Opposing Genetic Engineering May Be Immoral

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posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 03:15 PM
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All right, I admit that the title is a little splashy, but I think the case can be made. At least, others have presented what seems to be a good case, and I thought I'd share some of it.

Genetic Engineering comes up now and again on ATS. Criticism of GE is nearly universal. I especially appreciate soficrow for her blend of science and passion. But there does seem to be another side.

I assume you remember the threads which mentioned, directly or indirectly, France's ban on GE corn. It was based on a study that we on ATS assumed was incontovertible proof of the dangers of such things. Here's an update.
www.france24.com...

AFP - The EU's food safety agency definitively rejected Wednesday a bombshell French report linking genetically modified corn to cancer, saying it failed to meet "acceptable scientific standards."

"Serious defects in the design and methodology of a paper by Seralini et al. mean it does not meet acceptable scientific standards," the European Food Safety Authority said in a statement.

"Consequently it is not possible to draw valid conclusions about the occurrence of tumours in the rats tested," the agency said.

EFSA, which reviews the use and authorisation of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), added that it "finds there is no need to re-examine its previous safety evaluations of NK603," the genetically modified maize developed by US agribusiness giant Monsanto.

That same conclusion had been reached in separate and independent assessments of Gilles-Eric Seralini's work carried out in six European Union nations, the agency added.
I found it very telling that when Seralini was asked to provide more information on which he based his study, his response was:

But the scientist responded that he would not give EFSA additional information until it first detailed the basis of its own assessment.

"It is absolutely scandalous that (EFSA) keeps secret the information on which they based their evaluation" of NK603 and the pesticide, he said at the time.

"In any event, we will not give them anything. We will put the information in the public domain when they do."
His position is that it is scandalous not to provide information, at the same time that he is not providing information? A strange way for any scientist to behave.
_____________________

But let's go to another article: www.nationalreview.com...#
The first example given is biopharming and additives to an oral rehydration solution.

1. “Biopharming” — a new way to make drugs

Since the 1960s, the standard of care for childhood diarrhea in the developing world has been the World Health Organization’s formulation of rehydration solution, a glucose-based, high-sodium liquid that is administered orally.

However, this product did nothing to lessen the severity or duration of the condition, which over time leads to malnutrition, anemia, and other chronic health risks. The solution (literally and figuratively) may be an ingenious, affordable innovation from Ventria that combines high- and low-tech components to deliver what could be a veritable Holy Grail: two proteins produced inexpensively in rice that radically improve the effectiveness of oral rehydration solutions.

What makes this approach to managing diarrhea feasible is Ventria’s invention of a genetically engineered method that uses rice to produce lactoferrin and lysozyme. This process, dubbed “biopharming,” is an inexpensive and ingenious way to synthesize the large quantities of these proteins that will be necessary.

The proven life-saving potential of these products has not prevented activists from opposing them. In Peru, left-wing protesters raised completely baseless and malicious objections to the clinical trials, claiming that the rights of the pediatric subjects were being violated. Typically, the activists grossly misrepresented the facts pertaining to the conduct of the trial and the product iself. The proteins used to supplement the oral rehydration solution are considered Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the protocols, consent forms, and study design of the trial were, in fact, approved not only by the Peruvian Ministry of Health, but also by review panels that oversee clinical trials at the University of California and the Nutritional Institute in Peru. The naysayers seem unimpressed by the fact that the experimental therapy was found to be both safe and effective.

The next example is "Mosquitoes."

A second example is a genetically engineered mosquito intended to reduce the mosquito population that carries dengue fever, a debilitating and often fatal disease.

The modified mosquitoes produce high levels of the protein, which, although not toxic itself, confounds some of the cell’s essential machinery and causes death. When they are released, they survive long enough to mate with wild females, but the offspring die.

Working with local health officials and university scientists and after receiving appropriate approvals, Oxitec undertook experimental releases of these modified mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands and in the Juazeiro region of Brazil. According to the published accounts of these releases, the Oxitec approach to controlling mosquito population was highly effective, reducing the infected mosquito population by 80 percent in the Cayman Islands and by 90 percent in Brazil.

