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

Genetically modified organisms' benefits outweigh the harm

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/17/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 739 times Debate No: 71891
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




The topic is self explanatory.
First round is accepting and defining.
Second is the main points.
After that it's just refutations.

Benefits outweigh the harm- The benefits are worth the harm
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)- Any organisms, plant or animal, that didn't evolve naturally, and was influenced by humans, such as "GloFish."


I accept look forward to the debate.
Debate Round No. 1


I hope this debate is fun and interesting.
Since my opponent hasn't given his argument yet, I'm just going to state reasons why GMOs are beneficial.

C1- The crops produced are superior.
A- Boosted nutrition of food
The genes of plants can be specifically changed so that they can provide the highest amount of yield and most nutrition. Genetically modified plants can be altered to be resistant to climate and more durable than regular crops. The World Health Organization has stated that GMFs "can contribute directly to enhancing human health and development." A brand of genetically engineered soybean called "Plenish" produces a healthier oil, free of trans fats. This soybean has been been designed to replace the unhealthy partially hydrogenated oils that can cause heart problems, birth defects and cancer. Furthermore, JR Simplot Co., a potato processor, is waiting approval for genetically engineered potatoes. These potatoes will have decreased black spots from bruising and reduce the formation of acrylamide, a naturally occurring chemical that has been identified as a carcinogen. This is extremely important now with cheap fast foods and a third of the adults being obese. Fast food chains can possibly use the improved ingredients so its healthier.
Golden Rice, was a new way scientist used to combat malnutrition and Vitamin A deficiency in areas such as India. It also reduces the need to import more fruits in vegetables to have the same nutritional values. This means that traditional diets don't have to change for a healthier life style.

B- Increased yield feeds more and helps economy
According to Monsanto, a producer of GMOs, because genetically modified crops are pesticide and herbicide resistant, more of the plants survive. They state that in Mexico, the crop yield increases 9% with herbicide tolerant soybeans. In India, insect resistant cotton has led to yield increases of more than 50% on average. Since plants are hardier and live to their mature stage, not only are there more crops to be had but the crops can also be sold for less money. According to the World Health Organization, "On average, the BT cotton farmers in China reduced pesticide spraying for the Asian bollworm by 70%, producing a kilogram of cotton at 28% less cost than the non-Bt farmers." These benefits have had a significant impact on the agronomic, environmental, health and economic situations of approximately 5 million resource-poor farmers over eight provinces in China. On this issue, Terri Raney, a senior economist of The State of Food and Agriculture, states that "As a result, lower costs and marginally higher yields translate into large net profit gains in China." This means developing nations such as China and countries who rely on agriculture can take another step to being a first world country where the quality of life and such is better.

C2- GMOs help the environment compared to regular plants

A- Harmful pesticides not needed
Herbicides and pesticides are often used to get rid of parasites and weeds. This harms the environment. Since GMOs are designed to be resistant to parasites and weeds, it cuts down on the usage of these chemicals. According to Brink, "In the intensively farmed maize-growing regions of the USA, surface waters have often been contaminated by herbicides, principally as a result of precipitation run-off shortly after application of herbicides to maize and other crops. In general, chemicals are relatively rapidly broken down in the field. A model study in which the chemical tolerant, genetically modified maize was compared with conventional maize showed that chemicals in the run-off of the former could be generally one-fifth to one-tenth of the chemicals in the latter. This is an indication that the introduction of herbicide resistant maize has reduced herbicide concentrations in vulnerable watersheds." WHO states that 220,000 people die from pesticides a year and pesticides can cause side-effects such as cancer . With GMOs, the chances of pesticides getting into water sources is reduced and can prevent these unnecessary deaths. WHO has also stated while developing nations using only 25% of the deaths, 99% of pesticides illness are in these developing nations. With pesticide-resistant GMOs, it can lead to less of these deaths. These people die to help produce food for the world.

B- Energy saved
In addition, a study by Richard Phipps, a professor at the University of Reading, claims that "While large-scale commercial plantings of GM crops have not yet occurred, a 50% planting of maize, sugar beet and cotton to genetically modified varieties could result in the saving of the equivalent of 20.5 million liters of diesel fuel annually." The conservation of so much energy is beneficial to the environment in the long run especially with global warming growing worse each day.

C3- Can help solve problems that have no real solution
A- There are a large mosquito populations in both rural and urban areas which could lead from annoyance to sickness. That previously was controlled by DDT in the 20th century, which lead to a decline in Bald Eagle population. Scientist are now able to tinker the genes of male mosquito and make female mosquito infertile, cutting down the mosquito population.
B- Goes back to the crop argument, where existing fruits and vegetables can be improved.


I would like to thank Con for his response. However, I was a little confused on Con's statement that "Since my opponent hasn't given his argument yet, I'm just going to state reasons why GMOs are beneficial." I shouldn't have been expected to make arguments, as the first round was for "accepting and defining"

I will now state my main arguments.

