Sunday, February 16, 2014

GMO Hysteria overblown?

GMO's are controversial, as are a lot of the superseeds pushed by big agri businesses.

So I was happy to see MomJones discuss the problem.

Genetic modification, Novella says, "is not the panacea, nor is it a menace; it's just one more tool that has to be used intelligently."
So what does Novella think accounts for our distrust of genetic modification? He points to what he calls the "naturalistic fallacy," or the reverence of "quote, unquote: what is 'natural' to an unreasonable degree."
"There's nothing inherently good or virtuous about the way things were in nature," he says. "And we've been altering them beyond recognition for thousands of years, anyway."

the point is that GMO crops are not dangerous per se, but that like other hybrids, you have to use common sense and figure out if they could harm other crops or local ecosystem.
And, of course, mono culture is a problem: having farmers switch to the high tech seeds and the local seeds with their genetic blueprints are lost.


Freakonomics discussion on gmophobia  

Scientifically, whether something is a risk depends on whether it is physically hazardous, in what ways and at what dose, and whether we’re exposed, at what age and how often. A radioactive particle in your lungs can cause cancer whether the particle came from the natural breakdown of uranium in the soil, which produces natural radon gas, or from a nuclear power plant accident. But risk perception research has found that natural risks don’t feel as scary as the the equivalent man-made risks. 


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