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It's Time To Bring Pseudoscience Into the Science Classroom

ChromeAeonium I agree with this (470 comments)

A lot of the pseudo-science out there has, in a sense, adapted to having common knowledge applied. Take vaccines for example. A class might teach how they work, discuss the history of how they have stopped many diseases, but what is one to do when presented with the latest anti-vaccine goal-shifted argument, like the 'too many too soon' line? When you have people who will continuously invent new arguments as their basic premise is yet again demonstrated to be false, it is best to teach people the basics of pseudoscience along with science, so that the former can be spotted for what it is. The same applies for a slew of other common nonsenses, which could be used as case studies. I suspect giving clear case studies may be particularly beneficial. My personal anecdote, I was raised to believe in young earth creationism, and it was the realization that I was being expected to commit the same kinds of errors as homeopaths & other woo-woos that helped me to realize that what I had been taught was wrong in a great many ways.

about two weeks ago
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Synthetic Chromosomes Successfully Integrated Into Brewer's Yeast

ChromeAeonium Re:We Can Rebuild It (107 comments)

They inserted a gene for a version of the EPSP synthase enzyme (the enzyme that produces aromatic amino acids, and the target of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round-Up) from Agrobacterium, as well as a gene from petunia that moves the enzyme to the chloroplast where it is needed. That way when you spray Round-Up, it binds to and deactivates the native plant version of EPSP synthase, but the bacterial one, which is different at the binding site of the glyphosate, still functions, thus creating an herbicide tolerant plant.

about three weeks ago
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Synthetic Chromosomes Successfully Integrated Into Brewer's Yeast

ChromeAeonium Re:The screams will be forthcoming soon.... (107 comments)

Maybe large overgrown teosinte plants that can't even survive in the wild aren't normal and sea slugs with algae genes are. Normal isn't always what you think.

about three weeks ago
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Synthetic Chromosomes Successfully Integrated Into Brewer's Yeast

ChromeAeonium Re:The screams will be forthcoming soon.... (107 comments)

but what I do care about is the profiteering of it

That would be a reasonable criticism, if it were at all true that Monsanto goes around suing people willy-nilly. They don't. That's a myth fabricated by the anti-GMO movement to discredit genetic engineering via guilt by association. There is not a single case, not one, of Monsanto suing a farmer for being cross pollinated. Every single time, they knew damned well that they were violating the law. What you are doing would be like looking at a guy selling bootleg copies of Frozen and declaring that Disney made home videos illegal. It is dishonest and false.

Monsanto has achieved a monopoly status

Monopoly? Tell that to Syngenta, Dow, and Pioneer. This does not look like a monopoly to me.

by using the legal system to patent their modifications

They patent plants, so what? Breeders (aka the people ensuring you have an abundant and tasty food supply, you're welcome) been doing for decades. You know those nice, sweet, HoneyCrisp apples that everyone loves? Thank plant patents for supporting the program that developed it.

Monsanto's exploitation of nature to achieve a monopoly is so bad that some countries have completely banned Monsanto and its products

You're not even trying to avoid the ad populum there are you. More countries have laws against homosexuality than genetic engineering, but that doesn't make it right. By the way, they have laws against genetic engineering, not Monsanto. If this is about one single company, why do you think a, for example, GMO papaya developed by the University of Hawai'i (aka not Monsanto) would be just as illegal as a Syngenta corn, while a non-GMO tomato by Monsanto would be legal...and somehow this is about the company? Nope, it is populism combined with fearmongering combined with trade protectionism, and no one cares if science gets thrown under the bus. Stop defending it. There's no defense for it.

Oh and I'll just throw it out there that Monsanto were the ones who developed and peddled Agent Orange to the U.S. Government as a cure all for jungle warfare back in the day.

Now you're just fishing for an emotional response, and you're wrong to boot. The government developed it. Companies such as Monsanto and Dow produced it (during the Cold War, I might add). They actually warned the government about impurities. The government didn't care. And even if you were right, it still doesn't matter. You might as well stop buying Ford cars because their founder was antisemitic or stop buying Volkswagen because of their Nazi ties. You're using what's called the genetic fallacy.

In short, you are wrong. Monsanto is not the bogeyman they are made out to be. They are only the target of so many false accusations because a giant shadow overlord buying off all the independent scientists and manipulating all the data is absolutely essential to maintain the anti-GMO conspiracy. If there were no Monsanto, it would be necessary for the anti-GMO movement to create it.

about three weeks ago
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Synthetic Chromosomes Successfully Integrated Into Brewer's Yeast

ChromeAeonium Re:We Can Rebuild It (107 comments)

Montsanto will, besides owning the entire food business, also own the entire alcoholic drink business as well.

