I really think people who say all GMOs are safe are just as bad as the people who say all GMOs are evil. 'GMO' is a blanket term that encompasses a VERY wide range of applications, and an untold number of future applications. All GMOs need to be evaluated on a case by case basis to determine whether they're dangerous or not, and we need to make sure we have independent organizations and agencies in place to evaluate those risks... because you know damn well Monsanto scientists will say they're safe regardless.
It's almost like the right isn't even close to a monopoly on scientific idiocy.
Fucking love this guy.
Always knew he was sensible
Listening to an astrophysicist talk about genetics and biology is about as intelligent as listening to an actress talk about vaccines.
@ 5 Yeah thats the same thing because scientists only know one area of science.
Tyson isn't a practicing scientist. He's a pop scientist. Not that that's a bad thing, he's essentially styled himself as the successor to Carl Sagan, but when you're in that role it's really tempting to use your fame and credibility and the mantle of "scientific respectability" to push ideas and conclusions that aren't really scientific at all. The late Carl Sagan was equally prone to this.

Or to put it more bluntly: since when does a guy who runs a planetarium have any special insight or knowledge about GMOs? One of the basic tenets of science is that you stick to the fields of knowledge that you know. When Tyson weighs in on GMOs, or Sagan starts holding forth opinions about social science or psychology, look out. Their training in these areas is no better than any other scientifically literate lay person.
I'm not going to make up my mind until Bill Nye weighs in.
I <3 Neil.

People who describe GMOs like eating them will turn their body into a flounder also believe in the health benefits of magnetic bracelets, healing crystals, and magnetized water.

Your body is excellent at breaking things from nature down into basic components and claiming nearly all science is some arm of "big ag" keeping up this charade of safety regarding the food supply (that those same scientists eat) is ludicrous. Right up there with the Smart Meter's Fry My Brain crowd.
@1 When someone like me says "GMOs are safe", I mean, "The process of using modern GM techniques do not, in and of itself, make the resulting plant genome dangerous".

And yes, every new GMO is tested thoroughly by multiple governmental organizations around the world. In fact, the European Union allows more GM strains for sale to the public than the United States does.
And just published recently we have a 10 year meta review of 1783 papers/reviews/etc dealing with GMO safety. Here's the abstract:

The technology to produce genetically engineered (GE) plants is celebrating its 30th anniversary and one of the major achievements has been the development of GE crops. The safety of GE crops is crucial for their adoption and has been the object of intense research work often ignored in the public debate. We have reviewed the scientific literature on GE crop safety during the last 10 years, built a classified and manageable list of scientific papers, and analyzed the distribution and composition of the published literature. We selected original research papers, reviews, relevant opinions and reports addressing all the major issues that emerged in the debate on GE crops, trying to catch the scientific consensus that has matured since GE plants became widely cultivated worldwide. The scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of GE crops; however, the debate is still intense. An improvement in the efficacy of scientific communication could have a significant impact on the future of agricultural GE. Our collection of scientific records is available to researchers, communicators and teachers at all levels to help create an informed, balanced public perception on the important issue of GE use in agriculture.

Nicolia A, Manzo A, Veronesi F, Rosellini D. An overview of the last 10 years of genetically engineered crop safety research (pdf). Crit Rev Biotechnol. 2013 Sep 16. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24041244. Impact factor=5.095…
Agree with you wholeheartedly. Nothing against Tyson but "America's Science Teacher" is a bit of a stretch. Indeed, I'd never heard of him until I saw an advert on FB for his show. The first thing I thought of was "Is he the new Carl Sagan?"

I don't watch commercial TV on daily basis. And, pop scientist, doctors et al just don't appeal to me. Your sentiments are pretty much mine verbatim.
@7 One of the other basic tennents of science is to look at the body of evidence. Any trained scientist can do that. When there's a clear consensus on an issue, such as the safety of GMOs, there's no problem in saying so, because he's repeating the conclusions of every other major research body that has tackled the issue.…
@5 Pretty sure Tyson didn't get his degrees by sucking dick, like a certain anti-vaxxer actress.
Being really smart, and knowing how to read scientific studies, truly does matter.
The thing is, there are excellent reasons to oppose GMOs that have nothing to do with health or science.

