Re: GM angst

Date: Wed Jul 19 2000 - 14:09:36 MDT

In a message dated 7/17/00 1:10:07 AM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> Having got the obligatory rueful grin out of the way, I have to ask:
> Is this gibing really all that needs to be said, in reply to the concern
> that remixing genes in ways not pre-tested by millennia of natural (or
> indeed human) selection and broadcasting them everywhere in industrial
> quantities might have horrible consequences?
> Even without a brain, a scarecrow might notice some of the nasty field
> effects mentioned in Greg's cautionary post about spreading anthropogenic
> chemical novelties into the biosystem (hormone analogues poisoning
> developmental pathways, etc etc).

Damien, as a hard-core conservationist (note, not "environmentalist" -- a
point of nomenclature I've written about here before), I'm in full agreement
that rational and well-informed people should be concerned about the
environmental effects of our technology and that we need social mechanisms
for making producers internalize the cost of damage they do to the
environment. The problem I see now is that the process has become
politicized and "ideologized" to the point where the science is taking a back
seat to rhetoric and "activism". We're really faced with a "meta" problem
that underlies issues as diverse as "GM Foods", "hormonesque" chemicals
released into the environment, electromagnetic field effects and human
genetic engineering, to name just a few. How do we get institutions and
interest groups to "calm down" and allow the science to be done in a fashion
that will produce acceptable answers without prejudging the many
techno-soccial questions we face?

       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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