You are wrong, promoting a bullshit conspiracy theory, and you didn't even spell Monsanto right either time.

about three weeks ago
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Pine Tree Has Largest Genome Ever Sequenced

ChromeAeonium Re:I'm Inferior To A Tree (71 comments)

Hey now, just because what you've got is smaller doesn't make you any less of an organism. It's not the size that counts, its how you use it.

about a month ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

ChromeAeonium Re:Because... (794 comments)

But I've got no love for any of the companies in that field, so I'm fine with hurting other GMO companies in addition to Monsanto.

That's silly. You're free to create a market demand so that you are the one paying for it though, but don't drag the rest of us into it.

Given that I don't really see an upside to GMO crops, I don't really see a need to reexamine what I've heard.

Considering the rate of adoption among farmers, maybe you should reconsider your take on that one. Reduced insecticide use, better weed management, no-till promotion, saving the Hawaiian papaya industry, and higher yield are all proven and well documented benefits.

Now you're just being obtuse.

The silliness of both situations was kind of the point. I know the difference between theory the scientific term and theory the common vernacular. You can be intentionally misleading with accurate terms, just like misuse of food labeling can be misleading even if accurate.

about a month and a half ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

ChromeAeonium Re:Author of TFA mixes apples and oranges (794 comments)

If pharmaceuticals and GMOs were in any way comparable, you might have a point. However, they are not.

about a month and a half ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

ChromeAeonium Re:Because they don't preach (794 comments)

There isn't a national debate surrounding gluten-free pancake mix.

There is about the GE crops Whole Foods is always on about. If I say "Everyone deserves to know to think for themselves! Just put a label the [blank] on the [blakn]!' is the missing work evolution/textbooks, or GMOs/foods? They're both part of unscientific, regressive movements. Neither is the main driver, but they're both moving in bad directions.

about a month and a half ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

ChromeAeonium Re:Food. (794 comments)

I'd love to know the causative mechanism behind this. I mean, its complicated, but I'm guessing your reaction is either do to factors not directly involving the organic growing methods, or its psychological.

about a month and a half ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

ChromeAeonium Re:Because... (794 comments)

It irks me that they also encourage it. I know a guy barely making ends meet who shops at the local overpriced natural/organic/non-GMO store because he is afraid that doing otherwise would be a health hazard. I once seriously heard he say he only buys 'non-chemical sugar.' They might sell some nice produce, but stores like that also sell fear.

about a month and a half ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

ChromeAeonium Re:Why single out Whole Foods? (794 comments)

No, we want some assurances they've done real safety testing instead of just assuming,

There's hundreds of studies on the topic. You're pulling the same 'just one transition fossil' trope. In fact, that line would fit even closer in a anti-vaccine argument.

and we don't want the option of buying non-GMO foods destroyed because of cross-pollination which contaminates crops which aren't supposed to have that in it.

You could apply that to anything. No hybrids by my heirlooms? No red corn by my yellow corn? No warty squash by my smooth squash? Your reasoning is highly selective.

about a month and a half ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

ChromeAeonium Re:Why single out Whole Foods? (794 comments)

I disagree. In my opinion, the IP issues are merely an attempt to move the goalpost, so that anti-science becomes the much more reasonable anti-corporation. For example, the Honeycrisp apple used to be patented. The patent expired, but in that time the breeding program was able to recoup their costs and make enough to develop new varieties, such as the fabulous SnowSweet. Who complained? No one, that's who, because the system worked, and GMOs weren't involved. Now Monsanto patents a variety of soy, which I might remind you goes off patent before the end of this year, uses that money to produce new things like DroughtGard, a drought tolerant corn (assuming that works, independent data not yet in), and that's bad? They have a monopoly you say? Tell that to BASF, Syngenta, Dow Agrosciences, Pioneer, Bayer Cropscience, Vilmorin, and all the other small seed companies. Of course, given that less that 2% of the population is actively connected to agriculture, are you really surprised that we don't have a huge number of companies? Hell, everyone owns computers and there's really only two major companies selling operating systems so I'd say the seed world is doing pretty damned good.