I don't think it's a good idea to turn over ownership of organisms that feed the planet to Monsanto. I don't think farmers should have to pay vast sums when pollen from GMO crops accidentally blow into their fields from next door. I don't think people should be prevented from growing crops from the seeds from last year's crop just because they're patented.

I would fully support GMOs if, and only if, GMOs were universally declared to be off-limits to patents and copyright.
@12 He's not a "pop scientist".

But hey, just keep sticking your head in the ground and ignoring the folks who actually do have a background in this shit I guess.
The important question, as always, is "Who benefits?" If developing and growing transgenically modified crops (as opposed to selectively bred crops) leads to monopolies by companies who can patent particular strains, and if it puts markets at risk by decreasing biodiversity, the winners are certainly the companies developing these crops--not consumers, and not the farmers who are forced to purchase new seeds every year. Particular crops need to be taken on a case by case basis, but I voted for GMO-labelling because of the interests involved.
@15 Why are you ok with conventional strains being copy-righted, but not GMOs? Should Jackson and Perkins be allowed to have limited protections when they develop a new rose?

If I spend a shit ton of money developing a new crop, having it succeed approval by appropriate regulatory agencies, why shouldn't I have a limited monopoly in it's sale? I'm not talking Mickey Mouse shit here, but something to recoup my costs. This isn't like drug manufacturers slapping together two drugs and calling it something new, developing viable, novel plants is a long, time intensive undertaking.

Seed patents have been around since the 1930s, long before modern GM techniques were developed. Why is it a problem now? Bonus question: would you support publicly funded GMO research to prevent these sorts of issues?
The basic thing you have to understand about science, is that it doesn't exist until studies have been conducted. You can say all day that no studies prove that GMO causes illness, but unless there have been actual studies done, your pronouncement means nothing.

GMO plants are patented, which means the patent owner has complete control of all studies conducted on that plant. If a negative result comes up, that study is simply not published and it's like it never existed. And the only researchers who get to study these patented plants in the first place are those who are funded by the patent holders.

In this situation, to say anything about the conclusions of scientific research is laughable.
@19 Could you show me where in the patent laws of the United States and the European Union (for starters) that patent law gives the patent holder the right to prevent private and public research institutions and regulatory agencies all around the world the ability to preemptively examine and then if they so chose censor their work if they don't like the results? Go on, show me the fucking law.

Because I'm not a lawyer, but that sounds like a load of shit. Patents only confer a limited monopoly on the sale and production of the patented item in question. They do not prevent someone from saying something negative about said item.

If you were actually correct, how in the hell is Consumer Reports able to publish negative reviews of patented items for all these years? How fucking stupid are you?
I worry more about what they do to other living things. Fuck humans.
@19 I mean shit, that means no regulatory agency could ever reject as unsafe any sort of drug, car, airplane, children's toy, method of food preservation, anything at all. All safety laws would go down the shitter if the item in question has a patent on it. Sit there and think about it, does that really make sense to you?

Yet this happens all the fucking time! How could that be?!
@22 Found this interesting article from 2009:…

No idea if there has been any effort to restrict this practice since.

For the record I think most of the anti-GMO fringe left are crackpots that are doing an excellent job of proving that progressives can very often be as witless as their counterparts on the right.
Unless you're consuming a diet consisting of 100% wild forage, essentially EVERYTHING you eat has been genetically modified to some degree. It's just that modern biology now has the capacity to make the modifications directly within the plant's (or increasingly, animal's) base genetic structure, as opposed to the more traditional (but no less manipulative) method of agricultural interbreeding for desired characteristics.

But Fnarf essentially nails it: GMO's are simply another revenue-stream for Corporate Big-Ag: plants lacking viable reproductive capacity means more $$ for the manufacturer, since growers can only grow new crops by purchasing seeds, as opposed to holding back some of the previous year's harvest as stock. Additionally, many of the modifications are made to produce plants resistant to the manufacturer's own proprietary pesticides, creating yet another revenue-enhancement. This doesn't necessarily mean the crops themselves represent a threat to human health (although I do agree more extensive research should continue to be conducted in this area), but simply that growers get locked into a cycle of dependency, as viable alternatives to GMO's become less-and-less available.

