Should I be afraid of GMOs?

by Pavitra1 min read19th May 201160 comments

10

Personal Blog

I was raised to believe that genetically-modified foods are unhealthy to eat and bad for the environment, and given a variety of reasons for this, some of which I now recognize as blatantly false (e.g., human genetic code is isomorphic to fundamental physical law), and a few of which still seem sort of plausible.

Because of this history, I need to anchor my credence heavily downward from my sense of plausibility.

The major reasons I see to believe that GMOs are safe are:

  • I would probably think they were dangerous even if they were safe, due to my upbringing.
  • In general, whenever someone opposes a particular field of engineering on the grounds that it's unnatural and dangerous, they're usually wrong.
  • It's not quite obvious to me that introducing genetically-engineered organisms to a system is significantly more dangerous than introducing non-native naturally-evolved organisms.

The major reason I see to believe that GMOs are dangerous is:

  • I might believe they were safe even if they were dangerous, due to "yay science" (which was also part of my upbringing).
  • We are designing self-replicating things and using them without reliable containment, thereby effectively releasing them into the wild.

So: green goo, yes or no?