The Instigator
CanfieldDebateChamp
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points
The Contender
Ariesx
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Resolved: On Balance, the benefits of Genetically Modified Foods Outweigh the Harms

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
CanfieldDebateChamp
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/23/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,445 times Debate No: 65700
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

CanfieldDebateChamp

Pro

This first round exists to establish the the parameters of the debate. If you wish to face me, please just say that you accept or whatever in your round 1 speech. The remainder of the debate will be as follows.
Round 2: Constructives
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Counter-Rebuttals/Case Rebuilding
Round 5: Key Voting Issues (NO NEW EVIDENCE HERE!!!)
The rules are fairly straight-forward and self explanatory. The only thing of note is that new evidence in Round 5 should be discounted. Moreover, I will not be requiring link citations at the ends of each speech. the author's name and/or affiliation will be sufficient.
Ariesx

Con

I graciously accept my opponent's challenge and rules.
Debate Round No. 1
CanfieldDebateChamp

Pro

Because I believe that innovation is the key to the future, I affirm Resolved: On balance, the benefits of genetically modified foods outweigh the harms. I offer the following three contentions to support a PRO ballot.

Contention I-Health
Despite the claims made by numerous pundits, a 10 year analysis of 1783 scientific records by Alessandro Nicolia of the University of Perugia concludes, "The scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazard directly connected with the use of GM crops." In fact, GM foods hold great promise in improving the health conditions of millions. Most notably, William Langridge of The Scientific American reports that GM foods can be used as superior vehicles for vaccines due to their low cost and high accessibility. According to Maria Clemente of the Biotechnology Research Institute, one of the most remarkable advancements has been the development a vaccine for Malaria, which currently has no such countermeasure. The impact of such technology is staggering as the CDC reports that 627,000 people die annually from Malaria.

Contention II-Adaptability
GM foods also allow for farmers to rapidly adapt to a wide variety of otherwise unfavorable circumstances. These conditions can be placed into three broad categories.
First, Cornell University explains that many crops are susceptible to viruses which are very difficult to control. However, "yellow squash, papaya, and potatoes species have now been genetically engineered to resist such plant viruses."
Second, The Telegraph notes that By 2030 the world will need to increase global food production by 50 percent as the population grows, but wheat and rice, which provide most of the world's calories, are sensitive to heat during their growing process making them susceptible to high temperatures. However, Philip Wigge of the John Innes Centre in Norwich has engineered plants so that they are able to grow in a more diverse range of temperatures.
Third, Jim Wallace of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology reports that the increased agricultural output required to feed future generations will put enormous pressure on freshwater resources. He quantifies that the percentage of the world"s population living in areas where water is scarce will increase almost tenfold from 7% to 67% by 2050. Thankfully, numerous GM crops have been designed to resist such drought conditions. Most notably, the non-profit organization Water Efficient Maize for Africa has been designing a form of drought resistant corn, set to be released this year in Kenya, that will increase farmers" yields in drought conditions by as much as 500%.

Contention III-Efficiency
A literature review of 721 studies by Timo Kaphengst of the Ecologic Institute of Berlin reports that GM foods can also posses numerous traits that improve their efficiency such as immunity to herbicides like Roundup and the ability to produce their own insecticide. These traits allow farmers to spray fewer chemicals. Overall, Kaphengst concludes that GM crops lead to yield increases of as high as 46% primarily through reduced losses from insects and weeds. The benefits of these efficiencies are threefold.
First, they lower food prices. David Zilberman of UC Berkeley quantifies that in the absence of GM crops worldwide, food prices would be as much as 43% higher. Such a price hike would be devastating as the World Bank estimates that just a 1% increase in global food prices puts almost 3 million people into poverty.
Second, they preserve the environment. Zilberman furthers that without the efficiency of GM foods, an area the size of Utah would have had to have been converted into farmland to produce the same amount of food. Moreover, a study by Peter Barfoot published in Landes Bioscience quantifies that GM foods have reduced the environmental impact associated with herbicide and insecticide use on crops by 18.7%.
Third, they have been an economic boom for farmers. A study by Graham Brookes Published in Taylor and Francis finds that since the adoption of GM crops, farmers have accrued over $100 billion in economic gains.

For all these reasons and many more, I strongly urge a PRO ballot.
Ariesx

Con

Contention 1-Fertility
Rats fed GMO foods usually suffered fertility. 99% of the time, rats died from birth, because they were fed GMOs. While we have not seen the long term effects of GMOs on humans, 99% of the time, female animals have suffered from birth. Also a new test conducted by British scientists showed that 16 out 30 hormones were inactive. Researchers were astonished by the fact that 16 vital hormones were dead. Researchers found that there were pesticides found inside those hormones causing infertility.

Contention 2-Monopolies by GMO Corporations
GMO corporations have started patenting their crops which would be helpful to them. But what is happening is that GMOS are cross-pollinating to other farm fields. Than farmers end up getting sued by GMO corporations for using their crops. This leaves the farmers either bankrupt or bought. This causes less competition and destroy innovation in the agriculture industry.