In the Cayman Islands and Brazil, GeneWatch activists spread alarming, false rumors that the field trials of genetically engineered mosquitoes were dangerous and had been undertaken without informing the public. Similarly, activists have circulated petitions in Key West, Florida — where dengue reappeared three years ago after an absence of more than 70 years — to prevent the release of the mosquitoes there. The sentiments of the director of a mosquito-control agency in Florida illustrate the difficulties of dealing with the activists: “I thought that if I presented the facts in a reasonable manner, people would respond in a reasonable way. But that’s not happening."

Finally, "Golden Rice."

The third example is a potential nutritional/medical breakthrough called Golden Rice.

In the 1980s and 1990s, German scientists Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer developed rice varieties that are biofortified, or enriched, by the introduction of genes that enable the edible endosperm of rice to produce beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A. (It is converted in the human body, as needed, to the active form of the vitamin.)

Every year, about half a million children go blind as a result of vitamin A deficiency, and 70 percent of those die within a year of losing their sight.

As reported in their published paper on the clinical trials, children who ate the Golden Rice had higher levels of vitamin A than if they had consumed traditional rice or other food sources of the vitamin.

(Previously, Greenpeace activists had first alleged that Golden Rice would deliver toxic amounts of vitamin A, and when that was shown to be virtually impossible, changed tack and claimed that it would provide too little Vitamin A to be effective.)

Please read the articles for further information. As mentioned, it provides a side to the discussion I hadn't heard before.

With respect,
Charles1952




posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 03:23 PM
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Genetic science should be pursued vehemently on all fronts, always with caution (as with all of our emerging technologies)


It is probably the most underrated of the emerging technologies with revolutionary potential every bit as grand as nanotech, informationtech, robotics, cognitive science, all of them.



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 03:42 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


Okay well this is a HUGE topic and very complicated with varying techniques or uses for the genetically modified product...

For instance, people could have a problem with the "golden rice" because of the possibility for cross pollination/contamination... It is possible that it COULD given enough time eliminate all the NATURAL rice... That is one of the major issues with genetically modified crops... It is not ALL about the dangers for the end user... So imagine IF natural rice is wiped out you would have the producer of the golden rice kinda owning rice... Because what they do is sue you if you are found growing the rice that they manufactured... This has happened before... Then you are relying on them for your rice seed. Also it would mean that no-one could make a choice about which variety they have, modified or natural...

Now in the case of the mosquito, the mosquitoes are designed to mate and die and so does the offspring. So you see THAT kind of modification would not be AS dangerous... Basically SOME GM can be a danger to the eco-system, we are playing with a finely tuned machine here.

Now as for the corn study, I don't know... BUT I do NOT trust your sources! The FDA are known (to me, see cancer is a serious business) liars! I don't trust anything coming from ANY "official" source if I'm honest... Most of these firms are heavily intertwined with the companies they investigate... So yeah, those are my thoughts...

I don't really have the energy for a major debate on the subject and I do need to sleep TONIGHT!


Good subject anyway...

Oh on the morality issue, no... For the points I stated above...
edit on 29-11-2012 by mee30 because: (no reason given)
edit on 29-11-2012 by mee30 because: tired and can't even spell simple words like "need" lol
edit on 29-11-2012 by mee30 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 04:05 PM
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While I am not really against genetically engineering stuff like mosquitoes or people, I take a dim view on engineering our food supply. Especially when big bureaucracies are the ones in charge of regulating it.

Here is a very good example of why. Klebsiella planticola

This wonderful little guy was brought to my attention by idmonster in my thread looking for ways to wipe out all humans.


In the 1990s, A European biotech company prepared to commercially release a genetically engineered soil bacterium for use by farmers. They were operating under two very reasonable assumptions:

1. Nobody likes plant waste.
2. Everybody likes booze.

Whereas the common man might address these issues by simply not doing any plowing and opting to get plowed instead, scientists at the biotech company thought of a much more elegant solution: Engineer a bacterium that aggressively decomposes dead plant material--specifically wheat--into alcohol. And in 1990, they did exactly that. The bacterium was called Klebsiella planticola, and it nearly murdered everybody; you just don't know it yet.

