On Apr 7, 2007, at 3:19 AM, Robt Mann wrote:
It is the brutal fact of illegitimate recombination creating GM-bastards that is 'the' problem, no?
Brutal, illegitimate, bastards... I think this is called leading the witness.
I don't think it's 'the' problem. In my opinion, the problem is that, despite not knowing all of the potential hazards and complications that might arise from GM technology (or indeed, knowing full well some of the paramount dangers), agribusiness goes forward with their profit making. But this isn't necessarily an inherent problem of GM technology, but with the system under which it is utilized. Is it possible to know absolutely everything about a technology, whether it would be generally helpful or harmful to the inhabitants (human and non-human), before it is decided to implement it? Maybe not, but really the question is not about knowing absolutely all of the dangers associated with any social experiment (which is what I consider wide-scale application of a new technology to be). Rather, it is the way in which the experiment is run and its relationship to the class structure. Currently there are many dangerous technologies in use. But as long as a certain threshold of damage to workers, regarding death and/or disease, is minimal, and profit margins can be maintained, then the technology continues. But can we conceive of a society that would scientifically analyze the affects of a technology and then decide to discontinue its use, should it be found to be too harmful? I should hope so. Isn't that what most of the people on this list are fighting for, in one way or another?
Perhaps GM technology will prove to be too harmful to be of any use to society. I don't think this estimation can truly be made until we live in a society that will analyze the effects based on societal welfare and not on profit motive.
Maybe I am alone in this, but I can't think of any technology that is inherently harmful or "bad".
My own personal opinion is that these crude insertion methods must cause insertional mutations and (insofar as such metaphors are ever valid) should indeed be seen as rape, overwhelming natural barriers to insist on alien insertions.
The anthropomorphism notwithstanding, if this is true then we should re-classify retroviruses as rapists. I'm not sure what Thornhill and Palmer ("A Natural History of Rape") would say about it, but I'm guessing it would put a smile on their faces.