P1. GM crops cause all sorts of problems

A. Herbicide resistant crops increase the use of herbicide and create herbicide resistant weeds. Herbicide resistant crops simply encourage people to use more herbicides. Herbicides are bad for the environment and people as well. Herbicide has been linked to everything from kidney disease to birth defects to cancer. Additionally, extensive use of herbicide just creates herbicide resistant weeds. According to top researchers, numerous weeds are evolving to be resistant to herbicide, and the number is set to increase. Promoting extensive use of herbicides just leads to stronger and more powerful weeds.

B. Insect resistant crops creates predator-less crops that can harm local ecosystems. We have already seen the damage that invasive species can do to ecosystems. They are so deadly and devastating because they have no natural predators and can grow unchecked. When we genetically engineer crops to be resistant to insects and disease, we simply create the equivalent of invasive species- species that can completely grow unchecked and overcome ecosystems.


P2. GM crops only exist to benefit big businesses and can do nothing but harm for the consumer.

A. Big business creating our food is already a problem. Numerous whistle-blowing documentaries have been released in recent years exposing the horrors of factory farms. GM crops take this to the next level. They are organisms manufactured for and by big business. They exists solely to make money, not serve local farmers or people, as Con would have you believe. We know that big business will do anything, no matter how deadly, just to make a profit.

B. There is no transparency in GM crops. GMO manufacturers have the right to patent their GMOs. They can do whatever they want with them, and have no requirement to transparency. Us, the consumers, will soon have no idea what kind of GMO's are in our foods and what they do. They don't even want us to know what which foods have GMO's. The industry has recently spent over 50 million dollars fighting against a California bill that would require GE labeling.


Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I was not able to say all of my arguments. I will post my last arguments and counter-plan next round.
Debate Round No. 2


Quick Note- I didn't break up my topics so well since I wrote it all at once, and it's my first debate. I would like my opponent to keep this in mind, and to take some liberty in his own grouping when he's refuting. Thanks.

P1A- My opponent is making a slippery slope argument here. Herbicide resistant crops makes people more inclined to use herbicide, but the plants are also more resistant to parasites, so they wouldn't have to use herbicides in the first place. The herbicide resistance is just precautionary.

P1B- Not sure what my opponent means here, but all I'm going to say is crops are separate from ecosystems. They won't mingle. Besides they're meant to be resistant to common pests and if it were somehow in a forest, I'm sure the animals can eat it safely.

P2A- This debate was centered around the GMOs, not the company. The company is horrible and corrupt and what ever claims you'll make. Yet that takes nothing away from the nutrition of GMOs. This is similar to how guns don't kill people, but people kill people. The politics has nothing to do with the scientific benefits. GMOs are also relatively new and standards and regulations will be set up.

P2B- Same as above. Also my opponent should provide any sort of evidence for why we should care about this. GMOs while relatively new has still been used more many years. I would like to challenge my opponent to name any incident that would need transparency. Children haven't grown second heads, and no one has reported any real problems yet.


I would like to thank Con for his response
I will first refute the refutations of my arguments, and then refute my opponents arguments.

P1A- Herbicide resistant crops are explicitly made so people can use as much herbicides as they want without hurting the crops. That's literally what the crops are made for. I'm not sure what Con proposes herbicide resistant plants are made for if that premise is incorrect. If that is not enough, several studies have linked herbicide resistant crops to an increase in herbicide use. Additionally, Please refer to my rebuttal of C1B for further refutations.


P1B- This rebuttal relies SOLELY on the easily falsifiable claim that GMOs won't escape into local ecosystems. In fact, everything from GM canola to rice has been found to have escaped into wild. For the latter example, scientists are already worried that GM rice will out-compete wild crops.


P2A Con asserts my argument is invalid because it is about big business, not GMOs. But the very essence of GMOs is that they are made by big business. The only people who have enough money and expertise to manufacture GMOs are big businesses. Big business and GMOs are completely intertwined. Additionally the "guns don't kill people, people kill people" is famous simply because it is so ridiculous. It has been disprove by everyone from politicians to psychiatrists. Lastly, in response to Con's claim that regulations will be set up, we still don't have adequate regulations for factory farms and similar, which are much, much, older then GMOs.


P2B Con challenges me to name one incident of GMO's being linked to health problems. I will do so with relish.

I quote from the Institute for Responsible Technology:

"Since [the released FDA warnings about the dangers of GMOs], findings include:

-Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants
-Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies
-More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller
-Testicle cells of mice and rats on GM soy change significantly
-By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies
-Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity
-Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen
-Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced
-The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer.
-Studies showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas cells, changed enzyme levels, etc."

As we can see, GMOs definitely have been linked to health problems, which completely disproves cons refutation.


I will now refute Con's arguments

The first example Con brings up is a GM soybean called "Plenish" that is apparently healthier then regular soybeans. It is interesting that Con brings up this example, as recent studies have shown Plenish to be only marginally healthier. A report by the University of California stated that "researchers compared the effects of [Plenish and regular soybean oil] in experiments performed in the lab on mice. They found that the GM soybean oil is just as unhealthy as regular soybean oil in that it also induces obesity, diabetes and fatty liver. " This proves that the effects of "Plenish" are overstated and don't supports Con's case. Additionally, soybean oil is a fairly unhealthy product to begin with, and it's much easier to simply look for are healthy alternative to soybean oil instead of trying to make it better through genetic engineering.

