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August 24, 2000


Replies to Dr. Meadows


Dear Professor Meadows

I found your recent article on gene splicing fascinating.

(See Agbioview Message 752:

I was reminded, when reading about the shenanigans ascribed to an unnamed
NIH official, of a comment made by Stephen Schneider in 1989: "To capture
the public's imagination ... we have to offer up some scary scenarios,
make simplified, dramatic statements, and little mention of any doubts one
might have ... Each of us has to decide the right balance between being
effective and being honest."

Schneider-a prominent climate modeller-was demanding restrictions on
greenhouse gas emissions on the grounds that the earth is getting too hot.

Perhaps both sides are willing to play fast and loose with the truth. I
was intrigued, for example, to read in your article that biotechnology is
unregulated. I wonder if you are aware of the FDA controls on this
technology and the even more stringent controls present in Europe?

Good texts on this subject include:

"The Regulation of Modern Biotechnology: A Historical and European
Perspective. A Case Study in How Societies Cope with New Knowledge in the
Last Quarter of the 20th Century", Mark F Cantley. Chapter 18 (pp.
503-681) of Volume 12: Legal, Economic and Ethical Dimensions (edited by D
Brauer), of the Multi-Volume Comprehensive Treatise Biotechnology (Second,
completely revised edition), edited by H-J Rehm and G Reed in co-operation
with A Puhler and P Stadler. Pub: VCH, Weinheim, 1995.

"European Regulation of Genetically Modifieed Organisms" Rod Hunter, in
Morris and Bate (ed.) Fearing Food (Butterworth-Heinemann, 1999).

Policy Controversy in Biotechnology: an Insider's View, Henry Miller
(R.G.Landes Co., Austin, TX, 1997)

I look forward to your follow-up essay on this subject.

Yours sincerely,

Julian Morris

Julian Morris
Director, Environment and Technology Programme
Institute of Econmic Affairs
London SW1P 3LB
email: jmorris@iea.org.uk
phone: +44 20 77 99 89 21
fax: +44 20 77 99 21 37

Date: Aug 24 2000 16:29:42 EDT
From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Meadows

Meadows claims we should worry about the manipulation of corporate science
and scientific colleagues. If anything, most scientific studies and
consumer surveys are biased in favor of organic farming, so Meadows can
relax, see my earlier post on irrelevance bias.

Anyone who would like to comment on this article should send a response to
author at donella.h.meadows@dartmouth.edu.



How It Happened That We Don't Regulate Biotech
by Donella Meadows

"All policymakers must be vigilant to the possibility of research
data being manipulated by corporate bodies and of scientific
colleagues being seduced by the material charms of industry. Trust is
no defence against an aggressively deceptive corporate sector," THE
LANCET, April 2000