The Instigator
Charr
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
Revolution
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Be it resolved that Genetically Modified (GM) agriculture is beneficial to society.*

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Charr
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/3/2010 Category: Health
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,599 times Debate No: 13872
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (1)

 

Charr

Pro

*Clarification- as I will state in my definition, beneficial meaning does more harm than good overall, not whether there are benefits or not.

It is undeniable that Genetically Modified Agriculture plays a large part in the average consumer's diet, as even since 1996 (The year of my birth, coincidentally :B), the global area of GM crops under cultivation has grown at more than 10 % per annum. The estimated total global cultivated area of approved GM crops in 2005 was 90 million hectares, (222 million acres). Additionally, more than one-third (38 %) of the 2005 total, equivalent to 33.9 million hectares, was grown in developing countries. [1]

...

I will begin by redefining my resolution, "Be it resolved that Genetically Modified (GM) agriculture is beneficial to society."

I define "Genetically Modified Agriculture" as any plant with a significant amount of altered DNA through the process of genetic engineering.

I define "Beneficial to society" in a Semi-Utilitarianist (Raw) sense. This means that "beneficial", refers to the amount of pleasure distributed throughout every sentient being, as well as encompassing health and environmental benefits.

...

I will conclude by stating my contention. With thorough acknowledgement for the potential health and environmental impacts GM agriculture brings, I strongly believe that transgenic plants should remain available for commercial distribution with the addition of a label to differentiate/highlight non-GM agriculture for ethical/medical purposes. This is due to the many benefits to consumer health, cost, and also the flavor of the food itself that GM foods provide. By taking these products off the market, we are limiting our progress due to trivial faults.

===

[1] http://www.pnas.org...
Revolution

Con

I contest the earlier definition.

Beneficial to society: Achieving greater greater tangible positive consequences than negative ones.

1. Fruits (such as pluots) which are a cross between two normal fruits are not genetically modified. These kinds of fruits have existed longer than genetic modification has, and are achieved through grafting. This debases my opponent's contention regarding improved flavor.

2. My opponent states "I strongly believe that transgenic plants should remain available for commercial distribution with the addition of a label to differentiate/highlight non-GM agriculture for ethical/medical purposes." However, the resolution is that GM agriculture is beneficial to society, not that it should be available.

3. My opponent's link speaks of corn enhanced with vitamins, but there is no reason why vitamins cannot be administered separately in a pill.

4."benefits to consumer health, cost, and also the flavor". My opponent has not stated any health or cost benefits, and I have refuted his flavor argument.

5. "trivial faults." The risks of GM food are still unknown, and we have no way to know how dangerous it is. But for the time being the risks outweigh the benefits, and further testing and research must be done to determine whether GM agriculture is beneficial to society or not.

I thank my opponent for an enjoyable first round and look forward to the rest of the debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Charr

Pro

Very well, I accept your definition.

.

I would firstly like to thank my opponent for taking on this debate. I look forward to a constructive and engaging debate.

In this round, I will proceed to first rebutt my opponent's points, then further expand on my previous introduction and add points on the flavour, health, and many consumer benefits of GM food products.

.

.

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===Rebuttals===
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My opponent first stated-
"Fruits (such as pluots) which are a cross between two normal fruits are not genetically modified...This debases my opponent's contention regarding improved flavor."
.

Now, this statement was clearly a poorly researched one. What my opponent must understand is that grafting IS A FORM of genetic modification. During the process of grafting, plants transplant genes, and the transplantation of genes is genetic modification.[1] Futhermore, grafting does not even come close to the capablilties of today's genetic modification methods.

"This debases my opponent's contention regarding improved flavor."

So in conclusion, no. This does nothing to debase my contention at all.

.

...

.

My opponent has also stated-

"...The risks of GM food are still unknown..."

.

This is a subjective statement. You have to realize that 45% of US corn, and 85% of US soybeans are already grown with genetic modifications.[2] If we did not already have a solid understanding of the impacts that GM foods present, surely it would be outrageous for the US government to premit such a thing.

.

"...we have no way to know how dangerous it is..."

This is also subjective. What my opponent has to understand is that GM foods have been on the market since the 1990's.[3]This would mean that someone like me has been consuming GM foods all my life. If fourteen years worth of exposure to GM food does not cause severe development defects, then this in itself is already STRONG evidence that GM food is not as dangerous as you would have us believe. Additionally, what my opponent also must realize is that GM foods are tested extensively before they arrive onto the commerical market.

.

"...But for the time being the risks outweigh the benefits..."

