Conflicting views on GMOs: How do we know what to believe?

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Initially this question seems rather vague, but actually it is an excellent question from a person who is clearly thinking very carefully.  There is no straight answer, and so I need to step through various levels or reasoning and evidence. So let’s begin.

Anecdotes: Everyone can tell stories, and often these can be scary. However anecdotes are notoriously unreliable. For example I was at a meeting when a questioner cited numerous cases of cancer in his neighborhood and weren’t these caused by factor xx. A representative from the state department of health was able to state that that they had analyzed cancer frequencies state wide and there was no correlation with factor xx. But what about the accumulation of many such stories? Many anti GMO web sites rely on such anecdotes. However “The plural of anecdote is not ‘data’!”

Correlations: A few months ago a neighbor sent me a scary story from a web site about glyphosate causing birth defects (notably neural tube defects) in Argentina, with citations to scientific paper seeming lend credence to the claim. (Note glyphosate itself of not a GMO but is often used with glyphosate-resistant GMO crops).

So I checked a couple of the citations and found that they did not say what was claimed. They reported on the epidemiological data on birth defects in Argentina and suggested that there might be some association with agricultural chemical usage, but they did not specifically finger glyphosate; the writer of the scary web site piece made the connection. So could it be correct anyhow?

Let’s consider what to expect if it were true: glyphosate-resistant corn has been used for 17 years, especially in corn-growing states like Iowa, and GMO corn is now over 90 percent of the U.S. corn crop according to USDA statistics. If glyphosate was causing neural tube defects it should be showing up by now, but a check of data from the CDC shows that neural tube defects in the U.S. have in fact declined since the introduction of GMO corn.

Correlation does not show causation: But what if there was a correlation between some health aspect and the adoption of GMO crops; that really makes it scary! Yes, autism, allergies, asthma etc.
msg0215252220896.pngare purportedly on the rise and we don’t fully understand why, so we search for answers by looking for correlations and then find them. But that does show that they are the cause: consider the adjacent figure showing an almost perfect correlation between the uptick of autism and the increased consumption of organic produce. Am I suggesting that organic produce causes autism? No, but isn’t the correlation scary? So remember: correlation does not prove causation.

Causation (or lack thereof): So how can we prove causation?: Even the best researchers have some bias. They see themselves as honest and unbiased, but there is always a subtle inclination to try to get the hypothesized results. The gold standard is what is called a double-blind trial. For example, in a feeding trial the researcher plans the trial, but the food should look identical. The technicians should not know what feed is given to which animals, and the analytical staff should not know which animals received which food as all is coded; only after the feedings and analysis are complete and the codes translated into the different treatments is there any search to check whether the food was responsible for any observed effects. Why all this trouble? Now we get to the heart of the answer: to eliminate bias.

Publication: Anything published as a report by any organization, be in industry or a organization, must be regarded as unproven unless two things are done: it is published following peer review, and it is repeated by others. There was an excellent article in The Economist in 2013 entitled “How science goes wrong”. In that they point out that subtle bias creeps into much research, and not everything is done correctly, such that 75 percent of seminal medical research papers cannot be repeated by others!

GENERA-MapWho funds the studies: We should rightly be suspicious of studies by industry or funded by industry, or at least until such studies are independently verified. Likewise we should be suspicious of any studies funded by anti-GMO organizations. Some people think that all favorable studies are industry funded, but this is not so. An examination of funding sources by the independent organization Biology Fortified found that 50 percent of such studies were government funded, even in anti-GMO Europe. (NOTE: pdf here)

Peer Review: Under peer review two or three purported experts read the submitted manuscript with data and give an opinion as to its reliability. However not all peer reviewed publications are equal: some are top quality and some are low quality, suspect, or downright junk. But how are you to know? (See a source of such information in the next paragraph.)

Journal and Review Quality: First there is the quality of the journal, because top journals only publish the best of papers after a thorough review by top, very picky reviewers, whereas at the other end there are hundreds of low-quality journals that publish virtually every submitted paper after a skimpy review by poorly qualified or uncritical reviewers.

So which journals are reliable?: The most selective are Nature, Science and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, but even these occasionally make mistakes. Reputable scientists can readily tell you which are the highest quality journals in their field (and which are not). There is a numerical value called “impact factor” which is the average number of times each paper is cited by others. In general, articles in a higher quality journal are cited more often and it has a higher impact factor. But this can break down: if a startling paper is published in a low-quality journal it is cited by everyone who believes it to be true and everyone who claims it to be false, and suddenly the low quality journal has a high, but meaningless, impact factor! (For some further information click here.)

Continued Evaluation: The next thing to remember is that peer review is not just the opinion of two reviewers or the final say on the fitness of a research paper; rather, when a paper is published the true peer review starts: What do the extensive body of scientist readers think? Is it well done or poorly done (and why)? Has it been analyzed correctly? Are the statistical methods appropriate to that investigation? In fact some have now suggested that this continued post-publication evaluation is much more important than the initial opinion of two reviewers and the editor.

Meta-Analyses: More important than any one peer-reviewed paper is the preponderance of the results/evidence presented in many papers. There are now many papers in peer-reviewed journals on the efficacy, safety and environmental effects of GMO crops and food. An overview of 10 years of genetically engineered crop safety (2003-2013) was published in 2013 by an Italian group using 1783 published studies.

“Our goal was to create a single document where interested people of all levels of expertise can get an overview on what has been done by scientists regarding GE crop safety,” said the lead researcher. “We tried to give a balanced view informing about what has been debated, the conclusions reached so far, and emerging issues.” More than 400 papers (and growing) are listed by Biology Fortified in their Genera database.

A useful type of analysis that looks at the data in many papers is a meta-analysis. For example, a recent (November 2014) meta-analysis was published in the respected on-line, refereed journal PLOS—one by two agricultural economists from the University of Gottingen in Germany who analyzed 147 papers from the peer-reviewed literature. They found that on average genetically engineered crops reduced chemical pesticide use by 37 percent, increased crop yields by 22 percent, and increased farmer profits by 68 percent. Why only 147 papers out of 1800 or more? The reason is that the analysis was limited to certain subject matter and then only included if they met certain criteria as to quality.

In terms of safety of GMO food, in 2012 another group in England and France examined 12 long-term and 12 multigenerational GMO feeding studies, and concluded that the presented evidence showed “that GM plants are nutritionally equivalent to their non-GM counterparts and can be safely used in food and feed.” (Unfortunately this is behind a pay wall at the journal but the abstract can be found here.) It is noteworthy that the public in Italy, Germany and France are not GMO-friendly, and yet those countries are the source of these studies!

In another huge data study of 100 billion food animals (yes, billion) it was concluded that there has been no change in the health of food animals after the introduction of GMO grain in feed as compared to prior to the advent of GMO crops.

Endorsements and Authorities: Check on who is making statements in support or opposition to GMO crops. GMO crops have been extensively examined by every major science and food safety authority in the U.S. and abroad, including the European Union, who have all declared them to be as safe as non-biotech crops of the same species, both for food and for the environment. These authorities include the (United States) National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Medical Association, the (British) Royal Society and the European Food Safety Authority. In 2010 the European Commission stated: “The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies.” Claims to the contrary come from fringe groups of scientists, not the main scientific establishment. This is akin to the 3 percent of scientists who deny the existence of climate change.

So there you have it from a scientific perspective.

However, just last month,  I was speaking with an ex-anti-GMO activist-turned-GMO-proponent on the basis of the scientific evidence: “You know,” he said, “the GMO opponents are not interested in science. Their minds are made up. They know what they want to find and then they go out and find the science that matches their objectives [and ignore the rest].”

I guess that is what I would call bias.

Peter J. Davies, professor of plant physiology and international professor of plant biology at Cornell University holds a B.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Reading in England and an M.S. from the University of California at Davis. His expertise is in the field of plant development, especially plant hormones and crop biotechnology.

 

  • Bataleon

    With all due respect Professor: it is your livelihood at risk, of course you will defend biotechnology until the bitter end.

    If you were an organic farmer you would also be worried about the cross contamination of your crops, I would assume.

    The bottom line talks either side of the debate, therefore inherent bias will always exist.

    • Wackes Seppi

      You are damn right : « it is
      your livelihood at risk ». It is actually at risk each time we
      eat; and even more so when we don’t eat in an episode calle
      « famine ». We are at risk whether we eat « organic
      or conventional » and in the latter case whether non-GM
      or GM. Risk can be measured, avoided or minimized. Or also taken!

      « Conventional » sprouts
      are produced from seeds that are disinfected with an efficient agent,
      usually through chlorination. « Organic » ones are not,
      at least in Europe… chlorine is not allowed by the rules… Some
      4000 people were intoxicated in Germany in 2011. The fatal
      casualties numbered 53, of which 51 in Germany. Hundreds were left
      severely handicapped.

      What the above article states – on
      the basis of the overwhelming evidence and the scientific and
      regulatory consensus – is that the risk with the GMOs currently on
      the market is no greater then and no different from that of the
      non-GM counterparts.

      Actually, in terms of mycotoxins –
      real evils for animal and human health – Bt corn is SAFER.

      .

      « If you were an organic farmer
      you would also be worried about the cross contamination of your
      crops, I would assume? »

      Of course! If I were an organic farmer
      trying to thrive on fear, uncertainty and doubt planted into the
      minds of consumers, I would be more than worried. But if I were an
      organic farmer with average knowledge and common sense, I would not.
      If only because I would know from activities such as seed production
      that « cross contamination » is perfectly manageable and
      avoidable. At least in France, some farmers are growing grain corn
      and sweet corn (the latter should not be pollinated by the former) on
      the same farm.

      • First Officer

        Last i looked, all chlorine on the planet is natural and is an integral part of some critically important molecules for life.

        • Chlorine gas? Totally innocent stuff.

          • First Officer

            And phosphorous spontaneously bursts into flames, sodium & potassium burn in water while forming dangerous hydroxides. But we wouldn’t be alive without those and chlorine.

          • So I guess we can do whatever we want with mere chemicals. That is the approach of “modern” people–chemically stupid people.

          • First Officer

            I don’t understand your point. Chlorine gas is dangerous so all compounds thereof is verboten? And you still use that computer that needed fluorine to make its chips.

          • My point is that people should be much more careful about how they use chemicals than we are being. People claim to know, scientifically, that Roundup, and 2,4-D, and DiCamba are safe. People are drawing unjustified conclusions. It’s the opposite of science–it’s “money talking.” And you scientific er geniuses think you’ve got conclusive science. Bosch!

          • People behave in chemically poor ways, especially when there is personal profit in so doing–which is often.

          • Warren Lauzon

            I doubt very much that 99.99% of the population have ever even seen chlorine gas.

          • Or dioxin or alpha radiation or DDT or…

      • Yea, now tell me about Roundup in it’s various forms, and 2.4-D, and Dicamba.

    • Eric Bjerregaard

      Bateleon, How is the professor’s livelihood at risk? People will not quit taking his classes regardless of whether fear or science wins out. Bias may exist. However facts will eventually win out. In spite of your emotional bias.

    • Good4U

      The bottom line is that there are 7 billion people on this planet. Short of mass starvation, which is happening right now, as you sit idly in your comfortable, warm house with a belly full of food and an air full of air (or drugs), how do you think we are going to feed & clothe the 9 billion that will exist in about 15 years from now? Biotechnology will be an essential part of that solution. If you, or anyone else is truly interested in the current and future human condition, or the integrity of the environment, you will a) work as hard as they can to limit population growth; b) get behind GMO technology and promote it for all of its proven and potential benefits.

      • There are many many things that would help us more than G.E.–and rushed G.E. could be very negative.

        • Eric Bjerregaard

          Another contention based on no evidence. Just a speculative leap to “could be very negative” Not even a suggestion do you make of an alternative. Just what do you think will go wrong with Golden Rice, for example?

          • The thing about Golden Rice is, big thing, it produces Vit. A (precurser). Isn’t it only just that those poor farmers who are slaving away growing many people’s rice should have enough time to grow a few vegtables, and hence get plenty of vit. A? Or must they be so heavily exploited that All of their time is spent growing rice for rich people?

          • Oh those stupid Asians. They never thought about growing broccoli or asparagus in the wet lands they leave in. What dullards. Glad you are around to point that out to them. They’ve been SO stupid for the last thousand years or so!! The wisdom of sntiGMOers who KNIW nithing about agriculture!

          • Gee, I guess they sleep in water too. If you think they can only, or best, get their vit A from modified rice, that is pretty crazy.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            “slave away for us” more bunk. They will be growing the rice for their families and selling to relatively local markets.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            And I’m fairly sure they do not sleep in water. However their sleeping quarters are not suitable for growing crops.

          • Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Leafy greens (even dandelion greens)–a little over 1 ounce a day needed. One could grow that in a box! Or…–You don’t need some exotic rice seed.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Tell that to all the folks in urban areas. They will love growing in a box for their families. Also Carrots do not do well in the heat. sweet potatoes are seasonal. There is a rumor that folks need the vitamins year around. Also rice is not exotic there. They already grow it.

          • Sprouts–mega-vitamins!

          • If they had a little time not slaving growing rice for export, they could grow lots of Vit, A.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            For the last time they are not slaving. That is a crap assumption. If they want to sell in the export market to make a profit that is the farmer’s choice. To say slave is a dishonest attempt to effect emotion . Besides that I was referring to local sales, to local urban areas. Further selling to export markets can be a way to gain needed capital.

          • The poor people of the Earth definately are slaving away to keep the vast oppression of the U.S. military bohemoth off there backs–and Americans reap/steal vast wealth from the entire world, which they think they are entitled to! Most Americans do not see this, because we are deluded.

          • BTW, Asians have done wondrous things. Many.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            “slaving away” “exploited” What about unlucky enough to have been born into rotten circumstances? Where are the urban folks with deficiencies going to grow those veggies?What about the bananas, pineapples and cassava, that may hit the market soon.

          • They are not just unlucky–they are exploited unmercifully by the rich nations and people. Urban farming can and is becoming much more common. Sure, GMO’s may increase the availability of good food–but there are much more direct means–stop blowing one another up, and cultivate the Earth. Stop insisting that the U.S. rule over everyone. Stop sucking so much of the wealth to this country. Stop living like selfish pigs.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Good luck with getting gov’ts and terrorists to quit blowing up any one who will not do as they are told. You will need it and this forum only helps with that to the extent that Jon and others are encouraging ways to produce food in a less costly manner. Thus making less expensive food available to consumers. “sucking so mulch of the wealth” Here is some news for you the U.S. has regularly had trade deficits for what? decades now. How is that sucking up wealth? You have issues with reasoning that are complicated by seeking information from sources that contribute to your confusion. Please take my suggestions about the source change. I can not help you if you do not.

          • Produce food in an ecological, sustainable, culturally building way–essential and only sensible. Then, aim for a less costly way. ….. Don’t be careful, when introducing new techniques, and you will cause big problems. … The US has sucked so much wealth from South and Central America, Arabia, the Phillipines, Indonesia, Africa, etc. that we are sick— trouble is, Americans mostly do not see it. Plenty of people do see it! Sources are many–be informed.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            I am way more informed than you. I understand that business deals do not necessarily constitute “sucking wealth” and that trade deficits do not either. Also Arabia has gotten wealth from us. Not the other way around. Wake up.

          • Maybe. Overthrowing socialist governments around the world so that the already super-rich of this country can exploit the people and resources of those countries is something this country has specialized in–and it has been, and will be sick. Arabia, right. Well we did make a tiny portion extremely wealthy, leaving many millions with nothing. Oh how I wish that America had a decent regard for morality, and behaved civily!

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            It is not the responsibility of Americans to see to it that wealth obtained from the sale of oil is distributed according to you desires. Or even of mine. Further your whole line about the U.S. being evil is irrelevant to g.e. crop safety.

          • Yes, it is just another case in which there is a huge “CONFORM” decree hanging over people’s heads. People prefer to think, “Oh, we are so good,” rather than looking at the sometimes painful truth, which would require work–much deep work.

          • It is not at all irrelevant to GMO crops that many of the situations that you are trying to fix with GMO’s, like not enough vitamin A, can be better addtresed in more direct, simpler ways.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            So, then why have you not fixed the deficiency problems if it is so simple. Either prove your point or buy the supplements your self.

          • Here it is! The killer app. for genetic engineering! We can make vitamin A pre-cursor! What a leap forward!—-GMO’s are developed, usually, for one purpose–to make big profits for rich people!

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Here it is the foolhardy app for an economically ignorant man that does not understand mutual funds, or that there can be more than one purpose for a product. A man that has no understanding that rich people are a good thing. ‘they start businesses and hire folks like me. Now go do something usefull and quit complaining.

          • Sure, rich people who are reasonably public-spirited can be a good thing. But highly selfish people, especially if they are rich, hurt us. They typically bend the law in their favor, for example stuffing GMO’s down people’s throats, when they have not first convinced people that they are safe. Night.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Horse hockey. “stuffing” that is not only your anti- capitalist crap. It is a lie. Farmers buy of their own free will. consumers buy of the own free will. You have lost what little respect I had for you.

          • The majority of people want GMO’s labelled, many polls show. Then, when there is a vote on an initiative, the industry spends BIG BUCKS to get the initiative defeated. That is stuffing GMO’s down people’s throats. If the industry had taken the time to fairly convince people that GMO’s are safe, they would have proceeded fairly. As it has happened, they relied on plutocracy–the rule of th wealthy.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            What the majority wants is not relevant. This is fortunately not a democracy.
            That is a good thing as it prevents folks like you from “stuffing” your will down my throats by using the gov’t to do so. That the industry spends to combat the lies of anti-g.e. folks is a good thing. It helps prevent the mob rule that you seem to desire. Defending one’s business against assaults from folks who have no facts to back them up is a good thing . However this does take resources away from research and development and sends it to advertising folks. Not the best use in my opinion. But justified in this type of circumstance.

          • Well, at least you are honest–this is not a democracy. I will elaborate. This is a plutocracy, driven by the need for selfish profit. A plutocracy created by the plutocrats of 18th century America, and sold as a democracy to people fooled by propaganda. One of the plutocrats more recent creations is GMO’s, which were created for one purpose–to make big bucks for already rich people.

            I don’t desire mob rule–I desire a civil rule–not the rule of selfish big money, enforced by ruthless violence–which is what this world mostly has, and is what you are embracing. It is natural, in a sense, for rich people to believe that they are justly kings–but I do hope they will morally grow-up, and become decent, helpful, life-affirmative people who will do something of benefit to humanity, not just themselves and their family and friends.

            Alas, rich people are exceedingly slow to forsake selfishness, and embrace the public good. They are blinded by their wealth, and miss the most valuable part of life–which is to love integrity.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            No, A representative republic. There is no need for selfish profit. That, where it exists is a desire. Hyperbole? Nothing was sold as a democracy. Learn some history. How could anything be sold as a democracy when mechanisms to prevent it were crated. Examples are electoral college. Limitations on right to vote. No direct election of senators and the senate itself. G.E. crops. were created by individuals who each have their own motives. The creators of Golden rice and the Rainbow might argue with you. Also G.E. seeds that were introduced for profit have benefitted many who are not rich. Ask the low level employees at the biotech companies. They seem to have jobs and paychecks. And the rest of your post is not worth replying to.

          • A Representative Repuplic, yes. And it is supposed to be the people who are represented, not the money. G.E. crops were and are created for one reason–to capture big bucks for extremely rich people. If they hurt poor people, that is no matter, in their creation. Whether or not they hurt poor people would be no issue at all in their widespread use, when the G.E. industry has its way. It’s about profit, pure and simple. There own profit, period. This is the glorious system set up in America–why wealth is concentrating more and more–and that will only increase, to where we have royalty, and we have peons. But that would be fine for many–as long as they are one of the royalty. We, the people. are not in very good shape. As blind as bats, and as selfish as pigs. God help us–good help us.

          • Actually, more than 60% of the GE crops are grown in the developing world, and two of the biggest growth areas, Bt cotton in India and Bt binjal in Bengladesh, are examples where the large ag industry has given away the patent rights. So your post is just plain ignorant of the facts. Ironically, protests by illiterate anti-GMO activists, as reflected in the comment above. have increased the regulatory burden, especially in the developing world, creating a situation in which protestors are guaranteeing that future new GE products, such as nutritionally enhanced cassava, rice, etc., can only be developed by big pocket corporations. The Jon Stewart show had a great segment on this two weeks ago, featured in the GLP, making it clear how the Big Lies posted by professional web protestors such as the above poster actually end up promoting malnutrition and perpetuating the hunger of the developing world. Look in the mirror: You can see the enemy of progressivism, and it is YOU.

          • OK, so the industry gave away a couple plant patents. We know they are trying to capture big profits for their investors. That is, in fact, a legal requirement! Sure, companies do some good things–in pursuit of a good image.

            When we do not have strenuous regulation, many, many companies do things that are terribly destructive to the public! If you don’t see this, you just haven’t looked!

            “lliterate anti-GMO activists.”??”Professional web protestors”?? Give me a break.

            Progress? That would be a good thing. I suggest educating people, not calling them ridiculous names. I suggest honesty. I suggest forsaking propaganda. I suggest being clear when you speak.

            I suggest working with nature. I suggest realizing how easy it is to misuse chemicals.

            I suggest having a decent respect for the opinions of humankind.

            I suggest realizing that you don’t know everything.

            I suggest being an equal part of the people, not a ruler of the people.

            I suggest working consciously to, yea devoting yourself to, increasing the integrity. Not just of yourself. Of the world. Of the universe.

            I suggest being concerned about human literacy.

          • hyperzombie

            Hilarious, is Monsanto paying you to make all the Anti-GMO folks look totally nuts? If so you should ask for a raise, your are doing a great job.

          • Mr. Zombie, I am floored by your incisive wit and your perspicacious commentary.

          • hyperzombie

            Great, if you keep dumping your Organic troll comments, I will reply in kind.

          • I don’t really think you have much understanding of what “kind ” is.
            Do you?

          • hyperzombie

            Keep it up Organic troll.

          • It is never to late to learn.

          • Solutions not judgements

            Unfortunately I believe what your saying, but also attempt to give the benefit of the doubt that the intentions were for creationism. Unfortunately it has turned into actually doing more harm than good, as of right now. It’s unfortunate that profit margins have surpassed the care for the health and well being of your neighbors. Our current technology cannot keep up with products being created… Especially in the field of testing and understanding… These guys here support it because it represents science, but what they don’t seem to realize is that what they are spewing may be wrong and to this day are more than likely to be wrong due to the direction of realization occurring. I am very sad with our current knowledge and scientific systems. It’s all a great concept but really need to take some steps backwards and get back to the basics of each and every process and put ourselves back into perspective…

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Ummm, it is the people’s money and their right to spend it as they please. Take your envy of rich people and…..Ever have a poor person start a business and offer you a good job? Ever stop to think that perhaps some of the not so rich folks that work for biotech companies want to keep those jobs and paychecks. They are benefitting. So, are poor folks whose food prices are much less than organic or nongmo project. Profit is a good thing get used to it. However, remember tjhose folks who came up with the g.e. papaya, golden rice, and have waved royalties. Not real greedy are they?

          • Look, everyone knows that companies operate to reap big profits for their investors–and, because of the selfish mindset that is very predominant in America and other places, many people and companies are quite willing to do things that have extremely negative consequenses for society–like spreading around toxic chemicals. If we stopped sinking fortunes in creating and using incredibly destructive armaments, which do yield incredible profits to some extremely rich people, and which do provide good paychecks to numerous workers, then there would be enough wealth to cover humanities needs.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Define “big” This is just an opinion call on your part. There are different profit margins for different businesses. And that makes sense because there are different marketing problems, expenses, and risks. What you are doing is trying to make all businesses look bad because some are. An invalid point. It is called overgeneralizing. If you want to change your name to Quixote and get those gov’ts to quit with the weapons and destruction. Be my guest.

          • JoeFarmer

            The guy’s brain is scrambled. He responds to his own posts days later.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Worse than me???

          • JoeFarmer

            LOL!

            I think he genuinely means well, but he’s messed up.

          • I was writing to others. Sometimes, it positions the comment better by “responding” to yourself on “Discus”.

          • It is totally obvious capitalists seek big profits. You profit seekers have no right to steal or poison the commons–but you’ll have been doing that for hundred of years, or longer. I definately do not think that all business is bad–however, I do think that the majority of rich people are out of touch with goodness, kindness, justice, and humility. And Ecology.

          • Solutions not judgements

            The testing of many products have many holes and missed studies. Things have been excluded and things not included. Gut microbiome testing for 1. It’s quite frightening…

          • Solutions not judgements

            The people just don’t care… That’s the problem…

          • Could be very negative–for example, by causing a huge increase in the use of toxic chemicals, like 2,4-D.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            While I am not thrilled with what will be the expanding use of 24d. It is less safe than glyphosate. The bottom line is that it has and can be used safely. Hopefully this will be temporary and an improved product will be introduced. Also remember that the advent of glyphosate led to less use of other herbicides.

          • It seems to me that the bottom line is that humankind has been, and is continuing, to act like children in a toy shop–and the toys are human created chemicals. People have got to learn to use chemicals responsibly! Ecologically! In ways that improve the biosphere, and do not degrade the same–for one big change!

          • There are many alternatives–I suggest Permaculture (Ecoculture).

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            How do you expect to grow millions of acres of grains using permaculture?

          • Large scale grain cultivation can be part of permaculture. Clearly, there is going to have to be a long evolutionary process to develop the healthy, varied biotic communities that we need to yield the food we need in a sustainable way.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Right, all those combines will successfully be able to function in a permaculture set up. Look up economy of scale.

          • l mean, large scale grain cultivation may be able to be part of an overall ecocultural system.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Yeah, right. Please describe this one.

          • Oh, manure and plants for compost. Much biodiversity for pests. Maybe trees for acorns, fruits, and nuts. Maybe horses for field cultivation. Sure, you folks can laugh–but just what do you think that we are going to do, as fossil fuels become much much rarer–which they must, if we are to survive?

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Right we will get horses to pull the combines through and around the fruit and nut trees. And where will you get enough manure to fertilize millions of acres? Do you ever think things through?

          • Think things through–fossil fuels will, in coming decades, be much much harder to get.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            So, we should adopt g.e. crops even more quickly to be ready for this.

          • Blind as ants Republicans do not even recognize that fossil fuel use has a downside–but they will! After a few major cities get destroyed!

          • Good4U

            Good complimentary simile on the Republican party, shenandoah….you do realize that bugs are not blind of course. They see quite well, most of them probably better than humans. Thanks for supporting G.E. crops for alternative, sustainable fuel sources. It’s good to know that you’ve learned something from this discussion.

          • Yea, I trust the G.E. industry to construct working ecosystems–they are just ecologically ignorant! That can be remedied!

          • Right–nothing could possibly happen.

          • You, and many, do not seem to understand the roles of evidence, and thought. Thought can reveal extremely important things, without evidence. Which is not to suggest that fruitful thought can be “loosed” from reality. Demanding evidence is not scientific–it is scientism, which is very much with us.

          • Yea, it is a mere contention to think that “rushed G.E. could be very negative.” Would you use your mind? It is entirely obvious that plants could be genetically engineered in harmful ways–and your denying this is just reflexive go-go-GMO garbage–which there is a monstrous quantity and variety of.

    • PeterPisum

      Let me assure you Bataleon that in no way is my livlihood dependent on the way I report on science; it is the result of my being in the field of plant sciences for 55 years, which has given me plenty of experience in evaluating scientific claims in print, in the laboratory, and in farmers’ fields. As a fully tenured professor I can say whatever I like with no fear of losing my academic position. In addition I have never accepted a cent of income from the biotech industry for supporting biotech crops, a statement that cannot be made by many opponents with regard to support from anti-GMO organizations and the organic industry etc.
      If I was an organic farmer I would have no concern about GMO crops in organic produce because, as pointed out by Tim Duffy above, GMOs were included in the original organic rules, and only misguided activism caused the USDA to revise their rules.
      Peter Davies

      • “If I was an organic farmer I would have no concern about GMO crops in organic produce”–This seems senseless. Who knows or can predict what genes might be introduced to GMO’s–and then spread to organic crops? I’m sorry, Mr. Davies, but to me that seems an abysmal lack of foresight and conscienciousness.

    • Bruce__H

      “With all due respect Professor: it is your livelihood at risk, of course you will defend biotechnology until the bitter end.” Max Taylor

      A sloppy, thoughtless, facile answer to a thoughtful article.

  • Tim Duffy

    The comment from Bataleon reminds me that the original proposed USDA rule for the marketing concept of “organics” released in the 90’s allowed for genetically engineered foods to be considered organic. The decision to disallow gmo foods was not based on any scientific recommendation but rather the decision was based on general public opinion and comment (which most would agree is a poor policy-making standard I think) – too bad – much of the current commotion over bioengineering would evaporate had the original recommendation been upheld – c’est la vie…

    • Yea–we don’t want public opinion influencing public policy.

      • Tim Duffy

        Public opinion should never trump science or reality (but you really know that.) Thanks for your powerful well-thought out reply…

        • Public policy is not a scientific question. Many non-scientific matters are involved. The American science on GMO’s is inconclusive, as to safety. Because the whole field has been controlled and biased by the industry. But the industry, and its supporters, insist that there science is totally conclusive. I think that claim is the height of scientific stupidity!

          • Actually public policy on SCIENCE is of course in part a science issue, unless of course it’s Soviet Russia (or Russia and parts of Europe today) and you embrace Lysenkoism.

            No one claims that any issue is “totally conclusive.” People argue over climate change and evolution and vaccines for example. There are scientists on both sides of those issues. That does not mean that both sides of those issues carry equal weight from a scientific point of view. In climate change science and GM science, about 95% of mainstream scientists views are in sync. That’s not “total”, and no one has ever claimed.

            What do you base your absolutely comment that the “American science on GMOs is inconclusive” on the potential harm of GMOs. It’s not at all. Nor does your invoking of “American scientists” make sense. First, more than 70% of the 3000 or so studies on GMOs include non-American researchers, and some studies, such as the 250 sponsored by the European Union that conclusively found that GMOs pose no unique harm had not industry or American involvement. There is absolutely no difference in the findings of the global mainstream science community on GMO safety– no difference among the European Food Safety Authority, the EU science bodies, the UK, France, Belgium, German, Span, and Italian science bodies–or similar bodies throughout Africa, Latin America and Asia. You are impervious to facts.

          • I know that you are a sloppy reader, so let me be clear– I did not deny that “public policy on SCIENCE is of course in part a science issue”, I said “Public policy is not a scientific question. Many non-scientific matters are involved.” Are we clear? …..

          • And if you think my posts grow increasingly irrational–what a fine judge you are! Very fit!

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Again, you make an emotional comment with no basis in fact.

          • ?????

          • My above comment was in response to a comment from Jon Entine above,”Your posts are getting increasingly irrational.” If someone thinks my posts are irrational, I hazard the thought that theirs is a superficial reading.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            You hazard incorrectly.

          • Says you.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Says Kevin Folta, Google illumination, his name, and enter the date. Then read the article that just came out. Then come back to this forum and apologize.

          • ?????

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            That the EU has gone against the judgement of the EFSA does not constitute evidence that the US should cave in to the same type of pressure you are trying to exert in this forum. Speculative, fear based pressure is something that needs to be resisted. Please go back and read your posts. You have not listed even one fact upon which you base your conclusions. How do you expect others to change their opinions when you present no evidence or logic?

