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Posts posted by Kimmo

  1. Thanks Nate, for the thoughtful reply. I've gotta run to the pool, so time for only one quick question:



    with the risks to human health appearing to be very very small (never zero), GMOs in my mind have still met that higher burden of proof.


    Since I imagine you are deferring here to the opinions of what I'll call "main-stream" science organizations (am I correct?), how did they establish the above conclusion, namely that GMOs pose little if any risk to humans? Did they use feeding studies on humans, feeding studies on lab animals? Or some other form of studies?

  2. Hi Nate, apology accepted, thanks.


    And for the record, is your position that GMOs have been proven to be safe, most scientists think so, and there is no further need to be concerned?




  3. Very interesting Kimmo. If you are so scientifically literate, would you please include a sample size with your observation? That way I can actually tell what proportion of the total scientists in the relevant fields believe that GMOs are harmful. Disproving the idea of a consensus would be best accomplished by showing the actual proportion of scientists in the relevant fields who do not agree. Simply dropping a few names with Ph.D.s after them doesn't do it for me.


    Hello Nate, how are you today?


    con·sen·sus noun, often attributive \kən-ˈsen(t)-səs\

    : a general agreement about something : an idea or opinion that is shared by all the people in a group


    In the above definition, note the word "all". This seems to be the definition implied by most who argue that all GMO's are perfectly safe, properly tested, etc. etc. and that ALL scientists agree on this.


    My point is that this is simply false. And no, one doesn't need to cherry pick from the lunatic fringe to find scientists who question the wisdom of our current approach to GMO's.


    Dr. Gurian-Sherman holds a doctorate degree in plant pathology from the University of California at Berkeley. He conducted post-doctoral research on rice and wheat molecular biology at the U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Albany, California.


    Dr. Gurian-Sherman is widely cited by the national and international media including The New York Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Time, the BBC, and National Public Radio's Science Friday.


    "This will have an impact worldwide, because our trading partners do not want genetically modified wheat," said Michael Hansen, a senior scientist at the Consumers Union. "This crop may be safe to eat, or it may not be. We don't know because we haven't done the proper scrutiny."


    There Are Plenty of Reasons to Worry about GMO Food


    106 91

    By ROBERT LAWRENCE , Professor in Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


    ok whatever, you can do the research if you really care. there are just too many qualified scientists to really start listing here.


    don't fall under the spell of a "consensus" amongst scientists regarding GMO safety, yields, environmental impact, labeling, effects on the poor, nutrition, etc. etc.


  4. I'm fine with anyone who votes yes on I522. You?


    Not sure what you mean, "fine", in this context. Yes, I'm "fine", in that my emotional balance will not need recalibration, sure, but it's my sincere wish that people do not fall for the disingenuous arguments about "apocalyptic expenditures" and "bureaucratic nightmares" that seem to be the entirety of the "NO" side's arsenal.


    Quite reminiscent of the arguments against single-payer, really.




  5. I've decided to vote NO for the following reasons:


    1) "The First Amendment requires the government not only to state a substantial interest justifying a regulation on commercial speech, but also to show that its regulation directly advances that goal." I522 doesn't even come close to doing this. Given that the smoking warning requirement in WA was just struck down based on this flaw, I don't see I522 - which has a far weaker case than smoking, will survive a 1st Amendment challenge. Had I522's authors not overstepped their bounds in requiring a new warning label rather than an addendum to existing food labeling, it might have squeeked past a constitutional challenge. This won't, and it will be a huge waste of money and time until it is inevitably kilt in court.


    Opining on how a court *might* rule on the constitutionality of a particular initiative is a rather poor argument either for or against said initiative.


    Having said that, I would like to read more fleshed out arguments about this issue. Links?


    2) I522 is unfunded in a time of huge deficits. It also has no GMO testing provision.


    Monsanto etal have you by the balls on this one: around 10 cents a year per Washingtonian.


