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GM crops - beyond debate?

Scientists doing some Genetic Modification research that aims to reduce the carbon footprint of wheat are hoping that they can persuade their deep-eco opponents to talk rather than uproot the field in which the trial is taking place. And that's meant to be a big news story ...

Well ... should this evidence of #debatefail really be news? Isn't it obvious that GM should be the subject of debate rather than direct action?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/may/01/anti-gm-activists-wheat-rothamsted
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Chris Grebeldinger's profile photoBernard Loines's profile photoLauren Aspeling's profile photoGordon Wells's profile photo
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+Evelyn De Roose What I was struck by is that the language of these scientists is: "we want lower carbon footprints; we want to grow wheat with less fertiliser and pesticide and waste ... surely these are things all of you anti-GM people want?"

In other words, this time around, they think they have an argument they can win. (As opposed to: "we've got the patents on this stuff; we're going to make a pile of dosh; try to stop us").

So if we want to say no - I'm genuinely not sure that I would want to say categorically "no" to the argument now being put forward - then surely this is a point at which to argue, not to destroy.
 
+Evelyn De Roose Humans have been modifying plants and animals for hundreds of years. We selectively breed animals to encourage certain traits and we we the same cultivating plants. How is this really any different?

That isn't really the point though. We live in a democratic society. Vandalism isn't an acceptable way of expressing your opinion.
 
At least in the US, the left always tries to portray the right as having an irrational aversion to science.

It is amazing to me that these people think it is okay to destroy the property and hard work of others, based on their own fear of the unknown.
 
The protestors feel that there is an imminent and irreversible danger to the native wheat species, because the plants are already in the field with their GM seeds blowing around. This is why debate without any action would not address their fear.

Why don't they just use a greenhouse? A 10m perimeter sounds like a pretty weak precaution to me.
 
+Brent Hobbs The difference is that on the Left the anti-science people, like these eco-terrorists, are on the fringe and mostly ignored/shunned, whereas on the Right the anti-science people are the leaders of the party.
 
"Wheat self-pollinates, so it cannot cross with other plants."
So it can't cross-pollinate with the native species.


"To prevent stray pollen the Rothamsted scientists have surrounded the trial plots with 10 metres of barley and three metres of conventional wheat.

No cereals or grasses are grown within 20 metres of the border. Wheat pollen is heavy and travels at most 12 metres."
If seeds do travel upto 30 metres (almost 3 times the maximum travel distance) the GM wheat will be destroyed.
 
+Russell Brown So maybe the fear is more about contamination of fields and the resulting patent lawsuits against farmers from evil corporations like Monsanto?
 
+Matthew Davidson, I would be willing to bet that a Google search for quotes on GM foods (or nuclear energy) would yield more than a few hysteria-laden, science-free comments from Democrats holding Congressional seats.

I'm certainly no GOP homer; I find the hypocrisies of both parties disgusting. This particular narrative is more often promoted by left leaning folks.

+Chris Grebeldinger- The patent lawsuits are certainly a major problem, but I don't think that's the sort of threat that brings out "activist" vandals.
 
+Chris Grebeldinger This is research being done by a government funded organisation. Are you seriously suggesting it's OK to stop that going ahead - through vandalism - just because of a fear any successful crops could be patented by large corporations who might use those patents aggressively against farmers?

Patents lawsuits aren't an inevitable eventuality of research.
 
I sometimes wonder were these people are coming from in attacking a G.M.wheat crop, but, in thinking through there fears, are they so un-founded? We still do not know, clearly, the long term affects, on people of G.M. products. Cases have been reported in the press and on T.V. news, of men growing breasts in America after eating G.M. meat products! I think that we are very much on a learning curve with the use of G.M. products, which make clear, the reason for research into G.M. crops!
In the very near future, the use of G.M. products will be the only way we are going to feed an ever expanding population on planet Earth, thats as certain as night follows day!
But there is a need for vigilance, the likes of Monsanto, and others involved in the production of G.M. products, will, if they get the chance, will have the world in there pocket, because they will have the formulars and patents for these G.M. products, which we will need!
I do not like Politicians very much, but, I if I do not like them, I can always vote them out of office, I do not think that would happen in The Board Room of a Multi National Corporation!
 
+Russell Brown I think that's a legitimate fear (corporate control of seeds), and for some people the stakes might seem high enough to prompt protests and vandalism.
 
The stakes are very high indeed, but in having said that, could we as a Society condone vandalisim? In the future, there will be a need for G.M. crops, and thats certain, but, to destroy research into G.M. crops is wrongheaded! We have to find out, through research, the effect of G.M. products on the Natural Eco-system, could cross fertilisation occur in argicultural use? These problems need to be resolved, now, for time is short, because we, as a Global Society are facing a collapse of The Food Chain, as a result of the demands of an ever increasing World Population! Already, a Third of The Worlds Population is starving! Having said that, we, The Global Society, need to make sure that these Multi Nationals have to be accountable, and the results of there research made known, World Goverments need to be in The Learning Loop, and as are Elected Representitives, they should, truthfully, make known, the result of current and future G.M. research, after all, Politicians need food to eat as well!
I understand the fear and the concerns of these protesters, but having said that, they need to be pushing for a Global Public Debate, because the, issues are Global and enormous, ignorance is the worst enemey of all!
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