This is also subjective and refuted by my previous points.

.

So in conclusion, all three of the statements above were completely subjective with no certifiable source, and therefore completely in my opponents opion. However the fact is that these statements were most likely made without a sufficient understanding of the GM process, and therefore easily refuted.

.

...

.

My opponent has also stated-
"My opponent's link speaks of corn enhanced with vitamins... My opponent has not stated any health or cost benefits, and I have refuted his flavor argument."

.

In response to that, I will proceed to state health and cost benefits this round, and additionally, you have not refuted my flavor argument.

.

...

.

===========
===Benefits===
===========

There are currently 124 million people in East-Asian countries suffering from Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD).[4] This is already being combatted with the instigation of what people refer to as "Golden Rice", which is rice with genes implanted from daffodils and bacterium. This leaves us with rice containing an abnormally large amount of Vitamin A.[5] This can be grown by VAD farmers, and comes at no cost to the consumer, whereas a vitamin supplement solution would only prove costly and unefficient. Thus, this is an example of the health benefits genetically modified foods can bring.

...

The texture, flavour, and ripeness of, say a tomato, can also benefit with a slight modification of genes. Through genetic modification, the tomato can gain other desirable qualities from other fruits and vegetables, even from animals and bacteria. There are real life examples of this. For example, one version of the tomato with it's enzymes repressed will last longer without going soft. This strain of tomato is being produced in small batches around the world, and comes at virtually no expense to the consumer.[6] Is this not an example of genetically modified agriculture augmenting the flavour of such a product?

...

Fieldcorn is another glowing GM success story. Among the 169x increase in beta carotene, 6x the vitamin C and 2x folate quantity, this GM corn is insect and virus resilent. Growing this type of corn minimizes the usage of costly pesticides, and this means that the corn itself costs less to raise, giving consumers a buying advantage. This strain of corn makes up 93% of commercially distributed corn in the US.[7]

...

In conclusion, GM agriculture can provide the health, flavour, and cost advantages listed above, and has clear, tangible, beneficial positive consequences. Additionally, I have trusted sources for these positive consequences, backing up and giving and adding to the objectivity of my proposed benefits.

.

===========
===Citations===
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[1] http://scienceblogs.com...
[2]http://archive.centerforfoodsafety.org...
[3]http://www.newscientist.com....
[4]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5]http://www.nature.com...
[6].S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Biotechnology of Food. FDA Backgrounder: May 18, 1994.
[7]Shaista Naqvi, et al. Transgenic multivitamin corn through biofortification of endosperm with three vitamins representing three distinct metabolic pathways PNAS April 27, 2009.
Revolution

Con

"Now, this statement was clearly a poorly researched one. What my opponent must understand is that grafting IS A FORM of genetic modification. During the process of grafting, plants transplant genes, and the transplantation of genes is genetic modification.[1] Futhermore, grafting does not even come close to the capablilties of today's genetic modification methods"

Not true. My opponent defined genetically modified agriculture as "any plant with a significant amount of altered DNA through the process of genetic engineering." Grafting is not GM, because it is not genetically engineered, it is grafted.

"This is a subjective statement. You have to realize that 45% of US corn, and 85% of US soybeans are already grown with genetic modifications.[2] If we did not already have a solid understanding of the impacts that GM foods present, surely it would be outrageous for the US government to premit(?) such a thing"

That is precisely my point. We don't have a solid understanding of the impacts of GM food, and I do think it is outrageous. You're basically saying that GM food is healthy because it's popular.

"]This would mean that someone like me has been consuming GM foods all my life"

No it doesn't. There's still 55% of US corn, and 15% of US soybeans that aren't genetically modified.

" If fourteen years worth of exposure to GM food does not cause severe development defects, then this in itself is already STRONG evidence that GM food is not as dangerous as you would have us believe."

First of all, you may or may not have been exposed to GM food at the levels you suggest, as I noted above. Second of all, I never said GM food was dangerous, I said we didn't know the risks.

"Additionally, what my opponent also must realize is that GM foods are tested extensively before they arrive onto the commerical market."

I ask my opponent to cite this fact or drop it, as it is unsupported as of now.

"There are currently 124 million people in East-Asian countries suffering from Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD).[4] This is already being combatted with the instigation of what people refer to as "Golden Rice", which is rice with genes implanted from daffodils and bacterium. This leaves us with rice containing an abnormally large amount of Vitamin A.[5] This can be grown by VAD farmers, and comes at no cost to the consumer, whereas a vitamin supplement solution would only prove costly and unefficient. Thus, this is an example of the health benefits genetically modified foods can bring."