It's simply a 21st Century variation on "the company store" model, where everything a grower needs HAS to be purchased from a single source, because the manufacturer has stacked the deck against any competition.

Because there shouldn't be a profit incentive when determining how to feed people in an overpopulated, climate-change-affected world. GMOs should be developed in academic settings by government grants so we get plant products that we actually need (not fucking Round-Up ready garbage), and so the resulting technology goes to people who actually need it.

And nothing that can be cross-pollinated or cross-contaminated by the actions of nature (whether by wind or pollinators) should be patent-able.
@23 If this is the case, how is it that the Seralini was ever published (and then retracted for being a shitty experiment)?…
People need to stop being so damn reactionary. Also, as I keep banging on about the way Bailo talks about hydrogen, people need to distinguish between genetically-modified and transgenic crops.

Interesting claims since there have been individual GMO strains that have been proven to be dangerous to humans and were therefore banned.
@25 Holy shit, someone else is finally advocating public research into GMO crops!
@28 Which strains were those?

And if there were, so what? Like I said before, when someone says that "GMOs are safe", they mean explicitly that "the process of using modern GM techniques do not, in and of itself, make the resulting plant genome dangerous". There's nothing stopping someone from making a shitty GMO.

It's the same thing as saying that in general, cars are safe. That still leaves room for the existence of a shitty model to come out.
@26 Unclear from the Wikipedia entry but perhaps his study was just a re-interpretation of data from industry sponsored studies? I suppose researchers can do what they want and dare Monsanto to sue them also.
@28 If you're going to say something like that, you should post a citation.

Trite because it's true, but GMO's are global warming and evolution for the left. For ideologues, when science conflicts with ideology, the science must be wrong.
@5, 7: Everything he says is accurate, so.......

As Sherlock would say: "Do your research."
@13: "trained scientist" means trained in a particular field, knowledgeable about a particular body of literature, and familiar with the methods customarily used to investigate the problems of interest in that field. A Ph.D is an expert in their field. For any other field, they are just scientifically literate lay persons, nothing more.

@16: what peer reviewed journal articles has Tyson written on GMOs? (Or any other topic, for that matter.) Tyson is a TV personality. I appreciate the role he's playing but let's not kid ourselves: he's a pop scientist.
@34 So I need a PhD in Immunology or Public Health to be able to say that vaccination is generally a good idea, or to be able to tell the differences between reputable and bullshit reports on the topic at hand? Apparently reading the reports from multiple reputable sources isn't good enough for you.

Does the earth travel around the sun? I guess I'm not qualified to answer that because I'm not a trained and published astrophysicist. Does that really sound reasonable to you?
Linus Pauling advocated taking heavy doses of vitamin C, but he was outside his area of expertise. Tyson may be intelligent, but I wouldn't trust his word about GMOs if the only reason to do so is because he's who he is.
It's a bit like saying all vaccines are safe. Obviously not, but we certainly do believe the vaccines which are required to attend public school are safe.

The various techniques which product GMO food are safe in that there is no harmful side effect of the technique itself. But, that's not to say that amplifying the cyanide output of apples is going to produce a safe fruit whether done through selective breeding or gene splicing.

What I find a bit irritating is that labeling GMOs has been put on the crank side of the spectrum. To me, labeling is a good thing. I'd like to know whether I'm buing a Bartlett Pear or a Moonglow. And, if a GMO pear comes on the market I think it should be labeled in such a way I can find out more about it.
Tyson has a lengthy post on Facebook clarifying his statements:…
@34 What peer reviewed journal articles have YOU written on GMOs... or ANYTHING??

You are an underemployed anonymous nobody who spend an inordinate amount of time spouting 50% bullshit on an internet forum. That's who you are.

So. Yes. Tyson knows more than you.

More than any of you. Including our resident know-it-all community college grad - Cliff "Fnarf" Claven.

Guess we're going to go with the world famous credentialed PhD Tyson on this one.

