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(Mother Jones)   Cosmos star Neil deGrasse Tyson gets back in the ring with the Anti-GMO crowd for a little more rope-a-dope   (motherjones.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, deGrasse Tyson, genetically modified organism  
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4555 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 05 Aug 2014 at 4:18 PM (1 year ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-08-06 08:49:05 AM  

meat0918: wildcardjack: Marcus Aurelius: stpauler: Marcus Aurelius: stpauler: The GMO banana, aka the Cavendish

I hate to break it to you, but the Cavendish was discovered long before GMO technology existed.

GMO technology is prehistoric, about 12000 BCE.So no, the Cavendish has not been around as long with the stone age ending between 6000 and 2000 BCE.

"GMO" technically refers to the use of genetic engineering to extract a gene from one organism, and splice it into the DNA of another organism.  This was first done in 1973.  You are thinking of "selective breeding", not "genetic engineering".

Don't skip the 50-60 years we spent making genetic freaks through radiation exposure. No one seems to complain about Ruby Red grapefruit.

Finding Organic Ruby Red grapefruit is the best.

GMO is going to be a key tool in keeping populations fed, not because of herbicide resistance or pesticide production, but because climate could change our cropland faster than we can use traditional breeding techniques to adapt.

And, you can use GMO to prove your rice or wheat has the genes you want (and it will be 100% rice or wheat), then take the originals and breed them together using good "old fashioned" breeding techniques.

And Neil makes a point I've tried to make, but I obviously lack the platform he has.

If you don't like corporate domination of agriculture, focus on that.

Have problems with monoculture?  Focus on that.

Don't use GMO as a catch all for the things are are very wrong and problematic with our current food production system.  Labeling isn't going to stop monoculture or even put a dent in Monsanto's or ConAgra's profits.  Monsanto has "regular" seed stock you know, and ConAgra will still do whatever it is they do, they'll just use whatever crops they end up using for it.


If I weren't on my phone I'd toss you a picture of organic sea salt.
 
2014-08-06 09:28:42 AM  

Close2TheEdge: lindalouwho: someonelse: lindalouwho: someonelse: lindalouwho: Bith Set Me Up: someonelse: I don't disagree with my make-believe brainiac boyfriend, but isn't this a bit out of his purview?

"I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy - and when he talks about a nonscientific matter, he will sound as naive as anyone untrained in the matter."

You aren't saying GMOs today don't involve science, are you?

It does, (and again I cannot believe I am taking issue with NdGT, because he is awesome and I would climb that man like a tree) but I fail to see why his opinion on, say, the patenting of seeds should carry more weight than anyone else's.

BECAUSE HE IS A SCIENTIST WHO IS EDUCATED ON THE SUBJECT.

/sorry for yelling, but cripes sake

I understand that he's an intelligent, educated person, of sound judgment, and I am interested in what he has to say about most anything he chooses to address. But his education is in astrophysics.

Again. Google.is.your.friend.

As an aside, he's also won gold medals in Latin Ballroom dancing.

People can be many things that you're unaware of.

Or they can just generally be smart people.  And have opinions about subjects that their entire life's work is not immediately focused on.

Like NDgT.  Or George Clooney.


Great if I want info on Latin Ballroom dancing (whatever that is) I seek out his opinion.

Actors and astrophysicists are not on my go to people list for information on GMOs, vaccination, immigration, economics or the Middle East. Unless they were somebody like Heady Lamar, a go to person on acting and  spread-spectrum communication technology
 
2014-08-06 10:18:18 AM  

hasty ambush: Great if I want info on Latin Ballroom dancing (whatever that is) I seek out his opinion.

Actors and astrophysicists are not on my go to people list for information on GMOs, vaccination, immigration, economics or the Middle East. Unless they were somebody like Heady Lamar, a go to person on acting and  spread-spectrum communication technology


This might shock you, but a person interested in one area of science is usually interested (and knowledgeable) about many areas of science. Unlike the anti-GMO crowd, Neil's stance on GMOs is actually backed by scientific studies.
 
