GENE/SOC: Beating my head against the wall

Date: Sat Apr 29 2000 - 10:25:16 MDT

And yet more of my prattling among the luddites:

In a message dated 4/25/00 12:47:29 PM Central Daylight Time,
________ writes:

> From: <>
> Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2000 5:09 PM
> Subject: Re: [GM] Clone of Silence
> > Your question regarding the "practical proven
> benefit" is astonishing. Even
> > the most luddite of anti-GM activists (Jeremy
> Rifkin comes to mind)
> > acknowledge that there are lots of benefits to
> be had. The issue is whether
> > the costs and risks outweigh those benefits.
> >
> Sweeping generalisations do not answer my
> question.
> (And it is a question, but even if there is a
> tangible benefit, that still doesn't make it
> right)
> If the benefits are so obvious, just name me one,
> specifically.
> I am not saying there aren't any, just that I
> haven't seen any.
> The original question was:
> "Do you really think that the field of Genetic
> Modification is concerned with our welfare.
> In terms of the potential horrific consequences,
> give me one practical proven benefit."
> So that I am not misunderstood, I understand there
> are potential benefits, I can see that, the
> GM-marketing machine is pushing them in the media
> everyday, but what are the benefits that make the
> risk worthwhile, and that cannot be achieved by
> other safer technologies ?

Here are just a couple of beneficial uses of current genetic engineering I
came across with a few minutes research:

* Spider silk gene introduced into yeast for production of material stronger
than steel:

* Genetically engineered virus selectively destroys tumors:

And then there was the announcement widely publicized this last week of a
successful use of genetic engineering to cure a deadly immune deficiency
disease in children in France.

Of course the use of genetically engineered bacteria and yeast to produce
insulin, interferon, erythropoeitin, and human growth hormone at prices far
below those possible from "natural" production are now commonplace, and must
be well known to you, since they have been in use for well over a decade in
most instances of these examples.

In all of these instances, the clear benefits derived from genetic
engineering simply couldn't be had by "traditional" means of biological

And there have been some reviews of GM foods that DIDN'T see them as some
kind of apocalyptic preview of biodevastation and widespread poisoning,
including this one by the U.S. House Science Subcommittee:

although I'm sure those who have already made up their minds about the issue
will find the House's conclusions merely bought-and-paid-for shilling for the
"biotech multinationals".

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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