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Mark Lynas » Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference, 3 January 2013 -
January 6, 2013
4 other people
"For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment. As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely." -
"So I guess you’ll be wondering – what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist. [...] I’d assumed that it would increase the use of chemicals. It turned out that pest-resistant cotton and maize needed less insecticide. I’d assumed that GM benefited only the big companies. It turned out that billions of dollars of benefits were accruing to farmers needing fewer inputs. I’d assumed that Terminator Technology was robbing farmers of the right to save seed. It turned out that hybrids did that long ago, and that Terminator never happened. I’d assumed that no-one wanted GM. Actually what happened was that Bt cotton was pirated into India and roundup ready soya into Brazil because farmers were so eager to use them. I’d assumed that GM was dangerous. It turned out that it was safer and more precise than conventional breeding using mutagenesis for example; GM just moves a couple of genes, whereas conventional breeding mucks about with the entire genome in a trial and error way." -
Great to see someone like this take a step back, look at the evidence, and have the bravery to change his position. -
"If you think about it, the organic movement is at its heart a rejectionist one. It doesn’t accept many modern technologies on principle. Like the Amish in Pennsylvania, who froze their technology with the horse and cart in 1850, the organic movement essentially freezes its technology in somewhere around 1950, and for no better reason."
I won't be convinced by a single lecture by Lynas. Here's one opposing view that seems just as scientific as Lynas
Lynas also supports nuclear power and shale fracking? -
I'm not sure what nuclear power and fracking has to do with GM unless it's an attempt to poison the well. Nevertheless, is there a number of lectures that will convince you? Is it a quality of argument or the quantity of arguments that's most important, and if the former then would you consider the viewpoint of a person with a vested business interest in one side of the argument to be a better or worse proponent than someone with none? -
I could be convinced by independent, peer-reviewed studies. -
Looks like PubMed will be of use then.
- "There are at least 42 publications extractable from the PubMed database that describe research reports of feeding studies of GM feed or food products derived from GM crops. The overwhelming majority of publications report that GM feed and food produced no significant differences in the test animals. The two studies reporting negative results were published in 1998 and 1999 and no confirmation of these effects have since been published. Many studies have been published since 2002 and all have reported no negative impact of feeding GM feed to the test species." -
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