2014-08-06 10:22:49 AM  

hasty ambush: Close2TheEdge: lindalouwho: someonelse: lindalouwho: someonelse: lindalouwho: Bith Set Me Up: someonelse: I don't disagree with my make-believe brainiac boyfriend, but isn't this a bit out of his purview?

"I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy - and when he talks about a nonscientific matter, he will sound as naive as anyone untrained in the matter."

You aren't saying GMOs today don't involve science, are you?

It does, (and again I cannot believe I am taking issue with NdGT, because he is awesome and I would climb that man like a tree) but I fail to see why his opinion on, say, the patenting of seeds should carry more weight than anyone else's.

BECAUSE HE IS A SCIENTIST WHO IS EDUCATED ON THE SUBJECT.

/sorry for yelling, but cripes sake

I understand that he's an intelligent, educated person, of sound judgment, and I am interested in what he has to say about most anything he chooses to address. But his education is in astrophysics.

Again. Google.is.your.friend.

As an aside, he's also won gold medals in Latin Ballroom dancing.

People can be many things that you're unaware of.

Or they can just generally be smart people.  And have opinions about subjects that their entire life's work is not immediately focused on.

Like NDgT.  Or George Clooney.

Great if I want info on Latin Ballroom dancing (whatever that is) I seek out his opinion.

Actors and astrophysicists are not on my go to people list for information on GMOs, vaccination, immigration, economics or the Middle East. Unless they were somebody like Heady Lamar, a go to person on acting and  spread-spectrum communication technology


So as a scientist who is trained in Food Chemistry I know nothing of any other sciences or cannot possibly have a grasp on how they work?  You are putting people in a box they just do not fit into.  I have collegiate and field training in physics, biology(micro), statistics, advanced maths, computer science, ecology, agri-soil science, animal physiology, and I took three classes in astronomy because that shiat is fascinating.  I would guess that De Grasse has similar healing and he is FAR more educated than I am.  His opinion, albeit not his specialized field, is correct SPEAKING AS SOMEONE SPECIALIZED IN FOOD SCIENCE WITH DEGREES, PATENTS, AND PUBLICATIONS.  There are you happy?  Now go back to your bizarre fantasies of this celeb-u-scientist.
 
2014-08-06 11:02:53 AM  

Marcus Aurelius: Selective breeding will yield a red tabby cat. But in order to make a cat glow in the dark, you need a GMO.


THIS. What the people who harp that selective breeding is EXACTLY THE VERY VERY SAME as GMO can't seem to grasp. Selective breeding can result in eleventy thousand types of potatoes or a jillion breeds of cattle... but only modification in a lab on a genetic level will make goats spooge spider silk proteins from their udders in their milk.

I don't care how much crossbreeding people do, spider-goat ain't gonna happen without a test tube.
Selective breeding is not the same as GMO.
 
2014-08-06 11:21:54 AM  

kicksmile: hasty ambush: Close2TheEdge: lindalouwho: someonelse: lindalouwho: someonelse: lindalouwho: Bith Set Me Up: someonelse: I don't disagree with my make-believe brainiac boyfriend, but isn't this a bit out of his purview?

"I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy - and when he talks about a nonscientific matter, he will sound as naive as anyone untrained in the matter."

You aren't saying GMOs today don't involve science, are you?

It does, (and again I cannot believe I am taking issue with NdGT, because he is awesome and I would climb that man like a tree) but I fail to see why his opinion on, say, the patenting of seeds should carry more weight than anyone else's.

BECAUSE HE IS A SCIENTIST WHO IS EDUCATED ON THE SUBJECT.

/sorry for yelling, but cripes sake

I understand that he's an intelligent, educated person, of sound judgment, and I am interested in what he has to say about most anything he chooses to address. But his education is in astrophysics.

