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To ideologues, means matter far more than ends. Again a very good article concerning GM crops. It is entirely possible to be responsible and accountable without needing laws, rules or excessive regulation. The former is connected to electricity mains supply, while the latter use AA batteries as the source of power. Yet again, there is the usual controversy surrounding drinks like red wine, coffee and so on. I have no doubt that when I allow my suspended license and registration on the Honda to expire in Feb , that I will get pulled over, my vehicle will be towed and I might get arrested according to the threat on the documents I come from the city life to a small town where my family resides so I could have a quieter, less stressful life.

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According to publicly available records, there were at least Bias Response Teams publicized by four-year or post-graduate institutions during At a conservative estimate, 22 at least 2. The names and acronyms used for bias reporting systems vary from campus to campus. Some direct reports to police departments, 29 various deans 30 or human resources offices, 31 or housing authorities. Broad applications of the term can diminish serious misconduct by equating political squabbles and caustic speech with violent criminal conduct.

Such political criticism can hardly be placed under the same umbrella as true threats of violence. Yet this is precisely what many bias reporting systems do. Schools largely define bias incidents to encompass more than hate crimes or actionable conduct. Hate crimes—criminal conduct undertaken on the basis of a protected characteristic of the victim, which is not protected by the First Amendment 40 —are always bias incidents.

A bias-related incident is any word or action directed toward an individual or group based upon actual or perceived identity characteristics or background of a group or person that is harmful or hurtful. Some bias-related incidents may be contrary to law or policy, while some may be speech protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

All speech is presumptively protected by the First Amendment unless it falls within certain narrow exceptions carved out by the Supreme Court: Most reporting systems are predicated on specific, enumerated characteristics.

Among them, the categories vary widely on different campuses. Each of these teams solicits reports about bias against race or religion, and all but one explicitly solicit reports about disability or sexual orientation. For example, while There is also significant divergence when it comes to reporting bias based on political affiliation, views, or conduct.

Among them, concerns regarding bias against political and social views vary:. Some of these examples are likely the result of definitions borrowed from state employment discrimination statutes. Yet asking students to report one another for broadly defined bias against their voluntary political or social affiliation invites surveillance of and intrusion into political speech, subjecting it to the scrutiny of administrators and police.

It is not mere speculation that core political speech, academic discourse, and outspoken activists are likely to become the subjects of bias incident reports. FIRE used public records requests, reviewed similar requests by media outlets, and examined the sparse public disclosures by Bias Response Teams to discern what gets reported.

The reports we reviewed, which often fail to disclose what action if any was undertaken in response, span the ideological spectrum:. To be sure, Bias Response Teams also field a number of reports of conduct not protected by the First Amendment. For example, many reports involve vandalism, assault, or true threats motivated by bias. These, however, are acts that may be reported to existing resources, such as student conduct administrators or police departments.

Schools could also invite students to report unlawful conduct using online reporting systems, or even to a team set aside to address unlawful conduct motivated by bias. Having cast a wide net, who reviews the reported speech?

Bias Response Teams are often populated by police and student conduct administrators. They also include, to a lesser extent, media relations administrators, faculty members, and students.

Others, such as the University of Montana and DePaul University , direct reports straight to police or security officers. By including police and student conduct administrators on their Bias Response Teams, schools send a message to students that undercuts claims of respect for freedom of expression: If you say something that offends someone, you may or in some cases will be investigated by police.

Their inclusion can also lead universities to use police to investigate offensive speech or anonymous speakers. The College wants to identify the individual s engaged in posting and distributing these flyers.

If you have any information about who may be doing this, it is critical that you contact Police Services or provide information anonymously using the online incident report form. Students summoned to meet with a member of the office of the dean of students are likely to view the meeting not as educational, but as punitive. Where this is the case, it undermines the notion implicitly underlying Bias Response Teams that universities are primarily concerned with providing a safe environment.

Ultimately, it was faculty members on the Diversity Council who placed the flyers in context. Without their intervention, it is possible that administrators who erroneously viewed the flyers as threatening could have continued their investigation and initiated charges. In other words, the lack of faculty or student membership may deprive Bias Response Teams of valuable insight into instances of purportedly offensive speech, as well as principles of academic freedom.

To date, FIRE is aware of no legal challenges to a bias reporting system. However, each time a Bias Response Team embarks upon an investigation or intervention with the reported person, it risks exposing the institution and its administrators to claims under the First Amendment.

That a university provides a mechanism for community members to share information concerning offensive speech may not, alone, amount to a justiciable First Amendment controversy. The First Amendment, however, does not simply restrict the government from expressly penalizing or prohibiting speech.

To mount a First Amendment retaliation claim, for example, an aggrieved party must demonstrate three things: But the reality is that Bias Response Teams are generally intended to deter offensive speech and conduct. Their goal is to chill speech that the institution or its constituents find offensive or unkind. When Bias Response Teams intervene directly with the reported student, the risk of exposing the university to First Amendment claims increases.

Even the public pronouncement that an investigation is underway—particularly when conducted by law enforcement—can itself have a chilling effect. Sullivan is instructive.

It is true that [the] books have not been seized or banned by the State, and that no one has been prosecuted for their possession or sale. While they might protest that they are intended not to punish speech but to discourage speech contrary to the values of the institution, even if that speech is protected, Bias Response Teams are nevertheless intended to chill speech.