@37 Yeah it is put on the crank side of the spectrum because labeling initiatives have been seeking to slap alarming looking warning labels on food items. To my knowledge none of them have merely suggested adding to the ingredients list. The objective is to alarm an ignorant and gullible public in order to get GMOs removed from the market.
@34 The other galling thing about this absurd ad hominem that Tyson as an educator, PhD and scientist, is just too "unqualified to talk about GMO's" is that the overwhelming consensus of molecular biologists and geneticists and all the data so far AGREES with him. And then what do you say? Right.…

As for the issue of corporations forcing patents on seeds and co-modifying GMO's for profit. The problem isn't with the science. It's with poorly regulated capitalism. They are separate issues.

Tyson is only addressing the appalling ignorance to the actual science.

@39: My Ph.D. is in Engineering and Technology Management, and my particular field of expertise is the Diffusion of Innovations where I published a dozen journal articles on technology adoption before switching to the field of healthcare. DOI came out of agriculture; the seminal article was Beale, Rogers and Bowen (1943) who studied the diffusion of hybrid corn varieties in Iowa. See Rogers (2003) for a comprehensive review. Although I no longer actively publish in this field, I do still regularly serve as a peer reviewer; I reviewed three papers for the PICMET conference last spring. So, I am an expert on the narrow topic of DOI, which overlaps to a considerable extent with agricultural innovations like GMOs; but that does not make me an expert on GMOs.

And the person who is throwing around the ad hominems is you. I meant no disrespect to Tyson, with whom I've exchanged correspondence and who quoted me in his book "The Pluto Files". I do not regard "pop scientist" as perjorative - Sagan and Tyson have made important contributions to the popular acceptance of science, which is a good thing. But it does not make them experts outside their respective fields.

All I am saying is that his pronouncements on GMO should be accorded no more weight than any other scientifically literate person - and no less. Scientific literacy is a wonderful thing. You should try it sometime. I suggest you start with Abbott's 2001 book "The Chaos of Disciplines" which speaks to what an academic discipline is, and by extension what an expert is.
I keep reading about the anger and overhyped rhetoric of the anti-GMO crowd…but every time I read the comments to something like this, I'm struck by the vitriol of the pro-GMOers. That, and how one of them always pipes up with "Monsanto has spent $$ on R&D so they've earned the right to a monopoly…" Good Christ. Yeah, let's allow monopolies on the food supply so the poor mega-corps can be guaranteed a return; how could that end badly?
@42 you don't get it. MY anonymous imaginary internet PhD is in Bullshit Detection.

No. You CLAIM to have a PhD. I don't know know who the fuck you are. For all intents and purposes you are an anonymous internet crank just like me.

Where Tyson is an actual verifiable scientist with actual verifiable credentials.

On top of all that the vast array of data and overwhelming number of experts in the field, BTW that you demand are the experts, agree with Tyson. NOT you. And that too we can verify.

So there is no reason to listen to you and every reason to heed Tyson.

@44: you DO know how to use Google Scholar, don't you? Or at least Wikipedia. Search the references I cited. You may have trouble with Beale et. al. 1943, it wasn't published in a journal; it was a circular published by an agricultural county extension service in Ames Iowa, and is very hard to find unless you know exactly what you're looking for. If it's too hard for you, just let me know and I can snail mail you a mimeographed copy sent to me from one of the authors, Everett Rogers.
@11 Ah yes, that research record everyone keeps talking about. It's pretty interesting in light of this (from Scientific American):

"Agritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers...only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of a peer-reviewed journal."

I wonder how difficult it is to achieve a favorable body of research when you have control over what gets published. My guess is it's not that difficult at all.
@18, absolutely, yes. I wholeheartedly support federally-funded public research into GMOs, with any resulting patents belonging to the people of the US. I'll bet it would be generally better than private research. Public research almost always is.
@44 right, "all the experts agree with Tyson," but---oh yeah---Monsanto et al decided what research got published. Hmmm……
Look it is a real shame that “Fnarf” and “Dr Z” disagree with NdT but he is only communicating the scientific consensus from organizations as diverse as the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), National Academy of Sciences, American Council on Science and Health,American Medical Association (AMA), World Health Organization (WHO), Royal Society of Medicine (UK), European Commision, American Society for Cell Biology American Society of Plant Sciences, American Society for Microbiology, International Seed Foundation, Crop Science Society of America, Federation of Animal Science Societies, Society for In Vitro Biology, International Society of African Scientists, Society for Toxicology, Institut de France Academie des Sciences, Union of German Academy of Sciences, International Council for Science and the Royal Society of London.