    Best source I found for actual costs:


    Fiscal Impact

    According to the official statement put out by the Washington Office of Financial Management, "Known state agency implementation costs are estimated at $3,368,000 over six fiscal years. State and local revenue and costs from enforcement activities are indeterminate." Based on state expenditure and cost assumptions, "the total cost of this expenditure over six fiscal years is estimated at $1,200,000." The following table shows Department of Health - the entity that would be responsible for enforcing the measure - estimated costs by fiscal year







    3) Factory food producers will simply slap a generic "May Contain Some GMO" labell on everything - just like the peanut thing, but smaller business will disproportionately suffer under the cost and (very high) penalty burden.


    Food producers change their labeling all the time. think "NEW AND IMPROVED!". "FAT FREE!". Now everything is "GLUTEN FREE!"


    This is one of the worst arguments I've seen.


    And not sure about you're saying with your assertion about smaller business disproportionate costs and penalty burden.


    4) This labeling will hurt WA farmers who export to GMO free or restricted nations, not help them.


    Can you explain this?


    5) Finally, we already have an Organic designation for folks who want to eat healthier food. I would love to see a shift towards more sustainable, healthier food production, but I can't get from A to B regarding why this is one of the best approaches to doing that, particularly WA's budgetary triage right now. I will vote no. My friends may scream a bit, but that's the way of it.


    This initiative isn't about "sustainability", but about letting consumers know if GMO's are in their food.


    To date, no one has given me a credible reason to vote for it, other than Monsanto is bad. Well, there are principles and there are players. The NAZIs are bad, but they still get to march. That Monsanto is against this and PCC is for it does not make it good policy. I522 isn't IMO.


    One knows quickly if the marcher is a NAZI.


    Monsanto has played a neat trick where they get to march anonymously. Thanks to the FDA and people like you (sorry but it's true).



    I522 will cost a lot of money, despite being unfunded, have little to no real positive effect, have many unintended consequences for smaller healthy food producers, and be quickly killed in court. In a state with a huge deficit and many other more worthy projects to work on, this one doesn't even come close to making the cut.


    1. 10 cents per Washingtonian is "a lot of money"?

    2. Please don't tell me what is "positive" or not. I'm a smart voter! ;)

    3. What are these "many unintended consequences" you speak of?

    4. Have you been hanging with Scalia? Or Sotomayor?

  6. No no tvash, if 522 goes down, it's because voters are fucking geniuses.


    I get your overall sentiment, and politically we're not that far apart; it's just that your soliloquy software tends to throw out a whole bunch of silly assertions that often have your entire arguments teetering uncontrollably.


    That is, when your entire argument isn't itself ridiculous, like it is with I522. Sorry.

  7. I was aiming that at Tvashtarkatena: he made some silly comment about the tide turning against 522 because "voters are smart".


    Since we don't have single payer, I suppose that's because voters are smart too, right?



    Regarding 522, we'll see next week. I sure hope voter intelligence doesn't depend on the Monsanto Education Program.



  8. Fantastic news for the corporate shills here:


    The latest No on 522 cash infusion, another $3.78 million channeled through the Grocery Manufacturers Association, brings to $21.1 million the war chest that food and agribusiness giants have raised to defeat Washington’s Initiative 522, which would require labeling of genetically modified foods.



    Recent big money history in Washington:


    The aluminum industry and bottlers repeatedly turned back initiatives requiring returnable bottles. A small state income tax, targeted to the wealthy, was defeated by dollars from the wealthy.


    The American Beverage Association in 2010, spent $16.9 million to roll back a modest soda pop tax, enacted by the Legislature to ease cuts in education spending. Other state legislatures were looking at the model. The beverage makers sent a message: This is what we will do to you.


    The National Rifle Association, fearful of precedent, spent $5 million in 1997 to defeat an initiative that would have required trigger locks on weapons stored in households and mandated a gun-safety course for new purchasers of firearms.



    It's amazing how smart the voters of Washington are when corporations spend a few million "educating" them.

  9. It's not that "GMO's are safe," it's that GMO technology isn't inherently more dangerous than any other breeding technology --


    what other breeding technology are you comparing it to?


    Sure, if you wanted to, you could make bad shit with genetic engineering.


    what kind of "bad shit" could you do with it?


    You could also do that with selective breeding.


    what kind of "bad shit" could you do with selective breeding?