By using the language, tools, and administrators associated with disciplinary systems, Bias Response Teams risk being perceived as intimidating, not educating. While some systems strike an appropriate balance by, among other things, limiting their definitions of reportable conduct to speech unprotected by the First Amendment, the vast majority do not.

The prospect of a retaliation claim should alarm colleges and universities. This is not to say that universities must refrain from criticizing or condemning offensive conduct or speech. Criticism is not censorship, whether it is broadcast to the student body or public at large or instead sent directly to a student. University officials retain their own First Amendment right to contribute to discourse on campus and can do so without creating a substantial risk of a First Amendment retaliation claim.

Finally, because universities often keep opaque records documenting their interventions with reported speakers discussed below , universities have a diminished ability to argue that such interventions provided meaningful education, as opposed to a chilling instruction to stop speaking.

The First Amendment issues faced by Bias Response Teams are complex, nuanced, and fraught with potential pitfalls that may lead public institutions into costly lawsuits. Leaving aside legal risks, Bias Response Teams also risk conflicting with essential principles of academic freedom, freedom of expression, and freedom of inquiry.

Yet despite these risks, few Bias Response Teams receive meaningful training, if any, on the contours of these issues. Of institutions surveyed, 84 Of these, 50 are public institutions and 34 are private.

Other institutions, despite acknowledging that identifying First Amendment issues can be nuanced, do not appear to provide training. With few exceptions, Bias Response Teams suffer from a lack of transparency, and universities are too often willing to stonewall public records requests concerning their teams. While protecting the privacy of both reporting and reported parties is important, this hesitance to engage in meaningful transparency is worrisome. The ways in which universities respond to offensive speech and discrimination are of particular public concern, and doing so without being transparent, or being selectively transparent, risks being seen as an effort to hide incidents from the community.

If universities are unwilling to publicly identify who is responsible for reviewing and responding to reports, then students, faculty, and the public will be hindered in holding public servants accountable. Similarly, a refusal to identify Bias Response Team members does not instill confidence that schools take complaints seriously by devoting capable people to overseeing them.

And while many Bias Response Teams purport to exist for the purpose of keeping statistics, the statistics themselves are rarely published. The University of California Office of the President, in response to a public records request for all statistics, only provided statistics last compiled in and apparently never published. In any event, most institutions publish neither statistics nor reports. FIRE has utilized public records requests under state law—similar to requests pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act—to ask dozens of schools to produce records relating to complaints; how they responded to those complaints; and the composition, policies, and training of their Bias Response Teams.

While most complied with both the letter and spirit of the law, a number have resisted. Justice Louis Brandeis famously opined that sunlight was the best of disinfectants. When the records were eventually produced, Oregon was unable to locate records of some incidents, including one pilloried in the media. Other institutions have been quick to delete or hide once-public websites documenting bias incidents following public criticism.

Colby College placed its log of bias incidents behind a password-protected field after it was publicly criticized. When FIRE issued additional requests seeking records of what efforts the school made to search for records, the originally-requested records were suddenly located and produced.

This suggests a certain lack of good faith from these institutions in following their legal obligations. Other institutions found more creative ways to stonewall. Months later, UCOP professed that it would be too difficult for the central office to locate records of how its campuses responded to reported incidents.

This illiberal approach invites administrative intervention whenever there are impolite words or disagreement of any sort. College campuses must remain open for vehement disagreement and impolite rhetoric lest they invite administrators to limit speech and debate. Writing in the New Republic , Carleton College professors Jeffrey Aaron Snyder and Amna Khalid aptly observed the limitations of Bias Response Teams and their potential chilling effects on academic discourse and campus speech:.

Let us be clear: It is important here to note that this was a very high yielding environment where all other plant nutrients were adequate and irrigation was available, and that most soybeans worldwide are grown in more moderate yielding environments. So, simply put, it is inappropriate to use the results of my work to make these broad-brush claims.

It is very simple to cherry pick results that suit your narrative and furthermore quote those results out of context to as to shore up your own position on an issue. This is effectively what the Mannion paper did. You even call it 'systems thinking', I suppose. In fact I chose that link precisely because it included the rebuttal. This way it would be a fair presentation and in context.

Believe me I could have given to a link that said basically the same thing without the rebuttal. There are hundreds of pages with the bare claim and no rebuttal. I actually had to look hard to find a link WITH the rebuttal. On average the increase in GMO productivity claims for food are a myth. In general standard breeding techniques of hybridization and introgression lines etc.. Listen, mate, I am pretty much on the same page as you on this issue. I happen to think that organic agriculture — as you practice it, the science based approach instead of the pseudo-mystical bollocks of the Soil Association — has a huge amount to offer us.

Second and third generation GM crops, which benefit the environment and consumers as well as the producers have been slow to materialise but this is almost certainly due in large part to the ridiculous regulatory burdens that have come about largely through tendentious campaigning by NGOs.

Take a long cool dispassionate look at the challenged we and the environment will face. Come up with some ideas that might work: We are quite capable of doing this, being a very bright species, and devising a new hybrid agriculture that benefits producers, consumers and the environment. The group of silly guys and gals opposing GM-food to which I belong will from now on only eat organic old-fashioned nature-bred food. For this group the portions will be normal. I have read some stupid suggestions in my time but this one takes the biscuit.