I'm tired of defending them (if I was into that I could easily be working for them and be living much nicer than I do now), but I wish people would stop with the bullshit about them. Plant patents are good. Sorry, you might not agree that the people improving the plants that help make your lifestyle possible deserve to make a living themselves, but they do. You think plant breeding is easy? You think genetic engineering is simple? It isn't! Ever had a pluot? Ever had a really nice watermelon or ear of sweet corn? Years of someone's dedicated effort went into that. You want to attack Monsanto? Fine, whatever, go ahead, but try to stick to the real and the rational.

about a month and a half ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

ChromeAeonium Re:Because... (794 comments)

I want them labeled because I don't want a dime of my money to go to Monsanto.

Great, now Syngenta's GMO sweet corn is labeled and Monsanto's non-GMO broccoli is not. You do realize the topic is more complicated they you're presenting it yes?

I want Monsanto to die because of their patent policy,

You mean the ones anti-GMO groups routinely lie about? The one where no farmer has ever been sued for accidental cross pollination despite the lies to the contrary? The one that has allowed them to recoup losses to reinvest in new projects like Vistive Gold soybeans and DroughtGard corn, the exact thing patent laws are supposed to do? The one that basically all plant breeders use to fund themselves without controversy (you think your non-GMO crops are not patented? Think again). The one where their first GE soy goes off patent this year? What exactly do you find wrong with it?

It's an informed consumer issue, nothing more.

I want textbooks to be labeled as identifying evolution as just a theory. It's true, you know. Evolution is just a theory, disagree with that? Then why not label it, just for information's sake? Or, do you think that selectively deciding what gets labeled and what does not is a deceptive and biased lie by omission? Most people have no idea what goes into their food, what things breeders do, and you want to irrationally single out one aspect, one that is the easiest to identify (corn, soy, cotton, canola, alfalfa, sugar beet, summer squash, and papaya are the only species that are GE) and call that informative? Instead of spreading education the pro-labeling people just want a label that says nothing other than how a crop was improved, completely ignoring the nature of the modification and rational behind it. In other words, a label that contains no information. I tell you I modified my computer; tell me exactly what I did to it. Can you do that? If not, my statement was not informative, was is? That pro-labeling people push for something that is the target of fearmongering, that you know damned well will be taken to be a bad thing if singled out, without attempting to inform or educate or give context should tell you something.

about a month and a half ago
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

ChromeAeonium Re: God (794 comments)

My wife likes to buy organic fresh vegetables, fruit and free range meat because of the less intensive farming and ranching practices.

I don't buy organic because, among other reasons (promoting socially unsustainable rigid pre-scientific pre-enlightenment appeal to nature type dogma being the main one), I prefer the more intensive farming practices. You might feel good supporting less intensive practices, and that's fine, but there's a reason organic production is not a universal practice; among other things, lower yield per acre, which is to say, more land requirements to produce the same amount of food. If everyone went all natural there'd be no nature left.

about a month and a half ago
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Designer Seeds Thought To Be Latest Target By Chinese

ChromeAeonium Re:Beta sucks! (164 comments)

I sort of miss Clippy and the other Office Assistants. Sure, I never used them and they mostly just got in the way, but I still kind of liked them

about 2 months ago
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Designer Seeds Thought To Be Latest Target By Chinese

ChromeAeonium Re:good. hope they get monsanto too. (164 comments)

these gmo mofos have been making life extremely hard for average joe farmer

Yeah, I'm sure their utter hatred for GE seed is why they keep buying and using it.

about 2 months ago
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Designer Seeds Thought To Be Latest Target By Chinese

ChromeAeonium Re:seeds as mother nature made them (164 comments)

You mean like seedless bananas and seedless watermelons? Surly those were made by nature, since sterility & seedlessness are such an advantageous traits. Or corn, which has its seeds encased by a husk preventing dispersal. Yep, a product of nature right there.

Even if what you were saying wasn't an appeal to nature, the same nonsense spouted by every snakeoil salesman hawking naturopathic cure-alls I might add, you're still wrong. Everything you eat has been dramatically changed by human hands. Strawberries? Human creation. Wheat? Human creation. Look it up, neither of those existed in nature prior to humans making them. Broccoli, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are the same damned species, selected for centuries by humans. Ever seen a wild carrot? Look up Queen Anne's lace. Same thing, not that you'd recognize it. Carrots weren't even orange until a few centuries ago. Wild apples are small and sour, wild pears are gritty, wild cherries are just bad, wild grapes are seedy, wild tomatoes are tiny, wild potatoes are mildly toxic, the first beans to be eaten had to be popped like popcorn. Even the original corn was not sweet.