Such a thing is dangerous, entailing unnecessary risks. The rice could spread to other fields, and in addition to contaminating the breed of the rice in that field, it would also allow the chemical company owning "golden rice" to sue the farmers for growing their product, as the chemical company owns the right to the plant.

"The texture, flavour, and ripeness of, say a tomato, can also benefit with a slight modification of genes. Through genetic modification, the tomato can gain other desirable qualities from other fruits and vegetables, even from animals and bacteria. There are real life examples of this. For example, one version of the tomato with it's enzymes repressed will last longer without going soft. This strain of tomato is being produced in small batches around the world, and comes at virtually no expense to the consumer.[6] Is this not an example of genetically modified agriculture augmenting the flavour of such a product?"

Such a tomato is in essence artificial. By suppressing natural processes, you may affect things you don't know you're affecting. The risks mentioned above for golden rice also apply. And no, it doesn't benefit the flavor, it only benefits the shelf life.

"Fieldcorn is another glowing GM success story. Among the 169x increase in beta carotene, 6x the vitamin C and 2x folate quantity, this GM corn is insect and virus resilent. Growing this type of corn minimizes the usage of costly pesticides, and this means that the corn itself costs less to raise, giving consumers a buying advantage. This strain of corn makes up 93% of commercially distributed corn in the US.[7]"

An even better third idea is to buy organic corn that is not genetically modified, and does not use pesticides. For a small, even negligible price increase, you get natural produce that has not been modified as yours has.

I will conclude by saying that until my opponent proves that GM food is safe, and free from possible lawsuits as I mentioned above, you should vote con, as genetically modified food is potentially unsafe, and an unnecessary risk.
Debate Round No. 2
Charr

Pro

For the sake of humoring my opponent, I will ask him to define genetic engineering. Please cite a source supporting your definition, too.

...

My opponent also claimed in his second argument that the Federal Government of the US and the US Administration of Health and Food Safety, whose entire purpose of existence is to protect it's citizens from exposure to harmful products, does not have a solid understanding of the risks of Genetically Modified food. I would like him to explain, then, why there are 723,000 results on google when I search up the "US genetically modified agricultural research".[1] I would like my opponent to browse through these sites, and click on any one of the links and state again that there has not been enough research done and that we don't know enough about the potential risks of GM foods.

My opponent has also claimed that even though millions of US citizens have been exposed to GM foods, including my opponent himself, and are still alive and healthy, we still have no idea of the risks. However, I would like to ask my opponent whether he believes that possible exposure to GM agriculture for decades with no direct fatalities proves that there are NO SPECIFIC CONSEQUENCES AFTER 2 DECADES OF EXPOSURE.

...

My opponent asked me to cite a source for my statement- "Additionally, what my opponent also must realize is that GM foods are tested extensively before they arrive onto the commerical market." I find this ironic, because as you can note from the above arguments so far, my opponent bases his arguments on unsupported claims and has never cited one source in any of his arguments at all. However, I would be perfectly happy to cite multiple sources-

www.eusem.com/files/read-gfy.doc
http://www.geneticallymodifiedfoods.co.uk...
http://hubpages.com...

...

My opponent also stated "Such a thing (Golden rice) is dangerous... The rice could spread to other fields... allow the chemical company owning "golden rice" to sue the farmers for growing their product..."

I believe this is an unfair statement. I would like to ask my opponent why he believes that Golden rice has a higher chance than any other breed of rice in contaminating other fields. Under this absurd logic, would it follow that any other breed/strain of rice is an "Unnecessary risk"?

Additionally, my opponent must realize that the inventors of golden rice has signed an agreement allowing third world farmers free access to their rice.[2] This move maintains some equality when it comes to the intellectual property of such a product.

...

My opponent claims that a genetically modified tomato is "in essence artificial". However, I would like to question the relevance of such a statement. What advantage does organic products have over artificial products?

He also stated that "By suppressing natural processes, you may affect things you don't know you're affecting.". However, I have already cited multiple sources detailing on the testing process that GM foods go through. If this leads to an unhealthy side effect, we would be able to detect and treat this problem through testing.

Additionally, he stated "no, it (genetic modification) doesn't benefit the flavor, it only benefits the shelf life." But isn't it true that a tomato with a longer shelf life retains it's desired flavor and texture? By benefiting the shelf life, you also benefit the flavor and texture.

...

