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NATS 1760- GENETICS 4.docx

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Natural Science
NATS 1760
Darrin Durant

NATS 1760 DARRIN DURANT/ JAMES ELWICK Monday, March 18, 2013 GENETICS 4: GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS, RISK & UNCERTAINTY CONCEPTS MONOCULTURES  Only being able to grow one type of crop- easier to predict what kind of crop you have has an esthetic effect to it, more efficient less labour intensive etc.  PROBLEM: diseases and other predators love it…  Opposite of ‘polycultures’- growing a few different kinds of crops [Iroquois ‘three sisters’; corn, beans and squash]  A lot of genetic engineering is used to increase yields, using monocultures FRAMING: TECHNICAL VERSUS POLITICAL/ECONOMIC/ETHICAL  Factory farming/ monocultures not really discuss advocates of GMOs THE NATURALISTIC FALLACY  ‘Just because something is natural, it doesn’t necessarily mean its good’ ESSENTIALISM  Somebody who possess a certain quality, or skill can belong to a certain group RISK VERSUS UNCERTAINTY  If you are talking about risk its quantifiable (it can happen to you, and will most likely happen in the future)  Uncertainty is unquantifiable (if you are in opposition about something, you can file a complaint about it) MOST INTERESTING RECENT CHANGE IS ON PART OF SOME GREENS TO EMBRACE GE  Nuclear power is seen as the ‘devil’ by many greens  Very costly, has radiation  Others have said it’s the only way to produce carbon power efficiently and in a timely manner  Stewart Brand/ whole earth review; catalogue for solar panel distributors o Has pointed out that since the late 90s, millions of North Americans have eaten FE soy, maize and canola in huge quantities, so for over a decade, Meanwhile, Europeans have boycotted this o So it’s acted as a kind of experiment- the Europeans being the control group. Canadians and Americans haven’t been getting ill or having huge allergic reactions compared with the Europeans, showing, in Brand’s view, no difference between the groups  Mark Lynas- Green campaigner o Friends of the Earth member, used to run onto GE fields and rip them up- changed his mind recently  MAIN REASON: the arguments against GE tend to be mixed between technical and economic/ political (framed mixed up). If Monsanto boosts profits, doesn’t mean the GE is unsafe o Convinced that the technical arguments are sound  2010 US National Science Academy report crops have fewer adverse effects on environment than non-GE crops o BUT ALSO; interestingly also doesn’t think the economic arguments against GE are really valid either o One argument; GE seed is patented can’t be saved between crops by poor farmers will bankrupt them o Thinks that agriculture in developing worlds is overly romanticized; farmers seen as passive recipients of western tech; but they’re not  Monsanto brought BT- resistant cotton into India; but India doesn’t respect patents on many drugs, and so non-Monsanto companies created their own BT- cotton o No logical reason why GE means monoculture, either- one could emphasize diverse farms o GE doesn’t have to be private WHY DOES GE’ING CREEP OUT MANY PEOPLE?  4 answers: 1) Framing  Monoculture, corporate o Its proposed that we use GMOs to feed a hungry world… but aren’t there other options? o Remember new technique of growing rice in soil, ‘pampering’ the roots- labour intensive but effective o How about how food is distributed? The world grows enough food- it’s just not evenly distributed o What about how food is grown? Much of the GMO work is done to support monocultures 2) Essentialism  Messing with what is a human, a chicken a soybean o DEFINITION: there is some invisible characteristic, some property, that if you take away something no longer makes it that ‘thing’ o Essentialism tend to come out of idealization of a particular pr
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