Maybe “Fnarf” and “dr Z” should consider where they are getting their information? Or do they know more than these diverse organizations? Do they realize that non-GM crop strains can be patented? That no farmer has ever been sued for accidental cross pollination? If you know of a case please list it. If you list “Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser” then go fuck yourself for being an ignorant tool of the anti-GM movement. oh and @44 - your comments were addressed at Grist in the series by Nathanael Johnson. Google “Genetically modified seed research: What’s locked and what isn’t”
Mission accomplished, guys. You've successfully dragged the topic off of the safety of GMO foods and onto the specifics of academic credentials.

I'd just like to point out that the biggest objectors to Tyson's statements in this thread have been very careful about not contradicting any of them.

So what's the problem?
it is satisfying somehow to see "smart" "pro-science" people frustrated, especially careerists like tyson, who clearly hasn't done much research on gmos. his facebook essay's cow fantasy is funny though, and it seems he's "no" on hr 4432, which is pleasing; people smart enough to vote are smart enough to decide what to eat.

ps. if anyone knows of long term studies on glyphosate exposure (no phone surveys please), i give my thanks in advance.
I don't know, I find many of Tyson's comments, to wit---

- "In a free market capitalist society, which we have all 'bought' into here in America, if somebody invents something that has market value, they ought to be able to make as much money as they can selling it"

- "It’s surely legal to sell someone seeds that cannot reproduce themselves, requiring that the farmer buy seed stocks every year from the supplier."

- "To the extent that the production of GMOs are a monopoly, the government should do all it can to spread the baseline of this industry."

- "[H]umans have been testing food, even without the FDA, since the dawn of agriculture. Whenever a berry or other ingested plant killed you, you knew not to serve it to you family."

---read less like a passionate defense of Science, and more like a tawdry apology for Capitalism. But that's probably just because I'm such a knuckle-dragging chemtrail truther...
Okay, what about life-saving medicine from GMO-laboratory plants? "Safe" to produce and give to patients? Reasonable to let the inventors hold a patent and the investors gain a return for developing, producing, and distributing this product? If not, got a better idea?
Anti-GMO liberals who are upset about NGT's statements are exactly analogous to southern Baptist parishioners upset that their school won't "teach the controversy" on the subject of the origin of life on Earth.

You can't pick and choose which overwhelming consensus you believe in.
@45 What are you talking about? Nobody CARES about your irrelevant cites. No I I don't know how to use Google Scholar because I don't pretend to be a scholar. It's irrelevant.

Once again, get it through your head you egotistical twit, we don't care what you say on this matter. You are an anonymous nobody. Tyson isn't.

Here is what you have done:

A) Resorted to Ad Hominem by attacking Tysons verifiable credentials.

B) Appealed to authority with unverifiable claims of YOUR OWN PhD status (and then oddly contradict yourself with the admission that you are not an expert in the field of GMO's, either... so... uh, STFU already).

B) Refuse to acknowledge that the overwhelming preponderance of data and scientists in the field AGREE with Tyson. Not you.

If you you are such a mighty intellect, respected enough for your work to be supposedly quoted by Tyson, one would think you'd then debate Tyson's actual points - the same points made by the experts in the same field you claim to respect so much. In fact it's obvious you did not even watched the video or read his follow up since you don't even know what he said.

Hey, if you and Tyson are such besties, contact him for us - debate him here on SLOG.
@52 Niiiice selective quoting.

What about this:

"5) If your objection to GMOs is the morality of selling non-prerennial seed stocks, then focus on that. If your objection to GMOs is the monopolistic conduct of agribusiness, then focus on that. But to paint the entire concept of GMO with these particular issues is to blind yourself to the underlying truth of what humans have been doing..."
And another from Tyson's follow up:

"Furthermore, I never said GMOs were safer or more dangerous. I implied that if you think GMO-laboratory is **inherently** more dangerous to human life than GMO-agriculture you are simply wrong. They both can be bad for the environment. They both can be less healthy. They both can disrupt the local flora and fauna. But both methods wield an awesome power to improve food in every way that matters to humans: yields, appearance, vitamin content, sweetness, resistance to insects, resistance to weather extremes, and so forth."

