monsanto and the FDA) before we consider them. We don't let them inject beef-to-be with growth hormones either.
Now, the potential for harm is clearly there. Technology in and of itself is not necessarily value neutral/morally neutral. But even so, we're willing to reconsider if we saw one product with a tangible benefit that didn't also have a drawback/risks that were insufficiently studied. Making "blanket statements" about something based on your unequivocal observation of each instance you've come across is called "experience".
If you want to call that "conservative" then by all means, go ahead. "Reactionary" it's not. We don't have any (or at least nearly) the debate when it comes to medicine research/production using GMO. It's the people in the food industry using the technology we don't trust. Not the technology. We're just sceptical about that. We haven't got any good reason to be otherwise.