The Future Ecology of Food: Discussing Genetically Modified Foods, agriculture, and obesity

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by GirlAnachronism, Feb 2, 2011.

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  1. GirlAnachronism Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2011
    star 1
    Spurred from the thread in the JCC which was started to make fun on obese people (what else? :p), the issues of GM foods and agricultural policy were brought up and I felt it would be more appropriate to take the more serious discussion here.

    anakin_girl shared an interesting link which I think brings up a lot of salient points that can be used to spark discussion Here.

    Most interesting to me is:
    * Breaking up the USDA and empowering the FDA
    * Outlawing feedlots to support more sustainable animal husbandry

    I would love to see this happen, however how could this be accomplished, if at all? Wouldn't that also imply the wholesale replacement of Congress, or at least outlawing lobbying? Do you really think such policies are likely to be passed?

    Regarding Genetically Modified Foods, some arguments I heard in the other thread that I thought were valid and might help frame our argument better:

    "We give people injections to make them better at fighting off disease, why not do the same to foods? We plan to create cells immune to cancers by altering genes and whatnot, yet we can't alter genes in food to make the good bits better and make it hardier because it might be bad?

    People generally have a fear of things they don't really understand and so rebel against them, like climate change & evolution."

    "Producing a larger, safer, and more stable food supply is never a bad thing."


    Do you think GM foods need to be regulated more heavily?
  2. yankee8255 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    star 6
    I started reading the manifesto, very interesting.

    This is the Charlie Rose interview I mentioned in the other thread. It mainly talks about the use of antibiotics in the food industry. It (imho) does an excellent job of countering the argument made in the JCC about foods becoming safer.
  3. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    A few points, food for thought (pun intended, albeit a bad one):

    1. The corn lobby will continue to have power as long as the Iowa caucus kicks off the Presidential campaign season. No Presidential candidate is going to oppose the Corn Refiner's Association, Monsanto or Archer Daniels Midland, it would be political suicide. I had high hopes for Obama but then he hired Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture; Vilsack is so cozy with Monsanto that he has been allowed to fly around in their company jet.

    There is a movement to change the way Presidential primaries are conducted so that they start in a different state each election cycle, which means every 200 years, a state would lead the primary. That would be more fair. I live in North Carolina, 2008 is the only primary in my life time in which our votes even mattered, the primaries are usually decided by the time we vote. That's another topic though.

    2. Antibiotics in animals and animal feed have been associated with antibiotic-resistant diseases in humans. Plus the reasons that animals are given such heavy doses of the antibiotics go back to the way they are treated, which amounts to animal cruelty. I'm going to use the example of dairy cattle. A typical dairy cow produces 2-3 gallons of milk a day. With an injection of the Monsanto-produced rBgH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), the cow produces 10-plus gallons of milk a day. That's cheaper milk for us humans (who are the only species that drinks the boiled milk of another species anyway) but 50 percent of dairy cattle receiving this hormone contract mastitis, and therefore need antibiotics.

    3. My issue with GMO'ed foods is, one, the fact that Monsanto has a monopoly on the seeds and two, the seeds are GMO'ed to survive being sprayed with massive quantities of Round Up, which humans should not be consuming.
  4. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6

    One of the major complaints is that the seeds are terminators - you can't use some of your harvest to replant the following year. However, it's really, really rare that farmers do that anyways. The vast majority of farmers in the industrialized world buy their seeds, rather than using the previous year's crop. It's not much more or less expensive than buying non-GM seed. Further, the alternative is to have crops that can breed without restriction; while the monster plant devouring all other life scenario isn't really possible, a strain of a crop that's able to out-compete most other grains or grasses in the area is possible. Just like introducing European plants and animals to North America and Australia led to changes, so to can letting GM crops reproduce freely. It wouldn't be the end of the world by any means, but it could result in some loss of biodiversity.

    Loss of biodiversity happens, but it's also balanced out by people who maintain traditional stocks, as hobbyists or as specialty farmers. Look at apple trees - there's only a couple of dozen breeds that are commercially grown on any large scale around the world, but over 7,000 different breeds of apples in total. Or for that matter, look at citrus trees: as I understand it, there's no clear consensus about whether or not lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, etc are even different species, rather than just breeds of the same species.