Clearly most people here were content to argue with a Strawman or neither watched the video or really read his follow ups. All Tyson was talking about was the vast levels of ignorance to the science itself. Which is amply made clear by the comments in this thread.
The point of GMOs is to: 1) provide a revenue stream through the annual sale of sees and 2) provide another revenue stream through the sale of pesticides & herbicides that the GMO organism is engineered to tolerate. Regardless of the inherent safety of the organism of Roundup Ready Corn, the proliferation of Roundup Ready crops has increased the amount of Roundup sprayed on the North American land mass by orders of magnitude. Results include the devastation of monarch butterflies and other pollinators, devastation of frogs and other amphibians, and destruction of the biome of rivers, the Gulf of Mexico, etc. This is just one example of the unintended consequences of use of GMO crops. Most the rhetoric on this, both pro and con, focuses on whether "GMOs are safe". Even if they are -- and the evidence seems incomplete to me -- the use of laboratory-made, Monsanto-owned GMO crops is doing profound harm to the world. The move to Label GMO crops is largely an attempt to get a handle on the environmental destruction caused by Monsanto. Anyone have a better idea? I'd like to see the company disbanded and their works taken down to bare earth & concrete.
@58 While I agree that Monsanto should be sued from existence - Roundup Ready GMO's are only one type of GMO. It's not the entire end point to modifying food crop genes in a lab.

There are literally thousands of GMO's out there. And they are feeding millions of people who could starve or get malnutrition related diseases other wise.
@57 "All Tyson was talking about was the vast levels of ignorance to the science itself. Which is amply made clear by the comments in this thread."

Really? I'm not seeing this. Maybe you could help me. What are some examples of comments above that you feel exhibit "vast levels of ignorance to the science itself"?
@58: "the proliferation of Roundup Ready crops has increased the amount of Roundup sprayed on the North American land mass by orders of magnitude"

You, ah, might want to take a look at the toxicology of glyphosate and compare it to that of the herbicides which preceded it. The development of Roundup did not suddenly convert millions of hectares of formerly-organic farmland into all-herbicided toxic wasteland: quite the opposite.
@61: Glyphosate is relatively safe as far as herbicides go, but it does tend to hang around in ponds, lakes, and rivers and pose a threat to the organisms therein.
@58 No you dumbshit, the purpose of GMO techniques is to produce novel plants in a reasonable amount of time.

The rest of your rant is nothing more than a textbook false equivalence fallacy. If you don't like the use of chemicals, then fight the use of chemicals. If you don't like patent law, then fight patent law. The rest of your rant is nothing more than whistleblowing scare tactics.

Oh noes, "laboratory-made"! That means it's not natural and therefore a blight upon the earth! Guess what, the countless acres of farmland that humanity has spend thousands of years turning grass into food are also laboratories.
@63 Yep, that's Monsanto... just trying to produce novel plants in a reasonable amount of time. I mean, when they're not busy turning water into wine.
@64 - recombinant DNA techniques ("GM") are power tools for crop breeders - you can make the same products faster or you can do new things. Focusing on, and demonizing, the tool does not make sense, we need to be focusing on the products, on a case-by-case basis.

To give you an example of the self-parodying nature of the anti-GM movement check out what Chipolte is doing. To cater to the anti-GM crowd they have stopped sourcing their sunflower oil from Round-Up Ready sunflowers and are instead going with a BASF non-GM product. How stupid is this? First, sunflower oil is fucking oil so what type of sunflower it comes from is irrelevant. Second, the BASF product has been produced with radiation-induced mutatgenesis, a method that is significantly more unpredictable than rDNA. And thirdly, the mutation makes the sunflowers RESISTANT TO A MORE TOXIC HERBICIDE than round-up. So it's worse for the environment, worse for farm workers and makes absolutely no fucking difference to consumers. *headdesk*
@65 Exactly.

Anti-GMO hysteria is basically following the same idiot script as anti-vaccers and climate change denial.

