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Let's gang-rape John Negroponte for kicks
This GM news story is another case of bullshit in the media.

They've "discovered" that GM is harmful to weeds and insects in the field. They did this by testing two groups - one using GM crops and the relevant pesticides/herbicides, and one using regular crops with regular pesticides/herbicides.

The stupid thing is that nobody can understand the real issue here. It's nothing to do with GM. It's about the pesticides - that's what's killing the weeds and insects. The fact that the crops are GM doesn't seem to make a difference.

The genome of the plants in question plays no part. It's sad how narrow-minded the anti-GM groups can be...

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why would the welfare of weeds and insects matter anyway? aren't they bad the crops? isn't that one of the reasons that crops are modified to begin with?

See, this is what I thought... I thought they were aiming to remove the weeds, but apparently they only want to remove the bad ones and leave everything else, or something. Crazy people...

i guess we shouldn't stereotype all weeds as being bad. (?)

I think the idea is that damaging weeds (which are basically defined as "anything that isn't the crops") and insects removes both the harmful *and* beneficial (e.g. insects like ladybirds that eat pests) ones. It also means other wildlife in the area cannot survive if all the plants & insects it eats are killed off.


Certainly in the case you quote the issue is pesticides/herbicides, but there are a lot more arguments against GM crops and trials that are much more valid. I'm not sure if you're denying this or not, so apologies if you aren't.

Personally I'm not against the concept of genetic modification, but I do advocate proper scientific process and not cutting corners and endangering biological diversity in the name of commercial trivia.

None of the other arguments against GM are based on quite as much research as this one, I don't think. This story is big just because it was a huge experiment, which has apparently proved GM is bad. Right now, I'm only disputing this one, because it provides no evidence that GM itself is in any way responsible.

And I agree, it needs testing, and careful experimentation, as opposed to out-of-hand dismissal by certain pressure groups...

I'd rather out-of-hand dismissal than irresponsible tests or dangerous early release onto the market, but I think we're pretty much in agreement here. :)

What riles me most right now (r.e. GM) is the weight that's being brought to bear on the EU to repeal legislation requiring GM products to be labelled as such - on behalf of US multinationals bleating about unfair competition! Ha fucking ha.

Hold on... Isn't this a controlled experiment? That is:

Group 1: GM Crops, Pesticide Group A
Group 2: Non-GM Crops, Pesticide Group A

And the inference is that, given that the same pesticides are being used, that, when Pesticide Group A is used, more insects eating at GM crops die than those eating at non-GM crops?

If there were two different groups of pesticides, then the experiment could not be considered controlled. You'd get other possibilities, too - like your own conclusion, that the different pesticides kill insects differently, which should be no surprise.

Of course, I agree with you that the pesticides are doing the work. Hence, if the GM Crops really ARE more harmful, then an identical proportional measurement should hold for:

Group 1: GM Crops, no pesticides
Group 2: Non-GM Crops, no pesticides

If the same proportion does not hold, then we could conclude that the combination of GM-Crops with Pesticide Group A is more harmful than Pesticide Group A on its own. Kinda like George W. and weapons of mass destruction are more harmful in combination than on their own.

Agreed entirely.

But why is it that otherwise intelligent people in the media tend to blow this out of all proportion and invent negative conclusions from a fundamentally flawed experiment? My conclusion is because it's what people want to hear. I really hope the news hasn't come to the point where bias is applied to all stories just for the sake of pleasing the public...

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