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Is it necessarily a good thing to feed everyone?

 
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 10:00 am
We're at the threshold where "heroic measures" are necessary if we plan to feed 9 billion people on this planet. But is it necessarily a good thing to take heroic measures? Forcing extreme yields from crops requires genetically modified crops, chemical fertilizers, burning the rain forest to plant corn... Why is there so much resistance to suggest reducing birth rates instead? Why is it more "politically correct" to poison the planet to feed frankenfoods to everyone?

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/hungry-planet-can-big-data-help-feed-9-billion-humans-n243821
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 10:08 am
@Banana Breath,
There are so many things wrong with this post.

1) We aren't at any threshold. We don't need "heroic" measures to feed everyone on this planet.

2) Humans have depended on genetically modified crops and chemical fertilizers since the dawn of agriculture (thousands of years ago). This is part of the reason that humans have doubled their life span in the past couple thousand years.

People are healthier and live longer than ever before in human history, and fewer people (i.e. people per million) are starving then ever before.

3) Birth rates have dramatically declined in much of the world (particularly in developed countries). There are programs to decrease birth rates in developing countries that are popular and well supported. I haven't heard any resistance to reducing birth rates.
Banana Breath
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 10:17 am
@maxdancona,
Do you work for Monsanto?
No, we have not depended on genetically modified crops and chemical fertilizers since the dawn of agriculture. you should look the terms up. Genetically modified crops have only appeared on the market in 1994, and the first patent for a chemical fertilizer (chemical fertilizers are mostly derived from petroleum) was in 1842, by John Bennet Lawes. And no thanks, we don't want to invest in Monsanto, try another forum.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 10:30 am
@Banana Breath,
No, I do not work for Monsanto. I program computers.

Wheat was genetically modified by farmers about 9 thousand years ago. The grain known as wheat wouldn't occur in nature without the manipulation of humans. This grain was central to the development of agriculture and was key to the flourishing of western culture. The same thing happened with corn in the Americans. The central grain to the native American culture was the result of thousands of years of genetic manipulation.

The ancient Egyptians used chemical based fertilizer (as did the Romans and many other ancient cultures) . It wasn't based on petroleum (which is a recent innovation), but it certainly was based on chemicals.

Agriculture is the art of growing food in the most productive and efficient way possible. It is doubtful our modern culture could have developed without agriculture, including genetic modification of plants and animals, and the use of chemical fertilizers.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 10:34 am
Ironically (for your screen name), bananas don't exist in nature. Bananas have been genetically engineered by humans over more than 5,000 years. Bananas can't even reproduce by themselves without human help.

Or have you never asked yourself why the bananas you eat don't have any seeds?
Banana Breath
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 04:22 pm
It's really not useful to throw out assertions based on a misunderstanding of the terms. NO, the Egyptians didn't practice genetic engineering. If you'd bother to look the term up you'd find that it means:

"Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct manipulation of an organism's genome using biotechnology. New DNA may be inserted in the host genome by first isolating and copying the genetic material of interest using molecular cloning methods to generate a DNA sequence, or by synthesizing the DNA, and then inserting this construct into the host organism. Genes may be removed, or "knocked out", using a nuclease."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_engineering

It would be equally useless had you said "god practiced genetic engineering by making people out of lumps of clay." Yeah sure. Once again, read the definition.

Contemporary Genetic Engineering/modification is quite different from selective breeding for many important reasons.
1) You can't breed a Jellyfish with a tomato by natural methods, however with modern gene splicing you can indeed.
2) GM varieties are being developed specifically to sell chemicals such as "Roundup" herbicide. Thus the plant will live even when drenched in this weed killer, and then ends up on YOUR plate. This isn't Darwin's natural selection, this is ruthless capitalism at the expense of your health.
3) Have you wondered why suddenly more and more people are buying "gluten free" products? Think it's just a fad? Coincidentally an unapproved-for-human-consumption genetically modified wheat was developed that produces its own pesticide. It kills insects by making perforations in their gut. This and several other unapproved GM crops have been "accidentally" released into the wild and have infected virtually all of the US primary crops.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 04:38 pm
@Banana Breath,
You are defining your terms in such a way that they don't mean anything.

You point out (correctly) that you can't breed a Jellyfish with a tomato by natural methods. But you miss the point that you can't create a poodle, raise an ear of corn or grow bananas by natural methods. Nor can you keep your teeth past age 50 or live through appendicitis.

Humans have been using technology to **** around with genes for thousands of years. The world would be a much worse place for humans to live if we didn't. Sure, the technology has changed, but the basic idea is the same. We use our knowledge of science to manipulate the world around us to our advantage.

That is what humans do. Five thousand years ago, the average human lived to be 40. The infant mortality rate as in the double digits and famines wiped out civilizations. Now humans expect to live to be 80 years old, we have a stable food supply and in developed countries the infant mortality rate is near zero.

Technological progress doing wonders for us as species.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 04:43 pm
@Banana Breath,
Quote:
Have you wondered why suddenly more and more people are buying "gluten free" products? Think it's just a fad? Coincidentally an unapproved-for-human-consumption genetically modified wheat was developed that produces its own pesticide. It kills insects by making perforations in their gut. This and several other unapproved GM crops have been "accidentally" released into the wild and have infected virtually all of the US primary crops.