          • What I’m interested in is people looking at, and seeing, truth. I have no axe to grind. The fact is, when the ability to perform research, and to have that research published in top journals, is controlled by one side of a scientific debate, then the research that is done will be inconclusive–and people will be poorly informed. Doing so is similar to having the umpires in a ball game being employees of the home team! That is not speculation–it’s obvious! And I do not understand how you, or anyone, can dispute this logic.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Guess what, I used to referee basketball and football. I was paid by the home team. That is who collects the money from ticket sales. I never hesitated to call a foul or penalty on the home team. The situation is similar here except that the anti-g.e. folks have set up a competing group of referees. They consist of websites like natural news, gmo free what ever, institute for responsibility , organizations like criigen, and greenpeace. They are funded by anti.g.e groups and individuals. They are also the ones the have been routinely debunked by yet a 3rd set of officials from agricultural universities, an of course the home team paid refs. Bottom line is I claim that your premise is incorrect because the first and 3rd groups of refs have been proven to be correct and the incorrect refs have proven to be the second group, coincidentally [?] paid for by the anti g.e faction. http://www.biofortified.org/2014/02/industry-funded-gmo-studies/

          • But you weren’t a regular employee of the home team–were you?

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Your question is irrelevant.

          • It is not! What I said was,”Doing so is similar to having the umpires in a ball game being employees of the home team!” You seemed to, but did not really dispute this. So my analogy was fair.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            No, The analogy is that the refs, though paid by the home team often call fouls on the home team. This shows that industry studies can be correct and must be judged by content…NOT by who paid for the study. See the biofortified article on the subject. Whether the refs are part time or full time makes No difference.

          • Who the refs. are employees of makes a big difference, to my analogy. No matter. My analogy may have been a poor one. If you want to think that it is legit to have most scientific studies of safety performed by the makers of a product, well that is, in fact, how it generally goes in America, at least initially. But that reality does not change the fact that it is obviously unfair–it is very obvious that it is very unfair. The only reason it occurs is because the people do not rule in America–big money rules in America–and the big-money interests are blinded by over-bearing selfishness, and spiritual bankruptcy.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            I never said most is ok. Concentrate while reading. or better yet google independent gmo safety studies. And quit the anti American crap. This country and it’s people have no inherent differences from those living elsewhere. The main difference is that here the gov’t at least pays lip service to individual liberty. Be grateful for that or go ahead and jump from the frying pan into the fire. Then let me know how you like it.

          • It is up to the American people that the U.S. military behave decently. And we are far fom that goal. For those who fail to see this, I suggest study.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            “American military” This is about g.e. food safety. What is wrong with you?

          • It is an important matter, about which many Americans are ignorant. Science, by the way, sheds zero light on this subject–so I suppose that many of you will remain ignorant about it.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            btw the location of the research being performed is irrelevant. Facts discovered in Denmark are equal to facts discovered in the U.S. As long as they can be confirmed by repeating the studies. America need not be the center of knowledge. Though from a personal economic POV it would probably be good for our economy.

          • It is a matter of concern that the American research is inconclusive. Very big concern! Is the European research conclusive? I wonder.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            The research is conclusive everywhere. quit being so scared. Here is an article that speaks of the U. of Perugia study. http://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/university-michigan/wolverines/2015/01/24/michigan-jim-harbaugh-piccolo/22276765/

          • At that link I find no study.

          • Please directly answer my contention–that having one side of a scientific debate control or limit the research that is done makes the science inconclusive.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Eventually, it will appear that one side controls. Because when diametrically opposed the correct side dominates and the ones who will not accept this becomes known as fringe radicals, usually by a derogatory appellation.

          • Well, I’m glad that one side is not now controling the research much by fiat, not by virtue of correctness.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Sorry about that. My dad is a retired music professor and I sent him that to see if he could tell if Harbaugh was really playing the piccolo. Try this. http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/07388551.2013.823595

          • “The scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of GE crops.”–False. 2,4-D. Roundup. Arpad Pusztai–his research was never proven to be false–though some claim that it was. The GMO potato he worked with was withdrawn from commercialization. There is a pile of research finding problems–it is not clear to me that all of that research is false.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Shenendoah, If you keep going back to the same sources. You will continue to get bad information. http://academicsreview.org/reviewed-content/genetic-roulette/section-1/1-1-pusztais-flawed-claims/ and btw 24d has been used for years and it’s safety has nothing to do with g.e. foods.

          • When GMO’s in the pipeline will massively increase the use of 2,4-D, it is very clear that the safety of 2,4-D is crucial to the safety of the G.E. foods about to be produced–and I do find it telling that so many people who claim to be so reality-based fail to see this.

          • Landon

            It seems the European research is conclusive. From this post and even one of your own comments it appears that there is opposition to GMO’s in much of Europe, yet the European studies indicate that they are safe. Additionally, your argument that American research about GMO’s is inconclusive carries no real connotations about European research so that should be enough.

          • However, the vastly increased application of Roundup and 2,4-D have not been shown to be safe.

          • That’s absolutely not true. There is not one rstudy–not ONE–in a mainline peer reviewed (not pay for play journal) that has shown ANY serious health related issues from “increased use” of glyphosate and there has been no increased use of 2,4-D…and the health/safety issues were just reviewed in multiple US government reports on 2,4-D with government concluding that increased usage would pose no health or safer harm even to pregnant women. So you either embrace the accepted science or you can again engage in conspiracy thinking, claiming career scientists with no political affiliation are hiding evidence (that do not appear in studies).

          • The truth is, mainline science does not have a corner on truth, does not have the full truth, and is not unbiased. The scientific establishment has a long way to go before it even approaches any of those things! You can fail to see this–you can dismiss it–but your view is limited. —– The use of 2,4-D has not increased yet–but, due to GMO’s, that will happen, and you know it. 2,4-D

          • Roundup is not just glyphosate. Accepted science is mutiple. See USDA, 2006.<<<

          • There are many studies that find problems with glyphosate and Roundup.

          • Cite 3 in mainline peer reviewed (not pay for play) journal of an original study of harm at doses found in food — not in vitro studies — and that have been replicated. None. There are more than 200 that show no harm.

          • I’m sorry, Mr. Entine, your criteria of mainline peer reviewed (studies) is narrow-minded. Let me ask you, what authority do they have? None. It’s opinion. Opinions can be wrong. I don’t care if they come from PHD’s in related fields. The fact is, people do not completely understand, or have scientific knowledge about, all of the environmental or health effects of Roundup–but there is plenty of cause for concern. ….. I’ve heard that American scientists do not generally prescribe to the precautionary principle–as much as they don’t, they are short-sighted, arrogant, incompetant guardians of public health and welfare. ….. Do you think many people have been doing science for many centuries, and they understand everything pertinent? I don’t. I think people are not handling toxic chemicals well, and this will cost us heavily.

          • So now we agree: There are zero reputable studies suggesting glyphosate is dangerous. Yes, it’s very narrow minded for the entire science world to embrace the importance of peer review and reproducibility. Instead, let’s call science “anything that any kook wants to publish anyway.” Very persuasive.

          • I do not mean to reject the value of peer review. It is Not everything.

          • Do you realize that science is, I believe, totally ignorant of the health and ecosystem effects of combinations of toxins–as are found, in near infinite variety, everywhere on Earth, in greater concentrations nearer to industrial man? In other words, science and humanity are ignorant about what people are doing, spreading toxic chemicals over the Earth. Shame on all you science bound people who think you are acting so scientifically! You just do not know what you are doing. Your scientific understanding is puny! Would you have a modicum of humility, and recognize what you do not know–about the effect your actions are having on life on Earth?
            ….. This I have said applies to all chemical farming, and industrial activity. GMO’s are a further development of industrial farming. They are currently hugely increasing the use of some toxins, and depending on how they are fasioned, they may in the future lead directly to massive increases in the spread through the biosphere of toxic chemicals. I urge people to become aware of the unknown catastrophe for life on Earth that they are causing, and to get a grip on their actions–with GMO’s, all chemical farming, and all industrialization. Humanities future depends upon the caring actions of the people of today.

          • Captain Moonlight

            You ask others to show humility then launch into a fire and brimstone sermon that is liberally dotted with exclamation marks. Take a good hard look at yourself buddy.

          • Oh yea, you don’t think there is anything real in chemical pollution–I’m just into preaching. Gee it is so fun to get cancer, to scrub the biosphere clean, or to throw more wrenches in the web of life. I suggest you learn a little bit about ecological destruction, ma’am.

          • Captain Moonlight

            US cancer rates are actually falling. Thank God people like you are powerless.

          • I am sorry, but that is an assinine thing to say. If cancer rates are in some sense falling, that is only because people who have been concerned about the problem of chemical pollution have worked to increase public consciousness of the problem, to increase scientific understanding of the issue, and to increase government regulation of pollution! The problem certainly has not been helped by people dismissing the problem, our throwing mud on people concerned about it. Those actions have only made it worse!

          • Ma’am, I do suggest you study human ecology before, in your ignorance, you blow serious threats, and the human need to radically adjust our act, away.

          • Captain Moonlight

            Michael, I am very passionate about ecology. 8 years ago I bought a weedy and eroded horse breeding farm and I’ve trying to restore it to nature ever since. I extensive use of glyphosate for weed control. I practice what I preach.

          • “I extensive use of glyphosate for weed control.”–Hard to interpret.

          • You do realize, don’t you, that the ecological and health effects of various combinations of toxic chemicals, including glyphosate, is little studied, and absolutely not understood?

          • You do realize, don’t you, that the ecological and health effects of various combinations of toxic chemicals, including glyphosate, is little studied, and absolutely not understood?

          • Note: no one has ever said one word in response to my argument that people are hugely in the dark about what we have been doing, using massive quantities of toxic chemicals in innumerable ways, because little if any scientific study has ever been done on the environmental and health effects of combinations of multiple toxins, as occurs everywhere, especially near to “modern” industry or agriculture. It is seeming that no one has anything worthwhile to say about this point–which devastates your pretensions to scientific insight, and which shows how hugely irresponsible “20th centure mutant agriculture” has been. The creation of GMO’s is likely to exacerbate this problem.

          • Someone paid for any play anywhere–just because one side of a scientific argument has more money, and owns entire journals, does that make their side right? But this case comes down to that. You give mainline peer-reviewed journals a comprehensiveness and authority they do not posess. When you look at 200 facets of a topic with thousands of facets, you have hardly scratched the surface. And who says that the environmental toxicity of Roundup does not have many thousands of aspects? How about Roundup Weathermax 2? How about 2,4-D? How about Dicamba?

          • “I think people are not handling toxic chemicals well, and this will cost us heavily.” (from below) But there is a portion of society that has made astronomical profits from terribly mishandling, misusing toxic chemicals–the filthy rich–bless their souls.

          • Why do you want to create the impression that there is no problem with Roundup? There are huge problems, and it is ecological insanity to brush them away. Do you care about life?

          • Glyphosate and Roundup are two partly different things–Glyphosate and Roundup Weathermax 2 are very different things.

          • You do realize, don’t you, that the ecological and health effects of various combinations of toxic chemicals, including glyphosate and 2,4-D and many others, is little studied, and absolutely not understood? Either show me extensive study of this issue, or admit that you are operating in the dark, and experimenting with humankind as your subjects, and extremely toxic chemicals as your tools. Thank you so much–it is just the integrity of the world at stake–we don’t really need it.

          • I am totally unfamiliar with the political bias that does or does not burden the European science. Except I understand that Arpad Pusztai was fired and gaged–right after he was roundly praised–in Britain.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Then try reading the news more often.

          • Frankly, I think that the mainstream news is great–for disinformation.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Did I use the term mainstream? No. That is part of your problem.

          • I said mainstream. I try diligently to inform myself–many sources.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Here are some reasons why you are incorrect. http://www.skeptiforum.org/gm-research-on-safety/ Also, even the industry studies have proved to be accurate. http://www.biofortified.org/2014/02/industry-funded-gmo-studies/ Turns out that some managers are smart enough to not turn out the same kind of junk serralini did. Why??? because it would be a waste of money and lead to more anti g.e. activism,. The difference would be then they would have more than blanks in the arsenal. So, will you produce a few of these studies and point out the errors, please?

          • I am not talking about errors in individual studies. I am talking about an error in the body of American studies. That error is that unless qualified scientists are free to conduct the studies that they want to conduct in the way that they want to conduct them, the field is slanted. Which it is. Since the field is slanted, it is inconclusive. Overall, the science that has been conducted in America is woefully inadequate. Not seeing this is a failure of reasoning.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            You come to the ridiculous and arrogant conclusion that I am guilty of an “failure of reasoning” and yet provide no evidence. Ho is it that you fail to reason that you need to provide evidence. You give zero examples of scientists freedom to perform research. You clearly have not read any of what I posted. And you have a failure of reasoning in that you pay no attention to research performed in other areas. So try the U. of Perugia safety study next.

          • I will repeat the evidence. Do you understand that, at least in America, it is not possible for scientists to conduct the studies on GMO’s that they want to? See–
            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-seed-companies-control-gm-crop-research/?page=1
            and see–
            http://e360.yale.edu/feature/companies_put_restrictions_on_research_into_gm_crops/2273/

            Please post a link to a more recent article, if it evidences further improvement in this situation.
            …. Since when does one side of a scientific debate get to determine what research is done? Clearly, that makes no sense.
            !

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            I posted an up to date article about the ability do research above.

          • Thanks again for that.

          • That was a comment on a blog, as I recall. But this is an important issue. Can anyone post anything more reliable that evidences a substantial improvement in the ability to study GMO’s? If not, it evidences a lack of sufficient energy being given to this area–which is exactly the opposite of what you go go GMOers claim–that their opposition is wasting too much time going over meaningless stuff.

          • Jon Entine

            You are a conspiracy theorist and esistant to empirical evidence. The “American studies” that you decry have reached the identical conclusions of studies done by scientists from around the world. Here are 250+ non-American studies to ponder: A decade of
            EU-funded GMO research: http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/pdf/a_decade_of_eu-funded_gmo_research.pdf

            Two European Commission reports covering 25 years’ worth of European funded research on the effects of GM crops on health and the environment have shown no scientific evidence associating GMOs with higher risks than conventional plants and organisms (see links below). They conclude that all GM crops that are currently on the market have proven to be safe for health and the environment. GM products all have to go through a rigorous safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

          • Mr. Entine, your “conspiracy theorist” allegation is a testament to your penchant for casting stones–and for embracing the conservative movement–it has zilch relity. Because I disagree with the Gung-Ho GMO mindset, you again indulge your penchant–“resistant to empirical evidence”. What garbage! You know, you do not have a monopoly on truth, open-mindedness, or goodness. ……It is an extremely important matter, that the American GMO science is deeply flawed–and your refusing to even see it, much less correct it, along with others of similair bent, may well at some point, maybe not right away, lead to a really difficult problem arising, in societies experience with GMO’s. For the first at hand example, crops resistant to 2,4-D have been approved. This will vastly increase the use of 2,4-D. But that is a huge problem! See

          • Jon Entine

            Actually, I embrace the left movement. Get your ad hominem straight. Use “garbage” in a personal attack and you are ban from this site forever. Upgrade your comments to genuine science.

          • “Conspiracy theorist” is a 95% pure right wing attack–totally unjustified in my case. Attacking a wild comment is not a personal attack. Calling someone a “conspiracy theorist”, or “resistant to empirical evidence”, is a personal attack. Here was a good attack from you–“You are a conspiracy junkie who rejects mainstream science, much like climate change deniers and anti-evolutionists…a real reactionary right wing anti-science person.” There have been many others. You can attack me personally, but if i call a comment by the g word, you will ban me?

            I will admit, I have written some personally attacking comments to you–only because you first did that to me, numerous times. I will be happy to never again attack you personally–in fact, I would much prefer it. But please give me similar respect.

            My comments have primarily been truth and facts based. And many of my solid arguements have never been answered.

          • LOL!!

          • OK, you call me “resistant to empirical evidence”–in a totally counterfactual way–and I write–“What garbage!”. Then, you say “Use “garbage” in a personal attack and you are ban from this site forever.” My using the word “garbage” was not a personal attack–it was my characterization of your personal attack on me. So–are you being fair or civil? Good or kind? ….. I was totally serious–I would much prefer leaving out all shreds of personal attack. Didn’t your mother teach you that it is impolite to laugh at people?

          • I will stop characterizing your attacks on me as garbage. Go for them, if that is where you are.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            “work with nature” Was corn developed from teosinte by working with nature? No. Was wheat developed by working with nature? No. Does Nature help by clearing land for farms and/or setting up Silos? No. Farmers are always working against nature to some extent. That is why we are not still hunter/gathers. Nature is not capable of working with us. Go Go Gmo mindset. With all the regulations and research needed to get a product approved and into the market? Really? The numbers I most often read is about 135 million is needed.

          • Those who developed corn and wheat certainly did work with nature. Nature won’t do our work for us–but there are better, and worse ways to do things. Not an esoteric idea–just do things in a better way, not a worse way. Hunter/gatherers developed by working with nature. A basic idea, related to “do what is right.”—-It is not nature’s place to work with us. It is our place to work with nature.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            No they did not. They did hybridization on their own completely without the aid of “nature”

          • You are so wrong about this. Nature is always here–but shortsighted people frequently do things which, though they may seem good in the short term, in the long term prove to have bad or disastrous results.

          • Go Go GMO mindset–see Dan Quale, the doctrine of “substantial equivalence”.

          • BTW, if a company does something that is illegal, which happens regularly (though the business community wants us peons to believe that companies never do anything illegal–at least not deliberately), that is, in honest to God truth, a conspiracy–by definition.

          • Kind of like the entire supplements and natural food industry, which not only sells junk products, they also opposed labeling yet fund the GMO labeling lobby. Or food companies that illegally (in violation of packing laws, that remain unenforced) put “no GMOs” on food products that do not have a GM variety. So sure, any individual company can do illegal things. A conspiracy is when organizations work together to hide the facts. An example would be the anti-GMO industry, of which you are a part, that spreads anti-science misinformation about modern agriculture, which then financially benefits certain other industries, such as the organic and natural foods industries. That’s an example of an ongoing conspiracy.

          • Eat whatever you like–so will others, unless secrecy continues to prevail. A conspiracy is when organizations work together to hide the facts–or do illegal things. I am not anti-GMO. I am opposed to public policy being determined by private interests and slip-shod reasoning, which I find abundantly featured in the writings of you self-proclaimed scientific geniuses.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            No one here claimed to be a genius. Another lie from you? No facts are hidden. Plenty oif studies and source articles have been posted. Besides that if they were hidden you would not know about it because they are hidden. You comments are becoming increasingly desperate as they have none of that science to back them up.

          • It seems to me that many of you proclaim yourselves to be scientific geniuses–implicitly. You claim to have this deep understanding, it seems to me, that GMO’s are nothing short of “the immaculate conception.” Sorry, but the science does not support that view.

          • Do you really think that I have some pecuniary interest in GMO’s or there derailment? Think again.

          • We–not just me, but all those who participate on this site (I think), have got to clean up, improve, make more direct and explanatory our communications–because we are doing pretty darn poorly.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Being anti fact and anti science is the same thing.

          • Yes, well we have some differance about who is scientifically justified, and who is not.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            and the one who has fact is correct. You have posted no facts.

          • Come off it. Some of the facts are: G.E. is a very new activity among humans. People have legitimate concerns about G.E. The combination and interaction of the many environmental pollutants has been woefully inadequately studied–in other words, all of science is vastly ignorant about environmental pollutants. There are many scientific studies that find problems with GMO’s– and it is unjustified to dismiss them because they come from foreign countries or journals that are not in some club. People have died, likely because they consumed products of G.E. The GE industry made massive attempts to totally control the scientific study of GE crops. Extremely reputable scientists have been fired and gaged, after they produced scientific results that upset the GE industry. The GE industry has not handled this matter with the descent respect due humanity. Humanity’s understanding of science, including that of many P.H.D.’s, is juvenile and arrogant. Hence, loads of scientific reasoning is inconclusive.—So those are but a few of the facts I’ve raised. Blow them away–I am sure that you will claim that you have, successfully. Then you can be as unreasonably go-go GMO as ever. Congratulations.

          • Absolutely: we don’t know everything about everything. But we knew enough about GM in the 80’s to not entirely block their release, after pretty stringent testing. Since then trillions of meals have been eaten by humans and animals (and humans eating GM-fed animals) with absolutely no statistical indication of any health problem. Statistical analysis with those sorts of numbers should be able to perform the epidemiological equivalent of hearing a pin drop: the slightest difference should be evident. And there’s nothing. I’d say the 80’s regulatory decision to approve various GM crops was well taken, while your infinitely precautionary approach would block any new technology forever.

            Do you refuse to get out of bed every day on the grounds that you haven’t seen infinitely robust proof that the implements in your kitchen, the dust in your carpet, and so on won’t be potentially damaging to you? Because of course to assume that they are largely benign just because you’ve had a lifetime of interacting with them would be the height of arrogance… right?

          • I think that epidemiological studies on the health impacts of GMO’s have never been done–which means that their health impacts are unknown. Do you understand differently?

          • It would be good to hear from someone expert here. My impression is that (as in the Showa Denko example above) such studies are done by starting from a health issue rather than going on a fishing expedition from a suspected source. One has to be very careful with the statistical treatment when looking for an effect in many places, since the likelihood of a chance agreement increases with the number of comparisons — see the various Seneff, Swanson, and similar anti-biotech papers for excellent examples of how not to do it.

            Again, expert input would be good, but the fact that GMOs have *not* been flagged as having a significant causal link to any health issues is indicative that they are not a significant risk. I bet you can’t find any epidemiological evidence of the systematic harm caused by H2O either, but that doesn’t mean that its health impact is unknown, just that there is nothing concerning.

          • i’m not sure that epidemiological studies involving GMO’s have not been done–that is what I read. If no GMO has been flagged as causing a health problem, that’s good–but it does not mean that no GMO has caused a health problem.
            Please note, also, that even if no health problems have been associated with the GMO’S now commercially available, that decidedly does not mean that GMO’S, as a class, are safe–it means that safe GMO’S can be created.

          • This argument leads to madness — we cannot possibly conduct public policy on the basis that “there is always an infinitesimal chance of something going wrong, hence we should never do anything”.

            It needs to be appreciated that everything humans and the environment interact with, whether “synthetic” or “natural”, carries some risk. A proportionate response to that is to conduct a fair risk-benefit analysis based on appropriate pre-release testing (which can be updated as knowledge increases), and to keep an eye on its behaviour in the field. This is precisely what is done with agricultural organisms and chemicals… *per* instance, not for broad classes like “GMOs”. So your point that existing GMOs being safe doesn’t prove that all possible GMOs are safe is certainly, trivially correct… but no-one ever argued that. That’s why the testing is done case by case, addressing your concern. In fact, I used the same argument in response to you above to say why a couple of (suspect) examples of “bad GMOs” would also not damn the whole concept!

            These biotech innovations definitely confer benefit, otherwise they would not sell — the job of regulators is to decide, case by case, how much risk (environment, human, etc.) that benefit is worth. The detail of those tests and risk/benefit balances is certainly debatable, but I don’t think the overall approach is.

          • Maybe you have not noticed it, but I have–many people saying, “GMO’s are safe! Science proves it!” That statement is untrue, and feeds wild go-go GMO attitudes.

          • What the overwhelming scientific consensus agrees upon is NOT that any particular food or farming process is “safe”–certainly not organics for example—but that food made through the process of genetic engineering is AS SAFE OR SAFER than food grown using organic or other conventional means. There is simply no scientific debate on that point. Anyone who claims that GMO foods are “safe” or that organic foods are “safe” doesn’t understand science. Which you don’t.

          • It is senseless to think that because a foodstuff was created using a GMO, it is as safe or safer than healthy food. Some such foods may be safe–some will not be. Many plants are toxic. Add theoretically any gene to any plant–MANY will be toxic. That is just common sense. Thanks for the gratuitous insult.

          • It wasn’t a gratuitous insult–it was a direct statement that you are scientifically ignorant, if perhaps well meaning. It’s only “senseless” because you are not a scientist and consistently post absolutely ridiculous things. Every protein (not gene) can be allergenic to someone somewhere. The difference between novel foods mad through conventional breeding (organic as well) or through mutagenesis (3000+ foods) is that they are not tested, while all GM changes are thoroughly tested. You lack of understanding of basic genetics and food science is stunning.

          • Your misinterpretation of what I said, and your personal disrespect of me, is thorough. (Well, you did give me credit, possibly– “if perhaps well meaning.”) It is just the kind of disregard for life that should be far removed from our farming! Earth to Entine–those plants that are culled during the process of creating a commercially viable GMO–they are GMO’s also! As are science experiments done by students, in some cases. As are new plants created by mad scientists, or terrorists! It is, I repeat, senseless to think that all GMO’s, period, are safe. Utterly senseless! (If you want to explain how all GMO’s are safe, I’m all ears.) That is what I said, and you threw it out. Why? Why do go go GMOers seem to be unable to acknowledge that some GMO’s are unhealthy?…… O.K., you can say whatever you like about me–you can insult me as directly as suits you. I can’t ban you, like you have threatened to ban me. But it does reflect poorly on you. When you go go GMOers give people a modicum of respect, you will have taken an important step.

          • Overwhelming scientific consensus–88%? Gee, I’m overwhelmed.

          • “food made through the process of genetic engineering is AS SAFE OR SAFER than food grown using organic or other conventional means.”—Untrue. Not demonstrated.

          • Those are the words of more than 20 of the world’s top independent science groups. You are a nobody; they know science. Take it up with them.

          • Do you recognize, or not, Mr. Entine, that unsafe GMO’s can be created? In other words, that it is not true that all members of the class, “GMO’s,” are and always will be safe, since they belong to that class? That is what you have seemed to say, but perhaps it is not what you meant.

          • 20 science groups did not agree to those exact words–did any scientific group use those exact words? I doubt it. Precise wording is important, by making your imprecise claim, you are conjuring up support that does not exist.

          • The point that some GMO’s are not safe is not trivial. In people’s sloppy wording, they oft say, “GMO’s are safe! That is the scientific consensus!” This is untrue.

          • I am not infinately cautious about new technology–I am, however, extremely skeptical of the wisdom of humanity’s use of synthetic chemicals. This technology, which in the history of humanity is of recent origen, has repeatedly proven to have serious consequences. Often, people have just created and used any chemical that seemed useful, totally failing to foresee sometimes severe environmental effects of that chemical. …..
            Agriculture has been a very bad abuser of chemistry, and is today. ….. The way GMO’s are being created, agriculture’s use of toxic chemicals will increase further. This is a big mistake! We should be cultivating the Earth, not creating and spreading toxic chemicals!

          • You seem to be conflating tha chemicalz with GMOs. Some types of GMO reduce the need for pesticides. Those which are glyphosate-tolerant increase the overall volume of pesticide sprayed, but greatly reduce the aggregated toxicity by taking more toxic pesticides out of the food production chain. Sure, life without a need for pesticides would be nice… but beyond veg garden scale, dream on. Glyphosate tolerance may encourage more spraying (of less toxic compounds), but compared to no-pesticide approaches it also affords a commercially viable path to no-till farming, with significant benefits in terms of carbon capture and soil integrity. There’s no free lunch, everything is a balance of various pros and cons and the best narratives do not always make the most logical sense.

            Seems to me you should be in favour of the moves to less toxic ag chemicals, given that the previous situation was not good, and the chance of a large-scale move to no-pesticide farming is nil.

          • The chance of a large-scale move to no-pesticide farming is not nil. By cultivating complex agro-ecosystems, utilizing smart entomological techniques, and employing all the techniques of organic farming, as well as new ones as yet unused, it may be accomplished. For my part, using well-tested GMO’s is not out of the question. However, I’m quite concerned that many of the GMO’s used to date contribute to making agriculture profitable, but do not contribute to the efforts to find a productive, healthful (to people and the environment) food production system. When GMO agriculture is vastly increasing the use of Roundup (which is much more toxic than glyphosate), Roundup Weathermax 2 (which is much more toxic than Roundup), 2,4-D, Dicamba, and what next? (as insects develop resistance to these chemicals), I find that GMO’s are a continuation of an industrial approach to farming that is out of touch with nature, ecology, health, and the spirit of life. But they do enable a good return on capital, which is the primary motivation behind the behavior of corporations and many people. Our operant motivation would much better be to improve the prospects for life on Earth.

          • Fine, that’s your view. But the practical possibility of such a shift seems microscopic to me. Plus the impact on food production, unless there was a vast increase of both farmland and farmers in particular in the western world, would lead to at the very least shortages, and probably famine and starvation. The impetus needed to make a shift would need to be an extraordinary present danger presented by current agricultural methods. Such a pressing danger does not exist. Revulsion at “an industrial approach to farming that is out of touch with nature, ecology, health, and the spirit of life” doesn’t cut it.

            I’ll just note in passing that GMO agriculture in fact does not mandate the use of RoundUp, since it is the response to the glyphosate active ingredient which is genetically engineered. I find it interesting how the anti-GMO crowd has recently swung smoothly from attacking glyphosate to instead attacking its RoundUp formulation, when the data was too clearly solid. If it’s Monsanto, it must be evil, right… just a matter of finding in which way it’s evil. And the recent USFDA approval of 2,4-D in combination with glyphosate was specifically intended to address the issue of pesticide resistance — as long as it is responsibly used, it requires a double mutation to withstand two distinct herbicidal mechanisms.

          • Current agriculture presents multiple clear present acute dangers. First, agriculture uses a large amount of fossil fuel, and that can not go on. Global warming and peak oil sharply limit the future use of fossil fuel. This is a huge issue! How much mass starvation are we going to see–a massive, or a moderate amount? Will we develop rapidly enough an agricultural system that requires much less fossil fuel? I’m not at all sure. The Republican idiots deny humans cause global warming. Hello! I charge them with mass murder. Second, should we overcome that crises, which is possible, are people going to screw up the biosphere so much in other ways that life is massively degraded? One of the ways to do that is by continuing to release massive quantities of toxic chemicals into the environment, which humankind has been doing with a passion for very roughly the last 100 years. Our twentieth century mutant agriculture contributed massively to that problem. Will our twenty-first century agriculture rival it, in terms of chemical insanity?

          • You’re going off-topic again — how do GMOs relate to an increase in agricultural fossil fuel use? As a counter-argument, wouldn’t GMOs which reduce the need for tilling and respraying have potential to *reduce* fossil fuel use and improve carbon capture?

            Global warming has an undeniable link to human activity. But where people who agree on that diverge in opinion is in the extent & manageability of the temperature rise. You are proposing to address the difficulties (& deaths…) threatened by climate change by deindustrialising agriculture — a policy which would guarantee widespread famine and death without any guarantee to fix the problem. Shall I “charge you with murder”?

            Problems like global warming can’t be addressed by rhetoric and absolutist positions. You need good data, compromise, and to consider economic rather than ideological incentives to change behaviours.

          • The need for modern agriculture to use less fossil fuel is very pressing. … Spreading toxic chemicals is short-sighted, wishful thinking. … At least very recently, most Republicans were denying human-caused climate change. Maybe now some of them just minimize it. … OK–imagine that we can go on without radical change in our food producing system–but don’t blame me for mass starvation. … I actually don’t think that money makes the world go round. The desire for, the wish for, the urge to have good life is much deeper and more basic.

          • RJB

            Please cite your sources.

          • ?????

          • RJB

            You’ve made a number of declarative statements that have been challenged by others, but not have presented credible sources to back up those statements. That is what “cite your sources” is referring to.

          • Source–the real world. Can you see the real world, or do you think some “authority” needs to have said something, before you can be accurate in saying it?

          • DJ

            The Reality Distortion Field is strong in this one…

          • RJB

            Peer reviewed studies from reputable publications = sources

          • The real world=the biggest source.

          • Do you really think that I have some pecuniary interest in GMO’s or there derailment? Think again.

          • Noel

            I totally agree!

        • Noel

          You are a bully!

          • Tim Duffy

            “Name calling” is generally the domain of those who can’t verbalize a valid rebuttal…

      • Larkin Curtis Hannah

        As you well know, the public has been exposed to tons of miss information about GMO’s from the antis who just want to peddle their potentially fecal laden produce. You know that better than I. So, please do not treat us as a bunch of dummies. You are better than that.

        Curt Hannah

        • Ever hear of manure? Of course you have–just pile it on organics. Go ahead. You’re no dummy–but it seems to me that you are insensitive to, unaware of?, the serious problem caused by people spreading toxic chemicals on the land, etc.

