GMOFORUM.AGROBIOLOGY.EU :  Phorum 5 The fastest message board... ever.
Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Ammann: New Years Greetings and remarks about the GM crop debate
Posted by: DR. RAUPP & madora (IP Logged)
Date: January 04, 2005 08:16AM ;

Dear friends,
I hope that despite the disastrous New Years days the following months will
bring relieve and better times.


For the coming 2005 some remarks on possible developments about the GM crop

I have learned the last few years that it is well worth wile to distinguish
between opponents who make big money with anti GM campaigns (and who
consequently have not the slightest interest in a rational debate) and those
opponents who bare a genuine interest and concern about the future
development. Those opponents have to be targeted with non-compromising
attitude and confronted with scientific facts, for which they have a
professional attitude to distort them, resulting into pseudoscience.
For the first ones, the fundamentalists, I have only one comment, summarized
in a chart, see the link below::

Before we open a fruitful dialogue, we must all agree on a basic thought: It
is of crucial importance to get away from the oldfashioned habit of dealing
with risk alone, not by systematically overlooking it, but by putting it
into context with opportunity, and even taking chances where possible. We
should be carefully weighting risks and chances at the same time and then
decide for the better solution. With other words: the precautionary approach
(illetigimate name: precautionary principle) should include also the careful
weighting non-application of GM crops.
For people refusing such thought should carefully consider the old chinese
view on risk: It is a composite of two icons, meaning risk and chance

The question is then how we should organize the discussion with all other
opponents willing to conduct a discourse (I admit that the bifurcation made
here in a) and c) may depend on regional, temporal and personal
differenciation). The debate suffers from so many misunderstandings and
simpliciscic concepts.

I am not very optimistic when I realize how often I have heard in regional
and international conferences the naive credo of scientists that
"discussion partners need to listen and to learn about the scientific facts,
and if so, they would be apeased and would think more positively about green
This has now over many years been disproven as a general tactics: Preaching
and teaching, or worse: how do I say this to my children (pardon, I mean
naive, maybe misguided lay people)...
There is a big BUT to such attitudes: A growing number of people is feeling
more and more uneasy about the monopoly of science trying to explain most of
the worlds complexity. We live nolens volens in a society which wants to see
a balance between science, culture, tradition and progress which includes

What we need is not only to learn how to communicate with the public (again
I admit that many scientists are not really talented and worse: many are not
educated or interested in communication; for those I also have an
illustration for easy understanding: Two charts are enough:

It is certainly not an easy task to change attitudes in the debate on GM
plants, since we are dealing with a highly complex matter, not only on the
molecular and ecological level, but also realizing that the issues implicate
also social and cultural elements. All debate partners are shopping the
suitable arguments in the anonymous mist of the complexity cloud, this is
clearly visible even in peer reviewed risk assessment papers: It is
advisable to carefully scrutinize the list of cited papers, and

a review on which factors are influencing the debate are given in the
Handbook of Plant Biotechnology:
Ammann, K. & Papazova Ammann, B. (2004)
Factors Influencing Public Policy Development in Agricultural
Biotechnology. In RISK ASSESSMENT OF TRANSGENIC CROPS. (ed S. Shantaram),
Vol. 9, pp. 1552. Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ, USA.P. Christou & H. Klee
Handbook of Plant Biotechnology,

let me close this reflection on the GM debate with a wise word of Ken
Wilber, a philosopher from California see:

Integral: the word means to integrate, to bring together, to join, to link,
to embrace. Not in the sense of uniformity, and not in the sense of ironing
out all the wonderful differences, colors, zigs and zags of a rainbow-hued
humanity, but in the sense of unity indiversity, shared commonalities along
with our wonderful differences:
replacing rancor with mutual recognition, hostility with respect, inviting
everybody into the tent of mutual understanding.
Not that I have to agree with everything you say, but I should attempt at
least to understand it, for the opposite of mutual understanding is, quite
simply, war.
Wilber, K. (2002)
Boomeritis, a novel that will set you free, 1st. edn. Shambala
Publications, Inc., IS: 1-57062-801-7, pp 456, citation p. 15

I have to confess that sometimes I did not live up to these wonderful words,
but its always important to make a resolution for the New Year.

with my best personal regards, Klaus Ammann

Posted to Phorum via PhorumMail

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.