No matter how much data you throw at them they come up with the another reason that the science isn't good enough, the overwhelming consensus of scientists that testify against them are egg-headed traitors, or there is some conspiracy warping the science... how do they know? Because, well, they just FEEL it so hard!

Yes. By all means. Let's be skeptical about the motives and methods Big Ag corporations. Let's encourage more regulation of these corporations. But all of that has more to do with the greed of corporate capitalism than it does with the bogeyman that is the science of GMOs.
Why can't it be that most of us are aware that most GMOs are safe, because the process is not inherently dangerous and we're eating literally tons of them already, but we would like to know 1) if something was modified and 2) how? Reading accounts of Monsanto retracting peer-reviewed research doesn't convince me that I should just eat the food and shut the fuck up. Example:…

Got cut off, but it's an important read
@68 So you believe that Monsanto has the power to retract Seralini's paper? And you believe this - without question - because Seralini tells you this is what happened? Do you expect to be taken seriously?
@65 "Focusing on, and demonizing, the tool does not make sense, we need to be focusing on the products, on a case-by-case basis."

I agree. I agree completely with this. And I don't think anyone on this thread has said anything that contradicts it.

However, I was responding to "Solk512" in comment 63. Someone named MsBoyer made the entirely reasonable point that the vast majority of GM crops, under the current corporate paradigm, are engineered for the purpose of increasing industry profits; she offered the example of Roundup pesticide & Roundup Ready crops to illustrate a situation that's in Monsanto's interest but not the public's. This is all germaine to the discussion. And Solk512 called her a "dumbshit" for it.

(OTOH, if by "demonizing the tool" you mean saying mean things about Monsanto, I have very little patience for that. Monsanto's conduct has been both abysmal and frightening. They've demonized themselves.)
And I don't think anyone on this thread has said anything that contradicts it.

No. Because they were too busy moving goal posts and busy knocking down strawmen (about NdGT's qualifications) and arguing against points Tyson never made (about capitalism and copyrights) and never intended to address in his comments about the science.

Probably because 75% of the commenters never watched the video or read his follow ups.

This is all germaine (sp - germane) to the discussion.

Not if the discussion is about what NEIL FUCKING deGRASSE TYSON actually said in the video it isn't.
@71 WTF? Tyson ABSOLUTELY made points about capitalism and copyrights (see my post 52 above).
It takes 7 seasons for a new strain of apple tree to produce fruit. In the mean time the land is useless. It has fruitless apple trees all over it that consume fertilizer, pesticides and water. There is a GMO technology that can cut that fruiting time in half. This could save apple farmers a ton of cash as they could find out which strains are worth planting and get a new fruit to market in a fraction of the time. But wait! None of these misinformed vegan bike messengers will eat it because it has icky GMO on it! ack! poison! Now imagine that we aren't talking about apples, but a new strain of hemp that can grow you a pair of trousers in a fraction of the time. Eh?? Hemp trousers?? maybe you splice in a THC producing gene and bang! Smoke-able hemp trousers! GMO just needs proper marketing. NdGT comments are a good start.

Sigh. WTF indeed.

Not in the VIDEO, he didn't. Which was this post was originally about.

He did later in his Facebook follow up. To clarify because of all the stupid hurf durfing strawmen.

And you selectively pull quoted even from that. See #56 & #57.

Christ, it's like Whack-a-mole. I give up.
"If your objection to GMOs is the morality of selling non-perennial seed stocks, then focus on that. If your objection to GMOs is the monopolistic conduct of agribusiness, then focus on that. But to paint the entire concept of GMO with these particular issues is to blind yourself to the underlying truth of what humans have been doing — and will continue to do — to nature so that it best serves our survival. That’s what all organisms do when they can, or would do, if they could. Those that didn’t, have gone extinct." - Neil deGrasse Tyson
@ 74 The Slog post above is about both the video AND NdGT's followup comments. I don't know why you feel commenters should only address the video.

(btw, enough already with the "selective quoting" thing. I said many of Tyson's comments were about capitalism, thus the quotes I pasted were on that subject. When The Stranger wrote about Mark Driscoll's "pussified male" blog posts recently, they selectively quoted what he said about pussified males, to the exclusion of the thousands of things he's said on other subjects. Was The Stranger doing something sneaky and nefarious? It's ridiculous even having to explain this. I'm like a hair's breadth away from being certain you're arguing in bad faith.)
@76 Oh for FFS.

