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GMOs, Silver Bullets and the Trap of Reductionist Thinking

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Genetic Engineering Page and our Millions Against Monsanto Page.

Against my better judgment, I'm dipping my toe into the genetically modified organism debate.

These are rough waters. GMOs seem to polarize people more than almost any other topic, including evolution or climate change. And the debates around GMOs - especially whether they are safe to eat or safe to grow - can get very fierce. While it takes a lot of effort, I try to stay open-minded on the topic, because this isn't a simple black and white issue.

But it should be obvious to everyone that the use of GMOs in agriculture - so far, at least - has come with some big problems. Even strong GMO proponents, if they stop and think about it, would have to acknowledge that important difficulties have arisen.

From where I sit, the biggest problem associated with GMOs isn't the technology per se; it's how they've been deployed. Despite early promises, as GMOs move from lab into the real world, they end up being very disappointing.

In theory, GMOs sound very useful. They are supposed to help us "feed the world" because they will improve food security, dramatically boost crop yields, combat weeds and pests using fewer chemicals, make crops more nutritious, and have tremendous benefits to society. But have they?

No. Not really.  


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