    But, we don't require warning labels for items modified via conventional breeding techniques, nor should we for more advanced genetic techniques.


    you are assuming that cross-breeding is just the same as lab-based genetic engineering. a bit of a stretch for anyone to make. making a tomato fuck a salmon doesn't result in a good time, nor do much for their progeny.


    Instead, we should regulate the modification of food items (regardless of what technique used) in order to actually protect consumers


    what does that mean?


    rather than provide them with a useless label that tells them nothing (warning: this good was created using a technique. Cheers!)


    it tells this consumer, and many others, exactly what it intends to tell them: Contains (laboratory) genetically modified organisms. then we get to choose what we do with that information. Novel, huh?


    I am not a genetic scientist.


    then stop making the silly assertions above.


    I can present you with thousands of studies that back up a strong consensus regarding the safety of the technique


    pick one and post it.


    whereas all you seem to have is the opinion of a handful of fringe scientists


    I have a feeling you really haven't read much about this, nor did you read any of the links, i posted, nor did you even watch the utube vid i posted.

  10. Contrary to the belief embodied in the above paragraph, voters are smart.


    Really? How smart?


    All of them?


    Some of them?


    Which ones?




    You do seem rather naive at times.



    It will not be because voters are 'scared' (of a food label?) or 'confused' by the Big Bad Monsantos who, after all, aren't the one's asking anyone to do anything here.


    It's not the food label they're scared of, silly, it's the "enormous apocalyptic costs" that Monsanto has you parroting like a trained... ummmm... parrot.


    And yes, Monsanto etal are certainly asking the voters something. They are asking the voters to reject an initiative using distortions, lies, and innuendos.


    3. you keep citing "studies", yet you don't produce a single study.



    Here are 1,783 studies:




    I guess you're speaking for JayB here, but since you posted it, I assume there is either one single study in that pile that you linked to that really resonated with you, or is it more the cumulative aggregate that convinces you?


    Either way, can you cite the particular aspect/aspects of any of those studies that really leads you to believe GMO's are entirely safe(I'm assuming that's your position here)?

  12. Anyhow - if you want to believe that the overwhelming majority of the people in all of the disciplines who actually have the formal training, technical know-how, mastery of the theoretical underpinnings and empirical knowledge to evaluate the risks and benefits of GMO crops are all simultaneously wrong and engaged in some kind of a vast collaborative conspiracy to harm humanity by...developing higher yielding, drought, pest, and disease resistant food crops...or are trapped in some kind of a mental-prison/Kunhian paradigm that you have the special qualities necessary to see but they are blind to, go right ahead - but let's not pretend that either your motives for doing so or your conclusions are grounded in science.


    hmmm your position above seems to be a bit dissociative, since it doesn't really address 1. my position, 2. Kuhn's per se, nor seemingly 3. your own.


    1. Science is a process, not a position per se. Science is performed by humanoids, the results are evaluated, positions are formed (or protected, as often is the case). Even the process itself is betrothed to the context of the situation of course; let's not fall for the myth of neutrality here. Which means my position is one that takes any organization's policy statement with a grain of salt. I don't "believe" the AMA any more or less than I "believe" the conclusions of the French dudes' experiments with rats indicating toxicity with GMO's. My position is that GMO safety should not be assessed in 90 day trials by Monsanto, the company that stands to benefit by approval.


    2. I'm not sure what Kuhn would specifically say about your assertion regarding GMO safety. I suspect he'd say Damn dude, look at the science; don't just parrot various org's policy positions.


    3. you keep citing "studies", yet you don't produce a single study.



  13. The No On 522 side has two notes it has played very well. Those two notes don't make a very beautiful sound, and that's the point: Scare and Disorient.


    Scare with "vast cost increases we can't afford!!"


    Disorient with "the labeling will be soooo confusing!"



    Couple this with Monsanto's bank roll, and boy, I'm scared too what the outcome's going to be.



    My advice to anyone still on the fence with this is to look inside, and don't allow fear and confusion to vote for you.



  14. Just put a label on the foods and be done with it!


    Be done with what?


    Be done with the debate because this poster is losing. Groupthink 101 tactic.


    Remember "Lets roll!" ?