          • Larkin Curtis Hannah

            Good morning Micheal,

            Actually you can’t just pile manure onto crop land. On our large GMO hog farm, we have been spreading (more properly knifing in) manure for years onto our corn and soybean fields. We almost added too much manure. Soil tests are performed yearly on these fields and it turned out we were getting almost enough of certain nutrients to be harmful to the crops. We had to buy more land and changed the plans for building additional hog houses to avoid this problem. Modern farming may be more science- and fact-based than you think. It is not just a bunch of good old boys!! They are smart and they are the the first ones to be exposed to your “toxic” chemicals.

            Curt

          • The chemical insanity pervading our society is not confined to farmers, not at all–it is a serious problem that hopefully people will get on top of–along with other insanities, like profligate energy use and brutal violence by our nation, that plague us.

            Michael

        • There has been an awful loy of misinformation from the go go GMOers, as well.

    • “The decision to disallow gmo foods was not based on any scientific recommendation…” The science on Genetic Engineering, then even more clearly than today, was woefully inadequate. Public policy decisions needs must be based on other things.

  • First Officer

    There can’t be any middle ground between GMO and Organic. Don’t self written Organic standards explicitly disallow using the same ground for both kinds of crops?

  • JMac

    Help me to understand this. Monsanto and their supporters claim that Roundup is harmless to animals and humans because
    the mechanism of action it uses (which allows it to kill weeds), called
    the shikimate pathway, is absent in all animals.

    However, the shikimate pathway IS present in bacteria.

    THE BACTERIA IN YOUR BODY OUTNUMBER YOUR OWN CELLS 10 TO 1.

    For
    every cell in your body, you have 10 microbes of various kinds, and
    all of them have the shikimate pathway, so they will all respond to
    the presence of glyphosate!

    As the overwhelming majority of GMO is
    produced to withstand Glyphosate, we end up with Glyphosate residue in
    our food, which causes severe disruption to over 90% of the cells in our
    body.

    Do you want to explain to me and anyone else listening how
    eating something that is toxic to the vast majority of cells in your
    body is a healthy practice to engage in.

    I’d really like to know.
    Because I really don’t get it. Would you please share whatever
    information you have that I have somehow missed. Have you learned that
    those trillions of microbes in our bodies are simply unnecessary?
    Please, help me understand this because I can’t make sense of it at all.

    Explain please.

  • JMac

    Here’s a study on pigs and it’s not all honky dory. In fact, feeding pigs GMO feed causes real negative health effects.

    It would be nice if someone had done a test like this on humans instead of just pushing this stuff on us without our knowledge.

    Here’s a link for a Reuters article on the study

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/11/us-gmo-pigs-study-idUSBRE95A14K20130611

    Oh yeah! These pigs were just fine! The bright pink and red ulcerated stomachs are normal. When you eat GMO that is.

    • Miles Stockdale

      I guess you don’t understand what complete trash the Carman study was. There are reasons it was published in a crap journal that has a zero impact factor. The same reasons FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand) as well as the rest the scientific community have pointed out. It is an embarrassingly terrible study, and it is sad that the anit-gmo crowd are so scientifically illiterate that they can’t understand why.

    • Eric Bjerregaard

      Here is a bit of knowledge authored by someone more qualified than a reuters writer. http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/once-more-bad-science-in-the-service-of-anti-gmo-activism/

  • JMac

    Help me to understand this. Monsanto and their supporters claim that Roundup is harmless to animals and humans because
    the mechanism of action it uses (which allows it to kill weeds), called
    the shikimate pathway, is absent in all animals.

    However, the shikimate pathway IS present in bacteria.

    THE BACTERIA IN YOUR BODY OUTNUMBER YOUR OWN CELLS 10 TO 1.

    For every cell in your body, you have 10 microbes of various kinds, and all of them have the shikimate pathway, so they will all respond to the presence of glyphosate!

    As the vast majority of GMO is produced to withstand Glyphosate, we end up with Glyphosate residue in our food, which causes severe disruption to over 90% of the cells in our body.

    Do you want to explain to me and anyone else listening how eating something that is toxic to most of the cells in your body is a healthy practice to engage in.

    I’d really like to know. Because I really don’t get it. Would you please share whatever information you have that I have somehow missed. Have you learned that those trillions of microbes in our bodies are simply unnecessary?

    Please, help me understand this because I can’t make sense of it at all.

    Explain please

  • JMac

    Help me to understand this. Monsanto and their supporters claim that Roundup is harmless to animals and humans because the mechanism of action it uses (which allows it to kill weeds), called the shikimate pathway, is absent in all animals.

    However, the shikimate pathway IS present in bacteria.

    THE BACTERIA IN YOUR BODY OUTNUMBER YOUR OWN CELLS 10 TO 1.

    For every cell in your body, you have 10 microbes of various kinds, and all of them have the shikimate pathway, so they will all respond to the presence of glyphosate!

    As the vast majority of GMO is produced to withstand Glyphosate, we end up with Glyphosate residue in our food, which causes severe disruption to over 90% of the cells in our body.

    Do you want to explain to me and anyone else listening how eating something that is toxic to most of the cells in your body is a healthy practice to engage in.

    I’d really like to know. Because I really don’t get it. Would you please share whatever information you have that I have somehow missed. Have you learned that those trillions of microbes in our bodies are simply unnecessary?

    Please, help me understand this because I can’t make sense of it at all.

    Explain please

  • JMac

    GM Soy Linked to Illnesses in Farm Pigs

    Danish Farmer Reverses Illnesses in pigs by reverting to a GM-free
    diet for his animals, which is yet further evidence for the toxicity of
    glyphosate tolerant GM crops.

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.i-sis.org.uk/GM_Soy_Linked_to_Illnesses_in_Farm_Pigs.php

    • LOL! ISIS is not an independent organization or even an organization…it’s an anti-GMO propaganda site started by two fringe scientists, long since discredited as fringe kooks. Get back to us when you find some real science behind these claims….a study in a major journal…not a claim by fringe hacks.

      • Such authoratative sounding crap! The study of GMO’s has been owned by the industry!

        • Eric Bjerregaard

          Please provide evidence to prove this. In fact this comment shows that you did not even glance at the list of studies I posted earlier. Further even if you are correct, the studies “owned by industry” could still be correct.

          • See–Do Seed Companies Control GM Crop Research? Scientific American, August 2009.
            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-seed-companies-control-gm-crop-research/?page=1
            That article is about 5½ years old. I have a slightly newer one, which evidences some significant improvement in this situation, but not enough–
            http://e360.yale.edu/feature/companies_put_restrictions_on_research_into_gm_crops/2273/

            I have found no article describing further improvement–anyone please post such a link here, if it exists. Until all restrictions are removed, the American GMO research will remain inconclusive.

          • The individual studies that have been done may well be good ones. However, until scientists are free to follow their hunches and pursue the studies that they believe have to be done to get to the heart of the matter, the field of research is shut off from the light free science can bring to it–and is therefore not conclusive.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Your information is a bit out of date. This issue was discussed in either the gmo-skeptiforum or another recently. http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/do-seed-companies-restrict-research/

          • Thank you very much for sharing that Link!! The situation with research has improved vastly! Good thing–I guess I will not consider all American GMO research necessarily inconclusive. However, there are remaining huge problems with GMO’s—-2,4-D, Round-up, Glyphosate, ecological ignorance, massive chemical misuse, the enforced ignorance of people by refusing to label, the lack of epidemiological studies on GMO’s, the irresponsible go-go GMO mindset, irresponsible claims that GMO’s have never caused a serious problem, contamination of crop and wild plants by introduced genes, blanket approval of GMO’s by some people that is not justified, the inadequate scientific establishment, the corporate funding of science, and the dismissal of science that is different.

          • I have been pleading for more recent info for weeks.

          • This is just a blog post–but this is an extremely important issue. Is it true? That is not clear. Anyone have anything more reliable? If not, it shows that the go-go GMOers do not have any respect for people or truth or life–they just want to have things there way, while they wrap themselves in science. Right. Science performed by one side of the debate only. In other words, deeply corrupted science.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            “do not have any respect for life” Yet another crappy dishonest evidence free accusation. Wrap in science. Of course, facts are good to have on your side. You have been shown over and over that this accusation is wrong. To repeat it at this stage of an argument shows callous disregard for truth and a complete lack of integrity. Your arguments range from false to speculative. The article I posted contains logic and reasoning. If you will not comprehend or check the facts it is simply indicative of your willful ignorance.

          • Well, you can have your opinions. I have been trying to deal with impotant issues in a clear way. Do you go-go-GMOers seriously question why only 37% of US adults think that GMO’s are safe to eat? I think it is because you’ll generally are full of meaningless disrespect, a pervasive scientific know-it-all attitude that is undeserved, a penchant for name-calling and put-downs, self-righteousness, a failure to deal with genuine concerns, and blind selfishness.

          • You’ll made a big mistake when you tried to shove GMO’s down people’s throats without their even knowing what was happening. Oh wait–you did exactly that. You treat us like morons, yourselves like the owners of humanity. I think you’ll are selfish-sick.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            “shove” Another lie. No one used force and as you directed this at me. This is an especially ridiculous remark as I have never sold seeds, for anyone.

          • When I said, “you tried to shove GMO’s down people’s throats”, I did not mean you, personally. I meant the go-go GMOers (including the industry.)

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Well look at that string of insults. For more I suggest you go read your comments throughout this thread. And the opinions that are backed by the science are the ones that count. The ones backed by anti-g.e. wacko sites do not. Although as Jon has demonstrated with his patience with you can be expressed.

          • Those were not personal insults. I was writing to the go-go GMO community– which I am very bothered by. For many good reasons. Like, the massive environmental harm you cause, while proclaiming yourselves white as snow.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            By your use of pronouns as you did. You included me in the group. “go-go” Therefore I correctly interpreted the insults and have done the same with this lying accusation of “white as snow” Also as you know there is no proof of massive environmental harm. In fact by making this dishonest accusation you have confirmed that you are antig.e. Thus you have been lying a good bit this evening.

          • Not every member of the go go GMO community is personally guilty of all the negative features that the group as a whole tends to exhibit. ….. It seems to me that go go GMOers love to proclaim that GMO’s are totally free of problems–at least, as free as traditional crops. …… Whether all those herbicides have caused massive problems is an open question. ….. I do not knowingly lie, and if you show that I have in fact done so, I will correct it.

          • Respect for life–there is an important kernal. If you have respect for life, pardon me for suggesting that you do not. i am very glad to hear that you do!

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Besides my comment including info on the liberalized access to seeds for study. Of course the companies want to maintain some control. Otherwise they will lose the ability to prevent theft of intellectual property.

          • “Of course the companies want to maintain some control.” But the public’s right to test things that will deeply effect it totally trump that intellectual property concern.

          • kurzweilfreak

            “Crop research” is not the same as research regarding toxicity of the resultant grown plant. You’re conflating restrictions on research with breeding (working with seeds to generate new varieties) with toxicology research, like the guy with the pigs claims. Anyone could go buy or grab an ear of MON810 and do whatever research on it they want. Not anyone can buy a set of patented seeds to just play with willy nilly. I hope you can see the difference between these two scenarios and how irrelevant they make your attempted comparison.

          • Did you read the 2 articles linked to above? There have been, and I believe still are, massive restrictions on the ability to research GMO’s. Please back up your assertion that “Anyone could go buy or grab an ear of MON810 and do whatever research on it they want” with a link to a credible source.

  • JMac

    I have one question I would like answered.

    Monsanto and their supporters claim that Roundup is harmless to
    animals and humans because the mechanism of action it uses (which allows it to kill weeds), called the shikimate pathway, is absent in all animals.

    However, the shikimate pathway IS present in bacteria.

    THE BACTERIA IN YOUR BODY OUTNUMBER YOUR OWN CELLS 10 TO 1.

    For every cell in your body, you have 10 microbes of various kinds, and all of them have the shikimate pathway, so they will all respond to the presence of glyphosate!

    As the overwhelming majority of GMO is produced to withstand Glyphosate, we end up with Glyphosate residue in our food, which causes severe disruption to over 90% of the cells in our body.

    WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME HOW A HUMAN BEING INGESTING GLYPHOSATE IS NOT DANGEROUS TO THE MICROBES WITHIN OUR BODY THAT WE ARE DEPENDENT ON FOR PROPER FUNCTIONING OF OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM?

    • Monsanto does not make the claim that glyphosate is a mild toxicant. That factual statement is made by the EPA and every major science oversight agency in e world including in Europe where the toxicity ranking was just lowered. That’s the science.

      • Did they deal with Round-Up Weathermax 2? Do you know any studies of same that they cited?

        • EPA is such an extremely political organization, controlled in many cases by selfish and self-righteous wealth, that anything they say has to be taken with a healthy, huge dose of salt.

      • Is it really true that such an incredibly potent chemical as Roundup Weathermax 2 is widely used, but has not been well tested for ecological and health effects? The utter insanity of our industrial society is severe. The go-go-artificial chemicals mindset is a clear indication of the intellectual bankruptcy of our society. It is amazing that people who regard themselves as scientifically well-informed do such blatantly thoughtless things.

    • hyperzombie

      I suggest going with ALL CAPS all the time, go big or GO HOME.

    • kurzweilfreak

      http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/09/13/your-body-mostly-microbes-actually-have-idea/qlcoKot4wfUXecjeVaFKFN/story.html

      “For every cell in your body, you have 10 microbes of various kinds, and all of them have the shikimate pathway, so they will all respond to the presence of glyphosate!”

      “As the overwhelming majority of GMO is produced to withstand Glyphosate, we end up with Glyphosate residue in our food, which causes severe disruption to over 90% of the cells in our body.”

      You don’t seem to understand how biochemistry works, do you? Just because we might possibly (but probably not) be 90% microbacteria does not mean that any level of glyphosate is going to affect 90% of those cells. At most, probably a very, very vanishingly small percentage of those cells would ever be affected, and they would be readily replaced by those unaffected.

      • This reply seems extremely speculative, and overly dismissive of suggested problems.

        • Antumbra

          …says the person who actually said that Roundup will kill 90% of the cells in your body.

        • kurzweilfreak

          The conversation I am replying to seems extremely speculative and fear mongering, with little to no evidence of “suggested problems” other than people who have little to no education in these fields of study repeatedly yelling that the sky might be falling without even understanding what the sky is.

          • There is lots of firm evidence that 2,4-D is a big problem–see The U.S. Forest Service on 2,4-D. Thinking that it is OK to spread tons of toxic chemicals in the environment just because you don’t have some scientific study detailing exactly what the fallout will be is ecologically and morally senseless–though it is and has been a common delusion. Would you go-go-gmoers act with a modicum of respect for life, which is not understood by the best science?

  • JMac

    BREAKING NEWS. HEADLINE

    The Monsanto herbicide Glyphosate better known as Roundup Weed Killer is being fed to children in levels higher than what has been shown to destroy gut bacteria in chickens. But that’s ok. Those kids didn’t need their gut bacteria anyway!

    EXCITING NEW DEVELOPMENTS!

    New lab report testing carried out by Moms Across America has found the world’s number one herbicide, glyphosate, to be in feeding tube liquid which is given to babies and children who are in need of nutrition in intensive care. Specifically, the herbicide was found in PediaSure Enteral Nutritional Drink.

    The testing found that 6 of the 20 samples tested contained ‘high’ levels of glyphosate – over 75 ug/l, which was the minimum detection level of the ELISA assay used.

    THESE LEVELS ARE HIGHER THAN WHAT HAS BEEN SHOWN TO DESTROY GUT BACTERIA IN CHICKENS(.1ppb).

    Moms Across America Founder Zen Honeycutt stated:

    “It is appalling that our health care providers have been led to believe this feeding liquid is safe. Our children and loved ones believe that our health institutions are supporting their immune system and recovery, instead they are being fed a liquid which contains a herbicide that could be seriously damaging their health.”

    The PediaSure Enteral Nutritional Drink tested contained GM maize (GM corn syrup) and GM soya, both of which are sprayed with glyphosate-based herbicides (these include Monsanto’s ‘RoundUp’ herbicide), during the growing season and at harvest as a drying agent.

    Abbott Nutrition, the manufacturer of the PediaSure family of products, describes them as “a source of complete, balanced nutrition designed especially for children 1 to 13 years of age.”

    BALANCED NUTRITION FOR YOUR CHILD, INCLUDING THE FULL DAILY ALLOWANCE OF ROUNDUP WEED KILLER.

    Sarah Cusack, MPT, CHHC told Moms Across America:

    “As a mother I am very disturbed by these results. Working as a paediatric Physical Therapist I met children with feeding issues who depend on tube feedings for their entire lives. Children who experience trauma and are recovering from car accidents, shootings, cancers, surgeries and other illnesses may require these tube feedings for days, weeks, or years.

    I have long questioned the nutritionally poor and inflammatory ingredients in these feedings but am devastated to find out that they are contaminated with poison. Our most vulnerable children, and our children healing from overwhelming trauma, deserve better.”

    Read: Meta-Analysis Finds Link Between Glyphosate and Cancer of Lymph Tissue

    This new testing is the latest to raise awareness regarding the ubiquitous and harmful nature of glyphosate-based pesticides. Regulators as well as Monsanto claim that glyphosate is excreted from the body, but numerous studies have shown that not only is it causing numerous health problems, it is also showing up in urine samples, blood samples, and even breast milk.

    The lab results also follow the first ever pilot biosurvey on glyphosate in the breast milk of American women, commissioned by Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse in 2014, which found ‘high’ levels in 3 out of the 10 samples tested.

    Sustainable Pulse Director Henry Rowlands concluded:

    “The more data produced regarding the levels of glyphosate in our food, water and medicines the better. Even though this testing is not validated it does give a strong clue as to how ubiquitous glyphosate is in the U.S. food supply system. The question the EPA, USDA and all regulatory bodies worldwide should be asking themselves is are they willing to risk public health by relying on short-term industry sponsored safety studies on glyphosate and all other pesticides.

    It is time for the regulators (Former Monsanto executives) to support long-term independent science to determine just how damaging glyphosate pesticides are for this and future generations. While these studies are being completed all glyphosate-based herbicides should be removed from the shelves.”

  • JMac

    More Urgent Breaking News

    I’VE DECIDED TO GO ALL CAPS. I’M GOING BIG AND I’M NOT GOING HOME! WHAT A GRAND SUGGESTION.

  • JMac

    LOL! ISIS is not an independent organization but Monsanto researching their own chemical products and giving the thumbs up for mass distribution into the global food chain is TOTALLY INDEPENDENT!

    Yeah, I love it baby!

    I absolutely love this shit!

    I get it. I really get it.

  • JMac
  • JMac

    Ok, this is some very uplifting news. It seems that Roundup weed killer is more powerful than first believed. What a boon for the company. It appears as though Roundup is not only effective at killing weeds but may be doing just as thorough a job of destruction on human kidneys. Exciting times we live in.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/monsantos-roundup-herbicide-killing-kidneys-as-well-as-weeds/5425790

  • JMac

    If you’re poison prostitute you probably don’t need to read this. Surely you already know all about the siloxanes and oxalic acid in the new Roundup formulation which essentially amplifies the potency or toxic effect on bacteria by a thousand fold. You obviously don’t care about people being poisoned. That is strange. I must admit. It is bizarre.

    Roundup consists glyphosate plus surfactants. One of the surfactants used in the newer formulations of Roundup is siloxanes. Siloxanes are used in pharmaceutical drugs to penetrate the cell wall and get the drug into the cell more effectively. Glyphosate and the siloxanes combine to create a new molecule that is a hydrophobic substance. This new molecule is much more toxic to bacterial cells than Glyphosate alone and easily penetrates the bacterial cell wall. Prior to 2005, the formulation for agricultural grade Roundup produced a substance that was roughly 300 times more toxic than Glyphosate alone. In 2005 the surfactants were modified to include more powerful siloxanes, which created an even more toxic formulation than the previous permutation. After 2005 Weathermax Two Roundup is roughly one thousand times more potent than Glyphosate alone. In addition to the newly added siloxanes, oxalic acid was added as an adjuvant to make roundup work faster. Oxalic Acid speeds the glyphosate into plant and allows it to penetrated very quickly, delivering the glyphosate deep into the tissue of the plant.

    And guess what? It Roundup does the same thing inside of you as it attacks your immune system by penetrating the microbes in your gut and delivering its deadly payload.

    We as a society have the good fortune of having this toxic concoction that is much more poisonous than glyphosate alone being sprayed directly on to crops that we convert into food that we eat. There have been precisely zero studies done as to the toxicity of the entire Roundup formulation on mammals. ZERO. Tests have only been carried out on glyphosate alone. I am brimming with confidence. Pass the poison please.

    So when one of the poison prostitutes says that the amount of glyphosate residue in our food is 1/1000 the amount required needed to be biologically relevant, I have to ask myself on question. Why did he use the 1/1000 number? It is almost as if he knew that the surfactants in the new formulation increase the toxicity to mammals roughly one thousand fold. And furthermore, if he claims that glyphosate is only present in amount that are 1/1000 the amount required to be biologically relevant and Monsanto has added siloxanes and oxalic acid which amplify the efficiency of glyphosate the kill bacteria by one thousand times, then we ARE ingesting enough glyphosate for it to be biologically relevant. And we are ingesting it day after day after day with almost every meal we eat. Sounds good. It’s making me hungry.

    Dinner’s at my house tonight and poison’s being served. Just like poison is being served in millions of homes around the world. Thank you Monsanto. Thank you poison prostitutes. Job well done.

    • Eric Bjerregaard

      Wow, surfactants!! Really?? Who’d a thunk it??? Poison prostitutes?. A big old worthless post that boils down to yet another paid by Monsanto accusation. At least your version is catchy sounding.

      • Sir, what do you mean “worthless post?” It does a very credible job of informing about Round-up, and putting things in perspective.

        • Eric Bjerregaard

          No, Shenendoah, Look at the sources he cites. They are from the second set of referees. No credibility. Could there occasionally be something true from one of them. I suppose. But I have read and double checked contentions from those sources over and over again. About 5 years ago I believed some of it. But did not care much as I realized that almost all g.e. foods I could encounter were in processed foods I should not eat anyways. Then I got into a discussion that included a couple agronomists and a guy that helped develop BT corn for Monsanto. They kept coming up with evidence coupled with logical reasoning not based on false premises. No false dilemmas. The anti folks only came up with easily or sometimes time consuming stuff that I could always find errors with. Or lies. And when frustrated they always fall back on the shill/troll crap. No evidence needed. Jmac has phrased it poison prostitutes. Catchy and even a bit more vicious, but stupid just the same.

          • 2,4-D–mucko stuffo!

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            come on you know better than that.
            Shenendoah, While the basic questions you raise have been answered over and over in these discussions. We will not get perfection from any system. People have gotten sick from eating contaminated organic. There is risk when doing most anything. That said I hope you will go to the biofortified site and look for articles in these concerns. Another idea would be to go to the gmo skeptic forum discussion group and post the concerns one issue at a time. Because the folks there often appear to be extremely eager to respond I would choose one or 2 that have a writing/teaching style that you grasp best. Then simply request that only those chosen respond to you so you do not get swamped by dozens of folks eager to share their knowledge.

          • Yes, well that was shorthand. Now here is the longhand– 2,4-D–Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment FINAL REPORT USDA, Forest Service Link–
            http://www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/pesticide/pdfs/093006_24d.pdf

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            That is not a study. That is news that the forest service is taking action that is not based on fact.

          • That is ridiculous. It is a massive and meticulous study. But you raise a good point, that applies to this study no more than it applies to many so-called scientific decisions, say the recent one of the EPA rejecting the NRDC’s petition to stop the use of 2,4-D in the U.S.–to wit, the interpretation of massive bodies of scientific studies is not a staightforward thing–it is so hugely subject to political pressure that those interpretations are in fact poliitically determined, not scientifically determined. A fact, plain and simple, which beggars the claims of so many people on this site that it is and should be science that is determinative in these matters.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            I goofed the first time. I thought you had probably posted the announcement that the forest service was banning what ever it was that they banned recently. I have wasted a lot of time looking stuff that folks like you post. So, I jumped to a conclusion. Fact is though My guess was incorrect. I was correct in that this is not a study. It is largely a position paper that explains the forest services policies regarding 24D. and guess what? They regard it as safe enough to use. Look at page 15 of this for confirmation. Now look at the bottom of the same page. It mentions those who attempted suicide. Attempted means they failed. So, there are examples of people who I drank it and lived. Either read stuff before you post it or maybe even try reading the information I posted. Or perhaps even the comments of Jon and others who have tried to inform you.

          • Not a study–oh that is a good one. Just a statement of their position! Earth to Eric! They found severe problems with 2,4-D! About ½ gram of it will kill many small (1Kg.) animals outright! Gee. Might even tiny amounts of that that chemical mess up the subtle and intricate workings of the biosphere?

          • Do you hear this, all you people who are so wedded to science? You think you have the truth–a lot of what you have is enforced consensus. Enforced in many ways–for a relevant example, unmercifully criticizing and ridIculing people who disagree–throwing all kinds of non-sense at them. Brave scientists!

          • Round-up–how fully studied is Round-up? For health-environmental-ecological effects?

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            This is why I made the suggestion to go to the skeptiforum or biofortified sites. There is info available there 24/7. In this case just google glyphosate safety and then glyphosate long term safety. Then SKIP the wacko propaganda sites. You will not learn anything there. They are useful for only 2 things. Humor and to find specific objections to be answered by actual scientists. For example google seneff debunked. Then choose from university professors like Kevin Folta.

          • I am specifically wanting to know if Roundup Weathermax 2 has been studied.

          • I see no sources mentioned. He explained lots of basics about Roundup. Do you disagree with these?

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Google the studies yourself. There are probably hundreds from universities alone.

          • ??

          • So now I am going to introduce another concept. Even if every GMO that is currently commercially available had been clearly shown to have no problems (which is certainly not the case), that would not imply that all GMO’s are safe–it would imply that with rigorous testing, safe GMO’s can be produced.

          • Someone should reply to this–it is an extremely important point.

          • No one replies to this–because the go-go GMO crowd love to palm off this inane over-simplification–“GMO’s are safe! Science proves it!” Bawderdash!! I will bet you a million dollars that GMO’s can be created that are very unsafe!

  • JMac

    Shocking News!

    Monsanto’s Herbicide Chemical Damages DNA: New Study

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/monsantos-herbicide-chemical-damages-dna-new-study/5426231

    • Anti-GMO propaganda site! that’s reliable! Get back to us when it’s in The Guardian or New York Times!

      • New York Times–all the news thats fit!–And it distorts and lies. At least sometimes.

        • You’re right. It’s not exactly NaturalNews.com and the other junk sites you like to quote from!

          • Yea–like that study I’ve posted that utterly disproves your contention that there is no scientific reason to be concerned about the safety of 2,4-D–a chemical whose use is scheduled to increase hugely because of the poorly-conceived and irresponsible way that GMO’s are being created and used. No one has yet responded to this link–come on people, you seem so sure all GMO’s are a good thing! Deal with this reality! —– 2,4-D Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment FINAL REPORT USDA, Forest Service 2006
            Link–http://www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/pesticide/pdfs/093006_24d.pdf

          • You can post any single study you want. That’s called single study syndrome. The fact is that all the studies ever done were reviewed by the USDA and EPA and they concluded it was not harmful, and they particularly looked at pregnant women and children. So you are back to being a conspiracy theorist–that our career, non-partisan government scientists, reflecting the consensus view of regulatory agencies in North America, EU and Asia, found 2,4-D, which we’ve been using for decades, absolutely safe as used. And it helps deal with the weed resistance. You care nothing for established science. How’s that gold plated picture of Seralini work on your wall these days?

          • Single study syndrome? You can call it a single study. Did you look at it? It was a rigorous attempt, by the U.S. Government, to deal with the known science, as of 2006. It considered hundreds of studies. And it contains, in summation of the science that it reviewed, very strong warnings about 2,4-D. How can you dismiss this massive meta study?
            …… Which brings us to an important issue–which is the political nature of science. Science is not simply made by truth, and does not simply reveal the truth. It is a construction by people, strongly influenced by bias of numeous kinds–for example, by the political nature of the context in which it is done. …….. In other words, science can not just be accepted. It has to be considered with an open mind. Dismissing such a monumental work of scholarship, because other studies disagree, is a shortsighted dereliction of duty.

          • Specifically, it is ignoring solid scientific evidence of serious problems with the use of 2,4-D. Ignore this scientific evidence if you want–doing so is scientifically unlustifiable, and it reveals the true extant of your commitment to science and more importantly, it reveals your lack of dediction to the cause of advancing human health.

          • LOL. The independent scientists and oversight agencies in the world including in Europe disagree with you.

          • Frankly, I believe that the world, and most people in it, have a huge case of ecological insanity and spiritual bankruptcy–both of which cause us to act like selfish pigs.

          • Don’t see this? You are part of an overwhelmingly big club–those who lack insight. And morality.

          • hyperzombie

            Look shenedoah, I think you are just digging a bigger hole here If you really ant to see the GMO issue first hand come on over to my place, The Hoe is behind the garage feel free to start weeding anytime.

          • Finding a sensible approach to ecoculture that does not require too much labor is no easy task–an approach that releases huge amounts of extremely toxic chemicals into our home, the Earth, is clearly not the way to go. It would be better to work long, long hours.

          • When there is a scientific disagreement between reputable authorities, one can’t simply take whoever spoke last as having the whole truth.

          • Nor can one take the word of scientifically illiterate NGOs. It matters if there is a consensus on GMOs among the world’s top scientists..as is confirmed by latest AAAS/PEW study.

          • Link?

          • Scientifically illiterate NGO’s–like the USDA?

          • The topic is 2,4-D and the USDA study–which does have implications regarding the safety and beneficience of today’s GMO’s.

          • Who is the judge of scientific literacy? It seems to me that releasing massive amounts of toxic chemicals into the environment is scientific illiteracy, and stupidity, of a high order.

          • The world’s top scientists have no corner on the truth. Nor is there agreement who deserves that title.

          • 88% agreement–that is no consensus. Why are you trying to steamroller?

          • Jackson

            4% of the US population thinks that lizard people rule the world. I would call 88% a consensus.

          • OK–but that is not the generally held view of the meaning of consensus, according to the dictionaries I looked at.

          • Jackson

            Ok, if you use unanimity as a threshold for consensus, then there is no consensus that lizard people aren’t secretly ruling the world, so we should probably give that idea serious consideration, and it would be foolish to think otherwise.

          • Words aren’t precise, often. I think that rather than speaking of consensus, one should say that “88% of AAAS scientists believe GMO’s are safe to eat.”

          • Saying “there is a consensus on GMOs among the world’s top scientists” is an attempt to bury the opposition. If I were you’ll, I would attempt to become more helpful in what you advocate.

          • Saying “there is a consensus on GMOs among the world’s top scientists” is an attempt to bury the opposition. If I were you’ll, I would attempt to become more helpful in what you advocate.

          • You do realize, I trust, that some /many GMO’s that have been created have been a problem? One probably killed dozens of people.

          • There is not one–NOT ONE–of any documented case if any injury or health problem linked to any GM food or ingredient that has not be linked to conventional or organic varieties. Any other claim is pure hokum–unless of course yo are claiming the NAS, WHO, EFSA, AAASand 100 other of the worlds too science organizations are liars. But that’s what you believe. Pure quackery.

