« Skeptics' Circle | Main | Prayer Fails Again »

August 13, 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Wow, that is quite royally stupid... When the queen dies or abdicates I'm turning republican.

Chuck's apparently unrelated comments not withstanding, doesn't 'GMO' also cover the "Round-Up Ready" crops in the U.S. that have created the vast monoculture -- and potentially unsustainable -- system?

Or is that all so much alarmist hooey as well?

Errr and just for clarification, since text can be tricky, that wasn't saracasm. I'm asking.


Yes, 'GMO' does include "Round-Up Ready" .

The issues around Roundup Ready are by no means clear. One side claims they reduce herbicide use, promote better soil through no till, etc. The other side claims it’s all about Monsanto’s profits and that actually it results in more herbicide use, not less. I’ve discussed some of these issues before. Monocultures are an issue, but they are an issue with all farming, not just GMO.

To summarize my position, I will say I think that with the threats of global warming and population increase (10 billion by 2050?), we need to use all the tools at our disposal, including GMOs. Greenpeace et al just want to ban the whole lot, no discussion. I think this is stupid. That’s really the ten second explanation. Read my other Genetic Engineering posts for a longer version. Hope that helps.

Fair enough. Thanks for the reply and links!

It has to be a trade off, and we should seriously consider what's being said by Charles. It does seem that the multi-nationals are fueled by greed for money, and this, imho is where the problem lies. Consider your wealthy and spoiled. Someone on the board has nominated that ingredient x should be replaced by the more cheaper palm oil. Hell, you eat in the Savoy, and palm oil isn't on your culinary manifest. Sure, hand up in favour if it saves money, and brings even more wealth. I think this is the essence of the princes message. Oh and by the way, many many gardens favour planting with a lunar cycle. It's not old fashioned mumbo jumbo, but an empirically demonstrative way to grow better.

It does seem that the multi-nationals are fueled by greed for money…

Which, of course, says absolutely nothing about whether what they are doing is good or bad for the environment.

…many many gardens favour planting with a lunar cycle. It's not old fashioned mumbo jumbo, but an empirically demonstrative way to grow better.

You have a link for that empirical evidence?

Whether there's any basis to his concerns or not, his argument was just plain stupid. I took part in a tree planting, here in Western Australia, around twenty years ago. Salination (as we call it) was already a major problem by then. GM crops weren't even publicly discussed back then afaik, and they sure as hell weren't actually being farmed.

I think the point he may have been making is that agriculture can't be trusted (just look at the harm it's caused in the past) and that we should therefore not let agriculture take this next step (to certain doom).

But it's just as likely he's a nut job.

I think the saline stuff could be where GM has real potential to be useful - as opposed to the places where it's used as a stopgap measure to allow unsustainable monoculture methods of farming, or as a clever wheeze where you can make farmers in poor countries need to buy new seed from you every year (by making the plants infertile - stops the genes spreading into the wider environment and coincidentally makes you lots of money).

I'm not a big fan of GM, but I am in favour of a large scale trial into the long term effects on ecosystems and human health. I call it 'the USA'.

They spoke out after protesters ripped up crops in one of only two GM trials to be approved in Britain this year.

If that's what they were doing, then they were not "protesters"; they were VANDALS, and they were maliciously damaging other people's property. (I refuse to lower myself to the rhetorique du jour and refer to them as terrorists, but I'll admit I'm tempted.) Legitimate protesters typically just express themselves in a showy and sometimes inconvenient (for other people) fashion, with signs, shouting, and possibly chaining themselves to immovable objects; they protest, but they do not assault people or cause property damage.

To refer to these people as "protesters" instead of referring to them properly as vandals is to dramatically reduce the degree of their offense; indeed, the term all but completely mitigates it!

~David D.G.

I wonder if these doe-eyed, forward-looking "protesters" (and I agree with you, David) were carrying flaming torches and pitchforks and chanting "Kill the witch!"

I think two of the issues I have heard about that weren't mentioned here were cross-pollination with farmers growing non-GMO crops resulting in seeds that are essentially GMOs. If you save seed from year to year you will no longer have the variety you might think you do. And as most GMOs are patented and owned by corporations, this results in a strange legal situation for anyone attempting to save seed that is cross-pollinated. http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstryc657.html?recid=505
These, however, are social issues. I am all for trials and research, but worry that because agribusiness has such an investment in this they might be less than honest with their trials/data. But independent trials are an excellent idea. Blaming GMOs for stupid farming practices is nonsense.
As to the lunar cycle planting: back in the 50's someone named Dr. Frank Brown of Northwestern University apparently did a bunch of research on lunar cycles. I have not seen any primary data, but lots of people cite him as the source for the proof that at least one aspect of biodynamic farming is not full of it. As for the rest of it...

Charles didn't hammer home that GM is for Monsanto to take ownership of everything. Scientific opinion doesn't affect abuse of the law.

Mental retardation is fairly common in inbred populations like European royalty, right?

Mental retardation is fairly common in inbred populations like European royalty, right?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Search site