TED Conversations

william olkowski

ecologist, urban farmer, least toxic pest control, biological co,

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Forget this GE engineering as we need to learn more before using this technology so widely. Consider the Monsanto efforts with GMO crops.

All new tecknology is not safe and GE tecknology is not safe yet, maybe some day it will be but right now the push to make money dominates safety efforts and regulatory controls. The supersonic transport is a case in point and so is nuclear power. I am not a Luddite, but shooting genes into DNA molecules hoping for the best is like shooting with a machine gun into a crowd to kill one terrorist., The gene engineers know better but once the idea of stopping disease, etc. gains hold, caution is out the window. Genetic engineering is not precise as many believe, go deeper TED people and learn more before you make popular talks. Genetic pollution is forever. And GE projects pollute the Bioshpere, permanently. Caution is the better part of valor.

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  • Jan 20 2013: Dear Lawren Jones, You have not seen the research on GMO's that I have seen. See my blog: entomological philosopher, search under GMOs' I am not a Luddiite as my use of cell phones and computers proves. But one does not have to be a Luddiiite to be suspicious of modern technology. Just have some critical thinking skills.
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    Jan 15 2013: Yes.
    (1) "All new technology is not safe"!
    It is because humankind requires ULTRA-HIGH accuracy ---- one of our instincts (our ancestors' successful experiences formed 10,000 years ago).

    (2) To make money at the expense of our safety is to make INVALID happiness,.
    INVALID happiness will certainly lead us to self-extinction.