    A debate needs one side actually responding to specifics posed by the other, and since you seem unable to do this, yes I'd agree, the debate is over.

  15. that 90% figure gets trotted out as a groupthink bludgeon when the science inevitably comes up short, but like the science, it, too, is crap.


    what science are you referring to? this is where you get to actually substantiate your assertions.


    And are you disputing that 90% of people would want to know if there is GMO in what they eat?


    Sure, those numbers will change once Monsanto and their spokesmen (nice work!) start their obfuscations and apocalyptic scaremongering, but I'd wager nearly 100% of people would want to know if they are eating GM foods.

  16. More Consensus:



    Michael Hansen, Ph.D., senior scientist for Consumers Union:




    There are a lot of uncertainties related to genetically engineered crops including potential allergens and unknown health risks. If these foods are not labeled, it will be very difficult to identify an unexpected health effect resulting from eating a genetically modified food.



  17. “There is no consensus amongst scientific researchers over the health or environmental safety of GM crops and foods, and it is misleading and irresponsible for anyone to claim that there is."


    What? Who is this Professor at Lancaster University by the name of Brian Wynne?


    Then he has the gall to say the following:

    Indeed some key public interest questions revealed by such research have been left neglected for years by the huge imbalance in research funding, against thorough biosafety research and in favour of the commercial-scientific promotion of this technology.



    Then this other professor lady Vyvyan Howard, some kind of medically trained toxipathologist (whatever the hell that means) chimes in with this crap:


    A substantial number of studies suggest that GM crops and foods can be toxic or allergenic, and that they can have adverse impacts on beneficial and non-target organisms.


    yeah right, obviously she didn't get the memo about "Universal Consensus".


    Then she goes blah blah blah some more:


    But as the US has no GMO labelling and no epidemiological studies have been carried out, there is no way of knowing whether the rising rates of chronic diseases seen in that country have anything to do with GM food consumption or not. Therefore this claim has no scientific basis.


    Then this Andy Stirling professor dude and the UK government’s GM Science Review Panel crony pipes in:


    The main reason some multinationals prefer GM technologies over the many alternatives is that GM offers more lucrative ways to control intellectual property and global supply chains. To sideline open discussion of these issues, related interests are now trying to deny the many uncertainties and suppress scientific diversity. This undermines democratic debate – and science itself.


    Then Dr Hans Herren, a former winner of the World Food Prize and an Alternative Nobel Prize laureate, and Dr Pushpa Bhargava, known as the father of modern biotechnology in India, both signed on.




    I bet some giant corporation is paying them millions to write this.

  18. No hay muy tiempo so:


    1)Political organization rather than a scientific organization.


    2)Not impressed with the expertise or the argumentation. Even if I was, giving more weight to a single professional advocate/organization over the combined weight of the scientific institutions above and the known universe of high-quality scientific literature is not the way to go if you are want to have an ethically sound basis for your beliefs.




    3)No idea who is behind the poster. Unless someone has evidence that demonstrates that it misrepresents the central findings of the institutions identified in the image, who cares?


    4)Won't have any more time to dedicate to this thread. Enjoy perusing the literature if you get around to it.




    1. It seems only those who oppose their view dismiss them as a "political organization".


    It's headed by James J. McCarthy, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography at Harvard University, staffed by scientists, and advocates a more tempered and reflected position at the nexus where politics and science meet, imo.


    2. not sure what you weren't "impressed" with specifically. And also not sure what your point is about "giving more weight" to a particular organization vs another. If an argument is valid (show where it isn't), the issue isn't about any organization.


    3. one might care because it's a neat pr trick to collate a bunch of sound bites from various organizations to paint a picture that looks much rosier than after the makeup comes off.


    4. I did peruse. Didn't find a whole bunch. Just the defense of a bunch of conclusions based on short term safety studies.


    thanks tho cuz i did enjoy the reading, and where the links took me. the following quote in particular rang a nice tone (bonus points if you name the author without the google):


    Men whose research is based on shared paradigms are committed to the same rules and standards for scientific practice. That commitment and the apparent consensus it produces are prerequisites for normal science, i.e., for the genesis and continuation of a particular research tradition.



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