Avoiding GMOs based on precautionary principle is flawed logic

Some public commentaries proclaim that, on account of a philosophic notion called the Precautionary Principle, a moratorium or ban should be placed on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Among such commentaries, we sometimes find the claim that, when you look at the math, you should concede that GMOs are too dangerous for human use. The argument is as follows. As time advances, that risk of a GMO eventually causing turmoil increases exponentially just as, with every passing minute, your risk of dying increases. Therefore, the argument concludes that as long as transgenic technology is employed, it is inevitable that one day, something devastating concerning GMOs will occur. Therefore, the one method whereby we can guard ourselves against this otherwise-impending harm is to avoid usage of genetic engineering altogether.

A serious flaw detracts from that argument. For the supposed calculation of the risk of employing GMOs to provide any contextual meaning, that risk must be compared against other risks—known risks. The risk of GMO usage is not put into perspective until it is compared against the alternative.

Moreover, many of the hypothetical risks presumed to arise strictly from the advent of GMO technology actually have already been present since farmers first engaged in traditional selective breeding.

Read full, original article: The missing context in the “Mathematical” argument against GMOs

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