Thursday, May 19, 2016

Questions Avoided: Is "argumentum ad ignorantiam" a type of GMO plant?

A reputable scientist will agree that argument from ignorance is a logical fallacy ("argumentum ad ignorantiam" - the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence), but that doesn't mean educated people are incapable of making mistakes, cherry picking or ignoring what they don't want to hear.

GMO advocates still haven't answered important questions about GMO plants: Why are they actively speaking out against and criticizing those who choose not to eat or grow GMO?  Have they shown it is harmful to continue eating and growing plants that have been grown and eaten for thousands of years?  Are they trying to force everyone to abandon and never again grow what we have been eating? 

Why do GMO advocate mischaracterize and equating of those who don't want GMO to "conspiracy theorists"?  If your argument is right, you don't need to attack those who disagree with you.

All emphasis added to the text is mine.
Alternet: The Media Got It Wrong About a New Report Saying GMOs Are Safe: Here Are 3 Takeaways

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on GE crops and technology was met with cheers from the biotech industry, but little meaningful scrutiny by the mainstream media. Initial media reports boiled the message down to “GMOs Are Safe” and “healthy,” some even claiming that the study “proves” the safety of genetically modified crops.

1. GMOs are safe, but..."

Absence of evidence is not absence of effect," Dr. Fred Gould, a professor at North Carolina State University and chair of the Committee on Genetically Engineered Crops, told UPI. "We're very clear to point out that with very subtle long term health effects, it's really difficult to point out such a thing."

2. We don’t need labels, but ...

Labeling GE food is no panacea, but it will increase the odds that problems will be detected sooner rather than later. The decision to not label GE foods has the effect of keeping the entire medical community on the sidelines, unaware of possible GE food-allergen problems, and not capable of doing anything about them.


3. GMOs don’t harm the environment, but...

Despite finding no “conclusive cause-and-effect evidence of environmental problems from GE crops,” Gilliam wrote, the committee concluded that “evolved resistance to current GE characteristics in crops is a major agricultural problem.”

In other words, a problem for farmers, but no problem for the environment. 

Did the committee make any definitive, declarative statements? Perhaps this one: Contrary to the biotech industry propaganda, GMO crops are doing nothing to improve farmers’ yields or feed the world.
"The committee examined data on overall rates of increase in yields of soybean, cotton and maize in the U.S. for the decades preceding introduction of GE crops and after their introduction, and there was no evidence that GE crops had changed the rate of increase in yields.”

But we already knew that.
So "GMO is safe" is a false statement.  A more honest statement would be "GMO has not yet been proven to cause harm."

If there is no benefit in yield to growing GMO crops but there is potential risks by growing them, then why should people not have the choice not to grow GMO?  If you say you're not trying to take away people's choice, then why criticize, attack and mischaracterize those who don't want to eat or grow GMO plants?

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