    The way that genetic mutation for non-transgenic crops is done is usually to expose the seeds to high doses of radiation, in the hope that some random positive traits will develop. It's basically luck when you get a positive or negative trait, and since you're bombarding the seed with radiation with the intent of causing genetic mutation, it seems to me that using GM technology to modify selective traits is a lot safer in the long term. In most of Europe, there's no restrictions on using seeds that have been radioactively mutated, but there are restrictions on using crops that have been engineered deliberately.

    While making crops resistant to various insecticides is one of the goals of transgenic crops, a larger goal is to make crops such that they don't need insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc.



    Anyhow, I'm pretty much in favor of genetically modified foods. Higher yields, reduced or eliminated use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, heartier crops better able to withstand varying weather, and better nutritional value make it pretty much a no-brainer for me.
  5. GirlAnachronism Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2011
    star 1
    I might disagree with a few of the points you brought up, Raven.

    First, you made the assertion that "Loss of biodiversity happens, but it's also balanced out by people who maintain traditional stocks, as hobbyists or as specialty farmers".
    Small-scale, family farming is quickly becoming a dying practice in our country, and has steadily been declining since the early 1970s. While I don't have statistics on hand right now (I'm pretty lazy), I am fairly confident in asserting that the amount of 'traditional farming' isn't even close to offsetting the losses in biodiversity that monoculture agriculture is causing.

    "Look at apple trees - there's only a couple of dozen breeds that are commercially grown on any large scale around the world, but over 7,000 different breeds of apples in total."
    I see a problem in this logic. While there are many apple breeds, the commercially sold apples are much more numerous and dominate the "farming landscape". Just because there are many species in existence all over the world doesn't mean any one particular landscape will demonstrate the same species richness.

    Finally, GM foods do not mean eliminated or less use of pesticides--quite the opposite. The reasons are manifold, with the fact that Monsanto owns Roundup being the most obvious. Regardless of a real scientific need for pesticides, Monsanto requires its farmers to buy and regularly douse their crops with a heavy regimen of pesticides.

    While some forms of GM crops can be made to resist diseases, no super-gene can make a corn cob resist being eaten by a grasshopper. Pesticide use is an integral part in raising GM crops, and I would argue that GM crops use an exponentially higher amount of pesticides than traditionally raised crops (the kinds of crops you might think need pesticides even more because they lack the built-in resistances.

    Finally, I would be interested in seeing some data that suggests that GM crops offer more nutrition. In everything that I have seen, GM produce offers far LESS nutrition.

    Also, what the heck is wrong with the nutrition that nature has given us? I know you are not personally arguing this per se, but that must be the inherent logic in making GMOs more nutritious.

  6. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    One book that is definitely worth the read is In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. One thing he mentions is that an apple today is only about 1/5th as nutritious as an apple was in 1943. (I don't remember the exact statistic, but the nutrition quality of crops has deteriorated.) Another thing he mentions is that if one visited a farm in Iowa in the 1920s, one would find a wide variety of crops, both vegetable and animal. If one visits a farm in Iowa today, one finds corn and soy. Even without any study in nutrition, it just seems common sense that humans need a variety of food as opposed to having two crops dominate our entire supply.
  7. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    I'm a bit skeptical of that kind of statement. Does he have any proof? Did he travel back in time and eat an apple or some such? And what are his reasons? I have no problem with genetically modified foods, the only problem with modern farming techniques is the quality of food fed to the animals and the overuse of antibiotics. The good thing is that it seems like the USDA is putting an end to the practice with antibiotics. Or that was the case the last time I read about it.

    For the GE crops, mainly the issue is the 'Franken-food' propaganda that's used by vegans and Greenpeace as a way of scaring people away from it. The thing is, though, that we've been modifying crops for centuries through the use of selective breeding as was the case with the banana. So, if we can modify a crop that produces higher yields then I'm all for it. The alternative is that we switch to 'organic' foods that are organically covered in fecal matter. That and they don't stay fresh long enough, and it's a much more expensive process.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on the topic.
  8. GirlAnachronism Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2011
    star 1
    Thanks for your post, FID, it's good to see you around :)

    I am biased in my unabashed love for Micheal Pollan, but you raise a good question regarding his methods. I wonder if a_g might be able to explain to us how he got those numbers (like if he mentions his methods in the book).