Con then goes on to talk about GM potatoes that don't have carcinogen, and then tries to connect that to the obesity problem in America. This is a weird connection, as carcinogens cause cancer, not obesity, and don't have anything to do the chronic obesity problem in America.

Cons third example revolves around the controversial Golden Rice. Golden Rice has costed over 100 million dollars to develop, even though Vitamin A supplements, which are much less riskier and well understood, can be provided to children for as little as 25 cents a year. Additionally, diverse and sustainable farming practices are a much better alternative to these issues. This will be discussed further in my counter-plan


First I would like to point out that Monsanto is obviously a biased source.

Additionally, herbicide-resistant crops just promotes further use of herbicides, which are very harmful substances that do no good for us or the environment. For example Roundup, the worlds most widely used herbicide, has been linked to everything from kidney disease to birth defects to cancer. In fact, the makers of Roundup were found guilty of false advertising in France, as the product was not biodegradable or left the soil clean, as they claimed. And guess who the manufacturer of roundup is- MONSANTO, the same company whose herbicide resistant crops Con has given so much praise. It is also pretty clear that Monsanto makes herbicide resistant crops just to sell more of their herbicide. This is a fact. Even Monsanto admits it- the herbicide resistant crops are called "roundup-ready crops" and are marketed as crops that aren't harmed by roundup. So basically, these herbicide resistant crops that Con praises are just a tool to promote harmful herbicides


C2A This whole argument rests on an un-cited study. We have no idea how this study was performed, or who it was performed by, so we have no reason to believe its validity. Additionally, Con talks about the dangers of pesticide, but completely ignores the harms of herbicide, which GMO's promote.

C3A Also un-cited. Furthermore, proposal sounds ridiculous. If Mosquitos can't breed, then they won't be able to reproduce and pass on these infertility genes, defeating the whole purpose of making lots of mosquitos infertile.
Debate Round No. 3


Elord forfeited this round.


I extend my arguments. I will also take this opportunity to summarize the debate.

Cons main arguments are such-
1. GMOs are more nutritional.
2. Herbicide and insecticide resistant are a major benefit to farmers.

1. I showed why every single one of Cons examples of nutritional GMO crops aren't actually beneficial or healthier then non-GMO crops. I showed how Plenish is only marginally healthier option of a already unhealthy oil, how potatos lacking in carcinogens don't have anything to do with obesity as Con claims, and how Golden Rice is just an unnecessarily costly alternative to Vitamin supplements. Basically, I showed that all of Cons examples either aren't healthier then non-GMOs, or aren't actually useful for solving hunger-related problems.

2. I clearly showed how herbicide resistant plants are bad by showing how they just increase the use of herbicide, a harmful substance. I also showed in P1B how insecticide resistant crops are also bad.

My main arguments are such:
1. Insecticide and herbicide resistant plants are harmful
2. GMOs are just money making tools by big business, which will do anything to make money, regardless of health constraints.

1. Con asserts that herbicide resistant crops don't encourage the use of herbicides, and that insect resistant crops won't become invasive as they won't escape into the wild. In my rebuttal to C1B I clearly showed how herbicide resistant crops are made SOLELY to sell more herbicides. Additionally, I also explained that several studies (one of which I cited) have linked herbicide resistant crops to an increase in herbicide use. I also cited several examples of GMOs escaping into the wild and becoming potential problems, completely negating Cons rebuttal.

2. Con states that this debate is about GMOs, not big business, and that the industry doesn't need transparency. However, I made it clear that GMOs and big business are inescapably intertwined. The only people with the money and expertise to manufacture GMOs are big business, so we can't discuss GMOs without discussing big business. Additionally, please refer to my rebuttal to C1B for clear evidence of big business linked with GMOs. I also stated P1B how major corporations have spent millions trying to keep GMOs from being labeled, giving more evidence of non-transparancy, which Con states doesn't matter. He also challenged me to name examples of GMOs causing harm, which I did.

As you can see, I have refuted Cons arguments and defended my own. Vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Elord 2 years ago
Not sure if anyone will vote, but I apologize for not posting my arguments and subsequently quitting.
Posted by Elord 2 years ago
I spoke with kman100 and its fine. Just keep that in mind.
Posted by Elord 2 years ago
You are indeed correct. I messed up when I changed the topic to make it more reasonable.
Posted by Mathgeekjoe 2 years ago
Elord's points were in favor of GMO. Isn't he con?
Posted by Elord 2 years ago
@kman100 Changed it. You have 72 hours.
Posted by kman100 2 years ago
But I'm not going to accept it anyways because completely banning all GMO's is silly
Posted by kman100 2 years ago
What's the time limit on when I have to post?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: ff