Sanet Post, Patricia Dines
Re: Ag, politics, biotech, and SANet
December 30, 1996
I've been watching this conversation with interest.
On the one hand, Dan, while I appreciate your passion, I feel much more progress would occur if you could state your differing view without putting others down with such vehemence. Discussing content without invalidation and personal attacks makes conversations so much more enjoyable and fruitful! If we can't influence those who see differently than us, no change can occur in the world. And to influence others, we must be open to what the world looks like from their point of view - i.e., we must be willing to be influenced. To attack is to have others fight or shut up, but to stop true conversation that can move things forward. That is why I'm committed to conversations that allow diverse viewpoints - *if* they are communicated based on facts and ideas, not attacks. That to me is consistent with being sustainable, connected to Spirit and heart, and other values I've heard you discuss, and I feel is just as vital to creating a happy world as not using pesticides is.
On the other hand, I do feel that the original question was weird and obviously biased (even in it's rewritten form) - basically in the "if pigs had wings" category and seeming to want to prove some assumption about our predisposition to be against genetic engineering (GE), rather than move forward a real conversation that might do good in the world.
Sure, if all those conditions could be met we'd be having a different conversation. But those conditions are *not* being met and that is vital to those of us with concerns about GE. The corporations/U.S. government are not waiting til we have perfect knowledge before tinkering with the basis of life! Like so many other corporate ag experiments, it's being thrown out into the world after brief analysis and then the (easily predictable) problems are being found - "oh sorry, oops!" Well, some people feel that this experimentation on human populations needs to stop. Haven't we learned anything from history???
Every person in this country has DDT in their bodies, it's in the north pole, its links to breast cancer (for instance) are strong - and the corporations made money from it without compensating those who harmed - while we argue among ourselves about who should pay for and who should get the expensive medical resources for the diseases caused (that then give profits to often the same corporations). What population would continue to play that game, where they keep being the losers without compensation....?
There are real existing tangible reasons to be concerned about/against genetic engineering just by looking at today's GE "products" such already-proven problems like:
How much more horrifying does this have to get to be taken as a real problem that requires real thinking rather than some theoretical exercise? To turn the question around, "If it were shown that genetic engineering puts our population and DNA at risk, would this be good or bad news?" This shows the bias of the question. It's happening, and it's not good news! How bad does it have to get to be taken seriously? And will it be reversible at that point, once the new DNA is integrated into our ecosystem and food supply?
And even without this overwhelming evidence there are two more reasons many intelligent people are deeply concerned about/against GE products:
I could give many more examples of reasons that I just don't see the evidence that corporations are our benevolent benefactors that should be given control over (and ability to then patent) the very source of life.
So, though I support people like William in asking the questions they feel are appropriate, I too am more interested in conversation that doesn't completely ignore the evidence about the true threats to sustainable ag/ecosystems and has some intention to constructively discuss how we might shift this world's path away from the harmful hugely-risky corporate path to one where the wisdom of natural systems is treated with respect and something to learn from, not tinker with foolishly.
Hope these thoughts are useful -