Again. Google.is.your.friend.

As an aside, he's also won gold medals in Latin Ballroom dancing.

People can be many things that you're unaware of.

Or they can just generally be smart people.  And have opinions about subjects that their entire life's work is not immediately focused on.

Like NDgT.  Or George Clooney.

Great if I want info on Latin Ballroom dancing (whatever that is) I seek out his opinion.

Actors and astrophysicists are not on my go to people list for information on GMOs, vaccination, immigration, economics or the Middle East. Unless they were somebody like Heady Lamar, a go to person on acting and  spread-spectrum communication technology

So as a scientist who is trained in Food Chemistry I know nothing of any other sciences or cannot possibly have a grasp on how they work?  You are putting people in a box they just do not fit into.  I have collegiate and field training in physics, biology(micro), statistics, advanced maths, computer science, e ...


Despite your immense amount of schooling I would not choose you to perform open heart surgery (also involves science) or even go to you for a second opinion on a diagnosis on it.
 
2014-08-06 12:05:03 PM  

hasty ambush: Despite your immense amount of schooling I would not choose you to perform open heart surgery (also involves science) or even go to you for a second opinion on a diagnosis on it.


You're moving the goalposts a tad.  You can be well informed an educated on a subject without being the utmost authority on it.
 
2014-08-06 12:11:19 PM  

hasty ambush: Despite your immense amount of schooling I would not choose you to perform open heart surgery (also involves science) or even go to you for a second opinion on a diagnosis on i


No, but I can still describe how the heart works at a level of detail beyond lay speak.
 
2014-08-06 12:20:16 PM  

satanorsanta: There are 2 ways to get a roundup ready crop, 1: GMO, 2: develop resistance (selective breeding). GMO is faster and cheaper and more reliable.


GMO very well may be the only way of making certain crops resistant to a pesticide. Adaptation is not guaranteed by evolution for a particular species. Resistance will develop within certain species, but other species will never develop resistance. That's why penicillin's reliability against Staphylococcus aureus is way down but it can still be used to treat other infections. The problem is that with antibiotics, much like with roundup, every species gets affected so S. aureus present will develop resistance even if that's not the infection (which might always get killed off with the antibiotics until the end of the earth). With roundup, certain weeds are starting to become resistant to it and popping up in corn fields. It's not the great-great grand seedlings of all the weeds that used to be there. It's that some weeds survived, moved in, and took off. The weed ecosystem doesn't look like it did 20 years ago.

If I sprayed roundup on a field with many different non-GMO corn varieties, I'd end up with a bunch of dead corn and a few weeds that survived the spraying.
 
2014-08-06 12:40:40 PM  

LoneWolf343: Marcus Aurelius: stpauler: Marcus Aurelius: stpauler: The GMO banana, aka the Cavendish

I hate to break it to you, but the Cavendish was discovered long before GMO technology existed.

GMO technology is prehistoric, about 12000 BCE.So no, the Cavendish has not been around as long with the stone age ending between 6000 and 2000 BCE.

"GMO" technically refers to the use of genetic engineering to extract a gene from one organism, and splice it into the DNA of another organism.  This was first done in 1973.  You are thinking of "selective breeding", not "genetic engineering".

Because BIG FARKING DIFFERENCE.

C'mon, Marcus, you're not supposed to be one of the Fark Derp Brigade.


Sorry.  I am just going by the definition found on Google, Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Brittanica, and Dictionary.com.  While I realize these are horrible sources, they do all agree.

From Google:

Genetically modified organism
A genetically modified organism is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques


This of course leads one to look for a definition of "genetic engineering techniques".  See Wikipedia

So from my point of view, a GMO requires genetic engineering techniques, which are a far cry from "let's cross this tomato with that tomato and see what happens".
 