Link

I understand just as much can go wrong with engineering animals and people, But this is just my opinion.



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 04:11 PM
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Advanced alien civilizations can play with genetics reasonably because they put their million years of study in, but we primitive humans need to be extremely cautious as we are ignorant and idiotic most of the time, and we let $ profit dictate what directions our research and development take.

Knowing humanity, we would only give genetic upgrades to the rich while letting the poor become an inferior subspecies ala cyberpunk mythos, or we would create chimeric nightmares that could be our own undoing.

Point is, genetic science works like this :
There are countless ways to screw it all up and only a few ways to do it right.
It could take a million years to really become masters of dna, if we can survive our mistakes.

Anyway, morality. Genetics is a mix bag.
If you help someone and ease suffering, that is good.
But if you unleash ebolapox or airborne communicable HIV, you create suffering, harm liberty, etc, and that is immoral.

Morality all depends on what your goal is and the methods you take to achieve it. The lines can get blurred easily.
edit on 29-11-2012 by muzzleflash because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 04:24 PM
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Its a lot like a nuclear bomb with question marks ??? all over it. How big will it go boom,, no one knows but many want to press that button to find out. Hey it could be a dud who knows right?

Can any human foresee accurately how even a minor alteration unleashed into nature will end up? Hell no we cant fathom that. Even our best super computers are barely reaching the computational power required to even begin crunching these equations in a serious manner.
edit on 29-11-2012 by muzzleflash because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 04:24 PM
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reply to post by mee30
 

Dear mee30,

Good questions and I think I may have some answers. Concerning Golden Rice, and the possibility of suing people:
www.irri.org...


Golden Rice is expected to cost farmers about the same as other rice.

The inventors of Golden Rice, Professor Ingo Potrykus and Dr. Peter Beyer, donated the technology in 2000 as a gift for resource-poor farmers in developing countries because of its enormous potential to benefit public health.

Syngenta arranged royalty-free access to the patents and intellectual property, held by several biotechnology companies, for a number of key technologies used in Golden Rice. This allows IRRI and others to develop Golden Rice on a not-for-profit basis.

Our Golden Rice project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development, and the national agriculture programs of the Philippines and Bangladesh.
Is this particular worry alleviated?

Concerning the corn studies, may I repeat myself?

EFSA, which reviews the use and authorisation of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), added that it "finds there is no need to re-examine its previous safety evaluations of NK603," the genetically modified maize developed by US agribusiness giant Monsanto.

That same conclusion had been reached in separate and independent assessments of Gilles-Eric Seralini's work carried out in six European Union nations, the agency added.
Six European countries, and the European food safety administration are all rejecting the study, and the study's author is refusing to provide information he based his study on. It seems to me that it is the original study that is suspect, not the seven reviews.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 04:25 PM
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reply to post by muzzleflash
 


You make an excellent point.

We still don't understand what all our genes are for. We can see them, and play with them, so we do.
Junk DNA Not Junk After All
And this just came out 2 months ago.

PS. I really like your ideas for EbolaPox and Airborne Communicable HIV.

Well then, isn't that just wonderful.
edit on 29-11-2012 by watchitburn because: (no reason given)
edit on 29-11-2012 by watchitburn because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 04:30 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


You have to take all of this with a grain of salt.

Who can you trust? Institutions connected with money and politics? Gotta be kidding me.

Although common sense isnt perfect, its far superior to the naivity it requires to actually believe and trust anything monied industry or research conglomerates want to convince us of.

Harsh reality but living in denial is dangerous to your health.



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 04:32 PM
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reply to post by watchitburn
 


Ebola pox is real and was developed by the secretive Soviet era Biopreparat.

en.m.wikipedia.org...



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 04:39 PM
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See thats the main problem.

All Earth tech goes through various hands before it reaches the mass population.

Military gets it first, like with genetics its all secret biological weapons.

Then the corporations get it, and its all about milking us for every last dollar.