          • See: Showa Denko Tryptophan Disaster —–
            Mr. Entine, the quackery is not mine. 38 people died, and 1500 were injured, after using a product from a GMO. It is true, that while it is highly likely, it is not certain that the GMO caused the deaths and injuries–and this can not be totally clarified, either way, because the Company involved destroyed all of the GMO before it could be fully tested. I don’t suppose that was an illegal act, therefor it did not constitute a conspiracy to destroy evidence; however it was a lousy, self-serving obstruction of justice. I am sure that the Genetic engineering industry loved that destruction of that GMO–it would be decidedly against their interest to have a GMO be the proven cause of deaths and disabilities. As it is, a GMO is only the likely cause of deaths and disabilities. And this, of course, is deeply disputed. And further more, because of our lame media, and people’s widespread unthinking conformity, and group think, this incident is not widely enough known about. So you can deny that any GMO has ever caused unusual harm–but that claim is very unlikely. —– Again, take Arpad Pusztai’s toxic potatoes. One hears it repeated ad infinitum–that study was never replicated! Again, the specific GMO involved was destroyed by the Company who made it and owned it–so of course the study can not be replicated! ———– Your claim that there is not one documented case of injury or health problem linked to a GMO is speculative, full of holes, and specious.

          • I will bet you 1 million dollars that it is totally possible to creat genetically modified plants that cause big problems.

          • Can you produce any references for that? I mean a proper refereed study, not an NGO or activist website post, or some overextrapolated data like the “weak statistical excess weight gain in mice, in a study not primarily intended to look at that” one. Nor that one which confuses glyphosate pesticides (or more accurately, the soap in them rather than the glyphosate) with GMOs.

            As Jon says, the international scientific jury returned their verdict on this a long time ago, so I’m wondering what you are going to produce. And anyway, a hypothetical report of a bad effect of one GMO would say more about the regulatory regime than the whole process — comparatively much less regulated procedures like mutagenesis seem a far more likely place to find problems than highly-regulated transgenics, though.

          • Search: Showa Denko tryptophan disaster–this is real. Complex. A product of a GMO probably killed dozens of people. Search: Arpad Pusztai–Potatoes. Real. Complex. The process of genetically modifying potatoes prabably produced toxic potatoes.

          • You are a fear monger. There are zero issues with approved GMO potatoes, and Pustazi’s research is a joke in mainstream science, as any reputable scientist would tell you. The trypotophan problem had zero to do with GMOs. The trigger was high-potency contamination in a tryptopan compound from a certain Japanese manufacturer–nothing to do with the process of GMOs. http://academicsreview.org/reviewed-content/genetic-roulette/section-1/1-20-gm-microbe-does-not-cause-ems/

          • Extremely complex issues–I frankly have serious doubts as to the ability of anyone to make a fair determination of what occured in either of these two cases, based on the papers avilable online. You can out-right dismiss these two cases–but you are stretching credibility in service of your wish to propagate a myth–that of “The Immaculate Conception” of all GMO’s. It seems to me that such an agenda should be feared–because it is ridiculous and dangerous to even propose the idea that “all GMO’s are safe.” Some may be. Others definately are not. ….. The evidence that the go go GMOers are strongly interested in steamrolling their opposition is abundant, clear, and very troubling. ….. I ask you people, would you fight for something good?

          • Do you think it is a joke that those potatoes, which were headed for commercialization, were destroyed by the owners? Or that people were awakened to the possible problems of GMO’S, which the American government was out-right denying? (And which you, Mr Entine, apparently continue to deny.) Good Work, Mr. Pusztai. Woke some people up to the manifest dangers of unregulated, utterly selfish capitalism–empowered by awesomly powerful biological technology.

          • You think you, or that article, have got the low-down on the trptophan problem–Showa Denko? Based on the literature, I do not. Showa Denko Corp. destroyed the GMO involved before it could be tested. We may never know about that instance.
            Does it make sense to bury your head in the sand, or to mandate, for the first time in this country, that all GMO’s be fully researched, for safety, by the government? (In a smart way.) The second, clearly–though the investors in Monsanto will not walk away with as handsome a windfall profit from GMO’s, in the short run. Don’t you see, we badly need more long-run thinking?

          • Yes–a high potency contamination in a tryptophan compound from a certain Japanese manufacturer who began using a GMO in the manufacturing process shortly before the disaster that killed 37 people and permanently disabled 1500 people. It is not totally clear what was the culprit because there was another change in the manufacturing process around the same time, and Showa Denke destroyed the GMO and the process that had been used before they were fully tested. It is, however, highly possible (50%) that the GMO was the direct cause of multiple deaths and injuries. But this was covered up–the FDA banned all tryptophan supplements in the U.S. for a decade, in a totally, obviously unjustified move that, in fact, hugely benefitted the GMO industry and its owners–because most people never heard of the GMO that, with 50% probability, killed and disabled many thousands of people, before it was withdrawn. Tell me again, with conviction, that no GMO ever caused harm! What an irresponsible over-simplification! It is clear to any one who studies this case that we would be sure of the culprit, if Showa Denko had not destroyed the evidence. Sounds criminal to me.

          • The idea that no GMO ever has been known to have caused serious harm is not only a dangerous over-simplification–it is a clear evidence of the go go GMO mindset, which in fact swings free from evidence.

          • The arguments in the above cited paper in Academics Review is a weak, one sided view of the issue.

          • Pusztai is no joke–he was an expert scientist, more qualified than all but a very few, and doing rigorous government science.

          • Notice the bit where I asked for something solid and reviewed? Anyway, I looked. Here’s my take on what I found, although I’ll admit to just having read the first couple of articles I found on each. They do not support your bold claims of clear toxicity… to put it mildly.

            Showa Denko tryptophan: The first link to come up was of course Wikipedia, which at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Showa_Denko#Tryptophan_contamination mentions and links to two studies criticising the methodology that linked EMS outbreaks to genetically modified bacteria used in tryptophan fermentation… in the late 80’s. Things have moved on somewhat in the intervening 25 years! It’s interesting, but given the criticism that’s as much as one could say. It seems no deeper digging was done. To say “GMO probably killed dozens of people” based on this is wild overinterpretation… you are cherry picking and exaggerating to suit your predetermined conclusion.

            Arpad Pusztai Potatoes: Hey hey hey, Wikipedia again: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pusztai_affair And again, a deeply criticised scientific study — this is hardly a smoking gun for anything. You say “toxic potatoes”, but actually this allegation was unsupported by the data and never published. What was published was that _non-commercial_ GMO variety apparently led to a mild thickening of stomach lining in rats with no toxic or immune symptoms recorded or implied — and even that was highly criticised. The main criticism was that the control group was nutritionally inequivalent, i.e. the stomach mucosa thickening could have been just due to diet. “Statistically significant” does not mean “clinically significant”. There was controversy here, but that doesn’t mean anything.

            Is this really the best you’ve got? Two tenuous studies with criticised statistics and methodology, one of which didn’t even claim adverse effects? Against the vast number of well-designed, uncontroversial studies that indicate no risk? If this is as good as it gets for evidence of GM risks, who needs GM advocates?!

            Finally, even if we hypothetically accept your contention that the 1989 EMS outbreak was really linked to Showa Denko’s tryptophan, as opposed to a known link between large doses of tryptophan and EMS, and that the GMO bacteria in the fermentation were the cause [note: that’s _two_ big “if”s]… does that say anything about all GMOs? Not remotely. It would indicate that biotech is complex, and sometimes things do go wrong — and you would have to acknowledge that both GM techniques and mandatory testing regimes have become more sophisticated in the intervening quarter century. It would be a “lesson to be careful”, not a reason to give up entirely.

            If one were to take that attitude to the fully proven link between organic agriculture and an E. coli outbreak in 2011 which killed 25 and infected thousands, organic would immediately be banned as clearly being a threat to public safety. Are you also arguing to ban organic, where the evidence is so much stronger than in GMOs, and the disease mechanism (uncomposted manure), unlike in your GM examples, is actually present across a wide selection of organic produce?

          • On Showa Denko–well, I read more. It’s not clear, but it looks to me that, in that case, “a GMO probably killed dozens of people”. That is based on critical research. —–I gotta go now.

          • Just a suggestion — reply when you have time to do it properly! And provide references for what you say — hearsay and anecdote are no use. As I stated at length, the Showa Denko connection is at least suspect and it requires *two* disputed things to be true.

            You really appear to be cherry picking to find evidence that supports your preconceptions. How about responding to the comments I made rather than just dismissing/ignoring them and invoking some invisible research that supports your argument? Sorry, “critical research”, whatever that means. How about the point that *even if* there is a case to answer here, it is not representative of GM (specifically transgenic) methods in general, and was 25 years ago? And how do you respond to the point that if you think this tenuous stuff should mandate a veto on GMOs, then surely the much more solid evidence on organic-connected health problems should convince you that it needs to be immediately banned? (That’s not something I believe, but it’s logically impossible to consider one to be dangerous and the other benign or beneficial, based on this evidence.)

          • That’s right, the GMO role in the showa denko disaster is not clear, and can not be made clear because the co. destroyed the GMO in question. Regardless of what happened in that case, this refusal of the go go GMOers to acknowledge that some GMO’s can be toxic is difficult to understand, and seems extremely disingenuous. It seems that you go go GMOers need to propose that all GMO’s made at any time have an “immaculate conception.” I ask you, plead with you, would you grow up?…..
            You think there is scientific consensus about Arpad Pusztai? I think that you all are intellectual bullies. ….. That’s right–a couple instances of toxic GMO’s do not give a basis for rejecting the entire technology. But they do blow away the notion that if GMO’s are “substantially equivalent”, their testing can be foregone–an idea the G.E. industry was supporting–and, under papa Bush, instituted. And they do present concrete evidence that GMO’s can be harmful–a truth that, though it is very obvious, theoretically, many gung-ho GMOers reject as if only a scientific ignoramus could believe such a thing. If you go go GMOers had a modicum of respect for the more informed, and the uninformed public, you might make a contribution. As long as you continue to illustrate that you do not, your ideas are no contribution.

          • Hi Michael,

            Asked to provide evidence of the GMO danger you were touting, you pointed at two tenuous and contested studies, one of which didn’t even claim adverse effects. It is indeed fairly obvious that GMOs *could* be dangerous, as is the case for pretty much any agricultural technology. It’s also obvious that if these are the best smoking guns you can find from 30+ years of commercial GMOs, thenthen industry + regulation are doing an excellent job of protecting consumers from those potential dangers.

            You say that GMOs are all automatically treated as safe, which is completely contradicted by the fact that each new commercial GMO needs to be separately tested, and safety data has been submitted for every one. That makes them more tested then any other food. I note that you chose never to answer any of my points that traditional/organic agriculture is at least as dangerous as GMOs, and probably more. Nasty case of cognitive dissonance?

            PS. What’s “intellectual bullying”? Being held to account for wild and unsupported statements?

          • Hi Andy,

            Those cases are so furiously disputed, at least partly, because many go go GMOers will not admit that GMO’s can be harmful. … Maybe they won’t because it might endanger the whole “substantial equivalence” doctrine, which is a piece of unscientific bunkum foisted on the public by the papa Bush administration to enable rich people to get richer, public be damned. As Dan Quayle, VP, explained at a 1992 press conference, the American biotechnology industry would reap huge profits “as long as we resist the spread of unnecessary regulations.” –like, testing for safety. Consider how crazy that doctrine was, and still is–it is certainly no surprise if people are suspicious of the G.E. industry, and all you go go GMOers, who loudly proclaim that you are so scientific, but who regularly hugely rely on political decisions bought by vast piles of money (much of it dirty, filthy, unearned money.) GMO’s have been developed, not to help people, but to make big bucks for filthy rich people.… If you have some notion of banning organic agriculture, why not just ban humanity–which has been relying on organic agriculture for 10.000 years? ,,,,, Intellectual bullying is burying decent people making arguements in innumerable, repetitive, shifting, pointless attacks—scientifically ignorant! not a farmer! cry baby! uninformed! anti what every informed person knows! not acknowledging the revealed truth! crazy! wild! not supported! not establishment! contrarian! hard-headed! won’t listen! hopeless!—and all the while claiming scientific justification!….

            I’m sorry, Mr. Buckley, I’m certainly not saying you did these things–but the go go GMOers, with some exceptions, have pilled it on thick.

          • There’s nothing to “admit”. There is not one mainstream study that suggests that, in your words, “GMOs can be harmful”–any more than organic food can be harmful. Not one mainstream study in a major peer reviewed journal were any data has shown that and been replicated. Not one. Zero. Zilch. It’s pretty pathetic that your “case” rests on twisting a quoted opinion by a former VP (not VP) four years before the first GM crop was even approved. Every GM crop has been extensively tested, over an average of 6-15 years… unlike organic breed crops including ones created through mutagenesis, all of which are linked to hundreds of deaths every year. This is not about “go go GMOers.” I don’t know anyone who fits that mythical category. I do know people who embrace mainstream empirical science, and then there are ideology pushers who reject mainstream science, and believe that every major science agency of note in the world is involved in a conspiracy. Historically, those are called quacks.

          • Note this Mr. Buckley–Mr. Entine denies that “GMO’s can be harmful”! I believe many go go GMOers feel that way.

            Mr. Entine–all truth is not found in, and does not come from, scientific studies! Very important!

            But some does. It is hard to reproduce studies when the companies who owned the GMO’s in question destroyed them totally–true in the Showa Denko affair, and with Pusztai’s potatoes (Which were planned to be commercialized.) Very hard. No, impossible. So all you go go Gmoers should be a bit more careful before spouting your buzz words, “That study was not reproduced.”

            If every GMO ever grown in this country is tested fully, I’m glad. But I remember when Dan Quale made his announcement. I still don’t understand this issue fully enough, but at some level, it is not legally required by the U.S. government that GMO’s be tested, as long as they are “substantially equivalent” to the organisms they resemble. Much government oversight and involvement was bypassed in this scientifically completely unjustified bow to industry–a demotion of government very unusual in the world of today.

            Mutagenesis should, likewise, be regulated.

            Do you have any idea how many people are directly killed by pesticides every year, due to a short term exposure? Many. Do you have a good idea of the long-term impact of pesticides? Nobody does–not any scientist, paper, journal, or scientific organization. But there is ample reason to believe that it is very significant, and very negative.

          • I believe that this is, more exactly, what Dan Quale said–“The US is already the world leader in ‘biotechnology’, and we want to keep it that way. In 1991 alone, it was a 4 billion dollar industry; it should reach at least 50 billion dollars by the year 2000, as long as we resist the spread of unnecessary regulation.”

          • That was one persons opinion with zero power in 1992 to influence anything. But I can’t imagine anyone would disagree. No one with a brain wants unnecessary regulation. Turns out that’s what we have now. GM technology, considering it’s safer than traditional breeding, is way over regulated. So the crazies–your team–won.

          • Dan Quale was a spokeman for the executive branch…I don’t think government researching the safety of crops produced by a very new and certainly potentially harmful technology is to any degree unnecessary regulation. What is a primary goal of government? To protect, to advance, the health and welfare of all the people! For example, by studying the changing world…It is utterly unjustified to say that GM technology is safer than traditional breeding… Monsanto is wringing there hands–all the way to the bank… Thanks again for your sobering bequest.

          • Well, sorry that you’ve met people on the pro-GMO side who are “religious” in their support of the technology. But I hope you’re aware that there are an awful lot more of them on the “anti” side, and that the anti-zealots are much more often in contradiction to the bulk of good quality data than the pro ones are.

            I can barely read your middle paragraph… sounds more like politics and conspiracy theory than science to me. See the bit at the top about science trumping ideology? There is nothing intrinsically wrong with companies making money — that economic model has its limitations, of course, but R&D firms which make profit from innovative products that people buy are at the virtuous end of capitalism.

            On organic agriculture, I think not even you believe that modern organic uses the same techniques as 10,000 years ago. It has evolved throughout the intervening time, sometimes quite controversially. Big organic producers stick to the letter of that movement’s rules rather than the spirit, and their operations are a *long* way from smallholdings and vegetable gardens. They should be subject to the same scrutiny as other methods, especially when there are many documented cases of links to E. coli outbreaks. Saying that it would be ridiculous to criticise organic for those problems is like saying that bloodletting was an established medical technique for thousands of years so should be exempt from regulation now.

            Technology *can* improve things — it’s not guaranteed to, of course — and when a better technology is readily available and safe (I’m not even talking about GM here), it starts to be irresponsible *not* to use it. That is obviously the situation for bloodletting; it would be hyperbole to imply that the situation is as extreme for organic vs. conventional farming. But while there are not directly lives at risk, the increasing demand for agricultural resources means that the logical case for organic is increasingly shaky — a first world luxury driven by rose-tinted luddism, nostalgia, and fear.

            PS. Is it just me who finds it ironic that on one thread you can demonize those who (in your opinion) are too dismissive of a handful of very tenuous GMO-linked deaths, while here you happily dismiss the relevance of many deaths and thousands of infections linked to organic production?

            PPS. If you can handle the ick factor, it’s likely that the 2011 German E. coli outbreak stemmed from *human* faeces in the fertilizer slurry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Germany_E._coli_O104:H4_outbreak Nice.

          • Re: PS–I don’t dismiss the relevance of deaths linked to organic agriculture. I do think the idea of banning organic agriculture is senseless.

          • There is this mantra–“GMO’s are no different than other plant breeding.” If you believe that, I’ve got a superhighway to sell you.

          • I didn’t say that — it is different. It is more precise and controlled. And as I’ve said repeatedly, any risk inherent in a more powerful technique is ameliorated by the strict testing regime.

            Care to address any of the points I actually made?

          • Not you, but many go go GMOers say that, or something very like it. ….. I will address your points. But what does it mean that, as long as a specific GMO is “substantially equivalent”, it does not need to be tested. Isn’t that what Dan Quale said?

          • No, it isn’t. Substantial equivalence rules that if testing for key biochemical markers shows a GM product to not be significantly different from the conventional equivalent, then further, more detailed testing is not needed. That makes perfect sense, and judged by the data it has been a successful and proportionate testing regime. The things that can harm people are biochemicals, not evil GM magic: if the chemicals are the same, then there is little risk and little need to burden the producer with unnecessary tests. In fact it’s such a reasonable scheme that it would make sense to roll it out to other forms of biotech breeding/engineering which are currently exempt.

          • Just as I said–if “key biochemical markers” are not significantly different, then “detailed testing is not needed.” That makes perfect sense?? That is an effort to make bigger profits for the industry, public health be damned. “Key biochemical markers” is clearly not sufficient to cover all possible contaminants created by the genetic engineering. “If the chemicals are the same” does–but it is not the same thing. “Key” biochemical markers have to be not substantially different–that absolutely implies that not “all” biochemical markers have to be not substantially different. In other words, contaminants can be ignored. In other words, “Science? Who needs science. We can just assume that similar is the same.” In other words, all GMO’s need not be fully tested. That is what Dan Quale said, speaking for the U.S. government. ….. If that has not been, and never will be, the practice of the USG, I am glad. But it is what Dan Quale said, speaking for the Bush administration, the USG, the Republicans, and all the go go GMOers everywhere.

          • Your definition of “fully tested” is the impossibility of testing every aspect and insisting on perfect agreement. That is scientifically and economically illiterate. Testing regimes need to be proportionate to risk. Since there have been no identified incidents of this regime going wrong, what are you up in arms about? There are intrinsically riskier technologies which are not tested at all: why aren’t you first complaining about those?

          • Part of the reason GMO’s are being tested as much as they are being tested is because the public demands it, regardless of the go-go GMOers saying that to test is a waste of time and money–you see, their scientists have already proven the immaculate conception of all GMO’s.

          • I have little interest in conspiracies. However, when a company breaks the law, that is, by definition, a conspiracy.

          • It’s scary to think what it must like to see the world through your conspiracy addled brain! A conspiracy means a group of people “plot” or “conspire” to break the law. The mere fact of breaking a law does not at all mean its a conspiracy. For example, Whole Foods recently broke the law, paying a fine of $800,000 for charging more than the advertised price for a basket full of goods. No conspiracy there..just a law broken. You are so paranoid. Evil companies lurk behind every bush, conspiring to turn everyone into fat GMO riddled robots. LOL

          • I never think in terms of or about conspiracies, using that word or any other. Virtually never. So I do not know how to use the word. ….. As usual, words have alternate meanings. One of the meanings for “conspiracy” is “a combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose”. That is extremely close to “a combination of persons in a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose.” That would include any company breaking any law. So pardon my misuse of language. I never have worried about any conspiracy. Do so if it suits you.

          • That is not the definition of a conspiracy, and anyway what are you talking about? You keep inventing straw men and avoiding the actual questions.

          • Dan Quale did say, ((The GMO industry will grow much fast)) “”as long as we resist the spread of unnecessary regulations.”

          • And that was probably true. Good government (which I’m not necessarily attributing to Bush-Quayle…) doesn’t burden with unnecessary regulations. The key word is “unnecessary”. The substantial equivalence principle still involves biochemical testing on key markers, it is not an a priori assumption of safety. It also acknowledges that non-GMO foods are not 100% toxin free.

            Where is your data showing that this approach to regulation has failed to sufficiently protect the public?

          • Epidemiological studies of the safety of GMO’s have not been done–i.e., data has not been collected in a rigorous way. This is very convenient for go go GMOers. When you don’t look, you find no evidence!

          • This is where we started: that’s not how epidemiological studies are organised. The lack of studies which finger GMOs *is* indicative of a lack of problems: for once lack of evidence really does indicate a lack of problem.

          • Or at least lack of noticing that there is a problem.

          • I am very concerned about the future of GMO’s–the coming decades. What horrors might be cooked up? With thinking like, “What could go wrong? GMO’s are safe!”–which seems to be very common among go go GMOers–we may face some real problems.

          • Performing in-depth study of every GMO is not excessive–but I believe that in some degree it is not required in this country, as long as the GMO is Substantially Equivalent–a phrase not clearly defined.

          • GMO’s do not have to be labelled. Why? Because rich interests have spent about 100 million dollars opposing labeling. Consumer groups have been massively outspent.

          • Off-topic again…

          • I thought that the topic was, “Conflicting Views on GMO’s.”

          • We were talking about danger, then you turned to anti-capitalism, and now to labelling. Within each thread it would help to stick to the GMO-related issue being discussed, rather than switch to another criticism every time there’s an awkward question.

          • I haven’t avoided one question because it is awkward. My time for this is limited. Do you have any idea how many of my good points have not been answered? Many. That’s the way it goes.

          • R & D is great. But stuffing your creations down people’s throats is not–it is deceitful, arrogant, and a disservice to humankind.

          • No-one is doing that. And this doesn’t answer any point raised, or stick to the topics. I’m giving up…

          • I’m sorry, but that is ridiculous. When GMO crops, which use a new and not fully tested technology, are sold without informing many millions of people, they are stuffed down peoples throats–by the oligarchy. Democracy? Baloney. In this country, we’ve got plutocracy.

          • And the existence of the totally, clearly unconstitutional Federal Reserve System, which is the biggest theft in the history of humanity, proves it.

          • When you spend 40 million dollars oppossing widely supported labeling laws, because you are afraid that people would not buy them if they had a choice, you are cramming them down people’s throats, and proving your fascistic tendencies.

          • Science deals, properly, only with scientific questions. The proper human behavior is not a scientific question.

          • “I think not even you believe…” – – – Thanks.

          • That’s based on what you said in these comments — that you acknowledge that there are safe GMOs, but that you are concerned that not all are safe. So you agree that GM technology is not intrinsically dangerous, but that it confers a risk… in which case the issue is to make sure that any GM product approved for commercial use is safe. That’s what’s done, and the evidence is that that regulatory framework has been successful. What’s your evidence or argument to the contrary?

          • I did not acknowledge that “GM technology is not intrinsically dangerous.” GM technology is intrinsically dangerous, and has to be monitored closely. I have serious doubts about the regulatory framework–related to the doctrine, or pipedream, of “substantial equivalence”–which was and is naked profiteering.

          • On organic agriculture–you people who criticize organic agriculture so much are in for some shocks. One, as fossil fuels become very expensive, which will happen very soon if we are to survive as a society, land fertilization the old-fashioned, organic way will become, once again, extremely common. Two, if people do not continue to move away from chemical insanity, which has been plaguing our society for several decades, and which organic agriculture is an attempt to do, we will find life on Earth hugely degraded. Three, if we continue to treat farming as an industry, successful if it reaps huge profits for already rich people, rather than as the arena of humanities struggle for life, farms will become increasingly sterile, chemicalized, and unfit for life.

          • LOL again. Fossil fuels, whatever your feelings/analysis of them, remain abundant and only a fraction of the cost of alternative fuels, and will likely remain that way well into the 22nd century, say experts. Organic farming is far more fossil fuel intensive than farms that use key GM crops that don’t require tilling on those gas guzzling tractors favored by organic farmers. In fact, the sustainability advantages of conventional/GMO farming over old fashioned organic farming is overwhelming. As for use of chemicals, per acre usage of chemicals has been on a steady decline for 20 years on conventional farming while rising on organic farming. But why let the facts stand in the way of your ideology.

          • Yea–and experts say the climate is being screwed by fossil fuels, and that the only responsible course is to leave as much of them as possible in the ground. And if we go on using them anything like the way we have been, kiss it goodby. …The relative fuel use of conventional versus organic depends on the farming system. …You think you can spread your herbicides, no problem. I think that you are being scientifically ignorant, shortsighted, and blind. You think conventional farming is sustainable! Go ahead, ignore global warming. All the Republicans do! I think you are dooming us, with that thinking! Go ahead, spread your environmental toxins! You think that you can use any darn chemical that you cook up! I think you are biologically, ecologically, toxicologically, and technologically infantile. And are acting accordingly. On everyone’s planet! Thank you so much!

          • Care to answer the questions, rather than issue ideological politics rants that don’t respond to any of the points that I made?

            Concepts like “chemical insanity” are unsupported by data and reality, in which aggregated toxicity from ag chemicals is *decreasing*. What are you actually proposing, on what factual basis, and is it GM technology or ag chemicals that bother you? This is all very incoherent, and you seem unable to support your position with anything other than ideology, unsupported assumptions, and overinterpretation of dodgy data.

          • You can dismiss your own mortality, if you want to. I mean, you are a unique person, as is everyone. Maybe things will be different, for you.

          • As industrial agriculture takes over the world, I doubt that toxicity from ag chemicals is decreasing, overall.

          • I don’t consider myself anti-GMO. I am anti ecological destruction, anti pollution, anti chemical insanity, anti excessive selfishness (in other words, anti-selfishness), anti group think, anti intellectual steam-rolling, anti plutocracy, anti arrogance, anti propaganda, anti scientism, anti violence, and anti cruelty.

          • That’s an awful lot of antis. The ideology is that you think there’s strong evidence that GMO and biotech are a problem by the above standards, regardless of the bulk of evidence.

            All you can produce in support of your view is two old, seriously dubious controversies, and a load of lame slogans and name-calling (“go go GMO”, “Repiglican”… I’m not even in the US and that last one makes me cringe).

            I think I answered all your points, hence the long comments. Please let me know which I didn’t. I’ve not seen any answers from you explaining why there is evidence for current regulation being inadequate, nor why GMO technology is a more immediate threat than others which have large and verifiable health impacts every year. And please don’t bring up Pusztai and Showa Denko again — if that’s all you’ve got, you lose.

            Bye.

          • Right–GMO’s massively increase the use a herbicide deemed a serious health hazard by the U.S. Forest Service, and other even more toxic herbicides, and you think it is no problem.

            You aren’t in the U.S.–perhaps you are unaware of the many shameful positions advocated by many Republicans. >>There is no such thing as human-caused Global Warming! It is the biggest hoax ever! Let them eat cake! We’ve got the strongest military–if other countries get in our way, or bother us, or do not do things our way, or, my God, share too much wealth with the poor people, blow them to hell! We don’t want socialism to be successful–anywhere! Force regime change! I have little respect for the positions or actions of such monumentaly selfish, violent, ignorant people.

            And what happened to the doctrine of “substantial equivalence”, which was embraced and instituted by G. Bush senior and which allowed GMO’s to be used without being thoroughly tested? Will the next Republican President re-institute it? Probably. I would like to you to speak more to this–an old point, not adequately covered.

            GM technology is a more immiediate threat because who knows what will happen with it? Are utterly selfish companies going to control it, with little regulation or concern for others? How is it that, initially at least, GMO’s were given a bye, being mainly unexamined by scientists not from the industry?

            How is it that responsible studies by reputable scientists can be dismissed and ignored? Just because they are not in our blessed land? How is it that when evidence of serious problems appears, the companies involved simply destroy that G.M. variety–and ye of little thought say, “there was, in fact, no problem.”

            What will the genetic modifiers do when resistance develops–to Bt, roundup, 2,4-D, and Dicamba–which will occur? Are more toxic chemicals in store for us?

            Sure some people die from sloppy organic farming. Do you know how many people die from pesticides every year? Many. How many people suffer deleterious health impacts due to pesticides every year–every day? Nobody knows this last one–but it is many.

            And what are all you people who love to pile it thick on organic agriculture going to do as fossil fuel fertilizers become unavailable? Try to put that time in the future another 50 years? Condeming us all to climate catastrophy!

            Dismiss Pusztai and Showa Denko. I am sick of hearing this mindless refrain, “No GMO has ever hurt anybody anyway!!! Or at least, no more than organic agriculture!” You wish.

            Lose? Heck, GMO’s cover the Earth–and did before I ever began writing on Genetic Literacy Project. I would be pleased if some people realized that it is important to work with nature, not against her. It’s not that nature puts in hours, doing for us what we have to do for ourselves. It’s that, if we are to live successfully, we have to do things in a way that works, in the real world. Spreading toxic chemicals on the Earth is not the way to go. Allowing a tiny fraction of society to garner most of the wealth and power is not the way to go. Trampling on natural systems is not the way to go. Monopolization of media by the rich is not the way to go. Control of science by selfish people is not the way to go. Limiting oneself to scientific considerations is not the way to go.

            Bye.

          • Lots of big accusations there, but little or no data. Again. You can’t have a sensible discussion of risk without numbers, but all you’re providing is adjectives and ideology.

            For example “Do you know how many die from pesticides?… Many.” Er, so you don’t know either?! There are lots of people — you haven’t even given an order of magnitude, let alone a reasonable comparison to other things that people die from. And “No GMO has hurt people, at least more than organic… You wish.” — as far as I’m aware that’s in complete contradiction to all evidence: I hope you have some really good factual backing for it… right?

            Good to see you acknowledge that your interpretation of “substantial equivalence” doctrine isn’t even in operation. But no doubt demonic Republicans… sorry, Repiglicans are planning to do so, because they just like being evil. Along with the evil media, the selfish people who control science, peak oil, and industry scientists corrupted by utterly selfish companies. So many straw men, so little time…

            I’m actually giving up now. Take it easy, that view of the world has got to be pretty stressful.

          • I have cited this study several times in this discussion–
            http://www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/pesticide/pdfs/093006_24d.pdf

            People have tried to dismiss this study–but if anyone does so, they ought to admit that they are abandoning science and just doing whatever they please.

            But most valuable thought, in fact, is not “Data” driven. It is driven by experience. What we are after is understanding. Not only scientific understanding–understanding of the real world.

            How many people die from pesticides every year? Estimates run from thousands to hundreds of thousands.

            Gee, when you refuse to credit evidence that contradicts you, you find no credible evidence contradicting you! Airtight!

            I don’t really think that Republicans, or anyone else, likes being evil. I think many people are seriously confused about what is good.

            Substantial Equivalence–the idea was to institute it at the highest levels. And if the Republicans always controlled the Presidency, it would still be in effect. Now that zillionaires and corporations can more easily spend their zillions of (often filthy) dollars buying elections, the presidency (and the congress and the courts) is swinging to the right. You think the reasonable regulation of GMO’s, requiring full testing, is firmly in place in America? That is a mere pipe dream (what is in that pipe is probably not a GMO.) All the “scientific geniuses,” who think GMO’s are forever immaculately conceived, will insist–“testing? Why test? What could go wrong? The best science in the world proves that no GMO ever has been or ever could be a problem.” Amazing insight.

            Straw men–right. How stupid can I be, to think global warming is serious! Better to not even worry about it. NPK fertiliser will last forever.