2014-08-06 04:53:07 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: stpauler: The GMO banana, aka the Cavendish

I hate to break it to you, but the Cavendish was discovered long before GMO technology existed.


We should stop using the term "GMO" and should instead use "rDNA-enhanced." GMO's have been around forever. Recombinant DNA technology was developed in the 60's and that's what gets people concerned.
 
2014-08-06 05:10:53 PM  

meat0918: someonelse: lindalouwho: someonelse: lindalouwho: someonelse: lindalouwho: Bith Set Me Up: someonelse: I don't disagree with my make-believe brainiac boyfriend, but isn't this a bit out of his purview?

"I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy - and when he talks about a nonscientific matter, he will sound as naive as anyone untrained in the matter."

You aren't saying GMOs today don't involve science, are you?

It does, (and again I cannot believe I am taking issue with NdGT, because he is awesome and I would climb that man like a tree) but I fail to see why his opinion on, say, the patenting of seeds should carry more weight than anyone else's.

BECAUSE HE IS A SCIENTIST WHO IS EDUCATED ON THE SUBJECT.

/sorry for yelling, but cripes sake

I understand that he's an intelligent, educated person, of sound judgment, and I am interested in what he has to say about most anything he chooses to address. But his education is in astrophysics.

Again. Google.is.your.friend.

As an aside, he's also won gold medals in Latin Ballroom dancing.

People can be many things that you're unaware of.

OK, but Google brings up, almost exclusively, links to this same story. I see that he has strong opinions that seem well thought out. What I don't see is that he has any particular background in this subject that makes his opinion any more worthwhile than your average Joe who is well-read and interested in this subject. Maybe I'm missing something here?

Let's try this: NdGT is an expert in ballroom dancing because he has won awards for it. NdGT is an expert in GMOs because ..?...

I think you're the only one claiming he is an expert in the field.


I love how intelligent people (scientists!) aren't allowed to have an opinion about this shiat, but every random idiot in the internet can. My friends have been posting all kinds of anti-GMO crap on FB and when somebody links to what NDTyson said, they're all "You should stick to astrophysics, Dr. Tyson" as if being able to use Google makes them some kind of farking genetic engineer whose opinions are more valid than his. What the fark, over?
 
2014-08-06 05:38:58 PM  
A month ago you couldn't knock his dick out of a lot of the mouths that are now saying he should stick to only that which he has specific education and training with a sledgehammer.
 
2014-08-06 07:21:21 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: LoneWolf343: Marcus Aurelius: stpauler: Marcus Aurelius: stpauler: The GMO banana, aka the Cavendish

I hate to break it to you, but the Cavendish was discovered long before GMO technology existed.

GMO technology is prehistoric, about 12000 BCE.So no, the Cavendish has not been around as long with the stone age ending between 6000 and 2000 BCE.

"GMO" technically refers to the use of genetic engineering to extract a gene from one organism, and splice it into the DNA of another organism.  This was first done in 1973.  You are thinking of "selective breeding", not "genetic engineering".

Because BIG FARKING DIFFERENCE.

C'mon, Marcus, you're not supposed to be one of the Fark Derp Brigade.

Sorry.  I am just going by the definition found on Google, Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Brittanica, and Dictionary.com.  While I realize these are horrible sources, they do all agree.

From Google:

Genetically modified organism
A genetically modified organism is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques

This of course leads one to look for a definition of "genetic engineering techniques".  See Wikipedia

So from my point of view, a GMO requires genetic engineering techniques, which are a far cry from "let's cross this tomato with that tomato and see what happens".


The overall point is that we have been changing our food using various methods over the years. GMO is just another method we use to improve our crops. That is what he was trying to say.
 
2014-08-06 07:58:19 PM  

cman: The overall point is that we have been changing our food using various methods over the years. GMO is just another method we use to improve our crops. That is what he was trying to say.


Yes.  All of you are technically correct, which is the best kind of correct.