Contention 3- Global Bans
Britain, Ukraine, Sweden, Ireland, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, Pakistan, and India all have on thing in common. They all have extensive bans on GMOs. But, why doesn't America have a ban. That is because GMO corporations have spent a total of 30 million dollars off of lobbying to keep labeling off of GMOS, because of fear of customer rejection. Well, 20 stats in America are pushing for labeling rights.
Debate Round No. 2
CanfieldDebateChamp

Pro

In this speech I will simply attack my opponent.
So, in his first contention my opponent claims claims that GM foods are harmful to health. I have two responses.
First off, his sources of information are sketchy at best.
A.) He never cited where he got either of his two statistics from.
B.) According to Andrew Marshall of Nature Biotechnology, the study which he cites about fertility is "yet to appear in a peer-reviewed journal and... reports 10% mortality on conventional soy" Besides the fact that his article isn't scientific, it just doesn't make sense. Obviously, the "researchers" conducting it were doing something wrong (improper handling etc.) if 1 in ten rats in the CONTROL group died. And
C.) His other ambiguous reference to "British Scientists" findings' is nowhere to be found on the internet and doesn't even make sense. He claims, "Researchers were astonished by the fact that 16 vital hormones were dead." However, hormones don't die. They are chemical signalers in the body. His quote is akin to saying "GM Foods kill glucose or hemoglobin." He then goes on to say, "Researchers found that there were pesticides found inside those hormones causing infertility." Again, this is nonsensical. pesticides cannot be INSIDE hormones as both are molecules... Moreover, he neglects the fact that, as I say in my case, GM foods reduce the impact of pesticides by almost 20%. At this point, even if you buy his study, it flows PRO because while pesticides are admittedly not the best thing, less of them are used when GM crops are grown.
Second, the empirics clearly flow PRO. Instead of my opponent's two shady sources, prefer my peer-reviewed 10 year analysis of almost 1800 studies that found no harms associated with GM foods. Moreover, couple it with a 31 year 1 trillion animal feed study by Alison Van Eenennaam of the journal of animal science. The study looked at animal health before and after the introduction of GM foods, which are commonly fed to livestock, and found no change in health. This analysis is especially important because it is long-term. Finally, look to a literature review by Gary Williams of the New York Medical College which finds that under present or expected conditions, the use of pesticides on GM foods poses no threat to human health.

In his second contention, my opponent argues that monopolies are bad. I have two responses
First, he never shows the link between GM foods existing and monopolies. The fact of the matter is that a government being inept and unable to regulate and break up monopolies like it should is hardly the fault of the existence of GM seed. Until he can definitively show otherwise, it doesn't really mater how bad GM food companies are, especially considering the fact that GM foods can be accessed through non-profit organization like Drought Resistant Maize for Africa.
Second, the harms he touts are non-existent. Even if it is assumed that Monsanto and other companies indiscriminately suing these farmers, that has little to do with innovation. At this point in agricultural development innovation originates from technological advancement not small individual farmers. However, even assuming that these farmers are being sued for contamination is false. According to Dan Charles of NPR, "Monsanto has never sued anybody over trace amounts of GMOs that were introduced into fields simply through cross-pollination. The company asserts, in fact, that it will pay to remove any of its GMOs from fields where they don't belong." In fact, Monsanto has only ever brought 9 cases of copyright infringement where farmers illegally used their seeds before a court. Moreover, those cases involved farmers practically stealing seeds, and even if they didn't, any harms from them are a drop in the bucket when compared to the $100 billion dollars in economic gains to farmers all over the world.

In his third contention, he talks about bans and labels. I have two key responses
First, his arguments here are largely non-topical. We are supposed to be debating about whether or not GM foods are beneficial on a global scale. Whether or not GM foods are labeled or legal in a few countries or states doesn't really prove anything in terms of whether or not GM foods are good or bad, especially considering that governmental acts are both fallible and often motivated by means other than a pure cost-benefit analysis (the topic of this debate).
Second, even assuming that a country's legal position on GM foods somehow decides whether or not they are good or bad, the trend has been towards more legalization recently. According to BBC, the EU is moving towards implementing more types of GM foods, while GMO Compass clearly documents that the trend over the past years has been towards more nations adopting GM crops with 18 using them today.

Because I believe that technological innovation is paramount to improving the world we live in, I strongly urge a PRO ballot and look forward to hearing from my opponent.
Ariesx

Con

Ariesx forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
CanfieldDebateChamp

Pro

My opponent has forfeited his rebuttal so I have nothing to respond to nor has he attacked my case so flow my constructive through and vote PRO.
Ariesx

Con

Ariesx forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
CanfieldDebateChamp

Pro

My opponent has forfeited again so vote PRO!
Ariesx

Con

Ariesx forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by CanfieldDebateChamp 2 years ago
CanfieldDebateChamp
There is some merit to that absolutely, but I still favor them
Posted by Harold_Lloyd 2 years ago
Harold_Lloyd
The problem is that the benefits of GM foods are immediate and obvious, while the drawbacks may be subtle and slow to become apparent.
Posted by CanfieldDebateChamp 2 years ago
CanfieldDebateChamp
XD I'm too lazy to actually debate a new topic so yea...
Posted by smlburridge 2 years ago
smlburridge
Now I have to go dig up my PF case. *sigh*
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by debate_power 2 years ago
debate_power
CanfieldDebateChampAriesxTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Two instances of forfeiture by Con.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
CanfieldDebateChampAriesxTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture