The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Genetically Modified Foods do more good than harm.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/27/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 7 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 567 times Debate No: 87344
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




Hello, my name is Ben. I am on the Pro side of this resolution, and I personally believe the same. I challenge mmelaku to this debate as he is my friend and peer.

Some rules:
1. No forfeits
2. Sources may be provided in the comments
3. No new arguments in the final round
4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. First round is for acceptance only
7. Violation of any rules is an automatic loss

First round is for acceptance only.

Thank you.


Hello, my name is Mihret Melaku.
As the speaker for the Con side of this debate, I negate my opponent's proposition that Genetically Modified Foods do more good than harm.

I do accept my opponents rules, and am eager to begin the debate.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1


I would first like to thank my opponent for accepting.

Moving on, I am going to list my points.

P1: GMO"s Are Completely Healthy and better nutritionally than conventional foods.
Many tests have been done to see if genetically modified foods are safe and healthy. In fact, According to Battelle, the world"s largest nonprofit research and development organization, In the United States, GM food products must be rigorously tested before they can be sold"far more so than conventionally bred crops. The testing process can take 7-10 years, and must include evaluations of potential risks to humans and livestock as well as potential risks to wildlife and the environment.
Writing in the Journal of Animal Science, the Forbes claimed most comprehensive study of GMOs and food ever conducted, University of California-Davis Department of Animal Science geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam and research assistant Amy E. Young reviewed 29 years of livestock productivity and health data from both before and after the introduction of genetically engineered animal feed.

The field data represented more than 100 billion animals covering a period before 1996 when animal feed was 100% non-GMO, and after its introduction when it jumped to 90% and more GMO.

What did they find? That GM feed is safe and nutritionally equivalent, if not better in nutrients, to non-GMO feed. There was no indication of any unusual trends in the health of animals since 1996 when GMO crops were first harvested. Considering the size of the dataset, it can reasonably be said that the debate over the impact of GM feed on animal health (including humans) is closed.

P2: GM Foods can help to cure starvation.
One in eight people among the world"s seven billion do not have enough to eat, and safe and effective methods of food production, like crops produced through GM technology, can help us feed the hungry developing nations. There are different ways that the GMO technology to solve world hunger.

One of these ways is by increasing crop yield. This means getting more crops. Some pioneers in the field of genetically modified crops have won the prestigious World Food Prize, known as the "Nobel Prize for agriculture." The award credits the technology they created with increasing the quantity and availability of food, and providing a tool to help meet the challenges of a growing population and a changing climate. With the world expected to add another 2 billion people by 2050, demand for food and clothing will increase by at least 60 percent. And biotech crops will help, said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, announcing the winners.

"It is simply true that biotechnology has dramatically increased crop yields. It has drastically decreased loss due to pests and disease, and it allows us to feed more people without converting tropical forests or fragile lands in order to do so," Kerry said.

Another way that GMO tech can help solve world hunger is by decreasing the price of food (of course, mostly due to the higher crop yield). According to the World Food Programme, The poorest households in the developing world may spend as much as 60-80 percent of their incomes on food. The World Food Programme also notes that when prices go up, they must spend even more of their meager resources on food. That means they have less for their other needs, such as clothes, shelter, medicines, school books for the children. And little by little, non-essentials get cut. This means that eventually, a family can be left with nothing - no education, no clean clothes, no medicine, and more. One of the best ways of helping the poor avoid the worst effects of food price hikes is through so-called "safety nets" " reliable systems providing food to the most vulnerable when times are hard. These safety nets can be created by the huge crop yield that is being created by the genetic modification of crops.

Even Julie Borlaug, associate director for external relations at the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, says that her grandfather was a strong proponent of science and biotechnology as "weapons in the fight against world hunger." She urges everyone to help "educate and inform the public" about about the need for continued scientific and biotechnological advances in agriculture to feed a growing world population.

P3: GM Foods reduce the use of water.
Globally, water use has tripled over the last five decades", it takes about 3,000 litres of water per person to produce our daily intake of food. GM technology can help to reduce water loss from agriculture and to improve drought tolerance"Under drought conditions, this can mean the difference between having a crop to harvest and crop failure.
(Europa Biology)

An example of this is Brazil. Since the first release of GM seeds in Brazil in 1996, not less than 35.54 billion gallons of water were saved in the country", the " water "is enough to supply a city of 808,000 people for a year. Between 2013/14, 169.3 billion liters of water will be saved, a volume consumed by four million people with a per capita demand of 120 liters a day"
(Agricultural News)

For these reasons, vote Pro.


My opponent failed to mention a value to evaluate the arguments of both sides, therefore my criterion will stand for the duration of this debate, and cannot be refuted, or else we won't have a criterion.
The criterion for our debate is lives. Whoever preserves the environment and the people wins this debate
Genetically Modified Food Does More Good Than Harm

Criterion: Our criterion is the well being of the people and the environment, whoever can sustain stability of the people as well as the ecosystem, wins.

C1: GM foods have extreme potential danger.
Genetically modified foods can be very dangerous, especially because we have done enough studies on them that say they are dangerous. As M.D. David Brownstein says, "Genetically modified foods may look and feel the same as conventional foods, but they are drastically and harmfully different. These types of foods have been altered by taking the genetic material (DNA) from one species and transferring it into another in order to obtain a desired trait. The FDA does not require any safety testing or any labeling of GM foods, and introducing new genes into a fruit or vegetable may very well be creating unknown results such as new toxins, new bacteria, new allergens, and new diseases." An example of this is herbicides. Different herbicides have been developed rapidly because of GM Foods.

According to a comprehensive, 16-year review of chemical use in conjunction with the advent of GMOs in 1996, researchers from Washington State University"s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources found that herbicide use has increased by an astounding 527 millions pounds since GMOs were first introduced. To make matters worse, Roundup, the chemical of choice for many GMOs, has been found to persist in soils, waterways, and other environmental nooks and crannies, and sometimes it even ends up contaminating water supplies. And this chemical, Roundup, is bad.

In fact, the cancer-research arm of the World Health Organization announced that glyphosate, the world"s most widely used herbicide, is probably carcinogenic to humans. The chemical is an ingredient in Roundup, and is becoming more popular with the increasing market share of crops that are genetically engineered to be tolerant to the herbicide. This means that something spreading because of genetically modified foods has a high chance of causing cancer, Judge.
C2: Genetically Modified foods hurt and kill many animal species.
GMOs are responsible for killing off and hurting bees, bats, butterflies, and other pollinators, whose bodies are unable to handle the onslaught of altered DNA and chemicals that are characteristic of GMO technologies. This can lead to animals in their natural habitats being killed off because they are pollinating; doing their job.

An example of this is the honey bee. Honey bees rely on corn as a major protein source. At least 94 percent of the 92 million acres of corn planted across the U.S. this year will have been treated with neonicotinoid, an incesticide. GM corn and neonicotinoid go hand-in-hand, and corn farmers have a very hard time finding seed that is not genetically engineered and treated with neonicotinoids. The worst part is that this insecticide is known to synergize with certain fungicides to increase toxicity to honey bees up to 1,000-fold. This leads to something called Colony Collapse Disorder, where almost all of the worker bees in a colony simply leave and disappear, and then the colony starts to collapse, thus the name.
(Pesticide Action Network of North America, 6/30/11)

In the past six years, more than 10 million beehives have been wiped out from colony collapse disorder. This destruction has serious implications on worldwide ecology and economy. Of the 100 crop species responsible for providing 90% of food worldwide, 71 are dependent on bee pollination, according to UN estimates. It's difficult to pinpoint the financial implications of this destruction, but the international body says pollination is worth between $37billion and $91 billion, annually.
(The Guardian, July 30th.)

So Judge, this is just a single example of how GM Foods not only lead to the death these species, but how that also has extreme repercussions of the economy as well.

C3: GM Foods hurt the food supply.
According to PSRAST, or Physicians and Scientists for the Responsible Application of Science and Technology, The presence of Roundup, Bt bacteria, and other GMO by products in our water and soil are extremely bad. Let me give you a breakdown of what happens.

In one gram of productive soil there is a complex web that can exceed over 100 million microorganisms that may represent over 1000 species. Together they are responsible for the cycle of decomposing and restructuring organic material so that it will be accessible to growing plants. It is also responsible for the nitrogen and water-retaining properties as well as for other factors of great importance for soil fertility. When the GMO byproducts mentioned before are in our soil, they destroy these bacteria. This can destroy huge areas of soil, which leads to even less plants growing, and thus much less food. Judge, we may have more food for a very small amount of time, but, in the long run, our food supply will be ruined by these GMO by products.
Debate Round No. 2


First of all, I'm a little confused about your criterion. I'll accept your first one, which is the life of the environment as well as the people.

Besides that, my opponent has not refuted any of my points. Extend.

Moving on to refute my opponents case.

My opponent, in their contention 1, states that genetically modified foods have extreme potential danger. However, this is simply ridiculous. As stated in my contention 1, gm foods are completely safe. Take this quote:

"The GM debate is over. It is finished. We no longer need to discuss whether or not it is safe. " You are more likely to get hit by an asteroid than to get hurt by GM food."

See, the person who said this quote was Mark Lynas, british environmentalist. Mark was anti-gmo in the early 90s. The thing is, being an environmentalist, Mark had access to all of the facts. Because of this, Mark is now an advocate for GM Foods and encourages people to spread the word about GM Food safety.

My opponent also says in his first contention that the herbicide use has increased, and that herbicides are bad, however it is the opposite. GM Foods actually decrease herbicide and pesticide use. This is because GM crops can be modified to allow more targeted use of herbicides and pesticides, provide more intrinsic pest resistance, and allow GM plants to compete more effectively against encroaching weeds. In fact, a German meta-study published in PLoS One concluded:
"On average, GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide and herbicide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%." Voters, take this into mind.

My opponent, in his second contention, states that GM Foods hurt many animal species. I have two things to refute here. First of all, in my opponent's first paragraph of their second contention, is information from the Natural News. Natural News is widely known as a complete conspiracy website, with false information and radical ideals.

The second thing I have to refute is this idea of CCD, or Colony Collapse Disorder. There is actually no link to GM Foods and the bee death and colony collapse. "On one hand, you have the proponents who are talking about the benefits of genetic engineering in terms of science."On the other, you have people in butterfly costumes." Martin Calkins, S.J., assistant professor of business ethics at Santa Clara University, 2016, says that GMOs were completely not responsible for this epidemic.

For these reasons, vote Pro.


Firstly, I would like to start by saying that all three of contention crossapply to refute my opponents contentions, therefore have not dropped any of my opponent's contentions. My opponent also said that he was "confused" by my standard. To be "confused" is not an excuse to drop a value, or fail to provide one. Now to refute my opponent's response, firstly he said that there is no actual link between the bees collapse and the gm foods, but my source is more reliable than his, so you can ignore that refutation. As for his first refutation, the precautionary principle of bioethics states that to do somethings that has the potential to create deadly diseases and viruses isn't the best thing to do, voters, my opponent is trying to fool Mother Nature, trying to play God! It is immoral, wrong and I won't stand for it. His second refutation does nothing to his advantage because we both have evidence which cancels each other's impacts. But mine has more logic. If you put herbicide on a plant and it doesn't kill it, than this toxic plant is going to grow and eventually be added to the food supply.

Vote opp
Debate Round No. 3


You seem to misunderstand my point.

By saying I was "confused" with your criterion, I meant you have 2. *probably because you just hit command a on my case, without thinking about editing anything out.* And I told you that, saying I accept the first one of these two.