My opponents last claim is "An even better third idea is to buy organic corn that is not genetically modified...For a small, even negligible price increase, you get natural produce that has not been modified as yours has." However, this statement does not make any sense. Why would you take an unnecessary price increase? Why do you believe that natural products are somehow innately superior to modified products? Would the testing not already pick up any hazardous side effects?

Additionally, he fails to refute the nutritional benefits I mentioned above.

...

I conclusion, I have refuted every one of my opponents arguments, except for the ongoing flavor one, leaving my opponent with his UNSUPPORTED, completely SUBJECTIVE claim about the POTENTIAL risks. However, I do not even need to address that, because under our definition-

"Beneficial to society: Achieving greater greater tangible positive consequences than negative ones."

I have produced several examples of TANGIBLE positive consequences, and you have produced none, except for an abstract, potential risk, which is being addressed by the extensive testing my SOURCES report.

And honestly, we did not have a clear grasp on the consequences of space exploration, yet here we are, with satellites and moon landings. Why let the POTENTIAL consequences stop us from genetically modifying food, either?

So, until my opponent brings up ACTUAL and TANGIBLE examples of negative consequences, vote PRO.

---

[1]http://www.google.ca...
[2]http://cls.casa.colostate.edu...
Revolution

Con

Revolution forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Charr

Pro

Well, for some unforeseeable reason, I'm sure, my opponent forfeited the last round. If I may, then, allow me to complete my grafting argument.

My opponent seems to agree that Grafting, which is "a portion of living tissue surgically transplanted from one part of an individual to another, or from one individual to another, for its adhesion and growth." [1] debases the flavor benefits of GM agriculture, because it can produce fruits such as "pluots".

My opponent seems to agree that the transplantation of such tissues results in the modification of DNA. However, he does not believe that the pluot is a GM product because my opponent claims that the process of grafting does not involve genetic engineering.

However, in this aspect, my opponent is clearly misinformed. For genetic engineering is "is the direct human manipulation of an organism's genetic material in a way that does not occur under natural conditions"[2]* Unless you are implying that the purposeful transplantation of tissue is not direct human manipulation, and that without human interference, the transplantation of genetic material occurs naturally in the process of grafting, both of which are completely senseless arguments, you are clearly mistaken.

---
[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...

*I am not imposing this definition, but if you wish to challenge it, please cite a source supporting your definition.
Revolution

Con

Revolution forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Gameboob 5 years ago
Gameboob
I believe that the health risks are overstated by people protesting the planting and usage of GMOs, and entirely ignored by pro-GMO people -- and of course the biotech companies and pro-biotech government administrations -- as if it were something dreamed up by conspirators.

I feel both stances are too extreme. GMOs may not be the most dangerous foods out there, and feeding trials have shown that genetic modification makes foods less safe and healthy, but not fatal in most cases. Therefore, I don't think as of now that GM crops should be planted because of the possibility of cross pollination and consequential contamination of regular crops, all the documented health risks and of course the undocumented, unpredictable health risks for not only consumers but the environment. However, research should continue because one day geneticists may be able to genetically engineer something that isn't harmful to the organisms eating it or the environment.
Posted by Charr 6 years ago
Charr
OLOL :B

Let's do this.
Posted by Revolution 6 years ago
Revolution
Let's see how much smaller we can make the scroll bar.
Posted by Charr 6 years ago
Charr
>.> Is there even a point in arguing further?
Posted by Superboy777 6 years ago
Superboy777
meh

always win against u anyways

lol
Posted by Charr 6 years ago
Charr
Christ people! If you have something you disagree with, tell me what it is >:U
Posted by Charr 6 years ago
Charr
@Superboy77

That implies both that I am extremely competitive and extremely immature. And coming from you, oh the irony :B

@Demauscian

Okay, tell me what part of it you disagree with.
Posted by Superboy777 6 years ago
Superboy777
teh only reason i did not take this debate is taht i wwant u to win ur first debate and not run crying
Posted by Demauscian 6 years ago
Demauscian
"beneficial meaning does more harm than good overall"

I disagree with this definition.
Posted by Charr 6 years ago
Charr
@Superboy

Pfft. Need I remind you that your current status shows you at sixty years old :B? Additionally, if you think one link that everybody could find by typing in "genetically modified food" on google is enough, you should take this debate yourself >.>

@JustCallMeTarzan.

Sure, but like I said, this encompasses advances to health and the environment. But I'd be happy to rephrase the thing if you take up the debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Awed 5 years ago
Awed
CharrRevolutionTied
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Total points awarded:60