Seems like we are pretty screwed here.
Should the military and corporations play with genetics? Hell no they are lunatics.

Maybe in make believe perfect land where humans respect and help life, sure its a great idea.

Genetic modding is like Communism, looks awesome on paper but in reality, its a mega disaster waiting to happen.
edit on 29-11-2012 by muzzleflash because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 04:43 PM
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reply to post by watchitburn and Muzzleflash
 

Gentlemen, thank you very much for raising an important point. It is necessary to be extraordinarily careful in making adjustments to any living thing or part of nature. I absolutely agree. Think, perhaps of the extraordinary cautions used in infectious disease studies. Before vaccines are released the whole business is locked up tight and studied as thoroughly as the scientists are able.

But does that caution extend to the point of not allowing any Genetic Engineering at all? I think the point of the articles, and my point, is that banning work in that area is excessive. Remember the fears around the Large Hadron Collider? One of the starkest was that we were going to create a Black Hole which would suck the earth into non-existence.

The scientists offered their opinions and thought the risk was worth taking in order to gain knowledge. What risk is worth taking to save millions of lives? Banning DDT seemed like a good idea at the time, but countries are trying to get it back now to stop malria plagues. Is that a good decision or a bad one? I don't know, but I'm worried about assuming that any change is a bad one and should not even be considered.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 04:45 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


Hey dude... I'm sorry but I have to laugh a little while reading the "golden rice" story... Now call me cynical but if these guys were doing it for the good of mankind why wouldn't they just release it patent free? No, they have granted "royalty-free access to the patents and intellectual property" Do you see the difference here? They still OWN the patents and so what is to stop them from selling the patents in the future or revoking the royalty-free access?

Besides it doesn't deal with the issue of cross pollination and thus IF it were to wipe out natural rice, we would still have the problem of not being able to choose GM or natural...


And then THIS...



Our Golden Rice project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development


Wooooooooow now my alarm bells are really kicking off! I have ZERO trust for these people....




Six European countries, and the European food safety administration are all rejecting the study, and the study's author is refusing to provide information he based his study on. It seems to me that it is the original study that is suspect, not the seven reviews.


I read it yeah... This needs MUCH more info for me to be convinced, for a start WHO are the "6 European countries" and who conducted the reviews? Yes the fact that he is not releasing info isn't good but still, like I said, I do not trust these organizations one bit! They are all no doubt "official" sources, so they have my skepticism... Also aren't the people you are quoting ALSO hiding information? You seem to use the hiding of data as a negative for Seralini but not for the other guys refuting the study, that doesn't fly with me... Either withholding information is universally bad or universally good... Which is it?
edit on 29-11-2012 by mee30 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 04:55 PM
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reply to post by mee30
 



Our Golden Rice project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development



Wooooooooow now my alarm bells are really kicking off! I have ZERO trust for these people....


I am so in agreement with you on that one my friend!

Eugenic supporters at it's finest........




posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 04:58 PM
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reply to post by muzzleflash
 

Dear Muzzleflash,

You pose an interesting problem.

You have to take all of this with a grain of salt.

Who can you trust? Institutions connected with money and politics? Gotta be kidding me.

Although common sense isnt perfect, its far superior to the naivity it requires to actually believe and trust anything monied industry or research conglomerates want to convince us of.
What are we to do? Shall we look for scientific advancement from people in their basements? What institution, that is doing serious work, is not connected to money or the government?

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but this sounds like a plan to shut down science.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 05:25 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 





What are we to do? Shall we look for scientific advancement from people in their basements? What institution, that is doing serious work, is not connected to money or the government? Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but this sounds like a plan to shut down science.


I see your point here but let me offer another solution, take out government... The problem isn't money in my mind, the problem is government organizations that have arbitrary power, they can SELL this power if they want... And that is the problem... They get in bed with big business often securing themselves positions at big companies when they retire from politics so of course they are going to go with the flow to better their own life... They are corruptible and in my mind based on the things I've seen utterly corrupted...

Even just putting down the guns and talking would be a great start.


Also don't knock basement science, after all, at one time or another science came from the basement...



