In Support of John Hamilton

Published: Mon 29 Jul 2002 03:48 PM
In Support of John Hamilton.(1)
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Our commercial tomato grower is absolutely correct in his "A Small Grower's Perspective On GE Dangers." The one factor which is carefully hidden from public view is that, contrary to the propaganda we're fed, it is an imprecise technology. The science itself is very seriously flawed. The erroneous statement, one of many, by our present minister of science to audiences "that our scientists can place a genes accurately" exemplifies a lack of knowledge. And this lack extends equally to the majority of our ministers just as it does to their public. We may well be able to isolate a genes accurately but we certainly can't place them precisely.
We have no idea in the majority of cases what novel substances gene splicing will generate in a plant. An excellent illustration in his own field was the discovery that a gene placed in a tomato increased the lycopene component.(2) As professor Avtar Handa said, "We were quite pleasantly surprised to find the increase in lycopene." Would he have been as "pleasantly surprised" had it generated a toxic material I wonder?
A recent article in the Christchurch Press from Professor Ryan likened our fear of GE to that of paedophile hysteria. A bizarre comparison indeed. Little ignorance exists over paedophilia compared to the glaring ignorance -engendered deliberately by the PR and biotech industry - over GE. Our opposition to GE in NZ is no more "crazy" than that in the UK where his own PM, Tony Blair, shows a similar appalling lack of knowledge on this issue as does our own.
There is little wonder public have a hard time understanding the science. Truly independent scientists are constantly marginalized by the media in an effort to project it as an issue only existing between the Green's and the biotech industry. Only last evening the TV One News gave 6 seconds to Associate Professor Wills [a truly independent scientist member of PSRG] and twice that time to Heinz's Dr Poulter telling viewers about "little green men on mars," this being an effort to clarify the NZ corn scandal.
Furthermore, continual whinging by Life Sciences "for robust debates" is also window dressing, it bores unindentured scientists senseless. They are more than aware that the biotech bubble is beginning to burst. The Wall Street Journal declared, "With the controversy over GM-foods spreading across the globe and taking a toll on the stocks of companies with agricultural-biotechnology businesses, it's hard to see those companies as a good investment, even in the long term." All of which renders ridiculous the continuing obsession of technocrats like Clark, Hodgson, and of many bio-scientists and corporations, with building businesses and national economic competitiveness from GM. John Hamilton is correct that "We are almost creating a knowledge vacuum in the areas we previously had a knowledge wave." I really think that Clark's idea of the knowledge wave is no more than a ripple as far as GE is concerned. Hopefully our elections will illustrate this. Sincerely Dr Robert Anderson Member Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics
1. 2. "Tomato packs more cancer-fighting punch" URL: 25 Jul 2002
Date: 24/07/02

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