Are you seriously suggesting that one group eat a balanced diet whereas the other eat nothing but meat, maize, soya and canola? Regardless of whether these foodstuffs contained GMOs or not, the diet would be incredibly unhealthy and people would start to suffer. It is crazy that in current highly possible runaway global warming situation people who are knowing global warming problem, can advocate GMOs.

And same people still believe that humans are clever! Why do we have global warming and climate change? Because humans developed new technologies to extract and use fossil fuels by ignoring all possible side effects and started to use these technologies immediately. From the beginning humans have known that burning of fossil fuels emits CO2.

First they totally ignored emissions. Then they realized that CO2 is accumulated in the atmosphere. Then they ignored the significance of it. Later they found that it is significant. Then they ignored all possible negative impacts. Later they found that it has catastrophic negative impacts. Then they believed that they could adapt them.

Solution Lets ignore all and continue to use fossil fuels, hope that everything will be fine. Did anyone really studied side effects of GMOs. Lets ignore side effects until some other finds.

Then ignore their significance until some other proves. Then ignore its negative impacts until some others clearly shows.

Any clear specie first analyses profoundly all possible side effects of a newly developed technologies before start to use them even if it takes hundreds years to finish the analysis because dangers associated with known and unknown side effects can be more important than benefits in the long term.

Current methodology of humans, lets start use new technologies immediately after inventing without considering side effects is suicidal in the long run. It will drive all humans to extinction. Are you going to volunteer your descendants to be the ones who reduce the population so that we can feed the others? Or have you worked out how they are going to be fed? Because I can tell you one thing. Who would fund their trips all over the world then?

I am only this cynical because I have been there and I have seen some of the forces as work. Mark, Damn good article. Spot on in almost every respect. Truly terrifying but it needs to said, over and over again. You DO realize that the Daily Mail is a tabloid, right? It actually argues against your case. Re The Mail — yeah, I must admit I find myself surprised to be quoting from that particular rag; but the content is surely not too difficult to refute or confirm.

Again a very good article concerning GM crops. Forgot to point one crucial aspect: This will benefit the giants of biotech, pratically removing any competition from university and small entrepreneurs. As I said before to Lynas, I do not believe the catastrophic human made climate change conjecture.

Unassigned general statements by scientific bodies, even venerable ones, have a clear undertone of politics and are no substitution for the hard facts. Unfortunately we will have to wait a lot more to have this clear up. You may have credentials yourself but you are taking the kind of contrarian position, rejecting the scientific consensus view, that Lynas properly rails against.

The consensus view is that transgenics are not harmful or dangerous per se. But the technology does have the possibility of creating things that are harmful.

It is therefore reasonable to have a certain level of regulation and caution, not only for public safety but for the health of the industry lest a few dramatic accidents the bio equivalent of TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima result in shutting down the industry for good. But accidents could have a comparable political impact, and intentional misuse could have comparable or greater actual impact.

On the other hand, climate disruption due to CO2 and other anthropogenic gas levels is completely clear and a matter of scientific consensus.

This is what the consensus science says. The institutional biases are increasingly obvious in the modern world, and there is enough communication and enough scientific activity that with a good faith effort an intelligent person can usually come to a confident conclusion on big ideological controversies like these.

One side is doing science, the other is denying. I neither hold with the view that GM foods are inherently dangerous, nor that they are necessarily a force for the public good. You can read about the successes that GM crops have already achieved, and you support those who are doing worldwide good with them, by reducing starvation, famine, malnutrition, and environmental destruction.

For instance, Norman Borlaug was an outspoken proponent of GM foods. His work in the field of genetic engineering had already saved over a billion lives by Does the anti-GMO camp know about his work? Do they listen to what he had to say about GM foods? If they know about Borlaug at all, they dismiss it out-of-hand. On the other side, you can also look at the anti-GMO literature. Can you find any evidence that people are being poisoned by GMOs? No, you can not. You just have to get beyond the hype and do a little bit of research.

There is an important point here, which I think is very important to acknowledge. There are actually two distinct groups opposed to GMO foods, and their arguments are different. Both groups of course sometimes move over into conspiracy theory territory.

There is a general problem with lobbyists and political corruption, and also with abuse of the patent system to sue small competitors e. And agribusiness and GMO seed companies are just acting rationally in a dysfunctional economic environment. So what exactly were people fertilizing their crops with prior to the invention of the Haber-Bosch process? But people were doing it well before then. It was the very first scientific comparative study of organic farming and conventional chemical-based farming.

Because the founders of organic agriculture were Sir Albert Howard and Gabrielle Louise Caroline Howard, both formally trained scientists. The Steiner movement was biodynamic, not organic. Biodynamic was full of pseudoscience and spiritualism, organic is scientific. Basically if you remove all the pseudo science from biodynamic, you get a form of agriculture that Howard called organic, and organic has progressed since then as science has progressed.

So putting aside mysticicsm and psuedoscience, and concentrating on the scientific foundations of organic agriculture, give me one cogent reason why GM crops and organic agriculture are incompatible. He is one of the ignorant eco hippy types that got them banned from organic in the first place. I was against that ban. Mark has admitted his ignorance of the time, and partially corrected that mistake.

