Hey all,

I haven't visited TA in a while, nor have I posted in such amount of time either, but I have an inquiry that I hope some of you may touch on...

I've noticed that there are quite a few Atheists/Secularists out there who are supportive on Genetically Modified Organisms in food and drink products. I for one, am not. But aside from that, I'd like to know why exactly you're supportive of it. Do you believe in what corporations like Monsanto say? Things like "GMOs allow us to feed the world.." (generally speaking) and what not? Or is it the science behind it?

I'd love to have some interesting conversation about this.


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Soylent Green is people --!

Getting there and back alive is hard enough that I wouldn't hold my breath when it comes to colonization. Also, the moon has no magnetic field, so colonists would be exposed to radiation without some sort of heavy shielding, which would probably mean that any views they have of their surroundings would be via video, not glass. Sounds like a formula for cabin fever or even claustrophobia. Finally, we're finding that the body deteriorates in low or no gravity, and so far there is no solution to that problem.

No, you can forget that one for now. And much of that goes for Mars as well. We're not colonizing any moon or planet anytime soon, though it's fun to read and write stories about it.

All long-duration data with respect to the effects of non-Earth levels of gravity are at microgravity (essentially no felt force of gravity) in orbit.

We haven't put people in lunar or Martian gravity for extended enough periods of time to see whether the gravity there is strong enough to prevent the deterioration you reference.  (I wouldn't dare assume the effect scales linearly with the strength of gravity.)  I think that once we do put someone on the moon or Mars for months at a time, people will be anticipating data on this question.

You are correct in noting that lunar bases would have to be buried somehow, whether it's a matter of scooping up regolith and burying the structure, or actually burrowing is an engineering question.

Even though I'm skeptical about the effects of GMOs, I'm not against the science, and the trials are still going. I just came across this video of scientists pleading with an anti-GM group not to come on to their test fields and trash years worth of work. I for one, would never do something like this, and it looks like these anti-GM people are misguided about the work these scientists are doing.

I grew up on a farm and studied science in college, albeit I took only a few genetic's classes. The thing most people seem to forget is that once we started selective breeding, which was thousands of years ago, almost as far back as the dawn of farming, we have been choosing how to breed animals and therefore humans have been carrying out genetic modification since then. I know this applies to animals much more than crops up until the last couple of decades. 

In regards to crops we have started making them more tolerant to varying weather conditions, especially drought, more resistant to bacterial, viral and pest attack. More recently scientist are also looking to put vaccines into plants so when taken as a food source will be much cheaper and viable than traditional methods. 

There are also many downfalls including unintended harm to other species, inducing resistance in the plants to pesticides and gene transfer to other species. Other risks may also be transfer of allergens and economic concerns as to who benefits etc. 

The thing that worries me most is a law case from some where in the central states of the US. A company producing GM seeds was moving grain seeds using trucks. Some of the seeds were blown off the trailers and into roadside fields. The company found out about this and when the farmers crops grew and were harvested they were tested to see if GM plants were present. The crops tested positive and the company sued the farmers, and was, in my opinion disgracefully, successful and bankrupted several farmers. To me this sort of disgusting exploitation of normal everyday people has the potential to be the greatest argument of GM foods.

That is just an abject failiure of law, not an argument to stop using GMOs.

Yes, but, given that we can't assume the law is going to change anytime soon, it makes the discussion almost purely academic, doesn't it?

I know this video has some fluff to it, but it does provide some interesting statistics. Forget about the whole 'feeding the world' propaganda for a minute, and see how GMOs have been sneaked into our normal, everyday food supply...


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