My thoughts on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), specifically GM foods, basically boil down to:
- messing with genes could create problems
- we tend to (and especially those seeking to gain an advantage tend to – even if “we” overall wouldn’t the people in the position to take aggressive measures do) ignore risks until the problems are created (often huge costs at that point)
- I think we should reduce risk and therefore make it hard to justify using GMO techniques
- I agree occasionally we should do so, like it seems with oranges and bananas.
- I agree the practice can be explained in a way that makes it seem like there is no (or nearly no) risk, I don’t trust we will always refrain from stepping into an area where there is a very bad result
Basically I would suggest being very cautious with GMO. I like science and technology but I think we often implement things poorly. I think we are not being cautious enough now, and should reduce the use of GMO to critical needs to society (patents on the practices need to be carefully studied and perhaps not permitted – the whole patent system is so broken now that it should be questioned at every turn).
Antibiotic misuse and massive overuse is an obvious example. We have doctors practicing completely unjustified misuse of antibiotics and harming society and we have factory farms massively overusing antibiotics causing society harm.
The way we casually use drugs is another example of our failure to sensibly manage risks, in my opinion. This of course is greatly pushed by those making money on getting us to use more drugs – drug companies and doctors paid by those companies. The right drugs are wonderful. But powerful drugs almost always have powerful side effects (at least in a significant number of people) and those risks are multiplied the more we take (due to interactions, weakness created by one being overwhelmed by the next etc.). We should be much more cautious but again we show evidence of failing to act cautiously which adds to my concern for using GMO.
I love antibiotics, but the way we are using them is endangering millions of lives (that is a bad thing). I don’t trust us to use science wisely and safely. We need to more consciously put barriers in place to prevent us creating massively problems.