GMO’s: Blog post 4

There is a lot of misinformation surrounding GMO’s. Indeed I once listened to a podcast talk about GMO’s fro almost 20 minutes before one of the guests was asked to explain there understanding of what an GMO was and they had some powerful misconceptions about what it even means. It is easy even necessary to not understand all the issues year to year that crop [ha] up in our society and become talking points. I remember the first time the subject was made relevant in my life: Spring 2014 in a public speaking class. I was assigned a debate position to defend GMO’s against my opponent who volunteered to debate against them. The issue of GMO’s I was entirely ignorant of the subject {my first bit of research was too google what a GMO was] so I researched the issue. I learned about the first controversy in GMO’s when an ex employee of a GMO producing company demonstrated in an experiment that rats that ate GMO food developed cancerous tumors. I later read the experiment was a sham as the rats he selected were laboratory rats bred to have tumors for research purposes and in fact the rats that ate GMO’s developed less tumors than the control group. I also read about Monsanto corn where corn was bred to contain pesticides had become dangerously toxic. More research taught me that most plants have natural pesticides and this toxic feature was found during the testing phase which existed to screen out such possibility and that the toxin amounted to a mild upset stomach in humans. I learned that despite GMO’s doubling the food supply these where the major examples of GMO’s going off the deep end. The debate day came and I felt quite prepared for my opponent as I had done my research but also I knew I had been given the easier “right side” of the debating corner. I was not prepared for the arguments my opponent she had prepared. She argued that GMO’s were unnatural, addictive, and were dangerous to society. She told the audience that frog DNA was being inserted into strawberries. She told the audience that the GMO strawberries were found to be more addictive that normal strawberry. She also told the audience [as I expected] that they caused cancer in rats. A simple understanding of biology told me that sharing DNA with frogs means nothing as we share over 80% of our DNA with a banana so this was nothing more than information selection bias as the strawberry’s clearly shared DNA with a frog naturally. I asked her about what made the strawberries more addictive and according to the study they tasted better because they contained more sugar and thats why they were more “addictive”. Finally I countered her points about the rats with my own research. After the debate the teacher talked to both of us and I was curious as to where she found the information for her talking points and she told me they were from a website devoted to condemning the “dangerous of GMOS”. She my opponent told me that she was really surprised that her information was so easily found to be false as when she read them they were very convincing. The website dident say anything about how the rat study was a scientific farse and rejected by the academic community nor the other things about the frog DNA. Since that debate I have had many conversations about them since. My family are very health conscious and tend to prefer things organic and GMO free and I live at a christian Community with many of the same values for natural food. These conversations like the first debate almost always go the same. It starts off as nice but soon they quote these study’s and one dimensional non understood facts and thier argument falls apart very quickly and they get frustrated. The conversations feel very much like talking about anti-vax interests which dont hold up well to public discourse because its not scientific and there is a lot of evidence against it. Ive learned that this is not a coincidence, both are movements that are not scientific but have received a lot of money from agencies that are fearful of the sudden massive changes and fiance groups that spread whatever information they can that make vaccines or GMO’s look bad. It shouldn’t be surprising for me now in this age of “false news” that such groups exist but that does not mean they are not frustrating when I hear them at the dinner table. I hope that my blog post today was entertaining but I want to make a few points clear.
1 GMO;s are good for society. Having more cheaper food is good because the population is growing larger and we can really do a lot to be more Eco friendly with GMO’s.
2 People wrapped up in these arguments are the victims of groups that exist to spread misinformation. Sure many cling to these beliefs and are stubborn but it is hard to change your mind about subjects that you have a lifestyle based around.

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