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July 17, 2000


Nader, Ho's petition, Iron deficiency, Environmentalists


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

Date: Jul 17 2000 18:54:05 EDT
From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Nader


With US presidential campaigns looming, and no incumbent in the lineup,
eco-reactionaries have been pressing the Nader candidacy as a way to
threaten a split in the Gore vote in order to force Gore to embrace an
anti-biotechnology stance. That's the announced intention of the "Campaign
To Label GM Foods," and likely others are taking the same approach.
Industry observers will want to watch the Nader campaign

Date: Jul 17 2000 20:05:06 EDT
From: Roger Morton
Subject: Re: Who is a scientist

>From: "Garth Coffin"

>In the context of the discussion of who is a scientist and who isn,t, I
>feel obliged to caution our biological scientist colleagues not to be too
>exclusive in their definition of who qualifies as a scientist and, by
>extension, who has standing to comment on biotech. There are, after all,
>different kinds of scientists, each of whom can bring something to bear
>on this debate. I cite the example of social scientists, of which
>economics is one, who have a good deal of legitimate argument to offer
>about these developments and their impact, if not on the technicalities
>of food safety or gene expression.

Dear Garth,

I aggree that we should not exclude economists and other social scientists
from the debate. However, they should offer comments from their field of
expertise to the debate.

Dr Ho's petition is however put forward in the context of food
andenvironmental safety.

To quote from a recent posting of Ho's:

>There is indeed sufficient direct and
>indirect scientific evidence to suggest that GMOs are unsafe for use as
>food or for release into the environment. And that is why more than 300
>scientists from 38 countries are demanding a moratorium on all releases of
>GMOs (World Scientists Statement and Open Letter to All Governments

Ho claims they are scienstists qualified to offer considered expert
opinions on these matters when quite clearly the vast majority of
signatories to this document are not qualified to comment on these issues.

Dr Roger Morton 02 6246 5069 (ph)
CSIRO Plant Industry 02 6246 5000 (fax)
GPO Box 1600 roger.morton@pi.csiro.au

Date: Jul 17 2000 21:10:44 EDT
From: Rick Roush
Subject: Re: Reply to Marcus Williamson

>Perhaps you could indicate how you, or indeed anyone else on this
>list, is better qualified to address world food issues?
>Marcus Williamson

Marcus. like anything else, experts become qualified as a result of study,
experience, and showing that they can make significant contributions. I
am not an expert on world food issues, but it is very clear to me that
neither is Shiva. People like Norman Borlaug and Gordon Conway have paid
their dues and are proven contributors. They also support GM for
developing countries.


Subj: Men and Women and Iron
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 8:06:28 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Roger Morton

>Margaret Mellon, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, concurs. "How
>many micronutrients can you put into rice?" she asks. Will poor people
>have to choose between, say, vitamin-A-enriched rice and iron-enriched
> Mellon also notes that most of the people
>suffering from these deficiencies are women and children. Where are the
>men getting their nutrients? she asks.

I don't know about vitamin A but it is well known that women have a
higher dietary requirement for iron because of the menstrual cycle.
Children have a higher dietary requirement for iron and vitamin A because
they are growing rapidly. It seems that for a concerned scientist Mellon
does not know too much about science.

Dr Roger Morton 02 6246 5069 (ph)
CSIRO Plant Industry 02 6246 5000 (fax)
GPO Box 1600 roger.morton@pi.csiro.au

Subj: response to Paul Ebert
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2000 7:49:10 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: "Ewer, J, Jonathan, Mr"

It seems to me that Paul is right in congratulating the greens for
slowing down the degradation of our environment but they also seem to be
throwing the baby out with the bath water.

You cannot refuse to use a technology just because "it has not been
proven unsafe yet." Don't be ridiculous! must a new technology be proved
dangerous before we can use it? is that the case? damned if we do and
damned if we dont it seems to me.

What makes this technology different from DDTs and CFCs etc is that it
has the whole hearted backing of the scientific community and not just the
'profit driven big businneses'. Oh, by the way does anyone know what
greenpeace's income is? millions? billions? does this not make them a
'profit driven big business'? They have a fleet of ships dammit! how much
do you think that costs?

This may explain why the greens like to attack dramatic new technologies
like GM and nuclear: because people will donate money if you tell them
they have frankenstein plants and radioactive nuclear bombs just outside
thier door. No one will donate money for a campaign to stop themselves
driving their cars (which probably cause more damage to the environment
than anything else).

This is further demonstrated by the fact that green groups always want to
save the majestic and awe-inspiring whale and cute little cuddly fluffy
panda bears but never seem all that keen to save anything
microscopic/short/squat or ugly even though the latter may be of far more
consequence to the environment.

Should scientists stick to scientific discourse and run back into thier
ivory towers from whence they came and leave the public as uninformed as

What do you think?
> The environmental movement is consistently attacked in AgBioView. It
is a
> very diverse movement and not all bad. Just a few of the many positive
> things that these "dangerous" people brought you:
> The Clean Water Act, The Clean Air Act, The Endangered Species Act,
> Wilderness preservation, Ban on DDT, Ban on CFCs and much more. Those
> just some of the battles that were won. Maybe some of you are too young
> remember the "good old days" of the industrial revolution before
> environmentalist fought for regulations and tried to slow the
> deterioration of the environment.
> Why are many environmental groups concerned about biotechnology in
> and GM products specifically? Because the same stale arguments are
> trotted out by industry and those primarily concerned about their
> well being above all else. "It has not been proven unsafe yet", "It
> cost to much", Corporations: "We are not just in it for profit".
> Environmentalist have heard it before and the same old arguments have
> wrong or exaggerated. We should thank the environmentalists for their
> efforts to fight against powerful interests to make this planet just a
> little bit better place to live.