            And to think that the selfishness of rich people is a problem in the world today! I am so glad that the killing of each one of those millions of people the USG has directly and deliberately killed, since WWII, has been justified, appropriate, wise, and good.

            Propaganda? Heck, that stuff is just fertilizer for the mind!

            It may be less stressful, or easier, to be less conscious. I choose consciousness, and good.

          • Must… resist… troll…. bait.

            Aw, I just can’t resist. Let’s focus on the Forestry Service document, because the rest of your comment was garbled ideological nonsense.

            So, the doc: did you even read it? It’s a collation of technical data on 2,4-D and makes it clear at the beginning that the Forestry Service’s main safety concern with it is with the FS personnel who spray it being exposed to larger than normal doses. It is basically a data sheet and risk assessment, which concludes that 2,4-D is approved for use with appropriate exposure minimisation by sprayers, but that less toxic pesticides (e.g. glyphosate) should be used when available (see the executive summary on page xiv). What was it that made you think this was some sort of contentious scientific killer proof against 2,4-D? And anyway, why are we now jumping topic *yet again* to a pesticide that I never mentioned?

            To deconstruct this document a bit more, Eric B has pointed this out where you brought it up elsewhere on this thread, focusing on the human health risk assessment at the bottom of page xv. There are some human health effects, unsurprisingly: it is an eye irritant and can have toxic effects if orally consumed repeatedly at a level sufficiently high that it can’t be urinated out. There are no genetic or carcinogenic effects. Did any of these things concern you?

            On page xix is the ecological risk assessment. Let me quote at length, because it’s really quite clear about the mildness of the risk that 2,4-D poses:
            “Based on classification schemes for acute toxicity developed by U.S. EPA, 2,4-D is slightly to moderately toxic to mammals; practically non-toxic to moderately toxic to birds; and practically non-toxic to honey bees. Among mammals, dogs are more sensitive than other species to the effects of 2,4-D due to their limited capacity to excrete organic acids. The U.S. EPA classifies the toxicity of 2,4-D to freshwater and marine fish as practically non-toxic for 2,4-D acid/salts and highly toxic for esters. A similar pattern of toxicity is observed for aquatic invertebrates and amphibians. 2,4-D does not cause effects on reproduction or fetal development in birds or mammals at exposures which do not cause toxic effects in maternal animals.” That doesn’t sound very concerning, does it? It then mentions that 2,4-D can be toxic to non-target plants, which is not exactly surprising for a herbicide.

            Did you actually read the document? What were you trying to draw attention to?

            I promised I was going to stop wasting time on this non-discussion, and I’ve broken my rule. But please come back to this with something on-topic and factual, or I’m going to keep my word and stay quiet from now on. Bye.

          • m

          • I say “How many people die from pesticides every year? Estimates run from thousands to hundreds of thousands”–you say “garbled ideological nonsense.” Oh really? “The World Health Organization (1992) reports that roughly three million pesticide poisonings occur annually and result in 220,000 deaths worldwide.” Quote taken from>> http://ipmworld.umn.edu/chapters/pimentel.htm

            So you think an adequate legal process requiring thorough testing is firmly in place? The evidence does not support that. Ever hear of Ted Cruz? How about son and brother Bush?

            A quote from that Forest Service paper–

            “For many pesticides, including 2,4-D, accidental exposure scenarios, some of which are extremely conservative and perhaps implausible, lead to risk quotients that exceed the level of concern. 2,4-D is, however, somewhat atypical because many non-accidental exposure scenarios – i.e., exposures that are plausible under normal conditions of use – also exceed the level of concern and often by a very substantial margin.

            “Unless steps are taken to mitigate risks, workers involved in the application of 2,4-D and members of the general pubic who consume vegetation contaminated with 2,4-D could be exposed to 2,4-D levels greater than those which are generally regarded as acceptable. In some cases, the exceedances are substantial. Similarly, adverse effects in the normal use of 2,4-D salts or esters could occur in groups of nontarget organisms including terrestrial and aquatic plants, mammals, and possibly birds. Adverse effects on aquatic animals are not likely with formulations of 2,4-D salts except for accidental and extreme exposures at the upper ranges of application rates. The ester formulations of 2,4-D are much more toxic to aquatic animals and adverse effects are plausible in sensitive species and sometimes in relatively tolerant species.

            “The results of this risk assessment suggest that consideration should be given to alternate herbicides and that the use of 2,4-D should be limited to situations where other herbicides are ineffective or to situations in which the risks posed by 2,4-D can be mitigated.”

            This is evidence of serious scientific concerns about the pesticide
            2,4-D.

            You don’t think it is very concerning–moderately toxic to mammals (especially dogs), non-to-moderately toxic to birds, highly toxic, in some forms, to fish, aquatic invertebrates and amphibians. Sure–blow it off. It is a toxin in the biosphere. I read somewhere that it kills 10% to 30% of soil microorganisms.

            Yea, that is the M.O. for industrial man–what’s a few toxins? Heck, they are no problem. You all are short-sighted, you give way too much credit to your puny science, you are out of touch with life, and you spread poisins.

            That is to say, the lack of precaution and respect with which you treat life makes me realize how dangerous it is to leave potent tools–like Genetic Engineering–in your hands, or the hands of anyone who has but little care and concern for others, even though they be far away. Which shows that Genetic Engineering must be closely regulated, widely discussed, and used always with a view towards our remaining in harmony with nature.

          • It’s a concern, yes. But bear in mind that the “acceptable” level is itself set conservatively low, and the whole point of this document (not a scientific study, but a FS policy document based on a survey of existing scientific data) is to provide input for the risk mitigation strategies to be used by the FS. It’s an example of a proportionate approach to risk (i.e. *potential* harm through misuse), not evidence of actual damage.

            On the rate of pesticide poisoning… well, “poisoning” requires some careful definition. Those numbers sound significantly higher than I would expect based on this much more recent (2012) study of pesticide exposures in the US: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22732070 I’ve not tried to cherry-pick this and am not claiming that it is more correct — it was just the first reputable-looking paper that came up in a search for “deaths from pesticide exposure”, and is pleasingly recent. To quote from the abstract:

            “An average of 23 deaths occur each year with pesticides as the underlying cause of death, most due to suicidal ingestions. An average of 130,136 calls to poison control centers were reported from 2006 to 2010, with an average of 20,116 cases (17.8%) treated in health care facilities annually.”

            So, quite a numerical mismatch. 130k calls in the US could maybe extrapolate to 3M worldwide… it sounds a bit high, but perhaps. But 23 US deaths — extrapolating to 220k worldwide? If true, it sounds like the rest of the world has a lot to learn about pesticide handling from the US. And note that most of those deaths were suicides and so can’t be reasonably considered as an accidental environmental hazard — heck, this rate is low even among suicides: there are 41k of those in the US per year http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm . O(10) deaths per year is in the noise, particularly when considered against the economic value (which feeds into widespread quality of life and saving of lives) provided by pesticides. This sort of equation is subjective and admittedly rather cold-blooded, but clearly the reasonable way to balance risk is not to try and ban it altogether.

            This is a bit of a false dichotomy, though: I don’t think anyone is arguing that it wouldn’t be nice to reduce pesticide usage levels, or that pesticides pose no health risk at all. Indeed there are plenty of pro-biotech voices on GLP who are vocally enthusiastic about the *reduction* in toxicity in going from older pesticides to gyphosate in particular, and about the overall *reduced* need for spraying with e.g. GMO Bt species. But as long as the technology to remove pesticides altogether does not exist, they need to be considered as a component of the agricultural toolkit, in inverse proportion to their harmfulness.

            From these linked documents I only see evidence of responsible monitoring, a drive to more stringent standards, and repeated guidance to keep pesticide applications to a minimum. Hence the FS preference for less toxic alternatives to 2,4-D *when possible*. It is not always possible — the job, be it forestry management or farming, still needs to be done.

          • You say, “as long as the technology to remove pesticides altogether does not exist.” Maybe not totally–but farming methods do exist that drastically reduce or end the need for pesticides. Many contributors to GLP love to throw the kitchen sink at organic agriculture–but it can accomplish a great deal. We need to use much much less fossil fuels to farm, and this is urgent!

            OK, all you people who think your scientific knowledge is so advanced: tell me what you know about the health and ecological effects of the innumerable combinations of modern agriculture chemicals that occur everywhere? No, I will tell you–almost zilch. And there are studies that indicate this could be a severe problem. See Pesticides and Aggression, Peter Montague. See>> C.A. Boyd, M.H. Weiler and W.P. Porter, “Behavioral and neurochemical changes associated with chronic exposure to low-level concentration of pesticide mixtures,” JOURNAL OF TOXICOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH Vol. 30, No. 3 (July 1990), pgs. 209-221.

            In other words, we do not know what we have been doing. This issue alone, the massive ignorance of the effects of mixtures of chemicals, means that all you supposedly scientifically informed modern people are in fact as blind as blind as bats and as careless as drunks. And now you want to muck with the DNA? God help us.

            As I said, it is unclear how many die due to pesticides every year. Many. We have got to get our use of them under control.

            Insects resistant to Bt have already occured in at least 5 countries.

            Autism incidence in the U.S. increased 20% in just 3 years, recently.

            “As capital increases, nature decreases.” Why is that? Because people are acting like ecologically ignorant, selfish morons.

          • Pardon me for briefly losing my head and once referring to “Repiglicans.” It is just that that party regularly advocates such astonishingly selfish, small minded things, I sometimes deal with it poorly—Unions are the enemy! Blow the enemies (at least, if they are in other countries) to hell! Profits before people! One dollar, one vote. All dollars are created equel. Corporations are people, and have every constitutional right. Pollution doesn’t matter! Gut the E.P.A.! Criticize me and that proves that you are a conspiracy theorist! A few media companies, which we totally own or control, are enough to inform everybody of everything! Monopolize the internet! Keep the people stupid! We own the science journals and the universities–therefor, we own the truth! Big Ag. knows best! If they say it is good, count on it! They have developed GMO’s out of the goodness of their hearts, to benefit humankind!

          • Data does not the real world make.

          • Actually, it’s the _only_ way to know what’s real. Without good data everyone is subject to confirmation biases, cherry picking, and other ways to fool themselves. That doesn’t mean that data should be directly translated into policy, but it should be a substantial component of it and not lightly dismissed.

            You have an ideological narrative which is very compelling but for some reason even though it *must* be true, you can’t find any solid data. Every time you produce a citation, some GLP commenters point out that it doesn’t say what you’d like it to. So, since your story must be true, science and data are wrong. Plus, er… you’re all fascists! Yeah. Compelling stuff.

            There’s no point in me continuing to reply: with comments like this, you’re making my point better than I could possibly hope to. Bye!

          • Yes well take the issue, which I’ve raised a couple times, of the environmenal and personal health impacts of the massive and varied combinations of chemicals created by people. This issue, as far as I have found, has been woefully inadequately studied. Which is to say that not much data has been collected relevant to this issue. Does that mean that this issue is unimportant? No, it means that data must be collected hastily, or we will remain just ignorant about what we are doing.

            Even with good data people are subject to and regularly indulge in all kinds of weak inferance drawing.

            You want some data? Here–the fecundity of non-human North America, the biological richness and diversity of North America, has hugely decreased since it’s colonization by Europeans.

          • But biological diversity has increased as a result of the use of GM crops. So by your logic we need more!

          • Drenching the land with 2,4-D, Roundup Weathermax 2, and Dicamba are not increasing biological dicersity. The opposite.

          • SageThinker

            We should love to see good data showing that glyphosate does not disrupt the mammalian gut microbiome, but such data does not exist, for the studies have not been done. In this case, it is the *absence* of good data that is a red flag crying out “danger, danger Will Robinson”.

          • I am pro lots of things to. I am pro-biosphere. I am pro-humanity. I am pro-life (but not in the narrow anti-abortion sense.) I am pro-understanding. I am pro-science. I am pro-intelligence. I am pro-development. I am pro-spirituality. I am pro-discussion. I am pro-respect. I am pro-love.

          • Is Genetic Engineering a problem by the above standards? That depends on how it is used. I know many people like to pretend that no GMO could possibly do, or ever has done, harm–but that is transparently ridiculous.

          • Hi Andy,

            Those cases are so furiously disputed, at least partly, because many go go GMOers will not admit that GMO’s can be harmful. … Maybe they won’t because it might endanger the whole “substantial equivalence” doctrine, which is a piece of unscientific bunkum foisted on the public by the papa Bush administration (at the behest, quite directly, of Monsanto) to enable rich people to get richer, public be damned. As Dan Quayle, VP, explained at a 1992 press conference, the American biotechnology industry would reap huge profits “as long as we resist the spread of unnecessary regulations.” –like, testing for safety. Consider how crazy that doctrine was, and still is–it is certainly no surprise if people are suspicious of the G.E. industry, and all you go go GMOers, who loudly proclaim that you are so scientific, but who regularly hugely rely on political decisions bought by vast piles of money (much of it dirty, filthy, unearned money.) GMO’s have been developed, not to help people, but to make big bucks for filthy rich people.… If you have some notion of banning organic agriculture, why not just ban humanity–which has been relying on organic agriculture for 10.000 years? ,,,,, Intellectual bullying is burying decent people making arguements in innumerable, repetitive, shifting, pointless attacks—-scientifically ignorant! not a farmer! cry baby! uninformed! anti what every informed person knows! not acknowledging the revealed truth! crazy! wild! not supported! not establishment! conspiracy theorist! contrarian! hard-headed! won’t listen! set in his ways! hopeless! quacks!—-and all the while claiming scientific justification, and purity.

            I’m sorry, Mr. Buckley, I’m certainly not saying you did these things–but the go go GMOers, with exceptions, have pilled it on thick.

          • Note this Mr. Buckley–Mr. Entine denies that “GMO’s can be harmful”! I believe many go go GMOers feel that way. (see below)

          • I don’t find any such statement below — maybe you could link to the specifc comment that you’re referring to?

            I’d be surprised if JE did say that, but of course can’t speak for him. If someone set out to engineer e.g. a vegetable which produced a human toxin throughout its flesh then it could certainly be harmful. (Although that would not *necessarily* be a big problem — potatoes naturally do exactly that, but cooking them denatures the toxin: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanine)

            The nice thing about gene-wise GM as opposed to less precise mutagenics etc. is that the mechanism of toxin production (or of beneficial features) is understood and can be controlled with some confidence. Intrinsically this means that transgenics are of relatively low risk if used responsibly. Given a fairly tough regulatory system for introducing new species and variants into the food chain (except via “traditional” techniques…), biotech companies are even more motivated to produce safe and effective GM products rather than wasting time sloppily or maliciously engineering toxic ones which will not pass approval testing.

            Indeed there are no indications of GM-linked toxicity in the commercial food-chain. And what I see Jon saying below is consistent with that — not that it would be impossibly for GM organisms to be toxic or otherwise dangerous, but that there has been no evidence of such problems in practice, and that the nature of genetic engineering is that the intrinsic risk is *lower* than in some other methods.

          • Jon Entine, below, denies that GMO’s can be harmful–“There’s nothing to “admit”. There is not one mainstream study that suggests that, in your words, “GMOs can be harmful”–any more than organic food can be harmful. Not one mainstream study in a major peer reviewed journal were any data has shown that and been replicated. Not one. Zero. Zilch.” ……Key words–“and been replicated.” Brilliant. The companies who created, and owned, the GMO’s shown to be harmful in the Pusztai study and the Shento Diowa tryptophan disaster destroyed the offending GMO’s before they could be fully tested. How helpful of them! How public spirited! Note–GMO’s can be harmful, and to deny that is just idiotic. Biologically blind. Dangerous.

          • Key words–“and been replicated.” Brilliant. The companies who created, and owned, the GMO’s shown to be harmful in the Pusztai study and the Shento Diowa tryptophan disaster destroyed the offending GMO’s before they could be fully tested. How helpful of them! How public spirited!

          • GMOs were *not* shown to be harmful by Pusztai — check the paper. If you’re going to keep on wilfully misrepresenting the data we’re discussed, there is no point in this conversation.

            I suspect that Jon meant that there is no evidence of tested & approved commercial GMOs being harmful; as I said *I* think that they could hypothetically be harmful, but that the understanding of the science is sufficiently good that the intrinsic risk is very low, reduced to *extremely* low by the testing regime. You haven’t answered why you are so scandalised by a testing regime which has not experienced any significant failures in a quarter century of operation.

          • That is not what Jon–Mr. Entine–said. He went much further–into blanket denial of the possibility of GMO’s causing harm.

          • Maybe he’ll see this and clarify. Seems pretty obvious to me that if you wanted to you could engineer a dangerous GMO, just as you could _breed_ a toxic variety.

            And equally obvious from the evidence that such a thing would not get through the commercial testing regime — so if you count the combination of technology and regulation as “GMOs” then I would also agree that the risk is very small (scientists don’t like saying “impossible”, and “negligible” sounds blasé).

          • I agree that it is obviously (even without peer-reviewed studies) would be possible to create a danderous GMO. In fact, a GMO that was created probably killed dozens of people–but I can already hear it==”No GMO ever hurt anybody. No GMO ever hurt anybody.” Why do many people not trust the G.E. industry? It’s obvious.

          • You think that the risk of harm is small. However, the profligate use of certain toxic chemicals, due to GMO’s that have been widely used, is a big problem that our chemically shortsighted society has been committing, and that could become much worse, if people do not wake up to ecological and chemical realities.

          • Never wrote that. Did write that the possibility of GMOs causing harm is not higher than the possibility of harm being caused through conventional breeding and much less than through mutagenesis.

          • This is a quote from you, in this discussion–“”There’s nothing to “admit”. There is not one mainstream study that suggests that, in your words, “GMOs can be harmful”–any more than organic food can be harmful. Not one mainstream study in a major peer reviewed journal were any data has shown that and been replicated. Not one. Zero. Zilch.”
            Considering that I had just asked you to admit it, that some GMO could be harmful, you are saying, no, no GMO could be harmful. You want to further the misconception that GMO’s have an immaculate conception. Why, I do not know.

          • Oh. I’m sorry, you are right–I don’t critically research anything–I just confirm my bias.

          • I know that’s sarcasm, but it’s really what it looks like. You use hyperbole and narrative fallacy to reject any fact-based attempt to point out holes in your arguments, and keep repeating the same old tired, largely discredited case-studies. Sounds a lot like confirmation bias to me.

          • I was just repeating what you had already said, in so many words. I know that’s what you think–big thing. It’s garbage. You are being an intellectual bully, throwing totally false blather.
            The go-go-GMOers continually say, “no GMO has ever hurt anybody.” That statement is the such misleading stuff, if you all had your self-respect, you would be ashamed of it.
            Instead you try to discredit it–“Many have questioned that interpretation.” Well, I’m sure they have. But it stands true, revealing your massive and unscroupulous intellectual bullying.
            Your mindset will condemn us to massive societal disruption, probably caused first by global warming, which the Republican party continue to pretend is some kind of liberal plot. Selfish pubs, condemn us in your small-minded selfishness.

          • SageThinker

            It is the mindset that values short-term gains over long-term sustainability. It is the mindset that sees dollar signs on every natural phenomenon.

            It is the mindset that took over the continent to begin with.

          • A great book on this is, Beyond Geography: The Western Spirit Against the Wilderness –by Frederick Turner. It’s not about science, it’s more about imperialism.

          • The above is pure ad hom attack: no content, just your opinion… again. I’m not going to engage in discussion with someone who can’t respond rationally or without unjustified personal accusations. End of conversation.

          • Buloney. My comment was full of content. I know, and make this mistake myself, just like you and many others–we ourselves make
            ad hominem attacks, personal attacks, and regard them as justified–but when someone does it to us, we complain–“you are being so (improper, ugly, out of bounds, etc.) Just above, you wrote, ” It seems no deeper digging was done. To say “GMO probably killed dozens of people” based on this is wild overinterpretation… you are cherry picking and exaggerating to suit your predetermined conclusion.” So in lust that one statement, you accuse me of wild overinterpretation, cherry picking, exaggerating, failure to research deeply, and suiting my predetermined conclusion. No evidence given. Just personal attack. That is totally false, and I find it offensive.
            I’d much rather engage in reasonable discussion, without unjustified personal accusations. I endlessly wish those who engage with me would do this themselves. …..
            Please pardon my failure to always hold to this standard. When somebody attacks one, it is pretty natural to return the favor. …..
            I suggest we try it somemore, with renewed carefulnes in regard to each other.

          • SageThinker

            We all prefer to confirm our bias, to some degree, but i try very carefully to open my mind to the possibility that i am wrong. I still think that it is a very strong likelihood that the presence of glyphosate in our food supply is affecting our human gut microbiome.

            I would like to see the science done on this.

            I am so tired of people saying “The science says GMOs are safe!” and not actually looking into the dearth of feeding studies on glyphosate and the mammalian gut microbiome.

            The 2005 study by Huther of four male sheep who were fistulated (a horrible practice) and then subjected to a 28-day per quarter Latin square is not sufficient to show lack of probable harm to the human gut microbiome through lifetime exposure. There is no equivalence.

            Those who simply attack the ability of others to research, and yet attack when you cite research, simply need to go crawl in a hole and hibernate until this is all over.

          • Bruce__H

            Here is what I don’t understand about your arguments … when there is indirect evidence suggesting that glyphosate causes problems it looms large in your arguments and assumes a solidity that it really doesn’t have, but when there is indirect evidence that glyphosate is benign that evidence disappears from view.

            For instance, right now you are making the Jaworski (1972) study do a lot of work. This is a study showing growth inhibition of a nitrogen-fixing species of bacteria symbiotic in plant roots at low levels of glyphosate. The problem is that this type of bacteria is physiologically a long way from those in the human gut biome and that the study has never been replicated (over more than 40 years). Yet this study is a lynchpin of your arguments! I urge you to look for a replication of the finding.

            On the other hand we have this study on the sheep by Huther et al that you mention. In this study very high levels of glyphosate did not much change the ability of sheep to digest food. Now here is indirect evidence that high levels of dietary glyphosate do not kill off the bacteria that sheep require for their digestion. You would think that this would at least factor in to your view in some small way. It is at least as pertinent as a study on bacteria symbiotic in plants. But no. You have succeeded in making this information disappear totally from the scene.

            How come the in balance? If you want to know about the effects of glypohosate why pay attention to only part of the evidence?

            Finally, you scold others in the following way …
            “Those who simply attack the ability of others to research, and yet attack when you cite research, simply need to go crawl in a hole and hibernate until this is all over.”

            But aren’t you attacking the ability of Huther et al to do research in just the same way? When I asked why their evidence did not figure in to your opinions on glypohosate you said …
            ” As for their “In these investigations, no adverse effect of glyphosate contaminated feed,” that seems to be what they wanted to find, and they found it, which is sometimes how it works in science, when there is bias. Start with the conclusion and work toward it.”

            This is one way you made their results disappear from your worldview. It seems to me that you have a philosophy of convenience in these matters. Ignore what you don’t like and inflate what you like..

          • SageThinker

            Jaworski (1972) is a simple experiment with simple results.

            The Huther (2005) study is a mess, and i don’t trust it for many reasons.

          • Bruce__H

            What is it about the design of the Huther study that you think is a mess? In terms of design I find it quite respectable

            In the past you have brought forward as evidence for the effects of glyphosate the results of a so-called natural experiment. What is it about the design of the Huther experiment that you think is a mess in comparison with the natural experiment? Why be enthusiastic about one but not the other?

          • SageThinker

            The Huther study uses 4 fistulated wethers (male sheep) in a Latin square with 28 days per feeding case, and 14 days of each quarter used for in saccum experimentation. The study does not assay microbial species relative abundance as far as i recall, and the whole thing is done upon an animal with rumen, not the kind of gut microbiome that humans have. The doses are very high, but the differences in length of time and gut type and low population size are all major factors in me calling it a mess in regard to any claim to showing anything about long-term lower-level exposure to glyphosate in food by human beings.

            The whole thing just makes me say “Come on, let’s see a properly-designed study with 100 rats in a 90-day minimum and preferably 1-year study, that ascertains gut microbiota population levels on a weekly basis. Let’s see that simple and direct study.”

            Why do we even find ourselves discussing four poor fistulated sheep?

            I don’t recall the natural experiment of which you’re speaking. I do assert that natural experiments are indeed experiments, and i recall some debate about that in which you may have taken the opposite position. Natural experiments can be used, with caution due in ascertaining causation and even correlation in some regards more than randomized assignment experiments, but they’re not inherently inferior, just different.

          • Bruce__H

            A study (Huther et al, 2005) showing no significant effect of a very high dose of glyphosate on ruminant digestion does, indeed, have implications for our general thoughts about glyphosate hazards. You are attempting to remove the implications of these results, completely, from the scene.

            Suppose that the study had revealed a large adverse effect of high levels of dietary glyphosate on digestion. Would you then have thrown away the study? I suppose only you can really answer this but I suspect that it would instead have become yet another plank in your argument. Much of your analyses are skewed in this sense. You cherry pick studies with results in favour of your hypothesis and discount ones with results contrary to your hypothesis. I think that you do not live you to your own ambitions (i.e., to find out the truth) on this score.

            Statistically, I can tell you that the Huther et al study design and analysis are OK. A Latin Square design wwhere one factor is within-subjects is very efficient. Using only 4 experimental subjects is fine in a situation where you are searching for a treatment effect with a large effect size. And the clinically important effect size here should be a whopping one given the large dose of glyphosate used by Huther et al (achieving a large clinically relevant effect is the part of the point of using such a high dose). So the power in the design is sufficient to draw useful conclusions.

            You go on to attack the generalizability of Huther et al’s results on ruminants for the effects of glyphosate on the human gut microbiome. Here I agree with you, we should be cautious. But then caution is thrown to the wind by you when you find a study (Jaworski, 1972) you think buttresses your case. Suddenly, the finding of a study on bacteria symbiotic in plant roots generalizes just fine to the human microbiome. How come? You seem to have your thumb on the scales here.

            Finally, what is it in your arguments that leads you to say about Huther et al’s results …”that seems to be what they wanted to find, and they found it, which is sometimes how it works in science, when there is bias. Start with the conclusion and work toward it.”? Here is a real attempt at a knock-out blow — just ignore the study! But what makes you say this? I think it is scurrilous attack on these researchers. And if you think that this is an acceptable form of criticism then why should anyone pay any attention to the results of the study you suggest? I mean, you are plainly biased against glyphosate (or “glyphosatan” as you term it) so why wouldn’t people just say … ‘Oh SageThinker just found what they wanted to find so we should ignore this study’?

            I suggest you look at your arguments and your posts and try to make them less slanted. Your problem here is that you are not allowing curiosity to lead you in your exploration of nature. You are trying to predetermine the results. In your own mind you should say to yourself ‘It is OK in the end if glyphosate turns out to be harmful and it is OK if it turns out not to be harmful … I just want to know the truth, either way’.

          • SageThinker

            Bruce, you’re absolutely right, in your last paragraph. I do agree that i need to maintain an unbiased position. All i want to know is what is happening in reality.

            Yes, i do largely discount the Huther study because of the short duration (28 days with half being in sacco digestion measurements), lack of microbiome assay, small sample size, and the non-generalizability of the rumen gut to the microbiome gut. All of these factors are significant.

            The Huther study is, still, not in support of my hypothesis. They did use large doses of glyphosate. However, they did not study that microbiome.

            Liane Huther is a ruminant specialist.

            I agree that the paper is nearly a genius experimental design for what it was intended to test: whether glyphosate in feedstock has an effect on rumen biodegradation rates. The paper does absolutely no assay of microbial population changes from glyphosate. It’s a simple rumen digestion rate study.

            The generalization of the Jaworski study on the inhibition of a bacterium species by glyphosate at 10 uM concentration is more generalizable to bacteria in general, in my estimation, because of the nature of variability in bacteria species, and the likelihood that if the first test bacterium showed such inhibition at low levels, then it’s likely that more species also show such inhibition. Most of the gut microbiome is the “dark matter” that constitutes 99% of bacteria, the unculturable ones… the ones who exist in community but are not isolable in vitro in single strain cultures. Therefore, we need DNA relative abundance assays to do the informatics to ascertain the relative abundance of species estimations that will tell us whether glyphosate affects the nature of the human gut microbiome.

            So, i agree with you that i must keep an eye on possible bias in my concern about the hypothesis that glyphosate affects the microbial population of the human gut microbiome, but in this case, the Huther 2005 study on glyphosate does not show much in regard to possible effects of glyphosate on the human gut microbiome.

            I hope glyphosate is not harmful to humans. It would be tragic if it were found that a chemical in our food supply is harmful to the health of human beings, and simple science to test for this was never done.

            In fact, Liane Huther’s study report concludes with these words:

            “Regarding our present study it cannot be ascertained whether glyphosate had led to a shift within groups of bacteria, i.e., that undisturbed populations adopted degradation pathways of bacteria, which are sensitive to glyphosate. Further research on single bacterial populations as well as on microbial communities in the rumen are required to clarify this.”

          • Bruce__H

            Most people on these discussion boards do not realize the value of letting curiosity take the lead when evaluating data. Most just dig in and do their damnedest to drag the data out in the way they want so as to justify some predetermined view. But by doing this, not only do they lose touch with reality, they also lose the delight factor associated with the curiosity-driven search for truth.

            I do see a few people posting on these boards with a more balanced view. On this particular subject it just so happens that a balanced view of the evidence is leading towards the conclusion that dietary levels of glyphosate are unlikely to have an effect on the human gut microbiome. Mind you there is nothing like new data to overturn expectations and that is where your suggested research comes in! I mean, this is why we do experiments … not to confirm our ideas but to test them.

            I truly don’t mind whether it turns out that glyphosate at dietary levels affects the human gut microbiome or not. The emerging field of gut microbiome research is so interesting, with its implications for gut/immune/brain interaction, that I would be tickled pink to find out what is going on either way.

          • SageThinker

            “a balanced view of the evidence is leading towards the conclusion that dietary levels of glyphosate are unlikely to have an effect on the human gut microbiome.”

            How do you justify this statement, you who are ever so careful about making statements carefully and always second-guessing my posts with lectures about using evidence properly and being unbiased?

            If we’re in the realm of reckoning, based on knowledge from many sources, as is done in the writing of a review article by someone who knows the field and has read the available literature, then i am doing that reckoning here and now, and saying that a balanced view of the evidence is leading toward the conclusion that dietary levels of glyphosate are very likely to have an effect on the human gut microbiome.

            And, it’s a shame that we need to do such a reckoning because the actual data needed, from a simple experiment, has not been published, about a chemical that is in the bulk of our food supply.

            That’s a real tragedy and a clear irresponsibility by the entity that sold the product for this purpose.

          • “I hope glyphosate is not harmful to humans. It would be tragic if it were found that a chemical in our food supply is harmful to the health of human beings, and simple science to test for this was never done.” Aye.

          • I agree, there is a very strong likelihood that the presence of glyphosate in our food supply is affecting our human gut microbiome–and these may be very significant effects.

          • Yea, you want something peer reviewed–not that real world stuff!

          • So your take on this complex, unseeable affair is that it is interesting. I found evidence of probable GMO induced fatalities. I cherry picked no more than you and am no more predetermined than you.

          • There are so many papers arguing both sides of these two affairs that to just blow them off is to not take a careful course–a readily available option, much used.

          • And to claim that on the basis of those two dodgy incidents that “GMO probably killed dozens of people” is equally irresponsible.

            Stacking two inconclusive studies against a whole literature that indicates no systemic safety issue with GMO technology issue is ridiculous cherry-picking.

            Given the controversy and criticism of those two studies, let’s ignore them as inconclusive. Where is the *good* evidence against GM? There is plenty of good evidence *for* it. There’s no conspiracy that could keep a systemic problem secret — too many researchers and journals that would have a lot to gain from publishing sound evidence that turns a whole field upside down. And no shortage of ideological anti-GMOers looking for methodological problems in pro-GM scientific papers. If there’s nothing more solid than these two old, inconclusive controversies to support your case that GM is intrinsically troublesome, then you should start considering that you might be wrong…

          • It is very plain to see that GM is potentially intrinsically troublesome–and the thought that our limited experience with GM so far shows that GM is not troublesome is just wild. That is like a child who has learned to walk thinking that they have mastered the big struggles in life! ….. “Inconclusive controversies” you call them–there are many. ….. The amount of arrogant, know-it-all, vast-money powered intellectual bullying coming from the go go GMOers is enough to blind humanity. I do believe that if you all had your way, the Earth would become uninhabitable–in perilously rapid fashion.