I am very skeptical of this (in fact it made me chuckle). What year would you say this happened (so we can check to see if it even correlates with any increased detection of celiac disease).

Personally, I blame gluten intolerance on rap music (which gets you right in the gut) which coincidentally became popular at the same time people started buying gluten free products.
Banana Breath
 
  2  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 04:46 pm
@maxdancona,
Wrong, Maxdancona, bananas are very common in nature, there are over a thousand varieties that exist around the world, and there is only one that is genetically modified, in order to increase its levels of vitamin A under a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation; it is still in the test phase.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/07/08/325796731/globe-trotting-gmo-bananas-arrive-for-their-first-test-in-iowa

I'm well aware of why the common Cavendish banana doesn't have large seeds, and it has nothing to do with genetic engineering. It was selectively bred to reduce seeds and then propagated by cuttings; hence all of the plants are genetically identical.
I had a quite different member of the banana family for breakfast today, fried: musa paradiaca, commonly called a plantain, also seedless.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 04:55 pm
@Banana Breath,
That is like saying poodles are very common in nature. This is a Musa (which is a wild plant related to the the banana the way that wolves are related to poodles).

http://cdn.damninteresting.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/wild_banana.jpg

I doubt you have eaten a Musa (although it is possible). That yellow curved thing that most of us call a banana can't reproduce in the wild. The banana is a product of human technology.

The plantains you mentioned don't occur in nature either. Like the Cavandish banana they were created by humans and can't reproduce without human manipulation.

The whole purpose of fruits in nature is to create seeds. The fact that you are eating seedless fruit should be a tip off that humans have been messing around with their genetics.


Banana Breath
 
  2  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 05:33 pm
@maxdancona,
Yawn, do you think you could actually address the question at hand rather than questioning every minute point along the way?
Here's a correlation of glyphosate with new cases of Celiac disease, based on CDC data.
http://i57.tinypic.com/34y5zlu.jpg

Monsanto's GM glyphosate resistant wheat was approved in 2004; although they claim it was not commercially produced, there were 419 field trials of it by 2013. Pollen blows, other fields are infected, and lawsuits have recently been settled even unapproved test strains have infected the food supply.

http://www.farmanddairy.com/top-stories/monsanto-wheat-farmers-reach-settlement-oregon-gmo-cases/225574.html
Banana Breath
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 05:36 pm
@maxdancona,
Do you ever read anything? I posted the link to the Wikipedia for your convenience, and if you had even read the first 10 lines you'd know by now that MUSA is the genus common to all 1000+ varieties of bananas. And selective breeding is NOT the same as genetic engineering, again, read the wikipedia for a 4th grade level introduction to the topic.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 05:52 pm
@Banana Breath,
http://i.imgur.com/OfQYQW8.png

Science doesn't work this way. There are no real scientific study suggesting any causal effect of GMO crops on the incidence of celiacs disease. You are spreading anti-science propaganda.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
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Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 06:05 pm
@Banana Breath,
Yes, I did read (actually I read more than the Wikipedia page). There are two naturally occurring species of Musa neither of which is particularly edible. The rest of the species are human engineered. The species that make fruit without seeds don't reproduce in the wild... this includes pretty much anything sold in your local organic food store.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 06:07 pm
Since you have been making a claim of causation based on an unsupported correlation, let me follow suit and test an unsupported correlation of my own.

Do you think that children should be vaccinated?
Banana Breath
 
  0  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 07:51 pm
@maxdancona,
Since you enjoy non sequiturs and like posting nonsense in response to real science, let me say that vaccinations against rap help prevent headaches in 4 out of 5 doctors surveyed. Now go away, you have the intelligence to deal with this topic but lack the wisdom to engage intelligently. That's a sad waste of human tissue and one of the best arguments FOR abortion I've seen all day.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2014 07:58 pm
@Banana Breath,
lol
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Nov, 2014 05:03 pm
Natural food cultism is getting a little ridiculous.

At my local Whole Foods there is a salad bar that I sometimes go to for lunch. They have serving spoons clearly marked "organic". I find this very funny... and I must admit to using one of them to serve myself conventional mushrooms. I couldn't resist... just imagine how horrified the poor natural food purist would be if they knew their organic red peppers were contaminated by normal food products.

There is also a sign with a stern warning that the bagel slicer is used both for non-organic as well as organic items that always makes me chuckle.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Nov, 2014 05:06 pm
@maxdancona,
And they actually sell something called "organic sea salt" (which is as good an example of anti-science as I have seen).

I wasn't as amused by the "Vegan chicken salad" they sell. So, these chickens didn't eat meat and weren't allowed to wear leather before their heads were chopped off. That's not so crazy, is it?
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Nov, 2014 06:06 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

There is also a sign with a stern warning that the bagel slicer is used both for non-organic as well as organic items that always makes me chuckle.


This is really sad. So is the rest of the thread, though.
 

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