The notion that science can do better isn't hubris. It's well proven fact that you take unknowingly enjoy the benefits of every day. The only arrogance I ever see when dealing with this topic are people who know bugger all about plants, agriculture, or genetics, yet still think they know better than those who actually work with plants. It's the Dunning-Kruger effect in action.

about 2 months ago
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Kentucky: Programming Language = Foreign Language

ChromeAeonium Re:KY SB 16 2014 (426 comments)

No one is saying that Latin would not be useful in learning other romance languages, but I do not see how understanding various quirks of etymology (ex. forêt used to have an S, just like English forest still does) is sufficiently valuable to merit learning an entirely separate language, even if it is the ancestral language, as opposed to simply learning those various things that it would help you with. Learning Latin as an aid, unless you are learning the languages to study linguistics, while interesting from an intellectual standpoint sounds very inefficient from a practical one. I'd much rather use other useful languages as my guide. Even if we make the assumption that the cross language benefits are substantially less, I fail to see how the usefulness in terms of communication applications would not compensate for whatever is lost in terms of learning guidance.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Publicly funded GMO research facing destruction

ChromeAeonium ChromeAeonium writes  |  about 2 years ago

ChromeAeonium (1026952) writes "Shortly after the events in Rothamsted Research in the UK, where a publicly funded trial of wheat genetically engineered to repel aphids was threatened by activists with destruction and required police protection, another publicly funded experiment involving genetically engineered crops faces possible destruction (original in Italian). The trial, which is being conducted by researchers at the University of Tuscia in Italy on cherries, olives, and kiwis genetically engineered to have traits such as fungal disease resistance, started three decades ago. When field research of GE plants was banned in Italy in 2002, the trial received an extension to avoid being declared illegal, but was denied another in 2008, and following a complaint from the Genetic Rights Foundation, now faces destruction on June 12th, despite appeals from scientists. The researchers claim that the destruction is scientifically unjustifiable (only the male kiwis produce transgenic pollen and their flowers are removed) and wish to gather more information from the long running experiment."
Link to Original Source
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New study confirms safety of GE crops

ChromeAeonium ChromeAeonium writes  |  more than 2 years ago

ChromeAeonium (1026952) writes "Much like vaccines and evolution, there exists a great disparity between the scientific consensus and the public perceptions of the safety of genetically engineered crops. A previous study from France, which was later dismissed by the EFSA, FSANZ, and the French High Council of Biotechnologies, claiming to have found abnormalities in the organs of animals fed GE diets by analyzing three previous studies was discussed on Slashdot. However, now a new study, also out of France, claims the opposite is true, that GE crops are unlikely to pose health risks (translation). Looking at 24 long term and multi-generational studies on insect resistant and herbicide tolerant plants, the study states, 'The studies reviewed present evidence to show that GM plants are nutritionally equivalent to their non-GM counterparts and can be safely used in food and feed.' Although it is impossible to prove a negative, and while every GE crop must be individually evaluated as genetic engineering is a process not a product, perhaps this study will help to ease the fears of genetically engineered food and foster a more scientific discussion on the role of agricultural biotechnology."
Link to Original Source
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Greenpeace destroys CSIRO scientific GMO trial

ChromeAeonium ChromeAeonium writes  |  more than 2 years ago

ChromeAeonium (1026952) writes "Greenpeace activists wearing theatrical hazmat suits have destroyed a test field of genetically modified wheat run by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) that represented a year's worth of work and $300,000. The wheat, which was designed to benefit consumers by having a lower glycemic index and higher fiber content, was accused of being unsafe by Greenpeace (although it was noticed they say the same thing about other GM crops), however experts dismissed these claims, saying that the risk was negligible and noting that such tests are how safety is ultimately judged, that Greenpeace breached containment protocol in their attack, and calling Greenpeace anti-science. Greenpeace was also accused of hypocrisy for demanding action based on climate change consensus while denying scientific consensus on genetic engineering. Taking a page out of Jenny McCarthy's book, one of the vandals claims to be have done it for her children, despite the safety record of genetic engineering. This was just one in a series of recent attacks on agricultural science, following an attack on government funded GM potatoes in Germany and before possible eco-terrorism hit papaya farmers in Hawaii, spreading fear throughout the farmers there. Given the attacks against GM potatoes earlier this year, and on GM grapes before that (both government funded), it looks like freedom of inquiry in agricultural research is increasingly limited to whatever won't get destroyed."
Link to Original Source

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