    I also agree with your frustration regarding the "Franken Foods" propaganda being spouted by GreenPeace and PETA, two orgs I have pretty much no respect for. It's frustrating because we (the public) could be having a meaningful dialogue about the REAL issues behind GMOs, but they would rather use small-minded scare tactics that prey on the weak-minded and ignorant and detract from productive discussion.

    The issue is not that GMO's are "scary". The issue is, how to GM crops influence agricultural practices in the US--and abroad for that matter? How do these practices influence society--human health, environmental health, and communities? The issue of GM foods is so much more complex than, "oooh--scary!!"

    I think GM crops have some merits. However, in this discussion my aim is to try and identify specifically what merits they actually offer (merits based on facts, not misconceptions or propaganda) and what the *real* drawback are (drawbacks based on facts, not misconceptions or propaganda :p)

    I will specify, however, that the type of GM foods I mean to discuss here are the "laboratory"-type engineered foods. Selective breeding is indeed a form of modification, but for the sake of discussion I should have specified the range of Genetic Modification this thread is targeting.

    May I ask why you have a problem with manure-fertilized crops? I am wondering because maybe there is something you have heard that has deterred you from it that I haven't had the chance to see or read yet.

    Again, you are right that organic foods do not stay fresh long enough--another main "benefit" of GMOs--they stay firmer and can withstand thousands of miles of transportation looking plump and happy. That's a big problem in the global food market. However, you could always just opt to eat your organic veggies from local sources so they are fresher.
  9. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    I read the book right after it came out and I can't remember if he describes how he did his research, so I'm googling.

    Here is a review of the book, which discusses how a tribe of aborigines adopted a Western diet and ended up with type 2 diabetes.

    According to Alternet if you find that source credible, corporate agriculture has tried to censor Pollan's speeches.

    This is the best link I've found so far on Pollan's research. While it does not say exactly where the apple in 1943 came from, but Pollan has received awards in environmental journalism.

    I'm going to keep poking around.
  10. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    GirlAnachronism, I get what you're saying about want a ton of different species covering the landscape. However, at the end of the day, to put it bluntly, that aint gonna feed the world. The most commonly grown species and strains are grown because of their production and hardiness. The Cavendish Banana replaced the Gros Michel Banana when Panama Disease hit the Gros Michael and severely disrupted world banana stocks; the Cavendish become the top banana because it produced tasty fruit, produced good yields, and was resistant to Panama disease. The vast, vast majority of bananas consumed in the western world are Cavendish bananas. And I should note, this occurred well prior to genetic engineering of plants.

    On a related note, the Tropical Race 4 strain of the Panama Disease might do to the Cavendish what the original strain did to the Gros Michel. While there are a considerable number of other banana cultivars in the world, they don't really look or taste much like what a North American or a Western European would call a banana. The main alternatives at this point are to accept that within 15-20 years, you'll have eaten your last "normal" banana, or to genetically engineer the Cavendish to be resistant to the Tropical Race 4.



    Roundup is definitely toxic. For example, one study showed that injections directly into the bone of 25mg/kg were enough to cause issues in lab mice. If you're a healthy adult, you need to drink about half a popcan of it to kill yourself. As I rarely drink Roundup by the glass and have gotten out of the habit of injecting it directly into my bones, I'm relatively confident that it won't have a detrimental effect on my quality of life.

    It also breaks down naturally to a harmless state in a few weeks unless it's buried, unlike most other herbicides. Further, it has a side benefit when combined with GE crops - farmers don't need to plow their fields. After a harvest, the remaining crop and its stubble is left in the fields, bio-degrading, restoring soil quality, preventing water loss, preventing carbon loss, and preventing erosion. Also, it reduces fuel use since the trips around the field to plow aren't happening, which is a pretty good thing in of itself. The following spring, farmers reseed their fields and spray with roundup just as the crops emerge. It'd be great if we could find a herbicide that worked better and was safer, but as poisons go Roundup is about as safe as we've found for humans so far. Roundup is currently not under patent; as such, you can bet work is being done to find a better alternative. In the meantime, i is for better or for worse the best option available.