          • Jackson

            It is very plain to see that GM is potentially intrinsically troublesome

            This is not plain for me to see. Why do you think this?

            and the thought that our limited experience with GM so far shows that GM is not troublesome is just wild.

            If by “wild” you mean “true”, then I agree with you. Our experience with GM shows that GM is not troublesome.

            I do believe that if you all had your way, the Earth would become uninhabitable–in perilously rapid fashion.

            I know you believe this, but do you have any evidence for it?

          • Well–1)GM uses a differant mechanism than occurs naturally to accomplish genetic modification–an entirely new mechanism, in some cases. “Gene guns”? Of course it is potentially troublesome–have you ever done anything? No one has done the precise things that are done in GM–in many cases, far from it. …..2) Our experience with GM is very limited–and there have been serious problems. But you know there will not be more? That is what we call arrogance. 3) If you all had your way, you would throw caution to the wind, you would stop all government regulation in the name of freedom, you would create and use new chemicals wily nily, regardless of massive U.S. government meta-studies finding massive problems with those chemicals; and you would ignite a Genetic Engineering war, with large or huge impacts. This hasn’t been shown to be possible, scientifically? Get a mind.

          • Jackson

            GM uses a differant mechanism than occurs naturally to accomplish genetic modification

            It is directed by humans, so therefore not natural, but it makes use of natural mechanisms. Agrobacteria is natural. Restriction enzymes are natural. DNA polymerase is natural. But “natural” is a red herring anyways, natural doesn’t mean good, and synthetic doesn’t mean bad.

            have you ever done anything?

            I’ve done lots of things.

            No one has done the precise things that are done in GM–in many cases, far from it.

            I don’t understand this. No one has done things that are done? How can it be done if nobody has done it?

            Our experience with GM is very limited–and there have been serious problems. But you know there will not be more? That is what we call arrogance.

            Our experience has been the introduction of many traits over about 30 years. With no serious problems. I don’t know that there will be no problems in some unnamed thing in some undetermined amount of time in the future, but there is no evidence to suggest that GMOs are any more dangerous than any other method of plant breeding. Not only is there no evidence that there will be a problem, there is no proposed mechanism by which there might be a problem.

            If you all had your way, you would throw caution to the wind, you would stop all government regulation in the name of freedom, you would create and use new chemicals wily nily, regardless of massive U.S. government meta-studies finding massive problems with those chemicals; and you would ignite a Genetic Engineering war, with large or huge impacts.

            Nice script for a dystopic future fantasy novel, but that doesn’t describe my views, or the views expressed by anyone on this thread.

            Get a mind.

            You seem nice.

          • gefreekamloops

            What are the ethical codes of conduct for the Anthropocentric?

          • 1) Not natural>different. New (with GM). Used differently. Hence, there could easily be unforseen, and not experienced so far, problems. If you don’t see the need for caution when acting in entirly new ways upon extremely potent molecules, I honestly do not have any idea what will help you.
            2) Then you must realize that problems have a way of arising.
            3) The precise things were never done BEFORE GM.
            4) People have been killed. (see Showa Denko GMO.) Traditional breeding never killed anyone. There are many proposed mechanisms–like, affecting the DNA in unplanned ways.
            5) Stopping government regulation of GMO’s–papa Bush tried to institute that. Creating and utilizing new, toxic chemicals–Monsanto excels at that. Vastly increasing the use of 2,4-D, in spite of a USG meta-study finding serious problems with 2,4-D>>Done, by the USG and the go go GMOers.
            http://www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/pesticide/pdfs/093006_24d.pdf
            A Genetic Engineering War? That is dreamed up. And Possible. And it would earn the G.E. industry big bucks. You don’t think it is realistic? Then I think you suffer from a dearth of insight.
            6) I am sorry, but as long as people suggest, using different terms, the immaculate conception of all GMO’s, I will suggest that they get a mind.

          • Sorry Michael, but you are incapable of discussing this based on facts. Everything you have to say is cherry picking, ideology, and scaremongering. We’re not going anywhere with this, so I’m signing off here.

          • I discuss facts by the handful! If you are tired of discussing with me, it is for some other reason–like, you can not speak well to my arguments. I suggest that you open your mind.

          • One reason that the Earth would become uninhabitable is that many of the go go GMOers, I believe, reject “the precautionary principle” outright. In other words, they reject caution–while mucking with the most potent biological elements on Earth. That is a recipe for disaster! Meanwhile, they will not admit that they risk anything! Condemn us, in your ignorance.

          • One of those incidents make me claim that a GMO probably killed dozens of people. The incident is not well understood for one reason only–the company involved (Showa Denko) destroyed the GMO involved before it was fully tested. If that doesn’t sound suspicious to you, I certainly do not understand you.

          • Your paragraph that begins, “Is this really the best you’ve got?” is extremely weak. First, big thing! So there are serious critics! That means nothing. Second, Pusztai found serious bad effects–pre-cancerous changes. Third, all studies conducted under rules that limit responsible inquiry to one side of the debate are utterly inconclusive. I fail to understand how supposedly scientifically educated people could fail to see this! ….. It seems to me that anyone with half a brain should recognize that Genetic Modification has risks–and putting it in this way, as you did in this paragraph, is more evidence of the gross irresponsibility of many go go GMOers!

          • Pusztai reported “serious bad effects” on TV, but even the controversial paper resulting from that research claimed no such thing. I’m basing my conclusions about the robustness of that study on the fact that several review panels criticised the design, and several of the Lancet paper reviewers objected stongly to it being published at all. See, for example: http://academicsreview.org/reviewed-content/genetic-roulette/section-1/1-1-pusztais-flawed-claims/
            (by the way, here is a similarly good factual debunking of your tryptophan controversy: http://academicsreview.org/reviewed-content/genetic-roulette/section-1/1-20-gm-microbe-does-not-cause-ems/ )

            I don’t follow what you’re trying to say about “rules that limit responsible inquiry to one side of the debate” — that’s absolutely not the case. The rules are about experiment design, not conclusions. What are you referring to?

            You are very concerned with perceived gung-ho attitudes to GMO. But please understand that you are arguing from a position which runs contrary to a *huge* body of data, and your evidence to support that position is a couple of 20-year-old controversies with methodological issues and whose data didn’t show what you claim they did. Saying that that isn’t good enough is a long way from this “go go GMO” caricature that you keep banging on about.

            Maybe there is a systemic problem, maybe not… but these studies aren’t enough to say. And if there’s been nothing more solid in 30 years, then chances are that they were just anomalies. Or perhaps specific issues with one GM species, which does not invalidate the whole technology. There is plenty of solid research that supports GMO safety — why isn’t there similarly unambiguous work pointing at these issues that so concern you?

            As I said before, of course GMO technology has risks — as does all other ag technology. Tensioned against those risks is scientific method and a regulatory framework. Actually few if any GMO-supporters fit your lame “go go GMO” template, but support GMO technology on the *condition* that the testing is done adequately and responsibly. You’ve not produced any indication that this is not working. You even acknowledged yourself that there are safe GM crops… so if your position seems to be that any new GMO species could be either safe or dangerous, then the quality of regulation is the crucial issue rather than cherry-picked instances of pre-commercialisation issues. Note that the Pusztai potatoes were not a species that was ever commercialised — had the claimed problems really been present in a commercial crop, it would never have passed certification. Those who think GMOs are ok in principle, and that current regulation is effective wonder why similar standards are not required of mutagenetic crops and other non-transgenic ag technologies, even though a priori those methods may involve more risk.

            So… other than “GMO technology should be performed carefully and be very well tested before commercialisation” — i.e. exactly what is already done — what is your point?

          • Academics review is an extremely biased journal.

          • Little hint: it’s a website, not a journal. They take a position established by the best factual evidence available — it’s biased in the sense that that evidence tells a quite clear story, and they haven’t striven for false balance. Your comments are also an extremely biased source, but unfortunately you don’t have the support of the bulk of evidence…

            So, rather than just vaguely smear Academics Review because you don’t like their conclusions, what specific aspect of their critique do you take issue with, based on which evidence that overrides theirs and which hasn’t already been debunked by them?

          • Anyone can see that Academics Review is very biased–but they pretend to be deeply rooted in science.

          • As I said, where are their specific factual misrepresentations that irk you so much? Otherwise it’s just you moaning that you don’t like their conclusion… and they do happen to be technical experts in the subject: are you?

          • I’m not just moaning that I don’t like their conclusions. You cited an example of their “debunking” of the tryptophan controversy. Well, they make points, but their argument is by no means the bottom line. Study that issue closely, and you will find that there is a strong chance that a GMO caused dozens of deaths. That can not conclusively be stated for one reason–Showa Denko destroyed them GMO involved, and the manufacturing process, before they were fully tested–a criminal act (destroying evidence.)
            Read the work of Acadmics Review–there bias is obvious. Big thing, they have access to lots of money, hence time and credentials, so they make big fancy arguments. Its bunkum.

          • I’ve studied it. There is a chance that a GM bacterium used as part of a fermentation process was harmful; it is also perfectly plausible that the GM aspect is a red herring. If GMOs are such a risk, surely you have stronger evidence than an uncertain situation from the 1980s? And does the “strong chance” of GMO responsibility that you claim for this case have any systematic relevance for GM technology and approval in general? I would say not, and that the outstanding thing is the rareness and vagueness of these “controversies” by comparison to the vast extent to which transgenic technologies are used.

            Genetic modification of bacteria is extraordinarily common — so much so that it’s almost borderline whether it should be considered “GMO” in the sense usually used for macroscopic plants (and, in principle, animals). Almost all cheese is made using chymosin produced by GM yeast — without problems, and in fact without the organic or GMO labelling advocates getting excited about it.

            I’m wondering how you’ve reached the conclusion that Academics Review must have lots of money in order to write articles on a website, summarising the research consensus. You seem to have things the wrong way round — they are able to make rational arguments drawing on deep knowledge of the field (sorry, “big fancy arguments”), hence they have credentials.

            You’re not locked out of this for want of money, or because of a closed-shop academic cabal, but for want of evidential support. As you keep on demonstrating by revisiting the same old dodgy case studies and shouting ad hom accusations about industry, Republicans, and “intellectual bullying”. (I still have no idea what that means to you — is this comment an example of it?)

          • No, I don’t feel this comment is intellectual bullying.
            It’s possible that a GMO was not the cause of the tryptophan case–we will never know, Showa Denko destroyed the evidence. (Criminally.) …..
            Concratulations! You are the first GMO supporter whom I’ve encountered who has admitted that there is any possibility that a GMO hurt people! That is a big step forward–towards honesty. Unfortunately, few share your honesty–and the issue has been shut-up, by our syncophant media.
            GMO risks, I’m not clear about. The one that I’ve been focusing on recently is the problem of the mis-use of toxic chemicals, which poorly directed GMO’s can and have contributed to. This is a major problem, that tends to be unjustifiably overlooked today, and for the last several decades, particularly.
            I am not at all clear that there are not many more problems with some GMO’s–I have to look more closely at the world-wide research.
            But I am clear that the GMO industry has proceeded without due regard for the opinions of humankind–due to selfish concerns with their own profit.
            RE Academics Review–people have to be extremely cautious about taking the word of such authorities. Tons of reasonably good sounding science can be easily bought. I have no knowledge of how much money they have–but I do think it is very substantial. I do not have time to make a detailed criticism of Academics Review–but I’m sure it could be a powerful one.
            You, perhaps, think that the problem of chemical pollution is inconsiderable. I ask you to consider deeply the nature of life, and of what it is that profits us. If you would, you can make a contribution. If you won’t, there won’t be a contribution coming from you–just chemical chaos.

          • Hi again,

            I don’t doubt your sincerity, but the problem is that you’re not providing any references to solid evidence, and tend to resort to hyperbole instead. As a superb book (http://www.withouthotair.com/) says, what’s needed is”number, not adjectives”. Indeed, advice from the preface applies (with minimal modification) just as nicely to biotech as to sustainable energy debate:

            “Twaddle emissions are high at the moment because people get emotional
            (for example about [GMOs] or [glyphosate]) and no-one talks
            about numbers. Or if they do mention numbers, they select them to sound
            big, to make an impression, and to score points in arguments, rather than
            to aid thoughtful discussion.”

            Amen.

            Anyway, I’m pleased to be the first to “admit” that there *might* have been a problem with a single GM bacterial culture 25 years ago: I think it is only honest to admit the *possibility*, given the impossibility of proving anything in either direction, while noting that there haven’t been any obvious re-occurances in the intervening quarter-century, and that an engineering flaw in one culture would not say anything about systemic problems with the technology. And the GM technology and regulation have both improved since then.

            Do be careful with exaggeration: Showa Denko’s destruction of the bacterial culture was not criminal as far as I can tell: if it was, there would have been a prosecution. Nor was their failure to notify the FDA about the change to their process, their knowledge of the impurities. That seems remarkable — maybe the cross-border aspect made it more complex — but the US legislative situation was made difficult thanks to supplement industry lobbying, which had convinced congress to give de facto carte blanche to the manufacturers regardless of lack of evidence for efficacy or safety. Do you have some extra information about a criminal prosecution?

            It was a tragic episode, but the GMO aspect is really a red herring — SD’s process was deficient before they used GM, and they were negligent in their approach to production and safety testing, against the FDA’s advice. This says far more about the problem of an unregulated supplements industry than it does about GM. I find it remarkable that Congress still passed further deregulation of the supplements industry in 1994, *after* the tryptophan disaster. (By the way, there’s lots of good background info here: http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/DSH/trypto.html)

            Let’s come back to the hyperbole thing:

            “Toxic chemicals” are a problem, you say: which ones, how toxic, has there been an increase in aggregated toxicity (not just total mass), if there is an increase (debatable, and both sides have been guilty of playing bait ‘n’switch with non-interchangeable use of “pesticide”/”insecticide”/”herbicide”) how much is really driven by GMOs, etc.? Without some solid details to get stuck into, this is just a case of two groups throwing their favourite narratives at each other and making no progress. The “pro” group does have a lot of solid evidence, and cites it; perhaps, due to the confrontational nature of most discussion, we are too dismissive of “anti” evidence, but in truth I have not seen any which its proponent has been able to rationally defend against a more than cursory examination.

            You give a hint of this when you say “This is a major problem, that tends to be unjustifiably overlooked” but then don’t have any good stats or details of what you’re talking about. Or “I am not at all clear that there are not many more problems with some GMO’s […]
            But I am clear that the GMO industry has proceeded without due regard for the opinions of humankind–due to selfish concerns with their own profit.” — that’s not evidence, it’s a pre-determined world-view for which you will then go out and find supporting evidence. That’s called cherry picking and isn’t a robust way to approach anything: you can see why scientists get frustrated by the continual onslaught of cherry-picked “evidence” which is often poor quality compared to the bulk of studies which have found otherwise.

            More world-view to which data needs to be fitted: “I have no knowledge of how much money they have–but I do think it is very substantial. I do not have time to make a detailed criticism of Academics Review–but I’m sure it could be a powerful one.” — what happened to innocent until proven guilty?!?
            And “I ask you to consider deeply the nature of life, and of what it is that profits us. If you would, you can make a contribution. If you won’t, there won’t be a contribution coming from you–just chemical chaos.” Where’s your evidence that ag chemical problems (sorry, “chaos”) are actually increasing? Isn’t it good that Bt crops are reducing use of insecticides? Isn’t it good that glyphosate is a much less toxic herbicide than those which came before? Is the profit motive, tempered by effective regulation, necessarily evil? (Answers: I’d love to see the evidence; yes; yes; no ;-) )

            These seem to me like pretty sound, quantitative, unbiased evidence of technical progress that is wholly compatible with ecological aspirations. While a cold turkey approach on all ag chemicals (as you seem to be advocating) would produce economic devastation and widespread human suffering. Sometimes the right answer is not as absolute and narratively compelling as “the nature of life” vs. “chemical chaos” in your messianic call-to-arms above, but the quiet, cooperative revolution that has been in large part enabled by those profit-driven multinationals.

          • I disagree that in general what is needed is numbers, not adjectives. Sure, sometimes it’s true–but more often, good sense is far more helpful.

            I’ve been studying, and learning about, the issue of chemical pollution for decades. The health of organisms and ecosystems is often hugely affected by tiny amounts of pollutants. Do you want references on that? I would think that it is obvious enough–but that has not stopped people from acting with chemicals like little, well-fed, undisciplined children in a big, unsupervised toy shop.

            Yes, well bravo for your small admission that it is possible that a GMO hurt somebody. To me, that seems likely in that case, but it has been like pulling eye-teeth to get a pro-GMO person to acknowledge that much. Why is that? Why is the G.E. industry so against letting people look at the truth? Because it might hurt their business interests? I think so.

            That one instance shows that the process is not flawless. Blow that ”substantial equivalence” stuff out the window. You sound very pleased with the regulatory system in place today. Realize that activists fought tooth and nail against the industry to get as much testing as there is. The industry wants to do what ever they want, and with super-deep pockets, endless lobbyists, endless advertisements, endless scientists they own, and everything else, they mostly get what they want. And their bottom line is their own bottom line. Period.

            I’m no lawyer. Destruction of evidence of a crime commited–killing people–it seems should be a crime. There is no question that this occurred.

            GM is not a red herring in that case. A GMO probably was directly responsible for the death of dozens of people.

            Compared to organic agriculture, there is no question that GMO agriculture uses additional tons of synthetic, often toxic chemicals. Do you need evidence of this? I suggest that you look it up, because it is obvious.

            “I am clear that the GMO industry has proceeded without due regard for the opinions of humankind–due to selfish concerns with their own profit.” That is not evidence–no–I’m trying to make sense of the world, to write about what is happening in the world–a legitimate task, for a person. I caution you, science is neither the touchstone nor font of truth, as you believe it is, in the real world. It is phony to call what I did cherry picking–it is no such thing. Trying to understand what is happening is robust.

            RE Academics review–I don’t convict them of anything. The evidence they purport to provide, I find weak.

            Autism is increasing precipitously. Cancer is very high. Birth defects are high. Wars cause massive suffering, and sink families, peoples, and fortunes (although some make huge fortunes from wars.) Amphibians are declining. Bees are declining. Lightening bugs have nearly vanished, at least in some areas. Biotic potential is declining. Species are being driven to extinction. Human poverty is immense. Societies mind is weak, taken by superstition, diversions and propaganda. Humankinds misuse of chemicals does not directly contribute to all of these problems–but it well may directly contribute to half of them–enough to spell chaos.

            Genetically Engineering organisms, with adequate testing, and designed with wisdom, could be an advance. If Genetic Engineering is done in service of selfish, short-sighted, unecological, unstudied, unwise ends, or without sufficient care, it could be a disaster.

            I don’t recommend that we abruptly stop using all agricultural chemicals. I do recommend that society vastly improve its wisdom in handling all chemicals, peoples, and ecosystems.

            You know, I long ago pointed out that I’m not against GMO’s, per se. But it does seem to me that GMO’s are in the hands of people who have poor understanding of the many complex and subtle interrelationships of life, poor respect for life itself and its ways, weak appreciation of the unity of life (that is, for one thing, that all people are our siblings), and very limited sense of what is good.

            This being the case, portends trouble. Society must develop its mind, to be able to handle this stuff.

          • The bit at the top of all GLP pages about “Where science trumps ideology” does not fit well with your view that “good sense is far more important than numbers”.

            How are you to know that your sense is good without objective measurements to compare to? Confirmation bias is a sneaky thing, especially when combined with a strong narrative and availability of correlation memes like rising autism and bee colony collapse. (I assume you’ve seen the many debunkings of those: many things are on the rise, but that doesn’t mean that modern agriculture causes autism, and CCD is not actually on the rise, nor clearly connected to neonic pesticides.) The reduction in various animal populations is concerning, but the best approach may not be to rail against new chemicals, which have often actually led to ecological improvements, but for other aspects of farm management to be improved.

            “Society vastly improving its wisdom” sounds great, but what does that actually translate into in terms of actions with measureable effects (and costs)? “Going organic” would turn over more wild land to mono/oligoculture — do you think that would be good for biodiversity?

            And yes, references for everything you mentioned above would be great. Then we can discuss their robustness. We’re talking about complex systems — there are no obvious truths that don’t need proof. For example, conventional agriculture and GMO agriculture use more pesticides than organic. But there is less organic overall, and organic yields are on average lower… plus, it’s not the raw tonnage but the aggregated toxicity that counts: organic pesticides are often less effective and more poisonous to e.g. mammals. So a good statistic would be the comparison of aggregated toxicity per kg of produce, between conventional and organic production of the same crop, and for several crops. I’ve never seen those numbers, and it’s not obvious to me how to get them — but I would not be surprised if they were to paint a much more ambiguous picture.

          • There is this big effort to be, and show about being scientifically rooted. Well, I think being deeply scientifically informed is appropriate, and needed. However, science should not be our deepest rooting. Do you think science will tell us, or that it is the best way to find, what we should do? How we should act? What we should think? How we should treat others? No. It is our whole selves that have to find those things–trying to simplify these questions, to where some set of numbers versus some other set would be determinative, is out of the question.

            But these are some of the most important, substantive questions in life–and they face us constantly, whether or not we are conscious of them.

            This is how it is. Science is useful and needed to answer some questions–but it is far from the whole story of asking, or answering, important questions.

            Alas, many modern people think that science is the necessary foundation of all important truth. That viewpoint represents a failure to give adequate consideration to important matters.

            It is not clear which commonly used chemicals will prove benign, and which will prove to present unacceptable risks. However, it is clear that people, including P.H.D.s, are making and using chemicals with a freedom that is totally unjustified.

            Again, what we want is not exactly measurable effects–it is real, significant health improvement.

            “USDA certified organic” is only a stepping stone to the more ecological agriculture, which would vastly benefit human and ecosystem health, including biodiversity.

            Sorry, I don’t have time to give you references for everything mentioned above. Yes, organic produce is often contaminated by pesticides. But less so than conventional.

            I do not support using ecologically harmful pesticides–it is misguided.

            It is possible, and pratical, to practise ecological farming. That, we need.

          • SageThinker

            You speak truth, good man. We need to honor our selves and the great mother in the way that we grow and eat our food.

          • “Do you think science will tell us, or that it is the best way to find, what we should do? How we should act? What we should think?”

            Pretty much, yes. What we should think includes other things as well, but it would be counterproductive to think something that has actually been disproven. As for how to treat others, you could argue that the soft sciences of psychology, social science and economics have both amassed a good deal of empirical evidence for the social and personal benefits of equality and empathy.

            Science is probably not what you think it is.

          • Now careful thought, I will grant you, can go a long way. But the fruit of my careful thought is so often disdained and insulted by the “science lovers” on this site, that you all are floating in fantasy land, very far from knowledge based. But you’ll sure think that you are knowledge based. That’s what we call fantasy.

          • Bruce__H

            “It is not clear which commonly used chemicals will prove benign, and which will prove to present unacceptable risks.” — shenandoah

            This is what the whole discussion should be about. With the emphasis on what “unacceptable” means. But most people I see on discussion sites like this who oppose GMO foods are refusing to engage in the conversation.

            The sequence should be – define what is important, measure it, then try to come to an agreement about where to set the bar.

          • Here is an idea about what is acceptable–if using some chemical makes it possible for a small or large portion of people to make large profits, and saves many people work, but it also significantly degrades the biosphere, which belongs to everyone, then its use is unacceptable.

            It seems to me that many people who argue pro-GMO refuse to acknowledge the fact that many chemicals are widely being used irresponsibly.

            There are many possible sequences to fruitful work. I might suggest this one–find the harmony of nature, embrace it, and act and advocate to increase it.

          • What chemicals do you believe are being used “irresponsibly” to grow conventional crops? Neither the EPA or USDA agrees with your scare-mongering conclusions–they would say ‘none’, as they chemicals used in conventional ag are all well tested and considered safe–AS USED (not in the abstract or based on unrealistic lab studies, but as used in the real world).

          • Pesticides and fossil fuels. EPA and USDA are political bodies, creations of our nation, which itself has serious systemic problems–relevant here is shortsighted addiction to labor-saving monoculture; irresponsible hogging of so-called “freedom” by the rich and powerful, who fail to notice how severly they are restricting the freedoms of the poor; and the chemical addiction of society, which continues to employ the newly created molecules from chemists with an unstudied and unexamined swiftness that is wild and unjustified.

            RE. fossil fuels, modern agriculture’s use of fossil fuels clearly can not go on long at all–it must be urgently curtailed. The toxicity of concern there is to the biosphere, as a whole.

          • Bruce__H

            ” -if using some chemical makes it possible for a small or large portion of people to make large profits, and saves many people work, but it also significantly degrades the biosphere, which belongs to everyone, then its use is unacceptable.”

            What do you mean by “significantly” and what do you mean by “degrades”. Many people are trying to figure this out but I argue that you are not. Irresponsibly so.

            “There are many possible sequences to fruitful work. I might suggest this one–find the harmony of nature, embrace it, and act and advocate to increase it.”

            I thought you held that science was useful and necessary. But it has disappeared now hasn’t it? Your harmony is not necessarily my harmony (and I argue that my conception of harmony is better and more all-embracing than yours). If all you can do is point to your personal feelings about harmony then you basically become a sort of mute solipsistic despot… insisting that everyone work by your rules but refusing to give reasons for them.

            For instance, what level of glyphosate is acceptable in food?

          • Common, “significantly degrades” is English. Get a dictionary. And so is “flourishing ecosystem”.

            You think I’m being simplistic?
            I think you are.

            There is balancing involved. But when you compare big monetary profits for a few, versus environmental degradation for many, the interests of the many naturally far outweighs the interests of the few–even if they are much poorer people. But in America, the rich rule, and their interests will win out–because our plutocracy is sick.

            I am not abandoning science at all. But many in fact most important questions are not scientific ones, and can not possibly, or at least at this time, be answered scientifically.

            I did not at all insist that anyone work by my rules–I advocate that all of society’s interests be what we try to advance, not just the interests of the tiny or small economic elite.

            For example. with glyphosate, there is a large amount of science waiting to be done–about the affects of glyphosate on the intestinal bacteria, about the additive effects of glyphosate plus each of the other environmental contaminates that are likely to affect the same organisms as glyphosate affects, and about the affects on organisms of the multiple and varied combinations of pollutants including glyphosate that are likely to occur in and around our agroecosystems.

            Doing this science is going to be lengthy, and expensive. However, failing to do it is seriously endangering the lives and welfare of many many people–all for the sake of the financial gaines of a few.

            It is clear that balancing the wins and losses in this case requires a massive amount of scientific work to be done very quickly–and failing to do so is just stupid. And/or subserviant to a tiny, selfish minority.

          • Bruce__H

            There is very little evidence so far that glyphosate affects humans or other animals to an extent we need to worry about. I have been looking for such evidence recently and I can’t find it. This includes effects on the human gut microbiome. There is lots of speculation out there but so far the balance of evidence points against dietary levels of glyphosate having and serious adverse effects.

            How does one regulate? How many combinations of glyphosate plus something else need to be examined? If you require absolute proof of safety in all conditions does this mean that anything we eat can be judged safe?

          • Many things about glphosate have not been studied. If you don’t study something, you won’t find problems. Does that mean things are safe? Ridiculous.

            We can’t study everything–no. But when we are applying extremely toxic (in some ways) chemicals to the food we eat, and to the ecosystems that we live in, a decent respect for humanity and the biosphere requires that we study them in all pertinent ways, to make sure that we are not depressing life.

          • Bruce__H

            Glyphosate has been extensively studied for toxicity and the concentrations above which there are observable adverse effects are 100 to 10,000 times higher than the limits allowed in the human food chain. This is by design. The allowable levels for food are intentionally set at least 100 times lower than the lowest level for adverse effects

            So when I said I couldn’t find evidence for adverse effects of dietary levels of glyphosate I didn’t mean that no studies exist. I meant that studies have been done but don’t support the scenario that glyphosate is something to worry about.

            As for the gut microbiome, some studies have been done and they do not so far support the idea that glyphosate has much effect. This is a new field, however, and it is really too early to make a definite call.

          • Gut microbiome–It’s a new field. That is for one reason only–due to the prevailing idea that it is basically allright to use any new chemical in any way, people never bothered to study extremely basic aspects of the biological effects of glyphosate. That is a problem that needs correction.

            And then consider the biological effects of combinations of pollutants. This area is little studied, or understood, because people in our short-sighted personal-profit-motivated society have not bothered to look deeply and critically at what we are doing.

            And what about effects that manifest over extended time–not 90 days, but years? And what about effects that you are not testing for? What about effects on the many species in the biosphere, which are parts of one system?

            Humanity’s use of chemicals has been irresponsible–and GMO’s, poorly designed, add to the possibilities that this presents pressing problems.

          • Bruce__H

            I think you are going down the right route, but tough questions lie along it. It is there right route because you are bringing up concrete problems to work on and think about. It is in contrast to your previous idea that the criterion should be that the ecosystem should “flourish”. I simply didn’t see what that meant in terms of setting regulations.

            Here are some of the hard problems ahead for a responsible approach to GMOs and regulation.

            – What happens when developments in our understanding of the world throw up possibilities for adverse effects that no one had really thought of before? The gut microbiome fits in here. I had never heard of this field and its relevance for human health before about 10 years ago. GMOs are a little over 20 years old as I recall. Should the regulators have required studies on low-level glyphosate on subtle changes in gut microflora at a time when no one imagined it had any consequence for human health? And if you answer yes to this please point out what other unknown effects we should be testing for right now. How can you predict the future?

            – Glyphosate/ surfactant interactions have been looked for because these are applied together. What other interactions should we look for? I think there are reasonable combinations to look for but I don’t think you can just test for everything. It is too unwieldy. So where is the line? I think this is a difficult question. One worth arguing about. I think an unreasonable answer, though, is to say don’t use novel compounds or techniques unless you have tested all possible combinations of everything. That is the same as saying never do anything. In fact it is the same as saying stop doing organic farming, stop crossbreeding organisms, etc.

            – How long to look for effects? Acute effects are the easiest to test for. People now want long-term studies. But how long term. A life time. 10 generations? 100 generations. It is only responsible to draw the line somewhere. This will be a subject of debate.

            In sum. I think you have taken a short step down a long road. But to say that we shouldn’t press ahead with innovation unless everything, everything, everything has been studied is irresponsible because it is impossible to do everything.

          • The idea that we would better act in such a way that the ecosphere biologically flourishes is an important, I think fundamental one, although it has not been derived in an experimental or quantifiable fashion. It has been derived from carefully observing and interacting with the world, generalizing about observed trends, reasoning inductively, imagination, philosophical considerations, spiritual considerations, ethical considerations, human considerations, etc.

            This idea does not lead directly to regulations or ways of behaving. However, if this idea is embraced, it leads to many implications for all of our actions.

            Concerning humankind’s creation and use of new chemicals, and old chemicals, it implies that we should use chemicals (or refrain from using them) in a way that favors the flourishing of the living system, the biosphere. That is, especially when we use chemicals that are toxic to some organisms, we must try to understand the effect we are going to have on the biosphere, before we use the chemical. Because, it has been abundantly demonstrated that many chemicals, which seem useful for some purpose, in fact turn out to have very troublesome ecological effects.

            Regarding GMO’s, I have been focused on the problems which poorly conceived GMO’s could have, and are having, on the biosphere because of the man-made chemicals that their cultivation requires or involves. Of course, the problem of the misuse of chemicals applies very much to all conventional agriculture, and also to organic agriculture, though less so.