Now if he could just educate himself on the real benefits of organic and promote that instead. And that goes for GM too. There will be effective and not so effective applications of both, but practitioners have to be given the license to experiment and to make mistakes…on the understanding that they learn by them.

The question is what should we do with it? Of itself it could be used to — for example — find new ways to create organisms that create medicines. Or genetically engineer a virus that kills half the world.

There is nothing intrinsically good or bad about biotech. Its what its used FOR. And its done because people have their own private emotional narratives about the world, caste in terms of cartoon figures of Good and Evil, and every single thing has to be fitted into one or the other characteristic likes some mediaeval Christian morality play.

The only think more stupid than not thinking through the possible negative impacts of GM crops is tarring them with a black brush and neglecting to investigate the possibilities at all. So by definition organic cant be called a panacea. But I do think that the basis for organic is the solution for agriculture in that it incorporates systems thinking instead of reductionism, cycles instead of single product systems. I have always been able to use organic methods to out produce conventional.

But the interesting thing for me is watching over the last 30 years while conventional BMP gradually and slowly, but consistently, adopt more and more of the methods developed by organic innovators. The two types of agriculture are actually merging. You are correct there. Leo, whom to trust is a good question.

So, for example, Lynas mentions Vandana Shiva. Whatever good thing you might say about genetic engineering, you can be absolutely sure that she will disagree. Therefore she is a propagandist. On the other hand, I learned a great deal about the environmental dangers of GMO agriculture from the writings of Jane Rissler. She would have to be counted as a GMO opponent but she acknowledges the successes and shows appreciation for the caution that has been taken to avoid environmental problems.

So I think I can trust her. Is there some reason that people have to always generalize GM and genetic engineering, when the topic of concern is transgenic crops? I think the anti GMO people care. This does not reach anyone, if its true. Really wrong are really hippies who want the best for everyone!

And they themselves are actually doing a lot to help prevent hunger or poverty. Some of them even went there to help. So its pretty hard to believe, that these people would not want a solution. I think they do. To me, I see it the other way around. Like you, I see us as remarkably clever, but I think we are somewhat wise. The one instrument and technology that has changed the world the most is attached to that keyboard in front of you now. We are now instantly connected, interactive, learning together.

Health care has brought our life spans to new highs with amazing new diagnostic methods and improved therapies. I could go on and on about how the human family has been a brilliant steward of technology. There are bumps in that road. Use of nuclear weapons has been widely decried. Environmental disasters like DDT and others were halted, we learned, we corrected.

Rivers once dead are alive. We make decisions with a consciousness that was not there years ago. We have a long way to go, but I think technology helps us be better caretakers of the planet.

Nuclear power serves many in a carbon-free manner. DNA-based technologies now help diagnose and treat disease. We put a man on the moon 40 years ago. We also have unprecedented means to predict and test for adverse effects of our technology. Genetic engineering is hardly a new science.

We know more about how it works and its effects than ever. Our ability to detect problems, were they to occur, is amazing. So unlike you I feel that our track record as a civilization is pretty awesome. Our handle on technology is great and the benefits massively outweigh risks. Where we fail is in the deployment of technology. How can we use technology to get food, medicines, water, fuels to those that desperately need it?

Once that is satisfied, how do we get them connected with educational resources and the best information? Health, happiness and function will come from our understanding and implementation of science and technology. Francisco G Nobrega you are incorrect that the food companies one main objective is to make the technology very expensive in the absence of any route to risk in terms of the biology involved.

Have you ever read any of these companies public comments on regulations? Their goal is to have resonable regulations to ensure public safety. Food companies continually argue against unnecessary regulations. It is the anti-technology organization that misinform to scare the public and lobby for increased regulations.

There are the ones keeping the technology out of the hands of more companies by making the cost of regulatory approvals financially unobtainable to most. It is also why the majority of the technology focuses on the big commodity crops. Because of regulatory costs, there is not enough return on investment with small market crops, although these crops, especially vegetables and fruit, could benefit greatly from traits like virus resistance.

I said that is an important aspect usually forgotten. A GM plant is modified with a few known genes with known gene products. A mutagenized plant gets dozens of unknown mutations and we have more than 2, on our tables. Is that more safe than a GM plant? What is the biological basis of the present regulatory excess?

About that Potrykus GM rice has a short and sharp in Nature About the rest of your post I think the same. Put your arrogance aside. People will support your cause and IF actually fixing the food problem for the poor even donate!!! Right to know is good. But you are wrong about organic methods. Already on average the science of organic agriculture has caught, and in many cases surpassed conventional best management methods.

In fact that is why conventional agriculture has started integrating organic methods into conventional agriculture, just to try and keep up. In fact, in many cases organic methods have been shown to improve the environment and biodiversity instead of harm it. They never should have been banned from organic agriculture in the first place.

People know the truth. Any common consumer who wants to grow a tomato in their back yard, can do it organically with not problems at all. It has reached the tipping point when anyone can buy Bacillus thuringiensis for a wide range of caterpillar control, a whole host of Mycorrhizal spores for gaining productivity; Various other bacterial products for nitrogen fixation, disease control, pest control, carbon sequestration etc etc etc; Massive advances in soil science, biomimicry and systems thinking.

And what is the biggest benefit? The farmer gains higher profits with less external inputs, while improving his farm and the environment instead of poisoning it. I have read your statements repeatedly. You seem to continually promote this this false premise that agriculture always destroys the land, and that conventional agriculture outproduces any other methods, so therefore we must use conventional agriculture or else destroy more virgin land.