    Meanwhile, organic farmers need to till every Spring. This releases carbon trapped in the soil, contribute to soil erosion, contributes to water loss, reduces soil quality, and uses more fuel. Which also puts more carbon into the atmosphere. And then they grow a crop that produces a small yield. If a GE farmer can get two or three times the yield from the same amount of space as an organic farmer, which is better for the world's environmental health overall?

    Also, just to be clear: Roundup is a herbicide. Not a pesticide.

    Part of the goal of GE crops is that they don't need as much pesticides. The statement that they need more than organic is frankly ridiculous. For example, consider Bt Maize. It was engineered primarily to be able to resist the European Corn Borer. It does. One of the chief problems with the Bt Maize is that farmers are using it without proper notification as required under laws designed to monitor GE crops - because they can get away with spending less time and money on buying and using pesticides, and be more certain that they won't lose the crop.



    Finally: I'm sorry, but I'm going to consider that factoid about apples being 1/5th as nutritious now as they were 65 years ago to be proverbial cow feces until I see a link to a peer reviewed scientific journal supporting the statement.




    EDIT: One book that I recommend regarding GE crops (among other items) is Whole Earth Discipline by St
  11. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Michael Pollan on the history of the apple

    Doesn't give the exact statistic that is in In Defense of Food but goes into more on that subject. (And red delicious apples are tasteless and nasty anyway.)

    I'd have to go into Google Scholar to find peer-reviewed articles in nutrition journals (trying to remember which nutrition journals allow free access) and that is going to have to wait. But the fact that the Corn Refiner's Association has managed to get peer-reviewed articles in nutrition journals to support their agenda, makes me a little skeptical of the quality of the articles. Call me cynical, but it seems that the lobbies with the most money behind them, can always manage to find scholars to support the idea that their agenda is safe. Monsanto, for example, has managed to get rBgH labelled "safe" in the United States when it is banned outright in Europe. And of course I'm not skeptical of peer-reviewed articles in general, just of the "studies" sponsored by Big Ag and Big Pharma.

    On GMOing, I could see some advantages as far as getting more food to more people, and I don't really think that family farms by themselves could feed the population of the world as it is now. I have major issues with how the GMOing is done though and the monopoly that Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland have over it.
  12. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    That article makes a brilliant - if unintentional - argument for the use of genetic engineering. It identifies the problem of cultivars losing the genetic arms race to pests. The solutions he presents are a) increased pesticide use (obviously bad), and b) cross-breeding cultivars to get the desired qualities. Unfortunately, cross-breeding is as much an art and a gamble as a science. You don't always get what you want. To use a real world analogy in animals, sometimes instead of getting a bee that makes honey like African bees and has the temperament of European bees, you get a bee that makes honey like European bees and has the temperament of African bees (to whit, "killer bees"). With genetic engineering, you get to pick out the best qualities and plug them in. Not just pest resistance, but increased nutritional value as well.

    Looking to the long term, as the technology becomes easier and cheaper to use, the possibility of doing things like swapping in specific flavors as noted in other breeds into a given breed (say, to give a line of Red Delicious apples a spicy, nutmeg-like flavor). Now: this does involve keeping stock of the other varieties of the plant. However, keeping them in existence as a genetic reservoir doesn't meant that they would need to be grown in large numbers, or as commercial stock.


    In my opinion, the overall situation means that you can use one set of problems to solve another.
    Problem A) Small scale farming is dying off.
    Problem B) A genetic reservoir is needed in order to have a pool to draw from in order to effective blend in traits with genetic engineering.
    Problem C) We already have issues feeding the world; as world population grows, fuel supplies drop, our ability to produce and apply pesticides, herbicides and fungicides drops, genetically engineered crops will increasingly need to be a part of what makes up the shortfall.

    Solution:
    Provide financial support for small scale farmers (the stereotypical family farmers), and use them to grow alternate strains of crops. Continue to use large scale farming to feed the masses. It means that for those who are really after it, organic niche farmed food is available. It keeps family farms alive. It serves a valuable long term role in keeping the overall food supply protected. It's pretty much win-win for everyone involved.
  13. yankee8255 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    star 6
    In addition to a_g's point about GM foods, pesticides and Monsanto, here's another aspect to consider -- most of what's produced is soy and especially corn, and most of that is not used for direct human consumption but as feed. The problem is that corn isn't a cow's natural diet. Grass is. So we basically force feeding cattle something their digestive systems aren't really designed to digest. The result: fat, unhealthy cows. Who thus need a nice bit of antibiotics to survive, leading to an end result that we get food on our plate that's far less healthy than it should be.

