Resolved: On balance, the benefits of genetically modified foods outweigh the harms.
Debate Rounds (5)
Round will go as follows.
Framework: We have to look at this debate at a cost benefit analysis. If we can prove a greater number of benefits than harms, then we should win the debate.
Contention 1: There are many nutritional benefits to Genetically Modified Foods.
Subpoint A. Genetically Modified Foods have health benefits.
An article from the Golden Rice project, a project that is working on developing a strand of rice ("golden rice") that helps to lower Vitamin A deficiency in developing countries, tells how genetically modified "golden rice" can easily fix the issue of Vitamin A deficiency:
- "Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is responsible for 500,000 cases of irreversible blindness and up to 2 million deaths each year. An estimated 19 million pregnant women and 190 million children suffer from the condition. Dietary supplementation of vitamin A via Golden Rice can eliminate VAD. A 2012 study by Tang et al. published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that 100-150 g of cooked GR provid-ed 60% of the Chinese Recommended Intake of vitamin A. Estimates suggest that supplementing GR for 20% of the diet of children and 10% for pregnant women and mothers will be enough to combat the effects of VAD." GMOs are most definitely a healthy option and more effective than our current options for feeding developing countries.
Subpoint B. GMOs allow scientist to engineer sugar substitutes such as aspartame with less calories and more nutritional value than sugar itself.
This article from the global Aspartame Information Center states that:
"Aspartame has established itself as an important component in many low-calorie, sugar-free foods and beverages and is primarily responsible for the growth over the last two decades in the sugar-free market. The safety of aspartame has been affirmed by the U.S. FDA 26 times in the past 23 years.
Currently, aspartame is consumed by over 200 million people around the world and is found in more than 6,000 products including carbonated soft drinks, powdered soft drinks, chewing gum, confections, gelatins, dessert mixes, puddings and fillings, frozen desserts, yogurt, tabletop sweeteners, and some pharmaceuticals such as vitamins and sugar-free cough drops. In the United States, all food ingredients, including aspartame, must be listed in the ingredient statement on the food label."
Artificial sweeteners are FDA affirmed and nutritionally more beneficial to their consumers. They are also required to be listed as ingredients in foods and beverages they are used in.
Contention 2. GM crops are good for the economy.
Subpoint A. GMOs increase crop yield.
An article from Scientific American published August 20th, 2013 states: Take it from David Zilberman, a U.C. Berkeley agricultural and environmental economist and one of the few researchers considered credible by both agricultural chemical companies and their critics. He argues that the benefits of GM crops greatly outweigh the health risks, which so far remain theoretical. The use of GM crops "has lowered the price of food," Zilberman says. "It has increased farmer safety by allowing them to use less pesticide. It has raised the output of corn, cotton and soy by 20 to 30 percent, allowing some people to survive who would not have without it.
Subpoint B. GMOs benefit 3rd worldcountries and can actually help them develop.
A study done in India by U.C. Berkeley says In the study, the researchers found that average yields for Bt cotton were a remarkable 80 percent greater than their non-Bt counterparts, and 87 percent greater than the local cotton hybrids. In addition, the Bt cotton crops were sprayed against bollworms three times less often than both the non-Bt and local cotton crops.
Contention 3. GMOs are very environmentally friendly.
Subpoint A. GMOs reduce global CO2 Emissions.
According to a study by PG Economics, a company that specializes in GE crops released on May 6, 2014 there has been a total of 581.38 million kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions saved from 1996-2012 just in GM maize fields, and 217.74 million liters in fuel savings from those same crops.
Subpoint B. GMOs reduce contamination by pesticides.
The same PG Economics study states: Crop biotechnology has reduced pesticide spraying...by 503 million kg. As a result, this has decreased the environmental impact associated with herbicide and insecticide use on the area planted to biotech crops by 18.7%.
Subpoint C. The higher yield attributed to GMOs can reduce deforestation.
David Zilberman, professor of agriculture and resource economics at U.C. Berkeley says: Adoption of Bt cotton was estimated to double yields in developing countries while the yield effect in developed countries was about 25%. In developing countries, GMO was estimated to increase yield by 60% while in developed countries, the yield effect was estimated to be 20%... But these impacts of GM varieties have significant impact on climate change. Increases in yields suggest fewer amounts of land, as well as fertilizer and other chemicals are required for agricultural production. Reduction of land requirements for agriculture slows the process of deforestation and the immense emission of greenhouse gases associated with it.
In conclusion, my partner and I affirm the resolution for three main reasons: the nutritional benefits of GMOs, the economic benefits of GMOs, and GMOs are paving theway for more environmentally friendly crops.
Framework: Food outweighs harms.
My partner and I realize that the debate is about genetically modified foods, not organisms, but for ease we will use the abbreviations GMOs and GMFs.
Contention 1: The safety of GM crops is compromised.
Subpoint A: The government oversight of GMOs is relaxed. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulate Genetically Modified crops. As pointed out by the Government Accountability Office the three regulatory agencies still do not adequately coordinate their regulation of the food safety or environmental consequences of these crops.
The Government does not regulate GMFs well enough. The incompetent regulation highlight the risks of GMO"s
Subpoint B: There are health risks with the use of GM crops.
In a recent study by (August 23rd, 2012) by Egyptian scientist Hussein Kaoud of Cairo University"s Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene, nine groups of rats and mice were fed different genetically modified foods (potatoes, corn, grapes and tomatoes). After a 2 month study an alteration of different organs, shrinkage of kidneys, change in the liver and spleen, appearance of malignant parts in the tissues, kidney failure and hemorrhages in the intestine were discovered in the animals that were fed GMOs. The brain functions were touched as well, and the rats" learning and memory abilities were seriously altered. The death rate of baby rats raised by mothers on a diet of genetically modified corn also increased by 35%.