There are many organic methods that actually heal the land AND restore the important ecosystem services including carbon sequestration, cleaning water and decomposition of wastes. That is a broad statement based on ignorance of the new modern scientific advances in agricultural science. The advantage conventional agriculture has is in productivity per farmer, NOT productivity per acre.

Again, the advantage is profits per farmer, and profits to all the associated industries, but NOT in productivity per acre. Not only can it feed the world, it is probably the only long term solution to a growing population. Not only that, once the organic market share reaches a certain tipping point economies of scale will kick in, and the price for organic will be dramatically CHEAPER than conventional.

Already it is less if hidden costs are included. Once the consumer price is less,even without including hidden costs, your words will fall on deaf ears. The market still grows steadily at a slightly higher consumer price, once the price is less, it will explode. Because in my lifetime I expect organic to be the dominant form of agriculture world wide. You made a mistake. You assumed organic was the same as traditional, when it was always, since its inception, science based.

We all make mistakes. But now is the time to stop bad mouthing the science of organic agriculture and instead use your efforts to reconcile genetic science and technology with organic science and technology. Because you are one of the leaders of the activists that caused the rift in the first place.

The second one has some factual information and is usable, but limited in scope. You need to use a systems thinking approach to understand that. The majority of corn, soy, and other grains are for non-human consumption. Livestock being the largest, followed by various other uses.

Because a functioning healthy grassland produces far more biomass than corn and soy. The second part missed in the articles is a common misconception made by many. Mark being one who has admitted his mistake…. They were both formally trained at Cambridge.

Both borrow heavily from traditional, but neither are traditional. In fact it yields so much more that many conventional farmers are integrating SRI into their conventional fields. Why does this matter? Because those statistics quoted are NOT comparing modern organic methods to modern best management conventional. You casually dismiss the work of an agricultural scientist with over thirty years of experience for The Rodale Institute?

An advocacy organization for organics? What results did you think they would get? This is an example of confirmation bias. The organics organization in my state chooses it to mean that you can use homeopathy to treat livestock.

You can have your organics movement. I will stick to the methods that work for me on my farm, whether they involve crop rotation, nutrient recycling, pesticides or fertilization. No Scott, arrogance created the problem. Your arrogance is creating opponents. Only because you are a scientist. Or your disdain will prevent you from being able to develop anything at all.

Scientists are great and I love them for the progress they provide. Even, granting all of the above, GM will be very harmful. Monsanto is not taking over the food supply. Those seeds have patentable technology according to US and international laws. Consumers are free to buy organic food if they want or food labeled non-GMO. It is also a complete fallacy that farmers are sued because the get pollen from a GMO field.

The courts have ruled this on multiple occasions. No farmer has been sued due to inadvertent gene flow. So the question is at what point is it acceptable to steal patented technology.

Can you steal it from only large companies? How about small businesses? I think we know the answer. I watched several Indian farmers on you tube claiming that they did not use it on purpose and went bankrupt because of not- chosen use. Maybe a pay of system over more time.. Take a GOOD look at this graph: Do you notice anything? There seems to be a fairly slight rise in farmer suicides until about , 2 years after Bt cotton was introduced.

GM opponents like Vandana Shiva will focus exclusively on the peak argue that this means that GM crops are killing farmers, while ignoring the subsequent sharp drop and the steady upward trend before even I would aggree that there will be more and more organic grown food but by big companies, in multi-story buildings shielded from the outside world and pests by all kinds of screens.

Organic deals with pests far better than conventional anyway. But you are about 30 years behind in organic technology. They actually are not innovative or cutting edge at all. For the most part they do not use modern organic methods at all. In some cases they are actually doing more harm to the environment too, by their refusal to use modern organic technology.

There are some conventional farmers that use more organic technology than they do! This is an agricultural breakthrough developed by organic. It was so successful that wise people in conventional agriculture modified it slightly by using round up and later GMO resistant to round up crops and borrowed the technique for conventional use. Another good example is Bacillus thuringiensis. A fantastic advance in biological control developed for organic.

So successful in certain insect control that it easily beat any chemical insecticides in overall risk to benefit analysis. So conventional agriculture borrowed some of those genes and made GM Bt crops. Another good example is animal husbandry. Sorry, but I believe you are wrong. That is a scam that entered the industry due to government interference.

The future is in actual science based modern organic which can best be described as biomimicry. As our knowledge of ecosystem interactions increases through science, our ability to make organic agricultural models using that science will also increase.

So, why is it that organic farmers are not allowed to grow Bt crops? There is nothing more sustainable and environmentally friendly than spraying less pesticide. The answer is that organic farming has taken on idelogical overtones. To ideologues, means matter far more than ends. OH but you are wrong. There are a lot of organic methods far more sustainable than Bt crops.

Furthermore, as good as Bt crops are, Bacillus thuringiensis is still more effective than GM Bt crops. He and thousands of other activist leaders are the ones who got GM crops banned from organic agriculture to begin with. I personally thought that move by the activist leaders was foolish. But that is just an opinion by a single organic grower 35 years now. When I started growing food, there were no GM crops.