    GM food is an incredibly great in theory, for the reasons Raven and others have highlighted. I think the problem is that that theory is incredibly far from reality, which is essentially that you have two companies that control our food supply to an incredibly frightening extent, and who's motivation is to make food cheaper, not healthier. Pollan is one of the guests on that Charlie Rose interview i linked to, he does a very good job early on of making just that point.
  14. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    It's not so much breaking up the USDA as the fact that the USDA has this inherent contradiction in its goals.

    I would also like to see RDAs mention calories more on the obesity front. The simple fact of the matter is, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Yet thanks to the current way things are done, people spent two, nearly three decades thinking they could pig out on sugary foods and not gain any weight because they were fat-free. Indeed, the USDA told us to eat more carbohydrates to lose weight. And eat more we did. But those carbohydrates still contain calories. And in a cruel twist of fate, fat stays in your stomach longer.
  15. fistofan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2009
    star 4
    I am by no means an expert on this subject, but I will say the decrease in nutrition occurring in apples is no shock to me. It all boils down to humans trying to be the almighty people in control of their surroundings. Nature provided living organisms with everything they needed to survive and they have survived for millions upon millions of years.

    It was when humans realized they could use artificial means to "enhance" food to fit new lifestyles that the situation deteriorated. From what I can gather, nearly anything the human race does to change nature is messing with the pure state that it is supposed to be in to provide us with what we need. If we keep ruining our bodies with artificial food "enhancers", the health of the population as a whole will go down. Himans need to learn to live and let live without meddling in natural processes, because these processes were meant to happen without us getting involved.
  16. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    To be human is to be an incorrigible meddler with natural processes. That's what the neolithic revolution was all about. Despite all our advanced meddling our food supply is utterly dependent on stone age technology. Maize and wheat are maybe the most sublime human technological achievements of all time. We've tinkered at the margins but remain more or less utterly perplexed about how ancient humans engineered our food supply for us.
  17. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    Er, no.

    Do you eat fruits, grains or vegetables? Then you're eating crops that have been selected over thousands of years, in many cases tens of thousands of years, for larger harvests, hardier crops, and better taste, among other qualities. Farming is one of the most profoundly unnatural acts we humans commit to the earth, and one of the things that farmers have done since the very beginning is to improve seed stock and crop output. Historically, it tended to happen naturally - if your variety of grain was lacking, you were more likely to end up starving to death, and that would be the last of the grain you planted. Today, we have tools that let us select what qualities we want and implement them, which generally involves less starving to death here in the western world.

    As time went on, people got better at breeding crops. Modern corn? Looks absolutely nothing like ancient corn. Apples and citrus fruits are native to China, and spread across the world due to those crops being able to help supplement the human diet; we didn't evolve to our current state to be better able to eat oranges, we've spent thousands of years breeding oranges to better be able to be eaten. Potatoes are an unnatural addition to the ecology of the majority of the world, but addition of potatoes to the European diet helped jump-start the industrial revolution. Do you eat red tomatoes? Not natural. Tomatoes are "meant" to be small, yellow, and with dramatically less nutritional content than they have now. How about the grapefruit. It's one of the healthiest foods on the planet, and it was created through hybridization of the pomelo and an orange variety.

    If you're speaking of what happens after the crop is picked, I'm still going to disagree with you. You may have noticed that no other animal on the planet cooks its meals before eating them, but humans have been doing that since well before the dawn of recorded history. Boiling, baking, cooking, steaming, toasting, etc, are all "unnatural."