            Knowing or predicting unknown things is difficult. I suggest applying The Precautionary Principle, which is embraced in Europe but foolhardedly rejected in the U.S.–“When an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.”

            I don’t think we should stop innovation. However, and this is especially a U.S. problem, we are far swung in the direction of making massive changes in the biosphere without sufficiently considering what we are doing.

            We must respect nature, work with nature, and work for the good of all.

          • Bruce__H

            I assert that the agricultural ecosystem resulting from conventional intensive-farming practices is flourishing. Your concept of “flourishing” is too vague to deny this. So how does your argument progress? I don’t understand.

            And how does the precautionary principle play out in the case of GMOs? Isn’t the regulatory system presently in place an example of the precautionary principle put into practice?

          • The massive die-off of bees and other invertibrates is, you don’t know, a huge problem. The extent of human poverty is a huge problem. The precipitous increase in autism is a huge problem. The depletion of water supplies is a huge problem. The incidence of cancer is a huge problem. The decline in wildlife is a huge problem. Having undrinkable rivers is a huge problem. Pollution is a huge problem. Death of farmworkers due to pesticides is a huge problem. The occurence of birth defects and endochrine disruption are huge problems. Burning fossil fuels is a huge problem. The destruction of ecosystems is a huge problem.

            Now it is true–some people are flourishing. Floating in dough. Doing most anything they please–freedom realized.

            But to think that the biosphere, or “the agricultural ecosystem,” is flourishing–that is blindness. Please consider the billions of people, and the many other species of animals, that are doing very poorly. Then consider the relative handful of people and other animal species that are doing well. You think that is “flourishing?” It’s a word–it has a meaning.

            The precautionary principle would require much more carefulness, before massively using new toxic or harmful chemicals, spreading them throughout the living world.

            That this carefulness is not in fact being used is short-sighted profit-seeking by the selfish holders of governmental power–i.e., the selfish plutocracy that rules us.

          • Bruce__H

            Why isn’t the regulatory system presently in place an example of the precautionary principle put into practice?

          • The American Enterprise Institute–“Simply put, the precautionary principle is not a sound basis for public policy.”
            (In other words, we need not be careful.)

            The Heritage Foundation, 2015–“do not be surprised if the U.S. government continues to take a precautionary approach to calls for adoption of a universal precautionary principle in regulatory policy.”
            (In other words, be careful about being careful–i.e., don’t necessarily be careful. Brilliant double-talk from the hyper selfish.)

            I think that you mean, “IN WHAT WAYS isn’t the regulatory system presently in place an example of the precautionary principle put into practice?”

            That is easy. The regulatorty system in place is authorizing the employment of crops whose cultivation will require the use of chemicals that will have many unknown and quite possibly deleterious effects on the biosphere.

            The Precautionary Principle is being massively, systematically violated.

          • Bruce__H

            These are interesting quotes. Where did you find them? I mean, I don’t suppose that you would normally peruse the literature of either the American Enterprise Institute or the Heritage Foundation…. or am I mistaken in that?

          • The problem is that right from the word go you’ve set up a us vs. them scenario. What does “significantly degrade the biosphere” mean in concrete terms? What would you consider acceptable?

            What if a chemical has _some_ ecosystem impact, but enables agricultural yields to be high enough that less land is needed? The increase in area of ~monoculturally formed land for no-pesticide farming would also have a large degrading effect on “the biosphere”, assuming you do want to keep feeding the population.

            And if use of a chemical enables an industry to grow enough food to support the 7bn+ population of the planet, what is the appropriate trade-off between human lives (which are very well defined) and the biosphere (which is less so)?

            You say many people refuse to acknowledge that chemicals are being used irresponsibly. Maybe those people just have different views from you on what the appropriate (and hence responsible) balance of these issues is. There is no absolute definition of “responsible”.

            These are tough questions, and almost certainly do not have a correct answer which is dogmatically and absolutely “pro” or “anti” any technology. Platitudes like “find the harmony of nature and embrace it” are so vague that everyone can agree with the spirit, but they give absolutely no guidance on how to actually balance these complex conflicting demands.

          • “Significantly degrade the biosphere” means killing and injuring organisms.

            We are going to kill some organisms, as long as we are alive. But we should minimize this, while helping the ecosystem to flourish.

            There are trade offs, which are not necessarily easy to balance. We have gone much to far in the direction of choosing short-term profit for limited numbers of people, even when it involves degrading the environment of large numbers of people. (And causing, for example, unending back-breaking labor for the “working class”.)

            I’ve gotta go. More later.

          • Bruce__H

            This is the first time I have seen you begin to grapple with difficult questions. Welcome to the conversation! But these are indeed difficult questions!

            Which organisms do you want to minimize the killing of? Ebola? Locusts? Humans?

            What does it mean for an ecosystem to “flourish”? Does it mean to maximize diversity? To maximize energy throughput? To maximize stability? To maximize resilience? What time span are you thinking about 100 years? 1 million years?

            If you ensure that the present ecosystem flourishes doesn’t that mean that you are blocking other potential ecosystems from appearing? If you were around 2-3 billion years ago would you have tried to clean up all that polluting oxygen that the anaerobic bacteria were spewing out (after all, all that oxygen would eventually stop the anaerobic ecosystem from “flourishing”)?

          • Bruce H, your first paragraph is asinine.
            Now I’m “beginning to grapple with difficult questions”–“for the first time.””Welcome to the conversation!” Right. Poor me! Thank you so much!

          • Go ahead, spread your 2,4-D and Dicamba and Roundup and Round-up Weathermax 2 and everything else you cook-up. Maybe you are just heralding in a new era! I suppose Jack the Ripper was clearing the way for a better society!

          • Thank you so much for teaching me about being thoughtful and balanced–I never thought of that. I mean, your careful, informative writing puts mine to shame! I guess that I should just shut-up, and let your wisdom speak! From where do all those penetrating questions come?

          • Your first paragraph above is the most condescending non-sense I’ve encountered.

            Utterly barren, it is. Ugly. Thank You so much–you are so good.

            A florishing ecosystem–what a meaningless thing! Blow them all away, I say.

            Or better yet, poison them.

            Everyone who is worth anything knows that the proper goal of biosphere management is to firmly entrench absolute power in a tiny minority, who can do whatever they please, be it mass murder or whatever, with absolute impunity.

            What’s a few poisons? They will help us to acheive the goal, enumerated above.

            Why do I reject your medicine? Because it is spelled out, above.

          • Yea, sure. Autism increasing, and massive bee deaths, aren’t real problems. I warn you, people will say anything. We have to evaluate what people say. It is very clear, those are both large problems. On bees–
            http://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/05/13/bee-deaths

          • That link is hardly authoritative on bee death rates! For an alternative picture, although still not on ideal measures, check out the top two graphs in this GLP article: https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/11/25/bee-deaths-neonics-inside-story-of-colony-collapse-disorder-harvards-chensheng-lus-crusade/ And actually, note that the main image in that article is the varroa mite in action — one of the major causes of bee death that insecticides can *reduce*. The story of what’s happening with bees and other pollinators is unclear, both on the extent to which there is actually a catastrophe afoot, and on whether there is a substantial direct link to ag chemicals. You present this as if it’s a black & white case of the evils of chemicals, when it’s anything but. What’s needed is reasoned discussion and more data, not running around shouting about evil poisonz.

            Same with autism and many other conditions. Let’s be precise — what’s increasing is the rate of diagnosis. The symptoms leading to that diagnosis have *definitely* changed over the last few decades, so even without a change in the population the recorded numbers would be going up. It’s not clear if there is a “real” rise as well, and it is completely unscrupulous to claim without a shred of evidence that biotech (different activists pick different bogeymen) is “to blame”.

            The mere fact that you’ve raised these straw men yet again either shows that you don’t understand some pretty basic statistical logic, or that you don’t care about factual correctness because your pre-determined “truth” is more important.

            I don’t know which it is — maybe you genuinely don’t get the logic, or are reluctant to let yourself learn something that doesn’t support the position that you *want* to take. But what really riles me about this misappropriated correlation crap is the dishonesty of the activist researchers who start the memes. They cherry-pick correlated time-series that fit their predetermined world-view(e.g. GMOs/glyphosate/Monsanto shares/whatever vs autism) , ignore the equally coincidental ones that don’t (organic sales vs. autism) and mislead statistically challenged people into thinking there is some hard science behind the link. No-one with a PhD in a statistical or scientific discipline can possibly release such studies without being aware that it’s statistical garbage and actively misleading, and as a working scientist I find that offensive. Also that there are journals unscrupulous enough to wave through such studies and give them a patina of validity.

            Since you like raising the spectre of evil Republicans every once in a while, how are your statements above about how facts aren’t everything distinct from the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld lines about truthiness and gut instinct? (Is that a sort of Godwin’s Law violation for liberals? ;-) )

          • Good sense is more essential to science than numbers.

          • SageThinker

            There are so many pseudo-scientific quacks out there, and the worst are the skeptoids — those who claim absolute objectivism, and who use science as a tool for propaganda.

          • If we’ve used it for decades, it must be safe. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with exploding autism rates, the wipeing out of bees, the huge decline in amphibians or crickets, or the destruction of soils. I guess weeds will never become resistant to 2,4-D.

          • JoeFarmer

            Your combination of sarcasm and ignorance is not at all impressive.

          • “We have got everything under control. What’s a little poison? My science, which knows everything, says that, when done in tiny quantities, poisoning the biosphere is no problem whatsoever.” Talk about ignorance!

          • JoeFarmer

            Doubling down on the ignorance, I see. Probably would be good for you to stay away from Vegas!

          • When you have nothing fruitful to say, insult people!

          • JoeFarmer

            Your posts are insulting to people who actually know something about science and agriculture, bub.

          • Yea right. Poor me. Take your poison and pour it over the Earth! That is your MO! You must have a rich internal supply of it!

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            After all the crappy accusations you have made with your poisonous keyboard. I am surprised you are with us.

          • I’m interested in Genetic Literacy–not group think.

          • RJB

            You are doing a very poor job of showing your supposed interest.

          • Not really.

          • That’s buloney.

          • Accusations! I’ll make one–you people are destroying the biosphere, and you 1) fail to notice it 2) deny it and 3) apparently don’t really care.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            I use hundreds of cubic yards of mulch and have the shoulders and broken pitchforks to prove it. I am not part of a group that is destroying the biosphere. Try thinking of folks as individuals.

          • People are individuals–yes. By “you people”, I mean people spreading massive amounts of not-well understood toxic chemicals on our food and throughout the biosphere, and people dismissing the chemical pollution they cause.

          • “Single study”–that is a massive meta-study by the U.S. government, and it found serious problems. Oh yea, tell me about the consensus 2,4-D is peachy–when you ignore and discount all dissent, no matter how responsible it is, then there is consent!

          • Dismiss it–it doesn’t suit your bias.

          • Your attempt to dismiss this study is very lame. Com’on we are talking about the well-being of humanity here. That study stands–there are serious problems with 2,4-D. Science is political. Some people make big bucks by poisoning the earth. The rest of us can just suffer the consequences. Do you have interest in life or truth?

          • Yes, the National Academy of Scieces, the European Commission, the World Health Organization and the EPA andUSDA are working for Monsanto in a grand conspiracy. Convincing argument. Your think like a 12 year old.

          • I said nothing about conspiracy. I’m concerned about health. I don’t know the details of how those organizations dealt with the Forest Service study. Do You?————————— Your insult is gratuitous–so good of you.

          • I never quoted Natural News.

  • JMac

    Another shocker!

    Glyphosate Treated GMO Soy Extremely Unhealthy – BT Toxic to Organs & Blood

    Sign me up! I’ll take a pound of each. Yummy!

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1212480-glyphosate-treated-gmo-soy-extremely-unhealthy-bt-toxic-to-organs-blood/

    • Pravda!? That’s a credible site!

      • hyperzombie

        I wonder if NaturalNews gets mad when the others steal their Anti-GMO stories?

        • Eric Bjerregaard

          Mad as in crazy or as in angry…or both…or….Is it even possible for something to make adams mad as he clearly already is.

          • hyperzombie

            LOL so funny…

      • it could scarecely be worse than our media.

      • It could scarecely be worse than our media, which is 95% controlled by extremely rich people, and almost totally owned by them also. Could it be that the interests and viewpoints of extremely rich people are different than they are for most people? And that the American people are the people in history most heavily subject to propaganda–and furthermore most of them do not realize it, and will deny it, if asked?

      • The American people, not just the Russians and the Chinese, are massively duped. Deceived. Lied to. Kept in the dark. Under a thick, near impenetrable cloud of misinformation. And “the best journals” do not much penetrate this. Of course, anyone can confine themselves to dealing with “scientific truth,” and not worry about this mere “real world stuff.”

      • NBC news, CBS news, ABC news, and FOX news are full of so much blather that if you get your news from them, you are literally blind.

    • cult site! That’s reliable!

  • JMac

    The good news just keeps rolling in!

    Monsanto agrochemicals cause genetic damage in soybean workers – study

    http://rt.com/usa/225247-monsanto-glyphosate-damage-soybean/

    The study, published in the journal Mutation Research/Genetic
    Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, involved 127 people,
    including 81 exposed to biocides while working in the Brazilian
    soybean industry and 46 non-exposed individuals in a control
    group…

    Oh poo poo that! Bogus study! Anti GMO propagandists, yada yada yada….

    http://rt.com/usa/225247-monsanto-glyphosate-damage-soybean/

  • JMac

    And more!

    Headline: Monsanto are slowly poisoning Argentina

    http://www.thevine.com.au/life/news/monsanto-are-slowly-poisoning-argentina-20150123-293481/

    BOGUS! PAY TO PLAY! PROPAGANDA! SHILLS! ANTI GMO WACK JOBS!

    The fun starts when dozens of peer reviewed papers start being published every week. I see a light at the end of the tunnel!

    • Eric Bjerregaard

      Did you even read that stupid article? No evidence at all. Further if anything there is to be believed it is that Argentinian farmers are knowingly spraying their friends and neighbors with higher than label rates of unspecified products. Frankly I am not convinced that those farmers are that callous, evil, and stupid.

      • ” …a survey of 65,000 people in farming communities across Argentina found “cancer rates are between two and four times higher, with higher rates of hypothyroidism and chronic respiratory illness”. That is what we call evidence–undocumented evidence of negative changes, whose cause is not clear.

        • “…Most Argentine provinces limit how close spraying can be done in populated areas, with setbacks ranging from as little as 50 meters to as much as several kilometers. But The Associated Press found many cases of soybeans planted only a few feet from homes and schools, and chemicals mixed and loaded onto tractors inside residential neighborhoods.” More evidence.

          • “…Most Argentine provinces limit how close spraying can be done in populated areas, with setbacks ranging from as little as 50 meters to as much as several kilometers. But The Associated Press found many cases of soybeans planted only a few feet from homes and schools, and chemicals mixed and loaded onto tractors inside residential neighborhoods.” Moreevidence.

          • “It’s nearly impossible to prove that exposure to a specific chemical caused an individual’s cancer or birth defect, but doctors say these cases merit a rigorous government investigation. “They told me that the water made this happen, because they spray a lot of poison here,” said Achaval.”

          • “In this Sept. 24, 2013 photo, students play soccer during recess at a rural school near Concepcion del Uruguay, Entre Rios province, Argentina. Teachers say the farm that abuts their school yard has been illegally sprayed with pesticides, even during class time. In Entre Rios, teachers reported that sprayers failed to respect legally required 50 meter setbacks outside 18 schools, and doused 11 of them while students were in session. Five teachers have since filed police complaints.”–evidence of gross misuse of pesticides.

          • “The country’s entire soybean crop and nearly all its corn and cotton have become genetically modified in the 17 years since St. Louis-based Monsanto Company promised huge yields with fewer pesticides using its patented seeds and chemicals. Instead, the agriculture ministry says agrochemical spraying has increased ninefold, from 9 million gallons in 1990 to 84 million gallons today.” Evidence of very large increase in use of agricultural chemicals.

          • Actually, if you check the data in Argentine, use of insecticides has dropped sharply, near to almost nothing on corn and soybeans, and overall toxicity of herbicides has dropped as well because glyphosate replace for more toxic chemicals. Use of higher toxic chemicals has gone up on farms where GM crops are not grown though. You are just spouting dogma and unscientific dribble from anti-GMO sites. But that’s you MO. Sad.

          • Maybe. And where is your authoratative evidence? Being written by “scientists” does not make something true. Being written by main-stream science does not make something true. Look, you can discount everyone who disagrees with you–that doesn’t make you correct. Has it ever occured to you that there is much truth that you do not see, that you strongly doubt? “Single study syndrome”–that just did not fit the facts. At all.

          • Have you got a convenient reference for that data showing the sharp drop, Jon? And the increase in more toxic chemicals on non-GMO farms? Is there any subtle / easily overlooked distinction between “pesticide” and “insecticide” in the statements in support of these two opposed positions?

            I also wonder if anyone has collated data (not just for Argentina) on a) mass of active component of sprayed pesticides/insecticides and b) aggregated toxicity as a better measure than the total mass/volume that gets regularly quoted. These would be the really interesting things to see before/after and non-GMO/GMO/organic figures on… as well as direct toxicity/hectare numbers between non-GMO/GMO/organic farms.

            I don’t ask for any of this to be antagonistic (in either direction)… just that good data is the only way to have a sane discussion about any of this, and I didn’t yet see these numbers anywhere.

          • I have seen a couple studies that found increased use of pesticides with GMO’s.

          • Great, can you post them, please?

          • hyperzombie

            Great, can you post them, please?

            I am Guessing Benbrook, on a NaturalNews site?

          • Benbrook is all-over the internet.

          • Not even that, apparently. More Shenandoah fantasy killer evidence that he sadly just can’t find the time to post, what with the thousands of tub-thumping anti-everything comments taking up every waking hour…

          • No. People can have very good entirely reality rooted conversation without ever mentioning “data.” Information and knowledge are perfectly legitimate sources of input from the real world. And so are many other things. Many seem to think that science is the end all and be all–it isn’t. In truth, you all make yourselves partly blind, be overrelying on science.

          • Thank you.

          • science teacher

            Yup. You sure do. Love to spout dogma.

          • Oh, the stunning, incisive intelligence! I am awed. At last, a true teacher!

          • Insects will become resistant to Bt–and what will you put inside of our crops next? Gee, if the doctrine of Substantial Equivalence holds, those new plants will not even need to be tested. I can’t wait.

          • And which data would that be?

          • And which data would that be?

          • science teacher

            Evidence of people’s opinion.
            Now THERE’s a compelling argument.
            You have obviously forgotten a lot of history; witches burned, racism, holocost.
            All based on “people’s opinion.’
            If that’s compelling “evidence” for you, based on “people’s opinion,’ you make decisions in pretty scary ways.

          • There are different kinds of arguements, different kinds of evidence. They are what they are–not more, not less. Only respect “scientific” evidence, and you cut yourself off from the world. You will not find more truth, that way. You will find less.

      • There is such a thing as hard evidence of a cause–effect relationship, and there is evidence of correlations–which often comes first.

  • JMac

    Five years ago you spotted a fly once every couple of days and swatted it down with ease. Two years ago you began noticing a fly almost every day. You still swatted it down with ease. Today you seem to be finding half a dozen flies every day. You still swat them down with ease. Oh god how I wish I could be there the moment you realize there are ten thousand flies swarming your head and the war has been lost. Too precious. Mark my words. That day is coming. It’s already over. That’s the funny thing. It is quite easy to project forward and see this outcome. Just look at the public rejection of GMO and the explosion in the growth of organic. It’s over idiot but you’re so full of yourself you can’t see it. Keep selling it baby! Keep on selling! Hey, maybe get a bunch of electric bug zappers and mount them all around you. That might work! I like it.

  • JMac

    Roundup Weathermax 2. One thousand times more effective at killing microbes than glyphosate alone. People eating the lethal combination of glyphosate, siloxanes, and oxalic acid. All conveniently deposited on and absorbed into Roundup Ready crops. And then we eat them! Oh god that sounds good. It’s making me hungry. Not to mention those wonderfully modified fatty acids in the GMO itself that derails the process by which our aromatic enzymes are produced. I guess we really don’t need them anyway. Bye bye vitamin D. Bye bye Serotonin. Bye bye Melatonin. I love it. I just love it. Poison. It’s what’s for breakfast!

    Hey, pour me a bowl. I’ve got a death wish.

    • Eric Bjerregaard

      Good

  • JMac

    Poison prostitutes love death.

  • JMac

    THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ONE SINGLE SAFETY STUDY OF ROUNDUP WEATHERMAX 2.

    Think about that.

    Glyphosate, oxalic acid, and siloxanes combine in this new formula to create a new and unique molecule whose sole purpose for existence is to kill microbes. This new molecule is more effective, more powerful, and more deadly to microbes than any of the previous formulations. As much as one thousand times more powerful. And yet… no safety tests for this new molecule. Not one.

    Better yet, this new molecule which has been designed to be particularly deadly to microbes is being eaten by millions of human beings who are dependent on microbes for their health. In fact, those microbes which account for more of the cells in their bodies than their own are essential in order to remain living and they are being assaulted by something that was designed in a lab to kill them.

    Every day millions of people eat this new and powerful anti microbial agent that is slowly robbing them of their immune system.

    Ah, the wonders of science.

    I can’t wait to see how this turns out!

    Good times!

    Oh no. That’s right. The authorities are never wrong. Human beings never make massive and regretful course of history altering mistakes that seem obvious in hindsight.

    Oh wait a minute. That is actually a very pronounced and entrenched characteristic of human society. To boldly and self righteously charge toward disaster and go right over the cliff. Only to have succeeding generations say never again. And yet it always happens again.

    And again.

    And again.

    Sometimes those who are convinced they have all the answers are wrong.

  • JMac

    Roundup Weathermax 2 is one thousand times more effective at killing
    microbes than glyphosate alone. People eating the lethal combination of glyphosate, siloxanes, and oxalic acid. All conveniently deposited on and absorbed into Roundup Ready crops. And then we eat them! Oh god that sounds good. It’s making me hungry. Not to mention those wonderfully modified fatty acids in the GMO itself that derails the process by which our aromatic enzymes are produced. I guess we really don’t need them anyway. Bye bye vitamin D. Bye bye Melatonin. Bye bye Tryptophan.

    I love it. I just love it. Poison. It’s what’s for breakfast!

    Hey, pour me a bowl. I’ve got a death wish.

  • JMac

    Poison prostitutes peddling Roundup Ready poisoned food to the masses. It will definitely solve the global hunger problem as the population will shrink so much there won’t be anyone left to be hungry. You have to admit, it is brilliant in a sadistic and completely disgusting kind of way. Ok, I need to go puke.

  • JMac

    It’s funny. These guys defending this toxic shit in our food. It has the exact same feel as late 2007 when Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide would come on CNBC and say, ” Oh yeah, everything’s just fine. There’s not any problems at all with our sub-prime loans.” Or Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO would get on there on talk about how there all of their CDOs were just fine. The same goes for the whole gang of top level financial industry executives that paraded day and night on CNBC reassuring everyone that the markets were stable. I remember I would be screaming at the tv. “These guys are totally full of shit!” I would say, “Everything is about to come unhinged”. And it did.

    Luckily for those guys, most of the damage done was abstract. It consisted only of digits on computer screens. Toxic mortgages were only toxic because the numbers didn’t add up. That was easily fixed with new algorithms supplied by the fed and treasury. The whole thing was swept under the rug. The absolutely stunning and ridiculous thing is that we have done it again and all the experts are saying, “There’s nothing to see here. Move along. Don’t pay attention to the chicken littles.” But this time the toxic product does not consist merely of abstractions on computer screens. The toxins we face this time are real and they are in our food and they are making us sick.

    These toxins can’t be hidden with a new algorithm supplied by the fed. These toxins exist in the real world in three dimensions. When this toxic mess bubbles to the surface get ready for one wicked ride. Because agriculture is tied into everything. Much more so than even real estate. When our agriculture goes up in smoke, and mark my words it will, things are going to get very interesting. It is will be the next giant bubble to pop that all of the properly educated jackasses who assured us that nothing was wrong completely missed. It’s only a matter of time.

  • JMac

    Punks. And the arrogance to play Russian roulette with millions of people’s lives. Would somebody please produce one single peer reviewed long term study on the health effects of chronic exposure to low levels of the new microbe penetrating, microbe killing molecule created in the synergistic formulation of Roundup Weathermax 2.

    That’s what I thought. THERE ISN’T ONE.

    PUNKS.

    The arrogance is incomprehensible.

    Not one single study, EVER.

    • Loren Eaton

      Get serious! Every time you eat organic veggies fertilized with manure you’re playing Russian roulette. And WAY more people have gotten sick and some have died due to that practice. Where’s the outrage.

      • That is ridiculous. People have been using organic agriculture for thousands of years–successfully. People have been creating and using new chemicals for only about 100 years (except a very small amount). Numerous human-made chemicals have proven to have very or extremely negative impact`s on the health of people or the biosphere. PCP’s, tetraethyl lead, pthalates, toulene, toxaphene, 1,4 dioxane, benzalkonium chloride, formaldehyde,

        • Just because it’s old and some people survived it (although with historically much shorter lives), doesn’t mean that “organic” or “traditional” methods were best and safest. Contemporary figures on disease and death rates from organic manure fertilizer are shockingly high, and there is no evidence of any similarly systemic risk from conventional/GMO agriculture. You seem to be willfully blinding yourself to that, in order to play out your appeal to tradition fallacy.

          • Go ahead, spread your poisons. It is ecologically ignorant. Go ahead, add fossil fuel to the ground (via fertilizers). It is catastrophic. Nature works–but we have to work with nature.

          • I’m afraid the ignorance is on your side here. Anyone with the faintest clue would be able to distinguish between a fossil fuel (gotta love the objection to putting fossils in the ground… usually you guys protest in the opposite direction on that issue) and a beneficial, entirely different chemical derived from it. Are you really arguing that nitrogenizing must be bad because the petrochemical industry is connected? Jeez.

            I couldn’t help but note that you totally ignored the points I made… again. The facts don’t fit with the anti-corporate, rose-tinted spectacles view of a glorious naturalistic past that never existed, I’m sorry to say, so I can understand why you like to ignore them.

          • Artificial nitrogen fertilizers, and pesticides, are made from fossil fuels. They are very different–both are very negative. Ever hear of global warming? Oh, I,m sorry–that’s just a leftist plot. Jeez.
            Yea, thinking that there is harmony in nature is just wearing rose-tinted spectacles. (I gotta leave.)

          • Thinking there is harmony in nature isn’t so much rose-tinted as meaningless and unconstructive.

            Let’s put the fossil fuel connection in context:

            “3–5% of the world’s natural gas production is consumed in the Haber process (~1–2% of the world’s annual energy supply). In combination with pesticides, these fertilizers have quadrupled the productivity of agricultural land:

            With average crop yields remaining at the 1900 level the crop harvest in the year 2000 would have required nearly four times more land and the cultivated area would have claimed nearly half of all ice-free continents, rather than under 15% of the total land area that is required today.”

            (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haber_process#Economic_and_environmental_aspects)

            I’d say that’s a pretty good deal for 1-2% of global energy commitment — especially given that natural gas is a relatively low-carbon fossil fuel. Pesticides also raise yields and hence reduce the area of cultivated land. Both need to be used proportionately, of course. Where is your factual evidence that “both are very negative”? The above are pretty big positives.

          • Thinking that there is harmony in nature is meaningless and unconstructive–but only to people who are spiritually bankrupt.

            The world is a system–and it is functioning in a chaotic way–not totally, but significantly. (This effects wealthy people much less, at least directly.) We want, or should want, to reduce the chaos, and increase the harmony of the Earth–even if we ourselves are already rich. That is spiritual wealth.

            The human population of the Earth has climbed rapidly–but is that in itself a good thing? I think not. I think that much better would be a much smaller human population, with less warfare, starvation, poverty, disease, etc. I’m not saying that is easy to acheive–but you seem to be saying that the fact that we have some 7 billion people alive on Earth is intrinsically much better than having, say, 4 billion. That to me seems a big fallacy–common, but big.

            You think spreading all of these pesticides on the Earth is no problem? That is a very common viewpoint, especially among out-of-touch with nature people, who predominate. But it is not scientifically justified. The science just has not been done. Plenty of rich, hence powerful people make big bucks off pesticides–so there use is not about to decrease. But what is scientifially known about the combined effects of all the different pesticides , and other industrial chemicals, which do in fact occur? Little.

            So criticize me that I don’t have factual evidence to present to you, proving that the synthetic chemicals that people have spread everywhere on Earth are having deleterius effects on life. I have a much bigger and more serious criticism of you and all the go-go GMOers–that in your ignorance, and arrogance, you are spreading massive quantities of deadly toxins around the Earth, seriously detracting from the integrity of life on Earth, and in the Universe, in so far as we see.

          • Farmer Sue

            Uh, gee, shenan …. you have never talked to a farmer. That is so obvious.

            GE farmers will tell you very patiently that they use LESS fossil fuel with GE crops.

            Please don’t try to address farming practices when you know less than my dog about farming. It makes you look a little …. well, uneducated. And a bit …. arrogant.

            Bad combination, ignorance and arrogance.

          • Farmer Sue– Congratulations! You are so very full of pitiful junk. Go ahead-unburden yourself on me. This website is just full of fine people, interested in science and health! I think you drink dioxins for breakfast, PCB’s for lunch, and Roundup Weathermax 2 for dinner.

      • Yea, let the farmworkers take the risks. It doesn’t matter if pesticides kill them–its just them!

  • Guest

    Too funny! So true

  • Go ahead–imagine that you can continue to pour new chemicals into the environment, because they make things easier, in the short term, for you. You utterly fail to concern yourselves with the intricate chemical requirements of life, of the biosphere–and so you foul your own nest, ruin your home, the Earth, and shatter intricate relationships that you hardly guess at, in your hubris.

  • And what is “the Gold Standard” when it comes to interpreting massive numbers of studies and bodies of evidence? It is not so clear. But our scientific understanding absolutely requires interpreting massive collections of disparate facts–and this is fraught with bias, political pressures, and misunderstandings. And what can be considered “facts,” and what “facts” should be considered and what weight they should be given, these are all too some degree unavoidably personal choices that put to shame your delusions of scientific rigor. I think that much of the claim by scientists that they have a firm grip on reality is a height of self-pride, falsity, and arrogance.

    • Similarly specious are the claims that: the opinion of main stream science is more authoritative; that by virtue of being published in a higher prestige journal, a study is closer to truth; that because more money has been spent by richer people conducting more studies that support a particular view, that view is the correct one; that because numerous political bodies support one side of a scientific debate, that is the correct side;

      • LOL. Let me get this straight. Your argument that an article published in a journal, such as Environmental Sciences Europe, which is pay for play (you can buy you way into it, as anti-GMO scientists do all the time) should carry as much weight as, say, Nature, probably the world’s most prestigious journal which demands rigorous peer review and POST peer review. Yes, Alice, you are committed to independent science!

        • Well, I’ll tell you this–I do not believe that Nature, or any other journal, speaks the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

          • And I believe that non-mainstream sources sometimes publish important truths that are unseen by the mainstream.

          • And I believe that establishments are prone to corruption.

          • And I believe that money talks very loudly.

          • And I don’t believe that the people who work at Nature are wise about all things–there is very much those people are unwise about.

          • And I believe science is, largely or predominantly, a political animal. That is to say, political considerations, not just truth, often play a considerable role in determining what is studied and what is regarded as scientifically demonstrated. This criticism applies to incredibly important and consequential decisions made at the highest levels of global society, as well as at all other levels.

          • RJB

            I notice you have used belief a great deal as the basis for your opinions. You would be more persuasive if you used reputable & verifiable sources for your assertions.

          • One can be blinded by mainsteram dogma.

          • And by popular anti-establishment dogma…

          • Yes. We should avoid being blind, when possible.