Mary posted the video at 12:32pm.
Tyson posted his follow up on Facebook three hours later at 4.12pm.

So. Unless the morons of SLOG can time travel over HALF of the comments came before his follow up when he then somewhat talks about the economics of GMO's. Which, of course, you have completely ignored in the persistent beating of a strawman.

I'm like a hair's breadth away from being certain you're arguing in bad faith.

Oh. Reeeealy. The rest of us who knew what Tyson was talking about crossed that threshold 30 hours ago. I'm certain you're an idiot.

I'm done playing whack-a-mole. Have fun playing by your self.
@77 The pre-updated Slog post contained a link to the Daily Kos, where Tyson's FB comments were quoted (which comments Tyson made on August 3). It required no time travel to click the link. The link is part of the ORIGINAL Slog post. I find your notion that it shouldn't be discussed bizarre.

But yeah, clearly you're playing games & interested mainly in trading insults. No thanks.
@73 Just a little reminder that the current experimental treatment for Ebola comes from GMO tobacco plants.

Of course, I have to wonder how many of the anti-GMO nutcases would suddenly calm down if they needed the medication themselves.
All I see here is people disliking the political implications of GMO companies, and accidentally conflating that with what they see as safety issues.
@20 I am as stupid as Scientific American. It looks like someone already published the article, but just in case you missed it:

Do Seed Companies Control GM Crop Research?
Scientists must ask corporations for permission before publishing independent research on genetically modified crops. That restriction must end.…
To purchase genetically modified seeds, a customer must sign an agreement that limits what can be done with them. (If you have installed software recently, you will recognize the concept of the end-user agreement.) Agreements are considered necessary to protect a company’s intellectual property, and they justifiably preclude the replication of the genetic enhancements that make the seeds unique. But agritech companies such as Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta go further. For a decade their user agreements have explicitly forbidden the use of the seeds for any independent research. Under the threat of litigation, scientists cannot test a seed to explore the different conditions under which it thrives or fails. They cannot compare seeds from one company against those from another company. And perhaps most important, they cannot examine whether the genetically modified crops lead to unintended environmental side effects.
@82 Turns out most of those complaints were bullshit:…

Of course, you completely ignored it when myself and others asked about the Serliani paper, but I guess this thread was too long for you to read?

Want to guess where Monsanto stands in this? Monsanto has a blanket agreement allowing research at all universities in the United States. And actually, when Shields et al. made their complaint, Monsanto claimed it already had many of these agreements in place allowing independent research.

“Was that true?” I asked Shields. “Could you have been doing research on Monsanto grain?”

“Yes,” he said. “We just didn’t know it. I’m a scientist, I don’t speak legalese. Monsanto gets a lot of pain in the public press, but they are the company that interacts the best with public scientists — they have always been on the forefront of pushing public research forward.”

So the actual scientists who made the original complaint found that everything was actually fine, and they could have done their research anyway.

But wait, there's more!

Ultimately, though, Shields said, everything I was asking about was a bit of a sideshow. Getting permission to do research is all well and good, but it’s meaningless unless you also are able to get money to do research.

“In my 30 years as a public scientist, there’s been a dramatic erosion of public funding. And that makes science more dependent on private funding. If I want to study something, I have to figure out who I can BS into giving me enough money. And these days everyone wants to invest in a sure thing. The preliminary stuff, the interesting stuff, competitive funding will never pay for it.”

So folks who refuse to support public funding for GMO research, you're the problem! Go fuck yourselves!
The things that makes "GMOs" bad are the Intellectual Property rights that "inventing" them grant to a small number of very powerful companies. Humans have been tinkering with genetics (even when they didn't understand what genetics actually were) of plants and animals since before recorded history.

Still, if I am a farmer (or a small-farmer consumer) I don't want to have to perpetually buy seed and fertilizer from a monopoly each year. I would like to retain the right to extract seed stock from each year's harvest to plant the next years crop, and know that I won't be sued, and that the crop will grow without buying Monsanto-brand-miracle-grow chemicals. This is something we are losing.

Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

Add a comment

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.