Contention 2: GM Crops hurt the global economy.
Subpoint A: GMOs hurt global trade.
An article from the New York times states that Monsanto says it will pay $2.4 million to settle a dispute with farmers in the Pacific Northwest over genetically modified wheat. The discovery of the altered wheat in Oregon in 2013 prompted Japan and South Korea to temporarily suspend some orders, and the European Union called for more rigorous testing of shipments. No engineered wheat has been approved for United States farming. Monsanto will put $2.1 million into a fund to pay farmers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho who sold soft white wheat between May 30 and Nov. 30 last year. It also will make payments to several regional growers associations.
Subpoint B: More labor intensive farming methods will hurt small farmers.
Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers" near-ubiquitous use of the weedkiller Roundup has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds. To fight them, Mr. Anderson and farmers throughout the East, Midwest and South are being forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides, pull weeds by hand and return to more labor-intensive methods like regular plowing.
These ill effects of increasing amounts of herbicide are causing farmers to have to go back to labor intensive farming methods which are costly and inefficient, harming these farmers greatly.
Contention 3: GMOs harm the environment.
Subpoint A: GMOs increase pesticide and herbicide use.
An article from Forbes Magazine quotes a Food and Water Watch study from 2013,
The total volume of glyphosate applied to the three biggest GE crops " corn, cotton and soybeans " increased 10-fold from 15 million pounds in 1996 to 159 million pounds in 2012." Overall pesticide use decreased only in the first few years GE crops were used (42 percent between 1998 and 2001) and has since then risen by 26 percent from 2001 to 2010.
Both herbicide and pesticide use has increased since the introduction of GMOs.
Subpoint B: This increased herbicide creates superweeds.
The same Food and Water Watch study said that By 2011 there were also three times as many herbicide-resistant weeds found in farmer"s fields as there were in 2001.
And a policy brief from The Union of Concerned Scientists stated that A recent survey revealed that almost 50 percent of surveyed farms were infested with glyphosate-resistant weeds (Fraser 2013), and the rate of these weeds" spread has been increasing. Twenty-four species of weed are now glyphosate-resistant (International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds 2013). The worst cases are in the southeastern United States, where a reported 92 percent of cotton and soybean fields are infested as a result of Roundup Ready crops (Fraser 2013).
And for these reasons I urge for a strong con ballot thank you.
My opponent's first contention was about the compromised safety of GM foods.
Her subpoint A was about the relaxed government oversight.
This report from the FDA states: Foods from genetically engineered organisms, also known as biotech foods and referred to by some as food from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), have been in our food supply for about 20 years.
Genetic engineering refers to certain methods that scientists use to introduce new traits or characteristics to an organism. For example, plants may be genetically engineered to produce characteristics that enhance the growth or nutritional value of food crops.
Using a science-based approach, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates foods and ingredients made from genetically engineered plants to help ensure that they are safe to eat.
Her subpoint B was about the health risks of GMOs. However, the reality is that GMOs are safe.
The overwhelming conclusion is, in the words of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, that "consuming foods containing ingredients derived from GM crops is no riskier than consuming the same foods containing ingredients from crop plants modified by conventional plant improvement techniques." Major scientific and governmental organizations agree. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences found that "no adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population," and a report issued by the European Commission made the same claim. The World Health Organization has concluded that GM foods "are not likely, nor have been shown, to present risks for human health." So if there are no health detriments, then the benefits I provided outweigh her harms in the health area.
My opponent's second contention was about how GMOs hurt the global economy.
Her subpoint A was about how GMOs hurt trade.
What we need to look at here is how the economic benefits outweigh this. Sure, a few countries stopped trade because we had a mishap with GMOs, these mistakes are rare and the economic benefits that I provided surely outweigh this subpoint.
Her subpoint B was about how GMOs hurt small farmers.
A study by University of California Berkeley done in India says: In the study, the researchers found that average yields for Bt cotton were a remarkable 80 percent greater than their non-Bt counterparts, and 87 percent greater than the local cotton hybrids. In addition, the Bt cotton crops were sprayed against bollworms three times less often than both the non-Bt and local cotton crops.
* "We are reporting on cotton, but the results are easily transferable to food crops since the type of pest damage they would sustain would be the same," said Matin Qaim, assistant professor of agricultural and development economics at the University of Bonn's Center for Development Research and the study's lead author.
My opponent's contention 3 was about the environmental harms of GMOs.
Her first subpoint was about the chemical footprint of today's GE crops. However, GMOs use less pesticides according to an Economist report: This year"s ISAAA report tries to calculate the effects of GM crops on the environment. It says they saved the equivalent of 473m kilograms of pesticides in 2011 (because GM makes crops resistant to pests); saved 109m hectares of new land being ploughed up (GM crops are usually higher-yielding so less land is required for the same output) and reduced greenhouse-gas emissions by 23 billion kg of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Her 2nd subpoint was about superweeds.
For this point, we have to look at how trivial this is. It can be fixed by Monsanto's terminator seed, which kills itself after every harvest so that the farmers have to purchase new and updated seeds, which doesn't allow for superweeds to develop. In addition, we have to look at the environmental benefits that I provided. Those environmental benefits greatly outweigh her environmental harms.
sammyjg3543 forfeited this round.
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