Collection of Arguments
Against Genetically Modified Food
| Counter-Argument / Counter-Example / Aggressive Counter
| Technology may later be applied to humansEx. Attempts to create a super race, something which was already attempted by Nazi Germany and USSR during the time of war
| Yes! We will be able to understand functionality of why things happen, we will develop cures to many diseases which won’t have side-effects as the cures will be personalized – by 2014 reading one’s genome is predicted to cost only $5000 and to be done only in an hour, big possibilities
| Health Side Effects
| Ugh no. Before hitting the market, all food undergoes thousands of tests on whether it is dangerous toxically and/or allergically. Some tests compare molecular structures other compare atomic structures between GM and non-GM food. We can, in fact, genetically modify organisms to contain more nutritious and healthier elements than they did ever before. How do I know? Because it has already been done. Golden rice example.
| GM Crops require harmful chemicals to grow (ex. Nitrogen)
| But they instead supplement the many more harmful chemicals that would be used if they weren’t genetically modified.
| Part of an ecosystem – damages the chain of those animals that depend on the GM product
| The genes of the plant itself are not the most significant part of what determines its place in the ecosystem and how it interacts with its other members. For example, the microbes living in the root system – and microbes are everywhere, there are around 10 pounds circulating your digestive tract right now, have a greater impact on the plant’s metabolic processes than the plant’s genetic background itself.
| “Playing God” when we develop our own organisms
| There is nothing unnatural in chemistry. We don’t invent compounds or molecules or such – they are here, they are in the Universe – we organize them and move them around but we do not create anything unnatural.
| Only if you don’t know biology. All microorganisms swap genes promiscuously all the time. Not only microorganisms – look at dogs for example.
| Evolutionary impact on the environment: May create super bugs and super weeds / reduce biodiversity. Irreversibility of releasing crops – will mix in with others
| Evolution – breeding happened for thousands of years, even cross-sectional breeding. However it is very slow and the genes acquired may sometimes be negative ones. Genetic engineering ensures a faster process with only the stronger genes being present. Plus it allows for greater biodiversity as the genes can now be transferred from relatively distant species and even bacteria.
For Genetically Modified Food
| Supporting Example
| Possibilities for food improvement (Also for animals)
| Evolve disease resistance, design for higher yields and resistance to pests, increase vitamins and make healthier, expand the climate window, and produce better flavours and aromas. Example: 40% of crops, according to scientist and futurist, Steward Brand, are lost due to weeds and pests and related problems. Drought-tolerant. Flood-tolerant. Salt-tolerant. Example: Monsanto claims its potato that is resistant to the Colorado beetle could save 2,000 tons of pesticides, 180,000 containers and 150,000 gallons of fuel
| Genetic Engineering reduces the huge impact of agriculture on natural systems
| No pesticide use. Reduce the impact on soil. Increase yield which leaves more land to remain wild.
| Morality of Genetically Modified Food
| There is a moral imperative for making GM food ready and economically available to people in developing countries who need them.
| Economic Impact
| Crops are much more accessible since there is no money wasted on pesticides, there are less losses do to pests, they grow quicker etc. This in return makes them accessible to more people.
| Organic food production...
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