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April 29, 2000


RE: High School Students Ask Tough Questions


- http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com

Dear Teren:

Thank you for your thoughtful questions. Here are the

> 1. How come the environmental terrorists do not get taken
> to court?
> In the United States, the terrorists do not get taken to
> court because none have been caught as yet. In Great
> Britain, they are caught, but so far they have not been
> convicted because it is widely thought that they are
> acting in legitimate defense of the environment.
> 2. Why do you believe that the opposition comes from lack
> of knowledge?
> The opposition does not come from lack of knowledge. The
> knowledge is freely available. It comes, instead, from
> lack of understanding, and that lack leads directly to
> fear. An alternative would be for them to trust
> scientists, because we hire scientists to know and
> understand things and explain them to us, but they do not
> want to trust the scientists.
> 3. How do you fight back against terrorists?
> As history and military theory has long taught, it is
> extremely difficult, nearly impossible, actually, to fight
> back effectively against terrorists. Most measures rely on
> heightened security, such as you see in airports and some
> schools.
> 4. How do you believe your research should be funded? For
> example, tax payers, private organizations etc.
> The strict capitalist answer is: whoever wants the results
> of the research and is able to pay for it, should do so.
> Some feel that tax payers should fund basic research,
> through colleges and universities, and leave to private
> organizations the cost of researching new products for the
> market. They say this because they believe that government
> should support private enterprise, rather than compete
> with it. As you might imagine, this is a matter of some
> contention, and what we currently have is a mix of public
> and private research in both basic and commercial areas.
> 5. What motivates you to do your research? For example,
> solve the hunger issue, interest in the topic etc.
> Haven spoken to a number of researchers, I have the
> distinct impression that what motivates them is the thrill
> of discovery. What motivates private enterprise to pay
> scientists to have this kind of fun (and it is a lot of
> fun) is returning a profit to shareholders. Such profits
> are not possible if you cannot sell things to, i.e.,
> hungry people. As for "solving the hunger issue," there
> are many public institutions who have hired scientists to
> solve that very issue, and they are working very hard on
> it. They have invented some very good things which hungry
> people can grow to feed themselves with.
> 6. What keeps you motivated after appreciate it greatly
> something like the torching of Agriculture Hall at
> Michigan State University happens?
> I will have to leave it to the scientists in this group to
> answer number 6. They have often expressed deep sadness
> and disappointment that their efforts are so poorly
> appreciated, that is all I know.
> Kindest regards,
> Andrew Apel, editor
> AgBiotech Reporter
> http://www.bioreporter.com