    The problems are not "we're doing unnatural things to crops" or "we're cooking food in unnatural ways!" Neither of those things are bad things. We've been doing both for millennium. Problems are not in the idea, but in the methodology. If you breed a food stuff for taste and allow the nutritional quality of the product to drop (I'm looking at you, Red Delicious apples), then that might be a problem. If you're deep frying something in fat, th
  18. fistofan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2009
    star 4
    I think you misread my above post. I wasn't in any way saying that selective farming was negative. What I meant by "changing lifestyle" was the new lifestyle of putting taste and quantity above health. Developing ways to make apples healthier is one thing, but reducing their health benefits to make more of them or to make them sweeter is something else entirely.
  19. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    Well, you did say "It all boils down to humans trying to be the almighty people in control of their surroundings. Nature provided living organisms with everything they needed to survive and they have survived for millions upon millions of years." That implied to me that you feel that altering the "natural" state of organisms is wrong.

    If humans can use traditional farming methods alongside genetic engineering and produce food that both tastes better and is healthier, why shouldn't we?
  20. fistofan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2009
    star 4
    That's a good idea in theory, but many food alterations are making the food less healthy. Increasing the health of apples is good, but giving cattle growth hormones to make more meat is bad.

    I'll admit that my first post didn't put my ideas forth accurately, but I still believe that for every good alteration humans make to food, a negative one is made.
  21. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    I reject that kind of karmic philosophy. :p

    We're now able to feed a world population of close to seven billion people, without major famines except in areas suffering from additional problems (like North Korea). Far fewer people die of malnutrition in the western world. Our diets include a greater variety of fruits and vegetables than at any point previous in history (or at least, a greater variety is easily available if a person makes a very slight effort). I live in Nova Scotia, and if I had lived here five hundred years ago my diet wouldn't include oranges, apples, grapefruit, bananas, wheat, oats, corn, onions, carrots, chick peas, rice, tomatoes, potatoes, lemons, limes, jalapeño peppers, coffee, tea, chocolate, etc. Depending on where you go, the list of missing items might vary, but you get the idea. Returning to the preindustrial state of farming isn't an option; we'd have less food and we'd have fewer varieties of food (making eating healthy a much greater challenge).

    There are problems: you mentioned the problem of meat sources being fed hormones, which lead to diminished living conditions in the animals and meat that may potentially lead to health complications in humans; that's certainly one major problem, though not directly related to modern grain, fruit and vegetable farming. So are the long term effects of falling groundwater levels, excessive pesticide and herbicide use causing environmental damage, so is that a single company controls genetic engineering in plants like Microsoft controls PC operating systems. However, the gains we've made far outweigh the downsides in my mind.
  22. fistofan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2009
    star 4
    I think we can both agree that modern food production has its upsides and downsides and will never be absolutely perfect but will be as good as it can be as long as people are contious of what they are doing. :)
  23. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Well, the bigger concern is what's being done. There have been uses of human genes in GMOs, after all.

    I mean, like I know that I'm in a class of individuals likely to have my DNA taken for genetic engineering research. If nothing else, I know that the Department of Commerce has issued patents for indigenous genes.

    Of course, if I eat a plant with my DNA in it, I essentially become Kronos.
  24. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Um, tens of thousands of years? Given that agriculture is, admittedly, at least 10,000 years old, but I doubt it's 20,000+ years old, I can only say...

    [image=http://knowyourmeme.com/i/151/original/n725075089_288918_2774.jpg]

    To be technical, all fruits and vegetables are healthy. They're like multivitamins, only they work. But since we need 12 vitamins (Strictly speaking, vitamin D is a hormone, not a vitamin.) and about 30 minerals (Though, again, strictly speaking, we only need cobalt for vitamin B12.), it's not simply a matter of "more" or "less" healthy. We also need two fatty acids and 9 amino acids.

    Of course, the bigger concern is calories.

    To be fair, there is a difference, a huge difference, between roasting a pig and blasting soybeans with hexane followed by hydrogenating the oil. There is an issue with what can be considered dangerous. Of course, neither the corporate types nor the LFRVs are interested in the difference. And as long as the media let the LFRVs be the voice of opposition to _insert food company here_, we have a problem.
  25. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    The Ohalo II site in Israel dates back over 20,000 years and shows evidence of agriculture. I'm not disputing that agriculture didn't really start in earnest until about 9,000 BC, but the fact is that it occured on a local level in some places for thousands of years before that; the grains that allowed the rise of civilization were developed by small scale local farming that goes back ten thousand years before the rise of the first cities.

    For what it's worth, I prefer debating with links, facts, and figures to debating with funny image macros.
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