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Islands at Risk - Genetically Modified Organisims (GMO's) in Hawai'i

Islands at Risk - Genetically Modified Organisims (GMO's) in Hawai'i

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Comment by Konstantin A Lukin on November 17, 2009 at 9:49pm
I'd have to say that genetic engineering by itself is not a bad thing. It is a scientific approach to modify genome to reach a certain desirable effect. What is problematic, is that this research is done by corporations, that likely do not have much 'concern' for local environment, nor concern for what happens if it goes out of hand. It is mostly about monetary gain.

I think, if genetic engineering is to be practiced, first there needs to be an educational program explaining what is being done and why. Sort of like 'open sourcing' the whole thing. This way local people will not wonder, hence will not be scared about possible outcomes, and even possibly be excited enough to contribute.

However, because these corporations likely keep these things 'private', it naturally generates a reaction from local farmers, and I do not blame them.

If they are growing something on this land, local people at least have the right to know about it.
Comment by sally on November 15, 2009 at 3:56pm
I do not disagree with you. I am not an activist and have never been one, but still we need to be careful as large corporations look at the bottom line. and not the public interests.

That is business and business is not personal. So we need to have the facts, and be able quantify the facts.

Sal
Comment by Daniel Leuck on November 15, 2009 at 3:01pm
Aloha Sally - Thank you for sharing your story. I'm very sorry to hear about your son, and I realize this is an emotional topic for you. I want to be sensitive to that.

That being said, this is a discussion about GMOs, and whether genetic engineering is inherently unethical or unacceptably dangerous. My specific criticisms of this video are:
1. There are no credentials supplied for the those interviewed aside from titles like "Activist". There is nothing wrong with being an activist. We need well informed watchdog groups, but I don't think they are the best people to instruct others on molecular biology (which they seem to be attempting in this video.)
2. There are a lot of emotional, fear based statements - "They are making monsters!", "They are putting foreign things in foreign things!" This sort of statement doesn't lend itself to rational debate.
3. They are asking us to accept an axiom (truth that is deemed self evident) that genetic engineering is inherently unethical. This is a religious argument that leaves no room for real scientific debate.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't carefully test and monitor GMOs. I'm simply saying that plays to emotion by cartoon characters (Pinky) aren't particularly helpful. The more important to topic, the more essential it is to have non-emotional, rational debate on the subject.
Comment by sally on November 15, 2009 at 2:28pm
Missed:

When purchasing prescriptions in Mexico "We are told by the government it not safe and we can only have a 90 day supply or be arrested"
Comment by sally on November 15, 2009 at 2:22pm
Daniel;

I usually do not get into these subjects but this one I will weigh in on my beliefs and history.

I was born and raised on a farm in the Yakima Valley, WA. I grew up during a time when the government decided to release radiation from Hanford on the community to determine the effects. The community from east of the mountains filed court action against the Chemical Companies and the United States Government for the experiments. http://www.downwinders.com/.

Now Canada is filing a court action against the United States Governed for the experiments. Many of my friends’s including me ended up with cancer, thyroid problems and other problems associated with the dumping of radiation.

Next the chemicals companies produced chemicals that were sprayed on our crops kill insects were said to be safe and no need to take cover. However over time these chemicals were proven to not be safe. Fortunately my father was intelligent and kept us away when he sprayed the fields. However my friend’s parents believed the chemicals were safe and did not demand that they stay inside when spraying the fields.

I have lived through 63 years of government approved experiments and my parents and friends did not live through these effects. However it has caused me both health issues that has affected my life since an early age.

The population in the valley has a high cancer history. Out of 150 students in my graduation class I now have lost more than 50% to cancer starting at the age of 15 yrs. old.

Washington State has a high MS, cancer and thyroid disease in pockets of the state. We used to be mostly farm land and fishing state.

As a farmer in my blood I agree if we can produce fruit and vegetables to increase productivity it's great. However I do believe that it needs to be controlled and not exposed to the public or the environment until conclude to be safe.

What is safe?

In the last several years we have seen drugs rushed to the market palace to only cause more pain and death to individuals who trusted that it was safe because the government and doctors said it’s safe and approved to human consumptions. I lost a son at the age of 40 years old, because he took a prescriptions for pain that has now been taken off the market due to the fact it caused heart attack. He did not know he was having a heart attack and died within 30 min on arrival at emergency of a massive heart attack.

Now the drug has been taken off the market in the last year, but it will never bring my son back. http://arthritis.webmd.com/news/20050407/bextra-taken-off-market-ce...

I can tell you more about experiment that have been government approval for the corporations in America. Funny thing is why are they allow to experiment on the American public, and the American public pay the expense of the experiments.

Take prescriptions the United States pays a higher price due to the fact we pay for the R&D of the prescription. You can buy the same prescription south of the border for less money as they do not pay the R&D. We are told by the government it not safe and we can only have a 90 day supply or be arrested.

So who lobbies the government to allow us to foot the bill, and release the product for consumption with or without the information or holding the information to benefit the corporations and the stock holders? It’s all about money.

Need I say more?


Sally
Comment by Daniel Leuck on November 15, 2009 at 11:38am
First my position on GMOs - I support responsible research on GMOs. The arguments against what is "natural" aren't particularly compelling unless they are coming from hunter gatherers living in caves.

I think intelligent, rational discourse about the risks is healthy, but there are a few problems with this video:
1. There are no credentials supplied for the people making these sweeping generalizations
2. There are a lot of emotional, fear based statements - "They are making monsters!", "They are putting foreign things in foreign things!"
3. They are asking us to accept genetic manipulation being undesirable as axiomatic. This is a religious argument that leaves no room for real scientific debate.

Genetic engineers are working on cures for debilitating diseases and ways of growing crops in poor soil conditions in desperately poor African countries. There is no doubt that some of the seed companies mentioned have been involved in sketchy legal maneuvering, but implying that all genetic engineering is being done toward some great evil plan to control the global food supply is disingenuous at best.

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