It was a non issue. I personally was hopeful in the new technology, as were most my friends who grew organically. Then the hippy activists who never farmed a day in their lives, neither organically nor conventionally decided that policy for us organic growers by applying political pressure to the government.

Whether we liked it or not, once the government got involved, we had no choices anymore. Not that I am too worried about it. I can very easily out produce conventional methods anyway. But it would be nice if I had that freedom to choose, assuming in some future time the genetics people ever did actually make a GM crop that would be useful. There are three kinds of people who set themselves up as authorities. Then I think we possibly have a fourth category: The first generation of Bt GMOs used only 1.

Since only a few toxins are used, it has the same problem all synthetic chemicals have. So then a second generation of Bt crops were developed. New resistance, new crops, and so on and so on. The same vicious cycle of limited effectiveness other conventional methods have. It is orders of magnitude more difficult for a pest to spontaneously develop simultaneous immunity to multiple toxins at once. As far as not knowing what I am talking about and trying to box me into one of your fail categories.

Nothing more than a lame argumentum ad hominem. Unworthy of serious response. So, allowing for the fact that BT toxin single use can cause resistance, tell me how new crops which express multiple toxins are somehow inferior to having to spray?

When the entire picture becomes apparent, even single toxin BT crops seem infinitely friendlier. Bacillus thuringiensis is a biological control that works completely different than that. You can coat a caterpillar or non target species of insect with Bt and it will suffer no harm at all.

The mode of action for Bacillus thuringiensis is when the caterpillar eats a leaf that contains the bacteria. Inside the stomach the cry toxins are deadly to target species, and harmless to others.

Since the live bacteria reproduce in the digestive tract of the caterpillar and each bacteria produces a large number of different kinds of cry toxins, it is nearly impossible for a caterpillar to spontaneously develop immunity. They just get sicker and sicker until they die.

A GM Bt crop on the other hand may only have 1 or 2 Cry toxin genes spliced to its DNA and may not be producing enough cry toxins to completely kill the caterpillar.

This means it is far more likely for a target species to develop immunity. And even if it only has partial immunity may end up surviving by simply finding something else to eat. It is the endospore, or dormant version, of the Bt bacterium that contains the endotoxins, not the living bacterium itself. Just because the endospore may contain 5 different toxins, not all of them may be active towards each pest.

The biotech plant expressing the endotoxins has some advantages over Bt sprays. The toxin is always being expressed so the plant is always protected when the pest arrives. Bt sprays have to be applied in each instance of infestation. Second, when the toxin is expressed in the plant, it is present at a high level during the peak growing season for the plant.

The Bt spray may start off at a high level, assuming the application is accurate, then it decays or is washed off. Therefore, the pests may only be exposed to a low level of the toxin, unless another application is made.

Furthermore, there is documented resistant of the Diamondback moth in Hawaii. That was a result of using Bt sprays on broccoli. But I seem to recall reading that newer varieties of Bt crops express 4 toxins. Resistance is a fact of all pest control, thanks to natural selection, so you will come to a point where the crop and the multitoxin spray are level pegging in efficacy.

Any in depth investigation soon discovers that the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts when analyzing complex biological systems. And you can find exceptions BTW on both sides. I fully admit that. I have found them myself in my own fields. I actually think it is a far better use of GM technology than say Glyphosate resistant crops. Well, I take back what I said: You are obviously cut from a very different shade of Green cloth. What do you think about GM crops that benefit primarily the consumer, sucha s Golden Rice?

These are likely to be grown organically anyway. Do you think it is possible to overcome the objections of the organic fundamentalists to such crops and, if so, how? Golden Rice probably has its place, not that organic growers need to get all excited about it though. Because there is little need for vitamin A when you grow companion crops and multi crop, multi product systems.

However, no matter how you farm, organic or conventional, there is always that consumer that either is too poor to afford multiple foods, or too ignorant about nutrition to know to eat a balanced diet. For those consumers, golden rice can be a good thing. Personally I sincerely believe a far better option is growing sweet potatoes, or something like that which stores well and provides more balanced nutrition in addition to rice. In the meantime, I guess golden rice is better than nothing.

This just highlights the comedy of the organic movement. Bt is an insecticide, by the way, and regulated as such, and the crystalline protein that kills the larva is a chemical.

The blog starts out with false premises. That is not casually dismissing it. It is simply the truth. It goes on and on, but if the majority of the premises are false, then yes the whole argument derived from those premises are also likely false. The government messed that up badly. Partly due to fringe activist groups that were ignorant of the fact that organic always was scientific from the beginning.

OH and by the way. Bacillus thuringiensis Bt is a bacteria. Of course it is a biological control. Your other comments about Bt and its toxins being a chemical or pesticide are simply a logic fallacy called equivocation. Farming without the use of petroleum-based chemicals fertilizers and pesticides was the sole option for farmers until post-World War II.

Scott I learned a good deal about this face of the organic movement that I was unawares. Recommend any book or site for reference? Appreciate your notion that GM plants are every bit organic as a Rachel Carson dream. The usual organic thinking fiercely refuses this out of ignorance as you and others for example Stewart Brand know. If you could order a useful GM plant for organic agriculture what would you request? About the different Bt proteins, scientists are stacking up more distinct cry proteins to increase the diversity.