The distinction that I am trying to draw is that we are no longer constrained to breeding within viable populations.  We can make goats whose milk secretes specific antibodies.  We can make cats that glow in the dark.

We can splice virtually any gene into any chromosome and see if it is viable.

That is what sets the term "GMO" apart, in my mind.

So what should I call a creature that was spliced together from a jellyfish and an alley cat?
 
2014-08-06 08:03:50 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: So what should I call a creature that was spliced together from a jellyfish and an alley cat?


I don't understand why that is morally wrong
 
2014-08-06 08:32:36 PM  

cman: Marcus Aurelius: So what should I call a creature that was spliced together from a jellyfish and an alley cat?

I don't understand why that is morally wrong


I didn't say it was morally wrong.  I just want to know what I should call it, to distinguish it from a viable breeding population (not to mention tentacle porn).
 
2014-08-06 08:36:15 PM  
There is a distinction between creatures that can breed in the wild and/or be irradiated or mutated in various ways to create variations within their population, and those recombined from bits of DNA.  Mother nature has done this for at least 15 billion years.  Homo Sapiens has done this for at least a dozen millenia.

Molecular biologists have done this since 1973.

What will they be getting up to in 2073, do you suppose?

Some of you are going to find out.  God help you.
 
2014-08-06 08:48:38 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: cman: Marcus Aurelius: So what should I call a creature that was spliced together from a jellyfish and an alley cat?

I don't understand why that is morally wrong

I didn't say it was morally wrong.  I just want to know what I should call it, to distinguish it from a viable breeding population (not to mention tentacle porn).


Naming rights goes to the author. Whomever does it first will get to name it.
 
2014-08-06 08:57:36 PM  
The legitimate concerns with GMO crops are being dismissed along with the ridiculous concerns.  NdGT talks about the legitimate concerns, but it is barely noticed.
 
2014-08-06 09:00:06 PM  
Are we smart enough to play God though?

What if the things we create start to interact in ways we can't control and are detrimental to us? What if we end up doing something really stupid because we're blinded by greed? What if we end up killing the goose that laid the golden egg?

Some of this is clearly fear of technology run amok but I think there are also valid concerns here. If there's one things I trust humans to do it's to screw something up.
 
2014-08-07 12:03:58 AM  

MechaPyx: Are we smart enough to play God though?

What if the things we create start to interact in ways we can't control and are detrimental to us? What if we end up doing something really stupid because we're blinded by greed? What if we end up killing the goose that laid the golden egg?

Some of this is clearly fear of technology run amok but I think there are also valid concerns here. If there's one things I trust humans to do it's to screw something up.


Whenever a technological innovation happens someone somewhere can turn it into evil. We will just do what we humans have done all along: Legislation. There is nothing wrong with GMO plants, food from GMOs, or even gene splicing in general. These things are not even controversial amongst scientists. Paranoia besets progress, which can be a good thing as it prevents really stupid things (ie we had to ensure that civilians do not own nuclear weapons while accepting their right to bear arms). In this case it isn't warranted. The science is on GMO's side.
 
2014-08-07 06:23:33 AM  

hasty ambush: I like the guy (Pluto may or may not have had it coming,) and I am not and anti-GMO nutter, but I wish he would stick to the Astrophysics stuff. I think the celebrity thing is getting to him, like a Hollywood actor/actress who thinks their opinions on everything are important enough to share with the world.

Resist the dark side Neil



In all fairness to him, he got asked a question about an out of field issue (GMOs), basically all he said is to approach the problem logically and without emotion... people mischaracterized that and freaked out. Then he expanded on his position, which still boils down to "approach with logic"... and people wildly mischaracterized that (one headline read "Tyson thinks Monsanto should make as much as they want with GMOs!")... and people freaked out about it. If you see the actual Q&A, or you read the ACTUAL comments from him on his facebook page not some rehashed, edited versions, you'll see he really isn't saying much of anything at all.
 
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