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 05:26 PM
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reply to post by mee30
 

Dear mee30,

Interesting, thanks.


Hey dude... I'm sorry but I have to laugh a little while reading the "golden rice" story... Now call me cynical but if these guys were doing it for the good of mankind why wouldn't they just release it patent free? No, they have granted "royalty-free access to the patents and intellectual property" Do you see the difference here? They still OWN the patents and so what is to stop them from selling the patents in the future or revoking the royalty-free access?
There may be some confusion here. The royalty-free access was for some of the technology used in making the rice, not the rice itself. Once they had permission to use some of the technology required to make the rice, they made a new patent for the process and product, which was given away completely. You see the confusion?


Our Golden Rice project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development
Wooooooooow now my alarm bells are really kicking off! I have ZERO trust for these people....
Well, where do you want the millions of dollars to come from? Anything they give money to is bad for the world? They've helped in producing something beneficial, preventing blindness and death. It's fully researched and governments can study it and approve it or not, however they see fit. How do the Gates, or anyone else donating money, make this evil?


I read it yeah... This needs MUCH more info for me to be convinced, for a start WHO are the "6 European countries" and who conducted the reviews? Yes the fact that he is not releasing info isn't good but still, like I said, I do not trust these organizations one bit! They are all no doubt "official" sources, so they have my skepticism...
Actually I disagree. Forgive my bluntness, but even MUCH, MUCH, more information will not convince you. You won't accept anything coming from any government or official source. But you are convinced by one guy who is hiding his data?

Also aren't the people you are quoting ALSO hiding information? You seem to use the hiding of data as a negative for Seralini but not for the other guys refuting the study, that doesn't fly with me... Either withholding information is universally bad or universally good... Which is it?
Please remember that there are two groups of studies involved. The European Union's saying the corn is safe, which is being accused of hiding data by a scientist who is being criticized by that group. There is also Seralini's study which is being condemned by seven different bodies as not meeting scientific standards. In the face of that I see no reason to accept Seralini's study. If there is a claim that the EU's study is false, then that should be explored, but reason demands that Seralini's be tossed, at least as it is.


Besides it doesn't deal with the issue of cross pollination and thus IF it were to wipe out natural rice, we would still have the problem of not being able to choose GM or natural...
Does rice cross-pollinate? Does it spread out to new lands detroying other vegetation? And if it replaces all rice in the world, you end up with rice with more Vitamin A then there is normally. A problem? If you were to ban Golden Rice, wouldn't you still have the problem of not being able to choose GE or natural?

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 05:27 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


There isnt really anything you or I can do. We arent important heads of industry and science, and even if we had all that power, its doubtful its enough to fix the problems.

Can we eliminate greed or fear? Not really.
Can we strip power away from negative interests who control our society ? Doubtful.
Can we even get money out the equation in any way? Probably not.

What is the solution? Is there a solution?
That is the billion dollar question my friend....
And if you figure it out, instant nobel prize.

Fixing our screwed up system is probably as hard, if not harder than genetic modding itself.



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 06:16 PM
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reply to post by mee30
 

Dear mee30,

Excellent work, would you be surprised if I said I agree with you?

I'm a big fan of getting government out of things any time we can. I'd like to see it happen here, but where do we go for unbiased testing of foods, seeds, and the like? Who has the equipment and money to do it? I'm hoping that I'm wrong, but it may be a case of finding a corrupt institution that can be most easily checked on and held up to public scrutiny.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 06:33 PM
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reply to post by muzzleflash
 

Dear muzzleflash,

Thanks for the splash of cold water, perhaps I wasn't looking at it broadly enough. Well, Ok, where do we go from here? If it is absolutely hopeless, and I think a good case could be made for that, perhaps it's time to stop struggling and lay back and enjoy it. I suspect that is the mindset of many.

If that's not the case, if it's not completely hopeless, is our best approach to figure out what the system should look like, then worry about how to get there? I'm afraid that there is tremendous division in our society, and maybe in others, over which goals we should have. That's going to make it even tougher.

With respect,
Charles1952





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