We understand genetics the way an medieval serf transplanted from 900AD to downtown New York at rush hour would understand the stoplights at an intersection. Despite the unfamiliar surroundings, and lacking education, the poor sod would still be able to watch the colors on the traffic light change, and correlate the motion of the cars to the lights. More than likely, after a period of observation, our serf would eventually come to believe that they understood how the intersection worked.
Of course, this would be ignorant hubris. He would understand only what he had seen, and not understand the mechanics. He would not understand the incandescent bulbs in the traffic signals, the intricate timing equipment that regulated those bulbs, and he would not have the slightest trace of understanding of the complex mechanics of the vehicles that would seem to move so effortlessly.
Such is our current understanding of genetics. We see rough patterns, and through those we think that gene xxyxx makes corn more resistant to pests. We have no idea how this works, we have no idea how a gene actually controls or modifies the billions^3 chemical reactions that comprise a living cell. We just see a pattern and we think we understand how it works. We are ignorant serfs trying to understand. There is nothing wrong with that. With time, and effort, we will come to understand.
We are not there yet. We must acknowledge that we are still ignorant. We must admit that we are children at this game. We must restrict ourselves to laboratory experimentation, until such day as we can say with 99.999% confidence that we understand the chemistry of life itself.
Our midieval serf, having watched an intersection for a month and believing he understands the patterns, should NOT jump into a car and try to drive. Likewise, we should not be taking our little understood trial-and-error laboratory creations out of the lab. And we sure as hell shouldn’t be trying to hide our failures after they have already been unleashed upon the world…
PARIS Reuters – Environmental group Greenpeace launched a fresh attack on genetically modified maize developed by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto, saying on Tuesday that rats fed on one version developed liver and kidney problems.
Greenpeace said a study it had commissioned that was published in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Technology showed rats fed for 90 days on Monsantos MON863 maize showed “signs of toxicity” in the liver and kidneys.
“It is the first time that independent research, published in a peer-reviewed journal, has proved that a GMO authorized for human consumption presents signs of toxicity,” Arnaud Apoteker, a spokesman for Greenpeace France said in a statement.
Campaigners against Genetically Modified Organisms GMO say that genetic modification technology is unproven and potentially dangerous and that GMO crops can contaminate other crops.
Ignorance is curable with knowledge. Stupidity, like that displayed by Monsanto, is not curable and should be prevented from causing more damage to the world.