But to get the same results using a spray of Bt spores you have to grow the individual strains, as many as you can muster, mix and apply. To my knowledge they have done that with up to 4 strains, something that the new GM plants also carry. Water is a killer toxin if you drink too much you die of brain damage due to hyponatremia.

Plants defend thenselves through chemicals: Do you have a source for that PNAS paper? Google is failing me. Bruce Ames site has a precious table where he lists most cancer causing chemicals: Actually most strains of Bacillus thuringiensis that are used for pest control have a minimum of at least 6 Cry toxins or more.

So 4 separate strains mixed together would potentially well over 24 different cry toxins a target species would have to spontaneously develop immunity. Partial immunity can give a survivabilty advantage to an insect eating a Bt crop, even the most modern ones with 4 cry toxins, because the larval insect can potentially survive by simply leaving and finding something else to eat. There are several insects like army worms that instinctively do just that. Pass their partial immunity to the next generation, eventually developing full immunity.

As far as your question of what I would look for in a GM if it was available to organic farmers? Take a specific gene for producing solasodine from a Litchi Tomato Solanum sisymbriifolium and use it in a domestic tomato Solanum lycopersicum to give tomatoes a strong natural resistance to many pests and diseases.

I could see using something like that once proven both safe and stable, if the regulatory agencies would get off my back. I would be far less enthusiastic about the gene transfer from a poisonous plant or a completely unrelated species, because in my mind, the risk for unintended consequences and unexpected interactions would be far greater.

Keep in mind I am in no rush. Introgression lines work in many cases anyway. It just takes a lot longer. There may not be introgression lines between Solanum sisymbriifolium and Solanum lycopersicum that I know of, but there are two introgression lines Solanum Lycopersicoides and Juglandifolium that work between domestic tomatoes and many other wild tomatoes. As far as resource material. The list is very long. What type of information are you looking for?

The history of organic science? Lockeretz, one nice cutting edge breakthrough can be found here: Scott Thanks for your help and answers. All I need is some general reference about the wonderful perspectives that you announced in your comment. I looked for the book at Amazon and found one copy left and no reader comment! There, as an example, I saw the book: This book got reviews, I wonder if you reviewed this one. The The Scientist article I read some time ago and is very interesting.

Medicine found out also that there are beneficial and harmful bugs in our intestines and some enteric diseases have been cured by injecting the healthy mixture. I love your intelligent and nuanced perspective on the issue, and I truly appreciate the way you are not opposed to combining both methods for the most efficient system possible.

I like that you think about sustainability. Your whole attitude seems to be coming from the exact place we should be coming from. Can I make a suggestion, though? When I first started reading your comments, you left a bad taste in my mouth.

It means no chemicals and no GMOs. I really think your message is important, and I want to help it be as well received by as many people as possible.

I feel an urgent need to tell you: I think we are on the same page, especially scientifically. I work in our Regulatory Policy group at Monsanto. I believe Henry Miller thinks that biotech crops are way overregulated. Monsanto is certainly not opposed to regulation. We believe it is important to ensure public confidence in the safety of our crops.

Safety studies by the developing companies is often view with skepticism so review by government agencies and independent University scientists is important. We have seen the data requirements increase dramatically over the past 15 years even though there is no identified risks from these crops.

We have known for years that overregulation would results in decrease opportunity for small businesses and even University scientists to develop biotech crops.

Because of activists scaremongering, this has become reality. As someone that was raised in an agricultural town surrounded by cotton, soybean, wheat and rice, this is really disappointing.

There are new pesticide resistant bugs and theories that GM crops are related to the disappearance of the bees. We may be creating new problems faster than we are solving them! If the studies showing long-term organ damage from GM crops are correct we are also going to have a big problem. It will make smoking look positively healthy! Also, look at GM salmon. Another really scary proposition, to be sure.

Are all GM crops bad? And while there may be good uses for GM crops to support an overpopulated earth is a great example we need to be careful about the politics, the business and the use of GM crops. The reason is that in the wild, food supply is not constant — especially during the winter months. The wild salmon stops feeding and growing , hides from predators and waits for spring. A GM salmon would be completely unsuited to this environment and basically use up all its reserves on body growth and then starve to death once the food ran out.

The GM salmon is also triploid, which makes it sterile. When it comes to herbicide and pesticide resistance, GM crops are no different than conventional crops. However, from what I understand, the appearance of resistance to Bt crops in insects have been much slower than anticipated Steve Savage in this comments section would be the authority on that. I should also point out that some insects are naturally resistant to some or all Bt toxins.

His published study last year http: The three main criticisms if I remember correctly was that 1 they used a special strain of mice that are very prone to developing tumors, 2 the number of mice in the study was too low for proper statistical analysis and 3 the statistics that were used in the study was not up to scratch. Jim Bell Mate I am afraid that your comment is flawed. It sounds like the classic anti-progress lets-all-join-hands-and-run-naked-on-the-prairie idealisation of the past.

Men already radically changed life in our planet 10, years ago -in neolithic times- with the invention of agriculture. Perhaps men also radically changed it in palaeolithic times causing the mass extinction of big mammals that can be debated.

All present forests are man made. The surface of cultivated land in was the same as in the peak of the Iron Age. We would never have dared to hunt mammoths; who knew how dangerous that could be. We would have never invented agriculture; who knew what horrible effects it would have in our health. The list of fears could go on and on. If you chose to leave in an idealised past that never happened that is your choice.