    (For INVALID happiness, see the 1st article, points 1-3, 14, at https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D&id=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D%21283&sc=documents)
  • Feb 5 2013: Peter, iSince you teach you must see the critical information in the book Genetic Roulette.
  • Jan 17 2013: Right on. Its the money incentive which drives this catastrophe.
  • Jan 17 2013: Unfortunately you have not followed recent research, send me you email and I will send you further information. You could tap into the Institute for Responsible Technology in the mean time. In fact, the leader of that institute, Jeffrey Smith should be given a chance to state the problem with GMOs. Releasing genetically modified organisms is not precise. Shooting genes into a genome does not make for single gene substitutions, but a vast set of changes many of which are still unknown.
  • Jan 15 2013: Yes I agree with you !Thanks for the post
    Caution is the better part of valor!
  • Feb 6 2013: Glad you checked him out now check out what he wrote - Genetic Roulette. regards, bill
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    Feb 5 2013: http://academicsreview.org/reviewed-content/genetic-roulette/
    And before you start vilifying anyone David Tribe works for the second oldest state run university in Australia (University of Melbourne Est 1855) I doubt that his employer would risk 150 years of academic reputation by letting one of their professors publish work that wasn't of sufficient rigor.
  • Feb 5 2013: Supersonic transport refers to a technology that threatened the atmosphere and was not applied. Do a google to check on its history. Every new technology must be proven safe before application. Testing now with GMO crops shows bad effects. For one, pollens produced by GMO corn and soybeans now resides in weeds that require greater herbicide applications. Even if the genie is out of the bottle it is not useful to assume its safe because its now free to contaminate the biosphere.
  • Feb 5 2013: Peter, check your assumptions. All good scientists do that.
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      Feb 5 2013: good scientists don't make assumptions they draw conclusions based on data. And I still don't know what supersonic transport you are refering to. Google just gives me concordes and tupolevs. Could you supply a link?
      • Feb 5 2013: Peter, all arguments start with assumptions. Good scientists start with assumptions, then test, evaluate evidence (which you have not done adequately), then make conclusions, then speculations. I am not in a pissing contest with you but these short bits back and forth are not the best way to converse. The Corcord controversy was one time I remember when technology was challenged. DDT also comes to mind. That's my field, being an entomologist. I would not bother to converse if I thought you did not care about what you teach. But I would be better inclined if you would get the book by J, Smith, and then come up with a response to specific studies. Kind regard, bill olkowski 805-636-1789.
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          Feb 6 2013: I'm sorry I have no interest in Jeffrey Smith's book as a book written about a branch of scientific enquiry by some one with no training in science is pointless. I did watch the documentary on youtube but was left waiting for actual evidence to support his claims. As far as I'm aware there was no concorde controversy just an unfortunate accident that was entirely not related to the concorde itself. The next plane down the runway was going to hit the debris no matter what kind of plane it was.
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    Feb 5 2013: What does "supersonic transport" refer to. Surely not the concorde crash which was shown by the investigation to have been caused by debris left on the runway by a prior sub-sonic airliner. My comments below are not a comment on whether GM is safe or not but a comment to the fact that it is already out there so there is no point trying to put a genie back as it can't be done. BTW they don't shoot genes into DNA molecules they chemically insert small sections of DNA into larger sections of DNA using roughly the same peocess that viruses use to do the same thing. A substantial portion of your own DNA has been inserted by viruses over the last 100 million years or so.
  • Feb 5 2013: No commentors so far have provided anything usefull to refute my contention. Ted people: have Jeff Smith give a talk instead of just tecnocrates in favor of GEs.
  • Feb 4 2013: I ;shared your belief until I understood the problems with GMO plants Monsanto pushed thru the USDA and FDA. DNA hit by shotgunned genes, even viral vectored genes is not precise. You may think testing could be used before release but that was not the case with GMO glyphosate corn, and other modified plants. Natural gene splicing is not the same as mechanical gene splicing. Check out J. Smith's book on Genetic Roulette. See review on my blog: entomological philosopher. Until then check on you assumptions.
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      Feb 5 2013: I have my current knowledge as I teach the process of gene splicing as part of the biology course. I don't have any beliefs.
  • Feb 4 2013: So called mutagenesis around WW2 cannot be equated with gene splicing, when species barriers are crossed, especially across families and kingdoms. Gene splicing is not precise. Shooting genes into cells is like a shot gun blast, with gene substitutions and impacts all over the genome. See Jeffrey Smiths book Genetic Roulette.
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      Feb 4 2013: Gene splicing is a thousand times more predictable than the mutagenic method. As for crossing species lines, thats been done for centuries. Crossing more distant groups is newish but it's done at a chemical level. DNA is DNA. The only difference between my DNA and the DNA of a pine tree is the order of the bases. Plus gene splicing happens naturally all the time. At least in a lab you can test your results before releasing it.
      BTW it's not "so called" mutagenesis it's just mutagenisis. The process of a mutagen causing changes to genetic material, it's how you get seedless citrus.
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    Feb 4 2013: All grain crops grown in the world have been GM since not long after the end of WW2. Research mutagenisis on wikipaedia.
  • Jan 31 2013: Unfortunately, we don't like mosquitoes. Unfortunately, previous methods of mosquito control are unsatisfactory.
    Biotechnology is a sexy new business with untested public health and safety ramifications. Oxitec has presented no third party objective research to support its claims of "success." Oxitec merely boasts that everyone is "happy" with the results. The truth is far different. Please, before offering an opinion on this subject, do the research. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will no longer work with Oxitec, and in Bill Gates' Ted Talk on mosquitoes, he does not make mention of genetically modified mosquitoes. There are exponential profits and publishing opportunities for the policy makers and scientists involved in this scheme, including the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board members and their Director. The people of Key West, Florida do not desire this "experiment," as Oxitec calls it, on our community. We are being bullied into it and we do not want it. Thank you.
  • Jan 20 2013: OK, so where is the evidence. I would like to have other tools beside space and contact sprays, but am very suspicious of GMOs based on the history with Monsanto et al. So I must examine the evidence. How many mosquitoes show the effects you describe? And who did the work?
  • Jan 20 2013: Even though I agree that GE can have negative effects that we are yet not aware of, I don't believe that this is the case. Any of the genetically modified mosquitos will AND their offspring will die as well. This means that the genetic modification is not carried down the line and it will not remain around as "genetic pollution".
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    Jan 14 2013: "I am not a Luddite..." I'm afraid that's exactly what you sound like to me, William. The safety of genetic engineering has been determined many times over.