I, like Donald Rooum, find the exchange on GM to be "repetitive." This is due, however, to my having to repeat the arguments and facts Donald consistently ignores. He states that he has discussed "dubious arguments agreeing with Michael Meacher", claiming I "repeated Meacher's falsehood that the only non-GM maize field-tested against GM maize was sprayed with atrazine." As Donald knows, this is itself a falsehood. I stated that the GM crops trails were flawed as they used atrazine. As I indicated in a later letter (Freedom, 12th of June), this simply repeated what was reported in Nature magazine and had nothing to do with Meacher.
That same letter analysed the article from Nature which Donald uses to bolster his case. Significantly, its authors failed to compare the trial results to the "few sites" (all four of them) which used non-triazine pesticides. Rather, they combined results from these along with other trials (including those which used triazine pesticides post-emergence) to produce their highly speculative conclusions. Simply put, even his one reference refused to apply Donald's methodology on this matter. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Donald ignored my analysis in favour of repeating the claim that the trials proved the safety of the crop in question.
In addition to ignoring my analysis of his one piece of evidence in favour of his argument, Donald ignored another significant fact. As I noted, the biotech company in question has refused to allow the crop to be sold if it must be planted in the same conditions under which it was tested. This means that the trials, even if they were not flawed, are meaningless. Donald says that we must be "sure enough for practical purposes." Surely he must agree that for a test to be valid it must reflect the practical way the test subject will be used?
But I am being repetitive. Suffice to say, I feel that most people with an open mind and a scientific bent would agree that to generalise (as the Nature article does not) from a mere four tests (whose growing conditions will be ignored in practice) to prove "that the risk does not exist" is foolish and, more importantly, bad science. Particularly as the long term impact of GM crops is unknown and, almost certainly, non-reversible (another issue Donald refuses to address).
Sadly, Donald's claim that "superstitious people sometimes distort facts to justify they beliefs" seems more applicable to himself in this case.
yours in solidarity,