Human kind on the other hand, has the right and the necessity to continue making progress to face new challenges. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with technology if it is carefully and thoroughly tested.

Most cleaver crops GM crops have passed the safety test. There is nothing wrong in using them. Also nothing wrong with the endlessly tested and approved depleted uranium munition.

The best part is that nobody cares, nobody takes responsibility and nobody cleans up the mess. Shows you how people governments, United Nations, etc. A very well written article. Mark is more optimistic about public rationality than me, but I hope he is right.

God why is this obvious charlatan still given any public oxygen??? Every time he speaks he does his supposed cause more harm. He blocked me from his public Facebook page so I had to use a pseudonym here. Only a matter of time before I get blocked here too. The report also says some GM foods might cause allergies. Neither fear has been substantiated so far. Like hell they would. The claim comes from Luke Mumba, a senior molecular biologist at the University of Zambia in Lusaka who is attending a summit on farming in Brussels.

Mumba says that before the Zambian government made its decision on the American maize it asked a group of prominent scientists to compile a report on the pros and cons of accepting it. And although the scientists interviewed organisations and researchers around the world, they seemed to have been most heavily influenced by the BMA. And now you are also misrepresenting the very truth before your own eyes.

Here are his words:. His words are directly contradicted by the New Scientist article you yourself have quoted from. If I was given the choice. Tom, nobody at all died in Zambia in The food crisis was averted without the need for any GM food aid.

In , Zambia even produced a bumper crop of non-GM maize. Production of maize a staple food was estimated at 1. Alternative non-GM stocks of food aid could have been made available to those countries. Food was also available from India and Mexico. Indeed, non-GM maize was also available from the US itself.

The WFP failed to take into account surplus supplies of cassava in the country. Civil society groups estimated there were around , tonnes of surplus cassava available in northern parts of the country. A member of the National Association of Peasants and Small Scale Farmers in Zambia, Charles Musonda, said there was a long history of using cassava as a key crop for food security in Zambia as it was drought resistant, easier to grow and had a host of other commercial uses.

What could be better? Africa denied choice again? Earthlife Africa, available here: Observer 1 Sep http: The two issues I have the Zambia episode with the still limited unbiased information available to me is that on one hand it is impractical that by law US food aid has to be in the form of actual food items from the US instead of funds to buy food but at the same time that food had been consumed by the American population for eight years at that point.

Sorry for shouting, but unless Lynas can back up his assertion, the claim that s died is nothing short of scandalous. No more scandalous, and indeed a good deal less scandalous than the lies and misrepresentations habitually employed by the anti-GMO crowd. Greenpeace certainly got involved in this issue: I am neither pro nor anti GMO.

I am however rabidly anti-ideological. When people resort to exporting their ideologies to other countries I like to ask myself: In the case of Greenpeace, the answer is nothing compared to the Zambians. They should butt out and let these people make up their own minds. The mosquitoes died; the malaria declined; so far, so good.

But there were side effects. It seemed that the DDT was also killing a parasitic wasp that had previously controlled thatch-eating caterpillars. Worse, the DDT-poisoned insects were eaten by geckos, which were eaten by cats. The cats started to die, the rats flourished, and the people were threatened by potential outbreaks of typhus and plague. To cope with these problems, which it had itself created, the World Health Organization was obliged to parachute 14, live cats into Borneo. Are there parachutes for butterflies, Mr.

And what is your considered opinion on the similarly advancing and related [? Hey Clyde, Category error, eh? Mashing GMOs in with industrial agriculture and the rampant chemicalization of our environment, generally.

I am blinded by science, sir, at least the tale that paleobiology tells. Epic cycles of of peak origination and peak extinction. Advent of the Holocene: Lead- paint induced numbskullery? Are you perfectly certain that GMO use is not implicated in the latter three?

Are GM endo-toxins Bt corn, etc. In use now for all of a single human generation…. Now that corn borers and other critters are glyphophate tolerant, 2,4-D resistant food crops are in the hopper. Are you honesty sanguine about the cascading impacts the widespead use of this Agent Orange component will have, up and down the food chain, on our soil biology, our water ecology, our kids? There are threads to disentangle, hairs to split, much-needed nuance. Stalwarts and converts to GM biotech — Mr Lynas here, Ramez Naam, Stewart Brand, amomg many others — might argue that, rather than harming pollinators and amphibians and so on, GM tech can be employed to save them!

GM tech is unquestionably here to stay and full of promise. How about a category error of a different sort? It seems like too nascent a science and too uncontrolled an experiment to me, now massively underway. Do we know with perfect foresight all the outcomes this experiment might avail? And it is full of promise. Count me a sceptic urging both precaution and empiricism decoupled from short-term profitmaking schemes that benefit a few while risking so much.

Just laying out my bias and perspective as plainly as I can. Well, count me a pragmatic optimist who can differentiate between schemes that benefit the producer, and those that benefit the consumer and the enviroment. There are several biotech initiatives in the pipeline that have the latter outcomes: So my thoughts on this matter are to be fully aware of the rirsk involved and weigh them up against those of not going ahead.

There has been time to consider the effect on the life style and health of that country and the results are not pretty. Everyone that considers science knows that the present state of health in USA is poorer than other countries such as Europe and that USA people die younger than their counterparts elsewhere.

How much of this is due to the food they eat?

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