Also, in a debate, one must make it clear to the Judge or Voters that they have refuted. You simply put out your points, and didn't say if or how they refuted mine. Also, my opponent has not said anything that cross-applies to my third contention, about water, take this into mind.

My opponent makes the claim that his source is more valid than mine, but with no reasoning or basis for this claim. First of all, he does not provide a link from GM Foods to Colony Collapse Disorder, he just says they are bad. I agree. However, GM technology is not the cause for this. My opponent has no source for the link of GM Tech to Colony Collapse Disorder, in fact he doesn't provide the link in the first place, therefore I win the source battle with both Grist, which is an international news organization, and a member of the Santa Clara University.

My opponent says that I am "trying to fool Mother Nature, trying to play God". However, he seems to forget that there is no proof for a God. Humanity has created the genetic modification technology. If God was upset, he would intervene. Also, the precautionary principle does not apply to genetically modified foods. As previously stated, GM Foods are one of the most tested products in HISTORY. Shall we ban cars next? No. Cars are practical. So are GM Foods. They feed more people and help save water, as well as allowing people to have more nutrients in their foods. To say that humanity "playing God" is immoral is equivalent to saying that drawing a Unicorn is immoral because secretly, a Unicorn is out there, and they don't like it, even though they have the power to say "stop".

My opponent finishes their argument by saying that his impact has more logic. This is completely false. First of all, the herbicide is not harmful to humans. Second of all, my opponent is arguing that GM Foods increase herbicide use, while I prove that not only are herbicides not harmful to humans, but GM Foods actually decrease not just herbicide use but also pesticide use.

Voting for Con would be voting for a side that is pure speculation, with no links other than "byproducts" and false evidence from conspiracy sites. Voting for Pro would be voting for a logical, clear case with distinct advantages and proven facts.

So, Voters, I ask of you one thing. Make the right choice.


Voters, to be honest, my opponent has in fact won this debate. But voters I say that if you wish to vote for my side, you are welcome to use information you already know.

Besides that, I believe there is no reason for me to argue, I have already lost

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4


Oh. Okay.


Good debate.


Thank you.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by BenJWasson 7 months ago

meh - mihret's just as good as me in debate, only difference is that he's usually the rebuttalist and i'm usually the first speaker, so I am the one mostly making the cases and gives the advantage to that kind of debater
Posted by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 7 months ago
pro is definitely winning
Posted by Booktweetzter 7 months ago
We've been GMO'ing our food and crops for thousands of years - the difference now is - we do it in a lab.
Which is a more sofisticated way of doing GMO. Modern GMO brings nothing but good to us humans.
Posted by UnonymousVoice 7 months ago
But Shehna, Hai's second point of the argument of helping curve world hunger is very important and as a biology student you must remember that you have to filter a lot of what teachers tell you as not everything is true, absolute, or gives an entire world view. There are 7 billion + people on this Earth, and as you should know from BIO 101, our population is growing exponentially so feeding will become a massive problem in a few decades. Even if GMO foods are consumed, it's still feeding a starving child in a third world country and that's what needs to be understood. Our ability to grow and harvest crops to feed the world hinges on GMOs.
Second the water aspect is also important as our world will soon run short of fresh water and helping to reduce our footprint is vital. In fact, wars will break out over water supply within the next century because of the shortages. Hai is absolutely correct on this issue, and GMOs could and already are doing a lot of good.
Posted by shehna 7 months ago
Being a biology student and having learned bio tech lessons iwould like to express my strong opposition against the topic .. its a fact something all of us should remember that DNA is the basic constituent of all living organisms ,its a part of all the plant and animal products that you eat. Genetically modified organisms are those that have had their DNA altered, these organisms has got an insert (an other organisms DNA as part of their own).now think it over ,even if it has got an insert its still the same DNA. all the parts of organisms that we take in goes through our digestive system , what our body requires we take and the rest we excrete it out , therefore like any other food we take in, these DNA also passes through our digestive system and get excreted out , hence do not produce any other effect on our body .
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by fire_wings 7 months ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession by Con.