          • Yes–however much more common is to be blinded by mainstream dogma. Especially when lots of money is spent propagating that mainstream dogma, often with cheap lies. “There is no difference between GMO’s and other plants. Period. Factualy.” What a stunning lack of insight–or more likely, an attempt to bend reality so that it is more rewarding.

          • Much more common? Where’s your evidence? (Just kidding, I know you never have any.)

            Lots of money on cheap lies – these fantasy shills aren’t very numerate, are they?

            I know, I know: do not feed the trolls…

          • My evidence is reality. I don’t really think some journal owns reality. But you and many so-called scientists don’t want to deal with the real world–you want to deal with your authorized little “data”, and peer reviewed big-money studies.
            You are the ones floating free from reality.
            Your a disgrace to science.

          • It is very clear that it is more common to be blinded by mainstream dogma, because millions mindlessly echo false mainstream stuff, whereas few repeat anti-establishment opinion, even when it is true.

          • JoeFarmer

            Best course of action is to ignore this guy. It’s hard not to feel sorry for him, but he is knowledge-resistant.

          • JoeFarmer, you’re a paragon of virtue.

          • When one has billions, they can throw it around.

          • You’re so good.

          • gmoeater

            Yeah, like “oooooo, gmos should be labeled.”

            That’s a great example of “mainstream dogma.” I ain’t blinded by it, tho.

          • That isn’t mainstream dogma–it is a majority opinion.

          • I’m sorry, I think many scientists are data bound, failing to consider those aspects of the world that are not covered by data, which are abundant, with sufficient attention, creativity, and intelligence.

          • science teacher

            Scierntists data bound! Well, who woulda thunk!
            The audacity!
            Data — wow. Scientists use data.
            Aaaaaaaand, you think ….. decisions that are essentially scientific in nature should be made by …. “other-than” information? No data? Like, ouija boards? Flying yogis like Jeffie Smith? Dreams? hallucinogenic imaginings?

            Imagine that. Scientists relying on data.

          • Data, information, and knowledge are closely related concepts, but they are distinguisable. For a scientist to throw out knowledge and information, and rely only on data, is an unacceptable simplification of the world, to which some scientists whose understanding is not too deep are subject.

          • RJB

            What you “think” is not compelling and does not demonstrate clear, unbiased, rational observation.

          • Failing to notice that science is, partly, a political animal is just a stunning lack of insight.

          • RJB

            Please describe to us your experience in scientific research, education, and/or publishing.

          • Plenty.

          • No.

          • It is amazing how much unjustified credit for having the truth that so many people claim. Realize it, science is infant.

          • The fact that I think, and said that I think something that does not have a “study” supporting it, is certainly not improper. If you don’t think lots of things, your science is worthless. You think my observation is not true–er, clear, unbiased, and rational? Well, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t compel it to drink.

          • gmoeater

            Paranoia / conspiracy much?
            Not a real great basis for opinions. Or your “beliefs.”

          • .

          • agscienceliterate

            Shenendoah, what you “believe” means squat.
            What is based on science should be your criteria.
            But you probably presumed that people who read this site were sort of committed to facts and science over hype, right? No surprises here. Your comments would go over much, much better on the Food Babe’s FB page.

          • And I believe that what you call mainstream does not include a good bit of quality science from around the world.

        • I’m sorry, Mr. Entine, but it is typical–I did not say what you attribute to me, and will not defend it.

  • What I wonder is, why many generally informed people seem so bent on shutting down people’s legitimate concerns about GMO’s–after all, G.E crops are a big change in the way agriculture is practised. (That, of course, is denied–looney tunes.) Aren’t you aware that there are many legitimate concerns? A product of a GMO probably killed 37 people and injured 1,500 people. (see Showa Denko Tryptophan Disaster.) You are so proud of your science–don’t you see that more convincing, transparent science, is urgently needed and totally deserved?

  • The major motivation behind the development of GMO’s has not been the effort to better feed and clothe the world’s people, with less negative environmental impact; the major motivation has been the desire of rich and extremely rich people to become richer–let the bulk of people be damned.

  • Who funds the studies–in the first years of commercial GMO’s, all studies in this country were by industry supported groups. Now, I understand that this is changed, but I have not yet found or been referred to one article detailing the current situation. (I did see one blog post detailing change, but I have no idea how accurate that is. It was also old.) ,,, When all studies were from industry supported groups, the studies were utterly inconclusive, as to the safety of specific GMO’s, due to a major confounding factor. Now, I do not know–someone please post me a link detailing the current situation. And if there are not papers about this topic, that evidences an incompetant scientific community.

  • Chelle

    I enjoyed this article until the very last paragraph. Those against ingesting GMO’s for whatever reason, I believe, are not stuck on one perspective. Rather, they are for more reputable studies on their effects on their bodies and the environment. Unfortunately GMO corn and other crops are inundated into our food supply (processed food especially) and we now are not aware of the choices we are making for ourselves and our families and the effects of those choices. Time will tell, but do we really want to be a part of such a study?

  • Am I being cut off this cog (cog) because I raise serious questions about GMO”s? I thought you were interested in increasing genetic llteracy.

    • JoeFarmer

      • Am I spoiling your party? Pleas, do not spoil the Earth.

        • hyperzombie

          Well then support GMOs.

          • When you are acting positively, then I will support you (all.)

          • As you have changed your comment, I’ll say, when the GMO movement is acting wisely, ecologically and with deep regard for humanity and nature, then they will deserve support. But you all are very far from there.

          • hyperzombie

            I never changed this comment… Are you drinking the Bong water again?

          • Pardon me. When and if you’ll are acting positively, I will support you.

  • ” The combination and interaction of the many environmental pollutants has been woefully inadequately studied–in other words, all of science is vastly ignorant about environmental pollutants.” This includes every herbicide, which you all spread, and plan on spreading, so blithly over the Earth.

    • hyperzombie

      Nope, and it wasn’t a peer reviewed study.. Hey and they looked at the USDA pesticide data, that I will link. And there is no increase in herbicides in the USA in the last few years.

      http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/farm-practices-management/chemical-inputs/pesticide-use-markets.aspx

      • “Overall pesticide use decreased only in the first few years GE crops were used (42 percent between 1998 and 2001) and has since then risen by 26 percent from 2001 to 2010.” Are you being closed minded?

        • hyperzombie

          So, overall you admit that pesticide use is down..
          Did you not look at the data I provided, from the USDA?

          • Yes, I looked. Overall pesticide use is down slightly. 2,4-D and Dicamba use will be increasing. And what will happen as plants gain resistance to glyphosate and 2,4-D and Dicamba, and insects gain resistance to Bt? The use of more toxic alternatives? Our will people wake up and use life-affirmative alternatives, like increasing biodiversity, increasing the health of soil and soil communities, eschewing chemical warfare, and refraining from the use of fossil fuels?

          • US use of insecticides in cotton, corn and soy has gone down 10 fold since the introduction of GMO Bt versions, according to USDA. Overall pesticide use is down, overall per unit of production is down sharply, and toxicity levels are down by huge amounts–all related to GM crop usage. That’s we know factually. Anything else…your predictions of a dire future… are not only speculation they are almost certainly wrong. The whole idea of the glyphosate 2,4-D mix is to cut down on resistance, which develops automatically in nature to all pesticides, synthetic or natural… it’s the way of nature. Unless anti-GM activists have their way, we can continue to create innovative solutions to ag challenges. Note that GM crops have led to an INCREASE in biodiversity–you need to bone up on your scantly knowledge of sustainability. Because of GMOs, we are using fewer and fewer chemicals all the time. BTW, I assume you don’t drive…you just bike around? Don’t fly? Don’t heat or cool your home? All so we do not use fossil fuels? Or are you all about sustainability chic? (We know the answer).

          • Overall pesticide use has decreased maybe
            10% due to GMO’s.

            My predictions of serious problems arising with GMO’s are likely–because there is this dominant mindset that chemical agriculture is the solution to all our agricultural problems, that chemical pollution is no big problem, that caution is not needed, that a not-scientifically proven danger is no danger (which is the definition of lack of insight), that only one species (humankind) is important or valuable, that there is no such thing as natural harmony, that rich people pursuing exclusively their own self-interest is the best way to help humanity, and that the scientific establishment is the possesor and the font of all wisdom.

            Resistance to glyphosate-2,4-D mixes will shortly appear.—-Dioxin often does contaminate 2,4-D.

            You think humanity knows how to best handle the living world? Consider the massive biological despoilation of North America since the arrival of the Europeans. The loss of the massive herds of buffalo, and the extinction of the formerly super-abundant Passenger Pigeon are only the two most obvious indicators of the massive wipeout of life that has occured.

            Whether GMO crops have led, so far, to some marginal increase in biodiversity is not clear–but what we need and want is a massive increase in biodiversity.

            GM technology, misused, could lead to an increase in the use of chemicals. What super-bugs are going to hatch as a result of the not-thought out, competitive, and possibly cutthroat application of GM technology?

            BTW, I do drive to work. I have taken large steps to reduce my energy consuption, as will every informed American. I do not heat my house–in a very cold winter climate. (I get far fewer respiratory infections, now that I don’t.)

            I find the lack of acknowledgement, by the go go GMOers, of the inherent problems of GM technology to be intellectually infantile.

          • ” Or are you all about sustainability chic? (We know the answer)”–you say, a fatuous comment–see next to last paragraph of my comment below beginning, “Overall pesticide use has decreased maybe 15% due to GMO’s.”

          • SageThinker

            Quantity by weight may have decreased, but exposure by potency may have increased.

            Glyphosate is systemic. It is in the food product, integrally. You cannot wash it off. It is not a surface pesticide. It adsorbs into the plant body systemically.

            Glyphosate is a competitive inhibitor, a very potent class of drug. The potency by weight of competitive inhibitors as a class is very high.

            To quote Genetic Literacy Project, a very reliable source for scientific information, “The agrochemicals displaced by glyphosate, such as MCPA, a herbicide for controlling annual and perennial weeds, have much lower LD50 values and bigger problems with bioaccumulation.”

            The same article, however, only pays attention to the LD50 of glyphosate, and not the level of inhibition of microbial metabolism, which has been shown by Jaworski in his 1972 study of Rhizobacterium japonicum to inhibit microbial metabolism far below 10 uM concentration.

            That seems to be quite an oversight.

          • GMO’s would cause less REACTION if you go-go GMOers would get off your high horses, respect people, deal with them as the intelligent people that they are, stop shortcutting the growth of understanding, stop acting like know-it-alls, and focus on helping humankind, not on making the industry a pretty penny.

          • hyperzombie

            And what will happen as plants gain resistance to glyphosate and 2,4-D and Dicamba,

            Farmers would switch to Glyphosinate and Atrazine or other herbicides. And they are not more toxic, just use a different mode of action.

            like increasing biodiversity

            How does that kill weeds?

            increasing the health of soil and soil communities

            In health soils weeds grow even faster, how does that help?

            refraining from the use of fossil fuels?

            That is what herbicides do. Reduce tillage, saving tons of fuels.

          • Massively dousing acres of land, thereby contaminating ground water, the air, the soil, every plant, the bodies of farmworkers–the entire ecosystem–is so unlike the chemical warfare plants practice, as to be a fundamentally different thing. Do you think people scientifically have an adequate understanding of what we are doing to the natural (not man made) world, with our mixtures of potent herbicides? We absolutely do not.

            Increasing biodiversity is key to increasing the health of agro-ecosystems. This includes the biodiversity of the soil–which herbicides likely severly depress.

            Face it–the use of herbicides is not scientifically justified. It is largely scientifically unstudied. We have to find other ways to reduce fossil fuel use.

          • hyperzombie

            Face it–the use of herbicides is not scientifically justified.

            suck it up, it has been studied for over 80 years now, and it works.
            Stop with the naturalistic fallacies, Ag is not natural.
            The best thing that we can do for nature in increase yield and lower the footprint of agriculture.

          • Yea, and people have been studying the Bible, a book, for 1,900 years plus, and what of it do people understand? The whole fields of ecology, toxicology, evolution, human developement–are in their infancy. What is known about the ecological effects of varied combinations of herbicides, insecticides, and other common industrial chemicals? Little–making your pretensions to scientific understanding a joke.

          • Ag should be natural. That’s right, lower the footprint.

          • hyperzombie

            Are you retarded? Did you take the small bus to school?
            No agriculture is Natural.

          • You are such a civil man! Fine job!——
            Here is a quote from Shumei–
            http://www.shumei-na.org
            Natural Agriculture is a way of farming based on a deep respect and regard for nature. It puts us in touch with the natural forces so that we can work in harmony and partnership with nature. Although it begins with the growing of crops, Nature Agriculture is a philosophy and way of life, encompassing the way we eat, cook and think about food. It is practiced by farmers and consumers alike, by individuals as well as whole communities. Natural Agriculture is not just a set of actions or techniques, it is a way of interacting with the earth and our environment, brought to life through our relationship with food.

          • hyperzombie

            Natural Agriculture,,,LOL. It is about as natural as Natural Oil Refining, Natural Nuclear Power.
            Calling something Natural doesn’t make it so.

          • Respect nature–come back to life.

          • “Natural,” like most words, has various uses and definitions.

          • You never answered the argument made below– “What is known about the ecological effects of varied combinations of herbicides, insecticides, and other common industrial chemicals? Little–making your pretensions to scientific understanding a joke.” I wish you would–it is very important.

          • “What is known about the ecological effects of varied combinations of herbicides, insecticides, and other common industrial chemicals? Little–making your pretensions to scientific understanding a joke.” Answer this! !!!!!

          • hyperzombie

            Lots, are you happy now. Ag chemicals are some of the most studied chemicals in the world.

          • I believe the study of the various combinations of pollutants that do in fact occur is abysmal. Please post contraditing evidence, or mention it here. Science is juvenile, you’ll imagine that it knows everything!

          • hyperzombie

            Believe whatever you want, Vaccines cause horns on your head, the Pope is gay, Aliens built the pyramids, Fish are actually cows hiding from slaughter, There is a giant mind control ray pointed at everyone to make them buy Lady GAGA records.
            Show me some evidence or you are as useless as the guy walking around with a sign saying the end is near.

          • That’s garbage. Got a mind? Gee, if a few parts per million of one chemical severly hurt an organism, and a few parts per million of another chemical severly hurt an organism, are the effects of both pollutants together additive? Multiplicative? Exponential? A reasonable carefulness requires that we look into this–extensively. Or–bury your heads in the sands–and enjoy your personal profits. Oink.

          • hyperzombie

            0x0x0 still equals zero…. get a life.

          • Oh, you don’t realize that the totally benign and helpful chemical glyphosate disrupts some biological systems at very low concentratioms–“In rainbow trout, for instance, the 96-hour LC50 was 8.3 mg/l with Roundup and 38 ppm with glyphosate.( from Extoxnet).

            Or maybe you don’t realize that some other pesticides are as bad or worse. So you think, heck? What could go wrong? Combined effects? These are of no account. Let the Ag chem companies produce whatever earns them big bucks, and whatever farmers are short-sighted enough to use!

            I think that in this, you are being morally and spiritually bankrupt. But don’t worry–you have lots of company. Many, many people do not realize that we can, and should, try to put things together better–but we can, and should.

            Common, admit it–you are more inclined to death.

            Choose life.

          • OK, don’t answer my comment below. Your pretentions to scientifically understanding what you do, and this applies to the entire go go gmo crowd, are a sick joke that you should all be very ashamed of!

          • hyperzombie

            What the heck are you yapping about now? And this comment makes no sense.

          • It made sense till you deleted. I have voiced this concern many many times. When farmers or others put glyphosate or any other broadly harmful chemical into the environment, in order for them to understand how they are affecting the world, the combined affects of the presence of various chemicals must be studied. If you do not study that area deeply, you are acting irresponsibly, wildly, and poisonously–you are tearing the world down. You are hurting us all.

          • hyperzombie

            Glyphosate is only harmful to weeds, do you have so sort of bizarre attraction to weeds? Are you are “Weedophillicac”?

          • “Glyphosate is only harmful to weeds”–this is not known, and is very doubtful.

          • hyperzombie

            LOL.. ask a weed?

          • But only if it’s a PhD.

          • Herbicides are inadequately studied, and inadequately understood. During most of those 80 years, our tools and concepts were childish.

          • hyperzombie

            So tobacco doesn’t cause cancer (1903). Dioxins are not bad (1934)?

          • I’m not saying that science did not discover important things. I’m saying that to think that science has discovered all or even most of the important things is an utterly unjustified belief.

          • hyperzombie

            Look there is no scientific reason to be anti-GMO… Get over it, and worry about real health threats in food.

          • When prople are using GMO’s, more than any other use, to make herbicide resistant plants, whose cultivation hugely increases the use of certain toxic chemicals (herbicides,) then there are clear reasons to be concerned about GMO’s. I am not convinced that there are not other causes for concern also, but this is what I’m focused on, now.

          • hyperzombie

            When prople are using GMO’s, more than any other use

            Nope bt is the most popular GMO trait, over 13 million farmers buy it every year.

            whose cultivation hugely increases the use of certain toxic chemicals

            Nope the herbicide is applied at the same rate with or without GMO.

            Plus there are many non GMOs that do the same thing.

            The Gmo herbicides are far less toxic to the environment and humans than the herbicides that they replaced./

          • You don’t think massive presence of Bt in agricultural ecosystems will have huge ecological impacts? That is just ecological ignorance. ….. I have definitely seen studies indicating much increased use of hebicides with GMO’s. ….. I suggest weeding, or something creative like plant spacing or mulching. Or changing diet. Employing more people!–Not spreading broadly toxic chemicals. ….. Our bodies are chemical. The biosphere is chemical. Small quantities of chemicals can hugely disrupt the natural harmony of both our bodies and the biosphere. When will people learn that we have to practice chemical integrity?

          • You suck it up and spew it out.

          • Farmer Sue

            “…..masively dousing…..”
            Where do you get your information????
            Lots of hyperbole, zero fact.

          • Considering that I was comparing human pesticide use to those very small amounts of chemicals that plants produce to discourage other plants and insects, calling it “massively dousing” was fair. Human use of pesticides is many many times bigger than plant use of such chemicals.

            I’ve sighted much fact, and I try to state it strongly because you all make me feel like I’m writing to a brick wall.

          • Captain Moonlight

            Plants themselves have engaged in chemical warfare since the dawn of time. This is how they protect themselves from threats, including mammalian herbivory. There is also allelopathy, which plants use to suppress competition from neighbouring plants. It is great that you care about these issues but I think you need to read a little more widely.

          • The chemical warfare engaged in by plants and animals is on an utterly different scale than that used by industrial agriculture, and uses utterly different chemicals. When’s the last time you heard of a plant or animal species spreading persistant toxins over millions of acres? Humankinds use of toxic chemicals has huge and unfortunate fundamental differences from the use of toxic chemicals by other species–which, by the way, do not know what they are doing. People could forsee what they are doing, which would be extremely helpful. But American scientists and society are too damn arrogant to use The Precautionary Principle–because we are small-minded and selfish.

          • Farmer Sue

            13% ain’t “slight.”

          • Compared to the reduction of pesticide use by organic agriculture, it is small.

    • Farmer Sue

      Sheesh, Shen — talk to a farmer, wouldja? You are really gullible. And willing to quote anything that fits your preconceived ideas. Shallow.

      • Farmer Sue, your words project emptiness.

        • Farmer Sue

          The only thing more pathetic than someone who is ignorant who has a computer, is someone who is ignorant, has a computer, and is arrogantly fixed in their own conclusions. Hubris. Shallow.

          If you’re really interested in farming, and the amount of pesticides GE and conventional farmers use, talk to one.

          • “GMO Crops Mean More Herbicide, Not Less”
            Herbicide. Not Pesticide. See?

            Farmer Sue, you are so very sharp! A testament to–something.

            I favor organic farming–it’s far from perfect, but a step in the right direction–away from using poorly understood biocides–poorly understood, even by our farming geniuses, like yourself.

      • It’s terrible of me, isn’t it, quoting from some left-wing claptrap like Forbes?

  • SageThinker

    This is a very good article on epistemology, although i would caution that the implication of the penultimate paragraph about the nature of critics of GMOs or related technologies, by an “ex-anti-GMO activist-turned-GMO-proponent” falls directly into the fallacy that you named “anecdotes”. You take the testimony of one person who agrees with your probable desired outcome, and then repeat them as if that has some bearing on the truth.

    My prime concern about glyphosate being in so much of our food is that the effect on the human gut microbiome has not been studied. You would think that for a chemical that is in the daily food of most people on the planet, this would have been studied, but it has not. This is a serious failing. Glyphosate kills plants by blocking their EPSP synthase in the shikimic acid pathway. Monsanto says that because humans don’t have the EPSP synthase, this effect does not occur in humans, but this is a serious weasel-type lie because the microbes in the human gut microbiome — 100 trillion of them — are indeed affected in this way. Their EPSP synthase molecules get stalled by glyphosate even in very low doses, so this is a serious effect that occurs at levels we see in our food every day. I, for one, want to know the profound health effects that possibly occur as a result. Too subtle to set off alarms, but probably profound in systemic ways. To test for this hypothesis, we need serious and good science done by independent entities, in multiple studies of varied design, testing the actual outcome of humans ingesting glyphosate versus those who do not, and studying the relevant dynamics of the gut microbiome. It’s not so hard, and i wonder why it hasn’t been done yet. It’s hard to claim that a chemical is safe, or that it has no effect on the human body, when this very basic pathway to potential disruption has not been studied adequately.

    I personally look to the world with a rational mindset, which includes seeing patterns on many levels, from sociological to psychological to biological, and i see many crazy claims out there, but i also see real reasons for concern on many levels.

  • And what are the effects of glyphosate plus the neonicotinoids?Glyphosate plus chlorpyrifos? Glyphosate plus metolachlor? Glyphosate plus 2,4-D? Glyphosate plus–wait a minute–there are hundreds of pesticides in use. Don’t chemicals interact, in multiple combinations? Aren’t cumulative health and environmental affects common?
    And what about Glyphosate plus lead, or cadmium, or mercury, or other heavy metals?
    What about glyphosate plus chlorine, or flourine?
    What about glyphosate plus dry cleaning chemicals, or any other industrial chemical?
    What about glyphosate plus nitrogen dioxide (NO2)?
    What about combinations of three or more of the
    above mentioned chemical pollutants, along with various combinations of all the other chemicals that humankind has distributed abundantly across the Earth?
    In other words–all of you people, who pretend or suppose that humankind is using synthetic chemicals (and some natural toxins) in only or primarily scientifically justified ways–guess again. People have been studying the issues involved for a long time–decades, centuries, and millenia–but our informed understanding of how to properly use synthetic chemicals is in its infancy. So I urge people, before they create, manufacture, and use synthetic chemicals, to know before they act what will be the ecological and health impacts of their action. To date, the manipulations caused by our use of GMO’s has not met this requisite–far from it.

    • agscienceliterate

      Shenandoa, I have three questions for you.
      Please answer them.
      1) What do you eat?
      2) Why do you eat what you eat?
      3) Where do you get your information about the safety of what you eat?

      Thank you.

      • That’s shenendoah. I eat mostly vegan, organic as much as practical. It seems to help my body flourish, and it has less negative impacts on the biosphere. I am reasonably informed through considerable study. I lived on an organic farm for about a year and a half.

        • agscienceliterate

          shenendoah:
          1) you really believe that vegan and organic has “less negative impacts on the biosphere” ?? Absolutely not! The environmental footprint and impact of genetic engineering is far, far less than for organic.
          2) Now answer my other two questions, please: why you eat what you eat, and where you get info about the safety of what you eat, as I asked before. Be specific. Who do you read and trust to come up with these (false) presumptions?
          Oh, and a final question. Do you eat cheese? You know it’s genetically modified, right?

  • Good4U

    If you take out the BS posts from ‘shenan…whatever’ and that ‘Mac’ pervert, there really are only about 2 dozen rational posts on this thread. Not worth reading the comments any longer. The original article is excellent, though. From my experience it seems that the more highly educated people in our society understand and accept biotechnology, whereas the weirdos and wacktivists are the ones who really didn’t like school, yet think their ignorance constitutes a good basis for complaining about food with their mouths full of it. Here’s a suggestion: Don’t eat any more of it. Go raise your own food. The farmers, growers, ranchers, etc. who produce most of our food supplies don’t need you as customers.

    • Good4u, can’t stand thought, can you. You prefer to just know it all, and shut out those who differ from you. Closed minds, like you illustrate, will lead us into a pit. Do something good in your life, would you? Someday?

    • Admit it, Good4U–you don’t want people reading this blog because within it, Mac and I, SageThinker and some others make much better sense and much more compelling arguments than you.

    • .

    • In fact, Good4U, there are numerous short essays in this conversation that much eclipse your own contributions to this conversation. You don’t want people to read it because of the numerous strong arguments that neither you nor anyone else dealt with even faintly satisfactorily.

  • I’d say many on this site are committed to half-baked science and selected facts, and are not commited to understanding or human wellbeing.

  • Fracking? No problem–what is that water good for, anyway?

  • Imagine that. Scientists not using there heads–choosing their money and massive propaganda, instead. Monsanto, Dupont, et.al.–your company is so noble.

  • Genetic Engineering, not wisely used, could create massive negative environmental impacts. But you want to stoke this irresponsible claptrap, designed to fool gullible people–

    GMO’s are only positive! They need no regulation!–(maybe you have now given up on, “they don’t even need much testing!”-Older Bush and D. Quale tried to palm that off on us)–they couldn’t possibly harm a flea, and never have!–

    It would be nice if you folks weren’t just trying to make a quick buck–for yourselves. But that is the commanding reason the technology was developed, and deployed.

    And it is the reason you’ll are acting like you do–shut down the conversation! Keep people unaware! Try to verbally shame questioning people! Be personally ugly as if there is no tomorrow! Ridicule critics! Spend big big bucks–that is, invest big bucks. Bowl people over with this phoney consensus! Spread tons of untested, toxic material everywhere–after all, we have been doing that for some hundred years! It must be safe!

    I wish you all would act with a decent respect for humanity. And the Earth.

  • I found them in a search of “the precautionary principle” on google, on the websites of the respective organizations. My interests and reading are wide. I have occasionally looked at Heritage and A.E.I., and I sometimes watch Fox and listen to Rush et al. on WCBM. But I will admit, that is rare–they speak little worthwhile.

    • Bruce__H

      OK. I was just wondering because it seems to me as though the quotes you cite are basically acknowledging that the regulatory system, in the US at least, is an example of the precautionary principle in practice. The first quote, for instance, is from an article by Johnathan Adler fulminating against the overuse of the precautionary principle by American and European regulatory agencies.

      So I don’t understand where your argument is heading here. Did you read the articles you cited? .

      • Yea–applying the principle is “overusing it”–so says our enlightened A.E.I. Thet think they should be free to do what they want. That is piggishness in action. Let them make big bucks. Let poor people suffer the sickness and degradation of their environment.

        I’m glad if the U.S. wakes up, and applies the principle more. But that humanmade chemicals continue to be used wildly is obvious, and this is supported and stoked by many who consider themselves scientificaly informed. Scientists frequently fails to embrace wisdom–and in that failure, expose themselves as charlatans.

        • Bruce__H

          It should bother you that the meaning of passages you cited to me is 180 degrees different from what you thought. Apparently you couldn’t care less.

          It’s not “obvious” to me that humanmade chemicals are used wildly. I would like to know if it is really true or not but I don’t see how talking with you will help me figure this out since your arguments seem to consist mostly of saying something is true because you really really think it’s true.

          I was hoping to have a good debate with someone who has different views from me, but it requires a more organized thinker than you. For this reason I am terminating our communication.

          • Bruce H, your comment is such pure baloney that I won’t miss you. Unless you were to promise to teach me how to have organized, insightful thinking. My arguments are so confused!

            I cited a couple passages, not articles. The rewordings I offered were right on target. You disagree? Well I disagree with you.

            You don’t see that human made chemicals are being used wildly. So you think it is perfectly OK that, while some research is made of
            the individual impacts of chemicals, little researched or understood is the combination of impacts from various chemicals, such as commonly occur in the real world.

            That, sir, is overpowering ignorance.

            Don’t worry–just that approach is very common.

            But that you simply dismiss my repreated calls for study of this area, without even addressing it, is very poor. Closed minded. Uninsightful. Scientifically vacuous.

            I wish you well. I hope that someday you find a decent debating partner. But you should realize, others do not necessarily share your ideas, terms, or approach. That doesn’t mean that they are unorganized. It means that they are organized differently than you–maybe better.

      • Yea, Mr. Adler says that the precautionary approach is being overused–in America. That is non-sense. You don’t think that the effects of very toxic chemicals interact, and that we should be cautious about such things? Stunning lack of insight and care. You think I’m just making it up? Get a mind.

      • The article is not acknowledging anything–it is asserting that the precautionary principle is being overused–falsely.

  • No one has even attempted to answer a serious concern that I’ve voiced in this discussion about 15-20 times, or more–and this indicates to me that no one has a satisfactory answer to it–which is to say that people are behaving in extremely stupid ways, in regards to chemicals and therefore, GMO’s.
    To wit, people know but very little about what we have been doing, spreading large quantities of very many toxic chemicals all around the Earth, throughout the biosphere, impacting innumerable species and ecosystems.
    Chemicals are tested individually, as to what are some of the more obvious affects that chemical may have upon living systems–but the impact of the combinations of effects that are extremely likely to occur in the real world is almost completely ununderstood.
    This is a failure that disgraces our science and our scientists.
    Do you all care one little bit about what happens to us? Do you all care one little bit about life in the universe?

  • It is troubling, agricultural scientists don’t even understand how to use chemicals properly, and now they are fiddling with Genes! There will be big genetic missteps coming. Doubt it? You are such a brilliant scientist.

  • People on this site are not deeply committed to science. They are committed to bullying, half-baked science, and establishment pus.

  • Farmer Sue, you are a font.

  • Common, you scientific wonks. Let someone answer how it makes scientific sense to release tons of toxic chemicals into our food and environment, while we in fact have virtually no understanding of the interactions of the toxicities of those chemicals. I am waiting, and have been for many months, for someone to speak well about this. But I think you won’t, because you can’t.

  • Inhallation LC 50, Roundup promax, Rat–2.58 mg./Liter–
    http://www.monsanto.com/sitecollectiondocuments/ito/roundup%20promax_factsheet_april%202010_final%20.pdf

    Well, at least we can be glad that Roundup is only toxic to plants. Not animals. Wait. Did that say Inhallation LC 50, Roundup promax, Rat–2.58 mg./Liter.

    Rats are mammals, I learned in science.
    How can this be?

  • Maybe some people think that my arguement that the combination effects of Roundup with all the other agricultural chemicals is important, and must be carefully looked at, is spurious, because after all Roundup effects a molecular pathway that is not in animals. However, the LC 50 for rats of Roundup Promax is 2.58 mg./Liter–
    http://www.monsanto.com/sitecollectiondocuments/ito/roundup%20promax_factsheet_april%202010_final%20.pdf

    No one has anything to say about this–because you all are scientific charlatans, who suppose you are scientific geniuses.

  • I suppose I’m going to far in calling you’ll scientific charlatans. Pardon me. However, your assumptions about the safety of pesticides are not well founded–they are borne of a small-minded consideration of life and health. You are failing to act with the carefullness, and respect for life, that is appropriate and required.

  • You claim science shows that current pesticides are no problem. Bulloney. Most of the pertinent questions have not been studied, but you pretend that they have.

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has posted a report on its data from the 2013 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary, concluding that although over half of the food tested by the agency for pesticide residues last year showed detectable levels of pesticides, these levels are below the tolerances established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and do not pose a safety concern. The residues reflect a pesticide use and exposure pattern that raises hazard scenarios that are not fully evaluated by EPA for chemical mixtures, synergistic effects, impacts on people and environments with high risk factors, and certain critical health endpoints, such as endocrine disruption. That is to say, face it, you “scientists” are flying blind.